Anyways as this post relates to westerns: The movie Silverado. As noted it made the list of my top ten favorite westerns (that was favorite, not necessarily best) Silverado is a wicked fun movie, and a throw back to the westerns of old. I even mentioned it as a guilty pleasure but its not. I rewatched it recenlty and I have to say in terms of pacing its hard to beat as movie.
The opening scene of Emmet fighting of some desperado who were looking to bushwhack him while he was sleeping is all kinds of awesome and then spreads out to the majestic scenery of the American West.
Did I mention this happens in the first 5 minutes of the movie?
From there we quickly meet the second protagonist Paden left for dead in the desert. Form there ist a quick job to picking up his brother Jake played by Kevin Costner and at nearly the same time where they meet Mal played by Danny Glover. So within the first 20 minutes or so we have the four main characters all together.
One of the great things this movie does is give a sense of background very quickly in terms of each of the protagonists. Its a bit cliched sure, but in each case its all for the betterment of the movie. Remember, Silverado is about quick action and keeping it movie throughout.
Before they even make it to Silverado, Paden and Emmett encounter Paden's former trail friend Cobb and his unsavory henchmen Tyree and we are introduced to the running joke of "Where's the dog?" This is of course proceeded by a great gunfight by Paden while in his underclothes.
Lawerence Kasdan also does a good job with the racism of the Old West with Mal's character in the bar fight in Turley. Its difficult to do in today's political climate but handled well, even with the subtle implications from Sheriff Langston in running Mal out of town.
A side track to recover a stolen money box from some wagon trainers eventually results in the four getting to Silverado. There Paden finds Stella at the Midnight Star saloon meeting Cobb who reveals himself as the town Sheriff shortly thereafter.
The events in the mid section start the buildup to the finale, but are not without tension or death(s) as Mal's father is killed and Emmet nephew kidnapped with Emmett being nearly killed by the vicious Tyree. At no time does it feel forced as it jumps from scene to scene with Jake getting into it with who else Tyree and Mal and Slick arguing over Mal's sister.
Events come to a head with the kidnapping of Jake and Emmett's nephew and McKendrick burning down the house of their sister.
I can't say it enough, the movie is a whirlwind, with each scene having something to it. One area that lacks somewhat is the usual western romance. Apparently it was part of the movie and we see snippets of it from the interactions of Paden, Emmet and Hannah. The problem was during editing they had to cut something from the various subplots. Because of that the only thing that seems disjointed is those scenes as the whole story is not there.
In the end the final showdown is great as each of the protagonists guns down his own personal foe: Emmet killing McKendrick, Mal taking out Slick, Jake take out two bad guys simultaneously (one being Tyree, and finally a high noon showdown with Paden getting the drop on Cobb.
The film ends with a toast in the Midnight Star which Stella now runs on her own for the brothers as they head to California. As Emmett and Paden exchange goodbyes, Emmet remarks that Paden will make a farmer yet, to which Paden grins saying "I've got a job" as he slowly pulls back his coat revealing the Sheriff's star of the town of Silverado.
I would also be remiss if I did not point out the ensemble cast, its loaded with stars: Kevin Cline as Paden, Scott Glenn as Emmett; Kevin Costner as Jake, Danny Glover as Mal, John Cleese,
Rosanna Arquette, Brian Dennehy, Linda Hunt, Jeff Fahey, Joe Seneca and Jeff Goldblum to name but a few of the actors in the movie. There are a number of other actors you'll probably recognize.
The scenery is great and the town very realistsic. The filmakers did an ingenous thing of simply filming it from different angles during the shooting of the movie to represent different town as needed. Shot in New Mexico it is obviously the right climate and locale of the film.
So how does this apply to RPGs? If you are playimng your favorite western system: Deadlands, Boot Hill, Western City, what have you, if you model even a portion of your campaign on Silverado you'll have a great game. Right from the beginning there is a rise in tension, setups galore for later and reasons to care about the heroes (and wrongs for them to right). If one were using the default city and area of Boot Hill, Promise City and its environs it would work well.
Think about it, recovering loot, vengeance, stampedes, gunfights, shootouts, swearing, tension, whiskey, bar fights, hangings (almost), gambling, backstabbing, the cavalry making an appearance (not in the usual western cliched way)you name it. The only thing missing is some stagecoach or locomotive fights scenes. In fact my... own game Hurled into Eternity would be a great way to recreate the old West! (plug, plug). Speaking of which I'm gearing up to add some changes to the way combat works to make it a bit more survivable and it should be up soon.
I leave you with the trailer to wet your whistle for a great movie, saddle up!