175-“The Exiles”

Directed by Sutton Roley, Written by Robert E. Thompson.

Vivi Janiss as Countess CasaresCOUNTESS CASARES
Jay Novello as Count Armando del CasaresCOUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
Gerald Price as General Largo Ortega
Richard Bermudez as Lupo
Bud Osborne as Hungry Cowboy

Even you must agree Ortega is a good man.
There are too few of his kind in this world,
and if I kill him, there will be one less.
Nothing else will change.

INT. HOTEL CARLTON LOBBY – DAY

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
Lupo! Esta bien.

PALADIN
I am Mr. Paladin. I believe you asked to see me.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
Please forgive Lupo. He is my appointment secretary. I am Largo Ortega, provisional general of the Revolutionary Army and minister of external finance for the Republic of Mexico.

PALADIN
That’s a very imposing brace of titles.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
I have more, but an Indian peon like me is proud of only one thing…that his back bends less than a burro’s.

PALADIN
There are things less worthy of pride in this world.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
On your card it is written that you are for hire. Do you know of a place named San Ysidro? I desire to locate there the once Count and Countess Armande del Vayo Casares.
I would pay you to accompany me.

PALADIN
I think you’d find a guide a good deal cheaper.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
I will explain. The count was once bursar to the Emperor Maximilian. When the government of the aristocrats was defeated, the count came to your country with the royal treasury. For these years, he has held the money for the return of the old regime.
But that will never be.

PALADIN
How much money is there?

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
In your money, there is perhaps 18 million dollars left. The treasury consisted entirely of French bonds. With the war in Europe, the bonds have declined. Perhaps in five years they will be no more than scraps of paper. Meanwhile, in Mexico, there is famine.
It is money that came from those who are starving now. By right, it belongs to them.

PALADIN
Will it be returned to them if the count should hand the treasury over to you?

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
It will, with your help, señor. To travel with 18 million dollars in a strange country…
In my country, I have kept alive by guessing which man would kill me to take my shoes.
But here, I am not yet familiar with your customs.

PALADIN
Well, in that respect, you’ll find our cultures similar. However, I will do what I can.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
Tomorrow then.

PALADIN
Tomorrow.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
Señor Paladin, I should add, Lupo goes with me.

EXT. ON THE TRAIL – DAY

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
In the beginning of the revolution, I led the attack on the great hacienda of my village.
The patron was very rich, very Castilian. His hands were white and soft, but it was not the same with his heart. Once, he had my fourth brother staked to a wall in his courtyard and beaten for stealing a chicken. So I had the patron put to the same wall to be shot. He died very well, the patron. Very proudly. With no blindfold. In the house, there was a library with books against the ceiling. We burned everything but not the books. The thought came to me that if a man like that dies well, maybe he has learned it from reading. So I kept the books, and I read. I was only a soldier then. Afterwards, I became a colonel.

PALADIN
And when did you become a general? After another library?

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
The general at Telexco was taking money from the aristocrats.
I personally killed him. Then I was general.

PALADIN
Ortega, what does he want?

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
He admires your belt. He would like to take it from you.

PALADIN
Well, Ortega, he’s your man. You tell him.
Tell him to try to take it now, or let it alone for good.

LUPO
Si, patron.

PALADIN
French Revolution, one of the deputies, as he stood in line waiting for his turn at the guillotine, has reputed to have said, “There was no revolution.
It was only humanity turning over in its sleep.”

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
Maybe like you say, it’s only a little turn in a long night. We will go into San Ysidro in the morning.

PALADIN
I’ll go in first, make the arrangements for the meeting.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
With aristocrats? We speak different languages.

PALADIN
Well, maybe their lives have changed. Maybe they no longer speak as aristocrats. Good night.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
Buenas noches.

EXT. OUTDOOR KITCHEN CAFE – DAY

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
And what do you wish? Rabbit stew again. And very delicious.

HUNGRY COWBOY
How much are those beans?

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
Five cents.

HUNGRY COWBOY
Five cents? Over at Porterville Junction you can buy beans for three cents.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
Well, of course, if you prefer to eat…

HUNGRY COWBOY
All right, all right. Give me a plate of them.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
Very well.

PALADIN
Lapin chasseur.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
Minutely as it was served at Arnim.

PALADIN
Bordeaux marinade. Garlic with lemon.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
Yes, yes.

PALADIN
Can I have some?

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
You wish some? Of course. Yes.

PALADIN
Thyme…and a little…Mmm. Saffron.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
Magnifico!

PALADIN
Mmm.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
But tell me, how do you like it?

PALADIN
It’s very good rabbit stew. Mmm.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
That will be 15 cents.

PALADIN
Of course.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
There. You see, he is a traveler. He is hungry. He wants to eat. And if the food is good, he will pay for it. Yes. Sir, you know what I see? Not one kitchen such as this, but many, all over. If there is profit in one kitchen, there must be double in two. Is that not elemental? And for my next kitchen, I need a manager. A man of some delicacy of taste like yourself.

PALADIN
Well, uh, thank you very much. But that’s not exactly in my line. Count Casares? A minister of the Mexican government is here to see you.

COUNTESS CASARES
The Empress Carlotta is the only government of the Empire of Mexico.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
What is his name?

