1882, New Mexico Territory. Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch are itinerant lawmen, hired by desperate towns as marshal and deputy. The city fathers of Appaloosa hire them after Randall Bragg, a newly-arrived rancher with money and a gang of thugs, disrupts commerce and kills three local lawmen. Cole and Hitch contrive to arrest Bragg and bring him to trial, but hanging him proves difficult. Meanwhile, a widow has arrived in town, Allison French, pretty, refined, and good-natured. Virgil falls hard, and it seems mutual, but there may be more to Allie than meets the eye. Can friendship and skill with a gun overcome a pernicious villain and green-eyed jealousy? Written by
When Ed Harris reloads his Peacemaker (Colt Model 1873 Single-Action Army Revolver), he realistically uses the pistol's ejector rod to push spent cases out of the cylinder. Since few actors in Hollywood actually know how to use the weapons they fire in movies, most don't know what the ejector rod is, and are seen in various westerns reloading SAAs by opening the loading gate and shaking the spent case out. See more »
During the opening murder scene, the cocking lever of the Winchester is fully down (probably a jammed blank didn't eject). There's a cutaway and then while Bragg is still walking away, we clearly see the rifle with the cocking lever is now fully retracted. See more »
While being credited, items relating to positions and roles are displayed. Examples: Producers are listed as money is shown, an antique ink dryer is shown for the editor, production designer shows an antique tin cup and costume designer shows the top of a hat. See more »
Finally, a western by people who understand real conflict
I suppose this film is as vulnerable to deep analysis as the next one, but, why bother? This is entertainment the way I like it, straight up without a lot of foolish over the top action. The real west must have been fraught with similar dilemmas as that confronting the town of Appaloosa: What to do with a lawless band of men determined to live as they please by preying on timid town dwellers? I doubt there were many men like Virgil Cole or his partner Everett Hitch in the real west having lived among their great, great grandchildren (I've no idea what the real genealogy is) for a time, but men have often tried to live like they do with the result that they lived undeservedly short lives. Still, guys like me can't get enough of their stories and Ed Harris apparently feels the same way. Only Clint Eastwood in my memory has attempted to tap into this same wellspring of folklore as in The Unforgiven. Though we all love Clint, I'd have to say Ed outdoes him here. He's got a wonderful sense of what a real gunfight might have been like. And though he's trimmed off the cries of pain and the gore, it still has the ring of truth.
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