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Films >> Heaven's Gate (1980) >>

0:00:00 Opening Credits
0:02:48 Graduation
Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1870. The graduates are marching through Cambridge following a marching band on their way to the closing ceremonies. James Averill (Jim) is nearly late. After a long-winded speech by an official, William C. Irvine (Billy/Bill), the class orator delivers a humorous address.
0:13:24 Party on the lawn
An orchestra is playing the "Blue Danube" and everyone is dancing. Both Bill and Jim find the girls they've been eyeing and cut in. After the dance, the graduates rush onto an adjacent lawn and begin circling a tree as the band plays. Nighttime falls as the scene ends, and the men are singing their class song.
0:20:07 On the train
Twenty years later, Jim is riding a train out west.
0:21:23 Immigrants steal a steer
An immigrant family --a man, woman, and son -- are butchering a cow that they stole. A man's shadow appears on the other side of the sheet holding a rifle. He shoots and kills the father. As he leaves and rides off into the distance, the wife appears crying.
0:23:50 Immigrant train
A man on horseback rides up upon a long human train of immigrants traveling west.
0:25:58 Train station
The train rolls in carrying Jim. The immigrants are piled on top of rail cars, packed under the hot sun, while Jim is alone inside of his car. On the ride from St. Louis to Wyoming, Jim has managed to get very drunk. At the station, Jim meets Cully, the stationmaster and an old friend. Jim, the Johnson County sheriff, has returned to Wyoming to bring an immigrant woman to be hanged for shooting her husband and kids.
0:33:41 The general store
The store is crowded with men buying and selling goods. Jim observes the bustle and overhears men discussing The Association. He goes outside to help an immigrant family from being beaten. Cully tells Jim about the Stock Growers Association.
0:39:45 Stock Growers Association meeting
A roomful of men in suits discuss how the immigrants are constantly stealing cattle but are never punished. Bill is among them looking disinterested and cracking jokes (as usual). Frank Canton suggests that The Association hire men at $5/day and $50/immigrant to shoot or hang the 125 men and women on the "death list" in Johnson County, Wyoming. The other men are uncomfortable. Bill tries to make them see reason. Canton insists that they have the support of the governor, the House, the Senate, and the President of the United States.
0:44:18 Jim and Bill reunite
Bill leaves the meeting in disgust and wanders upstairs to find Jim playing pool. Bill admits to Jim that he will go along with whatever the Stock Growers Association decides to do.
0:49:57 Canton and Averill faceoff
As the men are leaving the meeting, Jim descends from the pool room. He and Canton argue and then have a slapping fight--Jim wins.
0:51:10 The immigrant family
As Jim is riding home, he encounters the immigrant family he helped in town. Men chased the family and killed the man, leaving the wife and children to pull the pushcart across the plains.
0:53:35 Nighttime meeting
Canton organizes a meeting of the Stock Growers Association under the cover of darkness. Canton needs more men to pursue the immigrants.
0:55:43 Stealing a cow
Nate Champion, an immigrant who now works for The Association, encounters another young immigrant stealing a cow. Rather than kill him, he allows him to leave.
0:57:08 Cockfight
The scene opens with a cockfight in the Feed and Sale building John Bridges (J.B.) owns. Jim rides into Sweetwater, Johnson County. Jim enters the bar and tells J.B. about the death list. Over at the cockfight, an argument between two immigrants over land boundaries takes a violent turn. Jim breaks up the fight.
1:06:29 Jim and Ella
Jim rides his cart out to the homestead of his mistress, Ella. She spent the entire day baking a pie for him. They run upstairs to fool around, but Jim tells Ella that he brought a present for her, and she forgets about him. The horse and rig in which Jim arrived are for her.
1:14:52 Ride through town
Jim teaches Ella how to drive the rig. They ride into town amidst a cheering crowd. The townspeople are having their picture taken.
1:18:13 Picnic
Ella and Jim stop for a picnic. She bathes in the river as he naps under a tree. They discuss Ella leaving Wyoming, but she won't do it.
1:23:03 Hoedown and the skating rink
A boy fiddles as he skates and performs tricks on the floor. When he finishes the song, he starts again and the townspeople come out and skate. J.B. gets very drunk.
1:28:19 Jim and Ella dance
Jim pulls J.B. into a wagon to sleep off his liquor then returns to the nearly empty room. The band begins to play again, and he and Ella dance. After the dance, they take a walk down to the lake.
