The Hateful Eight


By Quentin Tarantino

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Academy Award-winning screenwriter Quentin Tarantino returns with his most infamous, most brilliant, most masterful screenplay yet?Ķ

At the end of the Civil War, a stagecoach hurtles through the wintry Wyoming landscape. Bounty hunter John Ruth and his fugitive captive Daisy Domergue race toward the town of Red Rock, where Ruth will bring Domergue to justice. Along the road, they encounter Major Marquis Warren, a former Union soldier turned infamous bounty hunter; and Chris Mannix, a renegade who claims to be the town’s new sheriff.

Lost in a blizzard, Ruth, Domergue, Warren, and Mannix seek refuge at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach stopover. When they arrive, they are greeted by four unfamiliar faces: Bob, who takes care of Minnie’s in the owner’s absence; Oswaldo Mobray, the hangman of Red Rock; cow-puncher Joe Gage; and Confederate general Sanford Smithers. As the storm overtakes the mountainside, our eight travelers come to learn they may not make it to Red Rock after all …

The Hateful Eight is a Tarantino master class in tension-filled atmosphere, singular characters, and razor-sharp dialogue.


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I think I was asked to write this foreword because I have a particular—and peculiar—relationship to "The Hateful 8." Partially because I'm lucky enough to be someone who gets to spend time with Quentin Tarantino, and those hangs can sometimes become an occasion where he'll suddenly dash off into a room at stately Tarantino Manor and emerge with a grin and a notebook, trailed by a flurry of loose pages: "So, I got this thing I was workin' on that I wanna try out on ya…" (He's up for sharing his writing with anyone he likes; a friend of mine got to enjoy this experience while seated next to Tarantino on a transatlantic plane ride.) And what he reads can be a chapter from a long-threatened treatise on a favorite director, or… OK, I know, this is completely unfair to bring stuff up that may never see the light of day (and which I mention in hopes of getting him to publish his unfinished books of film essays and director analyses). But—SPOILER ALERT, as they say on the worldwide net—this story has a happy ending. And almost no casualties.

Let's set the stage like this: Quentin Tarantino has taken a stab at almost any genre you can think of—often in the context of action film. And before you say, "Wait, not the musical…" I'd answer that with the dance scene in "Pulp Fiction," or for a more specific conflation, the Bride taking on the Crazy 88s in "Kill Bill, Vol. 1." (In fact, the similarity between musical and martial arts sequence is so easily limned—John Woo has basically made a career of it—that I'll leave that for someone else's intro, or graduate thesis.) Screwball comedy… really, do you have to ask? Romantic melodrama? "Kill Bill Vol. 2" is "Written on the Wind" as if staged by King Hu. Before we wear ourselves out here, I imagine there's one genre you'd be surprised to discover his interest in: the drawing room mystery. One of the first conversations we ever had included my embarrassed admission for a 1965 film, an approbation Tarantino shared. The film was "Ten Little Indians," which starred a Hugh O'Brian whose brow remained spectacularly unfurrowed as the plot ground inexorably towards a denouement in which a group of wan, guilt-ridden and overly tweeded swingin' Brits were eliminated as ruthlessly as comedies from NBC's prime time schedule. And it was Hugh's tanned superiority—even in black and white, he threw off a hearty Southern California glow (I think he even played a character named Hugh)—that led me to seek out the original source material.

Of course, you'd think Tarantino's attraction towards such a film would be about as likely as seeing a black person (a) starring in a premium cable series (b) starring in a Martin Scorsese movie or (c) alone on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. And those points of comparison come into play here for a reason. The 1965 film was an adaptation of an Agatha Christie novel called "Ten Little Niggers," complete with an equally glibly offensive song woven into the plot. And because Tarantino is one of the few working filmmakers eager to explore questions of race and identity in his work, the ugliness intrinsic to Christie's original conception was something he couldn't get out of his mind.

