(August 30, 1908 – November 5, 1991)
We’ve had a lot of birthdays lately, so I almost gave this one a miss. But Fred MacMurray’s Westerns are a big deal here at 50 Westerns From The 50s.
MacMurray had quite a career, going from big movie star to huge TV star — with some ranching and shrewd investing thrown in for good measure. You hear a lot about him being cheap, but the end justified the means — he died a very, very rich man.
In the late 50s, he hit a real sweet spot, appearing in a string of excellent medium-budget Westerns. Quantez (1957) and Face Of A Fugitive (1959, which had the working title Justice Ends With A Gun) are highlights, but the others are certainly worthwhile. I encourage you to sit down with a few of these things some weekend. A Good Day For A Hanging (1958) is pretty easy to find. Quantez and Gun For A Coward (1957) are available as part of the Universal Vault Series.
Wish I could toast him with his own MacMurray Ranch wine. Should’ve planned ahead. I’d like to “dedicate” this post to not just MacMurray, but to my wife Jennifer, who happened upon Face Of A Fugitive one afternoon and told me how good it was, and Blake Lucas, whose enthusiasm for Fred’s cowboy pictures convinced me to really study them as a whole.