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Jose Louton
Jose Louton

Hang 'em High

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In Oklahoma Territory in 1889, retired lawman Jed Cooper is surrounded by a posse of nine men: Captain Wilson, Reno, Miller, Jenkins, Stone, Maddow, Tommy, Loomis, and Charlie Blackfoot. They demand the receipt for the cattle Cooper is driving. The cattle seller is a robber who killed the rancher. Cooper explains that he knew nothing about the murder, but only Jenkins expresses doubts about his guilt. After Reno takes Cooper's horse and saddle and Miller takes his wallet, the men hang him from a tree and ride away.

While picking up a prisoner, Cooper sees his horse and saddle in front of a local saloon. He finds Reno inside and tries to arrest him, but Reno draws on him, forcing Cooper to gun him down. Jenkins, learning of Reno's death at the hands of a marshal with a hanging scar, turns himself in and provides the names of the rest of the posse. Cooper finds Stone in the town of Red Creek, arrests him, and has the local sheriff, Ray Calhoun, put him in jail. Most of the men Cooper seeks are respected citizens of Red Creek, but Calhoun honors Cooper's warrants for their arrest.

Fenton sentences the three rustlers to be hanged, despite Cooper's defense of the teenagers. Fenton insists that the public will resort to lynching if they see rustlers going unpunished, threatening Oklahoma's bid for statehood. Some time later, Calhoun arrives at Fort Grant and offers to pay Cooper for his lost cattle with money from Captain Wilson and the other lynchers. Cooper makes it clear that while they are alive he still intends to arrest them. With the bribe rejected, Blackfoot and Maddow flee, while Tommy and Loomis remain loyal to Wilson and agree to help him kill Cooper.

During a public hanging for Miller, the brothers, and three other men, the lynchers ambush Cooper in a brothel, seriously wounding him. Cooper survives and is slowly nursed back to health by a widow, Rachel Warren. Rachel reveals she is hunting for the outlaws who killed her husband and raped her. She and Cooper begin an affair; he says that she might never find her rapists. Cooper tries to resign, but Judge Fenton gives him the location of Wilson's ranch, where Wilson, Tommy, and Loomis are hiding.

After returning to Fort Grant, Cooper hands in his marshal's star and demands that Fenton sign a pardon for Jenkins, who is both contrite and seriously ill. The two men debate the merits of territorial justice. Fenton insists that he is doing as well as he can, cursing the fact that his is the only court in the territory with little recourse for plaintiffs; and tells Cooper that if he disagrees with him, the best thing he can do is to help Oklahoma become a state (and thus get proper courts) by continuing to serve as a U.S. marshal. Cooper takes back his star in exchange for Jenkins' release. Fenton then gives Cooper fresh warrants for Blackfoot and Maddow, telling him, "The law still wants 'em."

Eastwood spent much of late 1966 and 1967 dubbing for the English-language version of the Dollars Trilogy and being interviewed, something which left him feeling angry and frustrated.[3] Stardom brought more roles in the "tough guy" mould, and Irving Leonard, his business manager, gave him a script to a new film, the American revisionist Western Hang 'Em High, a cross between Rawhide and Leone's westerns, written by Mel Goldberg and produced by Leonard Freeman.[3] However, the William Morris Agency had wanted him to star in a bigger picture, Mackenna's Gold, with a cast of notable actors such as Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif, and Telly Savalas. Eastwood, however, did not approve and preferred the script for Hang 'Em High, but had one complaint which he voiced to the producers: the scene before the six-man hanging, where the hero is attacked by the enemies. Eastwood believed that the scene would not be believable if set in a saloon. They eventually agreed to introduce a scene with Cooper taking a prostitute upstairs during the hanging, and having the attack take place afterwards as Eastw


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