Easy Rider:Plot summary

After smuggling some cocaine from Mexico to Los Angeles, Wyatt and Billy sell it to a man in a Rolls-Royce (played by music producer Phil Spector) in exchange for a large amount of cash. With this money stuffed into one of the fuel tanks of their California style choppers (a type of customized motorcycle that was popularized by this film), they ride eastward in an attempt to reach New Orleans, Louisiana in time for Mardi Gras.

Wyatt, whose name evokes the American Old Westlawman Wyatt Earp, dresses in American flag-adorned leather and calls himself Captain America. Billy, whose name evokes the American Old West outlaw Billy the Kid (or, perhaps, gambler Wild Bill Hickok), dresses in Native American-style buckskin pants and shirts. Clothed almost literally as America, they experience its land and people as they bike through the American Southwest and South.

During their trip they pick up a hitch-hiker (Luke Askew) who turns out to be a leader of a commune. They agree to take him there and they stay for a few days. Life in the commune appears to be hard, with hippies from the city finding it difficult to grow their own crops. At one point they even witness the ceremonious prayer for blessing of the new crop, as put by a leader: A chance "to make a stand," and to plant "Simple food, for a simple taste." The commune is also host to a travelling theater group who perform for their food. The notion of "free love" appears to be practiced, with two women seemingly sharing the affections of the commune's leader, and who then turn their attention to Wyatt and Billy. As Wyatt and Billy leave, the commune leader (known only as "Stranger on highway" in the credits) gives Wyatt some LSD for him to share with "the right people".


The Stranger (Luke Askew) draws Wyatt's attentionWhile jokingly riding along with a parade in a small town, the pair are arrested by the local authorities for "parading without a permit." In jail, they befriend alcoholic ACLU lawyer George Hanson (played by Jack Nicholson). George helps them get out of jail and decides to travel with Wyatt and Billy. As they camp that night, Wyatt and Billy introduce George to marijuana. As an alcoholic, George is reluctant to try the marijuana, but he eventually relents.

While attempting to eat in a Louisiana restaurant, the trio's appearance attracts the attention of the locals. The local high school girls in the restaurant want to meet the men and ride with them; the local men and police officer threaten and verbally abuse the riders. One of the men even states "They won't even make the parish line". Wyatt, Billy and George leave without eating and make camp outside of town. The drug and events of the day cause George to comment: "This used to be a helluva good country. I can't understand what's gone wrong with it."

In the middle of the night, the local men return and brutally beat the trio while they sleep. Wyatt and Billy suffer minor injuries, but George is killed by a machete to the neck. Wyatt and Billy wrap George up in his sleeping bag, gather his belongings, and vow to return the items to his parents.

They continue to New Orleans and find the brothel which had been recommended by George. Taking two prostitutes (Karen and Mary) with them, Wyatt and Billy decide to go outside where Mardi Gras celebration parades is ongoing. They wander the parade-filled streets of New Orleans. They end up in a cemetery, where all four ingest LSD. They all experience a psychedelic trip, represented through quick edits, sound effects and over-exposed film. Their trip is not a positive one but a bad trip.

In the end, though Billy remains oblivious, Wyatt declares: "We blew it." Wyatt realizes that their search for freedom, while financially successful, was a spiritual failure. The next morning, the two are continuing their trip to Florida, then all of the sudden, two rednecks in a pickup truck spot them. One of the rednecks decides to scare Billy, by shooting a shotgun towards him. But the redneck has bad aim, and hits Billy. Wyatt immediately turns around to see his friend on the side of the road. Wyatt hops on his bike, hoping to get help for his friend in time. Just then, the rednecks turn around, see Wyatt speeding on his bike. The redneck aims at Wyatt and shoots. Wyatt's bike explodes. Starting from the flaming bike on side of the country road, the camera ascends towards the sky and the duo's journey "looking for America" ends once and for all.


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