Ace in the Hole (1951) Script

Hey. Pull up at the corner.

Wait here.


Good afternoon, sir.


I'd like to see the boss. What'd you say his name is?

I didn't say. Cagey, huh?

Mr Boot is the owner and publisher.

Okay. Tell Mr Boot Mr Tatum would like to see him.

Charles Tatum from New York.

What about?

Look, fan, just ask him, how would he like to make himself a fast $200 a week?

What did you say you were selling? Insurance?

I didn't say.

Cagey, huh?

Now, isn't that something? Who said it?

Well, Mr Boot said it, but I did the needlework.

Okay. I wish I could coin them like that.

If I ever do, would you embroider it for me?

Mr Tatum? Yes, sir.

Go ahead. What is it?

Well, Mr Boot, I was passing through Albuquerque.

Had breakfast here. Read your paper.

Thought you might be interested in my reaction.

You bet I am. Well, sir, it made me throw up.

I don't want you to think I expected The New York Times.

But even for Albuquerque, this is pretty Albuquerque.

All right. Here's your nickel back.

Now, what's all this about my making $200 a week?

Apparently, you're not familiar with my name.

Can't say that I am.

That's because you don't get the eastern papers out here.

I thought maybe once in a while somebody would toss one out of the Super Chief and you might've seen my byline.

Charles Tatum? Worked New York, Chicago, Detroit...

What about the $200? I was coming to that.

Mr Boot, I'm a $250-a-week newspaperman.

I can be had for $50. Why are you so good to me?

I know newspapers backward, forward and sideways.

I can write them, edit them, print them, wrap them and sell them.

Don't need anybody right now. I can handle big news and little news.

And if there's no news, I'll go out and bite a dog.

Make it $45. What makes you so cheap?

A fair question, considering I've been top man wherever I've worked.

You'll be glad to know that I've been fired from 11 papers with a total circulation of seven million, for reasons with which I don't want to bore you.

Go ahead. Bore me.

I'm a pretty good liar. I've done a lot of lying in my time.

I've lied to men who wear belts. I've lied to men who wear suspenders.

But I'd never be so stupid as to lie to a man who wears both belt and suspenders.

How's that again? You strike me as a cautious man.

A man who checks and double-checks.

So I'll tell you why I was fired.

In New York, a story of mine brought on a libel suit.

In Chicago, I started something with the publisher's wife.

In Detroit, I was caught drinking out of season.

In Cleveland... I get the picture.

Now, then I find myself in Albuquerque with no money.

A burnt-out bearing, bad tyres and a lousy reputation.

Bad tyres can be dangerous.

I've only one chance to get back where I belong.

To land a job on a small-town paper like yours and wait and hope and pray for something big to break, something I can latch on to, something the wire services will gobble up and yell for more.

Just one good beat, a Tatum special, and they'll roll out the red carpet.

Because when they need you, they forgive and forget.

But until then, Mr Boot, you'll get yourself the best newspaperman you ever had.

At $40 per. When do I start? Don't push.

I hope I haven't scared you off. Well, I don't know.

I'm not afraid of a libel suit, because I'm a lawyer myself.

Check and double-check every word I print.

Sure. Belt and suspenders.

Now, about that publisher's wife, I think you should know Mrs Boot is a grandmother three times.

If you wanna start something with her, she'd be very flattered.

And as for drinking, do you drink a lot?

Not a lot. Just frequently.

We have a shop rule here, no liquor on the premises.

How about smoking? Of course.

And I pay $60 a week in this shop.

I'll take it.

Where's my desk?

The one by the door. You may be out of here by Saturday.

The sooner the better.

Thanks, Geronimo. Take these over to the engraver's.

What's this mess?

They haven't got any chopped chicken livers.

I brought you some chicken tacos.

Chicken tacos?

They're not gonna chop the livers any more for you.

Nobody else will buy them. And no more garlic pickles.

When the history of this sun-baked Siberia is written, these shameful words will live in infamy.

"No chopped chicken liver."

"No garlic pickles."

No Lindy's. No Madison Square Garden.

No Yogi Berra.

What do you know about Yogi Berra, Miss Deverich?

I beg your pardon? Yogi Berra!

Yogi? Why, it's a sort of religion, isn't it?

You bet it is. A belief in the New York Yankees.

You know what's wrong with New Mexico, Mr Wendel?

Too much outdoors.

Give me those eight spindly trees in front of Rockefeller Center any day.

That's enough outdoors for me.

No subways smelling sweet-sour.

What do you use for noise around here?

No beautiful roar from eight million ants, fighting, cursing, loving.

No shows. No South Pacific.

No chic little dames across a crowded bar.

And worst of all, Herbie, no 80th floor to jump from when you feel like it.

Is this one of your long-playing records, Chuck?

Let's hear the other side.

All right. I'll play it for you.

When I came here, I thought this was gonna be a 30-day stretch, maybe 60.

Now it's a year.

It looks like a life sentence.

Where is it? Where's the loaf of bread with a file in it?

Where's that big story to get me out of here?

One year, and what's our hot news?

A soapbox derby.

A tornado that double-crossed us and went to Texas.

An old goof who said he was the real Jesse James, until they found out he was a chicken thief from Gallup by the name of Schimmelmacher.

I'm stuck here, fans. Stuck for good!

Unless, of course, you, Miss Deverich, Unless, of course, you, Miss Deverich, instead of writing household hints about how to remove chilli stains from blue jeans, get yourself involved in a trunk murder.

How about it, Miss Deverich?

I could do wonders with your dismembered body.

Oh, Mr Tatum. Really.

Or you, Mr Wendel.

If you'd only toss that cigar out of the window, real far, all the way to Los Alamos, and boom!

Now there would be a story.

I told you no liquor in the office. I thought I could trust you.

What a suspicious nature you have, Mr Boot.

Pretty, isn't it? I make those things every night when I go home out of matches and toothpicks.

Calms my nerves.

Sorry, Tatum.

Maybe you do need a change. Do I.

And I got news for you. You're going out of town for a couple of days.

How far and in what direction? Los Barrios county.

They're having a rattlesnake hunt, and I want you to cover it.

A rattlesnake hunt? That's right.

And take Herbie along. Let's get some art.

A rattlesnake hunt. Well, isn't that ginger-peachy?

A real "stop the press, pull out the front page, "get ready to re-plate" assignment.

Have a nice time, Chuck. See the country.

And don't worry, I'll put the paper to bed.

Well, it looks like we're starting our second year with a real bang.

Okay, fan, pack up.

You know, this could be a pretty good story, Chuck.

Don't sell it short.

It's quite a sight, 1,000 rattlers in the underbrush, and a lot of men smoking them out, bashing in their heads.

Big deal, 1,000 rattlers in the underbrush.

Give me just 50 of them loose in Albuquerque.

Like that leopard in Oklahoma City.

The whole town in panic.

Deserted streets. Barricaded houses.

They're evacuating the children.

Every man is armed.

Fifty killers on the prowl. Fifty.

One by one, they start hunting them down.

They get 10, 20.

It's building. They get 40, 45. They get 49.

Where's the last rattler?

In a kindergarten? In a church? In a crowded elevator? Where?

I give up. Where?

In my desk drawer, fan.

Stashed away, only nobody knows it, see?

The story's good for another three days.

Then when I'm good and ready, we come out with a big extra.

"Sun-Bulletin snags number 50."

Where do you get those ideas?

Herbie, boy, how long did you go to that school of journalism?

Three years.

Three years down the drain.

Me, I didn't go to any college, but I know what makes a good story.

