The Reivers (1969) Script

When I was young, I lived in a town called Jefferson, Mississippi.

That was a long time ago.

Quite a few people took up the land at $ 1 an acre, and married one another and produced children and built houses.

There was some bragging and lying, but on the whole we were a pleasant, courteous people, tending to our own business.

It seems to me now that those days were like an endless summer, stored with pleasure in my memory.

I suppose it can be said that I parted from my youth on a Saturday morning in 1905, just before noon, with the temperature close to 100 degrees.



Boon! Hey, Boon!

Here it comes, Boon!

Better hurry up or you'll miss it. I'm missing nothing. I'll beat you there.

That was the summer my grandfather, known to all of us as Boss, had a vision of our nations boundless future in which the basic unit of its economy and prosperity would be a small, mass-produced cubicle containing four wheels and an engine.

So he bought one.

It was a yellow Winton Flyer.

As for my friend Boon Hogganbeck, he found his souls lily maid, the virgins love of his rough and innocent heart.

Does Boss know you're splashing water on this thing four hours a day?

You'll soak all the paint off it.

Step back, will you, you're getting dust on the magneto.

Sure is pretty.

How do you start this thing? What do you wanna know for?

There's a lovely lady across town who'd take notice if I chugged up in this.

She would, huh?

"Honey," I would say to her, "Your man has arrived."


...I'm gonna show you what to do and how to do it.

First, you adjust the choke. Choke.

Then you adjust the magneto. Magneto.

Then you walk around to the front. Front.

Then you give her a crank, follow me? Nothing to it.


You step in...

...readjust your magneto, readjust the choke.

Ease her into gear, you don't crunch it.

It's kinda easy like, you know? All right?

When can I have her? String bean, you lay a hand on her and I'll jump down your throat and tap-dance on your lungs.

Hey, Boon!

Lucius, get back to that piano.

Get out of the way!

Come here!

Come back, you...!

What are you doing, Boon?

I'm gonna find that son of a bitch Ned McCaslin and I'm gonna kill him.

Goddamn! Get out of the way!

Goddamn! Get out of the way!

Oh, shit!

If you point it down and stand still, you might do better.

That's not funny!

Been a bit too lively this morning. We'll take this matter off the streets.

Well, I don't... Quiet!

I've had my fill of both of you.

For 20 years you've been standing in front of me on this strip of carpet, unwashed and unrepentant.

You, wandering into our livery stable, ten years old, wiping your runny nose on your shirt-tail.

And you...

...abandoned in my back yard, squalling your lungs out in a wash-bucket.

Did any man ever inherit a more ill-assorted pair?

What was he doing joyriding in my car? Your car, Boon?


...the family car.

I'm more family than he is, since we had the same great-grandad, Mr Maury.

Don't bring that up again. I've heard it a thousand times.

But isn't my name McCaslin, same as yours?

Didn't your great-grandaddy, Lucius Quintus McCaslin, take the slave girl Aunt Molly Beauchamp, who begat Acey, who begat Maydew, my mother, and then me?

Look in the family Bible, it's all there.

You're there, I acknowledge it.

You'll go to the family graveyard too. Quiet!

I'll tell you what I'm gonna do.

I'm going to put you both under a bond to keep the peace.

A hundred dollars each.

Is that legal? Legal?

We can try. If it isn't, it ought to be.

My mothers father, Grandfather Lessep, died that year, at home, in the same room and in the same bed hed been born in.

We didnt fear death in those days because we believed your outside was just what you lived in and slept in, and had no connection with what you were.

But we did take funerals seriously, so my family travelled to Bay Saint Louis, to see the old man ceremoniously to his final rest.

Boon, I want the automobile locked in the carriage house.

Don't drive it while I'm away.

You own it. You remember it.

Lucius, I don't believe we've ever left you alone at home before.

However, I expect you will be a credit to the family.

Don't be rude to Callie, and don't be advised by Boon.

He knows no obstacles, counts no cost, fears no dangers.

Yes, sir.

All aboard!

I know you're sometimes afraid to sleep by yourself.

Don't be. Trust in the Lord, He's up all night.

Why'd we stop all the way out here for?

Take a deep breath.

Smell that east wind? Somebody's cutting grass.

You know something? I can see some fuzz popping out on your cheek.

You're sure growing up. Won't be long until you'll be strapping a straight razor.

We'd better get home, Callie don't like to keep dinner waiting.

You'll be shaving and you'll be smoking.

Smoked yet?

Once. I got sick all over my Sunday-school suit.

