Prime Cut

Director: Michael Ritchie

Cast: Lee Marvin, Gene Hackman, Sissy Spacek, Angel Tomkins, Gregory Walcott, William Morey, Janit Baldwin, Clint Ellison, Howard Platt, Les Lannom, Eddie Egan, Therese Reinsch, Bob Wilson, Gordon Signer, Hugh Gillin, Gladys Watson, E. Lund, David Savage, Craig Chapman, Jim Taksas, Wayne Savagne

Conveyors and grinding machines move continuously at a meat processing plant in Kansas. A foreman, Weenie (Walcott), yells ďspecial orderĒ and sends away the workers. Weenie waits for a time, stops the machinery, and cuts a section of linked wieners. He places the special order into a package, attaches a Mary Annís Meats mailing label, and writes down a Chicago address for delivery. Irish mob boss Jake (Egan) walks into a night club in Chicago and approaches Nick Devlin (Marvin) and Shay (Morey) at the bar. Jake asks Nick for his help with a problem. An organization in Kansas refuses to pay a debt of long standing. None of the men Jake has sent to collect have come back alive. Nick declines and tells Jake that he is taking his ease. Jake insists, and shows Nick a package just arrived. Inside are the processed remains of Murphy, the last man Jake sent to Kansas. Nick takes the job, and Jake assigns three of his men to back him up. Together with Jakeís men, Nick sets out at night in a black Cadillac briskly driven by Shay. After a long trip across the Midwest countryside, they arrive in Kansas City. Weenie and Mary Ann are brothers who operate Mary Annís Meats, an agribusiness venture and a front for a criminal enterprise. Nick and his men drive to a farm in the countryside where Mary Ann conducts business. They walk into a barn patrolled by armed guards. A private sale is going on, and well-dressed men mill around, glancing at nude girls kept in cattle pens. Nick interrupts Mary Annís (Hackman) lunch. As they walk away from a table lined with Mary Annís cronies, Nick demands the $500,000 Mary Ann owes Jake and inquires about the goings on at the barn. Explaining his venture into girl marketing, Mary Ann leads Nick to a pen where two of the girls are kept, drugged to make them compliant. One of the girls wakes to see Nick and whispers ďHelp me, please.Ē Mary Ann reluctantly agrees to get the money to Nick the next day, at the fair. Nick leaves, taking the girl ďon account.Ē Nick and his men check into a hotel in Kansas City, carrying the nude girl wrapped in a blanket. Nick gets to know the girl, Poppy (Spacek), and learns that she was taken from an orphanage before being brought to Mary Annís place. The next day, at the fair, Nick, Poppy, and his men enjoy themselves before Nick meets Mary Ann to collect the money owed. Nick cracks open the package Mary Ann provides and finds it full of fake bills. The meeting is a trap, and Mary Annís men are all around, armed and ready to kill. While Shay and Nickís men cover for them, Nick and Poppy run through the fairgrounds, seeking a way out. Nick and Poppy go past a fence into a field and lose their pursuers in the tall wheat. They run away, in the clear until they find themselves being chased by a giant motorized reaper. They are saved by Shay, who speeds toward the reaper in the Cadillac, jumping out a moment before the crash and shooting the reaper driver dead. Although Mary Annís men pose a deadly danger, Nick will not give up his mission. Under an ominous dark sky, Nick and his men walk through a field of sunflowers, toward Mary Annís barn and a final confrontation with him and his evil gang. Written by Robert Dillon.

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