Study Guide

North by Northwest Summary

North by Northwest Summary

Suave, witty, and charming Roger Thornhill is an advertising executive who seems perfectly happy with his breezy and boozy New York life. He's about to take a two-martini lunch with business colleagues and then go to dinner and the theater with his mum. But almost immediately after the opening of the film, he's mistaken for a man named George Kaplan…and his life suddenly turns upside down.

He's abducted by two men working for a man who claims to be a Lester Townsend. This meanie—who turns out not to be Townsend but instead one Phillip Vandamm—promptly tries to force Thornhill, mistaken for Kaplan, to come clean. It's not totally clear who Kaplan is at this point, but we do know that he's some sort of spy.

Thornhill refuses to come clean—naturally, since he's not really Kaplan. But nobody at the Townsend home believes him, so they try to kill him by pouring a bottle of bourbon down his throat and forcing him to drive drunk all over steep and scary roads. (Yeah, it was the 50s.) Thornhill barely manages to survive this drunk-driving episode but is picked up by the police.

No one believes Thornhill's story. When he takes the police to the Townsend home, they meet "Mrs. Townsend," who tells the police a made-up version of the story to cover up the conspirators' actions on the previous night.

Thornhill decides to take matters into his own hands. (Would you expect any less from a dude who looks like that?)

First he visits the Plaza Hotel, where he's learned George Kaplan is staying. But George Kaplan's not there; no one at the hotel has really ever seen the guy.

While at the Townsends', Thornhill learned that Lester Townsend would be addressing the United Nations that afternoon, so he heads to the UN. He finds Townsend, but this Townsend's not the man he spoke to the other night. No sooner does he begin to put two and two together than Townsend keels over by a knife thrown by one of the men who'd kidnapped Thornhill the day before. Holding the knife he pulled out of the man's back, Thornhill looks to be the killer.


He flees.

Cut to an unnamed spy agency, where we learn that Thornhill's wanted for the murder of Lester Townsend. (Surprise!) A motley crew of agents realize that Thornhill's been mistaken for Kaplan and that Townsend's been killed as a consequence of the mix-up. The team considers their options and decides to do nothing. Any course of action to protect Thornhill would risk putting their main undercover agent (alias Number One) in danger.

Hearing that Kaplan was next headed for Chicago, Thornhill jumps on the 20th Century Limited train headed west. Once aboard, he meets Eve Kendall, a seductive blonde who repeatedly helps him evade capture by the police. Why's she being so nice? That turns out to be the million-dollar question. Then we see Eve slip a note to none other than… the creepy guy who pretended to be Mr. Townsend and had Thornhill kidnapped.

It's all coming together…

Kind of.

After their arrival in Chicago, Eve sends Thornhill to the middle of nowhere under the pretense of meeting Kaplan. Instead, he's chased by a crop-dusting plane armed with machine guns. Managing to escape and get to Chicago, Thornhill finds that Kaplan has checked out of the hotel where he's been staying. But who does he find there instead?

You got it: Eve Kendall. Thornhill corners her; he wants some answers.

She sneaks away after warning Thornhill to stay away—to no avail, though. He follows her to an auction house, where she sits with Vandamm and Leonard through an auction in progress. Here Thornhill understands that Eve's sleeping with the enemy. He realizes that he's better off in police custody than chased by Vandamm, who still thinks he's George Kaplan.

Thornhill makes a hilarious scene at the auction as a way to make sure he gets carted away by police instead of by Vandamm's murderous cronies. To his surprise, though, the police lead him to the Professor, who explains that there's no George Kaplan; he's a decoy. He also lets Thornhill in on another secret: Eve's not working for Vandamm alone, but for the Professor and Friends. Now that he knows Eve's a double agent, Thornhill agrees to help save her, which means getting on a plane headed to Rapid City, South Dakota and pretending to be George Kaplan.

As part of the Professor's plan, Thornhill fakes his own death after Eve shoots a blank at him near Mount Rushmore. (She's trying to prove her "loyalty" to Vandamm.) There's an exciting chase (understatement of the century) across the top of Mount Rushmore and over the presidents' faces that leads to the heroes' final rescue and—of course—their happily ever after.