There's other things that'll sit easier. You'll find 'em.

Move over. What for?

Drive, see what it feels like.

Right now? This minute? Hurry, before I change my mind.

You look dandy, Lucius, but sit up straight so you can see out.


What if I was to wreck it?

We'd have to get us two tickets on a boat and head for China.

Now, put your hand here. Take off the brake.

Let her rip!


Enjoying yourself? Yeah.

How long do you think they'll be gone? Father said four days.

Four days, that oughta be long enough. For what?

For two men and an automobile to go to Memphis, Tennessee.

You ever heard real streetcar bells?

Seen the inside of a penny arcade or looked inside of a tattoo parlour?

We can stay up all night if you want, come in at dawn.

Boss said we should take the car home and lock it up.

I put a lot of store in what Boss says, you know I do.

But to reach manhood, you gotta say goodbye to what you know, and hello to the things you don't.

Watch it!

But Aunt Callie, she changed her mind.

She told me to go and stay with Uncle Ike.

No. You're my business till your ma gets back.

But she said I could, Callie. Boon heard her.

I'm telling you so you'll know where I am, in case anybody should ask.


It's too hot to sit on anybody today. If you've gotta go, go.

Make sure you get there before dark.

More cane, please. Henry, Luke, more cane.

Now, what was you saying, Lucius? Tell it to me again, slow.

Callie's cleaning the house, so I'd be underfoot, so I'm supposed to stay with either Cousin Zack or you.

But if it wouldn't hurt your feelings, I'll go to Zack's.

He's got a new fishing hole he wants me to try.

If I know Zack, it ain't on his property. Careful you don't get your pants shot off.

All right. See you, Boon.

You left Aunt Callie to go to Uncle Ike.

You tell him you're coming to me.

You tell me you're going fox-hunting for four days with Ned.

You're a regular wandering Jew.

Is it all right?

If it's all right to your mama, it's all right to me.

Lucius... She did say you could go, didn't she?

Remember, you're on your honour while she's gone.

I know it. I wouldn't lie.

Well, put your cap on, 'cause it's gonna be a hot 'un.

Well, I'll be damned.

Come on, let's get away from here.

And so we were off, and Id already told more lies than I thought I was capable of.

And Id had them believed, which had me spellbound, if not appalled.

How do you feel about things now?

I don't know yet.

We're gonna have a good time, Lucius, maybe the best time of our whole lives.

When we get there, I wanna drive her in.

All right, right across the 4th Street Bridge, in front of all those hotels, right smack in the centre of town, OK?

You see, Boon knew something I didnt:

That the rewards of virtue are cold and odourless and tasteless and not to be compared to the pleasures of sin and wrong-doing.

All right! What the hell are you doing there?

Singin'. Out!

I'm going along.

You weren't invited. If I wait to be, I'll go nowhere.

Anyway, somebody with sense has to look after the boy.

And that's you? It ain't you.

I didn't get him to tell lies or steal his grandaddy's automobile.

Borrow! Whatever.

It wouldn't hurt. Won't help, either.

I got a right to a trip, same as you and Lucius.

I'm kin and you ain't.

What'll you give?

Snuff. Don't use it.

My watch. Broke.

A ham. How big?

Ten pounds. Done.

Imagine a white man chauffeuring a nigger to Memphis.

I thought for a minute me and you was gonna misunderstand one another.

Let's go.

And so we were three, three reivers, hightailing it for Memphis.

Oh, reivers... Thats an old-fashioned word from my childhood.

In plain English, Im afraid it meant thieves.

Look out!

Look at him, sittin' there all innocent.

Who's he?

He's the son of a bitch that works this place like a patch to keep it muddy.

Last year he charged me two dollars to pull out my wagon.

Two dollars? Sure beats cotton.

He ain't gonna get me this time. This is an 18-horsepower automobile.

All right, somebody give me some help.

I don't know how to help.

I don't know much about cars yet. Get out.

I'll be in your way. I'll stay here so you have room.

You wanted a trip, you got one.

Now, get out.

Let Lucius do it, he's younger. He's gotta steer.

I'll steer. Jump out and help Mr Boon.

Lucius, sit where you are.

I'm going to get one of those poles, and I ain't gonna stick it under the car.

This water's dirty. If there's one thing I hate, it's dirt between my toes.

That's 'cause your circulation ain't roused up yet. Don't worry, it will be.

Now jam her under the axle.

Lucius, when she bites, just take her on through.

One, two, heave.


Get up there!

Here he comes now.

Get up there! C'mon on!

Get up!

