Chuka (1967) Script

...and I respectfully submit... that the devastation from the attack... on November 17 and 18, on Fort Clendennon... commanded by Colonel Stuart Valois... formerly with the Fifth Lancer Brigade, British Army in India... being so complete... even to the poisoning of the water well... that the post be abandoned... and no rebuilding and manning of Clendennon be attempted.

Information gathered from Hanu...

War Chief of the Arapaho war party... captured with his followers, November 23, 1876... reveals that plans... for the attack had been under consideration for several months... and was motivated by lack of food... and insufficient equipment and supplies... for the Arapahos to care for themselves.

Hanu's story is substantiated by the fact... that all food and stores in the fort... were found to have been removed... as well as the guns and ammunition.

The single exception... being a handgun... that was discovered under the stairwell.

Hanu further states that the revolver... belonged to a civilian.

In Hanu's words... a strange, lone man... who had ridden in from the north.


You ladies all right? Fine, thank you.


Ladies...

this won't take long at all. We'll be out of here in...

You got a crowbar? Yeah.

Get it.


Lucky.

I don't know lucky, but we all ought to be dead.

Why don't we get this wheel on and get the hell out of here?

Get up in there!

Hike!


Open the gates!


Carry on, Sergeant Hahnsbach. Yes, sir!

Carry on, Corporal!

As you were.

Sir, the sentence has been carried out. Very good, Sergeant.

From this point forward... punishment for desertion will no longer be by whipping... but by a firing squad.

The troop is yours, Sergeant. Yes, sir.

Troop dismissed!

Ladies, welcome to Fort Clendennon.

I am Colonel Valois. This is my executive officer, Major Benson.

Ladies.

This is Señora Veronica Kleitz... and that there is Señorita Helena Chavez.

This is the Colonel.

A deserter, señora, and a thief.

Please don't allow the actions... and, therefore, the discipline of one man to disturb you.

In a lifetime, Colonel Valois...

I've learned that one man is the image of all men.

Have you, señora?

And now, perhaps you'd like to freshen up before continuing your journey.

Major. Colonel?

I'm sure you would like to escort the ladies to my quarters.

Thank you, Colonel.

This way, ladies.

Howdy.

She kind of... cut your water off, didn't she, Colonel?

You reek of whiskey, Trent.

Not exactly the quality one looks for in a chief scout.

Who's that?

I don't know.

Looks kind of mean, don't he?

That, sir, is a hired gun...

called Chuka.

Begging your pardon, sir.

What's he doing here, Baldwin?

We met him on the trail, Sergeant. He helped us with a busted wheel.

Well, that was nice of him, wasn't it?

Right about that time, some Indians come out of the dust and give us a look.

A look? Yep.

You mean they didn't try to stop you?

Nope, just give us a long look.

Well?

Well, Hanu. I told you what I thought a long time ago.

Why don't you ask him? He just come through his territory.

Maybe he smells better than I do.

That wouldn't be difficult, Trent.

Mister, this is the commanding officer of Fort Clendennon...

Colonel Stuart Valois.

Colonel, I'd like to stay here overnight if it's all right with you. Any place will do.

Where are you from?

Anywhere I happen to be.

All right, Sergeant.

Did you see anything unusual on your way in?

If you mean that good-looking young chief, he was pretty unusual.

Yes, I know about him. Anything else?

A lot of starving old women, starving old men, little tiny kids.

They're often hanging around the fort. We have to run them off.

Why do you run them off? Why don't you feed them, Colonel?

My orders are to see that they move south to new hunting grounds in the winter... back north in the summer.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Would you mind standing up when I'm talking to you?

All right, Colonel.

Thank you.

I've discovered, Mr. Chuka... that to a savage, kindness means weakness.

He'll despise you for it.

The moment you turn your back, he'll put a knife in it.

I offer you that piece of intelligence, sir.

It might save your life one day.

Colonel... they're awful hungry out there, and I think they're mean.

And unless you give them food, or the rifles to hunt their own... they're going to come in here and take it.

There's a little piece of intelligence that might save your life sometime.

Did you see any kind of a patrol out there?

I saw exactly what I told you, Sergeant.

Three troopers? No.

You mind telling me where I bed down? Yes. The stables.

And there'll be no whiskey drinking or smoking.

Understand? I understand, Sergeant.

He wasn't so mean after all.

What he said made a lot of sense, Colonel.

