Brokeback Mountain is the story of ranch hand Ennis del Mar and rodeo cowboy Jack Twist, two young men who meet and fall in love on the fictional Brokeback Mountain in Wyoming in 1963. The film documents their complex relationship over the next twenty years.
Ennis and Jack first meet when they are hired by Joe Aguirre to herd his sheep through the summer. During the long months of isolation, a bond begins to develop between the two. One night, after heavy drinking, Jack makes a sexual pass at Ennis, who initially is repulsed by, then succumbs to Jack’s advances. Although he warns Jack it was only a one-time incident, Ennis finds himself becoming involved in both a physical and a powerful emotional relationship with his partner through the rest of their tenure. Shortly after learning their summer together is being cut short unexpectedly, they briefly fight, during which each is bloodied.
After the two part ways, Ennis marries his long-time fiancée Alma Beers and Jack ends up in Texas, where he meets and marries rodeo princess Lureen Newsome. The two men reunite four years later, and Alma accidentally witnesses them passionately kissing. Jack broaches the subject of creating a life together on a small ranch, but Ennis, haunted by a painful childhood memory of the torture and murder of a suspected homosexual in his hometown, fears such an arrangement could only end in tragedy. He also is unwilling to abandon his family. Unable to be open about their relationship, Ennis and Jack end up meeting only for infrequent fishing trips.
As the years pass, the marriages of both men deteriorate. Alma’s awareness of the real nature of her husband’s “fishing trips” with Jack have created a strain on the couple’s relationship, and eventually they divorce. Meanwhile, Lureen has abandoned her fun-loving ways and become a straight-laced businesswoman who expects Jack to settle down and work in sales, a career for which he has talent but no drive. Hearing about Ennis’s divorce, Jack drives to Wyoming in hopes they can live together at last, but Ennis refuses to move away from his children and is still fearful of possible repercussions if their relationship becomes public.
At the end of a camping trip, Ennis tells Jack he has to cancel their next outing because of his job, and an argument erupts. Ennis blames Jack for “making me the way I am” and for being the cause of his conflicted emotions, feeling they have trapped him and ruined his life. Jack attempts to hold him and there is a brief struggle, but they end up locked in an embrace.
An unspecified amount of time later, a postcard Ennis sent to Jack is returned stamped “Deceased.” In a telephone conversation, Lureen tells Ennis that Jack died while changing a tire that exploded. Her explanation of the incident is overlaid with images of Jack being beaten brutally by three men; it is possible to interpret this as either Ennis’s fear of what actually happened (inspired by his experience of the homophobic murder in his childhood) or a portrayal of what Lureen knows to be Jack’s real fate, the account she relates being a sanitized version of her husband’s demise. Lureen tells Ennis that Jack wished to have his ashes scattered on Brokeback Mountain, but she didn’t know where it was. Ennis travels to see Jack’s mother and father, where he offers to take Jack’s ashes. Jack’s mother asks Ennis if he would like to see Jack’s childhood bedroom before he leaves. There he discovers on a hanger in the closet the old blood-stained shirt he thought he had lost on Brokeback Mountain, learning instead that Jack had stolen it. Here it waits on a hanger, tucked inside the also blood-stained shirt Jack himself had worn in that fight long ago. Ennis holds them up to his face, breathes in their scent, and silently weeps.
In the final scene, 19-year-old Alma Jr. arrives at her father’s trailer with the news she’s engaged. She asks Ennis for his blessings and invites him to the wedding. Ennis, finally aware of the importance of love in a relationship and marriage, asks her if her fiancé really loves her. After Alma’s departure, Ennis notices she has forgotten her sweater, which he folds and puts in the closet. Inside, hanging on a nail pounded into the door, are the two shirts with a postcard of Brokeback Mountain tacked alongside. Now, Jack’s shirt is tucked inside of Ennis’s. Ennis carefully fastens the top button of Jack’s shirt, and with tears in his eyes mutters, “Jack, I swear….” while slowly straightening the postcard.
- Heath Ledger ….. Ennis Del Mar
- Jake Gyllenhaal ….. Jack Twist
- Michelle Williams ….. Alma Beers Del Mar
- Anne Hathaway ….. Lureen Newsome Twist
- Randy Quaid ….. Joe Aguirre
- Linda Cardellini ….. Cassie
- Anna Faris ….. Lashawn Malone
- David Harbour ….. Randall Malone
- Kate Mara ….. Alma Jr., age 19
- Roberta Maxwell ….. Mrs. Twist
- Peter McRobbie ….. Mr. Twist
One of the best movie ever! It was so deep and very emotional, I really really really recommended this movie 🙂
Ennis Del Mar: I’m gonna tell you this one time, Jack fuckin’ Twist, an’ I ain’t foolin’. What I don’t know – all them things that I don’t know – could get you killed if I come to know them. I ain’t jokin’.
Jack Twist: Yeah well try this one, and I’ll say it just once!
Ennis Del Mar: Go ahead!
Jack Twist: Tell you what, we coulda had a good life together! Fuckin’ real good life! Had us a place of our own. But you didn’t want it, Ennis! So what we got now is Brokeback Mountain! Everything’s built on that! That’s all we got, boy, fuckin’ all. So I hope you know that, even if you don’t never know the rest! You count the damn few times we have been together in nearly twenty years and you measure the short fucking leash you keep me on – and then you ask me about Mexico and tell me you’ll kill me for needing somethin’ I don’t hardly never get. You have no idea how bad it gets! I’m not you… I can’t make it on a coupla high-altitude fucks once or twice a year! You are too much for me Ennis, you sonofawhoreson bitch! I wish I knew how to quit you.
Ennis Del Mar: [crying] Well, why don’t you? Why don’t you just let me be? It’s because of you Jack, that I’m like this! I’m nothin’… I’m nowhere… Get the fuck off me! I can’t stand being like this no more, Jack.