Coogan's Bluff (1968) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Arizona Deputy Sheriff Coogan (Clint Eastwood) is sent to New York City to escort an escaped fugitive back for trial.

  • Arizona Deputy Sheriff Coogan (Clint Eastwood) is sent to New York City to collect James Ringerman (Don Stroud), a prisoner who escaped from custody in Arizona. Everyone in New York City assumes Coogan is from Texas, much to his annoyance. To add to Coogan's problems, the prisoner is in Bellevue after taking a trip on LSD while In custody, so he decides to cut a few corners. In the process, the prisoner escapes, steals Coogan's gun, and Coogan is ordered home. Too proud to return home empty-handed, Coogan sets out into the big city to track down and recapture his prisoner.

  • Arizona Deputy Sheriff Coogan (Clint Eastwood) doesn't get along with his boss and doesn't exactly do things by the book, and is also a little arrogant. Fed up with his rugged individualness, his boss sends him to New York City to get a man who's waiting to extradited. Upon arriving, everybody thinks he's just another bumpkin. When N.Y.P.D. Lieutenant McElroy (Lee J. Cobb) tells him that his prisoner is still not ready to be transported, Coogan tries to be patient. But when he decides that he can't wait anymore, he tricks one of the attendants into releasing the prisoner, and at the airport, someone springs him. Coogan's boss is pleased that he has screwed up so badly, and orders him to return, but Coogan, feeling responsible, or his ego has been bruised, stays and tries to find him despite being warned by McElroy that he has no authority here.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • There's a disruption in the life of Deputy sheriff Walt Coogan (Clint Eastwood) as a crack tracker and ladies' man when he is ordered as punishment for his inability to follow orders to travel from his home state Arizona to bring back bail jumper Ringerman (Don Stroud) from jail in New York City. When Coogan arrives in New York he is met by bureaucratic red tape because Ringerman is in the hospital recovering from a dose of LSD and not cleared to travel. Furthermore Coogan can get no cooperation from overworked Police Detective and department supervisor Lt. McElroy (Lee J. Cobb) who tells Coogan to wait for the autocratic machinery to function. Coogan takes matters into his own hands and breaks Ringerman out of the Bellevue prison hospital. Ringerman's girlfriend is at the hospital and takes a message to Ringerman's friend Pushie. Coogan is waylaid at the heliport when he answers a page. He is struck in the head from behind by Pushie who is accompanied by the lovely and elusive Linny Raven (Tisha Sterling). Pushie, in bright green corduroys and a red sweater, is seen by Coogan before the second blow knocks him out. Linty then steals his gun and gives it to Ringerman and they escape after Linny urges Ringerman to shoot Coogan but Pushie advises they beat it. Lt. McElroy orders Coogan to leave town and his boss sends him a telegram taking him off the case. Coogan refuses to give up and is confident he can track Ringerman down. He earlier met lovely parole officer Julie (Susan Clark), a naive case worker who is taken by Coogan's persuasive charms. Coogan asks and finds that Linny is one of Julie's patients and manages to access her file and track down the young girl. Coogan convinces the exotic Linny to take him to Ringerman. She instead leads him to Pushie at his pool hall and the group of toughs in the pool hall engage in a brawl with Coogan. Several get badly injured and the rest escape when they hear the police sirens. Coogan Is confronted by Pushie and although Coogan has been badly beaten he gets up and thrashes Pushie before leaving the pool hall. McElroy arrives, notices Pushie's clothing and finds Coogan's hat laying in the midst of the chaos. Coogan goes back to Linny's and kicks the door down and knocks her around until she leads him to Ringerman. Ringerman empties Coogan's pistol in hysterical shooting and then jumps on his motorcycle to escape. He runs into another motorcycle and the two riders are knocked to the ground while he restarts his bike and leaves. Coogan appropriates the second motor cycle and gives chase throughout the park, up and sown trails and staircases. Eventually Coogan rides into Ringerman and they crash on the lawn. Ringerman runs away but at the edge of the park he encounters a patrol car and turns and runs back into the park where he is tackled and arrested by Coogan. Lt. McElroy arrives and Coogan agrees to go through the required administrative process to get Ringerman's release into his custody. Coogan bids farewell to McElroy and then Julie on the heliport and flies off with Ringerman. Coogan then shares a cigarette with his prisoner showing some compassion that he did not display for a captured prisoner at the start of the movie.

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