All right, Sergeant. Thank you, sir.

My patrol is overdue.

Your stage can't leave until my scout finds out why.

Yes, sir. I'll get the ladies' baggage.

Better get started, Trent. Yes, sir. I thought...

I'd just get some chow and then I'd be on my way.

Don't be too long.

Thank you, sir. Thank you.

If there's anything I can do to make you ladies comfortable, just...

Just another saddle bum, looking for a free meal... and a place to sleep.

Major?

I wouldn't let him hear you call him no saddle bum.

He's called Chuka, and he's fast... awful fast.

- Señora? Yes?

I'm sorry, but we'll be here overnight.

Here? I don't understand.

The Colonel won't let the stage go through... and I guess he wants you to spend the night here in his quarters.

Very well. Thank you, gentlemen.

Major. Ladies.

Aunt Veronica?

Do you think there is a danger?

No, I think Colonel Valois is just being cautious.

Why didn't you say hello to him?

What are you talking about?

Mr. Chuka.

You knew him.

I could tell.

The name is even familiar.

I remember a story you told me long ago... about the young man on your father's rancho.

There were many young men on my father's rancho.

But now I mustn't think of young men or talk of them.

I am promised.

You have given your word.

My father has given his word. It's exactly the same thing.

You will do nothing against your father's wishes.

As long as he keeps his place...

I don't care what his reputation is as a gunfighter.

But, sir, this man is a bad... At this moment, Sergeant...

I'm more concerned with an overdue patrol... than I am with a single gunfighter sleeping in the stables!

Yes, sir.

Have a drink, Otto. Thank you, sir.

What do you make of it?

I don't like it, Colonel.

Neither do I.

Neither does Trent.

I've warned the General at Fort Wallace half a dozen times. Look at this.

"Hanu wouldn't dare." Or this one...

"It would be suicide for Hanu to attempt anything...

"with Forts Wallace, Dodge, Hays, Bascom, and Garland so close."

And this is the best of all.

"Your men could not be depended upon in a fight."

They'll measure up, sir.

Yes, of course, Sergeant.

After all, we've trained them, haven't we? - Yes, sir.

The ladies, are they quite comfortable? Señora what's-her-name...

Kleitz, sir. They're in your quarters, sir.

They're in your quarters.

Yes.

I mean, if I send a dispatch rider for help... and then Hanu doesn't attack...

Anyway, there's no guaranteeing... he'll get through if Hanu is planning something.

I just wish I had a good British regiment under me instead of these...

Everything will be fine, sir.

Yes, Otto.

I'm sure it will be.

Just one more thing, Sergeant.

As the ladies have to spend the night here...

I'd like to make things as pleasant as possible for them.

How do you mean, sir? We'll have a dinner party.

Full complement of officers, best rations... and see that the mess waiters wash their gloves, will you?

Yes, sir. Like old times, sir.

And one more thing.

Ask the gunfighter.

The saddle bum, sir? Yes. Mr. Chuka.

He won't exactly grace the table... but he intrigues me.

I'll invite the ladies myself.

Well, now, take it easy. I'm friendly.

All right, come on out in the light. Let me see you.

It's you.

Hanu's got me jumping at shadows.

Who are you? What do you do around here?

Trent.

Post scout.

Kind of late in the day to be going out, ain't it?

That's what they pay me for, mister.

They pay you enough?

I'm eating regular. How are you doing?

If that satisfies you.

Go on back in your stall and finish getting drunk.

You got a big mouth for an old man.

Tough, too.

Thanks.

Nobody's got an easy job, Mr. Trent.

I don't know. Pretty good job here.

When I get to see what Hanu fixed, I'll come back to good old Clendennon... for the winter months and curl up, nice and toasty... go down to Mexico for a blowout every now and then to get a little...

Maybe I'll come with you.

See you when you get back, Mr. Trent.

Adios.

Open them up. Right.


Well? It's good.

Thanks.

Slim.

How long you've been in Clendennon?

After the first month or so, you forget about time. It's like jail.

You can always bust out of jail, can't you? - No.

59 miles north to Granada, 63 south to Stone Creek... and all of it across hard land. Then you got him.

A soldier deserts, looks bad for a commanding officer, even at Clendennon.

And that there Hahnsbach...

I guess he's the best professional soldier in the whole world.

Dismiss the troop, Corporal. Troop dismissed!