My contact with "Hateful 8" starts with its original incarnation; it was born as an intended print sequel to "Django Unchained," passages of which Quentin would enthusiastically read aloud from handwritten notebook pages, acting out every single action and character. Then, when it turned into "Hateful 8," I got to hear sections of that as well. When Tarantino asks for an opinion after he puts the writing down, the author-actor (acteur?) does more than listen for a response—he pores over body language and inflection from an audience as if he were Christie's Hercule Poirot, scanning the grounds in a demitasse cup for clues. Finally, the "8" script was finished and was on its way to production when it was leaked online. Now, that's a turn of events that demands its own Poirot, but the unhappy conclusion was that Quentin withdrew the material. It seemed it would never see the light of day.

And here's where what they call in TV shows the B-plot emerges. Film Independent at LACMA—where I'm curator—has a series called Live Read, where Jason Reitman and I put together a group of classic film scripts. Jason then casts them and for one night only, a group of actors reads the script before a live audience. (It's not streamed or recorded—if you're not there, you don't see it.) In the first season—we're now in the fifth—one of the biggest successes was a black recasting of "Reservoir Dogs" starring Laurence Fishburne, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Terence Howard. It's the first—and to date—only production to receive a standing ovation after ten minutes in. In a reversing of the original casting, there'd instead be one white actor (in the movie, Holdaway, the detective who briefs Mr. Orange, is black). I asked Quentin to do it, and he was interested but too busy preparing the "Django" shoot.

While the smoke was still clearing from the explosion caused by the leak, I met Quentin for dinner. This was during Live Read's third season, and I'd invited guest directors since Jason was away making a movie. Earlier, I'd approached Quentin about being one of these special guests, but again, timing seemed to conspire against him getting to it. (I'm still hoping he brings the scripts he wanted to do to Live Read). So, I was caught off guard when he asked about stepping in as a guest director. I had to tell him the slots were all booked and there was no room left in our schedule. "What," he asked, "if I said I wanted to do a live read of 'Hateful 8'?" "I think we can make some room," I replied. Thanks to my agile staff at Film Independent, "The Hateful 8" had its world premiere April 19, 2014, on the stage at the theater at the Ace Hotel before a crowd of sixteen hundred people. What gets left out of this story when most people bring it up is that attendance was conditional. The entire audience had to check cell phones at the door for obvious reasons; Tarantino didn't want this staging turning up anywhere else, and Harvey Weinstein graciously paid for the extra security. And the place still sold out within an hour. That night, people from around the world watched as the writer-director cajoled, caressed and called-out a cast that included Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Walton Goggins, Bruce Dern and James Parks. If you're chewing your lower lip about having missed your opportunity to see them do it live, don't worry: they're all in the film version of "Hateful 8," joined by new arrivals Jennifer Jason Leigh, Demian Bichir and Channing Tatum. The period racism of Christie's novel becomes the foundation of this post–Civil War mystery, in which casual and blunt ugliness functions as a kind of original sin—something that stains every single character in the piece.

At the end of the "Hateful 8" Live Read evening—four a.m. the next day, actually—a handful of us remained. And as we smoked celebratory cigars, Quentin pulled me aside and confirmed a possibility he'd teased about—and which had to be kept on the d.l. between us—when he proposed the "Hateful 8" read: "This is it. I'm gonna do it. I'm making the movie." He broke into a reassuring chuckle, exhaled a plume of Cuban smoke and wandered back to the crowd, where he led them in a toast. The final chapter of that story that was years in the making is this, "The Hateful 8" script that—as Stan Lee used to write—you hold in your hot little hands, true believer. And me? As someone says in a movie by one of Mr. Tarantino's favorite directors, I just happened to be there when the wheel went 'round.




A breathtaking 70MM filmed (as is the whole movie) snow covered mountain range.

A staggering opening vista, set to appropriately nerve jangling music.

Then, in the bottom left of this big 70MM SUPER CINEMASCOPE FRAME, we see a STAGECOACH being pulled by a team of SIX HORSES rip snorting through the bottom of the landscape.

Setting is an undetermined time, six or eight or twelve years after the Civil War.



Now, still in big super CINEMASCOPE 70MM filmed gloriousness, we follow along with the lone STAGECOACH DRIVER fighting and guiding these six horses to shelter.

We follow alongside the HORSES, working our way from the back horse in mid-stride, to the tip of the lead horse's nose.

