Voila! Finally, the The Long Hot Summer
script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the Paul Newman and
Joanne Woodward movie based on the William Faulkner stories. This script is a transcript that was painstakingly
transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of The Long Hot Summer. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and I'll be eternally
tweaking it, so if you have any corrections, feel free to
drop me a line. You won't
hurt my feelings. Honest.
It was him! He did it.
Then his hog got in my corn again.
He had no fence that would hold it, so I put it in my pen.
I told him he could have his hog back when he paid me a dollar pound fee.
- What did he say to that? - "He didn't say nothin'."
But yesterday I got his answer, all right.
My barn burned!
A barn burner is the meanest, lowest creature there is.
I can't find against you, Quick. There's no proof.
But I can give you some advice.
Leave this county and don't come back to it.
You're the judge.
That'll do. Take your belongings and get out before dark.
Seems to know every time
And the touch of a breeze
Gently stirs all the trees
And a bird wants to please
Seems to know what a flirt
Seems to know your caress
Isn't mine to possess
How could someone possess
But you may long for me
Long before the fall
Long before the winds announce
That winter's come to call
I'll court you
I'll kiss you
Meanwhile my lonely arms
Will hold you
Slowly moves along
Oh, so slowly
You like a lift to town?
Never walk when I can ride.
- Just push 'em out of your way. - Thank you, ma'am.
I went shopping in those Memphis stores this morning and just went wild.
Alligator bag, figured print, summer shoes.
Which is all a laugh considering we live in Frenchman's Bend...
and nobody's gonna see 'em but redneck farmers and immediate family.
I don't care though. I got my morale to keep up.
- Are you two country girls? - Country?
- Are you two country girls? - Country?
Our little town's the most nowhere place in the state of Mississippi.
You can believe me when I tell you it laces you in tight as a corset.
And as far as social amusements are concerned, there are none.
Well, that's all right. I'm a quiet-livin' man myself.
I only know one reason for living quiet.
That's if you're too old to live any other way.
In other words, you two girls just take your fun where you can find it?
Don't jump to any conclusions, young man.
- We're giving you a ride, that's all. - Where are you headed?
I go as far as you go, ma'am.
You sound free as a bird. Doesn't he sound free as a bird, Clara?
Clara's wondering what kind of a bird, aren't you, Clara?
If you aren't a mind reader.
Clara here's a schoolteacher and mighty finicky about her reputation.
She didn't want to pick you up.
I said, "Why not? There's two of us and one of him."
She said, "'Cause he looks mean and dirty."
I'd say that lady is a real fine judge of character.
You've got no regard for the safety of your person...
the way you drive this Lincoln car.
I'm getting a fallen kidney joltin' around this countryside with you.
Looks like Varner's the man to see around here.
You can find him over at our house most any time.
You two girls belong to Varner?
We two girls most particularly belong to Varner.
How does a man make a living around here?
- Honest or dishonest? - Let me hear what's open.
Now, a fella that's hardworkin' and clean-livin'...
can plant cotton in the bottomland...
corn along the edge of the hills.
If he ain't particular, he can make whiskey in a homemade still.
And what he don't drink, he can sell.
Well, what happens if a federal man comes by?
Ooh, they've been known to come by.
Also been known to disappear.
Hey, um, not entirely.
No, not entirely.
Missing man's shoes might show up, or his hat...
maybe even his suspenders.
'Course somebody else is wearing them.
You a federal man?
Well, let's say I'm a farmer, Dad.
Uh-huh. Let's just say so.
If you was to follow that road over there, you'd come to a tenant farm.
You could work if you have a mind to.
Belongs to a fellow named Varner.
What's your name, boy?
Quick. Ben Quick.
Sure now. So that's him?
Heavenly days! There's Agnes Stewart.
She called up all nervous and fluttery this morning to say she was comin' over.
I forgot to tell you about it. Jody.!
Jody, I'm home! And I spent all your money!
Well, looks like you sure had a busy day, honey.
Just wait till you see what I have for you.
Bought you a red-and-white pure silk tie and a box of brown sugar pralines...
and some maroon felt bedroom slippers.
I bought you all kinds of other things too.
Whole bunch of new records and some sport shirts.
- All sorts of things! - Honey, it ain't my birthday.
I just wanted you to know you was in my thoughts up there in Memphis.
You just sit down and close your eyes. I'm gonna model my purchases.
You wanna know something, honey?
- I hate this house when you're not in it. - Well, I'm in it now.
And I'm gorgeous!
Wait till you see this new dress!
They show the same one in theJune "Vogue" magazine...
only without these little bows in the back.
Salesgirl said to me, "Miss Varner...
that dress was made in heaven for you."
On account of I'm so long waisted.
She said five customers had that dress on...
and I was the only one did anything for it.
You like it?
What I like is you, honey.
- "There's more." - There sure is.
And all of it mighty pretty.!
Ooh! Oh, now.
- You come to your daddy. Come on now. - No!
Come to your daddy! I got you!
- I got you! - Jody!
What in the world's going on up there?
We don't go in much for stately quiet around here.
Where did you get so much energy on a day like this?
That party has been going on since Papa left for the hospital.
I don't see how you can stand all that hootin' and hollerin' and carryin' on.
- It would turn me into a nervous wreck. - They're young and in love.
For your information, we're still on the green side of ourselves...
for all the good it does us.
Oh, Clara, that baby brother of yours is like a five-year-old kid.
You know what we were doing in there? Having a pillow fight.
I hit him so hard, I knocked the wind smack out of him.
- Hello, Agnes sweetie. - Hello, Eula.
You sure do look calm and collected on this hot day.
Well, I'm not. I'm damp and cranky.
I know what you mean. I'm going straight into a bubble bath myself.
Agnes, you bring a beau by one of these nights, and we'll cook up a party.
Oh, if I'm not mistaken, that's my master's voice.
"Bring a beau by."
My phone rang just one time last week.
Just one time.
And this man with a deep, beautiful voice says...
"Can I interest you in the "Encyclopaedia Britannica?"
Let's go upstairs, and I'll give you a permanent. That'll cheer you up.
Clara, you've given me three permanents in the last six months.
All my ends are splittin'.
Oh, Clara, it's unnervin' havin'all this time on my hands.
I wanna rush home and fix supper for some big, handsome man...
and put kids in a bathtub and broil steak and crank ice cream...
and... think about what the night's gonna bring.
Why aren't there enough men to go around?
There's no shortage. Just of the right kind.
- Ooh, I'm not fussy on that subject. - Neither am I.
Tell me just one thing. Have you ever, in your life, been proposed to?
- "I have." - And you let him go?
No, I didn't let him go. I watched him get scared off.
Hmm, he came to call on me, and then he met my father.
Then he didn't come calling on me anymore.
Speaking of your father, when's that august personage coming home?
Tomorrow, and the forecast...
is storm and thunder.
Well, you come on over to my house for supper.
Alan's been askin' about you.
He's sick in bed, bein' fed milk puddin'...
all dreamy with temperature.
Thoroughly enjoying himself.
I'd give something to know what goes on in my brother's temperature dreams.
I know what goes on in mine.
Uh, don't swivel around.
There's someone comin'. Someone young.
It's probably a sewing machine salesman.
Yes, well, even if it is, don't say no right off. Let's at least talk.
Morning, ladies. Fine, warm day, isn't it?
Yes, indeed. Pretty as a picture.
My, my. You all look like two butterflies lit out on the grass.
Hello again, Miss Clara.
If it's work you're looking for, you can see the foreman at the gin.
If it's food, they'll take care of you 'round the back door.
Well, now, you hadn't hit on it yet, lady.
What I'd like to see now is the man of the house.
What is it, Miss Clara?
Would you tell Mr. Jody there's a person waiting to see him, please?
You could have said "gentleman."
Same amount of wind.
Where did you find him?
Out on the road. I gave him a lift this mornin'.
