A Man Called Sledge (1970) Script

Don't anybody move.


I'm gonna have to call you.

Looks okay.

My two pairs aren't good enough. It's all yours.

Now I'm gonna try to get my money back with a little five card draw.

What'll it be?

Two bottles of whiskey. You must be staying for a while.

Well, long enough for him to buy the second round.

That'll be $10. Cowboy...

...you looking for something?

Oh, shut up, Liz.

Hey, I never did see what happened.

How did the driver get his head blown off?

Pure accident. They'll blame it on us.

I just hate to see a man get it like that.

No reason. No reason at all. Let's have another deck over here.

Yeah, might change my luck.

Ain't gonna help much.

Get another bottle of whiskey over at that table.

Looks like a big game.

Big game.

I think I'll go over and take a look.

You never just look and you never win.

You're the worst poker player I ever saw, Mallory.

Well, not tonight, because tonight I feel lucky. You'll see.

Mind if I sit in? Sit down.

Yeah, sit down, stranger.

May be just the man we're looking for. Come on, I feel real lucky tonight.

Sledge, you made it.

Ria. Sledge.

I been waiting here so long.

I thought...

I thought you'd never show up.

Will three sixes do it?

Not unless you can pair them up with a couple of ladies.

You gave me the jack I needed. That makes three.

Well, that lets me out.

I'm out.

Elizabeth, how about you and me going upstairs.

I just made a killing.

It came from downstairs.

Don't go down.


Hold it.

Now, you leave that gun in its holster and come down here slow and easy.

Looks like the only way he's gonna make it is to fall down.

Your friend had some bad luck.

Unless you want to join him, you'll ride out of here right now.

You heard him, get.

Well, look at that. Lover-boy ain't finished yet.

I seen it, mister...

...murder and self-defense.



No. Get inside.


Why are you following me? I wasn't. I swear I wasn't.

You know who I am, don't you?

There's only one name comes to my mind...

...after what I saw there at the 3 W's...

...and that's Luther Sledge.

And you say you wasn't following me?

I've done a lot of things in my time, mister...

...but getting the price on a man's head ain't one of them.

Well, we'll just make sure of that.

What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do?

Old man, you stink right now...

...so I'm gonna see to it that you don't turn me in.

I'm gonna hang you up and age you some more.

You gotta believe me, it's the gold I've been following...

...about $300,000 worth.

In that prison there is where they keep it overnight.

Open the gates!

Open her up. Open her up.

What's that about? It's the gold. They're here, I told you.

Now cut me down. Come on, I gotta see it!

They're here. I gotta see it. I...

I missed it.

I missed it.

How much gold did you say they carry in that wagon?

Enough for a man to die on, more than that, maybe.

Old man, how long has it been since you've had a hot meal...

...some whiskey and a woman?

All in one night?

Not for a long time.

Well, if your heart'll stand it, you're coming with me.

Come on, girls, sing out.

Get me out of here! Here, I'll give you a hand, Jade.

Can't even stand on your own two feet.

Give me a hand, Millie.

Wait'll I get my hands on whoever did that.

Sledge, Sledge, Sledge, you're just in time to see...

...what these animals have done to my house.

I can't take it anymore. I just can't take it.

Oh, calm down now, Jade, honey. What'd they do?

They made a hole in my floor and my organ fell through.

Your organ fell through? That's right.

Like animals. They burrow under my house trying to steal my liquor.

You're gonna have to do something.

Don't you worry about it, Jade, I'll take care of it.

Well, you're gonna have to do something about it.

Look. Look at that. Now, you just leave it to me.

Sledge, you see?

Well, you're right. Your organ fell through.

All right, come on, get that thing out of there.

Where's Mallory?

Got killed in a card game. Was two of them...

...but Sledge killed them back, both of them.

Who's he?

Don't know much about him, but he may be able to help.

I'll let you know. Give me a bottle of whiskey and two glasses...

...and get him whatever kind of soup you got back there.

Come on, old man.

Come on, sit over there.

Tell me about the gold.

Well, I'm the one that can tell you about it.

They put it next to me in that prison, those men guarding it.

