Outlaw Matt Wade (Robert Karnes) escapes from prison and rejoins his old gang. They ride out to Tombstone, Arizona, stopping off at the ranch of Matt’s brother, Billy Wade (James Brown). Billy used to be an outlaw but eventually he hung up his guns, settled down, got married, and now he’s raising Matt’s teenage son, Ted (John Wilder). Ted, who thinks that his father has just been paroled, is excited to see Matt but Billy doesn’t want Ted being led into a life of crime. When Matt and the gang rob a bank, they frame Billy for the crime. With the townspeople looking to lynch him and Ted drifting towards the wrong path in life, Billy has no choice but to pretend to be a part of the gang until he can dig up the evidence to clear his name.
If this sounds familiar, thank you for reading yesterday’s review of Gun Belt. Released seven years after Gun Belt, Five Guns To Tombstone tells the exact same story as Gun Belt and, in many case, it features the exact same dialogue. The only difference is that some of the names have been slightly changed. The gang leader in Gun Belt was named Ike Clinton. In this Five Guns To Tombstone, his name is Ike Garvey. Billy Ringo becomes Billy Wade and Wyatt Earp because Marshal Sam Jennings. Otherwise, it’s pretty much the exact same film.
Which one is the better film, Gun Belt or Five Guns To Tombstone? Both films have plenty of two-fisted, gun-slinging action and a good cast of western character actors but I’d probably have to give the edge to Five Guns To Tombstone because John Wilder is more convincing in the role of the outlaw’s son than Tab Hunter was in Gun Belt. Tab Hunter was young and callow and annoying but John Wilder is the type of confused kid that anyone could relate to.
Five Guns To Tombstone was one of the 9 films that Edward L. Cahn directed in 1960. As with most of Cahn’s films, the action seems rushed but that’s appropriate for the story that Five Guns To Tombstone is telling. (It’s also understandable. When you’re directing 9 films a year, you don’t have the luxury of taking your time.) Like Gun Belt, this is hardly a classic but western fans should enjoy it.