A reformed Gunfighter Jimmy Ringo is on his way to a sleepy town in the hope of a reunion with his estranged sweetheart and their young son who he has never seen. On arrival, a chance meeting with some old friends including the town's Marshal gives the repentant Jimmy some respite. But as always Jimmy's reputation has already cast its shadow, this time in the form of three vengeful cowboys hot on his trail and a local gunslinger hoping to use Jimmy to make a name for himself. With a showdown looming, the town is soon in a frenzy as news of Jimmy's arrival spreads. His movements are restricted to the saloon while a secret meeting with his son can be arranged giving him ideas of a long term reunion with his family far removed from his wild past.Written by
The original story was written by John Bowers and André De Toth with John Wayne in mind. Wayne loved it and offered Bowers $10,000 for it. The writer thought it was worth more and told Wayne how he felt. The actor reportedly said, "Well, you wrote it for me. Don't you have any artistic integrity?" Bowers later got $70,000 for it at Fox, and Wayne harboured ill-feelings about the incident, accusing Bowers of selling it out from under him. In addition, Wayne refused to work for Columbia Pictures because its chief, Harry Cohn, had mistreated him years before when he was a young contract player. Cohn had bought the project for Wayne, but Wayne's grudge was too deep, and Cohn sold the script to Twentieth Century Fox, which cast Gregory Peck in the role Wayne badly wanted but for which he refused to bend. When the Reno Chamber of Commerce named Peck the top western star for 1950 and presented him with the Silver Spurs award, an angry Wayne said, "Well, who the hell decided that you were the best cowboy of the year?". Wayne's final film, The Shootist (1976), is very similar to this film. See more »
When Jimmy Ringo goes into the hotel room to get the sniper with the Winchester rifle, the lock on the door is just a handle. There is no mechanism to go into the jamb to allow the door to lock. See more »
The Gunfighter established the trend for mature Hollywood westerns by having the hero be a mature gunfighter who wants to retire in peace, not in pieces. The movie created the line which has been parodied since "everywhere I go, some young punk wants to try me." Using Richard Jaeckle and Skip Homier as the young wanna-be gunfighters was a classic piece of casting, since both of them went on to play similar parts in westerns, although not together. One piece of trivia about this film was that Harry Cohn at Columbia originally had bought the script with the intent of having John Wayne play the lead. Wayne,by now, was a major star, producing his own films. Wayne wanted to do the role, but didn't want to do it at Columbia. As a young actor, he had been treated badly by Cohn who humiliated him after his disastrous first lead in "The Big Trail." Wayne told Cohn in so many words what he could do with his script. The script was then sold to Twentieth Century Fox. Wayne did play a similar role in his final picture, "The Shootist."
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