The Night of the Hunter (1955) Script

Dream, little one Dream Dream, my little one Dream Though the hunter In the night Fills your childish heart With fright Fear is only A dream So dream, little one Dream Now, you remember, children, how I told you last Sunday... about the good Lord going up into the mountain and talking to the people... and how he said, "Blessed are the pure in heart... for they shall see God"... and how he said that King Solomon in all his glory... was not as beautiful as the lilies of the field?

And I know you won't forget, "Judge not lest ye be judged"... because I explained that to you.

And then the good Lord went on to say...

"Beware of false prophets...

"which come to you in sheep's clothing...

"but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Ye shall know them by their fruits."

Five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60...

65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100!

Here I come, ready or not!

What's wrong?

Hey! Hey!

"A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit.

"Neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them."

Well, now, what's it to be, Lord?

Another widow?

How many has it been? Six?

Twelve?

I disremember.

You say the word, Lord, I'm on my way.

You always send me money to go forth and preach your word.

A widow with a little wad of bills hid away in a sugar bowl.

Lord, I am tired.

Sometimes I wonder if you really understand.

Not that you mind the killings. Your Book is full of killings.

But there are things you do hate, Lord.

Perfume-smellin' things... lacy things, things with curly hair.


There are too many of them.

You can't kill a world.

You driving a touring car with a Moundsville license?

Harry Powell, for the theft of that touring car... you will spend 30 days in the Moundsville Penitentiary.

Uh, Preacher Harry Powell.

A car thief, picked up where you were - a man of God?

Harry Powell.


Hold Miss Jenny still.

Stand still, Miss Jenny!

There. What's so hard about that?

Daddy!

Where's your mom? Out shoppin'.

You're bleedin', Dad. Listen to me, John.

This money here - we gotta hide it before they get to me.

There's close to $10,000. Where?

Under a rock in the smokehouse? No, no.

Under the bricks in the grape arbor? No, no. They'd dig for it.

Sure. That's the place.

That's him. He probably still has that gun.

Listen to me, Son. You've gotta swear.

Swear means promise. First, swear you'll take care of little Pearl.

Guard her with your life, boy.

Then swear you won't never tell where the money's hid, not even your mom.

Yes, Dad. You understand?

Not even her? You got common sense. She ain't.

When you grow up, that money will belong to you.

Now stand up straight and look me in the eye. Raise your right hand.

Now swear - "I'll guard Pearl with my life."

I will guard Pearl with my life.

"And I won't never tell about the money." And I won't never tell about the money.

And you, Pearl - you swear too.

Ben Harper.

I'm goin' now, children. Good-bye.

Drop that gun,Harper. We don't want the kids hurt.

Just mind what you swore, Son. Mind, boy.

Don't.

Don't!

Dad.


Ben Harper, it is the sentence of this court... that for the murder of Ed Smiley and Corey South... you be hanged by the neck until you are dead.

And may God have mercy on your soul.

I got you all buffaloed.

Ain't none of you gonna get it outta me. None of you.

Where, Ben? Where?

Where? "And a little child shall lead them."

Now, come on, boy. Tell me.

Ben, I'm a man of God.

Tryin' to make me talk about it in my sleep. No, Ben. No.

What'd I say? What? What? What? What?

You was quotin' the Scripture, Ben.

You said, "And a little child shall lead them."

Ha!

You killed two men, Ben Harper. That's right, Preacher.

I robbed that bank 'cause I got tired of seein'... children roamin' the woodlands without food... children roamin' the highways in this here depression... children sleepin' in old abandoned car bodies and junk heaps.

And I promised myself I'd never see the day when my young 'uns would want.

With that $10,000, I could build a tabernacle... make that Wheeling lsland tabernacle look like a chicken house.

Will you have free candy for the kids, Preacher?

Think of it, Ben - with that cursed, bloodied gold.

How come you got that stick knife hid up in your bed blankets, Preacher?

The Lord blinded mine enemies when they brought me in this evil place.

I smuggled it in right under the noses of them guards.

I come not with peace... but with a sword.

You, Preacher?

This sword has served me through many an evil time, Ben Harper.

What religion you profess, Preacher?

The religion the Almighty and me worked out betwixt us.

I'll bet.

Salvation is a last-minute business, boy.

Keep talkin', Preacher.

If you was to let that money serve the Lord's purpose... he might feel kindly turned towards you.

Keep talkin', Preacher.

Now, don't you think the Lord might change his mind if you was to -

Lord... you sure knowed what you was doin'... when you put me in this very cell at this very time.

A man with $10,000 hid somewhere... and a widow in the makin'.

Any trouble? No.

He was a cool one, that Harper. Never broke.

He carried on some, kicked.

They say he left a wife and two kids.

I never heard.

He never told about the money? No.

What do you figure he done with it?

He took the secret with him when I dropped him.

That you, Bart? Supper's waitin'.

Mother, sometimes I think it might be better if I was to quit my job as guard.

You're always this way when there's a hangin'.

