For a Few Dollars More:
This movie goes back to the root of bounty hunters where the process was based off capturing wanted men instead of modern bounty hunters which typically operate for a bail bonds company. Manco (Clint Eastwood) and Colonel Douglas Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef) find that they are both chasing the same target El Indio (Gian Maria Volonte) and decide to team up. Their exploits take them through comedic situations as well as gun fights in this Western masterpiece.
The story takes a twist when their fugitive is located and it is discovered that one of the bounty hunters has an ulterior motive for this pursuit. This movie is a vivid story of justice and morals in a western setting and is masterfully written and filmed. Filled with action, drama and comedy “For a Few Dollars More” is a story that brings the viewer back to origins or bounty hunting and fugitive recovery which operated primarily off the posse mentality.
Star Wars is an epic saga by George Lucas which almost everyone is familiar with even if they haven’t seen these movies themselves. In this saga a character by the name of Boba Fett is an intergalactic bounty hunter contracted by the Empire to apprehend their enemies. In this instance however Boba Fett is more of a mercenary and man hunter who is working for a price. This type of bounty hunter reflects more of the posse days when bounty hunting began with the absence of bail bonds.
Boba Fett is originally hired to locate the Millennium Falcon and capture its crew for Darth Vader. He appears in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. At one point Boba Fett is successful in capturing Han Solo and some of the crew member so the Millennium Falcon however they later escape while being held.
No Country for Old Men:
In this movie Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbles upon a gruesome crime scene where two groups of drug runners have gunned each other down in the middle of the desert leaving a substantial amount of money unattended to. Naturally he takes the money for himself figuring there are no witnesses to even know it has gone missing. Little does Moss know that a killer is already contracted to return the money and discovers that Llewelyn has the money beginning his relentless pursuit.
As Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) pursues Moss he leaves a wake of murder, destruction and bloodshed behind him while Sherriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) attempts to conduct a proper investigation into the incident and the money. With a cast of popular actors and a well thought out storyline this movie did fairly success in the box office and has become a hit on DVD as well. The stories of the three key figures in this movie intertwine at the end in a similar manner to “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” with more a focus on fugitive hunting.
Bounty hunting is a phenomenon that is growing in exposure in modern media. Originally this started as a concept that worked well for action movies and largely attracted male viewers due to the aggressive nature of the business. In recent years however this occupation has made its way into both love stories and comedies which allows it to gain exposure for a wider audience of people. Although once stigmatized as a vigilante and unlawful industry, the growing popularity of bounty hunting is slowly legitimizing the industry within the public’s eye.
It was once thought that bounty hunters were no more than crazy vigilantes who enjoy man hunting as an occupation. The reality is that within the industry of bail bonds the job role of bounty hunters is only one aspect comprising a successful bail bonds company. In actuality a large portion of clients that post bail have no encounters with a bounty hunter so long as they appear on time to their court dates. It is an essential service for the public as it allows a defendant adequate resources to properly dispute their trial by remaining out of jail pending the outcome of the trial.
For a Few Dollars More:
Bounty Hunters in Popular Media
The bail bonds industry is one which has gained a lot of popularity in recent years with the increase in media coverage on shows such as “Dog The Bounty Hunter” and “Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force”. Although the majority of these television shows primarily the aspects of the job that entail bounty hunters, there are some aspects that show the life of a bondsman as well. Another popular movie that came out featuring bounty hunting as its main plot was the successful Jenifer Aniston flick “The Bounty Hunter”.
One For The Money:
A new movie is scheduled to be released later this year in 2012 starring Katherine Heigl who seeks a career as a bounty hunter with her cousin’s firm after becoming unemployed. In this movie Stephanie Plum (played by Katherine Heigl) is recently divorced and loses her job as a lingerie retailer and lands a job with her cousin who runs a bail bonds business. Her cousin Vinnie (Patrick Fischler) assigns her to an ironic task to apprehend her former lover Joe Morelli (Jason O’Mara) who was a local police officer that is now on the run. This movie is another comedy using the role of a bounty hunter to portray an ironic situation that merges the concepts of love, jealousy and spite to create a comedic scenario.
