Three Violent People (1956) Script

[Dramatic instrumental music]


It happens a dozen times a day, Captain... these fights between our returning soldiers and those carpetbaggers.

And every time, it's a Confederate who winds up in jail.

My advice is not to get into it.

I have no intention of getting into it, Mr. Carleton.

[Carpetbaggers clamouring]

SOLDIER: Come on, break it up.


You men get on down to the Registry Office. Go on.

LIEUTENANT: Move. MAN 1: There'll be another day.

MAN 2: Go back where you came from.

YATES: You better stay off the street.

You gentlemen will please disperse.

You ought to put them Rebels in jail. Whistling Dixie. Come on.

They ought to obey the laws of the Provisional Government.

[Carpetbaggers whistling a tune]

Here you are. $850 cash left from your bank draft.

Thank you. I think you'll find that correct.

And now, Captain...

I'd be much obliged if you'd let me stand you a drink.

Sounds like a fine idea.

YATES: Fill them up again, bartender.

Here come a few high and mighty you-all people. Let's have fun.

BARTENDER: Good day, Mr. Carleton, Capt. Saunders.

Whiskey, please.

Gentlemen, as I was saying, these here Southerners... they're a strange breed of cat.

Yes, sir, a mighty strange breed of cat.

We whipped them good and proper... and made them holler "uncle" loud and clear.

And now they still want to act like they was as good as us.

YATES: Hey, you.

YATES: Did you hear what I said?

Yes, indeed, sir. You speak very clearly. Your voice carries quite a ways.

Stagecoach coming. Bunch of new pretties coming in for the dance hall.

Come on, let's get the first look.

Reb, new gals coming in. Don't you even want to take a look?

No, thank you kindly.

See what I told you? Just a mighty strange breed of cat.

[Men shouting excitedly]

Thank you, Capt. Saunders.

You sure have mellowed down a lot.

A man said that to you in the old days... we'd have to put this place back together.

You were smart not to take offence.

I took offence, Sam.

Just like you said, I've mellowed down.

Thanks for the whiskey, Mr. Carleton. Good day, gentlemen.

[Men continue shouting]

YATES: Come on!

YATES: Where I'm from, no gentleman lets a gal get her store shoes dusty.

[Men laughing]

YATES: Jump, my pretty.

[Men cheering]

[Men whooping]

You're on your own.

You're next, baby.

[People murmuring]

YATES: [Laughing] I thought you was one of them there.

YATES: Well, you got to get down anyway. Come on.

You can't talk like that to a Southern lady.

YATES: Now listen, fella--

COLT: Allow me, ma'am.

You'd better sit this dance out, miss.

LT. MARR: Stand aside.

Stand back, coming through. What's the trouble here?

MAN 1: This Reb yelled that somebody insulted a lady.

MAN 2: Then he started hitting on us. MAN 3: Especially me.

MAN 4: Nobody insulted no lady. LT. MARR: Quiet.

YATES: Arrest this man, sonny. I'll go along and proffer charges.

Take a good look at this uniform, mister... and don't ever again call me "sonny."

Does a Union officer stand there and permit them to say I am no lady?

Your pardon, ma'am. Silence!

Have these men insulted you, ma'am?

And beat my husband when he defended me.

Now listen--

Sergeant, if that man persists, arrest him.

The rest of you will disperse. Go on, move along.

Thank you.

Perhaps we'd better carry your husband to the military medical post.

I think not. If you could bring him to our room.

Room 110.

Of course, ma'am. Sergeant, take his feet.

You two, take his shoulders. Careful.

Gently, please.

Thank you.

Excuse me, gentlemen.

Is there anything else we can do, ma'am?

No, thank you. You may go, men.

Lieutenant, I'll take those things.

LORNA: Thank you.

Capt. Colt Saunders, 14th Cavalry.

You must be very proud of Capt. Saunders, ma'am.

At the Point, our instructor told us... the 14th Confederate Cavalry's charge at Round Mountain... will go down in history with Gen. Blücher's cavalry action... the evening at Waterloo.

Capt. Saunders never spoke very much of the war.

You must get him to, ma'am. His 14th Cavalry was an illustrious unit.

Thank you again, Lieutenant. Your servant, ma'am.

Good day, Lieutenant.

LT. MARR: Mrs. Saunders. LORNA: Yes?

Here, let me help you with those boots. I just wanted to say, ma'am... that you mustn't judge the people of the North... by those scum, those carpetbaggers.

We're not like that at all.

Those cheap politicians that scurried down here... to take advantage of the chaos....

Ma'am, what I mean is, we soldiers--

I'm sure no Southerner would ever misjudge you, Lieutenant... or your kind.

Your servant, ma'am.

Good day.

LORNA: Lieutenant. LT. MARR: Ma'am?

I don't believe you'll be needing those.


Good day, ma'am. Good day.

Yes, ma'am?

I'd like to see Miss LaSalle. Miss Ruby LaSalle?


I'll get her if you'll wait a minute, ma'am. Will you sit down, please?

Thank you.

MAN: I woke up this morning and my money belt was gone.

So you made moo-moo talk with one of the entertainers... and now your head hurts and your money's gone. What is it?

There's a lady to see you in the office. Who is it?

I don't know. When I said "lady," I meant it.

Keep an eye on the drunk, Tod. Right.

MAN: Ma'am, you said.... RUBY: Yes, I did, didn't I? Matty.

RUBY: You wanted to see me? LORNA: Miss LaSalle...

I have a matter to discuss which may be embarrassing to both of us.

[Door shuts]

LORNA: I hesitate to offend but....

You old hag.

[Laughing excitedly]

You've got your hair too blonde.

It's better when it's more on the reddish side.

RUBY: Lorna, you got my letter.