PALADIN
Largo Ortega.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
They have come.

COUNTESS CASARES
The Butcher of San Pietro.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
Mister Paladin, what is your part in this?

PALADIN
I am his honor guard.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
Honor guard? What honor? He has sent you here to kill us for the treasury of Maximilian. And you might have, but you do not know where it is. I hold it in sacred trust. Sacred! And I will die before I will betray that.

PALADIN
I don’t ask you to. I ask only that you to see Ortega and hear him. No one will be hurt. You have my word for that. And I will rely on your, uh, courtesy.

COUNTESS CASARES
You will be received at the hour of 9:00.

PALADIN
Largo Ortega, provisional general, Revolutionary Army, minister of External Finance, the Republic of Mexico. Count and Countess Armande del Vayo Casares.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
It is a pleasure.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
At one time, it was an honor.

PALADIN
It’s excellent.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
Yes. The last of the bottles from my vineyard, and for all time.
I believe General Ortega’s troops burned the field.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
The field is still there, but it grows corn now.

COUNTESS
No doubt the soil is productive, enriched, as it must be, by the blood of those of my class.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
And by the blood of the peons who worked under a whip in it.

PALADIN
Well, I’m certain that the soil absorbs the blood of all classes equally.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
Still, even planted with corn, I would like to see that field again. But if we returned, you would have us shot, of course.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
Of course. And if you came back to power, you would have me shot.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
Hanging is more proper to your class.

COUNTESS CASARES
Tell of the capital. That dreadful wife of the Prussian ambassador. Does she still come to the salons and ask for pigs’ knuckles?

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
And the British minister, with his same jokes. Of course, I had to laugh each time.
We had hoped to get a loan from his country.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
His jokes are the same. And I have to laugh at them, because we, too, hope to get a loan from him. But the loan will not be made. The government must have money. Without it, there will be famine. I plead to you as countrymen, please return the bonds to the treasury.

COUNTESS CASARES
They are not ours. They belong to the Empress Carlotta.
To be used when she is well enough again to return to power.

PALADIN
The empress will never be well enough to return to power. She will never be anything but a woman trying to piece together the bits of a broken dream behind the walls of an asylum. In a few years, those bonds may be worthless, but now, today, they might keep children from starving.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
And keep the revolution in power.

PALADIN
Possibly. But children can’t fill their stomachs on politics.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
Or from the double pockets in General’s uniforms.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
There will be graft, as there was in your government, but there will also be food for the villages.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
You believe him?

PALADIN
Yes.

COUNTESS CASARES
I do not.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
They have not changed. They will always be aristocrats! I have been sent to take back the bonds by order of the Revolutionary Republic of Mexico. For now, I have said what is needed.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
As have I. We will never betray our sacred trust.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
I will return to take the bonds one way or another. Explain to them about Lupo.

PALADIN
You still have my word.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
You know, Paladin, maybe we will not need you the rest of the way after all.
I’m beginning to feel the way of your land now.

PALADIN
I think you will need me.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
No. I’ve settled on the matter now. Everything will be taken care of.

PALADIN
Not by Lupo.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
With aristocrats, in the end, there is no other way.
Besides, what are two lives against perhaps two million?

PALADIN
They happen to be two lives that I’ve given my word to defend.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
You know that I am in the right, and if they prefer the money to their lives…
Besides, it’s not your cause.

PALADIN
It is now.

PALADIN
Nope.

PALADIN SHOOTS LUPO

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
I did not think that you would be on the side of the aristocrats.

PALADIN
Only for their lives. The bonds you may have.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
I will have them. And there is only one way.

EXT. CAFE OF COUNT

PALADIN
It’ll be dawn in less than an hour.

COUNTESS CASARES
We know.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
And our first customers will be here even sooner.

PALADIN
So will Ortega.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
Ten eggs.

COUNTESS CASARES
Ten eggs.

PALADIN
Why do you want the bonds? They’re worthless to you. Unless you plan to start a counterrevolution. Is that what you want? If it is, then take the money, hire an army of gunmen and go.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
No. l… I have my kitchen. And a new one at the next town. Already she has saved a thousand dollars toward it. Besides, in a matter such as this, only the empress should command.

PALADIN
The empress is not going to command anything. Now give the bonds to Ortega now while they still have some value.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
It is our land, our people. Perhaps now, even the empress would want it.

COUNTESS CASARES
No. If one has lived by a dream, one should be strong enough to die by it.

PALADIN
Or strong enough to find a new dream and live by that. Even you have to admit that Ortega is a good man. There are too few of them in this world, peasant or aristocrat.
If I kill him, there’s one less, and that’s all that will change.

COUNT ARMANDO DEL CASARES
No! No, no. Perhaps in a new country there must be new dreams.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
Stable boy! We are not of the same government, but we are of the same people, and that will always be.

COUNTESS CASARES
I could never stand the Prussian ambassador’s wife again.

PALADIN
As a frequent traveler, I shall look forward to seeing your next kitchen.

GENERAL LARGO ORTEGA
Who overcomes by force hath overcome but half his foe. Maybe Shelley was right.

PALADIN
I think perhaps he was, except that it was Milton.