"Set against the sweeping landscapes of Wyoming and Texas, this epic love story tells of two young men -- a ranch-hand and a rodeo cowboy -- who meet in the summer of 1963 while driving cattle on a mountain range. They unexpectedly forge a lifelong connection, one whose complications, joys and tragedies provide a testament to the endurance and power of love."

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NOTE: This Spoiler was sent in by Tom and updated by Ivy.

The movie opens in 1963. Ennis del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) are hired by a rancher to take care of his sheep, which will be herded to graze in the high mountains. One of them keeps the camp, one them keeps watch against wolves. Over the course of the summer, the two men warm to one another, sharing the stories of the circumstances of their lives. After a day of drinking, Ennis is too drunk to go back to look after the sheep. Jack tries to get him to sleep in the tent, telling him that he'll freeze when the fire goes out in the night. Later we see Ennis freezing his butt off; Jack awakens and yells at him to come into the tent where it's warm. Ennis does, but freaks out when Jake reaches out and draws Ennis' arm around him. He draws away from Jack, but within minutes they are having fairly rough (but tastefully shot) sex.

Although at first Ennis says that it was a one-time thing (it doesn't help a wolf got a sheep while they were boinking), but of course, that resolve lasts about three minutes. For the first time, the men are actually happy. Unfortunately, their boss drops in to tell Jack that his dad has pneumonia, and sees the boys cavorting shirtless. Soon after, they are called back a month early. Having been called back, they get into a knock-down fight, bloodying each other's noses (and shirts).

Later, at the office Jake asks Ennis if he will come back next summer, letting on that he will (and making heartbreaking puppy-love-me-eyes). Ennis says that he most likely will not, letting Jack drive off. He walks off in the opposite direction, suddenly turning into an alley, the grief at losing his lover hitting him like physical illness.

We then follow them through their lives without each other. Ennis meets Alma (Michelle Williams) falls in love and marries her. They have a couple of kids, and end up living above a laundromat in a small Wyoming town. Ennis does ranch work and Alma works at the grocery store. They don't have much, but they get by. Jack bums around, trying to be a rodeo cowboy, and trying to connect with someone. He meets rider Lurleen Newsome (Anne Hathaway) and is instantly smitten. They marry, and have a boy. Lurleen's dad deals in heavy farm equipment, so they live far better that Ennis' family, but Lurleen's father runs the show and treats Jack like a bull who's done his job as stud and is out to pasture.

One day Ennis gets a postcard from Jack asking to get together. Ennis mails a card back, writing that he would like to get together as well. He tells his wife that an old buddy is coming up, and they'll be going fishing. The day Jack is supposed to come up, Ennis is nervous and pounding back the beers. Just when we think he won't come, we hear the truck pull up. Ennis goes down to greet him. They embrace warmly, then passionately. They move into a (they think) unseen corner and maul each other. Unfortunately, Ennis' wife sees them. She closes the door, and doesn't speak as Ennis tells her he's going fishing for a few days.

Years go by and Ennis and Jack see each other every few months. Jack's wife doesn't tumble to it, but Alma is increasingly upset, knowing what she knows. Eventually, they divorce. Upon reading about it, Jack comes up for the weekend unannounced. Ennis has his girls for the weekend and tells him he can't see him until the next month. Jack drives away, his grief palpable. On impulse, he drives to Mexico, and goes to a gay cruising area. He picks up a guy who looks like Ennis.

Time goes on. It's Thanksgiving. Jake's Father-in-Law is being a total ass, taking over the carving of the bird and belittling Jake. Things come to a head over Jake's son- Jake wants to turn off the television and make the kid finish dinner paying attention to the family, Father-in-Law keeps turning the set back on, saying football will make the boy a man. Jake raises up righteous and tells the Father-in-Law that it's his house, and his kid, and the kid will not watch TV at the dinner table (and my mothers spirit says "you go girl!"). Ennis is having an uncomfortable dinner with his kids, his ex and her new husband. Over doing the dishes, she confronts Ennis about his fishing trips with Jake. She tells him that she had left him a note in his fishing gear, and that she found it undisturbed upon his return. She tells him that she knows what he was doing, and he goes ballistic, and almost strikes her.

More years go by. Ennis meets a waitress (Linda Cardinelli) and drifts into a relationship with her, but his hearts not in it. Jack meets another couple socially, the Monroe's (Anna Faris and Scott Michael Campbell) and Mr. Monroe makes an overture.

