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Tremors 4: The Legend Begins (Video 2004) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • A prequel to Tremors (1990), this movie tells us about how the town of Perfection, Nevada became founded and how they defended it against the Graboids with the help of Burt Gummer's ancestor, Hiram.

  • In 1889, the town of Rejection, Nevada, depends on a nearby silver mine for its income. Rejection has a few residents. Christine Lord runs the local inn, which doesn't get a lot of business because Carson City is the busiest settlement in the area. Pyong Lien Chang, his wife Lu Wan Chang, and his son Fu Yien Chang are immigrants from China, and they own Chang's Market. Other residents include Old Fred, Brick Walters, Stony Walters, Big Horse Johnson, Soggy, miner Juan Pedilla, and Christine's friend Tecopa. When a hot spring causes four eggs to hatch, several men who work in the silver mine are killed by whatever hatched from the eggs. Everyone is too terrified to enter the mine. No one wants to risk their lives, even if shutting down the mine would mean the death of the town. With the mine shut down, the mine's owner, Hiram Gummer, arrives in the area from Philadelphia to investigate. Juan acts as Hiram's guide. As it turns out, each egg hatched a Graboid, but 1889 was about 100 years before they were called Graboids, so Hiram calls them Dirt Dragons. When the Dirt Dragons prove to be too much for the residents of Rejection to handle, Hiram calls upon Black Hand Kelly, the fastest gunslinger in the west. Kelly brings in the heavy artillery, which proves to be absolutely useless when the baby Dirt Dragons grow to enormous size, and one of them kills Kelly. As a result, Hiram decides to leave town, while everyone else refuses to leave the place that they call home. While Hiram is in Carson City, he intercepts a wired message that the Dirt Dragons are no longer in the area where the mine is -- they're heading right for Rejection. Hiram goes to a local firearms store, and he returns to Rejection, very heavily armed. With those weapons, which include a huge punt gun, Hiram and the townspeople prepare to defend the town against the Dirt Dragons.

  • In 1889, the site that will become Perfection Valley is home to the town of Rejection Valley. The inhabitants are completely dependent on a nearby silver mine for its income, and when a hot spring causes graboid eggs to hatch the mine becomes too dangerous to work in. Its owner is Hiram Gummer, great-grandfather of Burt. He arrives in town to fix the problem, but finds he is in way over his head dealing with the monsters. As Hiram picks up the lessons that will one day be imparted to Burt, the town readies itself for a final showdown with the graboids.

  • The worms are back but this time in a prequel, set in 1889 Nevada as silver mines inspector Hiram Gummer, the great-grandfather of Burt Gummer, arrives in the small settlement of Rejection Valley and faces off against the so-called graboid worm monsters devouring the local inhabitants.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • In 1889, a Nevada silver mine is mysteriously attacked, killing 17 miners. Most residents of the nearby town of Rejection pack up and leave. Juan Pedilla (Brent Roam), one of the surviving miners, will not leave because he dreams of paying off his own ranch. The telegraph notifies the remaining people that an Easterner is coming to find out about the mine. The prissy and snobbish Hiram Gummer (Michael Gross) arrives, and scoffs at the account of events at the mine. He bulldozes the innkeeper Christine Lord (Sara Botsford) into running a tab for him, rather than paying in advance.

    Hiram and Juan go with the remaining miners to check the mine, and find nothing. As they camp for the night, one of the men playing the concertina suddenly disappears, as the horses scatter. Another man is pulled underground, to the horror of the others. A monster swallows the whistling teapot on the fire, and the group shoots over and over. A pickaxe kills one of the monsters, but the other two men are also killed. Juan and Hiram survive by climbing on a nearby rock. Hiram notices the monsters have no eyes, and Juan realizes the monsters are following sounds. They walk over the rocky hills back to town. At the store run by Pyong Lien (Ming Lo) and Lu Wan Chang (Lydia Look), Hiram has their son Fu Yien (Sam Ly) telegraph an ad for a gunfighter to several newspapers.

    While they wait, the townspeople continue with assorted improvement projects. Young Fu Yien sees Hiram give up on repairing his bicycle, and fixes it. Hiram gives him the bicycle, but scorns doing any work himself. The townsmen use their steam engine to dig a well, and even the boy helps.

