The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) Script

Thank you, Jason. On time. You bet!


Link Appleyard!

Oh, Miss Hallie. Hello, Marshal.

Howdy, Mr Senator. No, no. Rance. Rance.

Rance... Sure glad you could come.

Your wire caught us in Saint Louis. Thank you.

My buckboard's right over there. Now, Jason, give me that box.

You knew they were coming!

That's the first time you ever kept a secret! Blabbermouth!

Who was that, Jason? Anybody worth a line in the paper?

A line?

You blasted fool, that's Senator Stoddard and his wife.

You can fill your newspaper with them!

Hi, Lydia. Charlie Hasbrouck. Emergency!

Tell the editor Senator Stoddard and his wife just got here!

That's right! Thanks!

Hey, that's a nickel!

Charge the Shinbone Star!

Hey, Senator! Senator Stoddard, ma'am.

Could you give me an interview? Exclusive, like. A scoop!

Shinbone Star...

Well, now, son, I... All right.

I'll give the interview, but only for one reason.

One reason... Dutton Peabody, founder, publisher, editor-in-chief of the Shinbone Star once fired me.

I'll be fired if I don't get this interview.

Is it true you're going to...

Here he comes now.

Senator Stoddard, this is a surprise and an honour, sir!

Maxwell Scott, editor of the Star. How do you do, Mr Scott?

This is Mrs Stoddard. A pleasure, ma'am.

What brings you back, sir? Is it true you're going to run...

Oh, no. Hold on, Mr Scott.

Who am I giving this interview to? You or this young fellow here?

Who asked first, by the way. I sure did.

If you're a good reporter you'll invite them into our office, out of the sun and dust.

He's right. Best way to make a man talk is to make him comfortable.

Well, it's back in business again, politics.

Link, why don't you take Hallie for a little ride around town?

Lot of changes, huh?

I'll go with these fellows and mend a few political fences.

I notice you're not wearing the star.

Oh, shucks, Miss Hallie.

They haven't elected me Town Marshal for a dog's age.

I reckon the only one of us from the old days still working is the senator!

Place has sure changed.

Churches, high school, shops.

Well, the railroad done that.

Desert's still the same.

The cactus rose is in blossom.


Maybe you'd like to take a ride out desert way and maybe look around.


You knew where I wanted to go, didn't you?

Well, you said you wanted to see the cactus blossoms.

There's his house down there, what's left of it.

Blossoms all around it.

He never did finish that room he started to build on, did he?


Oh, well, you know all about that.

There's a lovely one there.


Well, gentlemen, I promised myself this trip I would not talk politics, and look here, that's just about all I've been doing.

Surely you're going to Capitol City and talk to the assembly?

Not this trip. This is purely personal.

Purely personal? That isn't good enough for my readers.

Why did you come to Shinbone? No mystery, is there?


No, there's no mystery.

I'm here to go to a funeral.


Who's dead, sir?

No, sir. I...

A man by the name of Tom Doniphon.

Oh, there's my good wife. I'll...

I've enjoyed the visit, gentlemen.

Tom Doniphon?

Hello, Clute. Why, Rance!

Ransom Stoddard! And Miss Hallie!

Gosh, Senator, I didn't think...

Why didn't you let me know they was coming?

Gosh, I'd have had a real bang-up funeral.

Folks from all over, everywhere, would have come.

The county's gonna bury him, you know. I won't make a nickel out of it.


Miss Hallie.

Pompey, I'm sorry.

Maybe you'd like to...

Where are his boots?

Well, I thought...

They was an awful nice pair of boots, almost brand-new, and I thought...

Put his boots on, Clute, and his gun belt and his spurs.

He didn't carry no handgun, Rance. He didn't for years.

Yeah, sure.

Sir, I don't wish to intrude, but a United States senator is news.

I'm the editor of a newspaper with a state-wide circulation.

I've got a responsibility to know why you came all the way down here to bury a man.

You can't say his name was Tom Doniphon and leave it at that.

Who was Tom Doniphon?

He was a friend, Mr Scott, and we'd like to be left alone.

Scott, let's go.

I'm sorry, Senator. That's not enough.

I have a right to have the story.

Yes, I guess maybe you have.

Of course, this story not only concerns me.

Old Pompey in there, Link, they were part of it.

But I suppose I'm the only one who can tell it through.

I read about the old days in the paper's files.

There was no mention... You're a young man!

A young man.

You only know it since the railroad came.

A lot different then. A lot different before, Mr Scott.

A lot different.

First time I came to Shinbone, I came by stagecoach.

A lot like that one right there.


Could be the same one.

Could be the same one.

Overland... Say, I think it is the same one!

Well, I declare.

Well, I declare.

I was just a youngster, fresh out of law school, bag full of law books and my father's gold watch, $14.80 in cash.

I had taken Horace Greeley's advice literally, "Go west, young man, go west, "and seek fame, fortune, adventure."

Stand and deliver!

Shotgun, shuck your shells.

Throw down the cash box.


All right. Get the passengers out of the coach.

Looks like slim passenger pickings, but lift their wallets anyway.

I'll take that pin, too. No. Please.

My dead husband gave it to me.

Please! A widow, huh? I'll take it anyway.

Take your hands off! What kind of men are you?

This kind, dude!

Now, what kind of man are you, dude?

I am an attorney-at-law, and I'm duly licensed by the territory.

You may have us now, but I'll see you in jail for this!


Stop it! You'll kill him! Get him out of here!

Get in that coach! Go on, move!

Get in there! You, too!

Come on, inside! He could die out there!