  • Scene 1

    Scene 1

    • A fast talker and a fast walker, ad exec Roger Thornhill leaves his office building, followed by his secretary Maggie.
    • Thornhill orders Maggie to send a love note and candy to a current flame.
    • Thornhill's in a hurry, and Maggie complains that she's tired and asks if they can take a cab, although their destination, a business meeting that Thornhill's attending, is only a few blocks away.
    • Thornhill cuts off a man as he's entering a cab, claiming Maggie's ill. Isn't that special?
    • In the cab, Thornhill continues to dictate notes and assign tasks to Maggie.
    • She's to remind his mother about their plans to go to the theater that night after dinner.
    • Thornhill says he'll have had two martinis by the time their dinner at 7:00 begins, so his mother "needn't bother to sniff" him. (Guess Mrs. Thornhill's a suspicious type who disapproves of her son's drinking.)
    • Thornhill and Maggie discuss other business, but after getting out of the cab, before saying goodbye, he reminds her to call his mother again.
  • Scene 2

    Scene 2

    • Thornhill arrives late for his meeting. One of his business associates says Thornhill "may be slow in starting, but there's nobody faster down the homestretch."
    • Thornhill says he's distracted because although he's just told his secretary to call his mother, he's realized too late that in fact his mother's not home. She's playing bridge with friends.
    • He decides to send her a telegram and gestures for the bellboy just as the bellboy is paging a "Mr. George Kaplan."
    • Two men lurking around think that Thornhill has identified himself as Kaplan. Oops.
    • Thornhill excuses himself from the meeting and gets up to follow the bellboy, but not without asking for a double martini. No wonder his mother's worried.
    • After he's shown where he can send a telegram, Thornhill's intercepted by the two lurkers, who hustle him into a car waiting outside.
    • Thornhill asks if the men are joking, but they threaten him with weapons pointed at his back and force him into the car.
  • Scene 3

    Scene 3

    • Thornhill's talkative in the car but gets no response from the men, even when he asks whether he's being kidnapped.
    • He sees the name "Townsend" on the gate of the mansion they take him to and asks who Townsend is. No answer.
    • The two men take him inside and tell him to wait there.
    • He tries to escape but no luck.
    • Eventually a man whom Thornhill assumes to be Townsend enters. He's pretty suave and classy himself.
    • The man, whose name we later learn is in fact Phillip Vandamm, refuses to answer any of Thornhill's questions or to explain why he's brought Thornhill to the mansion.
    • Instead the guy accuses him of playing "games" and just plain "play-acting." He just refuses to admit that he's George Kaplan.
    • Thornhill says his name's Roger Thornhill, "and it's never been anything else," including George Kaplan, but the kidnapper's not convinced.
    • A woman enters the library to inform the kidnapper that his dinner guests have arrived.
    • Getting "down to business," the man asks Thornhill to tell him how much he knows "of our arrangements and how [he has] come by this information."
    • Thornhill is totally confused. What's going on?
    • When Thornhill's still uncooperative, the man delivers his first threat, saying if Thornhill doesn't come clean he may not survive the evening.
    • The man says he knows that Kaplan—he's still convinced this is Thornhill's alias—has been checking into hotels in various cities: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit. He also knows that Kaplan's due in Chicago in two days, then after that in Rapid City, South Dakota.
    • Thornhill says he still has no idea what the man's talking about. The man then leaves the library and tells his assistant, Leonard, to give Thornhill/Townsend a drink.
    • Thornhill says no thanks—he'd prefer a ride back home.
    • Leonard replies, "that's been arranged." Then, with the help of the two men who abducted Thornhill and brought him to the mansion, Leonard forces Thornhill to drink bourbon.
  • Scene 4

    Scene 4

    • In the first of the film's chase scenes, Thornhill is forced to drive drunk—really drunk. This is more terrifying to us than to him, since he's too out of it to notice the danger he's in.
    • It's clear that Leonard and the men at the mansion have forced Thornhill to drink lots and lots of bourbon.
    • Thornhill sings, slurring his words, and barely manages to keep from driving off cliffs. The car seems to keep speeding up.
    • Eventually Thornhill passes a police car, which follows him.
    • He narrowly avoids collisions with other cars.
    • After Thornhill comes to a sudden stop, the police car rear-ends the car he's been driving. Then another car rear-ends the police car, making this a pile-up and a real mess.
    • Thornhill still seems out of it.
  • Scene 5

