179-“The Waiting Room”

Directed by Dick Moder, Written by Harry Julian Fink

JAMES GRIFFITH as Dave Wilder
L.Q. JONES as Cowboy
HARRY DEAN STANTON as Slim Wilder
JACQUELINE RAVELL as girl in waiting room
BYRON FOULGER as Undertaker
JESTER HAIRSTON as Old Man
GEORGE CISAR as Marshal
INGEBORG KJELDSEN as Margaret Thorndike
JOHN HARMON as Stationmaster (uncredited)
HANS MOEBUS as Hotel Clerk (uncredited)
You’re young, and you have a good look about you.
I’d like your gun, Renn, as a favor.
I think it might save your life.

INT. HOTEL CARLTON – LOBBY- DAY

Hey Boy is reading a newspaper at the counter of the hotel’s desk clerk.

MARGARET THORNDIKE (O.S.)
Don’t you lay a hand on me. Don’t you touch me! You’re impossible! You wretch!

MARGARET THORNDIKE
There are just no words. You’re impossible. You are a cad, sir. Call my carriage, please.

PALADIN
Miss Thorndike…

MARGARET THORNDIKE
You are not a gentleman. You are most decidedly not a gentleman.

PALADIN
Margaret…

MARGARET THORNDIKE
You are a beguiler and a deceiver and…

PALADIN
Margaret…Darling…

HEY BOY
What did you say to her?

PALADIN
Well, if I tell you, you’ll know, and then very shortly, everyone will know, and then there will be absolutely no point in my knowing, will there?

HEY BOY
Inscrutable Pakka dolly.

PALADIN
“Tiger by the Tail. Denton, Texas. The Wilder brothers wait to come home in a jail in Clovis, Dakota Territory. We are waiting to hang them. Their savage gang has murdered
and pillaged four states. Even now, no peace officer has reached Clovis alive to bring them home to the rope. Their friends and relations and cohorts mock justice.
Who can bring them home?”

EXT. IN TOWN

MARSHAL
You want to check them?

PALADIN
I trust you, but I’ll check them. No offense.

MARSHAL
No offense taken. Ooh, it’s a cold one.

PALADIN
How did you take them?

MARSHAL
In their sleep.

SLIM WILDER
We was drunk, too, fat belly.

MARSHAL
So you was. Yes, sir. I guess they had about six men around here. Spread ’em out, I think.
They were stopping a lot of people.

PALADIN
About six.

SLIM WILDER
Maybe 60.

MARSHAL
Like I told you, when you get to Derby, take the train. It’ll save you about three weeks’ traveling time and maybe keep you from freezing in the mountains.

MARSHAL
Ah, just a minute. Here’s a present for you.

PALADIN
You know, you’re probably right, but I’ll pass this time.

INT. ABANDONED SHACK – NIGHT
One blanket. Why does it always have to be one blanket? I spent a whole winter in Canada once. One blanket. I didn’t even ask myself why. Habit.

PALADIN
You’re lucky we found this shack.

DAVE WILDER
I nearly froze that winter.

SLIM WILDER
Go to sleep, Dave.

DAVE WILDER
Build a fire. I’d soon as get shot as freeze to death. That fat old marshal was right.
Listen to that wind whistle. You know, a whole army could crawl up on us here, and we’d never hear. So go on. Build a fire, mister. Die warm.

PALADIN
Go to sleep.

DAVE WILDER
Mmm. Mmm. 2:00. Don’t you ever sleep? Pure gold. Did you know that? Swiss made insides, too. It’s real fancy. Killed a man for it.

PALADIN
Shut your mouth. I want to rest.

DAVE WILDER
I asked him for it first. Stubborn Scotsman. He said no. I offered him five dollars.

PALADIN
I believe you. Mmm. There was a picture of his wife in it, too. Huh? Pretty woman. I hope to meet her someday.

SLIM WILDER
Close it up, Dave. I want to get some sleep.

DAVE WILDER
Respect, Simmy. Respect. I didn’t bring you up from a kid to be talked to like this.
There’s, uh, somebody waiting out there with a rifle. Maybe one, maybe two, maybe three. With a long rifle. A long way away. Waiting for a clear shot. There’ll be some of my children in Derby, waiting in a doorway, maybe from a hitch post out in the street,
maybe from an upstairs window, maybe inside the station, waiting for a clear shot,
waiting to kill you. Now, I want you to turn us loose, and in exchange for that,
I promise you your life.