We'll send him flowers!

Chico, cut the leaders!

Get going!

Put that stuff in here and get to your horses. Hurry!

A book?


Lawyer, huh?

Well, I'll teach you law...

Western law.

Let's get out of here.

Come on. Come on!


Hallie! Wake up, gal!

Tom Doniphon!

It's 5:30 in the morning! What's wrong with you?

We've got a man down here ambushed. And bushed!

Like to die if we don't get care for him.


It's the man from the hold-up. That's right.

How did you know?

Stagecoach stopped by to notify the marshal.

Link Appleyard?

Don't stand there gossiping. Get him inside. Pompey!

Think you can make it, pilgrim?

Pick him up, Pompey.

Put him on the couch.

Tom, he's hurt real bad.

Thanks, Pompey.

Poor man.

Beaten, whipped, and kicked, and just for trying to protect a woman.

How's that again? Stage driver told us all about it.

Well, Pompey, looks like we got ourselves a ladies' man.

Hallie, we...

Get some bandage. But...

I'll take care of him.


Pilgrim, you're gonna need a couple of stitches.

Pompey, go find Doc Willoughby.

If he's sober, bring him back.


Nora, sorry to bust in on you like this.

He's in trouble.

Such a beating.

This is just simply terrible.

By golly, I'm going to get the marshal.

You want coffee? I make some breakfast. Hallie?

Whoa! Take her easy there, pilgrim.

You all right?

Here we are.

Drink this.

Is that coffee? Ja, coffee and aquavit.

Swedish brandy. Good for you. Oh. Oh, no.

I don't care for that.

Here, you must drink. That make you feel better.

It ain't mannerly out west to let a fellow drink by himself.

All right if I smoke, ain't it? Sure. Go right ahead.

Good. Now you will feel stronger.

Thank you, ma'am.

Took my watch.

My money's gone. Every cent I had in the world.

Well, don't fret about that, pilgrim.

You can eat here until you get back on your feet.

My credit's still good, Nora? Ja, Tom.

Lie down. Please lie down.

No. No, not now.

Not now. I... I... I've got something to do.

Got something to do.

What... What did you say his name was?

The... The man with the silver-knobbed whip?

I said Liberty Valance, but if that's what you got to do, you better start packing a handgun.

A gun? I don't want a gun.

I don't want a gun. I don't want to kill him.

I want to put him in jail.


I know those law books mean a lot to you, but not out here.

Out here, a man settles his own problems.

Yeah, but do you know what you're saying to me?

You know, you're... You're saying just exactly what Liberty Valance said.

What kind of community have I come to here?

You all seem to know about this Liberty Valance.

He's a no-good, gun-packing, murdering thief, but the only advice you give me is to carry a gun.

Well, I'm a lawyer!

Ransom Stoddard, Attorney-at-Law.

And the law is the only...

A little law and order around Shinbone wouldn't hurt anyone.

All right, Hallie.

Arrest this man! Arrest him! Nobody seems to want...


Here comes Mr Law and Order himself.

He's hurt bad.

What are you dragging me here for, Peter?

Ain't being up all night on account of this hold-up business...

Well, who's this? The man from the hold-up.

I knew I shouldn't have come over. Wait a minute, Marshal.

Now, see here, Tom, if he's got a formal complaint to make, he should make it to me.

He just wants you to put Liberty Valance in jail.

Yeah, Liberty...

Liberty Valance? Do you think I'm crazy?

Tom, let me out of here.

Hallie thinks he's right. You'd better listen. He's a lawyer.

Somebody better listen to somebody about him!

Eyes he's got like icicles.

Mamma, Liberty Valance rides into town...

As long as he behaves himself in this town, I ain't got no...


Yeah, what he said. I ain't got none of it.

You all know I'm only the Town Marshal.

What Liberty does out on the road ain't no business of mine.

Ain't that right, Mr Lawyer?

Well, I...

Technically, I suppose the hold-up is a territorial offence.

You mean I'm right?

Yes, Marshal, you're right.

I knew it! I knew we'd be friends the minute I stepped in here!

Now, you folks all know that, well, the jail's only got one cell, and the lock's broke, and I sleep in it.

I should have known nothing would happen when you came in here.

Now get out, you big old fat water buffalo!

We got work to do! Hallie, I ain't ate yet.

Nora, I could sure use a snack of six or seven of those eggs, and maybe a side order of bacon and...

Hey, is that flapjack batter?

On the cuff. Sit down.

Papa, get your pants on! Oh, yeah.

Get out of the way! Sit down!


You know, you look mighty pretty when you get mad.

Like I say, you can eat here till you get back on your feet.

May I have your name?

Doniphon. Tom Doniphon.

Forget what I said about buying a gun.

You're a tenderfoot.

Liberty Valance is the toughest man south of the Picketwire, next to me.

Hot time in the old town tonight!


Mr Peabody!

Evening, Marshal.


Did you know that Liberty Valance is in town tonight?

I'd be a poor newspaperman indeed if I didn't know what everybody else knows.

I don't know what to do, Mr Peabody, I swear.

Do what you're paid to. Run him out!

Run him out... Liberty... Me?

My advice to you as... Coroner.

And your personal... Physician!

Is to get your supper and go to bed. No charge.

Sound advice, Marshal. Sound advice.

Hallie, my love, where are you? I await you, my dear.

Good evening. Saturday night, Mr Peabody.

Better order early before those drunks come from across the street.

Hallie, please. The proprieties concerning the cutlery.

How many times have I told you, the fork goes to the left of the plate, the knife goes...

You superstitious or something?