Stack your rifles.

You.

You are talking to me, aren't you?

The Colonel wants you to have supper with him.

Officers' Mess, 8:00 sharp.

Wear a clean shirt, if you've got one. You'll be dining with ladies.

I'll keep me eye on the Colonel. He'll teach me how to behave.

And shave, saddle bum!

Sentry. Yes, sir.

I want to know the moment Trent returns. Pass it on to your relief.

Yes, sir.

As you were!

Yes? It's Colonel Valois.

May I come in, ladies? Please do.

It was kind of you, Colonel, to allow us your quarters.

It's my pleasure, señora.

And, may I add, a very rare one.

Our little American stronghold in the West is seldom given the opportunity... to offer hospitality to two such charming ladies.

I hope we haven't inconvenienced you.

On the contrary, señora, I was hoping you would both do me the honor... of dining with me this evening.

If you will, I will be my most unselfish and allow some of my officers to join us... and share in my pleasure.

We'll be delighted to.

Thank you, Colonel.

Thank you, ladies.

It's the conversation, señora.

Colonel?

The conversation.

It will be wonderful... to dine... instead of to feed... which seems to be the routine... when men in a country like this are isolated.

I miss the conversation... and the elegance of dining in mixed company.

Your presence here this evening, señora... will allow me to reach back to some very... pleasant memories.

Nobody saw you?

Nobody except old Badger and Clyde here, and Slim.

You didn't see anything, did you, Slim? Never do.

Friend.

Come on.

Nobody going to hurt you.

Prettier than the last one, isn't she, Major?

Does she know she's got to stay here for a while?

Wouldn't be easy getting in and out of the fort.

She knows. She even kind of liked the idea.

All right, get out.

Yes, sir.

Let's leave the Major to talk to the Indian, all right?

You might even find out some information on what's going on, on the outside.


Good evening. Good evening.

- The years have treated you kindly, señora. - Thank you.

I thought you might have forgotten me.

No.

I could never forget you.

Did you want to?

I think, if you remember rightly, I was forced to, señora.

You blame me.

No, I don't blame you.

You were brought up to do what you were told... and you were told a common gringo Chuka boy couldn't come up to your level.

You've become quite hard.

Since I didn't measure up to your standard in life, Madama...

I had to find a way to bring people down to mine.

With your gun, I hear, Señor Chuka.

With my gun, Señora Kleitz.

Señora Kleitz.

You are a vision.

May I have the honor of escorting you to dinner?

Thank you.

Señor Chuka.

I saw you from the window, when you said good evening to the Señora.

Now you can say good evening to me.

All right. Good evening, señorita.

Perhaps you will escort me to the Officers' Mess?

I've never had a pistolero take me to dinner.

Tell me, señor, are you as bad as they say?

No man is as bad as they say, señorita.

When we saw you this morning, where were you going?

Montana.

To kill someone?

Señora should've taught you that a little girl doesn't ask a man so many questions.

The Señora has taught me.

It's just that I never learn. I see.

So I had to take a detail, a full detail... to retrieve the lady's clothing from the Indians.

Major, I suspect you've been straying from the truth.

Señora, I swear, the gospel truth.

Señora.

I daresay that one night, in years to come... you will remember another strange night on the American desert... when you dined at Fort Clendennon.

We will indeed remember it, Colonel.

I truly hope so... because a pleasant evening like this takes one away from reality.

- Reality? Yes, señora.

Reality.

Examine my executive officer... our immensely charming and witty Major Benson.

He's a well-known gambler in Army circles.

Many men I know gamble.

Yes, señora... but not quite with Major Benson's style.

You see, when the Major deals... cards appear from his sleeve, from his vest... from the bottom of the deck.

But never, I might add... from the top of the deck.

Major Benson... is a cheat.

Your glass is empty, señora. Orderly!

Yes, sir.

There's nothing so warming to the soul... as a glass of good Madeira.

Please allow me.

Indeed, allow our good doctor the honor.

Dismissed. Yes, sir.

Who is only incidentally, a doctor.

By profession... he's a coward...

I protest!

...who let 36 men die as he slept.

Isn't it fascinating, señora, what a uniform can conceal?

Please.

It becomes even more fascinating. Sit down, Lieutenant!

What a charming dress, señorita.

Charming dress.

It's the most beautiful color.

Paris, I presume?

Lieutenant Daly.

