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Author Topic: were Jill and Brett McBain really married?  (Read 16108 times)
Groggy
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« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2011, 04:37:40 PM »

Good point Jenkins.

Then you also have to consider the timing. Jill utters this moments after finding Brett and the kids dead. Is she really that quick on her feet, that in a state of complete shock she thinks up this self-serving lie? Did she for some reason have this in her back pocket in case something happened? If the latter were the case, you'd have to assume Jill is far more devious than anything in the film indicates.

Plus there's her conversation with Cheyenne later on.

It seems a moot point to me, anyway, since Jill and Brett clearly were going to marry if they weren't already. And the Cheyenne scene indicates there was some affection there, not just gold-digging.

Maybe we can advance a conspiracy theory that Jill was in on Brett's death. Evil

« Last Edit: April 27, 2011, 04:40:52 PM by Groggy » Logged


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« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2011, 05:24:22 PM »

The other thing is, the auction scene doesn't make any sense if Jill wasn't actually married to McBain. Jill would have nothing to sell. Of course, if everybody believes that Jill is really McBain's lawful wife, the scene would go forward as shown. But you have to wonder why Jill wouldn't put everybody wise earlier if it wasn't true. Why endure Frank's shenanigans if you don't have to, why not just cop to the fact that you aren't the heir and high-tail it outta there?

That's the whole point I am trying to make: she lies about being married to Brett so that she will inherit all the money she thinks he has lying around.... And when Sam tells her to leave, she insists on staying.

Later she decides to leave (and only stays after she is held back by Harmonica). In between the time she tells Sam that she is staying and the time she tries to leave, only 2 things happen: a) she searches frantically and unsuccessfully for the money; and b) she has her encounter with Cheyenne. So IMO it must be one (or both) of those 2 things that make her decide to leave.

a) If it is the failure to find the money that is the reason she decides to leave, that fits my theory nicely: she lied about her marriage so as to inherit Brett's money; as soon as she realizes he has no money, she decides to leave.

b) However, if you disagree with my theory about her lying about the marriage, then you can say that it is (also) her encounter with Cheyenne that makes her decide to leave, cuz she realizes what a dangerous place this is....

I don't know if anything here is dispositive; it may be one of those issues that may never be resolved 100%. But the reason I brought it up is cuz of 2 things I found somewhat strange:

1) we first find out from Jill that she is married to Brett at the moment she realizes he is dead, whereas if they were not married, she wouldn't be entitled to inherit all the money she thinks he has. 2) after initially saying she was staying in Sweetwater, she abruptly decides to leave. How do you explain that?

Bottom line: While I can't say I feel very strongly either way, I will say that if you follow my theory, it clears up both issues well. In a nutshell: Jill lies about the marriage and decides to stay to inherit the money she thinks Brett has left; when she realizes there is no money, she decides to bolt.




« Last Edit: April 27, 2011, 05:34:51 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2011, 05:32:42 PM »

Good point Jenkins.

Then you also have to consider the timing. Jill utters this moments after finding Brett and the kids dead. Is she really that quick on her feet, that in a state of complete shock she thinks up this self-serving lie? Did she for some reason have this in her back pocket in case something happened? If the latter were the case, you'd have to assume Jill is far more devious than anything in the film indicates.

Plus there's her conversation with Cheyenne later on.

It seems a moot point to me, anyway, since Jill and Brett clearly were going to marry if they weren't already. And the Cheyenne scene indicates there was some affection there, not just gold-digging.

Maybe we can advance a conspiracy theory that Jill was in on Brett's death. Evil

I do agree that she loved Brett and certainly intended to marry him. And I do not think she was a devious gold-digger, (though his being rich "doesn't hurt.") The only reason I advanced this theory is cuz it struck me as strange that at the moment we find out Brett is dead -- which makes her entitled to none of his wealth -- she says she is actually married. Isn't this a bit too convenient?

Also, how do you explain her initial decision to stay, and then her decision to abruptly leave? a) Is it just because her encounter with Cheyenne suddenly made her scared about what a dangerous place this was? b) Or is it because her reason for saying she was staying was actually just to search for the money? (The latter of course wouldn't conflict with her actually being married... as I said, nothing here is dispositive...)

One thing that does make me doubt my theory is that I have made every attempt to read, watch, and listen to every word Christopher Frayling has ever uttered about Leone, and I do not recall him ever mentioning this possibility that Jill was lying about her marriage....

« Last Edit: April 27, 2011, 06:43:42 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2011, 06:15:04 PM »

I do agree that she loved Brett and certainly intended to marry him. And I do not think she was a devious gold-digger, (though his being rich "doesn't hurt.") The only reason I advanced this theory is cuz it struck me as strange that at the moment we find out Brett is dead -- which makes her entitled to none of his wealth -- she says she is actually married. Isn't this a bit too convenient?

