[dog barking, chickens clucking]
Your mother is dead.
I did not know that she had passed.
How could you?
If I had known that she had been sick, I'd have...
You would've done what?
You would've come home if you knew she was dying?
But you couldn't come home when she was living, when she was full of hope?
How did she pass?
In my arms, lying beside me in bed.
Calling out your name.
Is it your plan to stay a while?
Not sure yet.
You don't wear guns.
I put them away. I'm done with that.
What is that supposed to mean?
It means I don't know if a man can get away from who he is.
And you think you know who I am?
I thought I did.
I'll be back. I have to go into town.
I'll go with ya.
Oh, morning, Reverend.
And I'll be right with, uh, you, sir, just as soon as I...
Lord sakes! John Henry, is that you?
Hello, Mr. Parsons.
Lord almighty, John Henry.
I ain't seen you since you went off to war.
I asked the saloon to order some sipping cider from Cheyenne for me.
Would you see if it's arrived please?
Must do your heart good to see the boy again.
I have a list.
Reverend Clayton sent me to pick up his cider.
And who are you?
His son, John Henry.
Well, well, well.
If it ain't John Henry Clayton.
I heard a lot about you.
Name's Frank Tillman.
Maybe you heard of me?
Can't say as I have.
Well, uh, I killed four men.
Still don't ring a bell.
How come you ain't wearing a gun?
You go and, uh, get religion or something?
Stop pestering our guests.
My name is Dave Turner.
Some call me Gentleman Dave.
Yeah, I heard of you.
You're gonna have to forgive my compatriots.
Boredom often gets the best of 'em.
I had the good fortune of watching you rid this world Of Big Jim Westfield down in Coldwell County a few years back.
May I ask what brings you to Fowler?
I'm only trying to ascertain the nature of our relationship.
I'm hoping there won't be any trouble.
Not from me.
[door swings open]
I don't recall things being so prosperous.
Prosperous to some.
Buggy's not gonna load itself.
Take this. Don't you spend it all at once.
Mr. McCurdy, guess who was just in here not five minutes ago?
John Henry Clayton.
Is he gonna be a problem?
He didn't look too tough to me.
I'm not asking you.
Is he gonna be a problem?
He was not wearing a sidearm.
That doesn't mean he can't put one on.
If he takes his pa's side in this, it could be a problem.
Well, why don't you just leave all that to me?
What are they doing here?
You don't know?
How would I?
I thought maybe your coming here might have something to do with them.
Well, it don't.
They work for McCurdy.
He got his mind set on buying every farm around here.
Folks who don't wanna sell, they got some persuading from those fellas over there.
If you don't know 'em, you better stay away from them.
Those are damned men.
Those are godless men.
Is it your plan to come to church tomorrow?
Is that an invitation, Pa?
Come back here!
What is the reason you came home?
I didn't know I had to have a reason, Pa.
If you want me to go, I'll go.
I'm a forthright man. You're an embarrassment to me.
Today in there, all I felt was shame.
But if you come back committed to God to truly change your ways, then it's God's edict that I forgive you and I do.
But in your mother's name I cannot forget the past 10 years.
What in the world are you doing?
Ma always wanted us to clear this field together.
You and me? No, she didn't.
As far as I recall it's the only thing she ever asked of us.
Fine. I'll do it alone.
REVEREND CLAYTON: I would have lost heart if I had not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord's light.
Be of good courage and he shall give you strength.
We think we should bring in our own hired guns.
That's right. Yep.
Hired gun. To do what? Start a war? Kill everyone?
Guns are not the answer.
Ever since Sheriff Hutton ran off in the middle of night, McCurdy and his boys been getting bolder.
HARPER: Forced Tim Fuller off his land last week.
Now they're threatening Peterson.
They come on my land, they'll be looking to the wrong end of my 10 gauge.
Wait, Daniel. Wait. I've wired the U.S. Marshall.
We will have the law on our side.
When has the law ever cared about folks like us?
No one's comin'.
