The event is the brainchild of Redemption's evil, corrupt mayor, Herod (Gene Hackman), a criminal who has taken over the town and charges a 50% tax on local businesses. The pot for Herod's deadly game has swollen, attracting numerous colorful gunfighters from around the territory. As each battle thins the ranks of players, the pasts of several participants are revealed. Ellen is seeking revenge on Herod for a heinous past injustice. The fast-talking braggart known as "The Kid" (Leonardo DiCaprio) may in fact be Herod's son. The pacifist Reverend Cort (Russell Crowe), who refuses to participate in the bloodshed, is the fastest draw in the West and a former colleague of Herod's. After several spectacular slayings, Ellen and Herod stage a final showdown, but not before he has made her an unexpected proposal. The Quick and the Dead (1995) is dedicated to veteran Western actor Woody Strode, who appears in a cameo as Redemption's coffin maker, his final performance.