Sergeant Rutledge (1960) Script

♪ Have you heard about the soldier in the U.S. Cavalry ♪

♪ Who is built like Lookout Mountain ♪

♪ taller than a redwood tree? ♪

♪ With his iron fist, he'll drop an ox ♪

♪ with just one mighty blow ♪

♪ John Henry was a weakling next to Captain Buffalo ♪

♪ He'll march all night, and he'll march all day ♪

♪ and he'll wear out a 20-mule team along the way ♪

♪ Roll the drums, roll the drums ♪

♪ let the bugles blow ♪

♪ you've never seen a man the likes of Captain Buffalo ♪

♪ With a hoot and a holler and a ring-a-dang go ♪

♪ hup, two, three, four ♪

♪ Captain Buffalo ♪

♪ He'll march all night, and he'll march all day ♪

♪ and he'll wear out a 20-mule team along the way ♪

♪ Roll the drums, roll the drums ♪

♪ let the bugles blow ♪

♪ you've never seen a man the likes of Captain Buffalo ♪

♪ with a hoot and a holler and a ring-a-dang go ♪

♪ hup, two, three, four ♪

♪ Captain Buffalo, Captain Buffalo ♪

There's young Cantrell.

He's a day late.


Ah, Dickinson. Hold that, will you?

That's my whole case in there -- evidence, affidavits, everything.

Try dressing in the front seat at a gallop.

How do I look?

That's how you look. Turn around.

I expected you yesterday.

I know.

Any luck at the Jorgenson ranch?

No, not yet.

Uh, Hightower, take the rest of this gear to adjutants' quarters.

How much time we got?

None. Come on.

All my buttons buttoned?


Officers' wives?

[ Indistinct conversations ]

They're not gonna let the women sit in on this.

Spicy case like yours?

Try and keep 'em out, they'd have your scalp.

Trying to make it into a Roman circus, huh?

Tom, they want to see a hangin'.

President of the court-martial is Colonel Otis Fosgate.

I know, I know -- "Old Stone Face."

Tom, I admire you for defending Rutledge, but you might as well know, I think he's as guilty as hell.

You might as well know, I don't.

[ Indistinct conversations ]

You put that chair right there. That's it.

It's going to be like a box in the opera.

[ Crowd quiets ]

Is Mary Beecher here?

Dickinson: Not too friendly.

I'm not calling her as a friend.

I'm calling her as a witness.

Good luck, Tom.

Mary, I know this is gonna be an ordeal for you, but I had to call on you.

Rutledge needs all the help he can get.

And whose fault is that?

What is done is done.

We're in the hands of the court now.

But you're defending him. You -- you of all men.

Well, if you had some knowledge of the facts --

Man: Ten-hut!

[ Crowd murmurs ]

Silence, silence!


You civilians, get those hats off!

Put out those cigars!

Sergeant, see that they do it, and if they don't, throw them out!

Yes, sir.

Otis isn't feeling very well this morning.

He had a little glass last night.

[ Gavel bangs ]

I want something understood right here and now!

This is a court-martial. It is not a quilting bee.

It's not a quilting bee.

[ Gavel bangs ]

Now, if there is any further disturbance or undue chatter, I am going to clear this court at once!

Cordelia, your husband's going to put us out!

Ho ho! He wouldn't dare! Just let him try!

The court is ready, sir.

Very good, Captain.

Now, I have been told that counsel for the defense is not on the post.

Lieutenant Cantrell is present, sir.

My apologies if my last-minute arrival has inconvenienced the court.

Very good, Cantrell.

Now, is trial-judge advocate ready to prosecute this case?

Captain Shattuck, sir, ready for the prosecution.

Oh, yes, yes.

You're the officer sent down from General Nelson Miles' headquarters, aren't you?

I see you wear the 14th-Infantry insignia.

I've been away from the regiment, sir -- detailed to the Judge Advocate General's department for 10 years.

Ah, yes.

Lawyer, eh? Lawyer.

Sent down here to keep a staff eye on field-soldier justice?

On the contrary, sir -- justice was guaranteed the accused when you were detailed as president of this court.


[ Crowd murmurs ]

Now, counsel being ready and present, as general court appointed by departmental special order 104, August 8, 1881, is now in session.

All right, Sergeant, the accused, Sergeant Rutledge, will be brought in.

Yes, sir.

[ Crowd murmurs ]

[ Gavel bangs ]

[ Whistle blows ]

First Sergeant Braxton Rutledge, "C" Troop, Ninth United States Cavalry.

Hang him!Hang him! Hang him!Hang him!

Fosgate: Quiet! Quiet!

[ Indistinct shouting ]


Mr. President, I request this courtroom be cleared of all spectators.

This is not a public show.

A soldier is on trial for his life before this court.

And furthermore, by the very nature of the charges alone, this is certainly no place for ladies.

Request granted.

Dickinson, clear this courtroom of everybody not directly connected with this case!

Fosgate: Clear out!



Otis, Otis, tell this person you don't mean me!

Out, Cordelia!

Escort Mrs. Fosgate and her friends to the door.

Oh! Really!

This is the most absurd thing I've ever heard in my life!

Otis Fosgate, wait till I get you home and really tell you what I think!

[ Clears throat ]

Now, gentlemen, I want counsel for both sides to understand that this court-martial is being held behind closed doors with no prejudice toward the accused.

And solely because of the scandalous nature of the charges and to avoid offense to public decency.

Mulqueen, read the charge sheet.

Sir, since the court acknowledges the unspeakable nature of the charges, I would like to suggest that, out of deference to the young lady whose presence is necessary as a witness, that the court omit reading of the charges and specifications in detail and simply cite the accused as charged with violation of the 92nd Article of War on both counts.

Defense counsel, any objections?

As long as the court is aware of Captain Shattuck's sly attempt to create prejudice, no objections.

The accused stands charged with violation of the 92nd Article of War on both counts.

Sergeant Rutledge, how do you plead?

Guilty or not guilty?

Not guilty to both charges, sir.

Not guilty?

Lieutenant Cantrell, is this prisoner's plea made on advice of counsel?

Yes, sir. Not guilty on both charges and not guilty on all specifications, sir.

Proceed, proceed.

All right, Captain Shattuck, call your first witness.

I call Miss Mary Beecher to the stand.

Sir, I appeal of the court.

Captain Shattuck knows very well Miss Beecher is here as witness for the defense.

Sir, I know of no rule which says prosecution may not call a defense witness, so long as it does not later impeach her testimony.

Miss Beecher, please?

Do you swear the evidence you're about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God, ma'am?

I do.

Thank you, ma'am.

And now, Miss Beecher, in your own words, will you kindly acquaint the court with all the circumstances that led up to your first meeting with the accused, Sergeant Rutledge, and everything that transpired thereafter?

Well, I -- I was returning to Arizona after an absence of 12 years in the East.

And when I arrived at Junction City, I discovered that there were no longer any passenger trains running through the Spindle Station into Fort Linton.

And through the friendship of a conductor, Mr. Owens, whom I'd know since I was a little girl, I managed to get a ride in the caboose of his freight train.

And I was supposed to meet my father at Spindle Station.

Mr. Owens had sent him a telegram from Junction City.

And it was on the caboose of that freight train that I first met Lieutenant Cantrell.

[ Train whistle blows ]

[ Speaking Spanish ]

He says the horses need water.

You hear that, Owens?!

You think I'm deaf? Deaf and dumb?

You been screamin' for water louder than them remounts since we left Junction City.

How long before we get to Spindle Station, Mr. Owens?

Well, the way I got it figured, with the sand on the tracks and the wind against us, I'd say...Half hour at the outside.

About midnight.

You hear that, Miss Beecher?

In a half hour, you'll get off at Spindle, and I'll go on to Fort Linton.

You sound surprised, Lieutenant Cantrell.

What I've been trying to say is that you're a very attractive, young, and rather mysterious lady, and...I'm...A lonely bachelor in a lonely land.

Now, there's nothing mysterious about me.

I'm just coming home after 12 years.

But somehow, it doesn't seem like coming home at all.

I'd forgotten what a lonely land Arizona Territory really is.

Why did your father send you back East, Mary?

Was it, uh, school or what?

No, it was a promise he made to my mother just before she died.

I hated going. I loved Arizona then.

And now I just don't know.

Ah, don't you worry, Mary.

I sent your father that telegram from Junction City, like you told me, and he'll be at Spindle Station to meet you and mighty glad to see you, too.

Why, sure he will.

You know, Arizona's changed considerably since Geronimo was taken.

We haven't had any Apache trouble in -- oh, I don't know -- two or three years.

[ Whistle blows ] Spindle Station comin' up.

Oh, you and your dag-blamed horses, Laredo.

You're runnin' powerful late already.

If he had his way, Mary, he'd have me throw you off the train without stoppin'.

If you're in such a hurry, fetch out her other bag.

[ Whistle blows ]

Uh, would you like some more hot coffee?

No, thank you.

That's a pretty long, cold ride over there to Spanish Wells.

I'll have to get used to these Arizona distances.

Well, now, it's only about an hour on the train from Fort Linton to Spindle, and Spindle to Spanish Wells -- why, that's just a short day's ride.

Well, that's still quite a distance.

Not if there's a welcome at the end of it.

[ Brakes screech ]

My name's Tom.

Goodbye, Tom.

There'll be a welcome for you.

Bye, Mary.

Owens: Oh, Nate! Nate Hedges!

Hey, Nate, wake up, Nate!

Hey, Nate!

Laredo: He's around here someplace.

Owens: Hey, Nate!

Nate Hedges, wake up!

Hey, Nate!

Oh, Nate!

Ain't nobody here to meet you, Mary.

I did send that telegram to your dad, you know.

Don't worry, Mr. Owens. I'm sure he'll be along soon.

Well, Nate will take care of you till he comes.

You remember Nate Hedges, don't you?

Nate Hedges? Is he still here?

What's the trouble, Mary?

My father isn't here yet, and I --

Oh, uh, excuse me just a minute, Mary.

I think I know --

Nate! Busy, Nate?

[ Wind blows ]




Now, look here, Owens, I got two carloads of valuable remounts on that train.

You ain't gonna hold me up for any more of that huggin' and kissin'.

Ah, hold your horses, Laredo!

That's just what I ain't gonna do!

[ Whistle blows ]

[ Engine chugs ]

Hold it!

Hey, nobody starts that train but me!

Mary, you're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen, and don't forget I said it to you.

Oh, hush.

Hurry, now.

[ Whistle blows ]

Mr. Hedges?

[ Clock ticking ]



Mr. Hedges?



Nate, wake up!


[ Gasps ]


Don't scream, Miss. Don't scream.

[ Whimpers ]

It was as though he'd sprung up at me out of the earth.

I couldn't move. I couldn't scream.

It was like a nightmare.

And that man who sprang at you from the darkness, is he here in this court?

Well, yes, but --

Is that man who seized you so brutally and viciously --

Is he here?

Well, yes, he's sitting right there, but that does not prove it.

Is it that man there, that colored soldier?

I object!

I withdraw the word "colored."

I refer to the accused, Sergeant Rutledge.

Is he the man who seized you so viciously, Miss Beecher?

Yes, but -- that is all, Miss Beecher.

Your witness, Lieutenant Cantrell.

Sir, gentlemen, a soldier's life is at stake, and this man is playing cheap legal tricks.

I resent that, sir!

[ Gavel bangs ] That's enough!

I will have no personalities between counsel.

Proceed, Lieutenant.

Prosecution has stolen a key defense witness and ruthlessly cut off the testimony at a point highly unfavorable to the accused.

This is not the proper time for Defense Counsel to argue the case.

He should either cross-examine or dismiss the witness.

The manual for court-martials clearly states the trial-judge advocate should do his utmost to present the whole truth and to oppose every attempt to suppress the facts or to distort them!

Now, I ask the court not to accept the half-truths that Captain Shattuck has so slickly presented, but to insist on the whole truth by letting Miss Beecher go on with her story.

I object, sir.

If this is not a personal attack on me --

Sit down!

Miss Beecher, tell me, is there more to your story?

Yes. Yes, there is.

Well, I think I speak for the other members of this court when I say that I'd like to hear it.

Now, Miss Beecher, as I recall the testimony before Captain Shattuck cut you off, Sergeant Rutledge was pressing his hand over your mouth.

Now, tell us, what happened then?

Well, he -- he warned me.

He warned me not to scream again.

He said, "Don't scream again, Miss.

Don't scream!"

You don't have to be afraid of me.

I'm first Sergeant Rutledge, United States Cavalry.

[ Whimpers ]

Quiet, ma'am.

I ain't gonna hurt you, but I ain't gonna let you scream.

Now, you listen to me --

I been blood-trailed all the way into Spindle by three Mescaleros.

They jumped me about a mile back, got my horse.

I killed one. The other two are out there somewhere.

Do you understand? Apaches.

[ Coyote howls ]

Now, tell me, what did you find in there?

He's dead.

The old man, the stationmaster?

Yes. I put my hand on his shoulder, and he -- and he fell to the floor.

I wasn't movin' around awful fast.

One could have circled ahead of me, maybe.

While I was in there, an Apache --

Stop it!

It's where they are now.

How did he fall? Loose?

He was all...limp and --

Less than one hour dead in this weather?

I don't know.

My father! My father's coming here to meet me!

The Apaches -- they'll kill him!

It ain't your father now. It's you and me.

You're a Western woman. You can use a gun.

Yes, but --

They'll have no mercy on you, lady.

They'll have no mercy.

[ Owl hoots ]

Look out!

[ Whimpering ]

Do we have to go in there?

No. You stay here while I police up the place.

[ Train whistle blows ]

What were you doing out there?

It's all right. You can come in now.

[ Clock ticking ]

I took him outside. The best I could do.

Are you all right?


Your father got word you were coming?

Yes. The conductor telegraphed him from Junction City.

Name Beecher? Spanish Well Ranch?

You mean he didn't get it?

Let me see.

May be a file copy.

A line writer could have taken it out to the ranch.

Dad isn't here.

When you had the lamp out back, you were reading sign.

What is it?

Apaches -- the ones that jumped us, they didn't kill the old man.

You mean it wasn't Apaches?

It was Apaches, but an earlier party.

The signs out back show 30 or 40 unshod ponies.

There must have been an awful big breakout at San Rosario Reservation.

Our ranch is on San Rosario Road.

It's a good thing your father didn't get the message.

No time to be caught on the roads, Miss.

However...You and I got to get some rest and food.

I'll see if I can rustle us up some.

No, let me do it.

No, you stay!

I'm sorry, Miss.

I been a First Sergeant too long.

What I meant to say is, rest easy here till I come back.

