It's the end of the movie and The Drifter has to be moving on. There are other people in trouble, other wrongs to right, other paths to follow. He saddles up his horse and rides west into the setting sun. The townspeople look on as his figure, silhouetted against the orange disk, disappears into the horizon. The music swells and "The End" appears.
Riding into the sunset is a tried (some would say "tired") and true ending to a show. Primarily a western trope associated with cowboys, but not exclusively so. The setting sun is symbolic of the end of the story.
Sometimes, heroes are known to ride into the sunrise instead — possibly as a symbol of a new beginning or fresh start on life after their adventure is over, or possibly to show that the scriptwriters realize that setting off into the wilderness at sunset is not the brightest idea. (What's he gonna do? Go two miles out of town and then make camp for the night?) Of course, the sunset is somewhat cooler, so a little Artistic License is allowed. In fact, the sunset is so expected that using the more pragmatic sunrise in a Western might be jarring. Besides, riding into the sunset means you're riding West. A common theme in Westerns was the "taming of the West", so there was often an implication that once one town had been "civilized" the hero would then ride farther West to where he was still needed. In stories where the hero has somewhere specific and not too distant to go and rest up, though, leaving at the end of the day makes perfect sense.
Compare Against the Setting Sun, Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Death (for a darker ending), Watching the Sunset. Contrast Outrun the Fireball. See also Romantic Ride Sharing if it's a couple of lovers riding together into the sunset.
As this is an Ending Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.
- At the end of Pokémon: The Original Series, Misty rides off into the sunset on her freshly repaired bike, with her Togepi in the basket.
- This kind of scenes were plenty in the Mazinger saga:
- Mazinger Z: Many episodes ended up with the main characters -in their robots standing against the sunset still inside their robots or driving their Humongous Mechas back to the Institute.
- One specific episode ended up with Kouji using Mazinger's hand to -carefully- pick Sayaka and she calmly sitting on the behemot's hand and happily talking to Kouji as Sun set after them.
- Another episode ended up with Kouji (inside Mazinger-Z) holding Sayaka (inside Aphrodite-A) bridal style and walking together into the sunset.
- The Great Mazinger vs UFO Robo Grendizer ended up with Kouji and Duke gazing at the sunset together after the battle. Kouji even commented on it being a beautiful sunset.
- Mazinger Z: Many episodes ended up with the main characters -in their robots standing against the sunset still inside their robots or driving their Humongous Mechas back to the Institute.
- Science Ninja Team Gatchaman: Most episodes of this classic anime — and its various dubs — ends with the God-Phoenix flying off into the sunset, or the team standing around looking at a sunset.
- In Saiyuki the group often ends the episodes driving towards the sunset because they are travelling west to India. They commented on it once in-universe:
Goku: [looking at the sunset] It's more beautiful than a meat bun!
Sha Gojyo: That's quite an endorsement.
Cho Hakkai: Come to think of it, we're always heading towards the setting sun, aren't we?
- In Bleach at the end of the Fullbringer Arc Moe Shishigawara carries Tsukishima on his back into the sunrise.
- Usavich seasons 1, 2, 4, and 5 end with protagonists riding toward horizon in a stolen car. In season 3 it's instead a prison van with the season's villain.
- Subverted in Golgo 13. Duke Togo is hired to kill a Distaff Counterpart, who it's revealed he met three years ago and had a relationship with. Knowing that Togo has the contract on her, she expects to be killed on meeting him again, but he just sleeps with her and leaves the next day. Realising she's been given a break, she decides to retire from the assassination business, but as she pilots a speedboat into the sunset Duke puts a bullet through her head with a single long-distance shot.
- The Dragon Ball Z special "Episode of Bardock" ends with Bardock walking into the sunset, away from the village he protected.
- Gundam Build Fighters Try Episode 20: after having fought an exciting Gunpla battle with one of the main characters, Junya rides off in a convertible driven by his friend Akira. Things go hilariously to pot when the latter reveals that he only got his license two days prior.
- Cowboy Bebop, "Cowboy Funk": Andy, as befitting an actual Space Cowboy, rides into the sunset after his battle with Spike... Which was set on the top of a skyscraper. Don't ask us how he got down.
- In the Warrior Cats manga about Graystripe, the final panel of the first volume has Graystripe and Millie walking toward the sunset.
- Happy Heroes: Referenced in Season 2 episode 16. Big and Little M. are walking away from the school and into the sunset when Little M. mentions that he's only seen this happening in movies and that it's rather old-fashioned. Big M. says that it's actually a sunrise and that it's not old-fashioned.
