October 13, 1971
Patricia Quinn(Juliana Farrell (as Pat Quinn)),
Cradle 2 the Grave,
Small Time Crooks,
He's Out of Jail, and Ready for Revenge
Shoot Out is a 1971 western film directed by Henry Hathaway and starring Gregory Peck and Patricia Quinn. The film is adapted from Will James's 1930 novel, The Lone Cowboy. The film was produced, directed, and written by the team that delivered the Oscar-winning film True Grit.
This was the second-to-last of the 65 films directed by Hathaway.
Clay Lomax is released from prison after serving nearly eight years for robbing a bank. After saying farewell to the prison warden who warns him not to come back. He goes looking for his former crime partner Sam Foley (James Gregory), a bank robber who shot Lomax in the back as they ran from the bank and left him to be arrested. Learning of his release, Foley hires a trio of young thugs—Pepe (Pepe Serna), Skeeter (John Davis Chandler), and Bobby Jay Jones— (Robert F. Lyons) to track Lomax's movements. Lomax locates an old friend, Trooper (Jeff Corey), a former U.S. Army cavalry soldier, now confined to a wheelchair running a town saloon and offers him money for information about his double-dealing ex-partner and the name of the place where Foley is now located. The thugs catch up to Lomax at Trooper's saloon / hotel and force Alma (Susan Tyrrell), a prostitute / saloon girl working for the gruff but kindly old soldier, to spend the night with them. They wind up disturbing Clay from his sleep with his old girlfriend Emma (Rita Gam) with the wild racket in the neighboring room, and have an altercation with a thrown hidden knife from his boot in the corridor when then Lomax slaps Bobby Jay showing him who's the better man, savaging the crazed ego of the young budding predator criminal.
Later he meets a passing train at the whistle stop to meet an old lady companion who was bringing a large sum of money that she had held safe for him all these years. But unexpectedly surprisingly, the conductor Mr. Frenatore (Paul Fix) brings out a young 10 year old little girl Decky Ortega (Dawn Lyn) that had accompanied the woman on her train journey but who had unfortunately died a few days before in a distant town leaving the girl an orphan. After hemming and hawing undecided, he finally grabs the child pulling her off the train protesting. Then the conductor hands him a big wad of cash saying that if he hadn't retrieved and taken custody of the kid, then the money would gone along with her for her support when the railroad employee turned her over to a sheriff in the next large town on the line. He takes it to Trooper to pay him for his revealing information and then goes through the village, trying to find someone who would take care of Decky, from substantial upright citizens like store owners, school teachers, ministers but is unsuccessful and frustrated. Meanwhile, the thugs mistreat and leave bruises on Alma, then vandalize the hotel/saloon as the old handicapped owner demands restitution. then led by Bobby Jay, they fatally shoot Trooper and rob the saloon, taking Lomax's money and Alma with them, before continuing to follow Lomax. Lomax returns, learning of Trooper's tragic death and that he mentioned the location "Gun Hill" with his dying breath.
During the following journey to Gun Hill, Lomax and little stubborn Decky bond closer, especially after he throws her in a stream to wash and hand scrubs her, then gently dries and warms her by the campfire. She asks him plaintively if he his her father which he denies, but he knew her mother well and the paternal implication is clear. Another night, the gang of thugs attempt to attack Lomax in his camp, but he outfoxes and disarms them, and when finding out the purpose of their trailing mission, tells them to go ahead and run back to Foley in Gun Hill and tell them that he is coming for him. Later, a rainstorm forces Lomax and Decky to take shelter at the cabin in the woods of a lonely widow woman with a young well mannered son, named Juliana Farrell (Patricia Quinn), who quickly becomes infatuated with Lomax and offers her comfort and to watch over Decky. The thugs then return later in the night and take them all prisoner. Bobby Jay gets drunk, tortures the young mother by using her son and saying he was going to shoot a target off his head. Later, he eventually kills saloon girl Alma in his inebriation. Lomax manages to escape, with Bobby Jay accidentally killing his gang member Skeeter in the process.
Bobby Jay grabs Decky and flees the house to find the other outlaw Pepe. When Pepe insults him outside having heard the shots inside, Bobby Jay kills him too, and Decky takes advantage of his distraction to escape in the night. Now alone, Bobby Jay then rides ahead to warn Foley, and get his promised money, but kills him when he gets greedy seeing the amount of cash in Foley's safe, asking for more. Foley tries to reach for a gun, and is shot dead. Bobby Jay is then ambushed by Lomax, who arrives shortly while Bobby is gathering his loot and surprises the murderer. Now enraged with righteous anger and revenge for Trooper, Clay now gives Bobby Jay a taste of his own earlier medicine, psychologically tortures him while demanding Decky's whereabouts. When he confesses that he has no idea where she is, Lomax places a cartridge on top of Bobby Jay's head, and tells him that either the cartridge will explode and kill him, or Bobby Jay will not be fast enough to quick draw his gun to kill Lomax. Bobby Jay tries to outdraw Lomax but cannot and is shot dead by the far more experienced gunslinger. Lomax leaves the money with Foley and Bobby Jay's bodies, tells the maid to go get the law, and then go finds Decky back at Juliana's house.
After filming I Walk the Line, Gregory Peck was looking for a successful film as a follow-up. Believing teaming with the director of True Grit, Henry Hathaway, along with the same producer (Hal B. Wallis) and screenwriter (Marguerite Roberts), would bring similar success, Peck started filming the project in 1970. As the film even followed a similar path - teaming a crusty gunfighter with a young girl for a companion - Peck deferred his usual salary for a percentage of the profits of the film. This allowed the production to come in on a tight budget of $1.19 million.
The film was released in America on October 13, 1971. It was released in Sweden on August 16, 1971.
The film received negative reviews from a number of critics, especially in light of the blatant repetition of the formula seen in the earlier John Wayne film. Michael Kerbel from The Village Voice wrote that Shoot Out did have some semblance of True Grit, "'but the humor and charm are missing and what remains - a predictable revenge story - becomes tiresome.'" Others remarked about the slump in Gregory Peck's career: Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the film "served 'mostly as a glum reminder of the inadequate use'" of the Hollywood star, while Paine Knickerbocker of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote "'Peck, m'boy, what the hell are you doing here?'"
Home media release
The film was released on DVD on October 1, 2002.
ReferencesShoot Out Wikipedia
Shoot Out IMDb Shoot Out themoviedb.org