The Gunslingers of ’69

Western Movies’ Greatest Year

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About the Book

In 1969—the counter-cultural moment when Easy Rider triggered a “youthquake” in audience interests—Westerns proved more dominant than ever at the box office and at the Oscars.
It was a year of masterpieces—The Wild Bunch, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Once Upon a Time in the West and True Grit. Robert Redford achieved star status. Old-timers like John Wayne, Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum appeared in two Westerns apiece. Raquel Welch took on the mantle of Queen of the West. Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin tried their hand at a musical (Paint Your Wagon). New directors like George Roy Hill reinvigorated the genre while veteran Sam Peckinpah at last found popular approval. Themes included women’s rights, social anxieties about violence and changing attitudes of and towards African-Americans and Native Americans.
All of the 40-plus Westerns released in the U.S. in 1969 are covered in depth, offering a new perspective on the genre.

About the Author(s)

Brian Hannan writes a regular column for Cinema Retro magazine and gives lectures on film at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland.

Bibliographic Details

Brian Hannan
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 308
Bibliographic Info: 80 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7935-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3727-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 3
1. The Sound of Silence: The Stalking Moon 17
2. Controversy Runs Wild: 100 Rifles 29
3. The Cleverest Lawman in the West: Support Your Local Sheriff 46
4. Kill the Messenger: Heaven with a Gun and Smith! 59
5. Western as Opera: Once Upon a Time in the West 69
6. The Roadshow That Never Was: Mackenna’s Gold 93
7. Retread of a Retread: Guns of the Magnificent Seven 116
8. Tough Rider: True Grit 121
9. Bloody to the Bone: The Wild Bunch 138
10. The Good, the Bad and the Burt: Young Billy Young • The Good Guys and the Bad Guys 155
11. One Step Ahead of the Audience: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 165
12. A Roadshow Too Far: Paint Your Wagon 183
13. Pedigree Is Not Enough: The Undefeated 192
14. Cause Célèbre: Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here 209
15. Reissue Fever: A Fistful of Dollars • For a Few Dollars More • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly • Hang ’Em High • Return of the Seven • The Stranger • The Stranger Returns 222
16. The Last Round Up: The Great Bank Robbery • The Desperados • Death of a Gunfighter • A Talent for Loving • Charro • A Time for Dying • Sam Whiskey • A Man Called Gannon • Journey to Shiloh • Death Rides a Horse • Day of Anger • A Bullet for the General • God Forgives … I Don’t • The Brute and the Beast • The Man from Nowhere • Ace High • Any Gun Can Play • Payment in Blood • More Dead Than Alive • The Ramrodder • Brand of Shame • Hot Spur 227
Conclusion 243
Appendix A: ­City-by-City First Run Opening Dates 247
Appendix B: ­City-by-City First Run Box Office Earnings 253
Appendix C: Annual Rankings of Westerns at the Box Office, 1960–1969 259
Chapter Notes 261
Bibliography 281
Index 285

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Hannan expertly examines the forty-plus westerns of 1969. As usual, author Brian Hannan is the master of statistics. A very good read.”—Cinema Retro
  • “An inviting and well-balanced mix of history and criticism…recommended”—Flick Attack