The Hunting Party (1971) Script



Brandt? Get dressed.

Brandt, why do we have... Get dressed!

Frank Calder!

Sheriff Ben C. Johnson, Ruger County!

We hung four of your kind last spring!

Don't come into town, and don't stop no place in the county!

Nowhere in Ruger County!


Brandt. Whoa!

You son of a gun!

You made it! Yeah!

Why, I rode all night.

Good to see you! I couldn't get away any sooner!

Sam! Buford! You son of a gun!

I knew you'd make it!

I decided to do it the hard way. Straight through.

I wouldn't miss this for anything!

Let's get started! Melissa!

I knew it'd take a hunting trip to get you here.

Come on, boys. Move them on. Move them on.

Move them on.

Put that in the forward sleeper.

Melissa, let the men say goodbye! We're ready to go!

Thank you for a wonderful stay, Mrs. Ruger.

Always welcome. And the hospitality.

Nobody keeps a better house.

Emma and I would like you and Brandt to join us in Paris in the fall.

I'd love to. Talk to Brandt.

Get Mr. Gunn's rig on up the stable.

All right, Matt. Let's get onboard.

Brandt, if Melissa's gonna be too lonesome, I'd be happy to stay behind.

Yeah, I bet you would.

Can't pry her away from you no matter what I do.

Back in two weeks?

Yeah. Brandt, can't we talk...

Tell Jed when he gets back to keep that bull away from them longhorns.

Tell Jed to keep his eye on that grass in the new section.

Go on in, Edward. Jimmy, you let him by!


Morning, Mary! Go on in, Edward. They won't bother you.

Good thing you like children. I don't know how...

Boys, stop! Edward, Jimmy, get in!

I don't know how I'd manage if you didn't help me, Melissa.

Glad to do it! Girls, come on! Get in to school.

A,b,c,d,e,f,g h, I, j, k, I, m, n, o, p q, r, s and t, u, v w and x, y, z now you've heard my abc's tell me what you think of me


Come on!

Now, wait a minute! Don't be that way, honey!


Now, don't fall out! We just getting started!

There, you sweet little thing!

I ain't gonna hurt you! But I sure would like to try!

You're a cute little thing, ain't you? You need breathing room in there!

Hog! Now, you save me seconds on that, goddamn you!


You ain't going nowhere, are you, now, honey?

All right with me! I love you. Can't you see that?

Now, if you just help by getting your ass down on that flour sack!

Hog, let me see! Let me see!

Goddamn stuff! I love you, baby!

And I'm gonna get me some of that!

Get in there, Hog! Get in there!

You rotten bastard!

Just 'cause you got me and Jim Loring out of that...

You son of a bitch!

Come on! Let's go!

We're gonna go up across cattle country.

We'll be on the trail about six weeks.

Don't you touch me!

Ain't nobody gonna hurt you, little lady.

You just get outta that wagon.

I'm not gonna go any further! You can't!

There, you... You shut up!

Now, you just get out of that wagon!

You get ahold of things.

I promise you,

ain't anybody gonna hurt you, just as long as you do as you're told.

Fella I knew give it to me once.

You're gonna teach me to read.

That's what you're here for.

I'm just a country boy. I'll stick to eggs.

Where'd you get quail this time of year?

Harvey Pullman build this car for you, Brandt?

George Vanderbilt's got a car on the New York central, cost him $50,000!

Got something to show you, boys.

The Sharps Borchardt. .54 caliber. Finest rifle ever made.

Isn't that the gun at Creedmoor international?

In '77. That's right. And won it, too.

Yeah. Is that some kind of telescope?

That is a telescope. First time on a rifle.

Fires a center-fire cartridge with the new Dupont gunpowder.

Accurate up to 800 yards.

800 yards? Let me see that, Brandt.

Oh, come on, Brandt. No gun has that range.

It's a fact. I can prove it.

I gotta see that kind of range before I believe it.

What'd it cost?

$700 apiece.

It's a present for you boys. There's one for each of you.

I thought it would add a little something to the hunt.

Damn! That's the way to run a hunting party!


I think the girl wants to come over and eat with us boys.

You heard of the Loring bunch, ma'am.

Me and Hog figured she wants to sit with us.

Have a little talk. Get to know each other.

Maybe later, after supper, well...

She's fine right here, Jim.

Well, let's find that out.

Give me that plate of food. I'll carry it over to her.

Come on, lady! You're gonna like having supper with us.

Right in the back, Loring.

Think you got brains enough to boss a range war?

The Macon County people hired Frank, not you.

You'd still be rotting in the Nogales jail if it wasn't for him.