You never have to be there.

Sometimes I wish I was back in the mine.

And leave me a widow after another blast like the one in '24?

Not on your life, old mister.

Hing, hang, hung See what the hangman done Hing, hang, hing, hang Hing, hang, hung See what the hangman done Hung, hang, hing See the robber swing Hing, hang, hing, hang Hing, hang, hing, hang Hing, hang, hung And now my song is done Hing, hang, hung See what the hangman done Hung, hang, hing See the robber swing Hing, hang, hing, hang Hing, hang, hing, hang Hing, hang, hung

Are you going to buy it, John?

Aw!

So your mommy's keepin' you out of school these days.

How is your poor, poor mother?

She's at Spoon's ice cream parlor.

Say, did they ever find out what your father done with all that money he stole?

Pearl and me, we have to go.

Hing, hang, hung Hing, hang, hung?

You better not sing that song. Why?

'Cause you're too little.

Can we get some candy?

No.

Willa Harper, there are certain plain facts of life that adds up... just like two plus two makes four, and one of them is this -

No woman is able to raise growin' youngsters alone.

The Lord meant that job for two.

Icey, I just don't want a husband.

Ain't a question of wantin' or not wantin'. You're no spring chicken.

You're a grown woman with two little young 'uns.

It's a man you need in the house, Willa Harper.

Tell me a story, John.

Well, once upon a time... there was a rich king... who had himself a son and a daughter.

They all lived in a castle over in Africa.

Then one day this king got taken away by some bad men.

And before he got took off... he told his son to kill anyone who tried to steal his gold.

And before long, the bad men came back and -

Leaning

- Leaning Just a man.

Good night, Pearl. Sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite.

Good night, Miss Jenny. Don't let the bedbugs bite.

Leaning Leaning on The everlasting arms


She don't put in Cresap's Landin' no more, but she still blows as she passes.

Come on in and have a cup of coffee, boy.

Ain't nobody stole Dad's skiff.

Ain't nobody gonna neither as long as Uncle Birdie's around.

First day my joints is limber enough, I'll haul her out and give her a good caulkin'.

Ain't seen ya in a coon's age, boy.

I've been mindin' Pearl.

Shucks. Ain't it a caution what a woman will load onto a man's back... when he ain't lookin'?

Excuse me, cap, while I - while I sweeten my coffee.

Dead and gone these 25 year and never takes her eyes off me.

Man of my years needs a little snort in the mornin' to heat the boilers.

Yeah.

I was talkin' to this stranger up at the boardinghouse.

He knowed your dad. Where'd he know Dad?

I'll not hide it from you, boy. He knowed him in the Moundsville Penitentiary.

I gotta go now, Uncle Birdie.

Well, you just got here, boy.

I told Mom I'd be back to Spoon's for Pearl.


"God works in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform."

Yes, I was with brother Harper right up to the end.

Now that I'm no longer employed by the penitentiary... it is my joy to bring this small comfort to his loved ones.

It's a mighty good man would go out of his way... to bring a word of cheer to a grievin' widow.

So you ain't with the state no more? No, brother. I resigned only yesterday.

The heartrendin' spectacle of them poor men was just too much for me.

Ah, little lad, you're starin' at my fingers.

Would you like me to tell you the little story of right hand, left hand... the story of good and evil?

H-A-T-E.

It was with this left hand that old brother Cain... struck the blow that laid his brother low.

L-O-V-E.

You see these fingers, dear hearts?

These fingers has veins that run straight to the soul of man.

The right hand, friends - the hand of love.

Now watch and I'll show you the story of life.

These fingers, dear hearts, is always a-warrin' and a-tuggin', one again' t'other.

Now watch 'em.

Old brother left hand.

Left hand hate's a-fightin'.

And it looks like love's a goner.

But wait a minute. Wait a minute.

Hot dog! Love's a-winnin'.

Yes, sirree!

It's love that won.

And old left hand hate is down for the count.

I never heard it better told.

I wish every soul in this community could get the benefit.

Oh, you've just got to stay for our picnic Sunday.

No, I must wend my way downriver on the Lord's business.

You ain't leaving' in no hurry if we can help it.

John, mind your manners. Take that look off your face. Act nice.

Why, he don't mean no impudence, do you, boy?

Do ya, boy?

Ah, many's the time poor brother Ben told me about these young 'uns.

What'd he tell ya?

Why, he told me what fine little lambs you and your sister both was.

Is that all?

Why, no, boy. He told me lots and lots of things.

Nice things, boy. Thank you.

My, that fudge smells yummy.

It's for the picnic.

And you don't get a smidgen of my fudge unless you stay for the picnic.

Bringing in the sheaves Bringing in the sheaves We shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves Sowing in the morning Sowing seeds of kindness Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve Waiting for the harvest and the time of reaping We shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves Bringing in the sheaves Bringing in the sheaves We shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves Bringing in the sheaves Bringing in the sheaves We shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves Don't he have the grandest singin' voice John! Pearl! Run along and play, you two.

