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Manco, a.k.a. the Man With No Name, wears this for pretty much the entirety of For a Few Dollars More. The one exception I could find was when he was snooping around after dark in Agua Caliente, and this seems to have significance because when El Indio catches him, he hands Manco this object and orders him to put it back on.

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I have no idea why El Indio told him to do that. Does the fact that it fits prove something about what Manco was up to? Does wearing it make him better at shooting or fist-fighting somehow? Or was it just a piece of small talk, like "by the way, you forgot this"?

Here's a slightly clearer shot of it from Manco's first scene in the movie:

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The other reason I'm curious about this is that I'm fairly sure he was not wearing this in A Fistful of Dollars or The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, and I believe his right hand was injured in A Fistful of Dollars after the Rojos captured him, so it might even be a tiny piece of evidence that the Man With No Name really is the same character in the two "Dollars" movies.

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El Indio doesn't give it to him. It's already his. In earlier scenes, you can see Manco wearing it. I imagine it's some sort of brace for the wrist to help with recoil, and also that it's the sign of a professional Gunman.

If you look here, (Edit: I pasted the exact time, but the link doesn't show the exact time. Look for 2:06:10)

you can see El Indio throws up Manco's serape, then reaches to grab the brace, taking it from Manco and holding it up. "You shouldn't have shot the apples off that tree," he says to Manco as he holds the brace. The implication here is that such fine shooting was a giveaway that Manco was more than just a bandit. Then he tells him to put it on, and it fits, which proves to El Indio that Manco is a "bounty killer" as he says later.

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The significance of it, is that this is the piece of kit that differentiates him from the characters Blondie, and The Stranger, from the other two movies.

Just as Colonel Douglas Mortimer wears his gun on his belly to differentiate his character from Angel Eyes (who does not). Because these movies were made on the cheap, with basically the same wardrobes, locations, and actors. Whatever 'marketing' did after the fact is meh IMO.

Why does he wear it? Because he shoots people for a living. If you've ever fired a hand gun, you'd understand why there's the phrase: "It kicks like a mule." You can always tell when actors are not firing live rounds: maybe I don't have the best gun control, but when I fire them, they're more or less pointing straight up at some point after the recoil. A wrist brace would help with that.

Indio saying, "Put it on." is like saying, own it; stop playing and show us who you really are: a bounty killer.

I'll take this opportunity to point out the fact that:

  • Manco is a bounty hunter who respects the law.

  • Blondie is a criminal.

  • The Stranger is a drifter with a heart of gold.

NONE of these are the same guy. Neither are any of the characters played by Lee Van Cleef or Gian Maria Volontè. Unless you believe in spontaneous resurrection, them all having changed names, and having uncharacteristic schizophrenic tendencies.

Note, there are numerous other extras that play different charterers throughout, which does not help any case to contrary the above.

  • The last part of the answer is a little too meandering about the issue of them being different characters. You might rather want to share your insights on this related question and concentrate more on the actual issue in this answer. – Napoleon Wilson Jul 21 '16 at 10:04
  • @NapoleonWilson - This question also asks if these are the same character, and that's the only part of this question not addressed by Longspeak's excellent answer. – Mazura Jul 21 '16 at 19:34
  • @Mazura - I could edit my answer, but honestly, I felt that issue wasn't the main focus of the question, and has been answered on this stackexchange already. That said, Sergio Leone himself is reported to say these are unrelated movies, and I have heard making them the same character was an American marketing ploy. I have no citations - for which I have searched endlessly - but I believe this to be true for many of the reasons you just cited. – Longspeak Jul 27 '16 at 14:53
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If you believe that Clint Eastwood is playing the same character in all 3 movies (because , unbelievably, some people don't), I've seen comment that he wears it as a brace due to his hand injury from A Fistful Of Dollars which would make sense.

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