Heard people say in church you were back.
Didn't believe it.
Needed to come out and see for myself.
I've been back a few days or so.
A few days and you haven't come and seen me?
I planned on it, I just...
You always were a terrible liar.
I waited for this day.
Thought about it.
Planned what I might say.
Now I don't know what to say.
You clearing all this by yourself?
Lot of work for one man.
Shovel right over there if you care to help.
You look well.
So do you.
I swear you look the same as the day I left.
Now there you go lying again.
I don't recall you being so distrustful of folks, Mary Alice.
I'd never lie to you.
Well, I seem to recall you saying something about coming back after the war.
Well, I better let you get back to your work.
Maybe after I get settled we could ride out to the bluffs like we used to.
That wouldn't be right.
Going on eight years now.
I have a little boy, Charlie.
I thought you knew.
No. No, I did not know that.
I waited for you.
But when the years passed and there was no word and...
Mary Alice, you do not owe me an explanation.
Who did you marry?
Tom's a good man.
Yes, he is.
Welcome home, John Henry.
All right. Bring 'em in, come on.
What the... Dan!
We was just coming to pay you a visit.
Appreciate you saving us a ride.
I've got nothing to say to you.
Oh well, I got something to say to you.
You don't wanna kill him now, do ya?
Well maybe I do. I...
I hadn't decided yet.
I'm taking him home.
Uh, hold on there now.
It ain't you who's doing the deciding.
May I take him home?
And what if I say no? What you gonna do about it?
I'm sorry. I didn't quite hear that.
All right, John Henry.
You have my permission to take him home.
Somethings troubling you?
Your mother and I kept asking ourselves, asking God, what we done wrong in your upbringing?
What did we do that filled you with so much hate?
It weren't you.
John 8:32, remember?
The truth will set you free.
God knows the truth.
All through the war I kept asking myself, where was God?
Where was he at Shiloh and Seven Pines when men lay dead and dying?
All good men, God-fearing men.
They just lay there, begging for some small act of mercy on His behalf.
And then it finally dawned on me:
There ain't no God.
There is no God?
All I'm saying is that if there was ever a time that man needed God it was then and trust me, he wasn't there.
If you're expecting God to save you, he ain't gonna.
Most men came out of that war wanting nothing more to do with killing, but not you.
You went looking for it.
God is not responsible for the life you choose.
I did not choose it!
Get off my land.
We just come to finish the conversation that was interrupted, Dan.
DAVE: Let us avoid unpleasantness.
Sir, I implore you to see reason.
If you take a fair grasp of your situation, you will arrive at the only reasonable conclusion available to you.
Dirt and rock.
Exactly like the dirt and the rocks you would find anywhere.
Yeah, but it's my dirt and my rock!
Yes, and a fine rock it is too.
Is worth dying over?
You believe your wife would prefer the dirt and the rock to you?
Will this keep her warm at night or put the food on the table?
Is it gonna teach your children right from wrong?
Comfort them in their beds when they're frightened by the wind?
You see, I do understand.
I do understand. I truly do understand the inequities of your position, sir, but I believe when you weigh the alternatives, you will see that... [gunshot]
There was no need for that.
We were talking.
It would appear the conversation's over now, Dave.
He was about to see reason.
CLYDE: You actually ever kill anybody, Dave, or you just talk 'em to death?
Anybody else have something to say?
REVEREND CLAYTON: Daniel Peterson... is now safely in the embrace of our Lord.
But for us, here on earth, a good man has been taken.
A provider for his family, a friend to our community, and in our despair, we rail against God.
Our faith is tested, pushed to its very limits.
But Almighty God has a purpose.
And senseless though it may seem to us, it is not for mere mortal man to question God's wisdom.
It is for us to persevere in a righteous way.
We gotta do something. Like what?
I don't know. We can't sit around doing nothing.
What about getting a sheriff?
We tried. Most men ain't got the stomach for a fight like this.
We need a man who knows trouble, a man who others fear.
You suppose he might come to our aid?
