beccavox: (butch and sundance)
[personal profile] beccavox
Last night, Annie and I went to see a special viewing of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in Paducah. I've seen it a million times, but never on the big screen, so I convinced her to go with me. She hadn't seen it since our college days (so quite a long time ago), and, to be honest, I hadn't seen the second half of the movie in years.

I watched it not too long ago, before Christmas, I think. But as soon as the outlaws have escaped the pursuit by Joe LeFors and Lord Baltimore, I turned the tv off and found something else to do. You see (Spoilers for a film that came out in 1969), that's when Butch and Sundance decide to go to Bolivia, along with Etta Place. And that's where they eventually die.

I was only two years old when the movie was released, but it would be broadcast on television when I was around nine or ten. I watched it with my Mom and Dad, thrilled that I was allowed to stay up late and watch a grown-up movie. That is, I was thrilled until the end.

Butch and Sundance have just robbed a courier in the jungle and escaped with their money and their mule. At a local village they stop for food but have their identities discovered by a young boy. The local police begin a gun fight that escalates quickly with many policeman killed and both outlaws wounded. And here's where it gets tough for me. While Butch and Sundance bicker with each other in the safety of a small cafe, the militia arrives and lines soldiers with rifles one after the other. Butch asks if Sundance saw Lefors among the men shooting at them. Sundance says no, and Butch, leaning against a wall for balance from his wounds says, "Oh, good. For a moment there I thought we were in trouble." The film ends with a still shot of the two charging out in their last stand with continued sounds of gunshots as the camera pans away from the outlaws.

And that first time I watched the movie, I felt sick to my stomach. My mother commented that she always hated the ending as she got up to go to bed. Dad stayed up, as he often did, watching the news and anything else until the stations would go off the air. I went to bed, but my little brain kept going over the final moments of that movie. I got up and padded to the living room, stood next to my father's chair and asked, "Did they get away?"

"No, they didn't," he said. "You saw all those soldiers."

"But maybe they got to the horses..." I hoped.


"Or all their guns jammed at the same time and that let them get away," I pleaded.

"No. You know that wouldn't happen." Dad was always pragmatic.

"So they died?"

"Yeah, baby. They died."

I must have looked like I would burst into tears (I've cried plenty of times while watching the movie even as an adult), because Dad added, "But they did a lot of things when they were alive."

"Yeah, I guess." I said goodnight to my father, kissed him, and he quietly told me to get to bed, it was way past my bedtime. And I lay there, thinking about Butch and Sundance, hoping that no one I knew would ever die that way.

I cried at the movie last night even though I knew death was coming. I cried because Butch and Sundance are like old friends who I hate to lose. I cried because my Dad isn't here anymore; I can't ask him about the end of the film. I cried because I'm older than both Newman and Redford when they filmed the movie. I cried because I couldn't imagine being in that situation with my best friend and losing her.

I'll watch the movie a million more times (I hope), and I'll probably continue to stop the DVD before they head south. I don't want to think about Bolivia.
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August 2016


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