Mornin', boys. Looks like you boys about ready for me now.

You'd know what end to hook to.

Get down and hook it yourself. Why else are we paying you $2?

Oh, no, that was last summer.

This water has undermined my system. I'd come down with rheumatism.

Here. Where you want me to hook it?

I don't care, any part you want to come out of the mud.

If you want it all out at once, hook to the axle.

Stop shoving.

Just watch.

OK, it's hooked.

Y'all ready?

Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention. Maybe I'd better.

Prices have doubled round here since last year. $6 now.

Maybe you'd rather walk back to Jefferson than pay $2 more.

Maybe the boy and that other fella wouldn't.

That boy...

That boy is just a child. Surely for a child...

Walking might be lighter for him, but not shorter.

What about him? Wash that mud off and he ain't even white.

Both these mules are colour-blind.

What did I tell you? The highway to Memphis.

Golly. She's all yours.



Just don't think you're a 40-mile-an-hour locomotive. Let's go.

Don't gawk, Lucius, concentrate on your driving.

Now, Lucius...

This is kind of a...

...boarding house. You're gonna like it here.

I got a letter from one of the girls... one of the ladies that works... is staying here.

Her nephew's visiting, so you'll even have a playmate.

What's the matter with you? Don't mind me.


It's usually pretty lively here, with conventions and... things, but it's quiet now 'cause it's Sunday.

Maybe they've all gone to early prayer meeting.

No, I don't think so.

They're probably resting.

From what?

All right, out. Get out.

If you want to go home with us tomorrow, be here at the stroke of eight.

The first stroke. I won't be here for the last.

If you can finish your business by eight in the morning, why shouldn't I?

Come on.



Keep this for me, I may lose it someplace.

When I need some, I'll tell you how much to give me out of it.

Hi, Minnie.

Why, it's Boon Hogganbeck, with a little blue-eyed child in tow. Come in, Boon.

This is Miss Reba. Make your manners. How do you do, ma'am?

I'll be damned. Did you see that, Minnie?

I don't know, Boon. Mr Binford is strongly against having children here.

He says they'll be here soon enough. Wait until they have some jack to spend.

Shall I tie him out in the yard? Of course not.

Let's see if we can find a corner for him.

You two take a nice bath and we'll see what we can do.

Minnie, tell everybody to stay out of the bathroom for half an hour.

Where's Corrie? In the parlour, changing the piano rolls.

Hello, Boon. Hiya, kiddo.

Lucius, come down here, honey, I'd like you to meet someone.

Corrie, watch this.

Lucius, this is Miss Corrie.

How do you do, Ma'am? What do you think of that?

All right, go get cleaned up, now.

Go on, Lucius.

Boon, I'm not gonna roll around...

I am not gonna roll in any bed with you and let you nibble my ear and tell me silly things.

I'm staying with my plan. Plan's crazy, always was.

It isn't. My sister Alice is married with three children.

My cousin Edith is married with four.

I'm the last one. Still think you'll get married?

All those girls in their underwear throwing rice at you?

Yes, I do. Excuse me, but keeping a hope chest in a cat-house is dumb.

Not every man's like you.

Some come to women for comfort, to talk about their troubles.

I listen and they like me.

My hope is one day one of them will like me enough.

We know one thing, don't we, Boon? It won't be you, will it?

All I want to do is spend a dollar and have some fun. Is that a crime?

You can't be greedy about Corrie's time, we've got a lot of conventions in town.

Policemen, firemen, Elks, we're gonna be real busy.

Go and take a nice cold bath, cool yourself down.

Then come back and show us how handsome you are.

Guess you never saw anything like that. Yes, I have.

You have?

Mrs Fletcher down the block.

She forgot to put down her window shades one night.

It's a mystery, that's for sure. It's all a mystery.

Come on, I'll dry between your shoulder blades.

I guess you and I have been friends ever since we've known each other.

From when I carried you around on my back to putting you on the first horse you ever rode.

I guess that's right.

Here you are, a night away from home, you've learned to drive an automobile for the first time.

Your first trip to the big city.

Any boy that's done all that can handle anything.

Like what, Boon?

You'll notice there's a lot of ladies at this boarding house.

Don't any men live here?

None actively live here, except Mr Binford.

Just men visiting their ladyfolks, kinda quiet and polite.

Do you follow me? I will if you get on with it.

All right. Here it is.

Some folks'd say you're not old enough to know these things. I say you are.

I say there's some things a boy can learn that he never knew about, so that later, when he needs 'em, he's already got 'em.