Because before I ever worked on a paper, I sold them on a street corner.

You know the first thing I found out? Bad news sells best.

Because good news is no news.

Better get some gas.

Hey! Anybody here?



Anybody home?

Sorry to bother you, lady.

I'd like to buy some gas.

Hey, there's something screwy about this place.

There's just an old lady in there that's...

Now, what would the law be doing up there in that old Indian cliff dwelling?

Maybe they got a warrant for Sitting Bull for that Custer rap.

Come on, Herbie, let's go visiting. It's for free.

I can get the gas on the way back.

That is, if she's stopped praying.

Who? That old lady in there.

What's she praying for?

I don't know, but whatever she's praying for she's sure praying hard.

Maybe it ties in. Let's see.

Oh, I thought you were the doctor.

What's the matter? Somebody hurt?

We don't know yet. He's way in there, under that mountain.

What happened? We had a cave-in this morning.

Oh. That so?

Dumb cluck. Everybody keeps telling him, "Stay out of that place. Stay out of there."

Not Leo. Stubborn like a mule.

He always keeps going back, digging for those Indian pots.

Who's Leo? My husband.

Well, I'm sorry to hear about it. Hop in.

You live around here? Yeah.

I'm Mrs Leo Minosa.

We own that trading post down on the highway.

Finest store in downtown Escudero.

Is that what they call this place? Escudero?

Got a couple of other names for it myself.

Did the Indians really live in that place 450 years ago?

I wouldn't know. I haven't been around that long.

Only seems that long.

Say, if you gents stopped by to see that broken-down cliff dwelling, you sure picked a swell day.

All right, let's have the facts. You're his father?

Yes. I'm his father.

How long has he been inside? Pretty near six hours now.

How far down you think he is?

Oh, about 250 or 300 foot, I should judge.

Best we could do was to get in about halfway.

You got to watch yourself. Swing that pick too hard in them old walls, you start a sand slide and block up the whole place.

Then goodbye, Leo.

Is that coffee good and hot, Lorraine?

Sure, it's hot. The sandwiches are in the blanket. So are the cigars.

How's Mama? All right, I guess.

How do I find my way? Just follow our rope. We left it in there.

After that, holler. He'll yell back.

Wait a minute, you.

Nobody goes no place here without I say so.

He's cold. He's hungry. We've got to let him know we're doing something.

Look, I got my hands full already without having two of you in there.

Somebody's got to go. How about those Indians?

What do you say, chief? You ought to know your way around here pretty well.

They won't go in. They never do.

Bad spirits. Ah, go on.

What are you holding out for, a couple of bucks?

He says it's their holy mountain. The mountain of the seven vultures.

He says it's their holy mountain. The mountain of the seven vultures.

The mountain of the seven vultures. It's got a sound to it.

Get me a few shots, Herbie.

Looks like it's your move, copper. What's it gonna be?

I'm thinking. Don't rush me. I'll do something.

You could always give that poor fellow in there a ticket for parking overtime.

Let me have those things.

Who do you think you are butting in like this?

Let me have your flashlight. Who is he?

I'll tell you who I am. I'm the guy who's going in that cave.

And you're the guy that's been sounding off long enough.

Now give me your flashlight.

Why, you... Shut up.

Come on, Herbie.

Thanks, mister, and God bless you.

Tell him we'll get him out. Tell him not to worry.

Sure. Okay.

And tell him we'll have a big coming-out party for him with a brass band and everything.

Here's the rope.

I hope we can get to him.


Watch out for those rocks.

The old man sure looked bad.

Did you see his face? Yeah.

Like the faces of those folks you see outside a coal mine with maybe 84 men trapped inside.

One man's better than 84. Didn't they teach you that?

Teach me what? Human interest.

You pick up the paper, you read about 84 men or 284, or a million men, like in the Chinese famine.

You read it, but it doesn't stay with you.

One man's different. You wanna know all about him. That's human interest.

Somebody all by himself, like Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic or Floyd Collins.

Floyd Collins. Doesn't that ring a bell?

No, not to me, it doesn't.

You never heard of Floyd Collins?

1925. Kentucky.

The guy pinned way down in that cave.

One of the biggest stories that ever broke.

Front page in every paper in the country for weeks.

Say, what'd you take at that school of journalism, advertising?

Well, maybe I did hear about it.

Then maybe you heard that a reporter on a Louisville paper crawled in for the story and came out with a Pulitzer Prize.

Guess we'd better not fool around with that.

Here. Hold this.

Now let me have it.

And camera.

You got a couple of bulbs?

You stay here.

That sand gets any worse, let me hear from you, but loud.

I don't like the looks of it, Chuck.

I don't either, fan.

But I like the odds.




Over here.


Over here.

Hello, Leo. How do you feel?

Not so bad any more.

I thought nobody would ever come.

Anything hurt? Any bones broken?

No, I guess not.

Can't you get your legs out from under?

What do you think I've been trying to do?

They're pinned under me.

Maybe I can help.

Hey, watch it! Watch it!

You want those rocks to come down on my head?

I didn't know they were that shaky.

They're all pretty shaky.

It's an old place been coming apart for a long time.

Looks like we'll have to take them out one by one.

Don't try it by yourself. It's gonna take a lot of figuring.

The way they are now, if one goes, they'll all go, roof and everything.

I see what you mean. Well, here.

Wrap yourself in this blanket.

And get some of this hot coffee inside of you.

Thanks, mister.

Cigar. Your wife sent them.

She did? That's funny. She always beefs when I smoke a cigar.

Hey, what's your name, mister? Charlie Tatum.

Just driving by the trading post when I heard about it.

Hey, what happened to those other fellows?

I heard them, but they went away.

Why don't they do something about getting me out?

Easy, Leo. They'll get you out. But you know what you just said.

It takes figuring, maybe some special equipment.

They're not gonna leave me here overnight?

They'll do it as fast as they can, but they got to do it right.

Yeah, I know. Only that's a pretty heavy mountain.

Tell me, Leo. How'd it happen?

I guess I crawled in too far this time. You've got to, to find a good one.

Back there, it's pretty well cleaned out.

But I found me a beauty. Worth 50 bucks any day.

Just then the whole floor caved in under me.

I guess maybe they didn't want me to have it.

They? Who are they?

The Indian dead. They're all around here.

This is a tomb, mister, with mummies 400 years old.

They used to bury them here with these jars alongside, you know, full of corn and wampum.

That's worthwhile knowing, Leo. Go on.

I guess maybe they've been watching me all the time I've been taking things out of here and got mad.

Bad spirits, huh?

I guess you're gonna laugh at me, think I'm crazy.

But when you lie down here all by yourself, you get to thinking.

Do me a favour, will you?

Hold up that jar again. And look at me.

Hey, what are you doing? Taking your picture.

What for?

Gonna put it in the paper. What kind of paper?

In a newspaper in Albuquerque.

My picture? Certainly.

Honest? Everybody'll want to see how you look.

And I'm gonna write a story. They'll wanna know all about you.

They'll be pulling for you.

How do you like that? Me in a paper.

Let's take another one, Leo. Oh, let me wipe my face first.

Hold it.

And don't say anything about those Indian spirits.

I don't want anybody to think I'm scared.

Don't worry, Leo. I'm your pal.

I know. That's why I can talk to you.

Sure, you can.

You know, in the army, I was plenty scared, too.

Like when my outfit landed in Italy.

Only in the army, it's different. There, everybody's scared.

Your barge is gonna land. You know you're gonna die.

And then a guy starts singing, soft-like.

