When he learns that his close friend Paul (Kane) has been sentenced to two years in prison for helping illegal immigrants cross the border, rugged, free-roaming Jack Burns (Douglas) deliberately gets himself incarcerated, too (by punching a cop), so he can engineer a jail break with his pal. But the once-rebellious Paul has mellowed since marrying and starting a family with his wife Jerry (Rowlands), and has no interest in becoming a fugitive. So Jack decides to go it alone, one man against the world of law...
Scripted by blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo from a novel by anarcho-environmentalist Edward Abbey, Miller’s “Brave” pits the ideals of radical American individualism against the arbitrariness of social constraints, soulless technology, and land rights. No one was better suited for this role than Douglas, who flees Walter Matthau’s sour sheriff on horseback through the southwestern highlands. At one point, he’s cornered by a police helicopter, and the gap between modern life and the freedom of frontier existence couldn’t be starker. Gena Rowlands, George Kennedy, and Carroll O’Connor round out a stellar supporting cast.