There's nothing you learn that later you might not need. When that day comes...

...well, you can thank your lucky stars I helped you.

Does that make any sense to you? Some.

Some's good enough for the time being.


I went back to see Mrs Fletcher again, and her husband came out on the porch with his bulldog.

Be sure to say "please" and "thank you" when they pass things.

I told you not to do that.


Hello, Boon.

Ladies, this is Lucius. Well, hello, Lucius.

Isn't he adorable?

I want you to meet Otis, Miss Corrie's nephew.

How do you do? I do just fine if I'm left to it.

Our Mr Binford should be with us any moment.

He doesn't like us to begin without him.

He'll be waxing his moustache to keep it out of the soup.

That'll do, Otis.

Dinner's getting cold and I'm hungry. That's his step now.

Ladies and gents all, hash time.

Evening, Boon. Evening.

This is a friend of mine, Lucius Priest McCaslin.

How do you do, sir?

I hurried, fast as I could. And I'm not late, am I, Mr Binford?

Your hopes are dashed because you are. 25 cents in the box.

That's not fair. Miss Reba... Those are the house rules.

A house without rules is not a home. Damn it, I...

You bitches got to act like ladies, but you don't know how. I'm learnin' you.

Damn it, Mr Binford, I don't think that's fair...

You put two bits in the box and sit so we can get some peace.


All right, Miss Reba, tell Minnie to get some beer.

Minnie, bring some beer.

How about some beer? You a beerhead?

No, sir, I don't drink beer.

He drinks beer, don't you? Anything that's put in front of me.

Hear that?

Don't you like it? Can't you get it?

I'm not old enough yet.

Oh, well, whisky then!

I don't drink anything.

I promised my ma I wouldn't unless Father and Boss invited me.

Who's his Boss?

His grandpa. Tells you what to do and you do it.

Sounds like you call him Boss too. That's right.

Well, Boss isn't here now. Your mother isn't here.

You're out on a tear with Boo. Your folks are 80 miles away.

Here, you can have some.

No, sir, I promised her.

I see, promised her you wouldn't go drinking with Boon.

What about whore-hopping? What kind of language is that?

Lady, use your mouth to eat your supper with.

Move over and leave room for Otis.

I'll bet you got in that bed without brushing your teeth.

I didn't bring a toothbrush.

Neglect your teeth and you'll end up with a denture in a glass, and they'll snap at you in the night.

Come on!

One thing I know is boys. I've eight brothers from fourteen down, like steps.

My favourite one is just your age and size. His name's Ben.

I've no brothers or sisters.

I'll take you on if you don't cause me too much trouble, OK?

I guess it'd be all right.

You miss your mama?

Started to after supper.

Does she tuck you in at night?

Yes, ma'am.

Don't be sad, 'cause I'm gonna tuck you in tonight.

Sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite.


Hello, Mr Heasley. Hello, Minnie.

You devil.

Miss Reba, Mr Heasley's here.

They must've run a mile!

What are you doing? Shh, listening.

What are you listening to? Shh.

The money that's here. You can just smell it.

It ain't right it's just women can make money pugnuckling.

What's "pugnuckling"? Don't you know anything?

Even if I could drill a peephole, Miss Reba wouldn't let me bring anyone up here to make any money.

How can you make money by drilling a hole in the floor?

How old are you? Eleven.

Where are you from? Mississippi.

No wonder you know nothing. Get this for me, will you?

Know what a whore is? Yes.

What is it? There's one in the Bible, from Babylon.

I've got one from Arkansas, my Aunt Corrie.

You saying she's one? Yes.

That's a lie! Hell, I had a peep-hole in the barn...

You're lying. You crazy...

You're lying, aren't you? She isn't!

She's not!

She's not!

Hey! Easy, easy.

His hand, he's hurt his hand.

You stand in the hall till I come out and don't you budge.

He cut you good.

Now, sweetie, this is gonna sting.

I'll be right back.

Sit down.

All right, what was it? I told him what you are.

You are, ain't you?

What were you boys fightin' about?


Hey... Leave me alone.

Eleven years old and already cut up in a whorehouse brawl.

Come on, son.

Get in bed.

If you're gonna heave, I'll get a towel. I'm not gonna heave.

I'll stay with him. You don't have to.

I'll just keep you company.

Boon, go downstairs and get a glass of cold milk.

Where's it at? In the ice chest.

Let me see that.

I made Otis tell me.

I've had people fighting over me before, but you're the first one who ever fought for me.

I don't know what I'm gonna do about that.