Not more than six inches away. Cell right next to me.

Where does that gold start from?

Comes from a group of mines up there in Big Rock Canyon.

They take a lot of gold out of there. A lot of gold.

They've got themselves 40 U.S. Army men...

...just to make sure that gold gets to the clearing-house.

Forty soldiers, armed to the teeth.

They're all handpicked.

Those fellas guarding that gold...

...they don't like to travel at night. It's too tempting for people like you.

At night they stop in that prison you saw.

And that ain't just a prison, it's a fortress.

It's the only place where that damn gold is safe.

They got a real special cell for it, with a big old safe built into it.

Nobody's ever tried taking it.

It's been 10 years now.

Them gold riders know their business.

You gotta be loco if you think you can take it.

What makes you think that shipment they brought in was worth 300,000?

Well, nothing makes me think. I know.

I never could sleep when that gold was next to me.

You know, gold gives off a scent.

It's like an animal or a man.

Paper money...

...don't throw off a scent.

Paper money don't whisper to you...

...like gold does through six inches of steel.

Did you follow that gold all the way?

From the mines to the clearing-house?


Hey, I reckon you're gonna try and take it.

Who knows? Maybe you'll get a little closer to that gold than just six inches.

We're onto something. Yeah?

Make sure everybody's ready to move out.


So you're gonna try and take it.

Well, you're mighty stubborn, because you can't, you just can't.

Ward, Hooker.

We're gonna split up here. Going into Rockville?

No way out of it, we need supplies. It's a hard town. They know your face.

They won't see it unless there's trouble.

Hey, old man. Yeah?

They know your face in Rockville? In prison, about 20 years' worth.

But not in the town.

Dorothy, Millie, stay on the buckboard. Old man, Toby, Hooker...

...we're going into Rockville to do some buying.

The rest of you follow Ward up to the old Coaltrain Mine.

Beetle, you know where the 3 W's is?

Where you was with Mallory. There's a girl there named Ria.

You tell her I want her. Let's go.

Giddyup, there.

Yeah, you gonna be finished soon? It's your turn next, okay?

What can I do for you, sir?

Well, Mother, I guess we'll be gone for a long time.

Let me see, let me have 10 boxes of .45 Colt cartridges...

...and two boxes of shotgun shells to go with it.

And a case of Winchesters. A long time?

With all that ammo, you could be gone forever.

Well, should we die before our journey's through, happy days.

All is well. Amen.

Put that on the buckboard, please. Right.

Let me on one more time. No.

Business pretty good today, Simms? I'd say so now.

I feel like one of them Eastern war profiteers.

Oh, yeah, who's warring? Some old man in there.

Bought himself enough firepower to save Custer.

Dolgh, come here.

Excuse me. I'm the sheriff here in Rockville.

Sorry to bother, but I'd like to ask a few questions.

Well, go right ahead, sheriff.

You been buying a lot of ammunition. Could I ask you why?

Well, we got a family, sheriff, big family going west...

...and them Indians had a dry year.

I don't wanna get caught short with them being hungry.

Ever been in Rockville before? No, sirree, sheriff.

Seems to me I've seen you before.

Would you mind stepping outside for a moment?

If you can stand the sight of this old-timer's face in the light of day...

...I'll gladly accommodate you.

You make one sound and you'll be all over the ceiling.

And you, put your hands on the counter and keep your mouth shut.

Old man.

His deputy is nosing around that other store.

You go over and tell him the sheriff wants to talk to him.

And the rest of you get out of town, nice and easy.

You'll never make it out the door, Sledge.

Yeah, you know me.

The name, the face and the price, huh?

If I don't get out, you don't.

You ain't gonna get a chance to sit around a stove...

...remembering your one day of glory.

That deputy of yours don't get over here, your twilight years are over.

Easy, now.

Boss, you want me? Yeah, Dolgh. Come on in.

It's Sledge, look out!

Get him. Get him.

Try anything else and you'll have a closed coffin.

Cindy! Cindy!


We gotta get the hell out of here. They're setting up a crossfire.

Toby's trying to make it back in.

