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Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid Details


A former friend betrays a legendary outlaw in Sam Peckinpah's final Western. Holed up in Fort Sumner with his gang between cattle rustlings, Billy the Kid (Kris Kristofferson) ignores the advice of comrade-turned-lawman Pat Garrett (James Coburn) to escape to Mexico, and he winds up in jail in Lincoln, New Mexico. After Billy theatrically escapes, inspiring enigmatic Lincoln resident Alias (Bob Dylan) to join him, the governor (Jason Robards Jr.) and cattle baron Chisum (Barry Sullivan) requisition Garrett to form a posse and hunt him down. Rather than flee to Mexico when he can, Billy heads back to Fort Sumner, meeting his final destiny at the hands of his friend Pat, who, two decades later, is forced to face the consequences of his own Faustian pact with progress. With a script by Rudolph Wurlitzer, Peckinpah uses the historical basis of Billy's death to eulogize the West dreamily yet violently as it is desecrated by corrupt capitalists. Both Pat and Billy know that their time is passing, as surely as Garrett's posse knows that they are participating in a legend. Using familiar Western players like Slim Pickens and Katy Jurado, Peckinpah underscores the West's existence as a media myth, and he even appears himself as a coffin maker. Just as the bloodletting of Peckinpah's earlier Katy Jurado (1969) invoked the Vietnam War, the casting of Kristofferson and Dylan alluded to the chaotic late '60s/early '70s present; the counterculture has little place in a corporate future. Also like Katy Jurado, Pat Garrett was truncated by its studio; the cuts did nothing to help its box office. Key scenes, particularly the framing story of Garrett's fate, have since been restored to the home-video version. In this director's cut, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid stands as one of Peckinpah's most beautiful and complex films, killing the Western myth even as he salutes it. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

  • Release date:May 23, 1973


James Coburn
as Pat Garrett
Kris Kristofferson
as Billy the Kid
Bob Dylan
as Alias
Jorge Russek
as Silva
Walter Kelley
as Rupert
Gene Evans
as Mr. Horrell
Richard Jaeckel
as Sheriff Kip McKinney
Barry Sullivan
as Chisum
Jack Elam
as Alamosa Bill
Rita Coolidge
as Maria
Charles Martin Smith
as Bowdre
Emilio Fern√°ndez
as Paco
Slim Pickens
as Sheriff Baker
John Beck
as Poe
Matt Clark
as J.W. Bell
Elisha Cook, Jr.
as Cody
Katy Jurado
as Mrs. Baker
Aurora Clavel
as Ida Garrett
L.Q. Jones
as Black Harris
Dub Taylor
as Josh
Donnie Fritts
as Beaver
Rudolph Wurlitzer
as Tom O'Folliard
Harry Dean Stanton
as Luke
Luke Askew
as Eno
Paul Fix
as Maxwell
Richard Bright
as Holly
R.G. Armstrong
as Deputy Ollinger
Sam Peckinpah
as Will
Jason Robards, Jr.
as Governor Wallace
Chill Wills
as Lemuel
Claudia Bryar
as Mrs. Horrell
Rutanya Alda
as Ruthie Lee


Sam Peckinpah
Gordon Carroll
Rudolph Wurlitzer
John Coquillon
Bob Dylan
Composer (Music Score)
Bob Dylan
David Berlatsky
Roger Spottiswoode
Richard Halsey
Garth Craven
Tony de Zarraga
Ted Haworth
Art Director
Ray Moyer
Set Designer
Augie Lohman
Special Effects
Newt Arnold
First Assistant Director
Gordon Dawson
Second Unit Director