Treason.

Can you imagine, ladies? Treason.

Colonel, I resent your remarks. Resent?

I merely state the record, Lieutenant.

Señorita, a little sweet liqueur?

I still have a bottle from London.

I was acquitted.

They were all court-martialed and acquitted, of course.

Sir, permission to be excused. Permission denied, Captain.

Perhaps you would like to... tell our guests how you could sleep... as your command was being wiped out.

I hadn't had any sleep in four days.

We were hemmed in by the Sioux. My eyelids felt like lead, and I...

Do go on, Captain.

Damn you! It happened just the way I'm telling you.

Very impressive outburst, Captain.

There's nothing sleepy about you now, is there?

Sit down!

- I really think... Please, señora, please.

You will miss the climax of our evening.

Our pièce de résistance.

And now to hear from our other guest... our gunfighter.

Major, more brandy for Mr. Chuka.

Now, tell me, Mr. Chuka... how many men... have you killed?

- I really think it's time... Please, señora, please.

It is merely dessous des cartes. Another sip of Madeira and listen.

So sorry, Mr. Chuka.

Dessous des cartes means "a peek beneath the cards."

In French, of course.

I'm so sorry, Colonel.

That means, "peek as much as you like. I couldn't care less."

In Arapaho, of course.

Very kind of you, Mr. Chuka.

Well then, how many men have you killed?

I stopped counting at 16.

Were they fair fights?

Mr. Chuka!

I said, were they fair fights? Fifteen were fair.

And what is fair to you, Mr. Chuka?

They were facing me. They had a chance at me.

And the sixteenth?

I shot him in the back of the head.

But like the doctor here, I can't prove he stuck a knife in me... and was stealing my horse.

So if I'd been part of your little army, Colonel... they'd have court-martialed me, too, wouldn't they?

I'm very happy you say that, Mr. Chuka.

What about our colonel, here?

What has he...


We could've captured them. And do what, make them talk?

Look at that! That's an Arapaho dog soldier.

You could tear his heart out, he'd tell you nothing.

Sergeant, search the post. Yes, sir.

All right, Hannagan. Let's get them up out of there.

On the double! What are you men looking at?

You're very proficient at it, aren't you?

But your time will come, too.

And you'll be just as dead as this one.

Maybe you before me, Colonel.

You're a lucky man. The arrow wasn't meant for Captain Carrol.

Meaning it was meant for me?

You must be very disappointed, Mr. Chuka.

You drew a lot of blood in there, Colonel, from men who were your officers.

You sure they're guilty?

If there were any doubt, they would not be at Fort Clendennon.

That sets me to thinking.

What the hell are you doing here? What's your guilt?

What are you standing around for? Come on, check that kitchen in there, too.

Hold it, gunfighter.

You may pull a fast gun... but as far as I'm concerned, you still sleep in the stable.

When you speak to the Colonel, you keep a respectable mouth.

He's the commanding officer of this post, and don't you forget it.


Horse without a rider. Open the gates.

Colonel, that's Lou Trent's horse, sir.

That old beaver would never lose a horse.

No. I don't think he would.

Look at that, Jake.

That's off an Arapaho war bridle, Colonel. He didn't lose his horse.

They sent it back to you.

With Hanu patrolling our perimeter, we have to face the reality of the position.

I can get neither word out nor reinforcements in.

Now, you're both experienced with Arapahos... and sufficiently skilled to scout in this region.

You will each take one trooper and go into this area here.

Penetrate as far as you can for one hour and then report back to the fort.

I want to know the size and location of the hostiles... and their state or readiness to attack.

Colonel... this is your fight, not mine.

Mr. Chuka.

Look, I'm not going to ride for you.

That's not for you to decide.

Like hell it ain't.

I am in command here.

I'll just hang back and protect the women. With you.

You're under arrest. Major Benson, disarm...

No. He wouldn't do anything foolish like that.

Major! Don't move!

Don't think.

Just ease off.

Colonel, I said I wouldn't ride for you.

As long as you are on this post, you will do as I say.

You're exactly right, so I'll just be on my way.

No one leaves this fort.

I'm going down to the stable, I'm going to get my horse... and ride out of here just like I came in.

And I'll kill the first man who tries to stop me... and I'll get an even half dozen before you get me.

Now listen to me.

I'll kill him.

Now tell him to move, Colonel.