[ Wind blows ]

Please continue, Miss Beecher.

Tell us, what happened then?

Well, the -- the storm seemed to grow in violence.

The wind blew stronger and stronger.

I thought I heard a coyote howl.

And I was afraid...

Terribly afraid!

[ Wind blows ]

I'm Mary Beecher.

What did you say your name is?

Rutledge. Braxton Rutledge.

First Sergeant, Ninth Cavalry.

I didn't know they had any colored --

I mean, are you from Fort Linton?

The Ninth Cavalry relieved the white garrison a few years back.

Then you must know Lieutenant Cantrell.

Yes, I know him.

That Apache cut you out there.

Why didn't you tell me?

I'm all right. You get out.

I won't.

The whiskey up there --

You want whiskey?

Up there on the shelf -- give it to me.

That isn't a knife cut.

[ Gasps ]


Apaches didn't do it.

When did you leave Fort Linton?

A while back.


I said a while back.

Look, Sergeant, I know you've got to sleep, but suppose the Apaches come back?

When Apaches kill and run, chances are they don't come back.

I'll get you something to eat.

Please don't go to sleep. It'll be hot in a minute.

You take yours in there in the next room.

I'll dish my own up.

You stay where you are. I'll get yours.

Anyone comes...

You ain't gonna be in here with me.

What are you talking about?

I'm talkin' about you -- a white woman.

White women only spell trouble for any of us.

That's nonsense.

We're just two people trying to stay alive.

Lady, you don't know how hard I'm tryin' to stay alive.

Sergeant, the telegraph.

Do you know how to work the telegraph key?

No use. The wire's cut.

[ Wind blows ]

[ Clock chimes four times ]

[ Wind blows, door bangs ]

Well, I -- I suppose I must have slept sometime during the night.

But I thought that night would never end.

But at any time that night, did Sergeant Rutledge threaten or molest you?

Certainly not.

He never stirred from his cot.

So, what Captain Shattuck tried to picture to the court as a brutal and vicious attack upon you by Sergeant Rutledge was, in reality, nothing more than an effort to prevent you from betraying your presence to those two Apache?

Sergeant Rutledge saved my life.

Thank you.

Any further questions, Captain Shattuck?

No questions, sir.

You may step down, Miss Beecher.

Oh, and I trust we haven't unduly distressed you.

All right, gentlemen, we've had just about enough of this legal jockeying.

Let's put first things first and clearly establish the facts and the nature of the crimes with which the accused has been charged.

Call your next witness, Captain Shattuck.

I call Mrs. Colonel Fosgate.


What did you say?

Y-you mean you're calling my wife as a witness?

Yes, sir.

If you knew you were gonna have her on that stand, what did you let me haul her out of here for?

I call Mrs. Colonel Fosgate.

All right, Sergeant, all right!

Mulqueen, the water.

I said the "water."

That footslogger knew all the time he was gonna have her up there.

I'll never be able to --

[ gulps ]

[ Coughs, clears throat ]

[ Sighs ]

Cordelia, you were called here as a witness!

What are these other ladies doing here?!

Otis Fosgate, I would not come here without a chaperon with all these men.

My goodness, my mother --

Fosgate: All right, all right!

Ladies, sit down. And be quiet.

Cordelia, take the chair.

The chair?

Yes, ma'am.

What chair?

This chair here, ma'am.


Yes, ma'am.

The chair, ma'am.

Thank you.

Yes, ma'am.

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God, ma'am?

Is that the King James version?

Do you swear --

I don't swear on anything but the King James version.

Cordelia, a Bible is a Bible.

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth -- she does.

Carry on, Shattuck.

Do you recognize the subject of this miniature painting?

It's dear, little Lucy Dabney.

Lucy Dabney.


With the little gold cross she always wore around her neck.

I would like to place this in evidence, sir.

I accept it.

Now, Mrs. Fosgate, you and your husband were quartered on the post at Fort Linton at the time of the murders, were you not?


And you knew the Post Commander, Major Dabney, as well as his young daughter Lucy?

Oh, yes, very well.

Now, Mrs. Fosgate, I know that to a woman of your breeding, this is painful beyond words.

But I would like you to tell the court, when was the last time you saw Lucy Dabney alive?

The last time I saw Lucy was at the settler's store, Mr. Hubble's.

She came riding up on her horse, so young, so lovely.

Hi, Mrs. Fosgate.

Oh. Yes.


Hello, Mrs. Hackett.


Lucy Dabney, riding astride.

When will your father realize that you're a grown-up young lady?

Papa says, as long as I say my prayers and behave myself with the young lieutenants, he doesn't care if I ride like Lady Godiva.

You're a very beautiful young girl, considering you've grown up without your poor, dear mother -- a very nice one.

Well, thank you, Mrs. Fosgate.

Hi, Mr. Hubble.

Say, Brax, you were right about that horse -- high-stepping action and sensitive mouth.

Thought you'd like her, Miss Lucy.

I took her over 4 1/2 feet yesterday.

4 1/2 feet? You're gonna get your neck broke, child.

I don't want you jumpin' no horse when I'm not around, do you hear?


You watch it.


You got Miss Lucy's order ready?

Sure have, Dad.

Hi, Chris.

Hi, Lucy. 4 1/2 feet!

Well, I did so.


Four feet anyway.


Thank you, Mr. Hubble.

My dear, is it wise to be so friendly with...

Brax? Brax Rutledge?


Well, I've known him ever since I was so high.

I know, but -- he taught me how to ride.

Here you are, Lucy.

Just like you ordered -- six skeins of white wool.

Say, when are you gonna knit me a pair of socks?

What about Ellie Jorgenson?

I don't want that redhead putting burs under my saddle.

Oh, she won't get jealous over socks.

She's knitting me a sweater.

You better let me help you with these packages.

They're pretty heavy for a little girl like you.

Come on, Chris Hubble! Oh, honest!

Cordelia: That was the last time I saw Lucy Dabney...alive.

Now, tell me, Mrs. Fosgate, in your own words, when was the last time you saw Sergeant Rutledge?

Y-you mean...

Shattuck: Yes.

Well, I was, uh, in my bedroom, writing a letter to my daughter Barbara at Fort Walla Walla, Washington.

She's, uh, married to Lieutenant Prichett.

You know -- of, uh, the Prichetts, of Pritchettsville?

And she's expecting again.

[ Giggles ]

Otis and I couldn't be more on edge if it was us.

[ Giggles ]

Please, Cordelia, what about Rutledge?

Rutledge? Rutledge who?

Oh, oh, oh.

Fosgate: The accused, Sergeant Rutledge.

You said you saw him again that evening.

Shattuck: You were in your room --

Yes, I was in my room writing, and I heard two shots -- bang, bang.

So I rushed quickly to the window and I saw...him.

That -- that gentleman there.

[ Gunshot ]

It was...Sergeant Rutledge.

And I watched him till he disappeared into the darkness.

He was headed straight for East Gate.

If you'd like my opinion --

Thank you, Mrs. Fosgate.

Your witness, Lieutenant Cantrell.

The defense does not challenge Mrs. Fosgate's testimony, sir.

If Defense Counsel accepts Mrs. Fosgate's testimony, must we go on?

Why don't you plead your man guilty and throw him on the mercy of the court?

That's your privilege. Care to exercise it?

I do not, sir.

Get on with it, Cantrell.

That's all, Cordelia. Goodbye.

Shattuck: One more question for Mrs. Fosgate on redirect.