The Bounty Hunter:
In the movie “The Bounty Hunter” a unique relationship is explored between and ex wife, Nicole Hurley (Jennifer Aniston), and her former husband, Milo Boyd (Gerard Butler), who works as a bounty hunter and discovers that his next assignment is to apprehend her. This movie is a mix of a comedy and love story where Milo goes out of his way to ensure that Nicole has an unpleasant experience during her apprehension. The twist in this movie is that Jennifer Aniston is investigating a possible cover-up for a murder and is herself being targeted for this investigation. As her ex-husband apprehends her, initially he does not believe her story but later finds it to be true as he finds himself running for his life with his ex-wife.
This movie takes place in the Australian outback in the late 1800s and is centered around a murderous and psychopathic gang called the Burns brothers who are suspected in the brutal rape and murder of a family by the name of Hopkins. Although not actually a bounty hunter, Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone)is a lawman who is tasked to bring the Burns brothers to justice for their unspeakable crimes. This movie takes a turn when the youngest Burns brother Charlie (Guy Pearce) is apprehended and offered a pardon under the condition that he murders his eldest brother Arthur (Danny Huston) within nine days. This movie explores the atmosphere of rural Australia in the late 19th century and the lawlessness that consumed some communities.
This science fiction classic starring Vin Diesel as Richard Riddick resulted in the popular sequel “Chronicles of Riddick”. In this film Riddick is a ruthless killer who was a fugitive on the run but had been apprehended by intergalactic bounty hunters. After a meteor strike to their cargo ship the crew becomes marooned on a desert planet inhabited by aliens that prefer to feast on the flesh of humans. The crew finds themselves torn between securing their fugitive and fighting for their lives against the hordes of alien inhabitants. Although initially a bad guy, the crew soon discovers that Riddick has a unique skill for dispatching life forms and becomes an essential figure in defeating the aliens. This movie gained a great deal of popularity for its striking resemblance to the popular movie series “Aliens”.
Based on a true story, Keira Knightley stars as the lead character “Domino Harvey” in this action film who seeks to become a bounty hunter out of boredom from her privileged life. Domino is the daughter of an actor and aristocrat and finds herself bored with the society that surrounds her family life. Seeking some adventure and excitement she pursues the occupation of bounty hunting. This movie involves a variety of plot twists including mafia influence and FBI investigations. The real story of Domino Harvey was one which captivated many as it is not common for someone from a privileged and affluent background to pursue a dangerous occupation such as bounty hunter, which is magnified by the fact that she is one of the first popular female bounty hunters.
Domino Harvey’s True Story:
Unfortunately Domino Harvey gained the majority of her success after her death in 2005 shortly before the movie was released. Harvey struggled with drug addiction and faced charges of manufacturing methamphetamines by Los Angeles prosecutors. She died in her home on house arrest awaiting trial in the summer 2005 due to a fentanyl (pain killer) overdose.
Raising Arizona is a comedy that centers around a couple that could not conceive a child and decide to kidnap a quintuplet to raise as their own. The couple in this movie are: H.I. McDonnough (Nicholas Cage), a recidivist who is in and out of jail, and Edwina McDonnough (Holly Hunter), an ex cop, and their decision to snatch the child of furniture mogul Nathan Arizona leads them on a comedic ride that the audience is sure to enjoy.
During their exploits the couple attempts to conceal their crime to the best of their ability while their community and friends seek to find Nathan Arizona Jr. for his $50,000 reward. The bounty hunter who is contracted by the Arizona’s is Leonard Smalls (Randall Cobb). In the end the McDonnough coupled decides to return the child to Nathan Arizona and specifically state that they are not interested in the reward money but instead want the child to grow up with a bright future.
What is a bounty hunter?
A bounty hunter is a person that works with a bail bondsman to apprehend a subject that has failed to appear to a court date after having posted bail for a pending trial. When an individual posts bail they are not paying their way out of a conviction. Instead they are paying for their release from holding pending their trial. If the defendant is found to be guilty by the court they must still serve the time mandated by the judge from the trial. They are however awarded the privilege of freedom during the trial.
