The Last Outlaw (TV film)

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The Last Outlaw was a western released in 1994 starring Mickey Rourke, Dermot Mulroney, Ted Levine, Daniel Quinn, Gavan O'Herlihy, Keith David, John C. McGinley, and Steve Buscemi, along with a variety of other known actors, which has since become a cult classic among western genre fans. It was directed by Geoff Murphy and written by Eric Red.

Introduction[edit]

The story follows a band of former Confederate soldiers who were part of a cavalry unit that had fought during the American Civil War, with few surviving to its end. Their commander, Graff (Rourke) had once been a heroic and staunch supporter of the southern cause, but after losing his family he became cold hearted and ruthless. His second in command is Eustis (Mulroney), whom Graff has trained since 1861 on the strategies of leadership and combat command, right down to knowing exactly how many rounds of ammunition each of his soldiers has. The film centers around the relationship between Graff and Eustis, and the irony of Eustis turning on Graff due to Graff making a decision that Eustis disagrees with, and which mirrors a decision Eustis is also forced to make himself as a commander later.

Plot[edit]

When the war ends, the cavalry unit commanded by Graff makes the decision to stay together, and turn outlaw. They begin committing bank robberies, and are successful due to their experience and tactics. Local citizens and lawmen are no match for them. However, when a robbery goes horribly wrong, resulting in the unit being shot up badly, with Loomis (Quinn) badly wounded, they find themselves pursued by Marshal Sharp, who is respected and feared, as well as being diligent and honest and extremely capable.

Graff makes the command decision to kill the injured Loomis so that he won't delay their escape. Eustis objects, and when Graff slaps Eustis then moves to shoot Loomis, Eustis instead shoots Graff. Graff falls out of his saddle and rolls down a hillside, and thinking he is dead, Eustis now takes command and leads the band toward Mexico, with the posse still in pursuit. Potts (Levine) initially challenges Eustis as a commander, but Eustis beats him in a fist fight.

Marshal Sharp and his posse come upon the slightly wounded Graff, and take him prisoner. With Graff in chains, the posse continues their pursuit. Eustis sets up an ambush and several posse members are killed. During the chaos Graff kills Marshal Sharp. Now leaderless, the posse decides to return home, but banker McClintock demands they continue the chase. Graff makes the posse members an offer of part of the loot taken by his former gang, if they help him track them down. They accept this more generous offer. With Graff now leading the posse, the posse sets up an ambush. Graff shoots and kills Philo (Buscemi) and wounds Loomis, then shoots parts of Loomis' body off, until Eustis shoots and kill Loomis to put him out of his misery.

When posse members attempt to cut off Philo's trigger finger as a trophy, Graff tells them he will kill them if they do, as Philo was one of "his men", showing that he respected and cared for his former soldiers. Later, Graff encounters members of the gang, almost like a ghost, keeping them nervous and frightened. Wills (McGinley) steals the stolen money and leaves it in front of the posse, hoping they will stop the chase. Graff kills McClintock, throwing his body and the money off a cliff. He stages a shootout with the outlaws, and tells the posse it had been a trap.

Wills loses his horse, and Eustis decides it is necessary to leave him behind. On foot, Wills waits for the posse, killing a couple of them before being killed.

Lovecraft encounters Graff, who gives him extra ammunition and tells him he'll be spared if he kills Eustis. When Eustis gives Lovecraft ammunition to fill his pistol, he finds that Lovecraft already has a full chamber. Eustis, knowing that Lovecraft did not have a full six rounds left, realizes that Lovecraft has betrayed him. However, when Eustis presses for Lovecraft to do what Graff sent him to do, Lovecraft is overwhelmed with fear and guilt, and commits suicide.

There are only two gang members left, Eustis and Potts. They make for the Rio Grande, but Potts is shot through the gut by Graff. With Potts dead, Eustis, now alone, makes a final stand against the posse. He kills all of them except for Graff. The two draw, and Eustis is faster, but his gun is empty. As Graff approaches, Eustis shoots him with a pocket derringer, which Graff hadn't counted on. Eustis crosses into Mexico, the last outlaw.

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