Alvarez Kelly (1966) Script

In every war... In every age...

The forgotten weapon is...

...Food. For to kill, soldiers must live... live, they must eat.

And a herd of cattle is... vital as a herd of cannon.

The United States in 1864.

Hey, we made it, amigos!

When you're ready to talk business, Kelly, I'll be at my hotel.

You're Steadman. Major Steadman.

Major Steadman.


Major, I've got the most marvellous beef in the world for you.

The best beef in all of Mexico. No, Sanchez?

They're a little thin by now, but it's been a long walk.

A few days in the pasture... You are late, Mr. Kelly.

Ten days late. Ten miserable days in this stinking, hot town.

Is it Vermont or Massachusetts?

I'm from Boston...

...which, may I tell you, is one long way from this prairie rat hole.

Well, there are certain compensations, major, in a railroad town.

I was hoping that you brought a couple of them along.

I see.

I don't happen to be a procurer, Mr. Kelly.

Forgive me.

Whiskey or sherry?

I'm here on business, Mr. Kelly. United States Army business.

I'm waiting for an explanation.

What were you in civilian life?

A lawyer. I want an explanation.

Lawyer, huh?

You've never driven cattle? Hardly.


Three months, major. Not ten days.

Three months, staring into the rear ends of those beeves.

Smelling their stink, choking on their dust...

...listening to their damn bellowing night and day.

I'm a reasonable man.

If I weren't...

...I might go over to the other side and see how their manners are.

You'd do business with the Confederates?


Their money's no good.


What's he doing?

If I'm not mistaken, someone's stealing my wine.

I thought you were a soldier, not a sheriff.

You like my wine, Paco?

I like it if you do, huh?

Costs five dollars a bottle.

That's ten dollars out of your pay.

Since you're a generous man, share the rest with your friends here.

I don't understand you. I don't understand you at all.

A thief should be punished.

We'll have dinner now.

And take a few more bottles of wine out to our friends.

He's a lonely thief, Steadman...

...trying to celebrate after a rough journey.

He'll be happy to go home.

They all will.

And so will I.

I'm afraid you won't be going home quite yet, Mr. Kelly.

There's been a change. Take the cattle by rail to Virginia.

Deliver them to a plantation near Richmond. The pasture is there.

You'll be paid on arrival.

That's not in the agreement.

I was ordered to bring the cattle here.

The war's going into a new phase.

We're concentrating on Richmond. And when we take it, we've won.

I don't care who wins.

You want that herd in Virginia?

It'll cost you five dollars per head extra.

I'm authorized to pay you one dollar a head extra. Not a penny more.

That's not Army beef yet, major.

Not until I get paid off on my contract.

The contract specifies, in rather small print, I'll admit:

" Payment shall be made when the beef is delivered to the area...

...deemed most urgent by the commanding general."

Which is 30 miles south of Richmond.

It's in order. I prepared it myself. Even specifying the size of the print.

Now those steers are going east, Mr. Kelly.

Oh, by Godfrey, that judge. He thought he had me licked.

Licked, Kelly.

But he underestimated the man he was dealing with.

I hit that judge...

I hit him with a writ of certiorari.

It's like a brilliant bolt out of the black, a tiger springing.

A writ of certiorari!

Play cards, Steadman.

Thousands of them.

The boys in blue are gonna eat beef tonight.

And tomorrow and next month. Till it's coming out of their craws.

Maybe it's our stomachs making us see what ain't there.

Colonel, how about me going and bringing back proof.

Just to make it official.

My orders are to scout that herd.

Go ahead.

Just make sure the Yanks don't scout me.

Oh, Lord.

This is always embarrassing.

I'm sure you'll handle it with your customary tact.

Take over, captain. Yes, sir.

Major Steadman, ma'am.

I'm Charity Warwick.

This is Alvarez Kelly, who brought the cattle here.

I was ordered to arrange quarters for the two of you.

Your men can camp in the field below the house.

Mr. Kelly, the grazing is best in the north pasture.

You may eat in my dining room tonight, major.

But from tomorrow on, you'll make other arrangements.

Mrs. Warwick...

...will you join us for dinner?

Nice try, but I don't think...

She's a lady, Kelly.

A great lady.

One rarely has the privilege to meet such a...

What does that mean?


Pick up those strays. I'll get them.

Go get that meat!


Cleet Warwick must be rolling around in his grave.

I'll bet this is the first time his place...

...has been lit up like that since Manassas.

Eat while it's hot. The man who brought the cattle.

Colonel, I promise you... That man really knew his business.

Moved that herd like it was a column of infantry.

That's prime beef, Johnny.

And there's enough down there to feed a lot of people...

...who haven't chewed on meat in a long, long time.

Thirty-eight, thirty-nine, forty.

Now with the $10,000 advance paid to you in Mexico... makes it a total of $50,000 and completes our original contract.

Plus the...

...additional $2500.

Just sign here.

Buying beef at three dollars a head. Two.

