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Film / Zachariah

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Zachariah is a 1971 Western film written by Joe Massot and The Firesign Theatre and directed by George Englund.

Zachariah (John Rubinstein) and Matthew (Don Johnson) are two gunslingers in the Wild West. Although they start out as close friends and partners, their different temperaments eventually lead them to separate and take them on very different paths.

Zachariah contains examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: The film is set in the Wild West, which doesn't stop the characters from listening to hard rock music and saying things like "Far out."
  • And Starring: The credits open with "Starring."
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Zachariah and Matthew start out with fairly similar personalities and goals. By the end, Zachariah is a vegetable-growing Actual Pacifist hermit while Matthew is a fast-drawing gunslinger who wants to fight Zachariah to the death.
  • Estrogen Brigade: In-universe example. The Crackers (Country Joe and The Fish), a rock band/gang of bandits, attract screaming women wherever they perform.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: When Zachariah and Matthew split up, it starts to rain.
  • Groupie Brigade: The Crackers (Country Joe and The Fish), a rock band/gang of bandits, attract screaming women wherever they perform.
  • The Hermit: Zachariah befriends the Old Man, who lives in a hut and farms vegetables because he likes being alone.
  • High-Class Call Girl: Belle Starr (Pat Quinn) is not only expensive, she's picky and easily bored, and only accepts the most interesting, accomplished men.
  • "I Am" Song: The Crackers play "We're the Crackers," in which they brag about being violent criminals. Less honestly, they play "Poor but Honest Crackers," about how they're just humble musicians who have never broken a law, while Matthew and Zachariah rob a nearby bank.
  • Lens Flare: Visible in many outdoor scenes.
  • Mistaken for Gay: A man hassles Zachariah and Matthew for being "faggots," resulting in Zachariah's first duel.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Zachariah and Belle Starr use a his 'n' hers sheet after they have sex.
  • Name of Cain: Job Cain, one of the most dangerous criminals in the West.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Matthew is very gung ho about being a gunslinger, while Zachariah is more cautious and seems somewhat more intelligent. When Zach kills a man in a duel, he immediately develops massive angst, while Matthew is thrilled and wishes it had been him. Their differences become more and more pronounced as time passes.
  • Say My Name: First Matthew, and later the Old Man yell "Zachariah!" at different points in the movie. Most notably in the final scene, when Matthew realizes how much he misses him and rides after him on his horse, yelling his name.
  • Smoking Barrel Blowout: Zachariah shoots one of the cutout figures Belle Starr has in her room to show how quick he is on the draw, then blows on the gun barrel.
  • Spinning Paper: Used during a montage of the Crackers' robberies, with a paper appearing after every attack.
  • Standard Snippet: A rock cover of the William Tell Overture plays over the Crackers' attempts at robbing stagecoaches.
  • Stock Money Bag: Matthew and Zachariah rob a bank and run out carrying sacks with dollar signs printed on them.
  • Stupid Crooks: The Crackers are pitifully inept robbers, until Zachariah has the idea for them to create a distraction by doing what they're good at - playing music - while he and Matthew commit the actual robbery.
  • "Wanted!" Poster: We see one for the Crackers, and later for Job Cain.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Zachariah realizes he can't return to his hometown after he kills someone in a duel.