Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) Script





[STAMMERING] If you want any tickets, you'll have to go around to the front of...

Well, I suppose it'll be all right.

What the hell am I doing around here?

They walk in here and... [BIRD TWITTERING]


Let's see. I hope I got...


That'll be $7...

...and 50 cents.




























Frank sent us.

Did you bring a horse for me?

[CHUCKLING] Well, looks like we're...

Looks like we're shy one horse.


You brought two too many.





TIMMY: Hey, Pa!


That's enough for now. It's getting late. Come on home.






TIMMY: Maureen, look.






What you doing there? Go inside, quick, and get washed.

And don't touch the apple pie or the roast.

Patrick's already left for the station, huh?

He's getting ready, Pa.

Damn it, Patrick! PATRICK: Coming, Pa.

Not bad, I'd say.

Bigger, them slices. What the hell? We're throwing a party, ain't we?

But these are the same slices as usual.

Yeah, sure.

As usual.


Soon, you can cut the bread in slices as big as a door if you want to.

You'll have beautiful new clothes and you won't have to work no more.

We're going to get rich, Pa?

Who knows?


Wait a minute!

Look at the filth on your boots. Clean them.

The train will come in and there won't be no one to meet your mother.

Our mother died six years ago.

Go now, or you'll really be late.

Just a minute. Listen, Pa. How am I gonna recognize her?

You can't make no mistake, Patrick.

She's young and she's pretty and she's a lady.

"For traveling, I'll be wearing a black dress

"and the same straw hat that I was wearing when we met."

I'm gonna get some fresh water from the well.

[SINGING] Oh, Danny boy The pipes, the pipes are calling


And down the mountain side The summer's gone And all the roses fall...






What are we gonna do with this one, Frank?

Now that you've called me by name...







I saw some mighty fine stock down south.

Is that so?

And the prices are good.

These your valises, ma'am? Yes.

Come, Sarah. Bring them other two.

We'll tote them for you, ma'am.

Is that true? The sawmill needs hands?

Was yesterday. Why didn't you tell your brother?

Hiya, Gramps. Hiya, Bill. We're back again.

Come on. Get a move on, will you?


Get the lead out of your asses, you redskin warriors.

I got a whole train to unload.

All right, chuck down those feed sacks first.

Come on! Come on!


What's the name of the place you wanted to go?



Brett McBain's farm.

McBain? Yeah, sure.

That stubborn redheaded Irishman, tilling sand for years way out there in the middle of nowhere.


Only a loony like him could call that stinking piece of desert Sweetwater.

Sweetwater! [LAUGHING]

That's good! Sweetwater!

MAN 1: That's right. A little more to the right.

Higher. Higher.

Hold it there.

SAM: Here they are. Even got here with their damn rails.

They caught up with us again, eh, Lafayette? Let's go!

Hey, slow down. What's the matter with you? Slow down!

[EXCLAIMING] MAN 2: Hey, boys! Watch out!

Watch out down there!

Slow down! [SAM LAUGHING]

SAM: Whoa!

Why are we stopping? I told you I was in a hurry.

Don't the train stop?


What can I do for you, ma'am?

I would like some water, if it's no trouble.


Well, you see, that word is poison around these parts ever since the days of the great flood.

You mean you never wash? We sure do!

Well, I'd like to use the same facilities you people do.

You sure can.

Just happen to have a full tub in the back.

And you're lucky.

Only three people have used it this morning.

Used it one at a time or all together?

I can tell you're accustomed to fine living.

Bet you come from one of those big eastern cities.

New Orleans. New Orleans!

You've been there? No.

But I got a cousin down there. She runs a bar.

You know, she... [HORSES APPROACHING]











Do you only know how to play or do you know how to shoot?

Do you know how to blow music from that?

Pick it up.



[TUTTING] You don't know how to play.



Try this one.

Take it.

Go on.







We thought we'd never make it.

It's all right. You're right on time.

To bury my escort.

If I'd waited for you, I'd be in jail by now.



The gun.

You interested in fashions, Harmonica?