Haddock. Captain Haddock.

I knew a Captain Haddock.

He was the veterinarian who took care of all the -- my name is "Shattuck," ma'am.


Now, Mrs. Fosgate, please tell us, when was the exact time you saw Sergeant Rutledge ride past your window?

It was exactly 8:00.

Oh, nonsense, Cordelia.

You haven't known what time it was since the day we were married.

It was exactly 8:00 because the clock was striking 8:00 -- the little china clock with the painted flowers that you stole while your men were burning Atlanta.

Heh heh!

Thank you, Mrs. Fosgate.

You've been an excellent witness.

Shattuck -- Haddock --

Captain Haddock --

Captain Fish -- Fish? Was it Fish?

Fish. Captain Fish.

Woman: You were wonderful.

Thank you, Captain Fish.

[ Women talking indistinctly ]

[ Gavel bangs ]

Ladies, quiet.

Cordelia! Quiet, please! Ladies, sit down.

[ Sighs ]

Go ahead, Shattuck, go ahead.

I call the Fort Linton post surgeon, Dr. Walter Eckner.

Swear him in, Sergeant.

Sergeant: Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God, sir?

Eckner: I do.

Shattuck, I suppose you're going to have the doctor give us all of the frank medical details?

I'm afraid I have no choice, sir.

All right, all right.

Sergeant, escort the ladies into the orderly room.

Have them wait there.

[ Gasps ] [ Gasps ][ Gasps ]

Ohh! After waiting so long?

I don't see how you can do this.

Do you understand I'm a surprise witness?

Yes, ma'am, but please, right through there.

[ Women talking indistinctly ]

[ Grumbles ]


[ Growls ]

[ Sighs ]


Dr. Eckner... You were at Fort Linton the night of the murders, were you not?

[ German accent ] As there was no senior officer on the post, I ordered the bodies left as they were and went to meet Lieutenant Cantrell at the station -- the railroad station.

We returned to Major Dabney's quarters together, Lieutenant Cantrell and myself.

Glad to see you back, sir, mighty glad.

This is a terrible thing.

Ladies, this is no place for any of you.

Please go to your quarters.

Well, Cordelia!

The idea of him trying to talk like that.

Get rid of the men you don't need, Skidmore.

Major Dabney, Lieutenant.

Death by a gunshot wound through the heart -- a service gun.

This...toy didn't kill him.

Light that lamp.

Yes, sir.


Been fired twice.


[ Speaking German ]


Violated... And then strangled.


I suppose the Major surprised him while he was --

Yah, yah, yah. The Major shoots and wounds him.

You can see the blood here.

Then he kills the Major and runs.

You see the blood drops from here to the door.

Why should he, uh, stop to cover the body with a serape so carefully?

Oh, a twisted mind, maybe.

Who knows? Mad!

There is an odd mark, also, here on the throat, not from strangulation.

More like a cut, but not a cut.

Hand me that picture, Doctor.

The little gold cross she always wore around her neck -- it's been torn off.

Yah. I remember Lucy's little cross.

[ Sighs ]

Well, you never can tell about such a criminal.


He takes the cross, perhaps, a symbol of the purity he has destroyed.

Who's sergeant of the guards?

Skidmore, sir.

Skidmore, send a runner for the First Sergeant.

You mean Rutledge, sir?

Yes, I'm gonna need his help on this.

Rutledge is not here, sir.

What the hell do you mean he's not here? Where is he?

Speak up!

Sir...I just don't know.

When was the last time you saw him?

He rode past the guardhouse lookin' for -- for Major Dabney shortly before 8:00.

Major Dabney wouldn't be at the guardhouse.

He'd be right here in his --

Yes, sir.

You mean Rutledge was here?


It couldn't be Rutledge.

[ Bugle plays fanfare ]

Assembly at this hour? What's the idea, Skidmore?

That's why Rutledge was looking for Major Dabney.

Apache raiding party loose, three ranches burned out.

Officers of the guard must be forming a patrol, sir.


The trouble come double, sir.

I had both bodies removed to the post hospital.

An autopsy confirmed my spot findings --

Major Dabney shot through the heart, his daughter Lucy ravaged and strangled -- the work of a degenerate.

The work of a degenerate, indeed.

Your witness, Mr. Cantrell.

Oh, no questions.

What?!What?! What?!

Wait a minute, Doctor, wait a minute.

Stay right where you are.


That is the second witness against the accused that you have failed to cross-examine.

Now, Tom, as Defense Counsel, it is your duty -- as Defense Counsel, sir, I'm only trying to establish the truth.

I believe that both Dr. Eckner and Mrs. Fosgate have told the truth.

Tom, that is entirely beside the point.

But if you disagree, I'll be happy to recall Mrs. Fosgate and --

Step down, Doctor.

All right, Shattuck, call your next witness.

Come on, let's not delay here.

I am certain that, by now, this court is well aware of the peculiar involvement of Lieutenant Cantrell.

So I trust that I shall not again be charged with employing cheap legal tricks when I call as my next witness Defense Counsel himself, Lieutenant Cantrell.

Have you any objections, Cantrell?

No, certainly not, sir.

All right, get up there. Sergeant, swear him in.

Sergeant: Do you swear to tell --

I do.

Dr. Eckner has testified that after hearing assembly sounded, you left the scene of the crimes for post headquarters.

Will you tell us what action you took then?


As senior officer present, I took command of the post and sent a galloper to the survey camp to inform Colonel Fosgate.

You can confirm that, sir?

Fosgate: Of course.

When the Colonel returned to the post, I left with the patrol at once by forced march, where we arrived at the Spindle Station shortly after dawn.

Skidmore, take two men and cover the rear.

Don't touch that gun, Lieutenant!

I won't have to.

You're gonna hand me that rifle, butt end first.

You take me back now, they'll hang me sure.

Is that a confession?

[ Gunshot ]

Hold him!

[ Handcuffs latch ]


Why didn't you shoot me... When you had the chance?

We may yet!

All right, Skidmore, search him -- hat, boots, socks -- and bring me every single thing you find on him.

And do you what you can to fix up that wound.

Mary, are you all right?

He didn't hurt you, did he?

Of course not. He saved my life.

Did you have to treat him like an animal?

He's under arrest for the murder of his commanding officer.

I don't believe it!

What about your father? What happened to him?

I don't know. He just never got here.

Mary, when I got word Apaches were in this district and I left you here alone --

Not alone. Sergeant Rutledge was here.

And no officer could have protected a woman more gallantly.

[ Clock ticking ]

Skidmore, bring in the prisoner.

Here's everything we found on Rutledge, sir.

Put it right there.

See what this says.

"I, Colonel Thurston Tillman

"of Rutledge Hall, Prince Edward County, "do -- on this 12th day of April, 1861 -- man-- manu--"

"manumit and entirely set free

"and forever quit claim the body and services of the slave boy called"...

"Braxton Rutledge."

What did you expect to find?

I didn't find it.

Rutledge, what happened here last night?

Why don't you ask the lady?

Can't you see he's hurt? Why don't you let him sit?

Thank you, ma'am, I can stand.

Sit down, Sergeant.

You heard the Lieutenant, sit down.

Your wound is open again. Let me see it.

No! Leave me be, miss.

I will not.

Yes, you will, and if you don't mind, I'm gonna ask you to wait outside.

All right, let's have a look at the wound.

Raise up your arms.

Give us a picture of what happened.