    Scene 5

    • Thornhill's falling down drunk in the police station, where he's ordered to take a test and charged with driving while intoxicated.
    • The police advise him to call his lawyer, but Thornhill calls his mother instead.
    • He tells her about his abduction, forced drunkenness, and drunk driving. He then asks her to bail him out, but the police say she'll have to do that the next morning.
    • No one at the station believes Thornhill's story.
    • A doctor pronounces Thornhill intoxicated. Thornhill falls fast asleep while the doctor's still talking. He's out like a light.
  • Scene 6

    Scene 6

    • The next morning, Thornhill, his lawyer, his mother, and others are gathered in a courtroom, where Thornhill's lawyer is in the middle of explaining Thornhill's version of the previous day's events.
    • The judge asks the lawyer if he finds Thornhill reasonable, and in response Thornhill's mother scoffs, but the lawyer says yes.
    • The judge doesn't seem to believe Thornhill either and puts a group of detectives in charge of finding out whether his story "has any basis in fact."
  • Scene 7

    Scene 7

    • Thornhill gladly leads the detectives, together with mummy and his lawyer, back to the Townsend residence.
    • The housekeeper who answers the door remembers Thornhill from the night before. She says Mr. Townsend's not in but Mrs. Townsend is. Thornhill asks to see Mrs. Townsend.
    • When everyone's shown into the library, Thornhill can't find any traces of his presence there the night before or ways to corroborate his story.
    • The cabinet that held liquor is now filled with books, and all other signs of his presence from the previous evening have mysteriously disappeared.
    • This is not looking good for our guy.
    • Mrs. Townsend comes in and greets Thornhill as "Roger," not "George."
    • Instead of corroborating his story, Mrs. Townsend goes on to contradict it, saying that Thornhill, an old friend of the Townsends, had too much to drink at the dinner party there the night before.
    • She says that Mr. Townsend's not there because he's going to be giving a speech to the U.N. General Assembly that afternoon.
    • Thornhill insists she's lying, but it prompts his mother to say that her son should just "pay the two dollars."
  • Scene 8

    Scene 8

    • Thornhill's apparently paid the fine and managed to leave court.
    • He's decided the only thing to do is to take matters into his own hands and go looking for George Kaplan—and answers—himself.
    • Thornhill learns that Kaplan hasn't answered his hotel phone in two days.
    • He convinces his mother, who's come to the Plaza Hotel with him, to ask for a key to Kaplan's room. She's more innocent-looking than he is, Thornhill says.
    • They go upstairs to the room together but find that things aren't as they should be. For one thing, no one has slept in Kaplan's bed.
    • There are clothes and a few other odds and ends in the room but otherwise no sign of Kaplan. Nothing. Zip. Nada.
    • The hotel staff is acting strange as well, as though no one had really seen Kaplan during his stay. The maid says Kaplan's "never around."
    • And a valet who brings a suit to Kaplan's room says that he got the suit not from Kaplan directly, but from the room after Kaplan called the front desk the night before.
    • The phone in Kaplan's hotel room rings, and Thornhill answers it, only to find that it's one of the men who abducted him from the hotel the previous day.
    • When Thornhill says again that he's not Kaplan, the man on the phone says, "You answer his telephone and you live in his hotel room, and yet you are not Mr. Kaplan."
    • The man hangs up, and when Thornhill asks, the operator informs him that the call was made from the lobby. Thornhill knows he'd better get out of there fast.
  • Scene 9

