Peter Bogdanovich's masterwork is a rich evocation of life in a small Texas town in the early 1950s, based on the novel by Larry McMurtry. Bogdanovich utilizes the crisp, haunting black and white cinematography of Robert L. Surtees to… More Peter Bogdanovich's masterwork is a rich evocation of life in a small Texas town in the early 1950s, based on the novel by Larry McMurtry. Bogdanovich utilizes the crisp, haunting black and white cinematography of Robert L. Surtees to evokes the classic era of Hollywood cinema as exemplified by John Ford and Howard Hawks (in a homage to these film giants, two of the films playing at the Royal are Wagonmaster and Red River). The dusty town of Anarene is a place where nothing happens; the local movie theater, the Royal, is the only form of escape for the local residents outside of sex, drinking, and gambling. The movie house, along with the pool hall and cafe, is owned by Sam the Lion (Ben Johnson, in an Oscar-winning performance), the only resident of Anarene who seems to possess self-respect. The residents of Anarene also respect Sam the Lion, especially Sonny Crawford (Timothy Bottoms) and Duane Jackson (Jeff Bridges), two high school seniors and best friends. Sonny and Duane spend most of their spare time at the movies or in their jointly-owned pickup truck. They also vie for the affections of town tease Jacy Farrow (Cybill Shepherd), Duane's girlfriend and Sonny's fantasy figure. Sonny breaks up with his girlfriend, the charmless and unattractive Charlene Duggs (Sharon Taggart) when he begins having an affair with Ruth Popper (Cloris Leachman, also an Oscar-winner for her performance), the lonely wife of the high school football coach. Duane and Sonny drive off on a road trip to Mexico and when they return, they discover that Sam the Lion has died. After the death of Sam, the town itself begins to die. Duane joins the Army to fight in the Korean War, and Sonny and Duane take in the last picture show at the Royal, which is about to be closed because it can no longer compete with a newer form of entertainment -- television.