Then a guy next to you starts singing. Pretty soon, you're singing, too.

Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah And a brawla, brawla sooit Hut-Sut Rawlson

Well, it worked, didn't it? Nothing happened to you.

Not a thing, except I got the mumps in Naples.

Well, you light yourself a cigar, Leo. I gotta say so long.

I certainly wish you could stay a while longer.

So do I. But there's a lot to do outside getting things organised.

Well, you wanna get out, don't you?

Looks like it's gonna be a long night.

None of that. Come on, Leo.

Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah And a...

I said come on now. All together.

Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah And a brawla, brawla sooit Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah And a brawla sooit Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah And a brawla, brawla sooit Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah And a brawla...

The brawla is the boy and girl The Hut...

Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah And a brawla, brawla sooit Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah And a brawla sooit Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah What's the idea? Have you gone nuts?

Just a couple of pals singing. What's wrong with that?

I got me some pictures, fan. Guard them with your life.

Let's get moving.

What happened?

Aren't you gonna tell me? Quiet, Herbie. Quiet.

I'm writing the lead to the story.

Well, what is the story? Big.

As big as they come, I think. Maybe bigger than Floyd Collins.

Floyd Collins plus. Plus what?

Plus King Tut. You remember that one, don't you?

The curse of the old Egyptian pharaoh when they came to rob his tomb?

How's that for an angle? "King Tut in New Mexico.

"Curse of the old Indian chief. White man half buried by angry spirits.

"What will they do? Will they spare him? Will they crush him?"

Give it to me straight, Chuck. How does it look? Can they get him out?

Certainly. Well, how soon?

I don't know.

Floyd Collins lasted 18 days.

I don't need 18 days.

If I just had one week of this...

Oh, brother. You're kidding, Chuck.

You don't really wish for anything like that.

I'm not wishing for anything.

I don't make things happen. All I do is write about them.

Did you reach him? I saw him.

I talked to him. Couldn't you bring him out? Is he alive?

You can be sure of one thing, we'll get him out.

Today? Tonight?

I'm afraid not. There's nothing we can do here tonight.


As soon as we get an engineering crew on the job.

And I'm gonna get them, Mr Minosa, the best. And I'll get that doctor.

And the sheriff, too.

The sheriff's tied up in Los Barrios until Monday.

You better talk to me. Tied up in Los Barrios, huh?

I'll bet he's at that rattlesnake hunt. Chances are the doctor, too.

How do you like that? A man could be dying here, and...

Oh, I'm sorry, Mrs Minosa. I know all about that sheriff.

He stops in every week for a steak dinner and never picks up the cheque.

He'll be here. They'll all be here.

The sheriff, the doctor, the engineer.

You got a phone at the trading post? Yeah.

Let's get started. We got a lot of telephoning to do.

The phone's inside. Okay.

Fill her up, Herbie. You're going back to town.

All right.

Over there.

There's the doctor's number. Dr Hilton.

The sheriff's number's there, too.

Oh, that's the sheriff, huh? Gus Kretzer.

We'll get some action here. You'll see.

By tomorrow, this place will be jumping if I have to call Santa Fe and get the Governor out of bed.

Oh, would it be too much trouble to put me up for the night?

Sixty beautiful rooms. The Escudero Ritz.

What'll it be, ocean view or mountain view?

Anything. A cot. A couple of chairs in here will do fine.

Operator? Get me Albuquerque 4923.

What's the number here? Escudero 2.

Escudero 2.


Sun-Bulletin? This is Tatum speaking. Get me Mr Boot, and make it fast.

Mr Boot? Tatum.

No, nothing's wrong. Quite the contrary.

I'm in a dreamy little spot called Escudero about three hours down the line.

Forget the rattlesnakes. We got something nicer here.

We got birds, vultures. Seven of them.

How does this hit you?

"The curse of the mountain of the seven vultures."

Of course you don't know what I'm talking about, but I'm gonna tell you.

And wait till you see the pictures. I'm sending them up with Herbie...

No, I'm not drunk, Mr Boot.

Maybe a little excited, because unless war is declared tonight, here's your front-page feature. Now...

How much is it, Mr Minosa?

No, sir, I wouldn't take your money, not after all you're doing for my boy.

Hi. Morning.

The construction boss show up? Or the sheriff?

Not yet.

From the way you were talking, I thought you'd get the Governor down here.

The Marines, too. It's all taken care of.

They got a construction crew together, machinery too, and they're on their way from Los Barrios now, Sunday or no Sunday.

Yap, yap. I've talked to the doctor.

We're taking him in as soon as they clear the passage.

And the sheriff will be on the job, too.

Yap, yap, yap, yap, yap.

Look, madam, when I say I deliver, I deliver.

Where are the old folks?

Went to early mass.

What's that you been playing on your typewriter all night?

From upstairs, it sounded like that Sabre Dance.

With all this trouble, I didn't think you could sleep anyhow.

I've had enough sleep, five years of it.

What else could you do in Escudero? Look at the family album?

Where'd you get it? From Mama Minosa.

Just shows.

Yesterday, you never even heard of Leo.

Today, you can't know enough about him.

Aren't you sweet?

Good-Iooking kid in his uniform, wasn't he?

Him and eight million other guys.

See our wedding picture? Bet you didn't even recognise me.

Sure, I did. You were a brunette then.

In '45? No, in '45, I was a redhead.

See how skinny I was?

A hospital back in Baltimore said I had a touch of TB.

You'd never think it to look at me now.

You don't look like a chest case to me.

If you can spare this one, I'd like to take it along, in case I forget what he looks like.

What time is it?

5:45. What's all this about?

I'm grabbing the early bus. Where to?

Out of here fast. As far as 11 bucks will take me.

I'm blowing this place.

You picked a fine time. I've left him before.

Once, I got as far as Dodge City, Kansas, in a big, blue convertible that stopped by for gas.

It must have cost $4,000, easy.

But Leo caught up with me. I told him I was through.

I told him it was no good any more. This isn't for me.

What is?

I bet he took you out of some dime-a-dance joint in Baltimore.

Nightclub. Saloon.

All right. Saloon. You know what he told me?

He told me he had 160 acres in New Mexico and a big business.

Look at us, we sell eight hamburgers a week and a case of soda pop, and once in a while, a Navajo rug maybe.

He married you, didn't he? Brought you out here, fed you, nursed you.

And I thanked him plenty. I've been thanking him for five years.

That makes us even.

So long, Jack.

Nice kid.

Got a little jump on him this time, huh?

Can't run after you, not lying there with those rocks on his legs.

Look who's talking. Much you care about Leo.

I'm onto you. You're working for a newspaper.

All you want is something you can print.

Honey, you like those rocks just as much as I do.

Say, lady.

Excuse me, we're a little mixed up here.

Are we on the right road to Escudero?

This is Escudero.

Is that the mountain? Is he still in there?

That's the mountain, and he's still in there.

Anything else you wanna know?

No. No, just stopping by to take a look.

The name's Federber. We're on our way to Bottomless Lake.

Gonna get in a week of fishing and boating.

Thought, as long as we're this close... Glad you dropped in, folks.

How'd you hear about it?

Are you one of the family? No. Just a friend.

Well, haven't you seen the paper? It's full of it.

Got one? Sure. Picked one up in Albuquerque.

Come on, Nellie. Tilt.


We thought there'd be a lot of digging going on.

Where is everybody? Scared of those Indian spooks, huh?

When are they gonna start doing something?

Any minute now. They're on the way. Aren't they, mister?

