"I'll kill you if I have to ride all the way to Hell to do it."
Description: - Sharon Stone as a mysterious female gunfighter threatens to kill a corrupt town mayor in the motion picture The Quick and the Dead (1990).
In the year 1881, Ellen (aka “The Lady”) rides into the dusty frontier town of Redemption to avenge her father’s death. Her target is John Herod (Gene Hackman), a ruthless man who controls the town with a band of hired mercenaries. Herod takes 50% of everything earned and the citizens (who want to live) let him get away with it.
When Ellen was a child, Herod and his outlaw gang put a noose around her father's neck. To give Ellen a chance to save her father, Herod handed her a gun and promised to release her father if she could shoot the hangman's rope. Loving her father dearly, Ellen tried to fire a bullet to snap the rope but instead she killed her father. Now an adult, her mission is clear: Kill Herod and avenge her father. As Ellen said herself, "Some people deserve to die."
When "The Lady" arrives in town, Herod is sponsoring an annual quick-draw competition which has attracted gunslingers across the territory who put their lives on the line for fame and fortune. Anyone can challenge anyone, but the contest is rigged in Herod's favor. Gunfighters signed up for the contest include:
- Ace Handlen (Lance Henriksen), a card player and crack shot who claims to have killed the Terrence Brothers in Indian Wells. Unfortunately, Herod was the one who really killed those outlaws and tells Ace, "I was the one that really killed the Terrence brothers, and I doubt if a lying little chickenshit like you was even in the same state." Soon after Herod pays Ace back with a bullet for being a liar.
- Fee "The Kid" Herod (Leonardo DeCaprio), a cocky youth worth $3,000 in four states. Seventy-five offenses and no convictions. He brags, "I'm so damned fast I can wake up at the crack of dawn, rob two banks, a train and a stage coach, shoot the tail feathers off a duck's ass at 300 feet, and still be back in bed before you wake up next to me." Herod denies Fee is his son and has no qualms about killing him when he confronts him in the fast-draw challenge. When Ellen hears that Herod would fight his own son, she snarls, "I'm gonna kill you if I have to ride all the way to Hell to do it." Herod then asks, "Do you have some particular problem with me?" Ellen replies, "I'll let you know."
- Cort (Russell Crowe), an outlaw turned priest who used ride with Herod as a member of his gang. Herod wants Cort to compete in the contest because he wants to prove he is a better shot. But Cort, considered the fastest gun in the west, is now a man of peace and refuses, so Herod has his mercenaries burn down Cort's church and enters him in the contest against his will.
- Sgt. Clay Cantrell (Keith David), a former Union soldier of the American Civil War hired by the town to participate in the tournament in the hopes he would kill Herod. When Herod learns that the town hired an assassin, he defeats Cantrell and then raises the stakes of the competition. From that point on, there would be no survivors. It was now kill or be killed. Each match occurred when the clock tower hit the top of the hour.
"All I hear from you, you spineless cowards, is how poor you are; how you can't afford my taxes. Yet somehow, you managed to find the money to hire a gunfighter to kill me. If ya got so much money, I'm just gonna have to take some more. Because clearly some of you haven't got the message! This is my town! I run everything! If you live to see the dawn, it's because I allow it! I decide who lives and who dies! Your gunfighter is dead. Old news." - John Herod
As the gunfighters begin to thin out the ranks and Herod is looking more and more like the winner, Ellen conspires with some of the town folks to level the playing field in their favor. As the town clock hits the top of the hours dynamite blows up the town and in short order Cort kills all of Herod's henchman, saying "Sorry, John. Changed the rules. From now on, all the fights are fair."
With the odds in her favor, Ellen confronts Herod in the street in a face-to face showdown. Herod tries to break Ellen's confidence, saying, "You're not fast enough." But with steely determination, she replies, "I am today" and shoots Herod dead. With the deed done, Ellen leaves town, as Cort takes over as the new sheriff.
Note: The movie trailer for The Quick and the Dead (1990) follows:
"In a town called Redemption, Death is a way of life. Some fight for money. Some fight for glory. But one stranger has come here looking for something else. She can play their game. She can beat their odds. But there is one thing she can't do. Forget the past...The Quick. The Dead. In this town, you're either one...or the other."