Plot: What’s it about?
Latigo Smith (James Garner) is a con man who has a way with the ladies, but his last escapade has him running like there’s no tomorrow. It seems that relationship went sour and as such, Latigo needs to have his former flame’s name tattoo removed from his chest, which he plans to do in a small town. As he waits to see the doctor about this operation, he overhears a plan that spins his gears and has him cooking up a con to end all cons. It seems the local mining baron, Taylor Barton (Harry Morgan) plans to run his competition out of business, using a notorious gunslinger to do his dirty work. Latigo sees a chance to pick up some cash, pay for his operation, and skip town scotfree, all before Barton and the others know what hit them. He hires a strange cow-hand, Jug May (Jack Elam) to impersonate Swifty Morgan, the aforementioned and much feared gunfighter. The plan works, but when Latigo falls for Barton’s daughter (Suzanne Pleshette), all of his plans seem to take second base behind the woman. Soon, the real Swifty shows up and unless Latigo can create a massive plan, all of them will fall under Swifty’s guns.
I had just viewed and loved Support Your Local Sheriff, so I knew it was time to spin the pseudo sequel, Support Your Local Gunfighter. This is not a sequel, but it features James Garner in much the same character, as well as a few returning faces to keep the same tone. In truth, I think the two go hand and hand, as I’ve never met someone who disliked one, but enjoyed the other. You either like them both or dislike them both, as the comedic nature is the same and both use the same tone, which ensures a lot of laughs. I don’t like this as much as Support Your Local Sheriff, but it does pack some serious laughs, which makes it more than worth a look. I think this one moves too fast at times and uses obvious humor too often, but as I said, it is still a terrific movie and very funny in the end. I love the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) references to classic Westerns, which are fast and furious here, so make sure you know your genre work prior to viewing this picture. I recommend this release to fans of the other film, as well as anyone who loves Westerns and can handle a barrel of laughs.
Since his role here is so much like his turn in Support Your Local Sheriff, I chose to use the same rundown here. The man in the saddle here is James Garner, who plays the role to perfection and really works well within the film’s structure. He is able to seem natural within the environment, but also give his character an edge, which makes seem knowing. And that works very well here, as Garner’s character seems to know just what to do in each situation, as if he’s watched all the classic westerns himself. I know that sounds strange, but it is evident as you watch the character, he seems very aware of what happens and how to manipulate it to his means. I think Garner plays it just right, never too removed, but just enough to make it seem natural. Other films with Garner include Murphy’s Romance, Grand Prix, The Great Escape, Maverick, Tank, and Support Your Local Sheriff. The rest of the cast includes Harry Morgan (Tv’s M*A*S*H), John Dehner (The Boys From Brazil, Jagged Edge), Joan Blondell (Kona Coast, Grease), Suzanne Pleshette (Blackbeard’s Ghost, The Birds), and Jack Elam (The Cannonball Run, Suburban Commando).
Video: How does it look?
Support Your Local Gunfighter is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. I do wish this was a new anamorphic version, as I can see a lot of edge enhancement and the image suffers when compared to Support Your Local Sheriff, which was enhanced. But aside from the loss of additional resolution, this is a decent enough treatment, as colors look bright, flesh tones are smooth and consistent, and contrast is stable at all times. Again, this should be anamorphic, but I doubt fans will be let down here.
Audio: How does it sound?
A mono track is used, and that’s all you need. The music and effects sound clear, and dialogue couldn’t sound better. May not be flashy, but it gets the job done. I know we’ve been spoiled by surround sound, but come on, not all films need that much dynamic presence. I think the included mono option is clean and clear enough, no problems in the least. The disc also includes a Spanish mono track, as well as Spanish and French subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.