Put that out of your head right now.
We could pay him. Took a collection. We got $200.
He's done with that life.
I can't believe James would let it come to this.
They killed Daniel Peterson.
I never thought they'd kill one of us.
It's only gonna get worse.
What makes you say that?
'Cause after the first one, it gets easier.
You want something? They heat up a good steak.
No, thank you.
Mrs. Peterson came in and sold me her farm on the way out of town.
Two other families wanna sell also.
What I'm saying is, it looks like a more aggressive approach is having an effect on the locals.
Clyde murdered that man.
From what I heard, Peterson was holding a shotgun.
I did not come hereto be part of a pack of murderers.
What the fuck did ya think was gonna happen Dave, huh? What?
You think I brought you hereto sweet-talk folk off their land?
Oh come on, Dave, please.
I want Frank to take care of things when it comes to the farms.
He seems to have the temperament required.
Oh, I still want you here.
I believe it's only a matter of time before John Henry Clayton picks up his guns.
Hear we're riding to the Chadwick farm tomorrow.
Why don't you just stand up on the bar and announce our intention to all creation?
Sorry, guess my enthusiasm got the better of me.
You planning to eat today?
Need to eat. Told you, I ain't hungry.
You're trying to prove something out here.
I ain't trying to prove nothing.
Yes, you are.
You're working this land day in, day out.
You're so weary, time night comes, you can barely move.
It's not for love of farming.
I know why it is.
You're trying to use this poor earth to sweat out all your guilt and anger.
That's what it is, isn't it?
Just because you don't believe me, Pa, don't make it so.
I told you I'm doing this because Ma wanted it.
What your mother wanted was for you to come back from the war.
What about you, Pa?
Did you want me to come back?
Simple enough question.
Did it even bother you that I didn't come back after the war?
What are you talking about?
I'm talking about the day you turned your back on me, the day my brother, William, died.
That's not true.
Ma saw it. Why the hell do you think she wanted us to clear this field together?
She tried to help us put things right.
There was nothing to put right.
I remember it as if it was yesterday.
Mr. Jenkins came across William and I down river.
Somehow he managed to drag us out of there, get us up to his cabin.
He told his boy to go fetch you.
I was so cold and scared I couldn't stop shaking.
When you arrived, I could hear Mr. Jenkins trying to explain to you that one of your sons had passed.
Before you could get the name out you rushed in and you saw me.
And I'll never forget it.
The look of disappointment on your face.
How could you think such a thing?
Am I wrong?
I didn't feel any disappointment, far from it.
But I would be a liar if I said to you I haven't felt it since.
When word came back about your exploits, I couldn't help but think William might've made more of his life.
[water flowing, birds singing]
SLADE: It's an ambush!
[gunfire, horses neighing]
[overlapping gunfire continues]
How the hell they know we was coming?
Maybe they heard ya.
That don't explain why there's so many guns waiting for us.
Just heard Chadwick rode through the night and came back with his kin from Landers.
What would prompt him to do such a thing?
That one flapped his gum so loud the other day someone must've heard and warned 'em we was coming.
Dan Thompson was a good man;
Died 'cause of that one's foolishness.
Ah, let him bleed out.
How's the field coming?
Almost all the trees are down.
Should start working the land pretty soon.
So I take it with all the effort you're putting in that you're planning on staying.
Not sure yet.
Don't exactly know where I fit in.
This is your home.
If a man can't fit in here, where can he?
You ever thought about what it might've been if you'd come back after the war?
So you never thought about it?
I ain't the same as the man that left all them years back.
I need to understand why you didn't come back.
I think I'm entitled to that much.
I'll say this, and I will say no more on the subject.
The thought of coming back to you was the only thing that got me through that damn war.
And when it was over, I swear to you on my life, I tried coming home.
I swore I was done with killing.
She just wasn't done with me.
You remember the day you left?
I gave you a red ribbon from my hair.
Told you to hold onto it till you could bring it back to me.
Yes, I remember.
You still have it?
