Angelo: “How come you get into the sheep business, boss?”
Jason Sweet (Glenn Ford) : “Well, I’ll tell ya, Angelo. You see, it’s this way. I just got tired of kicking cows around. You know how dumb they are.”
Angelo: “And you think sheep are smarter?”
Jason Sweet: “Oh, no, no. They’re dumber. Only their easier kicking…and woollier.”
Now we come to another rather odd Glenn Ford film: The Sheepman – the last Western Glenn Ford made in the 50’s.
Yes, there are indeed some odd things about this film … but some wonderful things as well.
Let’s have a look.
“What’s in a name?” asked William Shakespeare.
Well … a lot.
The first odd thing is that I found this film referred to on the Net under no less than seven different names !!
The Sheepman; Stranger with a Gun; Stranger In Town; Showdown In Powder Valley; and The Valley of the Powder, The Trail West, Too Big for Texas. ???
This adds a bit of a bizarre aura to the movie right off the top. And fact is, the film didn’t do well upon initial release as The Sheepman and some/all/much (??) of this was blamed on it’s name. I can understand that, and I also puzzled at the choice of such a title. Is that the kind of title that inspire you to go see a Western? Not me. Something like The Cattle Raiders from Death Valley or Showdown at Bushwacker Ridge … would have been better (in my opinion.)
Glenn Ford was the Top box office draw in the movie business at the time, so maybe they just felt his Stardom – especially in a Western – would bring folks in. ?? But people just plain weren’t drawn to it – for whatever reasons.
So they wisely re-issued the movie under the title Stranger with a Gun (and 14 other names) and it did better.
But I really can’t figure why a film like this wouldn’t do well. Hell, it has Glenn Ford (and Shirley McLaine !!!) And did Glenn ever make anything bad ? NO !!! He was great from the ‘get go’ – till the end. A great and charismatic actor.
Shirley McLaine? Like Lemmon in Ford’s previous movie Cowboy, she was not greatly known yet. Shirley, however, was one of the last great actresses to come out of the old studio film system – which was fading fast from it’s former glory. One of the fraternity of immensely talented song and dance gals who could act and do it all: comedy, stage, drama … anything you want. And later Starred with Lemmon himself in Irma la Douce (1963).