Ennis and Jack meet again. They argue over the fact that they can't be together- Jack has always wanted to take over a ranch somewhere and be together. Ennis reveals his reasoning- when he was nine, his father showed him the body of an old rancher who had been thought to be gay. He'd been tied by the penis and dragged until dead, and it's suggested that the dad did the dragging. Ennis asks if Jack is afraid that people are looking at him in his hometown. Jack suggests Ennis leave his town.

They argue further. Ennis mentions that the next time he sees Jack it'll have to be November. Jack is angry at this, because their next planned meeting had originally been in August. They argue, Ennis saying he has a job. Jack retorts that they could have had a real life together, instead of the ritualistic trips to Brokeback Mountain. Jack mentions how he occasionally goes to Mexico for some sex, and Ennis, overcome with jealousy and frustration, says he'll kill Jack if he goes to Mexico for more pickups. Jack says that a couple of "fishing trips" each year is not enough for him, and then says, "I can't quit you." Ennis explodes, and says that because of Jack, he's "got nothing" (meaning he lost his wife, barely sees his children, has no friends, and is only intermittently employed in low-paying jobs). Ennis breaks down and starts to cry, and Jack comforts him, and the men lovingly reconcile. We then see Ennis cradling Jack in a tight hug (in contrast to earlier shots of Jack being the one who is affectionate) and the two men part, promising to see each other in November. However, come November, Ennis gets a postcard from Jack, except the postcard has been stamped "Deceased."

He makes a call to Lurleen to find out what happened. Lurleen tells him that Jack was changing a tire that exploded, killing him. (we see that it was really a gay-bashing). She mentions that he was cremated, and that although she knew that he wanted to be sent to Brokeback Mountain, half of the ashes were interred, and half sent to his parents. Ennis goes to visit Jake's parents. Jake's father is adamant that his ashes will be interred in the family plot. Jake's mother invites Ennis to see Jack's room. In it, he finds the shirts from the fight on Brokeback Mountain, the ones from the fight they had when they realised they were going to be parted. They are hanging on one hanger, one inside the other, intertwined. With the parents consent, he takes them home.

His daughter arrives at his trailer to tell him that she's getting married. At first, Ennis is diffident, seeming like he wants to get out of going to the ceremony. But he relents, saying he wants to go. He sees her off, then realises that she left her sweater. He carefully folds it, and opens the cupboard, placing it in it. Hanging from the door are the two shirts, together like Ennis and Jack couldn't be, a postcard of Brokeback Mountain hanging over it. He touches the shirts, draws them to him, takes in their scent. He says "Jack, I swear."

Finally, Ennis can bring himself to openly express his love for Jack, the love of his life.

The camera moves over the postcard of Brokeback Mountain and out the window..

*CUT TO THE CHASE* - Brought to you by Moviepooper.com
After their "experience" together hearding the sheep, Jack and Ennis decide to meet periodically over the course of the next many years. The first time Jack and Ennis (Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger) reunite, Ennis's wife Alma (Michelle Williams) sees them together, and immediately knows of Ennis's double life as a homosexual. As the years go by, Ennis and Alma grow apart, despite two daughters together, while Jack finds himself a bride, Lureen (Anne Hathaway), the daughter of a local car dealer, and raises a son with her while at the same time hiding (rather well) his homosexuality from his new family, including her homophobe father (Graham Beckel). Ennis and Alma eventually divorce. Jack and Ennis continue to see each other, even though they both know that their love for each other is destroying their lives. One day, Ennis gets a returned postcard that he had sent to Jack, and learns that Jack had died. Although Lureen tells Ennis on the phone that Jack's death was an accident, we are shown a brief glimpse of the hate crime that ended Jack's life, also revealing to Lureen alone what Jack was really doing on those fishing trips with his friend in Wyoming. Lureen had Jack's body cremated so that absolutely nobody would know of Jack's (and subsequently Ennis's) secret. Ennis visits Jack's parents, and takes from Jack's room a shirt he had worn and used to clean up a nosebleed on their first drive together. Finally, while contemplating his new solitude in life, Ennis is visited by his grown daughter Alma, Jr. (Kate Mara), who tells him that she is getting married, and asks him to come to the wedding. Ennis tells her he will be there, and puts away Jack's shirt in his closet, next to the postcard that was returned, as his own personal memorial to Jack.

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