162-“The Race”

Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen     Written by Lou Shaw and Peggy O’Shea.

Ben Johnson as Sam Crabbe
Michael Pate as Chief TamasunCHIEF TAMASUN
John Hopkins as Cowboy
Stewart East as Checker
Vana Leslie as Blonde woman at Hotel Carlton

[gun cocks]
For a horserace with no rules, 10 miles out of sight of any witnesses,
survival is more important than speed. Is that why you hired a gunfighter instead of a jockey?

PALADIN
“Canst thou bind the sweet influence of the Pleiades or loose the bands of Orion?”

WOMAN
Hmm?

PALADIN
Orion. Do you see it?

WOMAN
Love it.

PALADIN
And the Milky Way?

WOMAN
Marvelous.

PALADIN
I don’t want you to miss anything.

WOMAN
I won’t.
[knock on door]

PALADIN
I’ll be back.

WOMAN
I know.

HEY BOY
Mr. Paladin. Aren’t you a little big for a jockey?

PALADIN
Hey Boy, I’m offered $1,000 to ride in a horse race.

HEY BOY
But you went to horse races yesterday.

PALADIN
Not like this one.

WOMAN
Hi. Bye.

PALADIN
Hey Boy, pack the bags.
[men speaking native language]

CHECKER
Sam, I think your man’s here.

SAM CRABBE
That’s him, all right. Take over.

Sam Crabbe here.

PALADIN
Paladin.

SAM CRABBE
What do you know about “Mully” racing?

PALADIN
Anything goes, get across the finish line first. Anything else I should know?

SAM CRABBE
Right, cross the finish line first. We’ll run it in an hour. How’s that with you?

PALADIN
All right. What’s the hurry?

SAM CRABBE
Let’s just say I got a lot of riding on this and I’m anxious to collect it. I’ll be the richest man this side of the Brazos if you win for me.

PALADIN
Well, you don’t look like you’re hurting too bad right now.

SAM CRABBE
Yeah, it ain’t bad. Some day I’ll tell you what it’s worth, and I made every cent of it single-handed. I got started by winning a “Mully” horse race. What do think of that?

PALADIN
Why don’t you ride this one yourself?

SAM CRABBE
Know what my motto is, Paladin? Hire the right man to do your work for you and you’ll wind up with more money in the long run.

PALADIN
You’re the one that’s trying to carve out an empire. What do you think of it?

SAM CRABBE
I think I hired me the only man that could take my place in this race.

PALADIN
Winners get their bets back and divide the loot, is that right?

SAM CRABBE
That’s right. Have a look. Maybe you’ll wanna bet some for yourself.

PALADIN
A man to bet his saddle, he must want money awful bad.
Can’t imagine what the Indians will do with it if they win it.

SAM CRABBE
What kinda talk is that…”If they win it”?

PALADIN
I imagine they’ve got some confidence in their contestant, or they wouldn’t be in this.

SAM CRABBE
You don’t wanna think like that. It’s bad luck.

PALADIN
Well, it’s worse luck to underestimate our opponent. How can you put a price of $1 on an object that took hours of work and skill and talent?

SAM CRABBE
Most of it’s junk anyway.

PALADIN
Oh? This is junk, eh?

PALADIN
Well, Crabbe, you’re a man of very definite opinions. Where’s this race to be run?

SAM CRABBE
I’ll show you. Starts and finishes right here between those two poles. Straight out through the timber here into Grass Valley. Then you go down the edge of the timber, at the end of the valley, there’s a sluice. You cross that sluice, there’s a big dead tree laying there.
You can’t miss it. You go right around that tree, then it curves around and feeds right back into the east side of the land. Comes right back up through this timber, right back out between these two poles.

SAM CRABBE
What do you think?

PALADIN
How far is it?

SAM CRABBE
Oh, seven, eight miles.

PALADIN
Seven or eight miles. That’s a long time to be out of the sight of any witness of two men beating each other’s brains out.

SAM CRABBE
That’s why I’m paying you $1,000. And that’s why I hired me a gunfighter, a man that can take care of himself no matter what.

SAM CRABBE
What’s the matter, Chief? Is that all the confidence you got with this little ante? He’s a gambling fool, this redskin.

CHIEF TAMASUN
Mully not race with broken rider.

PALADIN
I didn’t know he was being trained for the race. What happened to your rider was my fault, and I’m sorry.

CHIEF TAMASUN
Mully want return of paper.

SAM CRABBE
Mully ain’t gonna get return of paper.

CHIEF TAMASUN
No race. We need time to make rider to face one like him.

SAM CRABBE
You got lots of bucks. What about this big fella here?

CHIEF TAMASUN
Return paper to my people.

PALADIN
What paper?

SAM CRABBE
A little private deal me and the Chief cooked up, he’s trying to weasel out of. I told you there was a lot riding on this race.

PALADIN
If the stakes are that high, maybe he’s entitled to a postponement.

SAM CRABBE
Yeah, and maybe he ain’t. That paper’s locked up in the bank and goes to whichever side
crosses that finish line. Now my man here’s gonna cross it right on schedule. You wanna give up without a fight, that’s up to you.

PALADIN
Crabbe, I’d like to know what’s on that paper.

SAM CRABBE

An agreement saying if he loses, he pulls out with his tribe leaving about 50,000 acres to me, that’s all. How would you like to be cut in on something like that?

PALADIN
How do you risk the hunting ground of your people on a horserace?

SAM CRABBE
He ain’t risking nothing. The Indian’s getting squeezed out and he knows it. He’s willing to go for broke trying for the deed to my land sooner than die by inches.

PALADIN
If you understand that concept, then you certainly can understand the loss of those hunting grounds means death to these people.

SAM CRABBE
It don’t see where that’s any problem of mine, Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
Crabbe, don’t make any mistake about that. It’s every man’s problem.

SAM CRABBE
What’s digging you? I’m taking the same gamble. Where do you think I’ll be if I lose?

PALADIN
The white man can live anyplace. You can start over if you lose. He can’t.

SAM CRABBE
Did I lose the war for them? The Indian nation is dead, Paladin. Ask the Chief. He knows. What do you think he’s in this for? See what I mean? I ain’t putting nothing over on him.
He’s on his way out. Either I move in or someone like me does. It’s just that simple.

PALADIN
And you’re the new man, the new world.

SAM CRABBE
All I know is I need room to spread. And I need it bad enough, I risk all I got to get it.

PALADIN
There’s not a whole lot of risk involved since he doesn’t have a rider.

SAM CRABBE
That ain’t my fault.

PALADIN
Well, it is mine.

SAM CRABBE
And I’d have to be crazy not to take advantage of it.

PALADIN
All right, Crabbe, you do that. You take advantage of it. I don’t want any part of it.
You get yourself another rider.

SAM CRABBE
All right, I’ll ride it myself. What do you think of that? It’s gonna be a runaway anyhow. Who you gonna put up against me, Chief? Or do you wanna let it go without a fight? You name it. Well, I might as well get it over with.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

SAM CRABBE
Here comes the Indian lover to watch the fun.

PALADIN
I’ll ride for the Mully. Chief, don’t let your anger and your hatred blind your judgment.
This race would kill you.

CHIEF TAMASUN
White man would not win for Indian.

PALADIN
I will not lose. Crabbe, bet my horse and my saddle on the Mully.

SAM CRABBE

You’re betting on the wrong side, Paladin.

PALADIN
Perhaps not.

SAM CRABBE
‘Cause I hire bums to do my work for me, don’t get the idea there’s a man alive that can beat me in a race like this.

PALADIN
Well, that’s what we’re here to find out.

SAM CRABBE
They got no money. They can’t pay you. What are you in this for?

PALADIN
They have no rider, and it’s my fault.

SAM CRABBE
That mean you have to side with the redskins?

PALADIN
It means I won’t turn against myself. Does the Chief accept my offer?

SAM CRABBE
Why don’t you bet your gun, Paladin? Then maybe the redskins will believe you.

Paladin hands his gun and belt over to the Chief.  The Chief takes it and rests it over the fence railing. We see the knight emblem on the holster.

CHIEF TAMASUN
[Chief] Wait!

The Chief offers his knife to Paladin.

PALADIN
I’ll do without it if you will.

SAM CRABBE
You got the wrong pig by the ear, Paladin.

PALADIN
Men with weapons are tempted to use them.

SAM CRABBE
You got that right. And you’ll see what happens to a man that turns against his own kind, too.

man
Ready!

SAM CRABBE
You bet I’m ready.

PALADIN
Ready!
[gunshot]

SAM CRABBE
I fought for what I got. Alone I did it. Nobody helped me. And nobody’s taking it from me.

PALADIN
This race was your idea.

SAM CRABBE
I built up this land. I watered it with my sweat. These people work for me. I pay their wages. Without me, they’d starve. I earned it, and I’m keeping it. You hear me, gunfighter?

PALADIN
Get on your horse.

HIRED HAND
Hold it! Go ahead, boss. We’ll handle this.

SAM CRABBE
You’re smart with your mouth, Paladin, but you got no brains.

PALADIN
If I cross this finish line first, I will delay for one day, two days, one year, two years, the annihilation of the Mully. But these people will lose their homes and their work. There’ll be anger, fighting, killing. And sooner or later, a stronger force will come and the Mully will retreat mile by bloody mile. I cannot in my heart and my conscience, allow Sam Crabbe to cross the finish line first. But you people, Indians and white people can live here together, develop this land together, and that’s the only chance you have, for as I cannot let Sam Crabbe cross the finish line first, no more can I cross the line first and win for the Indians.

PALADIN
Who won?

SAM CRABBE
How long will it take you to train another rider, Chief? A month? Two months? How long?

The Chief hands Paladin’s gunbelt to him.  Paladin then removes his calling card from the belt and hands it to the Chief. We see the card. [music]. Paladin then slowly walks toward his horse, mounts it and rides away.