'Thieves Like Us' Edward Anderson's 1937 novel "Thieves Like Us" was originally was adapted in 1949 as "They Live by Night," which marked the feature directing debut of Nicholas Ray. In 1974, Robert Altman offered his take on the novel. Set in 1936, the film opens with two convicts breaking out of a penitentiary in Mississippi and join a third on a lucrative bank-robbing spree. Along the way the youngest of the three men (Keith Carradine) falls in love with a young woman (Shelley Duvall) he meets at their hide-out. But when one final bank robbery goes terribly wrong, the lovers go on the lam.