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Herps In Westerns

These are movies in the Western genre that contain scenes with reptiles and amphibians, taken from the various lists of Herps in Movies. Most of them are traditional westerns, a genre that Wickipedia defines as "...set in the American frontier and commonly associated with folk tales of the Western United States, particularly the Southwestern United States, as well as Northern Mexico and Western Canada." (For this list, the "west" can be any place west of the heavily-settled areas along the east coast, usually west of the Mississippi River.) Most of the movies on this list take place in the later part of the19th century, but some are set in other times such as during the Civil War. Some of these are "Spaghetti Westerns" - westerns made by Italians and filmed in Spain, but set in the American Southwest. I've left out movies that just take place in rural areas such as "Old Yeller" and all the swamp movies that take place in rural areas in the Southeast, particularly the Everglades, which are very similar to westerns in theme but not geography.

Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching a film.

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17 Miracles (2011)

Two young girls walking on a trail encounter dozens of snakes and think that the snakes want to kill them. They survive by jumping over the snakes.

17 Miracles Snakes
Apache Territory (1958)

A cowboy lying down on a rock ledge hiding from some Apache Indians, watches a Gila Monster slowly crawl towards his face, unable to shoot it or make any other noise.
Apache Territory
The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)  

Jesse James cuts the heads off two Gophersnakes with a knife.
Assassination of Jesse James
Bad Company (1972)

The leader of a band of desperado boys during the Civil War who are traveling west plays a prank on the new boy by putting a frog down his shirt.
Bad Girls (1994)  

Three saloon girls on the run are startled by a rattlesnake. One of them shoots it and later they cook it over a fire and eat it.
Bad Girls
The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)  

Cable Hogue throws rattlesnakes at two of his enemies hiding in a pit to force them to come out.
Ballad of Cable Hogue
The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970) 

Somebody shoots a Gila Monster on a rock before Cable can kill it with a knife for food.
Ballad of Cable Hogue
Barbarosa (1982)

An outlaw climbing down a cliff is startled by a rattlesnake. He catches it as it strikes at him then falls off a cliff into a river with it. When he comes up out of the water, he panics and throws the snake away onto a rock, unharmed.
The Big Gundown (1966)  

A snake crawls between a captive outlaw and the lawman who tied him up. The outlaw tricks the lawman into thinking he was bitten by a snake by pricking him with a sharp object he holds between his toes.
The Big Gundown
The Big Sky (1952)

Two future friends meet when one of them falls down next to a rattlesnake and the other one throws a knife at the snake and kills it, saving the other man.
The Big Sky
Big Stakes (1922)

Getting bitten by a deadly Gila Monster is the price to pay for losing a bet.
Big Stakes
Bite the Bullet (1975)

A man cuts off the head of a rattlesnake that was crawling too close to a man taking a nap.
Bite The Bullet
Broken Lance (1954)  

Another stupid movie cowboy shoots a rattlesnake that was not a danger to anyone.
Broken Lance
Broken Lance (1954)  

A man finds that his old ranch is so run down that there's a Gila Monster in the garden.
Broken Lance
Bronco Billy (1980)  

A Wild West show features Chief Big Eagle's Rattlesnake Dance.
Bronco Billy
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

The Sundance Kid shoots a Gila Monster.
Butch Cassidy Screenshot
Catlow (1971) 

An outlaw shoots a rattlesnake that scared his horse.
Chato's Land (1972)   

Charles Bronson hurls a rattlesnake off a hill onto a bad guy. The snake bites him. End of bad guy.
Chato's Land
City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold (1994)  

A man sits on cactus spines then sees a rattlesnake nearby and thinks the snake bit him.
City Slickers 2
Cowboy (1958)  

Cowboys play catch with a rattlesnake until the snake bites a cowboy on the neck and he dies.
Creeping Death (Kill the Poker Player) (1972)

A zoologist collects venomous snakes to use their venom for medicine, and someone is stealing them and using them to kill people.
The Culpepper Cattle Co. (1972) 

A bartender keeps a rattlesnake in a large jar to use in a betting game.
The Culpepper Cattle Co.
The Deadly Companions (1961) 

An ex Army Colonel takes a break from dragging a coffin across the desert and finds a rattlesnake so he shoots it.
Deadly Companions
Desert Gold (1936)

A tenderfoot shoots at a gopher snake until his partner tells him that it's harmless. Later he finds a rattlesnake. Thinking it harmless, he is about to grab it when his partner shoots it.
Desert Gold
The Devil's Brigade (1968) 

One rattlesnake is discovered and shot to death and another is put under a soldier's bedcovers.
The Devil's Brigade
Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot! (1967)

