Films, TV shows, and books of the 'modern' era
I think I'll make the argument. It's as good as TWELVE O'CLOCK HIGH and the Hemingway adaptations. Better than the director's other westerns. THE GUNFIGHTER is a small movie; effective in its very lack of grandiosity. It's tight, tense, and remarkably well executed.
Interestingly, The Gunfighter was supposedly a failure commercially. I would guess that it is among the handful of Henry King films that lives on today. King's resume--which encompasses so many genres--only rarely went into the western (The Bravados was another good one from King). The Gunfighter gave Peck a fine character role when he was still playing quite a few male ingénues. Still, perhaps the movie would not have been as good without the input of several people to the script (Nunnally Johnson & William Bowers, in particular) and one actor: