Lonely Are the Brave

  • Directors: David Miller
  • Producers: Edward Lewis
  • Writers: Edward Abbey, Dalton Trumbo
  • Genres: Drama, Western
  • Actors: Kirk Douglas, Gena Rowlands, Walter Matthau

John W. “Jack” Burns (Kirk Douglas) works as a roaming ranch hand much as the cowboys of the old West did, refusing to join modern society. He rejects much of modern technology, not even carrying any kind of identification such as a driver’s license or Social Security card.

Burns rides up on his horse to visit Jerry (Gena Rowlands). She is the wife of an old friend named Paul Bondi who has been jailed for giving aid to illegal immigrants. Jack explains his dislike for a society that restricts a man on where he can or can’t go, what he can or can’t do.

After a violent barroom fight against a one-armed man in which he is compelled to use only one arm himself, Burns is arrested. When the police decide to let him go, he punches a cop to deliberately get himself thrown in jail so he can see Paul.

While there he incurs the wrath of a sadistic deputy (George Kennedy). Burns is badly beaten while under arrest. He tries to persuade Paul to bust out of jail, but Paul has a family and too much at stake to become a fugitive from the law, so he refuses to go. Burns breaks out by himself.

During the course of the story, the seemingly extraneous progress of a tractor-trailer truck, driven by Carroll O’Connor, is intercut with the principal events. The pursuit of Jack Burns comes to an end when the truck driver, vision impaired by rain, collides with Burns and his horse while they try to cross a busy modern highway.

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