How many hostiles were there?

Give it to us, Brax.

We never figured to find you here.

There were 30 or 40 unshod ponies here last night before the train came in.

The signs out back show.

They killed the stationmaster.

Thirty or 40? That really was a big breakout.

But this wasn't Apaches -- not two small-caliber bullet wounds.

Did you do it, Rutledge?

I refuse to answer, sir, respectfully.

Tie him up.

Skidmore, Krump, we're gonna track these hostiles down and drive 'em back to the reservation.

Move in here so you can see the map.

Three ranches have been reported burned out.

There's Jorgenson's here, over here is Williard's, and here's Edward Haight's.

The Apaches appear to be moving due west, so we're going to go north by west fast and cut them off before they can reach the young lady's home right here at Spanish Wells.

The young lady goes with us.

Get the terrain clear in your mind.

Rutledge, with that many hostiles loose, I can't spare anyone to take you back to Fort Linton.

You're riding with us, too.

One hand free, like the book says?

You know what the book says -- one hand free if and when we make contact with the enemy.

How 'bout that, Top Soldier?

He ain't sendin' you back.

He's lettin' you ride with us.

Half-soldier's still Top Soldier.

No, I ain't.

I'm a prisoner now in bad trouble.

And I ain't gonna let this trouble rub off on you.

You're Ninth Cavalrymen.

And like I said again and again, the Ninth's record is gonna speak for us all someday, and it's gonna speak clean.

Brax, but all we're saying, we're your friends.

No, you ain't. You ain't no more.

You're not gonna risk any part of this regiment's record for one man's good.

Now, listen to me, Brax, and hear me well.

You tell me yourself you did that awful thing in Fort Linton, I wouldn't believe it.

But, Brax, why did you run away?

Because I walked into somethin' none of us can fight --

White-woman business.

Now, you heard the Lieutenant, Skidmore.

You get that terrain fixed in your head because the way he talks, you're gonna need it.

And don't nobody call me "Top Soldier" no more.

And that's an order!

Take the girl's bags into the lean-to.

Yes, sir.

Mary, we're gonna try to get you back to Spanish Wells.

Have you got anything to ride in?


Then please get dressed.

I'm not going anywhere until I can say goodbye to Sergeant Rutledge.

Sergeant Rutledge is riding with us.

Wounded and handcuffed?

That's none of your business, and from now on, I'll have no more back talk from you in front of my men!

Leclerc, feed a quick breakfast.

We move out in 40 minutes.

Skidmore, feed the men, get the horses ready.

We move out in 40 minutes.

I expect you to be ready in 40 minutes, Miss Beecher.

Sit down, Brax.

When I rode into Fort Linton last night and saw what had happened, I couldn't believe my eyes.

It's against everything I know about you, Brax.

You believe it now, sir, don't you?

You ran out, you deserted.

Now you refuse to make a statement.

What else do you expect me to believe?

Nothing, sir.

Don't play games with me, Brax.

I know you too well.

You and I served together for six years, and I know there's no better soldier in a fight.

And I thought there was no better man.

What does it all add up to, sir?

What do you think it adds up to?!


Damn you!

And damn you again!

I'm tryin' to help you, Brax.

Stay out of it, Lieutenant.

It'll smudge up any man who touches it.

You let me decide that.

What about those rib wounds?

Did Dabney fire at you first?

You can't make self-defense out of it.

There's still that dead white girl.

Nobody will believe I never touched her.

You tell me you didn't, I'll believe you.

[ Clock ticking ]

Would you repeat that, Lieutenant?

I said to Rutledge, "You tell me you didn't, I'll believe you."

After what you'd seen at Fort Linton?

I did.

But you were the arresting officer, weren't you?!

And you had your man in irons for murder?!

Fosgate: Well, what did Rutledge say when you offered to believe him?

He said, "Maybe you'll believe me, sir, but not any court-martial."

Go on with your testimony from where you told the prisoner you'd believe him.

Well, after that, we watered and fed the troop and started out north by west in an attempt to cut the Apaches off before we reached Miss --

Miss Beecher's home at -- at Spanish Wells.

How's the side holding up, Sergeant?

You know what they say about us, sir -- we heal fast.

You give me your word you won't try to escape, I'll take those irons off you.

I can't do that, sir, 'cause I ain't goin' back to stand trial.

Don't you be a fool, Brax.

What if you did get away? This thing would haunt you.

You forget, sir, we've been haunted a long time too much to worry.

Yeah, it was all right for Mr. Lincoln to say we were free, but that ain't so. Not yet.

Maybe someday, but not yet.

All right, Rutledge.

But you make one move to get away, and I'm gonna kill you.

Yes, sir!

But that's just what you'll have to do.

Group, ha-a-a-lt!


Krump! Moffat! Over there!

W-what is that, Moffat?

A man staked out, and he's awful dead.

Dead dead.

Call out, bullhorn.

Dead man -- staked out!

[ Echoing ] Dead man -- staked out!

My father!

Don't jump at it, Mary. Take it easy.


Dead as a rock, sir.

[ Coughs ]

It's a young lad.


You ride back and tell Miss Beecher it isn't her father. And keep her away from here!

Yes, sir!

Moffat, you got the stomach to go through his clothes for identification, or do you want me to do it?

Somebody better.

His own mammy wouldn't recognize him.

[ Coughs ]

What's goin' on, Corporal?

None of your business. You hush!

Don't be a-frettin', Miss.

Don't be a-frettin'.

[ Sighs ] Stripped clean -- boots, gun belt, hat.

Nothin' left but torn, shredded pants...

And this tobacco sack.

Well, who is he? Does anybody know?

I know him, sir.

He was wearin' this same Kansas City shirt last night when I was on guard duty.

That's Chris Hubble, the sutler's son.

Chris Hubble?!

Yes, sir.

Well...What's he doing way out here?

That's a horse-killing ride.

I heard he'd been sparkin' the Jorgenson girl, sir.

Maybe when he got news of the Apache raid on her father's ranch he --

Moffat, let me look at that.


Maybe you'd tell me what you keep lookin' for, sir.

I didn't find what I was looking for this time, either.

All right, Skidmore, 10 minutes for burial.

I know the ground's hard, but get him under as far as you can.

Yes, sir.

Smoke was between us and the San Rosario reservation.

If this was a sport uprising, designed to blood the young braves who had never known war, the chances are they would go on back to the reservation on their own.

If not -- well, I was there to drive them back.

A very interesting story, Lieutenant, which I don't challenge.

But I would like to call the court's attention to one all-important factor in this testimony, and that is Lieutenant Cantrell's personal interest in the accused!

I quote from the manual for court-martial --

"in case of personal interest in

"or personal hostility toward the accused, defense counsel should apply to be relieved."

Oh, now, this is a hell of a time to bring that up, with the trial half over!

Excuse me, sir, but Captain Shattuck is playing ducks and drakes with this court again.

If he will quote the text in its entirety, it begins with the words, "Defense counsel is not challengeable."

All right, Lieutenant.

Read the book, Mulqueen.

"Defense counsel is not chall-enge-able -- challengea-- chall-engea--"

Oh, hand it here!


All right.

"Challengeable...It can..."

Well, that's quite a bit different.

Mulqueen, this is a Confederate manual!

Read the flyleaf.

I can read right here! It says --

Read the flyleaf, Colonel.

"This manual is adopted with no changes from the...

Manual of the United States Army."

Where'd you get that thing?

