is the first in a remarkable string of five classic westerns that James Stewart
made with Anthony Mann in the 1950s (followed by Bend of the River, The Man from Laramie, The Naked Spur
, and The Far Country
). It is also distinguished for having helped revive the Western at the box office, and for being the first film in which the star forsook a huge up-front salary in favor of a share of the profits--a strategy that made Stewart rich and forever changed the way that Hollywood does business. The movie itself is pretty darned impressive, too. Stewart traces a stolen Winchester rifle through several owners until he finds the man he's looking for. The final spectacular shootout in craggy, mountainous terrain is justly famous. --Jim Emerson
Dodge City, 1873. Cowboy Lin McAdam (James Stewart) wins a Winchester rifle in a shooting competition, only for it to be stolen by his opponent, his arch-enemy Dutch Henry Mann (Stephen McNally). McAdam sets off in pursuit of his adversary, determined to settle a feud that dates back many years.