PALADIN
Now, do you wanna shut your mouth and go to sleep?

DAVE WILDER
Mmm.

PALADIN

Pull up.

DAVE WILDER
That’s an ugly sound.

PALADIN
I pull the trigger, it’s even uglier. Turn around, both of you.
What kind of an Indian you think that is?

DAVE WILDER
Blackfoot maybe.

SLIM WILDER
How can you tell? They all look the same.

PALADIN
Straight to the railroad station. Either of you stops, I’ll kill you both.

DAVE WILDER
You taking him back with us?

PALADIN
Yes.

DAVE WILDER
Well, I want him embalmed. I want him to go in a casket. I’ll pay. Pay for his burial, too.
But not his killing. You’ll pay for that.

PALADIN
Now stand there.

DAVE WILDER
I’m cold clear through. I’m going to the fire.

PALADIN
I told you to stand there.

DAVE WILDER
You beginning to sweat, gunfighter? You beginning to feel it? Hmm? Which one? Which one is it? Hmm? How many of them here belong to Dave Wilder? How many of them are his children?

PALADIN
Sit down. I want to look at your children.

Paladin scans the room, looking at each person. An indian woman enters. Paladin is ready with his rifle.

PALADIN
All right, mother. Go on to the fire.

DAVE WILDER
Can I go to the fire now, sir? Mother! How does a woman get like that? We ought to get rid of them at 30. Huh? I like my ladies young. Can’t help it. We may as well be friends.
One of us is going to be with the other for the rest of his life. You’re worse than I am. I kill for pleasure or to take power or for the love of a fight. But you… you kill for money. What are you gonna do with it? Buy stocks? Breed horses? Or are you saving it for old age?

PALADIN
You warm yet?

UNDERTAKER
Where shall I put the deceased?

PALADIN
Outside on the platform. He’ll go in the baggage car.

DAVE WILDER
Bring him inside with us.

PALADIN
There are people in here.

DAVE WILDER
I want him with me.

PALADIN
Or I could chain you to him outside.

DAVE WILDER
Whatever you say.

PALADIN
Why?

DAVE WILDER
I owe him respect. Love the living, respect the dead.

PALADIN
Inside.

UNDERTAKER
Uh, right in here, men. Careful now. Over there.

DAVE WILDER
He’s embalmed now, isn’t he?

UNDERTAKER
I guarantee that.

GIRL
What did he… he do?

DAVE WILDER
Ate some little girls up
from the tips of their toes to the tips of their nose.

BILL RENN
You talk to the lady like that again, I’ll knock you down and stomp on you, chains or not.

DAVE WILDER
No offense meant, miss. I look at you, and l… I like what I see. But no offense meant.
And you over there, you can go to stomping any time you want.

UNDERTAKER
That’ll be $48, sir.

DAVE WILDER
When does this, uh, train get in?

UNDERTAKER
Oh, won’t be long now. We pride ourselves on both the quality and service.
I hope you’ll recommend us sometime.

DAVE WILDER
Yeah. Every time.

UNDERTAKER
Thank you, sir.

DAVE WILDER
Talky bird.

PALADIN
You, too.

DAVE WILDER
What do you think, missy?

GIRL
You’ve a bad, nasty mouth. I used to have a brother like you.

DAVE WILDER
Your favorite?

GIRL
Yes. You never answered me. What did he do?

PALADIN
He murdered some people. Sometimes in hot blood, sometimes in cold. Sometimes for something, and sometimes for nothing. That about it, Wilder?

DAVE WILDER
Oh, you left out the Indians. Of course, I never counted them.

CONDUCTOR
Dagblast it! Anybody wants any more wood, they can get it themselves. I ain’t no parlor maid. Don’t need no more fire in there anyway.

DAVE WILDER
Why, sure. You got your own stove back there.

CONDUCTOR
Haul the wood for it, too. Uh, they with you?

PALADIN
Yes, sir.