Where? Down by the river! My goodness.

Bringing in the sheaves That feller's just achin' to settle down with some nice woman... and make a home for himself.

Icey, it's awful soon after Ben's passing.

If ever I saw a sign from heaven.

John don't like him much. Pearl dotes on him.

The boy worries me.

I know it's silly, but it's like there's somethin' still between him and his dad.

What he needs is a dose of salts.

No, there's somethin' else. What?

The money. I declare, Willa Harper.

You'll let that money haunt you to your grave.

Icey, I would love to be satisfied... that Harry Powell don't think I got that money hid somewhere.

You come right out and ask that man of God.

Mr. Powell! Clear that evil mud out of your soul.

John! Pearl! Come along here and get some fudge.

I don't want no fudge. You do what you're told!

You go set down by the river. Oh, Icey, I'm a sight.

Get along with you.

You!

That young lady better look sharp... or some smart sister between here and Captina is gonna snap him up right from under her nose.

She's not the only fish in the river. Now, you two stay put.

Shilly-shallying around.

A husband's one piece of store goods you never know... till you get it home and take the paper off.

Did Ben Harper ever tell you what he done with the money he stole?

My dear child, don't you know?

She's moonin' about Ben Harper.

That wasn't love. That was just flapdoodle.

Have some fudge, lambs.

When you've been married to a man 40 years... you know all that don't amount to a hill of beans.

I've been married to my Walt that long... and I swear, in all that time, I just lie there thinkin' about my canning.

John!

A woman's a fool to marry for that. That's somethin' for a man.

The good Lord never meant for a decent woman to want that.

Not really want it.

It's all just a fake and a pipe dream.

John, Mr. Powell has something to tell you.

Well, John, the night before your father died... he told me what he did with that money.

That money's at the bottom of the river... wrapped around a 12-pound cobblestone.

Thank you, Harry.

Shh.

I feel clean now.

My whole body's just a-quivering with cleanness.

John, come here.

Your tie is crooked.

'Twas down at Cresap's Landin'

Along the river shore Birdie Steptoe was a pilot In the good old days of yore Now he sets in his old wharf boat All the big boats heave a sigh When'll Dad's skiff be ready? Can't hear you, boy!

They blow for Uncle Birdie And the times That ere gone by When'll the skiff be ready?

Have her ready inside a week. Then we'll go fishing.

How's your ma? Oh, she's all right.

How's your sister, Pearl? Just fine.

You leavin', boy? Yep. Gotta watch out for Pearl, Uncle Birdie.

Well, good night, boy. Come again anytime.

And mind, boy...

I'll have your pa's skiff shipshape inside a week.


Somebody there?

Anybody there?

Anybody here?

Good evenin', John.

I had a little talk with your mother tonight, John... and your mother decided it might be best for me to let you know the news.

Your mother told me she wanted me to be a daddy to you and your sister.

We're gonna get married, boy.

Did you hear what I said, boy?

Hmm. Married.

We're goin' to Sisterville tomorrow, and when we get back -

You ain't my dad. You'll never be my dad.

When we get back, we're all going to be friends... and share our fortunes together, John.

You think you can make me tell! But I won't! I won't! I won't!

Tell me what, boy? Nothin'.

We're not keeping secrets from each other, are we, little lad?

No, no.

Well, no matter.

We've got a long time together, boy.

Wave your hands. Great sakes.

Now, you wait here while I get your night things.

Now can I tell? Hmm?

When Mr. Powell's our daddy, then can I tell him about -

You swore, Pearl. John, don't.

You promised Dad you wouldn't tell.

I love Mr. Powell lots and lots, John.


Men.

Harry?

Fix that window shade.

Harry? I was praying.

Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know. I - I thought -

You thought, Willa, that the moment you walked in that door...

I'd start to pawin' you in that abominable way... that men are supposed to do on their weddin' night.

Ain't that right now? No, no, no.

I think it's time we made one thing perfectly clear, Willa.

Marriage to me represents a blending of two spirits in the sight of heaven.

Get up, Willa.

Harry, what - Get up.

Now, go look at yourself yonder in that mirror.

Do as I say.

Look at yourself.

What do you see, girl?

You see the body of a woman - the temple of creation and motherhood.

You see the flesh of Eve that man since Adam has profaned.

That body was meant for begettin' children.

It was not meant for the lust of men.

Do you want more children, Willa?

I -

No.

It's the business of this marriage to mind those two you have now... not to beget more.

Yes.

All right, you can get in bed now and stop shiverin'.

Help me to get clean... so I can be what Harry wants me to be.

Meanest, orneriest, sneakingest critter in the whole river, boy.

A gar.

Here are your can of hooks, Uncle Birdie. Pshaw, boy.

Ain't a hook in the land strong enough to land Mr. Gar.

What a feller needs is mother wit and a horsehair.

Golly. Won't it bust it, Uncle Birdie?

Nah, a horsehair will hold a lumpin' whale.

