Slow West (2015) Script

Once upon a time, 1870 to be exact, a 16-year-old kid traveled from the cold shoulder of Scotland to the baking heart of America to find his love.

His name was Jay.

Her name was Rose.


The Great Bear...

The Dragon...


Orion's belt.

I was drifting West when I picked up his trail deep in Colorado territory.

A jackrabbit in a den of wolves.

Fortunate to be alive.

Arms abroad, boy.

Red skin or white?

Sir... I'm British... Scottish.

Catch the savage.

I'm Jay Cavendish... son of Lady Cavendish.

We're all sons of bitches.

Grave play, boy.

Sir... lower your pistol.


Clean it, oil it.

What do you want?

He was an officer.

Wearing a dress don't make her a lady.

They ain't soldier.

Least no more.

Injun slayers.

Keep headin' West solo, you'll be dead by dawn.

How you made it this far is a miracle.

I take care of myself. Sure, kid.

You need chaperoning, and I'm a chaperone.

Safer to travel with a killer? That's right.

First let's save your pony's life.

Counted a dozen of them bastards attacked those Indians back there.

Minus three... that leaves too many.

"Ho for the West...

A Traveler and Emigrant's Handbook... to Canada and the North West States of America" by Edward Hepple Hall.

Well, ho for the West.

Dollars... fifty now, fifty when we split.

Until we reach a forest called Silver Ghost.

Let's drift.

What's your name? Drop back. Single file.

Why are you headin' West?

You care not why I'm headed West?

There was an accident.

My girl and her father fled from Scotland... settled out West.

It was all my fault.

Take a hint, kid?

We love each other. Sure you do, kid.


A thousand ways to die... choose one.

Bow and arrow.

Silly boy.

My turn.

That kid was a wonder.

He saw things differently.

To him, we were in a land of hope and good will.

The way I saw it... kick over any rock and most likely a desperado will crawl out and knife you right in the heart if there was a dollar in it.

Same stars, same moon...

One day we'll be wanderin' 'round that moon.

They'll build a railroad.

A railroad up and down the ways.

A railroad to the moon.

And when we get there... the first thing we'll do... is hunt the natives down.

No Indians on the moon.

No, the natives of the moon. The moon people.


The Great Bear...

The Dragon...

Sit down.

This is the last time I'm gonna clean up your shit.

It must have been winter when Rose passed through here.

What's she like?

She's a beauty.

And she does not waste words.

They tumble out... wit following wisdom.

You haven't bedded her, have you?

Grab that end.

You're a brute.

Trading post up ahead.

We can dine at a table while sittin' on a chair.

Tie the horses 'round back.

Everyone knew about the bounty... except Jay.

He was leading me right to it.

There were few of us left.

Men beyond the law.

But the most dangerous are the last to fall.

May I ask you to place your iron on the counter while you browse?

We'll be dining.

May I try on a suit? Sure, be my guest.


Got any meat? I got condemned bacon.

Traded it for bullets. Both'll kill you pretty quick.

Blanket, please.

Blanket, huh?

Ma'am, you have to purchase items 'fore baggin' 'em.

How we do it here in America.



Money... please.

Well, now, looky here.

You realize if I give you money, here's the only place around where you can spend it.



Johan... Johan!



In... and out.




In... and out.




In... and out. Money!

Grab some provisions.



Dry your eyes, kid, let's drift.

We could have taken them in.

In where?

How do you feel... about me?

You're the little brother I never had.

You don't mean that.

That's not what you mean.

I'm sorry, my Romeo... but "these violent delights... have violent ends."

What choice do you have?

A farmer... a fisherman...

Best you leave now, Jay.

Under the bed. No.

Daddy. Rose.

Growin' up quick.

John, Calum, Rose. Willie, Angus.

Lord Cavendish, can I help you?

I've come for my nephew.

You should not be in here. These people are peasants.

I'm with Rose now.

I come in peace.

My ears hear your music.

Come. Come.

Come! Come!


I have coffee.

You a writer?


I am "Recording the Decline of the Aboriginal Tribes...

Their Customs, Culture and Habits...

In the Hope of Preventing Their Extinction or Conversion to Christianity."

The title of my account.

Too long? Perhaps.

So, now.

East. What news?

Violence and suffering.

And West?

Dreams... and toil.

I passed through burnt remains of an Indian camp.

This is dreadful news.

A race extinct... their culture banished, their places re-named, only then will they be viewed with selective nostalgia, mythologized and romanticized in the safe guise of art... and literature.

