When they were kids Texas Ranger Jack Benteen used to be best friends with drug kingpin Cash Bailey. At present, however, the only element linking them together is Jack’s girlfriend Sarita, who used to be with Cash. She returns to Cash as a voluntary hostage to make certain that Jack keeps his hands off the drug lord’s operation. On top of that, there is a meticulously planned drug bust, in which both Jack and Cash butt heads with CIA-funded paramilitary Maj. Paul Hackett, following his own agenda.
Extreme Prejudice is a 1987 American action western film starring Nick Nolte and Powers Boothe. The film was directed by Walter Hill; it was written by John Milius, Fred Rexer and Deric Washburn (the latter collaborated with Michael Cimino on Silent Running and The Deer Hunter).
Extreme Prejudice is an homage, of sorts, to The Wild Bunch, a western directed by Sam Peckinpah, with whom Hill worked on The Getaway. Both films end with a massive gunfight in a Mexican border town. The title originates from “terminate with extreme prejudice,” a phrase popularized by Apocalypse Now, also written by John Milius.
About the Story
A teletype message flashes across the screen…
Master Sergeant Larry McRose, U.S. Army, Frankfurt, West Germany
Report to Zombie Unit, El Paso, Texas
At the El Paso airport, five U.S. Army sergeants meet up with Major Paul Hackett (Ironside), the leader of the Zombie Unit. The unit is composed of soldiers reported to be killed, and are on temporary assignment under Hackett for this mission.
Jack Benteen (Nolte) is a tough Texas Ranger. His best friend from high school is Cash Bailey (Boothe), an American and former police informer who has crossed into Mexico and become a major drug trafficker. Bailey tries to bribe Benteen to look the other way while sending major drug shipments to the U.S. Benteen refuses, and is left with a warning by Bailey: Look the other way, or die trying.
Later, Benteen and his friend, Sheriff Hank Pearson, end up getting in a shootout with Bailey’s men at a gas station outside of town, resulting in Pearson’s death. Benteen knows that Bailey set them up. Two of Bailey’s men try to escape, but Hackett has them killed by not leaving any witnesses, and after they tried to steal his vehicle.
A D.E.A. agent and several soldiers from the clandestine U.S. Army unit show up in town, all tracking Bailey. When the soldiers rob a local bank to get Bailey’s money and a cash deposit box that contains accounts on the drug money he’s deposited there, one of the soldiers is killed and two others are captured by Benteen and placed in the town jail. At the station, they discover that the two men are soldiers who faked their deaths, and decided to take down Bailey to prevent any drug shipments from entering the United States.
Benteen is confronted by the D.E.A agent, who turns out to be their commanding officer and reveals their true mission to him to obtain his men’s release. Now knowing the full story, Benteen joins with the soldiers and crosses the border into Mexico to track down Bailey and end his drug running. At Bailey’s hacienda, Benteen’s girlfriend Sarita (Alonso), who was once Bailey’s woman, has crossed into Mexico to join him after arguing with Benteen.
Extreme Prejudice (1987)
Directed by: Walter Hill
Starring: Nick Nolte, Powers Boothe, Michael Ironside, Maria Conchita Alonso, Rip Torn, Clancy Brown, William Forsythe, Matt Mulhern, John Dennis Johnston
Screenplay by: John Milius, Fred Rexer
Production Design by: Albert Heschong
Cinematography by: Matthew F. Leonetti
Film Editing by: Freeman A. Davies, David Holden, Billy Weber
Costume Design by: Dan Moore
Set Decoration by: Ernie Bishop
Art Direction by: Joseph C. Nemec
Music by: Jerry Goldsmith
Distributed by: TriStar Pictures
Release Date: April 24, 1987