You mind my cussin', boy? No.

Well, the reason I ask, your step-pa bein' a preacher and all -

Never was much of a one for preachers my own self.

I don't know what's wrong up at your house... but always remember, cap... if you're ever in trouble, holler and come a-runnin'.

Uncle Birdie's your friend.

There! There, you slimy, snag-toothed, bait-stealin' so-and-so!

Amen! Amen! Amen!

Amen!

You have all sinned. Yes! Yes!

Which one of you can say, as I can say... that you drove a good man to murder?

Because I kept a-houndin' him for perfume... and clothes and face paint!

And he slew two human beings!

And he come to me, and he said...

"Take this money and buy yourself the clothes and the paint!"

Yes! Yes! But, brethren -

Brethren, that's where the Lord stepped in!

That's where the Lord stepped in! Yes!

"Ye," said the Lord to that man...

"you take that money... and you throw it in the river!"

In the river! In the river!


Now, you're John, and you're Pearl.

Pearl? Pearl?

You'll get awful mad, John. I done a sin.

Pearl! I didn't tell no one.

Pearl, oh, Pearl.

It's all here.

John. Oh - Yes?

What are you doing, boy? Gettin' Pearl to bed.

What's taking you so long about it? Nothing.

What's that you're playin' with?

Uh, Pearl's junk. Mom gets mad when she plays out here and don't put it away.

Come on, children.

Off to bed with the both of you.

Come here, John.

Your mother tells me you tattled on me.

She said you told her I asked where that money was hid.

That wasn't very nice, boy.

Have a heart.

Yeah.

Well, it doesn't matter. It's your word against mine.

It's me your mother believes.

Were you impudent again to Mr. Powell, John?

Mom, I didn't mean it.

What were you impudent about?

He asked me about the money again, Mom.

John, you always make up that lie.

There is no money.

Why can't you get that through your head?

The boy's as stubborn and as mulish as a sheep.

It's a shame. Good night, Icey.

Good night, honey. Good night, Walt.

Good night, Willa.

Plan on a longer visit next time.

You hardly get settled before you're frettin' to get home again.

I'm needed to keep peace and harmony betwixt them.

It's my burden, and I'm proud of it, Icey.

Where's the money hid? I don't know.

She thinks that money's at the bottom of the river.

But you and me, we know better, don't we, little lad?

I don't know nothin'.

Well, never mind, boy. The summer's young yet.

Pearl?

Come here.

John's a fella likes to keep secrets. I'll tell you a secret.

Yes?

I knowed your daddy.

And you know what your daddy told me?

?e said, "You tell my little girl Pearl... that there's to be no secrets between her and you."

Yes? All right. Now it's your turn.

What secret shall I tell?

Oh, uh, what's your name?

You're just fooling. My name's Pearl.

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Well, I reckon I'll have to try again.

Uh, where's the money hid?

Pearl, you swore you wouldn't tell! You swore! You swore! You swore!

You hit Daddy with a hairbrush.

Oh.

Now, you see? We just can't have anything to do with John.

You and me are goin' down to the parlor, Pearl.

John was just plumb bad through and through.

John's bad. Yes, John's bad.

Tell me another secret about my dad.

Oh, no. Your turn.

All right. What secret shall I tell?

Mmm. Where's the money hid?

John's bad. Where's the money hid?

You tell me, you little wretch, or I'll tear your arm off!

Icey, I'm worried about Willa. How do you mean?

Well, I'm figurin' how to say it so as you won't get mad.

Say what, Walt Spoon?

There's something wrong about it, Mother. About what?

About Mr. Powell, all of it. Walt!

Now, Mother, a body's got a right to their feelings.

May the Lord have mercy on you, Walt Spoon.

Now, Mother, I was just -

Amen.

Are you through praying?

I'm through,?arry.

You were listening outside the parlor window.

It ain't in the river, is it, Harry? Answer me.

Ben never told you he throwed it in the river, did he?

The children know where it's hid.

John knows. Is that it, Harry?

Then it's still here amongst us... tainting us.

You must have known about it all along, Harry.

But that ain't the reason why you married me.

I know that much.

Because the Lord just wouldn't let it be.

He made you marry me... so you could show me the way and the Iife... and the salvation of my soul.

Ain't that so, Harry?

So you might say that it was the money that brung us together.

The rest of it don't matter.


Walt! Come quick!

What's wrong, Mother? Shh! He's in there.

Who? Mr. Powell.

Willa has run away.

I'll be switched. Just went?

She took out some time in the night in that old Model "T."

Oh, is he hit pretty bad? All to pieces.

There's a little peach brandy in here. Walt!

A man of the cloth? Well, just a sip.

Walt Spoon, that's for sickness in the house!

Well, what can we do, Mother? I thought if you went and talked to him - you know, another man.

Oh, no, now, Mother, please. No, I'm no good at - - Get in there.

Mr. Powell? A strange woman is a narrow pit.

Amen. Amen.

She lieth in wait as for prey and increaseth the transgressors among men.

