156-“The Vigil”

Start unpiling those rocks, Deke. And when you’ve uncovered the dead man,
there’d better be an arrow in his back…for your sake.

4
00:00:57,070 –> 00:01:00,005
Well, how do you know…
Ah. Come here. Come here.
What are you doing?
Come on, come on.
Your kings are high.
It happens.
Ah, max, man.
Mm-hmm.
Your bet.
I’m still high over here.

ADELLA LIGGET
Will you please tell that man that I would like to speak to him?

HEY BOY
Now?

ADELLA LIGGET
Now. While he is still able to stand up.

HEY BOY
No good whatever to speak with him now.

ADELLA LIGGET
Why not?

HEY BOY
Just back from two months of perilous jeopardy without closing an eye.
Very tired now. So tired he can’t even sleep.

ADELLA LIGGET
Yes, but not too tired to debauch himself.

HEY BOY
He unwinds best in front of evil companions.

ADELLA LIGGET
If he is not too tired to indulge simultaneously in four amusements, any one of which is enough to ravage the health of an ordinary man, then he is not too tired to speak to me.
Now you call him.

HEY BOY
He will not do what you want.

ADELLA LIGGET
It takes money to live the way that one does. He’ll talk to me.

HEY BOY
I see you are wealthy perhaps.

ADELLA LIGGET
Only in bread cast upon the water…and that sometimes comes back soggy.

HEY BOY
Interesting. You do good deeds without long face. I think perhaps he will speak to you.Thank you.

P
The pair of kings bets $250.

HEY BOY
Mr. Paladin, this is for you.

PALADIN
Here. Play my cards. And don’t cheat her. A young and very innocent child. All right, honey, it’s your bet. You’re very free with your money.

ADELLA LIGGET
So are you.

PALADIN
Well, I work hard for it.

ADELLA LIGGET
You seem to work even harder to spend it.

PALADIN
Which makes me a very busy man. Now, if I have completely satisfied your curiosity…

ADELLA LIGGET
My name is Adella Ligget.

CARD

I’ve seen it tacked in my brother’s study…a reminder of Satan’s physical presence among us. My brother is a minister of the gospel. I am a nurse. Well, there are some men who consider that an immoral occupation for a woman. My brother is among them.

PALADIN
Why come to me?

ADELLA LIGGET
Well, I thought perhaps…Satan wouldn’t shrink from the thought of a female nurse.

PALADIN
Where do you want Satan to take you? “Goldfield, Nevada, Mourns Passing of Only Doctor Within 100 Miles.” Are you offering your services?

ADELLA LIGGET
As long as they need me.

PALADIN
Well, has your offer been accepted?

ADELLA LIGGET
Listen. “Doctor desperately needed. Mine accident with 30 injured. Some may be dying. Find us a doctor, not a nurse.”

PALADIN
Why? Why press your services on people who don’t want them?

ADELLA LIGGET
Wait. I spent four years preparing myself, and now I find that I am not wanted.
I feel like a woman who had carried a child and now was not permitted to bring it into the world. Some of us are denied the joy and privilege of motherhood.
But a woman still needs to comfort, to care, to protect…in short, to be a nurse.

PALADIN
All right, Adella. You give me one day to catch up on my sleep, and I’ll take you anyplace you want to go. A whole town full of pain, men dying without a doctor. You will take me now, or I’ll go alone.

EXT. ON THE TRAIL – DAY

PALADIN
We’ll camp here.

ADELLA LIGGET
Are you tired already?

PALADIN
Well, we’ve covered 60 miles. Don’t you think the horses have had enough for one day?

ADELLA LIGGET
Well, it’s only another two or three hours’ ride, isn’t it?

PALADIN
“Distrust yourself. Sleep before you fight. ‘Tis not too late tomorrow to be brave.”

ADELLA LIGGET
The world could come to an end, but a man has to have his sleep.

PALADIN
To a tried man, the world does come to an end each night.

ADELLA LIGGET
If the good Lord had entrusted men with the task of childbirth, this planet of ours would be as empty as the moon.

PALADIN
Miss Adella, I am aware that a young woman of your high moral standards would much prefer to spend the night with a man on horseback. I can only assure you that were you to rouse the bestial side of my nature, I am much too tired to do anything at all about it.

ADELLA LIGGET
Well! I…

P

We got neighbors.

ADELLA LIGGET
Oh. Well, we’ll go and see them.

PALADIN
What for? They have the same right to be here that we have.

