The Last Challenge

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The Last Challenge
Poster of the movie The Last Challenge.jpg
Original film poster
Directed by Richard Thorpe
Produced by Richard Thorpe
Written by Robert Emmett Ginna
Based on Pistolero's Progress
by John Sherry
Starring Glenn Ford
Angie Dickinson
Music by Richard Shores
Cinematography Ellsworth Fredericks
Edited by Richard W. Farrell
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Release date
December 22, 1967
Running time
105 min
Country United States
Language English

The Last Challenge is a 1967 Metrocolor Western in Panavision, produced and directed by Richard Thorpe (marking his final film). The film starred Glenn Ford and Angie Dickinson and centered around a town sheriff contending with his reputation as the "fastest gun in the West." It is also known under the titles of Pistolero and The Pistolero of Red River.

The Last Challenge was adapted from Pistolero's Progress, a novel by John Sherry (John Olden Sherry) and published by Pocket Books in 1966. It is widely and falsely reported that the screenplay for The Last Challenge was written by Albert Maltz, the blacklisted writer.


A cocky young man from Tennessee, Lot McGuire (Chad Everett), seeks to back up his notion that he's the fastest gun there is. "If a man is second best, he might as well be dead," says McGuire. He travels to a town with the intention of forcing a duel with Marshal Dan Blaine (Glenn Ford), who's renowned for his skill with a gun.

Brothel owner Lisa Denton (Angie Dickinson) loves Blaine, has marriage in mind and will do anything to ensure that happens. She hires a down-and-out drifter, Scarnes (Jack Elam), to kill McGuire. Scarnes and Blaine did time together in prison for a bank robbery many years ago, after which Blaine decided to do something good with his life, and became a lawman.

Outside of town, Scarnes ambushes McGuire and kills his horse, but during a shootout is gut-shot. McGuire finds out from a dying Scarnes that Lisa hired him. Lisa tells of her love for Blaine and asks Lot to leave town. He refuses.

Knowing a showdown is coming, Lisa grabs a Derringer pistol and decides to kill McGuire, but a disgusted Blaine takes the gun away. The two men meet at the bar and the showdown occurs there rather than in the street. McGuire draws his revolver (which is worn in a reverse fashion) first and fires. Blaine shoots him in the chest. A stunned McGuire dies, eyes open and speechless.

Blaine notices he has been shot in the side, but it is not fatal. The next day as McGuire's casket is being lowered into the ground, Blaine removes his gun and holster and throws them into the grave. He rides out of town without a gun, as Lisa watches from the saloon steps, crying.


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