- Lucky Luke: Every single adventure ends this way. In the metastory "Where the sunset is" the Dalton brothers try to avoid capture by keeping away from civilization and hiding out in the wilderness. All to no avail as the place they choose to hang out turns out to be Luke's "riding into the sunset" place. Apparently sunset is a place, not a time.
- ElfQuest: The end of issue #7has two Wolfrider elves, appropriately enough, riding wolves into the sunset. It's worth noting that since Wolfriders are generally nocturnal, sunset is an appropriate time for them to set out.
- At the end of Preacher, Jesse reveals he never wanted to be a preacher as a kid. His girlfriend asks him what he wanted to be. "Girl, can't you guess?" he says, as they ride on a horse towards the sunset.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW): The last panel of "The Return of Queen Chrysalis" ends with the main characters setting off into the sunset. Parodied, since the riders are their own mounts.
- Wolverine's death is done as a variation. After being covered by adamantium and starting to suffocate inside the almost solid metal, Logan, who is on top of a building, starts walking towards the sunset while having flashbacks of his life before finally dying on the edge of the building in front of the dying sun.
- The Jungle Line: After saving Superman, Swamp Thing walks back into the jungle as the morning Sun rises in front of him.
- Superman vs. Shazam!: Once they have defeated Karmang and saved two parallel Earths, the four heroes walk towards the setting sun, Supergirl wrapping an arm around Mary Marvel's shoulders.
- Disney Kingdoms: At the end of the final issue of Figment 2, Figment and Dreamfinder fly their dream catching machine off into the sunrise to start their next adventure.
- Gary Larson's The Far Side:
- Someone gets dragged back into a saloon all burnt up because "the damn fool tried to ride off into the sunset."
- Another has a cowboy is riding off into a cardboard-stand/cutout of a sunset, whilst various people wave. The caption reads 'The embarrassment of riding into a fake sunset'.
- God Help the Outcasts: Discussed and invoked at the end. When the monsters start to fly back to the base, Monger steers Butterflyasaurus in the direction of the setting sun. Dr. Cockroach points out that they're going the wrong way, but Monger insists that heroes always go into the sunset, and that they'll change direction when they're out of sight.
- In the Outlaw Star fanfic A Fistful of Dragonite this is how the Five-Man Band end their story, doubled up on a trio of horses and off to live at least somewhat Happily Ever After.
- Tales of the Canterlot Deportation Agency: From A Typical Day: How the tale ends, but with walking, not riding:
"It's a nice sunset — good color palette, some nice cloud touches, very artistic work — let's head towards it for a while."
- In Everybody's Gotta Leave Sometime, the Peanuts gang have their final get-together to discuss the end of the comic-strip and say farewell to each other, possibly forever. As the sun is setting, all characters say their goodbyes to Charlie Brown one after another and then leave.
Patty took one step, then another, and others in succession, over the field as the shadows lengthened and the sun's corona was barely visible in the distance.
- The Ending of the End - Love and Tolerance Edition ends on the now more less Reformed But Untamed Legion of Doom walking into the sunset alongside each other.
- At the end of Aladdin, after their Final Love Duet Aladdin and Jasmine fly off on carpet into the horizon against the moon rather than the sun but the effect is visually the same sort of shorthand. Genie then takes over the moon and turns it around laughing revealing his face, lifts up the "The End" cel on the film reel and says "Made you look!" before we get the credits.
- Done in An American Tail: Fievel Goes West as a bit of a tribute to this trope, when Wylie Burp walks off into the sunset after the final battle and Fievel follows him, and they sit on a rocky outcropping and talk while watching the sunset. It works on a meta-level, too; the scene is Jimmy Stewart's last in his final film role.
- This has happened in every Cars film so far:
- The first film ends with Lightning and Sally racing each other back to Radiator Springs, while Mater flies by in the Dinoco helicopter.
- The second film ends with Lightning and Mater speeding off into the distance as Siddley winks at the camera and flies away, before the view irises out.
- The third film ends with Lightning and Cruz racing each other around Willy's Butte. In a rare inversion, it is sunset, but they speed away and then come toward the screen before the credits start, making this a case of Riding Away From the Sunset.
- At the end of The Good, the Bad, and Huckleberry Hound, Huck rides into the moon singing "By the Light of the Silvery Moon", only when the narrator reveals he actually starts raising a family at the farm after that. The scene is Daws Butler's last in his final titular role.