What am I gonna do about it, Lucius? I don't know.

You'd make a good nurse.

All right... promised your mama not to drink, and you kept it.

So I'll promise you...

...and I'll do my solemn best to keep it too.

I promise.

Promise what?

I'm quittin', Boon. What?

I'm quittin'. Not any more, never.

What are you talking about? I've made up my mind.

Why pick me to reform on?

I'm not. Sure you are. You can't, I love you.

Boon Hogganbeck! Who's hollering?

Get out here, I wanna talk to you.

Boon Hogganbeck. Hey, Boon. Shh, what do you want?

I want you to see this horse. What about it? I'm busy.

It's ours.

Yeah? Where'd you get a horse? I swapped for him.

What have you got to swap? You don't own nothing.

I had something somebody wanted.

What could that be? The automobile.

Which automobile?

How many automobiles have we got? Boss's automobile.

What is it, a raid?

What's going on?

Gentlemen, there's nothing to be excited about.

Good God almighty.

There's nothing to be excited about.

Come right back in. Minnie, take care of the gentlemen.

His name's Lightning.

Ned, what the hell? Take it easy. Listen.

This horse is gonna save us.

The only chance we got with Boss for stealing his car is to bring him back something he likes even better, which is a horse.

Where does that man live? 'Cause I want the car back!

We can't get it back, so don't go wild looking for him. We don't want him yet.

We won't need him till after the race. Race?

See, we ain't just got a horse.

That man I traded with threw in a horse race too.

He's got another horse waiting in Possum to run against this horse.

Don't you worry.

We're gonna take this horse to my uncle in Possum and win that car back.

But how? You just traded the horse for it.

He put the car up as a prize because he doesn't believe our horse can run.

And do you know why?

Our horse has already lost twice to his Possum horse!

We're dead. Finished.

Oh, no, we ain't. We ain't even started yet.

That man saw my toes sticking out of my shoes, and thought all I could do was shuffle dust.

He thought that because he couldn't make this horse run, nobody could.

But when it comes to horses, no man alive can sting me.

I can take one whiff of a horse and know I got a good one.

And this is a good one.

Is that animal stolen? No, sir, I wouldn't put it in your stable.

Who's gonna ride it? He is.

He ain't got but one hand. He only needs one.

This boy learned holding on riding his daddy's colts.

He can stick on anything. Let's go see.

As far as Ned was concerned, we didnt have to.

He was absolutely sure wed go home to Boss with the automobile and a good horse tied behind it.

And wed be able to look him in the eye again.

Now, that track he'll be running on ain't but half a mile.

So you go around here twice, so that when he sees that real track, he'll know what to do. Understand?

Yes. Let's do it.

What's the matter?

Come on. Come on!

What's the matter? He feels funny.

What do you mean? His front half just won't go.

His legs feel all right, but his head won't go anywhere.

You're the fool who traded a car for him, what's the matter with him?

Maybe... something distracted his mind, maybe he ought to run against another horse.


Come on. Maybe...

What is he? Is he blind? Is he lame? Is he old?

He's slow.

Get up.

Come on, boy!

Boss gave me his suits before they were even wore out. Gave me his best boots.

Paid to have my appendix took out.


Oh, my God!


I don't know why I'm trying to kill myself.

You got us into this mess.

The name's Lovemaiden. Butch Lovemaiden.

I'm sheriff of this here town.

Good morning to you.

Little boy, come here.

Come on.

You look like a nice little boy.

Go over to Uncle Possum's melon patch and bring me a nice, ripe melon.

Hey, now...

...bring me a salt shaker. I take it with salt.

I'm a nosy old coot.

When strangers shows up, I do too.

You ask old Possum Hood there.

Old Possum Hood knows me, don't you, Uncle?

Everybody round here knows you, Mr Butch.

A lady woke me up this morning, told me some folks were leading a horse down Main Street.

Said there was a little boy, a pretty girl, a nigger and a Mississippi swamp rat.

I figured that was worth getting up to see.

What brings you? We got us a horse race fixed up.

Folks don't come here for horse racing much now.

They all go to luka or Raleigh, the Ozarks.

Well, we come here. Uh-huh.

Well, now, here's my melon.

Did you thump it? Yes, sir, it's ripe.

Green ones gives me gas.

Care for some, little lady? No, I don't.

"No, you don't, thank you just the same." Is that what you meant?

I just meant what I said. Come on over here, honey.

Have we met somewhere before?

Now I study you some...

...wasn't it at Mr Binford's cat-house down in Memphis?

Ain't you the one with a little strawberry mole below your belly button?