I guess it's all right if we drive up there, isn't it?

Go ahead. Help yourself.

What do you say, Nellie? Just a half an hour?

All right. Later on, we can have a nice breakfast here.

That is, if it won't disturb the family.

It's all right. You can get breakfast. Thanks.

Wake up the kids, Nellie. They should see this.

This is very instructive.

Walter, Willie. Wake up.

Hey, you look pretty good here.

Wanna hear what I wrote about you?

"The grief-stricken wife with a tear-stained face, "trying to fight her way into the cave to be at her husband's side."

Tough. You'll just have to rewrite me.

In a pig's eye. This is the way it reads best, this is the way it's gonna be.

In tomorrow's paper and the next day's.

It's the way people like it. It's the way I'm gonna play it.

Get this.

There's three of us buried here, Leo, me and you.

We all wanna get out, and we're going to.

Only I'm going back in style. You can, too, if you like.

Not with any 11 stinking dollars.

You saw those people. To you, they're a couple of squares, huh?

To me, they're just the beginning. To me, they're Mr and Mrs America.

I wasn't sure before, but now I know. They're going for it. They'll eat it up.

The story and the hamburgers.

You'll sell all your hamburgers, hot dogs, soda pop and all your Navajo rugs.

There's gonna be real dough in that cash register by tonight.

When they bleached your hair, they must've bleached your brains, too.

Hello there, Mr Minosa. Anything new with Leo?

Not yet. Mr Tatum's down there now with the doctor.


Hey! That'll be two bits.

It's the press. Twenty-five cents.

Newspaper. We never pay. Everybody pays.

Mrs Minosa says so. Two bits.

Now keep moving.

We'll have that air going in about 20 minutes, Doctor.

I could use a little of it myself.

Thank you, Doctor. I'll send over some aureomycin.

That's every four hours for that one, isn't it?

Yes. The caffeine if he feels weak, and the Demerol if the pain gets very bad.

Say, about every three hours. I got it.

As soon as I can get close enough, I'll give him a shot of tetanus-gas gangrene antitoxin.

But it's all right for the time being. In fact, any time within a week.

But we'll have him out before then?

Oh, sure.

Say, Doc?

He's a pretty rugged customer, isn't he?

Leo? They don't come any tougher.

He walked around with a burst appendix for three days, because he promised his wife he'd take her to a square dance.

Well, as soon as you get him free, I can start to work on him.

Call me anytime, night or day.

I certainly will, Doctor. So long. Goodbye.

Thanks a lot.

It's a fine thing. Now I have to pay to see you.

Howdy, fan. Did you read the paper?

That I did. Broke pretty good, huh?

Boot flashed a couple hundred words over the wires, and they came back for more.

They want all we've got. Yeah, it figures.

We wired all the art, too. What a break for me.

If this keeps up, maybe Life will go for it, or Look, one of those four-page spreads.

You like it now, don't you?

Well, everybody likes a break. We didn't make it happen.

Oh, Smollett! How's it look?

Don't know yet. Lots of problems.

We've been figuring on doing some bulkheading and cross-bracing.

But those old walls, I don't know.

All right, boys, start bringing those jacks in.

Well, it looks like we'll be here for a while.

I brought you enough for a couple of days, some shirts and shorts.

A couple of bottles. Save it, fan. No booze.

Not for the duration. Hey, you!

The sheriff wants to see you down at the trading post.

And don't waste none of his time, because he ain't staying around long.

Maybe you ain't, either. You don't say?

You wanna know something? He don't like you.

And I was gonna propose to him.

He won't eat any steak.

Maybe he'd like a little raw hamburger or some milk maybe.

After all, he's only a baby.

Try him with a lollipop, Sheriff.

Or how about my right arm?

He'd like that. You would, too, wouldn't you?

So you're that Tatum guy that was popping off over the phone last night.

Not popping off, Sheriff. Just threatening.

You play along with me, and I'll have you re-elected.

You don't, and I'll crucify you. That's all I said. Remember?

I think I'll have my boys take you to the county line and throw you out.

Throw out your campaign manager? You need plenty of help, Kretzer.

And maybe before I throw you out, I'll toss you in the clink for a while.

Wasting your time on a rattlesnake hunt.

This is where the votes are. What do you know about votes?

There's seven here in Escudero, 700 up there.

We had a big barbecue, and I made a speech, a good one, too.

Then we sat down to a little poker game, and you started bothering me, right in the middle of a hand.

What'd you have, pair of deuces?

This is better.

Here we've got an ace in the hole.

Two candy bars, please. A couple of hamburgers, please.

How much are those Swiss-cheese sandwiches?

I'll have the coffee. I'll take a coffee.

Come on, Mama. I need some help. We're swamped out here.

Come on.

Now, how's this, Sheriff? By tomorrow, I'll have your name all over the paper.

"The man who rushed here at the first cry for help

"to direct the rescue operation."

By Tuesday, everyone in the state will know you.

"Gus Kretzer, the tireless public servant who never spares himself."

I'll pile it on every day.

Six days of this and I'll make you a hero.

The election's in the bag.

In the bag? The guys running against you will vote for you.

Okay, I'm a hero. And what do I make you?

Now here's the deal.

The way things look, there's gonna be other newspapermen trying to horn in on this story. A lot of them.

Maybe all the way from New York.

This is my story.

And I wanna keep it mine.

You're gonna help me.

Mr Tatum, we're moving you into our room.

It's a good, comfortable bed.

Oh, no, Mr Minosa. I don't want to put anybody out.

Mama and I will be fine. This is a great honour.

Okay. Thanks.

Herbie, unpack for me, will you? And stand by.

We're gonna take some pictures of the sheriff.

Guess I'm getting too old to crawl around in there.

How about a cup of coffee? Make it two.

Coming up.

What's the latest? Not too good.

There must be a pretty deep fault underneath there, or it wouldn't have caved in.

How long will it take?

Of course we haven't been able to get all the way back.

There's a lot of shoring to do first.

That means getting those bulkhead timbers placed right.

Then there's all that cross-bracing. How long?

When we get that done, we ought to be able to start operating.

Moving those heavy slabs and stones so the whole shebang doesn't come crashing in on us and on him.

How long? Well, Gus, I can't tell you exactly.

But I don't see how we can do it under 16 hours.

Well, maybe I can do it in 12 hours if I send for a second crew.

Although some of the men don't want to work, on account of that jinx you wrote about.

Look, Mr Smollett, I'm no engineer, but the way you wanna do it, those crumbling walls and piles of stones, isn't that kind of dangerous for your men?

Not after we get the walls braced.

Suppose we set up a drill on top of the mountain and go straight down.

Cut through all that rock?

Do you know how long that would take?

You tell me.

Six, maybe seven days.

It's a great big job.

Have you got any drills like that?

Yes, sir, but it's not necessary.

Once we get that back part shored up, I think...

You're thinking too much. Let Mr Tatum do the thinking.

But he's all wrong.

I think... You're thinking again, Sam.

A few years ago, you was a truck driver. Now that I'm sheriff, you're a contractor.

Do you want to be a truck driver again?

All right, Gus, if that's the way you want it, I'll set the drill.

But that fellow in there. Seven days.

I know what's in your mind, Mr Smollett, and it does you credit.

Leo's a rugged boy. The doctor told me that himself.

He'll get the best of care, so don't worry.


Hey, how about some cigarettes? Couple of hot dogs, please.

Don't you wanna be paid, lady? We had four hamburgers and four coffees.

That's $1.20. Can you change a $50?