All right, Sergeant.


Chuka.

You better let me do that. I can saddle my own horse.

I know, but you'll need both hands because you got trouble coming.

What are you talking about? Big trouble.

Thanks, Jake.

What's this, a farewell delegation? Mister...

I warned you about being respectful to the Colonel... but that last bit in his office just finished it.

Now, these men are my witnesses.

Unarmed, right?

What the hell is this tin-pot Colonel to you? You got to wet-nurse him?

He's...

He's my commanding officer, and I don't forget it.

Now you can pull that gun of yours and shoot me where I stand... or defend yourself as best you can...

'cause I intend to beat you into the ground with my fists.

I'm waiting on you.

I wouldn't want to keep a busy man like you waiting, Sergeant.

Watch the rest of them, Jake. Right.


I just saw the sergeant spit out a little bitty piece of tooth.

I guess that makes you the winner?

Give me that, Jake.

Is there something I can do?

No, I think I've had just about everything done for me... that could be done the last couple of minutes.

Señora, tell me.

Yes.

That man you married... did you love him?

He was a decent person. And highborn and rich.

Were you in love with him?

No.

I was very unhappy when you were sent away.

For yourself?

For us.

Señora, I'm going to leave the fort. I'm not coming back.

I think you and the little señorita should come with me.

Now? Now.

Hanu's fighting for survival.

He wants what's in this fort. The Colonel won't give it to him.

What should the Colonel do? Get everybody out.

Leave the buildings, the ammunition, the food, everything, to the Indians.

But that would mean treason for an officer like the Colonel.

And I'm sure he feels that we're safer inside the walls.

You go along with that, the authority? The same as years ago, huh?

Señora, there may not be another chance.

Mr. Chuka.

I'm sorry to interrupt you. Excuse me, señora.

Sergeant Hahnsbach says that you might scout for us if we paid you.

I said that one man might get past those Arapahos out there... if he's fast enough with a horse and a gun.

All right, I like to be asked.

I'm asking you.

$200.

Your pound of flesh will be waiting for you when you return.

Now. Cash on the barrel.

My office in five minutes.

We require the signing of a pay voucher by any civilian employee.

If you can't write, just make your mark. Regulations.

By the book, Colonel? Yes, by the book.

By the way... what was that all about? What was what all about?

You and Hahnsbach.

Nothing in particular.

I gathered as much from the Sergeant.

Chuka, the sights are honest.

She'll kick like a mule till you get used to the extra power... but she'll put it where you want it.

I'll leave that cannon to the expert, Jake. I'll stick with this one.

Mr. Chuka?

Yeah, Mr. Hahnsbach.

Good luck.

Open her up.


You're loco.

You're a dead man right now.

Shut up. Keep down, just keep down.

You got a long way to crawl.

Keep down.

My legs. You better get out of here while you can.

Go on. I got a horse tethered on the other side of them rocks.

There's one hell of a lot of them down there.

Yeah, one hell of a lot of them down there, too.


How long you figure before he's gonna hit the fort?

This Hanu, he's some different kind of Indian.

I think he's through training for war.

I think he'll seal off the fort in a handful of hours.

He will, will he? Let's get going. Why you going back to the fort?

The Colonel paid me just like he paid you. Come on.

Who is it? Who is it taking you back? The Señora?

You got a big mouth for an old man. Come on, can you make it?

I said I was a little lame, I didn't say I couldn't make it.

You're still tough, too.

So just see that that's done, Major, will you?

Yes, Colonel.

Major Benson.

I'd like to talk to you for a minute if I could, sir.

What is it, Spivey?

I was just wondering what you think Hanu's gonna do.

You wanted to talk to me to ask a ridiculous question like that?

Wait a minute.

You know you're talking to the boy that knows that you're no officer and gentleman.

You had your money, now shut up.

Me and Clyde and Badger have been working on them barrack bums back there... and you wanna know something? What?

Any one of them, anybody over there... would cut the old Colonel's throat, just for a chaw of tobacco.

What does that mean?

Well, it means that... we've kind of been figuring on taking over the fort here... lock, stock and whiskey barrel.

That's crazy.

No, we just wanna stop all them poor troopers over there... from being slaughtered by them Arapahos, that's all. Including ourselves, right?

Promote you to colonel.

You can lead us right on out of here, right down that Glory Road to freedom.

Now, how about it?

You realize that's mutiny, don't you?