I saw three of these dusters a short time ago.

They were waiting for a train.

Inside the dusters, there were three men.


Inside the men, there were three bullets.


That's a crazy story, Harmonica.

For two reasons.

One, nobody around these parts got the guts to wear those dusters except Cheyenne's men.

Two, Cheyenne's men don't get killed.

That surprise you?


Well, you know music.

And you can count. All the way up to two.


All the way up to six, if I have to.

And maybe faster than you.



Yeah, go on.

Play, Harmonica.

Play, so you can't bullshit.

Only, watch those false notes.


Like so?


And so, this cousin of mine keeps writing me to come on down to New Orleans.

"Come on down. Help me with the bar. Make a pile of money."

I don't think I'd get along in a big city.

It's too full of fast men and loose women.

Begging your pardon, ma'am. Ah, no.

Now, I'm too used to a quiet, simple country life.


He's Timmy.

[SOBS] Yes.

Dear God.

On the day...

On the very day of your wedding.

Poor little miss.


Mrs. McBain.

But we all... Oh, but we thought...

I know.

It was to be a surprise today.

Brett McBain and I were married.

A month ago.

In New Orleans.

PRIEST: "I am the resurrection, and the life.

"He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.

"Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."



WOMAN 1: Mr. Bennett! WOMAN 2: What's he doing here?

I found this collar on a nail by the door.

You got no way of knowing, but this is as good as a signature.

Cheyenne's hand.

But why? Don't worry, Mrs. McBain.

We'll make them tell us before we hang them.

Let's get moving.


Come on.

Let's go back to Flagstone.

No, Sam.

You go back.

You don't want to stay out here alone.

Why not?

This is my home.







You know, Wobbles,

I'm kind of mad at you.

Frank wasn't there.

He sent three friends.

I don't know nothing, I swear.

I only arranged the meeting the way you wanted it.

I don't know why Frank wasn't there.

I swear to you that I... 'Cause he was at the McBains'.

That's not true. Cheyenne did that job.

Everyone knows that. We got proof.

That was always one of Frank's tricks.

Faking evidence.


I don't know.

I swear.

I only arranged the meeting. I swear.

[CHOKING] I don't know nothing.


Who's there?





Did you make coffee?

Make it.

Didn't sleep a wink.

A pack of turds dressed in black rode herd on me the whole damn night.

Yeah, but I left them in the middle of the desert.

If they're lucky, they'll be home in three days.



I'll do it. You fetch the coffee.

They want to hang me, the big black crows.


What the hell?

I'll kill anything, but never a kid.

Be like killing a priest.

A Catholic priest, that is.

Yeah, the world is full of people who hate Cheyenne.

See, I ain't the mean bastard people make out.

Of course, if somebody had a mind to kill me,

it fires me up.

And a fired-up Cheyenne

ain't a nice thing to see.

Especially for a lady.

But you're too smart to make him mad.

So this here's where I was supposed to do all the killing? Hmm?


Don't seem the place is worth a shit.

Now, if somebody gets dressed up to look like me,

so they can hang this thing around my neck, I don't like it none.

But I can understand it.


What I don't understand is why.

Neither do I.

But I see you looked a lot for the why.

Yeah. [LAUGHS]

What if there were a whole heap of whys?

Round. Yellow.

You know the kind.

You rap them on a stone and they go "ding."


But I didn't find them.


By the way, you know anything about a man going around playing a harmonica?

He's somebody you'd remember.

Instead of talking, he plays.

And when he'd better play, he talks.

You know, ma'am, when you've killed four, it's easy to make it five.

Sure. You're an expert.

Ma'am, it seems to me you ain't caught the idea.

Of course I have.

I'm here alone in the hands of a bandit who smelled money.

If you want to, you can lay me over the table and amuse yourself.

And even call in your men.

Well, no woman ever died from that.

When you're finished, all I'll need will be a tub of boiling water, and I'll be exactly what I was before.

With just another filthy memory.


You make good coffee, at least?

MORTON: Not bad.


Tell me, was it necessary that you kill all of them?