RUBY: I was afraid you wouldn't with the way mails are these days.

Honey, it's like I told you: This town is knee-deep in money.

RUBY: The carpetbaggers are stealing a ranch a day.

RUBY: I'll shut up. You sit down and tell me everything that's happened to you.

Nothing different ever happens. Just the same thing over and over.

The little girl from the well-off family who teaches school... just to wile away her time.

I may decide to take up teaching again.

Teaching is genteel.

Carefully selected children, of course.

I bet the gentlemen knock each other down... to show how polite they can be to a real dyed-in-the-wool lady.

You did have a different raising from most of us. School and all.

I often wonder how come you wound up arm-in-arm with the likes of me.

Hunger's a very powerful motive... and you're the nicest person I ever found to be arm-in-arm with.

LORNA: Speaking of hunger...

I don't expect it in the immediate future.

Here, put these in your safe, will you? They weigh a ton.

Gold is heavy, but I'm still very fond of it.

[Ruby whistles]

This poor but proud act of yours must work.

I'll want a room.

I have to lay low for a few days.

The angry gentleman who formerly owned the $900?


Big, wild character named Colt Saunders. Do you know him?

Colt Saunders?


Where did you leave him?

Sleeping peacefully, I hope.

You listen to me. He'll take this town apart, not because of the money.

RUBY: He owns land from here to Texas.

RUBY: But because the Saunders are like that.

He once chased a rustler all the way into Mexico for 20 scrawny cows... when he owned thousands. They're always willing to get killed or kill... if they think they're right. They always think they're right.

RUBY: Don't you see, Lorna? When he wakes and finds....

Now you listen to me.

RUBY: I've got a little room way up in the attic.

We're gonna plant you there until we decide what to do.

I'll make out a receipt.

Make it out to Capt. Colt Saunders.

You're crazy. I'm telling you, you'd better crawl up in my attic and hide.

No, I want the nicest room in the place.

Just make out the receipt to Capt. Colt Saunders.

RUBY: They've got a saying in Texas:

"The Rio Grande changes its course...

"but the Saunders don't."

Hello. You were unconscious.

That fight was a little fast for introductions.

I'm Colt Saunders. Miss Lorna Hunter.

Well, now that you're all right....

My head's spinning. Oh, dear.

[Lorna screams]

I always wanted to see what women carried in one of these knapsacks.

You savage!

LORNA: You brute!

Quiet down now.

I don't mind giving you a share, but not all.

Let me go, you.... Savage? Brute?

LORNA: Sodbuster!

All right, angel, where's the money?

Are you going to give it to me, or do I have to shake it out of you?

[Lorna shrieking]

You see, $900 is just much too much... for services so far rendered.

[Lorna panting]

Well, sir, you up and healthy already.

MAID: Yes, sir, I see you healthy. COLT: You, girl.

COLT: Bring me the coldest bottle of wine in the saloon. The best.

Yes, sir.

MAID: Shall I fetch you a comb, ma'am? LORNA: No.

COLT: Let's be civilised about this. LORNA: Civilised?

Return that wallet. Then we'll have a cool glass of wine... and talk things over.

I finally begin to see... the reason for your insane conduct, Captain.

You believe I have stolen some money from you.

COLT: Let's not say "stolen." A wallet with $900 gold has been misplaced.

COLT: When you remember where it is-- LORNA: Captain, look on the table.

I thought your money might be safer in the vault downstairs.

Miss Hunter, I don't know how to begin--

[Light piano music playing]

MAID: Yes, sir, Captain. Thank you.

Who's in my room?

Nobody, ma'am, honest. The Captain ain't in there.

[Laughing heartily]

[Soft instrumental music]

[Lorna exclaims in shock]

I suppose I can assume the same servants... who were bribed to provide this... were also bribed to ignore this.

Miss Hunter, Gen. Robert E. Lee signed a formal statement... to the effect that I was an officer and a gentleman.

Now, please have dinner with me tonight.

Give me a chance to prove he wasn't guilty of false statements... when he signed my commission.

It seems to me you go rather far afield to involve the General.

I anticipated you would appear again... after your outrageous behaviour this afternoon.

I have a few things to explain to you.

COLT: Over a glass of wine. LORNA: No, I--


Aren't you forgetting your bribe? Special signal.

Dinner in 10 minutes.

You may not wish to have dinner with me, Captain, after I've had my say.

I'll chance that.

Thank you.

First, I'd better prepare you.

You see, I'm an emancipated woman.

Indeed. Yes.

I was fortunate in attending schools... with progressive ideas.

I may shock you. I'll be on my guard.

I'm husband hunting and have eliminated you as a candidate.

As a candidate for what?

LORNA: For marriage.

I have considered everything and have crossed you off my list.

Crossed? I didn't even know I was on any list.

Tell me, how could you eliminate me as a candidate... when you don't know anything about me?

On the contrary. You brawl in the streets.

You're used to awakening under such circumstances... that your money might have been taken by a female person.

Frankly, you do not qualify, Captain.

So please don't try to continue our acquaintance beyond this evening.

LORNA: It's plain we are not suited to each other.

Good night, Captain.

And thank you for the wine. It was delicious.

Now see here, honey....

LORNA: I might've guessed you called women "honey" on short acquaintance.

[Soft instrumental music continues]

COLT: Miss Hunter-- LORNA: Good night, Captain.

You've got marriage all figured out... like ledgers in a set of business books, haven't you?

You left out the main ingredient: love.

Oh, no. I intend to show my husband great affection.

Affection and respect? Of course.

I predict this man will spend a great deal of time away from home.

LORNA: No, he won't.

I've by no means left love out of my calculations.

Love comes in time... with understanding and respect.

I don't see how anyone can look so right and think so wrong.