You call it whatever you want, but you're gonna do it.

'Cause if I decide to whisper into the Colonel's ear... that one of his lily-white officers has been rolling in the hay with Pocahontas... you're gonna face another court-martial for damn sure.

You can't afford to do that now, can you?

Especially the way he hates your guts.

Almost as much as you hate his, right?

All right, I'll do it.

But I'm in command.

That's fine. That's what I said, you're the Colonel.

All soldiers need somebody to lead them, anyway.

Now you think you can talk Lieutenant Daly into going along with you?

Maybe. We'll see.

All right, you see. But don't make us wait too long.

Now don't rush me.

I'm gonna do this in a military fashion.

You're gonna do a mutiny in a military fashion?

All right, you do it any way you want, I don't care, let's just do it.

Sergeant! Yes!

Two riders, Trent and the gunfighter.

Well, don't just stand there, open up! Open up!

Easy, easy.

Sergeant. Yes, sir.

In my office. Yes, sir.

All right.


Anything else?

There's plenty else.

Hanu was practicing to attack this post... and he's got tricks up his sleeve like you wouldn't believe for you.

And his dog soldiers are the best disciplined I've ever seen.

And you ain't got much time, Colonel.

Any chance of cutting our way through?

None.

A rider to Fort Wallace for help? No, wouldn't get past the first ridge.

You better come up with some tricks of your own, and fast.

I am forced to remind you once again, Mr. Chuka... that I am still in command of this fort!

And I'm forced to remind you, Colonel, that you're not in command of a fort.

You're in command of a bunch of cavalry foul-ups... and unless you take action, you got a massacre on your hands.

Sergeant.

Sir. Yes, Major?

The men are assembled outside. They wish to speak to you.

It's urgent, Colonel.

What do you figure that's all about?

Attention!

Never mind, Sergeant.

I'm taking over command.

We're not gonna wait here and get slaughtered.

Major Benson... you will place yourself under arrest. I'm taking over command!

I said you will place yourself under arrest.

Colonel.

Colonel, you might be able to buffalo these candy-striped officers of yours... but not me.

Spivey, get back in your ranks.

Hanu's coming, Colonel, and we're getting out of here.

Now listen to me. Listen to me, all of you.

You're here at Fort Clendennon because of some mistake in your past.

But whatever you've done before won't come close to what you're about to do now.

We've heard all that before. I said we're getting out.

Now, you can leave, you can run, but you'll have to kill me first.

You are soldiers in the United States Army!

We're the scum of the United States Army, Colonel... and so are you, you gutless limey!

Well, now I think you better listen to me.

And you listen and listen good.

I couldn't care less who you pick as your top dog.

But Trent and me saw the whole of the Arapaho nation out there.

Now unless you stick together and stop killing each other off... none of us have got a chance!

Attention.

I said, attention!

Sergeant. Sir.

Place Major Benson under arrest.

Look, I just got through telling you, you need every man you got.

Every man will go to his post. On the double!

Major Benson. Colonel.

Write out a full report and sign it. Yes, sir.

Did you ever do that before?

No, never.

Tough the first time, ain't it?

Corporal Hannagan. Yes, sir.

Burial detail.


Señor Chuka, may I speak to you a moment?

Of course.

I want to tell you how sorry I am... that I didn't let you take us with you when you offered.

You see, I have a great responsibility toward Helena.

She's very young and all of her life ahead of her.

I feel you are the only one who could make it out of here alive.

- Señora, I don't... Please, let me finish.

Before it's too late, could you take Helena with you?

Señora, I think it is too late.

And if it were possible to take one person with me, it would be you.

If it's too late, why did you come back?

The money.

I see.

No, you don't see.

The money meant I wouldn't have to go to Montana.

I thought perhaps I could persuade you to let me escort you to California.

I thought, perhaps, I could find a way to make myself...

presentable to you.

As you said yourself, Mr. Chuka, now it's too late.


Thank you, señora, for thinking only of me.

But how could you be so cold to him?

He was only trying to tell... I do not wish to discuss it.

Why are you so offended?

Because you know a pistolero is in love with you?

I envy you. I only wish he felt that way about me.

I would know what to do.

Go to him, señora.

It cannot be.


What exactly you got there, Mr. Trent?

Just a little something I got stashed away for a rainy day.

Well, it ain't raining yet.

It will.

