Originally Posted by SteelSD
SPOILERS AHEAD!!! STOP IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE FILM!!!
Really good synopsis, GAC. But I'm not sure that Wade admired Evans (Bale) as much as he wanted to be Evans. Wade's interaction with Evans' wife (see: green eyes). Comments about how he would treat Evans' wife better. Even the rift he attempted to create between Evans and his son was, IMHO, born more of wanting a son than anything else.
Throughout the film, Wade attempted to test Evans as if Wade couldn't accept that Evans was truly a good man. The last test was the next-to-final scene and Evans passed. At that moment, I think that Wade felt he could actually be Evans, if only for a brief moment, if he could allow Evans to get him to the train. He was robbed of that moment by the actions of Charlie and the rest of his gang.
To me, it was pretty apparent that Wade wanted out even prior to the last stage coach robbery. The drawing of the bird he left on the tree was an indication, IMHO. Ditto his bizarre behavior at the saloon, where he stays behind and asks the waitress to jump out the back window and go with him to Mexico. She rejects the idea, and instead of using the back window himself, he walks back into the saloon knowing that the law is back in town. It was as if he was trying to get caught. His actions were both reckless and stupid- the same type of behavior he had blamed, less than an hour earlier, for the demise of Tommy Darden. One way or another, I think that Wade knew he was done. To me, the barmaid's rejection just set the path.
In the seconds after Evans was shot, I feel that Wade finally realized that his gang was part of the cost of his tradeoff (life of crime and riches rather than a hard, honest living with a wife and family). From my perspective, that's why he eliminated them. After all, if they wouldn't allow him to have at least a moment of being a good man, then how would they ever allow him to get out?