ADELLA LIGGET
Oh, it isn’t their rights I’m interested in. It’s their health. Suppose there’s someone among them who needs aid and comfort?

PALADIN
Oh…

ADELLA LIGGET
We will go and see them.

PALADIN
Come on.

EXT. IN CAMP

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Ma’am. It’s always hot work to plant one of your fellow men, ain’t it? Whew. Feel like the jaws of hell couldn’t wait to close over. Good pair of shoes. Ain’t much use to the worms, is it? Well, don’t stand there with your finger in your mouth, boy. Fetch the lady some water. Good, fresh snow water. Pure as the Lord made it. I’m sorry we can’t offer you anything more substantial, but…that’s all we’ve had in our own bellies for goin’ on three days now.

ADELLA LIGGET
Well, we’ll be glad to share some of our supplies. Won’t we, Mister Paladin?
God love you, sister.

ADELLA LIGGET
They’re in the saddlebag.

PALADIN
Who was that?
That was Lucifer…Lucifer Blake. He’s a partner of ours. Yeah, he got drilled by an Injun arrow right betwixt the shoulder blades. I never saw a man look so surprised.

PALADIN
This Lucifer’s coat?
Yeah. It happened at high noon. He, uh… He weren’t wearin’ no jacket.

ADELLA LIGGET
Can’t you wait to hold your inquest until after these people have had something to eat?

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Oh. Now it ain’t no call to trouble about us, ma’am. If you just leave us a few scraps of bacon rind and a handful of flour, Reamer and me, we…we don’t take very much.

PALADIN
Lucifer got killed at noon. And you’re just burying him now. How come?

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Well, now, it, uh…it took quite a spell for all the life juice to trickle out of him, and we didn’t feel it’d be very Christian of us to prod him along. And seeing as we had nothing to dig with except my own dirty fingernails and Reamer’s little old busted knife…and it took us another while to assemble these here rocks. You ain’t a lawman, are you?

PALADIN
No. Why?

154
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Oh, I mean it’s…it’s just too bad you ain’t, account of I could give you all his papers and all. You take ’em with you and make it all kind of official-like…not that he had any kinfolk that I know of, poor soul.

PALADIN
Well, there’s a town about fifty miles on ahead. I’ll make a report there on the grave, and they can send somebody after you.

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Send somebody back after us? Whatever for? I mean, uh…we ain’t done nothing wrong, have we, outside our own Christian duty of covering up our brother’s blood so it won’t cry out from the ground?

PALADIN
Well, you tell them your story. They’ll decide what action to take.

169
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Uh, Mister, are you accusin’ us of what I think you are?

PALADIN
If your conscience is clear, you tell them your story. Save yourself fifty miles on foot.

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Hey, Mister, what gives you the right to stand judgment on us?

PALADIN
Now look, son, it is of no private interest to me whether or not that man has an arrow in his back. But I do have some responsibility as a citizen.

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Anybody accuses me of murdering my best friend is gonna have to be a man enough
to stand up and answer for it.

PALADIN
For a bereaved man, you’re mighty anxious to start a fight.

ADELLA LIGGET
Oh, Paladin, can’t you see that the boy is nearly out of his mind with hunger?

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No, ma’am, and I thank you kindly, but I’m old enough to know a challenge when I see one.

185
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Now, boy, why don’t you just accept the man’s apology and let it go at that?

PALADIN
I wasn’t about to offer one.

188
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Ah. Well, now, that, uh…that do look kind of serious, don’t it?

ADELLA LIGGET
In Heaven’s name, Paladin, have you no regard for their feelings?

PALADIN
If I have wronged you, I apologize. If I have not, I hope they hang you.
Are you coming?
Mister, maybe that isn’t good enough.

ADELLA LIGGET
No!

PALADIN
Oh, now stand there.

ADELLA LIGGET
Is that your idea of “those who live by the sword”…an unarmed boy?

PALADIN
Well, he was not exactly unarmed. Besides, I assume that any man who attacks me from the rear is trying to kill me.

204
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Now, ma’am, you can hardly blame him for that. I reckon a suspicious soul who’s always
thinking evil thoughts about his fellow man, why, he’d just better be handy with an iron out of sheer self-preservation. I remember a grave I saw back in Arkansas once…had a lovely motto carved on it in some foreign tongue, which translated as, “Evil to him what evil thinks.”

212
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It’s all right. All right.

213
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You know, I reckon that that’s the kindest he’s been treated since the day his ma pushed him out of the nest with just barely enough meat on his bones so as he could sit up.
He, uh… He turned into a mighty handsome lad, though, all things considered, didn’t he?

PALADIN
You still got that arrow?

220
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Arrow! Blame if you don’t sound like one of them law-fakers…always carryin’ on about bits and pieces and doodads that plain folks wouldn’t give a second thought to. No, sir! We left the arrow buried right in his back. To tell the truth, I was a-scared to pull it out, ‘case it might cause a leak and all that blood come gushing out at once.

ADELLA LIGGET
I’m glad you’re not a better shot. At least the bone isn’t broken.

PALADIN
I hit him where I intended to.

232
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Yes, sir, you sure are quick with an iron, ain’t ya? Yes, sir. I reckon a boy with a little old busted knife, he don’t stand much of a chance against you, do he? You feel safer now?

ADELLA LIGGET
Is it really impossible for a man to feel like a man without a… a weapon in his hand?

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Now, ma’am, don’t go runnin’ down a man’s skill with an iron. He’s liable to get so nervous he’ll shoot his own foot off next.

PALADIN
Don’t count on it.

242
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I don’t count on nothing except my fingers…unless I has to count to 20. Then I take my shoes off. It’s gonna be dark soon. I reckon I’ll turn in myself.

247
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You know, maybe we shouldn’t have piled on all these heavy rocks. The way your gentlemen protector is a-twitching and a-turning, we might have to make room for another body before the morning. You be sure to wake me up now when all the shooting commences. I sure do want to be helpful when them inquest fellers come…sniffing around.

253
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Ma’am…if you want to be rid of him, Deke and me, we’d be proud to take you anywhere you want to go.

ADELLA LIGGET
No. Thank you, but no.

259
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I suppose he can’t help being what a life of violence has made him.

261
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I haven’t felt so comforted since I busted my leg falling off a chair. I was with my ma then.

ADELLA LIGGET

Come on. Come on. Come on.
Deke come along. He said she was evil. But you know, I dream about her, and I see the face of an angel. And it’s your face that I see, always your face.

 

Now what you got in mind?

PALADIN
I’d still like to see that arrow.

273
00:19:00,219 –> 00:19:02,983
Let me get you straight now, neighbor. You want to be dead sure it was the Injuns killed our partner and maybe not his own friends, is that it?

PALADIN
That’s right.

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Well, I guess if it will ease your mind…you got the stomach for disturbing a man’s eternal rest, I don’t mind accommodating you.

ADELLA LIGGET

It must be a terrible thing not to be able to trust anybody or anything.

281
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Yes, ma’am, that’s a true thing you said.

ADELLA LIGGET
What? What’s the matter? What?

283
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I am burning up. There’s a snowbank right over these rocks.

ADELLA LIGGET
I’ll get you some.

ADELLA LIGGET
Here you go.
Oh, you are an angel.
Now, mister, just what would you do…if there weren’t no arrow where I said it was?

PALADIN
Are you admitting that you killed him?
Now I’m just saying “supposing.” I mean, being as you’re such a jumpy, hotheaded kind of feller and all. You’re liable to leap to conclusions, and, filled with righteous wrath, raise up your hand to slay the innocent.

PALADIN
Now take the rest of the rocks off there.
Deke!
Leave it! Now get away.
You treat a man like an animal, he’s going to act like one. All that work, and you still don’t know whether we killed him or not. Maybe you’re never gonna know.

 

Take it easy. He’s only funnin’. Deke, he wouldn’t kill nobody. He wouldn’t hurt nobody. All we want is your horses, so we can get out of this wilderness before them deputy sheriffs come up here and all them small-minded town people with small ideas about what happened. And they’re gonna bring a rope.

K
That’s the truth, sister. Our only concern is to keep justice from miscarrying…right around our necks. Get the horses, boy.
I guess maybe his boots would fit you, huh?

B
What about her?

K
Now, boy…you know we ain’t got time for that. Mighty handsome woman, but she ain’t worth hanging for.

PALADIN
Will you send somebody back for us with horses?

K
I wouldn’t worry about that, ’cause you ain’t going nowhere.

ADELLA LIGGET
No! You can’t!
Please. Please. Please don’t let him take me. Please. Please.

PALADIN
All right. Which way?

ADELLA LIGGET
You think I should turn back, don’t you? Stop imposing my help where it isn’t wanted.

PALADIN
Goldfield still without a doctor?

ADELLA LIGGET
Mm-hmm.

PALADIN
“‘Tis not too late tomorrow to be brave.”