Oh, how many times they wanna kill him?

Tell those crazy bastards he's already dead.

This is Ripley.

Hold your fire.

Hold your fire!

You tell them we're walking out. All of us.

You two-bit Wyatt Earp, tell them.

Don't believe all that crap about your tin star. You bleed just like we do.

We're coming out.

We got your sheriff.

Now, stay out of the streets.

Anybody sights a rifle, fires a shot...

...you got yourselves a dead sheriff.

Hooker, see if you can coax Goldie May over here.

Goldie May, here.

Come on, Goldie May.

Come on, baby, come on.

Come on, baby.

Come on, baby. Come on.

Come on, now. Come on.

Come on, come on, come on.

Easy, there. Come on, baby.

Easy. Come on.

Now, hold it.


Put him up on Goldie May with Toby. Tie him good around him.

Where are you taking me?

I'm gonna let them Apaches you use for trackers find you.

Ride him, Toby. Ride him straight to hell!

We've been outnumbered before...

...and for a hell of a lot less money.

Must be some reason nobody ever tried to take it.

What's the longest distance you ever followed them?

After they leave prison, about five miles.

Well, that ain't very far.

We're gonna follow that gold every step of the way.

Somewhere there's gotta be a place where we can take it.

That's what we're gonna look for.

I don't like the idea of those guards being professionals.

Forget it.

They haven't used those guns in 10 years.

They ain't professionals.

We are.

Stay here. I'm going down to see how close I can get.

Rider coming.

Rider coming!

Seen a lot of formations in my time, but never one like that cross.

The hell with it. You couldn't take it with a pope.


Don't you even know the sound of Beetle slopping in the saddle?

It's Beetle, all right. He's taking Ria up to your place.

What are we gonna do, Sledge?

You're gonna sit and wait till I tell you what to do.

There's a way. There's gotta be a way.

I'm getting itchy staying around here.

That sheriff's gonna come smelling us out and he won't take us alive.

We should've killed him when we had the chance.

Hooker? Yeah?

You and the boys go outside. I wanna talk to Sledge.

That suits me just fine, especially if you can find out what's going on.

We gotta move on to something else.

Got nothing in my pocket but a hole.

I want that gold!

Maybe $300,000! 300,000, Ward!

I ain't kidding myself it's the last one.

I'm gonna finish my life with a white picket fence...

...and the little woman making biscuits.

Me sprouting gray like a tree in the fall.

I'm gonna get it with a bullet in my head.

Or a rope around my neck. I want a little taste of living before I go.

You try to take that gold, you're committing suicide.

You thinking of riding, Ward?

Yeah, in the morning.

Had a lot of good times together.


What about the others?

They'll stay with you if you want them.

I'd damn sure watch them, they're getting hungry.


Ria? I'm up here.

You been crying?

I don't even remember the last time a woman cried over me.

Most times I don't even remember their faces in the morning.

Nobody meant much to me before. Before you.

But you want that gold more than you want me.

That's why I've been crying, Sledge.

You know, you were the first.

The first time I felt anything.

Used to think there was something wrong with me until you came along.

I'm your woman, Sledge, no matter what happens.

I'll always be yours.

I love you.

Keep it going, there.

Come on now, old man.

You watch it, old fool.

Get him, old man!

I feel like dancing!

What's all the commotion?

It's the old man. He was inside with Dorothy.

You boys should have seen me in my prime.

They don't make them like me anymore.

Why, there was a time I could have taken you all on, all of you!

Just when the hell was that, old man? Before they locked me in that prison.

There wasn't a man that could lock horns with me in this territory.

You're a liar.

You was as good as you say you were, you'd be six feet under.

You're feeling mean, because you know that gold can't be taken...

...and you've seen it yourself. And I tell you...

...if you try to take it you're gonna wind up dead or in prison...

...and that's the closest you'll ever get to it, through six inches of steel.

I know. I've been closer to that gold inside...

...than any man on the outside...

...and I tell you, it can't be taken.

Oh, yes, it can!

I knew it! I knew it all the time.

We're gonna take that gold, and we're gonna take all of it.