- In Monsters vs. Aliens, the monsters fly off into the sunset on their way to their next mission.
- Lampshaded in Rango:
Priscilla: It’s the sunset scene.
- The Road to El Dorado ends with Chel, Miguel, and Tulio riding off into the sunset... well, at least Chel rides off, as Miguel and Tulio fell off Altivo just before he started running.
- In Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Sinbad, Marina, and his crew are sailing into the sunset in the last shot of the film.
- Blazing Saddles parodied this by having the heroes get off of their horses and into a car, driving off into the sunset at the end of the film.
- Forklift Driver Klaus: After causing several serious injuries and fatalities (including his own) after a disastrous first day on the job, the now headless Klaus rides out of the factory on his forklift with coworkers Rudi and Paul impaled on the forks. The film ends with the three of them heading off into the sunset, leaving behind a workplace that has experienced several serious injuries and fatalities.
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ends with Indy, his father, Sallah, and Marcus riding into the sunset. Spielberg said this was done with the expectation that this would be the last Indiana Jones film.
Spielberg: I'm done with the series!note
- Variation in Legend (1985). Jack and Lili walk off together into the sunset in one version of the film. In the director's cut, Jack walks off by himself while Lili goes to her castle.
- Wild Wild West: plays with this at the end. It appears that Jim West and Artemus Gordon are riding off into the sunset on horses... until the camera pulls back to reveal they are riding Loveless' giant mechanical spider. Also, since they were traveling from Utah to Washington D.C. they were actually going east, into the sunrise.
- In Slither the main characters are seen walking off into the sunrise at the end of the film whilst the credits roll up.
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine includes this near the end — before a subversion. Logan/Wolverine and Kayla are walking off into the sunset — and a gunshot rings out as Stryker arrives with his adamantium bullets...
- Played with the sunrise version in Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid where Garrett rides off - although it was a sunset when they were shooting it, but it's dawn in the movie. It doesn't symbolise a new beginning: Garrett's life is completely ruined, nothing left except remorse and loneliness. It symbolizes the death of the Old West and also the whole genre.
- The title characters do this at the end of the film ˇThree Amigos!!.
- At the end of Shock Treatment (the semi-sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show), as the good guys are driving off in a car, the narrator remarks "The sun never sets on those who ride into it".
- The Russian ostern The Elusive Avengers. Its authors were fond of this trope. All three movies end with this. There are also a beginning, when the title team rides FROM the sunset.
- The ending of The Green Berets infamously features John Wayne's character walking onto a beach and into the sunset with the adorable little Vietnamese moppet that had accompanied his unit in the latter stages of the film....on a beach on the South China Sea, which faces east, meaning it would actually be impossible to observe a sunset on that beach.
- Used in The Men Who Stare at Goats. The main character's mentor (George Clooney) and his mentor's mentor (Jeff Bridges) fly a helicopter off into the sunset and are never seen again.
- The ending of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country has the Enterprise sailing towards a star, signifying the end of the Star Trek featuring only the original cast.
- Parodied in Hot Shots! Part Deux, where the helicopter flies into the sunset from the side, then turns and flies into the sun, smoking as it comes out the other end.
- The ending of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: "Now, bring me that horizon."
- Also parodied by Ellen Degeneres in Mr. Wrong: She and the main love interest are walking into the sunset before realizing that they're walking west and they have to turn north to get to the US-Mexico border, It's a Long Story. She even comments on how the sunset is a bit blinding.
- Somewhat surprisingly, The Movie of Buffy the Vampire Slayer ends this way as well, with Buffy and Pike roaring off toward the horizon on Pike's motorcycle in a romantic scene as Susanna Hoffs's cover of "We Close Our Eyes" plays. (In this example the sun has already set, but it still fits.)
- And even the mostly tough and unsentimental gangland melodrama The Warriors ends happily, with the surviving heroes frolicking in the surf on the beach off Coney Island before disappearing over the horizon just as the sun is coming up.
- The Warrior's Way ends with the hero, Yang, having slain all his enemies in a lengthy showdown and saving the entirety of Lode Town, walking away into the setting sun in slo-mo. Then comes a Time Skip where he somehow goes from a midwestern American desert town into an Arctic wasteland.
- In Daybreakers, they are driving off into the sunrise. Given that the movie is about vampires and one of the characters found a way to turn back into a human, this has additional symbolic value.
