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Gunless is a 2010 Canadian western comedy film directed by William Phillips and released by Alliance Films.

Gunless film.jpg
Directed byWilliam Phillips
Produced by
Written byWilliam Phillips
CinematographyGregory Middleton
Edited bySusan Maggi
Distributed byAlliance Films
Release date
  • 30 April 2010 (2010-04-30)
Running time
89 minutes[1]
Budget$10 million (CA$)



In 1878, a hardened American gunfighter arrives in a small town in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, a place that doesn't understand or appreciate the brutal code of the American Wild West.

Gunslinger Sean Lafferty (Paul Gross), known as the Montana Kid, has a bounty on his head for killing eleven people across the western United States. He arrives in town on his horse, riding backwards, bound, with a noose around his neck, and dragging the broken tree branch over which a group had tried to hang him on the American side of the border. After being helped off his horse by a young Chinese girl named Adell (Melody B. Choi), he begins to explore the town, starting with the town general store. After leaving the store, he finds his horse gone and accuses Jack (Tyler Mane), the blacksmith, of stealing it, even though Jack was simply replacing the horse's damaged shoes. After unsuccessfully trying to intimidate the blacksmith, the Montana Kid decides to call him out. Since the blacksmith has no gun, though, Sean can't shoot him because the Kid lives by a code of ethics that prevents him from killing unarmed men.

When she witnesses this, Jane Taylor (Sienna Guillory), one of the townsfolk, says the Kid can have her broken gun (to fix and give to Jack) if he builds her a windmill. Sean proceeds to go with her and stays in a sod house at her farm, alternately working on the windmill and repairing the gun. After a few days, however, the Kid begins to develop feelings toward Jane while also becoming friends with the townsfolk.

In the meantime, a roaming band of American bounty hunters crosses into Canada and heads for the town to claim the price on Sean's head. They terrorize a camp of Chinese railroad workers to find out his whereabouts.

By now - with the addition of a part repaired by the very blacksmith he intends to duel - Sean has finally fixed Jane's pistol. He proceeds to Jack's smithy to demand the duel, gives Jack the gun, and tells him to draw. However, Sean adjusts his aim so that he is pointing his six-shooter slightly to Jack's left (in a way that his shot will miss the blacksmith), providing an indication that he is done running and may want to die. The Kid tells Jack to pull the trigger, but the gun jams. The Kid takes the gun back from Jack to inspect it, but accidentally sets it off instead, with the ricocheting bullet hitting Jack in the left buttock (replicating the wound that the Kid himself had earlier in the film). After Dr. Angus Schiffron (Jay Brazeau) removes the fragmented bullet from Jack's buttock, the Kid agrees that he and the blacksmith are now even. He then prepares to leave town.

As the Kid is riding out of town at one end, the bounty hunters are riding in behind him at the other end. They threaten the townsfolk in an effort to get them to turn over the Kid. The townsfolk instead train their rifles and shotguns on the bounty hunters with the intent of defending themselves. At this time, the Kid has returned, and, not wanting any more bloodshed, Sean tells bounty hunter leader Ben Cutler (Callum Keith Rennie) that he will go with them if Ben agrees to leave everyone else alone. Ben accepts, but right then town resident Larry (Michael Eklund) sets off a pile of dynamite that he has placed under a large tree stump by his farmhouse in an effort to get the stump out of the ground. This sets off confusion and sparks a gunfight between the bounty hunters on one side and Sean and the townsfolk on the other. The battle ultimately ends in the town's favour after the Kid takes out Ben's crew without killing any of them. The bounty hunters end up being escorted out of Canada by the local detachment of the North-West Mounted Police, and Sean decides to remain in town. He says he's staying because of a bunch of debts he has to pay off, but he really stays to be with Jane.



The production was filmed at Osoyoos, British Columbia, on an approximate budget of $10 million (CA$).[2]


The film was released by Alliance Films in Canada on 30 April 2010.[3]


The film has received mainly mixed reviews.

  • Citytv       - "... it looked like a production that should be airing on the CBC rather than in the theatre."[4]
  • Fast Forward Weekly (mixed) - "Yes, it’s a comedy and a fun one at that, but the lack of depth and substance leaves you with all the satisfaction and aftertaste of a Tim Hortons doughnut."[5]
  • The Globe and Mail      - "Gunless is harmless, the sort of pop entertainment that sets its sights low and doesn’t underachieve."[6]
  • National Post       - "As funny as necessary, but not necessarily funny."[7]
  • Toronto Star      - "The humour in Gunless is more sitcom than scathing, playing like something that could have been called Corner Gas 1882."[8]
  • Toronto Sun (positive) - "... it’ll probably be the least depressing Canadian film this year. A feel-good experience, in fact."[9]
  • Winnipeg Free Press       - "The movie is sporadically amusing, but it works against itself in a couple of ways, most notably in casting affable Canuck Paul Gross as a violent Yank."[10]
  • Vancouver Sun       - "It's a genial enough comedy that's a combination of love story, cultural critique, farce and revenge yarn, which means it's none of them."[11]


  1. ^ "Gunless". Ontario Film Review Board. 20 April 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  2. ^ Everest, Paul (25 March 2009). "Cameras to Roll in Osoyoos This Spring". Osoyoos Times. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  3. ^ Stone, Jay (23 January 2010). "Clash of the Titans". Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on 13 April 2010. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  4. ^ McKechnie, Brian (30 April 2010). "Review: Gunless". Citytv. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  5. ^ Stewart, M.D. (29 April 2010). "Gunless earns its spurs: Canadian take on western genre has fun playing with clichés". Fast Forward Weekly. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  6. ^ Groen, Rick (30 May 2010). "Gunless: Undeniably popular, but smart's another matter". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  7. ^ Knight, Chris (29 April 2010). "Gunless: Give Paul Gross with a piece a chance". National Post.
  8. ^ Howell, Peter (29 April 2010). "Gunless: Laugh first, shoot later". Toronto Star. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  9. ^ Slotek, Jim (30 April 2010). "'Gunless' loaded with laughs". Toronto Sun/QMI Agency. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  10. ^ King, Randall (30 April 2010). "Uh, hate to be a bother, but is this supposed to be funny?". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  11. ^ Stone, Jay (30 April 2010). "Mild, mild west in the 'Dominion of Canada'". Vancouver Sun/Canwest News Service. Archived from the original on 3 May 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2010.

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