Sally Hardesty is the protagonist from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. She is traveling across Texas with her friends, brother and boyfriend when she encounters the demented and cannibalistic Sawyer family. She is the only who survives.
Sally grew up with her brother Franklin in Texas. She and her brother Franklin travel with friends Kirk and Pam and with boyfriend Jerry, to Texas to visit the grave of their grandfather and to investigate reports of vandalism and grave robbing. Afterwards, they decide to visit the old Hardesty family homestead. Along the way they pick up Nubbins Sawyer who slashes both himself and Franklin with a straight razor before the group forces him out of the van. Waiting Pam and Kirk go missing after they left for a local swimming hole and it gets late. Jerry decides to look for them while Sally and Franklin stay behind at the van. It soon gets dark and Jerry hasn't returned so Sally and Franklin decide to look for him. After fighting over a flashlight Sally pushes Franklin through the hilly woods while they scream for Jerry. Still looking for Jerry, Franklin hears something and tells Sally to stop. Before she can react Leatherface appears and kills Franklin with his chainsaw while Sally watches in shock and horror. She flees into the woods with Leatherface chasing her. Due to her small stature and Leatherface large body she is able to slip through the dense woods with ease while Leatherface has to pause and cut through limbs.
Sally becomes lost and trapped and is about to be killed when she sees a a porchlight from a distant house. She emerges from the woods and runs torwards the house screaming with Leatherface in close pursuit. She enters through the front door and runs upstairs screaming for help, running into the upper rooms and becoming horrified when she sees Grandpa Sawyer. She then runs back downstairs and Leatherface manages to cut through the door. Sally runs back upstairs with Leatherface following her. With nowhere else to go she jumps through the two story window and crashes into a tree and to the ground. She then flees the property back into the woods with Leatherface following. She then gets knock down by a tree and is almost killed again by Leatherface .
She narrowly escapes and runs into a field at which this point the blades of Leatherface's chainsaw is as little as a foot away from her back. She sees a light from the gas station from earlier and runs towards it. Running onto the porch she attempts to open the front door. Leatherface almost gets her again but she quickly runs around to the back and crashes through the back door, startling Drayton Sawyer.
Not long before arriving Sally realises that Drayton is in league with her attacker. He knocks her out with a broom and takes her back to the house. There she encounters the Hitchhiker and Leatherface, only he's wearing makeup and a wig. After securing her bonds in a chair, the hitch hiker reveals himself and taunts her when she recognizes him.
She is forced to have dinner with them and they have Grandpa Sawyer drink her blood while she blacks out. She then wakes up and the Sawyers decide it's time to kill her and that Grandpa should do it. They give him a hammer but he's too weak to hold it. Nubbins lets go of Sally in order to help Grandpa and she escapes through the window. It is now early morning and she flees for her life with Nubbins and Leatherface in pursuit. She makes it to the road while Nubbins slashes her back. A semi truck runs him over and they both flee as Leatherface chases them both she then flags down a pickup truck and she climb onto the bed before nearly being killed by Leatherface again. She then laughs manically as she rides away from Leatherface.
After the events of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre she spent the next several years inside a mental institution. We see her being wheeled down a corridor on a gurney at a mental hospital. Her final fate is She Died In A Nut House In 1977
- She is the first in the series to escape Leatherface.
- She has the longest chase scene in the series.
- She evades death 6 times from Leatherface and the Sawyer family.
- Her nightly chase scene is voted the best of all time by many horror film fans.
- Marilyn Burns couldn't physically run faster than Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface) which explains the many close calls with him.
- Marilyn Burns had to do her own stunts due to the low budget.
- Marilyn Burns returns as a different character Verna Carson in Texas Chainsaw 3D after 28 years.