The Indian Runner (1991) Script

The Indian knew that deer moved in circles.

That if the hunter moved with skill...

...he could run the swift deer into submission.

It's hooves would bleed, and the animal stumble.

The Indian was to kneel above his dying prey...

...putting his mouth to that of the deer...

...stealing its last breath.

While he had earned the swiftness of the beast... its death, he was struck by its peace and stillness.

And by his own.

I tried telling myself I'd done my job...

...defended my life.

I didn't believe me.

You killed my boy, Joe Roberts!

You killed my baby boy!

This is how houses catch fire.

Murderers' houses! Murderer!

Murderer! Mrs. Baker, this won't help.

He killed my baby.

Robert, you and Jim want to get Mr. Baker there? I'm sorry.

My brother Frank was due back from Vietnam within the week.

We hadn't seen each other since I'd lost the farm in '65...

...and took the uniform job to make ends meet.

In one of his letters, he said his comrades...

...were disturbed by the killing they'd seen.

He wrote:

"Guys over here...

...expect their hair to stay dry in the rain. "


Your mom called.

Yeah? What's happening?

First, the plane was gonna be delayed in Hawaii...

...then it was on time.

Now she says 9:30, Tuesday. For sure.

It's gotta go through Fort Dix.

Raffael asleep? Yes, babe.

You worried about today?

Or about Frank coming home?

No, no, no. This kid today...

His parents came in making threats. What threats?


When they pulled the father outside, he started singing.

Don't move! Hey, hey, it's me!

Shit! You scared the hell out of me! Come here.

I almost killed you. He's got you trained.

You're early. I didn't wanna hang around Fort Dix.

Joe will be so happy to see you!

Joe is so happy to see you.

Come on, baby. Come on.

Come on, a little bit. A little bit.

Share with your Uncle Frankie.

I'm gonna take Frank over to the folks. I'll be back in a bit.

You be here? Yeah, I've got two lessons later.

See you.

Welcome home, Frank.


Your uncle is a barnyard dog.

Well, town looks same-same.

So you're a dad, man. How's that?



He's amazing.

What? Just looking at you.

It feels kind of strange riding upfront in the Man's car.

No handcuffs, my own brother driving.


Remember we used to plug cop cars with snowballs?

Pull over. Pull over.

Hey, don't you do that! Don't you do that!

He did it.

Hey, get the cop.

King of the mountain!

Need an army to fight me, huh?

What are you doing?

Listen, I just wanted to see you guys... the baby and all.

I ain't gonna see Mom and Pop.

What are you talking about?


You caught me off balance. What are you saying?


Let's call it, "See you later. "

I came to see you, brother man. What about mom and dad?

What about them? You'll break their hearts.

You're the one who always takes shit personal.

If anything, they'll be relieved. You'll see.

Where you going? You got a place to stay?

You got money? I took 40 bucks from your wallet.

It's in the glove box.

I don't want you to go.

This whole town's talking about you.

Good job, boy. Thanks.

If I could figure out the difference...

...between what gets you a kiss on the ass and me locked up...

I used to know my brother like I knew I'd always be a farmer.

But drifting off on the train that day was a stranger.

He looked like a hero.

I felt closeness with that rough-and-tumble kid...

...l knew before high school distractions.

Then later my wife and farm occupied our time together.

In the last few years before going overseas...

...Frank had become branded the hell-raiser of town.

That he'd come to no good.

Maybe leaving suddenly was the only mercy he knew for the grief he'd caused.

As for my parents, Frankie was right.

They would not take it personally.

They say some of the boys coming back...

...are coming back real confused.

Frank left confused.

Maybe it'll straighten him out.

That's what Randall said.

Now my boy's comparing his mama to a moron.

It wasn't a comparison, Mom.

He's a very restless boy, that Frankie.

That's what got him into trouble.

That's why he left.

I thought he just hated cops.

Don't say that.

Listen to your mama.

You are a good man. You hear me?

You are a good man.

It don't mean the time won't come when you have to kill.

Can't regret it.

If it hadn't been him, it might have been my son. No, sir. No, sir.

Don't you regret it.

You just say the Serenity Prayer and get on with it.

