Greatest Film Scenes
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Seven Men From Now (1956)


Written by Tim Dirks

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Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Seven Men From Now (1956)

In director Budd Boetticher's traditional vendetta-revenge western - the first of seven excellent westerns (between 1956 and 1960) known as the "Ranown cycle" bringing together Randolph Scott and Boetticher (most of them were released through Columbia Pictures):

  • the character of vengeful, guilt-ridden former Silver Springs Sheriff Ben Stride (Randolph Scott) on a vigilante hunt - obsessively tracking and searching for seven men who had committed a freight office robbery, led by Payte Bodeen (John Larch); in the film's opening set in Arizona in the 1800s, Stride killed two of the suspected miscreant outlaws during a heavy rainstorm [Note: Stride was once the sheriff of Silver Springs, who felt indirectly responsible for the killing of his wife during the robbery of the Wells Fargo freight office in Silver Springs, where she worked as a clerk]
  • afterwards, he befriended a married couple - two naive Eastern travelers on their way to California: salesman John Greer (Walter Reed) and his wife Annie (Gail Russell) - he accompanied them on their journey south to the border town of Flora Vista to help them (an 'avenging' angel who was also a 'guardian' angel); on the side, he began to take a growing romantic interest in Annie
  • the group's encounter with villainous, flamboyant, over-confident ex-con Bill Masters (Lee Marvin), an ex-nemesis of Stride's (he had been jailed twice by Stride in the past), known for his dark green scarf, whose opportunistic objective was to follow along and eventually get his hands on the $20,000 in gold that the seven men had robbed, once Stride had taken care of them
  • the brilliant sequence of Masters' impertinent story-telling inside the close-quarters of the wagon during a night of rain and ominous thunder, told to Stride and the Greers as they drank coffee together - he described how a wife was once lured away from her soft and gentle husband ("half a man") by a more rugged, tall and tougher stranger - alluding to the fact that Annie was drawn to Stride: "That's the trouble with the likes of you and me, Sheriff. We never take time out for the fancy things in life. We leave that to the fellas that run sort of gentle, soft...Been that way ever since ever, l guess. Of course, that ain't sayin' that women don't warm up to the likes of us....Why, l knew me a little old gal one time, looked a whole lot like you, Mrs. Greer. She'd been married maybe five, six years. Husband, he kind of short on spine. And one day, along come this big, good-looking gent started warmin' up to her. First thing you know, why, this little old gal, she just up and (Stride interrupted: "Drink your coffee, Masters!") Ain't you interested in what she up and did, Sheriff?...Yeah, she looked a lot like you, ma'am. But not near as pretty....Well, don't you want to hear the rest of the story, Mr. Greer? You might could learn somethin' from it...You know what, Sheriff? l just happened to think of somethin'. Danged if you don't remind me of that big, good-looking gent l was talkin' about. You know, the one that run off with the other fella's woman?...Sure you don't wanna hear the rest of the story? Suit yourself"
  • the later revelation that gullible John Greer had been promised to be paid $500 to deliver the stolen Wells Fargo gold in his wagon to men awaiting him in Flora Vista (he didn't know they were murderous bandits); during a confrontation with two more of the robbers, Stride killed them, but was wounded in the leg (and needed to use a cane); when Greer reached Flora Vista (without the gold), he was gunned down when he told Bodeen that Stride had persuaded him to leave the strong-box of gold behind
  • after a pair of eventual showdowns and shootouts, Bodeen was killed by Masters, and in a classic confrontation between the two main leads over the strong-box of gold lying on the ground between them - Masters was shot and killed by Stride, and fell onto the Wells Fargo strong-box
  • in the finale, Stride returned the box of gold to Wells Fargo, and expressed his intentions to return to his job as deputy lawman in Silver Springs - with Annie tailing along with him


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