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Silverado is a Reconstruction of a Western film genre. Released in the theaters July 1985, it starred many well-known (or soon to be well-known) actors, including Kevin Kline, Danny Glover, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner, Jeff Goldblum, Brian Dennehey and John Cleese.
In 1880, misfit cowboys Emmitt (Glenn), his brother Jake (Costner), Paden (Kline), and Mal (Glover), all of whom are going to Silverado, help a group of settlers regain their money from a group of bandits and accompany them to the town. The cowboys find that it is has been taken over by greedy rancher Ethan McKendrick (Ray Baker) and corrupt Sheriff Cobb (Dennehey), and decide to liberate it and restore peace and equality to the town.
This film contains examples of:
- Affably Evil: Cobb.
- Axe Crazy: Tyree.
- And Your Little Dog, Too: Lampshaded when corrupt town sheriff Cobb indicates to Paden that he'll harm Stella if Paden moves against him, even though Cobb acknowledges she has nothing whatsoever to do with their dispute. He does however know Paden (whom he used to work with when they were robbers) got caught while protecting a wounded dog he'd previously claimed to despise, so figures the threat will make Paden back off. It works at first, but Stella figures out what's happened and talks Paden into fighting Cobb anyway.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: Cobb and McKendrick.
- Catch Phrase: Paden has "Bad luck." Mal has "That ain't right."
- Chase Scene: A horseback high-speed chase between Emmitt and the Big Bad during the climax.
- Dirty Cop: Cobb. Inverted with Sheriff John Langston, who takes it too far in the other direction.
- Clueless Deputy: See Smart People Play Chess for an example of how this is used.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: The outlaw Dawson is a hard man to fool; if it wasn't for the element of surprise, things could've gone very badly for Emmitt on The Infiltration.
Dawson: I think there's only a couple of guys up there, and this asshole's one of them!
- Deadpan Snarker: Particularly Paden, Emmitt, and Stella, but everyone gets in a few.
Paden: They just jumped you out of the blue, huh?
Emitt: I had to get up anyway.
- Determined Widow: When introduced, she's a Determined Homesteader's Wife, but he's Too Dumb to Live. An early love interest for Paden, until he meets Stella in the eponymous town.
- The Drifter: Paden
- Even Evil Has Standards: McKendrick won't let one of his men kill a boy, even though the boy saw their faces. They opt to kidnap him instead.
- Everything's Better with Cows: Yep, nothing like a stampede to disrupt the bad guys while you move in for the kill.
- Exactly What I Aimed At: As a posse is chasing the leads into some hills, several warning shots come from Mal, who is hiding somewhere out of sight. As his shots ricochet off nearby rocks and cacti, a deputy says: "Let's go, he ain't hittin' nothin'". This prompts Langston to retort: "You idiot, he's hit everything he's aimed at". [cue the sheriff's hat getting knocked off by the next shot].
- Five-Man Band:
- Friendly Enemy: Paden and Cobb.
- Guns Akimbo: Jake (portrayed by Kevin Costner) character is styled in broad strokes. Lightning draws, blind trick shots, horse riding skills and firing two guns at the same time.
- Horseback Heroism: A Big Damn Heroes moment combined with a horseback Power Walk towards the Big Bad's ranch at the climax.
- Earlier in the movie, Jake is leading a horse through town when his nephew attempts the classic Western trope of leaping into the saddle.
Jake: Told you, practice on a horse that's not movin'.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Mal is astonishingly accurate with his Henry rifle. Also Emmitt, who picks off cactus needles at several yards.
- The Infiltration: Part of a hastily-concocted plan to retrieve a stolen chest of settlers' valuables from some bandits who had themselves posed as wagon train guides during the trip to the eponymous town. If it weren't for Mal, it would have ended... badly:
Dawson: You bring a posse to my best hideout, and you ask me if I mind?! Mister, I don't know any of those names. You're about to die.
- Just Got Out of Jail: Emmitt just served five years in prison for killing a man in self defense.
- Large Ham: Brion James makes the most out of his brief screen time as Hobart.
- Miss Kitty: Stella, "The 'Midnight Star' herself."
- Nice Hat: When Paden is introduced, he is lamenting the loss of his black hat with a pretty silver band on it.
- Noodle Incident: When Cobb tells the story of how Paden's reaction to Tyree's Kick the Dog moment (actually, he shot the dog, but that's another trope) got him arrested, Paden's reply has to be a joke. Either way, how did he get out of jail?
Paden: It evened out in the end, though. They locked me up. The dog sprung me.
- No One Could Survive That: Three times. To wit:
- When Paden is introduced, he has been left to die of exposure in the middle of the desert by a group of bandits. None of them are happy to see him.
- Immediately prior to the climax, some mooks get between Emmitt and any chance of a reload while he's practicing his sharpshooting, and trample him repeatedly with horses. Mal treats him for his injuries.
- Jake and Emmitt's nephew is mourning the apparent death of Jake, whose acrobatic nature is highlighted throughout the movie.
Emmitt: [stifling laughter] Jake... fell off a horse.
Paden: Where've you been?
Jake Playin' dead.
- Oh Crap: When Paden encounters the bandits from his backstory, he points out whatever it is of his that they currently have on them. None of them say "so what?" presumably because they left him to die of exposure in the desert.
Paden: You're wearing my hat.
[Bandit slowly reaches for his holster]
Paden: Your fingers better not be ticklin' my ivory-handled Colt.
- Professional Gambler: Slick. "Scuse me, Sheriff, I'm a gambler, lookin' to run an honest game. Who would I talk to about that?" Paden also talks in gambling metaphors and mutters about bad luck.
- Ramp Jump: Emmitt does one on horseback towards the end of the Chase Scene, and knocks the Big Bad from his horse.
- Rancher: The Big Bad is a Corrupt Corporate Executive version, leading to conflict between him and Mal's dad.
- Retired Gunfighter: Emmitt
- Retired Outlaw: Paden
Emmitt: [after Cobb shoots a man for embezzling] You used to ride with that guy?
- Red Shirt: Conrad, the settler who distrusts Emmitt, Mal, Paden, and Jake and accompanies them to take back the settler’s money. He looks somewhat important, but is unceremoniously Shot dead by one of Dawson’s men.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Kelly.
- Sacrificial Lion: Ezra.
- The Sheriff: Langston as the honest variety, Cobb as the Corrupt Hick variety.
- Showdown At High Noon: Cobb and Paden, although the time of day is never mentioned.
- Stock British Characters: John Cleese plays a British Bobby Sheriff in a small frontier town.
- Smart People Play Chess: Sheriff Langston plays chess with himself, showing that he is intelligent and Surrounded by Idiots. He plays with a deputy sitting across the board from him, but turns the board around after each move to play both sides.
- Smug Snake: "Slick," played by Jeff Goldblum.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Langston will do anything to keep the peace in Tursley, and that includes punishing people for self-defense, arresting Jake and Paden for shooting people attacking them dead and running Mal out of town for beating up some racists attacking him.
- What Happened To The
MouseDog? Paden is asked repeatedly by his old riding buddies what became of the injured dog that drove him out of banditry. When Stella asks, he says simply, "She left me," jokingly making it sound like the end of a romance, and continuing to evade the question.
- The Wild West: A reconstruction of classic frontier America during the Wild West era.
- Young Gun: Jake
- You Killed My Father: Mal’s father Ezra is killed by McKendrick’s men.