Black Hand Kelly
Black Hand Kelly
Background information
Feature films Tremors 4: The Legend Begins
Video games
Portrayed by Billy Drago
Character information
Gender Male
Other names
Enemies Graboids
Fate Deceased (eaten by a Graboid)
Quote "Just cause you're full growed, don't make you a man."

Portrayed by Billy Drago, Black Hand Kelly was the sobriquet of a gunfighter.


Kelly was known by the name Black Hand Kelly, with over twenty years of experience in the dangerous Wild West. Kelly was known as the maestro of shooting in the Wild West and apparently as an urban legend. He is somewhere in his late forties.

1889 Graboid Incident

After a hunting party disastrously tried to clear out the "Dirt Dragons" from the local silver-mine the residents decided to contact an expert gunfighter whose reflexes could deal with the varments. Answering their advertisement Kelly showed up a few months Later a middle-aged gunfighter who was hired by Hiram to deal with the Dirt Dragons. In a demonstration of his skills he was able to shoot a hanging sausage and plant two bullets in it as it fell. He would no doubt have been effective against the baby Graboids.

He was smart enough to quickly realize after seeing a full-grown graboid for the first time that the revolvers & rifles that he, Juan, and Hiram brought hunting for the baby graboids wouldn't do much damage to it, yet brave and level-headed in the face of danger enough to not panic and instead opt to try hitting the graboids with everything they had as soon as they saw them and hope for a lucky shot. Sadly, he soon found out the hard way that graboids are fond of sneak attacks.

Death and Legacy

He was eaten alive by a full grown Graboid at the muling station, but apparently he contributed to the Gummer families love of weapons and preparation.

It appears that just before being eaten, Kelly's nerve fails him as he says "To hell with them two." (referring to Hiram and Juan) under his breath and starts backing away from the confrontation that they are engaged in. This attempt to save his own skin causes him to back right into the spot where the concealed Graboid breaks through and swallows him. Or might have said, "Now what are they up to?" Understanding the Graboids were intelligent.


Black Hand Kelly was a hired gun, a mercenary. Possessing a cool and detached nature, traits that were probably vital to his work. His level of respect for human life is unknown. He might have been somewhat bigoted, asking Hiram if he wanted him to kill Tecopa, who was of Native American heritage. He was skeptical of the story about the Dirt Dragons, making sarcastic remarks. He was firm in the way he did business, demanding a small payment before signing up for a job, and leaving if you could not provide. He seemed to care for Hiram and Juan's well-being, becoming a mentor to Hiram in being prepared and how to handle a gun. He was disgusted by Hiram's pampered ways, asking if he had any pride when Juan was helping Hiram onto a horse. He was justfiably shocked upon seeing a full grown Graboid, but quickly snapped out of it and fired upon the beast, keeping it from devouring Juan. Temporarily losing his calm composure in angrily realizing that he did not have the proper weapons to kill the Graboids, he collected himself and devised a strategy to save the rest of their ammo until the Graboids came after them and then unleashing everything they had, hoping to score a lethal shot at the beasts. By sunrise the worms had torn most of the Muling Station Floor away, he remained calm. A movement from the worms came under the floorboards behind him. He foolishly turned his back and the chimes on his gun holster gave him away to the graboid that had snuck up on him. His final act was firing into the Graboid's maw as it swallowed him.


He was apparently based on Burt, but lacked some of the positive aspects of Burt’s personality, as he was not likely to make friends. He believed in being prepared, and said that "being full-grown don’t make you a man". [1]


Black Hand Kelly wore jet black clothes in a traditional wild west style. He had grey medium length hair and apparently, he must have been handsome in his prime.


  1. S.S. Wilson stated that Kelly was based on Burt.