I only told you to scare them.

People scare better when they're dying.

And can you tell me what good was your stupid massacre?

Now, a Mrs. McBain has turned up.

So, I didn't expect that. It happens in business.

Let's say this is something I didn't plan on.

I have no time for surprises, Frank.

You know that.

I got on board in sight of the Atlantic, and before my eyes rot, I want to see the blue of the Pacific outside that window.

FRANK: I know where you got on board.

I was there, too, remember?

"To [BELL RINGS] remove small obstacles from the track," you said.

Well, there were a few.


But we traveled a long way, just the same.

And fast.

Even tuberculosis of the bones travels fast.

Don't play the sick man with me, Mr. Morton.

I knew you when you were just barely limping.

I watch that dry rot rise a little more every day.

Any normal man would put a bullet in his brain.

But you, you just got a little more hasty.

Otherwise you ain't changed any.

I'd say you've changed, Frank.

A lot.

You used to take care of certain things personally.

Now, you're keeping in the background.

You'll end up giving orders.

It's because, now, I don't want to leave you alone too much.

You're gonna need somebody more and more every day to stay near you.

Like a friend. Or like a partner.


How does it feel sitting behind that desk, Frank?

It's almost like holding a gun.

Only much more powerful.

You see, staying with you,

I'm beginning to think big, too.

This McBain business has given me ideas.

I'm sorry for you, Frank. You're doing your best.

You'll never succeed in becoming like me.


Because there are many things you'll never understand.


This is one of them.

You see, Frank, there are many kinds of weapons.

And the only one that can stop that is this.


Now, shall we get back to our little problem?

My weapons might look simple to you, Mr. Morton, but they can still shoot holes big enough for our little problems.

Pretty soon the widow McBain won't be a problem no more.

You wake up one morning and say, "World, I know you.

"From now on, there are no more surprises."

And then you happen to meet a man like this, who looked like a good man.

Clear eyes, strong hands.

And he wants to marry you.

Which doesn't happen often.

And he says he's rich, too, which doesn't hurt.

So you think, "The hell with New Orleans.

"Now I'll say yes and go live in the country.

"I wouldn't mind giving him half a dozen kids after all.

"Take care of a house. Do something. What the hell?"

Well, God rest your soul, Brett McBain.

Even if he's going to have a job pulling you out of the devil's grip.

Still, I swear he'd left money around someplace.

[LAUGHS] If you can find it, you're welcome to it.

Mrs. McBain goes back to civilization.

Minus a husband and plus a great future.

Hmm. [TUTS]


You deserve better.

The last man who told me that is buried out there.

You know, Jill, you remind me of my mother.

She was the biggest whore in Alameda and the finest woman that ever lived.

Whoever my father was, for an hour or for a month, he must have been a happy man.

Hey! Hey!



What do you want?

Cheyenne's right.

Once you've killed four, it's easy to make it five.

This isn't the time to leave.


Give me some water.

From the well.

I like my water fresh.

When you hear a strange sound, drop to the ground.

A sound? Like what?

[GUN CLICKING] Like that.




He not only plays, he can shoot, too.

Morning, Mrs. McBain.

What brings you to town? Good morning.

Maybe you don't remember, but yesterday at the funeral...

I remember very well.

Is there something I can do for you?


See Frank. And tell him I know everything.

Why is everybody hounding me about this guy Frank?

I don't know him. I've never heard of him.

I got my own worries, and all I want is to be left in peace.

Tell Frank I want to negotiate with him. Personally.



MORTON: You were told not to come here for any reason.

Whatever business you have with Frank, keep it far away from here.

Yes, I know, Mr. Morton, but when I heard that woman say she knew everything, I thought that the important thing was for me to come over here right away and tell you about it.

You never thought it wasn't a trick?

Sure, but you know that I'm mighty careful, Frank.

No one could have followed me.

That's the first thing I learned, working for you.

To listen unseen and to watch unheard.

MORTON: You should learn to live as if you didn't exist.

WOBBLES: You've known me a long time, Frank.

You know you can trust me.


