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The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

PG  |   |  Western  |  30 June 1976 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 47,423 users  
Reviews: 182 user | 70 critic

A Missouri farmer joins a Confederate guerrilla unit and winds up on the run from the Union soldiers who murdered his family.



(book), (screenplay) (as Phil Kaufman) , 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paula Trueman ...
Sheb Wooley ...
Kelly (as Matt Clarke)
John Verros ...


Josey Wales makes his way west after the Civil War, determined to live a useful and helpful life. He joins up with a group of settlers who need the protection that a man as tough and experienced as he is can provide. Unfortunately, the past has a way of catching up with you, and Josey is a wanted man. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


...an army of one.




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

30 June 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wells  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,700,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Josey's two main handguns are Colt Walker 1847 Dragoon revolvers. They each hold six .44 caliber ball shots. The weapon features larger cylinder chambers to allow more powder to be placed in the gun, making them more powerful (thus, why it was so popular 20 years later). The Walker Colt's one drawback was the weakness in the cylinder walls. If one broke, the whole weapon would blow up. This is referenced in Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven (1992). See more »


When Josey Wales is leaving the interior of the store carrying the supplies, he is also carrying the picture postcard of the dead man that the store clerk showed him. When he emerges outside, he is no longer carrying the postcard. See more »


[first lines]
Josey's wife: Little Josey! C'mon in, let's get you cleaned up!
See more »


Referenced in Don's Plum (2001) See more »


Rose of Alabamy
Written by Silas Sexton Steel
Performed by Joyce Jameson, Sheb Wooley, John Verros, and Matt Clark
See more »

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User Reviews

"Are You Gonna Pull Those Pistols or Whistle Dixie?"
1 March 2005 | by (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

"The Outlaw Josie Wales" was made by Clint Eastwood at a time when westerns were out of favor and the public wanted more of Clint as Dirty Harry. This film as it turned out, was one of Clint's best and certainly ranks up there with the more popular "Unforgiven" (1992).

Josie Wales (Eastwood) is a dirt farmer in Missouri during the American Civil War. One day a group of yankee raiders led by Captain "Red Legs" Terrill (Bill McKinny) attacks and burns his farm and murders his wife and young son while leaving Josie for dead. As Josie ponders what to do next a group of southern raiders led by "Bloody Bill" Anderson (John Russell) takes him into his gang to seek his revenge.

After the South surrenders, a fellow southerner, Fletcher (John Vernon) offers the remaining members of Anderson's gang amnesty if they will swear allegiance to the North. All but Wales agree. Unbeknownst to Fletcher, the men are suddenly murdered by the Union soldiers led by Terrill and in spite of Josie's efforts, only he and a young soldier names Jamie (Sam Bottoms) escape. Terrill and Fletcher are sent to hunt down the fugitives.

Jamie soon dies from his wounds and Josie is left alone. He makes for Mexico but is joined first by Lone Watie (Chief Dan George), then Little Moonlight (Geraldine Kearns) whom Josie rescues from a trading post and finally Laura Lee (Sondra Locke) and Grandma Sarah (Paula Trueman) who he rescues from a gang of Commancheros.

The group makes for Texas where Grandma Sarah's son has left her a ranch. All the time Josie is being pursued by Terrill and assorted bounty hunters. Josie dispatches several of them with his brace of Colt 45 horse pistols.

Finally at the ranch, the group sets up a home and Josie begins to fall for Laura Lee. Fearing an Indian attack, Josie rides to meet with Chief Ten Bears (Will Sampson) and makes peace with him. But finally Terrill and his group of "Red Legs" tracks Josie down and..........

Eastwood who also directed the movie, plays Wales with his usual grim faced persons. He's not afraid to pull his pistols and dispose of anyone who stands in his way. Interestingly enough, Eastwood cast all of the principal Native roles with native actors and treated them as equals and not in the old Hollywood tradition.

An excellent western in every way.

42 of 55 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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