Why did you have to go and be so unfriendly?
Agnes, the last, desperate resort is strangers.
- We haven't come to that yet. - Oh, haven't we just.
Clara, you want to hear a cold, clinical fact?
Every single girl we went to normal school with...
is married and pregnant or about to be...
while I'm residing with my mother and brother...
and you're still occupyin' the bedroom you had when you was .
I don't know about you, Clara.
I know what's making me nervous.
Well, don't throw in the towel yet, Agnes dear.
Those tranquilizers may see us through yet.
- You Varner? - Yeah, I'm one Varner.
Hey, turn that thing off, Eula!
What can I do for you?
My name's Quick. I heard you had a farm to rent.
Hey, Eula. Do you hear me? I'm gonna come up there and kick that thing in!
I'll tell you.
- How much family you got, boy? - You're looking at it.
Well, a man usually puts six, seven hands in the field.
Well, one's all you'll get from me.
Jody, you've got the store to talk business in.
For heaven's sakes! It's our passenger!
- How do you do, ma'am? - Hello yourself.
- Here now. You two know each other? - Uh-huh.
The how come is Clara and I obliged him with a ride when his car broke down.
Well, we're talkin' business. Come on now. Come on now!
How much rent you able to pay, boy?
- How much rent you aimin' to rent for? - Oh, half your crop.
You furnish out of my store.
That's food and tobacco at your prices. That makes a dollar worth about six bits.
Take it or leave it.
I'll take it.
Mister, you sure do leave your calling card.
Summertime, when the livin' is easy.
No, thank you.
When are you gonna start workin'?
Lady, I never move and work in the same day.
Mr. Quick, my daddy's coming home tomorrow.
He sets quite a store by this rug. You tracked it, you clean it.
That's a lot of fuss to be makin' about a rug, lady.
If it's the rug that's botherin' ya.
What else would it be?
You correct me if I'm wrong, but I have the feeling I rile you.
I mean, me being so mean and dirty and all.
You're being personal with me. I'll be personal with you.
I've spent my whole life around men who push and shove and shout...
and think they can make anything happen just by bein' aggressive.
I'm not anxious to have another one around the place.
Miss Clara, you slam a door in a man's face 'fore he even knocks on it.
Would you have the rug at the house by : please?
Don't swallow the seeds.
Ernest! Sam! Orville! Marty! You behavin' yourself?
- Varner's home. - He don't look very peaked.
Anybody know what they cut out of him in that hospital?
You all can bet it wasn't his pocketbook.
- Is that you, Will Varner? - "Come closer if you got any doubts."
This is more like the land of the livin'!
I'm glad you made it home, you old piece of beef!
You're gettin' a little fatter, Minnie, and a little blonder.
And how 'bout you? I understand they cut and stitched you up.
Is there anything left of you worth havin'?
Put cans of beer on ice and wait and see. I'm comin' back, Minnie.
- My white hairs kinda had you fooled, huh? - Yes, sir.
Welcome, Mr. Will.
- Yeah! - Welcome to your home.
Here I am, back in your capable hands again, Lucius.
- Back where I belong. - Hi, Daddy Varner!
- Eula gal, ain't you dressed up to beat hell! - In honor of you.
Three months I ain't smelled nothin' but the starch of nurses' uniforms.
That's what I like.
There's bones there, but the bones is covered up with plenty of real woman.
I was hopin' there'd be a little more of you.
Isn't it about time you was fixin' yourself maternity dresses, Eula gal?
You're embarrassin'me, Daddy Varner.
Well, well, well. There's a fulsome greeting. There's a hallelujah chorus.
Not dancin' in the streets...
not an only son exactly pining his heart away for his daddy...
but simple and direct.
He said hello, didn't he?
Suppose we could get through the opening ceremonies without civil war?
- I'll be coming to you later, sister. - I know you will, Papa.
Jody's been an absolute livin' doll while you've been gone.
I'd call that a fine recommendation...
'cept I already had me a look around town before I come here.
What's happened? We gone out of business, huh? We retired?
We livin' off of income?
What do I see in town? Two dead-asleep clerks watchin' the store.
And no gin goin' at all!
Things may have slacked off a little bit today, Papa...
because I was home seein' to your arrival.
But we done all right. You can look at the books if you'd like.
Well, now... I intend to.
I'm gonna crawl over them books like an old fly over flypaper.
You better bring me another, Lucius.
Yes, sir, I'm my old self again.
Them doctors down atJefferson, they gutted me...
and took away just about every organ they thought I could spare.
They didn't pare my spirit down none.
Thank you, Jody, for your kindly inquiries as to my health.
All right, sister.
What do you want to know, Papa?
You still fixin' to get yourself known...
as the best-lookin', richest old maid in the county...
or you seen any young people lately?
Any young people seen you?
Been to any parties, picnics, barbecues, church bazaars?
Have you mingled? Have you mixed?
Or have you kept yourself up in that room all this time readin' them poetry books?
I hope this doesn't come as a shock to your nervous system, Papa...
but when you're away, I do what I please.
Well, I'm back!
When are you gonna give me my due respect in front of my wife?
I've got a business too, Jody.
I've got a little respect for that.
I know you wasn't...
You and me just don't talk the same language.
That's what gives us our aches and our pains.
"Now me"..."all the time" I was in the hospital...
I didn't just lay there. I was busy.
Yes, I wheeled and dealed. That's what I done, boy. What about you?
- May wasn't so good. - Oh.
ButJune and July made up for it.
That's to be expected.
- I moved all our heavy farm equipment. - Oh, yeah?
We're fresh out of inventory.
- Including that old tractor? - That's right.
- The one that don't go uphill? - Includin' that.
I rented off that tenant farm nobody 'round here would have.
And a fella come down here from Boston, Massachusetts.
He bought a lot of land and built this big fence around it...
and started a goat ranch.
Only he plumb ran out of goats...
and it went bust.
- "Yeah?" - Yeah.
So, Papa, now you got acres more of good grassland.
Well, seems like you ain't been sittin' on your spine altogether.
- How'd you rent that farm off? - On shares.
- "Profitable?" - I had a little trouble with the man.
What's the name of this poor unfortunate?
A fellow name of Quick.
Quick? Ben Quick?
Yeah, yeah, from out west.
You knucklehead fool!
You empty-headed yokel!
- What are you calling me names for? - "Quick.!"
Don't you keep abreast of anything except Eula?
Don't you know what Quick means in this county? Hellfire!
Ashes and char!
Flame follows that man around like a dog!
He's a barn burner.
- I never do anything right. Do I? - Not to my immediate recollection!
You want to hear something? I sweat around you.
All those months you were away in the hospital, I was dry.
Now I'm sweatin' again.
I ain't got time for your personal troubles.
You started something with Mr. Ben Quick, and I got to finish it...
before this house of mine goes up in smoke!
Yeah, I already met one Varner.
I'm the other.
Just driving by. Thought I'd stop and see if you got any plans.
That cabin ain't fit for hogs...
but I can get along with it.
Well, we can talk that over.
Way I hear it, you're a boy that gets into trouble with your landlords.
The kind of trouble that might need the help of the fire department.
If you scared of me, mister, why don't you just come right out and say so?
Son, why should I be scared of you?
'Cause I got a reputation for being a dangerous man.
You're a young, dangerous man.
I'm an old one.
You don't know who I am. I better introduce myself.
I'm the big landowner and chief moneylender in these parts.
I'm commissioner of elections and veterinarian.
I own the store and the cotton gin...
and the grist mill, the blacksmith shop.
It's considered unlucky for a man to do his tradin'or gin his cotton...
or grind his meal or shoe his stock... anywhere else.
Now, that's who I am.
You talk a lot.
Yes, I do, son.
But I'm done talkin' to you...
except for passing you on this piece of information.
I built me a new jail in my courthouse this year...
and if during the course of your stay here something, anything at all...
should happen to catch fire...