Hey, how about one here, Chuck? Okay, fan.

Get me a few of Mr Smollett, the man whose know-how is gonna save the life of Leo Minosa.

You'll be the biggest contractor in the business, I bet you.

And let's get that drill. See you, gentlemen. Lot of work to do.


Come on, come on. What is it?

I met a lot of hard-boiled eggs in my life, but you, you're 20 minutes.

Is that a boost or a knock? Because I haven't time to figure it out.

I've been doing my own figuring.

Took in 70 bucks so far. By tonight, it ought to be $150.

Seven times $150. That's over a grand.

That's the first grand I ever had.


Thanks a lot.

Look, Mrs Minosa, your husband's stuck under a mountain.

You're worried sick. That's the way the story goes.

Now get the smile off your face.

It's been a nice day, Chuck. I feel like smiling.

You heard me. Get it off.

Make me.

That's more like it.

And don't wipe those tears. That's the way you're supposed to look.

Put on your wedding ring.

Go on back and peddle your hamburgers.

Good morning, everybody.

This is radio station KOAT, Albuquerque.

Bob Bumpas speaking and bringing you another on-the-spot report of the Leo Minosa rescue operation.

Send up more casings! Since the operation began 3 days ago, the drill has cut its way 57 feet closer to Leo.

You have just heard the voice of Sam Smollett, the man who is in charge of the drilling job.

This man, together with Sheriff Kretzer and a crew of volunteer rescue workers, is tirelessly fighting this battle against stubborn rock and fleeting time with a human life at stake.

If anyone can lick this, this curse of the mountain of the seven vultures, they can.

Ladies and gentlemen, something phenomenal is going on here, right in front of this 400-year-old cliff dwelling.

A new community is springing up a veritable town of tents and trucks and trailers.

Standing here, I can pick out licence plates from California, Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma.

And more cars pouring in all the time.

And more volunteer workers from all over the state.

Top-flight newspapermen from the biggest papers in the country are here.

The most outstanding of these newspaper people is, of course, Chuck Tatum, the courageous reporter who first made contact with Leo last Saturday.

Later on in this broadcast, we will try to get Mr Tatum to this microphone.

In the meantime, I'm sure you'll want to hear from some of the folks who have gathered here to hope and pray for Leo's rescue.

This gentleman right here, what is your name, sir?

Federber. Al Federber.

What business are you in, Mr Federber?

In the insurance game, in Gallup.

Feel right at home, Mr Federber.

Speak right into the microphone, please.

We're from Gallup. This is Mrs Federber and the boys.

It's a very wonderful thing to see a man and his family come all the way from Gallup to join us here during these anxious days.

Well, I didn't exactly what you call join.

I heard you talking to some other people on the radio last night.

We were over there in our trailer having supper.

And they said they were the first ones here.

Oh, I hate to call anybody a liar, but that just plain isn't so.

My wife will bear me out.

Nellie, who were the first people here? Tell them.

Why, we were. I wouldn't lie about a thing like that.

I'm sure you wouldn't, Mrs Federber.

Now, Mr Federber, what is your reaction to this wonderful job being done here?

I think it's wonderful.

I run up against accidents all the time. I know what I'm talking about.

I'm in the insurance game myself.

You never can tell when an accident's gonna happen.

I sure hope Leo had the good sense to provide for an emergency like this.

Now, you take my outfit, the Pacific All Risk.

We have a little policy that covers... Thank you.

Thank you very much, Mr Federber.

I'm sorry we have to interrupt these on-the-spot interviews, but I see it's almost time for Mr Tatum to make his first visit of the day to Leo.

Stand by while we move our microphone.

We'll try to get Mr Tatum to say a few words to you when he reaches us.

Hold it, fan.

Look, Mrs Minosa, they're having a rosary at that little church this evening.

I want you to be there.

I don't go to church. Kneeling bags my nylons.

You're making enough dough to buy yourself another pair.

I want you to be there because I'm sending Herbie down to get a couple of shots, understand?


But only because you wrote me up so pretty in today's paper.

You sure can make with the words.

"A figure of fair-haired loveliness in the lengthening shadow

"of the cursed mountain. Beautiful..." Unquote.

Tomorrow this'll be yesterday's paper, and they'll wrap a fish in it.

And another thing, mister. Don't ever slap me again.

Did you buy the cigars for Leo?

Real Havana. The best I could find in Albuquerque.

I got a job for you, fan. Pick up Mrs Minosa. Lorraine, I mean.

Make sure she gets to that church this evening.

I want a picture of her with her beads.

If she hasn't got any, get some for her.

Sure. And how about me taking a picture of a medicine man, you know, with the fancy headdress and all the trimmings, exorcising all the evil spirits? Now you're clicking, fan.

That's got a message. Thanks.

When I take your copy in Albuquerque...

No more copy. Not for Boot anyhow.

As of now, I'm not working with the Albuquerque Sun-Bulletin.

Neither are you. We quit. Both of us?

Hope it's all right with you. Sure, Chuck.

There isn't anything you could do wrong as far as I'm concerned.

But I don't get it.

Quit in the middle of a story right when it's snowballing like this?

That's exactly the time to do it, Herbie, boy.

They've been lapping it up.

Every word, every paper, from New York to Los Angeles.

So now we turn off the spigot. Just like that.

Watch them with their tongues out.

Stop at that tent. Let's see the gentlemen of the press.

Look, boys, I don't care where you come from, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago or the moon.

Nobody goes down to see Leo.

What about Tatum? It's out of bounds.

Why? Because it's dangerous down there.

Because a wall could fall in on you.

Because I'm sheriff and because I'm responsible for everybody's safety.

What about Tatum? Out of bounds! You heard me.

What about Tatum?

You're repeating yourself.

This is a pretty nice place I fixed up here for you boys.

Be a shame to cut all these wires and kick you out.

Don't try it, Mr Sheriff.

We wouldn't take that kind of guff from J. Edgar Hoover, let alone from you.

We came all the way out here to do a job and we're going to do it.

It's out of bounds! Now you're repeating yourself!

How come it isn't out of bounds for Tatum?

How come he goes in as much as he wants to?

What about Tatum? That's right. What about Tatum?

Howdy, fans. Why, it's like old home week.

Glad to see you, Mac. Mr McCardle, used to work together in New York.

And if it isn't Jessop. Big-hearted Mickey Jessop.

Thanks for the 50 bucks you didn't send me.

Guess he didn't get my wire.

And what do you know? Josh Morgan. Where was it?

Boston? Chicago? All I know is he's got a hernia.

Sitting pretty, aren't you, Chuck? Got everything sewed up, Leo, the sheriff.

Try to talk to the father, the mother, the wife, and what do I get?

"See Tatum! See Tatum!" He's a friend of the family.

Now, what's your beef, fans? You're smart cookies, big-city newspapermen.

There's a lot of good stories lying around here all yours.

The weather, the crowds, the Indians.

Inside stuff, how they weave a rug.

Cut it out, Chuck. We're all buddies. We're all in the same boat.

I'm in the boat. You're in the water.

Now let's see you swim, buddies.

Tatum, I always knew you were a louse.

Easy, Mr Morgan. You're talking to an officer of the law.

That tin badge will do you no good.

We've launched a protest with your publisher.

Launch it with the sheriff. He's my superior.

All right, we'll take this all the way to Santa Fe, to the Governor.

And you know what he'll do. You bet I do.

He's a fine man, and he'll take action. He'll phone the sheriff.

And I'll write him a letter and tell him I'm doing my duty.