Oh, my dear, dear friends, whatever would I do without you?

Mr. Powell!

Well, if there's anything - anything we can -

No, it's my shame. It's my crown of thorns. I must wear it bravely.

What could have possessed that girl?

Satan. Ah!

Didn't you have no inklin'?

Yes, I did from the very first night.

First night? Our honeymoon.

How's that?

She turned me out of the bed.

No.

Well, what do you figure to do? Do?

Why, just stay right here and take care of them kids.

Maybe it was never meant for a woman like Willa to taint their young lives.

Mmm. Mmm. It's mighty brave of you, Preacher.

Oh, I reckon it was just ordained that way, brother Spoon.

Didn't - Didn't she leave no word?

A scrawl on a notepaper on the bureau.

I burned it.

Tore it up and burned it. It stank so strong of hellfire.

Amen.

The pitcher has went to the well once too often, friends.

Oh, she'll come draggin' her tail back home.

She'll not be back. I reckon I'm safe in promisin' you that.

Maybe she's just run off on a spree. No, no.

Well, there's no harm in hopin'. Ain't no sense in it neither.

I figured somethin' like that was brewin' when she went to bed last night.

How?

Well, she tarried around in the kitchen after I'd gone up... and when I went downstairs to see what was wrong -

What?

Well, she'd found this jar of dandelion wine... that the husband - this Harper - had hid somewheres in the cellar.

She was drinkin'. Oh!

I tried to save her.

I know you did, Mr. Powell. I know how hard you tried.

But the devil wins sometimes.

Can't nobody say I didn't do my best to save her.


Leaning Leaning Safe and secure from all alarms Leaning Leaning on the everlasting arms

Children!

Children.

Children.

Pearl?

Careful. Here.

Why do we have to hide, John?

Children.

Where's Mom? She's gone to Moundsville.

To see Dad? Yes, I reckon that's it.

Now, listen to me, Pearl. You and me is runnin' off tonight.

Why? Children.

If we stay here, something awful will happen to us.

Won't Daddy Powell take care of us? No.

That's just it. No.

Where are we going, John? Somewheres. I don't know yet.

I'm hungry, John.

We'll steal somethin' to eat. It'll spoil our suppers.

Pearl.

I can hear you whisperin', children, so I know you're down there.

I can feel myself gettin' awful mad.

I'm out of patience, children.

I'm coming to find you now.

Yoo-hoo!

Mr. Powell.

Well, well, Mrs. Spoon.

Where are the children?

They're down there in that cellar playin' games... and they won't mind me when I call them.

I'm at my wit's end, Mrs. Spoon.

Oh. Tsk, tsk. John? Pearl?

John! Pearl!

Shake a leg.

WelI, well, weIl. What's that?

Just a little hot supper I fixed for you and the children.

It seemed the Ieast we could do.

I won't have you worrying poor Mr. Powell another minute.

Just look at you - dust and filth from top to toe.

Want me to take 'em up and wash 'em good?

No. No, thank you, dear Icey. Thank you.

I'll tend to them. Thank you.

Don't be too hard on 'em, Preacher.

Poor motherless children.

Remember now, Mr. Powell, don't be afraid to call on us.

Good-bye.

Good-bye, Miz Spoon, and thanks again.

Now, weren't you afraid, little lambs, down there in all that dark?

They'll think it was me.

They'll say it was poor old Uncle Birdie.

Aw, if you could've seen it, Bess.

Down there in the deep place... with her hair wavin' soft and lazy, like... meadow grass under floodwater.

And that slit in her throat... like she had an extra mouth.

You're the only human mortal I can go to, Bess.

If I go to the law... they'll hang it on me.

Sweet heaven, save poor old Uncle Birdie.

I'm hungry. Sure.

And there's fried chicken, sweet potatoes, corn bread and apple cobbler.

Can I have my supper, please? Naturally.

Can I have milk too? Mm-hmm.

But first, we'll have a little talk - about our secrets.

No. And why not, pray tell?

'Cause John said I mustn't.

Never mind what John said!

John's a meddler.

Now stop that sniveling.

Look a-here. You know what that is?

Wanna see something cute?

Now looky.

How about that?

This is what I use on meddlers.

John might be a meddler.

Eh-eh! No, no.

No, no, little lamb. Don't touch it.

Don't touch my knife. That makes me mad.

Makes me very, very mad.

Now, just tell me. Where's the money hid?

But I swore. I promised John I wouldn't tell.

John doesn't matter!

Can't I get that through your head, you poor, silly, disgusting little wretch?

There now. You made me lose my temper.

I'm sorry. I am real sorry.

Now just tell me.

Where's it hid, honey? I'll tell.

I thought I told you to keep your mouth shut.

It ain't fair to make Pearl tell when she swore she wouldn't.

I'll tell.

Well, I declare.

Sometimes I think poor old John might make it to heaven yet.

All right, boy, where's the money?

In the cellar, buried under a stone in the floor.

