Just don your imaginative hats and imagine for a second that you just got hitched by a beautiful woman that you’ve been eyeing for a while. You two decide to leave your old hamlet behind and travel to Nevada to earn a better living. Unfortunately, the one above has a different plan in mind and throws you and your newlywed wife into a life-or-death situation. This is exactly the premise of Brian Skiba’s latest flick, Dead Man’s Hand. The film follows the story of newlyweds Reno and Vegas, who get locked in a relentless battle against the town’s Mayor for killing his brother in self-defense.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
Reno (Jack Kilmer) has finally exchanged vows with Vegas (Camille Collard), the beautiful blonde he always wanted to marry. Reno has been in love with Vegas for as long as he can remember. Vegas, too, couldn’t contain her excitement when Reno asked for her hand in marriage. Now, the newlywed couple is traveling to Nevada to kick-start their new life together. They plan to open a new saloon and possibly a stage so Reno can earn some extra money on the side with his magic tricks. Unfortunately, soon after, a couple of gunslinging bandits welcomed them with a barrage of bullets.
Vegas and Reno take matters into their own hands and shoot and kill multiple gunslingers without even breaking a sweat. At this point, it becomes clear that Reno and Vegas are gunslingers. They’ve parted ways with their old job in hopes of earning a more safe and honest living. But the Wild West is the least safe place! The man they shot was the blood of the town’s mayor, Bishop (Stephen Dorff), and he’s as corrupt as a rusted iron. Vegas and Reno arrive in the nearby town and are advised to catch the next wagon in the morning. But why the delay? They need to meet the mayor first and convince him that his brother’s death wasn’t personal but self-defense before leaving for Nevada.
What Does Mayor Bishop Want?
Mayor Bishop, too, has a fan, Roy (Cole Hauser), who has been following him on multiple counts of murder. Roy even has an arrest warrant tucked inside his vest, but Bishop aims his pistol at him, making it clear that he’s in no mood to do his bidding. At least not until he tends to the matter of his brother’s death. Roy offers his condolences but allows him one day to take care of his unfinished business. One of the townsfolk advises Reno and Vegas to jump town, claiming Bishop is going to hang them for killing his brother. He explains that the war had claimed the rest of Bishop’s kin, and Reno eliminated his last remaining blood. The stranger even offers him a horse.
The mayor sends his gunslinging goons to fetch Reno for a game of shuffle. Bishop isn’t really a mayor. Rumor has it that he killed the mayor and the sheriff and took control of the town. The game begins, and Bishop lays down the rules: if Reno wins, he’ll walk out of the saloon unscathed, and if he loses, he’ll die. Even though Reno is hesitant, he has no choice but to play his cards. Fortunately, fate smiles his way, and Reno wins. But Bishop goes back on his word and pulls out his revolver.
A gunfight ensues, and Reno manages to shoot down a few of them. Vegas also joins the fight and says that she’s expecting Reno to flee the saloon to fetch horses and shoot and burn a few gunslingers along the way. Unfortunately, Bishop kidnaps Vegas. Reno tries to help, but the mayor shoots him in the shoulder.
Who Saves Reno?
Bishop has his men drag Reno to the jungle and begin severing his fingers one by one. Roy has been watching everything from afar and decides to join the party. But Bishop warns him not to stick his nose in his matters and orders his men to take him. Bishop then chains Reno and leaves to punish Vegas. A couple of Apaches, including Chato (Cody Jones), arrive at the site, free Reno, and lead him to their hideout for treatment. They somehow stitch his fingers together. The following morning, Bishop finds Reno’s missing and immediately recognizes it as the Apache’s doing. Before leaving for the Apache’s camp, he tries to offer Roy one chance to leave town, but only if he promises to never return. But unlike Bishop, Roy is a man of law, and under no condition will he bend his rules.
In reality, Bishop served in the war alongside his brothers and friends. However, instead of awarding them for their valor, the government turned a blind eye to their needs. The situation was so dire that some of his men weren’t even able to afford a pair of boots. Thus, Bishop and his men started looting gold claims. The now-deceased Sheriff and Mayor caught wind of this and were killed. Reno wakes up and, following a long trek, manages to arrive in town. However, Bishop’s men arrested him soon after. The Apaches arrive and once again save his skin. Bishop loses his cool after hearing that his incompetent entourage has once again lost Reno. Boiling with anger, he sends his men to raid the Apache camp and bring Reno back dead or alive.
What Happens To Reno and Vegas?
Reno and his Apache savior arrive at the camp, only to find bodies of innocent tribal men lying around, who had become the target of the Bishop’s men. Chato takes Reno to a secret cave holding the heart of Niseya, the sacred tribal ground of the Apaches. Bishop has been carrying out illegal mining in the area in search of gold. With every explosion, he’s getting a step closer to the heart of Niseya. After he’s successful, Bishop wants to run off to Mexico, where Roy and his law can’t touch him even if they want to. Chato requests Reno’s help to fend off Bishop and his men, and the latter agrees. He also convinces Roy to tag along, claiming this is the only chance he’ll get to catch Bishop.
The group arrives at the mining site and immediately begins shooting at Bishop’s men. The Bishop and his men retaliate with a full-fledged assault. Seeing his men dropping like flies, Bishops makes a run for it to reach the saloon, where he had already made preparations to hang Vegas. Roy and Reno rush after him and reach the saloon. A gunfight ensues, and as expected, Reno emerges as the victor. Reno also saves Vegas, and the duo share a heartfelt kiss. But what about Bishop? The saloon keeper holds Bishop at gunpoint, but the latter breaks free and shoots Vegas right in the chest. He then goes on to beat Reno to a pulp, kicking him in the ribs till they break and trying to drown him.
During Dead Man’s Hand‘s ending, Reno gathers his last ounce of strength and challenges Bishop to a duel. Bishop is under the impression that he can easily kill Reno, given his state, but Reno kills him before Bishop can even draw his pistols. Unfortunately, Vegas succumbs to her wounds, and the movie culminates with Reno burying the love of his life.
Dead Man’s Hand is miles away from even being a decent Western. The characters are poorly written, and it seems that movies keep throwing anything at our faces, expecting the audience to accept it. Yellowstone alum and heartthrob Cole Hauser is also part of the ensemble cast. The actor walks into the shoes of Roy, a sheriff from another town, following the trail of Bishop’s crimes. Dead Man’s Hand entirely lays waste to his character, turning him into a no-good, rules-spitting lawman, completely disregarding his potential. The sole good thing about the movie is its exciting score, including Bulletproof Heart and Dead Man’s Hand by Lewis Brice. It’s a decent toe-tapper and might just be the only thing that keeps the audience from walking out of the theater or hitting the cancel button on your streaming service. The remainder of the film just works more like a money laundering scheme, to be honest. It’s as if a bunch of performers were dressed up in Wild West garb, given scripts scribbled on the back of a napkin, and sent out to do their jobs.