You're beginning to get my goat.

Stop! Uncle Possum's gotta live here.

That's right, Sugar Boy, he does.

All I have to do is go back in town, go in the barber shop, say I saw old man Possum here with a white lady.

In ten minutes, half the town'd be here, crawlin' among the bushes, sniffin', like huntin' dogs after a stump.

Be seeing you, little lady.

Good morning.

He drove away, but I could still smell him, his sweat souring the summer day.

I was tired and my hand hurt, and I felt ashamed, and afraid for Uncle Possum.

There are conditions in the world which should not be there, but are, but I hated having to learn about them.

I was just eleven, remember.

Healin' up real good.

I'm gonna fix you up so you can ride a good race.

Can you fix a horse? Depends. What does it need?

A miracle.

Against the law around here. That's what I figured.

Your wife's got a fine boy.

She's not my wife. I ain't married.

Who does this pretty lady belong to? Myself.

You know, young lady, your colour ain't none too good.

I bet you're anaemic. I may have to listen to your chest.

Am I all right? You're just lovely.

There's nothing wrong with her chest. Let's go.

Just a minute, Boon. We have to pay him.

How much do we owe you? Nothing in cash.

But if you had an extra handkerchief or something personal...

You know, I've heard of diddling in my time, but this beats everything.

Will this do? Thank you, missy.

Come on.


That's all that old age leaves you.

How come every man you...

...every man you meet is after your drawers before he tips his hat to you?

I can't help it if men like what they see.

Did you have to give him your garter? I felt sorry for him.

You always give things out of pity? Lots of times.

Next you'll say you gave yourself to me out of pity.

I done that too.

Look, it's Corrie! Hey, Corrie!

Howdy, Corrie.

Let's get away from it all for a while. Go bet on Boon's horse and get rich...

Come on, Lucius, we're going upstairs.

Corrie, what is it?

Corrie's not here, she's down the end of the hall.

Boon, stop that! What are you doing? What does it look like?

You're getting undressed! What's come over you?

Same thing comes over me three times a week, every week.

Put your clothes back on. Come on, Hannah.

Quick, you ain't getting better-Iooking. I wouldn't dream of it.

It'll be over before you even know it. Never. Corrie's been like a sister to me.

She nursed me through pneumonia and spoon-fed me for two weeks.

You're tromping on the urge.

I'll not lose the dearest friend of my life on account of you.

Men like you come and go, but you don't find a Corrie under every tree. Get out!

Give me back my dollar.

Horse, you're the one we want.

What's holding you back?

You've got that long neck for balance.

You got them laid-back shoulders for speed.

And you got them big hocks for drivin'.

What you waitin' for?

What you be lookin' at when you look far off like that?

When you gonna do it, horse? So we can all get out of here...

...go back home again.

Stop yawning and hang on tight.

Y'all ready? Don't know what I'm supposed to see.

Just you watch.

Are you ready? I am, but I don't think he is.

I ain't even had my breakfast yet. Man does not live by bread alone.

Make sure he sees me, that's the main thing.

And cut him at the end, and make him go past.

Make him go past.

I can't hold him. Then let go. Fly!

I don't believe it.

How'd you do it?

I told you I would.

All we need now is a million dollars to bet with.

Bring her in.

What d'you make of that? Did he run? He was terrific!

You bet. Can you believe it?

You did it, baby. We got company.

Uh-oh, it's that Butch again.

Here, come here. Take this. Hide it, don't lose it. It won't bother you.

What's in it? Just do as I say and act natural.

All right, come over here, all of you.

You two are under arrest.

What's this about?

Jail, son, that's what we call it round here.

I don't know what you call it. We call it jail too, only we mention why.

A lawyer, huh?

We got a law about bringing pretty girls across state lines for lewd purposes.

We came to see a horse race. We have close relations with the police.

Sure, lay 'em and pay 'em, but not in this county.

Hush up, now, Butch, we can settle this back in town.

You folks should come along.

The boy is a bit young for jail. He can stay with Uncle Possum, right?

I don't like no white boy staying with a family of niggers.

Mister... there's somewhere that you stop.

What'd you say?

I said there's somewhere that the law stops and just people begin.

Poleymus, try out our new cuffs on the gentleman.

Sure thing, Sheriff. You simmer down there, boy.


Don't you ever talk back to me. You hear?

Get away from me, you little...


Get 'im in the eyes! Go for his eyes!

He wants the one with baby-blue eyes.

That's you.

Come on.

As soon as she's tucked in, you'll all be turned loose.