Just what exactly is that, Mr. Trent? Is that whiskey or gin?

Tequila. You want a drop?

Hey, I said a rainy day, not a flood.

Good.

You sure you've had enough?

It's good. Thank you.

Hey, you know...

an old pistolero got me started on this stuff.

Oh, yeah? Yeah.

What the hell's going on here?

Scout patrol's returning!

Open the gates!

Damn it, I said open those gates! Colonel!

Colonel Valois!

The patrol's returning, sir!


What the hell is wrong with you? Those were our men.

Turn them over and take a good look.


How did you know?

Last time I saw your scout patrol, Hanu was using them for target practice.

Sorry, Sergeant.

Hannagan!

Get rid of them.

Well, I told you that Hanu was a different kind of Indian.

He's fancy.

Yeah, but the real thing will come in the black of night, Chuka.

Just like we don't expect, Lou.

Can I have another little...

Oh, sure.

Thank you.

Before we was interrupted, I was telling you how I got started on that stuff.

Tequila. Yeah.

A pistolero down in Mexico got me started on it.

And he was always bragging to me about a kid... that he'd learned everything he knew about guns to, and he knew a heap.

Kid always worked around chuck wagons, so they called him Chuka.

Well, what do you know.

Well, the pistolero vamoosed from Mexico... left the kid there and that spring the kid went on the prod... nobody knew why.

If you want somebody killed, and the price is right... you just call on that kid and he'd do her. Chuka.

Oh, you got a big mouth for an old man, Lou.

Brings back tender memories, huh?

Yeah.

I guess that's just the way it had to be.

You're making a hell of a lot of noise with that cannon of yours.

What's going on out there? Nothing.

That old jaybird Hanu's showing us nothing but tail feathers.

The real attack's gonna come later.

How many of them are there? About 20.

Are the boys in blue hitting anything?

Yeah. Horses mostly.

It figures.

That's one thing I hate about fighting Indians.

The horses killed.

Horses? I love horses.

Yeah, war scares them.

Aggravates the hell out of them.

I wanna get drunk.

I'm gonna lie down right here, get drunk, and I'm gonna sleep it off.

Yeah, what is it?

You got an extra bottle of that there tequila?

Well, has a dog got fleas?

Well...

I don't know what I'm saving it for, anyway.

Wake me up when it's time to die.

You scared of dying, Lou?

Not particularly. It just comes at an inconvenient time.


Sarge!

Trouble.

Colonel... we're sealed off, sir.


I got to talk to you.

You are obviously quite drunk, Mr. Chuka, but there's no need to apologize.

I was just having a little drink myself.

I've been drinking for a different reason, and I've come here for an answer.

You've got to make a decision.

You gotta get everybody the hell out of here!

And just how the hell would you suggest I go about that?

Make a show you're moving out.

Mount up and leave, peaceful and orderly.

And leave what Hanu wants, food and ammunition.

Have a glass of cognac with me, Mr. Chuka, and don't butt into Army affairs... except, of course, when I pay you.

And if my memory serves me correctly, you were off salary a few hours ago.

Listen, I'm gonna convince you... you've got to get out of here!

You know, you do intrigue me, Mr. Chuka. - What?

You're so proficient.

A fine specimen of the jungle animal!

What are you wandering on about?

You got a fort full of trouble. You've got Hanu out there.

You've lost six men dead already!

I've seen too many dead men!

This place will stink of death tomorrow, and there is absolutely nothing...

... I can do about it.

By the book, Mr. Chuka.

We will stand and fight and the outcome is in the hands of God Almighty.

By the book?

You got a doomed fort and you still go by the book?

And what about the women?

There's the point, Mr. Chuka, the women.

Or rather, should I say... the woman.

You have a great need for each other?

And I envy you.

I envy you more than you know.

You're a hell of a lot drunker than I am, Valois.

You asked me once why I'm here.

What was my guilt.

This is my guilt.

The last time I was in a position like this... while my men fought, I lay dead drunk.

I was cashiered from the British Army... branded a coward.

Well, I was young, stupid, but I don't think I was a coward.

And in a few hours...

I'm going to find out.

Find out some other time.

These people don't have to die.

We got to get these women out!

I do understand, Mr. Chuka.

You're in love with her, aren't you?

I said you're in love with her, aren't you?

All right...

I'm in love with her.

Then you'll just have to saddle up... and take your señora out of here.