Seems more ironic than convenient to me.

Quote
Also, how do you explain her initial decision to stay, and then her decision to abruptly leave? a) Is it just because her encounter with Cheyenne suddenly made her scared about what a dangerous place this was? b) Or is it because she her whole reason for saying she was staying was actually just to search for the money? (The latter of course wouldn't conflict with her actually being married... as I said, nothing here is dispositive...)

This is where you might have a point, but I've honestly never given this scene much thought. I always assumed she just spent the night because she didn't feel like trekking back to Flagstone, though that seems incomplete. Maybe she just wanted to find a reason why Brett had been killed. Or maybe she was indeed greedy and wanted McBain's money, widow or not?

If anything scared her it was probably Harmonica's midnight appearance. I thought she was going to leave before Cheyenne showed up.

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« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2011, 07:11:41 PM »

Seems more ironic than convenient to me.

This is where you might have a point, but I've honestly never given this scene much thought. I always assumed she just spent the night because she didn't feel like trekking back to Flagstone, though that seems incomplete. Maybe she just wanted to find a reason why Brett had been killed. Or maybe she was indeed greedy and wanted McBain's money, widow or not?

If anything scared her it was probably Harmonica's midnight appearance. I thought she was going to leave before Cheyenne showed up.

1. Yeah, you are correct, I just remembered that: she was actually about to leave when Cheyenne burst through the door. So it was certainly not her encounter with Cheyenne that was her cause for leaving. Her only cause(s) for leaving could have been her failure to find the money and/or her midnight scare from Harmonica.

2. Her reason for initially wanting to stay is certainly not just cuz she was not in the mood of trekking back to Flagstone. When Sam says "you don't want to stay out here alone," Jill replies: "Why not? This is my home." If she was just not in the mood of trekking back, she could have told Sam to come back in the morning after she was rested.
Also, another point I just realized upon watching that moment again: As soon as she tells Sam "... This is my home," there is an immediate cut to her frantically searching through the drawers for the money. We don't see her walking around and checking the place out first, or mourning for her murdered husband/stepchildren, or anything else; rather, there is an immediate cut to her tearing the place up looking for the money. I don't think that is coincidental; I think that may well be intended to make the point: she wanted to stay only to look for the money.

3. Of course, even if it is true that Jill only wanted to stay to look for the money and decided to leave immediately upon failing to find it, that certainly doesn't necessarily mean she wasn't married to Brett; she could have been searching for what was rightfully hers to inherit. A woman who loses her husband can certainly be just as money-hungry as a woman who loses her fiance'.
But if you do think it a bit strange how she conveniently announces that she is married at the moment when she realizes she needs to be married in order to get the money, I think the scenes work well: she announces that she is married (in order to get the inheritance), declares that she is staying (in order to search for it), and then it follows that the first thing she does the moment she is in the house alone is to search for the money.

 If she was really married to Brett, and money was not at the forefront of her mind at the moment she realizes he is dead, then why is it that the first thing we see her doing in the house is searching for the money? I do not imagine that the first thing a woman would do after the funeral of her husband and stepchildren  is to search for money. However, if money moved to the forefront of her mind the moment she learned of Brett's death, then it all makes perfect sense: pretend that you were married to inherit his money, and then begin searching for it the first moment you could.

I am not saying that she didn't love Brett, or that she only wanted him for his money, or that she wasn't truly saddened by the death of him and his children. I certainly do not think that she is meant to be evil like that. I just think that she may have been opportunistic (which I imagine fits well with being a whore Wink) So as soon as she realized Brett was dead, she became focused on how she could get his money and did what was necessary to make sure it happened, ie. pretending to be married and then searching for it at the first opportunity.

(Actually, she doesn't say that she was married until someone calls her "Miss." Maybe that suddenly made her realize: I don't get the money if I am "Miss"; I better become "Mrs." fast!




« Last Edit: April 27, 2011, 07:42:31 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2011, 07:54:02 PM »

OK, but why is she still pretending to have married McBain when she gets taken by Frank? When things get dangerous, why doesn't she choose the path of least resistance and admit that she is no obstacle to his plans? Wouldn't she try to convince Frank to let her go, and wouldn't the best way to convince him to do that be to explain that she has no legal claim on the land he's trying to get?


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« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2011, 08:12:22 PM »

Maybe she likes it rough.

