AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Summary View of Movie
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Cat Ballou
Director: Elliot Silverstein (Dir)
Release Date:   24 Jun 1965
Duration (in mins):  96
Print this page
Display Movie Detail

Cast: Jane Fonda  (Cat Ballou)
  Lee Marvin  (Kid Shelleen/Tim Strawn)
  Michael Callan  (Clay Boone)

Summary: Catherine Ballou, an aspiring schoolteacher, is traveling by train to Wolf City, Wyoming, to visit her rancher father, Frankie Ballou. En route she unwittingly helps accused cattle rustler Clay Boone elude his captor, the sheriff, when Boone's Uncle Jed, a drunkard disguised as a preacher, distracts the lawman. She reaches the ranch to find that the Wolf City Developing Company is trying to take away the ranch from her father, whose only defender is an educated Indian, Jackson Two-Bears. Clay and Jed appear and reluctantly offer to help Catherine. She also wires legendary gunfighter Kid Shelleen to come and help protect her father from fast-drawing Tim Strawn, alias Silvernose, the hired killer who is threatening Frankie. Shelleen arrives, a drunken stumblebum who is literally unable to hit the side of a barn when he shoots and whose pants fall down when he draws his gun. Strawn kills Frankie, but the townspeople refuse to bring him to justice, and Catherine becomes a revenge-seeking outlaw known as Cat Ballou. She and her four associates rob a train carrying the Wolf City payroll, and Shelleen, inspired by his love for Cat (unrequited because she loves Clay), shapes up and kills Strawn. Later he casually admits that Strawn was his brother. Cat poses as a prostitute and confronts town boss Sir Harry Percival, owner of the Wolf City Developing Company. A struggle ensues; Harry is killed; and Cat is sentenced to be hanged. Just as the noose is being placed around her neck, however, her gang arrives and stages a daring rescue. 

Distribution Company: Columbia Pictures
Production Company: Harold Hecht Corp.
Director: Elliot Silverstein (Dir)
  Yakima Canutt (2nd unit dir)
  Lee Lukather (Asst dir)
  Ray Gosnell (Asst dir)
Producer: Harold Hecht (Prod)
  Mitch Lindemann (Assoc prod)
Writer: Walter Newman (Scr)
  Frank R. Pierson (Scr)

Subject Major: Alcoholism
  Capital punishment
  Butch Cassidy
  Family relationships
  Hired killers
  Impersonation and imposture
  Indians of North America

Display Movie Detail
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2017 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.