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For a Few Dollars More is considered one of Sergio Leone's finest works and is without a doubt one of my favorite movies. But every time I watch it, something feels a little off.

In a flashback scene we see the movie's main villain Indio murder the lover of Colonel Mortimer's sister before proceeding to rape her.

However, Indio was not careful and left his gun within arm's reach of the girl. While still being assaulted, she seizes it and then shoots herself with the weapon.

I can understand that after losing the love of her life and enduring the horror of rape, one might want to commit suicide.

What I don't get, however, is why she didn't shoot Indio beforehand, thus putting an end to the rape and avenging her lover in the process.

Is there any explanation as to why she acted the way she did?

I don't mind that much, since this event was the basis of Mortimer's revenge-filled quest that gave us such an awesome movie, but I can't help but wonder every time I see this scene.

  • Where did y'all figure she was the sister? Not daughter or in law? I seen the movie an to me it was not real clear. An I thought she "wounded" him by not giving him satisfaction. – user25796 Sep 10 '15 at 3:21
  • See this quote from the movie : [Mortimer has just recovered the watch from Indio, which contains a picture of the woman that Indio raped] Monco: [peers at the picture] There seems to be a family resemblance. [He hands Mortimer the similar watch with the same picture he had taken earlier] Monco: Here. Col. Douglas Mortimer: [pause, then] Naturally, between brother and sister. – Streltsov Sep 10 '15 at 9:03
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    If she kills her attacker, and he has a small army of thugs under his control, what comes next for her? If she does not kill her attacker and does nothing, what comes next for her? Maybe you'd think she'd go the "kill first, then suicide" route, but maybe her own ultimate escape from the hell takes precedence over revenge, and, while she can take her own life, taking another's is not an easy thing, and what if she messes that up? So she just goes with the suicide while she still has the nerve. – PoloHoleSet Jul 21 '16 at 14:37
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In For a few Dollars More, El Indio is the villain, pursued by Manco and Mortimer. The attack on Mortimer's sister is revealed in flashbacks, so that event happened earlier than the events in the main timeline of the movie. If Mortimer's sister had killed him, there would be no villain, and thus no story and no movie. So it really boils down to a narrative decision.

Also, the film was made in 1965. While female characters in movies of the time were capable of committing violence, it was more likely that they would be victims. Mortimer's sister can be seen as an example of the Disposable Woman trope, a female character whose death gives the hero a reason for revenge. There are also elements of the Lost Lenore and Heroic Sacrifice tropes. But again, it boils down to a narrative, plot choice made by the storyteller. Even if it would make more sense for her to have shot El Indio herself, the storyteller needed him alive and her dead to tell the story he wanted to tell.

  • I understand that Mortimer's sister has to die while El Indio survives for this story to unfold. What I don't however, is why she wasn't put in a situation where she would not have such an ample opportunity to kill her agressor. This seems to me as more of a stupid sacrifice tan a heroic one. But I guess you are right, it is an almost 50 years old movie and as such it carries the values of its time. – Streltsov Oct 16 '14 at 15:39
  • I watched the movie again bearing your comment in my mind however, and the fact that she deliberately chose suicide when she had the possibility to avenge her lover made the 'nostalgia' scenes with El Indio and the pocket watch more powerful in my eyes. And that's probably part of what you meant by the story the storyteller wanted to tell. – Streltsov Oct 16 '14 at 15:49
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Colonel Mortimer's sister is a good person

She has just witnessed her lover (or in the novel her new husband) gunned down, and been raped.

Her world is devastated, however she is a Christian (we see her crucifix and see the Colonel Bible when we first see him). She is not a murderer, even in revenge for such crimes.

She decides she cannot take any more so kills herself, but the thought of killing Indeo never crosses her mind.

Mortimer being a soldier however feels no restraint in claiming revenge in this way.

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Thou shalt not kill.

There's a crucifix hanging in her bedroom. Suicide is debatably a sin. Murder is not up for debate. And unless you're psychotic, it's not as easy as the movies make it out to be.

When you hang a man you'd better look at him.

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It would be speculation only on my part but besides narrative decision if you must give justification to her action it could be that she inflicted more pain on him by killing herself rather than shooting him. however the average 19 century person probably would not know enough about psychology and the long term effects to have it be a conscious decision,

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