Artemis Gordon: So, what does Loveless have? (notices factory complex) Well... he has his own city. (out of nowhere a giant mechanical spider shows up) Jim West: He has an 80-foot tarantula. Artemis Gordon: Yes, well... I was coming to that.
Artistic License - History: President Grant didn't actually attend the joining of the railroads, let alone hammer in the golden spike. More nitpickily, the Secret Service was created before the film's timeframe — and was not tasked with protecting the President until much later.
Artistic License - Physics: Pretty blatant with the collar trap device. First, it easily detects when someone steps over the copper "fence" - even without actually touching it. Then the trap neck braces have some truly inconsistent magnetism (the braces only attract themselves after Gordon hits them with a stone, the buzz saws they're attracting rarely go in a straight line...) and the saws more or less have infinite angular momentum, mowing their way through entire cornfields without losing a bit of spin. Plus they explode when they run into each other!
Bond Villain Stupidity: After Loveless captures West and Gordon, he fits their necks with the blade-attracting magnets that the professor in the opening was also killed with. Then he leaves before ensuring their demise.
Subverted. Artemus attempts to have Dr. Loveless capture him, dressed as Ulysses S. Grant, to lure him away from the real Ulysses. Loveless takes them both.
Also, when Artemus is caught and about to be executed, he begs to be "shot in my heart, which has loved this country so much" because he is wearing his prototype for a bullet proof vest. Unfortunately, it doesn't work.
Composite Character: The film version of Loveless is a Mad Scientist like his TV counterpart, but his backstory (a Confederate veteran embittered by being crippled in the war) is taken straight from another villain, Colonel Vautrain. (His Steampunk wheelchair also looks an awful lot like the one used by Mr. Braine.)
Loveless: Well now isn't this a coincidence? I'm out for a little morning ride and right in the middle of nowhere I bump into General Ulysses S. Grant himself! We've never been formally introduced, I'm Doctor Arliss Loveless, formerly of the Confederate Army. Grant: Yes, Doctor Loveless. That's a fine-looking spider you've got there...what can I do for you today? Loveless: I have a humble abode nearby, I hope you'll accept my hospitality. I have a little proposition to make. Grant: What proposition is that? Loveless: The immediate and unconditional surrender of the United States of America to the Loveless Alliance! Grant: I didn't realize we were at war. You have me at somewhat of a disadvantage. I didn't bring my flyswatter.
Even Evil Has Standards: General "Bloodbath" McGrath is hardly a pleasant man, but he is haunted and horrified by Dr. Loveless's murderous inventions and his willingness to test them on human subjects.
It's Personal: West's unit was the one that found the aftermath of massacre at New Liberty, and since then he's been itching for a chance to dust the man responsible. His birth parents were amongst the victims.
Artemus, disguised as President Grant, tries to get Loveless to kidnap him instead of the real Grant in the finale. It doesn't work.
Done again when Loveless threatens Grant by shooting his men, starting with Gordon. Gordon, knowing he's wearing a bulletproof vest, ask that he be shot in the heart to symbolize the country he loved. Loveless, true to his name, orders him to be shot in the head.
Leeroy Jenkins: West constantly ignores Gordon's planning and runs right into battle. Only after he causes them to run for their lives and runs out of other options does he ask for Gordon to work out a plan. Gordon doesn't take it too well. (Entire speech can be seen on the Funny page.)
The Load: Rita Escobar. She forces herself on the search, is pretty much nothing more than a distraction to them on purpose, she activates a sleeping gas billiard ball when West clearly announces himself and still believes its a trap, gets herself, West and Gordon captured by Loveless.
Loves the Sound of Screaming: For practical purposes, of course. Loveless makes a note to drill his gunners harder after the screams of their victims prove unsatisfactory.
Made of Iron: Jim West falls 80 feet (5 stories) to the ground, and lands on his back. The film seems to try to justify this by Jim being knocked out and severely bruised up when he wakes but the fact still stands.He should be dead.
Point Defenseless: Actually averted with the Tarantula - it had Gatling guns on board, which make handy anti-aircraft weapons...
Politically Correct History: Mostly averted, actually. Contrary to popular misconception, the US Army had quite a few black officers during the Civil War. Official Army records list 186,097 black soldiers, 7,122 of whom were officers. How many of these achieved the rank of captain is not clear (one suspects most black officers were very junior). Even further, Jim gets himself in a lot of trouble for misbehaving at a party full of white people.
Politically Incorrect Villain: The strongly racist Dr. Loveless. Nevertheless one of his henchmen is a Native American. (On the other hand, note how none of his landclaim restoration plan gives anything back to the Native Americans...)
Riding into the Sunset: Parodied by Jim West and Artemus Gordon in the last scene. They appear to be riding horses, until the camera zooms out to reveal that they're actually piloting the 80-foot Spider Tank they took from Loveless.