We didn't see or hear from Frank for a good six months...

...when our lives took a turn.

Do you want anything? No, we're fine. Thank you.

She sure could make good apple pie.

Do you need anything?

No, thanks, Maria.


You know, Joe... didn't sit right with me when you married a Mexican.

When I look at her today...

...she's beautiful.

She's a beautiful and good woman.

Boy, was I wrong. I was dead wrong.

I'm gonna check the Teletype at the station.

He's probably in the system. He is.

He sent out a card a month ago.

But I didn't want her to know.

He's got 24 more days.

Well, 23 and a wake-up.

Oh, yeah. I've been counting.

Where is he? Columbus.

Now, he didn't send the card...

...but a girl named Dorothy.

"Dear Mr. And Mrs. Roberts...

...Frank hit me.

My daddy said he had to go to jail.

But don't worry because I'm here to take care of him. "

He's a likable son of a bitch.

Where does he get it?

I don't know.

Frank, he took off his clothes to take a shit.

Frank, he took his clothes off to take a shit. Frank.

Great-looking kid, Joe. Yeah, thanks.

Got a great-looking mama.

What did she say?

She asked if you'd take him. Sure, kids love me.

Come here, Raffael. How you doing, boy?

Incest product?

That ain't really what she said?

I knew that.

I got a real bad idea I want to follow though on...

...and I need your okay.

It's about Frankie, huh?

I wanna offer him a room when he gets out.

I gotta get close to him again.

L gotta "Y-


Why do you think he'll want to?

You told me... I thought he had that masochist waiting for him.

Maybe the masochist will come too. Wait a minute.

No, you're probably right.

He probably won't want to come anyway.

We have a child in the house. I've thought about that.

I'd talk to him first. If he wants to come with the girl...

I'd meet her, decide from there.

I'm not going to say no.

Doggone it, Raffael. What'd you do that for?

Put sand down my pants for?

Frank's jailer told me releases didn't start until 10 a. m.

I'd only driven through three states...

...but, man, this country looks smaller on a map.

Frankie had few enough moments of tenderness in him.

I didn't need to interrupt this one.

I thought better to wait my turn.

Collect from Joe.

Hi, babe. I'm still here.

No, I haven't yet.

Soon. I figure.

Kid's got me smoking again.

I will.

Yeah, I will. I know, I will.

I love you.

Okay. Bye-bye-

Little sister, that you?

Big brother do?

How about Winnie the Pooh?

He's in the zoo.

This I knew.

He don't like the view. 'Cause he sniffs glue.

Open your damn door.

Are you sore?

How the hell'd you find me here?

Nice gUY-

Are you gonna invite me in?

Owe you 40 bills.

So pay me.

Repeat: How the hell did you find me here today?

I followed you from the jail. I've been across the street.

Smoking, which I had quit, but...

You followed me?

What you got there?

Got some squares for me?

Mommy's gone.

Bye, Mommy-

Where the hell is she?

The funeral was a month ago.

I was in fucking jail, Joe.

I know where you were.

What difference does it make? You still wouldn't know.

What are you doing here?

You come here to guilt me to death?

Meet my old lady, Dorothy.

Or Dotty, or Doe, or Duke...

...or whatever.

Not "whatever. "

Hi, Dorothy. I'm Joe.

I'm Frankie's brother.

Nice to meet you.

Joe followed us.

Like a common criminal.

Well, here's your beer and stuff.

Joe come here to tell me...

...that my mother died.

What do you say we all go for some chow?

Pinatas are from Spain. Mexico.

Catch you smoking in the motor home, I'll shave you.

That woman has a beard.

That woman has a beard.

You think we can't hear, or see, or what?

I'm gonna go say hello.

You do that.

How do you do? My name's Dorothy. ls it real?

A way-out lady I got.

She used to be one of them flower children.

All right, come on. Come on.

Bigger they come, the harder they fall, right?

I want you to come back with me.

What? I knew you were gonna say that.

Come back with me. Live at the house a while.

Oh, yeah. Maria'd love that.

Joe, I got... I got Dorothy. I'm cool.

You live in a motel. No. Just until I find another place.

She's staying at her folks' till then.

Why don't you come back spend time with me, Raffael?