What are you having to eat?

The usual.

Steak, beans, potatoes, and deep-dish apple pie.

Three steaks with a lot of black.

All right. Lot of black-eyes, Hallie.

All right, Kaintuck!

Three steaks, burnt black for the Lazy J boys.

Heavy on the beans. Usual for Mr Peabody with fixings.

Steak, beans, potatoes.

And deep-dish apple pie.

Someday, he'll order something different, and we'll all faint.

Goodness, Rance, aren't you finished yet?

No wonder if your mind isn't on it. Let me help.

Hallie, I found it. I'll show... No, my hands are wet.

Get the book. Come on, take the book a minute.

Nora, Peter, come here and hear this.

Now, get the book.

Now, that place right here where it says, "Under the law of this territory."

Hallie, you read it out loud.

I got Liberty Valance exactly where I want him.

Just exactly where I want him.

What's the matter? Go ahead. Read it.

I can't.


You... Well, why not?

Well, I never had the schooling, that's why not.


You mean you can't read at all?

No. I can't read, and I can't write.

Here, take your book.

For heaven's sakes, isn't Mr Peabody's order ready?

Oh, no.

Hallie... Not enough beans on it.

Hallie, I'm sorry.


I... I could teach you.

What for?

What good has reading and writing done you?

Look at you. In an apron!

Be right with you, boys.

I do look funny in this. I didn't mean to hurt her.

She'll get over it. What is reading and writing for a girl?

She'll make a wonderful wife for the man she marries.

Yeah. And if Tom Doniphon is smart, he pops the question to Hallie before some busybody I am married to upsets his bag of apples.

Aw, you! Eat supper before come the drunks.

But I'm not finished. Go sit down! Eat!

Well, what you cooking, steak and potatoes?

I'm hungry. Could I impose upon your hospitality?

Just a couple of those steaks and no beans.

Hey, Marshal. You're the man I'm looking for.

Not so loud.

And double on the potatoes.

One steak for one marshal on the cuff.

Marshal, I was wrong the other day, but I've been reading up, and there it is.

I'll draw up the complaint, take care of the details, but you do have jurisdiction, it says so right there.

The next time he sets foot in this town, you arrest him.

Anything you say, Mr Stoddard.

I'll be tickled to death to...

What was that? Arrest who?

Liberty Valance.

Arrest Liberty...

You mean Liberty Valance?

Just when I was starting to get my appetite back.

A lot of black-eyes. Right, right.

Steaks for the Brophy boys with black-eyed peas. Burn 'em.

They're sober tonight, too. Burn four.

Here's the supper for Rance.

Thank you, Hallie. Oh, sit down!

The way you pop up every time a girl speaks to you!

You get in the habit. Rance, do you think I could?

I mean, grown-up and all? Could I learn to read?

Why, sure you can, Hallie.

Why, there's nothing to it.

It'd be easy. Can you learn to read?

Why, I can teach you.

A smart girl like you? Of course you can.

Do you want to try?

It's awful worrisome not knowing how.

I know the Good Book from preacher talk, but it'd be a soul comfort to read it myself.

Hallie, I'll teach you how.

In no time, you'll be reading everything.

Well... Well...

Hallie, can I have just one more steak?

One steak on the cuff!

All right, all right.

Excuse me.

Nora, did you hear the news? No.

Rance'll learn me to read. "Teach me to read."

Teach me to read.

I cannot say my ABC in Swedish.

Maybe you can teach me in English.

Sure, Nora. You can be my second pupil.

Hal's my first. You'll be my second.

Peter, you hear that? Peter!

Well, pilgrim, I see you're still protecting the ladies.

Why, Tom, look at you. You're all dressed up.

It's Saturday night. Don't you look handsome!

Oh, I brought you a present. Tom!

Prettiest cactus rose I ever did see.

It is a beauty. Look at it, Nora.

Should look nice in your garden. But it should go in now...

I'll be pleased to plant that. Oh, thank you, Pompey.

Oh, the Hashknife group just arrived. Burn eight.

Not too close to the ocotillo bush, Pompey.

Yes, ma'am.

"Ransom Stoddard, Attorney-at-Law."

You're a persistent cuss, pilgrim.

You really aim to hang that up outside?

That's why I painted it.

Well, take some advice, pilgrim.

You put that thing up, you'll have to defend it with a gun, and you ain't exactly the type.

Comin' up.

Well, thank you.

A girl needs six hands on Saturday night, and it's so hot.

Look at me.

Any more colour and you'd be prettier than that cactus rose.

Why, Tom, that's mighty flattering.

Burn me a good, thick one, Pete, meat and potatoes.

Hello, Kaintuck. Evening, Tom.

Tom. Object to company, Mr Peabody?

Not to yours, Tom. Sit down, sit down.

I suppose you know who's across the street?

Yeah. I hear he sent word on ahead.

He won't like what the town's been saying about him and that hold-up.

How about you, Kaintuck?

I'd like a... Steak?

Yes, ma'am. Well-burnt.

And deep... Deep-dish apple pie.

Yeah. Coming up.

Mighty nice girl, that Hallie. Mighty pretty.

I agree with you, sir.

Just told her so.

What? Do I hear wedding bells?

When can I print the story? Don't rush me, Mr Editor.

Don't rush me.

There's your cactus rose. Sure is pretty.

Thank you, Pompey. It is pretty.

Go in and get supper. Thank you, ma'am.

Oh, Rance.

Look at that.

Isn't that the prettiest thing you ever saw?

Yeah, it's very pretty.

Did you ever see a real rose?