CONDUCTOR
That’ll be full fare for the casket. And not on the train neither. Too many people think
they can just jump on a train and pay there if they get caught. Pay here.

DAVE WILDER
Now, look, I ain’t going nowhere, and I’m just beginning to get warm. When that train pulls out, you’re gonna be dead, so I just wanna sit in a…have a…

STATIONMASTER
Well, where to?

PALADIN
Denton, Texas.

STATIONMASTER
Texas, huh? Texas. Texas. Denton, Texas. Well, there are three transfers. Change to a stage in Texas. I’ll write down where. And that’s, uh, 37.50 each. Got the money? Let’s see. Hundred…

PALADIN
Who’s the girl?

STATIONMASTER
I ain’t nosey. And I ain’t afraid of you.

PALADIN
No, sir, but I am gonna have to have your help.

STATIONMASTER
A saloon girl. Came here three months ago. From a farm, I think.

PALADIN
She’s young.

STATIONMASTER
She’s older now than then. Going to San Francisco to make her fortune.

PALADIN
The Indian woman?

STATIONMASTER
Don’t know her. Choctow, Blackfoot. Thinks she’ll get on without a ticket. She won’t, though.

PALADIN
An Indian got killed this afternoon. You know him?

STATIONMASTER
Oh, I seen him around.

PALADIN
He have a wife?

STATIONMASTER
I don’t know. You’ll have to give me a hand getting the casket on. Got no help around here.

PALADIN
Yes, sir. The old gentleman?

STATIONMASTER
Well, he’s heading the other way. Says he’s going home.

PALADIN
You know him?

STATIONMASTER
Yeah, that’s old Moses. Been working at the hostler’s for two months.

PALADIN
That’s a thin coat.

STATIONMASTER
Yeah, well, that’s for Sundays and traveling. Mostly, he wore old rags till Miss Davis.
She’d give him them throwaways there.

PALADIN
That leaves the cowboy.

STATIONMASTER
Aah, he’s a drifter. Worked at Wade Timmer’s for a month. That’s all.

PALADIN
Thank you. What do you drink?

STATIONMASTER
Well, the best I can buy.

PALADIN
How long you been here?

STATIONMASTER
Five years. Of course, there ain’t anybody in this room would know if that was true or not.

PALADIN
Old man, I bother you? Why?

OLD MAN
Well, meaning no disrespect, sir, but only a devil would keep another man in chains.
Why, if I was dying, and the devil held out his hand to me, I wouldn’t take it.

DAVE WILDER
Old man…Here. Go on.

OLD MAN
Thank you. I can sure use some of them.

DAVE WILDER
Just about now, bucko. Just about any minute now.

STATIONMASTER
Better help me get the casket out there now.

PALADIN
Wilder.

What’s your name?

BILL RENN
Bill Renn.

PALADIN
Mr. Renn, I’d like your gun for a few minutes. Just as a favor.

BILL RENN
Why?

PALADIN
You’re young. You have a good look about you. I thought it might save your life.

BILL RENN
You got no right to ask that.

PALADIN
No. No, I don’t.

Miss, why don’t you step outside?

CONDUCTOR
It’s an express, and it won’t wait.

DAVE WILDER
Not even for the dead?

PALADIN
Pick it up. All right, mother. You can go.

CONDUCTOR
No, she ain’t getting on. Not without a ticket. She just thinks she is.
All right?

PALADIN
Can you make it?

CONDUCTOR
Yeah. That fool undertaker. He could have left his trundle.

DAVE WILDER
He’s an old man, Paladin.

PALADIN
Speak up, friend. Can you make it?

CONDUCTOR
No, no, l… I…

PALADIN
Got a freight wagon?

CONDUCTOR
This ain’t Sioux Falls.

DAVE WILDER (POINTING TO THE COWBOY)
How about him?

PALADIN
Now, did you break anything?

DAVE WILDER
No.

PALADIN
Then pick it up!

Paladin levels his gun at Bill Renn. Renn warns him of the man in the casket.

BILL RENN
There!

PALADIN
You call that undertaker. I paid his brother’s fare all the way to Texas.
I want that body on the next train.

CONDUCTOR
Yes, sir.

PALADIN
Anymore children?

DAVE WILDER
All the way to Texas.

Advertisements