    Scene 9

    • Thornhill and his mother get into the hotel elevator but they're spotted by the two men—just their luck—whose elevator door opens just as Thornhill and his mother are boarding the next elevator over.
    • The two men manage to elbow into the elevator with Thornhill and his mother.
    • Everyone stands there awkwardly.
    • Mrs. Thornhill suddenly says to the two men, "You gentleman aren't really trying to kill my son, are you?" Everyone on the elevator except Thornhill thinks this is hilarious.
    • Seeing his chance, Thornhill makes a run for it, leaving his mother behind and managing to evade the two men.
    • He jumps into a cab and tells the driver to head to the U.N. General Assembly Building.
  • Scene 10

    Scene 10

    • Thornhill enters the U.N. and asks to speak to Mr. Townsend. He gives the name George Kaplan to the front desk receptionist.
    • He's still being followed.
    • When Thornhill is taken to Mr. Townsend, it's not the guy from the mansion.
    • It's the real Lester Townsend, who confirms that the house Thornhill describes from the day before is his. But guess what—his wife has been dead for years.
    • So finally Thornhill knows that he's been duped—and that he's in deep.
    • No sooner has he begun to try to clear things up, though, than he hears Townsend gasp and sees him collapse, a knife in his back.
    • One of Thornhill's kidnappers has been hiding on the sidelines during Thornhill's conversation with Kaplan and threw the knife.
    • In an effort to help, Thornhill pulls the knife from Townsend's back.
    • But this makes him look guilty of killing Townsend, since everyone in the room is now staring at the scene.
    • Panicking, Thornhill flees. He's on the run again.
  • Scene 11

    Scene 11

    • In D.C., we meet a new set of characters: members of a spy team led by the Professor.
    • They're looking at a newspaper headline that shows that Thornhill's wanted for the murder of Lester Townsend.
    • They ask what they should do but decide, at the Professor's urging, to do nothing.
    • The Professor explains at this point that—drumroll, please—there is no George Kaplan.
    • He's a "non-existent decoy … created to divert suspicion from our own Number One," meaning another agent who's undercover and close to the baddies.
    • But thanks to Thornhill and the identity mix-up in the Oak Bar, this fake decoy has become "a live decoy."
    • Rather than intervene, the Professor says they should see this as a "marvelous stroke of good fortune."
    • One CIA agent worries about Thornhill's safety and thinks it's "callous" of them just to let the poor innocent guy fend for himself.
    • But the Professor says anything else could mean "exposure and assassination" for "Number One," who's "working right under Vandamm's nose."
    • This is a matter of national security.
    • The agent worried about poor Thornhill's safety says, "goodbye, Mr. Thornhill."
  • Scene 12

    Scene 12

    • In the train station, Thornhill's wearing sunglasses to disguise himself.
    • Everyone's on the lookout for him, he explains to his mother on the phone. He tells her that he's decided to go in search of George Kaplan—by train, not plane since there's more room to hide. He tries to buy a ticket for Chicago on the 20th-Century Limited, but he senses that the agent selling tickets recognizes him and is about to notify police, so he disappears.
  • Scene 13

    Scene 13

    • Thornhill boards the Chicago-bound train, cops in hot pursuit.
    • Right away he bumps into the lovely Eve Kendall, who covers for him by lying to the police about his whereabouts while he hides in a bathroom.
    • Thornhill tells her he's being chased because of seven unpaid parking tickets; she doesn't seem to believe him.
    • Thornhill sees his own picture in a newspaper in the train's club car and has to keep evading the police.
    • He goes to the dining car, and coincidentally—or so he thinks—the steward seats him at Eve's table.
    • She and Thornhill engage in some flirty small talk, and she calls him out about the seven parking tickets.
    • Thornhill remarks that he was lucky to be seated at her table.
    • She says, "Luck had nothing to do with it." She gave the steward five dollars to seat him there if he came in.
    • "Is that a proposition?" Thornhill asks.
    • Eve introduces herself as an industrial designer, "twenty-six and unmarried."
    • Thornhill gives her a fake name, but she reveals that she already knows exactly who he is and that he's wanted for murder.
    • Eve says she won't say anything to the authorities, though, and when Thornhill asks why not, she says she likes his face and that it's going to be a long night on the train.
    • Eve invites Thornhill to her compartment to spend the night.
    • She then tells him not to order any dessert, meaning he should hurry up, because the train's making an unscheduled stop and being boarded by more police.
  • Scene 14