If it pleases the court, I stole it in Atlanta the night your men burnt the place, including the convent.

My specs, sir.

Want it?


Well, Cantrell, do you wish to withdraw?

I do not, sir.

All right, Shattuck. Carry on.

That will be all, Lieutenant.

I call as my next witness Sergeant Matthew Skidmore.


Uh, take the stand.

All right, Sergeant. Swear him in.

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

I do, I do.

Your name, Sergeant?

Troop Sergeant Matthew Luke Skidmore.

Troop "C", Ninth United States Cavalry, sir.

Skidmore, just how old are you?

Well...sir... I-I don't rightly know.

You mean you don't even know your own age?

I was slave-born.

And I saw the first steamboat come down the Mississippi River.

At least, my mammy said it was the first, and she was holdin' me up to see.

That would make you at least 70 or more!

What is this line of questioning?

Skidmore is a good soldier.


I suppose you have a reason for this type of questioning.

I was merely trying to establish the Sergeant's reliability as a witness.

I withdraw the question.

Skidmore, the patrol report states that you pressed on after seeing the burning ranch house.

I'd like to hear your version of what happened then.

Well, sir, like you say, the Lieutenant forced a march trying to get the young lady home and make sure that the Apaches was headed back to the reservation.

We sent out gallopers and flankers, and we took all the necessary precautions.

They're sure leavin' a sloppy, wide-open trail.

And a slow one.

If they're heading back to the reservation, they're taking their own sweet time about it.

Them young warriors get to showin' off to one another, anything can happen.

Bugler! Moffat! Circle off and take the point!



Keep your eyes open, Skidmore.

Yes, sir.



You got the same hunch I have, sir.

How about a weapon?

When the time comes.

Just like the book say?

Just like the book say.

[ Bugle plays fanfare ]

[ Gunshots ]


Firing on the line!

Plan to dismount! Dismount!

Forward skirmishes!

[ War cries ]



You ain't shootin' ducks, rookie.


Come back, Moffat!

Come back! Moffat! Moffat!

Corporal Moffat, come back!

Pull up, Moffat! Pull up!

Horse runnin' away, sir?



Ha! Come on! Come on!

[ Sighs ]

[ Weakly ] Canteen, Brax. My canteen.

Can't give you no water, Moffat, not with that wound.

Th-- then just let me be.

Stop that talk.

I've got to get you back up to the section.

No good, Sergeant.

Hold onto me. Let me down easy.

Brax! Brax!

I'm here, Moffat. I'm right here, Moffat.

My three little girls -- what's gonna happen to them?

Someday, Moffat, they're gonna be awful proud of you.

Someday -- you're always talkin' about "someday," like it's gonna be a promised land here on earth.


We are fools to fight the white man's war.

It ain't a white man's war.

We're fighting to make us proud.

Someday your little girls -- Moffat, do you hear me?


How is he, Rutledge?

Moffat's dead, sir.

Hold it, Rutledge!

Hold it!

No! No! Sir!

Well, that closes our book, Miss Beecher!

We buried trooper Moffat.

And then we followed the Apache trail toward Crazy Woman River, which we had to cross to get the young lady home.

So here it is again -- Lieutenant Cantrell, with a record as a dead shot with all weapons that goes back to his cadet days on the Hudson, somehow missed with a service pistol at 50 yards -- a miss, mind you, that enabled his prisoner to escape!

That's all, Skidmore.


One moment, if you please.

Now, Sergeant Skidmore, you're under oath.

Would you please tell the court, in your opinion as a long-service soldier, did I deliberately miss that pistol shot?

Oh, no, sir.

When you took aim, he was a dead man.

And the second time, when I tried with the carbine?

Yes, the same, if the young lady hadn't --

Thank you very much, Sergeant Skidmore. That's all.

Uphill...moving target... service pistol --

I might have missed him myself.

[ Mulqueen snickers ]

Get on with it, Shattuck.

I'm sure this court is aware that no one can tell us the rest of the story, except the accused himself.

But I cannot call him.


Why not?

The accused cannot be compelled unwillingly to testify against himself.

But even so, I am quite sure that Lieutenant Cantrell does not dare have him testify.

On the contrary, sir.

The accused welcomes the opportunity to testify.

Will you call him, Captain Shattuck?

Or shall I?

First sergeant Braxton Rutledge, Ninth United States Cavalry.

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

I do.

I'd like you to pick it up from where Sergeant Skidmore left it -- where you had so miraculously escaped Lieutenant Cantrell's shots at you.

I rode full gallop for Crazy Woman River.

I figured if I could reach upper ford and cross over, I could follow the water north to the railroad.

After a couple of hours, the Apache trail was still leading me, like they was making for the river, too.

And then I came down over the top of the riverbank, and there they were, crossing the river fast, like they was really goin' someplace.

[ Neighs ]

Easy, boy.

Easy, boy.

All that land across the river was part of Mr. Sam Beecher's ranch, Spanish Wells.

[ War cries, gunshots ]

I knew then the young lady would never get home --

Not ever.

[ Speaking native language ]

I recognized the old gentleman from the times I'd seen him at the fort.

It was Mr. Sam Beecher -- the young lady's father.

What happened then...

I don't like to remember.

I knew the patrol was coming up behind me, and there was the Indians ahead of me.

I had to keep goin'.

I had to cross over the river if I was going to break free.

I tried to tell myself what happened to the Ninth Cavalry wasn't no concern of mine.

I wasn't Top Soldier no more.

Now was my time to ride away --

Ride away north, where I'd be free.

Lt. Cantrell: Miss Beecher, to the rear of the column!

To the rear!

[ Bugle plays fanfare ]

Ambush, sir!

All right! Get back!

Sir, like the book say?

Top Soldier back!

Yay! Yay! Yay!

Stop that yellin' and start shootin'!

Squeeze 'em triggers!

[ Gunshots ]

[ Coughs ] Thank you, ma'am.

Easy, rookie. Easy now, rookie.

Easy, rookie.

[ Gunshots continue ]

[ War cries ]

And that's how it was, sir.

We dug in on our position for the night, and did what we could for the wounded.

Let me get this straight.

What you're asking this court to believe is that with freedom before you, you deliberately turned your back on it, and by a noble disregard for your own life, you saved that patrol from annihilation.

There was nothin' noble about it.

Of course there was! It was a brave act. Admit it.

I wasn't thinkin' brave.

Then what were you thinking? Why did you come back?

I don't know.

You don't know?!

All I know is I kept riding, and somethin' kept tellin' me I had to go back.

It was like -- it was like a --

I just ain't got the words to say it!

Then I'll say it for you.

Bravery is your stock and trade, Rutledge.

Your whole record shows it.

But murderers and rapists can be as brave as decent men.

You're trying to trade your murderer's bravery for the mercy of this court, isn't that it?

No, sir, that is not it at all!

What was it?

Because the Ninth Cavalry was my home, my real freedom, and my self-respect.

And the way I was desertin' it, I wasn't nothin' worse than a swamp-runnin' nigger!

And I ain't that!

Do you hear me?! I'm a man!

This goading of the witness is beyond belief!

Shattuck, in the name of common decency --


Stop acting like a child, Cantrell.

I'm not trying for a hanging verdict merely to whitewash this mess.

This man killed your commanding officer -- admits it.

He's as guilty as hell and you know it!

The prosecution rests.

