Support Your Local Gunfighter

Support Your Local Gunfighter is a 1971 comic western film directed by Burt Kennedy and starring James Garner. It was written by James Edward Grant. The film shares many cast and crew members and plot elements with the earlier Support Your Local Sheriff! but is not a sequel. It actually parodies Yojimbo and its remake A Fistful of Dollars, using the basic storyline of a stranger who wanders into a feuding town and pretends to work as an enforcer for both sides.

Support Your Local Gunfighter
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBurt Kennedy
Produced byBill Finnegan
Burt Kennedy
Written byJames Edward Grant and, uncredited, Burt Kennedy[1]
StarringJames Garner
Suzanne Pleshette
Harry Morgan
Jack Elam
John Dehner
Marie Windsor
Joan Blondell
Kathleen Freeman
Ellen Corby
Music byJack Elliot
Allyn Ferguson
CinematographyHarry Stradling Jr.
Edited byWilliam B. Gulick
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • May 26, 1971 (1971-05-26)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States


Latigo Smith (Garner), a gambler and confidence man, is traveling by train in frontier-era Colorado with the rich and powerful Goldie (Marie Windsor). Goldie wants desperately to marry him, a fate he wants no part of. He sneaks off the train at Purgatory, a small mining town.

He discovers that two mining companies, run by bitter rivals Taylor Barton (Harry Morgan) and Colonel Ames (John Dehner), are vying to find a "mother lode" of gold buried somewhere nearby. Dynamite blasts periodically rock the town to its foundations.

Latigo consults the town doctor (Dub Taylor) about an embarrassing problem that is not immediately revealed, but turns out to be a Goldie-related tattoo. Latigo's great weakness is a periodically uncontrollable urge to bet on roulette; he soon loses all of his money playing his "lucky" number, 23. Penniless, he starts romancing local saloonkeeper Miss Jenny (Joan Blondell). Being mistaken for infamous gunslinger "Swifty" Morgan gives Latigo an idea. He talks amiable ne'er-do-well Jug May (Jack Elam) into impersonating Swifty. Latigo attracts the attention of Patience "The Sidewinder" Barton (Suzanne Pleshette), the hot-tempered daughter of Taylor, who desperately wants to escape her frontier existence, attend "Miss Hunter's College on the Hudson River, New York, For Young Ladies of Good Families", and live a life of refinement in New York City. When Latigo and Jug side with the Bartons in a dispute, Ames sends a telegram to the real Swifty Morgan (Chuck Connors) informing him of their deception.

Swifty arrives in town and immediately challenges the hapless Jug to a gunfight, but at the appointed time and place Latigo is there in his place, sitting atop a donkey loaded with crates of dynamite. Swifty calls Latigo's bluff, but he is startled when a man yells "fire in the hole!" to warn everyone about the next explosion, and accidentally shoots himself. The blast also panics the donkey, which charges into the a saloon/whorehouse, blowing the building up. However, it also uncovers the mother lode and in addition removes Latigo's troublesome tattoo, while leaving him uninjured.

Latigo finally wins big at roulette, betting $10,000 on 23 and the number at last comes in. Jug, talking to the camera from the back of a moving train taking Latigo and Patience to Denver to get married, reveals that Patience never did go to Miss Hunter's College, but seven of her daughters did. As for himself, Jug says he went on to become a big star in Italian westerns.


(Actors marked with a '†' symbol also appeared in Support Your Local Sheriff!)

See also


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