Spend time with family.

How's he doing? He's okay.

She let me touch it.

She's just a little squirrel, ain't she?

Bring her with you.

Bring her with you.

What would I do there?

Have a few laughs with Pops? No.


You stay out of trouble, get yourself a damn job.

I don't want a damn job.

I got a deal where I'm scamming G.l. Bill checks.

As far as Mr. Trouble, he ain't in no less one place than another.

Why is that, Frankie?

I always figured it was because Trouble had a car. Know what I mean?

The law is here.

Never smoke this in front of the law.

The law gets upset. I'm home!

Dispose of the evidence.



Hey, there. Hey, there.

He didn't come? No.

I'm sorry, Joe. No surprise.

Where's the boy? In there shooting heroin?

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of this woman's cooking...

...for the food to cook...

...and for the family we have to share it.



You want some? Yeah.

Gonna sell the house, I think.

Are you? Think so.

Where you thinking of living?

There's a trailer park over on Bright's. Pretty good deal.

It's nice there.

They have a vegetable garden where you can rent a plot.

Grow your own vegetables.

That's right, "vegables. " "Vegables. "

Vegables, that's right.

Did you know your Daddy grew vegables, Raffael?

Your daddy was a farmer before he was a...


Very good, Raffael.

You miss the farm, Joe?


It's a bitch, ain't it?

Same thieves who took your farm now have you work for them.

We get by fine.

We get by fine. Sure, of course you do.

Of destruction has pushed us to the brink of disaster...

Joe Roberts. Hey, boy. Did I wake you?

No, that's all right. I'll tell you why I called.

You know that strip of moulding...

...that you have between the kitchen linoleum...

...and the carpet in the living room? Yeah.

I noticed it was loose.

You might want to tighten it before somebody trips and falls.

Okay, Dad. I'll take care of it.

Good night, son. Good night, Pop.

Who is it? It's me, Joe.

How you doing?

It's pretty early, Randall.

What's going on?

Got your paper.

Joe, your daddy shot himself last night.

Is he dead?


Can I use yourjohn?


Mr. Roberts?

Mr. Roberts?

I just took a telephone call from someone claiming to be your kin.

I think there's been some kind of a family emergency.

Mr. Roberts?

Did you have a nice walk up here?

I don't understand.

No? No.

What are you doing here? I told you. Your family...

...needs to reach you. There's been...

"Family emergency. " Right.

Thank you.

Did you like that? Yep.

Joe! Frankie's girl just called.

He didn't want to talk. You tell her?

I told her. I don't know how much got through.

Well... least he knows.

Have you been to my place lately? Seen those...

...hippies with their tents? They have fires at night, you know.

I sent Randall down there.

Why don't you talk to them? I will.

Pardon? I said I will. I'll talk to them.

Well, you know...

...if you need some moral support about your dad, stop by.

I appreciate that.

Well... just can't carry that stuff alone.

I've got a family helping.

Sometimes you can talk to another person...

...a lot more openly than your family.

You know, let it out.

So if you could come over on the property...

...l could even have something to eat there.

Thank you. You're a lovely lady.

Well... afraid of me? What?

You afraid of me? What do you mean?

Can't you open up and talk to me a little bit?

What do you mean?

I'm offering to share some time with you while you're up there.

I don't like them there. I do own the land.

I don't really want to prefer charges.

They're just kids. Well...

I don't want to cause problems, but...

...with fires and stuff and then at night...

...them pop cans and everything. Cryin' out loud!

How's your Pig?

Pardon? How's your pig?

He's fine.

He still living in that old pickup? Yes, he is.

He's a good guy, that pig. You want to come play with him?

That's a nice color. Thanks.

You're welcome. Did you...?

You missed a spot.

Nice hat. You missed a whole spot.

The whole fender. I'll take care of the hippies.

Need a lift? To my house.

To your house. Just get in.

In the front or the back?

Can you squeeze in there?

Adios, Mrs. Roberts. What did you say?

I don't speak no Mexican. Goodbye.

And please give for me prayers to Mr. Roberts.

Thank you. I will.

Work on your past tense. Okay.

Lucy George Washington.

Glow in the dark.