Does it matter?
I'd like to know.
You were right to marry Tom, Mary Alice.
You were right.
You wanted to see me?
I set you a simple task.
You wanna explain to me how you took that task and fucked it up in every conceivable way?
Mmm... well I think everything's all right.
Everything's all right.
You got two men dead... One by your own hand...
Chadwick's still on his land, and I may not be as clever as you, but to my way of thinking no way that adds up to all right.
If these things aren't dealt with quickly, it could give the others ideas.
The last thing we need is these muddle heads thinking they can stand up to us.
Regret marrying me?
What kind of question is that?
I seen John Henry here earlier today.
So, I know how you felt about him.
That was a long time ago.
You're my husband, Tom.
I have no regrets.
I'm sorry for your loss.
No, you ain't.
Eventually... someone's gonna have the nerve to stand up to you.
And when that day comes, I want to be here to spit on your grave.
Well, ma'am, feel free to do so.
Provided you can find your way to the front of the line.
Uh, 20 pounds of seed, salt.
I'll settle the account.
All right, Reverend.
In a bit of a hurry. You don't mind if I cut in here, do ya?
Uh, gimme a box of .44 skins and a bottle of that tonic water.
I got me a headache.
I look like I'm done?
Look what you made me do.
Oh I'll just, uh, clean that up.
No, no, it's all right.
John Henry'll get it.
Won't you, John Henry?
Yeah, get it all.
Don't miss that spot over there.
Oh, and you got some on my boot.
You know, I don't care for the way you're looking at me.
You know what your problem is, John Henry?
You wanna act like a pilgrim, but you still got the attitude of a killer.
I'll come back later, Mr. Parsons.
Where do ya think you're going?
Get out of my way.
Oh, ya see? There ya go, being rude again.
Not so smart, are you now, gunslinger?
Somebody help us.
Hey, hey, come on now. We're just funnin'.
Come on, Ned, hit him again.
Come on, John Henry, get up.
John Henry, stay down.
REVEREND CLAYTON: Somebody help! Please!
It's John Henry.
Where you going?
He needs help.
Well, others will help him.
He's my friend.
I said get back here, woman!
McCURDY: Welcome, gentleman.
Why don't you get the gentlemen some drinks?
You must be really thirsty to be drinking in my place.
Let me be.
I heard about what happened on the street.
Seems women get bolder every year, don't they?
I believe I have a proposal which might be of benefit to both of us.
Now the last thing I want is to interfere in a man's marital affairs, but it appears that a change in locale for you might be a solution for both of us.
When you got a fox in the henhouse, only two things to do:
Kill the fox or move the henhouse.
Sell the land, take the money, move away.
Far, far from here and John Henry Clayton.
How are you feeling?
I wish people would stop asking me that.
It's only natural for friends to inquire.
Is that what we are, Dave?
I'd like to think so.
Then answer me this: Do you think there's a place for men like us to go, get away from the killing?
My experience would lead me to say no.
After the war I swore to myself I'd never pick up a gun again.
You can't go through something like that and expect to be who you were.
May I ask, what was the worst of it for ya?
Without a doubt, Shiloh.
I would concur.
That first day at Owl Creek I lost a lot of good friends.
I was there at Owl Creek.
I do not recall seeing you there.
I was on the other side of the creek.
It would appear the past is close to repeating itself with us.
I feel you and I are headed for an inevitable conclusion.
I got no fight with you, Dave.
Besides, if I was looking for trouble, you'd already know it.
'Cause I'd have gone into town and I'd have killed Frank and that big fella.
I do admire your restraint, John Henry. I do.
God knows I could not turn the other cheek the way that you have.
But I also know if you kick a dog long enough, he's gonna bite.
So whatever it is that's given you the strength to stay out of this, I pray you hold on to it.
I don't wanna see you on the other side of that creek.
REVEREND CLAYTON: The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Whom should I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life.
Of whom shall I be afraid?
Teach me thy way, Oh Lord.
Lead me in a smooth path because of my enemies.
Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries.
And such as breathe out violence.
I would have lost heart if I had not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord.
Be of good courage and he shall strengthen your heart.
Wait, I say, on the Lord.
It's good to see you finding your way back.
We're leaving now!
You stay away from her.
What are you saying, Tom?
You don't think I see what's going on?
What's going on?
Stay out of this, Reverend.
Look at all of us, huh?
He comes back here after all these years and we welcome him home with smiles and open arms.
I'll tell you why.
'Cause we're all afraid of him and the things he's done and things he might do.
You think you can walk back in here after all these years and just pick up where you left off?
I understand what you're thinking Tom, but you're wrong.
Then tell me you don't love her.
I want you to tell me in front of God, your father, and everyone here that you don't love her.
Tell me you don't love her!
You're wrong about him, Tom.
Mr. McCurdy, I need to talk to you.
The papers will be ready for you to sign Tuesday.
No, I've decided not to sell to you.
I'm amused at how many times my ears play tricks on me.
For a moment I thought I heard you say you wish to extricate yourself from the agreement we made.
Of course, I know you couldn't've said that.
I did say that.
See, I been thinking my...
Before you open your yap again, I want you to consider the full ramifications of your fucking actions.
We had a deal.
I didn't sign nothing.
Words were spoke. Hands were shook.
Well, I've had a change of heart.
Come to realize that a new start don't mean much if you carrying old feelings with you.
Oh well, that's very fucking deep, Tom.
And as I wipe a weepy tear from my eye let me say this:
I'm not one who holds high principles, but when a man shakes my hand and says he's gonna do something, I expect him to follow through.
Now you be here before the end of business Tuesday and sign those papers.
And bid this town a fond farewell or suffer the fucking consequences.
Well, I ain't gonna just sit here pretending that you and I have ever seen eye to eye on, well... pretty much anything.
Reason I ain't coming here begging for forgiveness is because I don't think I deserve it.
But I would be mighty grateful if you could make my purpose a little more clear to me.
Before I came home, I was just drifting.
Town to town.
Ended up in a small place called Norton, way over in Kansas.
Been riding hard, went in the saloon for a drink.
Two men come up on me looking for a fight, so I gave it to 'em.
Cut one of 'em up pretty bad, outdrew on the other.
Told him to pick up his partner and get.
All I had to do was leave that town.
But I didn't.
Daring 'em to come after me.
And sure enough, when I walked outside those two young men started firing on me.
Shot out my horse. I drew my pistol. I fired back.
I killed them. I killed them both.
In the middle of all of it one of my shots went wide, straight through a storefront window.
Woman came out screaming, covered in blood.
First I thought I'd shot her.
Then her husband come out...
carrying a little boy.
I killed a boy, Pop.
He looked to be the same age as William.
He just lay there dead 'cause of what I'd done.
Just like William did.
William didn't die because of you.
You're not responsible for your brother's death.
You told me not to take him down to the river.
I told both of you. You were boys doing what boys do.
It was an accident. Tragic, but an accident.
I often think about what my brother would've grown up to be.
Now I can't stop thinking about what that little boy from Norton would've grown up to be.
The only thing I know that's true in my heart is that both of those boys would've grown up to be a far cry better than me.
Pa, I'm so sorry for what I've become.
Go on, stay inside.
Might I have a word with you, ma'am?
We have no business that I know of, Mr. McCurdy.
That you know of.
Your husband and I have spoken about him selling his farm.
Well, I'd be surprised if my husband entertained such an idea.
Well, ma'am, if that surprises you, you'll be dumbstruck to learn he's agreed to the sale of the property.
I don't believe you.
Well, that's of little concern to me, being as he's the title holder.
I want you off my land.
And you have every right to do so for another...
32 hours and 18 minutes.
And if we're still here?
Then I'd start looking for a black dress.
McCurdy wants our land.
You should be speaking with your husband.
I'm speaking to you.
Tom made a deal with McCurdy and now he's changed his mind.