It'll go hard if I find you're lyin', boy.

I'm not lying. Go look for yourself.

All right.

Come along.

What?

Go ahead of me, the both of you.

Down those stairs.

You don't reckon I'd leave you, do you, boy?

Well, don't you believe me?

Why, sure, boy. Sure.

All right. Where now? Mind, no tricks now.

I can't abide a liar.

Yonder.

Oh, no, you don't.

Now, where, boy? Where? Under the stone in the floor.

This is concrete.

John made a sin. John told a lie.

The Lord's a-talkin' to me now.

He's a-sayin'...

"A liar is an abomination before mine eyes."

Speak, boy. Where's it hid?

Speak.

Speak, or I'll cut your throat and leave you to drip... like a hog hung up in butcherin' time.

Pearl, shut up. Pearl, you swore.

You could save him, little bird.

It's in my doll! It's in my doll!

The doll.

Why, sure.

Last place anybody'd think to look.


Uncle Birdie Steptoe.

Open that door!

You spawn of the devil's own strumpet!


Uncle Birdie! Uncle Birdie!

Uncle Birdie. Don't.

Hide us, Uncle Birdie. He's a-comin' with his knife.

It's me - John Harper and Pearl. You told me to come.

Johnny? Uncle Birdie. Oh, please.

Please! Wake up!

I swear on - on the Book. I never done it. I -

I never -

There's still the river.

The skiff is under the willow.

Children!

Children!


Once upon a time There was a pretty fly He had a pretty wife This pretty fly But one day she flew away Flew away She had two pretty children But one night These two pretty children Flew away Into the sky Into the moon

"Dear Walt and Icey...

"I bet you been worried and gave us up for lost.

"Took the kids down here with me for a visit to my sister Elsie's farm.

"Thought a little change of scenery would do us all a world of good...

"after so much trouble and heartache. Hmm.

"At least the kids will get a-plenty of good home cookin'.

Your devoted Harry Powell."

Now, ain't you relieved, Walt?

Sure. But you was worried too, Mother.

Takin' off with never a word of good-bye.

You know, I got to figurin' maybe them Gypsies busted in and done off with all three of 'em.

You and your Gypsies. They've been gone a week.

Sure. But not before one of 'em knifed a farmer and stole his horse.

Never caught the Gypsy nor the horse.

Such times when young 'uns run the roads.

Go away, children.

Hungry, I suppose.

Well, I can't spare you more than one potato apiece. Come on.

Where're your folks? Ain't got none.

Oh, go away. Go away.

An ungrateful child is an abomination before the eyes of God.

The world is fast goin' to damnation because of impudent young 'uns a-flyin' in the face of age.

They make soup out of them... but I wouldn't know how to go about gettin' 'em open.


We're gonna spend the night on land.


Hush, little one Hush Hush, my little one Hush Morning soon Shall light your pillow Birds will sing In yonder willow Hush, my little one Hush Are we going home now, John? - Hush, little one Shh.

Hush

Rest, dearest one Rest Rest here on my breast Little child With heart so brave Angel hosts Will keep you safe Rest, my little one Rest Rest, little one Rest


Leaning Leaning Safe and secure From all alarms Leaning Leaning on the everlasting arms What a fellowship What a peace is mine Leaning on the everlasting arms Don't he never sleep?

What a blessedness What a joy divine Pearl! Wake up!

Come on! Pearl!

...on the everlasting arms Leaning Safe and secure From all alarms


You two youngsters get up here to me this instant.

Get on up to my house.

Mind me now. I'll get me a switch.

Don't you hurt her! ?urt her, nothing.

Wash her is more like it.

Ruby! Clary! Mary!

Yes, Miz Cooper!

Bring your baskets.

Nicely picked, Clary.

Mary, put the big ones on top.

Oh, Ruby. Most of them ain't fit to go to market.

Well, put your baskets down.

Ruby, run to the house and fetch the tub and put it by the pump.

Clary, uh, Mary, run up and fetch a bar of laundry soap.

Yes, Miz Cooper. And a scrub brush.

Come on up to the house, children.

Gracious! If you ain't a sight to beat all.

Where you from?

Where're your foIks? Come on, speak up now.

Gracious. So I've got two more mouths to feed.


Howdy, Miz Cooper. What happened to my milk supply?

Price of milk what it is, not on your life.

Do better making butter with the cream, sell it retail.

Make smearcase for the children, feed what's left to my hogs.

She talks to herself. All the time.

Your ma's funny. She ain't our ma.

We just live at her house.

Where are your folks? Someplace.

My daddy's in Detroit.

Mary!

Honey. Good morning, Miz Cooper.

Guess what. I'm saving up to buy you a charm bracelet.

Never mind the gewgaws.

Don't forget your visit this Sunday, and come to church with us.

See ya Sunday, love.

Take your baskets in, children.

Women is fools.

All of 'em.

Look a-there.

She'll be losing her mind to a tricky mouth and a fool moon.

And like as not, I'll be settled with the consequences.