I think you oughta know that in my jail...
we never heard of the words "habeas corpus."
Well, a smart man, he'd give me a job.
- You're already working for me. - None of this weed-scratching.
I'm talkin' about a job that'll give me a white shirt...
and a black tie and three squares.
You've got a place in your store and several other spots where you could use me.
You'd be writing yourself a fire insurance policy into the bargain.
I'll give it some thought.
Yes or no, mister. Ain't no in-between.
- You're mighty bushy-tailed for a beginner. - "I'm in a hurry."
You're wasting your time. The job at the top's already taken.
- But like you said, you're an old man. - I am that.
You bear that in mind.
Yes, sir, Mr. Varner. Now, just who do I have to kill?
Well, we won't start right off with murder.
Happens I just got handed me Texas horses on a foreclosure.
You get rid of them for me at a reasonable profit...
and we're in business.
Well, there's a cool breeze from the river, Alan.
Everything nice comes with you, Clara...
hot broth, cool breeze from the river.
How's your school?
You mean that free-for-all I run in town?
Those hellions who are making their last stand against me?
- - I wouldn't say it was a summer on the Riviera.
Well, it's unnatural to keep kids in school in the summertime.
In the winter they gotta help work on the crops.
Somewhere along the line, they gotta learn to read and write.
Besides, who knows?
I don't have much hope, but maybe I have a young painter or poet cooped up there.
Oh, Alan, I love this place.
Grace, dignity, beautiful things left undisturbed.
Just the way they were a hundred years ago.
Most people say I'm fighting the th century.
I suppose I oughta sell this place...
put it to corn and cotton, go get a job like everybody else...
but I wouldn't be any good at it.
- I'd hate it and make a mess of it. - Then don't do it.
There are enough hustlers around here as is. You stand for something.
- You hold on to it. - Your father refers to me as decayed gentry.
That's because he is pea green with envy.
You listen here. He would give anything to have what you have.
Wouldn't he just love to have your shine and polish?
He can put up all those billboards and neon signs and fillin' stations...
but quality is one thing he can't buy, and he knows it.
He has quality, Clara...
That's what I came through this dusty summer day to hear.
I want you to be hale and hearty again.
I want you to be your courtly, gallant self again and come callin' on me.
- Very soon, ma'am. - Well, you better.
Girls get all fidgety and looked at sideways and talked about...
- when they don't have their gentlemen callers. -
Besides, I've missed you.
That boy's temperature has been a-hoverin'...
between and and two-tenths for three days...
so none of that now.
- I just brought over some of Lucius's broth. - Oh!
He won't eat a bite I don't cook.
I'm gonna hustle you right along, 'cause it's way past son's nap time.
All right, Miss Stewart. I'll give up the field for now.
Good-bye. Good-bye, Alan.
- Why, you old crook, you. - Hmm.
- Them's horses out of hell. - That's right.
Them ponies never had a rope on 'em. You didn't tell me they was wild.
Well, you knowin' that, uh...
kinda gives you the edge over everybody else, huh?
I'm gettin' thirsty again.
Since when you been in the horseflesh business?
Ain't no kind of business. What you're watching is a plain old-fashioned swindle.
So, of course, I ain't involved in it directly.
- You hired that boy to fleece 'em? - I hired that boy...
Tell you the truth, I don't know why I hired him, but I aim to find out.
Okay, come on now. Let's gather 'round in here, folks.
Come on. Let's move in here. John, come on now.
Bring your whole family down. I don't wanna strain my tonsils.
Let's go. We gonna get goin'.
Mr. Armistead, I heard what you had to say about them horses.
I wouldn't hesitate to put my own sister on one of'em if I had a sister.
You there. Now, Miss Clara?
How'd you like to be the proud owner of one of them handsome-lookin'horses?
I can see you've got "no" written all over your face, but wait.
You stop and think a minute.
You can pack yourself a picnic basket and follow some woodsy trail.
You can ride off steam and bad temper if you happen to be afflicted that way.
If you see a young fellow along the way who happens to take your eye...
- you can put him behind you and ride double. -
Uh, what's your answer, Miss Clara?
You were right the first time. I got "no" written all over my face.
That don't bother me none at all.
- A lot of women say "no" when they mean "yes." - That's for sure!
I ain't foolin' about these horses.
The man that buys one of these will get the best horseflesh he ever drove for the money.
Naturally they got spirit. I ain't sellin' no crow bait. Who's gonna start with a bid?
Tell you what I'll do. I'll give you ten dollars for that there fiddlehead.
Ten dollars? You couldn't buy that much dynamite for ten dollars!
There isn't a horse in there can't run a mile in three minutes.
You put 'em out to pasture, they're gonna board themselves.
Work 'em all day long, and every time you think about it.
Pretty soon every one of them gonna be so tame...
you'll have to put 'em out of the house at night like a cat.
- Buzz! - " Who's gonna" start it off with a bid?
- Minnie, what are you doin'? - Buzz!
I got a hum in my blood, and I feel as if I'd swallowed a bee.
You swallowed five bottles of beer in the hot sun. That's what you swallowed.
- Who's gonna give me $ for that horse? - Ten dollars, take it or leave it.
- Eleven. - That's the way, Pa.
- Shut up, son. - " Thirteen."
- Wait a minute. What are you doin'? - Fifteen.
Fifteen dollars. I got fifteen dollars bid on that fiddlehead horse.
Who's gonna make it ?
Kiss me, Will.
I got a number of friends...
and, uh, associates here.
I'm your friend. I'm your associate. I have been for ten years.
Then what's the matter?
Will, all this time, this summer...
all I've done is put up jars of piccalilli...
and I put down a corn beef in a crock.
And I say to myself...
"Minnie, where is it all gonna end?"
It's gonna end with me eatin' a corn beef. You know I'm partial to it.
At midnight suppers after you've come sneakin' up the back stairs.
I want to serve it to you right here at : .
- Minnie. - "Forty dollars."
What are you tryin' to say?
I made plans, Will.
Now, you ain't ever heard me say the word..."matrimony."
Now, I'm willin' to overlook that.
- You know my married sister in Tallahassee? - "Uh-huh."
Well, she's makin' me up some hand-crocheted sheets.
And I've sent away for some flatware with the initial "V" on it.
I'm years old.
Look, honey, it's no good you tryin' to tell me you're too old.
I happen to be in a position to deny it.
Just hand it over here. Thank you, thank you. Twenty-two dollars from you.
Twenty-five from you. Thirty-two from you, and thirty from you.
Thank you, gentlemen.
Don't forget 'bout bangin' them horses over the head till they get used to you.
- They won't give you any trouble. - That's all there is to it?
- That's it. - They belong to us now?
Yeah. Get yourself a rope and go on in there and take the horse that belongs to you.
All right, we'll need some rope. Come on, Joe.
You're not much of a prospect, Miss Clara.
You don't need my money. You've got everybody else's.
Yeah, but it's the holdout that challenges me.
I'll tell you, Mr. Quick.
The last time I parted with my money to a pitchman, I was years old.
- And nobody's ever taken you since. - Nope.
Nobody ever will.
Well, life's very long and full of salesmanship, Miss Clara.
You might buy somethin' yet.
Here they come! Look out!
That's a musical horse.
Here, don't you bring your filthy feet in here!
They'll go on all night tryin' to catch them rabbits.
Boy, you got something belongs to me.
You ain't no better than a crook.
Well, you ain't nothin' better than a con man.
You sell my crooked merchandise.
Never mind the name-calling. Now, where's my share?
I got somethin' for you, boy.
- Whoa, you! - Head 'em off! Head 'em off!
Ah, you wild-eyed stallion, you.!
The man that built this place, his name's forgotten.
This was his dream and his pride.
Now it's dust.
Must be a moral there somewhere.
- Looks like that's about all there is. - I don't know.
They got a legend about this place.
They do say there's money buried around here on the grounds...
at the time Grant overrun the country on the way to Vicksburg.
