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Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971)

Support Your Local Gunfighter

Director:Burt Kennedy
Cast:James Garner, Suzanne Pleshette, Harry Morgan, Jack Elam
Genre:Film, Comedy, Western

By Jack Purdy | Posted

This comic western, in which James Garner essayed a more felonious update on his beloved Bret Maverick character, is hard to beat for sheer escapist fun. Garner, dressed in Bret's gambler black, is Latigo Smith, a ladies' man and sharper who arrives dead broke in the mining boom town of Purgatory. He hatches a plot to convince the townfolk that a drunken barsweep (western vet Jack Elam) is really the notorious gunfighter Swifty Morgan--and that he, Latigo, is the only man who can control the desperado. Elam--befuddled, squinting, puppylike--is superb, as is the entire roster of familar character actors in key roles: John Dehner and Harry Morgan as rival mine owners, Dub Taylor as the town doctor, effete Grady Sutton (often featured in W.C. Fields' comedies) as a storekeeper, and Joan Blondell as a blowsy saloonkeeper who takes a shine to Latigo. Garner calmly, connivingly propels the shenanigans (which also include Suzanne Pleshette as love interest Patience "Sidewinder" Barton) with trademark effortlessness. (Look for another western icon, Chuck Connors, unbilled and hugely menacing.) This is a follow-up, but not a sequel to, an equally hilarious Garner effort of 1969, Support Your Local Sheriff!

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