And selling them for 20. Not bad.

It's outrageous.

You go to some nice place to count your profits?

I spend it, Steadman. I spend it and enjoy it.

And when it's all gone, raise it again.

You make it sound simple.

It is, if you don't want it too bad.

Money, whiskey and women. Your three deities.

Tell me something, Mr. Kelly:

Have they made you a happy man?


But not as miserable a one as you.

Mrs. Warwick.

Dinner is served, gentlemen.

How nice. You changed your mind.

A lady's privilege.

Your privilege is our pleasure, ma'am.

I got hungry.

Driving thousands of half-wild animals across thousands of miles.

For someone brought up in these parts, it seems impossible.

I have such respect for special knowledge.

It's nothing.

You certainly know how to charge for it.

Do you object to making money, Miss Charity?

In wartime? I think so.

Making money out of war. It's almost an act of nature.

Do you have any idea what a major's salary is?

I wasn't talking about that.

What about a colone"s salary? And the prestige afterward?

You'll carry that rank into every courtroom for life.

I didn't go to war for that. No, but you'll use it.

Every man, in his own special way, takes care of number one.

I don't admire men like that, Mr. Kelly.

Mrs. Warwick...

...if there were a kind of profit driven right into your own back yard...

...would there be any reason not to take advantage of it?

What do you mean by that?

I would say it's a matter of the north pasture.

The north... You're talking in riddles.

To you, ma'am?

I don't understand.

I was curious.

When Mrs. Warwick specified the north pasture, I wanted to know why.

The soil, major, is overworked.

Dying for the lack of fertilizer.

Well, yes, but I still don't... Manure, major.

I didn't know you were a farmer.

I was raised on a farm.

My father's estancia in Texas.

Estancia. What a lovely word.

So is caridad.


Yes, it was lovely.

It was lovely and big.


Fifty families lived on it.

My father was like a lord. Like an Irish lord.

Yet this virtuous Irish lord...

...was not quite able to stop his son from turning pirate, was he?

Make jokes, Steadman, about the war, about God, and about me.

But don't make jokes about my father.

He was killed defending our home.

Mexican War, I think you called it.

We had other names for the theft of a piece of our country.

The officers wore the same uniform you have on.

Only some of them now have changed it to grey.

So I say, "Alvarez Kelly..."

...take what you can from both sides. Small return for your birthright."

Beg pardon, ma'am. What is it?

A guard found one of our drovers...

...beaten and unconscious. We're 30 miles behind the lines!

They butchered a steer inside the gates.

Where the hell were the sentries? Excuse me.

All right, let's go.

The poor major.

He finds duty more fascinating than...


Do you undress every woman you meet?

There has to be some beauty.

Then it's no special compliment.

Being a beautiful woman is compliment enough.

From what you've said about your father's estancia... must have been something like it was here before the war.

Very much like it.

Might be interesting to buy some land around here.

Not to help rebuild, though. Not to live.

Just to buy cheap and sell dear. It's a nuisance the other way around.

You disappoint me, Mr. Kelly.

After what happened to you, I should think you'd sympathize with us.

I have no sympathies, only instincts. And they shy away from losers.

I'm overstaying my welcome. You must be tired.

You underestimate yourself, Mr. Kelly.


Thank you for the evening.

How long since you've been with a woman?

Three months.

A lifetime.

My husband's been dead three years.

There was someone under the bed all the time.


The money.

I got just as many men outside.

I warn you, I'm a Mexican national.

Doing business with the Yanks.

My privilege. Grazer!

The money.

Obliged, Mr. Kelly.

Just how far would you have gone?

You bastards couldn't have waited a while longer.


Good night, Charity.

God bless.

Take care, Tom. God bless.

God bless, Charity.


Oh, Mrs. Warwick.

Good night and God bless.


Major Steadman.

Yes, major? You had visitors.

Old friends of mine.

Old, dear friends.

And why did they take Kelly?

For the money, wouldn't you say?

They didn't have to kidnap him to get his money.

Perhaps they didn't want to shoot him in front of me.

Shoot him? For what?

The way they see it, he committed an act of war against the Confederacy.

Of course, they're prejudiced.

Mrs. Warwick...

...did you know about this?

Of course! I saw it happen.

No, I mean beforehand. I mean aiding and abetting.

Oh, that difficult lawyer talk, major.

Mr. Kelly was certainly right.

Alvarez Kelly hijacked by rebels.

You appreciate that, major?

Mrs. Warwick.

Beaurider. Yes, sir.

Get back to camp fast as you can.

Straight back. We've had our enjoyment for the evening.

Yes, sir.

Turn them around, boys!

Now that that's over, would you mind telling me what this is all about?

Not yet. Get in.

Tell him to keep his hands off me. Get in.

I may choose not to.

You may choose to die too.

You'd give up those stripes for that privilege, wouldn't you, sergeant?

As long as you knew my hands were tied.

