As the film opens, Josey Wales is a simple farmer in Missouri. When a vicious band of Union Red Legs, led by Terrill (Bill McKinney), burns his home to the ground, killing his wife and son, Wales joins a gang of Confederate raiders, determined to get revenge. After the Confederacy loses the war, Wales sets out on his own, an outlaw who kills to survive. He eventually meets an old Indian (Chief Dan George, in a wonderfully sympathetic performance) and some other outcasts, and together they seek out a more peaceful existence. But Terrill continues to hunt Wales, and the simple farmer is forced to fight again. Critics did not take Clint Eastwood's THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES seriously in 1976. Today, many consider it one of the greatest Westerns ever made. Here the West is an ugly and brutal place, as it is in Sergio Leone's films, but this is a different kind of Eastwood hero. He has a name, a sense of humor, and a heart. Made in the shadow of Vietnam and Watergate, the film conveys a bitter distrust of government but also a longing to live in peace. Next to UNFORGIVEN, this is the most sweeping and emotionally complex of Eastwood's Westerns.