The Straight Story (1999) Script

Hey, Rose.

Hey, Dorothy.

I'm gonna go over there.

We're waitin'.


Alvin Straight!

Rose left a couple of hours ago.

Did you hear me hollerin' for Rose?

I wasn't lookin' for Rose.

-I haven't seen Alvin today. -Did I ask?

Straight, you're late!




-Come in, Bud. -What the hell, Alvin?

Where the hell are you?

I can't see a thing.

Over here, Bud.

Watch your step.

What the hell's going on here?

What on god's earth are you doin' layin' on the floor?

You nuts?

Supposed to be down at Davmar's one hour ago.

What's going on?

Oh, my God!


Hey, Dorothy.

Oh my god. Oh! Oh!

What's the number for 911?

-Put the phone down, Dorothy. -What the hell are you doin'?

What? Oh!

I'm gonna have to call the bar and tell 'em we're not comin'.

Bud Spenser, are you crazy? We have a stricken man here.

Are you stricken, Alvin?

Dorothy, put the phone down!

Dad, what's all the yellin'?

Wh-what... uh, have you done to my dad?

Oh, for cry eye!


Are you okay, Dad?

I just need a little help gettin' up, honey.

I'm goin' to Davmar's. I'll be right back.

Okay, Bud.

I'm not goin'.



I'm not goin'.

You promised me, Dad.

Okay, Mr. Straight, you need to take off al your clothes, except your underwear and put this robe on.

Just bring me the doctor.

You like birds.

I build... uh, birdhouses... uh, for bluebirds.

Oh, that's nice.

Yeah, it's Pete... uh, Pete sells my... uh, birdhouses... at the Ace Hardware.


-I'll look for them next time I'm in. -Yeah?

No operation.

Well, this morning you fall and can't get off the floor, that's your hips, Alvin.

You're going to have to use a walker now to get around.

No walker.

Fine, a second cane, then.

Now, you say you're having trouble seeing.

That could be a diabetes-related problem.

I would like to run to run a few tests.

No tests and I'm not paying, so no X-rays.

Well, I see and hear that you smoke.

My guess is you're in the early stages of emphysema.

And Alvin, you have circulation problems and I'm worried about your diet.

If you don't make some changes quickly, there will be some serious consequences.

It... has a... a red roof.

Another pretty one, Rose.

I want to... uh, paint the... uh, next one blue.

That's a good idea.

What... uh, did the doctor say?

He said I was gonna live to be 100.

I think I'll go and mow the lawn.

Uh, I can... uh, cut it for you, Dad.

I got it, sweetheart.

God darn!

No, we'll... we won't be mowin' today.

Storm's comin' in.


I love a lightnin' storm.

Uh, me too, Dad.


This is... is Rose.




Oh, no...



I'll tell him.

Yeah... okay... bye.

Uh, that was... Bobby.

Uncle Lyle... had a... a stroke.


No, Bobby, he... he didn't say much.

Uh, they've both... uh, been so... uh, stubborn.

No, no, it was longer, I remember.

It was... uh, July, uh, 7th, 19... 88, uh, Bobby.

I always... remember the dates.


I don't know... uh, what he'll do.

Rose, darlin'?


I'm gonna go back on the road.

I've gotta go see Lyle.

But, Dad...

How are you?

Well, I... haven't quite got that figured yet.

One, your eyes are bad.

That's why you don't... uh, drive your car.

Uh, two, Uncle Lyle... uh, lives in... uh, Wisconsin, which is... uh, 317 miles away.

You would have to... uh, stay all night... in Des Moines.

Then there's no... uh, bus... to Zion.

Three, your... uh, hips are bad.

You can hardly... uh, stand... for two minutes... and when you... uh, do stand up... this... is the sound you make... when you... stand.

Uh, four, uh, you are... uh, 73 years old...

You were... uh, born when, uh, Calvin... uh, Coolidge was president... of America.

Uh, you are... uh, 73 years old, Dad.

And... I cannot drive you there.

Rose, darlin', I'm not dead yet.

Uh, what are we... uh, building, Dad?

Havin' a party?

Oh, jeez... I love... uh, parties.

Oh, me too.

And so... where's it at?

Where's what at?

Your... uh, party.

I'm not havin' a party.

I thought you were havin' a party.

I am?

Well, yeah. Look at all that Braunschweiger.

Oh, yeah, it's a lot of Braunschweiger.

It's... uh, for my dad, uh, for his... his trip.

Uh, my dad... he's going to... uh, Wisconsin.

I... asked him how he's... uh, going to get there...

Uh... but he... uh, won't say nothing.

Wisconsin? That is a real party state.


I... uh, hate... uh, Braun... uh... schweiger.


Alvin, you've got three five-gallon cans there.

15 gallons of gas.

What do you need so much gas for, Alvin?

Sig, you're one nosey son of a gun.

You got that right.

-I wanna buy that. -What?


The grabber.

Oh, jeez, Alvin.

-That's my grabber, Alvin. -Well?

Oh, jeez, Alvin. I don't...

I... I do have two of them...

I think five dollars would be about right.

That's a darn good grabber, Alvin.

-I... I... -Well?

They're hard to come by, Alvin.

It's gonna take me two months to get another one on order.

Jeez, Alvin, ten dollars.

Ring her up.

What do you need that grabber for, Alvin?


Oh, jeez, Dad.

Oh, jeez, Dad.

Listen to that old grain elevator.

It's... uh, harvest time.

Uh, that... uh, trailer is too h-heavy for... for that.

It's a lawn mower. You're going to... drive a... a lawn mower to another state?

Rosie, I've... I've gotta go see Lyle.

And I... I've gotta make this trip on my own.

I know you understand.

I guess so.

Look up at the sky, Rosie.

The sky is sure full of stars tonight.

Crimenetto, it's Alvin and he's driving his lawn mower.

Alvin! What are you settin' out to do here?

For cry eye, Alvin!

Alvin, you're gonna get blown right off the road, that's what I'm afraid!

He'll never make it past The Grotto.

I'm havin' a little engine trouble.

What the heck is that you're driving there?

It's a Rehds.

Could you give me a lift into town?

Yeah, I can get you as far as the Grotto.

This is the Sun Ray Tour. Climb on in.

-I'll get you help there. -I'd appreciate that.

My Edward loved his riding mower.

Hey, come here, hurry. Hurry up.

Poor Alvin.

So the man... in a... pick-up, he brought my dad back.

Ohh... mm, I must've been at the beauty shop.

What kinda pick-up?

A Ford.

But what's your dad doin' with that gun?

I don't know.

I thought that you have that old Rehds that we had the last time, didn't I?

That you did.

You tradin' in that Rehds today?

No, I don't believe I will.

Pete was tellin' me told me you tried using that rider in a real interestin' way.

-You still plannin' to do that? -Still planning to, Tom.

I know better than to try and talk Alvin Straight out of somethin' he set his mind to, but I got to tell you Alvin, that you've always struck me as a smart man.

Well, that's appreciated.

Until now.

What year?

'66. has a Kohler engine.

We've used it for parts but I always replace order and replace them when they arrive.

The guts are good.

It's got the old transmission. Nothing fancy.

-Is it a good machine? -It's a good machine.

Well, Tom, I got $325.

That's a fact.

That sounds good to me, Alvin.

Let's go settle up with Alice.

One more thing, sometime you can find out a little about these thirty year old machines, if you know who run 'em.

-Do you know who owned it? -You bet I do... me.

All right.

I couldn't get a ride.

Are you hungry?

Whaddaya got?




Wanna try one?

Here's a good stick for you.

What a hunk of junk.

Eat your dinner, Missy.

So... how long you been out on the road?

Well, I been travellin' most of my life.

Where you from?


Got a wife back there?


My wife, Francis delivered 14 babies.

Seven of 'em made it.

My daughter, Rose lives with me.

Francis died in '81.

Where's your family?

Are you runnin' away?

How far along are ya?

Five months.

Well, I'm headin' to see my brother Lyle.


I said I'm goin' to see my brother Lyle in Mount Zion.

-Where's that? -Wisconsin.

-Oh... -Just across the state line.

Cheddar Heads.

Aren't those the dumbest things you ever seen somebody stick on their head?

I hear that's a real party place... Wisconsin.

Guess I'll never get to find out.

There's a blanket in the trailer.

Why don't you go get it?

My family hates me.

They'll really hate me when they find out.

You didn't tell 'em?


No one knows.

Not even my boyfriend.

Well, they may be mad, but I don't think they're mad enough to wanna lose you or your little problem.

I don't know about that.

Well, of course, neither do I, but a warm bed and a roof sounds a might better than eatin' a hot dog on a stick with an old geezer that's travellin' on a lawn mower.

My daughter Rose is...

Some people call her a little bit slow but she's not.

She's got a mind like a bear trap for facts.

She keeps everything organised around the house.

She was a real good mom.

She had four kids.

One night, somebody else was watchin' the kids and there was a fire.

Her second boy got burned real bad.

Rose had nothin' to do with it but, ah... on account of the way Rose is, the State figured she wasn't competent to take care of them kids and they took 'em all away from her.

There isn't a day goes by that she don't pine for them kids.

When my kids were real little, I used to play a game with 'em.

I'd give each one of 'em a stick and... one for each one of 'em... then I'd say 'you break that.'

'Course they could, real easy.

Then I'd say 'tie them sticks in a bundle and try to break that'.

'Course they couldn't.

Then I'd say 'that bundle...' that's family.'

Why don't you sleep in the trailer?

This chair's just fine for me tonight.


I'll be fine sleepin' out here.

Lookin' at the stars helps me think.


Thank you.


What the?

What the hell?

Hey, how're you doin'?

Doin' good.

Hey, Irene.

You don't think about gettin' old when you're young.

You shouldn't.

Must be something good about gettin' old.

Well, I can't imagine anything good about being blind and lame at the same time, but... still at my age, I've seen about all that life has to dish out.

I know to separate the wheat from the chaff and let the small stuff fall away.

Let's go, man.

So, ah... what's the worst part about being old, Alvin?

The worst part of being old is rememberin' when you was young.

Can I help you, lady?

No, you can't help me.

No one can help me.

I've tried driving with my lights on.

I tried sounding my horn!

I scream out of the window, I... I roll the window down and bang on the side of the door and play Public Enemy real loud!

I have prayed to St Francis of Assisi, St Christopher too!

What the heck! I've tried everything a person could do and still every week I plough into at least one deer!

I have hit 13 deer in seven weeks driving down this road, Mister!

And I have to drive down this road every day, 40 miles to work and back.

I have to drive to work and I have to drive home!

Where do they come from?

Oh... he's dead.

And I love deer.

Well, they sure picked the right place to practise a burn on.

That Rumelthanger place was an eyesore.

What do you suppose?

Is that a lawn mower?

Mister, you okay?

Jeez, mister, you're lucky she didn't roll on you.

I guess the belt broke.

I wouldn't be surprised.

You don't have brakes on that trailer, do you?

Mister, I worked for John Deere for 30 years, so I can tell you you shouldn't be hauling a rig like that behind a riding mower.

At least not down a hill like that.

I'm Danny Riordan.

Alvin Straight.

Well, Alvin, let's get you and this rig off the road and see what the damage is.

Let's get this off the road.

Sure you're okay?


You okay?

Everything all right? I'm going back to the exercise.

Thanks. Appreciate it.

Well... let's take a look at this mower.

-This is what '65, '66? -'66.

Well... tell you right now, Alvin, you won't be going anywhere tonight.

Aside from your, ah, drive belt being busted, you got transmission problems.

-Where you headed? -Mount Zion.

Mount Zion, Wisconsin? Past Prairie Du Chien?

That's 60 more miles of hills.

That's across the Mississippi.

What's in Mount Zion, Alvin?