But someday if they dam the river, we'll have water and all kinds of flowers.


When you finish the dishes, will you help wait tables?

Sure. Washing dishes is enough for him.

A man waiting on tables? Well, no, I'd be glad to help.

Be glad to.

I thought we was busy.

Well, these steaks look done just right for us.

You cowhands ain't in no hurry to eat, are you?

Well, are you?

I guess we could do with another drink.

That's right neighbourly of you, partner.

Especially after all the lies I hear folks been saying about Liberty Valance.

Oh, wait a minute!

One of Mamma's pies for Tom.


Looky at the new waitress.

That's my steak, Valance.

You heard him, dude. Pick it up.

No! Pilgrim, hold it.

I said you, Valance. You pick it up.

Three against one, Doniphon.

My boy Pompey in the kitchen door.

I'll get it, Liberty.

I said you, Liberty.

You pick it up.

What's the matter? Everybody here kill-crazy?




Now! It's picked up!

Why don't you get yourself a fresh steak on me?

Show's over for now.

Try it, Liberty.

Just try it.

Well, get out!

Now, I wonder what scared him off.

You know what!

The spectacle of law and order here rising up out of the gravy and the mashed potatoes!

All right, all right, you made your point.

The gun scared him off.

Pompey's gun, your gun, Tom.

Why did you interfere? He tripped me.

It was my steak.

And you would have killed him for it!

Or he would have killed you over one measly steak!

That's why I picked it up! Thanks for saving my life, pilgrim.

That isn't why I did it!

Nobody fights my battles.

Rance, I'm sorry.

Peter, I'm not in the habit of eating my steak off the floor.

Well, cool off, pilgrim.

It's all over. Nobody got hurt.

It is not all over, and everybody here knows it.

He'll be back. He will, but not after me.

After you, pilgrim.

And you can't shoot back with a law book.

What Peabody's saying is, if you want to stay healthy, there's two ways to do it.

Buy a gun or leave the territory, is that what he meant?

That's it, pilgrim. By golly...

I'd hate to see you go. You're news, Mr Stoddard, and you've been news ever since you hit town.

"Ransom Stoddard, Attorney-at-Law."

Oh. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings out there.

Hey, I'll tell you what.

You decide to stick around, and I'll let you hang this thing outside the newspaper office, rent-free, for as long as it lasts.


No. The first time Liberty rides into town, he'll shoot it to pieces, and the whole newspaper office.

How about that, Mr Peabody?

Well, that'd be news.

I accept your offer, Mr Peabody.

How about letting me hang that up tomorrow?

Huh? Tomorrow?

Well, of course. Thank you.

Why not?

I'm staying, and I'm not buying a gun either.

Well, good luck, pilgrim.

Oh, Hallie, I'll be out of town for a while, north of the Picketwire, horse-trading.

Goodbye, Tom.

Oh, and take note of what goes on around town because by the time I get back, there won't be no newspaper to read it in.

Well, any news?

Hansons had a baby boy, eight pounds.

But not twins? Not twins.

Here, I got this list of voters for you.

There are 37 new registrations over last year, and not one single one needed a lawyer.

Oh. 37, huh?

Well, by golly! If we can only get them to vote, maybe we can handle those cattle barons from across the Picketwire, huh?

Well, did you write this, Mr Peabody?


Well, this is great.

You like it?

This thing's just great.


As my old boss, Horace Greeley, used to say, "We'll tear their hearts out."

I'll be right there.

Let me have this. I'll use it in class.


Good morning. I'm sorry I'm late.

A teacher should never be late for class. Take your seats.

Well, this is quite a turnout this morning.

We have more pupils every day.

Morning, Marshal. Morning, Rance.

How are you feeling? Just fine, fine.

Your head cold? Oh, no, no. I have a...

Excuse me. I just wanted to see how Julietta was doing.

Julietta's doing fine.

How's the rest of my family doing in reading?

Well, Hallie's in charge of the kindergarten.

Hallie, why don't you run through the ABCs?

All right, you ready?

One, two, three.

A, B, C, D, E, F, G H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P Q, R, S and T, U, V W, X and Y and Z Now I know my ABCs Tell me what you think of me Well, that was just fine, just fine.

Well, I see a couple more new pupils back there.

Highpockets, Kaintuck, you fellas really serious about readin'?

Go on. Stand up. Tell him.

Well, Miss Hallie, she talked such a right smart argument to the Lazy J... The boss of the Lazy J...

Well, he just up and told all the hands to cut the cards to see who come to school, and I lost.

I see. Well, we'll try... Good morning, Mr Carruthers.

Good morning. Caught him playing hookey again, fishing.

Catch anything, Herbert?

No, sir. They weren't biting. That's too bad.

Ain't you gonna whop him? He's too big.

For the benefit of those of you just starting, none of us in here smoke, Mr Carruthers.

Thank you.

For those of you who have just started, I might explain to you that we've begun the school by studying about our country and how it's governed.

Now, let's see.

Well, now, Nora...

Would you tell the class what you've learned about the United States?

The United States is a republic and a republic is a state in which the people are the boss.

That means us.

And if the big shots in Washington don't do like we want, we don't vote for them, by golly, no more.

Any more! Any more.

That's fine, Nora. That's just fine.

Now, I wonder if anybody in class remembers what the basic law of the land is called.

You remember I told you it had to be added to and changed sometimes by things called amendments.

Does anybody remember?

Julietta, your hand's always up.

Here, let's... Pompey, you try this one.

It was writ by Mr Thomas Jefferson of Virginia.