This is a new world for us... also for them.

You must be hungry.

'Til now, my sole company's been a brute.

Sorry to hear this.

I escaped.

Thank you.

I killed a woman yesterday.

Part and parcel.

You care not to share your company with a murderer?

I'd be a lonely man if I did.

I am no judge... nor father.

In a short time... this will be a long time ago.

Camp here.

Blanket? Thank you.

I shall dream up some advice, and in the morning, dish it up with fresh eggs.

What's your name? Werner.

I'm Jay.

Goodnight, and thank you, Werner.

You can eat those.

Eat enough of them, you can fly to Rose.

You kill Werner?


No reason.

This is all the money I have. Get me there in one piece.

Sure, kid.

Have a biscuit.

That's just a shame.

Is it?


No, it's not.

Charles Darwin talks of evolution by natural selection.

For our sake, let's hope he's wrong.

Knife's gotta be as sharp as a razor.

You hold the knife flush against the skin.

And it's a scraping motion against the grain.

Not a slicing motion.

Like so.

That'll make you presentable for her.

I know why you need my help.

Oh, yeah?


You're lonely.

You're a lonely man.

Sure, kid.

Sure, kid.

Let's drift.

The silent, lonely drifter.

You're a lonely, lonely man.

No need to concern over me.

Hold still.

All I'm sayin' is... there's more to life than just survivin'.

Yeah, there's dyin'.

Survival ain't just how to skin a jackrabbit.

It's knowing when to bluster and when to hush.

When to take a beating... and when to strike.

Where's your folks?

Father's in the ground in Ireland, mother's in the ground in Canada.

So what keeps you from joining 'em?

I don't know, kid. Quit askin' me shit.

I was fine 'til you showed up.

I showed up? You showed up.

Yeah, well, maybe I'm tired of showin' up.

You're done.

May I enter?

It's a free country.

Try telling the Natives that.

I propose a trade, a mug of coffee for the finest imported absinthe and a cigar of unrivaled quality.

We drink tea.

One for you, young man.

There's still not a mark on you.

You know him?

Fuck yourself, Payne. I've tried.

Believe me, I have tried.

Well, that's damn fine coffee.

It's tea.

There you are.

To bad times in the green hour.

Down it, boy! That's liquid joy!

You headed West? North.

Yeah, I'm headed... South.

Chill, can't stand it, makes my... makes my joints ache.

So why North, kid? Someone special?

Your sweetheart, maybe?

I'm teasing, I'm teasing. I'm teasing.

You must be born on a Sunday? You born on a Sunday?

Yeah? You born on a Sunday?

I don't know.

So, it's fortunate that you're... headed North

'cause West...

It's bad, it's big trouble. Big storm coming.

Easy, Payne. He's just a kid.

No, he's not. He's an outlaw, just like us.

Anywho, let's drink. To friends! Old and new.

Spin it.

That's pretty good.

Get that dirt, all of it, clean, clean it.

I need to piss.

Away from camp.

It's easy to see how you two crossed paths.

One's a falling angel, the other one's a rising devil.

I ain't no angel...


Do you think that's a smart play?

Teaming up with him?

Quicker than tracking him, simpler.

Ain't no play about it.

Yeah, I guess if you knew where Rose and Daddy was, you'd be done babysitting.

Never was a bean-spiller, was ya?

Not... sober, nor liquored up, never was.

What you gonna do with two thousand dollars?

Come back to us.

I'm not like you, Payne.


What have you done with Silas And Payne?

Back down, kid.

Payne needs him alive. You'll get your chance.

What've you done with the river?

They took it.

Who took it? Didn't see their face.


All I'm saying... is, in my day, we tried to keep outta the papers.

You youngsters tryin' to get in 'em makes no sense.

All I'm sayin', Skell, is I want folks to respect me.

What's the point in dyin' if nobody knows you're dead?

Same goes for killing.

I partnered up with a youngling, once upon a time, by the name of Bill Allson.

He was dying to be famous.

Actually, killing to be famous.

He come to me one time, and he said...

I killed 30 men, and countless savages, and I still ain't got me no Wanted poster.

Where's the justice in that, I said?

So I'm thinking the only way to stop this kid from croakin' more innocents is to draw up a poster. Let him find it.

The next morning, I pinned the poster outside the waterin' hole he was drowning in.

Wasn't long before he sees the poster, "Bill Allson, $500 dead or alive."

He yells me over. Skelly!

And what he says chills me to the bone.

What'd he say? "Be a thousand by the 'morrow."

