At Gunpoint

At Gunpoint is a 1955 American Western film directed by Alfred L. Werker and starring Fred MacMurray, Dorothy Malone and Walter Brennan.[2]

At Gunpoint
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAlfred L. Werker
Produced byVincent M. Fennelly
Written byDaniel B. Ullman (story and screenplay)
StarringFred MacMurray
Dorothy Malone
Walter Brennan
Music byCarmen Dragon
CinematographyEllsworth Fredericks
Edited byEda Warren
Distributed byAllied Artists Pictures
Release date
December 25, 1955
Running time
81 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1 million[1]


Plainview is a peaceful town, all the better for bad men Alvin Dennis, his brother Bob, and their gang, to rob the bank there. They figure small-town sheriff Pete MacKay will not pose much of a problem.

MacKay is having his usual chess game with Doc Lacy at the general store Jack Wright runs with wife Martha and brother-in-law Wally. A gunshot from the bank startles all. Bob has shot a teller, then guns down the old marshal when he arrives. Jack is just a meek storekeeper, but he manages to grab a gun and wing the fleeing Alvin Dennis, who is then killed by another townsman, George Henderson. And the bank's loot is saved.

Everybody, particularly banker Livingston, appreciates the bravery of the town heroes. But when the Amarillo newspaper publishes their photographs, Bob Dennis decides to return to Plainview to avenge his brother's death. The grateful town throws a celebration for both Henderson and Jack. As a tipsy Henderson, who has been appointed the new sheriff, is riding back to his ranch after the party, he is ambushed and killed.

Jack could be next. A marshal comes to town to keep an eye on things, but can't stay forever and leaves after two uneventful weeks. Jack, his wife and son Billy, begin to notice that their neighbors are shunning them, no longer shopping at the store or even allowing their kids to come near them.

A $2,500 reward for Alvin Dennis' capture is a pleasant surprise for Jack, but when Wally is mistaken for him and murdered in cold blood by Bob Dennis, no one is willing to help. In fact, he is offered more money by Livingston and other frightened citizens if he will sell them the store and leave town. Doc and the Wrights are ashamed of everyone's lack of support in Jack's hour of need.

Jack arms himself to face Bob Dennis and his gang. He is outmatched, but suddenly the men in town, brandishing firearms, appear in windows and on the street, demanding the gang drop their guns and surrender. All but Bob give up and, as the outlaw approaches Jack, Doc manages to shoot him. The townspeople offer apologies to the Wrights, who are immediately willing to forgive and forget. Doc storms off, apparently not so willing.


See also


  1. 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1956', Variety Weekly, January 2, 1957
  2. At Gunpoint at the American Film Institute Catalog
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