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Bronco Billy is a 1980 film starring Clint Eastwood and Sondra Locke. It was directed by Eastwood and written by Dennis Hackin.


The film revolves around "Bronco Billy's Wild West Show", a run-down traveling circus, the star of which is Bronco Billy McCoy (Clint Eastwood), the "fastest gun in the West." For the show's finale, a blindfolded Bronco Billy shoots balloons around a female assistant on a revolving wooden disk, and for the last balloon, he throws a knife. However, the assistant's leg is nicked, so she quits. The show is not making any money, and nobody has been paid for months.

The show moves on to a new town and Bronco Billy goes to city hall to get a permit. While there, he bumps into Antoinette Lilly (Sondra Locke) and John Arlington (Geoffrey Lewis), who are there to be married. Antoinette despises her future husband, but has to marry before she is thirty in order to inherit a large fortune. Afterwards, their car breaks down at the motel opposite the Wild West Show. The next morning, Arlington steals all her money and their repaired car. She is left to fend for herself.

Bronco Billy eventually talks Antoinette into becoming his new assistant, "Miss Lilly", though she only agrees to do one show. The show of her first performance is unusually successful, although Miss Lilly irritates Billy by not sticking to the script.

Leaving the show, Antoinette discovers that Arlington has been arrested for her murder (framed by Antoinette's stepmother and her scheming lawyer friend, who stand to gain her inheritance). Seizing the chance to get even with Arlington, Antoinette rejoins the Wild West Show.

She discovers that none of the performers are real cowboys: they are mostly ex-convicts or alcoholics (or both). Bronco Billy was a shoe salesman who shot his wife for sleeping with his best friend. Nevertheless, Miss Lilly begins to warm to the troupe.

Two of the show's performers announce that they are going to have a baby. The crew goes to a bar to celebrate. One of them gets himself arrested by police who discover that he is a deserter from the army. Bronco Billy uses the show's meager savings to bribe the sheriff into letting the man go, swallowing his pride and enduring the sheriff's verbal humiliations for his friend's sake. Then the circus tent burns down. Everyone blames Miss Lilly for their bad luck, but Bronco Billy defends her and proposes that they rob a train. They try to do this in the standard Western way (riding alongside and jumping on), but a modern train proves to be resistant to such an approach and they give up.

Next, the troupe travels to a mental institution at which they have previously performed pro bono. The head of the institution, who is obsessed with the Wild West, agrees to provide them with accommodation and to supply a new tent, and the inmates sew one out of American flags. Miss Lilly and Bronco Billy spend the night together. By chance, one of the inmates turns out to be Arlington (he had been paid by the crooked lawyer to confess to being mentally disturbed when he "murdered" Antoinette). When he sees her, he raises a fuss and gets himself released. Bronco Billy and the show depart without Miss Lilly.

Antoinette returns to a luxurious lifestyle, but she is bored and misses Billy, who drowns his loneliness with alcohol. The two reunite when Miss Lilly returns to the circus.


The movie was filmed in the fall of 1979 in the Treasure Valley of southwestern Idahomarker, from Boisemarker to Ontariomarker, Oregonmarker.


  • Clint Eastwood as Bronco Billy
  • Sondra Locke as Antoinette Lily
  • Geoffrey Lewis as John Arlington
  • Scatman Crothers as Doc Lynch
  • Bill McKinney as Lefty LeBow
  • Sam Bottoms as Leonard James
  • Dan Vadis as Chief Big Eagle
  • Sierra Pecheur as Lorraine Running Water
  • Walter Barnes as Sheriff Dix
  • Woodrow Parfrey as Dr. Canterbury
  • Beverlee McKinsey as Irene Lily
  • Doug McGrath as Lt. Wiecker
  • Hank Worden as Station Mechanic
  • William Prince as Edgar Lipton
  • Pam Abbas as Mother Superior
  • Eyde Byrde as Maid Eloise
  • Douglas Copsey as Reporter at Bank
  • John Wesley Elliott Jr as Sanatorium Attendant
  • Chuck Hicks as Cowboy at Bar
  • Robert F. Hoy as Cowboy at Bar
  • Dawneen Lee as Bank Teller
  • Don Mummert as Chauffeur
  • Lloyd Nelson as Sanatorium Policeman
  • George Orrison as Cowboy in Bar
  • Michael Reinbold as King
  • Tessa Richarde as Mitzi Fritts
  • Tanya Russell as Doris Duke
  • Valerie Shanks as Sister Maria
  • Sharon Sherlock as License Clerk
  • James Simmerman as Bank Manager
  • Roger Dale Simmons as Reporter at Bank
  • Jenny Sternling as Reporter at Sanatorium
  • Chuck Waters as Bank Robber
  • Jerry Wills as Bank Robber

Other cast listed alphabetically:

See also

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