Rossiter, we both know you didn't bring me this far to shoot me.

For some reason, you want me alive and in one piece. Why?

You know, Mr. Kelly, you talk too much. Get in.

I'd like to tell you a little something.

This river winds all the way to Richmond.

Now, if I was to put you to sleep...'d miss some of the prettiest scenery in all of Virginia.

Colonel, in my inside pocket, where my money used to be...

...there's a cigar. You could get it for me.

Or better yet...

...I could get it for myself.

Bust him, colonel, sir! Make him shut his big mouth.

Confederate man-of-war?

Kelly, we've got to have that beef.

The army and the whole South is starving.

That's your problem, not mine. Damn it!

If hungry people don't mean anything to you, this should!

That already belongs to me.

We'll double it.

In gold, colonel?

Are you suggesting our currency is no good, sir?

Can I tell you what for?

Colonel, I have to hand it to you. You're not just half-mad.

How do you figure you're going to get 2500 head of cattle...

...over Grant's lines? By balloon?

Nope. We don't have that many balloons.

All right, we can't get over them.

But we can go around.

We can make this big circle. Come up behind the plantation.

Then we just shoo those cattle back the way we came.

Just "shoo" them back? That's right.

You know there's a small army guarding those steers.

Don't you expect a fight?

I'll handle the military. You handle the herd.

Fair division. Then you'll do it?

Mr. Harrison, I intend to die in bed, in the arms of a beautiful woman.

We all share that wish, sir.

I do not intend to die from a Yankee bullet.

So I say the hell with it, colonel.

You're not walking out of here.

This city is swarming with spies, and you know our plan.

Worth nothing.

You couldn't even try it without me.

Oh, look at the soldier boy!



Enjoying yourself?

Oh, yes.

I like cockroaches with my soup.

Specialty of the house.

You about ready to leave?

Not under your terms.

But I've got some advice for you. Yeah? What's that?

Nobody's even gonna start to move that herd out without drovers.

My Comanches can handle it. Cavalry?

Top riders. Fought under Jeb Stuart.

Any Texans among them? Cowhands?

They're Virginians.

And there's no damn thing anybody can do on a horse they can't match.

No, except maybe drive a cow out of a closet.

Takes a long time to train a drover.


Open up.

Mr. Kelly, your education has been sadly neglected.

Not bad.

But you're not charging the enemy.

You're pushing cattle. For that, you need trained cowboys.

Now look... These is warhorses, mister.

I reckon they can handle them little old cows.

All right, lieutenant.

Take your warhorses and push those little old cows into that back corral.

With your permission, colonel?

Move, cow.

Come on, cows! Get in there!

You darn fool cows, get in there!

Come on, get in there!

You darn fool cows, get in there!

Colonel, where the hell you get these cows? From an old ladies' home?

Move them out!

Get on! Get out of here! Get out of here!

All right, you darn fool cow!

Come on!

Get out of my way! Go on! Move along there!

Watch out!

Sound retreat. What's that, sir?

I said sound retreat! Yes, sir.

Close the gate.

Get those cattle! Go on, get them.

Now, listen:

There are 2500 head of Mexican range-bred steers on that plantation...

...stupid, temperamental and a lot more vicious than anything you've got here.

All right, so we got plenty to learn.

But you can train us.

Damn you, Kelly, you're gonna train us!

Back to jail.

Are you coming in or am I going out?

General Lee has approved the raid.

That makes you the only missing link.

Missing's the word.

That's a lot of cash to carry around, colonel. It'd be safer in a bank.

Matter of fact, I'll give you permission to open an account in...

They'll be butchering and eating that herd before long.

I figure you've got no more than ten days to get us ready.

Burn it all.

Ten days before we start.

God deliver me from dedicated men.

Ten days.

You used to have ten fingers. Now you got nine.

Tomorrow, you'll have eight.

You stay stubborn, the day after that, you'll have seven.

The day after that...'s up to you.

You decide whether you want to end up with a pair of stumps...

...or lend us your talent.

You decide.

Get a doctor.

Don't split them up like that. Get them.

All right, get those back. Get them together.

He drives hard, I'm glad to say.

Don't split them up! Slow down there! Take it easy with them.

I deplore what happened, colonel.

However, under the circumstances... It was necessary.

Still, there's a time for sandpaper and a time for silk.

From now on, I think we'd be wise to cater to his taste.

I want to borrow a hat.

Tool of the trade. Will mine do?

Mr. Kelly, I'd be honoured if you'd accept the hospitality of my home...

...for the remainder of your visit.

I believe you'd find the accommodations more cheerful...

...than your present quarters.

And the bourbon? More plentiful.

You gentlemen have a way of making it hard for me to refuse.

Who am I?

You're a rich land speculator looking for bargains.

Seems to me I heard you mention something like that...



Yes, yes, that would go down well with anyone who was curious.

Mrs. Townsend is having a soiree next week. Nothing pretentious.

No, certainly not. Not in starving Richmond.

