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Snakes in Movies
 
Escort West (1958)
 
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
 
Escort West Escort West Escort West
Escort West Escort West Escort West
Escort West Escort West Escort West
Escort West Escort West Escort West
This is one of those old-fashioned low-budget Westerns where the cowboys are always clean-shaven, the women always wear lots of make-up, the guns have an endless supply of bullets, and the only good Indian is a dead Indian.

Victor Mature is Ben Lassiter, an ex-Confederate officer, who's travelling to Oregon with his young daughter a few months after the war ended when he gets involved in some Modoc Indian skirmishes. He is helping to fight the Indians with some U.S. Cavalry soldiers who are pinned down in a canyon, when his gun is shot out of his hand and he ducks into a cave, knowing that Tago, the Indian leader who shot him, will be coming after him knowing he has no gun. In the cave he sees a rattlesnake. He throws his coat on the snake, then picks it up and throws it at Tago when he enters the cave. Tago stuggles with the snake and drops his gun, giving Lassiter time to pick it up and shoot him after he finally throws the snake to the ground. The whole scene is an unintentionally hilarious scene in what was until then a fairly decent B Western, with Tago twirling around his neck the motionless rattlesnake that isn't even trying to bite him. But congratulations go to the actor who played Tago, X Brands, for letting them put a real rattlesnake around his neck.

The snake looks like a Red Diamond Rattlesnake or a Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake. Both are found in southern California where the movie was filmed, and it's a live one. The coat is thrown over a live snake. When the hands first grab the coat the snake is still moving. When he snake is pulled out from under the coat it looks dead or tranquilized - maybe chilled down and maybe with its mouth sewn shut. But after the Indian throws it to the ground you can see it moving, so I don't think the snake was really dead for the throwing part of the scene.
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