Legends of the Fall

1994 film directed by Edward Zwick

Legends of the Fall is a 1994 film about the Ludlow family of Montana, including veteran of the Indian Wars Colonel Ludlow, his three sons Alfred, Tristan, and Samuel, and object of the brothers' love, Susannah. The movie's timeframe spans the decade before World War I through the Prohibition Era, and into the 1930s, ending with a brief scene set in 1963. This movie was shot in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.

Directed by Edward Zwick. Written by Susan Shilliday and William D. Wittliff, based on the 1979 novella of the same title by Jim Harrison.
He was a rock they broke themselves against however much he tried to protect them. (taglines)

One Stab

  • Some people hear their own inner voices with great clearness. And they live by what they hear. Such people become crazy... or they become legends.
  • It's hard to tell of happiness, time goes by and we feel safe too soon.
  • She was like the water that freezes inside a rock and breaks it apart. It was no more her fault than it is the fault of the water when the rock shatters.
  • Tristan died in 1963. The moon of the popping trees. He was last seen up in the North Country, where the hunting was still good. His grave is unmarked, but it does not matter. He had always lived in the borderland anyway, somewhere between this world and the Other.
  • I thought Tristan would never live to be an old man. I was wrong about that. I was wrong about many things. It was those who loved him most who died young. He was a rock they broke themselves against however much he tried to protect them.

Colonel Ludlow

  • Indians! Indians were the issue in those days. I can assure you, gentlemen, there is nothing quite so grotesque as the meeting of a child with a bullet; or an entire village slaughtered while sleeping. That was the Government's resolution of that particular issue and I have seen nothing in its behavior since then that would persuade me that it has gained either in wisdom, common sense, or humanity.


  • Forever turned out to be too long Tristan.
  • Tristan, I have nowhere to send this letter and no reason to believe you wish to receive it. I write it only for myself. And so I will hide it away along with all the things left unsaid and undone between us.


  • Stab speak English?! Ha! He wouldn't lower himself to speak English would you Stab?!
  • Please excuse my father. It makes him feel young and powerful to treat us like idiot children.
  • I followed all of the rules, man's and God's. And you, you followed none of them. And they all loved you more. Samuel, Father, and my... even my own wife.


Tristan Ludlow: (smiling) Some people hear their own inner voices with great claiming. And they live by what they hear. Such people become crazy and they become legends, Tristan Ludlow was born in the moon of the falling leaves. It was a terrible winter. His mother almost died bringing him into this world. His father, the Colonel, brought him to me. I wrapped him in a bearskin and held him all that night. As he grew into a man, I taught him the joy of the kill. When the hunter cuts out its warm heart, setting its spirit free.

Sheriff Tynert: His name is Tristan Ludlow. He was an officer.
Isabel Ludlow: He is with Tristan Ludlow.
Tristan Ludlow: His shoes stink like shift. Their dirty shoes stink like feel.

Tristan: Samuel, God bless you. You are good at everything you try to do. I'm sure it'll be the same with fucking.
Samuel: Tristan, really. We're talking about my future wife.
Tristan: Oh, you're not gonna fuck her?
Samuel: No!
Tristan: No?
Samuel: No! I'm planning to be with her.
Tristan: I recommend fucking.

Alfred: Susannah, you know how much I loved Samuel. And I think you know. Out of respect for him I wanted to say it in this place. I think you know that I'm in love with you. From the first moment I saw you. Like in a novel. That's my mother's romantic imagination coming out in me, I suppose. You're not making this very easy for me, Susannah.
Susannah: Sorry.
Alfred: Is there any hope that you could learn to love me? Not the way you loved Samuel, of course, but enough to. Susannah, we could make a life together. A happy life.
Susannah: I don't think so, Alfred.
Alfred: It seems like you're not sure though. Maybe there's a chance. What?
Susannah: I think I can only cause you pain, Alfred.

Alfred: When are you planning to be married?
Tristan: Morning.
Alfred: Damn you, Tristan. You will marry her.
Tristan: And make a honest woman out of her?
Alfred: Yes! God damn you to hell.
Tristan: Yes, I will marry her if she'll have me.
Alfred: If she'll have you? Do you love her? Or did you seduce her just to spite me?
Tristan: It's not what I did.
Alfred: And what about Samuel?
Tristan: What about Samuel?
Alfred: You tell me about Samuel.
Tristan: We all loved Samuel. Samuel's dead. What?
Alfred: How convenient that is for you.
Tristan: Because you love her I will forgive you for that. Once! You say that again and we're not brothers.

Susannah: Were you going to say goodbye? Tristan? How long will you be gone?
Tristan: Not long. A few months.
Susannah: I can make it better for you.
Tristan: No.
Susannah: If we'd had a child or if I were pregnant, would you still be going?
Tristan: Yes.
Susannah: Just give me a chance.
Tristan: Don't do that.
Susannah: Look at me. Please, look at me. I'll wait for you. However long it takes. I'll wait for you forever.

Alfred: I don't know what to say. Tristan's always been wild. You love him for that.
Susannah: Do I? Yeah, I suppose I do.
Alfred: Susannah, he does love you.
[holds her as she cries]
Colonel Ludlow: Alfred! She's to be your brother's wife.
Alfred: Yes, though you might better remind him of that.
Colonel Ludlow: He's not here to defend himself.
Alfred: No, he's not but I see you are here to defend him and what is his. Even though he's abandoned her and you. And I won't even speak of who else he abandoned.
Colonel Ludlow: Damn you, boy. Don't you blame my son for Samuel's death! Samuel chose to be a soldier and soldiers die. Sent to be slaughtered by the men in the government. Parasites like you! Damn and blast you! Damn you. [turns to Susannah] And damn you too!
Alfred: Shut your mouth! You leave her out of this!
Colonel Ludlow: You get out of my house and off my land.
Alfred: Why? Because I want to serve my country like you did? Or because, like you, I love a woman who doesn't love me? He used her and he deserted her. Your darling Tristan.
Susannah: Alfred, don't, please.
Alfred: I loved her! I love her still. And he stole her from me. If you want to know the truth of it he stole her from Samuel before the war.
Colonel Ludlow: God help me, I'll kill you.

Tristan: Alfred's going to do well wherever he is.
Colonel Ludlow: Except here with us.
Tristan: That's my fault.
Colonel Ludlow: I didn't say that.
Tristan: I couldn't bring Samuel back home alive either, could I?
Colonel Ludlow: Don't you dare say that boy! That was in God's hands.
Tristan: Was it?

Tristan: You know when Samuel died... when Samuel died, I cursed God. Did I damn everybody around me as well as myself?
Colonel Ludlow: No. You are not damned, Tristan... I won't allow that.

Alfred: You don't have to be a genius to figure out they going to come after you for this.
Tristan: Yeah. Alfred?
Alfred: Yeah?
Tristan: I want to ask you to watch over my children. Watch over Samuel.
Alfred: Brother, it will be an honor.

Tristan: Samuel! Samuel, come here! Run along now. Go with Pet. Get him in the house!
John T. O'Banion: He's a fine boy. You know we're not here to arrest you.
Tristan: You take me to the woods. I don't want my boy to see. I don't want my boy to see. Let's get on with it.


  • He was a rock they broke themselves against however much he tried to protect them.
  • After the Fall from Innocence the Legend begins.
  • The men of the Ludlow family. A woman's grace brought them together. Then her passion tore them apart.


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