BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID
The cowboy way of life is dying off as the Wild West is being slowly tamed at the turn of the 19th century. Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) joins best friend, the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) in Macon’s (Donnelly Rhodes) saloon. The Kid is so successful at blackjack that Macon accuses him of cheating, not knowing at first who the infamous gunslinger is. He withdraws the accusation when he hears Sundance’s name, but can’t resist asking the Kid how fast he really is on the draw just as the Kid and Butch are leaving. The Kid shows him by shooting off Macon’s gunbelt. Butch and the Kid ride back to the Hole-in-the-Wall, a fortress hemmed in by rugged mountains, where Butch's gang, the Wild Bunch, hides out. On the way there, Butch suggests that they give up their robberies in the West and go to Bolivia where silver, tin and gold mines would surely be easier targets. At the hideout they find that gang-member Harvey Logan (Ted Cassidy) has decided to take over the Wild Bunch. If Butch wants to continue to be leader, he’ll have to fight the considerably larger and meaner Logan. With his usual quick thinking and a well-aimed kick, Butch maintains his leadership. However, Butch agrees that Logan’s plan, to stage a dual holdup of the Union Pacific, is a good one; hit the train once going and once again on the return trip. The gang figures that the railroad company will not suspect that the robbers are so ingenious as to plan such an act and would be shipping back a large sum of money. After their first robbery, the gang breaks up to await the money train's return trip. Butch goes into town and waits with his favorite girl in the local brothel. The Kid goes to his girlfriend, Etta Place (Katherine Ross), a local schoolteacher who always awaits his return. When the train is scheduled to arrive, the Wild Bunch then heads for the round-trip robbery, which turns out to be a much more difficult undertaking. The robbers fail to note until too late that the railroad company has sent another locomotive close behind the money train, pulling a boxcar loaded with a Pinkerton Detective Agency posse to trap the robbers. Butch and the Kid use all their wiles to avoid capture, but they are unable to evade the relentless Pinkerton pursuers, until they leap from a high promontory into a raging mountain river. With Etta’s help, the three go to Bolivia where they continue their bank robberies, beset by language difficulties and unfamiliarity of the terrain. For a time, the two robbers even try to earn an honest living, by escorting a mining payroll carrier. When they are ambushed and the courier is killed by Bolivian bandits, Butch and Sundance go after the thieves who took the payroll in order to return the money. When the well-meaning duo are blamed for both the payroll robbery and the murder of the courier, Butch and Sundance give up the honest life and revert to their robbing ways. And then they meet their fate, in a small villiage, surrounded by the Bolivian Army. With no way out, Butch maintains his sense of humor and suggests that he and Sundance go to Australia for their future exploits.