And you and your tales of old-timers don't mean a whiff of cow dung...

...because you never had the guts to do it.

We're gonna take it from the inside. The inside?


Now, tell me the layout. And you better have a good memory...

...or I'm gonna bust you like I did that bottle.

Well, I told you. They put the gold in a vault.

Used to be like all the other cells, but they lined it with steel...

...and it's in the hole, in maximum security.

And you say they open and close it with a combination?

Right. And the only one that knows it is the warden.

How many men they got in that prison?

I don't know, about 500, give or take a few.

Now, you think real hard before you answer this.

If they was to take me prisoner...

...where do you figure they'd put me?

With the price on your head, I figure it would be maximum security.

They put you in there, you ain't ever gonna get out.

Oh, I might. I just might...

...if you was to take me in.

If I took you? What's the matter, you loco?

Oh, you two can't take it alone. We ain't alone!

We outnumber them. You heard what the old man said.

They got 500 prisoners in there.

Well, we're gonna bust them out.

And all those guards and the fancy gold riders...

...they ain't gonna know what hit them.

They're gonna be chasing prisoners...

...all over the territory. Sledge.

They're stacked against us.

Now, we're going in there...

...and we're coming out with that gold...

...or we ain't ever coming out.

Now, what do you say?

I'm in. Right.

Hey, old man. Now, you go in there and you get some paper...

...and you're gonna draw a diagram of that prison and I'll look at it.

And if it ain't exact, somebody's gonna put a bullet...

...right through your head. Now, get!

Beetle, saddle up again.

You're going after a few things we need. And from now on...

...no more whiskey.


We'll be moving out in the morning.

Things work out, we'll be across the border in Siego.

You know where that is? Yes.

Well, good. You wait for me there.

And what if things don't work out?

Then I won't be there.

Hooker? Yeah?

You got everything?


All right, see you inside.

What is it you want? I wanna see the warden.

What's your business? I'm a U.S. marshal. Got a prisoner.

Can't be one of ours.

Take him to town, sheriff's office.

You tell him I got Luther Sledge!

Call the warden. Tell him they got Luther Sledge out here.

Seems as though they heard of you. Tell the sheriff!

Follow me.


Now, hold him there.

It's up this way.

You send for the sheriff? Sure did.

Bring him in.

Come over here, Luther Sledge.

Where did you get him? Oh, I picked him up...

...about halfway between here and 3 W's. Started tracking him there.

What did you bring him here for?

I don't like traveling a prisoner like him all night.

Getting tired, thought maybe you might lock us up till morning.

Sheriff Ripley might have something to say about that.

Sledge here killed one of his deputies.

How much money you worth now, Sledge?

Why don't you ask him.

He's the one that's gonna collect it.

Last time I saw it was 5000, warm or cold.

Five thousand.

What did you say your name was?

Well, I don't think I did.

It's Ward...

...Marshal lrwin Ward.

You ready to lock us up, warden?

I don't know. Seems to me the sheriff might have that jurisdiction.

What are you talking about?

I never kept overnight prisoners before.

I only get them after the court's through with them.

I was hoping I'd run into you again.

I'd like to even things up.

What are you doing? He's in my custody.

I don't want nothing to happen to him. I don't care whose custody.

He killed my deputy. He's gonna pay. Not by you, he ain't.

No one's trying to cheat you out of the reward money.

I ain't gonna argue. He's in my custody and he's gonna stay there.

If you wanna be locked up with him...

...there's no reason the sheriff can't do it for you in Rockville.

Not only that, marshal...

...I'll get a posse to ride with you to the county seat.

Even go with you myself. That sounds like a fair thing to do.

Sheriff, you lay off him tonight.

That's all the marshal here is worried about.

You're staying with me tonight.

Well, that's just fine.

I hear you're good in bed.


I'll keep him here, Ripley.

Be here in the morning with your posse.

That's soon enough.

I'll be back at dawn.

Leave your weapons here.

Better leave the key to his chains.

Red, take them to maximum security.

Yes, sir.

How come you staying with us, marshal?

Don't you trust us?


By tomorrow morning you'll wish you had.