I can't offer you a clean shirt...

...but we'll take care of the one you got.

That's thoughtful.

Now watch this.

Slow down.

When he moves to your house... of my men goes with him.


Oh, Mr. Kelly, I couldn't. I'd love to, but I just couldn't.

I'm spoken for. Loudly?

By a seafaring monster who can shrivel a girl right up.

Where's he?

Very impressive.

Since you and I are only going to be friends...'s only fair that you turn me over to her.

Liz Pickering? You're really running in luck tonight.

Married? Engaged.

It's not the same, is it?

I bet you could tell me, if you really wanted to.

Military secret.

Damn the military and their secrets. Come on.

I suppose it's very dangerous.

Not as dangerous as you.

The way you look tonight, you could start pandemonium in the streets.

And that perfume...

But you do prefer horse sweat.

Oh, Tommy, I'm sorry, but I see you so seldom.

You know, that's what I hate most about the Yanks.

They keep us apart.

I understand married officers have more leave than single ones.

But what if one of those nasty old Yanks...

...threw a speck of dust in my other eye?

How would you look leading a blind man down the street?

As foolish as you sound talking about it.

Thank you.

Who's he?

Rich businessman from Mexico. Friend of the Harrisons.

But not a friend of yours?


Tom, what's the matter?

I don't know.

I guess the war's the matter.

War's the matter with all of us.

Mr. Kelly, this is Captain Angus Ferguson of Glasgow.

Captain. Isn't he magnificent?

Aye, it's good when they adore you, especially when they're half your age.

Or could it be the wee gifts I bring her in my ship?

The French perfumes and silk nighties?

Let's dance. I'm not used to a ballroom.

There are many stout lads to stretch your muscles.

If you don't put your arm around me now, I'll take you up on that.

I will dance the whole night through with you in my rooms.

Angus, you're a devil.

No use telling her it's my farewell night, is there?

Not till morning, that is.

Which one of you will help me make an old sea dog jealous?


Rank does have its responsibilities. Go ahead, darling.

So I weigh anchor tomorrow evening, courtesy of Secretary Harrison.

After four months wait and a good deal more effort...

...than a Scotsman cares to spend.

For mercy sakes, no, Mr. Kelly.

That stuff there will distemper a whale.

Here, you take a taste of this. Blessed nectar from Scotland.

Will you believe it, there are 1000 bottles of that aboard my ship?

Sounds like paradise.

I was commissioned to run it in here, but then I found...

Confederate money isn't worth the match to burn it with.

Aye, so I'll take it to New York.

Heavens, Mr. Kelly, don't tell me the currency there is still wampum.

Mr. Kelly, you have my flask!

If I may suggest, Miss Pickering, the punch is pale.

This will improve the colour.

You're gallant enough to be a Virginian.

And your beauty goes beyond the bounds of geography.

I'm Alvarez Kelly.

And you've learned my name and a few particulars.

Only one.

You've shortchanged yourself.

You could remedy that.

Are you any kind of gambler, Kelly?

I've lost my last few bets.

Will you come to my house?

I need some advice that can't very well be given here.

What time?

Midnight, number 19, Royall Street.

Make sure there's no carriage outside.

Why, Mr. Kelly, whatever happened to your hand?

One of the bets I lost.

Darling, I think he's rather charming.


You understand? Playing with fire, aren't you, lad?

It's not my house.

Now, follow me.

With all of the beautiful women that were here tonight...

...the result is I don't feel much like sleeping.

You know what I mean?

I don't know how to put it to your delicate ears, but in Richmond there...

There must be a house of joy.

There's a few.

Now, let me guess what your orders were.

Let him do what he wants...

...but don't let him out of your sight. Right?

Well, let's be off. Two men of the world.

You ever seen him before?

No, but I wish I had.

Kelly, you might not like these women.

I understand that the Mexicans like their women fat and dumpy.

Relax, Hatcher, you can't make me angry tonight.

What part of Mexico, amigo?

Durango, amigo.

You lonely?

Not really.


Not very.


Not especially.

You're the one I want.

A bottle of your best wine.

This is where I draw the line. I'll wait.

May take all night.

Should I take it off?

The wedding ring.

Some like it on, some like it off. You men are peculiar.

What do you do in case of fire?

I don't know, we never had one.

Well, suppose you had one right now.

There's a window with a big, old wisteria vine right by it.

Show me.

Now, look, I want you to stay here all night...

...and improve your mind.

Your body's already perfect.

Come in, sir.

Miss Pickering will be down in a minute, sir.

My Japanese room. Uncluttered.

Does she have to stay here?

You can go to bed now, Ellie.

Why, Kelly, whatever are you thinking of?

I was thinking there might be...

...some chimney sweeps up there in grey uniforms.

I've grown to expect anything from Southern belles.

I'm not a Southern belle. I'm Liz Pickering.

This house was something quite special in its day.

Sorry you couldn't have seen it.

