The Master Gunfighter

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The Master Gunfighter
Master gunfighter movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Frank Laughlin
Produced by Philip L. Parslow
Written by Tom Laughlin
Screenplay by Harold Lapland
Based on Goyokin
1969 film
by Hideo Gosha
Kei Tasaka
Starring Tom Laughlin
Ron O'Neal
Barbara Carrera
Narrated by Burgess Meredith
Music by Lalo Schifrin
Cinematography Jack A. Marta
Edited by Danford B. Greene
William Reynolds
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date
  • October 3, 1975 (1975-10-03) (United States)
Running time
121 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3,500,000 (estimated)

The Master Gunfighter is a film released in 1975 in Panavision, written and produced by Tom Laughlin, who also played the lead as Finley. The Master Gunfighter is mainly a remake of the 1969 Japanese film Goyokin, although the story revolves around a true incident in the early 1800s involving massacred Indians that occurred in the vicinity of Goleta, California.


In 1836 in southern California near Santa Barbara shortly after California became part of the United States, American settlers and the U.S. government discriminated against the Mexican landowners and frequently took their land by force or legal skullduggery. Wealthy Latino ranchers whose land and wealth are at risk decide to misdirect a U.S. government ship carrying gold so that it will be wrecked and plundered. To prevent themselves from being caught, they plan to massacre the local Chumash Indians. The hero is the now-estranged adoptive son Finley (Tom Laughlin), a master swordsman and gunfighter, who tries to prevent this while still saving his family.


The director was Tom Laughlin, but officially the director credited was his son Frank (in 1975 he was 9).

Critical reception[edit]

Film critic Roger Ebert was harsh in his criticism of the film, writing, "The movie opens with a long-winded narration, in a hapless attempt to orient us, but not long afterward the narrator has to break in again—we're lost already. It's all to little avail. I don't think there's any way an intelligent moviegoer could sit through this mess and accurately describe the plot afterward."[1]

Time Out magazine was also critical, writing, "The film could have worked but for an excess of formula ingredients and muddled preachings. Adapted from a Japanese film, the transposition dubiously retains much samurai swordfighting and semi-Oriental costumes. Meanwhile, the over-mannered camerawork pays its dues to the Italian Western. In the resulting cultural hash, the plot with its strong anti-religious theme is too often disregarded."[2]

Filming locations[edit]



  • Golden Globes: Best Acting Debut in a Motion Picture—Female, Barbara Carrera, 1976.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ebert, Roger (January 1, 1975). "The Master Gunfighter". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  2. ^ CPe. "The Master Gunfighter". Time Out. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 

External links[edit]