I've been in prisons before. Not like this one, you ain't.

No, sir. You ain't gonna like it.

I'll worry about that.

Wait and see what we have in our maximum.

Hey, Sledge, you come to rob the gold?

Do not sleep there, Sledge.

Didn't count on him roughing you up. You gonna be all right?

Yeah, yeah. You sure?

He got in a couple of pretty good whacks on me.

We're in, Ward.

We are in.

There it is...

...just like the old man said it would be.

Talk about safes.

That's the granddaddy of them all.


It's gonna start getting light soon.

We'd better get started.

Careful, that sheriff kicks like a mule.

Going crazy here. I'm going crazy here!

Call the guard! Shut up, you crazy bastard!

If they don't shut up, they'll bring the guards in.

All right, get with it, Ward.

Easy. Don't break it.

It's stuck.

Hey, marshal.

When you finish holding his hand, come on over to hold mine.


If we get out of here, I'm gonna put a bullet in him.

Shut up, damn it! Shut up!

Guard! Guard!

Come on, Ward, get it.

Try the right cuff.

Shut up! Shut up!

Shut the hell up, all of you!

Well, well, well.

Can't figure you out.

Ain't nobody being hanged out there.

Ain't even a full moon tonight.

Now, if that don't shut you up...

...I'll be forced to lay one on your head.

That's better.

How's he doing, marshal?

Is he behaving himself?

Well, I think when you busted his hand...

...you busted his bladder.

Well, come morning, when the sheriff takes custody...

...you better get a storeful of slop buckets...

...because he's really gonna need it.

Because Ripley's gonna be your judge...

...jury and executioner.

Hey, they got Red.

He got Red. He got Red.

Hey, hey, Sledge, get us out of here!

Get us all out of here. Hurry up with those keys.

Come on.

What's the matter?

Damn. They don't fit, Sledge. Sledge!

He don't have the cell keys. Who's got them?

Mac. He's in the tunnel.

Mac's coming. Forget it, Ward.

Get him on his feet.

Turn him around.

Hey, Red, how many times I gotta tell you to keep that block door closed?

Hey, Red, I'm talking to you.

All right, hold it! Hold it!

You try to get loose and I'll break your neck.

All right, get his keys.

I can't make it, Sledge. He's liable to break free.

Pass him down from cell to cell so I can get this gun on him.

I'll kill you, you old bastard.

I'll kill you.

I'll kill you.

I'll kill you.

All right, that's enough.

Now, take your keys out and throw them over here.

Damn it, the keys.

I said throw them over here.

Let's get the hell out of here.

Let me out!

Hey, open her up!

I'll let these out first, then open the other cells. Shut up!

Shut up and listen! There's only one way to get out of here.

That's to take the guards and bust every cell open.

If you don't, you can stay here and rot...

...or wait till they hang you. Now, what do you want?

Start them.

Open it up, I'm in for a hanging.

When that black hood comes over your face, you think of me.

Get them out.

What about the wolf?

You might as well turn him out, they're gonna kill him anyway.

Come on, Ward!

Let's open up them other cell blocks. Come on.

Let me out!

Let me out!

Let me out!

Let me out!

Get back!

Come on, get back!

Okay. Okay.

Make sure those cell blocks are open, Ward.


Take these shells.

Let me get this.

Don't kill him, I need him.

The combination, what is it?

The combination, what is it?

Come on! They're breaking out of the prison.

Beetle, watch that tunnel.

Where's the warden? They killed him.

What do we do now? Them gold riders will be coming in here.

They must have heard the shots. Joyce and Guthrie will hold them.

Hooker, put the old man in the cell.

Please, don't put me in there. Get in there.

Sledge, I can't stay in here. You hear me good, old man.

You said you heard that combination. You can remember.

I can't remember. Please let me out. You sold me on this claim...

...and you'll pay off or I'm gonna leave you in here.

Bice, turn that tumbler.

Shut up, old man, and listen!

That's one. Turn another.

Come on. Come on. Slow.

Come on, Bice.

Another one.

The next one.


Slow. Easy. Easy.

That's it.

Turn the handle! Turn the handle.