Used to be a lovely miniature over the mantle.

Till last week. It paid for the gown I wore this evening.

I don't know why you asked me here, but it was not to pity you.

Hardly. Pity is the real empty room I despise.

I amuse you, Kelly?

It's too early to tell.

Well, we're getting older by the minute.

Would you like to drink that where it's more comfortable?

Whatever your friend's got, he ought to market it, huh?

Well, good night.

Wherever did you get wine at this time of night?

Ask me no questions.

Haven't tasted anything so good since the war began.

You should've seen that too, Kelly. It was grand.

That was the year Tom Rossiter and I became engaged.

The year the boys went off singing.

I begged Tommy to marry me.

It wasn't very ladylike, but I begged him.

I loved him so much.

But he was noble, he had principal.

Said he couldn't risk leaving me a widow.

The second and the third years...

...the singing somehow stopped.

I still wanted Tommy to marry me.

He'd lost an eye by then, but that didn't matter.

But he was nobler than ever.

Said it might be an arm next or a leg.

Those were the years of frustration.

Then tonight...

Tonight I realized what he feared the most.

Losing his sight.

Tom Rossiter is right.

I couldn't stand to live with half a man.

God, Kelly. It must be some hideous failing in me.

I'm so sick and tired to death of all the fighting and killing...

...and trying to be brave and patient over a lost cause.

So then we come to the fourth year.

The year of temptation.

Thank God you're not another one of those honourable men.

I've spent my life surrounded by honourable men.

Enjoying myself is one of my weaknesses.

I guess people like us have our own kind of honour.

It's not your advice I want, Kelly. It's your money.

House mortgaged? I've been asked to vacate.

Any other assets?


To buy another dress?

I want you to help me get out of Richmond.

At the moment, impossible.

Nothing's impossible for you...

The minute our good colonel found out I was missing...

...he'd send a regiment after me. I wouldn't make it to the city limits.

Tom and you?

You're not what you're supposed to be. Who is?

Then why did you come here tonight?

Many reasons.

Mainly because you were his girl.

Only now, I find out you're not.

If I could manage something for you, would you be willing to go anywhere?


There's a chance.

Just a chance.

Then you will try?

Yes, I'll try.

Kelly, I think we ought to drink to that.

I think we should. I promised a friend that...

...this might take all night.

I wouldn't make a liar out of you for anything in the world.

Now, the main thing to remember is that...

...cattle are like women.

Sometimes you have to be firm.

Sometimes you have to be gentle.

And sometimes you have to give them a slap on the rump.

Your pistol, captain.

Now that's just a reminder that the sound of gunfire spooks cattle.

A sound that's practically guaranteed on our venture.

All right, now start singing, captain.

That's right. Sing.

Music's the best medicine for scared animals.

Now, look here.

The man said sing!

Yes, sir!

Loud and clear!

I wish I was in the land of cotton.

You, Hatcher, out there and sing.

For the want of one voice, the battle could be lost.


Damn it, sing! Colonel.

You know, I keep wondering why you came back to us...

...after slipping away from Hatcher.

I have a commitment.

Don't suppose you'd care to say where you went.

Not yet.

Morning, sir. Morning.

Developing a new weapon, Tom? Trying to scare the Yanks to death?

His idea.

I hope those wailing banshees are ready.

They're ready. We move tonight, on schedule.

I know your opinion, I want his.

What about it? Can the men manage the herd?

If he would keep after them so that the men sing on key...

You're beginning to annoy me, Mr. Kelly.

To the point of refusing my services?

Mr. Kelly, I'd give you the Richmond symphony...

...if they weren't already in the army.

Polish up your contralto, Tom...

...and I'll notify General Lee you're set to go.

Carry on. I'm going back to town.

Nothing like a bath, a bite to eat and a bottle of whiskey before battle.

Reception. Yes, sir?

My name is Kelly. Captain Ferguson is expecting me.

Tell him I'm in the dining room.

I shall tend to that, Mr. Kelly.

I'd like a double whiskey.

Make that two. One for the captain. Mr. Kelly.

Hope I didn't disturb you. Not at all.

I was just packing my gear.

Getting ready to shove off. Aye, that I am. At nightfall.

Now, what can I do for you?

Book a passenger. A lady.

Anyone I might know?

Beside the point.

And yourself.


Now, the Athena is a broad ship, but she's tiny.

I don't think...

Two thousand.

On the other hand, I am a man with no contempt for money at all.

And the advantage of being able to tell a beautiful lady...

...magnificent lies all the way to New York.

Nineteen Royall Street. She'll be waiting.

Alone, mind. No maidservants.


With maidservant.

Bon voyage, captain.

And good luck to you, Mr. Kelly.

It's done.

And you halfway wish it weren't.

You're scared.

And if you weren't a proud person and in a public place, you'd be crying.

Like a baby.

It's quite a gamble.

You don't have to go through with it.

Oh, yes, I do.

Where I'm going, I don't know what will become of me.