We follow along the twelve horse hooves as they tear up and spit out snow and dirt.

We take the DRIVER'S POV down the hurtling six horse team.

We follow along the big stagecoach WAGON WHEEL, then up to the stagecoach door WINDOW (complete with curtains). Which beyond we can make out the figures of a MAN and a WOMAN sitting side by side.

70MM CU of The STAGECOACH DRIVER O.B. (pronounced Obie) as he whips the horses forward, keeps the wheels on the road, and avoids the rocks.


.… he sees something up ahead.

He pulls back on the reins.


as reins are pulled back.


slowing in the snow.


still fighting the reins.


still trying to stop their vigorous glide. Snorting and coughing HOT BREATH, the horses finally settle to a stop.


calms the halted horses, as he looks straight ahead and down at the impediment to his vehicle's progress.

O.B.'s POV:

What O.B. sees on the road is a BLACK MAN in the middle of it, sitting on a nice leather saddle, laid on top of THREE FROZEN DEAD WHITE MEN, smoking a pipe (the black man, not the three dead white guys).


removes the pipe from his mouth and says to the man behind the six snorting horses;


Got room for one more?


looks at the black man sitting on the three dead white men in the middle of the road, smoking a pipe, amongst falling snowflakes, and says;


Who the hell are you, and what happened to them?

The BLACK MAN is an older man. A sly LEE VAN CLEEF type with a bald pate, silver hair on the sides, a distinguished mustache, and a tall slim frame. He wears the dark blue uniform pants of the U.S. CAVALRY, with the yellow stripe down the side of the pant leg, tucked into black regulation Cavalry riding boots. His shirt and undergarments are non-regulation and worn for comfort, style, and warmth, including a long charcoal grey wool scarf. But his dark heavy winter coat is his OFFICER WINTER COAT from the U.S. Cavalry, with the officer insignias ripped off.

On top of his bald pate he wears a supercool non-regulation COWBOY HAT he picked up sometime after the war.



Name's Major Marquis Warren former U.S. Cavalry. Currently I'm a servant of the court.

The northern Officer stands up from his saddle perch on the three frozen dead white men.


These are a coupla' no-goods I'm bringin' into market. I got the paperwork on 'em in my pocket.


You takin' 'em into Red Rock?


I figure that's where you goin', right?

We see a terrible BLIZZARD kicking up in the BACKGROUND. The stagecoach has obviously been trying to beat it to shelter.


That damblasted blizzard's been on our ass for the last three hours. Ain't no way we gonna' make it all the way to Red Rock 'fore it catches us.


So ya' hightailin' it halfway to Minnie's Haberdashery?


You know I am.


May I come aboard?


Well smoke, it up to me, yes. But it ain't up to me.


Who's it up to?


Fella' in the wagon.


Fella' in the wagon not partial to company?


This ain't the regular line. The fella' in the wagon paid for a private trip. And I'm here to tell ya' he paid a pretty penny for privacy. So if you wanna' go to Minnie's with us..… you gotta' talk to him.


Well I suppose I'll do that.

MAJOR MARQUIS WARREN starts to walk around to the stagecoach door, when a rifle barrel comes out of the window pointing at the former Cavalry Officer.




Hold it black fella'!

Marquis Warren stops.


'Fore you approach, you take them two guns of yours and lay 'em on that rock over yonder. Then you raise both your hands way above your hat. Then you come forward.… molasses-like.

Maj.Warren looks up at O.B. and says;


(to O.B.)

Real trustin' fella', huh?


(to Maj.Warren)

Not so much.

Maj.Warren walks over to the rock that the voice behind the rifle chose as a good place for Marquis to relieve himself of his weapons.

He places two revolvers hanging on his hip on said rock.

Then raising his hands above his hat, he slowly approaches the stagecoach.

We see a bit of a face and a hat in the dark beyond the window frame in the stagecoach door.

The voice behind the rifle snaps;


That's far enough!

The Major stops.

The rifle barrel is taken inside the window…


.… the fella' in the wagon KICKS OPEN the stagecoach door so Maj.Warren can see inside.

