5 Plot Point Breakdown: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

By Anthony Faust · April 4, 2016

Screenplay Genre: Biography/Adventure

Movie Time: 113 minutes


After Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) return from a tense poker game, one that almost saw Sundance prove his superior gun shooting skills after a fellow card player accused him of cheating, they find trouble in paradise among their Hole in the Wall gang members in Wyoming. It seems that Harvey Logan (Ted Cassidy) has taken over the group, forcing Butch to reassert his authority. Harvey draws a knife, but Butch settles the dispute with a swift kick to Harvey’s groin, and a fierce jab to the face. (00:15:03)

2. LOCK IN (End of Act One)

Butch and Sundance, along with their gang, hold up a train named the Flyer, for the second time, and discover that Woodcock (George Furth), an Union Pacific Railroad employee, has put a special lock on the target of the robbery; a safe. Butch asks for dynamite, which succeeds in destroying the safe, and the rail car that contains it. As copious amounts of currency float down to the ground, and as the men quickly scoop up and stuff the loot into their empty pockets, something else begins to blow through the air; the chugging sounds of a distant train.

The train approaches and halts as an uncomfortable silence takes hold. The train whistle screeches, the door swings open, and a posse of men on horses charge toward the Flyer. (00:34:12)


After surviving a desperate jump off a cliff into the raging waters of a river that helps them elude their potential captors, Butch and Sundance stumble home to Sundance’s woman, Etta Place (Katharine Ross). Reading the newspaper, Butch realizes that their days in Wyoming are numbered. He suggests an idea. Bolivia. They will flee the country, using Etta as cover, and start a new life in South America. (01:06:32)

4. MAIN CULMINATION (End of Act Two)

Butch and Sundance, determined to give up their law-breaking ways, decide to go straight. They take a meager job as payroll guards for a local bank. After a group of Bolivian thieves, in an interesting role reversal, rob Butch and Sundance, a standoff ensues. The two men win the gunfight and as the dust clears, they quietly inhale a heavy dose of irony as they gaze upon the result of their attempt to abandon a life of crime: five dead bodies. (01:34:00)


As hundreds of armed Bolivian soldiers surround a tiny village, the Bandidos Yanquis, Butch and Sundance, wounded from sporadic gunfire, argue about Australia. Butch explains his next brilliant idea to Sundance as the two fill the chambers of their empty pistols, not realizing what awaits them. They escape, and a chorus of synchronized gunfire greets them as Butch and Sundance become immortalized in a freeze-frame. A question lingers as the credits roll; did Butch and Sundance survive? (01:44:58)

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