Because of the flight risk involved an individual must be responsible for the defendant’s actions when they post bail for a pending trial. The bondsman who signed the bond for the defendant’s release is the one who is ultimately responsible to ensure the individual shows up to their court appearances on the designated dates. In the event that an individual who is out on bail does not appear in court they are issued a failure to appear (FTA) warrant at which time they are considered a fugitive.
When this occurs the bondsman responsible for the fugitive contracts a bounty hunter or in many cases acts as the bounty hunter themselves to apprehend the fugitive. A bounty hunter’s proper business title is Fugitive Recovery Agent and they are required to hold the proper certifications for this occupation in order to operate in their local or federal jurisdiction. In many cases a bondsman will act as their own bounty hunter but there are some instances as well where these positions are held by different individuals in a company.
The evolution of bounty hunting:
Bounty hunting began in the Wild West era where there was a severe lack of certified law enforcement presence among settlements far away from major municipalities. This was a time when vigilante justice was in some regions the only form of justice available for criminals. A bounty would be issued on a criminal at which time any individual with the courage to take on the task was available to apprehend the criminal. In most cases this was done by lawmen, marshals, sheriffs or deputies who held positions in a law enforcement trade.
As the United States moved from the settlement culture to the society we are accustomed to in modern times the old bounty hunters became a thing of the past and in some cases were viewed by the public as criminals as well. This is where the modern duties of a bounty hunter came into play as the bail bonds industry began to flourish.
Where is bounty hunting practiced today?
Bounty hunting is still a very unique and selective trade and many individuals in the world today do not have the luxury of taking on this occupation in their country of residence. In fact, only two countries in throughout the world today legal allow bounty hunters to operate in their borders, these countries being the United States of America and the Philippines. Although many countries do have a bail bonds system in place offering commercial bail through certified agencies, these companies do not have the ability to track down and apprehend their own fugitives within the confines of the laws of their native nation.
Bounty hunting in modern media:
Bounty hunters are a phenomenon which have been present in modern cinema almost since its creation. Most commonly we see them in Western movies where they assume the role of a marshal seeking a posse of criminals. One of the most popularized bounty hunters of fiction is Boba Fett from the popular science fiction movie Star Wars. This individual was an interstellar bounty hunter tasked by the dark side to seek criminals of the Empire. The connotation for Boba Fett was as a bad guy although the actual art of bounty hunting is much to the contrary.
In recent times, with the rise of reality television, another bounty hunter has gained popularity (and a bit of infamy) for his heroic actions which led to an international criminal trial. This person is Dog the Bounty Hunter, aka Dog Chapman who operates a bail bonds agency out of Hawaii. Dog Chapman gained international stardom when he was arrested in Mexico for kidnapping charges when attempting to apprehend one of his clients. The client in question during this incident was the infamous Andrew Luster who was the heir to the Max Factor fortune. He was accused of multiple accounts of date rape by drugging women at bars and in his home and videotaping his brutal assaults on his victims.
Naturally the American public revered Chapman as a hero for his participation in removing a dangerous predator and fugitive of the law from the streets. Since the fugitive fled to Mexico however, the issue arose when Dog Chapman crossed an international border to apprehend his fugitive. The laws in Mexico associate the actions of a bounty hunter as a kidnapper carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in a Mexican prison. Eventually the charges were dropped by Mexican authorities in 2007.
Since this event Chapman not only gained international fame but also a popular television show documenting his families exploits in the bail bonds industry. Since the start of his show there have been an increasing number of shows related to fugitive recovery, bail bonds and bounty hunting in modern media.
Public opinion on bounty hunting:
Although this industry is now commonly accepted in the United States as a meaningful and honest career there is still a stigma attached to bounty hunters and bail bondsmen due to the actions of a select few. There have been a variety of convictions of bounty hunters who did not follow the proper legal protocol when apprehending a subject resulting in prison time served. Due to these types of cases there is still a stigma on the bail bonds industry that this career still carries its origins of vigilante justice.
Despite what side an individual takes on the debate, bounty hunting is a phenomenon that will remain an integral part of American society and our justice system until otherwise stated through legal litigation by the federal and state governments.