Django is chained to a cross and tortured, then left alone to be tormented by bloodthirsty vampire bats and even worse - a Green Iguana.
Django Kill
The Dude Ranger (1934)

A cowboy drops a rattlesnake out of a bag onto a sleeping man's bed to try to kill him.
The Dude Ranger
Duel in the Sun (1946) 

A couple of Chuckwallas show up briefly as local color in this campy western melodrama.
Duel In The Sun
El Topo (1970) 

Nihilistic Mexican murderers abuse large spiny-tailed lizards.
El Topo
Escort West (1958) 

A man picks up a rattlesnake and throws it around the neck of an Indian warrior who is chasing him.
Escort West

The Far Side of Jericho (2006) 

A ghost warns a woman about to relieve herself in the outdoors to be careful of the sidewinder crawling between her boots.

The Far Side of Jericho
The Far Side of Jericho (2006)

Fugitive women decline a young boy's offer of lizard to eat.
The Far Side of Jericho
Fort Apache (1948) 

A trading post exhibits a stuffed Gila Monster on its wall.
Fort Apache
First Cow (2019)

A man foraging for food in the woods encounters an overturned newt, which he turns over and lets continue on its way.
First Cow
Four Faces West (1948)

A fugitive is bitten by a rattlesnake then treats the wound. He hops a train where he meets a pretty nurse who tends his wound and steals his heart.
Four Faces West Screenshot
The Frisco Kid (1979) 

A rattlesnake scares a Polish Rabbi's horse making it jump off a cliff into a river.
The Frisco Kid
Giant (1956)  

A cowboy shoots a rattlesnake to protect his cattle because cowboys are stupid like that.
Go West (1925) 

Buster Keaton hops a freight train to the West where one of the first thing he sees is a rattlesnake hiding in some cactus. He walks away from it, proving that you don't need to shoot every rattlesnake.
Go West
Greed (1924)  

A rattlesnake strikes out at a man and his mule travelling through Death Valley.
Greed (1924) 

A fugitive sees a Gila Monster and a Chuckwalla in Death Valley.
The Harvey Girls (1946)

Someone puts a rattlesnake in the Harvey girls' closet to try to scare them into leaving town, so a man pulls out his pistol and shoots the snake.
Harvey Girls Screenshot
The Hellbenders (The Cruel Ones) (1967)

A snake spooks some horses so it gets shot to death.
The Hellbenders
The Hellbenders (The Cruel Ones) (1967)

A Confederate regiment called The Hellbenders uses insignia and symbols based on the Hellbender, a large American salamander.
The Hellbenders
Hell Town (Born to the West) (1937)

A rattling rattlesnake scares a woman's horse into running away out of control giving John Wayne an opportunity to chase it and play the hero by saving her.
Hell Town
Joe Dakota (1957) 

A bad man's horse is spooked by a rattlesnake and he is thrown to the ground.
Joe Dakota
Joshua (Black Rider) (1976) 

A man drops a rattlesnake over a cliff onto another man who gets snakebit and dies.
The Last Challenge (1967) 

A gunslinger shoots a rattlesnake for absolutely no good reason.
Hell's Belles
Last of the Clintons (1935)

A man puts a rattlesnake in a cabin to kill a guy, but it kills a different guy instead.
Last of the Clintons
The Last Wagon (1956) 

A young woman hunting for edible plants puts her hand in the wrong place and gets bitten by a rattlesnake.
The Last Wagon
The Left Handed Gun (1958) 

Billy the Kid is recuperating in bed when his friends prank him with a horned lizard in a box.
Left-handed Gun
Lonesome Dove (1989)  

Rattlesnakes are food for pigs and cowboys. A nest of killer water moccasins create havoc in a river.
A tortoise on a rock in a stream is used as an excuse to show a beautiful woman bathing.
Lonesome Dove
Lonesome Dove (1989) 

A tortoise on a rock in a stream is used as an excuse to show a beautiful woman bathing.
Lonesome Dove
Lust For Gold (1949) 

A man picks up rocks to throw at a rattlesnake and uncovers a clue that might lead him to a lost gold mine.
Lust For Gold
A Man Alone (1955) 

A gunfighter sees a rattlesnake and  blows its head off for no intelligent reason because that's how the West was won.
A Man Alone
Maverick (1994) 

Maverick is tied up on a horse with a noose around his neck tied to a tree branch, but just in case he escapes that, his captors drop a bag full of rattlesnakes on the ground below him. And of course, he falls from the horse.
The Mercenary (1968) 

A revolutionary disguised as a mine worker finds a lizard in his lunch then forces the mine owner to eat it.
The Mercenary
A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014)