- The 1912 film The Land Beyond the Sunset features a little boy drifting on a boat into the sunset, fleeing an abusive home. Since he's in an open boat with nothing to eat or drink and doesn't even have an oar or a sail, this is either an allegory of rebirth or Driven to Suicide.
- Both variants are a very common Godzilla trope with many movies ending with Godzilla swimming out to sea after saving the day.
- At the end of Furious 7, Paul Walker's character Brian drives a white Toyota Supra off into the sunset after a final drag race with Dom. It was a poignant send-off for the actor and was a nice way of handling Real Life Writes the Plot.
- The last shot of The Book of Eli is the female lead character walking off into the sunset.
- In She Wore a Yellow Ribbon this trope is subverted. After the main conflict of the film is resolved, the film narrator describes Nathan Brittle as going where old men go, west, with a vivid image of him riding towards the Sunset (a John Ford Image), until a soldier catches up with him and he is informed that his career is not over, so the movie does not end with him riding into the sunset.
- Star Wars:
- The Empire Strikes Back': By the end of the movie, Luke, Leia, C-3PO, and R2-D2 watch the Millennium Falcon fly, not into a sunset (they're in space), but in the direction of a bright protostar, on their way to rescue Han Solo, who had been captured and handed over to Jabba The Hutt.
- The Rise of Skywalker ends with a shot of Rey and BB-8 on Tatooine, walking into the distance with their silhouettes visible against the planet's two setting suns.
- L: change the WorLd: More like "walking into the sunset". L does this in the film's final minutes, as he realizes that he wanted to live longer.
- The Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve and Brandon Routh all end with Superman flying above Earth towards the sunrise.
- "Goodbye Mary Poppins, don't stay away too long," says Bert the chimney sweep as the titular nanny flies away on her umbrella after her work is done with the Banks family.
- Lampshaded when Bloodshot (2020) ends with the characters driving off into the sunset, and one of them worries that it's too cliched and they might be stuck in another simulation.
- Death Race appears to end this way, only for the 'sunset' to be a rather tattered billboard in a car wrecking yard where the protagonists are hiding out after escaping from prison.
- Top Gun: Maverick ends with Maverick flying off with Penny Benjamin in his P-51 Mustang.
- Battletruck ends with Hunter riding into the sunset on horseback, promising Corlie and the others that he will return in due time.
- For a Few Dollars More: Colonel Mortimer does so in the last scene, although the absolute final shot is Manco driving off in a different direction (north, apparently).
- The ending narration of All the Pretty Horses plays this trope dead straight:
The bloodred dust blew down out of the sun. He touched the horse with his heels and rode on. He rode with the sun coppering his face and the red wind blowing out of the west across the evening land and the small desert birds flew chittering among the dry bracken and horse and rider and horse passed on and their long shadows passed in tandem like the shadow of a single being. Passed and paled into the darkening land, the world to come.
- Amelia Peabody Invoked by M. de Morgan in "The Mummy Case." He returns the protagonists' son after a truly minor escapade, and then rides his magnificent horse off into the sunset, despite having dinner plans in the exact opposite direction. The parents in question think that he's being over-dramatic.
- Deathlands: Homeward Bound. Ryan Cawdor turns down the chance to rule the barony from which he was outlawed years before, and his True Companions drive off into the sunset Forbidden Zone in their Sec Wag.
- The Dreamside Road: The Aesir flies into the sunset at the end of the Wintertide Festival. Enoa and Orson are publicly honored and Orson's theme music is performed for the first time, as they leave.
- Parodied in Where's Wally? In Hollywood, which has a rider crashing through a painted backdrop of a setting sun.
- The end of Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand. Which doesn't make a lot of sense since the car's a rental, their luggage is back at the hotel, they're going the wrong way to get home, and it can't be much later than noon. But hey, it's the thought that counts...
- One of the "Star Trek" novels, in which the plot revolves around colonists' ambitious project to set their tidally-locked planet rotating, ends with Kirk ordering an odd departure course. When questioned, he explains: "Considering all the work we've done to create a sunset, it's only fitting that we fly off into it."
- At the end of the novelization of Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan heads off into Tatooine's Binary Sunset, after dropping off the infant Luke Skywalker with the Larses.
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix the Weasley twins ride off into "the glorious sunset" when they leave Umbridge sputtering furiously behind at Hogwarts. It's not the end of the book, but it is the end of the chapter and of Fred and George's student life.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation has an episode ''A Fistful of Datas'' with a Western in the holodeck, and at the end, the starship flies off towards a star whose lower half is obscured by the planet.
