The Missouri Breaks

1976 film by Arthur Penn

The Missouri Breaks is a 1976 film about a cattle rustler and the man hired to hunt him down.

Directed by Arthur Penn. Written by Thomas McGuane.
One Steals, One Kills, One Loves, One Dies.

Robert E. Lee Clayton

  • I'd like almost anythin' better 'n' bein' burnt up.
  • Well, you're about the last of your kind, old man. If I was a better businessman than I am a man hunter, I'd put you in the circus.
  • [after killing a man, dressed in a bonnet and shawl] Granny's tired now.

Tom Logan

  • The first time I met Sandy, he was rustling on his own. He had a stolen cavalry pony and he kept this dog. As soon as he would kill a steer, why he'd cut the brand off and feed it to the dog. So before they could get enough evidence to convict him, they'd have to lock that dog up and pick through his shit for a week before they could find the brand.
  • The closer you get to Canada, the more things'll eat your horse.
  • [to Clayton, whispering] You know what woke you up? You just had your throat cut.

Jane Braxton

  • We had a famous painter out here last year... did last scenes. That man must have painted ten squares miles of canvas... and not one human face! And I wish he could have been here to paint that boy, Sandy, hanging up there so decoratively against the mountains. Because his pink tongue and his white face would have just set off the green of Montana splendidly. I mean, it would have made the damnedest bank calendar you ever saw!
  • Why don't we just take a walk and we'll just talk about the Wild West and how to get the hell out of it!


  • David Braxton: This is my fourth frontier and I know how they run. I was in the California gold fields before I was eighteen, I was at the rush at Alder Gulch and I went with the grazing committee to South America. These long ropers in the Missouri Breaks are a mixed bag: barbers from Minneapolis, failed grangers, Scandinavian half-breeds, wolfers and woodcutters, dishonest apprentices, raftsmen, poisoners - you give them a chance and they'll waste everything!
  • Cal: A 44.40 in the brain pan would be my sentence for him. Now I don't know why you don't want to go along with that, Tom!
  • Little Tod: Damn, I don't know why they had to put Canada all the way up here.


Jane Braxton: I forgot, you do have your whores, don't you?
Tom Logan: Sure do. Like 'em, too.
Jane Braxton: Well, I'll tell you something. If you want them more than you want me...
Tom Logan: I keep telling you, I want them a lot. I don't want you at all.
Jane Braxton: Well, why are you being so mean to me?
Tom Logan: People have been neglecting to tell you what a nasty little bitch you are, and I'm just having to make up for their negligence.

Hellsgate rancher: They call this country Hell's Gate. When my dad came in here, it was nothing but a bunch of savage Indians. And Jesuits. Old Thomas Jefferson said that he was a warrior so his son could be a farmer, so his son could be a poet. And I raise cattle so my son can be a merchant, so his son can move to Newport, Rhode Island and buy a sailboat and never see one of these bastard-ass sons of bitching mountains again.
Cy: Who was Thomas Jefferson?
Hellsgate rancher: A guy back east.

David Braxton: The first time I saw this country, it had buffalo grass and bluejoint up to the stirrups. By the second year, we had eight thousand Texas half-bred cattle and over three thousand five hundred volumes of English literature in my library.
Pete Marker: Hell, we just cut out the unbranded stock and divided up even among outfits. There was no arguin' over mavericks like today.
Sandy: You got it good today.
David Braxton: Two percent annual loss then, now it's seven from rustling alone, not to mention winterkill, calving loss, miring down in the spring.

Tom Logan: I understand you had to hang someone here.
David Braxton: I did that.
Tom Logan: Ah, that's tough. What was this, some kind of desperado?
David Braxton: No, he was a thief... with probably a million good reasons for being on hard times. The main thing is that we put him out of his misery.

Tom Logan: I couldn't get no credit at the whorehouse, so I picked up this chubby little girl off some sodbuster's outfit.
Little Tod: How was she?
Tom Logan: About like a Swiss clock... same exact movement over and over again.

Tom Logan: Regulator? Ain't that like a dry gulcher?
Lee Clayton: Well, that's not the softest term you could use, I'd say.
Tom Logan: Well, Regulator, correct me now if I'm wrong, isn't a regulator one of these boys that shoots people and don't never get near 'em?
Lee Clayton: That's it.


Wikipedia has an article about: