Throughout the movie, various moments are revealed to be the product of lies and deceit. Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) flashes around a letter from Abraham Lincoln that’s revealed to be fake. Tim Roth’s character, Oswaldo Mobray, is shown to go by an entirely different name halfway through the film and even changes his accent to go with his true identity of “English Pete.” With all of the manipulation and trickery at play, no one would blame you if you didn’t believe that Mannix was the new Sheriff of Red Rock and only said so to save himself from dying in a blizzard. However, the answer to that mystery is up to Walton Goggins, as he said in a 2016 interview with Rolling Stone that Tarantino left it up for him to decide:
“I only had one question for Quentin: ‘Is Mannix really the sheriff of Red Rock? Is that a bluff?’ And his reply was: ‘I need you to figure out the answer and never tell me what it is.’ That was all I needed to know. And he never asked. He may be the only person to date who hasn’t asked me that.”
There’s something innately cool about Tarantino not wanting to know the true history of a character. It’s a refreshing departure from franchise films wanting to answer everything. Moreover, Goggins not giving a concrete answer gives viewers their own power over the story when watching it.
Next time you watch “The Hateful Eight” and see Mannix proudly using his “power” as Sheriff to hang Daisy, you can decide if it’s a character sold on his own lie or the shortest term in office for a Sheriff in history.