The Shootist

Synopsis: John Books an aging gunfighter goes to see a doctor he knows for a second opinion after another doctor told him he has a cancer which is terminal. The doctor confirms what the other said. He says Books has a month maybe two left. He takes a room in the boarding house and the son of the woman who runs it recognizes him and tells his mother who he is. She doesn't like his kind but when he tells her of his condition, she empathizes. Her son wants him to teach him how to use a gun. Books tries to tell him that killing is not something he wants to live with. Books, not wanting to go through the agony of dying from cancer, tries to find a quicker way to go.
Director(s): Don Siegel
Production: Paramount Home Video
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
100 min

His name was J.B. Books,

and he had

a matched pair of. 45s

with antique ivory grips

that were something

to behold...

but he wasn't

an outlaw.

Fact is,

for a while,

he was a lawman.

Long before I met Mr. Books,

he was a famous man.

I guess his fame was

why somebody or other

was always after him.

The wild country

had taught him to survive.


He lived his life

and herded by himself.

He had a credo

that went...

I won't be

wronged. I won't be insulted.

I won't be

laid a hand on.

I don't do these things

to other people.

I require

the same from them.

You hold it right there.

Give me your wallet.

Take it a little easy

with that cannon, mister.

Just throw me

your wallet.

Yes, sir,

and a little

something extra.

You done murdered me.

No, but you're

going to have

a long winter bellyache,

you boob.

Give me that wallet.

Just the wallet.

I can hardly move.

You done shot a hole

in my stomach.

I appreciate that.

You ain't going

to leave me here.

Well, it's quite obvious

that's what you were

going to do to me.

Get out of the way.

Mister, you better find

yourself another line of work.

This one sure don't

fit your pistol.

Hey, mister,

want a paper?

Yeah, I will, son.

Queen Victoria's dead.

There you are.

Thank you.



Hey, you!

Hey, Methuselah,

move that cack

out of the way.

Are you

talking to me?

Yeah, you dumb bastard.

Move it, or I'll

deliver you something

to remember me by.

Well, now, pardon me

all to hell.




Try it.

Come on, Jay, the old man

ain't worth the bullet.

He looks

all tuckered out.


You're right there, son.

Doc Hostetler.

John Bernard Books.

You remembered.

The newspapers

occasionally remind me.

Wh-What was it,

15 years ago?

The only time

I was ever hit...

Right here

at the Acme Saloon.

You killed two men.

I'm damn lucky

you were around.

That second one

nearly did me in,

coming out of nowhere

like that.

You must have the

constitution of an ox.

Well, we'll see.

That's what

I'm here for.


About 10 days ago

in Creede, Colorado,

I hadn't been feeling

up to snuff,

so I went to see

a sawbones there.

He, uh...

Well, the next day

I got on my horse

and took off

to find you.

And what did my

colleague in Creede say?

Examine me,

and I'll tell you.

You don't trust me.

Oh, Doc,

you saved my life.

You don't trust

my profession.

In my profession,

you trust too much,

you don't celebrate

many birthdays.

I kind of like it

around here.

All right,

I'll examine you.

Take your clothes off

down to your long johns.

Now, I, uh...

if I'm to know

what to look for,

you'll have to tell me

what's ailing you.

Well, I hurt, Doc,

way down deep

in my back.

Not all the time,

but now and then


Pain in the lumbar


Like sin.

All right, whenever

you get ready,

just... bend over

the table there,

trapdoor down.


Books, every few days

I have to tell a man

or a woman


I don't want to.

I've been practicing

medicine for 29 years,

and I still don't know

how to do it well.

Why don't you just

say it flat out?

All right.

You have a cancer...


Is that what that fella

up at Creede told you?


And you didn't

believe him.


Do you believe me?

Can't you

cut it out, Doc?

I'd have to gut you

like a fish.

Well, what can you do?


just, uh...

very little

I can do.

Uh, if... when

the pain gets too bad,

I can give you


What you're trying

to tell me

is that I...



I'm sorry, Books.

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    "The Shootist" STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 9 Dec. 2023. <>.

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