But if I stay here, I know damn well what I'll become.

No girl, as pretty or passionate as you, has a right to such an honest mind.

What I wouldn't give to have you along.

If it's any comfort...

...I would have booked passage, only...

Only what?

In the courtyard is a bloodhound.


He can't see you, but don't turn.

When I leave here, he'll follow...

...and I'll let him chase me up a tree.

You stay for a while and then leave.

I've used you. Forgive me for that.

There's nothing to forgive.

As for using me, it seems to be the national pastime...

...of the Confederate States of America.

Goodbye, Liz.

What a ridiculous way to say goodbye.

Perhaps that's why we'll remember it longer.

Goodbye, Kelly. I'll be throwing you kisses from the rail tonight.

Yes, as I say, I recognized the man with him... one of Rossiter's Comanches...

...when the two of them entered the bordello.

I don't avail myself of its services, you understand, general.

But you'd be amazed how much information...

Get along with it.

Yes, sir.

This morning...

...ear to the ground, I learned from one of Harrison's servants...

...that Kelly had been spending his days at the Comanche camp.

And this afternoon, my vigilance paid off.

This afternoon, gentlemen, he made contact with one...

...Captain Ferguson, a well-known blockade runner.

Well, need I spell it out?

If it's not asking too much.

No, sir, not at all.

He is not looking for cheap land, as he pretends.

No, gentlemen. Alvarez Kelly... planning to import herds of Mexican beef...

...into the Southern states by sea.

How long have you been in this business?

Four years.

Too long.

I beg your pardon?

Your theory is idiotic. Dismissed.

What's that? I said, you're dismissed.


As you wish, sir.

Amusing picture.

Boatload of seasick cows, all standing with their heads over the rail.

Not priceless, Steadman?

Yes, sir.

But you're troubled.

Sir, I think there's something in what Mclntyre was saying.

Shipping cows from Mexico?

No, sir. Cattle closer to home.

Are we being exposed to the legal mind at work, major?

It's Kelly spending all that time with Rossiter.

Are you suggesting Kelly and Rossiter...

...are concocting a scheme to steal your herd?

Yes, sir.

Grant has an army around Richmond.

Rossiter has to get his cavalry out...

...and the cattle in.

Now, plead your case.

Anything else?

Request the general assign me additional troops.

If anybody tries to steal one of your precious cows...

...just telegraph me. I promise to come a-running.

Get the officers in here.

Colonel Kelly will stay with me.

Colonel, huh?

I just made you lieutenant colonel...

...for the period of the raid.

Aren't you taking a risk, giving me that kind of authority?

When we get those cattle, I'll be needing you to crack the whip.

You want to share the fun?

I doubt if you'd appreciate it.

I like to laugh. I know you do.

Of course, this harebrained scheme is enough to make any man giddy.

Well, it's not my scheme making you giddy.

It's yours.

How many guesses do I get? You don't need any.

That's bright of you, though, not to try to shake Hatcher off...

...a second time.

I wouldn't do a foolish thing like that.

I bet you wouldn't.

My goodness.

Parting with all that money.

For nothing.

It's a pity.

Considering what money means to you.

I think it went for a good purpose.

I'm sure of that.

I can see Ferguson donating it to a fund...

...for needy Scotchmen.

You don't know how funny. It's too late.

It is? Sure, his ship has sailed.

I imagine it has. Didn't take you with him.

No, but he took Liz.


I said, he took your girl.

Now how many guesses do I get?

You went to Royall Street, didn't you?

That money to Ferguson...

...for her passage.

Not yours.

Damn you, Kelly! Why?

Let's just say I was getting even with someone...

...for shooting a finger off.

I don't know how Liz could have anything to do with you!

Listen, you silly ass! She's a female not a crinoline saint!

If you'd been as intent on pleasing her as serving the cause, she'd be with you.

Did you please her, Kelly?

I've got some advice for you, Rossiter.

Just close the book on this one.

I think I'll just do that.

I'll close it... Colonel...

Reporting as ordered.

All right, gather around.

The tricky business is to get past Grant's line.

So we'll swing way out around it.

Fewer sentries.

We'll head for his back door, through Blackwater Swamp.

About a 50-mile route.

If we can... Colonel? Pardon me, sir.

You're saying we'll plow through Blackwater?

That's one big swamp. That's my gamble.

Nobody will expect us, because nobody'd believe we could cross.

If we can get to the plantation by tomorrow night...

...we'll hide till dawn...

...take care of whatever Yanks are there.

And then... I crack the whip.

That's what I'm here for.

Cavalry under General Hampton will cover our flank on the return.

General Lee's ordered a diversionary attack to hold the enemy's attention.

His artillery will be our sig...

That's it. That's Lee's artillery.

Our signal to ride. Let's go.

Bugler, call the men!

Colonel Kelly.

That book's not closed...


If anything happens to me...

...kill him. Yes, sir.

Beaurider, ride across. Try it.