- Red Dwarf ended its Western-themed episode, "Gunmen of the Apocalypse", with Starbug doing the same (a star, not a supernova).
- Subverted in Supernatural. At the end of "Hollywood Babylon", Sam and Dean walk away silhouetted against a stunning sunset as Herb Alpert's "Green Peppers" plays. The sunset is then wheeled away and revealed to be a backdrop, with the real sunset behind it.
- Parodied in Friends: Joey gets a gig giving free aftershave samples out when a rival, dressed as a cowboy starts to invade his turf. In the end, we see Joey (who by this stage is selling the same cowboy-branded aftershave) walking with the girl towards a wall-painting of a sunset.
- The entire episode is a parody of Western tropes, with Joey as the good cowboy and his rival as the bad cowboy, complete with colour-coded outfits.
- The director Kevin Bright also talks about this in the commentary for the Grand Finale, saying he wanted to end with the gang going off into the sunset together. (It's actually a hallway but the sentiment is certainly there).
- The fourth season of 24 ended with Jack Bauer walking away into the sunrise with the intent of starting a new life. Of course, he comes back for the next season.
- In an episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus a customer is talking to a clerk about purchasing an ending to the episode:
Clerk: Walking into the sunset?
Customer: What's that one?
Clerk: You know, two lone figures silhouetted against the dying rays of the setting sun, the music swells and lovely... (music covers dialog)
Clerk: Pity, I rather like that one.
- Variation in Battlestar Galactica: the eponymous ship and the remaining ships of the civilian fleet fly into the sun, while the Original Series' theme music plays.
- Only Fools and Horses: The ending of "Time On Our Hands", which John Sullivan wanted to be the last-ever episode, before it was renewed for another set of Christmas episodes; the idea was that during this sequence, Del, Rodney, and Albert would be replaced by cartoon versions of themselves.
- Lampshaded in (another show called) Legend. The writer-turned-cowboy hero and his inventor buddy are looking at the sunset. The buddy asks "Shouldn't you be riding off into that?" The hero says "Yeah. It's a device of the genre. They have to end that way."
- Hollyoaks had fun with this trope by giving the couple Jon Paul and Craig a riding off into the sunset ending - by having them kiss in front of a holiday poster bearing a sunset before getting on a train together.
- Veronica Mars has a symbolic variation. Veronica walks away into the rain, signifying the consequences of the series finale being rather crappy (her Dad's facing charges that could land him serious jail time for protecting her, and their primary opponent for her Dad's old job as Sheriff is a corrupt puppet of the mafia). As the camera pans out, we get the impression that Veronica is upset not only because she inadvertently got her Dad in trouble, but because she knows she'll never change her ways.
- The Goodies episode spoofing movies has The End words catching on our heroes clothes, carrying them off across a classic movie sunset (and yes, one of the movies genres being spoofed was The Western).
- Parodied on General Hospital. After Ned and Lois reconcile, he has a dream of them doing just this. . .and then tearing through the fake backdrop.
- In Power Rangers Wild Force, Jindrax and Toxica walked off into the sunset after helping the Rangers save the Princess.
- The series premiere of Touched by an Angel ends with Monica and Tess driving off in a red convertible. The series finale ends with Monica driving off in the same way.
- Inevitably in The Mandalorian given that it's a Space Western, but the final episode of Season One has a subversion where the title character flies his spacecraft off in the direction of the sunset...then the camera pans over to Moff Gideon's crashed TIE fighter which he cuts his way out, and the final shot is of Moff Gideon standing before the sunset brandishing the Darksaber he used to do so.
- Sense8: In the first season finale Riley and Will narrowly escape the Evil, Inc. that's hunting sensates. The final shot of the episode is them sitting on the deck of Riley's friend's boat, which is carrying them out of Iceland, as it sails towards the setting sun.
- The Rising: In a variation, Neve rides off on her motor bike into the distance right at the end of the series, to the afterlife, with the sun making its ascent.
- The very last issue of ZX Spectrum magazine Your Sinclair had this for the back cover. Two cowboys riding off into the sunset, guns aloft, with the Your Sinclair logo at the bottom, and beneath it five small words: "Our work here is done."
- At the end of the video for "Give It Away", the Red Hot Chili Peppers run off into the sunset.
- Mentioned at the beginning of AC/DC's "T.N.T.": "See me ride into the sunset/On your color TV screen."
