Badlands (1973) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • It's the late 1950s. Mid-twenty-something Kit is a restless and unfocused young man with a James Dean vibe and swagger which he has heard mentioned about him more than once. Fifteen year old Holly has a somewhat cold relationship with her sign painter father, if only because she is the primary reminder of his wife, who died of pneumonia when Holly was a child. The two meet when Holly and her father move from Texas to the small town where Kit lives, Fort Dupree, South Dakota. They slowly fall in love, something about which she cannot tell her father because of their age difference and Kit coming from the wrong side of the tracks. When he tries to take Holly away with him, Kit, on an impulse, shoots her father dead. After letting the initial emotions of the situation settle down, Holly decides voluntarily to go with Kit, they trying to make it look like they committed suicide in a house fire. But they soon learn that their plan did not work, there being a bounty on their heads. As such, Kit continues his murderous ways in order to protect the life he wants to eke out with Holly. She, on the other hand, wants to support Kit, especially as he begins to feel more and more trapped, but she may only be able to endure what looks increasingly to be a battle they cannot win as a couple. Through it all, they openly and privately muse about their philosophies on their life considering their current circumstance.

  • Holly is a teenager who lives with her sign painter father in a small Midwestern town. She begins spending time with the much older Kit, a James Dean lookalike who seems to go from job to job and can't quite settle down. Not surprisingly, her father objects to their seeing one another and when they have an argument, Kit kills him. Thus begins a violent road trip where the two try to find a bit of happiness. Their notoriety bring out bounty hunters but it doesn't stop them from continuing their killing spree. This film is loosely based on true events from 1957-58.

  • Kit Carruthers, a young garbage collector and his girlfriend Holly Sargis from Fort Dupree, South Dakota, are on the run after killing Holly's father who disagreed with their relationship. On their way towards the Badlands of Montana they leave a trail of dispassionate and seemingly random murders. A very intriguing narrative without judgements, and lacking the usually sensational approach of this genre. Very good acting and directing, and beautiful photography. The script was based upon the true story of the Charles Starkweather and Caril-Ann Fugate murders in 1958.

  • In Fort Dupre, South Dakota, in 1959, Kit Carruthers, a twenty-five-year-old garbageman, starts courting fifteen-year-old Holly Sargis. Holly, who reads pop music and movie magazines, is infatuated with Kit. She thinks he looks like actor James Dean. But her widower father, a sign painter, shoots her dog when he finds out she's been seeing Kit, and forbids him to come near her. While Holly watches with mixed emotions, Kit kills her father with a pistol. They burn down the house and take off on a killing spree throughout the Midwest.

  • An impressionable teenage girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend embark on a killing spree in the South Dakota badlands.


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