You dumb bastards.

You kill each other, then nobody's gonna get any money.

'Cause any other chances we got

damn near all run out, for everybody.

'Cause if we don't make it this time, we ain't never gonna make it.

How's your jaw, Hog?

Oh, it's all right.

Hell, I like being kicked.

Oh, where shall I go?

What can I do?

No one to tell me what course to pursue

weary and footsore and hungry and weak

get undressed.

You like?

Chinese girl very good. Very special.

I show you good time.

Oh, yeah.

Yeah, you're gonna show me a good time, all right.

Yes, you're gonna show me the best damn time I ever had.

Mr. Ruger.


Please, Mr. Ruger!

You better get some sleep.

I'm not going to stay here.

And you ought to realize there's no way you can keep me.

I am getting out of here one way or another.

You go right ahead, lady.

Oh, god damn it, Frank.

Ain't we wore out enough without you playing games with that woman?

We ride all day, that saddle burning my ass...

You wanna bed down with Crimp or me?

...bounty hunters shooting at us from every direction, vigilantes, posses.

I don't know. Son of a bitch. I don't know what it's all coming to.

I never had a job like this in my...

You ain't too bad.

For a schoolteacher.

If you think you're going to get a lot of money for me, you're wrong.

They'll be coming after us, you know.

A lot of men.

Why? They short of teachers back there?

I am not a teacher.

I am Brandt Ruger's wife.

I am!

I am Brandt Ruger's wife!

It don't matter whose wife you are. There ain't nothing he can do about it.

Why do you want to learn to read?

'Cause I can't.

Who the goddamn hell would stop a train in the middle of the goddamn night?


Mr. Ruger, your wife's been kidnapped.

Sheriff says Frank Calder took her and they're headed north.

Ever kill a man, Matt?

No! Not actually.

This'll do it. 700, 800 yards.

Winchester's good for 350 yards.

Jesus Christ himself couldn't get any more range out of it.

This is 800.

What exactly are you getting at, Brandt?

A little hunting trip.

If you mean help the posse, Brandt, I mean, we're all gonna help.

He's not thinking about helping anybody.

Hang back and pick them off, like trailing bear.

That's right. That Calder bunch?

Why, they're hired gunfighters. More than 20 of them.

Jim Loring, the Thompson brothers, Hog Warren, Doc Harrison.

You mean to say that we go up against them?

Up close, no.

But from a distance.

Come on, honey. You're gonna get it!

Come on!

It's gonna be all right, Brandt.

There'll be some kind of ransom.

A note. Something.

You pay it, and Melissa'll be back with you, and it'll be all over.

How old a man is Calder?

30. 34, maybe.

Is he a big man?

About average, I guess.

Melissa is gonna be all right.

You've gotta believe that.

Oh, sure.

Maybe he'll give her a kid, and I'll have an outlaw bastard running around the house.

Jesus Christ, Brandt. Out of respect for Melissa!

What the hell do you think he's gonna do with her, sing church hymns?

I guess I know how you feel, but...

He's gonna pass her around.

After he's through with that, maybe 15 or 20 of them.

He'll accept $40,000 or $50,000 of my money. Thank you very much.

Now, hold on!

My Virginia-educated, butter-wouldn't-melt-in-her-mouth wife used like a whore!

Then I have to take her back pregnant with a bastard!

And pay him $50,000 of my goddamn money?

I'll kill every dirty, living, bastard of them.


Baldy made some flapjacks. You want some?

Where's... Frank?

He's fixing a boil on Joe Butler's horse.

Did you sleep all right?

Well, at least you ain't so scared anymore, right?

You know, me and Frank, we've been together five or six years.

He ain't what other people see on the outside.

They call me Doc.

Go on.

Hot coffee'll do you good.

Sure is good sorghum.

You ready?

You can start.

Might as well start.

If you're looking for me to say I'm sorry about last night, I can't.

'Cause I'm not.

Injun gets his eyes on a woman, he either buys her or he takes her.

You got took.

Now, you sit there.

Frank, there she goes!

Go get her, Frank!

You caught yourself a mountain lion, boy!

You're not going anywhere till you teach me to read.

Who do you think you are? The lord of creation?

Grabbing anybody you want, doing anything you want?

You're nothing but an animal!

You don't eat until you teach me.

All right, I don't eat. See what that gets you!

Come on, guys!

Let's go, god damn it! Let's go!

You hungry?

Sure is good beans.

Well, you might as well start, huh?

Hey, Matt, look over there.

Gotta be a couple of days ahead of us.

We gonna bed down for the night? Be dark before long.