Corrie, don't do it.

Do you say your prayers in bed or kneeling down?

Kneeling down. Say them.


Now, hop in.

What's that?

That's a whippoorwill somewhere beyond the creek.

What's that?

That's an owl, and a big one by his voice.

You can get closer if you wants to.

Lucius, wake up.

Put some fire under you. Come on!

I thought you were in jail. I'm out. We've a race to run.

Where's Boon and Corrie? Out too. Hurry.

We gotta win that first heat, get Boss's car and get back to Jefferson that we never should've left.

Hurry up, get your clothes.

How did you get out? Corrie fixed it for us.

What do you mean, fixed it? What'd she do?

Tell him.

You know how Butch has been studding to get at that gal?

Guess she figured, when you've been sawing logs so long, what's one more?

I don't believe it. She quit.

We'd better say much obliged she started again.

What did Boon say? Nothing, he just smacked her.

Boon hit her?

Don't fret, hittin' a woman don't hurt her.

All it does is black her eye, that ain't nothin' to a woman.

What better sign can she want that a man has her on his mind?

Hey, Luce, where you going?

You gone crazy? Come on back, kid.

I guess I'm not too gorgeous now.

Pretty bad shiner.

Does it hurt? A little bit.

Ice is good for a black eye. I can get you some ice.

I hope nothing bad ever happens to you again.

Hello, Luce. You're a racehorse jockey now. How's your hand?

Want any more? No.

It's all right, Lucius, I guess I had it coming.

Let go of me, I'm going home.

You gonna pick up and leave? I'm all done lying. I'm all done stealing.

I wanna go home.

I just... don't want you to lose your good opinion of me.

You know, Lucius... I hold you in awful high regard.

Boon and Lucius...

I hope y'all got everything straight.

They're gettin' ready out there. It's off. He's goin' home.


How you gonna tell Boss you quit?

You can tell him you lost his automobile, that's easy.

Tell him you slept in a whore-house, that's easy.

You can tell him you lied to your Aunt Callie, Uncle Ike and Cousin Zack, all that's easy.

But how you gonna tell him that you quit?

Shut up.

You've been taught better than that.

Here's your prize, boys. Run a good race and carry her off.

Lose and see her never no more.

All you gotta do is beat that there.

Bring on Lightning. I'll go home after.

You got that thing I give ya? Yes.

Hand it over.

First thing is, don't fall off. Don't worry about that other horse.

Just tend to your own, you understand? Yes.

OK, now listen, when you turn into that home stretch towards that wire, have Lightning where he can see me.

He's got to know I'm there, understand? That's our only chance. That's all.

Except... ain't no place in the whole world finer than home and our house.

So win, so me and you and Boon can go back.

All right. OK, Boon...

OK, horse. Just take it easy, everything's gonna be all right.

Yeah, good horse.

You're counting on me and I'm close to wetting my pants.

Just keep your mind on the race, you'll be all right.

Is that little boy gonna ride that big horse?

He's not gonna win this race.

Hey, sugar!

Win! Win, Lucius.

Come on. Come on, Lucius.

Come on!

Quiet. Will you please hold down the racket?

Let's get these horses off to a clean start.

Scared, kid?

Bring those horses down to the line.

Come on, Lucius!


You can be scared if you want, you can't help that.

But don't be afraid, son. Keep together. Come on.

Stay together, that's it.

Come on. Easy now, stay together.

Stay together, easy now.

Don't let that black go.

Come on, easy now!

Hey, kid, you stick on that horse.

Pull the black up, get him up there.

OK. Come on, Bobo, don't fall back. Pull that sorrel up.

Remember, two times around wins.

Together. That's it.

Good, that's a boy.

Good. Stay together...

And... go!

Right to me. Faster, faster!


Come on, Lucius.

Come on. Come on, now.

Come on, Lucius! Come on, come on!


Watch what you're doing, Luce. Watch yourself.

Come on, get that rail, boy.

Let's go.

Faster, faster!

Watch out, kid, get out of the way.

Come on, Bobo!

Get back on the track.

Come on, Lucius.

Come on!

What kind of race is that? He went off the track.

Hold down the racket!

We won, didn't we? You gotta cross the finish line, they just went around it.

Now, everybody, just simmer down.

It's clear it wasn't a race. Why not?

Take a look at the rules. If a horse doesn't commit a foul and it crosses the finish line first, it wins.

Hold on, there!

According to them rules, my horse won.

He never fouled nobody and he crossed the finish line first.

No, sir.