In a comic scene, a man and woman sitting and flirting in the moonlight see a rattlensake crawl up to their feet. Instead of freaking out, they make jokes and leave it alone. There's also an animated rattlesnake door-handle in a hallucination scene and rattlesnake venom put in a hollow-tipped bullet to kill someone.
3 Idiots
The Missing (2003) 

An Indian witch hangs rattlesnakes from trees and uses their venom in his magic to murder people.
The Missing
The Missing (2003) 

A young girl in the old west sees a tortoise, picks it up, then sets it down.
The Missing
Nevada Smith (1966) 

A woman falls out of a canoe onto a Cottonmouth which bites her to conveniently remove her from the plot.
Nevada Smith
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) 

An old Indian man gives Josey Wales a horned lizard that told him they should go to Mexico.
Outlaw Josey Wales
Posse from Hell (1961) 

A group of murderous escaped convicts kidnap a woman and leave her tied up next to a rattlesnake.
Posse From Hell
Rango (2011) 

Notorious gunfighter Rattlesnake Jake is an animated Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake.
Rango (2011) 

Rango is a Chameleon, Bad Bill is a Gila Monster, Waffles is a horned lizard, and Beans is a Desert Iguana.
Rango (2011) 

The evil town mayor is a desert tortoise.
The Rattlesnake (1913)

As two men fight over a woman, one is accidentally killed by a rattlesnake. The surviving man catches the snake and keeps it at his home. After the woman he loves marries another man, the man puts the rattlesnake in her husband's bed to try to kill him.

The Rawhide Terror (1934) 

A crazy killer tortures a gila monster probably just for fun.
Deep Red
Red River (1948) 

A cowboy riding a horse leans over and grabs a Texas Horned Lizard off the ground without stopping.
Red River
Savage Sam (1963)

A snake spotted crawling on the ground near a snapping turtle is interpreted to mean that a rain storm is on the way, shortly before it starts pouring rain.
Shalako (1968) 

Sean Connery picks up a rattlesnake and whips it to death on the ground because he's a yellow-bellied sissy who's afraid of a little ole snake.
Shoot the Living and Pray for the Dead (1971)

A woman hostage of a band of outlaws making for Mexico lies down on a blanket to take a nap. A snake crawls up to her but the hero of the movie quickly shoots its head off.
Shoot the Living and Pray For the Dead Screenshot
Shotgun (1955) 

Apaches tie a man to stakes with rawhide that slowly tightens, pulling his head closer to a rattlesnake that is also tied to a stake.
Silent Tongue (1993) 

We see rattlesnakes in the background and a Native American woman roasts one on a stick and eats it.
Silent Tongue
Soldier Blue (1970) 

Candice Bergan, who lived with Indians and learned their ways, cooks some snake meat and feeds it to a wounded soldier.
Soldier Blue
The Tall Texan (1953)

A man shoots a rattlesnake, then picks it up and uses it to whip another man.
The Tall Texan
Tears of the Black Tiger (2000)

Instead of shooting his opponent, a gunfighter shoots a snake on a branch over his head, to save his life.
Tears of the Black Tiger
Texas Across the River (1966) 

A Comanche medicine man intends to kill a woman with rattlesnakes in a death ceremony until fast-drawing cowboys shoot up all them nasty varmints.
Texas Across The River
There Was a Crooked Man... (1970)

An outlaw hides stolen money in a den of rattlesnakes to keep it safe, but makes a big mistake when retrieving the money.
There Was a Crooked Man...
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)

A man climbs into a hole in a rock to rest, but a rattlesnake inside bites him.
3 burials of me
Thomasine & Bushrod (1974)

A U.S. Marshall tortures an outlaw by hanging him over a snake pit full of rattlesnakes. When he refuses to talk, he cuts the rope to drop him into the pit.
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) 

A Gila Monster crawls under the rock where Bogart hid his treasure.
Treasure of the Sierra Madre
True Grit (1969) 

A girl falls into an abandoned mine full of rattlesnakes and is rescued by a one-eyed U.S. Marshall who shoots the snakes.
True Grit
True Grit (2010) 

A girl falls into an abandoned mine full of rattlesnakes and one bites her. She is rescued by a one-eyed U.S. Marshall who shoots the snakes.
True Grit
Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970) 

A cowboy decapitates a rattlesnake. A nun shakes its rattles.They both eat it.
2 mules for sister sara
Wanda Nevada (1979)

A young girl searching for gold in a tight space in a desert canyon squeezes her way past two rattling rattlesnakes and nobody gets hurt.
Wanda Nevada Screenshot
Westworld (1973)

This is not technically a western, but at the WestWorld amusement park, bar fights, saloon girls, and shooting robot rattlesnakes are part of the authentic cowboy experience you paid for.
The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926) 

A cowboy shoots a rattlesnake for absolutely no good reason.
The Winning of Barbara Worth
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