    Scene 14

    • In her compartment, Eve talks to Thornhill, who's hidden in the berth (the closable train bed) above her complaining that he can't breathe in there.
    • Police enter Eve's compartment and ask her about Thornhill. They know she was seated across from him at dinner and "getting along pretty good."
    • She lies and says that she didn't know his name and that they only engaged in small talk.
    • Before leaving, the police tell her to keep an eye out for Thornhill.
    • When the coast is clear, Eve opens the upper berth, and Thornhill comes tumbling out.
    • "Why are you so good to me?" Thornhill asks, and Eve replies seductively: "Shall I climb up and tell you why?"
    • A long, steamy exchange of kisses follows.
    • Eve says what they're doing is ridiculous, since they're just "strangers on a train."
    • Their kisses and conversation are interrupted by a porter, who comes to make Eve's bed.
    • Thornhill hides in the bathroom while the porter does his thing.
    • After the porter leaves, Thornhill asks what they're going to do about only having one bed, clearly thinking she'll offer to share it.
    • Eve says he'll be sleeping on the floor.
  • Scene 15

    Scene 15

    • Vandamm is on the train with his chief henchman Leonard.
    • A porter hands Vandamm a secret note from Eve that asks, "What do I do with him in the morning?"
    • Uh-oh: it looks like Eve's working for the bad guys.
  • Scene 16

    Scene 16

    • The next morning, Thornhill's disguise: wearing a porter's outfit, he follows Eve with her bags. Cary Grant looks good in anything.
    • The train station's crawling with police, but Thornhill manages to go undetected even after they approach Eve. She says she hasn't seen Thornhill anywhere.
    • She also notices Vandamm and Leonard watching her with Thornhill.
    • We see the porter who's been bought off (he counts his money) to give his clothes to Thornhill.
    • In the bathroom, Thornhill changes into his own clothes while Eve says she'll call George Kaplan.
    • When Thornhill emerges from the men's room, changed and clean-shaven, Eve tells him that she reached Kaplan, who said Thornhill shouldn't meet him at his Chicago hotel but should instead go directly to "the Prairie Stop on Highway 41," taking the Indianapolis-bound bus.
    • Thornhill says he can rent a car, but Eve says Kaplan insisted that Thornhill take the bus. This way he'll be alone. He should just wait by the side of the road and Kaplan will meet him there.
    • Now, how suspicious is that?
    • Thornhill senses that something's up with Eve, but she won't say what. She hurries him off, saying the police are still after him and she sees them coming.
  • Scene 17

    Scene 17

    • There's very little dialogue in this super-famous scene, but lots and lots of action.
    • Thornhill waits and waits for George Kaplan.
    • He's surrounded by the endless plains, not a soul in sight. A few cars whiz by, kicking up dust.
    • A man is drooped off at the intersection. Thornhill approaches, thinking he might be Kaplan, but he turns out to be someone else.
    • The man points out that a plane passing over a field is, oddly, "dustin' crops where there ain't no crops." The man then boards a bus.
    • After the bus's departure, the crop-dusting plane heads straight for Thornhill. It's armed with machine guns.
    • Thornhill runs from the plane, which just misses him, and dives into a ditch to keep from getting hit. The plane keeps chasing him.
    • Desperate, Thornhill tries to stop a truck by standing in the middle of the street, bringing the truck to a sudden halt. By some Hitchcockian miracle, he falls unhurt under the truck.
    • The plane dives towards the truck. Thornhill and the driver get away from the truck in the nick of time; it explodes when the plane crashes into it.
    • Thornhill's safe for now, but he's even more afraid for his life.
    • He steals a truck from a stranger who stopped by the side of the road after seeing the explosion.
  • Scene 18

