Last Challenge, The (1967): Richard Thorpe’s Last Film, Metrocolor Western, Starring Glenn Ford and Angie Dickinson

In his final film, vet MGM contract director Richard Thorpe helmed The Last Challenge, a Metrocolor Western, starring Glenn Ford and Angie Dickinson, who make an appealing couple.

Adapted from “Pistolero’s Progress,” a novel by John Olden Sherry (published by Pocket Books in 1966), it’s routine and familiar story, albeit well shot and decently acted by the leads (who are both too good for such minor feature).

Tennessee man Lot McGuire (Chad Everett) seeks to defend his reputation as the fastest gun alive, claiming, “If a man is second best, he might as well be dead.”

To that extent, he travels to a town, planning to force a duel with Marshal Dan Blaine (Glenn Ford), who’s renowned for his skills.

Brothel owner Lisa Denton (Angie Dickinson), who loves Blaine, hires a down-and-out drifter, Scarnes (Jack Elam), to kill McGuire. Scarnes and Blaine were in prison for bank robbery years ago, after which Blaine became a lawman.

Scarnes ambushes McGuire and kills his horse, but during shootout he’s wounded. McGuire finds out from a dying Scarnes that Lisa had hired him.

Lisa decides to kill McGuire, but Blaine takes the gun away. The two men meet at the bar and the showdown occurs there. McGuire draws his revolver first, but Blaine shoots him in the chest, and the stunned McGuire dies.

As McGuire’s casket is buried, Blaine removes his gun and holster and throws them into the grave. He rides out of town without a gun, leaving a crying Lisa behind.

Glenn Ford as Marshal Dan Blaine
Angie Dickinson as Lisa Denton
Chad Everett as Lot McGuire
Gary Merrill as Squint Calloway
Jack Elam as Ernest Scarnes
Delphi Lawrence as Marie Webster
Royal Dano as Pretty Horse


I am grateful to TCM, which showed the movie in a tribute to star Glenn Ford, July 30, 2019.