Well, whatever Brandt says.

We're not there yet!

Come on. Come on!

I've been...

I've been saving these.

For something special.

Well, now then.

If we can just get a little...

Get a little top off of this.

Hey, Doc, you like peaches?

Oh! Yeah!

Oh, boy.

You like peaches?

Do you know any of the alphabet, at least?



That's a "c."

"A, b, c."

"a" and "b."

And that one there's a "c"?

You teach her anything last night, Frank?

In the bushes?

"A" and "b" and that's "c."

Shouldn't you wait till he's...

Doc, get them over there in the canyon.

Loring, Hog! Get out of here, fast!

Mooney, down on the right!

Collins! Ted! Come and get Stringer!

Hey, Jesus Christ! I think that's Calder!

He's all yours, Brandt.

Hey, there go the rest of them.

The Ridge?

Ain't no son of a bitch shoot from that far.

Go! Go! Go!

This one's still alive.

By god, you dropped two of them, Brandt.

You should've got Calder, though.

Not like killing an animal.

Is it?

Who the hell do you suppose they are?

You think it'd be Joe Taylor?

No gun shoots that far.

That old boy followed me damn near two years. Kept popping up.

No gun shoots that far.

You think it's that sheriff from Nogales?

It's sure as hell somebody. Pinkertons, law.

Hank's dead.

I'll go put him in the shade.


What do you think?

Well, he won't be fooled.

That's for sure.

Who the hell could it be?

One son of a bitch?

It feels good.


"B" has got two bellies

and a bar.

And "c," it's not all the way round.


He's still out there. Owney's watching him.

Yeah, all right, Doc.

Now the "d."

That's a belly and a bar.

Here's the "e."

Yeah, that's a lot like an Indian sign.

"F" like in Frank.

Hell. I'll soon be able to write my name.

"F" for Frank.



"a", "n"




We gotta go.

Frank! Water up ahead!

You watch him, Owney.

Get out of here!

Get out of here!


Get out of the way!

Get out of here!

Get out!

Get out!

Get the hell out of here!

Owney, get out of here!

Get out of the water!

Let's get out of here!

Get out of the water!

Let's go!

Shit, Doc!

Get him on his horse!

Move, Doc!

Get out of here! Move!

Get out of the way! Move!

Damn, Doc! That cracker neck laid one in you!

Hold on.

Crimp! Give me some water!

Hold on there, Doc.

Come on, let's get Doc in the wagon.

Come on, then.

Out of the way!

Come on, Ray. Come on.

Frank? Get up!

Am I gonna die? No, you're not.


Some water.

Son of a bitch.

God damn it.

Well, whoever the hell it is back there, we gotta keep out ahead of them.

We gotta keep moving.

Must be a posse or something.

We don't have any other choice.

Hey! No, Frank!

That's Brandt! I'm Brandt Ruger's wife!

No! I don't belong here!

He'll kill you!

No! He'll kill you!

It's him!

Is that who she is?

Calder, is that who she is?

Well, is it?

Men getting killed on account of you taking a woman?

Mooney and all them others getting killed for that?

Let her go, Frank.

Let her go.

You get rid of her or I will!

What the hell are we waiting here for, you sons of bitches?

Let's get moving!

Jesus Christ, Brandt! Stop it!

Why? What's wrong?

They're not game we bagged. They're seven men.

Human beings!

I judge it about half a mile.

They're right out in the open.

Let's move up and pick off a few more.



That'd put us out in the open.

We'll just stay out of sight.

Just hit and run.

Brandt, that man's finished. It's a neck shot.

$100 says... He can't...

Luis, get the pack horses!

Brandt, look! Drop his horse!

...see a long-legged sailor with a long-legged wife?

Did you ever in your long-legged life...

Come on, Sam. That's enough.

Well, his family may wanna move him, but for right now...

Come on. Come on!

That's Watt Nelson!

And he's dead, god damn it!

What do you mean, "he's dead"?

He owns the biggest bank in New Orleans, half of Louisiana.

He's not some goddamn hired hand!

You ready?

I told you to do the right thing. Get some help out here.

You ready, Buford?

Get on your horse, Buford.

Leave him alone. He's got a family. For god's sakes, we both have!

I'm sorry about Melissa.

But that's no reason to run around this country like crazy people.

It might make more sense, Brandt, if we just...

You bastards!

I'll need a skinnier knife. Hell, Frank. Leave it in.

A real skinny knife.

Charlie Ferguson had a piece of lead in him for 20 years. Never hurt him any.

Doc, how do you say "knife"? "Skinny knife."

