Sally Hardesty was the fortunate survivor of Leatherface’s murderous rampage in the first Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Hardesty, her brother, and friends encountered Leatherface after their car ran out of fuel in rural Texas. Leatherface picked off Sally’s friends and brother, but Sally escaped before he could finish her off. 

2022’s sequel on Netflix presents Sally’s survival as more of a curse than a blessing. Hardesty joined law enforcement to hunt Leatherface, but after five decades, she’d failed to get revenge. All that time, Sally remained haunted by her loved one’s deaths and overwhelmed by a desire to revenge. 

Some aspects of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre have real-life inspirations, but Sally Hardesty isn’t one of them. 

Sally is a fictional character created by showrunners Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel

Marilyn Burns and Olwen Fouere as Sally Hardesty

Sally Hardesty is not a real person. She spawned from the minds of showrunners Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel. 

Hardesty’s storyline in the first film created the final girl trope that would feature in many horror movies. The final girl refers to the last girl alive to confront the killer; often, the girl survives to narrate the story. 

Final girls survive by escaping or defeating the murders. Sally escaped the horror, but Leatherface remained embedded in her brain. 

Sally’s decisions after her encounter with Leatherface revolved around avenging her friends. 

Hardesty returns to enact revenge but ends up being Leatherface’s victim

After spending years trying and failing to find Leatherface, Sally learns of the demented killer’s return to Harlow, Texas. She drops everything to enact revenge 50 years in the making. 

We learn that Leatherface stopped killing after joining an orphanage. However, the death of a mother figure revived his murderous instincts. He targets a group from Austin that recently arrived in town, fires up his trusty chainsaw and gets to work. 

Sally’s best efforts prove ineffective against Leatherface’s cunning methods: she often arrives at the scene after Leatherface completes killing. Sally becomes increasingly frustrated as the bodies pile up, but she doesn’t give up. 

Leatherface toys with Sally by skinning and positioning a body to appear like a body he mutilated during his encounter with Sally. 

Thankfully, Sally arrives in time to save Lila and Mel, the only people yet to die by Leatherface’s chainsaw. She locks them in her vehicle and starts searching for Leatherface. 

Sally finds Leatherface, and at gunpoint, she repeats her friends’ names and asks him whether he remembers them. Leatherface says nothing, and despite having the upper hand, she doesn’t take advantage. 

Eventually, Sally loses her composure, a fatal mistake when facing Leatherface. Before she dies, Sally fires a shot that saves Lila’s life. 

Hardesty then tells Lila that she must kill Leatherface or risk being haunted by him for the rest of her life. In accepting Sally’s advice, Lila becomes the new Sally Hardesty. 

Lila is the final girl in Texas Chainsaw Massacre and is certain to appear in upcoming films.

Also Read: Is Leatherface still alive? Everything you need to know