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Switchback (1997)

An FBI agent tries to catch a serial killer who kidnapped his son.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Missy, the Babysitter
Ian Nelson ...
Andy LaCrosse
Brent Hinkley ...
Man on Porch
Bud (as Walt Goggins)
Deputy Nate Booker
Louis Schaefer ...
Lane Dixon
Robert L. Somers ...
Lexie Stuart ...
Ranchers Daughter
Bob Goodall
Ted Markland ...
Tommy Puett ...


F.B.I. agent Frank LaCrosse returns home to find his home has been broken into, his son is missing and Missy the babysitter is lying in a pool of her own insides. Her murder being the hallmarks of a elusive enigmatic serial killer whose slaughter spree...stretches nearly two years. Frank's desperate pursuit leads to Amarillo, Texas, where two more victims matching the killers M.O. have been found slashed to death. As Frank searches for his suspect the local Sheriff Buck Olmstead and his Deputy Nate Booker investigate the killings in-between a heated election feud, with his competition police chief Jack McGinnis. All the while drifting former doctor Lane Dixon is picked up by ex-railroad man, Bob Goodall. As a local Mechanic, Clyde 'Shorty' Callahan becomes the latest victim. Frank hopes and prays to find this sociopath before he disappears perhaps forever into the rocky mountains Written by Suspicious

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The hunter is tracking the killer. But the killer is setting the trap. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and several views of nude pin-ups | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

31 October 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Going West  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$37,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$2,704,568 (USA) (31 October 1997)


$6,482,195 (USA) (12 December 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film was originally intended to be released during Christmas 1996 under the films' original title, "Going West In America" because it wasn't ready in time for a release. The studio then pushed it back to 1997 as one of the studio's summer releases and delayed it again until Halloween of that year due to the glut in action-thrillers. See more »


When Buck pours a drink for Nate in the jail cell, the glass has more in it in the first shot and less in the second before he takes a drink. See more »


Sheriff Buck Olmstead: Cause he told the truth, and once you've heard the truth, everything else is just cheap whiskey.
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Written by Keith Gattis and Kostas
Performed by Keith Gattis
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User Reviews

Solid thriller
21 November 2015 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Switchback is one of my favourite 'serial killer vs. cop' thrillers of the 90's, and has seemingly slipped through the cracks these days. It has a special place in my heart, because as a kid my father would take me to his office at work, where I would catch a lot of cool movies on what was back then called 'TBS Superstation'. I once saw a few quick moments of this one, and wondered for years what film it was. A couple years back I tracked this one down because it stars a bunch of actors I really like, and was pleasantly surprised to have my childhood memory jogged, and finally find out what movie I had seen. It's got a solid, able bodied cast that's speckled with both prominent, square jawed leading dudes and some salty character actors as well, to spice things up. The film starts off as jovial Bob Goodall (Danny Glover) picks up mysterious hitchhiker Lane Dixon (Jared Leto) somewhere in the remote northwest. The two strike up a rapport, but we know that one or both will ultimately figure in the other half of the story, where things get decidedly sinister. Many miles away in another state, renegade FBI agent Frank Lacrosse (Dennis Quaid, turning off his smiling charm a quiet, smouldering turn as a guy at the end of his rope) searches for his infant son, who was kidnapped several years before by a dangerous serial killer. His search leads him to Amarillo, Texas, where he's both aided and stymied by local law enforcement. Kind, caring Sheriff Buck Olmstead (R. Lee Ermey, one my favourite character actors) and his deputy Nate Booker (Ted Levine, always reliable) do all they can for him, but in the midst of a reelection, their efforts are somewhat sabotaged by rival candidate Jack McGinnis (William Fichtner), causing delay in the investigation. Meanwhile, Glover and Leto draw closer and closer to a violent conclusion as the tension grows, inevitably tying in with Quaid's story. It's a crisp, no nonsense thriller that wastes no time bounding out of the gate, and yet never feels rushed. As Glover and Leto travel we are treated to some gorgeous, snowy Colorado scenery, captured nicely by DOP Oliver Wood. I revisit this one from time to time and am never let down at its tension, performances and skillful execution. A fair bit overlooked in thriller-ville as well, I might add.

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