    The menacing Gunslinger Black Hand Kelly (Billy Drago) arrives, and they explain about the monsters. He agrees to the job after exacting Hiram's diamond cufflinks and gold coin watch fob as a down payment. They choose some guns from Christine's collection and ride out to the mine. They fail to attract monsters by hammering a rock at their last camp, so they approach the mine. Kelly fires a shot to attract the monsters, without result. At the hot spring piped out of the mine, they find empty egg shells that were unearthed by the water and evidently hatched. As they continue riding, they find Old Fred's (J.E. Freeman) wagon, broken in half and abandoned, and then discover his decapitated head.

    Since the rocks are so far away, they decide to camp at the abandoned muling station, believing that the floor of thick beams will be sufficient protection. In the night, the horses are startled by rumbling and flee the corral, and then long snake-like things with mouths invade the building. Gunfire frightens them off. Kelly decides to teach Hiram how to shoot. Several shots seem to attract the creatures - then they notice the snake mouths pulling away the floor beams one by one. They notice a telegraph key at the wall, and Hiram orders Juan to use it. After an hour, Fu Yien realises that the random signals are coming from the muling station, and Christine heads out to rescue the group. In the meantime, a giant monster attacks Juan at the key, but he manages to escape. Kelly is horrified to see what they are up against, realizing he does not have the firepower to take on these monsters. As the creatures probe the floor, Kelly steps back, his ornaments jingle - and a monster gets him.

    Christine arrives with a wagon and they race back towards town, pursued closely by a monster until Hiram shoots one of the horses with a rock from Fu Yien's slingshot. Back in Rejection, Hiram packs to leave, telling the others they should leave. Juan offers to get blasting powder from Carson City, but Hiram refuses. The townspeople stand firm. He promises to send payment to Christine for his debts. She tells him he can keep the horse and other items in exchange for ownership of the mine. He says he planned to sell the mine back east - and she promises to wire ahead the news about the monsters. Defeated, he tells her to keep the mine.

    Hiram rests in comfort in Carson City, while Juan spies the trail of monsters heading for Rejection despite the rocky pass. As Hiram goes to buy his train ticket back east, the station telegraph signals Rejection's distress. He leaves the station, fingering his watch thoughtfully. In Rejection, a line of covered wagons shows the citizens have finally packed and are ready to leave, when they see Hiram driving a wagon towards them. He gives each person a heavy gun, and uncovers a huge punt gun. They make plans for the monsters' approach, how to trap them, various ways of making sound to attract them and to show when they have arrived.

    They release the horses and ring a large metal triangle against a rock. After a long time, they believe nothing is happening. Suddenly, a monster approaches, and the boy comes out to help - Hiram and the Changs rush to get him back inside. As Hiram returns to the punt gun, he misses the monster. It returns, and he kills it. The second monster approaches from the side and takes the punt gun! Juan has to climb a telegraph pole to escape a monster, which then starts lowering the pole. Tecopa (August Schellenberg) takes the band saw and puts one end in the post hole in the ground, and hammers on it. The monster speeds toward it and dies on the blade. The third one comes after Tecopa, and appears to have gotten him - but then spits out the cigar store indian instead. They know their guns have little effect, so they decide to use black powder to make a big firecracker to blow up the last monster, but it is time-consuming. The telegraph suddenly goes off, attracting the monster to the store with Fu Yien inside. The tent collapses and the monster's tongue continues to seek him. The adults outside make noise, but cannot attract the monster. Fu Yien slices his way out of the tent, and the monster emerges from the wreckage as well. The women and Fu Yien take refuge on a wagon, but the monster focuses on them, and one snake tongue grabs Fu Yien's arm. The men take the belt off the steam engine and add a hook to it, creating a long fishing line. The hook the monster's tail and then wrap the belt on the engine, allowing it to reel in the monster. It builds up speed and the impact with the engine kills the monster.

    Later, a telegram has approved Hiram's loan to reopen the mine. However, he points out that it's no longer his mine. The townspeople agree that it should still be his mine. He sets two conditions: that they never tell anyone about the monsters, and that the first profits from the mine be used to build a new hotel and store with real walls, pay off Juan's ranch, and build a statue of Tecopa.

    At the end, Fu Yien, Christine and Hiram are target shooting at cans. Hiram has decided to stay and supervise the mine, and has selected a location for his home - hopefully for two (with a sidelong glance at Christine). Hiram still can't shoot, so she reveals a present for him: a gatling gun that allows him to hit the target!

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