- In the Kansas song "Miracles Out of Nowhere," the lyrics in the pseudo-bridge: "I just play and then I go/ Off into the sunset like the western heroes do."
- "Micha" by Die Ärzte is a lonesome cowboy parody - sunset riding is mandatory.
- Parodied in the music video for Thumpasaurus's video for "Struttin'." In the end, after strutting away from the altar, the Strutman simply struts away in the setting sun as the whole town waves goodbye.
- At the end of the video for Darude's "Sandstorm", the three characters boat into the sunset.
- In Cabin Pressure, the final episode ends with Douglas and Herc being forced to fly into the sun, rising each time it appears to set (in a Call-Back to an earlier episode). Douglas declares "I hate flying into the sunset."
- The Brewing Network The episode simply titled 'D Day', which was the farewell for Session regular Daniela. She had gotten a job in her native Germany and this meant leaving the show. At times it became a real Tear Jerker.
- Hero Rides Away, a freelancer Charm from Exalted, allows you to regain power and create gratitude among the villagers you just saved by, well, riding off in some dramatic fashion, like having your horse rear up against the sunset or departing at the height of a thunderstorm. Of course, there's nothing preventing you from using this in the frozen North or verdant East rather than the desiccated South, meaning you can be a cowboy-movie hero while riding a simhatanote on a glacier.
- The fourth act of The Girl of the Golden West shows the sun beginning to rise on the Girl and her lover, who are leaving the West behind to start a new life.
- In Moonlight And Magnolias, screenwriter Ben Hecht and director Victor Fleming want to end Gone with the Wind with Rhett and Scarlett riding into the sunset together, rather than stay with Margaret Mitchell's more uncertain finish. David Selznick, the producer, is tempted but vetoes the idea.
- Finale has an interesting variation. The show ends with the cast walking into the burning sunset, as they walk to their deaths.
- Fallout and Fallout2 begin their ending cinematics with footage of the player character walking off into the desert.
- Both the opening and ending of Sunset Riders has the cowboy heroes ride their horses towards the sunset, to the surprise of absolutely nobody.
- The Bad Ending of Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards is a Warpstar Into The Sky.
- In Kirby's Dream Land, as well as in "Spring Breeze" in Kirby Super Star, the credits play as a giant Kirby is floating with King Dedede's castle towards the sunset.
- Also in Kirby Super Star/Ultra, after Kirby escapes from the sinking Halberd on a Wheelie Bike, he is shown riding off into the sunset.
- A riding into the sunrise variant occurs in the ending of Metal Gear Solid in which Snake and another character (either Meryl or Otacon) ride a snowmobile in the direction of the Alaskan sun.
- Ben, the protagonist of Full Throttle, rumbles off on his bike into a beautiful sunset.
- The last campaign of Left 4 Dead, "Blood Harvest," ends with the survivors getting into a military APC, which then drives off into the sunrise.
- Mass Effect ends with the Normandy flying away from the camera into the sunrise of an unknown gas giant.
- Max Payne 3 ends on one of these, with the title character walking off into the sunset of a beach in Bahia, Brazil.
- Red Dead Redemption despite being a game based on Westerns has a bit of fun with both subverting and playing this trope straight. Since John Marston dies at Ross's hands at the end of the game he doesn't have the tried and true riding off into the sunset happy ending where we know his adventuring days will continue, the game doesn't even get a proper credits scene after this takes place. In fact at John's grave his son Jack is moping around in depressingly sad rain while an achievement/trophy pops up lampshading the traditional ending to a Western called "Into The Sunset." It is eventually played straight when Jack gets revenge for his father's death and kills Ross and then walks off into the setting sun as the Red Dead Redemption logo blares across the screen allowing the credits to roll, conclusively ending the story.
- The credits cinematic of Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood shows the three McCall brothers riding off into the sunset—not the straightest example, as William is actually dead by the end of the game, so this scene is presumably a flashback Thomas or Ray are having of the time when they still traveled together.
- Happens twice in the Monkey Island series: once at the end of The Curse of Monkey Island, when the newlywed Guybrush and Elaine ride the Sea Cucumber off into the sunset, with his mutinied crew waving them goodbye; and once near the end of Tales of Monkey Island, when the newly-reborn Guybrush, Elaine, and Winslow ride the Screaming Narwhal off into the beautiful sunrise.
- At the end of the Heroes of Might and Magic III: Shadow of Death main campaign, the four good heroes part way as they ride into the sunrise.