If Sergeant Rutledge hasn't answered Captain Shattuck's attack to the court's satisfaction, I can only say this -- if he had not been my prisoner during the action at Crazy Woman River, I would have cited him for gallantry above and beyond the call of duty!

Before the defense opens its argument, this court will take a brief recess.

Sergeant, open those doors!

Air this place out a little!

Yes, sir.

Excellent statement that Rutledge made --

Shows a fine, loyal feeling for his regiment.

I served with him myself.

I hate hangings. Bad for troop morale.

We'll have no more talk about hanging.

Incidentally, I'm glad that none of you gentlemen have mentioned the color of the man's skin.

Very well put, Mr. President.

Jacks or better -- size of the pot -- $5.

I'll see your $5, and, uh...raise you $20.

I pass.

Three cards.

Cards, Mulqueen.

Mulqueen, are you bluffin' again?

[ Crowd murmurs ]


[ Coins jingle ]

[ Coins jingle ]

[ Gavel bangs ]


You men back there -- get those hats off!

Put out those butts!

All right, Cantrell. Proceed.

[ Clears throat ]

As my first witness, I re-call miss Mary Beecher to the stand.

Mary, I want you to tell the truth.

Now, tell exactly what happened that night at Crazy Wom--

I intend to tell the truth, no matter what you ask me.

[ Clears throat ]

Now, Miss Beecher, would you please tell the court what happened after the attack in the river and we had dug in for the night?

Well, it had turned bitterly cold, and we did all we could for the wounded to make them comfortable.

And it was then that... you took me aside and told me how Sergeant Rutledge had --

Had seen my father die.

Mary, I don't know if this will be any consolation or comfort to you, but Rutledge says that your father died quickly, nothing like that Hubble boy.

You know, it's strange, Tom.

I can't even remember my father's face.

All I can remember is -- is just the touch of his hand on my cheek -- such a rough hand, but, oh, so gentle.

No, Tom.

I hate this land.

It killed my mother, and now it killed my father.

I wish I'd never come back to it!

But, Mary, it's a good land. It really is.

Maybe not now, but...

Like Rutledge says, "Someday."

Tom, you're not gonna take him back now, are you?

For the first time, I don't really know what I'm gonna do.

Because you know they'll hang him if you do.


You know he never touched that girl.

I just have to think about it a little bit more, Mary.

Just a little bit more.

♪ Said the private to the sergeant ♪

♪ "Tell me, Sergeant, if you can ♪

♪ "Did you ever see a mountain ♪

♪ come a-walkin' like a man?" ♪

♪ Said the sergeant to the private ♪

♪ "You're a rookie, ain't you, boy? ♪

♪ "or else you'd be a-recognizin' ♪

♪ Captain Buffalo" ♪ Who's Captain Buffalo?

Oh, he's, uh --

Well, when the plains Indians first saw the troopers of the Ninth Cavalry, it was in the dead of winter, and they were all wearing buffalo coats to keep them warm and buffalo caps, so they looked like buffalos.

So, the Indians started calling them buffalo soldiers.

And Captain Buffalo is, uh -- well, he's the ideal soldier --

You know, giant size, kind of a Paul Bunyan.

I guess they're laying it on a little thick now for Rutledge to try to give him confidence and cheer him up.

What a wonderful way to do it.

♪ Captain Buffalo ♪

♪ Captain Buffalo ♪

Too bad we couldn't take old Otoway back for a real military funeral.

He sure earned his 50 cents a day yesterday.

Top Soldier, you want to read burial service for Otoway?

No, sir.

We're gonna do it up right for him, Krump.

We're gonna wait for the Lieutenant to read the words over him.

Feel all right, Skidmore?

I'll make it.

I thank you, miss.

The Lieutenant will never put those irons back on you now, Top Soldier.

That's the truth, Brax.

Like I told you, when he took 'em off, he ain't never going to put 'em on you again.

Yeah. It's more like they'll recommend the Top Soldier for the Congressional Medal of Honor. Ain't that so?

Yeah. That's right.

He's right, Top Soldier.

General Nelson Miles himself will come and pin it on you.

General Miles! That's small fry!

The President himself is gonna call Brax back to Washington, just so he can shake his hand.

Top Soldier will strut into that big, blessed White House where Mr. Abraham Lincoln lives.

Brax, don't you count on goin' free.

The Lieutenant is a strong man for duty.

He's got to take you back!

No, Sergeant Skidmore. He'll never take him back now.

A soldier can't never think by his heart, ma'am.

He got to think by the book.

It's against both my oath and my duty to say this to you.

Brax, you got to go.

And you better go now!

Krump: Lieutenant's comin' back!

When the burial party is finished, send them down here.


Mary Beecher...

Will you come down here, please?

Krump! Leclerc!

Mary, I'm sorry to have to ask you to do this, but I need a witness.

It's a little gold cross!

But what does it mean?

I'm not sure what it means.

You just remember that you saw me take it off a dead Apache.

All right.

Bring that jacket with you, too.

Well, how are you, Sergeant? You gonna make it?

I'm ready for duty, sir.

How about our rookie here?

How are you feeling this morning?

He's a brave soldier, sir.

I was brave, but I was awful scared, too, sir.

Well, you're a good man.

In another 9 or 10 years, you're gonna make corporal.

Lord's truth, sir?

Lord's truth.

There's a mark on it, sir -- "C. H."

All right, Krump! You're acting platoon sergeant.

Yes, sir.

We move out for Fort Linton in 20 minutes!


Tom, I thought you said last night --

You cheap, contemptible, tin-plated, book soldier!

Would you mind repeating that, Miss Beecher?

I said he was a cheap, contemptible, tin-plated, book soldier.

Thank you, Miss Beecher.

You may step down.

Uh, Miss Beecher...

There isn't a man in this court who didn't know and deeply respect your father, Sam Beecher.

Will you please accept our deepest sympathies for your loss?

Thank you.

Is there anything more you would like to tell this court before you leave the stand?

Yes, there is.

Sergeant Rutledge saved all our lives.

And in common decency, Lieutenant Cantrell at least owes him his!

[ Crowd murmurs ]

[ Gavel bangs ]

[ Crowd quiets ]

Miss Mary Beecher has identified this cross, with its broken chain, as the one I took from the dead Apache's headband.

And these 27 affidavits from the commissioned, enlisted, and civilian personnel at Fort Linton have testified that that cross is the one that was habitually worn by Lucy Dabney -- the cross which our post surgeon, Dr. Eckner, has testified was torn from her neck.

That's correct, doctor?

Dr. Eckner: Correct.

Miss Beecher has also identified this bloodstained hunting jacket.

Now, I'd like to call the court's attention to the initials that have been burned into the jacket on the inside -- the initials "C. H."...

Which are the initials of the sutler's son, Chris Hubble, whose body we found on the trail and who is the only person from whom the Apaches could have taken that cross!

[ Crowd murmurs ]

Quiet! Quiet!

I'll have order in this court!

[ Crowd quiets ]

Lieutenant, if you've rested your case, proceed with the summation.

Ready with summation, sir.

You've now heard all the testimony of both the defense and prosecution.

And yet neither side has been able to place before you a witness who actually saw the crimes which the accused, Sergeant Rutledge, is alleged to have committed.

Now, Sergeant Rutledge has told you of his own free will that he entered Major Dabney's quarters...

But on urgent duty to inform him of the Apache raids.

There he found the naked body of the Dabney girl, strangled.

Moved by a -- a -- impulse of pity and decency, he was about to cover that poor, young body with a serape when Major Dabney entered.

