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Film / The Last Sunset

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The Last Sunset is a 1961 American Western film directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Rock Hudson, Kirk Douglas, and Dorothy Malone. The supporting cast features Joseph Cotten, Carol Lynley, Neville Brand and Jack Elam.

Brendan O'Malley (Douglas) crosses the border into Mexico to escape justice for a murder. He arrives at the ranch of a former lover, Belle Breckenridge (Malone) and her husband, the drunkard and coward John Breckenridge (Cotten) and her daughter Melissa (Lynley). He is immediately attracted to Missy, who reminds him of Belle when they were lovers years ago. Breckenridge, meanwhile, hires O'Malley to drive his herd to Texas.

Sheriff Dana Stribling (Hudson) is pursuing O'Malley. He arrives at the ranch to serve him a warrant for the murder of his brother-in-law. Stribling does not have jurisdiction to arrest O'Malley in Mexico so he also agrees to join the cattle drive to Texas. He promises to deliver O'Malley to the law upon their arrival, but tensions inevitably increase between the sheriff and the outlaw during the cattle drive, and a shocking revelation will affect a climatic showdown.

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This film features examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Breckenridge is a drunkard coward.
  • Cattle Drive: Breckenridge hires O'Malley to drive his herd to Texas. When Stribling catches up with O'Malley, as does not have jurisdiction to arrest O'Malley in Mexico, he also agrees to join the cattle drive to Texas, so he can deliver O'Malley to the law upon their arrival.
  • The Last Title: The Last Sunset
  • Old Flame Fizzle: When O'Malley reunites with his former lover, Belle, he becomes attracted to her daughter Missy instead.
  • Parental Incest: Belle reveals at the end that Missy, whom O'Malley is attracted to, is actually O'Malley daughter.
  • Replacement Goldfish: O'Malley admits to become attracted to Missy because she reminds him of her mother Belle when they were lovers years ago.
  • Romancing the Widow: Stribling and Belle become attracted to each other and plan to marry after her husband Breckinridge is killed.
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  • Run for the Border: O'Malley rosses the border into Mexico to escape justice for a murder.
  • Suicide by Cop: O'Malley ends up doing this at the end of the film when he challenges Stribling to a gunfight; O'Malley faces the sheriff with an unloaded gun, effectively committing suicide.
  • Surprise Incest: Belle reveals at the end that Missy, whom O'Malley is attracted to, is actually O'Malley daughter.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Stribling and O'Malley team up to save Breckenridge's life when some former Confederates confront Breckenridge in a bar and accuse him of cowardice during a battle in the Civil War. They are unsucessful and Breckinridge is shot in the back and killed trying to leave the bar.

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