-A young Texan named Joe Buck(Jon voight) works in a diner washing dishes. As the movie opens, Joe is seen dressing himself like a rodeo cowboy, packing a suitcase and quitting his job. He heads to New York City in the hope of leading the life of a hustler. His naive nature becomes quickly noticed as his money disappears upon arriving in New York. He is unsuccessful at his attempts to be hired by rich women. When he finally succeeds at getting a rich middleaged New Yorker(Sylvia Miles) in bed, he talks business which results in her crying and giving him a $20. Joe then meets a 3rd rate crippled con man named Enrico "Ratso" Rizzo(Dustin Hoffman), who tricks him out of the $20 by offering to introduce him to a well known pimp. Joe flees in pursuit of Rizzo, but he's gone.
-With the money, he buys two tickets to Florida. During the long journey, Rizzo's frail physical condition goes worse. At a rest stop, Joe touchingly buys bright new clothes for Rizzo and himself. He throws away his cowboy clothes and admits "I ain't no kinda hustler". As they reach Florida, Joe talks about getting a regular job only to find out Rizzo has died in the seat beside him. Joe tells the bus driver, and Joe is told there is nothing to do but go on to Miami. The movie ends with Joe seated with his arm around Rizzo, staring out as palm trees pass.
- Dustin Hoffman as Enrico Salvatore "Ratso" Rizzo
- Jon Voight as Joe Buck
- Sylvia Miles as Cass
- John McGiver as Mr. O'Daniel
- Brenda Vaccaro as Shirley
- Barnard Hughes as Towny
-Dustin Hoffman kept pebbles in his shoe to ensure his limp would be good from shot to shot