Midnight Cowboy - whatever happened to Joe Buck afterwards?

I always hoped we’d see the next chapter in Joe Buck’s life. He’s on the bus to Florida with Ratso Rizzo, RIP.

So what’s next? Does Joe Buck keep hustling and support himself with prostitution? How about that possible murder in NY? Does that catch up to him? Buck doesn’t have a lot of options. He’s not very smart or clever like Ratso. Buck is easily manipulated. He can be volatile.

Does he come to terms with his sexuality?

This character has so much potential for any writer. It’s almost a blank canvas. The dream of living in Florida and the reality that he’s still broke and hungry in paradise. John Voight would have been so good continuing that role.

You love Midnight Cowboy? How many times have you seen it?

The movie became very dark at the end and Joe was a mess in every aspect of his life. I never saw anything but an even more tragic end for him. I don’t recall any part of the movie that would indicate an eventual redemption for Joe. He lacked the character needed to survive.

Even though the book by James Leo Herlihy goes into a bit more detail, it too ends the same way as the movie.

Nowadays he’s a sportscaster.

I see other people have the same concerns about Joe Buck. He doesn’t have a lot of ambition or training to accomplish much of anything.

Midnight Cowboy introduced us to some memorable characters. The acting is so rich and textured. I watch my dvd every few years.

A beautiful and heart-breaking film. I’m a bit surprised (but very pleased) that it has resisted either sequeling or being used for a star vehicle remake.

Voight played near to age so Joe Buck in present-day Florida would be an octagenarian, but not a cashed-up retiree in a nice estate. He was always a victim and lacked the education, wiles, inherited wealth or clarity of purpose needed to ever change that. There was no back home to ever dream about returning to. Midnight Cowboy II would follow him from one dead-end, uncertain short-term job to another, in a society where there is no safety net. His story would make the original seem like a chirpy musical by comparison.

My post disappeared, but I said much the same thing. A series of low level jobs, physical labor, minimum wage. A lot of stretches of sleeping on the beach, or even homeless. He had no ambition, no education, no drive to better himself. He did have youth and strength in his favor for a while, but he was no great shakes at being a gigolo, a physical fitness trainer, or an escort. (He was too old to be a ‘rent boy’ for either sex unless he delved into ‘kinky’, he might be employed by a gym cleaning the place, , and as an escort?? - where would he get the clothes, the savoir faire, he was just a big slack-jawed goof! Even for Aunt Minnie from Jersey. If he showed up to escort her to a play, could he drive her car? Would he have manners, would he be presentable, or look like a delivery boy ? ). I really doubt he would have lived to old age.

Just to mention, I’ve read that Dustin Hoffman’s “I’m walkin’ here!” scene, one of the more iconic pieces of film history, was completely improvised.

His sequel was an action/horror movie where he exacted revenge against the people in the unexplained violent flashbacks.

It seems there’s some dispute about that. An early draft of the script actually has Ratso pretend to be hit by a taxi at that point:

Joe hesitates as Ratso darts into traffic against a red light,
yelling unheard obscenities at a cab driver who blasts his
horn. Joe runs recklessly forward as Ratso slams the taxi
fender with his fist, pretending to be hit, falling into
Joe’s arms. The taxi stops, halting traffic. Ratso, recovers,
strolls casually in front of the cab, biting his thumb at
the [d]river.

So it would be a strange coincidence if in the filming of the scene, which removed the motif of the taxi almost hitting Ratso and Ratso slamming the fender with his fist, a taxi actually almost hits Hoffman and Hoffman slams the hood with his hands. Nevertheless, Wikipedia says that Hoffman apparently claims that that is what happened, but producer Jerome Hellman disputes it.

I’m not much of a ‘film guy’, but I think any attempt at a sequel or ‘part two’ would be a total bomb. Without a Ratso, there is no story. As I recall the film (it’s been a while), the story was really about the interactions of the two men.

Watching Joe drift around on his own would be boring and depressing. Inventing another Ratso would be such a tragic rip-off, nobody would watch it.

Like you, very pleased Hollywood has seen fit to let this sleeping dog lie (so far…)

Huh. Maybe it was the lines, “I’m walkin’ here etc,” that were improvised. Otherwise I got nuthin’.

I apologize for the hijack, but I can’t get over Voight’s conversion to right-wing politics, in light of his involvement with this film.

Maybe that could be the premise of a sequel: Joe Buck becomes Mr. O’Daniel.

Maybe Joe Buck just got a regular job when he got to Florida. It doesn’t take a lot of education or ambition to work in a warehouse and, hell, he could have gone on to drive a forklift or become a truck driver or something.

Yes, I see no reason to assume that Joe Buck would not be able to get his life together after moving to Florida.

He was naive and of sub-normal intelligence, yes. But - consider this. He was able to get through his experience in New York without developing a drinking problem or a drug addiction. He did not lose his physical health; he is still young and strong at the end of the movie.

Moreover, he relocated to Florida. The New York that he left was an absolutely miserable, soul-crushing place, and not somewhere where you would have an easy time making a new start of life even under the best of circumstances (high education, social connections, a good source of income.) Being a gardener or construction worker in Florida would have been a life he could have adjusted to without too much trouble, and he seemed ambitious enough to make it work.

I have a feeling that if he just went around offering his services as a gardener or groundskeeper to a bunch of elderly women in Florida, he probably would have done OK. Also, there are shitloads of golf courses there that he could have done landscaping for. I think he would have done OK. Of course, since the character of Joe Buck begins and ends with Midnight Cowboy, it’s pure conjecture. But I’ve known real-life Joe Buck guys. The thing that always fucks them up is getting into drugs. Their guileless charm and good-natured ambition don’t mean much if they’re always too fucked up to work, and/or in jail.

But again, Joe Buck didn’t seem like he had an addict’s mentality, and I don’t see him going down that path, at least as the character is portrayed in the movie.

Selling Amway? Distributing Chick Tracts?

So, he became Florida’s senator? governor?