The Gunfighter is a sock melodrama of the old west. There’s never a sag or off moment in the footage as it goes about depicting a lightning draw artist, the fastest man with a gun in the old west, and what his special ability has done to his life.
Gregory Peck perfectly portrays the title role, a man doomed to live out his span killing to keep from being killed. He gives it great sympathy and a type of rugged individualism that makes it real. Peck is a man saddened by his talent, forced to stay on the run by all the young gunners seeking to make a reputation by shooting down the great man.
Despite all the tight melodrama, the picture [from a story by William Bowers and Andre de Toth] finds time for some leavening laughter.
1950: Nomination: Best Motion Picture Story