Here's what you owe me.

One, two, three, four, five - Where's the other basket?

Where's Ruby? She went.

John, you go find Ruby.

Big Ruby's my bothersome girl. She can't get eggs without bustin' them.

But she's got mother hands with the young 'uns, so what are you to say?

How about tonight, Ruby?

What gives? The old lady's around.

How about Thursday?

The old gal thinks she comes in for sewing lessons on Thursday.

Miz Cooper wants you.

And will you show me your dolly, little lady I see you got two more peeps in your brood.

Yeah, and ornerier than the rest.

How's your own boy, Miz Cooper?

Haven't heard from Ralph since last Christmas.

Don't matter though. I've got a new crop.

I'm a strong tree with branches for many birds.

I'm good for somethin' in this old world, and I know it too.


Now, old pharaoh, he was king of Egypt land... and he had a daughter.

And once upon a time... she was walkin' along by the riverbank... and she seen somethin' bumpin' and scrapin' along on a sandbar down under the willows.

And you know what it was, children? No.

Now, it was a skiff, washed up on the bar.

And who do you reckon was in it?

Pearl and John.

Not this time.

There was only one young 'un - a little boy babe.

And you know who he was, children? No.

It was Moses - a king of men.

Moses, children.

Now off to bed with you.

John, get me an apple.

And get one for yourself too.

John, where are your folks?

Dead. Dead?

Where are you from Upriver.

Well, I didn't figure you'd rowed that skiff all the way up from Parkersburg.

Tell me that story again.

Story? What story, honey?

About them kings... and the queen found down on the sandbar that time on the skiff.

Kings? Why, there was only one king, honey.

I mind you said there was two.

Well, shoot now. Maybe there was.

Yes, come to think of it, there was two.


Must be Thursday. Here comes Ruby.

Here I go.

Why, you're Ruby. Ain't you, my child?

Can I have this? Surely.

I'd like to talk to you, my dear.

Will you buy me an ice cream? Of course.

Watch out, Preacher. Why, Preacher.

Shut your dirty mouths.

Ain't I pretty?

Why, you're the prettiest thing I ever seen in all my wanderin'.

Ain't nobody never toId you that, Ruby?

No. No one never did.

There's, uh, two new ones out your place, ain't there?

Uh-huh.

What's their names? Pearl and John.

Ah, yeah. Is there a doll?

Only they don't never let me play with it.

Ah!

Did you ever see such pretty eyes in all your born days?

Don't let him get away, sugar.

He ain't like you all. Next time, I won't even ask him to buy me an ice cream.

I've been bad.

Ruby, you didn't have money to buy this.

You'll whip me. When did I ever?

This man at the drugstore, he gave me - The drugstore?

Miz Cooper, I never been to sewin' lessons all them times.

What you been up to, Ruby?

I been out with men.

Child.

Oh, my God.

You were lookin' for love, Ruby, in the only foolish way you knew how.

We all need love, Ruby.

I lost the love of my son.

I found it with you all.

You're gonna grow up to be a strong, fine woman... and I'm gonna see to it that you do.

This gentleman weren't like them.

He just give me a book and buy me an ice cream.

Now, who was this? He didn't ask me for nothin'.

What'd you talk about?

Pearl and John.

John and Pearl?

Is he their pap? I don't know.

Wonder why he hasn't been to the house.

Oh, Miz Cooper! Miz Cooper!

What? The man! The man!

Good mornin', ladies.

How do?

Why, you're Miz Cooper, I take it.

It's about that John and that Pearl?

Oh, them poor little lambs.

To think I never hoped to see them again in this world.

Oh, dear madam, if you was to know what a crown of thorns I've borne... in my search for them stray chicks.

Ruby, go fetch them kids.

Oh, madam, I see you're lookin' at my hands.

Would you like me to tell you the little story of left hand and right hand - the tale of good and evil?

It was with this left hand that old brother Cain struck the blow that laid his brother low -

Them kids is yours?

My own flesh and blood.

Where's your missus?

Uh, she run off with a drummer - during prayer meetin'.

Where's she at? Down the river somewheres.

Parkersburg maybe or Cincinnati - one of them Sodoms on the Ohio River.

She took them kids with her?

Oh, heaven only knows what unholy sights and sounds... them innocent little babes has heard in the dens of perdition where she dragged 'em.

Right funny, ain't it, how they rowed all the way upriver in a 10-foot johnboat.

Are they well, Miz Cooper?

A sight better than they was.

Gracious, gracious. You are a good woman, Miz Cooper.

How you figurin' to raise them two without a woman?

The Lord will provide.

The Lord is merciful.

Oh, what a day this is.

And there's little John.

What's wrong, John? Come to me, boy.

What's wrong, John? Didn't you hear me, boy?

John, when your dad says come, you should mind him.

He ain't my dad.

No. And he ain't no preacher neither.

Just march yourself yonder to your horse, mister.

March, mister! I'm not foolin'!

All right, but you haven't heard the last of Harry Powell yet.