LORNA: I don't understand. COLT: About me.

I don't waste time brawling in the street. I've got no time to waste.

I just spent the last four years losing a war.

I've got a ranch to build up and a family to raise.

I'm looking for a woman who....

A wife.

COLT: You're looking for a husband. Wait now.

Miss Hunter, do you want to get married?

Of all the cold-blooded, unromantic--

Not the least bit like double entry bookkeeping, is it?


MAID: I'll be back. LORNA: No, serve it.

Come back later. Yes, sir.

LORNA: No, stay. Captain.

MAID: But the dinner, sir. What'll I do? COLT: Eat it.

LORNA: Captain.

I don't know. I just don't know.

COLT: Come on, don't fall. LORNA: Wait a minute.

COLT: Ruby, where can I find a minister?

Four doors down.

Come on, we gotta get married. No.

You don't want get married? You told-- Oh, yes.

I want to get married. You don't want to marry me, is that it?

LORNA: No. I mean, yes, I want to marry you.

LORNA: But not like this, Colt.

I want a white gown, and a veil, and flowers... and all the things to remember.

I know. I do know, but...

I've been away from Bar S for five years. I want to go home.

I'm hungry to see my land again.

So if you could pass up the trimmings, I'd be grateful.

LORNA: All right.

You wait right here.

COLT: Miss Hunter....

COLT: Ruby, I don't know your last name.


LORNA: How do you do?

Miss Hunter.

Wait for me? Here?

[Laughing gleefully]

I see what you mean about these Saunders being violent.

He just....

LORNA: Ruby, did you hear? He's going to marry me. Me!

Did you hear?

Expect me to spout congratulations? Why not?

LORNA: I expect you to be happy for me.

Happy that you're riding for a fall?

It's a lot of nonsense. It's a dream, honey. It never happens.

Because men who aren't afraid of guns, Indians, or rattlesnakes... are afraid of a little laughter behind their back.

And there'll always be some man with a weak mind and long memory... who'll remember a girl who worked at Selma's in Baton Rouge... or Tess' in Frisco.

And when your man hears that laughter, you'll wish you were long dead.

I'm telling you, Lorna, hide.

Sneak out of town, anything, because that's just not gonna work.

I've got to believe it'll work.

I've got to.

[Lively piano music playing in background]

I'll be here, honey, when you come crawling back with your heart broken... because your noble Captain found out he made a bad bargain.

It won't be a bad bargain for him.

I've seen the other side of the street. I'm going to be very hard to discourage.

Every day I'm going see to it that he's made a very good bargain.

COLT: Lorna!

The minister's getting into his clothes.

RUBY: Let me be the first to congratulate you.

If I knew how to pray, I would.

[Sweeping instrumental music]

LORNA: The mountains are very beautiful.

There are steep valleys in there that take your breath away.

Places where it seems like if you knew the right words, you could talk to God.

COLT: That's a fool thing to say. LORNA: No.

LORNA: You love the hills. COLT: Well, I know them.

I should. I once walked clear through those. It took me 24 days.

Were you lost? No.

My granddaddy, he raised me, you know.

My mother and father were killed in the Apache uprising of '39.

When I was 15, the old man and I rode clean up to Mesa Grande.

That's nine days on good horses.

He gave me a rifle, 30 cartridges, a sack of salt, and rode off... leading my horse behind him.

I learned those hills by walking home through them.

You mean he just turned you loose in the wilderness?

LORNA: It's a wonder you didn't starve. COLT: I had a rifle, remember?

LORNA: What's that?

Just Mr. Bass trying to get loose.

Colt, let him go. Let him....


All right.

He's already down in his hole telling Mama how he outsmarted us.

Let him. I'm glad.

Why did you want that? I don't know.

[Both laughing softly]

COLT: Bar S. LORNA: It looks like an emerald.

That's what my grandma named it the first time she saw it, right from this hill.

La esmeralda. That means "emerald" in Spanish.

Of course, no one ever called it that.

It got to be known as Bar Stubborn, after my granddaddy.


Colt, hombre. Gracias a Dios.

COLT: Inocencio.

Thank God you are back.

Five years you have been away.

It's a long time. Hey, vaquero.

Mrs. Colt Saunders.

[Inocencio exclaiming]

Lorna, my oldest friend, the gran vaquero of the Bar S...

Inocencio Antonio Ortega. How do you do?

INOCENCIO: Welcome, señora, and much happiness.

Thank you.

There, now. You stand right there or you'll fall over something.

COLT: I think I can still find my way around in here.

COLT: There.

The place looks worse than I figured it would.

That Inocencio never was much of a housekeeper.

Don't apologise. It'll be fine.

That's Grandmother and Granddad. A family thing.

One time or another, all the Saunders get their pictures painted.

This is the chair.

Once we get straightened up around here and start sending for furniture... you can throw this out and get some kind of a chair--

I should say not!

When our portraits are painted, I'm going to be sitting in this same chair.

Señora... we have a saying in Spanish... that a glad heart is all that one should ask of God... for that is real happiness.

My heart is glad.

You, too, have a glad heart.

It shines in your eyes. Does it show so much?

The glow of true beauty in a woman's face... is kindled only by first love.

First love.

It's true. I've never been in love before.

Have you been here a long time, Inocencio?

A long time?


I was born here. My father used to ride with him every day.

Will you help me not to make too many mistakes?

Sure, señora.

I will help you in every way I can.

LORNA: Thank you.

COLT: Amigo... couldn't anybody find a broom all the time I was gone?

That bedroom looks like a family of pack rats wintered in there.

The times were bad, hombre.

There was much to do, few hands to do it with.

Maybe tomorrow you can send a rider to Tres Rios... and get a woman to do the housework. Maybe you can get Maria back.

