Billy the Kid is re-imagined by director Sam Peckinpah in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
as a kind of Old West rock star, a young man who wants to do his own thing but constantly runs up against the objections of the establishment--in this case, the cattle barons who run this part of the country. Peckinpah indulged in some quirky casting, including Bob Dylan as an outlaw named Alias and most of Kristofferson's band as Billy's gang. He also draws exceptional performances out of a cast of old veterans, including James Coburn as the reluctant Pat Garrett, R G Armstrong, Katy Jurado and Slim Pickens, who has a terrific death scene to Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." Look for this longer version; the shorter version is the one that MGM recut against Peckinpah's wishes, removing all the character development and Peckinpah's elegiac sense of the Old West in favour of action and violence. --Marshall Fine
It's 1881 in New Mexico, and the times they are a'changing. Pat Garrett, erstwhile travelling companion of the outlaw Billy the Kid has become a sheriff, tasked by cattle interests with ridding the territory of Billy. After Billy escapes, Pat assembles a posse and chases him through the territory, culminating in a final confrontation at Fort Sumner, but is unaware of the full scope of the cattle interests' plans for the New West.