Last Samurai, The
The Last Samurai is a 2003 historical war film directed by Edward Zwick (Glory, The Siege) that stars Tom Cruise as Nathan Algren, a disillusioned Civil War veteran who travels to Japan to take a job training soldiers in modern weaponry in order to help wipe out the Samurai. When he is captured by the Samurai, Algren comes to learn their ancient warrior ways.
The following weapons were used in the film The Last Samurai:
Colt 1860 Army Richards-Mason Conversion
Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) uses a Colt 1860 Army revolver, converted for use with metallic cartridges, while training Japan's army. One memorable scene with this gun is when Nathan Algren draws his Colt to scare a training soldier into shooting him and proving that the soldiers are not ready to battle the Samurai. Algren is later seen packing away the revolver.
Colt Single Action Army
Smith & Wesson Schofield
Algren uses a Smith & Wesson Schofield during his first battle with the samurai.
Rifles / Carbines
Winchester 1873 "Trapper" Model
In the beginning of the film, Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) shows off and fires a Trapper model of the Winchester Model 1873 at a trade show. His Winchester is fitted with a large lever loop and Algren states it is a '73 trapper, which could hold 6 + 1 in the chamber. Algren is seen using the large lever loop to do a one-handed reload of the rifle, a move often seen performed by John Wayne in several of his Westerns.
Winchester Model 1873
Springfield Model 1861
The Imperial Army of Japan uses Springfield 1861 muzzle-loading rifles as their standard issued weapons during the first half of the movie. Unlike many muzzle-loaders, some of these guns appear to be able to fire two shots before having to reload, all though this could be incorrect. But this could be a trick of the camera where the line of soldiers reloaded, and fired again, or a another line assembled off camera.
Along with the Springfield Model 1861, Japanese troops were also equipped with British 1853 Enfield rifles during their training with Algren.
In the second half of the movie, the Japanese Imperial Army carries German bolt-action Mauser Rifles, in spite of the fact they were supposedly being armed by the US (In actual history it was the Prussians who did arm the Japanese with Mausers). The rifles used on screen are Mauser M1871/84 models converted in appearance to appear as the earlier period appropriate (1877) single-shot Mauser Model 1871's.
In addition to the Mauser M1871/84, the standard, period correct, single shot, Mauser M1871 rifles are also seen. Primarily in the scenes taking place in Tokyo later in the film. It can be distinguished from the later M1871/84 by the different shaped and sized trigger guard, a cleaning rod instead of a stacking swivel, and overall slimmer appearance due to the lack of a magazine tube underneath the barrel. It appears the single shot rifles were used for non-firing scenes while firing scenes were done by the later repeating models.
The Imperial Army is shown training with Howitzers after Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) comes back from being with the samurai for a few months. The Howitzers are later used in the final battle scene. Both the Mountain Howitzer and the Field Howitzer are the same caliber projectile, but require different powder charges. The movie utilized the Field Howitzer as shown in the screen shots below.
The Imperial Army uses Gatling Guns to slaughter the remaining samurai in the final charge scene. According to Colonel Bagley (Tony Goldwyn), "These guns can fire two hundred rounds a minute, and their new cartridges have cut down on jamming." These particular guns were heavily repaired by Master Armorer, Gary Harper, onsite, prior to shooting.