Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Making of Guns of Ponderosa -- Part XI Final


The hired gunslinger is nothing new in a western story. In Shane, Jack Palance nearly upstaged Alan Ladd as he played gunman Jack Wilson, one of the original men in black.
We saw the same kind of hired gunslinger in Crossfire Trail, too. And then John Wayne faced a bevy of professional gunmen in The Shootist.
I liked the way the late Robert B. Parker handled the professional gunmen in his novel Appaloosa and how Ed Harris did it in the film of the same name. Specifically, that guns for hire were known amongst those on both sides of the law, and that there was a kind of unwritten law between them that whatever shooting was to be done would not be from ambush or in the dark of night, but on mutually agreed killing fields and at a mutually agreed time. Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch faced two gunmen, Matt Stryker, Tom Hall, and young Dan Brady faced three. Tom, however, was not in the initial gunfight. To find out how the final face-off turned out, you'll have to read the book.
And that's how Guns of Ponderosa was made.

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