Creator/ClintEastwood is a preacher. Some men come in during a Sunday Service and start shooting at him. He escapes, with the help of Lightfoot (Creator/JeffBridges), a car thief who happens to be driving by, and helps him by running over one of his pursuers and giving him a lift.
Lightfoot discovers that Clint was really one of the members of a gang that robbed a security company a few years ago that were never caught, and that he had the nickname "Thunderbolt." After the two of them stop for ice cream, after they get back, the two remaining men that were chasing them catch up, and they want the money from the robbery. Thunderbolt explains that the money was in a one-room schoolhouse but the building has disappeared and the other member of the team who knew about it is dead. Lightfoot has a suggestion: pull the same robbery of the same company over again, because nobody will be expecting it.
The four of them plan out the robbery, including timing the police for how long they'd get there, getting the outer safe combination from the security company manager, preventing the telegraph operator from being able to warn the police when the silent alarm rings there, then two of them sneaking into a drive-in next door to the security company by hiding in the trunk along with the money after they rob the security company, while just Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (dressed as a woman) apparently ride into the theatre.
The police show up shortly after the robbery, and because one of them in the trunk make noise and a shirt was showing from the trunk of the car, the Drive In cashier figures they were sneaking people into the theatre (which they were) and the police are directed to them. They escape, but in the process, one of the robbers in the trunk is shot and killed by police, so the other robber takes the car from Thunderbolt and Lightfoot at gunpoint, kicks Lightfoot because he doesn't like him and is upset because he had some smart-ass remarks to him, tries to outrun the police, but is shot, crashes into the Department Store where he works (as a cover and to raise money for the robbery) and is mauled by the junkyard dogs the store has in the building overnight to keep out burglars.
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot hitchhike out of town, then discover a one-room schoolhouse. The building had been moved, intact, a year earlier. They take the blackboard off the wall, and find the money from the original robbery, just as it had been hidden. Cut to a scene where Thunderbolt is driving out of a dealer with a brand new Cadillac convertible, picks up Lightfoot, and they drive off into the sunset, only the beating he took from the other robber essentially gave him a delayed concussion, and killed him, he collapses into the passenger seat. Thunderbolt, even though he got away with the money, he is unhappy at the death of his friend as he continues driving down the road.
* AsTheGoodBookSays: Isaiah 11:6 - "And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid."
* BadassPreacher: Thunderbolt, until his "friends" find him and start shooting.
* DriveInTheater: How they plan to hide out when the police are next door at the security company checking out the robbery
* PunkInTheTrunk: How two of them are hiding when going to the drive-in.