The Harder They Fall cast features Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba and Zazie Beetz. This info article contains minor spoilers for Jeymes Samuel’s 2021 Netflix movie. Check out Vague Visages’ Know the Cast section for more streaming guides.
In The Harder They Fall, a young outlaw seeks revenge against a famous gunslinger. The storyline fictionalizes Wild West history but focuses on real-life Black and Native American figures from the late 20th century. At its heart, Netflix’s Western film examines themes of loyalty and legacy amongst two different organizations. See below for a full breakdown of all the main players in The Harder They Fall.
The Harder They Fall Cast: Jonathan Majors as Nat Love
Character Profile: A fictionalized version of the eponymous Old West hero known as “Deadwood Dick.” He seeks revenge after witnessing the murder of his parents. Nat tracks down a famous outlaw named Rufus Buck and receives an education about the past.
Majors’ Resume: Young Ken Jones in When We Rise (2017), Johnny “Lil Man” Curry in White Boy Rick (2018), Montgomery Allen in The Last Black Man in San Francisco, David in Da 5 Bloods (2020), Atticus Freeman in Lovecraft Country (2020)
The Harder They Fall Cast: Idris Elba as Rufus Buck
Character Profile: A fictionalized version of the the late 19th century outlaw. He is jailed in Yuma, Arizona but escapes authorities while being transported. Rufus seeks absolute control in Redwood City.
Elba’s Resume: Russell “Stringer” Bell in The Wire (2002-04), John Luther in Luther (2010-19), Roque in The Losers (2010), Heimdall in the MCU (2011-), Bloodsport in The Suicide Squad (2021)
The Harder They Fall Cast: Zazie Beetz as Stagecoach Mary
Character Profile: A brothel owner who was a famous mail carrier in real life during the 1890s. She carries on a romance with Nat and plots against Rufus. Mary uses her network of friends while conducting a recon operation.
Beetz’s Resume: Van in Atlanta (2016-), Domino in Deadpool 2 (2018), Sophie Dumond in Joker (2019), Emma in Nine Days (2020), Amber Bennett in Invincible (2021-)
The Harder They Fall Cast: Regina King as Trudy Smith
Character Profile: The film’s primary female villain. She is loyal to Rufus and despises Shotgun Mary. Trudy dresses in all black like a typical Western baddie.
King’s Resume: Shalika in Boyz n the Hood (1991), Margie Hendricks in Ray (2004), Detective Lydia Adams in Southland (2009-13), Sharon Rivers in If Beale Street Could Talk (2018), Angela Abar/Sister Night in Watchmen (2019)
The Harder They Fall Cast: Lakeith Stanfield as Cherokee Bill
Character Profile: A fictionalized version of the historical mixed-race outlaw. He is a member of Rufus’ crew and earns a reputation as one of the quickest gunslingers in the West. Cherokee Bill claims that he doesn’t enjoy violence.
Stanfield’s Resume: Marcus in Short Term 12 (2013), Jimmie Lee Jackson in Selma (2014), Cassius Green in Sorry to Bother You (2018), Lieutenant Elliott in Knives Out (2019), Bill O’Neal in Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)
The Harder They Fall Cast: Delroy Lindo as Bass Reeves
Character Profile: A U.S. marshal who, in real life, killed 14 men in self-defense. He’s a domineering figure who first appears during a brothel scene. Bass teams up with Nat in his quest to take down Rufus.
Lindo’s Resume: West Indian Archie in Malcolm X (1992), Bo Catlett in Get Shorty (1995), Beta in Up (2009), Adrian Boseman in The Good Fight (2017-), Paul in Da 5 Bloods (2020)
The Harder They Fall Cast: Danielle Deadwyler as Cuffee
Character Profile: A character based on Cathay Williams, the only documented woman to serve in the U.S. Army as a man. She runs with Nat’s crew and pretends to be Mary during a Maysville robbery.
Deadwyler’s Resume: LaQuita “Quita” Maxwell in The Haves and the Have Nots (2016-20), Lemon Cassidy in The Devil to Pay (2019), Nicque Green in Paradise Lost (2020), June in Watchmen (2019), Yoli in P-Valley (2020)
The Harder They Fall Cast: Edi Gathegi as Bill Pickett
Character Profile: A character based on the real Wild West performer. Edi provides minor comic relief as part of the Nat Love Gang. Bill is a sharpshooter who strategizes with explosives.
Gathegi’s Resume: Cheese in Gone Baby Gone (2007), Jean Baptiste in Justified (2014), A. D. Singe in The Blacklist (2015-16), Ronald Dacey in StartUp (2016-18), A. D. Singe in Briarpatch (2019-20)
The Harder They Fall Cast: RJ Cyler as Jim Beckwourth
Character Profile: A member of the Nat Love Gang. He provides the most comic relief in the Netflix film. Jim wants to prove that he’s a faster gunslinger than Cherokee Bill.
Cyler’s Resume: Earl in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015), Billy (Blue Ranger) in Power Rangers (2017), Andy Moon in War Machine (2017), Dan in Sierra Burgess Is a Loser (2018), Deion Elliot in Scream: The TV Series (2019)
The Harder They Fall Cast: Deon Cole as Wiley Escoe
Character Profile: The mayor of Redwood City. He gained power when his former crew member, Buck, went to prison. Wiley gets punished for his egocentric behavior.
Cole’s Resume: A Stand-Up Comedian — Also, Charlie Telphy in Black-ish (2014-), Dante in Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016), DJ Tanner in Angie Tribeca (2016-18), Dave in Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts (2020)
The Harder They Fall cast also includes DeWanda Wise (She’s Gotta Have It, Fatherhood), Damon Wayans Jr. (New Girl, Happy Endings), Julio Cesar Cedillo (The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Narcos: Mexico), Manny Rubio (Prison Break, Succession) and Chase Dillon (The Underground Railroad, That Damn Michael Che).
Q.V. Hough (@QVHough) is Vague Visages’ founding editor.