Silverado (1985)


Silverado is a 1985 American Western film directed by Lawrence Kasdan and written by Lawrence and Mark Kasdan. The movie features an ensemble cast, including Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Danny Glover, Kevin Costner, John Cleese, and Brian Dennehy.


Four men - Paden (Kevin Kline), Emmett (Scott Glenn), Jake (Kevin Costner) and Mal (Danny Glover) - meet by chance and travel to the town of Silverado, where they thwart a corrupt rancher and the ruthless sheriff who is on the rancher's payroll. The film opens with a gunfight in which Emmett kills three men who ambush him at a deserted shack. Unbeknownst to him, these men worked for a man named Ethan McKendrick (Ray Baker) whose father Emmett had killed. Emmett had just been released from prison after serving five years for the killing. As he travels to the town of Silverado, he finds a man, Paden, lying near death in the desert. The men with whom Paden had been riding had robbed him and left him to die. Emmett and Paden ride to the town of Turley to meet Emmett's brother, Jake, who has been jailed, and is awaiting hanging, for killing a man in self-defense. Paden is also jailed when he finds one of the men who robbed him and kills him. Emmett breaks the two of them out of jail and the three escape with the help of Malachi Johnson, a black sharpshooter who was run out of town by Turley's overzealous sheriff, expatriate Englishman Langston (John Cleese). After helping a wagon train of settlers recover their stolen cash from a group of thieves and leading them to Silverado, the group disbands to find their relatives, or, like Paden, settle into the town. Emmett and Jake learn from their sister's husband, the federal land agent for the area, that McKendrick is attempting to maintain the open range, which he will dominate with his enormous herds of cattle, by driving all lawful claimants off the land through violence carried out by his paid henchmen. Mal finds his father's farm has been burned down, overrun by cattle, and his father (Joe Seneca) has been driven onto a nearby mesa, where he hides in a cave. The group soon discovers that the town's sheriff, Cobb (Brian Dennehy), an old friend of Paden's, is on the rancher's payroll and is defending the actions of the man's thugs. After McKendrick and his men burn the land office, capture Jake, shoot Emmett's sister and brother-in-law, and kidnap their son, Augie (Thomas Wilson Brown), Paden determines to defy Cobb. The four stampede McKendrick's cattle to provide cover for a raid on his ranch, in which most of the cowboys are killed and the kidnapped boy is rescued. The four then return to town where, in a series of encounters, each defeats his personal antagonist. In the last of these, Paden kills Cobb in a classic Western fast draw duel. In the final scene, Emmett and Jake leave for California, their long stated goal, Mal and his sister reunite and decide to rebuild their father's homestead, and Paden is now the sheriff.