How can you trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?

The man can't even trust his own pants.


Let's get out of here.


The end of the line.


Get him on board.

Tie him up.

Wait, Frank.

I didn't...

So, nobody followed you?

No. You gotta believe me.

So, this is the way I can trust you.

I can explain. I didn't know that he...

Get out. No. No. No, Frank.

Get out. [SCREAMS]




WOBBLES: Frank, wait! [SCREAMS]


I told you to keep quiet.

Where are Logan and Jim? They take care of the woman?

Someone took care of them.

We found them out at McBain's place.

Stone dead. And the woman was gone.

Your friends have a high mortality rate, Frank.

First three, then two.

So you're the one who makes appointments.

And you're the one who doesn't keep them.

What do you want?

Who are you?

Dave Jenkins.

Dave Jenkins is dead a long time ago.

Calder Benson.

What's your name? Benson's dead, too.

You ought to know, Frank, better than anyone.

You killed him.

Who are you?

Who are you, you... MORTON: Frank!

The woman.

We're only losing time.

All right.

This time, I'll take care of her personally.

Yeah, it ought to be easy for you.

Keep him warm for me.

If he gives you any trouble, hit him.

Not in the mouth. He's got to talk. And plenty.

Meet me at the Navajo cliff.

By the way, I want you to keep an eye on that cripple all the time.

Understand? MAN: Sure, Frank.




MORTON: See anyone? MAN: No.

There he is.









You only know how to shoot?

Or do you know how to cut, too?

CHEYENNE: Hey, you.

Wait a minute.

Let's have a good look at you.

Hey. Mr. Choo-Choo.


It's easy to find you.


I don't have to kill you now.

You leave a slime behind you like a snail.

Two beautiful shiny rails.

There's another bastard.

And he's getting further away every minute.



MAN: There it is.

Exactly what your husband ordered from me.

And seeing as how he paid cash on the barrel head, it all belongs to you.

Oak planks, beech, pine.

All first-grade lumber.

And there's beams and foundation pylons.

Ten kegs of nails, 20 barrels of tar, and all these tools.

Maybe he wanted to enlarge the farmhouse.

Enlarge the farmhouse?

He could have built at least eight of them.

MAN: By the way, ma'am, McBain also ordered this. Said it was important.

Only it seems he forgot to tell me what he wanted printed on it.

JILL: Station.

How's that again?

I said print "station."

Looking for this?

I've had enough of your butcher tactics.

I know that woman is here.

I don't want any more useless killing.

I'm ready to make a deal for that land.

To pay what's necessary.

I don't want to waste any more time.

You've made a big mistake, Morton.

When you're not on that train, you look like a turtle out of its shell.

Just funny.

Poor cripple talking big so nobody will know how scared you are.

I'm here to make a deal, Frank.

I don't have time to compete with you.


Why, you...

You can't even stand on your own feet by yourself.

Is that sufficient to make you feel stronger?

I could squash you like a wormy apple.

Sure, but you won't do it.

Because it's not to your advantage.

Who knows how far you'd have gone with two good legs. Huh?

Help him back to the train. Keep your eye on him.

Morton. Don't worry about the land.

If you feel like paying for it, you can pay.

Of course, it won't make any difference to you dealing with the new owner.

MAN 1: Cheyenne! Hey, Cheyenne!

There's a square staked out here. it says "water tank."

MAN 2: Over here, too. Only, it says "post office."

MAN 3: And this one says "corral."

MAN 4: And this here "church."

What the hell is this?

HARMONICA: Can't you see?

It's a station.

And all around it, a town.

Brett McBain's town.

[LAUGHS] Was he crazy!

Yeah, in a very special way.

An Irishman.

He knew, sooner or later, that railroad coming through Flagstone would continue on west.

So he looked over all this country out here until he found this hunk of desert.

Nobody wanted it.

But he bought it.

Then he tightened his belt, and for years, he waited.

Waited for what?

For the railroad to reach this point.

Ah, but how in the hell could he be sure the railroad would pass through his property?

Them steam engines can't roll without water.

