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Gunplay
Alternate Title: Gun Notches
Director: Lesley Selander (Dir)
Release Date:   May 1951
Production Date:   began 23 Oct 1950
Duration (in mins):   60-61
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Cast:   Tim Holt (Tim Holt)  
    Joan Dixon (Terry Blake)  
    Harper Carter (Chip Martin)  
    Mauritz Hugo (Curt Landry, previously known as Matt Potter)  
    Robert Bice (Sam Martin)  
    Marshall Reed (Dobbs)  
    Jack Hill (Sheriff)  
    Robert Wilke (Winslow)  
    Leo McMahon (Zeke)  
  and Richard Martin (Chito Rafferty)  
    Stan Blystone (Hardware clerk)  
    Bill Lewis (Bank clerk)  
    Frank O'Connor (Station agent, Dan)  
    Cornelius O'Keefe    

Summary: Upon arriving at their new job on an Arizona ranch, cowboys Tim Holt and the Irish-Mexican Chito Rafferty are surprised to discover that their boss, Terry Blake, is a young woman. While Terry is showing Tim and the womanizing Chito her range land, passing strangers Sam Martin and his young son Chip stop to ask directions to Orodale, a nearby town. Once in Orodale, Sam finds Curt Landry, a banker who owns most of the town, and accuses him of bilking him of his valuable mine twelve years before. At gunpoint, Sam demands that Landry, whose real name is Matt Potter, sign over all of his holdings to him. Landry agrees to Sam's terms but stalls by declaring that the transfer will require a few days. Landry then gives Sam $5,000 from his safe as a down payment. As soon as Sam and Chip ride away, however, Landry informs his men, Dobbs, Winslow and Zeke, that Sam robbed him and orders them to kill Sam. Sam and Chip spy the men approaching, and fearing danger, Sam tells Chip to hide. After a brief chase, Landry's men catch Sam and hang him. The next day, Tim, Chito and Terry come upon Chip, who has been looking for his father since the ambush, and help him in his search. Tim spots Sam at the end of a lynching rope, and believing Chip's pleas that his father was not a thief, he and Chito vow to find Matt Potter, the man who Sam had told Chip was responsible for his troubles. In the Orodale saloon, Tim and Chito's queries about Potter are overheard by Landry, who orders Dobbs to introduce himself as Potter. Landry also learns about Chip and sends Zeke and Winslow to the Blake ranch, where Terry is watching the boy. After Orodale's drunken sheriff calls Dobbs by his real name, the now-suspicious cowboys become embroiled in a saloon brawl. At the Blake ranch, meanwhile, Terry and Chip are busy fighting off Zeke and Winslow with their shotguns. Chito and Tim arrive in time to stop the gunfight, but later, Landry orders his men back to the ranch to pick up Chip, whom he has decided to adopt in order to control him. Tim and Chito, however, ambush Dobbs as he is leaving Landry's hotel lodgings and take him to the ranch house. There, they question Dobbs about Potter, and fearing reprisal from the vengeful Chip, Dobbs decides to talk. Before he can reveal Landry's secret, however, Landry sneaks up and shoots him through an open window, then flees. The next day, Landry rides to the ranch with the adoption papers and announces that because Terry is not married or rich, she cannot adopt Chip. Terry reluctantly instructs Chip to go with Landry, but Tim and Chito worry that the boy is in danger and head for Landry's lodgings. Landry, meanwhile, is approached by Winslow, who has discovered Landry's distinctive boot prints outside the Blake ranch house and knows he shot Dobbs. Winslow demands money in exchange for his silence, and Landry pretends to acquiesce. Tim, Chito and Chip, meanwhile, search Landry's possessions for information regarding Potter and find an old photograph of Landry taken in Arizona City, the mining town where Chip was born. Hearing Landry and his men approaching, Tim asks Chip to give the photograph to Terry, with instructions to take it to Arizona City for identification. Landry then catches Tim and Chito in his rooms and has them jailed. After Chip delivers the photograph to Terry, he sneaks back to Landry's just as Landry realizes the photograph is missing. The next day in Orodale, Terry boards a stage bound for Arizona City. Seeing her, Landry deduces her mission and, after cleaning out his safe and shooting Winslow, joins her on board. Chip, meanwhile, helps Tim and Chito to escape from jail by crawling under the jailhouse and prying open a floor board while the sheriff is asleep. Tim and Chito then race to the stage and rescue Terry just as an armed Landry is trying to force her to hand over the photograph. Tim and Chito lead Landry back to town, while Terry continues to Arizona City. Later, Tim and Chip say farewell to Terry and Chito, as Tim escorts the now-wealthy Chip to military school. 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Lesley Selander (Dir)
  Bert Spurlin (Asst dir)
Producer: Herman Schlom (Prod)
Writer: Ed Earl Repp (Wrt)
Photography: J. Roy Hunt (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino (Art dir)
  Feild Gray (Art dir)
Film Editor: Douglas Biggs (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Darrell Silvera (Set dec)
  Jack Mills (Set dec)
Music: Paul Sawtell (Mus)
  C. Bakaleinikoff (Mus dir)
Sound: John Cass (Sd)
  Clem Portman (Sd)
Country: United States
Language: English

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. 21/4/1951 dd/mm/yyyy LP919

PCA NO: 14922
Physical Properties: Sd: RCA Sound System
  b&w:

 
Genre: Western
 
Subjects (Major): Bankers
  Betrayal
  Children
  Cowboys
  Murder
  Women ranchers
 
Subjects (Minor): Adoption
  Alcoholics
  Aliases
  Arizona
  Blackmail
  Fights
  Gunfights
  Hotels
  Jailbreaks
  Lynching
  Mexican Americans
  Photographs
  Saloons
  Sheriffs
  Stagecoaches

Note: The working title of this film was Gun Notches . Location shooting took place in Agoura, CA, near Los Angeles, according to a HR news item. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   28 Apr 1951.   
Daily Variety   17 Apr 51   p. 3.
Film Daily   24 Apr 51   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   27 Oct 50   p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Apr 51   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   28 Apr 51   p. 818.
Variety   2 May 51   p. 12.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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