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Captive Push

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In action and fantasy settings a way to create drama is to have a character captured by some group of people and pushed along with their hands tied. This is a slow-moving tension scene, the captives sometimes even at sword-point, spear-point or gun-point. In some cases a whole group of people are taken this way, and they may have a rope leading from each prisoner's hands to another prisoner's hands. This configuration may enable communication or using the joining chain or rope as a trip wire to capture the captors.

Sometimes the captor is holding a rope attached to the captive's hand and pulling them along by the rope. Expect the captives to yank back and knock the captor down, pull them into bushes and beat them up, or spin the rope around them to reverse capture. In any case, the fact that the character has been allowed to walk instead of being caged or carried suggests that they may get out or use the added freedom to their advantage. Typically they can fight with their hands tied.


Additionally, the positioning of the captor and captive in this way will allow the captor to be immediately presented as the Bad Guy by being unnecessarily violent or to show whichever individual has charge of the captive may be kinder than the Big Bad by instead being gentle or not fighting back.

Compare Tribal Carry where hands and feet are bound.

This is Truth in Television, since it's often easier to transport prisoners this way - tie their hands so they can't fight, but have them able to walk so you don't have to carry them. The necessary push or pull is also this, as people without the use of their hands can quickly become uncoordinated. Unless used for another purpose, prisoners simply linked by ropes or chains to add realism is not this trope.



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    Comic Books 
  • A number of times back in the Golden Age of Comics when the Lasso of Truth was more the Lasso of Persuasion Wonder Woman was led comfortably by enemies who'd gotten a hold of her lasso by them wrapping part of her in it and ordering her to walk ahead of them. She herself pulled this same trick on a number of villains before the lasso's powers were more strictly defined and modified into their more well known set.
    • Sensation Comics: When some leprechauns try this trick out Diana takes advantage of the vague wording of their order and hops forward to force them to drop the lasso, thus freeing her of their control.
    • Wonder Woman (1942): When the WWIII conspirator gets the drop on Diana and forces her to leave Army headquarters by being bound by the lasso Diana is still able to tell Steve what's going on when they run into him in the hall by tapping her foot in Morse code, which her captor doesn't notice while busy trying to ensure the lasso is hidden by clothes and Diana's position in front of her.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Peter Pan, an Indian walks John and Michael this way when the tribe captures them and the Lost Boys.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Dinosaur Island, Lucas and Kate are taken prisoner by a local tribe, pulled along with their hands tied.
  • The captives in Apocalypto are escorted this way.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Sam Gamgee's nightmare vision of a possible future, at the well of Galadriel, of the Shire over-run by the forces of Mordor. As Hobbiton blazes, Sam witnesses grinning leering Orcs manacling surviving Hobbits into long lines of bound prisoners, prodding them along with spears and kicks.
  • A variant in Batman, when the Joker takes Vicki Vale hostage and forces her to the top of Gotham Cathedral at gunpoint. No need to bind her hands or anything, due to the aforementioned being-at-gunpoint. He also only starts physically pushing her along to when it becomes clear that Batman is following them.

  • In The Spiderwick Chronicles books, Mallory, Jared and Simon allow themselves to fake being captives. Their hands are loosely tied, and a rope connects each of them to each other.
  • Ruth Ann and the Green Blowster has Ruth Ann and her companions captured, forced to walk while in ropes.
  • A rare good guy example: In Transitions Drizzt sets out to find and capture Tos'un Armgo, because the wood elves are worried that he is still in cahoots with the orcs. He finds him deep in the woods and has him captive and bound after a short struggle. Tos'un tries to convince him of his innocence and Drizzt takes the risk to bring him back to his friends, pushing the bound captive along the way.
  • In The Amtrak Wars, Steve Brickman is transported with a hood over his head and a military policeman quick-marching him along with a truncheon jammed into his back. It's not the heroic welcome home he expected.
  • The Wrath of God by Jack Higgins. After the Villain Protagonists are captured by a Mexican cavalry officer, he has them tied to their horses and marched behind them through the desert. They barely survive, but as one puts it: "I have decided to live, just to spite this guy."
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: After the warming weather makes it impossible to pursue the Pevensies by sleigh, Jadis has Edmund tied up then they continue on foot. Eventually, she decides it's too much effort to drag him along, and decides to have him killed, which would also prevent the prophecy of her defeat from coming to pass, but he's rescued before that happens.
    • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: After arriving at the Lone Islands, Caspian, Edmund, Lucy, Eustace and Reepicheep are captured by slavers after which they are bound and marched off to the slave market in town.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Quantum Leap: Sam leaps into a Navy SEAL during the Vietnam War. His platoon is on a mission to rescue three American POWs, and we see them being rushed along a path while an embedded photojournalist hides in the brush and takes photos. One of the POWs is Al as a younger man.
  • Happens to the titular ''Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman when she's kidnapped by dog soldiers.
  • Once Upon a Time: In Season 2, Episode 2 called "We Are Both" Emma and Mary Margret have their hands bound in front of them and their bonds are attached to a long rope and are forced to walk behind their captor, Mulan, who is on a horseback. They are eventually cut from the horse, but their wrists are still tied when the group arrive at their destination.
  • The 100: In Season 2 Episode 4, Many Happy Returns, Anya takes Clarke prisoner by tying her hands and pulling her along. Later, Clarke is able to turn the tables and do this to Anya instead.
  • Merlin: In the Episode "The Dark Tower", Morgana takes Gwen prisoner this way, dragging her by her bound wrists while she rides on horseback, in the hopes that it will exhaust Gwen and break her spirit faster.
  • Rome: In the episode, 'Owl in the Thornbushes' Eirine, a Germanic woman sized by soliders fleeing Rome and tied by her wrists to an ox-pulled cart carrying treasury gold stolen by Pompey's recruits.
  • Wonder Woman: The episode "The Man Who Made Volcanoes" has Diana being captured by a pair of Chinese agents investigating the mountain where the volcano-making machine is. For several scenes after they are shown dragging her along (sometimes literally) with her hands tied behind her as they make their way up the mountain side.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World: One episode had a hunter take an interest in Veronica as a trophy to take back to Europe. He lures her down then has one of his cohorts snap a collar at the end of a pole around her neck, ties her hands then begins marching her out of the valley, Veronica mouthing off the entire way and trying to work her bindings loose enough to escape.

    Video Games 
  • Uncharted: The Lost Legacy: Chloe, Nadine and Sam get captured by Asav's men at one point. The three have their hands cuffed behind them and then are marched along by their captors, while Sam and Nadine bicker the entire way.
  • Arvo receives this treatment from Kenny in Telltale's The Walking Dead Season Two. It makes sense that Arvo be pushed in front of the group, since he's promised to lead the group to a house with food and supplies. Kenny's rough treatment of the captive Arvo is used to illustrate Kenny's becoming increasingly volatile and unstable.


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