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Film / Silverado

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From top-left to bottom: Paden, Emmett, Mal, Jake, and Stella (inset)

Posse Member: Let's go, he ain't hittin' nothin'!
Sheriff Langston: You idiot, he's hit everything he's aimed at!
Posse Member: Well, they ain't out of our jurisdiction 'til they reach the flattop!
Sheriff Langston: [rising in his saddle, until his hat is shot off] Today, my jurisdiction ends here.

Silverado is a 1985 Western film that's something of a Reconstruction of the genre. Released in the theaters July of that year, it was directed by Lawrence Kasdan and starred many well-known (or soon to be well-known) actors, including Kevin Kline, Danny Glover, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner, Jeff Goldblum, Brian Dennehy and John Cleese.

The basic plot: In 1880, four men travel together to the city of Silverado. They come across many dangers before they finally engage the "bad guys" and bring peace and equality back to the city.

This film contains examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Cobb.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Lampshaded when corrupt town sheriff Cobb indicates to Paden that he'll harm Stella if Paden moves against him, even though Cobb acknowledges she has nothing whatsoever to do with their dispute. He does however know Paden (whom he used to work with when they were robbers) got caught while protecting a wounded dog he'd previously claimed to despise, so figures the threat will make Paden back off. It works at first, but Stella figures out what's happened and talks Pade8n into fighting Cobb anyway.
  • Badass Boast:
    Mal: Now, I don't wanna kill you, and you don't wanna be dead.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Cobb and McKendrick.
  • Book Ends: The first and last words Paden and Cobb say to each other onscreen.
  • Catch-Phrase: Paden has "Bad luck." Mal has "That ain't right." Jake's half Catch-Phrase half Running Gag "All I did was kiss a girl."
  • Chase Scene: A horseback high-speed chase between Emmett and the Big Bad during the climax.
  • Clueless Deputy: See Smart People Play Chess for an example of how this is used.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Particularly Paden, Emmett, and Stella, but everyone gets in a few.
    Paden: They just jumped you out of the blue, huh?
    Emmett: I had to get up anyway.
    • Also-
    Emmett: (after finding Paden robbed, abandoned and dying of thirst in a desert and lending him his remount—a Pinto) "Where ya headed?"
    Paden:"Where's the Pinto headed?"
  • Demoted to Extra: Almost all of Rosanna Arquette's scenes were deleted in post-production thus failing to explain how she goes from Emmett to Paden in the course of the movie.
  • Determined Widow: When introduced, Hannah's a Determined Homesteader's Wife, but he's Too Dumb to Live. An early love interest for Paden, until he meets Stella in the eponymous town.
    • She later gets ship teased with Emmett. But she's with Paden in his final (and the movie's penultimate) scene.
  • Dirty Cop: Cobb as the sheriff.
  • The Drifter: Paden
  • Establishing Character Moment: Emmett is introduced sleeping inside a shack when four men ambush him. He guns them down and heads off for Silverado.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: McKendrick won't let one of his men kill a boy, even though the boy saw their faces. They opt to kidnap him instead.
  • Everything's Better with Cows: Yep, nothing like a stampede to disrupt the bad guys while you move in for the kill.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: As a posse is chasing the leads into some hills, several warning shots come from Danny Glover's character, who is hiding somewhere out of sight. As his shots ricochet off nearby rocks and cacti, a deputy says: "Let's go, he ain't hittin' nothin'". This prompts the sheriff, played brilliantly by John Cleese, to retort: "You idiot, he's hit everything he's aimed at". [Cue the sheriff's hat getting knocked off by the next shot.]
  • Friendly Enemy: Paden and Cobb.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: In your standard bar fight.
  • The Gunslinger: All the main characters are gunslingers:
    • Paden (Type D) outdraws Cobb in the final battle
    • Emmett (Type A) shoot needles off cactuses
    • Mal (Type B) hits everything he aims at with his rifles.
    • Jake (Type D and Type A) shoots two different guys at the same time, in different directions.
  • Guns Akimbo: The character of Jake (portrayed by Kevin Costner) is styled in broad strokes. Lightning draws, blind trick shots, horse riding skills and firing two guns at the same time.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Emmett can barely move after his run in with Cobb's men, but when Mal (who's also been beat up by Cobb's men, before managing to escape) tells him McKendrick's men kidnapped Emmett and Jake's nephew, that's enough to get Emmett moving again.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Slick is stabbed with his own knife by Mal.
    Mal: Looking for this?
  • Homage: The entire movie is Lawrence Kasdan's love letter to the classic Western.
  • Horseback Heroism: A Big Damn Heroes moment combined with a horseback Power Walk towards the Big Bad's ranch at the climax.
