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Two women—Louise, a diner waitress, and Thelma, a housewife—decide to escape for the weekend and go on a road trip to a cabin. They decide to stop at a roadside bar—the Silver Bullet (#foreshadowing)—on their way. There, Thelma meets a dude named Harlan who charms her, gets her drunk, and assaults her in the bar's parking lot.
Louise finds a crazed Harlan and a battered Thelma in the parking lot. She points a gun at Harlan's head and gets Thelma to safety. After an aggressive verbal exchange, she totally shoots the nasty dude in the chest.
Thelma and Louise hit the road and shakily try to figure out what they're going to do. They decide not to go to the police, because Louise says the cops won't believe them.
Meanwhile, the cops have found Harlan's body in the Silver Bullet's parking lot, and a detective, Hal Slocumb, connects the dots. He decides to investigate.
At a motel, Louise decides they need money, so she calls her kinda-sorta boyfriend Jimmy and asks him to wire them some money in Oklahoma City. The girls hit the road, picking up a sexy cowboy along the way, and are surprised to find Jimmy waiting for them when they get to Oklahoma.
That night, Louise breaks up with Jimmy, who's proposed to her, and Thelma has sexy time with the cowboy…who she finds out is a robber, and who predictably ends up stealing all the money.
To make up for lost cash, Thelma uses the cowboy's tactics to hold up a corner store, and she and Louise regain hope for making it to Mexico to escape going to jail. When Thelma calls home, the FBI, who've tapped her phone, figure out where they are, and the chase begins. (They also caught the cowboy and got a bunch of information from him. Lame.)
Thelma and Louise avoid getting molested by a truck driver and arrested by a cop, and they narrowly escape a super tense car chase. But their plans come abruptly to an end when they hit the Grand Canyon. Surrounded by cops, and with a billion guns pointed at them, Thelma and Louise decide to "keep going." They drive their car over the cliff, with Hal chasing after them.