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Heaven with a Gun

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Heaven with a Gun
Heaven with a Gun FilmPoster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLee H. Katzin
Screenplay byRichard Carr
Produced byFrank King
Maurice King
StarringGlenn Ford
Carolyn Jones
Barbara Hershey
John Anderson
David Carradine
Noah Beery Jr.
J.D. Cannon
CinematographyFred J. Koenekamp
Edited byDann Cahn
Music byJohnny Mandel
King Brothers Productions
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • June 11, 1969 (1969-06-11) (United States)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited States

Heaven with a Gun is a 1969 American Western film starring Glenn Ford and directed by Lee H. Katzin.


Jim Killian arrives at the town of Vinegaroon, which is divided between cattlemen and sheepherders. Asa Beck, a leading cattleman, his son Coke and his cowhands, harass the sheepherders, attack and even murder them. The sheepherders are ready for retaliation. Both parties, knowing of Killian's ability, try to hire him. Killian summons them to the town for a meeting. There, everyone finds out that Killian has become a preacher, and has just opened his church in a barn. He tells them that he'll protect everyone in his church's surroundings and that there will be no killing unless he does it, which he proves by shooting two of Beck's cowhands who hadn't believed his words and had drawn their guns.

The following Sunday, all the people from the town and its surroundings go to the service. Killian uses the occasion to demonstrate that cattle and sheep can be kept together and share the water sources, same as people of all kinds can live together.

Asa Beck has brought a man called Mace, who reveals before the people that Killian not only is a colleague gunslinger but an ex-convict, guilty of murder. Still, Killian's standing before the people remains strong. Paterson, a cattleman, and Murdock, a sheepherder, decide to follow his advice.

Killian has taken under his protection a half American-half Native American girl named Leloopa, whose father was killed by Coke Beck, unbeknownst to them. In a moment in which Killian is talking with his old friend Madge McCloud, the madam of the local saloon and brothel, and with her girls about the cattlemen vs. sheepherders situation, Leloopa is raped by Coke Beck. When he realizes what happened, and before the town's people, Killian beats Coke unconscious.

Scotty Andrews, a sheepherder that had been viciously and repeatedly attacked by the Becks is out for revenge. He manages to stab Coke to death through the neck with his wool shears. Asa Beck declares war against everyone who doesn't follow him, orders three of his cowhands to burn Killian's church, and Mace to kill the preacher.

After surviving Mace's attack and seeing his church burned down, Killian grabs a gun and prepares to act as a gunslinger, since praying is not working.

Madge stops Killian and tells him that he must decide to be either a preacher or a gunman — he must choose between Heaven and Hell, or else he is deceiving the community because, how will he teach them about faith when he only trusts in his gun? So, preacher Jim Killian must find a way to stop the impending showdown between cattlemen and sheepherders, armed only with his faith in God and the help of the town's people.



Critical response

The New York Times film critic, Howard Thompson, gave the film a positive review, writing, "The typical dour restraint of Glenn Ford, as an exconvict turned pistol-packing parson, is the most steadying ingredient of Heaven With a Gun, a plodding, vest-pocket Western that opened yesterday at neighborhood theaters. As a veteran of many a cattlemen-versus-sheepmen exercise, Mr. Ford plays it cool and, of course, leathery."[1]

More recently, film critic Dennis Schwartz gave the film a negative review, writing, "...[director] and writer Richard Carr load the genre pic with cliches and violent sequences. The unpleasant Western features a lynching, torture with shears, a rape, arson, a street brawl and your usual saloon gun fights. The numerous cliches include a world-weary gunfighter wanting to reform and to save the world, your typical western fight between cattlemen and sheepherders, an aging saloon keeper and whorehouse madam with a heart of gold (Carolyn Jones) longing for her unavailable old gunfighter friend and a pretty half-caste Indian (Barbara Hershey) finding it difficult to understand the white world. It preaches an awkward social conscience message that peace can be found without guns. The trouble is the pic is clumsily executed and is leaden, so everything seems absurd and hardly believable."[2]

See also


  1. ^ Thompson, Howard (June 12, 1969). "Heaven With a Gun (1969)". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 1, 2013. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  2. ^ Schwartz, Dennis (June 6, 2013). "Ozus World Movie Reviews, film review". Retrieved June 30, 2013.

External links

This page was last edited on 17 January 2022, at 17:48
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