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Film / High Plains Invaders

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High Plains Invaders is a 2009 science fiction television film that aired on the Syfy Channel. It is the 21st film of the Maneater Series. The film stars James Marsters.

Sam Phoenix is about to be hanged for his crimes, when his execution is cut short by the sudden invasion of enormous and deadly insectoid creatures. As the body count rises, it is up to Sam to lead the terrified townsfolk to safety before they are hunted to extinction.

High Plains Invaders contains examples of:

  • Alien Catnip: Not exactly harmless to humans, but Jules works out that the Bugs can become intoxicated by ingesting refined uranium.
  • Alien Invasion: Aliens invade an isolated town in order to steal uranium. They seem to feed on it, and Jules theorizes that pure uranium is like opium to them.
  • The Atoner:
    • Sam turned himself in when he realised that one of his train robberies caused the death of 10 people. He was prepared to hang for his crimes, but when the alien invasion granted him an unexpected reprieve, he turned his skills to keeping as many people alive as possible.
    • Jules becomes this once he realises that it was his experiments with uranium that brought the Bugs to town. Abigail even tells him to stop feeling sorry for himself and find some way to redeem his miserable soul. Jules takes this advice to heart and spends the rest of the movie trying to do just that.
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: The Bugs have a scorpion-like tail that fire sharpened mineral projectiles (which might be radioactive).
  • Bounty Hunter: Rose Hilridge, who constantly tries to claim the bounty on Sam's head despite having had nothing to do with his capture.
  • Chronic Back Stabbing Disorder: Rose is quick to turn on the others for the chance of a profit or means to make her own survival more likely.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The entire film unfolds in less than a day (significantly less based on how it's fully light out at the beginning and doesn't show any signs of getting dark yet at the end).
  • Five Rounds Rapid: When the first Bug appears in town, the townsfolk continue to fire small arms long after it should have been obvious that it was bulletproof. The heroes have better luck when they escalate to dynamite. However, they have a limited supply of dynamite and continue to use small arms, mostly as a means of getting the attention of various Bugs.
  • Frontier Doctor: Abigail is actually a nurse, but she runs the town infirmary and fulfills the role of doctor.
  • The Fundamentalist: Although a decently loyal and compassionate guy, Cornelius the local storekeeper believes the Bugs are demons form hell and gets a couple rants to that effect.
  • Hobbling the Giant: The heroes stretch a rope across the road and then pull it tight as a Bug reaches it: tripping the Bug and dropping it into a position where Sam can shoot it.
  • Insectoid Aliens: The invaders (dubbed 'Bugs' by the townsfolk) are giant four-legged bugs with stinger tails.
  • The Lad-ette: Rose Hildridge, the fast-shooting, hard-drinking, hard-cussing Bounty Hunter.
  • Last Request: Sam's fellow prisoner Gus mentions they get one before being hanged and suggests asking the sheriff for one of his cigars because their really expensive and it will annoy him to lose one.
  • More Expendable Than You: Jules lies about how serious his wound is, and about the fuse being damaged thus making the dynamite unusable, to make Sam change his mind about staying behind. Once Sam and Abigail are out of town, he sets off the dynamite, triggering the chain reaction that destroys the Bugs and the town.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: This is Sam's attitude. He is insistent that all of the survivors get out of town alive. When Rose suggests that they might be able crawl out past the Bugs, Sam rejects it because Serena's broken leg means that she cannot crawl.
  • Planet Looters: The invaders are here to steal uranium. They seem to eat it and/or use it as a narcotic.
  • Plunger Detonator: The heroes use a plunger detonator to set of all the dynamite simultaneously when they attempt to kill all the Bugs at the same time.
  • Public Execution: Sam is standing on gallows in the town square with a noose around his neck when the aliens attack.
  • The Sheriff: The Sheriff is a pompous windbag who is paralyzed with fear when the first Bug attacks (causing Sam to sarcastically remark that guns work better when you take them out of the holster). His later attempts to redeem himself just make things worse and result in his death.
  • So Much for Stealth: When the heroes are stealthily planting the dynamite in the Bug holes, The Sheriff knocks a clod of dirt down one of the holes, alerting the Bug to their presence.
  • Technologically Advanced Foe: The alien invaders have high-tech battlesuits and advanced weaponry. The cowboys can only contectualize them as 'bugs'.
  • Trip Trap: The heroes stretch a rope across the road and then pull it tight as a Bug reaches it: tripping the Bug and dropping it into a position where Sam can shoot it.
  • Weird West: An alien invasion western.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: A miner Jules is hiring to help him dig uranium right before the aliens attack gets a couple of scenes shooting at the aliens when they appear then disappears, with it being unclear if he was Killed Offscreen or managed to escape the town.