- The ending of Snatcher.
- Every Time Crisis game ends with the protagonists riding into the sunset, usually by helicopter. Exceptions to this trope are Time Crisis II, where they fly into the sunrise; Time Crisis 4 where they fly into the early afternoon sun; and Time Crisis 5, where they swim into the sunrise.
- Out of This World has Buddy and Lester ride a dragon into the sunset.
- Azure Striker Gunvolt: The ending has the sunrise version of this, where Gunvolt has battled both sides of the conflict in the game. In this case, sunrise represents uncertainty of a new day, as Gunvolt has faced a tragedy and is at a loss on what he's going to do next.
- During the end credits in Star Fox 64, the Arwings and The Great Fox are shown flying into the sunset.
- Inverted in Street Rod 2; defeat The King, and the game ends with the protagonist taking The King's car (and girlfriend) and driving off into the sunrise.
- Girl Genius mocks the trope with Agatha's fashion-clank and the Weasel Queen running off into the sunset to go open a fashion house in Paris. Here.
- In Dead Winter, Black Monday Blues walks into the sunset at the end of chapter 1.
- Parodied in Wally and Osborne: since the titular duo live in Antarctica, the sun won't set in five months.
- The Nintendo Power tribute strip in Brawl in the Family ends with Howard and Nester walking off into the sunset, arguing all the while.
- "THIS IS A TERRIBLE ENDING!!!" Be that as it may, it's a fitting send-off for The Order of the Stick's otherwise most Genre Savvy Arc Villain.
- Subverted in the Alt Text to xkcd's "Showdown" — after the apparently sentient tumbleweed managed to gun down both cowboys, it tried to roll off into the sunset, but failed because the winds were blowing it in the wrong direction.
- "Can Twitch Chat beat ITSELF in a Videogame Tournament?", by YouTuber and Twitch streamer DougDoug, pits Doug's livestream audience against itself by dividing them into two teams and having them compete in a series of video game challenges. In the end, the two teams agree to work together in one final challenge, before ending the stream by having the character they control jump into the ocean and leap into the air like a dolphin, chasing the sunset.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Done by Zuko to complete the Showdown at High Noon homage during his Day in the Limelight. Though he's definitely not the triumphant hero in this case.
- Aang, Katara, and Sokka end episodes flying on Appa at sunset no fewer than five times in the first season. inverting the trope, this is generally used to show Aang's sense of loss and alienation against the coming darkness, and that all they have is each other.
- Seemingly played straight at the very end of Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, where B&B walk down the street into the sunset after finally locating their beloved TV set. Subverted just before the fade out when Butt-Head tells Beavis that he will most likely die a virgin because "You're too much of a Butt-Monkey". The original series finale, "Beavis and Butt-Head Are Dead", ends with a parody of this trope as well.
- In Ben 10: Alien Force, at the end of one episode featuring Professor Paradox, when the heroes leave the are, they ride off into the sunrise.
- At the end of the first episode of Bounty Hamster, Cassie ends up with her feet bound and tied to her inept Bounty Hunter Marion, so the two of them have to hop off into the sunset instead.
- The first episode of Bounty Hamster ends with Cassie and Marion, who have been tied together by a rival bounty hunter, hopping into the sunset to escape an angry mob of people whose space station they caused to crash.
- Chuck Jones' Merrie Melodies short "The Dover Boys at Pimento University". Dainty Dora Standpipe sashays off into the sunset (with the occasional bunny hop) with a very strange man.
- At the end of the Grand Finale of Danny Phantom, after the long-awaited Relationship Upgrade between Danny and Sam, the two fly away to see what the future holds for them.
- In the Family Guy episode "I Take Thee Quagmire", a parody of Malcolm in the Middle has Lois ranting until Hal kills her by hitting her with the freezer door, followed by him declaring that he and the boys are free as they walk off into the sunset.
- In the Garfield and Friends episode "Newsworthy Wade", the ending shows Wade and the host who interviewed him on "Seven Minutes" walking into the sunset, and seconds later, a chicken who kept interrupting the show makes a statement about how every cartoon these days ends with people walking into the sunset or laughing.
- Parodied in the G.I. Joe episode "Battle for the Train of Gold". Gung-Ho tries to ride off into the sunset on a horse only for said horse to buck him off. Gung-Ho then decides to ride off into the sunset behind the wheel of a jeep.