    Scene 18

    • Back in Chicago, Thornhill's still unrelentingly after George Kaplan.
    • In the hotel's lobby, he asks for Kaplan's room number only to be told that Kaplan has checked out of the hotel and left a forwarding address in Rapid City, South Dakota.
    • Thornhill sees Eve getting on the hotel elevator and heading up to the fourth floor.
    • He then asks the front desk attendant for her room number and goes up to her room.
    • Those were the good old days of zero hotel security.
    • In her hotel room, she's surprised to see him there, and alive to boot.
    • She asks how his meeting with Kaplan went, and Thornhill says the guy didn't show.
    • She tries not to reveal how shaken up she is, but Thornhill calls her out. He says he's not going to let her out of his sight anymore.
    • Eve says that's not going to work, since she has plans and he has problems.
    • Thornhill says he wishes her plans and his problems "were somehow connected," since then they could always travel together, not "in separate directions" anymore.
    • Eve gets a call and writes down an address, saying she'll meet the caller shortly.
    • She asks Thornhill to do her "a big, big favor" and disappear, but he says no can do.
    • Thornhill insists they have dinner together, but she says he has to do something about his suit first.
    • He calls the valet to have the suit pressed, then gets in the shower to cool off; things have gotten hot and heavy again with Eve.
    • Thinking he's in the shower, she leaves him alone in the room.
    • Thornhill hasn't been in the shower, though, but watching her through the bathroom door, left slightly ajar. He figures out the address she wrote down, using the hotel stationary pad as a clue. It's the old "rub a pencil over the indentations" technique. He follows her.
  • Scene 19

    Scene 19

    • An auctioneer is busy selling off expensive furniture and art to a well-heeled bunch of buyers.
    • When Thornhill comes in, he sees Eve sitting with Vandamm and Leonard in the audience.
    • Thornhill approaches Vandamm and asks what his name is, saying they haven't been properly introduced.
    • Vandamm asks if Thornhill has been brought there by "an overpowering interest in art," and Thornhill replies, "Yes. The art of survival." Nobody out-suaves Roger Thornhill.
    • Eve tells Vandamm that Thornhill has followed her there from the hotel. Vandamm asks if this means Thornhill was in Eve's room, and Eve says yes. Vandamm gets suspicious and jealous.
    • Thornhill finally learns Vandamm's name when the auctioneer calls it in response to a bid Vandamm makes.
    • Vandamm accuses Thornhill of overacting and tells him his next "role" is going to be playing dead.
    • Thornhill keeps taunting Vandamm and friends, asking whether they're going to have Eve kiss him and poison him to death. This prompts Eve to slap Thornhill across the face.
    • Thornhill asks why they don't call the police, then realizes that's the last thing they'd want to do. Thornhill might tell the police something that the bad guys don't want them to know.
    • Thornhill says this gives him that much more reason to go to the police. He thinks he'll have a better chance of survival in their hands, after all.
    • He approaches the exit but sees the U.N. assassin—the creepy hired hand from back in New York—waiting for him.
    • This gives him an idea. He starts acting the part of a yahoo, who thinks the bidding's in dollars rather than thousands of dollars and who loudly criticizes all the stuff they're selling.
    • Thornhill manages to cause an uproar in the audience; people are furious with him for disrupting the stuffy proceedings.
    • Eventually the auctioneer calls the cops, and his mission's accomplished. You can almost hear Vandamm thinking, "Curses! Foiled again!"
  • Scene 20

    Scene 20

    • Thornhill gleefully tells the police he's "valuable property." They don't recognize him until he identifies himself as the man wanted for Townsend's murder.
    • Rather than take Thornhill to the station, though, the police are told to take him straight to the airport.
    • He protests, but the police ignore him.
    • At the airport, Thornhill meets the Professor, who says he knows that Thornhill had nothing to do with the U.N. killing.
    • The Professor tells Thornhill to hurry up, since if they don't they'll miss their flight to Rapid City, South Dakota.
    • Why Rapid City, South Dakota? The Professor explains that they're after Vandamm, who's an "importer-exporter … of government secrets."
    • Vandamm has a place near Mount Rushmore, which is near Rapid City, and the Prof's people have reason to believe that he'll be leaving the country from there to smuggle out secrets.
    • They don't know how far Vandamm's spy network extends, which is why they don't apprehend him. They're hoping that waiting will get them more intelligence.
    • Instead they want to "set his mind at ease about George Kaplan," the Professor says.
    • Thornhill asks if the Professor is George Kaplan.
    • The Professor explains that there is no such person. "Believe me, Mr. Thornhill, he doesn't exist. Which is why I'm going to have to ask you to go on being him for another twenty-four hours."
    • Thornhill says at first that he doesn't want to continue "being a target" just to protect the Professor's Agent Number One.
    • But the Professor emphasizes that the agent won't just be in danger but will very likely be killed if found out.
    • Thornhill still refuses—he's been though enough already—until the Professor makes it clear that Agent Number One is...Eve Kendall.
    • Thornhill realizes that he's put Eve in serious danger since he's risked exposing their relationship to Vandamm.
  • Scene 21

