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Prince John's Guards

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Prince John's Guards are a group of guards who serve Prince John in The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men. Red Gill was among the most well-known member and the finest archer to serve the greedy Prince until he was killed by Robin Hood for killing his father, who defied the Prince's new Sheriff of Nottingham.

Role in the film

After King Richard's departure for the Crusade and during Prince John's rule with his new Sheriff of Nottingham at his side, Prince John's guards gather and levy taxes throughout the countryside and only a group of outlaws known as Merrie Men led by Robin Hood are more than willing to fight back against this injustice.

The guards are first seen entering an archery tournament organized by Prince John and the Sheriff to determine which archer is the best to serve Prince John and form an army of good arrow shooters under their command at Nottingham. Prince John and the Sheriff seem impressed with a competitor and one of the Sheriff's bowmen, Red Gill's archery skills during the game. As it turns out, it's Hugh Fitzooth and his son, Robin the winners. Nevertheless, knowing the Sheriff's true nature and intentions, both defy and refuse to join and serve him; an act which aspires some other archers to follow Master Fitzooth's lead. In retaliation, Prince John has the Sheriff send some of the guards to kill them (including Red Gill who killed his father) but they only manage to succeed in killing Robin's father and then getting killed by Robin himself (even Red Gill), thus, begins Robin's life as Robin Hood, an outlaw living in Sherwood Forest who steals from the rich and gives to the poor.

A few days later, the guards arrest a man named Scathelock, who refused to reveal Robin Hood's whereabouts after the Sheriff stole his cattle since he had no more taxes to pay and Will Stutely, who was caught poaching a King's deer since the Sheriff starved him. So, the Sheriff decides to give them a cruel punishment and torture as a warning to all those who break Prince John's laws at Nottingham Square. As punishment, Stutely, now forced to wear the deer's hide, is to be hoisted up in the Square while the Sheriff's men painfully strike him countless times with sticks on the back; much to Scathelock's horror. Scathelock protests and shouts: "Shame!" only to earn a severe whip and bruise on his right eye by another one of the Sheriff's men; much to the people's horror as they continue to shout: "Shame!" for him. Luckily, Robin Hood and his Merrie Men, who learned of this affair, storm in to fight off the Sheriff and his men, save the two prisoners, and take them back to Sherwood Forest where they are made new members of his Merrie Men; leaving the Sheriff and his men to be thrown food at them by the people's revolt; much to Prince John's disgust and chagrin when he arrives at the Square.

The next day, the Sheriff and the guards ambush Robin Hood and a churchman named Friar Tuck as they are having a duel. Refusing to allow Friar Tuck to finish his business with Robin Hood, the Sheriff and the guards attack them as the Sheriff renders Friar Tuck unconscious during the battle. Outnumbered, Robin calls for his men and they succeed in killing some of the guards and capturing the Sheriff himself.

After letting the Sheriff go while making a spectacle out of him, two years have passed, King Richard's Crusade has ended in failure, and the King finds himself imprisoned in Austria to be held for a ransom of 100,000 marks; much to the dismay of Queen Eleanor: King Richard and Prince John's mother, and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Refusing to give up all his tax money, which was given away at a donation during the day by Robin Hood and his men, and to allow his brother to return home safely, Prince John plans to disguise some of his guards as Robin Hood's outlaws to steal his money back tomorrow while the Queen and the Archbishop are conveying the ransom through Sherwood Forest. Knowing Maid Marian, Robin Hood's childhood playmate and love interest and the Queen's servant left in her care during her father's absence, has been fraternizing with the outlaws and could see through their deception, thus, jeopardize their plan, Prince John and the Sheriff have her imprisoned in the dungeon and make his mother believe she is with Robin Hood.

However, in the morning, when the Sheriff's men are disguising themselves as Robin Hood's men as the Queen and the Archbishop are passing through Sherwood Forest, Stutely spots them and warns Robin and the others of the deception. The guards, disguised as Robin Hood's outlaws, ambush the Queen and the Archbishop. Then, the Queen tries to order the impostors to leave the chests alone (which they hesitate to do since they're guards who follow anyone of royalty) until Robin and his real men arrive to stop the attack. The Queen and Archbishop learn of the deception and Prince John's treachery through the impostors' true uniforms and one of the impostors, forced to confess by Little John. The Queen and the Archbishop also learn of Maid Marian's true whereabouts when Queen Eleanor mentions that she went off to see Robin again last night. So, the Queen and the Archbishop continue with their journey to Austria to pay the ransom for King Richard's return to England while Robin and his men, disguised as the guards, handle Prince John (by imprisoning him in Maid Marian's place) and the Sheriff and rescue Maid Marian.

However, when the Sheriff goes back on his word to spare the outlaws's lives and pay their taxes and blows Robin's cover, a battle ensues; leaving Robin Hood to fight off the remaining guards and the Sheriff. In the end, Robin Hood manages to kill the Sheriff by having him get crushed to death by the closing bridge and then escapes while jumping into the moat. Luckily, Robin's men return to fight off the rest of the Sheriff's archers as they try to hit Robin Hood in the water and rescue him. It is unknown what happens to them after King Richard returns, they either got imprisoned or changed their alliance to him.

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