The Ballad of Buster Scruggs Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs Can Not Be Called Simple, Mediocre. The Film Consists Of Six Parts, Each Of Which Differs In Plot, Characters, And Events. One thing unites the stories: the Wild West. In addition, Joan and Ethan Coen – the authors of the short stories – felt it necessary to say goodbye to the characters in each part. So, what is the meaning of the story “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”? Consider each part of the film separately.

Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Good-natured singing cowboy Buster walks on his horse through the desert. The amiable hero is often referred to as the Nightingale of San Saba. On his way, he saw an inn, where he decided to go for a drink of whiskey. Suddenly, a conflict arises between Buster and the visitors of the establishment, during which the cowboy kills several robbers. Nightingale San Saba masterfully owns weapons, which clearly demonstrates.

After this event, Buster commits another series of murders. However, this only amuses the singing friendly cowboy. Over time, another excellent shooter appeared in the city, who challenged Buster to a duel, during which Nightingale San Saba received a bullet in the forehead.

What is this part about? An absurd comedy with black humor. A story about how luck and luck cannot last forever. Events follow each other with incredible speed. It is important for people to remember that no matter how difficult the test would be for them, it will not always be so.Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Close to Algodons

This part is also a cowboy. Now he hopes to rob a bank. But unsuccessfully. The bank teller prevents the hero from doing his plan. After this event, several incredible events happen to the cowboy. At the end of this story, the hero is sent to the next world by hanging.

The shortest story in the entire movie. What is it about? In the Wild West, time flies inexorably fast. The cowboy put an end to his life when he decided to protect the bank. What happened next didn’t matter to him. The authors ridicule human vices: greed, mercantile interests and the desire to enrich themselves by any means. You should live according to your conscience.

Meal ticket

Another dark and absurd story. An artist without legs and arms shows a one-man show, which is organized by the impresario. Initially, the mini-theater is incredibly popular with the audience. However, over time, public interest in the solo performance of an unusual artist began to decrease. After an unsuccessful performance, the impresario noticed an unprecedented crowd of people who had gathered to watch a chicken that seemed to know how to count. The hero decided to acquire this most interesting bird, and get rid of the artist without legs and arms. He threw the cripple off a cliff into a winter river, where he drowned.

History is striking in its cruelty. In it, the authors show the principles on which show business is built. For the sake of profit and glory, people can go over their heads, step over everyone. The public demands spectacle. The impresario is ready to provide them at any cost. The complete depreciation of human life, when large incomes are at stake.


A gold digger all alone found a gold mine. However, in order to find her, the hero worked long and hard. But suddenly the gold digger was shot in the back by a young stranger. But the old man did not think to give up. Gathering his strength, he kills the uninvited guest. After that, he calmly buries the body of the offender and leaves the canyon with bags of gold.

Wildlife romance, picturesque landscapes. In pursuit of enrichment, a person is ready to do anything. The impudence of the young stranger is surprising. He is not ready to make even a minimum of effort to find wealth. He waited for the old man to finish the work of excavating the treasure, and only then decided to shoot him. His adventure failed. The story that “free cheese is only in a mousetrap.”

tragic pragmatism

A touching and romantic story about the incredible fate of a girl. Brother and sister. Caravan. On the long road, her brother dies of cholera, now Alice is on her own. Incredible trials fell to the lot of the girl: debts, marriage with an unloved person, the Comanche attack. Alice is given a gun by Mr. Arthur to shoot herself. Why did the fragile girl face such a difficult choice?

On the one hand, Alice evokes sympathy from the audience. Incredible trials fell on the refined girl. On the other hand, the pragmatism of the heroine makes you think. Even doing the right things, a person does not always manage to live happily, successfully. The story is that you should always rely solely on your own strength.

Fun ride with death

Nobody died in this story. However, it is completely saturated with death. Heroes who ride in a stagecoach talk about human nature. Everyone expresses his point of view regarding the essence of people. Maybe these characters themselves are already dead? Final destination. The story is that human life is very fragile. Don’t waste a single chance to be happy.

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