Are you Joe Roberts' wife? Yes. Who are you?


I'm Dorothy.

You in there, Frank?

It's me, Joe.

You in there, kid?

That you, Joe? It's me, kid.

What are you doing in there? Working on my draw.

Working on my draw.

All right if I come in? Sure, Joe. Come on in.

Bang. Gotcha.

So I had a bit to drink.

Somebody was boring me.

Think it was me.

Wanna get dressed, Frank?

Take you to see your lady.

Pass me my drawers, would you?

I just hope he doesn't hurt himself.

He'll be fine. Joe will bring him home.

So where did you and Frank meet?

Shoot. Everywhere, I guess.

Excuse me.

Do you have a 6?

Go fish.

Look, I got what I asked for!

Do you have a 9? Am I losing here?

Go fish.

Welcome back.

Feel sort of funny, showing up like that.

I'm glad you're here.

And Dorothy too.

Finally got lucky, huh?

Well, I sure hope so. 'Cause...

...she's got my little monkey in her belly.

You're gonna be a pop?

Joe! Dorothy's pregnant! So I just heard.

Come here, $laPPY-

I knew Frank came back because of Dad's suicide.

It was an unsettling thought, but that he came back at all...

Help me with this!

...and that he was gonna have a baby...

...was enough for me to feel that he'd not gone numb.

What am I? Black?


What are you doing?

This is where you used to be a little boy.

It's where I grew up, yeah.

We're gonna be in the big room.

I know. I just want to smell it.


I love you more than anybody ever loved anybody.

Come on, Frankie. It's our first night alone together in a big house.

I love you back, okay?

Honey, I gotta go.

I told Joe I'd meet him at 11. I'm late.

You're a beauty!



If you see a shooting star...

...or if you see anything else, will you think of me?

You really asking me those questions...

...or are you just stalling me?


I'll be back soon.

Used to be bears out here.

Yeah, not so damn long ago.

It wasn't even timbered when we were kids.

New ground!

New ground, shit!

New ground!

Not new ground! What do you mean?

Old ground!

Old ground, shit!

Old ground, Dad said. Said what? What did Dad say?

You had a Sioux village 25 miles north...

...and another 10 miles southwest.

He said when this was all wood... had Indian runners taking messages through here.

Getting chewed by wolves. Safe from wolves!

Shredded by grizzlies. Safe from grizzlies.

Safe, shit!

Safe, Dad said.

Said what?

Independent of time and space, the runner becomes his message.

Ain't no wolf, no bear gonna eat a message.

Since when do you...

Wait a minute!

Oh, I get it.

I get it.

I know you think that way.

What Way?

What Way?

I still love you.

Dad finally did something you respect.

Pop should have been an Indian runner.

This place looked better when I had it.

I'll bet it did.

You know why? Because you had the fire in you.

People now don't even live on the land they work.

Ain't got no fire. Never had it!

The fire?

The fire's out now! So what?

Between the cradle and now you happened.

You burned, brother! So...

What do I have to show for it?

What you got, Farmer Joe, is knowing...

...knowing you once was.

On fire!

Shit. Shit. Shit!


I burned!

The land was churned. I burned.

Soil was turned. I burned.

They took what you earned.

A lesson learned.

Meeting adjourned.

I've missed this, Frankie.

I've missed having a laugh with you.

Me too.

What did you do that for?

Come on.

Okay, big bear!

I'm an Indian runner! I'm a message.

And the message is... you can't find me!

I'll get you.

Ready to give UP?

Goddamn it.

All right.

All right, you win!

You're a message. You win.

Oh, Joseph! Oh, Joey!

The message is...

...never trust a bear.

I thought you were a tough guy.

Frank worked hard...

...every shift he could get on...

...and Dorothy tended the house, got the old place looking new.


...l wanted to burn again.

How much longer do I have to do this? Forty seconds.

I don't think this is good for the baby.

Shh! Thirty-five seconds.


Why do I have to do this?

I gotta know. 25.

Gotta know what?

Shh! 20.

Ten, nine...

...eight, seven...

...six, five, four...

...three, two, one.

Okay, good.

I'll marry you if you want.

Did you say you'd marry me?

If you want.

