The Hateful Eight is a 2015 American revisionist Western mystery film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. It stars Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demián Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Bruce Dern as eight strangers who seek refuge from a blizzard in a stagecoach stopover some time after the American Civil War.
Tarantino announced The Hateful Eight in November 2013, having originally conceived it as a novel and sequel to his previous film Django Unchained (2012). After the script leaked in January 2014, he cancelled the film but announced that he had changed his mind after directing a live reading of the script at the United Artists Theater in Los Angeles. Filming began on December 8, 2014, near Telluride, Colorado. The original score composed by Ennio Morricone, the first for a Tarantino film, was Morricone’s first complete Western score in 35 years, and his first score for a high-profile Hollywood production since Brian De Palma‘s Mission to Mars in 2000.
Distributed by The Weinstein Company in the United States, The Hateful Eight was released on December 25, 2015, in a roadshow release in 70 mm film. It had a wide digital release on December 30, 2015. It received positive reviews, with Leigh receiving considerable praise. For his work on the score, Morricone won the Golden Globe and his first Academy Award for Best Original Score. The film also earned two Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Leigh) and Best Cinematography (Robert Richardson).
Years after the Civil War, bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren (named after Charles Marquis Warren) is transporting three dead bounties to the town of Red Rock, Wyoming. He hitches a ride on a stagecoach driven by a man named O.B. Jackson. Aboard is John Ruth, a bounty hunter known for bringing in outlaws alive to see them hang; handcuffed to him is fugitive Daisy Domergue, whom Ruth is escorting to Red Rock. Ruth is suspicious of anyone who might steal his claim to the substantial bounty.
Ruth and Warren bond over Warren’s personal letter from Abraham Lincoln. Former Lost-Causer militiaman Chris Mannix, who claims he is travelling to Red Rock as the town’s new sheriff, persuades Ruth and Warren to let him on the stagecoach. Warren and Ruth form an alliance to protect each other’s bounties. Mannix and Warren almost come to blows over their controversial war records.
The group seeks refuge from a powerful blizzard at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach lodge. They are greeted by Bob, a Mexican who says the owner, Minnie, is visiting her mother and left him in charge. The other lodgers are Oswaldo Mobray, a hangman; Joe Gage, a quiet cowboy traveling to visit his mother; and Sanford Smithers, a former Confederate general. Suspicious, Ruth disarms all but Warren. As the group eats, Mannix surmises that Warren’s Lincoln letter is a forgery. Warren admits this, saying the letter buys him leeway with whites, outraging Ruth. Warren leaves a gun next to Smithers and provokes him into reaching for it by telling Smithers he tortured, raped and killed Smithers’ son. Warren shoots Smithers dead in “self-defense” as revenge for Smithers’ execution of black soldiers at the Battle of Baton Rouge.
While everyone is distracted by the confrontation, someone seen only by Daisy poisons the brewing coffee. Ruth and O.B. drink it and vomit blood, and O.B. dies. The dying Ruth attacks Daisy, but she kills him with his own gun. Warren disarms Daisy, holds the men at gunpoint and leaves her cuffed to Ruth’s corpse. Warren is joined by Mannix, whom Warren trusts because he nearly drank the poisoned coffee. Warren executes Bob, deducing that he is an impostor who killed the lodge owners. When Warren threatens to execute Daisy, Gage admits he is the poisoner. A man hiding in the cellar shoots Warren in the groin. Mobray draws a concealed gun and shoots Mannix, who returns fire, wounding Mobray and forcing Gage against the wall.
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