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Westerns final movie scenes in film history ....5 of the best
1. "The Searchers"...final scene
Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) has returned home from the Civil War to his brothers ranch in Texas. Ethan is hoping to find peace after the war in his native Texas by being with his brother's family and the woman he is obviously secretly in love with his brother's wife. After a Comanche raid Ethan's niece Debbie and a few others are captured. Ethan sets out, along with his part Indian nephew Martin (Jeffery Hunter). "The Searchers" quest to find Debbie takes over the course of many years through summer scorching sun and winter blizzards. Debbie during this time has become the squaw of Chief Scar. Not soon after the quest Martin starts to question Ethan's true motive in the quest rather to rescue Debbie or kill her for being assimilated into Chief Scar tribes.
Ethan after living in rough and tumble Texas fighting Indians and battle weary from the Civil War has become a very hard, brutal and bitter man. And it seems his hatred for Indians is much as a driving force in the search for Debbie as much as trying to locate his kidnapped niece.
Why is the final scene so great? John Ford decided to shoot this scene from the shadows of the interior of the cabin the symbol for family in the movie. The silhouette's of Ethan's family entering the their home obviously relieved that Debbie is in a fact alive and has been returned to them shows a very loving and caring family. But, in the end, Ethan does not enter the home and stays just outside the shadows and turns and walks away knowing he really does not belong. Once again, he is a man alone with his thoughts.
2. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, final scene
This film of course is based on real people, but so little is known about Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman), Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) and the school teacher Etta Place (Katharine Ross) that the filmmakers were able to take many liberties with the story line. The film includes a mixture comedy and action, but it is the drama and the likeable characters that make "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" one of the best Westerns ever produced.
Butch the idea man and Sundance Kid the gunfighter are the two leaders of the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang. After Butch and Sundance rob a train once too often, a special posse is formed and begins trailing them no matter where they run or hide. Over rock, through towns, across rivers, the group is always just behind them. When they finally escape through sheer luck (Another great scene) by jumping off a cliff into a raging river. Butch has another idea, "Let's go to Bolivia".
The relationship and chemistry between Butch and Sundance is so electrifying to say the least. You can tell these two outlaws are closer than brothers.
Why is the final scene so great? Cornered and bleeding our two favorite outlaws are out numbered and out gunned, but still keep their sense of humor and the love for each other is so evident. Watch as Sundance places the loaded pistol in Butch's hand. It really is a tender moment. As they charge out into the hail of gunfire the action goes freeze frame. You, the viewer does not see their deaths or really know if they did it fact die. As in real life, nobody really knows what happed to the famous pair of outlaws.
3. Shane...final scene
A gunfighter rides into a small Wyoming town, Shane (Alan Ladd) is handsome and mysterious. Homesteader Joe Starrett (Van Heflin) and his wife (Jean Arthur) are being run off of their place by a ruthless cattle rancher and Shane the gunslinger decides to help him save his land. Shane starts to have tender feelings toward Joes wife and her young son Joey (Brandon De Wilde). Joey starts to idolize and worship Shane.
When the rancher arranges to have the elder Starrett executed, Shane arrives in his place and in the ensuing gun battle, Shane kills several of the rancher cowboys and hired gunslinger (Jack Palance) but Shane comes out the victor but is wounded in the hail of bullets.
Why is the final scene so great? After the final gunfight little Joey is waiting outside. Joey's hero Shane knows that it's time to move on that because of who he is that he will only bring trouble to the family that he has grown to care about and learned to love. Wounded and bleeding Shane assures the young Joey that the town and his family are now safe and says his goodbyes. Joey is heartbroken and tearful that his hero and idol will just ride away and in a vain attempt tries to get Shane to stay. Shane does not look back and makes his way into the mountains, the extent of his wounds unknown. A very tender moment between a boy and a man who is not his father...
4. Jeremiah Johnson
After the Mexican was Jeremiah (Robert Redford) heads to the Rocky Mountains to be a mountain man and seeks solace and refuge in the wilderness. He has a difficult time and near starving while fishing by hand, he runs in the chief of the Crow tribe Paints-His-Shirt-Red.
Some time later he meets elderly and eccentric mountain man "Bear Claw" Chris Lapp (Will Gear) who takes Jeremiah the starving pilgrim in and teaches him the way of the mountains.
Soon after leaving Bear Claw Jeremiah comes across a woman whose family has been slaughtered by Indians and who has clearly lost her mind. He finds her your boy Caleb still alive and decided reluctantly to take the boy with him.
During his travels and adventures he meets and another mountain man Del Gue (Stefan Gierasch) who I think is the most interesting character in the film. He helps Del Gue regain some horses that were stolen from him by some Indians and in the process all the horse thief's were killed.
Jeremiah is married off to a Flathead Indian princess that he really does not want. So now he has a wife and a son to look after.
Soon after Johnson and his wife Swan do actually fall in love with each other and after building a cabin Jeremiah, Swan and Caleb become a loving and caring family. Johnson then is pressed into service to find some stranded pioneers by the military and leaves his family in doing so.
While he is, he is away Jeremiah and the rescue party across a Crow Indian sacred burial ground and the Crows send a raiding party to Jeremiah's cabin and Swan and Caleb are killed,
Jeremiah, after burying his love ones goes on the warpath and tracks down the Indian raiding party and kills all but one. The crow nation, then decides Jeremiah is a warrior they are proud to call their enemy and start sending one of their best warriors one at a time to try to kill Jeremiah. Jeremiah becomes the victor in all of the battles and in turn he is now becoming a legend amongst the Indians and mountain men alike.
Why is the final scene so great? After so much time with Jeremiah on the warpath wanting his revenge, he has become a man he doesn't like. He had wanted to go to the mountains for peace and solace. In the final scene peace was found by Jeremiah Johnson and crow chief Paints-His-Shirt-Red through raw courage. This was the grandest way to end this great movie. Both men sought peace. Both men found peace.
Little Bill (Gene Hackman) is the Sheriff of the town of Big Whisky and trying to build houses for his retirement. And Little Bill has his own brand of heavy handed justice in the town. The town is full of cowboys and whores all just trying to make a living. Then a couple of drunken cowboys cut up a whore and Little Bill's brand of justice does not set well with the soiled doves.
The prostitutes decided to pool their money and put a bounty on the cowboys that cut up their friend. The bounty attracts a young gun calling himself the 'The Schofield Kid', and aging killer William Munny (Clint Eastwood). Munny had married and changed his life and was living peacefully with his kids until his wife's death. With his wife gone, farm life is hard and Munny is no good at it. So he calls his old partner Ned (Morgan Freeman), saddles his horse, and rides off to kill one more time, blurring the lines between heroism and villainy.
Why is the final scene so great? Unforgiven is one of the greatest westerns ever produced. All the makings of a classic when the movie introduces two aging gunman in the old west. Munny a ruthless bandit and murderer who "Wasn't like that any more" who had changed his ways, and Little Bill a sheriff whose tactics in justice are nothing short of brutal. The viewer gets to know these two aging men and eventually in the end, we get to see the two meet. "I don’t like that, no more", William Munny constantly says throughout the film. The film builds and builds to one of the most memorable climaxes in film. Unforgiven is an amazing western film throughout, but it's the ending that makes it a masterpiece.