The finish line just runs from this rail to that rail, it don't keep going down into Mississippi.

That's right, 'cause if it did, there's horses been crossing it since sun-up we ain't even heard about!

Right! Our horse was first under the wire, and where I come from, first wins.

Settle down!

Ed, you're the judge. You say how it is.

Please, please...

Question is, what's fair?

I propose that we start fresh. All bets stand, nobody lost.

Win this next heat and win all. Now get ready.

You can do it. Good luck.

You up to it? I don't think he's got any more.

He'll run. His only aim is to get where I am, and get what I got.

What have you got? Somethin'.

If it's dope, you'll get us back in jail. No, it ain't dope.

What's in the sack, Ned?

Just a sardine. A what?

Smelly little fish, that's all it is.

Don't lie. Horses don't eat sardines. This one does.

He'd eat himself to death on 'em.

He'd break his legs, run his heart out for 'em.

I guess that ain't so smart, but then again, if he was smart, he'd be up in the saddle riding.

All right, bring your horse to the line.

Now, you go get him.


Carried on the back of Lightning, racing on a jet-black shape, it took me completely:

Blood, skin, bowels, bones and memory.

I was no longer held fast on earth, but free, fluid, part of the air and the sun, running my first race, a man-sized race; people, grown people, more people than I could remember at one time before, watching me.

And so I had my moment of glory, that brief, fleeting glory, which, of itself, cannot last, but while it does, is the best game of all.

Put me down. Please put me down.

What did you do to your hand? Nothing, it's all right.

Never mind, we can talk about it later. I can see you're busy now.

And so we all went home, Lightning in a boxcar and the rest of us in the Winton Flyer.

We turned up the street toward home and I thought, Heres something funny, it hasnt even changed.

I couldnt understand why everything was the same, when I wasnt the same any more.

If all the things Id seen and done had changed nothing, if nothing was smaller or larger or older or wiser, then the last four days had been wasted.

Either theyd been wrong and false to begin with, or I was wrong and false and not worthy of them.

I couldnt figure out which.

I suppose this is the main thing you will always remember about me.

Over here.

Maury. Come here.

This isn't the right way. Let me handle it.

If all you can do is whip him, you're not good enough for him.

If he gets the notion that strap cancels out all the deceit and disobedience, it's too easy for both of you.

Same thing you done to me 25 years ago.

Maybe I got more sense now.

Go up and persuade Alison to stop snivelling.

You've had a lively four days.

What was it like?

What did you do?

You wanna hear everything? Whatever you care to tell me.

We went to Mr Binford's place. I am acquainted with Binford's place.

They have some very nice ladies there. Spent the night?

Corrie put me to bed. Who would Corrie be?

She's a friend of Boon's. Got to be my friend too.

And then?

The next bed I slept in was Uncle Possum's.

He's an old man like you, only coloured.

Made me say my prayers. Commendable.

Guess I'll have to say a lot of them from now on.

Why's that?

I've been telling lies. Yes, I am aware of that.

Whoppers. I know.

Come here.

I can't. Why not?

Because you're a liar? Yes, sir.

'Cause you're afraid I won't ever trust you again?

That I don't consider you reliable? That I've lost my respect for you?

Is that it?

Yes, sir.

Heavy burden to carry, isn't it?

Yes, sir.

You may have to live with that feeling.

For the rest of my life? No, for a while.

I can't, Boss. Yes, you can. You will.

A gentleman can live through anything.

A gentleman accepts the responsibilities of his actions, bears the burden of their consequences, even when he himself did not instigate them but only acquiesced to them.

Didn't say no though he knew he should have.

Now come here.

My face was against his stiff collar and his shirt and I could smell him:

The starch, the shaving lotion and the chewing tobacco, and finally, the faint smell of whisky from the toddy which he took in bed every morning before he got up.

There, there, now.

That must have emptied the cistern.

Now go wash your face.

A gentleman cries too, but he always washes his face.

I'll get you out of the doghouse.

I'll say I cooked up the whole thing.

You don't have to do that. I want to.

I want to set things right with them, and with you too.

I wonder where they all are now. I wonder what they're doing.

One of them's getting herself a white lace dress, size eight, to get married in.

Are you talking about Corrie? Are you gonna marry Corrie?

If you can go against a knife defending her, why can't I marry her?

I'm as good as you, ain't I? Even if I ain't 11 years old.

You'll feel better about it when you come to my house about a year from now and see that baby in her arms.

Know what we're gonna call him?

No. Lucius Priest McCaslin Hogganbeck.

Only name he could have.