Showdown at Boot Hill

Showdown at Boot Hill is a 1958 American Western film directed by Gene Fowler Jr., written by Louis Vittes, and starring Charles Bronson, Robert Hutton, John Carradine, Carole Mathews, Fintan Meyler and Paul Maxey. The film was released on May 1, 1958, by 20th Century Fox.[1][2][3][4]

Showdown at Boot Hill
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGene Fowler Jr.
Produced byHarold E. Knox
Written byLouis Vittes
StarringCharles Bronson
Robert Hutton
John Carradine
Carole Mathews
Fintan Meyler
Paul Maxey
Music byAlbert Harris
CinematographyJohn M. Nickolaus Jr.
Edited byFrank Sullivan
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • May 1, 1958 (1958-05-01)
Running time
71 minutes
CountryUnited States

It was the first film Gene Fowler Jr. made for Regal Films.[5]


An unusual western plot that is character driven and reaches beyond right/wrong morality, requiring its male and female leads to develop and act on introspection. Bronson portrays a Marshall who has turned bounty hunter explicitly as a reaction to his being "short" and unable to command the allegiance of those he is to protect. His beliefs and lifestyle are challenged by Doc played by John Carradine who sees something of his younger self in this angry man with a gun. Also driving the psychological elements of the film is the Marshall's growing attachment to Jill (Carole Mathews) and her mother Sally (Fintan Meyler).



The film was shot in late 1957, and gave an early lead role to Charles Bronson.[6]

The film was the first in a series that Gene Fowler Jr. made for Robert L. Lippert. Fowler said "that Lippert experience was wonderful in a way because we had the run of the Fox lot; whatever sets happened to be still standing, we'd use those sets. My partner, Lou Vittes and I, would walk through those sets that had already been used for more expensive pictures than we could make and we would pretty much write the script around those sets."[7]

Parts of the theme song sound similar to the theme from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, directed by John Ford four years later and starring John Wayne, James Stewart and Lee Marvin.


  1. "Showdown at Boot Hill (1958) - Overview". Retrieved 2015-09-21.
  2. Hal Erickson. "Showdown at Boot Hill (1958) - Gene Fowler, Jr". AllMovie. Retrieved 2018-01-07.
  3. "Showdown at Boot Hill". Retrieved 2015-09-21.
  4. SHOWDOWN AT BOOT HILL. (1958, Monthly Film Bulletin, 25, 63. Retrieved from
  5. Dexter, Maury (2012). Highway to Hollywood (PDF). p. 102.
  6. Hopper, H. (1957, Dec 10). Musical 'viva villa' to star john raitt. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  7. Weaver, Tom (2006). Science Fiction Stars and Horror Heroes: Interviews with Actors, Directors, Producers and Writers of the 1940s through 1960s. McFarland. p. 75–76. ISBN 9780786428571.
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