    Scene 21

    • The next morning, Thornhill expresses more reservations about the plan.
    • The Professor reminds him that it's his responsibility to help clear Eve of suspicion, since he's the one who has created the situation by becoming "so damnably attractive to Miss Kendall" that she fell for him.
    • "And vice versa," Thornhill replies. It's the first time we've heard him speak seriously about his feelings for Eve.
  • Scene 22

    Scene 22

    • Thornhill approaches Vandamm in the cafeteria at Mount Rushmore. Vandamm greets him again as Kaplan.
    • Thornhill tells Vandamm that he knows exactly where he and the other spies are headed and when.
    • Thornhill says if Vandamm hands over Eve, he'll keep quiet. To get revenge, he says, he'll make sure Eve's miserable for the rest of her life.
    • Thornhill approaches Eve, prompting her to tell him to get away. He doesn't.
    • To protect herself, Eve shoots Thornhill and runs out of the cafeteria.
    • Leonard escorts Vandamm away.
  • Scene 23

    Scene 23

    • It turns out Thornhill was playing dead after all, but not in the way Vandamm had in mind back in the auction house: he was really play-acting, pretending to be "critically wounded."
    • He's still alive, emerging from the back of an ambulance parked in the woods near Mount Rushmore.
    • Eve shows up in another car. She apologizes for the way she treated Thornhill.
    • "No need," he replies, "I understand. All in the line of duty."
    • Eve tells the story of how she met Vandamm, fell "for his charm," then ended up getting recruited by the Professor to be an agent. Before they approached her, she said, no one had "ever asked [her] to do anything worthwhile."
    • She says her life's been a mess up until now because of men like Thornhill, which leads to more romantic banter.
    • It's hard to leave, Eve says, but she has to convince Vandamm that she's just taken the long way getting back to his place.
    • Thornhill begs her to stay and says he'll see her soon.
    • But the Professor explains then that she's going with Vandamm tonight on the plane in an effort to infiltrate his network and find out more secrets.
    • There are tears in Eve's eyes, and Thornhill's shocked.
    • Thornhill doesn't like the Professor's idea one bit, but the Professor, channeling General William Tecumseh Sherman, says, "war is hell."
    • "If you fellas can't lick the Vandamms without asking girls like her to bed down with them and fly away with them and probably never come back alive, maybe you better start learning to lose a few cold wars," Thornhill yells.
    • "I'm afraid we're already doing that," the Prof replies.
    • Tearfully, Eve rushes away, back into the clutches of Vandamm.
  • Scene 24

    Scene 24

    • "Recovering" in a hospital, Thornhill switches off a radio report about the shooting in the Mount Rushmore cafeteria.
    • The Professor enters Thornhill's hospital room, and the two of them talk about Eve.
    • Thornhill says he's forgiven her.
    • The Professor says the agency has convinced the media and others to treat the day's shooting like Kaplan was its victim; this plan's moving forward smoothly.
    • Thornhill asks the Professor for a favor in exchange for his cooperation: a bottle of scotch.
    • The Professor leaves to go get it.
    • Thornhill tries the door but finds it's locked.
    • He then sneaks out the window, entering another hospital room and startling a woman patient there, who, after taking a closer look at him, doesn't want him to leave.
  • Scene 25