Mary Alice, you need to go home and speak with your husband.
He's gonna get himself killed.
I don't want that for my boy.
You know why he's doing this.
To prove that he's as good as you are.
Mary Alice, I've seen this before and it only ends one way.
You wanna save your family?
You take what McCurdy's offering and you move away.
You understand me? You move away.
Excuse me, Mr. McCurdy?
Reverend's here. He wants a word with you.
Did he say what it's about?
Oh, I should've known. Show him in.
You're to leave the Watsons alone, James.
You sure do have a repetitive nature, Samuel.
I mean it.
Mean what? What are you gonna do if I don't, hm?
Command the Lord to strike me dead with a lightning bolt?
We were friends.
I'm asking you, stop doing what you're doing to Tom Watson.
Tom Watson shook my hand and agreed to a deal.
He's not going to leave.
One way or another, he will.
McCURDY: You did what?
What are you... what are you shaking your head at?
A damn fool, Frank.
You did the one thing that will bring John Henry Clayton into this.
In the back!
How is he?
I don't know yet.
DOC MILLER: John Henry.
How is he?
Well, the blade missed any vital organs, but he did lose a fair amount of blood.
We'll know more in the morning.
I wanna see him.
He's not conscious.
I just wanna sit with him.
Don't you even think of leaving me, old man.
Not after everything we've come through.
I'll get the doc.
No. Listen to me, son.
I have to tell you something.
I was wrong.
I was wrong about you, and I was wrong about me.
That big fella, I would've killed him if I could've.
I would've killed all of them.
You and me, we are the same blood.
I'm filled with fear, John Henry.
You're gonna be fine, Pop.
No, no, not for me.
I'm fearful I'm gonna lose you. I can see what's in your eyes.
Then you know what I gotta do.
You don't have to do anything.
But we both know I will.
I'll get the doc.
John Henry Clayton, you stop.
John Henry, please.
Please... for me... don't.
This ain't gonna end, Pa, till someone ends it.
Not you. It doesn't have to be you.
It's time I did something right in my life.
This is what I know how to do.
Mr. Parsons, in that a LeMat?
I bought it off a fella about a month ago.
She's a real beaut, ain't she?
Nine shots in a 10 gauge shotgun barrel.
And I can let you have it for a fair price.
Or you can just borrow it.
I suspect you're the one they call Little Ned?
All you young 'uns who ain't willing to die today, I suggest you unarmed yourselves and get.
Stay where you are, boys.
[gunfire, breaking glass]
Mouth getting dry, Frank?
You offering to buy me a drink?
DAVE: John Henry.
Whatever happens next, I want you to know I did not sanction that cowardly act against your father.
Personally, I found their actions damnable and deserving of the fate you brought upon them.
Then you'll be leaving?
Can't do that.
No one hires a gunman who runs from trouble.
You don't have to run, Dave. You can walk.
The terms of my employment would not allow me to do that.
This here LeMat's mighty heavy. Puts me at a disadvantage.
What would you suggest?
Would you be kind enough to let me go back inside and retrieve myself a Colt?
My friend, you are no longer employed.
It would appear you are correct.
It's been a pleasure knowing you, Dave.
I'm all right, Pa.
It's not gonna take long for word to get out on what happened here today.
Men from far and wide are gonna come looking for me to make a name for themselves.
Don't go away. I can't finish the field on my own.
The field's finished, Pa. I seeded it It'll take care of itself.
I gotta go.
You're not going for another 10 years, are you?
No, I promise.
See you soon, Pa.
MALE NARRATOR: Little is known of him after that.
Some say he drifted down to Coffeeville where he was involved in another altercation a few years later.
But those accusations were never proven.
The common view was he moved westward under a different name, where he lived a life of quiet isolation.
What is known is that when Mary Alice died a few years later, he did not attend her funeral.
However, many say the following day, a faded red ribbon was found attached to her headstone.
Others in Fowler recounted stories of seeing him throughout the years up until his father's death, at which time he came no more.