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Film / Young Guns II

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Young Guns II is the 1990 sequel to Young Guns, starring several of the first film's characters and presenting a new story that picks up sometime after the events of the first film.

In 1950, an old man meets with lawyer and tells him that he is "Brushy" Bill Roberts (Emilio Estevez), but that his past alias was... Billy The Kid. When questioned, Bill tells the lawyer that he wants to receive a pardon from the Governor of New Mexico, and begins to relate a tale of his past exploits...

In 1881, the Regulators have gone their separate ways, but "Doc" Spurlock (Kiefer Sutherland) and Jose Chavez (Lou Diamond Phillips) are captured by law enforcement and set to be executed. Billy springs back into action to rescue them before the trio head south to Mexico. Just after they escape, John Chisum (James Coburn), a local Cattle Baron who was wronged by the group, pays one of Billy's former partners, Pat Garrett (William Petersen), to hunt and kill him, setting off an explosive series of confrontations.

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The film received mixed reviews and middling box office at release, but generated a profit on home video and received a better reception in later years, generating enough interest to result in a release of Alan Silvestri's complete score for the film in 2011.


This sequel has examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Billy uses a rifle loaded with eighteen dimes instead of bullets to dispatch a bounty hunter.
    Billy: That was the best $1.80 I ever spent.
  • Anyone Can Die: To the extent that the number of major characters who survive to the end of the film can be counted on one hand.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • The character "William Henry French" is a composite of two real-life members of the Regulators (Jim French and Henry Brown), though he bears little resemblance to either one of them.
    • Doc and Chavez both die in the movie. In real life, both of them survived their exploits with Billy the Kid and went on to live full lives, both passing away from natural causes in the 1920s. Chavez died in 1924 at age 73, while Doc died in 1929 at 80. Oddly enough, the end of the first movie actually gets it right, explaining what they both went on to do after the Lincoln County War, but the sequel decides to change course and kill them off for some inexplicable reason.
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    • Also, rather than be famously shot dead by Pat Garrett, Billy's portrayed as surviving to old age by faking his death (though the first film accurately says what happened to him, aside from his supposed dying note reading "Pals"). This is based on the real life case of "Brushy" Bill Roberts, an old cowboy who claimed to be Billy the Kid shortly before his death in 1950.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Tom was fond of reading Dime Novels about Billy the Kid which made him want to become a member of his gang. When he meets Billy in Beaver Smith's bar he's rejected at first, but Billy soon changed his mind and welcomed him into the gang.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Nearly every major character is dead by the end of the story, with only Billy, Henley and Dave surviving through to the finale. In the epilogue, Dave is said to have been beheaded upon heading to Mexico, while Billy (presuming that he's "Brushy" Bill) pled his case to the Governor of New Mexico in 1950, but was discredited shortly before his death.
  • Bond One-Liner: After shooting a sheriff with a shotgun loaded with 18 dimes, Billy says "Best $1.80 I've ever spent."
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Pat Garrett has an establishing moment when he finds a helpless enemy who says he knows him. After Garrett asks what the man's name is, he identifies himself as "Travers, from Tula Rosa". After Garrett thinks about this for a moment, he admits he has no idea who the man is and coldly executes him.
  • Composite Character: Hendry (Alan Ruck) is actually a composite of two separate historical figures — Jim French and Henry Brown, two of Billy's Regulators. The character traits of Hendry in the film (being timid/scared) don't correspond to the traits of the real-life figures.
  • Dead Star Walking: Doc (Kiefer Sutherland), who dies before the halfway point of the film.
  • Death by Adaptation: Doc Scurlock (who died of natural causes in real life) takes Charlie Bowdre's historical place by sacrificing himself at Stinking Springs. Later, Chavez dies from injuries sustained during a gunfight with Garrett and his men, but the real-life character lived for many years afterwards and enjoyed a relatively peaceful life.
  • Death by Cameo: In addition to performing the lead track for the film, Jon Bon Jovi appears in a small cameo as a chained prisoner who escapes (and is subsequently shot when he pulls a revolver on a deputy) during Billy's rescue of Doc and Chavez.
  • Death Faked for You: The film concludes with Garrett and Billy's posse holding a fake funeral for him, and letting the world believe he's dead. Billy goes on to live the rest of his life under a fake identity.
  • Death of a Child: The first person in Billy's gang to die is Tommy.
  • Den of Iniquity: Invoked by Garrett, when he labels Jane's bordello a "house of sin" in order to have it burned down and draw the gang out of hiding.
  • Distant Finale: The film ends with the Framing Device of Billy as an old man, who drives away a curious visitor before reflecting on the scars he's gained and the things he's seen before walking into the sunset.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Billy and the other Regulators dress up as members of the lynch mob in order to rescue Doc and Chavez, by bluffing the town sheriff into releasing them into their care.
  • The Dying Walk: As a gut-shot Chavez is near death, he suddenly gets up and walks away from the outlaw hideout, but soon collapses alone and by himself in the town.
  • Fake-Out Opening: Over the credits, an old prospector-type guy leads his mule across the desert. Which is fine, since this is a western — but then he's passed by a stake-bed truck. It's actually 1950, and the old guy is "Brushy Bob" Roberts, is on his way to tell an attorney about his life in the old West (by narrating the rest of the film).