Old friends are the fairest.

General Rossiter detailed me as your aide.



Next time, remember...

...never put the flame to the cigar. A half an inch under.

You can learn about things like that in your spare time...

...while you're polishing my boots.

Looks fine, sir.

All right. Take them across. Yes, sir.

Troops, full ahead.

Our luck's holding out. That bridge is sound as a bell.

I don't think so. They're crossing it.

Well-trained cavalrymen. Slow their horses down and spread out.

What are you trying to say?

You ought to know cattle don't spread out. They jam together.

And when they do, they'll outweigh your horses 10-to-1.

This will come apart before the first steer hits the other side.

Williams, how long will it take you to shore up this bridge?

The rest of today and most of tomorrow.

You got till midnight.

Yes, sir.

Obliged, Mr. Kelly...

...for being so considerate of our problem.

My problem too.

I want to get Kelly across.


Move it!


Can you finish by midnight? No, sir. We can't. But we will.

Bring the column when you're done.

Farrow will meet you with word about the Yanks.

If I run into trouble, you take command.

And the herd. Let's go!

Is this the best way you could pick?

Yep. The best.

Because it's the most improbable.

Can you drive the cattle through here? Solid spine, about 50 yards wide...

...and the Yanks know nothing about it?

If we keep the herd tight.

That's your job.




Just make sure you get there before dawn.

Come on.

Don't you ever get tired of being a chaperone?

I like it.

You know why?

Tell me.

I figure you might try once more.

You do that, Kelly.

Anytime you want to.

Just feel free.

I haven't been in this place for years.

Charity and I were kids, we used to sleep down here. Steal fruit.

When I get there, pick up a cone and throw it. And watch him.

Go on.

Hatcher, wait for me.

I'll take that.

Not even you...

...would shoot this close in.

Hurry up.

How many men? Two hundred at least.

Any idea what regiment they are?

Pennsylvania 12th, and proud.

We fought them in the wilderness.

They're equipped with new repeating rifles.

Where are they bunked down? Down by the old corral.

The old corral.


Charity. Apple core.


Who's your friend?


Where's Steadman? Overseer's cottage.

Telegraph line? At the cottage.

Cut it. As far from the cottage as you can.

Obliged, Charity. You've done your homework real well.

Come on.

Hatcher? Here.

I hate to see loose guns lying around.

I'm glad you got it.

It'll make me feel better when I blow your guts out.

You'd better be faster than these two clowns you got here.

You could make me a Yankee hero.

He was near the fence, major. We ordered him to halt. He ran.

Should we notify Kautz? And tell him what?

Reb spy. One man.

Unless we can produce the whole of Hapham's cavalry, he'll just laugh.

Corporal, get the servants. Yes, sir.



He's dead.

Question is, did he cut that wire?


You recognize him?

No, sir.

You sure?

I ain't never seen him before in my life.


Never laid eyes on him, master. No, sir.

Anybody else?

I don't understand.

We're down here fighting for you.

Fighting to free you.

Ruth, how can you be so loyal... someone who wants to keep you a slave?

Maybe that's the worst of them.

All right, bury him.


Apples? This time of year?

Storage apples.

From a fruit cellar.

Game's up!

Everybody out!

All right, come on out with your hands up!

Come on out!

Come out or we'll fire!

Hands up! Up!

You put that gun down, please.

Well, Mr. Kelly.


Lieutenant, sir.


After him! Webster, telegraph line, make sure it's cut!

Farrow, the Yanks.

Now, you just hold it here, Kelly. This is where I put you to work.

Let's get these Yanks out of here. Come on, get going!

Rise and shine, gents! Get up! Come on!

Up and at them, blue boy.


All right, out.

All right, out!

Get them in the corral!

Come on, boys. Let's move that powder.

Be careful there, Zeb.

All right. Start moving that herd.

You see where Steadman's headed? I said, move.

Listen, you idiot. Cattle can't make 5 miles an hour.

You'll be in Yankees up to here.

You'll be lucky to get your men out. I told you to move!

No herd, no Kelly.

It was like playing games the other night, wasn't it?

Exciting and honorable.

How does it strike you now?

I'll ride point. Williams, you take the left flank.

Captain Webster, you take the right.

Would you consider riding drag?


I didn't think so.

All right, move them out!

There it is, colonel. Just the way you saw it in that crazy dream.

With the genera"s permission...

...I'd like to remind the general I warned him about this.

My judgement was correct all along.

Absolutely correct.

I gambled Lee would risk his cavalry and he did. He did.

The herd is big for Rossiter, and he's big for Hampton.

Hampton? He was sighted, just as I planned.

I knew what that beef meant to the Rebs.

Colonel Jacobs is ready to ride.

What's his strength? About 6000.

Excellent. Jacobs is to proceed down the Jerusalem Plank Road...

...and if he's fast he'll have Hampton by the throat.

Which might never have happened...

...if I'd listened to your request for more troops.

