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The Shooting (1966)

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A mysterious woman persuades two cowboys to help her in a revenge scheme.

Director:

Monte Hellman

Writer:

Carole Eastman (as Adrien Joyce)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Will Hutchins ... Coley
Millie Perkins ... Woman
Jack Nicholson ... Billy Spear
Warren Oates ... Willett Gashade
Charles Eastman Charles Eastman ... Bearded Man
Guy El Tsosie Guy El Tsosie ... Indian
Brandon Carroll Brandon Carroll ... Sheriff
B.J. Merholz B.J. Merholz ... Leland Drum
Wally Moon Wally Moon ... Deputy
William Mackleprang William Mackleprang ... Cross Tree Townsman
James Campbell James Campbell ... Cross Tree Townsman
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Storyline

An ex- bounty hunter turned miner returns to his mine dig to find one of his partners dead, how brother has run away and the remaining partner is slightly simple and unclear as to what happened. warren is enlisted by a mysterious women to take her across the desert. The woman is strange and keeps changing her story about what she wants and why. On the journey they pick up a gunslinger the woman has hired. The party ends up tracking a rider who is ahead of them. Warren figures out that the trip is really to track down the rider. It's along hot trip across the desert with a purposeful woman,a homicidal gunslinger, the former bounty hunter and his simple sidekick and the unknown quarry. Written by Prairiekid

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Suspensful desert pursuit in the 'High Noon' tradition.

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 June 1968 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Epitaph See more »

Filming Locations:

Kanab, Utah, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$75,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Mono (Producers Sound Service)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shot in three weeks. See more »

Goofs

During the fight between Willett Gashade and Billy Spear a hat on the ground behind them alternates between being upside down and right side up from shot to shot. See more »

Quotes

Billy Spear: [Repeated line] You talkin' to me?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Big Box: To the Devil a Daughter (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A subversive western
22 August 2005 | by howard.schumannSee all my reviews

"Did I tell you to do something?" - Billy "I don't give a curly-hair, yellow-bear, double dog damn if you did" - Coley

Four people ride across the desert tracking a killer but it is not clear who they really are and who it is they are looking for. In Monte Hellman's subversive western The Shooting, just released for the first time on DVD, Warren Oates is Willett Gashade, a bounty hunter turned mine owner who returns to find his brother Coin missing, his partner dead, and a fellow worker in a state of panic. When a strange woman shows up, the three set out on a journey with an unknown destination that leads to a final bizarre confrontation. The Shooting has more questions than you can find on the SAT and it is often a frustrating challenge to fit the pieces together. Hellman shot the film on a limited budget in eighteen days in the desert country near Kanab, Utah with B-movie producer Roger Corman and a young actor named Jack Nicholson.

It was released to television and did not play in the theater until years later after it developed a cult following in Europe. The quality of the transfer is impeccable but the dialogue borders on the incomprehensible. Slow-witted but good humored Coley (Will Hutchins) is fearful as he tells Gashade that he was asleep when he heard an argument between Willett's partner Leland Drum and Coin. He says that Colin fled, and Leland was shot dead by an unseen gunman and tells Gashade something about Coin having ridden down "a man and a little person, maybe a child," but Coley's not sure about that. Soon, a woman (Millie Perkins) who is not named arrives and offers to pay Gashade to guide her to Kingsley, a town that lies some hours away, beyond a dangerous desert. The woman is abrasive and complaining but Coley takes to her immediately while Willett is distanced and aloof.

Mystery piles upon mystery. When the riding party sets out, the woman asks to be led in the wrong direction without offering any explanation. The woman shoots her horse claiming it was lame but it turns out have no broken bones. When asked why she shot the horse, after a long period of silence, she can only muster a feeble smile. Along the way, Coley, Willett and the woman meet up with Billy Spears (Nicholson), a nattily dressed gunman with a sadistic smirk, and it becomes apparent that the purpose of the journey may be to track down the person or persons responsible for shooting Leland. Beyond that it is anyone's guess as to what the film means and an unforgettable climax does not clear up the confusion.

The director has said that The Shooting is a mirror of the Kennedy assassination where doubt remains about what actually happened on that day, but the connection is murky. Whatever its ultimate meaning, The Shooting is an involving ride full of twists and turns and Jack Nicholson's mighty performance as Billy is worth the price of admission. Actually the meaning may be revealed when Gashade says to Millie, "If I heard your name I wouldn't know it, would I?" She says, "No." Then he says, "then I don't see no point to it." She says, "there isn't any." Perhaps like life, The Shooting doesn't mean anything. It's just there to grab your attention.


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