  • Famed in Story: By this film, Billy has acquired quite a bit of notoriety, with stories of his exploits being written and released in proto-comic book form; the stories may be period-appropriate Fan Fic at best, but the trope itself is Truth in Television.
  • Happy Ending Override: The "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue of the first film explains that Doc and Chavez went on to live happy and full lives after the Lincoln County War, and survived their exploits with Billy. Come this film, their fates were changed so that Chavez dies from a lingering gunshot wound sustained during a battle with Pat Garrett and his men, and Doc sacrifices himself so that the group can escape Garrett's ambush at Stinking Springs.
  • Have We Met?: Brutally subverted in an early scene. After dispatching members of a rival gang, Garrett comes upon an injured man and stops himself from shooting, with the latter saying they've met before. Garrett asks the man his name, and when given a response that they do know each other ("Travers, from Tula Rosa"), Garrett thinks for a moment before flatly exclaiming that he doesn't — and then executes the injured man.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Dying of injuries sustained during a sneak attack by Garrett and his men, Doc Scurlock sacrifices himself so the rest of Billy's gang can escape.
  • Human Shield: Doc Scurlock dies in this way, taking the full impact of multiple rounds fired at him by Garrett and his men while the rest of the group uses his body as cover as they run around a corner.
  • I Let You Win: It is implied that Garrett intentionally allows Billy to escape from ambushes several times, and even decides not to shoot him with a rifle when he has him directly in his sights.
  • Impaled Palm: Chavez gets stabbed in the hand with a knife. He then proceeds to knock out the guy who stabbed him, one of the other young guns, and casually asks if the fight is over and offers the knife back. By pulling it out.
  • Kill 'Em All: By the end of the film, the only survivors are Dave (who gets beheaded when he reaches Mexico), Hendry, and Billy (allegedly).
  • Male Gaze: Invoked as part of a gambit by Jane when she strips naked and walks out of the bordello in full view of the townsfolk, thus distracting them long enough for Billy and the gang to escape.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • After Billy springs Doc and Chavez from their planned execution, he convinces the former to get involved and fight by telling an old story Tunstall relayed sometime during the events of the original, concluding with the phrase, "I shall finish the game, Doc." When Doc performs his Heroic Sacrifice to allow the others to escape Stinking Springs, he interrupts Billy by saying, "Let's finish the game."
    • "Yoohoo, I'll make you famous," used during Billy's confrontation with Chisum near the beginning, and later reused as the final shot of the movie.
  • Miss Kitty: Jane Greathouse is young examples, being a former companion of Bill that runs a bordello in White Oaks where him and his crew take refuge for a while.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Jane, the attractive Fiery Redhead owner of the bordello in White Oaks, who rides out of town naked after Pat and the townsfolk drive her out, albeit covered with Godiva Hair and Toplessness from the Back shots.
  • Off with His Head!: Dave's fate, as revealed during the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Doc gives one to Billy, accusing him of being so enamored with what the newspapers write about him that he's become reckless, which in turn caused Tommy's death.
  • Riding into the Sunset: Seen when "Brushy" Bill walks off in the ending, though this is somewhat subverted when Phalen runs after him and tries to get him to talk more to him.
  • Say My Name: Invoked in the ending:
    Phalen: Mr. Roberts... Bill... BILLY!
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Painfully subverted. Once Billy admits that there is no "Mexican Blackbird" trail, Doc tells him he's fed up with him and decides to leave. As soon as he steps out of the abode, he's shot by one of Pat Garrett's men, and only holds out for a few moments before sacrificing himself to get the rest of the group to safety.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: After Pat burns down her bordello for being considered a "devil's den" by the populace, Jane decides to leave town and in an last act of defiance, sheds all of her clothes in front of the crowd and rides out of naked telling the scandalized people to "Kiss my ass!"
  • Take a Moment to Catch Your Death: Chavez seemingly survives a major shootout with Garrett and his men, and staggers back into a nearby town... only to die of (presumably) a gunshot wound he sustained during the battle. Billy only discovers Chavez's body after the fact.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • The premise that kicks off the film. Billy, Doc and Chavez could have just headed down to Mexico and waited for things to blow over, but the former instead decides to antagonize a cattle baron and force him to pay an uncollected debt before they leave. As a result, the baron hires Billy's old partner to track him down and kill him.
    • Also invoked with the Sheriff, Bill, who tries to stop Billy after being disarmed of one of his weapons and is being held at gunpoint, being told several times not to make a move.
  • Too Dumb to Live: A sheriff tries to shoot Billy, even though Billy already has a gun on him and warns him several times not to. Guess what happens.
    Billy: That was stupid, Bill.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Yen Sun has disappeared between films after riding off with Doc, and her whereabouts are never explained. Though Doc does mention that he has a wife and son, he never refers to her by name and her reaction to his death at Stinking Springs is never shown.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The film ends by listing the fates of several characters, including Dave, Garrett and "Brushy" Bill.

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