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« Reply #22 on: April 27, 2011, 09:24:31 PM »

OK, but why is she still pretending to have married McBain when she gets taken by Frank? When things get dangerous, why doesn't she choose the path of least resistance and admit that she is no obstacle to his plans? Wouldn't she try to convince Frank to let her go, and wouldn't the best way to convince him to do that be to explain that she has no legal claim on the land he's trying to get?



well once she took the lie this far, I think it is understandable that she wouldn't want to suddenly announce what a fraud she has been. Perhaps that would cause her own legal troubles, she could get charged with fraud or false pretenses.... Once she went with the story of being Mrs. McBain, there was no turning back.

If she just wanted an easy way out of her conflict with Frank, it wouldn't have been necessary for her to admit she wasn't the legal owner; rather, she could have simply given the certificate of title (which Brett presumably had) to Frank and been done with it. And sure, Frank could have just killed her or forced her sign over the title to him by making her an offer she couldn't refuse... But I think Frank preferred doing the auction, cuz he is trying to transition from being a bandit to being a businessman. Therefore, it is in his best interests to buy the land at a public auction, where he acquires the rights (seemingly) legitimately...

« Last Edit: April 27, 2011, 09:27:41 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2011, 09:24:58 PM »

Maybe she likes it rough.

This is Jill, not Carol  Wink

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« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2011, 06:10:23 AM »

well once she took the lie this far, I think it is understandable that she wouldn't want to suddenly announce what a fraud she has been. Perhaps that would cause her own legal troubles, she could get charged with fraud or false pretenses.... Once she went with the story of being Mrs. McBain, there was no turning back.
If your life is in danger, you no longer care about potential legal troubles, you only worry about staying alive. I can't believe Jill wouldn't have come clean with Frank in an attempt to free herself from him. If she didn't attempt this, then probably the strategy didn't occur to her, and for a very simple reason:  she really is the legal heir.

The plot depends on Frank and others believing that Jill is the legal heir. I guess it doesn't matter if she really is the heir as long as everyone believes she is. But it doesn't seem necessary for the plot, either, for Jill to be lying, and I don't see that we gain anything by believing that. In fact, you have to make a number of assumptions to accept the premise, probably too many to please William of Occam. One assumption is to discount the very simple convention of believing what characters say about themselves when there is no clear signal from the script that he/she is lying. When Vader said, "Luke, I'm your father," 1980 cinema audiences didn't question it, even though they knew Vader was evil. Absent compelling proof to the contrary, dramatic convention is to accept as fact statements characters  make about themselves and their relationships.

But as I say, it doesn't matter to the plot one way or the other. Jill is either the legal heir or merely the putative legal heir. The distinction does not make a substantive difference to the story.

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« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2011, 09:11:55 AM »

Yes, I think Dave is right - there are two possibilities and each of them is plausible and does not change the story much. Only perhaps the character.

But I'm thinking, even if you take her as the true Mrs McBain her searching for money is perfectly explicable - she's stuck alone on a farm in the middle of nowhere, with (I presume) no previous experience with farming - she's searching for something to live on! If she wanted to stay on the farm, she'd probably have to hire someone to work for her... When she realises there's no money to live on or hire someone with, and when she realises she's stranded in a dangerous place with no help at hand (during the midnight experience with Harmonica), she decides to leave after all.
That's the way I see it.

There is, of course, still the problem of why Brett did not bring her to the farm immediatelly, but I think there's an explanation to that, too - in his family. It seemed to me their wedding was a bit of a hasty business, and Brett probably decided afterwards that he wanted to prepare his children for the fact. I think, even though he seems uncompromising towards his children, he certainly loves them, and it makes sense to me that he would be in a conflict between his passion for Jill and love for his children. And that he would resolve it in such a weird manner. He did some other cleverly ambitious but weird things. Wink

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« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2011, 09:52:29 AM »

True, or he needed time to get materials and legal rights ready for Sweetwater.

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« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2011, 12:58:44 AM »

Well, I still think my explanation is better - he could be perfectly well getting materials and legal rights for Sweetwater with a wife at the farm. Better, I'd imagine.

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« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2011, 05:00:29 AM »

Before reading this discussion nothing ever made me doubt about Jill and Brett marriage. After, I remain of the same idea.
There is a clue that convince me to believe Jill was not lying about her marriage: when Brett is talking to his elder son (Patrick?), he refers to Jill as "his mother", and he replies that his real mother was dead.
So, I guess Brett uses this expression just because he had married Jill, also with the intention to give a "new" mother to his children.
I think he would have not talked that way if they were just engaged or simple lovers.

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« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2011, 07:12:46 AM »

Good point, I'm wasn't about to stick in the DVD just for this topic, But I do remember that statement. Afro

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