- What's that got to do with me? - I been watching you.
I like your push.
Yes, I like your style. I like your brass.
It ain't too dissimilar from the way I operate.
You've been here a few days, you've gone up an inch.
That's 'cause you listen to me.
You go on listenin' to me, and someday, in a wild burst of generosity...
I might just make you a present of this place.
Thank you for nothing. It's falling apart.
You're a shrewd boy.
You'll find a way of gettin' some good out of it.
Mister. You've been makin' me a lot of promises.
- One of these days I'm gonna collect on 'em. - Surely.
I just ain't passin' the time of day with you.
I'm aware of that.
Come to supper with me, boy, at the big house.
You ornery critter!
There goes another one on the creek bridge.
Could be, you know, them poor unfortunates...
could come out ahead on the deal after all...
get their money's worth in health and outdoor exercise.
A night like this is good for him. It stimulates his liver.
Oh, they'll catch those horses, Mr. Varner.
They'll catch them and make good work teams out of them.
You figure you know them redneck farmers better than me, huh?
Suppose that's 'cause the, uh, Stewart family's...
been in these parts a little longer than the Varners.
That's a long time to live in one place.
You don't believe in living in one place, Mr. Quick?
Well, my family moved. Not that they wanted to.
They was encouraged by the local citizens.
- You a hunted man or somethin'? - Somethin', Miss Eula.
I'd like to hear a yes or no answer to that, boy.
Well, ifhe's hunted...
he ain't caught.
Lucius, pass the drinks. Who's for drinkin' some of my fine brandy, huh?
Alan, you're partial to my brandy.
Let's see. How many years you been drinkin' it now, huh?
- I've enjoyed your hospitality a long time, Mr. Varner. -
I sometimes ask myself, do we get the major part of your attention...
or are you brightenin' up other parlors around the county?
That's Alan's personal business, Papa.
Don't get yourself fussed, sister.
Alan knows a friendly inquiry when he hears it, don't you, Alan?
- When I hear one. - Sure, sure!
A friendly inquiry never bothered nobody.
As I understand it, when you ain't here with us...
you keep pretty close to your house, uh, with your mother.
Papa, I can't stand this.
I think you've forgotten, Mr. Varner, that my mother is a widow.
- She relies strongly on me. - Widow?
Your old man ain't dead. He just disappeared.
Just wandered off.
- The end result is the same. She's alone. - No, she ain't, Alan.
She's got you.
She sure has you.
- I do my best. - Not around here, you don't!
Jody, you seem to enjoy my conversation tonight.
- Guess I'll direct a little bit at you. - "I didn't say nothin'."
You see Ben Quick here?
He's goin'to work tomorrow in the store as a clerk right alongside of you.
He's going to receive the same identical wages, the same benefits.
That don't seem to strike you as quite so funny.
What I mean to say is, Jody, with Ben around...
you can sleep late mornings.
That is, as late as you figure you can afford to.
Take the evenin' air.
Alan, I apologize for what we are.
Don't, Clara. It isn't necessary.
I wouldn't blame you if you left right now.
Other young men have with much less cause than this.
My people have stood off Indians, Yankees, carpetbaggers.
The least they could expect of me is to stand up to a Varner.
All right then. Let's go have some more.
Oh, listen to that.
If those boys don't sound like a bunch of tomcats yowling at the moon.
Isn't it terrible the way they come prowlin' around here every night?
It's like that in town too. They follow me wherever I go.
- Don't go anywhere then. You stay put. - Oh, now.
- You stay right close to home. - Jody, they're harmless.
- They're only years old. - You call that harmless?
- "Eula.!" - "Hey, Eula.!"
You quit it out there, or I'll pass among you with a shotgun!
- "Hey, Eula, come out.!"
- "Eula.! Come on out.!" - "Come on out, Eula.!"
- Come on, Eula. Get out of the light! - Oh!
They don't have to see her. They can smell her.
- "Eula.!" - "Eula.!"
Tom Shortly, V.K. Bookwright, John Fischer!
Now, I know it's you out there! Now, quit it!
- "Eula.!" - Would somebody please make them stop?
- Just wait. I'll stop 'em. - "Eula.! Eula.!"
It's a madhouse around here.
They're just young boys. Healthy, young animals.
How come they don't come to anybody else's house, hide in anybody else's garden?
- It's just us that gets singled out. - We're the ones that got Eula.
It's not her fault. It's yours.
They come here 'cause they know you're gonna laugh, you're gonna think it's funny...
no matter how crude and how vulgar!
I was young myself once.
I used to hide in the greenery and hoot and bellow.
I'll bet you did. I'll bet you stayed longest and yelled loudest.
Your mama listened.
Now let's deal 'em off the top.
Is that the way you acquired your fortune? The way you're acquiring mine?
Those boys sure do make their desires plain, don't they?
Callin' and callin', just like they thought Eula was gonna get up and follow 'em.
Wonder what would happen if she did.
I imagine there'd be quite a romp.
Now, why did I make such a fuss about it?
Because it offended you?
No, it didn't.
Now that's the plain, unvarnished truth at last.
No, Alan, there's no sense in pretendin' that girls don't think about sex.
You oughta hear some of the conversations between Agnes and me.
Uh, I'd like to.
Well, there's nothing wrong with being anxious about your love life.
I am about mine.
This is certainly not the way I expected this conversation to be going.
I thought we were gonna sit here on the front porch and let the moon shine down on us...
and, just like those boys in the bushes, let nature take its course.
Why, Clara, nature is taking its course.
You're not the kind of girl to be howled at and dragged off the porch into the bushes.
You're a nice, quiet, self-contained girl.
You'll see. Everything you want's gonna happen to you.
Oh, evening, Alice.
You want to see me?
Miss Minnie Littlejohn say, "Where are you?"
- Where I am, huh? - Yes, sir.
She say if you're not there in half an hour, the place'll be triple locked against you.
Triple locked, huh?
You tell Miss Minnie Littlejohn I'll be there...
when I'm there.
I'll tell her.
It appears I have a late date.
Are you married? You got a woman somewhere?
I live single.
You've known a few though, huh?
Yeah. My fair share.
- - Deal.
Well, your friend left early, without even firing a shot.
I was kissed good night, Mr. Quick.
Kissed and left. That'd been me, I'd have stayed till sunup.
- Aren't you reckless. - Aren't you?
No, I'm just skittish, Mr. Quick. Just plain skittish.
I have an answer for that.
Let's go get in that old Lincoln car of yours and go plow up the countryside.
Let's go holler off a bridge good and loud.
- There's been enough commotion tonight. - You want quiet?
Let's go find us a needle in a haystack.
Mr. Quick, those are all lovely, colorful suggestions...
but I'm afraid if I started out to follow you...
I would hear the starch in my petticoat begin to rustle...
and I'd know I was out of character.
Get out of character, lady. Come on. Get way out.
Sudden changes are not in my line.
You'll never know till you try.
There's a volume ofJane Austen upstairs by my bed...
and a glass of hot milk that's getting cold.
You mean your friend would not like it if we went off together.
The idea of you and me just wouldn't go down, would it?
- I don't wish to discuss him with you. - Why not? I respect him.
I admire his manners and I admire the speeches he makes.
And I admire the big house he lives in.
But if you're savin' it all for him, honey...
you've got your account in the wrong bank.
You can leave any time now!
Don't ask me twice.
Oh, you are out here. Alone, huh?
When did Alan leave?
- About : . - Early.
Well, he's been ill.
Yeah? You look a little pale yourself.
Well, it's hot. I haven't been sleeping very well.
How old are you, sister?
Don't you know?
I keep a lot of figures in my head.
Well, add these. I'm .
Your mama was when I married her. Just turned.
- Papa, are we gonna talk about that again? - We are.
You know, you never look at me.
My life comes and goes, my birthdays come and go.
Do you know I'm really quite a lively, intelligent girl?
Sometimes I even make people laugh.
Yet you and I never seem to have any other conversation but this one.
- You're unmarried. - You have pointed that out before.
What do you do out here, you and Alan, huh?
- We talk. - What gets said? Anything important?
He thinks I'm a nice, quiet, self-contained girl.
Well, that ain't damn near enough!
Thousands of acres out there, millions of seeds put down in the ground.
Every year the seeds come up again.
Life goes on.
Where's "my" crop, huh?
What follows me?
What happens when I'm dead?
You'll probably have the biggest funeral in the state of Mississippi.
That don't scare me, so long as there's plenty of Varners to mourn me.
Jody and I will be there.
You and Jody, and Jody's kids, and yours, and their kids.!
My descendants, sister. A line.
A long line with my face stamped on 'em, my blood flowing in their veins.
All of that from the two of us?
You think I'm joking.
You listen here to me, sister.
If your blood is so frail and so delicate...
that it just calls out for Alan Stewart...
amen, let it be him.
I'll give you a big weddin'. I'll build a house for you.
I'll put money in Alan's account atJefferson First Trust Bank.
But it's gonna be "now," missy!
No more pussyfootin', no more holdin' hands...
and squeakin' that front porch swing back and forth.
Six years that's all I've heard is squeakin'.
Well, you can go and tell his mama... to let go.
You tell her you're taking over 'cause your daddy said so.
If you should get "no" for an answer, let me tell you, sister...
it's gonna be that other.
That prize blue-ribbon bull...
that hand-grown, handpicked, hand-selected-by-me fellow name of Quick.
- You can't mean "him." - Can't I?
Listen, I'm gonna get me some men in the Varner family.
Some good, strong, strapping men.
Varners! That's what I want. Varners.
And more Varners. And more Varners still.
Enough Varners to infest the countryside.
I'm gonna see that happen, sister, before I die.
I'm gonna accomplish that. Yes, ma'am.
By means of that Quick, that big stud horse.
You mean you'd sell me away like that?
- I'm not sellin' you. - Yes, sell me!
Without caring what I feel or what I think or what I am!
- I'm trying to save you. - Is that what you call it?
you're gonna give me grandsons...
by way of Alan...
But you're gonna do it, Clara Ann Varner. Hear me now.
You'll get that ring on your finger.
Here comes Jody.
What's goin' on? Huh?
They ain't come to do much buyin'.
Penny worth of candy, two cents worth of nails, maybe.
Oh, they just come to look.
We ain't runnin' no sideshow.
They come to look at the new man.
Three days ago, never even knew his name.
But from now on, they're gonna have to be dealing with him...
for all the necessaries of livin'.
Oh, no. They're gonna deal with me...
Good morning, Jody.
My little chaps at home never even had shoes last winter.
We ain't got corn to feed the stock.
Them $ my husband paid for that horse yesterday...
which he ain't even seen since then...
I earned myself...
sewing at night and baking cakes.
If that ain't the limit. You get greased and fleeced, and then you lay it at my door?
The trouble is we got an outsider here!
He don't know nothin', and he don't care nothin' about you and your worries.
He don't care about anything except advancin' himself.
Lot of harsh things being said about me.
And if I was to answer each and every one of'em...
why, that'd take up too much of your time.
All I can say, missus, is you took your complaint to the wrong department.
Now, we're under new management. You got a $ problem?
Goodwill. Ain't nothin' in the world like it.
You think you got a cozy nest here, don't ya?
Well, you ain't gonna take over from me, boy!
"Off with the old," on with the new.
Same old store, same stand.
- "All we got is a new broom. Mornin'." - "Hi, Will."
You can't teach an old dog new tricks. Mornin'.
But you sure can teach a young willin' puppy just about anything.
Ben Quick, fetch me a Coke!
Give him time. A penny on the waters pays interest when the flood turns.
Thank you for your encouragement and kind support.
Jody, aren't you ever goin' to work again?
You always gonna be hangin' round?
I can't do my nails or fix my hair without havin' you hangin' round.
Now, you take that Ben Quick.
He's down at that store workin', sweatin'.
- - He's where you ought to be.
Who are you to tell me to work?
You ain't never outta a chair.
Only time I seen you break cover...
is when they're sweepin', cleanin' the house, callin' you to the dinner table.
Now, you got no call to be insultin'.
As your wife, I just don't wanna see you get passed by that boy.
- Now, Jody. - Come on.
- No, Jody. - Come on.
I'm gonna... I'm gonna busy myself elsewheres, that's what I'm gonna do.
I'm gonna remove myself. I know what I'll do.
- I'll get me an education. - Come on.
Clara's been after me for months and months, sayin' it's never too late to learn.
No, Jody. No!
I sure do wish you'd find yourself some other form of recreation.
Well, it's a little late to be keepin' store, isn't it?
No, I'm just, uh, movin' these cotton dresses down in front...
so the ladies can see 'em when they first come in.
You seem to know a lot about women.
Well, I know what makes 'em spend their money.
You come in to buy somethin', Miss Clara, or you just shoppin' around?
I was just passin'.
Well, it's a warm night. I've been drinkin' some beer. You want some?
- No, thank you. - You got a sweet tooth?
I can offer you, uh, rock candy and licorice whips.
Jawbreakers. Do a big business in jawbreakers.
Outgrew 'em, huh?
Or hand lotion? Lilac water? Freckle remover?
Just can't sell you, can I?
Well, do you have an aspirin? I have a headache.
We got all kinds of nostrums and remedies.
'Course, I don't have headaches myself.
- 'Cause I don't have any problems. - Or scruples.
Nope, not those either.
Well, I have both.
You got a thin skin is what you got.
But the world belongs to the meat eaters, Miss Clara...
and if you have to take it raw, take it raw.
I couldn't live that way.
Well, let's just examine the way you do live, Miss Clara.
You drive around in that old Lincoln car of yours like it had wings...
and you teach school, and, uh...
you sit on your front porch with your skinny little friend drinkin' lemonade.
Now, what is all that, when you see the rest of the world...
passing you by paired up?
You're, what, ?
Yeah, thems are golden years...
and you're bein' asked to play a waitin' game.
Aw, school is out, Miss Clara.
Them blinds are drawn, night's fallen.
Nobody here to see if you make a mistake.
You put them things down, Miss Clara, 'cause I'm gonna kiss you.
I'm gonna show you how simple it is.
You please me, and I'll please you.
Oh, I know what's troublin' you.
It's all those boys hollerin' for Eula every night.
And Eula with her hair hangin' down...
and Jody with his shirt off, chasin' her.
And your old man at ...
and he's callin' on his lady love.
All right. You proved it. I'm human.
Yes, ma'am, you're human all right.
Well, you hit on it.
I can see my white shirt and black tie and Sunday manners...
didn't fool you for a minute.
Well, that's right, ma'am. I'm a menace to the countryside.
All a man's gotta do is just look at me sideways, and his house goes up in fire.
And here I am, livin' right here in the middle of your peaceable little town.
Right in your backyard, you might say.
Guess that oughta keep you awake at night.
Anything you break, you gotta pay for. Heh.
- What are you doin' here? - Takin' the air.
You hired me to tend your store. Now, I'm tendin' it. That don't need no supervision.
You and my daughter had some words, huh?
- Yeah, a few. - She don't cotton to you much, does she?
- Ain't no love lost. - That don't need to slow you down none.
I put you forth as a candidate.
Oh, yeah? And just what office you got me runnin' for?
I opened a lot of doors for you, Ben Quick. Ever ask yourself why?
Am I a senile old man?
Am I a sentimental old fool?
- I am not. - So?
I'm a man with a purpose.
Well, we all got some mission in life.
Care to hear yours?
Just what do you think you'd like me to do...
if you was able to make me do it?
- Well, I'll be damned. - More than probable you will be...
but first you're goin' to church and get married, ya hear?
To my daughter.
That's the one you didn't figure, ain't it?