Gordon(chuckling maniacally) Oh ho ho, I see. Now I'm the "master of this mechanical stuff." As opposed to five minutes ago, when I was calmly and coolly trying to find a solution to this very problem. But then something happened. Someone, who will remain nameless...
Shoot Everything That Moves: President Ulysses S. Grant comments: "And you West, not every situation calls for your patented approach of shoot first, shoot later, shoot some more, and then when everybody's dead try to ask a question or two".
Taking You with Me: The end has Arliss Loveless in a position where he could very well survive along with Jim West, but also has the option of pulling this on him, leaving him feeling genuinely conflicted about the issue.
"I'm facing a very difficult problem here. On the one hand, I have the overwhelming love I have for myself... and on the other, the raw, seething hatred that I have for you! I could kill you very easily, Mr. West, just by a-pullin' on this lever. But I would die along with you, hence my conflict."
West makes the choice for him, pulling the lever and sending both down into a very deep chasm. Only West has the option of grabbing a chain.
Tap on the Head: Jim West to General "Bloodbath" McGrath with a punch. Played more realistically than usual since McGrath was only down for a few seconds.
Dr. Loveless: I am a visionary! I am a genius! And now, I am angry!
Theme Tune Cameo: Elmer Bernstein's score quotes Richard Markowitz's theme for the original show at one point (in the scene where West rides away from the train), but it's not mentioned in the end credits. Ironically, this is one of the few aspects of the film that is true to the TV series, as Markowitz was never credited with writing the theme there either (long story).note All right, here's the tale - CBS originally got Dimitri Tiomkin to write the show's theme song in hopes of getting another hit like Rawhide, but Michael Garrison hated the two songs that resulted because they didn't really suit the secret agent vibe the show had, and hired Richard Markowitz to come up with the western fanfare/jazzy sounding theme tune and score the pilot. Markowitz's family believed that he was denied "theme by" credit on the series as part of CBS's settlement with the more famous Tiomkin - though Markowitz is credited as such on the two TV movies.
Trailers Always Spoil: The nature of Loveless' ultimate weapon is kept a secret through most of the movie, but anyone who's seen the trailers knows it's a giant steam-powered Spider Tank.
Traintop Battle: Between James West and Loveless' Native American henchman.
Trap Door: On the command deck of Loveless' giant spider.
Trashcan Bonfire: The former Confederate soldiers have some at their meeting place at Malheureux Point.
They Fight Crime: He's a Trigger Happy black U.S. Army captain who was raised by Native Americans! He's a US Marshal who's a Master of Disguise and a Gadgeteer Genius! They Fight Crime!
Trigger Happy: Jim West. Actually lampshaded by the President: "And you, West. Not every situation calls for your patented approach of shoot first, shoot later, shoot some more, and then when everybody's dead try to ask a question or two."
Underside Ride: Jim West does this, using a cart designed to let him move between the train they were on, and a chase train. Unfortunately, the rope connecting him breaks.
Universal Driver's License: Artemus Gordon has a Universal Pilot's License. Justified, since everything we see him driving was INVENTED by him. The only exception is the Spider Tank, which he did not invent and is seen having severe trouble with the first time he tries to steer it.
U.S. Marshal: Artemus Gordon. Also Coleman, the train's engineer.
We Can Rule Together: After Jim and Gordon attack Loveless' spider tank with a flying machine, they're captured. Loveless then compliments them on their ingenuity, and offers them to come work for him. West tells him to shove it.
What a Drag: Gordon, holding a high-powered magnet, is pulled toward a railroad track and dragged through the desert sands on the way.
Particularly the scenes where James West (black) and Arliss Loveless (has no legs) throw double entendre insults on each other's conditions.
Arliss: How nice of you to join us and add color to these monochromatic proceedings. James: Well when a man comes back from the dead I find that occasion to stand up and be counted. Arliss: Miss East tells me you're looking for General McGrath. I haven't seen him in a coon's age. James: Well I can see how it'd be hard for a man of your stature to keep track of... half the people he knows. Arliss: Perhaps the lovely Miss East can keep you from becoming a slave to your disappointment. James: You know beautiful women: support you one minute, cut the legs out from under you the next.
A Call Back occurs when they're stuck dangling over a canyon at the end.
Loveless: Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle! How did we arrive in this dark situation? West: I have no idea, Dr. Loveless, I'm just as stumped as you are.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Loveless kills off a large number of his men, including General McGrath, because he was at Appomattox when General Lee surrendered to the Union army.
Gordon: Jim. West: What now, Artie? Gordon: Mind if I ask you a question? West: [beat] Actually, I do, Artie. [both drive off into the sunset in a Spider Tank]