I don't want you poking around in there, Frank.

Hell, I ain't dead yet, god damn it.

Hold still, Doc. I nearly had it.

I don't want you messing around with my guts!

Yeah? Well, you're not drunk enough yet.

Hog, where you going? Come back inside.

I'm gonna get me a woman.

They're all hid up. Come on back.

Well, I'll just dig me one up 'cause I need it!

Don't you like that old guitar music? Come on! Let's get on back.

Shit! You'd think a town this size would have some whores.

Hey! I gotta have me a woman!


You're supposed to be my goddamn friend and you're cutting my goddamn liver out!

Hold still or I'm gonna tear something.

Oh, Frank, just leave the goddamn...

Almost had it.


Oh, no!

Shit. Hold it!

Ain't you a pretty little thing?

Yeah! Oh, yeah.

Get right up there.

You're gonna like this.

Yes, sir.

Come on, now. Don't be like that!

Look what I got for you! Frank!

Come on out of there! Frank!

Cut out that goddamn screaming!

Frank! Come out of there!

Get... get over here!

Now, god damn it, we're gonna...

Oh, shit, Frank.

You bastard! Oh, you bastard!


I'm sorry.

I'm sorry.

I'm so sorry.

I'm so sorry.

Frank? Where will we go?

California, maybe.


What's gonna happen to us?

You know something?

I might end up one of the biggest ranchers out of Lincoln County.


And I might even learn to teach at school myself.

Why don't you teach people not to steal, other people?

You know, back there someplace, I thought maybe I could have something to tie onto.


And aim for something a little better than what there was.

And so, for a start, I decided I was gonna learn to read.

You smell like a horse.

I'm Brandt Ruger.

The woman's husband.

Brandt Ruger.

She's a

hell of a woman.

Which way are they heading?

Frank sure picked a good looker for hisself.

Are they going through Mesa or toward the valley?

I believe...



He's getting at it real good.

She likes it.

Let's go, Brandt.

She likes it! Let's go, Brandt.

Look, we can cut across and get there before Calder does. Come on.

Come on, Brandt!

First time, he forced her.

Then she got where she kept wanting it more and more and more...

I hope that doctor has plenty of mescal on hand.

I'll go see if there's a doctor.



Give it up!

It doesn't make sense anymore!


You saw.

Let her go!






How you doing?

Feeling horny some.

Take your gun out, Frank.


Take it out.


You got damn near everybody killed.

Now, Crimp's gonna ride back and find that man and tell him he can have the woman.

We're gonna get $10,000 like we ought to.

Will you quit hitting me in the side of the head with that damn gun barrel?

Stop it! I'll do whatever you want!

I was gonna let you get your ass out of here, but what I ought to do is blow a hole in you.

You shit-eating bastard!

I can't make it, Frank.

It ain't much further now, Doc.

A little more than a day.

We get to the mountains.

Up there in the trees.

His rifle ain't no good up there.

I can't.

We can hold out there, Doc. Hell, we're gonna make it.


Frank, please, listen. Listen.

Ain't no good stringing it out like this.

The pain is...


Your gun, huh?

Shit. You gotta get me out of this misery.

I'll go get you some mescal.


I'll go get you some mescal.

Take your mind off things.

Ease the pain a little.

Now, don't you go away, you horny bastard.

'Cause I'm gonna be right back.




Remember you said something about California?

Let's go.


Well, we got a pretty good spot right here.


And there's only one way in.

And Owney and Crimp, they won't... No.

Frank. Us.

Wherever you want, but just us.

There's only one way out of here.


Nobody ever goes there.

But he couldn't follow us.


Kill us.

Kill us.

Kill us!

Kill us!

Kill us!




Kill us!

Kill us.

Kill us.



Plum trees.

I like plum trees.

The kind when the leaves are a kind of purple.

We had plum trees.

And grapes.

We had grapes along the back.

You think they have grapes in California?

I wanted a boy.

And then a girl.

Plum trees are nice in the spring.

They probably got more trees

and orchards in California

than almost anywhere else.


Come on.

Don't worry.

I'll get us out of here.

I promise.

Oh, hell.

It's the craziest idea anybody ever had.

Taking somebody.

When I was a kid, my old man, he...

Well, that son of a bitch, he could read.

And I wouldn't.

I wouldn't.

You understand?

I'm so goddamn sorry.

We had apples.

And in the spring, there were blossoms.

And the leaves were soft, sort of.

They blew in the wind.

And the blossoms were white.

Did you ever in your long-legged life

dream of a long-legged sailor

with a long-legged wife?

I dreamt of my mother



If we can just get a little...