Everyone always talks about Audie Murphy's baby face and his slight build. But take a close look at his eyes. He was a cold-eyed individual, brought about largely by his 2 years in combat and subsequently suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. If he had been born during the Old West times, he would have been a killer. "No Name on the Bullet" personifies Murphy's personality had he lived during those times.
Murphy gives a splendid performance as John Gant, a hired killer whose presence in Lordsburg causes total chaos, even though he does nothing at first - just sitting around drinking coffee and playing chess with the local physician.
Murphy's facial expressions were great as he smugly looked around and watched the carnage his name and reputation created. The banker winds up killing himself (even though he wasn't Murphy's target), and another man in town tries to get drunk enough to have the courage to face Gant, who stares him down and sends him fleeing from the bar.
This was probably Murphy's finest performance outside of "To Hell and Back," when he was not really acting but working on raw emotion, adrenaline and painful memories of the war.
Even when the town bands together and comes to make him leave, Gant remains cold as ice and backs them down. He knew they could kill him, but the question was "How many could Gant kill before they killed him?" None of them were willing to die to get rid of Gant.
Charles Drake also delivered a great performance as the physician opposite Murphy's character. While the entire town was in panic and chaos, wondering who Gant had come for, Drake calmly plays a game of chess with the gunman, trying to get inside his head and figure out what "makes him tick."
A suspenseful thriller with a minimum amount of violence, "No Name on the Bullet" comes highly recommended.