1:32:17 Nate and Ella
Nate Champion arrives at Ella's house--she lives there with other prostitutes. Nate will pay well for her. He tries to convince her to stop taking stolen cattle as payment from the immigrants. Jim is passed out in Ella's room. Nate is jealous; he loves Ella too.
1:39:11 Nate returns Jim
At Ella's request, Nate takes Jim back to J.B.'s house. The front of the Feed Sale building is immigrant sleeping quarters by night. They are crammed together in bunks and on the floor. Nate returns to Ella's house.
1:42:49 Nate proposes
Back with Ella, Nate tells her of his desire to take her away from this life and proposes to her. She tells him how Jim also asked her to go away with him.
1:46:26 Downtown
At J.B.'s bar the next morning, we find that Nate was the mystery man who killed the immigrant man butchering a cow in one of the opening scenes. He also shot another man more recently. Nate enters, and he and Jim argue about Ella. Nate sort of threatens Jim and then leaves.
1:49:54 Nate and Arapaho
Nate and fellow Association worker, Arapaho, watch Ukrainian immigrants trying to plow their land. A dozen or so women and Nikolas push the plow without the aid of horses or oxen. One woman collapses. Arapaho says something insulting about Ella, and Nate nearly kills him.
1:51:57 Baseball game
Eggleston, President of the Chamber of Commerce, wants Frank, a member of the National Guard, to get Company C ready to protect the county from an invasion of mercenaries on Johnson County. Frank has been ordered to ignore orders except for those directly from the Governor. Frank gives Jim and Eggleston a copy of the death list. Ella Watson is on it for accepting stolen cattle as payment.
1:55:06 Confrontation
Nate is writing in a book. Jim enters and punches him in the face. Ella breaks up the fight. Jim tells Ella that she's on the list and storms out of the house.
1:57:40 Nate’s house
Nate takes Ella back to his house. He shows her how he has wallpapered the cabin with newsprint just for her. They sit in silence pondering their possible life together.
2:03:08 Train station
Cully is yelling at a train that is not on schedule to stop going through the station. He sees the members of the Stock Growers Association on board and telegraphs the next station but realizes that the message isn't going through. Cully gets on his horse to ride to the next stop. Down the tracks, the train has stopped, and Canton and the other members of the Stock Growers Association get out. Billy and the others ride up to meet them accompanied by the U.S. army. The President has issued warrants for the members of the death list. One of the men has cut Cully's telegraph wires.
2:07:25 Intermission
2:09:07 Cully’s murder
Cully has been sleeping under a tree on his way to Johnson County when he is awakened by another "citizen." As Cully hastens on his way, the Stock Growers Association rides over the hill in full force. One member chases Cully, shoots his horse, and shoots and kills him. The Association rides on to Johnson County.
2:12:00 Trapper Fred
A wolf trapper, Fred is visiting Nate and Nick Ray at their homestead. He is telling stories and teases Nick. Ella leaves to find Jim.
2:16:13 Town meeting
J.B. and Jim enter a town meeting at the skating rink. J.B. fires his gun for quiet. Jim explains the situation and begins to read the death list to the crowd.
2:22:17 Ella is raped
Ella returns home. She arrives to the sound of a harmonica and the sight of horses belonging to the Stock Growers Association. Inside, the men are sprawled all over the living room. The men take turns holding Ella down and raping her. Outside an upstairs window, Jim is lowering himself from the roof. Peering through the window he sees that all of the girls have been badly beaten. Jim crashes through the downstairs window and shoots the men attacking Ella except for one who escapes. Nate and Nick burst in to find Ella in Jim's arms. Nick runs upstairs to see to the girls. Jim tells Nate that they (the SGA) were legally right…until now.
2:29:07 Nate vs. Canton
Nate rides up to Canton's camp. Canton has authorized the implementation of a firing squad. Nate walks into Canton's camp and shoots a man in the head. (He is the escaped rapist.) Canton cannot provide warrants for the arrest of any of the people on the death list. Billy is in the background of the tent--he's drunk, and Canton slaps him. Canton walks out of the tent and shoots the immigrant himself. Nate leaves.
