In Sergio Leone's For a Few Dollars More, is Colonel Douglas Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef's character) the brother of the girl killed by El Indio, or is he her dad, and the girl was in love with her brother (incestuous, and the guy shot is also his son). I always assumed the former, but was recently told about the latter possibility and now I have a lot of doubts about the end.

At the end he says "between brother and sister", which isn't ambiguous maybe, but in Italian he says "happens between brother and sister" (= succede tra fratello e sorella).

Mortimer is her brother. As stated in the plot summary on Wikipedia:

While murdering the family of the man who captured him, Indio carries a musical pocketwatch that was a memento of his youth, using it to time the duel. Flashbacks reveal that he had taken the watch from a young woman (Rosemary Dexter), who had shot herself as he was raping her after having murdered her husband. The incident has haunted Indio, and he smokes an addictive drug to cloud his memory.


Mortimer takes Indio's watch and Manco remarks on Mortimer's resemblance to the woman in the photographs. Mortimer reveals himself as her brother

According to IMDb, this is the dialogue:

[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.

According to Howard Hughes's Once Upon a Time in the Italian West: The Filmgoers’ Guide to Spaghetti Westerns:

After Indio’s death, the dialogue between Mortimer and Manco explains the revenge motive, reinforced by Morricone’s subtle underscoring. Manco looks at the picture in the watch and notes a family resemblance. ‘Naturally,’ answers Mortimer, ‘Between brother and sister.’ Manco says that they have become rich, but for Mortimer revenge is enough. Mortimer listens to the chimes, while Morricone’s ‘Goodbye Colonel’ accompanies the scene, again incorporating the carillon, but now with lush strings and chorus. His sister avenged, Mortimer is content and rides into the sunset.

  • Would be interesting, though, what the Wikipedia article bases its summary on. Is it just the same piece of dialogue that the question cites already? Not saying the other interpretation makes too much sense, but maybe we can do a little better than just point at some random plot summary, at least maybe take the film itself for reference? – Napoleon Wilson Nov 27 at 9:37
  • @NapoleonWilson What else would their relationship be? It's a revenge story, and at the end we learn his motive (which is linked to the watch), just like at the end of "Once Upon a Time in the West" we learn Harmonica's motive (which is linked to his harmonica). The movie doesn't explicitly reveal everything, we're supposed to join the dots as viewers. – BCdotWEB Nov 27 at 9:45
  • I'm not asking what else it could be, I'm asking to give more than some random summary. But you ultimately did, so thank you for that. In fact it seems just quoting the full dialogue where the "between brother and sister" was directly referencing the "family resemblence" (between Mortimer and the girl) would already have done a great deal. – Napoleon Wilson Nov 27 at 10:02

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