They're riding in. I can hear them. Come on, Sledge.

You're gonna have a long time to remember, old man. Let's go!

Sledge! Sledge!

Sledge, wait a minute!

I remember.

I remember they turned it twice.

Come on, Sledge, forget it.

Look, now try it!

I told you. Sledge!

We gotta get out of here.

Here we go.

All right, let's go. Come on.


We'll rest the horses here.

Put the bags on the ground here.

Divide the rest.

How much you figure each of us got?

I don't know.

But I can remember when we never dreamed...

...of splitting this much up among the bunch of us.

Well, that ain't exactly a split, sonny. Sledge got double.

Wanna play a few hands?

You trying to get some of my gold?


The man cheated me.

You didn't have to kill him. I'd have made up his gold.

Stand up, you murdering son of a bitch.

Guthrie. Now, Joyce was cheating.

He didn't have to die for it. That was the old man's right.

I won't side with you.

You could have had my life any time you wanted it.

I would have died for you, Sledge. I would have.

He killed Joyce and you say he's right?

His life wasn't his anymore.

It belonged to the man who caught him cheating...

...and if you don't know that, you better learn it.

Come on, I'll help you bury him. You bury him, Sledge!

That old man that none of us ever knew...

...took Joyce's life. And he took you too.

So you bury him.

Hate don't belong in a card game, but, old man...

...I'm gonna take every grain of gold you got in front of you.

This game is over.

You just gonna go?

What about us, Sledge? You just gonna leave us?

There's a cupful of gold left up there.

Split it up any way you want.

Couldn't you give us some more?

He ain't gonna give you any of his gold.

He'd just as soon leave you here to die.

You're dead already, old man.

Your life's in those sacks and I'm taking them.

For the rest of your miserable life you'll never forget it.

So you take your share out of that cup.

It ain't no share.

It ain't nothing.

And it ain't gonna keep us from getting what's ours.

We're going after Ria.



We know you're here!

We thought we'd set up a little deal with you.

You give us half of what you took us for at poker and we'll call it even.

What do you say?

Old man!

Old man! I got Kehoe!

Did you hear me? Kehoe.

If you want that gold, you'll have to come and get it!

Hooker! Did you hear that?

Kehoe, he got him.

The odds are getting shorter.

And our shares are getting bigger. We don't know where he is.

We don't have to know. He's coming to us.

You just keep that carbine ready.

How long we gonna wait? The people will be coming back soon.

Well, the waiting's over.


We got Ria!

And the deal's changed.

All the gold or she's gonna join Kehoe.

You're bluffing. Let me hear her.

Call out to him! You'll kill him anyway.

I'll never help you.

You don't and I'll turn Bice loose on you.

Just make her call out, nothing else.

Sure, Hooker, don't worry.

Being in here does funny things to some people.

Come on, I haven't got all day!

Sledge sure knows how to pick them.


There's a fountain in the square. Bring all the gold there, and now.

You hear me, Sledge?

You wanna save her, you bring the gold to the square.

Ria! Ria!

She's all right, Sledge.

You just bring that gold to the fountain and we'll turn her loose.

After this, I'm not asking no more.

It's coming down!

We done it. We done it!

Bice, once we get that gold, I'm gonna kill you.

It's coming. It's coming. Bice, you get up there and fire at him.

Hooker, let's go.

Damn it, the gold. Get the horses!

It's all the old man's fault.

We didn't need the gold... Ria.

...to be happy.



He got Bice. Maybe the other way around.

No, you'd hear Bice yelling it at the top of his lungs if it was.

We got all the gold!

How do you figure we'll keep it with Sledge alive?

We're gonna have to take him! All right.

I'll work back up the same way. Just be sure you come behind him.

You can't travel very fast with that gold...

...so you just remember you got a partner.

Well, just one partner suits me fine.

Come on.

Old man, get ready!

Just you and me now!



The gold...

...I hid it.

You kill me, you'll never find it.

We didn't need the gold to be happy.


My claim is yours now.

I will it to you.

You'll never find the gold.

It's nothing but a dream.

Nothing but a dream.