My brother lives there.

Why didn't you just take your car?

I don't have a driving license.

Couldn't.. couldn't he come visit you?

He's had a bad stroke.

Where are you coming from?

Back a piece.

West Union?

-Hawkeye? -Nope.

Well, not New Hampton? You haven't come that far.

You've come a long ways, haven't you?

Yeah, I have.

Laurens, Iowa.


That's west of The Grotto.

How long have you been on the road?

What's the date?

October eighth.

Five weeks.

I left Laurens on the fifth of September.

You been bunkin' in that?

That's my rollin' home.

Where you been settin' up camp?

In the fields.

I pull off.

I don't travel at night.

Haven't you been scared, being alone?

There are a lot weird people everywhere now.

Well, ma'am, I fought in the trenches in World War II.

Why should I be scared of an Iowa cornfield?

Well, um... till we get this mower fixed... why don't you... ah, bivouac in our yard here?

There's a bathroom in the garage you can use.

Well, that's awful generous of you and I'm sure my machine here is agreeable to that too.

Sure wanna thank you folks for helping me today.

Well... there's a lot of rain forecast.

Sure don't want to get stuck in that trailer.

I... I do a little woodwork.

I thought you might want to sit under a shade...

My daughter does woodwork. She makes birdhouses.

Oh, that's nice.

-You finished there? -I believe I am.


-I'm in need of a phone. -Why, sure. Come on in.

I wanna call my daughter and give her an account of my recent travels.

Sure. Sure. Come on in.

If it's all the same with you, do you happen to have one of them phones without a cord?

-Well, door's wide open, come on in. -I can call from out here.

Here you go.

You know, you're more than welcome to sit down at the kitchen table.

Darla and I can leave the room, if you're lookin' for a little privacy.

Out here's fine.

Is the area code still 712 here?

No, Alvin. That hill rolled you into 319.

So, you need to dial one and your area code to get her.

712, thank you.

'Hello? '


Dad? Dad...


Uh, I'm... so glad to hear you.

It's gonna cost him a bundle to fix that mower.

I don't think he's got that kinda money.

I wouldn't drive that thing to Excelsior.

It's a lawn mower, for God's sake.

Uh, your social security cheque?

Ah... it's here, Dad.

Rose, can you send me my cheque?

Uh, yeah.

He's damn lucky he made it to the bottom of that hill.

He could've been killed.

-Easily. He could've been killed. -Yeah. Mm-hm.

He's none too strong.

Did you see how he has to walk with the canes?

Yeah. Mm-hm.

Okay, Dad.

I... I...

Okay, okay, Dad, okay. I... I have a pencil, Dad.

The hills just get worse the closer you get to the Mississippi.

Go ahead and drive him, honey.

Mount Zion can't be half a day. It's fine.

You're a good man, Danny Riordan.

And that's why I married you, despite what my mother said.

Now, shoo!


I miss you, Dad.

I love you, Rosie.

'I love you too, Dad.'

Uh, bye, Dad.

Bye... Dad.


What are you cookin' there, Alvin?

Oh, I'm makin' my Mexican coffee.

Ah. Mind if I join you?

Get you a chair... that iron one there.

You'll be a guest in your own back yard.

I talked to the Olsen twins, and, ah... they estimate it'll cost around

250 dollars to get your mower fixed.

Well, that's twice what it oughta be, I guess it's cos they're twins, huh?

You know... uh..

I'd be happy to drive you the rest of the way to Mount Zion.

Be a nice Sunday drive for me and Darla.

We enjoy crossin' the river, especially now with the trees in colour.

Well, I appreciate that, but...

I wanna finish this one my own way.

Try this.

Thank you.

Well, you know, Alvin, there's a lotta hills bigger than Clairmont's between here and Zion.

Even if you get that mower runnin' again, I mean there is no guarantee it won't break down.

Well, you're a kind man talkin' to a stubborn man.

I still wanna finish this the way I started.

No, no...

Hi, Verlyn.

-How the heck you doin'? -Fine.


