Simple "Deliverance" (1972) question about the Mountain Men

I haven’t read the book, so it might be a little more obivious. Anyway. . .

Were the Mountain Men planning to off the city slickers anyway, or did they decide to do it because one of them mentioned that they might have a still?

I don’t think it’s explicitly explained in the movie or the novel

I always assumed their plan was always to rape then kill them

so by the time the guy mentioned a still, their plan to kill them was already in motion anyway.

that’s just my impression though. I don’t think their intentions are ever made clear
(also I don’t think it’s an important question.)

Well, I have to admit that that question doesn’t exactly rank in importance to the Isner/Mahut match, but after all. . .
Hubble Space Telescope gives us lots of scientific data, but how much of it is useful in everyday life in 2015?

I meant I don’t think it’s important to the plot of the movie

Pretty sure they were going to kill them from the get-go.

I think they were more amused than anything regarding the still comment.

Sorry, I don’t mean to be snarky (honestly) but you of people are questioning the relevancy of a question?

I’m not questioning the relevancy of the question
I’m saying the movie never addresses the question because it’s not important to the story

Ok, Thanks. Not sure I agree though…

What I can’t figure out is why the sheriff (?) would assume that there was any interaction at all between a bunch of guys canoeing the river, and the locals. It was a pretty big swath of countryside after all.

Never saw the movie; never read the book. Is there any reason moonshiners might find it convenient to base their operations near a source of running water?

By the way, the guy who played the sheriff in the movie was James Dickey who wrote the book and the screenplay.

Because the missing hillbillies were known to have gone into the same area of the river that the city boys had been canoeing in. Most likely the bad guys’ trouble-making dispositions were known by the locals and when they hadn’t shown up when they were supposed to followed by a group of city guys who’d lost one member themselves, a likely explanation was that a deadly encounter between the two groups had taken place.

As an aside, I’ve been reading Burt Reynolds’ recent autobiography and it contains some interesting behind the scenes details about shooting Deliverance. I’ll list some of them below for those who may be interested.

  • Reynolds was paid only $50,000 for his role, with no back end (percentage).

  • Reynolds almost drowned going over the waterfall when he got sucked into a whirlpool at the bottom. He was saved by the fact that he remembered hearing how to escape from one from a stunt man years before, which was not to fight the current, which will cause you to tire out and drown, but to swim to the bottom and let the current down there kick you out, and so that’s what he did. If not for that previous conversation, Reynolds very likely would have drowned.

  • The hillbilly with the missing front teeth was someone Reynolds remembered from having seen him perform fake gunfights and high falls at a Wild West tourist attraction. He stuttered and couldn’t read so Reynolds had to work him on his lines, and when the guy occasionally couldn’t remember his exact lines he would ad-lib. Sometimes this worked out for the better as his written line of “You ain’t goin’ nowhere” got turned into "You ain’t a’goin any damn wheres.”

  • The rapist hillbilly was a character actor, athlete and health nut, but a little odd. The crew stayed in a nice facility at night and he could be found early every morning running nude through the sprinklers. Reynolds admired his discipline though because he held his breath for two solid minutes while they were shooting the scene where the city guys were deciding what to do with the body, and never moved or flinched despite the fact a mosquito landed on the white of his eye. He also ad-libbed the “Squeal like a pig” line when told they needed alternative dialog for the TV version, and it played so well they left it the theater version.

  • The boy in the Dueling Banjos sequence was a local kid by the name of Billy Reddens. (According to the internet he works at his local Walmart and is considered a really nice guy by everyone who knows him.) Make up was used to enhance his existing features to make him look more like the boy described in the book. Reddens couldn’t play the banjo so they faked it with camera angles and another person’s arm and hand doing the fretwork. The song itself was recorded by a couple of bluegrass musicians in New York City.

  • The author, James Dickey was quite an ass who wasn’t like very much and was a lousy actor to boot. The director had to work with Dickey over and over to get a decent performance for the scenes he is in at the end, scenes which I’d always thought he was very good in.

  • Reynolds deeply regrets having done the Cosmopolitan centerfold which came out shortly before the movie’s release. He feels that it cost the movie and some of its actors Academy Awards.

Reynolds book is called “But Enough About Me” and it’s very good - a light, quick read but well written and very entertaining, and includes chapters on a wide variety of well known stars, including Frank Sinatra, Clint Eastwood, Johnny Carson, Sally Field, Hal Needham, etc.

I liked this account:

From Mountain Men: An oral history of Deliverance

Coincidently ,I just watched the movie yesterday and read Wikipedia about the plot of both the movie and the book.

Not sure when the sheriff first became suspicious but their initial story about wrecking the canoe didn’t hold up. In the movie it sounded like the problem was the wrecked canoe being found upstream from where they said they wrecked it. In the book, it seems like the problem was that they found the piece of canoe earlier than when they said they had wrecked it.

Great movie.

I’ve long thought, as harrowing as it is most of the time, it has one of the most touching scenes I’ve ever seen in any movie. When the survivors are having dinner with the nice old farm couple at the end and one of them is offered some mashed potatoes (IIRC), he bursts into tears at the simple kindness of such an offer, after all the terrible things he’s been through up to then.

Apropos of nothing, I proposed to my wife while we were watching the movie. It would make a better story if it were during the scene you are thinking of, but no, my timing isn’t that good.


That was a good read. Thanks for the link.

Yes, cold water is necessary in the distillation process. My cite is the tv show Moonshiners where they repeatedly mention the need for cool, clean running water.

Bill McKinney. He also played Captain Terrill (aka Capt. Redlegs) in “The Outlaw Josie Wales”. So he’s been killed on screen by Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood.

He also played the State Police captain in “First Blood”, though he survived Sylvester Stallone.

The movie implies that the mountain men had, in fact, been stalking the city boys right from when they hired locals to drop them off and drive their cars back to town. The book doesn’t. In the book, it appears to be a chance encounter goes badly for the city boys. Wasn’t about the still, though. Just an opportunity for the mountain men to victimize weaker men.
There was no really good reason for suspicion to be cast on the city boys at the end. The writer did things that way to point up that the city boys would never be able to rest really easy that it was all behind them.