The Reel Story: The Quick And The Dead...who was the real bad guy?
Is the bad guy always the bad guy?
I love modern western movies. One of my top 3 favorite modern westerns is The Quick and the Dead.
Director Sam Raimi created a cinematic classic with a blockbuster ensemble of some of Hollywood’s top stars such as Sharon Stone, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Gene Hackman.
It’s a Hollywood cliché that the villain in westerns always wears a black hat, but this movie breaks the conventions of the stereotype and what emerges is the tragic story of how man of hardships (Herod played by Gene Hackman) turned his life around only to have it taken away from him.
Let me show you how the supposed bad guy is actually a good guy!
He creates a single elimination gun fighting tournament to help build revenue for his poverty stricken town. Others in the tournament are an egotistical showman Ace, the native American Spotted Horse who can not be killed by a bullet, a young charismatic gunsmith who people call the Kid, Cort who is another former vigilante who became a corrupt preacher, and the mysterious Lady. Major moments in the tournament were when Herod proved his superior quick draw skills against Ace, Cort murdering an already wounded Spotted Horse, and the death of the Kid who tried to claim that the honorable Harod was his father but couldn’t prove it.
As the story progresses it is revealed in a flashback that the mysterious lady was the child of a corrupt Marshal, played by Gary Sinise, that Harod brought to justice.
Yeah...Gary Sinise was a bad guy!
In the flashback it shows Harod showing mercy to the Marshal by giving his daughter a chance to set her father free by shooting the rope that he was hanging by.
She “accidently” shoots her father in the head and blames Harod for taking away her childhood when in reality she was the one who performed cold-blooded murder!
Back in the present, the Lady seduces Cort with adultery to help her in her misguided act of revenge against Herod. The next day during the semifinals of the tournament the Lady fakes her death so that she can sabotage the finals between Herod and Cort. She does this by blowing up the innocent town and destroys most of the town folk’s property and possessions in an act of selfishness.
She then takes advantage of Herod being in a state of confusion and kills him. She then gives the corrupt preacher Cort the position of her father once held, Marshal.
Wow. R.I.P Herod. You were a good guy.