Then you talk to the Governor again, and he'll talk to the Attorney General, and for all I know, they'll throw me out of here.

Only by that time, buddies, Leo will be out, and the story is finished. Over, done!

Excuse me, gentlemen. I got a date with Leo.

Popcorn! Popcorn!

Just so you don't think I'm a complete louse, I do have some news for you.

Put it on a teletype.

Tell your papers Chuck Tatum is available.

Looks like there's gonna be three or four more days of hot copy.

Exclusive. And Tatum is sitting on it.

So let's hear their bids.

Come on, fan.

Of course, it's hard to say what we might run into.

You hit rock and then those layers of shale.

That's what we call a stratified formation. And that means...

Wait just a second! There's Mr Tatum making his way toward the cliff dwelling.

I'm going to try to get him on this microphone.

Mr Tatum! Mr Tatum!

Good. He's coming over this way now.

Mr Tatum, could you spare us a few moments, please?

Just a word or two about Leo and the way things look to you down there.

Well, we're making progress, good progress, but every second counts in this rescue operation, and I'm sure your radio audience will excuse me, as well as Mr Smollett here if he goes back to his post at the drill.

I don't know why they have to use a drill at all.

They don't have to go from the top.

There's a quicker way to get that man out of there.

What's your name, sir? My name is Kusac.

I did a lot of mining in my day, silver mining, that is, up in Virginia City.

Now, the way I see it...

Yes, go ahead, Mr Kusac. We're very much interested.

Well, we had cave-ins, quite a few of them.

One that I know of was further in than yours.

Were you ever in a cave-in yourself, Mr Kusac?

No, not personally. Well, I was.

Course you might not call it a cave-in exactly, but I was stuck in an elevator once, in the store I work in, between the basement and the sub-basement.

It was six hours before they could get me out, and they had to use a blowtorch to do it.

Right from the top. Just like here.

I'm afraid I gotta be getting back to my crew.

As I was trying to say, we didn't have no big drill.

We didn't need it.

We just hauled in the timber and shored up the walls all the way back.

Now, if we did it that way in Virginia City why can't we do it that way here?

You're not telling me anything I don't know.

I know all about shoring and bracing...

Mr Kusac, you see, this is a cliff dwelling and not a silver mine.

Well, I think it's all the same. A man's underground and you got to get him out.

Did you get your man out, Mr Kusac?

I'm afraid we didn't. We were too late.

Well, then, suppose we let Mr Smollett do it his way, from the top.

Thank you, Mr Tatum. Thank you very much. And thank you, Mr Smollett.

I know I speak for my entire radio audience when I express my great admiration for both of you.

Mr Tatum is now approaching the entrance to the cliff dwelling to start another one of his perilous journeys into the underground mazes of this dread mountain.

As he waves to the crowd, you can hear the tremendous cheer!

Hiya, Leo. What do you say?

Five minutes late this morning.

Sorry. What's the matter?

Did you eat anything? I'm not hungry.

Take your pills? Yeah.

This afternoon, when the doctor comes, you better give yourself another injection.

I don't want any injection. It's that drill.

You gotta keep telling yourself, Leo, they're getting closer all the time.

I can't stand it. It never stops.

It's like somebody was driving crooked nails through my head.

Listen to it! It's enough to wake up the dead, I tell you...


I'm sorry.

Here. I brought you the paper.

Thanks. Yesterday, I read there were 2,000 people outside.

Today there's over 3,000.

Well, who are they? What do they want?

They're your friends. They are?

I guess everybody's got a lot of friends they don't even know about.

Like those guys drilling for me.

Or like you, Chuck. I didn't even know you were alive this time last week, and now you're my friend. I guess you're my best friend.

Leo, when we get you out of here I'll be going to New York more than likely.

Then I won't be seeing you any more?

No. I was just about to say when I'm in New York, I'll bring you out to visit me for a couple of weeks or as long as you want. Stay right with me.

Hey, you ever been in New York?

Been in Baltimore. Never in New York.

We're really gonna have a great time. You'll see. We'll live it up a little.

New York. Lorraine told me a lot about New York.

Does she talk about me? Is she upset?

Sure. Everybody's upset about you.

Say, Chuck, what day is this? Wednesday.

Think there's a chance they can get me out by Friday?

Because Friday's something special.

We're doing all we can.

Because it's gonna be five years that Lorraine and I were married.

You know, things haven't been so good between us.

Maybe this'll make a difference. Maybe we can start all over again.

Maybe I can take her along on that trip to New York.

She's so pretty.

Here you are. Get yourself a red hot! A show-stopping monster for a dime!

We can't let them come in here, Lorraine. Not the carnival!

Quiet, Papa. I told them it was all right.

It is not all right. I won't have them here.

They're paying for it. Good money.

Look at them. Selling balloons here, ice cream, hot dogs.

Everybody's paying for it.

Why don't we just lock up this place and tell everybody to go home?

Because they won't go home.

They'll just park on the other side of the highway and eat someplace else.

Why shouldn't we get something out of it?

I don't want their money. All I want is Leo.

Who do you think the money's for? It's for him when he gets out.

He's always wanted to make some improvements around here, build some cabins for tourists, buy a new car, have a little money in the bank.

It'll make things easier for him. Doesn't that make sense, Papa?

Mr Tatum!

How is he? Pretty good.

Does it hurt him bad? Is he getting any sleep?

Sure, he's fine.

Well, you ought to see him smoking a cigar, reading the paper.

He's making plans.

All the doctor says is he's doing as well as can be expected.

What does that mean? Means he's gonna be fine.

Means everything's gonna be fine, doesn't it, Mr Tatum?

How is he, mister? Did you see him?

Is he holding out? Is he all right?

What did he have to say? When do you think they'll get him out?

Go ahead. I guess you need a drink.

Care to join me?

Looks like the only other glass we have is one of these candle jiggers.

Sensational copy you've been sending in.

Glad you like it. Had to get out an extra every day.

Circulation jumped 8,000.

What did you come down for? To pin a medal on me?

You've got a medal, and I know how you got it.

What else do you know?

Heard a few things in Albuquerque about how you're handling this story.

I didn't like it. Now that I'm here, I like it even less.

Suppose you stop beating around the bush.

Tatum, you've been putting a halo around that Kretzer sheriff, so you could hog the whole story. That's the setup, isn't it?

Oh. For a minute, you had me scared. I thought I did something real bad.

You have. Kretzer should be kicked out, not re-elected.

One of these days, I'll get the facts and print them.

I think he's corrupt, rotten, no good.

He's been good to me. So there'll be one more crooked sheriff in the world.

Who cares?

I do. I don't make deals. Not my paper.

Even if it does sell 8,000 more a day.

Hello. Who in Chicago?

Tell them Mr Tatum will be ready to talk in half an hour.

Now then, Mr Boot, I sent you a wire this morning.

Apparently, you didn't get it. No, I didn't.

Because you could've saved yourself the trip.

I've quit. I'm not working for you any more.

I'm sorry to hear that, Chuck.

No, you're not. I'm not your kind of newspaperman.

I don't belong in your office, not with that embroidered sign on the wall.

It gets in my way. Then it does bother you a little.

Not enough to stop me. I'm on my way, and if it takes a deal with a crooked sheriff, that's all right with me.

And if I have to fancy it up with an Indian curse and a broken-hearted wife for Leo, that's all right, too!

Not with me, it isn't. And not with a lot of others in this business.

Phoney, below-the-belt journalism. That's what it is.

Not below the belt. Right in the gut, Mr Boot.

Human interest. You heard me. Phoney.