Dabney, in blind fury and outrage, opened fire upon him, wounding him grievously twice.

It was then, and only then, in defense of his own life, that he returned the fire, killing Major Dabney.

The trial judge advocate states that this is a baldfaced lie, and charges rape and murder!

And the defense maintains that this story is the simple truth, and that Sergeant Rutledge's action, in defense of his own life, is justifiable homicide.

So, we may say that in circumstantial evidence this trial is deadlocked...

With the scales of justice hanging in even balance, but being capable of tipped one way or another by one iota -- just one featherweight of direct and tangible evidence!

Defense has introduced that evidence -- this golden cross right here... And this coat.

And as much as it pains me in the presence of the young man's bereaved father, not even he can tell us where his son was that one full hour before the shots were heard.

So I maintain that there is only one possible conclusion to be reached -- that Chris Hubble violated and murdered Lucy Dabney, and first Sergeant Rutledge is innocent of the crimes.

[ Crowd shouts angrily, gavel bangs ]

Order in this court!


[ Gavel bangs ]

Quiet, everybody!


[ Crowd quiets ]

I must deplore, as I'm sure this court does, Defense Counsel's cruel and clumsy attempt to shift the burden of guilt to the dead son of this heartbroken man, Mr. Hubble --

A dead boy, unable to speak for himself now.

And to attempt to shift it, mark you, by the cheap, theatrical device of this trinket.

He claims proof that the Dabney girl wore this cross around her neck.

All he has actually shown is that she wore a cross.

Most of the women of the Southwest are God-fearing women, and a cross around their necks is not an unusual ornament.

Nor is this cross unique, unusual, or in any way, and of itself, identifiable, as the contents of this box will prove to you!

[ Crowd murmurs ]

I defy Defense Counsel to mix this, the original cross, with these others, and then tell this court which is which.

I object!

Objection is not in order!

Captain Shattuck is merely meeting argument with argument.

Uh, Lieutenant...

Could you identify this cross if I mixed it with all these others?

You know I couldn't, sir.

He's even broken the chain on --

No, I couldn't, sir.

[ Crowd murmurs ]

Proceed, Captain Shattuck.

As for this coat -- despite Mrs. Fosgate's testimony that she saw it at the sutler's store, it's a fairly common garment in this district.

And as for the initials "C. H.", the Apaches might have taken it from any of those looted, burned-out ranches.

It might have belonged to Charlie Haight, or to the foreman at Williard's, Clay Hagathorn.

So much for Lieutenant Cantrell's

"tangible, direct evidence."

I have just two more points to make, and then I shall be done.

First, at no time in these proceedings has Defense Counsel been able to convincingly explain the most damning fact of all -- if Rutledge was not guilty, why did he run?

Point number two is a delicate one --

A shadowy thing that in a way has hung over this court from the very start.

But I would like to call the court's attention to the fact that it was not I who tried to shift the guilt to a dead white boy to save this man!

It was not I who stooped to use the symbol of the cross to pin the hateful charge of rape on a dead white boy to save this man!

And finally, it was not I who tried to write the word "murderer" on the gravestone of that innocent white boy to salvage the life and freedom of this negro!

I object!

If the color of a man's skin is to be introduced as evidence of even argument by this court, then I say it's this court that stands on trial and not that soldier!

Mr. Cantrell...

This court has been very patient with you, knowing of your long service with Sergeant Rutledge.

But I will not tolerate an attack upon this court's integrity.

And may I also point out to the court that in violation of all the rules and procedures, Defense Counsel is interrupting my argument!

You may not.

Now, the one overriding rule of this court-martial or any court-martial is to seek out truth and administer justice, and that is exactly what we're going to do!

Take your places.

Gentlemen, in my opinion, this entire case hangs on this little cross.

Is it or is it not Lucy Dabney's?

And on this coat --


If it's permitted, I think I could pick out that cross, even if you mixed it with the others.

I sold it to Major Dabney for little Lucy's 12th birthday.

Oh! Oh! Oh!

There's a little nick under the crossbar that she discovered herself.

Why, damn, he's right!

It's right there. See?

I offered to exchange it, but Lucy said no.

She said that way she'd always know it as her own.

Sir, I must object.

This is not testimony.

This man is not even under oath.

But it may be truth and justice, Captain Shattuck.

Mr. Hubble, will you take the stand, please?

Do I need to? I --

Come right on up, Mr. Hubble.

[ Crowd murmurs ]

It's all right, Mr. Hubble. Sit down, please.

Sergeant, swear in the sutler.

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

I do.

Captain Shattuck, according to rules and procedures, you may question the witness first.

Shattuck: No questions, sir.

Lieutenant Cantrell, your witness.

Mr. Hubble, why did you tell me at Fort Linton that you could not identify Lucy's cross?

I --

[ clears throat ] It was too soon.

Chris was my son -- my only son.

It's -- it's hard for a man to admit that...

It's all right. It's all right.

You take your time. Collect yourself.


My boy is dead.

The truth can't hurt him now --

Not anymore.

I wanted to believe that it was the Sergeant.

Now I can't stand by and see him hung for something my boy did.

Would you please tell us how you think it happened?

Well, after he -- after he...did the thing, he must have torn the cross off Lucy!

But why?

Why would he do that?

Go on, Mr. Hubble.

Well, like I told you at Fort Linton, I was upstairs when he ran into the house.

Shouted up something about the Apache raids.

When I came down, he was gone.

And the coat was gone, too?

The coat?

Yes -- the hunting jacket. It was gone, too?

Yes, it was.

It was when Colonel Fosgate was about to call attention to the coat that you offered to identify the cross.

What is your first name?

They call you "Chan," don't they?

That's right -- short for Chandler.

Chandler Hubble --

"C. H."

Is that Chris' coat, or is it your coat?

You know, Chris was not a big man.

Why don't you stand up? Let's try the coat on.

No, I never said it wasn't my coat.

Chris just grabbed the first thing!

Yes, he grabbed the first thing...

And whatever was in the pocket.

And that cross was in the pocket because you put it there!

That's not so!

You had the same opportunity as Chris.

You knew Lucy was going to be alone, didn't you?

And now, to save your own neck, you're trying to pin the shame of it on Chris, your own dead son!

Lies! Lies!

Why? Because you knew Lucy was alone, and Lucy trusted you as everybody trusted you!

You went there, and strangled and killed her!


I had to! I had to!


Don't you understand? She -- the way she walked -- the way her body moved -- she drove me crazy!

I had to have her!

I had to! I had to! Oh!

[ Sobbing ] Oh, I had to!

God help me! God help me!

Place that man under restraint, Doctor.

Why, Mr. Hubble!



Well, go ahead.

Say it.

Mary, you're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen.

And don't you forget I said it to you.

Eyes left!

♪ Have you heard about the soldier in the U.S. Cavalry ♪

♪ who is built like Lookout Mountain ♪

♪ taller than a redwood tree? ♪

♪ With his iron fist, he'll drop an ox ♪

♪ with just one mighty blow ♪

♪ John Henry was a weakling next to Captain Buffalo ♪

♪ He'll march all night, and he'll march all day ♪

♪ and he'll wear out a 20-mule team along the way ♪

♪ With a hoot and a holler and a ring-a-dang go ♪

-- captions by vitac -- Burbank, Pittsburgh, tampa, and Washington, D.C.

Captions paid for by Warner bros. Inc.