Killing of a Chinese Bookie
Cosmo Vitelli owns the Crazy Horse West, a strip joint in California. He's laconic, a Korean War vet, and a gambler. When we meet him, he's making his last payment on a gambling debt. Then, he promptly loses $23,000 playing poker at an illegal local casino. The guys he owes this time aren't so friendly, pressuring him for immediate payment. Then they suggest that he kill a Chinese bookie to wipe off the debt.
Vitelli and the film move back and forth between the double-crossing, murderous insincerity of the gamblers and the friendships, sweetness, and even love among Vitelli, the dancers, a dancer's mother, and the club's singer, Mr. Sophistication.
Marco is a simple farmer driven from his land by troops of invading soldiers; in an act of defiance, he makes a speech declaring the need for freedom from tyranny, and soon Marco's fellow peasants are following him as their leader. Marco becomes a member of the Loyalist forces, and his strong words and fierce beliefs allow him to rise through the ranks and become a key member of the struggle. While stationed in a city under blockade, Marco becomes acquainted with Norma, who serves as a spy for armies allied with Franco; her sympathies are less with his policies than for the safety of her family, who live in occupied territory. Despite their differences, the two become close when they're trapped in a building during a bombing raid; eventually Norma finds herself swayed by Marco's impassioned call to stop the murder of the innocent people of Spain.