He's there.

Well... they gave you a plate of her brownies.


How's that for timing?

Janet makes the best brownies... in Lafayette county.

She won prizes every year at the county fair.

-Mmm... help yourself. -Thank you.

Mmm... I've been doin' errands and I'm heading for a beer.

I thought you'd like to join me.

Well, I don't drink any more, but...

I'm always up for a change of scenery.

Well, come on.

Well, I'm ridin' a little higher and going a little faster.

Except when you came down that hill.

I picked up a mournful taste for liquor in France.

When I came back, I couldn't drink enough of it.

I wasn't worth a stick of stove wood...

I was mean.

A preacher helped me put some distance between me and the bottle.

And he helped me see... the reason I was drinkin', I was seein' all them things here, that I'd seen over there.

# Though things may look very dark, your dream is not... #

Lots of men came back drinkin' hard.

Well... everyone tryin' to forget.

I can see it in a man right away.


# The rainbow, you will suddenly... #

There was one time...

when we just...

were waiting for the first warm meal in ten days.

We... thought we'd seen the worst.

We hadn't had much trouble from the air.

I was on the rise...

with the quartermaster, workin' on more coffee for me and my buddies.

A stray Fokker came over the treetops... and dropped an incendiary on the mess tent.

All my buddies...

The Kraut then banked right in front of me on that hill... and now I can... see the... Swastika.

That is one thing that I can't shake loose...

All my buddies faces are still young.

And the thing is, the more years I have, the more they've lost.

And it's not always buddies faces that I see, sometime they're German faces.

Near the end we were shootin' moon-faced boys.

I was a sniper.

Where I grew up, you learned how to shoot to hunt food.

They'd post me up front.

Darn near ahead of the lines.

And I'd sit... forever.

It's an amazing thing what you can see while you're sittin'.

I'd look for the officers, the radio guys or artillery spotter.

Sometime I'd spot a gun nest by the smoke and I'd fire into it.

Sometime it was just a movement in the woods.

We had a scout,

a little fella... name of Kotz.

He was a Polish boy from Milwaukee.

He'd always take recon and he was darn good at it.

We went by his word and he saved our skin many a time.

He was a little fella...

We'd broken out of the hedgerows...

We were makin' a run across the open and we come upon a woods.

We started drawin' fire.

I took my usual position...

and I saw somethin' movin', real slow like.

I waited ten minutes, it moved again and I shot.

The movement stopped.

The next day we found Kotz... head shot.

He'd been workin' his way back toward our lines.

Everyone in the unit thought a German sniper had taken him...

Everyone, all these years.

Everyone but me.

Ha ha!

See, Harald... brainiac...

Got the mower assembly free with this here little old wrench...

You said it wouldn't work.

I'd say it worked pretty good.

Wouldn't you?

So help me slide her out.

We can get settled up.

Uh... I got parts and labour that add up to $247.80.

Well, I'd say that's a little heavy for light work.

Don't you think?

I've got an old man's eyes, but, ah...

I'm noticin' some new tyre here.

Well, now... ah, we got those off a re-sell, but the treads are good!

Well, friend, are you chargin' me for good or for new?

Ahhhh... Thorvald?

Ahh... we can make an adjustment there.

Well, I think the adjustment should be about thirty dollars.

Is that what your pencil's sayin'?

And, ah... about the labour...

I appreciate that you boys have done some real time on this, but... of course, a man's gotta ask when he's workin' with twins... especially a bickerin' pair...- how much workin' was fightin'?

He got that right.

Shut up, Danny.

If I was to judge by this joyous affair I saw today, I would calculate maybe 20 per cent taken off the labour.

Anything else, mister?

Well, I'm not from these parts, but where I come from, I would say that that was a little rich for Iowa oil.

Take the oil, no charge.

Well, that's a splendid offer and I do appreciate it.

What's the tally?

Ah... ahhh...

Hundred and eighty even?


Thanks to you boys, I'm gonna get this rig back on the road.

I've drove it all the way across Iowa and I'm hopin' it holds on till I get to Wisconsin.

My brother lives there.

I haven't seen him in ten years.

There's no one knows your life better than a brother that's near your age.

He knows who and what you are better than anyone on Earth.

My brother and I said some... unforgivable things the last time we met,

but, I'm tryin' to put that behind me.

And this trip is a hard swallow... of my pride,

I just hope I'm not too late.

A brother's a brother.


Guess I'll be turnin' in.

I'll, ah... see you in the morning, then, before you go.

I'm gonna leave awful early.

I wanna thank you for your kindness to a stranger.

It's been a genuine pleasure havin' you here, Alvin.

Write to us, sometime.

I will.

I noticed your camp fire.

I brought you some dinner...

Mashed potatoes, meat loaf.

Well, thank you kindly. I've had my dinner, but would you join me for a while?


Thank you.

I hope you don't mind me trespassin'.

Oh, no, not at all.

Made a fine choice.

You're camped next to one of the oldest cemeteries in the Midwest.

French Catholic trappers.

-The Marquette party. -Two of his men.

I couldn't help but notice the rather unusual mode of transport.

Well, you're not the first person to notice that, Padre.

My eyes are bad. I can't drive.

I don't like someone else drivin' the bus, and I've got to get out to my brother's place.

Fair enough.

Where is he?

Well, he's so close, I can practically feel him.

Mount Zion.

What's his name?

Lyle Straight.

Is he that fella that came in with a stroke some weeks ago?

That's right. Do you know him?

I do some work at the hospital over in Boscobel.

I remember him comin' in.

Caught my attention because... he lives in my parish.

Well, he's a Baptist.

Oh, I believe he told me that. he told me a few things, matter of fact, but he didn't mention having a brother.

Well, neither one of us has had a brother for quite some time.

So, you saw him?

Is he all right?

I only saw him that once and I haven't heard anything more.

Well, Lyle and I grew up as close as brothers could be.

We were raised on a farm in Moorhead, Minnesota.

We worked hard.

My mom and dad darn near killed themselves tryin' to make that farm work.

And me and Lyle would make games out of our chores.

We'd dream up somethin' about racin' and wagerin' do anything to keep our mind off the cold.

Lord, it was cold.

He and I used to sleep out in the yard every summer night, if it wasn't pourin'.

Nine months of winter, we couldn't get enough summer.

We'd bunk down when the sun went down.

We'd talk to each other until we went to sleep.

We'd talk about the stars and whether there might be somebody else like us out in space, places we wanted to go and... it made our trials seem smaller.

Yeah, we pretty much talked each other through growin' up.

Oh, whatever

happened between you two?

Story as old as the Bible.

Cain and Abel.

Anger, vanity.

You mix that together with liquor, and... you've got two brothers who haven't spoken in ten years.

Well, whatever it was that made me and Lyle so mad...

don't matter any more.

I wanna make peace.

I wanna sit with him, look up at the stars... like we used to do... so long ago.

Well, sir...

I say 'Amen' to that.


I haven't had a drink in a lot of years.

But now I'm gonna have me a cold beer.

What flavour?

What does a Miller's Lite taste like?

There you go.

-How's it taste? -It's good.

-Keep the change. -Thank you.

It's an interesting rig you got out there.

Make it up the hill okay?

That hill and 200 more just like it.

How far did ya come?

From Iowa.

I'm headed for Lyle Straight's place.


My God, you must be thirsty.

Another beer?

This will do me fine.

I wonder could you point me to Lyle's place?

I haven't seen him in an awful long time.

Well, you just... ah, cross 61 here, on 'W', Take 'W' on down to Weed Road and then on to Remington Road.

On your right will be Lyle's place.

If he's there that is.

How you doin' pard?

Not too good.

This thing's just tired.

Is there anything I can do to help you?

Well, I don't know. It just quit on me.

Why don't you try her again?

I'm headin' to Lyle Straight's place.




Sit down, Alvin.

Did you ride that thing all the way out here to see me?

I did, Lyle.