Sure, I get her. - Bueno.

Good night, señora. Good night, Inocencio.

[Serene instrumental music]

Years of dust, I'm afraid.

That's a strange expression you're wearing.

The mess, I suppose. No.

It's a feeling.

As if for the first time in my life, I felt I belonged.

[Soft instrumental music]

North, south, east, and west.

You look around just like your grandfather used to do every morning.

Why not? A rancher lives by the weather.

Every morning, the sky tells his fortune.

Light clouds over the Sierra Diablo. Rains should come early this year.

[Inocencio grunts in assent]

We don't have to worry about the grass.

But the animals, no good.

I don't like to hand you this.

Since I wrote you, the politicos have come twice searching.

They didn't find the herd of horses hidden in the hills.


I kept them scattered as much as possible.

But they found most of them and took them.

COLT: As bad as that?

But more important, Colt... last night I took the responsibility of not telling you something.

A man should not be told bad news on his first night... with his bride under his family rooftree...

but your brother is here.

Cinch came home?

Is the Bar S Ranch home to Cinch?

I don't know.

But whether it is his home or not, he rode in here two months ago.

[Tense instrumental music]

[Tense instrumental music intensifies]

You haven't changed in five years.

Neither have you.

On the contrary, I have learned humility.

Learned it in New Orleans.

In New Orleans, my money ran out.

COLT: You started out with enough to last you quite a while.

I hurried.

You must be going to make a point about that.

There's nothing in writing that says I own any part of Bar S.

Grandpa saw to it that the will said...

I could only have what you saw fit for me to have.

Grandpa had such a high opinion of your moral stature.

You figure I'm entitled to a share?

Of course I do.

It's a pleasure to do business with a man of character.

Better than having a contract.

I'd like my share now, if you could manage it.

Gold preferably.

You've been around a couple of months. You know the shape the ranch is in.

You could sell. There are buyers.

Each one with a carpetbag full of Yankee money.

COLT: And you know I won't do that.

I had that figured out.

Especially after Inocencio told me about a woman you brought with you.

I brought a wife.

My use of words wasn't meant to offend.

When do I meet her?

COLT: I have to go over a few tally books with Inocencio. I'll introduce you then.



What did you tell your bride about me?

I forgot to mention you.

That was real thoughtful forgetting.

[Door banging]

CINCH: Uncomfortable position, isn't it?

Even sitting down, Grandma looked like an arrow about to fly from the bow.

She always sat just like that... before she came with the speed of lightning to box my ears.

I'm Beauregard Saunders. Everybody calls me Cinch. Colt's brother.

Colt's brother?

I didn't know he had any family left.

He told me he'd forgotten to mention me.

I'm the skeleton in the Saunders' closet, you see.

CINCH: Nobody ever expected me to return.

When I left, I announced in ringing tones... that wild horses couldn't drag me back.

LORNA: Here, let me help you. CINCH: Do me a favour.

Don't ever help me do anything you wouldn't help a two-armed man do.

I'm sorry.

Do me another favour? I'll try.

CINCH: Don't ask me what battle of the war I lost my arm in.

The question makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.

All right, I won't.

Sorry. I almost offered you a drink.

Cinch, pour me a drink.

Right down without a gasp.

Why'd you do that? I don't know.

Yes, I do know.

You sounded as if you were talking down to me.

CINCH: And you can't stand that? LORNA: Failing I have.

I did you a favour, remember?

[Cinch grunts in assent]

LORNA: Will you do one for me? CINCH: Sure.

Tell me how you got to be the skeleton in the closet.

I believe the world is round.

[Lorna chuckling]

LORNA: No! CINCH: You mustn't laugh.

Such new-fangled ideas haven't been accepted at Bar S yet.

You know, you have very good manners. I have the sure test.

What's that?

Bad-mannered people just blurt it out, "How'd you lose your arm?"

Well-mannered people burn up with curiosity, but don't ask.

I am curious. How did you lose your arm?

Ask Colt.

I stopped by the bunkhouse for you, but you'd gone.

I see you've already introduced yourselves.

Yes, we did.

CINCH: And drank a toast to the wedding.

CINCH: You married above you, Colt. COLT: I surely did.

Darling, I've got to pay a call on a ranch nearby.

I hate to ask you to travel the minute you get here... but it'll give you a chance to see something of Bar S.

All right? Of course, dear.

COLT: Just pack enough for overnight. CINCH: Going to Uncle Hoyt's?

More relatives I haven't heard about?

No, Cinch is all there is.

Vance Hoyt. We've called him uncle since we were children.

Since Granddad died, Uncle Hoyt's been unofficial advisor to half of Texas.

CINCH: He'll advise you to fight.

We'll leave just as soon as you're ready.

Look, play down that talk about fighting, will you?

I don't want to scare Lorna.

It's my guess we'll both be white around the gills... before Lorna's frightened.

You can't be fool enough to think a few armed ranchers... can hold off the United States Army.

Catch up a couple of horses for the buckboard, will you, Cinch?

We can take this one. I just started to unpack it.

What did you think of him?


I like him.

Of course, I was surprised... and a little frightened. Frightened?

Colt, what's wrong? Why didn't you tell me about him?

I should have told you.

I didn't expect he'd....

I should have told you.

We were just kids when it happened.

Just kids horsing around on the windmill platform... out on the south range.

Cinch got his arm caught in the gears of the windmill.

I had to amputate his arm... and carry him back.

People made quite a fuss about it, as if I'd been a hero.

How terrible, for both of you.

You know, you're the first person who ever realised I got hurt that day.

You've got an instinct that makes you understand.

That's very important.

[Pleasant instrumental music]

PEDRO: Señor Colt. JUAN: Let me hold it, señor.

