Heaven's Gate (1980) Poster

(1980)

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  • Ella ran the local brothel and had been taking cows from immigrant men in payment. The cows were stolen from the cattle collective's herds. Edit

  • The cattle ranchers group, formally known as the "Stock Growers Association" represents the richest men in Wyoming, which at the time of the story (1890), had just been granted statehood or may have still been a territory, depending on the time of year -- Wyoming was admitted to the Union on 7/10/1890. The region was still fairly lawless, the state government in Cheyenne might have been trying to work out the problems in their system of laws and the cattle ranchers had the most power and influence, likely because they had much more money than the poor immigrant farmers in the region. The farmers, even though they owned land and worked it to raise crops to sell, were still very poor and starving and were stealing the cattle that the stock growers owned when those animals wandered onto the farmers' land. (It's also quite possible that the cattle were eating the crops that the farmers had planted, which would be a hard case to prove in court.)

    The stock growers, angered at the immigrants for slaughtering their stock for food, had probably done some heavy lobbying in Congress to get permission to kill anyone who'd stolen their cattle. What's unusual is that they'd gotten permission to hunt down anyone on the death list regardless of whether there was sufficient evidence they'd stolen anything, IE, if an immigrant farmer had been caught in the act or not. Both Averill and Nick Champion tell the head of the stock growers, Canton, that he needs proper warrants for anyone on the list before they can execute them. Canton himself believes that warrants are unnecessary and that his political influence (he mentions that he's related to several high-ranking govt officials and that he knows the president -- then, Benjamin Harrison) allows him to act any way he pleases. He also has the backing of the rest of the stock growers, whom he believes -- and is likely right about -- would testify that the immigrant farmers are lawless and "anarchists" as Canton often says. Edit

  • When first published in 1985, it was then titled: Final Cut Dreams and Disaster in the Making of Heavens Gate. The title somewhat changes throughout the years. The Revised Edition from 1999 has its title as: Final Cut: Art, Money and Ego in the Making of Heavens Gate, the Film That Sank United Artists. Edit

  • The man Nathan shoots, Kovac, had stolen a cow from one of the ranchers represented by the group of cattle ranchers led by Frank Canton (Sam Waterston). Kovac and his family were probably short of food or just starving. Nathan was hired by Canton to track down & kill anyone who steals from him. Kovac was in the process of butchering the cow & had the sheets up to hide what he was doing, from a distance the sheets would probably look like they were hung out to dry. Edit

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