The FELLA' IN THE WAGON is a rough looking white man lawman type, with a drop dead black hat and a walrus like mustache above his top lip.

He one arms a rifle in Maj.Warren's direction.

The other arm is handcuffed to the wrist of.…

The FEMALE PASSENGER/PRISONER in the stagecoach with him.

She sits across from him, her wrist cuffed to his wrist, his cuffed hand holding a pistol, the pistol pointed at her belly.

This once pretty WHITE LADY (maybe before the trip, maybe years ago) wears a once pretty dress, and a once sexy smirk under a man's heavy winter coat. Her face is a collection of cuts, bruises, and scrapes. As if during this trip with The Walrus Mustache Man. she took a few punches and falls.



Well I'll be dogged, you a black fella' I know. Col. Something Warren, right?


Major Marquis Warren. I remember you too. We shared a steak dinner in Chattanooga once upon a time. You John Ruth, The Hangman.


That be me.


How long's that been?


Since that steak? Eight months.


So why don't you explain to me what a African bounty hunter's doin' wandering 'round in the snow in the middle of Wyoming?


I'm tryin' to get a couple a bounty's to Red Rock.


So you still in business?


You know I am.


What happened to your horse?


Circumstances forced us to take the long way around. My horse couldn't make it.


You don't know nothin' about this filly here?

Motioning towards the woman with the barrel of his pistol.




Don't even know her name?




Well I guess that makes this one fortuitous wagon.


I sure as hell hope so.

John Ruth makes the introductions;


Major Marquis Warren, this here is Daisy Domergue. Domergue, to you, this is Maj.Warren.

While keeping his hands raised, Maj.Warren touches the brim of his hat and nods slightly in her direction.

DAISY DOMERGUE (pronounced DAHMER-GOO) gives Maj.Warren an open handed wave with her free hand and says with a smile;


Howdy nigger!

That makes John Ruth chuckle and Maj.Warren frown.


(to Maj.Warren)

She's a pepper, ain't she?

(to Domergue)

Now girl, don't you know darkee's don't like bein' called niggers no more. They find it offensive.


I been called worse.


Now that I can believe.

(to Maj.Warren)

Heard of her?


Should I?


Well she ain't no John Wilkes Booth. But maybe you might of heard tell 'bout the price on her head.


How much?


Ten thousand dollars.


Damn, what she do? Kill Lillie Langtry?


Not quite. Now that ten thousand's practically in my pocket. It's why I ain't too anxious to be handin' out RIDES. Especially to professionals open for business.


Well I sure can appreciate that. Only I ain't got no designs on 'er. One of my fella's is worth four thousand, one's worth three thousand, and one's worth one. That's damn sure good enough for me.


(meaning the three dead white guys)

Who are them fellas?


Warren Vanders, Homer Van Hootin, and Rebel Roy McCrackin.


Let me see their paperwork. Like I said, molasses-like.

Maj.Warren slowly removes the handbills from his winter coat pocket.

John Ruth lowers his rifle from Maj.Warren's chest, and takes the papers to study. He removes from his pocket a pair of spindly gold framed reading glasses that he applies to his face.

O.B., up on his driver's seat perch, yells back at them;



Look, I sure hate to interrupt y'all! But we gotta' cold damn blizzard hot on our ass we tryin' to beat to shelter!


(yelling back)

I realize that! Now shut your mouth and hold them damn horses while I think!

The grizzled guy studies the handbills.

Then raises both of his eyes and the brim of his hat to study the black Major still standing with his hands raised.

John Ruth makes up his mind.


Okay boy, we'll give it a try. But you leave those pistols over yonder with the driver.

Daisy Domergue says;



On Sale
Dec 22, 2015
Page Count
176 pages

Quentin Tarantino

About the Author

Quentin Tarantino is a film director, screenwriter, producer, and actor known for his hugely popular films Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained, Kill Bill, and Reservior Dogs, among others. Tarantino’s films have garnered both critical and commercial success. He has received many industry awards, including two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, two BAFTA Awards and the Palme d’Or, and has been nominated for an Emmy and a Grammy.

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