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Film / Crossfire Trail

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Crossfire Trail is a made-for-TV adaptation of the Louis L'Amour novel of the same name, starring Tom Selleck, Mark Harmon, Virginia Madsen, Brad Johnson, David Ohara, and Wilford Brimley. As Charles Rodney is dying on a ship off the California coast in 1881, his friend Raphael "Rafe" Covington promises to take care of Rodney's wife and property in Wyoming. Rafe jumps ship with his other friends Brendan "Rock" Mullaney and JT Langston, and makes his way to Rodney's ranch. Once there, they find out more than they bargained for about how Charlie ended up on their ship, and end up in the fight of their lives to keep Rafe's promise.


Crossfire Trail provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Name Change: In the novel, Rafe's last name is Caradec. The movie changes it to Covington.
  • Arc Words: "Just when things were going so well for you..."
  • Badass Longcoat: Dorn's expensively-tailored buffalo-hide duster. As if he wasn't scary-looking enough to begin with.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Anyone familiar with the Lakota language can tell you that "washeetchu" is not a friendly thing to say.
  • Cattle Baron: Barkow wants to be, and thinks that Rodney's ranch is his ticket. Unfortunately for him, Rafe and Dorn both have their own ideas.
  • Cool Guns: Rafe carries a Smith & Wesson No.3 Schofield and a Colt 1868 Open-Top on his belt, plus his badass Winchester 1876 Centennial Model .45-60. He and his friends also take turns with a Sharps 1874 buffalo rifle. Rock fires a Winchester '73 in the final gunfight, with Barkow's goons also using them along with '66 models. Colt Peacemakers are carried by several good guys and bad guys, with Dorn having one as a backup piece and Barkow concealing a Quickdraw Model under his jacket. Bo Dorn favors a Remington 1875 revolver.
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  • Cool Old Guy: Joe Gill
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rafe and Rock have their moments, but Joe is the undisputed master.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Bo Dorn is not particularly subtle about the fact that he plans on taking a large piece of Barkow's little empire.
    Dorn: [To Barkow] "It ain't all that bad. I could always just kill you and keep the bitch and her patch of dirt all to myself."
  • The Dreaded: Bo Dorn's reputation as a professional killer precedes him.
    Joe: "And this other time, he was havin' supper with a guy. Chased him all the way to the end of the street, killed him, skinned him, nailed his hide to a barn door! He's meaner'n a rattlesnake, he's tougher'n the back wall of a shootin' gallery. And that, boys, is Bo Dorn."
  • Exact Words: One of Barkow's mooks gets some liquid courage on board and threatens Rafe, saying that he'll, "blow you right outta them fancy boots!" Rafe tries to talk him down, but is unsuccessful. The mook shoots at him twice and misses before Rafe blows him out of his own boots with his Winchester '76.
  • Fighting Irish: As soft-spoken as he is, Rock never backs down.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Chief Red Cloud appears in one scene, and is presented as a Reasonable Authority Figure.
  • Honor Before Reason: Before getting off the ship with Rock and JT, Rafe takes only the salary they are owed from the captain's cash box and leaves the rest. When JT later asks why he didn't take all of the money, Rafe replies, "The rest wasn't back wages."
  • Lethal Chef: JT allegedly makes steak for dinner. It's difficult to tell if there's any meat under the petrified char.
    Joe: "Kid, ya done killed this poor critter twice!"
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The ship's captain beat Charles Rodney so badly that he later died from his injuries. Rafe beats the captain almost as bad before jumping ship.
  • Not So Stoic: Rock stays fairly monotone most of the time, even when telling jokes (which he does a lot). But he lets out an anguished Big "NO!" when he sees JT's body.
  • Police are Useless: It's established early on that Sheriff Walter Moncrief is in Barkow's pocket. However, Moncrief just as clearly doesn't want trouble with anybody, is afraid of Barkow (and especially Dorn), and is a fairly nice guy—corruption notwithstanding. As the climactic gunfight erupts around him, Moncrief keeps his own gun holstered and continues drinking his whiskey. Finally he gets up, shoves a mook's rifle out of his way, walks into the street, mounts his horse, and calmly rides away with bullets flying all around him. Joe aims his rifle at the sheriff for a moment, then grumbles, "Aw, what the hell," to himself and lets him go.
  • Psycho for Hire: Dorn, oh so much.
  • Rare Guns: Rafe's '76 Centennial is one of the less-common varieties of the Winchester repeating rifle. Joe's Weapon of Choice is an Evans Repeater because, "It's got 28 bullets, and I ain't a very good shot." But Dorn takes the cake with his scoped Remington-Keene bolt-action repeater, of which less than 5,000 were ever made.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Rafe is a devout Catholic whose mother sent him to a Jesuit school. The reason he didn't become a priest was that he "never got the knack of turning the other cheek."
    • At JT's informal funeral, Rock recites an Irish Catholic blessing, and Joe adds, "May you be three days in Heaven before the devil knows you're dead."
  • Running Gag: Rafe's ability to piss off dangerous people. "It's a gift."
  • Sacrificial Lion: JT is murdered by Dorn.
  • Smug Snake: Barkow could be the new Trope Namer.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Another reason why Bo Dorn is scary.
  • This Cannot Be!: Bo Dorn: "You shot me."
  • Villainous Breakdown: When Dorn tells Barkow the price for his services, and that Barkow doesn't have a choice, Barkow keeps smiling, but is visibly nervous.
  • The Western
  • Wicked Cultured: Bo Dorn is usually polite, wears expensive clothes, uses refined and polished language, rarely swears, and doesn't care for tobacco. He'll also murder you without a moment's thought if somebody pays him, or you get in his way, or if he finds you mildly annoying.

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