‘Calamity Jane’ Ending Explained & Movie Summary: Does Jane Kill Jack McCall?

The classic Western genre wasn’t really known for its complexities; rather, it was known for its linear storyline. Fueled by a revenge-based story, morality drama, and iconic shots of the American frontier, if I’m being honest, Westerns were a simple pleasure for most people. While Calamity Jane does not offer much, it is, in all fairness, a decent twist to the white male-led genre. Starring Emily Bett Rickards as the female gunslinger, this movie follows similar tropes but from a female perspective.


Spoilers Ahead

What Is Calamity Jane And Wild Bill’s Real Story?

Calamity Jane was born Martha Jane Canary in 1852 and emerged as a legendary figure in the American Old West. Renowned for her audacious exploits, rugged demeanor, and unconventional lifestyle, she gained prominence as a skilled horseman, sharpshooter, and frontiersman. Her involvement in various adventures and conflicts further elevated her status. Despite her appearance, Calamity Jane was known for her acts of kindness and generosity. However, she was also known for her battles with alcoholism and poverty. The authenticity of her adventures is still considered debatable, as it was common practice to exaggerate one’s exploits in the Wild West. Given her masculine appearance, she has been regarded as one of the early examples of gender fluidity. In the movie, she is shown having a romantic relationship with Wild Bill, but in reality, that was not the case.


Wild Bill Hickok was a man of similar popularity as Calamity Jane. A soldier, lawman, and scout, he is often regarded as a hero of the American lifestyle. Throughout his life, Hickok was involved in numerous shootouts and skirmishes, further enhancing his legend. However, his life was also marked by tragedies, leading to his own untimely death in 1876, shot in the back while playing poker in Deadwood, South Dakota.

Why Does Calamity Jane Want To Kill Jack Mccall Relentlessly?

In the movie, Jane finds herself transported to Deadwood for trial on robbery charges by Deputy Sheriff Mason. While in lockup, she receives a visit from her lover and future husband, Wild Bill Hickok, a fellow gunslinger and lawman known for his drinking and gambling tendencies. Despite their history of violence and adventures, Bill expresses a desire to settle down with Jane, aiming to become a farmer and start a family. He reveals he has already purchased land for this purpose and promises to bail Jane out of jail first thing in the morning. However, Bill’s weaknesses for alcohol and gambling lead him astray, and he ends up at the local saloon engaging in a high-stakes poker game. During the game, he humiliates Jack McCall, further escalating tensions. In a fit of rage and feeling deeply insulted, McCall shoots Bill on the spot, killing him instantly. To compound the tragedy, McCall also steals Bill’s land registry, adding another layer of injustice. After the murder of her beloved Wild Bill Hickok at the hands of Jack McCall, Jane is consumed by grief, rage, and a thirst for vengeance. With her heart shattered and her world torn apart, she becomes determined to seek justice for Bill’s senseless murder. Jane knows that McCall’s act was not only a cowardly betrayal but also a theft of Bill’s dreams and promises of a peaceful life together.


Why Did Mason Become A Lawman?

Deputy Sheriff Mason was once a writer, his pen capturing the harrowing tales of different fronts during the American Civil War, where families were pitted against each other by conflict. Initially, he attributes his leave from writing to the war’s gruesome nature, but the truth runs deeper. Seven years before the events of the movie, his life took a tragic turn when a gang of bandits ambushed his town, resulting in the death of his wife while he was covering the war. To seek vengeance, Mason abandoned his writing and embarked on a fruitless quest to find those responsible for his wife’s murder. However, his journey led him down a dark path of alcoholism and despair. One fateful day, he wakes to find himself staring down the barrel of a gun, unable to recall why. Miraculously, the weapon misfires, sparing Mason’s life. Seeing this as a sign from his late wife, he interprets the event as a divine intervention, a reminder that there is a greater purpose for him to fulfill. Inspired by this realization, Mason channels his newfound lease on life into serving the law, seeking redemption and meaning in his role as a lawman.

Why Does Mason Want To Help Jane?

Deputy Sheriff Mason is driven by a deep sense of empathy and a desire to right the wrongs he has witnessed and experienced. Despite his own personal struggles and the weight of his past, he sees in Jane a kindred spirit—a fellow soul scarred by tragedy and injustice. When Jane breaks out of the lockup after learning about her lover Bill’s tragic demise, she finds herself in a deadly confrontation with Jack McCall. In the chaos that ensues, McCall’s gun misfires, accidentally killing Sheriff Griggs and casting suspicion on Jane as the perpetrator. Though Jane pleads her innocence to Mason, who has now assumed the role of sheriff, he insists that she must explain her case to the judge. However, driven by her thirst for revenge and the need to pursue her lover’s killer, Jane escapes custody, determined to seek justice on her own terms. Despite Mason’s efforts to uphold the law, Jane’s relentless pursuit of McCall propels her into a game of cat and mouse.


Despite the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Jane’s escape and the accidental death of Sheriff Griggs, Mason remains steadfast in his desire to help her. He recognizes Jane’s desperation and the depth of her grief over the loss of her beloved Wild Bill Hickok. Mason empathizes with Jane’s need for justice and understands her burning desire to avenge Bill’s death. Moreover, Mason sees in Jane a reflection of his own struggles and past traumas. Both have experienced profound loss and have been scarred by the harsh realities of the frontier. When Mason realizes that Jane is indeed innocent and not a cold-blooded killer but rather a woman driven by her emotions and circumstances beyond her control, he recruits her as a deputy to catch McCall and bring him to justice.

Does Jane Kill Jake Mccall?

During Calamity Jane‘s ending, Jason and McCall track Jack McCall down to his brother’s estate, but Jane decides not to kill McCall as she trusts Deputy Sheriff Mason’s conviction to bring him to justice through a fair trial. Despite her overwhelming desire for revenge and the pain of losing her beloved Wild Bill Hickok, Jane recognizes the wisdom in Mason’s counsel. She understands that killing McCall in cold blood would not only perpetuate the cycle of violence but also deny her the closure and justice she seeks in a lawful manner. Additionally, Jane comes to realize that succumbing to her impulses and taking matters into her own hands would ultimately dishonor the memory of Wild Bill. By choosing to trust in Mason’s intention for a fair trial, Jane demonstrates her strength, showing that she is capable of rising above her instincts for vengeance.

Shrey Ashley Philip
Shrey Ashley Philip
A teacher, photographer, linguist, and songwriter, Shrey started out as a Biotechnology graduate, but shifted to studying Japanese. Now he talks about movies, advocates for ADHD awareness, and embraces Albert Camus.

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