Melodie: My initial reaction to that review was "wow, Glenn Erickson just called Audie Murphy a good-looking and likable non-actor; that's really a step up from his opinion of Murph in Duel at Silver Creek!"
Seriously though, you get a lot of people who just don't like Murphy's screen persona for whatever reason. I spent a very long time having a vaguely favorable opinion of him from Night Passage and I think No Name on the Bullet, and being puzzled as to why the reviews I read were so negative on him. (of course, since there were few Murphy films on tv, and fewer on dvd, I wasn't in a position to find out whether Night Passage and NNOTB were flukes). As for the anecdotes, Don Siegel is either leaving out or unaware of the background of some of the stories he's telling. Rehearsals for Gun-runners were originally held in Murphy's house, because he was recovering from a bad bout of pneumonia. So, his hangups about rehearsing the love scenes with Patricia Owens might have been influenced by concerns about his wife or kids walking in, or him just not feeling well.
As for "expecting trouble in bars"...he was prepared for trouble, because he usually got it whether he wanted it or not. According to one friend of his, every would-be tough guy in LA wanted to take him on, because of his war record and because he didn't look that threatening. Early in his time in Hollywood, he would take those guys on, and fight as ruthlessly as he had to, and generally win. Eventually he just took to carrying a gun and pulling it out to get people to back down when they tried to do that to him. Probably saved his knuckles and the other guy's face a lot of sore spots.
As far as the sleeping pills go, we don't have a real firm timeline on when he was using them. We know Army doctors were the first to prescribe them for him, shortly before his discharge. We're pretty sure he became addicted to them sometime in the sixties. We know he quit by locking himself in a hotel room in 1967 without a pill supply, and enduring the withdrawal symptoms until they stopped. I don't think we know for sure when he started using them in civilian life, although that kind of thing was and is seen as fairly normal in Hollywood so long as you were discreet about it.
On the thing about fighting w/ the stuntman, I just remembered a story I'd forgotten
when I posted last night: he and his stuntman friend Jim Shepherd used to scrap and fight for fun-another friend of theirs said that it looked to people who didn't know them like they were killing each other but they were "just playing."