In a western town called Redemption, John Herrod is the law and the organizer of the annual quick draw competition where gunslingers compete for big cash winnings by eliminating other contestants in gunplay by being the fastest draw, until just the winner remains standing.
The story focuses on The Lady (Sharon Stone). She is an unknown female gunslinger visiting the dusty town in the middle of the desert. She has a valid, but personal reason for showing up, arriving just one day before the gun fighting competition will take place.
Each character in the film has a little background history, some coming to the competition with a reputation, some for their own personal reasons and some for the sheer fortune should they reach the grand final. John Herrod (Gene Hackman) as usual does justice to his mean cynical role almost relishing it. An early role as Cort (Russell Crowe) shows a glimmer of what is to come from him in his later career, although his character role is strong and convincing. Ace Hanlon (Lance Henriksen) as the slick gunfighter is a real delight, portraying a powerful and convincing part. The Kid (Leonardo DiCaprio) the son of Herrod is a cocky character full of confidence with his ability through guns and women. A draw is made and pairs of contestants do battle each and every day in the centre of town, with the whole town betting and observing the gallant combatants.
The gunplay commences each day at a predetermined time. In the middle of the town is a large tower clock, with a huge pair of wooden hands that creak when they move and at the stroke of the hour gunfire commences. The tension, which builds waiting for the hands to move, is a masterful touch. While the movie is first and foremost action driven, it does contain enough storyline in the morality sector to be totally acceptable with abundant subplots ranging from hidden agendas, broken pasts and character integrity. Well worth a watch, particularly if you are a western fan.