The Last Lawman trilogy
The Last Lawman
In 2037 the world as we knew it came to an end. Society broke down as civilization’s thin veneer was stripped away and brother turned against brother until the holocaust had claimed 90% of mankind. In the end those who survived started to rebuild. That was 80 years ago.
The town of Caroline has been under the thumb of the Cord family for as long as most folks can remember. They control everything and do whatever they please with it. Justice under the law was a half-forgotten legend. Until the day Jim Brannock (Will Smith) rode into town wearing a US Marshal’s star.
Almost from the moment he arrives the battle is joined as Old Man Cord (Gene Hackman), long accustomed to being king of the hill, tries to show Brannock that the law is what he says not some outdated code from another time. Along the way Brannock finds allies in the form of Rachel Hannagan (Halle Berry), whose father was murdered by Elijah Cord (Nicolas Cage), and the good people of Caroline who slowly come to realize that Cord’s Way isn’t the only way anymore.
When the final showdown comes the Cords have the fight of their lives as Brannock leads the charge to take back the town, killing Elijah in the climatic gun battle in the streets and forcing Old Man Cord to cut and run.
Return of the Last Lawman
In a world where radioactive hot spots dot the landscape and virulent plagues still stalk the land, untainted water is the most valuable resource. In sun-blasted Arizona even more so. The town of Holbrook sits in the middle of the Painted Desert and its wells are the only source of pure water in nearly a hundred miles. Unfortunately those wells are under the control Reverend Quint Yancey (Christopher Lee) and his band of fanatics.
When Marshal Jim Brannock (Will Smith) rides into town he is captured by Yancey’s men for interfering in their beating of a woman, Angelica Francona (Selma Hayek), trying to get more water for her sick mother. He is beaten badly and ordered into Yancey’s gold mines, there to work until he dies. Angelica is ordered to Yancey’s bed but she spits in his face, loudly proclaiming she’d rather die than be touched by him. The defiance earns her a savage beating before Yancey sends her to the mines as well. But Brannock escapes as they’re being taken to the mines and kills the guards freeing them both. Using the guards’ clothing, he infiltrates the mines, liberating the miners and then arming them.
Back in town one of the mine guards who had gotten away tells Yancey what has happened. Realizing that the prisoners will come after him in Holbrook, Yancey sets up an ambush. But Brannock is not so easily fooled having first scouted out the town. Using a diversionary attack he draws Yancey’s men off, while he then hits the areas that have been left undefended. As his forces drive through toward Yancey’s church a second ambush is sprung on them, as snipers open up on them from the upper floor windows. Driven back to a defensive position they hang on, but Brannock knows that they can’t remain there for long.
When Yancey arrives on the scene to parlay Brannock sends four Apache prisoners to sneak up on and quietly take out the snipers. While they do their lethal work, Yancey tells Brannock that the diversionary force has been wiped out. He did it with the help of a spy. And out steps Angelica who embraces her lover. Yancey had heard about Brannock from Old Man Cord and when he learned that Brannock was headed this way he set the whole thing up. He just wanted Brannock know what a fool he’s been before he dies. Then he orders his men to kill Brannock, but the Apaches have had time to do their work and not a single shot is fired.
As Yancey looks about in panic, mortars whistle in, destroying Yancey’s church stronghold. Then Yancey stares at Brannock and screams “You, Heretic! How dare defile the House of God!”
“I didn’t,” Brannock calmly answers. “You did. A long time ago.”
Practically foaming at the mouth Yancey orders Angelica to kill the heretic, but she drives a dagger into his chest instead. He crumples to his knees then looks up at the two of them with shock on his face.
“Guess she wasn’t your bitch after all.” Brannock says just before Yancey falls dead at their feet. Then turns to Angelica, “Sorry you had to touch him.”
“It wasn’t the first time,” she shrugs, “or even the fiftieth. You do what you have to do.”
Brannock nods, gathers up his own weapons that Yancey had taken, and climbs onto his horse. “I’ve got business in Denver. You know how to get in touch with me.” She smiles and nods. As he starts to ride off she yells out, “Thanks, Marshal!” He stops and waves back with a smile, then reins the horse around and rides for Denver.
Legend of the Last Lawman
For five years he’s traveled across the battered remains of the United States but now Marshal Jim Brannock (Will Smith) is going home. But as he rides into San Angeles he finds that home has changed. Now under the thumb of the ruthless and ambitious Senator Hiram J. McCallum (Kevin Costner) the city reputation for law and order is just a façade that hides a soul that grows more corrupt with each passing day. McCallum hopes to gain the presidency in the 2124 election and he’ll do anything to make that happen, including taking help from Old Man Cord (Gene Hackman) who has re-built his position of power with a mining operation in the Sierra Nevada mountains where he struck an incredibly rich vein of gold.
As Brannock arrives his homecoming with Deputy Marshal Rita Gibbs (Uma Thurman) is cut short when he is called to answer charges of having over-stepped his authority in Caroline 3 years earlier. In short order Brannock is stripped of his badge, fined and kicked out in the street. But Cord isn’t finished with him yet as he has three of his miners pick a fight with the ex-marshal that turns deadly. When two of the miners are killed Brannock is arrested and charged with murder. The trial is a farce as Brannock’s plea of self-defense is ignored and McCallum’s tame jury finds him guilty and sentences him to hang.
Sent to the prison in Alta Loma for execution he falls under the power of the sadistic warden that the prisoners call “The Machete” (Val Kilmer), who is determined to make Brannock’s last days a hell on earth. But at this point Jim Brannock has had just about enough. During a torture session he breaks free, kills The Machete, and shoots his way clear of the prison.
Meeting with Rita he learns that over the last few years every honest marshal has either been fired, killed or imprisoned on trumped up charges and that only the ones who are in McCallum’s pocket remain. She was the last and they fired her the day after Brannock’s trial. Brannock gathers the honest lawmen together and after a stirring speech they fight back taking down McCallum and his corrupt cops in a series of blazing gun battles.
As Brannock and Gibbs break into the senator’s office where McCallum and Old Man Cord are holed up, Cord gets up and starts to walk past saying “He’s all yours Marshal.” When ordered to halt Cord smirks, “Why? I haven’t done a single illegal thing. All of my actions have been completely legal according to the laws of the United States.” Brannock and Gibbs realize that Cord is right; there is no solid evidence of illegal activity at all.
But McCallum, realizing that Cord intends to leave him to hang, snatches up a pistol and, in a rage, guns Cord down before jumping out the window to a waiting horse and making a dash for freedom. Brannock calmly takes McCallum’s prized 20th century .460 magnum Weatherby Mk V big game rifle off the wall, loads it, aims and squeezes off a single shot. In a crack of thunder the huge magnum slug, powerful enough to drop a charging rhino at 500 meters, literally tears McCallum’s head from his body.
As he lowers the rifle, Gibbs remarks – “Senator, I think you’ve just been impeached.” Brannock slings the rifle over his shoulder before turning to her. – “Well don’t be standing around, Deputy Gibbs. We’ve a lot of work to do.” As they walk out of McCallum’s office the camera pulls back and then cuts to black. Roll credits.