When and Where Does The Hateful Eight Take Place?

Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, and Jennifer Jason Leigh, Quentin Tarantino’s 2015 ‘The Hateful Eight’ is an exploration of American politics and its relationship to racism and white supremacy. When a damning blizzard breaks out and catches bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren off-guard, he hitches a lift from John Ruth, who is traveling with his bounty, a dangerous outlaw Daisy Domergue. Along the way, they pick up another man, Chris Mannix, and stop by Minnie’s Haberdashery once the blizzard approaches closer. Inside the establishment, they meet four other unsavory characters. Now trapped inside a small cabin together, the characters must survive each other’s company in order to make it out of the blizzard alive. The film utilizes its setting in history and geography to expand upon its themes. If you’re wondering exactly when and where ‘The Hateful Eight’ takes place, here is everything you need to know.

The Hateful Eight Takes Place After American Civil War

‘The Hateful Eight’ firmly takes place sometime after the American Civil War. Though the Western film never references a set year, the influence of the war is still fresh enough to be a recent history. According to Tarantino, the ambiguity of the time is an intentional choice, and the film can be pinned six, eight, or ten years post-war, depending on viewer interpretation. Nevertheless, it’s safe to assume the movie takes place somewhere in the 1870s. ‘The Hateful Eight’s’ setting in its era plays a significant role in the plotlines and character arcs explored within the story.

Characters like Mannix and General Smithers are portrayed as Confederates who fought for the northern side, and deeply rooted racism runs rampant in their personalities. On the flip side, Warren’s socio-political standing at the time also molds and drives his character. References to historical events like the Battle of Baton Rouge, which took place on August 5, 1862, while constructing Warren’s backstory further remind viewers of the film’s time period.

Apart from the thematic impact, ‘The Hateful Eight’s’ setting in the 1870s is also felt through its costuming, vernacular, and set designs. Though there are some historical inconsistencies within the movie, the strong southern twang most characters have accompanied with their diction is all a product of their time. Similarly, the heavy usage of racial slurs also solidly places the movie in the past. The callous portrayal of racism, misogyny, and violence as depicted in ‘The Hateful Eight’ informs the villainy of its time period as much as the villainy of its characters.

The Hateful Eight Unfolds in Wyoming’s Snowy Terrain

The movie opens with bounty hunter Warren, a lone traveler, walking the snowy paths amidst an oncoming blizzard. The movie’s first two chapters occur along this same path as Warren, Ruth, Domergue, and Mannix ride in O.B.’s stagecoach to Minnie’s Haberdashery. It is very likely that this wagon trail is the Overland Trail that existed during the years 1852-1869 from Missouri to California. The movie is set in the state of Wyoming, as mentioned by one of the characters. Snow blizzards aren’t uncommon in Wyoming. As such, the geographical detail of the story lends a helping hand to the inception of the movie’s premise.

Additionally, several characters are also on their way to the town of Red Rock. Ruth and Warren are traveling there to deliver their bounties. Therefore, so is Domergue. Meanwhile, Mannix and Mobray claim to be Red Rock’s sheriff and hangman, respectively. Smithers is also visiting the town to purchase a symbolic plot in the town’s cemetery for his son, Charles Chester Smithers. Though there is no town by the name of Red Rock, it is possible that the movie is referencing a community built around one of Wyoming’s infamous landmarks. Red Rock is an eroded rock formation in the state of Wyoming. In the 19th century, travelers often frequented this location while traveling along the Overland Trail.

The Wyoming backdrop in ‘The Hateful Eight’ plays into the motifs of the film due to its political climate. Though Wyoming was not a Confederate state at the time, it was also not among the most prolific Union states. The geography of the film is able to emanate an ambiguity that somewhat resembles the overall plot due to its setting in Wyoming. Inversely, most of the movie takes place inside a cabin. Therefore, according to Tarantino, it almost has a post-apocalyptic feel to it. Though the story’s location does influence the themes in some way, it’s also almost forgettable. The characters are confined within closed quarters. Their fates are much more affected by their morality than the specifics of their situation.

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