RAFAEL: Our hearts are happy, señor. COLT: Gracias.

I took the long way around. I wanted you to see the horse herd.

[Horse neighing]

Colt, look at that little one.

COLT: It's a nice-looking filly, sired by that flax-manned stallion over there.

She's got his markings.

Could I go closer? No.

The mare would start for the hills. They're skittish around anyone on foot.

Besides, I don't think she's ever seen an outfit like that before.


[Speaking Spanish]

[Horse neighing loudly]

[Colt and Lorna laughing]

LORNA: Stubborn fellow. INOCENCIO: Beautiful filly, huh?

She's darling. All legs.

I'll take this off and let her go to her mama.

[Speaking Spanish]

Señora, may I present my five sons?

Luis, Asuncion, Rafael, Pedro, and Juan.

LORNA: How do you do?

They have prepared a little speech of welcome for you.

Address the señora the way you were instructed.

Señora, welcome to the Bar S.

[Rafael stammering]

RAFAEL: Papa, I forget. INOCENCIO: You forget?

[Speaking Spanish]

You donkey's head. You shame your father. You behave like a peasant.

Where are your manners, muchacho? And after all I taught you.

Now you pay attention. Watch.

I do it again for you.

Most gracious lady, now that you have come here... the sun will break every morning across the verdant slopes of the cordilleras.

The grass will grow greener.

INOCENCIO: The golden grain will tassel earlier.

And the rising moon will paint the mountains with more silver... because of your presence here. And so, señora... welcome to the Bar S Ranch... and to a place in our hearts.

Thank you. Thank you, all of you.

All right, muchachos, now go to work.


[Pleasant instrumental music]

It's not much of a place to look at, but Uncle Hoyt's quite a man.

[Suspenseful instrumental music]

Where's Vance? Who?

Vance Hoyt.

He ain't here. Who are you?

COLT: I'm Colt Saunders. CABLE: Yes, of the Bar S.

Back from the war at last?

CABLE: Are you Mrs. Saunders? LORNA: Yes.

CABLE: I'm Deputy Commissioner Cable.

When a gentleman's introduced to my wife... even when the gentleman does his own introducing, he stands up.

Beg your pardon, Mrs. Saunders.

Out here in the hills, we sometimes forget our manners.

One thing about Texas, there'll always be someone around to remind you.


Commissioner Harrison.

Commissioner, Capt. and Mrs. Saunders of the Bar S.

Mrs. Saunders. Won't you sit down, please?

No, thank you.

HARRISON: Glad you're back. COLT: Commissioner.

There are some things we've been hard put to delay until your return.

COLT: Where's Vance Hoyt? HARRISON: I don't know.

To be blunt about it, Mr. Hoyt took the most irrational attitude... about a tax law that was levied on him by the Provisional Government.

HARRISON: Could I have one of those pamphlets, please?

HARRISON: We had to order a writ served.

HARRISON: Hoyt disappeared, a most annoying situation.

It's not like Uncle Hoyt to disappear because of a legal paper.

He was your uncle? I didn't know-- No, everybody called him that.

Let's hope everything works out fine.

HARRISON: Captain, as to your personal matters as regard to our Commission...

I've been dealing with your foreman and your brother, who is... let's say, a most outspoken young man.

Now that you're back, I think everything will work out better.

Work out better about what?

HARRISON: Captain...

I suggest you read this carefully.

It's the Tax Act of the Provisional Government of Texas... of which I am District Commissioner.

As a soldier, you know that wars are expensive and must be paid for.

But please don't take the attitude of so many Texans... that we're land-grabbers. We're not.

We simply have to carry out the orders given us.

Now, if you and Mrs. Saunders will share our hospitality...

I think it's about time for supper.

No, thanks, Commissioner.

COLT: Good day. HARRISON: Good day.

COLT: That's Uncle Hoyt's buffalo gun.

He claimed this gun settled Texas and many a Comanche.

Always said he wanted me to have it after he was gone.

Might as well let him have the old thing if he wants it.

It ain't much good to anybody anymore.

[Gun cocking]


HARRISON: Captain, Mrs. Saunders.


Will you wait in the buckboard, Lorna?


Hard to believe, way out here in the wilderness.

You have the advantage of me, sir.

MASSEY: I'm sorry, but I could have sworn....

I'm really exceeding my authority in showing you this... but take it as a gesture of friendship.

It's the assessment upon which your next tax payment is based.

I realise the amount is absurd and unrealistic... but I'm merely the servant of the Provisional Government.


As I said, I am aware that the amount is unrealistic.

You've already taken the Bar S cattle.

As I also said, I am merely the servant of the Provisional Government.

I guess I can expect to see you, Commissioner.

You can.

[Door shuts]

[Sombre instrumental music]

You sure took your time getting back from Austin.

MASSEY: Hello, Cable. CABLE: You got a girl there, I reckon?

Well, I came without killing no horses, if that's what you mean.

Say, who was that in the buckboard? Capt. and Mrs. Saunders.

Flower of the old South, chivalry.

Saunders of Bar S?

Oh, man.

Man, I almost made the mistake of the century.

I mistook Mrs. Saunders for a gal...

I used skip around with back in St. Louis.

One of Ruby LaSalle's gals, Lorna Hunter.

Man, what a mistake. Lorna? That's no mistake, man.

I just heard him call her Lorna.

[Chuckling slyly]

I wonder if he knows.

I bet he doesn't. Of course not. Old high-and-mighty Southern gent.

[Both sniggering]

I'd love to tell him.

I'd like to see the look on his face when he finds out.

[Door opening]

Tired horses, ready rifles... men talking together where women cannot hear.

This is a hard country for the women.

MARIA: Here's a fresh cup of coffee. LORNA: No more, thank you.

If you don't need me--

LORNA: Nothing else. Thanks, Maria. You may go.

- Buenas noches, señora. Good night, Maria.

[Thunder clapping]

Thank you.

What came out of the meeting?

I wonder if it's heredity or environment.

Do only stubborn men come to Texas?

Or does the Texas air make all men stubborn?

They voted to fight.

[Door opening]

Take that off, too.

I'll get another cup. Fine.

You'd better have a touch of this.


You know, the fact that men die heroes... doesn't change the fact that they're dead before their time.

Every man in the room knew the odds.

And they gave the only answer a Texan knows.

But not one of them stopped to think that they had a family at home.

Perhaps they had a right to a part of the decision.

And you're as bad. How about Lorna?

Don't you think there's a woman's viewpoint to be considered?

I guess I am the only one here qualified to give the woman's viewpoint.

I'm tired of being talked over and around.

It's only right, Lorna.

Wait, let me.

And don't hesitate to contradict me if I make it one shade blacker than it is.

These carpetbag crooks... intend to grab every big ranch in this part of Texas, and they will... if the Provisional Government stays in power long enough.

One alternative is to fight them... and hope that an honest government will come to power in Austin... in time to save the ranchers.

Colt will admit that this is one chance in a hundred. Right, Colt?

Worse than that. One in two hundred, say.

The other alternative is to cut and run.

There's a few cattle left, but more important... there's 300 head of horses hidden in the hills.

Horses will bring in their weight in gold at the Union Army Depot in Sedalia.

We could drive them there and face the world with full pockets and no worries.

And let them take Bar S?

What's Bar S? Some hills and creeks and valleys.

Could be duplicated in California...

Mexico, or someplace else. That's Bar S.

Colt, was it fairly stated?

Yeah, fair enough.

I think you should decide, Lorna.

First, I want to try and explain something...

I don't really understand myself.

In the war, my regiment fought its first action... on the banks of the Potomac River.

Four years later, we were still fighting on a riverbank...

800 miles south.

I just can't retreat anymore.

For once in your life use some common sense.

There's nothing in the Bar S background that means anything to Lorna.

She's entitled to go away and start a new life... to start her own traditions along with her own family.

That's very understanding of you, Cinch.

But something tells me if I decided we should go away... the man who went with me would be a different man than the man I married.

And that frightens me more than carpetbaggers' scheming.

You're too good for any Saunders.

Good night.

[Lorna laughing gaily]

You sit that horse more like a Texas girl every day.

Thank you, Inocencio. Tomorrow I'll really race you, honey.

[Pedro yelling in Spanish]

Dust of many riders along the Mesa Verde.

Let's put the horses away.

CABLE: I got a loose girth.

[Cable chuckling]

CABLE: What are you sweating for? It ain't a hot day.

I ain't as sure as you that this will work.

CABLE: Of course it will work.

You insult Saunders' wife, he draws on you, and I kill him.

MASSEY: I don't know. CABLE: You don't have to know nothing.

Saunders is trying to get these ranchers to make a fight.

We can't have that.

Don't worry, I'll be in action before his gun ever clears leather.

We ain't gonna let you get killed, are we, Mr. Commissioner?

Look at him. Sweating, and on a day like this.

HARRISON: Capt. Saunders. COLT: Social visit, Commissioner?

In a way, Captain. You might call it that.

COLT: You always take a cavalry patrol when you go calling?

Sergeant, you can have your men water their horses down at the windmill.

COLT: Throw them hay from that stack. SERGEANT: Thank you, sir.

Sergeant, instruct your men not to cross that creek to the east.

It's a rule I've made.

Captain, our purpose in coming here was to cross your place... to see if there were any taxable assets that we hadn't examined... like a large herd of horses.

COLT: If you leave once you've watered your stock... you can get back across before dark, Commissioner.

Captain, if you don't want us on the Bar S, we won't force the issue.

We'll ask for a court order.

This Commission always operates with complete legality.

That's why I brought the Army, to see to the legality.

Mrs. Saunders. May I pay my respects, ma'am?

Good day, Mr. Harrison.

HARRISON: Just a minute, Captain.

HARRISON: Mr. Massey. MASSEY: Yes, sir?

HARRISON: Come here a minute, please.

I don't believe you've met my administrative assistant.

Mr. Massey, Capt. Saunders. Sir.

I'm mighty happy to meet you, Captain. And Mrs. Saunders.

HARRISON: May I present Mr. Massey? LORNA: How do you do?

Mrs. Saunders and me already met, back in St. Louis.

MASSEY: You remember, Lorna. LORNA: No, I don't remember.

But, Lorna, you can't have forgotten.

LORNA: Sorry. I haven't seen you before. MASSEY: But....

Mrs. Saunders has twice said she does not know you, sir.

Do not press the point.

Lorna, you gotta remember me.

There was us fellows, you know, on Gen. Butler's staff.

And you and Floss and the rest...

from Ruby LaSalle's place.

LORNA: Watch the red-headed man. SERGEANT: Put that gun away.

I aim to see that everything is lawful-like.

In time, Sergeant.

Amigo, speak to them.

I had the one with the red hair ready for the buzzards.

Inocencio, Cinch.

During my discussion with Mr. Massey, no one is to interfere.

And regardless of the outcome, none of you will shoot Mr. Massey.

COLT: Now then, Mr. Massey... you will go on with what you were saying.


Colt, stop it.

I was mistaken, Mr. Massey.

I do remember you.

You were one of the rear echelon heroes who hid on Gen. Butler's staff... while better men were getting killed in battle.

Good day, gentlemen.

[Sombre instrumental music]

Don't ever let me find you south of Mesa Verde.

Pick up your hat.

[Sombre instrumental music intensifies]

[Sobbing softly]

[Door opening]

[Tense instrumental music]

That poor, trembling, squeaky-voiced little coward.

Did you see his eyes? His eyes were almost crossed with fear.

I just couldn't stand there and see him killed.

I guess I'll have to kill him sometime.

But why? What's the sense of killing him?

What's the point?

In a way, I'm glad. I'm glad it's out in the open.

I'll be rounding up strays for a few weeks.

There's a stage leaving Mesa around the first. Cinch will put you on it.

I'd go down on my knees if I thought it would help.

It won't.

Because everything depends... on how you look at me now.

[Intense instrumental music]

Look at me!

For services rendered.

The man that threw the first stone is galloping off to the hills... wearing garments of righteous wrath and breathing out sanctimonious fire.

CINCH: I'm being biblical. LORNA: Don't.

Not a lot of money. Not in the grand manner at all.

In two days' time, I could rustle up a dozen horse herders.

In nine days, we could have the horse herd at Sedalia.

CINCH: That would be a lot of money, Lorna.

If you wanna be unnecessarily reasonable about the matter... we do have a claim of sorts on the assets of Bar S.

[Singing] I'd give the world for One tender moment Un momento Back in your arms JUAN: You sing very beautiful, Asuncion.

Luis, it is your turn to night herd the strays.

Captain, it would delight me if I might ride the stud... with the flax mane and tail.

Sure. I would like to ride him to Tres Rios.


The mouth of Lupe would fall open at the sight.

RAFAEL: You go to Tres Rios?

Donkey head, Lupe's papa would kill you.

Lupe's mama would kill you.

PEDRO: Casanova, Lupe's brothers would kill you.

RAFAEL: Lupe's lover would kill you. ASUNCION: Her husband would kill you.

ASUNCION: Do you look the ridiculous one, fleeing from Tres Rios.

LUIS: Perhaps I appeared ridiculous. I was in love.

Or I thought I was in love.

PEDRO: The big lover. RAFAEL: He was in love.


Leave the little one alone.

If you think you're in love, it's the same thing as to be in love.

LUIS: No, Papa? INOCENCIO: No, it's not the same.

If you were really in love... this would be to the other as gold to lead... as fine wine to muddy water... as mountain air to the stench of stables.

When true love comes, a man has more strength.

His eyes are clearer and he can see farther away.

And instead of time passing fast... it stands still.

That, muchachos, is a moment of ecstasy.

That is true love.

[Soft instrumental music]

All right, muchachos, we are through hunting horses.

Now we saddle up and ride home.

[Soft instrumental music swells]

[Maria sobbing softly]


Both gone.

INOCENCIO: Maria told me.

INOCENCIO: Two days ago. With the horses and many riders.

That south wind always brings the smell of the sage.

COLT: It smells good.

She carries your child with her.


[Maria sobbing]

We'll need fresh horses.

[Sweeping instrumental music]

[Distant howling]

Is it not better to wait for the first light of the sun and kill them all from here?

Why take a chance?

After all, they're nothing but horse thieves.

Only two horse thieves.

The rest are just out-of-work waddies Cinch picked up.

We wouldn't wanna kill them. No, not unless we have to.

We won't. It'll work. We'll wait till the crack of dawn... when they're still getting the sleep out of their eyes and saddling up.

Then we move in and pick up the night herders.

Right now, we'd better get some sleep ourselves.

Asuncion, you take the first watch? Wake me in an hour.

[Solemn instrumental music]

Could I have another cup of coffee? Yes, ma'am.

The lady would like another cup of coffee.

[Guns firing]

[Dramatic instrumental music]

[Gunfire continues]


[Wheels squeaking]


[Solemn instrumental music]

COLT: Take the señora back to the Bar S.

I'm not going back. If you have to tie her to the seat.

LORNA: Why don't you try it, then?

Give me those. No, please, señora.

I must do as I am ordered.

All right.

Nothing's changed, has it?

Five years, and I'm still saying, "You just can't hit your brother.

"He's your brother, and he's only got one arm.

"You just can't hit your brother. He's only got one arm."

Spoken like a Saunders.

[Dramatic instrumental music]

If you ever set foot on Bar S again, I'll kill you.

I'll take that.

LORNA: You think you can keep me here against my will?

You're dead right I do.

LORNA: If I had a gun.... COLT: You haven't.

But don't worry.

When I order music, I always pay the piper... whether I like the tune or not.

That band of horses is worth about $30,000. They're yours.

As soon as the baby can be turned over to a nurse, you can leave... with the horses.

COLT: You can't make that much money in that much time... in any occupation you're trained for. Is it a deal?

It's a deal.

LORNA: It's the best deal I ever heard of.

LORNA: Because, you see, a baby can't help who its father was.

But someday I might look at the poor little thing... and remember its name was Saunders.

It would be dreadful to hate a baby.

LORNA: So we have a bargain.

LORNA: I sell the baby for the money, right?

COLT: Sure.

[Inocencio whistling]

The baby is here already.

[Baby crying]

I see I am too late.

I came as soon as your rider got to my place.

Got any goose grease? Goose grease? The oil of the olive.

Do you want this angel to smell like a goose?

It doesn't matter. Whichever.

MARIA: There.

He's a cute little fellow. Looks just like you.

Un momentito, hombre, just a moment.

A son has been born.

We must make a toast with a little poetry before we drink.

Salute to-- I've been up all night.

I need the drink, not the poetry.

No toast.

The insult is unnecessary, amigo.

A man must do what he must do.


And he will act properly, if he's a man.

But not all males are men.

You were greased in that room. We drank to a male child.

I regret that it took me 30 years to learn I made a mistake.

[Door slamming]

She's fine, Colt.

To the happy parents.

[Baby gurgling]

How do you feel now, Mrs. Saunders?

That's a mighty fine boy.

You'd better take him, Maria.

[Sombre instrumental music]

Thirty years... is a lifetime, amigo.

My lifetime.

This is something you're not part of.

I'll say it again: A man must do what he must do.

[Sombre instrumental music continues]

I have been thinking about Mexico lately.

After I take the señora to the stagecoach...

I will go on from there.

I will take my sons with me... and go to Mexico.

You can find yourself another gran vaquero.

[Cows mooing]

Hey, Commissioner.

That one-armed Saunders, the one the brother run out of the country... just rode up.

HARRISON: Odd, him coming here.

CABLE: We heard your brother run you off.

Well, Saunders, I must say I'm surprised at seeing you here.

You remember Cable, don't you? Yes, I do.

I remember my first sight of Mr. Cable at Bar S... with his gun slung real low.

Funny thing, all the show-offs who wanna think they're gun-slingers... carry their guns like that.

Hello, Cable.

CINCH: You don't mind going outside, do you? I wanna talk to your boss.

You can wait on the porch.

Excuse us, Cable.

And now, Mr. Saunders, your business.

Daybreak, and the coyotes are getting ready to scurry back to their holes.

Your provisional government's collapsing, huh? And you're running.

Without stealing the biggest plum on the tree:

Bar S. Your business, Mr. Saunders?

In Texas, it's customary to offer a man a drink... when he's ridden 200 miles to see you.

And you'd better learn Texas manners, Harrison.

If we're going to be partners, that is.

Possession is nine points of the law, they say.

If you were on Bar S, it would be hard, maybe even impossible, to put you off.

Especially if you and I were partners.

And if Colt Saunders were dead.

May I offer you a drink?

When you hear three shots, you'll know it's worked.

Supposing he kills you on sight?

[Cinch snickers]

Then I'll be dead, and you can scuttle away to some saloon... where you can tell the dance hall girls what a desperate man you are... with your gun slung way down, almost to your knees.

Three quick shots. Good luck.

I sure ain't looking forward to being partners with that Reb.


Both brothers go.

[Chuckling softly]

But afterward, somebody might-- We'll have to take care of that, too.

Any witnesses could cause trouble in the future.

There's the woman.

Of course. A clean sweep.


RAFAEL: Señor Colt.

My brothers and I wish to say farewell.

Of course, Papa could say it much better.

RAFAEL: Our hearts are very sad, Señor Colt... but we must go.

The señora will be out in a moment, Señor Colt.

[Knocking on door]

MARIA: Señora? LORNA: One moment, Maria.

[Baby gurgling softly]

[Baby crying]

I wanted to give you this. It's the bill of sale for the horses.

I wanted to talk to you, too. There's been enough said. Too much.

Well, I've been thinking about you and the baby... and how you feel about the baby.

You'll have trouble selling the horses without that.

I'm not selling the horses.

You'll need them to keep the ranch alive.

If you're taking my son-- I'm not taking the baby.

I want him to have Bar S.

It's more than I could ever give him, so....

Colt, listen to me.

When you're raising the boy, will you try to remember something?

Try to remember that people aren't perfect. They just aren't.

They make mistakes. And when they do, they suffer.

They pay. Inside themselves, they pay.

So when he makes his mistakes, and he will... try to find it in you to forgive him.

[Baby crying]

Lorna, wait. - Señor, a rider comes.

COLT: Get out. JUAN: But the rider is Señor Cinch.

CINCH: You said you'd kill me if I set foot on Bar S.

CINCH: I'm on Bar S and you're wearing a gun.

You got a reason for coming here?

Might be I came back to get something belonged to me.

CINCH: Hello, Lorna. LORNA: Hello, Cinch.

No need to say you're beautiful. You'll be that when you're 80.

It's that kind of beauty.

CINCH: Hands high! Everybody.

Remember, amigos, you're a large family.

There'll be many to mourn the foolish one... or two, or three. Whoever makes the first move.

Now careful, real careful.

Undo those gun belts.

Do it, amigo.

CINCH: Not you, Colt.

You keep your gun.

Vaquero, back against the wall. Ándale!

CINCH: Now, everybody be real still.

You've been a hero since the day you carried me in from the south range.

And ever since, I stood in your shadow. The cripple and his big brother.

I always thought you were a loco. Walk soft, gran vaquero.

CINCH: Now, hero...

[Tense instrumental music]

you have until the bottle is empty to draw.

And then I'll kill you in cold blood... whether you have a gun in your hand or not.

Go on, draw, hombre.

[Cinch laughing mockingly]

CINCH: That wouldn't fit the hero: a woman in the line of fire.


I can't. Can't.

CINCH: Must be great to have a woman care that much whether you live or die.

[Tense instrumental music continues]

CINCH: There's the end of the whiskey.

Draw or I'll kill you!

[Tense instrumental music heightens]

I can't.

All right.

[Intense instrumental music]

[Solemn instrumental music]

CINCH: You win, you old goat.

Don't nobody move a muscle.

All right, all of you, reach.

[Tense instrumental music]

A little room.

You, too.

Nice and high.

That's it.

Give it a kick.

The Commissioner says to go ahead.

CABLE: He don't want them outside?

MASSEY: No. In here.

[Baby crying]

[Tense instrumental music intensifies]

Quick, you cover this side. Right.

Come on!

[Guns firing]

MARIA: Señora.

You weren't even frightened.

[Baby gurgling]

He's fine.

INOCENCIO: He's gone.

At times, a Saunders has not lived well... but they always die well.

Poor Cinch.

[Soft instrumental music]

[Solemn instrumental music swells]