Yeah, that's the one.
What about it?
Well, I'd say it's a mighty interestin' notion.
I'm talkin' about the survival of my family name.
I'm talkin' about the establishment of my immortality.
You, you wanna put down roots?
Move to my house. Live with us. Sleep under clean sheets.
Study that skinny gal.
Well, now, what's in it for me?
Well, there's lands and moneys...
on the day of the weddin'.
- More to come. - What lands...
what moneys, and how much more?
We'll have a meetin' with my banker and my lawyer. You'll see for yourself.
I'll take that old Frenchman's ruin for a starter.
- Well. - Yeah. Right now. Tonight.
- I'll give it to you in writin'. - Yeah, you do that.
Who says I picked the wrong man?
You and me got a deal, Ben Quick.
And who says marriages are made in heaven?
All of hell wouldn't have this one!
Now, make no mistake about that gal.
She's, uh, delicate, but in other ways she's smart, like her mother before her.
She has quality. Quality.
It's as close as you and me will ever get to it.
Move right in, boy. It's all yours.
I'm movin' up in the world.
Miss Clara's room is in the back of the house.
Mr. Jody and Miss Eula.
- And here's your room. - And the old man?
Never know where he is. Don't sleep so good no more.
Just roves around from room to room, sometimes three in a night.
I had five sisters and a brother...
and a mother and a father and an old maid aunt.
And all together, we slept in a room about...
half this size.
Same as my family.
And look at us now, Lucius.
Big rooms, small rooms... all the same size to the Lord.
Bathroom's end of the hall.
Well, just so we don't crowd each other...
I shave nights and shower mornings.
You bringin' him here? Into the house?
Big house. Room for one more.
But he don't belong here. He's hired help.
- He's more than that. - How much more than that?
Well, he's gonna be kind of brotherly, Jody.
I brought you home a big brother.
So look out for him. Boy's clever.
He'll be up when you're sleepin', and he's gonna be where you ain't.
Look alive, Jody. You're a couple of racehorses startin' out even.
Well, we'll see who is the fastest and who is the smartest.
It's not exactly even, considerin' I'm your blood son!
- Don't open that can of beans. - Well, I am openin' it!
Well, then eat what you got.
Am I your son...
or ain't I your son?
You was born to me.
Ain't you got any affection for me... or regard for me?
- Just tell me that. - You're just tryin' to make yourself miserable.
"Miserable"? Seems like I walked around in misery all my life.
You ain't never been a papa.
No! 'Cept to tell me to stand up straight.
You push, reach, stretch yourself.
I put down a big footprint.
I said, "Here. Step in. Fill it."
- You never did. - Well, I tried.
I tried to be what you wanted, but I ain't got it in me.
Where do ya go lookin' for it if you ain't got it in you?
You find a way, or you don't.
You have Lucius dig you up some worms, Jody.
You go fishin', boy.
Don't you lie there with your face in the pillow, Jody Varner.
That's exactly what he expects you to be doing.
Jody. You had spunk once.
Remember, you used to throw brown paper bags full of water...
on his head from this very window.
Remember? I'd fill 'em up, and you'd throw 'em?
You were only seven years old then, and you were wonderful.
You weren't afraid then.
Jody, you remember John Wesley Pritchard?
You remember how he stood out in the school yard...
and said, "Clara Varner has front teeth like a horse,"
and I cried and said, "I'm gonna get my big brotherJody Varner...
to punch you in the nose, " and you did?
I wouldn't have gotten through my girlhood alive if it hadn't been for you.
All of which makes you very dear to me...
and I don't care what he did or said to you downstairs.
You look mighty pretty with them readin' glasses on.
You look pretty with them off.
You look mighty young there, Miss Clara...
all curled up in your bed...
like you just washed your hands and brushed your teeth...
and said your prayers like a little girl.
I'll bet you was a mighty appealin'little girl.
I'll bet your hair hung in a tangle down your back.
I'll bet you knew where to look for robins' eggs and blackberries.
I'll bet you had a doll with no head on it.
There's a church bazaar comin' up next week.
Now, you wear a white dress and a ribbon in your hair...
and I'll waltz you around under the moon.
Wake unto me
Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee
Okay, folks, "this is the old-fashioned"...
Sounds of the rude world
Heard in the day
Lulled by the moonlight
Have all passed away
Queen of my song
List while I woo thee"
- Hi, Will. - Hi, Sam.
Come on over. I'll give you a whole grocery store for a dime over here.
That Ben Quick, he sure is a comer.
Yep. Name suits him, all right.
First into that farm, then into the store...
now in the house.
And all he started with was a book of matches.
I wish I was Ben Quick.
He's got this here whole state of Mississippi to graze on.
Yeah, but if you should happen to go out to see him on business, go out naked.
That way you won't feel the cold comin' back.
"It's ten cents"...
- Hi, Jody. - Hi.
- Can I sell you somethin'? - Uh, yeah. Wedge of pie.
- Apple pie? - All right.
- Thank you. - Thank you.
- You got a pencil, Will? - What for?
- I want you to write somethin' down. - What?
- September . That's the day. - What day?
A six-layer vanilla cake is comin' from Mayville...
suitably decorated in boiled white frostin'.
A hundred and four handwritten invitations have gone out. No children under six years.
Women have got to take care of themselves. That's what I done.
- What have you done, Minnie Littlejohn? - It's all arranged.
All but the license and the blood tests... and the weddin' rings.
You take that six-layer, white boiled frostin' vanilla cake...
and you cut it up in pieces...
and you send it out with your regrets.
All right, Will.
Well, now, Minnie, honey...
how'd you like a...
yellow Thunderbird automobile, huh?
No, thank you, Will.
Well, how'd you like a brand-new super sewin' machine...
- with all them fancy attachments? - No, thank you, Will.
how'd you like a... plain gold ring?
Folks? Folks, can I have your attention?
Y'all come on and gather round, ya hear?
'Cause this is the moment all you young fellas have been waitin' for.
Each of these young ladies here...
has packed two boxed suppers...
and the high bidder wins not only the delicious vittles...
but also the privilege of eatin' 'em...
with the fair young maiden who prepared 'em...
with her own lily-white hands.
Now, I'm gonna start this off with the daughter of one of our first citizens...
Miss Clara Varner!
All right now, folks. What am I offered for Miss Clara Varner's boxed supper?
- Ten dollars. - Ten dollars is bid.
Come on, folks. Anybody gonna hike that sum?
I'll make it .
Well, now, Mr. Quick is interested in competin'.
It's now eleven, folks. Eleven dollars.
- "Any advance on $ ?" - Twelve dollars.
- Thirteen. - Fourteen.
- Fifteen. - Fifteen dollars.
Any advance on ? Do I hear anywhere?
You hear $ .
- Alan... - Okay.
Mr. Stewart has bid $ . Any advance on folks?
- Fifty. -
- Fifty dollars. - In a very fine cause.
Mr. Quick bids $ . You hear that, folks?
Fifty dollars once.
Fifty dollars twice.
Sold to Mr. Ben Quick for $ .
This is gonna be about the most expensive chicken supper you ever et, boy...
but worth every cent of it...
considerin' the charmin' company you're gonna be eatin' it in.
I, uh... I hope you're gonna give him dessert for that price, Clara?
He'll get his just desserts, all right.
All right, folks. Now, I know this young lady's a good cook...
'cause I'm her daddy.
What'll I get for drumsticks and chocolate brownies?
- This all right? - Nope. I like my picnics in the woods.
- Two dollars. - Three dollars.
Well, come on now.
Either we eat it, or the ants will.
That was quite a gesture you made back there.
What do you expect to live on for the rest of the month?
I have prospects.
Well, now. Look what we have here.
Uh, little fancy napkins.
Little frosted cakes.
And little dainty sandwiches with the crusts cut off.
You got a bigger appetite than that, haven't you?
- Hogwash. - Well, well.
You heard me. I said, "Hogwash."
That's strong language, Miss Clara.
You got some foolish ideas about me, Mr. Quick.
I am no tremblin' little rabbit full of smolderin', unsatisfied desires.
- Is that so? - Yes, that's so.
I'm a woman, full-grown, very smart...
- and not at all bad to look at. - Amen.
I expect to live at the top of my bent with no help from you.
You're a real fire-eater, you are.
You are barkin' up the wrong girl, Mr. Quick...
because it will never be you.
Never say never.
I don't know what arrangement you think you have with my father...
but you'll find you have no bargain with me.
Now, we gonna be married, Miss Clara. Haven't you heard?
You have been hoodwinked, Mr. Quick.
For once in your crafty life, you have been had.
You mean you're turnin' me down, refusin' my hand and my heart?
You're too much like my father to suit me, and I'm an authority on him.
- He's a wonderful old man. - One wolf recognizes another.
- Tame us. Make pets out of us. You could. - I'm not interested.
I gave up on him when I was nine...
and I gave up on you the first time I ever looked into those cold blue eyes.
- You got the color right. - I've got everything right, Mr. Quick.
Well, I can see you don't like me, but you're gonna have me.
It's gonna be you and me.
- Not the longest day I live. - "Yes, sir."
They're gonna say, "There goes that poor old Clara Varner...
"whose father married her off to a dirt-scratchin', shiftless...
no-good farmer who just happened by."
Well, let 'em talk. I'll tell you one thing.
You gonna wake up in the mornin' smilin'.
That's not enough. Do you understand me?
That is not nearly enough.
Mr. Quick, I am a human being. Do you know what that means?
It means I set a price on myself, a high, high price.
You may be surprised to know it...
but I've got quite a lot to give.
I've got things I have been savin' up my whole life...
things like love and understanding and...
and jokes and good times and good cooking.
I'm prepared to be the queen of Sheba for some lucky man...
or at the very least, the best wife that any man could hope for.
Now, that's my human history...
and it's not gonna be bought and sold...
and it's certainly not gonna be given away to any passin' stranger.
All right. Then run, lady. And you keep on runnin'!
Buy yourself a bus ticket and disappear.
Change your name, dye your hair, get lost!
And then maybe... just maybe... you're gonna be safe from me.
You, uh, finished here, Clara?
- Yes. Thank you, Alan. - Well, now, I'll walk you back.
With your permission, Mr. Quick.
- Do I look very flustered? - Nope.
Well, I am. Alan, let's stop a minute.
Well, uh, what's wrong, Clara?
Wanna tell me?
Alan, this is the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life.
Well, tell me about it, and we'll see if we can make it easier.
Alan, I have told people you love me, and I have told myself you love me.
Now, I've done this for five years...
but I have never heard you say it.
And now I've gotta know.
Well, I guess I'd better say it then, Clara. I do love you.
But do you want me the way a man wants a woman?
What I want is to help you, Clara.
But, Alan, that's such a pitiful answer.
That's such a good, kind, pitiful answer.
It's the only kind of answer I can make you, Clara.
I didn't mean to waste your young years like this...
but... you're so sweet, so graceful, so intelligent...
and you never made any demands.
Well, I wanted to.
Oh, I came very close a couple of times.
There were all sorts of feminine wiles I was gonna try out on you.
'Course, I don't guess it would've done me any good.
Your mama has a long head start on me...
and I don't think anybody's gonna overtake her.
How... awful that must have been for you.
All those Friday evenings with my dreadful father snippin' at your heels...
and me moonin' and dreamin' over you.
Must've been very embarrassin'.
I'm so ashamed. I'm so...
What are you doin'? You lookin' for me, Jody?
I'm lookin' for ya. I found ya.
Well, all right now. We got that much clear. What next?
From the minute you strayed in here...
everything's gone wrong in my life.
I been cut down to nothin'.
I lost me my store, my wife's respect...
and my old man, he hates me, worse than ever.
All that's over now, boy. They're gonna find you downstream tomorrow.
And I'm gonna have my place back in the world. Do you hear me?
Oh, Jody, you aimin' to kill me?
Yeah, that's right. What, do you think I'm jokin'? Huh?
Now, w-wait a minute. Wait a minute, Jody.
Now, I'll tell you what I'll do.
I'll make it up to you. Yeah, I'll pay you back for everything you think I've taken.
I don't wanna hear about it!
Now, wait a minute. Now, look at that, Jody.
Yeah? So you got five dollars.
- Who cares, boy? - No, sir. Not no ordinary five dollars.
Now, this ain't wages, Jody. It ain't spendin' money.
Jody, this is treasure.
- From where? - From right outta my front lawn.
- You kiddin' me? Huh? - No, sir.
That old Frenchman's place your daddy give me?
Hey, look, boy. That's nothin' but a heap o' bricks.
- An old haunted house now. - That's what it appears to be.
Now look, boy.
I ain't the kind to be taken in...
by a bunch of hokey stories...
old men tell while they sit around the shed spittin' tobacco juice.
Jody, I'll tell you, I felt the same way too.
That is till idle curiosity...
led me to do a little pokin' around, and I'll tell ya...
when this turned up, I was struck dumb.
But there it is, Jody, just like people have said it was for a hundred years.
Boy, you-you-you... you tryin' to gull me?
Jody, you just put your mind at ease.
Look, I know better than to try to trade you blind...
especially when it's my life I'm dickerin' for.
It's your life, all right.
You and your treasure.
We've been workin' an hour. Now, where is it?
- Huh? - Well, you never can tell.
It might be in the next shovel load.
We got it!
I got it, Pa!
Jody. What are you doin'out here?
- Have you gone out of your mind, boy? - Get away from me.
Your wife's gettin' kind of anxious about you, boy.
Get outta that hole. Come on home with me.
I said get away from me.
Jody, I ain't goin' without ya.
Go on. Go on.
You keep on thinkin' I'm crazy.
I'm about as crazy as a fox.
I'm out from under your thumb, Papa.
I paid that Ben Quick friend of yours...
one thousand dollars for the rights to this land...
and everything I find here is mine!
Who knows? I may be openin'a store right across the street from yours.
- "Who knows?" - Boy...
just what you think you're gonna find out here?
More of that. "Buckets" of that.
Yeah, bite on it. It's real, all right.
Is this the money that the folks hid when they thought Grant was comin'?
Is this the money that's supposed to have been layin' out here all these years...
since the War Between the States?
This piece was minted in .
He salted this place.
Just took a couple of hatfuls of silver dollars...
buried out here one night in an old canvas bag...
to catch a sucker like you.
Someday I'll kill ya. I'll kill ya! I'll kill ya!
come and have a nightcap with me.
Everything settled with Alan? Huh?
Yes, it's all settled.
You mean that?
Well, I'll drink to that!
To your weddin'. It's gonna be a great big one.
I kinda thought it might be Ben, but Stewart's more your dish.
Oh, well. Good name. Good old family.
He's kinda weak, though. We'll bolster him up, though.
Papa, I'm tired. I wanna go to bed.
Oh, no. Not just yet.
This is a time for father and daughter to have a little... little talk.
There's been a long, hard silence between us.
Now's a time for openin' our hearts.
I got one, ya know.
- Have you, Papa? - "Honey, I've been eatin'" the bread of sorrow.
You made me happy tonight, but...
I walked around with a bitterness chokin' me.
Parents and children.
I asked myself, "What are children for? Why do we have 'em?"
Well, tonight I know.
- Now I know. - Do ya?
Oh, I know I been hard on ya...
but... don't feel you been pushed.
You're goin' in the right direction.
Woman's only half a thing without a man.
What do you know about women, Papa?
I had the best.
Your mother and I were just...
about as close as...
two people ever get together.
I wanted to be with that woman all the time...
look at her, listen to her...
She lit up the whole world for me.
I'll tell you somethin' remarkable.
That woman loved me. She did, Clara.
You find that hard to believe about me?
A ugly, fat old redneck like me?
Now, tell me, baby.
Have I done wrong with you?
imposin' my will on you...
shovin' you this way and the other?
Sometimes the strong just roll over the weak.
Good mornin', Will Varner. What brings you our way?
- Ahh! - What's come over you, you old fool?
Don't let it trouble you, Elizabeth Stewart.
Give me some coffee, Alan. It's all in the family, Mother.
Make it a half a cup.
We gotta get an early start if I'm gonna show you all you're gonna get.
- That's gonna take us most of the day. - All I'm gonna get?
Sure. You don't think I'm gonna send Clara to you without a stitch, huh?
I take care of my own. I'm gonna see to it that you got the means to take care of Clara.
- Mr. Varner. You're makin' a mistake. - Hmm?
- A mistake? - Yes, sir. A mistake.
there ain't no engagement between you two?
None at all.
That girl lied! She lied!
- Have you lost your mind? - Will you shut up!
- I'm talkin' to your sissy son! - If you'll just quiet down a minute...
I'll tell ya somethin'.
I'm no good for your daughter. I never was. I never will be.
My boy doesn't need any to do with your family, Will Varner.
He never wanted it. Your girl pushed it on him.
That's not true. You just keep out of this.
You shut up!
I don't want the whole county to find out that...
my daughter was jilted by anybody like you!
We're not given to gossip!
You keep a tight lip, boy...
or I'll come after you with my bare hands!
"Are you" going to be home all day, son?
I'll be back in a minute.
You got yourself a blue suit? Get it cleaned!
You got some black shoes? Have 'em polished?
Get yourself a haircut! You're gonna be married!
You'll find him at the store, sister!
Get yourself down there. Now.
Just say one word: Yes.
- "Mr. Will.! Mr. Will.!" - Yeah?
- The mare foaled. - "What? When?"
'Bout half hour ago, and he is a beauty.
Well, I better go have a look.
I'm glad somethin' around here is gettin' born.
Well, now, Jody.
I know that's you out there.
I'm not sorry.
I'm not sorry! I'm not sorry!
Jody, at least let the horses out!
- I'm not sorry! - "Jody.!"
Are you all right, Papa?
Are you hurt any, Papa? Papa, are you hurt any?
You got hellfire and damnation in you, Jody Varner.
But you got redemption too.
When I think of the hate that put me in there and locked the door...
and set fire to it...
When I think of the love that wouldn't let me go...
I got me a son again!
I got me a good right arm...
and a left!
Wait a minute. Only one man in this town settles his accounts by fire.
You see this rope?
I was supposed to catch me a horse with this rope... a horse I never seen since.
Maybe I got a better use for it now.
Story of my life.
Why doesn't anyone ever want to consult with me peaceable?
I wouldn't fool with them folks, boy. I'd light out.
I'm just not in a runnin' mood.
What's it to you whether I do or whether I don't, Miss Clara?
That's it. When you got it, use it!
- Papa, are you all right? - 'Course. Now, don't you fuss, honey.
- I was scared you... - We got the thing licked.
Get on over there! In the back!
I'm sick of that sight.
I seen about fires like that...
or maybe a hundred of'em.
I seen men with their shirts on fire...
smelled horses cookin'.
I was raised on that smell of gasoline around me...
coal oil, kerosene, anything that'd burn.
My old man used to keep 'em around the house...
in case he had a grudge he wanted to settle.
My old man.
My old man.
Last time I seen him, I was about years old...
lyin' in a ditch, cryin' my eyes out...
just prayin' that God would strike me dead.
That was the night that I run ahead to tell on him, turn him in.
Warned this farmer that he was comin' with his torch.
just lyin' there...
chokin' on my own tears.
I remember that house burnin' and these men on horseback and the sound of shots.
My old man was runnin'.
Maybe one of them shots killed him.
Or maybe he died in one of them fires he set.
I don't know.
I never seen him again.
How terrible that must have been.
No, it wasn't. The terrible part come later.
Knockin' around this whole countryside...
floatin' around from town to town...
Iookin' in on other people's kitchen windows from the outside.
Boy, that man sure left his mark on me.
I got his name, and I can't run away from that.
Yes, you can.
People are kinder than you think if you just tell 'em.
Well, I wouldn't give 'em that satisfaction.
I wouldn't tell 'em anything anytime.
All right. Then change your name. Get rid of it.
I'm a proud man, Miss Clara.
My name is Quick, no matter how much people hate it.
I was one of'em. I hated it too.
No, you didn't.
You hated me.
I guess I did.
You're a hardheaded, softhearted woman, Miss Clara...
and I like you a lot.
- You do, do you? - Yes, I do. All of a sudden, I do.
And if you can save my life, I guess I can return the favor. I can let you go.
Ain't nothin' to it.
All I gotta do is pack that old straw suitcase of mine and...
say good-bye to millions.
I won't even feel sorry for myself...
till I get about one mile and a half outta Frenchman's Bend.
you couldn't "tame" me, but you "taught" me.
Now, hold it.
Now, hold on, ya hear?
Will, we can't let that firebug get away with this!
- We gotta catch him! - The fire is out.
- Thanks to you-all. - Yeah, well, what about Ben Quick?
- The fire's out. - Yeah, but who started it?
Old jackass name of Will Varner.
That's who started it. I dropped my cigar in the hay.
- Ain't that right, Jody? - That's right, Papa.
- What do you know? - Well, I guess our work's done, men.
You-all come out here Sunday, and we'll open some kegs of beer and have a party.
- You're gonna have company Sunday, Will! - Thanks, Will!
Thank you. Man's got friends like you, he ain't got no trouble!
Are you all right? I heard you was in that barn!
Yeah, in and out. Now, simmer down, Minnie.
You ain't a rich widow yet.
If you got a minute, Will, I'll be sayin' good-bye.
- You'll be doin' what? - Yeah, I'm leavin', soon as I get my things together.
Don't the room and board here suit ya?
- No, I got no complaints about that. - What is it then?
Will, you and me, we been in business only a little while...
just one hot summer.
We started off on that horseflesh game, remember?
- Get to the point. - We sort of left off horses.
We got started on people. Now, that's somethin' different.
- Which people you talkin' about? - I'm talkin' about Clara...
that daughter to Will Varner.
You wanna stay and hear this?
Papa, wild horses wouldn't drag me off this front porch.
Will, ya know, in all this schemin' we been doin'...
we forgot somethin', you and me.
- I get preached to on Sunday! - Yeah, I know...
and you don't listen... and neither did I.
I didn't take too easy to the idea.
In fact, I've been a little long comin' around to it, but...
Well, life's a pretty valuable thing...
and it ought to be treated with a certain amount of respect.
You're old enough to know that, and I'm young enough to learn it.
Well, isn't that the truth.
So I'll be seein' you around, Will.
First off, nobody give you permission to call me by my front name!
Will, that shoutin' ain't becomin' to you.
And second, don't tell me what life is like!
Life around here is what I say it is!
You can't always have it your way, Will.
I got influence. I'll dog you wherever you go. I'll break you.
No, you won't. You'll miss me.
What are you grinnin' about?
Huh? Now there's your gratitude.
There's your thanks! I put that boy where there was fast, easy money just layin' there.
I put him in the Garden of Eden, let him dip his bread in honey...
and he's got the all-out gall to tell me no!
So you run, and you keep on runnin'...
and you buy yourself a bus ticket and you disappear.
And you change your name and you dye your hair...
and maybe... just maybe...
you might be safe from me.
Do I know human nature, huh?
Didn't I say that fella Quick was made for my Clara?
Am I gonna be a grandfather? I am!
Oh, Minnie, it sure is good to be alive this summer evenin'.
Yeah, alive with friends and family...
and a big healthy woman to love ya.
Oh, I "like" life, Minnie.
Yeah. I like it so much...
I might just live forever.