powered by AFI
Dismayed by the extreme measures to prevent robberies taken by a small-town western bank, notorious bank robber Butch Cassidy wanders over to a saloon to meet his partner, The Sundance Kid, who is in the middle of a card game. One of the players, Macon, unaware of Sundance's identity, accuses the outlaw of cheating and, refusing to surrender his money, prepares to fight it out. When Butch attempts to intervene, Macon orders him away until he learns Sundance's identity after which he meekly withdraws his accusation. On the long ride back to their hideout, the Hole in the Wall in Wyoming, Butch tries to convince Sundance that they should go to Bolivia, which abounds in gold. Arriving at the hideout, Butch is surprised to find gang members Harvey Logan, News Carver and Flat Nose Curry preparing to rob the Union Pacific Overland Flyer train. Butch vetoes their plan, declaring that banks are much more reliable. Harvey then informs Butch that because Butch has spent so much time away, Harvey has taken over leadership of the gang and made the decision to rob the Flyer. Butch insists he remains the gang's leader, leading Harvey to challenge him to a fight, which Butch quickly wins by distracting his opponent. Afterward, Butch decides that the plan to rob the train on both of its scheduled trips through the area is sound. The gang stops the Flyer, whose engineers are excited at being robbed by Butch, but the theft is almost thwarted by the dedicated efforts of a young clerk, Woodcock, who refuses to open the train car containing the bank safe. News then dynamites the door and, while the others retrieve the money, Butch revives the stunned Woodcock. A few nights later in a nearby town, Butch and Sundance sit on a bordello balcony and watch with amusement as down on the street the town marshal struggles to incite the townspeople into forming a posse to go after the Hole in the Wall gang. Butch then envisions he and Sundance joining the army and becoming officers, and confides that his real name is Robert LeRoy Parker. Sundance reveals his real name is Harry Longabaugh and as the men toast each other, the townspeople lose interest in the marshal's exhortations when a salesman demonstrates a new invention, the bicycle. When Butch turns his attentions to one of the bordello girls, Sundance rides off. One evening some days later, schoolteacher Etta Place arrives at her small house and is startled to find Sundance waiting for her in the dark. While Sundance points his gun at her, Etta disrobes and lets her hair down, then as he embraces her, she chastises him for being late. A few days later, Etta awakens to the strange sight of Butch riding around the house on a bicycle. Delighted, Etta takes a ride with Butch who performs tricks on the bicycle before being run off by a bull. On the way back to the house, Etta asks Butch if he has come to enlist Sundance in another robbery. Butch admits that he cannot understand why, despite working hard all his life, he has always been broke. Later, Butch, Sundance and the gang make another strike on the Flyer and Butch is delighted to discover the committed Woodcock back on the job. After tricking the young clerk into opening the car door, Butch discovers that Woodcock has firmly secured the safe. Using several sticks of dynamite, Butch blows up the entire train car and as the men laughingly retrieve the flyaway money, a train engine pulling a single car comes up behind the Flyer. Alarmed, Butch and the others watch as several horses and riders leap from the train car and start after them. Butch and Sundance immediately flee, but two of the gang members scrambling to get away are shot down. When Butch and Sundance split off from the surviving two gang members, they are frustrated that all the pursuers come after them. Butch and Sundance ride hard through the day into the evening, returning to the friendly bordello, but their efforts to throw off the pursuers fail, forcing them to escape into the night. To their dismay, their hunters follow using torches. Impressed and incredulous at the group's tenacity in tracking over various terrains throughout the next day, Butch repeatedly wonders about the men's identities. In a far-flung town, Butch and Sundance stop at the office of old friend Sheriff Ray Bledsoe, who angrily informs them that their presence might compromise his position. When Butch asks Bledsoe to vouch for them so they can enlist in the army, the old sheriff roughly tells them that they are doomed to meet a bloody end. Butch and Sundance resume their flight and during brief rest stops observe their single-minded pursuers. Sundance believes one of them may be a famous full-blooded Indian tracker from Oklahoma named Lord Baltimore. Although Butch is skeptical, after studying the men, he wonders if their leader is the famous lawman LaForce, known for his trademark white skimmer hat. Increasingly apprehensive, Butch and Sundance continue their evasions, riding high into a steep mountain range, where they let their remaining horse go and proceed on foot only to find themselves on a cliff overlooking a river. Realizing that half of the trackers are behind them, and the others have taken up positions on the cliff across the river, Butch determines they can fight or surrender. Sundance refuses to capitulate, but when Butch abruptly suggests they jump into the river, he staunchly refuses, finally admitting that he cannot swim. Butch assures Sundance the fall will likely kill them and, as their pursuers watch helplessly, the duo plunges into the river, which sweeps them away to safety. Some days later, an exhausted Butch and Sundance arrive at Etta's home, where she relates that the newspapers had reported their capture. She explains that the head of the Union Pacific lines, E. H. Harriman, outraged by the constant robberies of his trains by the Hole in the Wall gang, has put together an exclusive posse comprised of the nation's best lawmen to assure the demise of Butch and Sundance. Butch angrily accuses Harriman of bad business practices, declaring that if the tycoon would simply pay them the money he has paid the posse, Butch would stop robbing him. Sundance fears they will be on the run forever and later that night he and Butch invite Etta to flee with them to Bolivia. She agrees, stipulating that if the law should reach them there, she will not stay to watch them die. The next day, the trio sets off for New York, where they catch a steamer to South America. Upon arriving in a small, dusty village in Bolivia, Sundance expresses disgust with the primitive surroundings. While attempting to rob a village bank, the duo is horrified that no one speaks English, prompting Etta to teach them holdup commands in Spanish. Etta joins in the next several heists and, soon, Butch and Sundance develop a reputation as Los Bandidos Yanquis , or the Yankee Bandits. Their spree comes to an abrupt end, however, when Butch spots LaForce in a village. Etta insists that the lawman is outside his jurisdiction, but Sundance reminds her that the posse's mission is to kill them. Butch declares that if they commit no further robberies, they cannot be traced, and so announces they are going "straight." The men then take a job with Percy Garris, escorting a mining payroll, but on their very first job, Garris is killed by local bandits. When the bandits fire on Butch and Sundance, they readily surrender the money, but when it becomes obvious the thieves do not intend to let them go, the duo is forced to kill them. Dejected, Butch and Sundance return to Etta who urges them to take up farming or ranching. When they refuse, Etta decides to return to America. Butch and Sundance resume robbing banks and one day arrive in the small town of San Vicente, where they are recognized and reported to the local police. The police chief summons the army, then surrounds Butch and Sundance with his own forces. In the ensuing gunfight, the outlaws run low on ammunition, forcing Butch to make a daring race across the courtyard to grab their gun belts, while Sundance provides furious cover. Badly wounded, the men collapse in a local building and as they painfully rearm, Butch confides to the skeptical Sundance that he has discovered another place rich with potential, Australia. Unaware that a large contingent of soldiers has joined the police outside, Butch and Sundance confidently rush out of the building to make their escape, only to be caught in a hail of bullets.