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They Live by Night (1948) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • An escaped convict, injured during a robbery, falls in love with the woman who nurses him back to health, but their relationship seems doomed from the beginning.

  • In the '40s, three prisoners flee from a state prison farm in Mississippi. Among them is 23-years-young Bowie, who spent the last seven years in prison and now hopes to be able to prove his innocence or retire to a home in the mountains and live in peace together with his new love, Keechie. But his criminal companions persuade him to participate in several heists, and soon the police believe him to be their leader and go after "Bowie the Kid" harder than ever.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • As the words This boy... and this girl...were never properly introduced to the world we live in we see Keechie (Cathy ODonnell) and Bowie (Farley Granger) smiling at each other, we cut to a helicopter shot of a car driving fast with Chickamaw (Howard Da Silva) driving until a tire blows out and T-Dub (Jay C. Flippen) and Bowie (Farley Granger) ditch the car and take off across a field. They have just knocked over a bank and gotten away with enough money to fund their next robbery. Along the way they stop off in a small ranch where Bowie meets Keechie (Cathy ODonnell) and the two bond after sharing their unrealistic life goals. Each of them wants a better life and when Bowie is injured driving a car Keechie nurses him back to health and the two team up using the large cache of bank money to fund their attempt to get away from the authorities. Through their travels among back roads and out-of-the-way motels the two fall deeper in love and blindly plan out a future as the authorities close in.

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