And the only water for 50 miles west of Flagstone is right here.

Under this land. A-ha!

He was no fool, our dead friend, huh?

He was going to sell this piece of desert for its weight in gold, wasn't he?

You don't sell the dream of a lifetime.

Brett McBain wanted his station.

He got the rights to build it.

How do you know all this? I saw a document.

It was all in order. Seals, signatures, everything.

One thing, though.

In very small print, there is a short clause, which says that McBain or his heirs lose all rights if, by the time the railroad reaches this point, the station ain't built yet.


Speaking of railroads, I noticed the rail gang's already...


I noticed the rail gang's already behind those hills.

And before you know it, they're gonna be here.





A town built around the railroad.

You could make a fortune, huh?

Hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Hey, more than that.

Thousands of thousands.

They call them millions.

Millions? Hmm.

Yeah, millions. Yeah.

I always thought it'd be easier to make a deal with a smart lady.

All you gotta do is...

Hey, what in the hell are you standing around for?

But, chief, what are we supposed to do?

What are you supposed to do?

Build a station, idiots!

I figure it ain't gonna look like much.

But it'll be the first thing she sees when she gets back.

If she gets back.



I think...


I'm beginning to think I might be a little sorry killing you.

You like being alive.


You also like to feel a man's hands all over you.

You like it.

Even if they're the hands of the man who killed your husband.

What a...

What a little tramp.

Is there anything in the world you wouldn't do to save your skin?

Nothing, Frank.


Now I understand why they miss you so much down there in New Orleans.

Great invention, the telegraph.


"Jill? The brunette?

"My God, all the customers

"of the most elegant whorehouse on Bourbon Street

"have been weeping ever since she left."

Say, tell me.

Did old McBain know?


Yeah, I bet he did.

He was just the type to marry a whore.


It's an idea.

I could marry you.

And the land would become mine.

And maybe

you'd make a perfect wife.

It would be me who wouldn't be any good as a husband.

Too bad.

We'll have to think of another solution.




SHERIFF: As sheriff of this county, I've been asked to preside over the sale by auction of all property belonging to Mrs. Jill McBain, here present.

This parcel of land measures 320 acres.

It's free of all encumbrances, liens and mortgages.

This property and all it contains, lock, stock and barrel, will be turned over to the lucky purchaser at the time of sale.

All the contents therein are listed by number on the inventory sheet distributed among you.

The entire property will be sold in block to the highest bidder.

All right. That's clear to everybody.

I declare the auction open.

Now, who's going to make the first bid?

MAN 1: [WHISPERS] A list of all the items. Some of them are worth money.

SHERIFF: All right. Now, who's going to make the first bid?

MAN 2: $200.

SHERIFF: Well, I have an opening bid of $200.

$200. Do I hear more?

[WHISPERING] That stinking piece of land ain't worth it.

Is it, old-timer?

SHERIFF: Come on, my friends, $200.

The livestock alone is worth twice that much.


Who's going to bid $300?

Now, look, friends, I realize we're not offering California here, but 200 is damn little for all that property.

Ladies and gentlemen, I wouldn't even take 200 as a deposit.

Well, nobody's going to bid it up.

You're sure you wouldn't want to set a minimum price?

I wish I were wrong, Mrs. McBain, but you're liable to end up selling the place for a plate of beans.

All I want is to sell.



MAN 2: You look fat, huh? MAN 1: If you say so.

MAN 2: How many? MAN 1: One card.

One for me.

Dealer takes three.

Can I... Can I take a hand?



Yeah, sit down.

I'll deal.

How do you...

How do you play this game, Mr. Morton?

It's very simple.

As long as you use your head, you never lose.




Do I hear any other bids?

I don't think so.

I'm sorry, Mrs. McBain, but I think I'm gonna have to knock down on that last bid.

$500 once.

$500 twice.

$500... $5,000.


You said $5,000? It's on its way.

CROWD: It's Cheyenne!

The reward for this man is $5,000, that right?

Judas was content with $4,970 less.

There were no dollars in them days.

