Showdown (1963) - Once Upon a Time in a Western

Showdown (1963)

Audie Murphy is Chris Foster; Charles Drake his friend Bert Pickett. Fresh off a trail drive, they ride into the border town of Adonde … and straight into trouble. Pickett gets drunk and loses a good chunk of his wages in a card game. The ensuing brawl earns Bert and Chris a spot chained in the town square.

The town’s too poor to afford a jail, so anyone arrested is chained to a pole. Also chained to that pole is a killer named Lavalle and some members of his gang. During the night, they dig out the pole. The next morning, they use it to ram the door of the local bank and make their getaway with guns blazing.

Chris and Bert run, too. Unbeknownst to Chris, Bert picks up $12,000 worth of bonds on his way out of the bank. The outlaws learn of the bonds and take the two men prisoner. They plan on sending Bert to another nearby town to cash the bonds. He has other ideas, like paying a long overdue debt to a girlfriend named Estelle (Kathleen Crowley).

And once she has the money, she isn’t very willing to part with it. Forced to sing n a saloon and separate from her younger sister, to her those bonds represent a new chance in life.

Review:

Murphy’s Westerns of the 1960s are very hit and miss. This is more hit than miss thanks to an unusual plot and the character of Brett Pickett, who forever pledges to send Estelle money to help her out, then loses the money in a card game. When he finally does come through for her, the timing couldn’t be worse for his best friend.

Another neat touch are the young sons of town loser Charlie Reeder. They’re proud that their dad is chained to the same pole as a notorious killer. They want to chuck rocks at Lavelle, until Murphy’s character warns them about what might happen to their dad if they anger the outlaw.

Skip Homeier is one of Lavelle’s gang. Smoky voiced Kathleen Crowley did most of her acting on TV, but starred in four other Westerns, including 1959’s “Curse of the Undead” with Michael Pate in the role of a vampire-gunslinger.

Directed by:
R.G. Springsteen

Cast:
Audie Murphy … Chris Foster
Kathleen Crowley … Estelle
Charles Drake … Bert Pickett
Harold Stone … Lavalle
Skip Homeier … Caslon
L.Q. Jones … Foray
Strother Martin … Charlie Reeder
Charles Horvath … Hebron
John McKee … Marshal Beaudine
Henry Wills … Chaca
Kevin Brodie … Buster
Joe Haworth … Guard
Carol Thurston … Smithy’s Wife
Dabbs Greer … Express man

Runtime: 79 min.

Memorable lines:

Bert Pickett, to Chris Foster, as they’re both chained to the outdoor “jail” in Adonde: “Man can’t get much lower than this, can he?”
Chris Foster: “He’d have to work at it.”

Chris Foster: “Well, Bert, we haven’t done bad for six months. Lost all our money, guns and our gear. Now if we don’t starve ourselves before we heal, we ought to make a sudden rise in life.”

Chris Foster: “Gentle as a kitten, Bert said. Seems to me you’re a great deal more cat than kitten.”
Estelle: “Let’s just say I’ve come of age, mister.”

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