Written By: Ben Cosgrove

He had the requisite looks, charm and talent, but it wasn’t until 1969, when he was in his mid-30s, that Robert Redford truly broke out as a genuine Hollywood player. That year he starred in two very good films (Downhill Racer and Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here) and one hugely entertaining, honest-to-god classic, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

That was also the year that LIFE photographer John Dominis spent a week with Redford as the legend-in-the-making mixed business and pleasure at his homes in Utah and New York. Dominis set about chronicling the days and nights of an increasingly famous man struggling mightily to maintain control of both his private life and his career.

At the time, Redford was married to first wife, Lola Van Wagenen. With their kids Shauna and Jamie (their youngest daughter, Amy, would arrive in October 1970), the couple lived for several months each year at a three-story A-frame house they had built themselves in Lola’s snowy, mountainous home state of Utah. During that part of the shoot, Dominis spent a few days trying to keep up as Redford traversed his vast property on horseback, skis and snowmobile.

Only a few of Dominis’ photos made it into the February 1970 LIFE cover story. Here, LIFE.com presents a series of outtake photos from the photographer’s time with the Sundance Kid. Redford’s on horseback in the Utah mountains; hailing a cab in Times Square; playing with his kids; and always, always taking care of business.

Dominis’ pictures captured a new kind of movie star, one who carefully managed every aspect of his career, from creative choices to nuts-and-bolts business matters. For Redford, the reasoning behind his decision to take control of his professional life was eminently practical.

“They throw that word ‘star’ at you loosely, and they take it away loosely if your pictures flop,” he told LIFE. “You take responsibility for their crappy movie, that’s all it means. So what I said was, since you say I’m responsible if my name is above the title, then give me responsibility. That’s all.”

Dominis’ unobtrusive, fly-on-the-wall approach to shooting, meanwhile, suited the star just fine, especially in light of how little time Redford really seemed to have to himself. In New York, for example, he was swamped with details connected to the release of his next movie, Downhill Racer. Even in Utah, a place to which he retreated to get away from it all, Redford “engages in endless long-distance discussions with agents, partners and other unfree spirits,” LIFE reported.

There’s no doubt that Redford made an impression on Dominis. “He was a real man,” Dominis told LIFE.com. “A strong person. I liked him a lot. And he was nice to me, even though he didn’t know me.”

One key aspect of Redford’s appeal for Dominis, a sportsman himself, was the actor’s obvious love of, and respect for, the natural world and the dramatic landscape of the American West. (“Other people have analysis; I have Utah,” Redford once quipped.)

By 1975, Redford had amassed about 7,000 acres of land in Utah, including a ranch, a ski resort, a horse-training farm and a large tract in the Wasatch mountain range. “I’d understand it if someone said it was too much for one man and his family,” he told People that year. “But I don’t think I’m just piling up land the way some men pile up money. I’m collecting space, and space has a very deep meaning for me.” In the coming years, of course, Redford would give much of that land in service to his craft, making it the site of the enormously popular and influential Sundance Film Festival and the nonprofit Sundance Institute.

Liz Ronk edited this gallery for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

Robert Redford on a horse

Robert Redford, Utah, 1969

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Robert Redford and daughter Shauna, Utah, 1969.

Robert Redford and daughter Shauna

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Robert Redford and son Jamie, Utah, 1969.

Robert Redford and son Jamie, Utah, 1969

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Robert Redford, Utah, 1969.

Robert Redford, Utah, 1969.

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Robert Redford, Utah, 1969.

Robert Redford, Utah, 1969.

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Robert Redford in Times Square, between meetings, 1969.

Robert Redford in Times Square, between meetings, 1969.

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Robert Redford hails a cab in Times Square

Robert Redford hailed a cab in Times Square. Just a few blocks away, at the Biltmore Theater on 47th Street, was where the actor got his first major notices as the star of Neil Simon’s 1963 Broadway play, Barefoot in the Park.

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Robert Redford with son Jamie, daughter Shauna and two unidentified companions, New York City 1969.

Robert Redford with son Jamie, daughter Shauna and two unidentified companions, New York City, 1969.

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Robert Redford grins in his agent's office in New York 1969

Robert Redford in his agent’s office in New York, 1969.

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Robert Redford, Utah, 1969

Robert Redford, Utah, 1969.

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Robert Redford looks over promotional photos and ads for "Downhill Racer"

Robert Redford looked over promotional material for his film, Downhill Racer , New York City, 1969.

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Robert Redford with his son, Jamie, in New York City, 1969.

Robert Redford with his son, Jamie, in New York City, 1969.

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Robert Redford with his son, Jamie, in New York City, 1969.

Robert Redford with son, Jamie, New York City, 1969.

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Robert Redford with daughter, Shauna, New York City, 1969

Robert Redford with his daughter, Shauna, in New York City, 1969.

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Robert Redford and his family (his first wife, Lola van Wagenen; son, Jamie; and daughter, Shauna), Utah, 1969.

Robert Redford; his first wife, Lola van Wagenen; son, Jamie; and daughter, Shauna, Utah, 1969.

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Robert Redford ("the Sundance Kid") with a cardboard cut-out of Paul Newman ("Butch Cassidy"), Utah, 1969.

Robert Redford (“the Sundance Kid”) with a cardboard cut-out of Paul Newman (“Butch Cassidy”), Utah, 1969.

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Robert Redford hard at work, Utah, 1969

Robert Redford, Utah, 1969.

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Robert Redford, Utah, 1969.

Robert Redford, Utah, 1969.

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Robert Redford takes a break from reading a script

Robert Redford took a break from reading a script.

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Robert Redford, LIFE Magazine, February 6, 1970

Robert Redford, LIFE Magazine, February 6, 1970

Page spreads from the February 6, 1970, issue of LIFE magazine.

Robert Redford, LIFE Magazine, February 6, 1970

Page spreads from the February 6, 1970, issue of LIFE magazine.

Robert Redford, LIFE Magazine, February 6, 1970

Page spreads from the February 6, 1970, issue of LIFE magazine.

Robert Redford, LIFE Magazine, February 6, 1970

Page spreads from the February 6, 1970, issue of LIFE magazine.

Robert Redford, LIFE Magazine, February 6, 1970

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