Because you know damn well we wouldn't get through.

Hanu would think we were bringing the Army from Fort Wallace.

Then you'll just have to stay and fight with us, Chuka... and protect your señora as best you can.

But you can't win!

I think I can.

I'm sorry we couldn't have talked longer. You do intrigue me.

Dismissed, Mr. Chuka.

You're mad, Valois.

You're stark raving mad.


Hannagan, it's gonna be light in a little while. Get everybody to their posts.

Right, Sarge.

You're up early.

I always get up early. I didn't want to miss nothing.

We was just talking about guns, Sarge.

Talking about guns?

By the way, Baldwin... how high does that cannon of yours rise on a shot?

Only about an inch to 30 yards.

Interesting.

Hey, Sarge. Yeah?

It ain't like you to be socializing.

You're a pretty good cook, Slim, and I don't bother you.

You do your job, and I'll be doing mine.

Yes, sir.

Morning.

Well! Somebody else up early.

Want some nourishment? Give him some nourishment, Slim.

Don't give me that big mouth this morning, Lou.

I'm just nervous, like the rest of you. I'm sorry to hear that.

We was just sitting around slugging coffee, Chuka, and talking about guns.

Yeah, Chuka. Why don't you sit down and talk?

I know you gotta deliver that extra coffee, but I thought maybe we'd chew the...

Now, hold it.

I ain't interfering, and I ain't being nasty.

Matter of fact...

I'd just like to ask a question that's been kind of bothering me.

Just how fast can you move that weapon of yours?

You put tequila in the Sergeant's coffee, Lou?

No.

No, I'd like to know. Just how fast?

Quicker than you can bat an eye.

That's pretty fast.

Draw and hit at the same time?

Draw and hit at the same time accurate.

Now, wait a minute, Chuka.

Look, let's just say we're funning, huh?

Let's just see how fast you are.

Draw!

Bang.

You just got killed, Hahnsbach.

Yeah, but I got my question answered.

You know, Sarge, I want to ask you a question.

And I ain't being nasty, either... but I wanna know... why do you keep backing up that colonel of yours?

Well, he is our commanding officer. That's not enough.

Why do you stick with that idiot?

Don't say that. Why, Hahnsbach?

He's a good commander. He knows what the Army's all about.

He's educated.

He comes from way up there, you know, them lords and ladies.

Well, he knows.

I ain't never said anything to anybody about this before.

I got a pretty fair idea of what's gonna happen today.

And I got a pretty fair idea what we're all gonna be doing.

You listen to me, Slim.

You breathe one word of this, of what I'm saying... and I'll kill you.

We were in the Sudan together.

I was just a raw recruit then.

Soldiering because that's what I knew I wanted to do.

The Colonel, he was a captain then.

We were out on patrol... and I made a bad mistake...

and...

Well, anyway... in order to save my life... the Colonel, he got captured by the natives.

And they worked on him with knives, you know?

And when they finished with him...

he wasn't a full, whole man anymore.

And he did all that to save me.

That's why I'll serve him as long as I live.

Now do you understand?

I understand.

Colonel?

Sir?

Sir, the men have been placed, and all's ready, sir.

Very good, Otto.

Sir?

Will there be anything else, sir?

No thank you, Sergeant.


Is there any hope?

There's every hope in the world.

We found something I've been searching for all my life.

I'm gonna keep it.

Aunt Veronica.

Will you hear my confession now, please?


Hannagan. Yes, sir.

Put two men up on the west wall.


Now, listen to me... and try and understand me.

You can get out.

Try and understand.

You're one of them. You can get out.


Get down and get those horses out of there! Come on, men. On the double!

Get that fire out. Get those horses out!


It happened too quickly, Chuka.

I didn't have time.

I didn't have...


Come down here!


Colonel.


The owner of the gun has not been found, nor has his body been identified.

In regard to the request through the United States Secretary of State... by his Excellency, the Mexican Ambassador... for information as to the whereabouts of the Mexican citizens...

Señora Kleitz and Señorita Chavez...

Hanu remembers two women... but will give no further information.

But one thing to conclude my report:

We found a freshly finished grave inside the walls of the fort.

I did not wish to assume the responsibility... nor commit the sacrilege of exhumation... for there's a cross at its head. It's a very small grave.

Signed...

Captain Robert R. Foster, Fourth Cavalry, United States Army.