Screen Stills and Story Narrative

 

 
The Ed Harris and Amy Madigan Production of:
A Charles Haid Film
Jane Withersteen is a land and cattle heiress, who is struggling to run her Cottonwoods, Utah ranch alone. Deeply rooted in a religious community, Jane feels pressured to marry a man she cannot love -- Deacon Tull.  He is a man only interested in her land and cattle herd. When the members of his sect turn against her because she refuses to marry him, she has no choice but to join forces with Lassiter, a drifter and known gunman. Lassiter is a tormented man and seeks vengeance against an unknown assailant who tore his family apart. Lassiter has been on the trail of his missing sister for thirteen years, and it turns out Jane holds the key to his quest, although he is unaware of this when he rides on to her ranch.
Lassiter rides up and drives away the men who are tormenting Bern Venters, a young ranch hand who works for Jane. Lassiter is not afraid that the odds are seven to one. He starts to become a friend to Jane who welcomes him to water his horse.
In this scene, Pastor Dyer admonishes Jane from the Pulpit, scolding her for being a spinster and saying she will burn in the eternal fires of Hell if she does not marry -- meaning if she does not marry Tull.
Bern and Lassiter ride out to Jane’s herds and find an injured Judkins, Jane’s loyal ranch Foreman.  It’s clear that the harassment of Jane knows no bounds, and everyone who works for her and she has befriended is in danger. Judkins warns her to be extra careful -- he knows the  evil the men in the sect are capable of almost anything -- including murder.
Jane takes Lassiter to the grave of Millie Erne, his sister, but she will not tell him the mysterious story of her death. After Lassiter leaves, she becomes distraught and weeps over Millie’s memorial. site.
While Bern goes off in search of the rustlers who took one of Jane’s herds, Lassiter vows to ride the range for her to keep the other herd safe. The cattle are spooked by riders waving large white flags. Lassiter and Jane try to stop the stampede and scare off the rustlers. In the process Lassiter’s horse is killed. Jane rides to the ranch to bring back a horse for him.
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Riders of the Purple Sage