    Scene 25

    • Thornhill creeps up to Vandamm's house. He looks in a window and sees Eve and Vandamm talking.
    • Vandamm's reassuring Eve and asking her to forgive him for not having trusted her more. His suspicions have been put to rest following the shooting, which he takes to prove Eve's loyalty.
    • Vandamm relieved that there's been nothing published in the papers linking any of them to the shooting.
    • Leonard asks to have a word with Vandamm in private and Eve leaves the room to go pack.
    • Leonard explains to the Professor that he shouldn't trust Eve. He thinks the shooting solution was too neat to be believable, and suspects Eve of finding a way to ensure that she'd leave the country with Vandamm when the time came.
    • Leonard says that Vandamm himself must have had an inkling that Eve's guilty, since he didn't tell her where the secrets were hidden: in microfilm stuffed into a small pre-Columbian statuette bought at the previous day's auction.
    • Leonard has the gun that Eve used to shoot Thornhill/Kaplan and fires it at Vandamm, revealing that the gun only shot blanks.
    • Eve is startled by the gunshot, not knowing it was a blank.
    • Vandamm says it was "a car backfiring," and sends Eve away to finish packing.
    • After she leaves, Vandamm tells Leonard that he plans to throw Eve from the plane.
    • Thornhill has been watching all of this from outside the house and decides he has to warn Eve.
    • But he can't get her attention outside her bedroom. He decides to break into the bedroom, looking down on the living room, where she's now sitting.
    • He writes a note on a box of matches with his monogram: "They're on to you. Come up to your room!"
    • He tosses the matchbook downstairs and Eve eventually sees it. She suddenly claims she's left her earrings upstairs so she'll have a reason to go back up.
    • Thornhill explains that Vandamm and Leonard know about her and says they plan kill her. He tells her not to get on the plane.
    • Eve walks out of the house with Vandamm and Leonard. It sure doesn't look like she has much choice at this point.
    • The housekeeper sees Thornhill's reflection in a television and pulls out a gun, telling him to stay put. It's looking more and more like curtains for Agent One.
  • Scene 26

    Scene 26

    • As she approaches the plane with Vandamm and Leonard, Eve keeps looking anxiously back toward the house.
    • When Vandamm asks her what's wrong, Eve says she's still thinking about her earrings. From the look on her face, those must be some earrings.
    • Leonard says goodbye to Vandamm and Eve; he's staying in the States to take care of business.
    • Eve starts to panic, since it's time for her to board the plane.
    • Suddenly they hear a gunshot in the house. They see Thornhill run out and jump into the car that he's parked outside Vandamm's house. He comes speeding toward them.
    • Eve grabs the statuette from Vandamm and runs in the direction of Thornhill's car.
    • Thornhill tells Eve that he got tied up inside the house until he realized that the gun the housekeeper had was the same one that shot only blanks.
    • The car comes to a stop when they find that the gate is locked, so they jump out and take off running. Where could they possibly be going?
    • How about Mount Rushmore?
    • Thornhill and Eve have no choice but to climb down onto the steep carved surface of the faces carved into the mountain. Thomas Jefferson is like, "What?"
    • Thornhill says to Eve: "If we get out of this alive, let's go back to New York on a train together, alright?"
    • "Is that a proposition?" Eve asks in response, repeating Thornhill's words from one of their first conversations.
    • After a scuffle with Thornhill, the bad guy from the U.N. tumbles off the mountain to his death.
    • Eve falls, but Thornhill catches her. He's barely hanging on himself, though, and when Leonard approaches, Thornhill begs him for help.
    • Leonard has his signature sinister look on his face. He's not feeling too inclined to help.
    • Instead, he steps on Thornhill's other hand, the one that's hanging onto the rock.
    • In another nick of time, Leonard is shot. The statuette shatters.
    • The hero is a sergeant who's helping The Professor. The good guys have already captured Vandamm, who says wryly: "that wasn't very sporting, using real bullets."
    • Thornhill, who's still hanging on and holding Eve, tells her to pull herself up to him.
    • We see her face in close-up, then in macro close up. She's about to fall…
  • Scene 27

    Scene 27

    • In a clever cut, the scene of Thornhill pulling Eve up from certain death on the cliff turns into him pulling her up to bed on the train berth.
    • He says, "Come along, Mrs. Thornhill," delivering the film's final lines.
    • Cut to a shot showing the train entering a tunnel. Get it?