The Lord God Jehovah will guide my hand in vengeance.

You devils!

You Whores of Babylon!

I'll be back when it's dark!

Leaning Safe and secure From all alarms Leaning Leaning on the everlasting arms What a fellowship What a joy divine Leaning on the everlasting arms What a blessedness What a peace is mine Leaning on the everlasting arms

- Leaning on Jesus Leaning Safe and secure From all alarms

- Leaning on Jesus Leaning Leaning on The everlasting arms Shame on you, Ruby... mooning around the house after that mad dog of a man.

Merciful heavens!

Ruby, go get the children out of bed and bring them down here.

Women are such durn fools.

It's a hard world for little things.


Now, there was this sneakin', no-account, ornery King Herod.

And when he heard tell of little Jesus growin' up... he figured, "Well, shoot, there won't be no room for the both of us.

I'll just nip this in the bud."

But he wasn't sure which of all them babies in the land was King Jesus.

So that cruel old King Herod figured if he was to kill all the babies in the land... he'd be sure and get little Jesus.

And when little King Jesus' ma and pa heard about this plan... what do you reckon they went and done?

They hid in a broom closet. They hid under the porch.

No. They went a-runnin'.

Well, now, John, you're right. That's just what they done.

And little King Jesus' ma and pa saddled a mule... and they rode all the way down into Egypt land.

Yeah. And that's where the queen found 'im in the "billy rushes."

Oh, no. That wasn't the same story at all. That was little King Moses.

But just the same, it did seem like it was a plague time for little ones... them olden days, them hard, hard times.

Figured I was gone, huh?

Run! Hide in the staircase! Run quick!

Ruby! Git!

What do you want? I want them kids.

What do you want them for? That's none of your business, madam.

I'm giving you to the count of three to get out of here.

Then I'm comin' across the kitchen shooting.

Miz Booher? Rachel Cooper.

Get your state troopers out to my place.

I got somethin' trapped in my barn.

I'll go see to Pearl.

I'll make coffee.

She's all right.

John, you know, when you're little... you have more endurance than God is ever to grant you again?

Children are man at his strongest. They abide.

Why didn't you call us before now?

Didn't want your dirty shoes trackin' up my clean floors.

Is that him, ma'am? Yes.

Mind where you shoot, boys. There are children here.

Harry Powell, you're under arrest for the murder of Willa Harper.

Drop that knife, Powell.

Don't.

Don't!

Here! Here! John! John!

Take it back, Dad! Take it back! I don't want it, Dad!

It's too much! Here!

Here!

Lynch him! Lynch him!

Bluebeard!

Twenty-five wives! And he killed every last one of 'em!

The people of Marshall County - Bluebeard!

Lynch him! Lynch him!

Will you identify the prisoner?

Please, little lad.

Won't you look yonder and tell the court... if that is the man that killed your mother?

It's all right, Mrs. Cooper. You can take the little fellow away.

Merry Christmas to you and yours, Mrs. Cooper.

And what's Santa Claus going to bring you for Christmas, little man?

Oh-ho.

Bluebeard! Bluebeard! Bluebeard!

Bring out that bluebeard!

There's Pearl!

Get your coats.

Them's her orphans!

Where's Ruby? She went.

Them poor little lambs!

Them is the ones he sinned against, my friends!

Go out the back door.

Don't just stand around. Come on. They're bringing him out.

Ain't we goin' to the bus depot?

Draggin' the name of the Lord through the evil mud of his soul!

String that bluebeard up to a pole!

He's Satan hidin' behind the cross!

Come on!


I love him.

You think he's like them others.

You were so mad, you shot him.

Hey, Bart. Yeah?

We're savin' this bird up for you.

This time, it'll be a privilege.


I'm glad they didn't send me nothin'.

Whenever they do, it's nothin' I want... but just something to show me how fancy and smart they come up in the world.

Brrr! Brrr! Mmm!

Can we give you your Christmas presents now?

Shoot. You don't mean to say you got me a present?

Shoot now.

Ruby.

A potholder.

And it's much neater than last year, Ruby.

Clary.

Another potholder. Now, ain't that thoughtful?

I'm always burnin' my hands.

Oh, this doesn't look basted.

This looks made.

Oh, and you finished the edge with a chain stitch.

Oh, that's just dandy, Clary.

Another potholder?

Oh, now, did you two make this together?

You helped us some.

That's the richest gift a body could have.

And your presents are in the cupboard under the china closet.

Ruby.

This is yours.

Oh, look what you've got!

Lord save little children.

You'd think the world would be ashamed to name such a day as Christmas for one of them... and then go on in the same old way.

My soul is humble when I see the way little ones accept their lot.

Lord save little children.

The wind blows, and the rains are cold.

Yet they abide.


That watch sure is a fine loud ticker.

Be nice to have someone around the house who can give me the right time of day.

This watch is the nicest watch I ever had.

Well, a fella just can't go round with rundown, busted watches.

They abide, and they endure.