The next morning, I go to get the poster, and pin it up in the next town.

The poster ain't there.

I hear a gunshot and a body hit dirt.

Spin around to see this mean son of a bitch leaning over a... blob.

Well, I'm presuming this bastard seen the poster, thought it real, and gunned down Bill for the reward.

So I walk and I shoot, and bang!

He falls to his knees and dies.

On his knees, like he's prayin' to be alive again.

As I... walked towards the dear departed, Bill Allson steps out from the saloon across the street.

Alive as you an' I.

Bottle of whiskey in one hand, and the wanted poster in the other.

I step up to the prayin' dead man and nudge him with my boot.

He falls, revealin' a... a dead lump of fur and meat.

It was a goddamned black bear.

You know what Bill Allson says to me? What'd he say?

He says, "You jealous bastard, trying to get your own poster."


That's a good one, Skelly.

There's been an appalling misunderstanding.

I'm at the wrong camp.

Goodnight. Good riddance.

The good Lord brings the rain To wash away our troubles The devil adds the lightning To show us he's still near So the good Lord sends some thunder To warn us of the devil But the devil's gonna blow us all away Silas. There's some people in the woods.

You love her?

Who? Rose.

Yes. Then go home, kid.

She's mine.

She's nobody's.

Fighting talk!

You're always shushing me!

'Cause you're always running your mouth off.

Jay-bird, why so sad?




Silas! I can't find my gun!

Son of a bitch! Shit!


Come in, Kotori.


Turned out nice again.


You always asks for coffee, and you always spits it out.

For God's sake. Language, Rose.

An improvement, it stays on the table.

Only thing dry's my mouth.

My head is killing me.

You remember nothing from last night?

I remember Payne, then rain.

Give me that rope.

Not bad, kid.

I must've been Jay's age when I joined Payne's gang.

Those were prosperous times in our trade.

When I split, I was lucky to do so with my life.


What do they want?

They're bounty hunters. You know what that means?

They hunt bounty. They hunt Rose, Daddy, blood, money.

"Wanted dead or alive..." Dead or dead, kid.

And I'm leading them to her.

We'll lead them South. There'll be others.


Two thousand dollars entices a certain breed of undesirable.

Just what breed are you?

Local tribes call this forest "The Place of Spirit Trees".

Trappers call it "Silver Ghost".

Legend has it, folks go in, they don't come out.

At least we may shed the superstitious from Payne's company.

Oh, God damn you, Silas.

Who be it?

Victor Self.

Reverend Victor Self.

Sorry to bother you, looking for a chap by the name of Parker.

James Parker.

No Parkers here, Minister. Won't you come in?

Sir, I thank you, but decline.


I'm sorry, Minister.

The Good Lord has me on an errand.

Bless you. And your lovely wife.

My daughter.

Good day, Sir.

Heavens above, Rose.

Scotland is far, far away.

Nobody knows where we are. Nobody knows who we are.

He knows I'm your daughter, I'm called Rose, and he knows we're here.

He was sent by Providence.

The Lord sensed my wavering faith.

Rain is coming.

"Thou shall not be afraid of any terror of night, nor for the arrow that flyeth by day.

For the pestilence that waketh in darkness, nor for the sickness that destroyeth in noon day."

"O'er all there hung the shadow of fear, a sense of mystery the spirit daunted, and said as plain as a whisper in the ear, this place is haunted."

Silas? The trees are moving.

It's called a hangover, kid. You'll get used to it.

Nice catch.

I'll fix you up on the way.

I've made it.

You sure that's them?

Exactly what I imagined.

Hey. Silas! S-Silas! Silas, what are you doing?

Stop! No! Silas, Silas!

Do it quick.

I ain't gonna kill you.

I'm keeping you alive. We don't have a gun between us.

Hold still.

What is this? It stops the sun burning you up.

I'll protect Rose or die trying! That's what I'm afraid of.

Lay a finger on her, and I'll kill you!



John Ross! Rose Ross! John Ross!

You need to leave this house! There are men coming here to kill you!



I'm a friend.

Kill that house!

I know how to do a job right.

Yes, sir, no, sir, three bags full of sh...


I be carried to the sky On a flowery bed of ease While others fight to win the prize

And sail the bloody seas

Until civilization arrives.





Silly boy.

Turn around, Rose.

It's over.

Doesn't hurt.


He loved you with all his heart.

His heart was in the wrong place.

His spirit was true.

There is more to life than survival.

Jay Cavendish taught me that.

I owe him my life.