Legends of the Fall

Corrected entry: When Tristan receives a letter from Alfred in which he tells that Susannah is dead, it is obvious that the sheet of paper in Tristan's hands is not a letter. When he opens it, it looks like an add or even a time table or so, and when he reads it, you can see through it - it says something like "Western Union" in the headline with large and bold fonts. It is very unlikely that Alfred, a respected, wealthy congressman, would have written a death message on randomly chosen paper. (01:52:10)

Correction: At the time the film was set Western Union was a telegraph company. He is reading a telegram.

Corrected entry: Near the end of the movie when they come for Tristan he says take me to the woods. Col. Ludlow comes out and Tristan walks over to him. When Col. Ludlow raises his shotgun there is a long bead of sweat running down the right side of his face, the scene cuts away and when it cuts back as he shoots the shotgun the sweat is gone.

Correction: You mean to tell us that the bead of sweat could not have fallen from the actor's face while the scene was being shot?


Corrected entry: William Ludlow writes to his wife on April 13, 1913. She replies to that letter and includes that Samuel and Susanna will be visiting William "this summer". Yet the events involving Samuel and Susanna at William's home include two occasions where Samuel voices concerns for the events taking place in Europe at the start of World War One in 1914. He and Susanna have not been at William's home for a full year as Samuel speaks with Tristan about Susanna, her ideas and their plan to "not wait for marriage" as if it is all fresh and new, and does so after the first discussion of the war. It must be 1914. The only other explanation is that mail takes about six months to cross the country at this time, and Isabelle was replying in the fall of 1913, which would be ridiculous, as even then such mail took just weeks at worst to arrive.


Correction: Everything seems to hinge on the mail being relatively quick and efficient. Mail can get, and does get lost, misplaced, rerouted, or otherwise delayed even in 2009. I have had mail from Korea arrive to me in Canada before mail from California, even though the order was placed the same day. There are many examples of lost mail arriving years after being mailed, the most recent of which I can recall was a letter mailed from the US Midwest, to one of the eastern states during WWII, which finally arrived in the mid 2000's. The letter had fallen behind a bureau or filing cabinet and was not found until the post office was being demolished and rebuilt.


Corrected entry: At Samuel's funeral (actually his heart's) Alfred, who had his right leg injured in the war, is standing with a crutch under his left arm. (00:45:45)


Correction: The crutch is under his left arm on most occasions (on arrival, at the funeral, strolling with Susannah, at the grave). It is a matter of taste whether or not to have the crutch on the same side as the weak leg. It is recommendable, for balance, to have the crutch under the right arm if the right leg is injured. Yet some people find it easier to have the crutch in the arm on the opposite side because it mimics normal walking (your left arm swings paralell with your right leg and vice versa.) Moreover, it is not uncommon to alternate between both ways because using a crutch can be quite tiring for the arm.

Corrected entry: In the scene when Tristan's wife Isabel is being killed, Tristan screams out his pain and then you see his teeth-filling. I don't think that there were any teeth-fillings at that time. (01:39:40)

Correction: The use of silver teeth fillings was standardized in the 1890's. No problem here.


Corrected entry: When Susannah arrives at the ranch Pet and Isabel stand by the stairs. However, a bit later Susannah goes to the garden where Isabel Two is and greet her like they were meeting for the first time. It is very unlikely they weren't introduced to each other on arrival. (00:11:45)

Correction: Even though Isabel Two is treated as one of the family, they are all aware that she is the half breed (only using this terminology because it was the term used then) child of the ranch employee. Essentially a servant. They are all very conscious of the fact that Susanna seems to be very proper and well heeled, and may have assumed she may not want to be introduced to a person in that position in front of the family. They all learn that evening that she also regards I2 as family, so the situation could have been avoided, but it obviously wasn't.

Kimberly Mason

Corrected entry: Susannah first comes to the ranch during the summer of 1913. In the garden, Isabel Two tells Susannah that she is 13 years old. If you pay attention to the dates in the letters written, Tristan has left Susannah on his journey in 1918 and sends a letter saying he has become a hunter in 1919. The voice over by Stab then describes "many years" that Tristan is still supposed to be absent after his last letter before he returns, however when he marries Isabel Two she is said to be 20 years old. That would mean he would have had to come home in 1920 at the latest.

Correction: If we are to take the dates of all the letters and the two statements that attribute Isabelle II's age as factually correct, the only thing not accurate are the statements of One Stab who, when relating them to us in narration, is a very old man telling stories of events that took place at least 40 years ealier. Such inaccuracies can easily be attributed to artistic license in his story-telling or the failing memory of an elderly man, or a combination of both. In his mind, it may very well seem as if Tristan was gone many years when it was in fact just a few, as One Stab did love Tristan dearly.


Decker also says Susannah married Alfred 'several years ago'. Isabelle II should have been older when she married Tristan.

Corrected entry: When Brad Pitt is in the army tent in France grieving over his brother's death, it is night. In the film, we see the Native American in Montana is simultaneously having a spiritual moment in his teepee and it is night there as well. The time difference between Montana and France is 10 hours; it cannot be night in both places simultaneously.

Correction: It is possible depending on the time of year]. Plus, the time difference between Montana and France is only eight hours.


Corrected entry: In the scene where Isabelle is killed, Tristan attacks the policeman, when they tackle him to the ground he is hit with that little billy club, but if you notice you can see the club bending before and after it hits Tristan.

Continuity mistake: After Susannah's arrival at the ranch she takes a walk around. When she passes by the Deckers the sun has already set. In the next shot, when she talks to Isabell Two, the sun is shining again. (00:12:40)


More mistakes in Legends of the Fall

Susannah: 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.

More quotes from Legends of the Fall

Trivia: When shooting the scene where Isabelle Two is shot and Tristan gets beat up by the policemen, the actor playing the policeman accidentally really hit Brad Pitt on the head with the baton, giving him a black eye. Shortly after that, they shot the tennis scene that's near the beginning, and Brad Pitt still has his black eye. They had to make up a couple of lines about his "shiner" to explain it.


More trivia for Legends of the Fall

Question: Before committing suicide, why did Susannah cut her hair? I've seen this behaviour in other films but have never known the psychology behind it.


Answer: Cutting locks of hair is often done in memory of the deceased. Knowing of her impending death, she cut two locks so as not to have them tainted by blood, but dropped one on the floor. I imagine it was the one for Alfred, but it is just my opinion.

I have goosebumps with this interpretation. I always thought that it was related someone with "scalping." She kills herself. She is her own victim. I don't know.

Chosen answer: To give a definitive answer would be misleading because there's no one specific reason why someone does this type of thing. People considering suicide often start exhibiting odd and/or uncharacteristic behavior such as suddenly cutting one's hair. In Susannah's case, it could be a form of self-mutilation, an attempt to change who she is by altering her appearance, or it is a way of controlling something in her life while other events spiral out-of-control, and so on.

raywest Premium member

Answer: I always thought it was she wanted people to know. She didn't want the wound to be covered.

More questions & answers from Legends of the Fall

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