What are you waiting for?

Detect my strategy, major?

Yes, sir.

Now, major. Question:

How do you believe Rossiter expects to get that herd back to Richmond?

Well, I'd say he's gonna drive the cattle into Blackwater Swamp.

I guess that's how they came...

...using the bridge at Cook's Crossing.

Splendid. That's why I'm giving you my reserves: 300 cavalry... a howitzer battery.



Yes, sir. That's splendid, sir.

Yes, sir.

Herd them in tighter.


What is it?

I couldn't catch him. Not with no quarter-mile lead.

Farrow! Take two men, scout ahead.

Yes, sir. Lanier, Dugot, let's go.


Let's get to the colonel. Let's go!

Come on, you stupid hunk of leather! Get out of here!

You're miles from the stew pot!

Come on, move them out of here!

After a march, they've a right to a rest and a drink.

We don't have the time!

Get over!

Yankee cavalry.

They're hustling. Probably at the bridge now.

How many? Looked like a full squadron...

...and a battery of howitzers.

Can we bypass that bridge?

Nothing but swamp. We'd drown every one of them.

Williams? Yes, sir.

Drown them.

Drive them in the swamp.

At least that'll deny them the Yankee bellies.

Yes, sir.

And, Williams? Yes, sir.

It does seem a pity to disappoint those Yanks at the bridge.

What you got in mind, colonel?

We'll split in two ranks, move at them from both sides.

Holy Mother of God.

3000 miles to drown in a stinking swamp!

You make me sick.

The Virginia Comanches do or die.

You're long on gallantry but short on sense.

We'll talk later.

You know nothing about cattle.

What are you driving at? You want them in Richmond?

You know something, or are you just blowing hard, as usual?

You want this herd in Richmond?

You trying to tell me you know a way?

I might.

What's it worth to you?

What's your price?

You know what the price is.

All right, you got it.


...any instructions I gave regarding Colonel Kelly:


Yes, sir.

I'm in command now.

Go ahead.

Lieutenant. Yes, sir.

How many Yanks did you say?

I'd say abut 300, sir.

And about 100 of us.

2500 head of cattle.

That makes 2600 for our side.

We'll divide them up into groups of 500 each.

I want an inventory of ammunition. Assemble your men for instructions.

Yes, sir! Yes, sir!

This business of command comes easy to me.


You know, sergeant...

...I'm going to miss your merry smile and winning ways. Get to work.

Let's hurry that up.

Do you still think they'll come this way?

Get your men quiet. Quiet on the line!

The funny thing about cattle. You can hear them like the pounding of surf.

Come on!

Move it along! Get them going!

Move it along! Keep them moving!

Alert your men.

Ready on the firing line!

Get them moving!

All right, split them up!

Here they come.

Keep them moving!

Shall I fire now? No, hold your fire.

All right, fire! Fire!

Shoot! Get the cattle! Get the cattle!

All right, hold, men. Hold!

Move them over to the right!

Hold your fire!

Here's the second group. Move!

Circle them twice!

Take it across the bridge. Fast!

Williams! Yes, sir.

Keep them on the run. Yes, sir!



Drop it.

Swing it over.

Pull the rope.

Set the next one. Come on, hurry it up!

Hatcher, lay a trail.

Yes, sir!

Get them across the bridge!

As soon as the last man's over, light it.

Yes, sir!

Move them out! Move them over!

Over to the bridge!

Everybody out! Move!

Across the bridge!

Come here. Get me a report of all companies.

Regroup here. Follow me!


Hey, Mex! Now's your time!

General Hampton's compliments.

He's got the Union troops contained.

It's clear sailing to Richmond. That's fine. Just fine.

We lost about 40 steers.

That's not bad.

You got one eye. Looks like now you got one lung.

You keep on fighting like this, you'll wind up with one of everything.

You seem to manage pretty well yourself.

For a nine-fingered man.

Got 20 wounded.

Eight dead, sir. Including Farrow and Hatcher.

Must've dropped Hatcher when he lit that fuse.

He timed it well.

If he'd lit that fuse any earlier, l...

He timed it fine.

He got chopped down like a hero.


We're all heroes.

Start pushing that herd.

All right, sir.


...I suppose you'd like to be moving on.

The sooner I get to Richmond, the quicker I get home.

Better feel your ground. You're a wanted man... the Yanks.


I saw some crazy things at that bridge.

One of them was you, risking your life to save a Confederate officer.

Seems to me that was...

...kind of long on gallantry, short on sense.

Wouldn't you say? I try everything on once.

See if it fits.

Looked kind of stylish on you.

I never thought I'd catch myself saying that.

Don't worry, I won't try it twice.

For once, the soldiers of the Confederacy...

...and the people of Richmond would eat their fill.

What General Grant said when he heard...

...that his prize herd was raided is unquotable.

President Lincoln's comment is a matter of record.

Lincoln called it.

"The slickest piece of cattle stealing I ever heard of. "