This romantic western drama, based on the best-selling novel by Marilyn Durham, stars Burt Reynolds as Jay Grobart, an outlaw married to an Indian woman named Cat Dancing. When Cat is raped and murdered, a distraught Grobart kills the man responsible for the crime; he soon pulls a robbery with the help of his friends Dawes (Jack Warden) and Billy (Bo Hopkins), and is now on the run from the law. While in transit, Grobart and his partners run across Catherine (Sarah Miles), a woman running away from her abusive husband Crocker (George Hamilton). Catherine is abducted by Dawes and Billy, but Grobart protects her from their violence and threats of rape. As Grobart and Catherine get to know each other, they find themselves falling in love, and despite his lawless past, she admires him for avenging the death of the woman he loved. Grobart, Catherine, and the men travel to the Indian village where Grobart lived with Cat Dancing and their son; however, Lapchance (Lee J. Cobb), a bounty hunter hired by Crocker, is on their trail to bring Catherine back to her husband. The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing was one of Burt Reynolds' first major starring roles after Deliverance elevated him to full-fledged film stardom following years in television and low-budget pictures.