But sons of bitches, yeah.

[TRAIN WHISTLE BLOWING] Hey, wait a minute.

The jail's that way. [LAUGHS] Yeah, I know.

Yeah, but you're going to the railroad station.

I'm sending you to Yuma, Cheyenne.

They got a modern jail there.

It's got more walls, more bars, more guards.

Oh, you'll like it, in 20 years. You'll see.

Two tickets, amigo, to the next station.

One way only.


Here's to you. And congratulations.

You got yourself a good deal.

Oh, the auction.

Forget it. I don't invest in land.

You don't look at all like the noble defender of poor defenseless widows.

But then again,

I don't look like a poor defenseless widow.

Cheyenne's right. You're a remarkable woman.

And you're a remarkable man.

But you have something on your mind.

And you got something on your mind.

Hot water. A bathtub full of hot water.

I think it's time I filled that bathtub.

Who are you?

Jim Cooper.

Chuck Youngblood.

More dead men.

They were all alive until they met you, Frank.

You paid $5,000 for something that belongs to me.


Plus one.

You've got a right to make a profit, too.

I wouldn't take too long thinking about it, if I were you.

You got yourself into something that's bigger than you are.

You got a chance to get out easy. You better take it.

You sound like a real businessman, Frank.

Being with Mr. Morton has done you a lot of good.

And you've learned some new methods.

Yeah, Mr. Morton has shown you a lot of new ways.

Even though you haven't given up the old ones.

Pick any method you like. Just make the deal.

Which deal, Frank?

We have more than one, you and me.

We can lump them together into one bundle, settle all of them.

Here and now.


Easy, Frank.


You gotta learn not to push things.

Taking it easy is the first thing a businessman should do.

I got an idea Mr. Morton can teach you a lot more.

How much?


MAN: Giddy up!


MAN: Giddy up!


I could swear we're going to have that strange sound.

Right now.





Time sure flies.

It's already past 12:00.


But... But they were his men.

Yeah. And they tried to kill him.

They must have found somebody who pays better.

And you!

You saved his life.

I didn't let them kill him and that's not the same thing.


It's not the same thing.

You get dressed.

It's time to go home.





Did you make coffee?

This time I did.



My mother used to make coffee this way.

Hot, strong and good.

Cheyenne. Huh?

What's he waiting for out there?

What's he doing?

He's whittling on a piece of wood.

I got a feeling when he stops whittling, something's gonna happen.

Surprised to see me here?

I knew you'd come.

Morton once told me I could never be like him.

Now I understand why.

Wouldn't have bothered him, knowing you were around somewhere alive.

So you found out you're not a businessman after all?

Just a man.

An ancient race.

Other Mortons will be along and they'll kill it off.

The future don't matter to us.

Nothing matters now.

Not the land, not the money, not the woman.

I came here to see you.

'Cause I know that now you'll tell me what you're after.

Only at the point of dying.

I know.

I heated some water for you. I also found a razor.

Put it there, please.

So I can watch the railroad move up while I shave.

You know what?

If I was you, I'd go down there and give those boys a drink.

You can't imagine how happy it makes a man to see a woman like you.

Just to look at her.

And if one of them should pat your behind,

just make believe it's nothing.

They earned it.

Keep your loving brother happy.


Who... Who are you?

Hey. You're sort of a handsome man.

But I'm not the right man.

And neither is he.

Maybe not.

But it doesn't matter.

You don't understand, Jill.

People like that have something inside.

Something to do with death.

If that fella lives, he'll come in through that door, pick up his gear and say adiós.

It would be nice to see this town grow.


Now I gotta go.


Gonna be a beautiful town, Sweetwater.

I hope you'll come back someday.


Yeah. I gotta go, too.

Make believe it's nothing.


Sorry, Harmonica.

I gotta stay here.


I ran into Mr. Choo-Choo.

I didn't count on that half-man from the train.

He got scared.


Hey, Harmonica.

When they do you in, pray it's somebody who knows where to shoot.


Go away.

Go away.

Go away. I don't want you to see me die.