- Gravity Falls: The final scenes of the Grand Finale show Dipper, Mabel and Waddles on the bus to Piedmont and Dipper monologues about the town as several of the supporting cast are shown going in new directions in their lives:
- Old Man McGucket, now having recovered from his instability and having become rich thanks to patenting his inventions, moves into the former Northwest Mansion. A photo during the credits shows that he’s also rebuilding his relationship with his son.
- Soos has become the new Mr. Mystery, happily running the Shack alongside his Love Interest Melody. He also made a statue of Stan.
- Stan and Ford finally live out their childhood dream of sailing all over the world, hunting paranormal oddities in the north on the "Stan O' War II." They’ve also now fully repaired their relationship.
- Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt: Played with. The short appears to be ending with Hiawatha paddling away downriver into the setting sun, as Bugs quotes again from The Song of Hiawatha. Then suddenly Hiawatha zooms back to the riverbank, gives Bugs a big wet "Take That!" Kiss, and then rapidly zips away.
- Kim Possible: Slightly different in The Grand Finale: Kim and her partner/boyfriend Ron jump into her supercar, kiss, and fly off into the full moon.
- Parodied in King of the Hill: after Hank and Bobby came in second at a shooting competition, they walk to the sunset, because the parking lot is in that direction. Then they realize they left Peggy behind, so they walk back from the sunset. The final episode has them grilling into the sunset with their brand new grills as father and son, holding a cookout for the whole neighborhood.
- In The Looney Tunes Show episode "That's My Baby", Daffy did this as Tina stared after him. (He had just announced that he wanted to start a family with her, but suddenly derailed what he was saying into a speech about frozen yogurt, and continued to talk as he walked off...kind of spoiled the moment a bit.)
- Fittingly, the final episode of the Mega Man cartoon had Mega Man flying into the sunset on Rush.
- My Little Pony:
- My Little Pony 'n Friends: In "Crunch the Rockdog, Part 1", a story that Paradise is reading ends this way. Then Wind Whistler questions why anyone would start off on a journey at the end of the day.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Pinkie Pride", Cheese Sandwich leaves Ponyville this way. Since he's a pony, like nearly everypony else in the show, he just walks.
Pinkie Pie: I never did get that pony's name.
Everyone else: Cheese Sandwich!
- My Little Pony: Make Your Mark: "The Isle of Scaly" ends with the Mane Cast riding with their new dragon friends into the sunset, ready to take down Opaline and save the other dragons.
- Parodied at the end of one episode of Recess: Gus, after winning a game of dodgeball in the most awesome manner possible, ends the episode walking into a sunset that wasn't there before. Hector then yells, "Safety Man, where're you going? School isn't over yet!"
- The Ren & Stimpy Show: "I Was a Teenage Stimpy" ends with the fully-adult Stimpy inexplicably becoming a Flying Brick superhero and flying off into the sunset... except that he really does fly into the sun and is burned up during the Iris Out.
- Usually, Ricochet Rabbit will ricochet like a bullet into the sunset. His deputy Droopalong Coyote would try to do the same, only to crash into the sunset, shattering it to pieces.
- The end of Rocky and Bullwinkle boxtop story arc shows the title duo ride off the sunset being heroes.
- Parodied in The Simpsons when Bart helped a retired TV cowboy become a real hero. He rides back into his house then comes out and discards a sack of garbage.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: Appears in the episode "I Had An Accident", with a gorilla riding off on a pantomime horse while the main characters watch. Cut to a very confused live-action family watching on TV.
- SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron ends "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice" with the titular heroes flying their custom fighter jet, the Turbokat, into the sunset with afterburners blazing, after saving Megakat City from the undead sorcerer, The Pastmaster.
- That the Lone Ranger keeps doing this annoys the citizens in Thank You Mask Man, as he takes off before they can properly thank and reward him for his heroics around town.
- Total Drama:
- Because Lindsay is eliminated in "That's Off the Chain!" for losing the challenge rather than being voted off during the evening campfire ceremony, she leaves the island a little earlier in the day than the other contestants do. As the Boat of Losers with her on board sets sail, the sun sets before it.
- In the exclusive clip for "Plains, Trains, and Hot Air Mobiles", Ezekiel arrives at Tijuana Beach, Mexico at sundown. He picks up the fresh scent of the contestants and as he gazes at the ocean's horizon the setting sun takes the appearance of a bag of money. Now more determined than ever, he rises back on two legs and calmly walks into the water to make his way to Hawaii.