"Was written", Pompey. Written by Mr Thomas Jefferson.

He called it the Constitution. Declaration of Independence.

It begun with the words, "We hold these truths to be..."

Self-evident. Let him alone, Charlie.

"Self-evident that..."

"That all men are created equal."

That's fine, Pompey.

I knew that, but I plumb forgot it.

A lot of people forget that part. You did just fine, Pompey.

Thank you.

This law also states that the governing power rests with the electorate.

Now, that means you, that means the people.

And you exercise this power through the vote. Now, then. Yes?

Well, Hallie? Go right ahead, Hallie.

Now, here is the best textbook in the world.

It's an honest newspaper.

This is the Shinbone Star, Dutton Peabody, Editor-in-Chief.

And reading this ought to bring home to everybody the importance of using that vote.

Now, the headlines say, "Cattlemen fight statehood.

"Small homesteaders in danger."

It says clearly that if big ranchers north of the Picketwire River win their fight to keep this territory in open reign, then all your truck farms and your corn, the small shopkeepers and everything, the future of your kids, it will all be all over, be gone!

And they call upon you in this article, they call upon you to unite behind a real strong delegate and carry this fight to Washington if necessary.

Hello, Tom.

Welcome back. You want to join us?

I'm looking for Pompey.

I've been away three weeks, and there's no sashes or doors in yet.

Why have you been wasting time here? Get to work. Your schooling's over.

Don't get rough with Pompey. He's entitled to a...

What I got to say to you will be a whole lot rougher.

The good editor here has written some noble words, and you read 'em good, but if you put that paper out, the streets of Shinbone will be running with blood.

Why are you against this, Tom, you of all people?

Aren't there more votes south of the Picketwire than north?

That's right, but votes won't stand up against guns.

Guns? What guns, Tom?

You think Valance stays away from here 'cause he's scared of you?

He's recruiting hired guns for the big ranchers.


Take the little ones home.

Come on.

Hallie, it would be a good idea if you dismissed class.

Dismiss class? Go on. Dismiss them, please.

Class dismissed! Same time tomorrow.

You get to the store.

This could get worse than the sheep wars.

Will they start anything here? It's already started.

Valance and his men crossed the river yesterday, killed old man Holliday and his son.

You know that for a fact, Tom? I do.

They tried to bushwhack me, unfortunately for one of them.

You gonna put that in your newspaper?

It's news, and I'm a newspaperman.

Print that, he'll kill you, sure as hell.

You think they'll come here, Tom?

They'll be here, tomorrow or the next day, according to how much who-hit-john they consume, but election day, pilgrim, you can depend on it, they'll be here.

Hallie, go back where you belong.

I don't want you in no shooting gallery.

Now, you listen to me, Tom Doniphon.

What I do and where I go is none of your business.

You don't own me.

Like I said, Hallie, you're awful pretty when you get mad.


Rance, after all you've taught us, how can you say we should knuckle under now?

You heard what Tom said.

When force threatens, talk's no good any more.


Hallie, you go find Tom and make it up to him.


He's only trying to protect you.



Better let him go, Hallie.

Why? Where's he going?

He's gonna need all the practice he can get.

Practice? What are you talking about?

I might as well let you know now.

When he decided to come in with me, I let him have a gun of mine.

He's been going out in the country twice a week, practising, ever since.

You mean he's going to face up to Liberty, Liberty Valance?


That's the only way I can figure it.

He never would discuss it. He just keeps on practising.

Tom! Tom Doniphon!

Hey, professor.

Where you going?

I want to talk to you.

Tom, I'm going...

Step down, pilgrim. Take a look.

Well, all right, Tom, what are you trying to tell me?

I'm telling you that Hallie's my girl.

I'm building that new room and porch for her for when we get married.

Tom, everybody pretty much takes that for granted.

Everybody except Hallie, maybe you.

That's a damn lie, and you know it.

Then why did she come to me fretting herself sick because you were gonna get killed facing up to Liberty Valance?

I never told her. Well, Peabody did.

I think you're bluffing.

I'm not bluffing about anything. Wait a minute, Tom. What?


Bring two or three of those paint cans.

You got a gun? Yes...

Get it.

Come on.

All right, gunslinger.

Hit that can.

Pretty far.


You got to cock it first. I forgot.

Balance it light in your hand and don't jerk the trigger.

Squeeze. You don't have to coach me.

Pompey, bring me those cans.

Give me that thing. I'll show you how easy it is.

Take these cans, put 'em on those three posts.

Go ahead.

That's it. That first post.

There? That's right.

Not there!

On the far post.

That's right.

Put that last one in the middle.


I hate tricks, pilgrim, but that's what you're up against with Valance.

He's almost as fast as I am.

I don't like tricks myself, so that makes us even!

Hey, pilgrim.

You forgot your popgun.

I got you, Lyde.

Ruf McMard.


Kaintuck. Kaintuck!

Leave the jug.

Well, Hallie, I am so proud of him!

Dutton Peabody exercising his franchise.

Dutton Peabody. Ransom Stoddard.

Rance, we'll need you for some of that legal stuff later.

Ransom Stoddard, Attorney-at-Law. Check.

Peter Ericson, American citizen.

Go on in, Pete.

See you for supper, Pete? Yeah.

Hey, Tom! Tom!

Yeah, Pete?

Tom, look, we need a statehood! I agree.

A statehood! I agree.

Herbert. Yes, sir?

You're too young to vote.

Greetings. Hey, excuse me. Excuse me.

The usual, Jack.

Bar's closed.

The bar is closed, Mr Editor, during voting.