    • Earlier in the movie, Jake is leading a horse through town when his nephew attempts the classic Western trope of leaping into the saddle.
      Jake: Told you, practice on a horse that's not movin'.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Mal is astonishingly accurate with his Henry rifle. Also Emmett, who picks off cactus needles at several yards.
  • In the Back: Averted when, after Jake hid in the bar when the bad guys were after him, he sneaks out behind them as they are walking down the two sides while he standing on the corner. After carefully stepping back to line up the angle for his trick shot just right, he yells, "Hey!" and they both spin around on him, just in time for him to plug both of them at the same time.
  • The Infiltration: Part of a hastily-concocted plan to retrieve a stolen chest of settlers' valuables from some bandits who had themselves posed as wagon train guides during the trip to the eponymous town. If it weren't for Mal, it would have ended... badly:
    Dawson: You bring a posse to my best hideout, and you ask me if I mind?! Mister, I don't know any of those names. You're about to die.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Emmett's "see you around" right before the climactic charge into Silverado.
  • Just Got Out of Jail: Emmett just served five years in prison for killing a man in self-defense.
  • Lampshade Hanging
    Emmett: Lyin' Pete always said you'd hang. I guess tomorrow at dawn he'll be proved right.
    Sheriff Langston: Ten A.M.
    Emmett: Oh, right- I always thought they did it at dawn
  • Miss Kitty: Stella, "The 'Midnight Star' herself."
  • Nice Hat: When Paden is introduced, he is lamenting the loss of his black hat with a pretty silver band on it.
  • Noodle Incident: When Cobb tells the story of how Paden's reaction to Tyree's Kick the Dog moment (actually, he shot the dog, but that's another trope) got him arrested, Paden's reply has to be a joke. Either way, how did he get out of jail?
    Paden: It evened out in the end, though. They locked me up. The dog sprung me.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Three times. To wit:
    • When Paden is introduced, he has been left to die of exposure in the middle of the desert by a group of bandits. None of them are happy to see him.
    • Immediately prior to the climax, some mooks get between Emmett and any chance of a reload while he's practicing his sharpshooting, and trample him repeatedly with horses. Mal treats him for his injuries.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Paden encounters the bandits from his backstory, he points out whatever it is of his that they currently have on them. None of them say "so what?" presumably because they left him to die of exposure in the desert.
    Paden: You're wearing my hat.
    [Bandit slowly reaches for his holster]
    Paden: Your fingers better not be ticklin' my ivory-handled Colt.
  • Posse: Sheriff Langston organises a posse to chase Emmett, Paden and Jake when they escape from the Turley jail. However, he calls off the chase when he encounters resistance from Mal, leading to the immortal line:
    "Today my jurisdiction ends here!"
  • Professional Gambler: Slick. "Scuse me, Sheriff, I'm a gambler, lookin' to run an honest game. Who would I talk to about that?" Paden also talks in gambling metaphors and mutters about bad luck.
  • Ramp Jump: Emmett does one on horseback towards the end of the Chase Scene, and knocks the Big Bad from his horse.
  • Rancher: The Big Bad is a Corrupt Corporate Executive version, leading to conflict between him and Mal's dad.
  • Retired Gunfighter: Emmett
  • Retired Outlaw: Paden
    Emmett: [after Cobb shoots a man for embezzling] You used to ride with that guy?
    • There are hints at the other three having been less than law abiding in the past.
      • Emmett and Jake both seem fairly well versed in jail-breaks.
      • Some of the things Mal says about his time in Chicago (not the nicest of places in the 1880's) suggest that he might have been involved in some dubious activities.
      • All four are quite skilled at gunplay and show little hesitation towards killing, although they tend to avoid killing the mostly innocent (compare the jail-break to the rest of the movie).
  • The Sheriff: Langston as the (mostly) honest variety, Cobb as the Corrupt Hick variety.
    • Langston is honest, but extremely strict; and not above changing the law to save his own skin, "Today my jurisdiction ends here."
  • Showdown at High Noon: Cobb and Paden, although the time of day is never mentioned.
  • Stock British Characters: John Cleese plays a British Bobby Sheriff in a small frontier town.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Sheriff Langston plays chess with himself, showing that he is intelligent and Surrounded by Idiots. He plays with a deputy sitting across the board from him, but turns the board around after each move to play both sides.
  • Smug Snake: "Slick," played by Jeff Goldblum.
  • Weapon of Choice: Mal and his father are both fans of the Henry rifle.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Paden is asked repeatedly by his old riding buddies what became of the injured dog that drove him out of banditry. When Stella asks, he says simply, "She left me," jokingly making it sound like the end of a romance, and continuing to evade the question.
  • The Wild West: A reconstruction of classic frontier America during the Wild West era.
  • Young Gun: Jake