Quigley Down Under is a 1990 western film set in Australia's outback. Starring Tom Selleck, Alan Rickman and Laura San Giacomo, it was directed by Simon Wincer. The film was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, runs 119 minutes, and is rated PG-13 in the United States.
Tom Selleck plays Matthew Quigley, a cowboy and rifleman from America with a keen eye and a specially modified rifle with which he can shoot accurately at extraordinary distances. Quigley's weapon of choice is an 1874 Sharps Buffalo Rifle. He answers a newspaper advertisement that asks for men with a special talent in long distance shooting with four words: "Matthew Quigley 900 yards" written on a copy of the advertisement, punctuated by several closely spaced bullet holes. When he arrives in Australia, he is met by employees of the man who hired him, Elliot Marston (Alan Rickman). Quigley tries to prevent the men from forcing "Crazy Cora" (Laura San Giacomo) onto their wagon and beats the men until they learn that Quigley is the individual they were sent to pick up. Quigley is eventually taken to Marston's station in the Western Australian outback. Marston is infatuated with stories of quick-draw gunslingers from the American Old West, believing himself to have been born on the wrong continent, and amazed that Quigley has actually been to Dodge City. He hires Quigley to come to Australia to use his sharpshooting skills to help eradicate the native Aborigines. Marston's killing of aborigines is technically illegal, but he implies that it is tolerated by the local military police with whom Marston has "an arrangement." Quigley finds the idea abhorrent and the two men are quickly headed for a showdown. Laura San Giacomo provides comic relief and a love interest as "Crazy Cora." Having suffered a terrifying personal tragedy some years before the film's story begins, Cora appears to think that Quigley is her estranged husband, Roy. After Quigley turns Marston down, he throws Marston out of his house. Marston's Aborigine manservant knocks Quigley over the head and Marston's men first beat Quigley and then dump him and Cora in the Australian Outback two days away with no water and little chance of survival. However, Quigley manages to kill the two men, after which he and Cora are rescued by Aborigines. Recovering, they witness an attack by Marston's men on the Aborigines who helped them. Quigley kills three of Marston's men; a fourth escapes. Cora reveals that she was from Texas. When her home was attacked by Comanches, she hid in the root cellar. To prevent her infant son from revealing their hiding place, she covered the baby's mouth and unintentionally suffocated him. When her husband, Roy, arrived home and learned of the child's death, he took Cora to Galveston, Texas and put her alone on the first ship leaving, which happened to be bound for Australia. Escaping on a single horse, they encounter Marston's men driving Aborigines over a cliff. Quigley kills two more of the men and Cora finds an orphaned baby among the dead Aborigines. Caring for the baby helps Cora overcome her tragic past and she slowly begins to recognize Quigley as his real self and stops calling him Roy. Quigley rides alone to a nearby town leaving Cora and the infant Aborigine in the desert with food and water. In town, he obtains new ammunition from a town member who is eager to help when he learns Quigley plans to kill Marston. He also learns that he has become a legendary hero among the Aborigines. Marston's men recognize Quigley's horse and attack him, cornering him in a burning building. Escaping through a skylight, Quigley kills all but one of Marston's men, whom he sends back to Marston to tell him that Quigley is coming for him. Cora gives the baby to Aborigines in the town. Quigley leaves Cora with the townspeople and rides to Marston's ranch where he first shoots Marston's men from a distance. Marston gradually loses more and more men to Quigley, until Quigley is eventually captured by Marston's last two men. Marston, who believes that Quigley does not know how to use a revolver well, decides to give him a lesson in the "quick-draw" style of gunfighting. As the two face off, Marston makes the first move, but is beaten to the draw by Quigley, who shoots Marston and his two remaining men. As Marston lays dying, referring to an early conversation concerning Colt revolvers, Quigley tells him, "I said I never had much use for one. Never said I didn't know how to use it." Marston's servant comes out of the house and gives Quigley his rifle then walks away from the ranch, stripping off his western-style clothing as he goes. As Quigley binds his wounds, a troop led by a hostile British Major, the official with whom Marston had "an arrangement," arrives. The Major informs Quigley that he is under arrest for murder and that he will be hanged. Quigley says that he "won't swing from no gallows," and the Major replies that in that case, Quigley will be shot "while bearing arms against the forces of Her Majesty, the Queen." As the troopers raise their rifles, a strong wind sweeps over the plain and suddenly the surrounding hills are lined with Aborigines, including Marston's servant. Though they take no direct hostile action, the troopers seem convinced that the Aborigines will attack if Quigley is killed, so they leave. After the troopers are gone, Quigley looks up to the hills to see that the Aborigines have vanished, except for Marston's servant, who turns and walks away. The next scene shows Quigley seeking to buy passage back to America. The ticket clerk has a wanted poster beneath his desk identifying Quigley. He holds a pistol beneath the desk and asks for the passenger's name. Before Quigley can answer, Cora comes into the ticket office and stands by his side. They exchange a long glance, and Quigley tells the clerk that he is "Roy Cobb" and asks for two tickets. The clerk then puts the pistol down. As Quigley and Cora walk along the wharf to the ship, she reminds him that he once told her she had to say two words before he would make love to her. Quigley stops, looking confused, and asks her what the words were. As she walks past, she says, smiling broadly, "Matthew Quigley." Quigley turns Cora around, she removes his hat and runs her fingers through his hair, and they embrace in a passionate kiss.