The Outlaw Josey Wales is a 1976 American revisionist western film set after the end of the American Civil War. It was directed by and starred Clint Eastwood (as the eponymous Josey Wales), with Chief Dan George, Sondra Locke, Sam Bottoms, and Geraldine Keams.
The film was adapted by Sonia Chernus and Philip Kaufman from the novel The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales (republished in 1975 as Gone to Texas) by Forrest Carter.
In 1996, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
Clint Eastwood portrays Josey Wales, a peaceful Missouri farmer, who is driven to revenge by the brutal murder of his wife and son by a band of pro-Union Jayhawkers — Senator James H. Lane's Redlegs from Kansas.
Wales joins a group of pro-Confederate Missouri guerrillas (bushwhackers or "border ruffians") led by William T. Anderson. At the conclusion of the war, Captain Fletcher (John Vernon) persuades the guerrillas to surrender, saying they have been granted amnesty. Josey Wales, still holding a grudge, refuses to surrender. As a result, he survives the massacre of the men by Captain Terrill's (Bill McKinney) Redlegs, who've now joined the Union Army.
Wales intervenes and guns down several Redlegs with a Gatling gun. Senator Lane puts up a $5,000 bounty on Wales. Wales begins a life on the run from Union militia and bounty hunters while still seeking vengeance and a chance for a new beginning in Texas. Along the way, he unwillingly accumulates a diverse group of traveling companions despite all indications that he would rather be left alone. His companions include a wily old Cherokee named Lone Watie, a young Navajo woman, and an elderly Yankee woman from Kansas and her granddaughter rescued from a band of Comancheros.
In the final showdown, Josey and his companions are cornered in a ranch house which is fortified to withstand Indian raids. The Redlegs attack but are systematically gunned down or sent running by the defenders. Wales eventually runs out of ammunition and pursues the fleeing Captain Terrill on horseback. When he catches up to him, Josey confronts Terrill and dry fires his pistols through all twenty–four empty chambers before stabbing the captain with his own cavalry sword.
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