You can blame your lawyer friend.

He says that's one of the fundamental laws of democracy.

No exception.

No exceptions for the working press?

Oh, that's carrying democracy much too far.

A small beer. Bar is closed.

Give me that bungstarter.

Since when is beer-drinking...

Tom. Tom!

All right. Settle down! Sit down, everybody!

Come on. Settle down. Settle down.

Settle down.

Well, since our legal authority closed the bar on us, I propose that Ransom Stoddard, Attorney-at-Law, come up here and run this meeting.

I second the motion! I third it!

Ransom. There he is. There he is.

All right. All right. All right.

All right, now, if that's what you want, I can show you the rules.

The meeting will come to order. Settle down please, huh?

Mr Peabody, would you keep a record of the meeting?

Oh, Rance, please. There are other men...

Give me a drink! Bar's closed.

A beer's not drinking! Bar's closed.

Before we start... Sit down, Doctor, please!

I have a pencil right here. Thank you.

Now, you all know why we're here.

We're here to elect two delegates because a growing population south of the Picketwire entitles us to two.

These two delegates will represent us in the convention for statehood.

You know the issue.

The cattle interests want to keep this territory an open range.


Ruled by their high-handed ideas, whatever they are.

And we, that means everybody in this room, we're for statehood!

We want statehood because it means the protection of our farms and fences and it means schools for our children and progress for the future!

Can I get... Shut... Just sit down, please.

Now we'll proceed with the nominations.

You can nominate as many as you feel like, and in order to show you how this procedure works, I'm going to step out of the chair.

That's parliamentary law, you can do that.

I'll step out of the chair and make the first nomination.

I'd like to nominate a man I think is the only man in Shinbone who has the qualifications to lead us in our fight for statehood.

I could stand up here and talk about him all day, but I know everybody here could too and that's not necessary.

I nominate Tom Doniphon.

Come on, sit down!

Sit down!

Stop sucking on that cigar and put that pencil away because I refuse the nomination.

You can't refuse now! Oh, yes, I can, because I got other plans, personal plans.

Mr Attorney. Go on with your meeting.

You don't live south of the Picketwire. You got no vote.

I live where I hang my hat.

Come on, move! Out of the way!

Get out.

Well, hash slinger, what are you looking so high and mighty about?

He's running this here meeting, or hadn't you heard?

The whole shebang.

I'd like to nominate the chairman, Mr Ransom Stoddard, as delegate to the territorial convention.

Wait a minute...

I second that nomination, not only because he knows the law, but he throws a good punch.

Now, listen, all you sodbusters, you hard-rock farmers.

I aim to be the delegate.

You don't live south...

Floyd, say your piece like I said.

I nominate Liberty Valance for delegate.

I second the nomination. Move the nominations be closed.

Now, wait a minute.

That ain't legal, is it, Mr Attorney?


We need two good delegates to Capitol City, Valance.

Two honest men. We've got one in you, Mr Stoddard.

You looking for trouble, Doniphon?

You helping me find some?

You heard my motion, dude!

All right. Put his name down.

Liberty Valance, address unknown.

Have I got a right to speak? Go ahead, Highpockets.

What about Mr Peabody? He can read and write and he runs the newspaper.

Yeah, and when he's drinking, why, he can talk the ears off of a wooden Indian.

I second the motion.


No! I...

No, you don't. No!

I'm a newspaperman, not a politician!

No, politicians are my meat! I build 'em up. I tear 'em down.

But I wouldn't be one. I couldn't be one!

It would destroy me! Give me a... Bar's closed.

Good people of Shinbone, I'm your conscience.

I'm the still, small voice that thunders in the night.

I'm your watchdog that howls against the wolves.

I'm... I'm your father confessor!


What else am I? Town drunk?

Dutton Peabody. Write it down.

I move the nominations be closed.

I second the motion. All in favour?


Now we'll proceed with the election.

You sodbusters are a brave bunch when you're together, but don't vote any way now that you'll regret later when you're alone.

All those in favour of Ransom Stoddard as delegate, raise your hands.


All those in favour of Liberty Valance, raise your hands.

All those in favour of Dutton Peabody, raise your hands!


This calls for a drink! The bar's closed.

According to Mr Stoddard, the bar's closed.

Anything further on the election? No, the election's finished.

Then the bar is open.

That vote don't mean a thing.

Stay out of this. He's been hiding behind your gun long enough.

You got a choice, dishwasher.

Either you leave town, or tonight be on that street alone.

You be there, and don't make us come and get you.

Well, he called it plain.

Too bad you didn't come to me sooner with that gun.


Come full dark, Pompey will be at the Swedes' place with a buckboard.

Why don't you get out of town?


"Liberty Valance defeated."



The unsteady hand betrays, huh?

What's the matter, Mr Peabody?

Are you afraid, huh?

The answer is indubably yes.

No courage left.

Well, courage can be purchased at yon tavern.

But have we credit?

Huh? That is the question. Have we credit?

Well, credit is cheap.

Wait for me, old servant of the public wheel.

Our shining hour is yet to come.

As for you, Horace Greeley, go west, old man, and grow young with the country.

Don't do that, Mr Peabody.

Why are you out here?

Don't you know that everybody has to get off the street?

My inalienable right, the pursuit of happiness.

Sure, but don't go to the saloon. Liberty Valance is back there.

You should hear what he's swearing to do to Rance.

And he ain't leaving you out, either.

Go in and let the Mexican fill that.

But I doubt if my credit is good with these Spanish-American gentlemen.

Sure, it is.

He's my wife's step-uncle by her sister's marriage.

