Snake Plissken Timeline
By Sylvia Stevens
My timeline is consistent with Carpenter's
history but I have added details from interviews, from the book, scripts, other
'canon' sources, fleshed out such things as the Summer wars, etc. By 'canon' I
mean that the statement was either uttered or written by John Carpenter, Debra
Hill, or Kurt Russell in script or interview or recorded in the films or the
Canon details include the dates and occurrences mentioned in EFLA and
EFNY, details of the loss of Snake's eye, the events of Cleveland and Kansas
City and the Leningrad Ruse. Extrapolations include precise details of Cleveland
and Kansas City dates of Snake's birth and graduations, enlistment and injuries,
the abdominal wound and Taylor's presence in Kansas City. It does not contain
information from the newly released filmed bank robbery scene as I have not yet
On a parenthetical note: The Purple Heart is NOT a medal for bravery, it is a
medal obtained when a person is wounded in the line of duty. The "decorated by
the President" would indicate the Congressional Medal of Honor and Carpenter is
wrong. Snake cannot be "the youngest man ever decorated" because that honor is
already taken historically by a 14 year old drummer boy in (IIRC) the Civil War
or the Spanish American war. Also disregarded is the line in EFLA "S.D.
"Bob" Plissken!" spoken by the USPF officer. It occurs NOWHERE else and is
unsupported by ANY other evidence. It is either another alias or it is an error
This is a timeline created by using several sources, the scripts of EFNY
and EFLA, the book Escape From New York, by Mike McQuay, the
films, themselves, the comics and deduction. Where discrepancies existed, I
chose the most logical alternative, to reconcile them.
For example: Since Kurt Russell is about thirty when EFNY is filmed, it
was logical to say that Snake Plissken was also thirty years old. In fact, that
placed his birth date in an almost mythical way in 1967, March (Russell's month)
and I have postulated his CONCEPTION on June 6 1966 (6/6/66) fulfilling the
Beast imagery at the end of EFLA!
Thus, college dates, service dates and Leningrad dating fell into a narrow range
and were placed for good effect. Other dates are "hard" dates, written in book
or script, such as the date of EFNY, Oct 21-23
Without further ado...
Things which are canon are marked by (C), extrapolation by (E)
March 3: S.D. Plissken born. (E) (not Official)
September: S.D. Plissken begins grade school. (E)
June: S.D. Plissken graduates high school
Sept: Enters college. (E)
War breaks out between America and Russia. Starts in Middle East, small, and
builds. Russians launch massive gas attacks against US, New York City one of
first hit. Massive 'gas craziness' breaks out, Plissken still in college. (Book
lists him as "hot shot college boy") (All C)
New York uninhabitable. US Government turns it into maximum security prison and
puts "crazies" inside. Crime rate quadruples, due to gas. (C) S.D. Plissken
joins Army commissioned as Lieutenant. For him to do so indicates either the
necessity of wartime or that he was in R.O.T.C. or military high school as a
teen. (ES) He gets tattoo and nickname "Snake" around this time. (E) Snake turns
21, an adult.
United States Police Force formed to handle the onslaught of crazies and
criminals. They are placed in charge of the NY Max penitentiary. (C) S.D.
Plissken racking up incredible record as glider pilot and leader of Black Light
Squadron. Best on Russian Front and becoming famous and a role model to
Americans, war hero, earns first Purple Heart over Siberia due to injuries
received in combat. (All C)
Early Fall (C), perhaps September: Plissken's parents taken hostage by 'gas
crazy'. Newly formed USPF moves in with flame throwers and simply murder
everyone in the household, (C) S.D. Plissken not informed due to military
Fall/October: Leningrad Ruse. Snake and squadron fly in over Russian Supply
point Leningrad. They are not told by the mysterious "Captain Berrigan" (C) that
this is a suicide mission. During the hopeless battle, Lt. Plissken's left
goggle cracks and gas begins damage to his eye. (C) He manages to call retreat
and when the gliders land, back in Helsinki, only he and Sgt. William "Bill"
Taylor are left. (C) Taylor and Snake hospitalized. Snake loses use of left eye
and is given black eye patch to protect the damaged eye from light, which is
painful due to the paralyzed iris. (EC)
November: Taylor visits Snake in hospital, tells him of the trick. Snake begins
to turn away from society. He is still unaware of the death of his parents. (C)
December: President gives S.D. Plissken the Congressional Medal of Honor and his
second Purple Heart. (EC) Plissken throws the medals away and resigns from the
Army. About this time Hauk also resigns from the service, leaving his medals
January: Snake returns home, a civilian, to find that his parents have been
killed and all their possessions and money have been taken by IRS for taxes and
"restitution". House burned out, and parents buried in pauper's grave. "Snake"
Plissken snaps completely. He blows up a US Government vehicle and never looks
back on his old life. (All C)
Snake Plissken's career is at first just sabotage and vengeance, but he turns to
crime (bank robbery) directed at FEDERAL targets, not civilian (E), to support
himself and Bill Taylor who is with him, (EC) and disabled with a severe knee
injury and limp. Snake takes the risks, Taylor is backup. They stay together,
Snake protecting Taylor, his last and only friend. (EC)
Snake comes to the attention of the USPF as his crime career picks up speed. He
is as talented and effective as a criminal, a bank robber, as he was a
Lieutenant. He teams up with Fresno Bob and Harold "Brain" Hellman. (EC)
Snake Plissken, "Fresno" Bob (last name unknown) and possibly Bill Taylor as
remote backup, rob bank in Kansas City. (C) Harold Helman drives getaway car.
Helman deserts them, leaving Snake and Bob to their fate. (EC) Snake escapes,
but "Fresno" Bob is caught and killed by USPF by being skinned alive. (C) Snake
indicates in EFNY that he witnessed it (possibly from hiding). Snake possibly
flees with Taylor.
Oct 13-14: Marrs, an accomplice of Snake's, plants a computer virus into the
databases of the "Dead Presidents Casino" in Atlantic City to facilitate a
planned heist by Marrs and Plissken, Deimos, Phobos (and possibly Taylor) of the
Kennedy death car which is on display there in two weeks' time. (Comic)
Oct 21: Snake robs Denver Federal Reserve Depository, gets away with several
billion dollars in credit discs. Meets with Taylor in Atlanta hummer station
several hours later and they travel on the hummer (underground tube-train) to
San Francisco. This is the famous missing "Bank Robbery" scene in EFNY.
Oct 22, 4:00 AM Pacific Time (C): They are ambushed in the hummer station by
USPF. Taylor is shot and Snake tries to go back for him, tries to talk him into
giving up to save his life. Taylor refuses to surrender. William Taylor is
killed. Snake surrenders, grieving. NOTE that he could have left Taylor to his
fate, but he did not. This conflicts with the statement that Snake has no
compassion. When Taylor dies, a large part of Snake's humanity dies with him!
Snake is 30 years old. (All C)
Oct 23, 7:00: President Harker's jet crash lands in New York Max. (C)
Oct 23, 7:45 PM: Snake arrives at New York Maximum Security Penitentiary.
Events of Escape From New York occur. (C)
Oct 24 Evening: S.D. Plissken escapes, is pardoned, and the Hartford Summit is
destroyed by the substitute tape Plissken gave the President. (C)
Oct 25th-27th Snake drives down New Jersey Turnpike to Atlantic City to the
Snake Pit Bar where he meets with Marrs to discuss planned heist. Instead,
Deimos and Phobos attack him and Snake is dropped into the ocean in a crab cage
by Marrs, Deimos and Phobos so that they may take the Presidential death car
themselves the next evening. (Comic)
Oct 27-?: Snake escapes the crab cage, continues the mission, successfully
stealing the Presidential death car.
President Harker's career is destroyed and he remains in office a 'lame duck'
president. Conservative factions grow more restive. Harker is indicted in a
multitude of scandals and finally, resigns in favor of his vice president. (ES)
War between US and Russia simply 'peters out' because both sides are financially
ruined. American economy has been all but destroyed by the long war. (EC) Moral
chaos descends on the land. (C)
Forces hostile to the United States begin encroachment, growing strong in the
climate of exhaustion and moral decay. Third World countries begin hostilities,
encouraged by the US' weakened borders. Snake Plissken lays low, keeping out of
Breakdown of the US Justice System. (EC) United States Police force becomes
substitute Justice System, replacing courts and other police forces. (E) (This
removes script inaccuracy which gives USPF two formation dates!) USPF doubles in
size, country effectively under martial law. (C)
Population of Los Angeles reaches 48 million. (C) Most are from Third World
countries or very poor. A new candidate for President arises, predicting
disaster for the California city. He runs on a morality ticket, decrying the
inefficiencies of the previous (Harker's) system. (C)
Aug 23, 12:59 PDT (C): Los Angeles destroyed by major earthquake. Presidential
candidate claims prophecy. Election becomes merely a formality. (and very
probably illegally 'fixed') (S) In November he is elected by landslide.
Constitution is swept away as President becomes President-For-Life. Old
administration destroyed. (All C)
January: First (E) order by new President (Directive 17) is to wall off Los
Angeles and turn it into a deportation center. (C) With New York Max in the East
and Los Angeles in the West (E we don't know if NY Max still exists), America
becomes a totalitarian country, ruled by theocracy. Tobacco, red meat, fur
coats, all sorts of immoralities is made illegal. (C) Snake again becomes active
in sabotage and terrorism. Snake kidnaps bank president, but releases him,
Possibly following the murder of an IRS agent, Snake Plissken named "Most
Wanted" by USPF. His picture is on the Police Channel and Wanted Posters. (EC)
Sometime in here, Snake teams up with Texas Mike and Carjack Malone. (EC)
Snake turns 40
In Cleveland, Snake, Carjack Malone, and Texas Mike O'Shay commit unspecified
action. (C) Carjack turns Snake in and runs out on him (EC), leaving Texas Mike
and Snake at the mercy of the USPF. Carjack is captured anyway and sent to LA.
Mike possibly killed but Snake escapes in a fashion that has USPF utterly
baffled (hence Malloy's comment "We thought we HAD you...How'd you DO that?!").
Snake is possibly badly injured, shot in lower abdomen (scars in EFLA).
Snake goes underground and drops from sight. (C) People lose interest. He is
convicted, in absentia, of "27 moral crimes". (C)
Aug/Sept: Snake in New Vegas Thailand (? Script says off coast of Oregon *and*
Thailand). Since Snake later refers to "Bangkok Rules" I say it's Thailand!.
Gunfighting for profit. He is captured by USPF and held for two weeks. (C -
EFLA Script) First week in September: Utopia, President's daughter, steals
prototype satellite activation device and hijacks Air Force Three, going into
Los Angeles. She meets with Cuervo Jones. (C) Snake is held by USPF,
interrogated, beaten, and tortured. (C - EFLA Script)
Mid September: Snake sent to Los Angeles for deportation. (C)
Events of Escape From LA occur. (C)
Mid September, Snake Plissken activates Sword of Damocles Satellites and ends
technology (C). Invading forces sweep in and take country (E). Snake Plissken
walks away. He is 46 years old.