Oh God, I'm gonna be your wife!

Go, Frankie, go!

Good, little sister!

It's kicking! Frankie, it's kicking!

Let me see.


That's a punch!

That's the last wild son.

Is that right, what your papa said? You gonna be a big, strong dude...

What about me?

I got some mosquito bites that need scratching.

How about you and me go fiddle with the hydraulics?

Frank. Don't talk like that!

Frank, why are you looking at me like that?

Come on, Frankie, you're scaring me.

Frank, you're scaring me.

Did I say the wrong thing?

Is it you don't know when I say something nice?


Don't know good things from bad?

That it?

Is it that we're strangers?

We're not strangers! What are you talking about?

Frankie? Let's eat.

You eat!

You eat!

Stop it.

Wait. Where are you going?

It's okay, baby. Shh, it's okay. He's just restless, that's all.

You go put your hands on him, and you can't file charges!

You didn't see. He blindsided me! You listen to me!

Let me in there! No, you're not going in!

Clyde, I'm gonna run you in, man.

Fuck you guys, man. Watch your language!

Maria said she didn't know where you were.

Inside. It's Frank.

This guy Frank busted up is talking about pressing charges.

Keep him there, Jim.

Where is he? In there, boss.

I had to cuff him to the bar rail.


He ran up a tab tonight, huh, Caesar?

He did that. He tells me he can sell some furniture.

Can you give us a minute, Caesar? All right.

Is that right, Frank? You can sell some furniture?

Yep. That's good.

You blow off some steam, Dorothy's got nothing to sit on.

What can you sell to keep this other fella from pressing charges?

You could do a year.

What can I say? I fucked up. I get in a violent way.

I look around and I want to bust it all.

I see that guy, I want him to look at me cross-eyed.

I want that excuse to do him.

So you spend your life in jail?

That's a bear, man. I'm a message!

Jail can't touch me.

Give me a cigarette.

I thought you were done with this.


What about Dorothy and the baby?

Outside parties. What?

Outside parties! Give me a light.

Look, I'm tired. I'll just sit here, okay?

I'll sit here, relax. Fine.

Let's clean...

Wait a minute, wait a minute!

You gotta let me get in there! Listen!

Boy, I had some Western times in this joint.

Frankie, you got a job.

Oh, yeah. You got a great girl.

Yeah. You got a baby coming.

Give me your free hand.

Give me your hand.

What are you doing? What are you doing?

I'm gonna cut you a break. Oh.


Yeah, boss?

Bring that fella in here.

Well, Joe, he'll just jump all over Frank.

I know.

You're bleeding! Goddamn rocket scientist, I tell you.

I'm gonna go, Frank.

Make sure he comes by tomorrow. I'll keep the car keys, all right?

Good night.

Good night.

What happened?

Ask Joe.

You've done everything you can.

I know.

I know.

I look at him...

...and I see this little boy...

...with his little toy gun belt on.

My little brother.

He's not a little boy anymore. He's gonna have to deal with his problem.


Yeah, Frankie?

Come here.

I guess I got a little off-course last night.

I know.

I love you, little sister.

I know.

Look who I caught out in the parking lot!

Hey, Joe. Hey, Frankie.

I came to get the car, but if you got a minute, we could talk.


Can you follow, Billy?

Drop Frank's car at his place? Sure, boss.

You ride with me.

Randall? Yeah, boss?

Where's your gun?

There it is.

That's ain't funny, Frank.

I know you're worried about...

...will I take care of business, you know, with the old lady...

...and when the baby comes.

I appreciate it.

But I don't want you to worry about me anymore.

I'm good, Joe.

I want you to have a good life.

I know.

I guess... I guess what I'm here to say... that...

...l'm sorry about all the shit.

I'm sorry about Mom...

...and Pop.

And I just, you know, I ain't said it.

So I'm saying it.

I'm sorry, Joe...

Have. I have.

Have. Have.

" MY Den. " MY Den.

She... She...

...had. Has.

Telephone! Has her. Has.

She has her. She has...

She. She.

Joe Roberts.

What is it, Frank?

We'll be right there.

Who has the pen? He has the pen.

Baby's coming.

The baby was come.


Checking the baby's head now.

