This film plays very fast and loose with both history and geography, but that aside, this is a very thrilling and rousing western adventure.
The story concerns a Missouri farmer named Josey Wales who joins up with Confederate bushwhackers after Jayhawkers kill his family and destroy his farm. Once the war ends, the same man responsible for killing his family is also responsible for killing all of his fellow bushwhackers in a double cross when they decide to surrender and pledge loyalty to the Union. Wales, still bitter, decides not to surrender, but then finds himself the target of a manhunt after fighting back during the double cross.
The rest of the film follows him as he makes his way out west to get on with his life, and meets up with an interesting assortment of people along the way, despite his desire to be left alone.
Despite the aforementioned issues, this is a revisionist western that, in a surprising move (surprising for the 1970s) offers a rather sensible portrayal of Native Americans, by showing them in a way that isn't often seen enough in media depictions. The characters are interesting, pretty well developed, and the action is well done and shows the weariness that war can cause. I wasn't expecting the film to have any humor, but there's some really good gags here, and they actually fit in pretty well with the rest of the material.
The cinematograpy is great, the sets and costumes rock, and it's all highly enjoyable. Give this one a watch. It's awesome.