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A Violent New Day Dawns in the Western Shoot ‘Em Up, ‘The Harder They Fall’

Regina King as Trudy Smith, Idris Elba as Rufus Buck, Lakeith Stanfield as Cherokee Bill in 'The Harder They Fall.'
Regina King as Trudy Smith, Idris Elba as Rufus Buck, Lakeith Stanfield as Cherokee Bill in ‘The Harder They Fall.’ Netflix

“I don’t particularly enjoy violence. That being said, you are in company of extremely violent individuals,” Lakeith Stanfield intones as Cherokee Bill in the preview for The Harder They Fall.

Coming to Netflix on Nov. 3 after its world premiere at the London Film Festival this month, there could be no better way to sum up The Harder They Fall, the new Western flick from the streaming service. Inspired by the real-life cowboy Nat Love and the infamous Rufus Buck gang, the trailer suggests that the star-studded, majority Black-cast shoot ‘em up is sure to be filled with real Western grit.

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The plot follows outlaw Nat Love (played by forehead cross-scarred Jonathan Majors) as he saddles up with his gang to take down enemy Rufus Buck (Idris Elba), a ruthless crime boss just sprung from prison. Decades ago, Rufus killed Nat’s parents, and Nat’s hellbent on revenge once he discovers the prison break. Joined by his posse, Nat sets out to track Rufus down, but Rufus has his own gang by his side. With names like Stagecoach Mary (Zazie Beetz) and “Treacherous” Trudy Smith (Regina King), you can expect they’ve already been in a fight or two.

We enter the story right in the middle of an ambush, in fact, with Trudy and Bill breaking Buck from his cell. An ominous banger on beat in the background, Buck dons the same black hat as his fellow outlaws, a nod to classic Western villains. 

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Speaking of soundtracks, the trailer gives viewers a quick listen to the Jay-Z and Kid Cudi collaboration, My Guns Go Bang, which drops just after Nat recruits Mary. Beetz’s character is also based in history as ‘Stagecoach’ is supposed to be the first Black woman mail carrier, famed for her shooting ability and having “the temperament of a grizzly bear.” 

Jay-Z also serves as one of the film’s producers, which may have resulted from a close relationship with director Jeymes Samuel, who told Shadow and Act magazine that he grew up a huge fan of Westerns and always wanted them to explore the lives of more characters who weren’t white men.

“I just grew up wanting to know more about people of color and women and all of these ideas of the Old West that I was not getting from the Hollywood movies,” Samuel said. “And so I would just buy books and would…uncover amazing characters — heroes and villains, men and women of all colors.”

The trailer also call backs to musical icons from the previous generation, remixing Barrington Levy’s Here I Come and featuring Afrobeat king Fela Kuti who’s funkified, 1971, Let’s Start, carried June’s blistering The Harder They Come teaser.

Samuel is also known in the U.K. as singer-songwriter for The Bullitts. The film marks his feature-length directorial debut.

Read More: Artist Mark Maggiori’s New Old West

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