For all I know, there isn't even a Leo down there.

Yes, there is. Tatum made sure of that.

Look, I've waited a long time for my turn at bat.

Now that they've pitched me a fat one, I'm gonna smack it right out of the ballpark.

Yes? What paper?

Tell Philadelphia to call back in half an hour.

You know what, Chuck?

I had that medicine man stage a whole ceremonial.

Hello, Mr Boot.

Come on, Herbie. Get your things together. We're going back.

Tatum just hit a home run, and the big leagues are calling.

Go ahead, Herbie. Maybe Boot's right. Maybe you'd better go back with him.

But you said I could stick with you.

Give him good advice, Chuck. You can do it.

He's old enough to make up his own mind.

Everybody in this game has to make up his own mind.

I've made up mine.

Hello. Yes?

Sure, I'm ready to talk to New York. Put them on.

Don't be so sorry for him.

What makes you think the Albuquerque Sun-Bulletin is all that a kid wants out of life?

What makes you think you have all the answers?

They're out of date.

High-button shoes, belt and suspenders, they're not wearing them any more.

Look at the calendar, Mr Boot. It's the 20th century, the second half of it!

You don't expect the kid to stand still. He wants to get going. Going!

Going where?

Hello. Who?

Mr Nagel? Not lover boy himself. Well, well.

Tell me, Mr Nagel, did you ever repair that ceiling in your office?

The one you hit the day you told me my services were no longer required.

All right, Tatum. You're a very comical guy.

And I promise I'm gonna laugh. Hard! But not right now.

What about that Minosa story?

Yes, the weather's fine in New York.

No, it's not raining. Yes, she's still here.

Come on, Tatum. How much for the Minosa story? Exclusive!

What? Don't you know there's a war on somewhere?

I'll give you $1,000.

What do you think I got here, a plane crash or a set of quadruplets?

This is a circulation builder.

It'll go another four days. Some beautiful copy coming.

Speak up fast. There's a waiting list.

So you think you've got me over a barrel?

All right, maybe you have!

Give you $1,000 a day. As long as it lasts.

Mr Nagel, you're not getting the point.

It's not just $1,000 a day.

It's that desk of mine I want back when this is over.

You heard me. The old desk, the old job.

Here, here, lover boy, watch that ceiling.

That's more like it.

Now put the contract on the wires. You'll get the first story in an hour.

Oh, one more thing.

See that there's some flowers on my desk with a little ribbon.

"Welcome Home."

This means you, too, fan. We're rounding third.

I'm right behind you, Chuck.

We're coming, we're coming, Leo So, Leo, don't despair While you are in the cave-in hoping We are up above you groping And we soon will make an opening, Leo We're closer, we're closer, Leo And soon you'll breathe fresh air While you are in the devil's prison Keep that spark of life a-fizzing We'll soon have you out of prison, Leo Oh, Leo, Leo, Leo, Leo Be steadfast and keep your spirits high We're coming, we're coming, Leo

I want to take this opportunity of thanking you people of the television audience for the hundreds of letters and telegrams that have been pouring in.

I only wish that I could reach right out there and shake you by the hand, each and every one of you.

But there's one thing that I want to make plain to you good people of Los Barrios county.

When election day rolls around I don't want what I'm doing here to influence your vote one little bit.

Because all I'm doing here is my duty as your sheriff.

We're coming, we're coming, Leo Leo, don't despair While you are in the cave-in hoping We are up above you groping And we soon will make an opening, Leo We're closer, we're closer, Leo And soon you'll breathe fresh air While you are in the devil's prison Keep that spark of life a-fizzing We'll soon have you out of prison, Leo Oh, Leo, Leo, Leo, Leo Be steadfast and keep your spirits high We're digging, we're digging, Leo We've come to set you free We can look you in the eye When you are free beneath the sky Hey, how about some more ice here?

Yes, Mr Tatum? Close that door.

What can the management do for you? I'll tell you what you can do.

You can stop playing games with those newsboys.

They're nice fellows. They're sharpies.

They'll rope you into a game of 20 questions.

And 20 questions take 20 answers. And one of them may be the wrong one.

Don't worry, Mr Tatum. They just want me to write something for them.

Write what? My life with Leo, in three parts.

I got them up to $750. Tell them you can't spell.

I told them I'm not interested in their $750.

And you're not interested in $1,000, $2,000 or $3,000, understand?

And I'm not interested in their three-part story, either.

It's the fourth part I'm thinking about.

After I get out of here, I'm figuring on going to New York, too.

Maybe I'll run into you. Maybe you'll buy me a couple of drinks.

Maybe you'll even take me out for a big evening, huh?

How big?

You won't be ashamed of me.

I'm gonna buy me a new trousseau and look real swell.

Why don't you wash that platinum out of your hair?

This is radio station KOAT, Albuquerque.

Bob Bumpas speaking and bringing you our 10:00 p.m. Special events newscast from Escudero.

This is the fifth night the big drill has been pounding and grinding its way toward Leo.

The rescue workers are now only 26 feet away.

At the rate they are going, they should reach Leo by this time tomorrow night.

So after 129 hours of being buried alive, at last, freedom seems in sight.

Now put it on your right side, Leo. Underneath your arm.

A little lower. Breathe through your mouth.

Move it down a little.

Breathe. Through your mouth.

I can't. Don't talk, please. Just breathe.

Now, on the other side.

I can't any more. Get me Father Diego.

Shut up, Leo. Do what the doctor tells you.

Chuck, don't let me die without the priest.

You don't need a priest. You're not going to die.

Tell him he's not gonna die, Doctor.

Everybody's gonna die someday, Leo. I am. Tatum is. You are.

But you still have a long time ahead of you.

Only you have to help. Now, put it on the left side.

Way over. There. Breathe.

They'll never let me go.

They're getting even with me for robbing their tomb.

They'll never let me go.

Pneumonia. How bad?

He told you himself.

Nobody dies of pneumonia these days. He will.

You can't lie down here five days and five nights in the same position.

What can you do?

We can get him some oxygen and help him breathe.

How long can he hold out?

Oh, 12 hours.

Unless we get him in a hospital tomorrow morning, he'll be dead.

Chuck. Chuck!

Yes, Leo? Tell them to stop the drill.

It's no use. They'll never make it.

Get those ideas out of your head. You're talking crazy.

You'll be out of here by tomorrow morning.

No, I won't.

They'll never reach me by tomorrow morning.

I figured it out myself.

You'll be out of here in 12 hours. Hang on!

You wouldn't be lying to me now, would you, Chuck?

Leo, look at me.

No, you wouldn't. You never have.


How do you like that dumb snake? I feed him meat. I feed him cheese.

I even caught him some bugs. Won't touch a thing.

What do you think he goes for? Chewing gum!

But only with the silver wrapper on it.

Look at him. He's putting on weight.

Say, Chuck, I think we ought to get together about tomorrow night.

The kid will be out, so let's make a big thing of it.

Now, the moment they bring him up, I wanna shake hands with him.

But I gotta be the first one.

Then I wanna make a speech from the top of the hill.

I want you to write it for me. Something nice and simple.

Hey, what's this?

What are you sending out here? What new development?

What's this all about?

You read it. We'll have Leo out by tomorrow morning.

We're going the other way. What other way?

The way we could have gone in the first place, the easy way.

Now why should we do that?

Now why should we do that?

I'll tell you why. Because the guy in there is dying.

That's no good for my story.

When you have a big human interest story, you've got to give it a big human interest ending.

When you get people steamed up like this, don't ever make suckers out of them.

I don't want to hand them a dead man. That's why.

Well, who says he's gonna be dead? I say so.

Well, maybe he will and maybe he won't, but I know one thing for sure.

If we make that switch now, we got a lot of explaining to do.

People are gonna wanna know a lot of things, especially them reporter friends of yours.

Like, for instance, why did we have to set up that drill?

Why did we waste five days?

First, let's get him out. Then we'll think of what to tell them.

Why should we stick out our necks? Why not stick to the drill?

We'll speed it up as much as we can, and if we get him while he's still alive, well, fine.

If we're too late, well, we done the best we could.

It's a better story if we're not too late. I've sent for Smollett.

Smollett's my man, and he's taking my orders.

Wait a minute, Gus.

Sit down.

Now when Smollett comes, you can give him your orders.

Tell him to go in through the cliff dwelling, shore it up and get him out fast.

Not through the cliff dwelling.

You can't get him out that way any more.


Because we've been pounding away with that drill too long.

They're all shot, those walls. You can't shore them up now.

Put a lot of men to work in there, and they'll cave in on them.

Don't look at me like that.

I never wanted to use the drill in the first place.

I never wanted to go in on this at all. You know that.

I'm sorry, Mr Nagel. He's not back yet.

No, I don't know where he is.

Well, yes, Mr Nagel, I left word everyplace for him to call New York.

Yes, I know he has a deadline.

Well, of course he hasn't answered the teletype, Mr Nagel.

He hasn't been in all night.

Yes, I know how much you're paying him.

If Tatum said he's gonna send more, he'll send more.

Chuck! Chuck!

Where are you, Chuck? Here I am, Leo.

Over here.

I thought you went away.

Put that thing back on your mouth, and take a good long drag.

It's morning, isn't it?

Leo, you have to breathe that oxygen. Friday morning.

Come on. Come on, up there.

Make all the noise you want. Hurry up.

I'm all set.

I got one leg out already. See it?

Cut out all that talking, Leo.

Five years today.

I hope she hasn't found the present. I want to give it to her myself.

I hid it in a good place.

In the cupboard of our room, in my old barracks bag.

She'll never find it there. I want her to wear it.

She'll look like a million.

Why is it so hot in here? It's so hot.

'Cause you're talking too much.

Don't be so dumb, using up all your strength!

Breathe that oxygen! Breathe!

Don't you want to get your other leg out?

Yeah, sure. I have to.

So I can walk down the hill, walk home,

walk up the stairs to our room. So I can give her the present.

Up the stairs. Up the stairs. Up the stairs.

Up the stairs.

I didn't say come in.

Now get out, will you, Chuck? I wanted to surprise you.

I'm changing my type. Going light brown again.

That's the colour it was before I started fooling around with it.

I'm cutting it shorter, too. What do you think?

Herbie's been looking for you all night. Where've you been?

What's that?


What is it?

A present. For me?

It's your anniversary, Mrs Minosa.

Oh. Go on, open it. He wants you to have it.

Parisian furs. All the way from Albuquerque.

Gorgeous, isn't it?

They must have skinned a couple of hungry rats.

Put it on. Honey, you wouldn't want me to wear a thing like this.

He bought it for you, didn't he? Now put it on.

Not me. I got enough money to buy me a real fur, a silver fox.

He wants you to wear it. I don't care what...

I do.

I hate it, Chuck! Don't take it off.

It's like him touching me. You know what he said?

He said you'll look like a million.

Let me go, Chuck. You know what else he said?

He said maybe you'll love him now after what's happened to him.

Maybe you and he can start all over again.

Let go! You're all he talks about.

You're all he thinks about. Chuck!

You can buy yourself a dozen silver foxes, but you're gonna wear this.

Don't, Chuck! Don't! I can't breathe!

He can't breathe, either.

Now keep it on.

Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah And a brawla, brawla sooit Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah And a brawla sooit Leo.

Father Diego?

Is that you, Father? Yes, Leo.

Is Chuck with you?

I'm right here, Leo.

See that she gets the present, Chuck. She's wearing it.

She is? How does she like it?

Does she look pretty in it?

Yes, Leo.

Thanks, Chuck.

I'm ready.

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

I'm sorry.


What's holding up those oil drums? Send them up!

Stop the drill. Stop everything.

Quiet! Quiet, everybody!

Shut off that music and listen!

This is Charles Tatum speaking! Listen to me!

Listen! Listen!

Leo Minosa is dead.

He died a quarter of an hour ago with the drill just 10 feet away.

There's nothing we can do any more. There's nothing anybody can do.

He's dead. Do you hear me?

Now go on home, all of you!

The circus is over.

Operator, get me Chicago!

Operator! Operator! This is a press rush.

Get me New York. Longacre 57598.

What are they doing with that?

They're taking it away. Orders from New York.

You never heard anybody as mad as Nagel.

I don't get it either, Chuck. Where were you?

What's the idea of not protecting your own paper?

You had it all for yourself. You had it first.

He told me to tell you you're fired. Get me a drink.

So they moved your piano out, eh? What are you gonna play on now?

Had everything sewed up, didn't you, Tatum?

Everything but the payoff. What slipped up?

Beat it.

Booze yourself out of another job, fan?

The great Tatum. Better wipe his mouth.

Beat it. Beat it.

You heard him. Outside, all of you.

Where do you go from here, Tatum?

Maybe the kid can get you a job on a high school paper.

Put in a call to New York. I wanna talk to Nagel.

Aren't you a little late, Tatum?

The papers are on the street now. Don't stand there, Herbie. Get Nagel.

What're you gonna flash to them? How they weave a Navajo rug?

That ought to be worth $1,000 a day.

Look, Tatum, you were good to us. We'll be good to you.

Here's a hot tip. We just got it from the sheriff.

He's gonna dig Leo out yet and give him a big send-off.

Get out.

Get out!

See you in New York when you pick up that Pulitzer Prize.

Get out!

Okay, hold it. Nagel.

Hello, Nagel? Tatum.

Wait a minute. Don't yell at me!

Sure. Sure, I let you down.

I know they're on the street, the other papers.

Sure, sure. Everybody else got the story. Only it's the wrong story.

Shut up, I said!

Leo Minosa didn't die. He was murdered.

Is that the best you can think of?

Stop it, Tatum. You're wasting your breath.

Now let me tell you the story behind the story.

You got drunk yesterday, you were drunk all night, and you're still drunk!

All right, I'm crazy!

But it's only because I took a chance on you!

And I'm giving you your money's worth, a Tatum special.

Something that'll make all the other papers look sick.

Hey, Nagel, you wouldn't be sap enough to hang up on me.

Not now. Listen to this.

"Reporter keeps man buried for six days!"

Now get set for the rest of it.

Nagel! Nagel! Nagel!

New York?

Running a big-city newspaper, that bald-headed idiot.

He won't believe me.

You believe me, don't you?

Yes, I do, Chuck.

Now let me help you. I'll take you to a doctor or a hospital.

Forget the doctor.

We've got things to do.

Like, for instance, re-elect a sheriff.

Come on, fan. We got a deadline.

Come on, Herbie. You're wasting my time.

Sit down. That's your desk.

Now go to work.

What's the matter with everybody? Haven't you ever seen me before?

Go on! It's getting late! Your paper starts printing in an hour.

Mr Boot! Boot! Mr Boot!

Where's Boot?

Yes, Chuck.

How'd you like to make yourself $1,000 a day, Mr Boot?

I'm $1,000-a-day newspaperman.

You can have me for nothing.