They Die by Dawn (2013)

They Die by Dawn Poster

Four outlaws with a bounty on each head, set a date for a shootout in Langston, Oklahoma. The last man takes the collective bounty. Violence and mayhem ensue.

Film Overview
"They Die by Dawn" is a Western brief movie from 2013 directed by English filmmaker Jeymes Samuel. The film is an all-black western that stands out due to its historically precise representation of African Americans and Native Americans in the Wild West. This remarkable piece of cinema features an ensemble cast, including top-name stars such as Erykah Badu, Rosario Dawson, Giancarlo Esposito, Michael K. Williams, and Isaiah Washington among others. The movie strives to provide an accurate depiction of the black experience in the American west, highlighting historic black individuals usually disregarded in the category.

Plot Summary
The film opens in the town of Langston, Oklahoma, a sanctuary for Black folks in the late 1800s. A wealthy gambler, Railroad Bill (Isaiah Washington) sets an obstacle at a regional saloon: 4 outlaws will participate in a deadly battle the next early morning, and the lone survivor takes the purse of $80,000. The 4 selected criminals include infamous bad guys: Bill Picket (Bokeem Woodbine), Rufus Buck (Michael K. Williams), Isom Dart (Nate Parker), and John Wesley Hardin (Jesse Williams).

Each of these males has their own backstory and motivation to participate-- from looking for a clean slate to trying to restore worth, the stakes are not just monetary, however deeply personal. Signed up with by the likes of Stagecoach Mary (Rosario Dawson), a difficult hard-drinking lady, and Mme. Mabry (Erykah Badu), the Brothel's Madam, the movie links various Western archetypes into its narrative.

Themes and Style
Samuel's film focuses on informing the abundant, frequently overlooked history of Black individuals throughout the period of American West expansion, improving the common understanding of cowboys. Each character was an actual historic figure who lived in the late 19th century Wild West, a significant departure from the conventional Western story, which practically specifically highlights white cowboys' exploits.

Furthermore, the movie, while remaining real to the period's visual, modernizes its technique through dialogues and storytelling style. The fusion of the timeless Western feel with the hip, city design develops a climatic movie theater that is both appealing And unique.

Reception and Influence
While "They Die by Dawn" did not have a widespread theatrical release, the film got gratitude in the circles that had access to it. Aside from its strong cast, lots of praised the film for its representation of black individuals in a genre where they're hardly ever seen. Erykah Badu's spectacular performance was especially applauded.

The movie had a substantial effect as it was one of the early instances of reframing the Wild West narrative to include black perspectives, hence using a more thorough take a look at a crucial period in American history. It opened conversations on diversity and representation in American cinema and their importance in shaping historic stories.

"They Die by Dawn" is a pioneering piece of cinema, providing a distinct perspective on the Wild West. It manages to tread the delicate balance in between authenticity and modern narrative methods. The film likewise is successful in highlighting the diverse cross-section of characters who existed in the era, challenging stereotypes, and providing a more holistic picture of the historic period. It is a testament to the rich history of African Americans that is often missing from mainstream Western movies, making the film a fresh and essential addition to the genre.

Top Cast

  • Rosario Dawson (small)
    Rosario Dawson
  • Kelly Hu (small)
    Kelly Hu
  • Giancarlo Esposito (small)
    Giancarlo Esposito
  • Jesse Williams (small)
    Jesse Williams
    John Taylor
  • Michael Kenneth Williams (small)
    Michael Kenneth Williams
  • Clifton Powell (small)
    Clifton Powell
    Deputy Sheriff
  • Nate Parker (small)
    Nate Parker
    Jim Beckwourth
  • Bokeem Woodbine (small)
    Bokeem Woodbine
    Bill Picket
  • Isaiah Washington (small)
    Isaiah Washington
    Ben Hodges
  • Shanola Hampton (small)
    Shanola Hampton
    Pretty Woman
  • Denzel Whitaker (small)
    Denzel Whitaker
    Paul Dunbar