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Did Quentin Tarantino Borrow Plot Elements From An Episode Of ‘The Rebel’ For ‘The Hateful Eight’?

Did Quentin Tarantino Borrow Plot Elements From An Episode Of 'The Rebel' For 'The Hateful Eight'?

Here we go again. Anytime a new film by Quentin Tarantino surfaces, the hunt begins to find the various influences and elements he’s borrowed from other movies and television shows to put together his work. The filmmaker has always been candid about his influences, and is voluble on his inspirations. That said, Cowboys & Indians does point out some striking similarities between “The Hateful Eight” and a vintage TV series probably only your grandpa remembers watching.

**SPOILERS AHEAD** To start off with, the article’s author, Joe Leydon, wants to make it clear: “Please don’t misunderstand: We’re not accusing Quentin Tarantino of plagiarism.” He cites the long tradition of stories being “borrowed” and recycled, particularly during the days of ’50s and ’60s television. However, with that caveat out of the way, he points out the very, very close similarities between an episode of the short-lived, two season series “The Rebel,” and Tarantino’s upcoming western. Here’s a breakdown of the episode in question, “Fair Game”: 

READ MORE: Watch: First Gun-Toting, Blazing Trailer For Quentin Tarantino’s ‘The Hateful Eight

Scripted by Richard Newman, “Fair Game” — which premiered on March 27, 1960 — was one of 33 Rebel episodes directed by Irvin Kershner, who went on to direct such notable features as A Fine Madness, Loving, and a little sci-fi movie called The Empire Strikes Back. In this particular episode, Yuma winds up at the stagecoach station because of his horse’s untimely demise – the same reason why at least two characters in Tarantino’s script wind up at that story’s stagecoach station — and fortuitously is on hand when a stage arrives bearing a bounty hunter named Farnum (James Chandler) and his beautiful prisoner, accused murderer Cynthia Kenyon (Patricia Medina). Also on hand: Bert Pace (James Drury, later famous as TV’s The Virginian), a spiffily dressed stranger who says he’s on his way to Laredo, and an attendant (Michael Masters) who claims to be filling in for someone on sick leave.
The stage can’t leave until morning because “the country up ahead’s a mite rough,” and should be traversed only during daylight. (In Hateful Eight, the outbound journey is delayed by a blizzard.) So everyone will just have to wait until dawn. Provided they live that long.
And then somebody is poisoned.

The entire setting, the manner in which some of the characters are trapped in the way station, an accused murderer among them, and somebody dropping dead via poison….even if you believe in coincidences, it’s a rather remarkable number of similar plot points.

Tarantino has previously named “The Virginian,” “Bonanza,” and no shortage of western TV shows where the characters would be taken hostage as helping to shape his new film. It might be time to add “The Rebel” to the list of shows he names as having watched. All that said, as we know from his other movies, Tarantino may sample and borrow, but what he conjures is usually distinctly his own. Either way, we’d like to hear what you think, so hit up the comments section below. [via Hollywood Elsewhere]

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