2:32:48 Ella and Jim
At Ella's homestead, she admits to Jim that she loves him…and she loves Nate. She informs him of Nate's proposal. Ella tells Jim that she loves him, but he can't return the words (only that he cares for her). Ella will choose Nate. Jim leaves. Ella wipes away her tears.
2:40:02 Jim and J.B.
Jim returns to J.B.'s apartments where he is staying. He's sobbing when J.B. returns. They share a "last drink."
2:41:33 Downtown
Some immigrants enter Jim's room. He's passed out. They awaken him to find that he is still drunk from the night before, and still drinking. The shopkeepers, merchants, etc., present want Jim to help turn in the immigrant cattle hustlers. Charlie, the mayor, fires Jim when he refuses. Jim, in return, quits.
2:45:53 Champion’s last stand
Fred leaves Nate's house that morning to take a bath and encounters Canton and his men who have the place surrounded. They send Fred back inside for Nate but shoot him when he exits again. Ella rides by and continues on to warn the other settlers. Canton's men shoot and kill Nick, but Billy knocks a man over to save Nate. While Nate is still inside the house, Canton's men send a burning carriage inside. Nate writes a note, shoves it in his pocket, and runs out of the house shooting. The men have to shoot him dozens of times before he dies.
2:51:52 Town meeting part II
The immigrants have reconvened at the Feed and Sale and are all arguing in many languages about what they should do about the death list. They decide to fight for the rights of the poor. Ella arrives to warn everyone that the Stock Growers Association has arrived.
2:56:36 “I told you so”
Ella finds Jim in his apartment and tells him that Nate is dead. Jim continues to shave. She breaks down, and he tells her "I told you so."
2:58:40 Town meeting continued
The mayor has been outvoted on his stance to not take action against the Stock Growers Association. A woman shoots him in the ear. The mob exits the Feed and Sale. J.B. leads the charge.
3:00:39 The Battle
The scene begins in Canton's camp. A scout arrives to tell them that the immigrants are coming. Meanwhile the immigrant army is riding past Nate's burning house. Major Wolcott of the army will lead the SGA's battle strategy. Billy is wandering around Canton's camp mumbling to himself and reciting poetry. The immigrants circle the camp (which is surrounded by a make-shift blockade) and ride in a fast-moving circle. Ella shoots and kills Billy. Canton leaves to find help. The immigrants retreat, and the army rounds up the stray horses and collect broken wagons to use as cover. On the retreat, Ella comes across Nate's bullet-ridden body.
3:08:53 Jim is leaving
Jim has his bags packed and is preparing to leave Johnson County. In the barn, he sees the mayor--who is bleeding profusely--and his family. Jim has a change of heart and rides off to join the cause.
3:10:15 Goodbye to Nate
Jim finds Ella at Nate's. She is reading his note and hands it to Jim that he might see it as well. Jim tells Ella to wait for him at her place and rides off. Ella kisses Nate goodbye.
3:12:19 Battle plans
Night has fallen. Jim is at the immigrant camp; he has a plan. At Canton's camp they hear the immigrants singing. Wolcott looks sad.
3:14:50 The final showdown
Jim rides up to Canton's camp and distracts them by riding around in fast circles. Wolcott: "Those goddamn Romans." The immigrants have built themselves a moving barricade, Roman style. The barrier works. They have also made grenades that they throw on Canton's men. Wolcott picks up an undetonated grenade and throws it back at the immigrants, destroying their shield. Both sides are suffering equal casualties until Canton arrives leading the U.S. cavalry.
3:22:02 Surrender
The cavalry surrounds the battle. Jim protests, but they round up the immigrants anyway. Jim walks away. J.B. observes the devastation. A woman kills herself. Jim continues to walk off into the distance as a dust storm picks up over the battle grounds.
3:27:26 Wedding day
Jim and Ella are at her house getting ready for their wedding. J.B. is helping them with their bags. Canton springs out of the bushes with some of his men. The shoot and kill J.B. immediately; Ella is also shot numerous times. Jim kills Canton and all but one man, who escapes. Ella dies even before Jim can take her in his arms.
3:30:25 Newport, RI, 1903
The scene opens on a yacht in the middle of the water. Jim is clean-shaven and living in luxury. A woman sleeps on his couch; he watches her. A servant enters with food. He gives the woman a cigarette. She goes back to sleep; he dims the lights and leaves the room. The last shot is of him alone on the boat's deck as the sun goes down.
3:44:43 Final Credits