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Snakes in Movies
Broken Lance (1954)
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
Broken Lance Broken Lance Broken Lance
  Broken Lance  
This is another widescreen Cinerama western from the 50's with a lot of great Arizona scenery. Just as Rober Wagner is released from prison some men force him at gunpoint to go with them to talk to the governor, whose daughter he was dating before he went to prison. They stop to camp and just as one man brings some food to Wagner they hear rattling sounds and see a Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake coiled up far enough away that it is not threat, but Wagner grabs the other man's handgun out of its holster and shoots it anyway because that's what stupid movie cowboys always do. We are supposed to believe the man with the food was in danger of getting bitten by the snake and Wagner saved him. He's thankful and says "sidewinder," which it isn't, and after some tense looks from the other men, Wagner finally gives him back his gun. The whole scene is there to show us that Wagner is a good guy, which we don't know yet because the movie has just started. It looks like the rattlesnake was really shot, because it is pushed packwards and you can see where the bullet (or maybe a small explosive charge) hits the rock underneath it.