But please say something nice about me in your paper?

My dear friend, Link Appleyard?

The fearless, fighting marshal of the west?

Your name will go down in history with Buffalo Bill!

Mr Peabody's drunk as a skunk over in that Mexican joint.

He ain't eating tonight. Hallie!

"Isn't" eating tonight, remember?

Isn't, ain't, what difference does it make?

Ain't going to be school any more with you leaving tonight.

Good evening, folks.

Mr Rance, I have the buckboard out here.

I'll be waiting for you, if you need me.

Go, Rance. Go now, while you can.

Nora and Hallie can finish the dishes.

Ja, Rance.

Go. Please go.

I owe you for three days' room and board.

I just want to square my account.

I want to square my account before I go.

And those in England now asleep shall think themselves accursed!

They were not here whilst any lives that fought with us on Saint Crispin's Day.

But when the blast, the blast of war, blows in our ears and we summon up...

Liberty Valance.

And his Myrmidons!

Liberty Valance taking liberties with the liberty of the press?

Had your supper yet, Peabody?

My supper?

No. That's a splendid idea!

Well, you can start by eating this.

That's a poor joke, Liberty! Eat it!

Eat it!

Eat it! Eat it! Eat it!

Eat it!

He's dead!

Mr Peabody?


Rance Stoddard?

Mr Peabody. Help me get him up.

Where's Doc Willoughby? In the saloon.

Go and get him.



I sure told that Liberty Valance about the freedom of the press.



You tell Liberty Valance I'll be outside.

Pompey! Miss Hallie?

Where's Mr Tom? Down the road...

Get him! Rance is out front with a gun!

Yes, ma'am.

You've heard of Gettysburg. 240 amputations...

Doc, Mr Peabody's awful hurt. He needs you at his office.

Somebody have an accident?

So that's it. Another one of your accidents, huh, Valance?

I'm waiting for the day when they call me for you.

Paid in advance.

$10 into the cans.

Liberty, what you did to Mr Peabody, ain't that enough?

Ain't that enough what, Mr Marshal?

You know that Stoddard couldn't shoot the hat off his own head with a gun in his hand.

Oh, you mean, he's got a gun in his hand, huh?

I'm calling you, Valance. Kings and threes.

Good hand, but not good enough.

Aces and eights. Thank you.

If you gun him down, it'll just be pure murder.

Well, Mr Professor, I thought you left town.

What are you doing out here?

I'm waiting for Liberty Valance.

Why doesn't he come out?

Well, that's none of our business.

You heard him say he had a gun, right?

I didn't say that! That ain't murder.

That's clean-cut self-defence.

You heard him call me out, right?

Well, didn't you?

Now get out of my way.

Hash slinger, are you out here?

I'd say that was Liberty Valance there now.

Wouldn't you?

Yes, I would. We be seeing you, Mr Stoddard.

Come closer where I can see you.

Get out of that shadow, dude.

You got two hands, hash slinger. Pick it up!

All right, dude, this time, right between the eyes.


Liberty? Liberty!

Hey, Doc! Doc!


It's Liberty! He's hurt!

It's Liberty!

Whisky, quick.

Here, sir.


Rance, if it had been you instead of Valance, I would...

Oh, no, Hallie.


I can't help it.

This feels so guilty.

I didn't... I didn't want you to run away. I wanted you to stay.

Oh, he might... I'm sorry.

Forgive me. Hallie...

Hallie, please don't talk.

I'm sorry I got here too late, Hallie.

You got yourself out of that fix real handy.

I'll be around.

Tom! Tom, Liberty... I know.

Liberty wasn't gonna kill him, just nick him a little.

Just gonna make a pass. You saw that!

That lawyer shot him in cold blood!

Now, that ain't the way we saw it. It was murder! Pure murder!

And I say if the Marshal don't put Stoddard in jail, we ought to take care of him ourselves!

I say we ought to hang him!

That's right! Hang him!

Give him a rope necktie and let him swing!

Can't a man get a drink around this town in peace?

No one's bothering you. You are!


What are you gettin' paid for? Drag this scum out!

Kaintuck and Highpockets, I deputise you to give a hand.

Hand me that... That's it.

Tell those ranchers north of the Picketwire that hired you that me, Link Appleyard, run ya out of town, and I'll do it again if you ever come back!

Now, look, Pompey, you know I...

Who says he can't?

Pour yourself a drink, Pompey.

I don't drink no drams, Mr Tom. I said take a drink.

No. We got a mare in foal and horses to feed and water.

Come on home.


Home sweet home.

You're right, Pompey. We got plenty to do at home.

Well, what are they paying you guys for? Play!

Be merry! Sing!

Leave me be!

Mr Tom!

The horses, Pompey. The horses.

Hello, sir! How are you? Hey!

Handy Strong! By golly, you made it!

Yeah! Thanks to Doc Willoughby.

Here. Let me pin this on you.

Say, that's him, huh?

This must be Ransom Stoddard. Rance, this is Handy Strong.

How do you do, sir? It's quite a city here.

It's not much by your eastern standards, but that railroad station there leads straight to Washington.

Come on, Rance.

Order! Order! Order!


Order! Order!

Order! Order!


Order! Quiet!

Order! Quiet!

The roll call having been completed and the delegates recognised and seated, this session of the territorial convention is hereby declared open.



Mr Chairman.

The chair recognises the Honourable Major Cassius Starbuckle, soldier, jurist and statesman.

Mr Chairman, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

I came here with a carefully prepared speech, but this is no time for oratory.

Let me speak to you from the heart.