And the back of the baby is right here.

' BYE-bye. ' BYE-bye.

Horsie, horsie, horsie. We'll see if there's a horsie.

Birdie! Birdie. Yeah.

Let's go see if there's a horsie.

Here. No, no, it's all right.

It's all right. I'll be right back.

Ask the doctor where Frank went. He just drove off.

He said he left the room to let us in.

I'm gonna go find him.

Did you ever want to kill someone?

Just out of rage?

And you don't do it because you're afraid?

And it's all about fear.

Fear of the law coming down, sure.

But mostly...

...fear like in sin.

Sin with God.

Yeah, almighty God.

What if he ain't almighty? What if he ain't sacred?

You might just as well have done the fella.


...maybe ain't nothing but fear, you know?

What you doing here?

Looking for you.

You found me.

What are you doing here? Having a drink. Want one?

Shouldn't you be by your lady's side?

At least at the house?

The house.



Why not?


Come on, don't give me that horseshit!

How are you, Joe?

Afternoon, Caesar. You watch the place a while?

I got to go pay a visit to the captain's chair.



I'm trying to understand why you're such a selfish son of a bitch.

I want to know how to help you.

You're my brother.

You're an angry man. Why do you hurt people?

Why aren't you with Dorothy?

Let me ask you something.

How'd it feel when you killed that kid out on the highway?

Not good, Frank.

I would've thought that felt real fucking good.

It was clean, it was legal. You saved your own life.

I mean, that's common sense. It's common fucking sense, right?

It's how these people think. What people?

You're on a tangent. I ain't on a tangent!

They don't let you figure out the problem!

It's math class. The whole deal is math.

Like every math class, there's a clown in front everybody hates.

He's raising his hand, answering the questions.

What do we do? Move on! Just fucking move on.

Ready or not! He's deciding we got to move on.

He's deciding we got to move on.

He knows his math!

I hadn't figured out about Santa Claus yet. Dragons.

Gasoline was my favourite smell!

Like your farm. Who grew better crops?

You or the math man bought it out from under you? You, right?

And what's a farm for? It's for crops.

That's the world, Joe.

And it's a beauty! Am I right?

You're right. Am I wrong?

No, you're not wrong. There is no common sense. Right?


All right.

Your problems are the world's fault. That's right!

It's the world's fault. It's your fault. It's my fault.

It's the fault of every "human being," as they're called.

Every one of them out there!

Life lacks tenderness, does it?

Go on back there.

Go see my angel get born.

Life must be great if you can laugh it up.

No, mister.

I'll just stay here and drink it down.

'Cause there's only two kinds of men in this hell.

That's heroes and outlaws.

Which one are you?

Men come strong or weak, brother. You ain't strong.

You're in a bar when Dorothy needs you. You go ahead.

Go ahead. Drink it. You got it, there ain't nothing.

There ain't nothing worthwhile. Not even our children.

Your eyes are closed. Stay that way. My eyes are open, Frank.

And I love looking at my little boy, and my wife...

...and my house, and my garden.

And I love you, Frank.

That all there is?

Why does that scare you? Why doesn't it scare you?


I'm fixing a bridge for fat men and their fat wives...

...and their fat fucking little kids... drive over it in their motor homes!

I'm making an impact, that's what I'm doing.

That's all there is, Frank.

Out there is family.

In here it's hell.

I'll be back. No.

I'm here. I'll be right back.

What happened?

Nothing. ls she all right? Yes. Where's Frank?

Out. Where?

Frankie! Frankie!


Breathe! Doing great.

You're doing great. Almost there.

Oh, God!

Oh, God, help me!


Where's Frankie?





Take a deep breath, blow it away.

Keep pushing. Keep pushing. Keep pushing.

Just about there.

This is unit three. I got him.

The baby's coming. It's coming.

It's coming. It's coming. The head is being delivered.


Can you see it? Yes. Yes.

Here we come out and it's a boy! It's a boy!

Healthy boy, it looks like.

I knew I'd never see or hear from Frankie again.

He'd turned his back.

On himself...

...and on his family.

I went home that night...

...watered my garden...

...kissed my baby.

I held my wife until morning.

Life is good.

My brother Frank...