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Western films, from silent to today

Shotgun (1955)

Shotgun (1955) posterA gang of outlaws led by Ben Thompson (Guy Prescott) rides into town, looking to even the score with Marshal Mark Fletcher and Sheriff Clay Hardin (Sterling Hayden), the two men responsible for sending Thompson to prison.

Thompson shotguns Fletcher as he prepares to step into the saloon. Hardin escapes, then sets out with a shotgun strapped to his saddle in hopes of settling the score, even though that means sacrificing a well-paying government job.

Soon, a sassy saloon girl named Abby (Yvonne De Carlo) and a bounty hunter named Reb Carlton (Zachary Scott) are along for the ride.

Carlton’s hoping to cash in on the reward being offered for Thompson and the other members of his gang; Hardin has little use for him.

He has more interest in Abby, a young woman with lots of spunk and hope for the future, but a questionable past.

And just to make things interesting, the Apache are on the warpath. You see, Thompson wants to sell them a wagon load of rifles.


Another so-so B Western featuring Sterling Hayden, with Scott and De Carlo providing most of the spark the film can muster.

Hayden’s as stiff as ever, but there are a few interesting scenes — one outlaw staked out next to a rattlesnake; one man who winds up pinned to a tree by the Apaches; and a final showdown in which the proponents ride at one another, shotguns loaded as the Indians look on.

Promotional posters for the film emphasize a bathing scene featuring De Carlo. In truth, it’s much more tame than the posters would lead viewers to believe.

Yvonne de Carlo as Abby and Zachary Scott as Reb Carlton in Shotgun (1955)Directed by:
Lesley Selander

Sterling Hayden … Clay Hardin
Yvonne De Carlo … Abby
Zachary Scott … Reb Carlton
Guy Prescott … Ben Thompson
Robert J. Wilke … Bentley
Angela Greene … Aletha
Paul Marion … Delgadito
John Pickard … Perez
Ralph Sanford … Chris
Rory Malinson … Frank
Fiona Hale … Midge
Ward Wood … Ed
Lane Chandler … Marshal Mark Fletcher
Robert Griffin … Docter
Al Wyatt Sr. … Greybar
Richard H. Cutting … Holly
Harry Harvey Jr. … Davey

Runtime: 80 min.

Yvonne de Carlo as Abby and Sterling Hayden as Clay Hardin in Shotgun (1955)Memorable lines:

Yvonne De Carlo, to Clay Hardin, who’s just freed her from being tied to a tree but is taking his sweet time doing the same for a man being threatened by a rattler: “You badge-toters are worse than snakes!”
Hardin: “You stay out of it unless you want to be back in that tree.”

Perez, outlaw gang member: “He’s gettin’ way out of line, Ben. How come you’re lettin’ him walk all over you?”
Ben: “When you know you’re going to have to kill a man, Perez, it costs nothing to be polite.”

Reb Carlton: “Kinda pretty when she’s mad.”
Clay: “Reb, I don’t want any buzzards hangin’ round this camp. You want the girl, take her, but ride on out.”
Abby: “What do you two think you’re dividing, a sandwich?”

Reb Carlton, watching Abby bathe: “Now ain’t that pretty.”
Clay Hardin: “You’re worse that a hound dog in springtime, aren’t you Reb?”
Reb: “It’s always open season on her kind.”
Which earns him a punch from Hardin.

Clay Hardin to Reb: “Maybe you’re a necessary breed, Reb. But not around me.”

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