Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
The time and the place is the old west. Growing up, Chuck Jarvis (Rock Hudson) and Billy Massey (Dean Martin) were best friends. When the lovely Kate (Susan Clark) chose Chuck over Billy, the two of them go their separate ways. Billy becomes a notorious train robber. Chuck becomes the sheriff of their hometown. After Billy returns home, it is up to Chuck to not only capture him but to also protect him from not only his former partners but a gang of vigilantes as well.
There’s nothing surprising about Showdown, a strictly by the numbers western that, if not for a few bloody gunshot wounds and some dialogue about cattle “humping,” could have just as easily been released in 1953 as 1973. The only thing that makes Showdown special is that it was the last western made by both Rock Hudson and Dean Martin. Dino is his usual fun-loving, half-soused self but Rock Hudson looks absolutely miserable here. If Rock’s role had been played by Frank Sinatra (or even Peter Lawford), Showdown would probably be remembered as a minor classic. As it is, it’s for Dean Martin completists only.