I come before you to place in nomination the name of a man more qualified than any other to represent you in Washington.

Oh, you ill-advised.

Oh, you poorly counselled.

Fly not in the face of heaven's handiwork.

Join with us in supportin' the man who for five terms in Congress has kept this great territory inviolate.

I nominate for the territorial delegate to the Congress of the United States the Right Honourable Custis Buck Langhorne.

Now that you got your rope on him, hang the horse thief!

Order! Order!

Order! Order!

Order! Order!

This is a convention, not a rodeo, Langhorne!

Mr Chairman! Mr Chairman!

The chair recognises its old friend, that distinguished member of the fourth estate, founder, owner, publisher and editor of the Shinbone Star, Mr Dutton Peabody, Esquire.

Thank you, Mr Chairman, for those kind words, but tell them the whole truth.

Founder, owner, editor and I also sweep out the place.

Fellow delegates, like all of you, I have listened in awe and admiration to the magnificent oratory of the Honourable Major Cassius Starbuckle, the cattlemen's mouthpiece.

The lowing herd is still with us.

But seriously, under the spell of his eloquence, I could see once again the vast herd of buffalo and savage redskin roaming our beautiful territory with no law to trammel them except the law of survival, the law of the tomahawk and the bow and arrow.

And then, with the westward march of our nation, came the pioneer and the buffalo hunter, the adventurous and the bold, and the boldest of these were the cattlemen who seized the wide-open range for their own personal domain, and their law was the law of the hired gun.

But now, now, today have come the railroads and the people.

The steady, hard-working citizens, the homesteader, the shopkeeper, the builder of cities.

We need roads to join those cities, dams to store up the waters of the Picketwire, and we need statehood to protect the rights of every man and woman, however humble.

And how do we get it? I'll tell you how.

We get it by placing our votes behind one man.

One man! And we have that man with us here.

He is a man who came to us not packing a gun, but carrying instead a bag of law books.

Yes. He is a lawyer and a teacher.

The first west of the rosy buttes.

But more important, he is a man who has come to be known throughout this territory in the last few weeks as a great champion of law and order.

Ladies and gentlemen, I nominate as your delegate and mine to the Congress at Washington, the Honourable Ransom Stoddard!

Let's have order!

Get going, Starbuckle.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Thank you.


I see this demonstration, but I can't believe my eyes.

Is it possible that such a representative body of honest, hard-working Americans can endorse a candidate for the Congress of our beloved country whose only claim to the office is that he killed a man?

Do you call Liberty Valance a man?

Order! Order!

Hear me out!

Who is this Ransom Stoddard?

And what qualifications has he that entitle him to aspire to such great office?

We are told he's a lawyer, an attorney-at-law, an officer of the court.

Yes, but what kind of lawyer?

A man who usurps the function of both judge and jury and takes the law into his own hand.

Quiet! Quiet!

What other qualifications has he, then?

The blood on his hands?

The hidden gun beneath his coat?

The bullet-riddled body of an honest citizen?

Honest citizen? Liberty Valance?

You call Liberty Valance an honest citizen?

Is this your fearless champion of law and order?

Mr Chairman!

I tell you, the mark of Cain is on this man, and the mark of Cain will be on all of us if we send him with bloodstained hands to walk the hallowed halls of government where Washington... Mr Chairman!


Mr Chairman! Order! Order!

...yes, and Lincoln still live immortals in the memory of man.

Mr Chairman!

Rance! Rance!

Order! Order!


Where are you going?

I'm going home, Tom.

I'm going back east where I belong.

Valance couldn't make you run away. What is it now, pilgrim?

Your conscience?

Isn't it enough to kill a man with...

Without trying to build a life on it?

You talk too much. Think too much.

Besides, you didn't kill Liberty Valance.


Think back, pilgrim.

Valance came out of the saloon.

You were walking toward him when he fired his first shot.



All right, dude, this time, right between the eyes.


But, Tom, why did you do it? Why...

Cold-blooded murder, but I can live with it.

Hallie's happy. She wanted you alive.

But you saved my life! I wish I hadn't.

Hallie's your girl now.

Go on back in there and take that nomination.

You taught her how to read and write.

Now give her something to read and write about!

Well, you know the rest of it.

I went to Washington, and we won statehood.

I became the first governor.

Three terms as governor, two terms in the Senate, Ambassador to the Court of St James,

back again to the Senate, and a man who, with a snap of his fingers, could be the next vice-president of the United States.

You're not going to use the story, Mr Scott?

No, sir.

This is the west, sir.

When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

He's right, Rance.

It's getting late, Hallie.

We'll keep in touch with you, Pompey.

I promise.

But, Mr Rance...

Pork chop money.


Hallie, would you be too sorry if once I get the new irrigation bill through...

Would you be too sorry if we just up and left Washington?


I sort of have a hankering to come back here to live.

Maybe open up a law office. Rance...

If you knew how often I'd dreamed of it.

My roots are here.

I guess my heart is here.

Yes, let's come back.

Look at it. It was once a wilderness.

Now it's a garden.

Aren't you proud?

Hallie, who put the cactus roses on Tom's coffin?

I did.

Here, I got a brand-new spittoon, cuspidor, Hallie.

And the engineer's got a full head of steam in this bucket.

We'll make 25 miles an hour or bust a boiler trying.

And we wired ahead to Junction City.

They'll hold the Express.

In two days and nights, you'll be back in Washington.

Thank you, Jason.

I'll write to the officials of this railroad and thank them for their kindness and for going to all this trouble.

You think nothing of it.

Nothing's too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance.