Copperhead (2013) Movie Script

The war between the states.
That's what Abner Beech called it.
It had been going on for a year...
...before it really got to us
in the upper part of New York state.
We were far from the battles.
At least, I thought we were.
They called us people in the north
that didn't want the war "copperheads."
I was just an orphan living with the Beeches,
but I was as big a copperhead as Abner.
Springtime, 1862.
That's when the war came home.
And nothing was ever the same again.
They're recruiting in Juno Mills.
What on earth for? The war is over.
A confessed failure, if you ask me.
You sound just like my pa.
- Your father is afraid of a fight?
- Hell, no.
Just don't like this war.
Only time I saw Abner use his fists on a fellow
creature was when we was starting school.
- You remember that?
- Heh, oh, yeah.
One of his hands cracks a stubborn cow
on the haunches with a shovel.
Abner, boom, knocks the man clear
through the fence post.
One day it's harsh as a blizzard,
the next, soft as sunshine.
It's the equinoctial.
The what?
You know what they say
down at the Corners.
It's, uh, pretty hard to figure if the
war's gonna stop in the next few days...
...or go on for much worse than ever.
Warner thinks we need to join up now.
Says if we wait any longer,
we're liable to miss the whole thing.
What's there to miss?
Defending your country, for starters.
Preserving the Union, for seconds.
Who'll farm the land and do the work
if we all go off to war?
Who invited you?
Since when does Warner Pitts
need an invitation?
Benjamin Wade,
Republican senator from Ohio, said:
"Anyone who quotes the Constitution
in this crisis is a traitor."
Traitor. The Constitution.
Oh, oh. But listen how a Democrat paper
in Ohio gave it right back to them.
"Such an abolitionist should be hung
till the flesh rots off his bones...
...and the winds of heaven whistle 'Yankee
Doodle' through his loathsome skeleton."
King me, Paddy. Ha!
Not listening to a word I've been reading?
Pa, I'm the checkers king.
Whipped old Hurley here.
We don't have kings in America.
Hurley will tell you that.
No, but we got slaves.
Jee Hagadorn getting inside
that head of yours?
The way to a woman's heart, boy,
ain't by rejecting your own kin...
...and parroting the asinine opinions
of her father.
How about a rollicking now, sis?
There'll be no rollicking
in this house, Ni.
I would be pleased to hear...
... "Am I Not a Man and Brother?"
Whatever Father wants.
Am I not a man and a brother?
Ought I not then to be free?
Sell me not to one another
Take not thus my liberty
Ought I not then to be free?
Did I carry the tune?
Carried the meaning.
You're a blessing to me, Esther.
You're a real blessing.
You play like...
Like an angel.
Just like your mother did.
The Camptown ladies
Sing this song, doo-da, doo-da
Camptown ladies sing this song
Oh, de doo-da day
Oh, de doo-da day
Oh, de doo-da day
Camptown ladies sing this song
Oh, de doo-da day
Thunder and lightning
are the judgments of divine will.
To put a lightning rod atop a building, atop
a temple consecrated to the Almighty... an act of insolent defiance.
You cannot still the hand of God.
You cannot silence
the booming artillery of heaven.
Men know not whence cometh the wind.
We know only that the Lord rides the storm,
and he reaps the whirlwind.
It's nothing but foolishness.
"As lightning cometh from the east
and shineth in the west...
- will be the coming of the Lord."
- Can you talk sense?
A lightning rod will keep this church
from burning down.
What the good Lord chooses to burn,
no man can prevent.
Be it bush or temple.
The Lord helps him who helps himself.
And so we are justly proud that it was
a York state man, Charles Rand...
...who was the first to answer
President Lincoln's call for volunteers.
A little chalk dust is nothing compared
to the smoke of the Battle of Shiloh.
While some men frolic...
...others are trampling out the vintage
where the grapes of wrath are stored.
An apple for the teacher.
"A rose by any other name
would smell as sweet."
Who said that?
William Shakespeare.
- Father would have known that...
- Esther.
Now, there's a beautiful name.
This may sound silly to you,
but it's your name.
That's the matter.
- Beech?
- No. Jeff.
I just... I don't like saying it.
It's the name of the president
of the rebellion.
- A traitor.
- But it's my name too.
Middle name, anyways.
Thomas Jefferson Beech.
I was born with it
before Jeff Davis ever whistled "Dixie."
I know, it's just...
- Your first name is so much nicer.
- Thomas?
Let's just make it Tom.
Then call me Tom.
Start the potatoes tomorrow.
Who you talking to?
Don't see any other Jeffs hereabouts.
You don't see one here neither.
I ain't Jeff no more.
Name's Tom.
Jeff is Jeff Davis.
I don't want no traitor name.
You're named after Thomas Jefferson,
you idiot. Is he a traitor?
Heh, no.
He's a slaver, though, wasn't he?
He wrote the Declaration of Independence,
you fool.
I don't imagine his slaves
was too independent.
Whatever you call yourself, you and Jimmy
are starting the potatoes tomorrow.
Or can't we call him Jimmy?
I don't know.
Who'd your parents name you for?
Likely, Jimmy Madison.
Is that okay with the Hagadorns?
Oh, yeah.
Come on now, Ray.
You can't be sitting in the shadows.
Keep not thy talents hid. Come on.
Byron's right.
Up you go.
- Care for a drink?
- Yes, thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen,
hearken to the voice of an angel...
...set down on this earth.
Mr. Ray Hare.
Esther Hagadorn, eh?
Her father's crazier than a shithouse rat,
but she's a prize, Jeff.
She's a true prize.
Just remember:
"Always to court and never to wed
is the heaviest life that ever was led."
Has it feet like water lilies?
Has it feathers like a bird?
Is it brought
From famous countries
Of which I have never heard?
Bright shining of the sun
Will the morning ever
Will the morning
Ever come?
Morning, Abner.
Thanks. All right.
This from you?
Good deal of sense in this.
But if I have something to say,
I say it direct.
I've always respected you, Abner.
I still do.
But I don't want to see politics
tear our community apart.
- Already has.
- It's Democrats who rend this country asunder.
It's Abraham Lincoln and his Republicans
tearing us apart, and the Constitution.
Closing down newspapers,
putting critics in prison.
Enlisting mere boys... fight in his unconstitutional war.
What would you have President Lincoln do?
The rebs fired first. Fort Sumter.
Should've let the South go.
They'd have not harmed us.
Not harmed us?
Hell, they've split the Union in two.
Just so they could keep black men
in bondage.
I am not a slaver.
I've never even seen a slave.
But the Constitution says it's none
of York state's business what Dixie does.
Those slave-ocrats, they're not
satisfied with their little corner.
They want to expand into Kansas,
into Nebraska...
...into New Mexico.
Good Lord, they want us to steal Cuba too.
How does that fit
your beloved Constitution?
I'm no party man.
I'm no expansionist neither.
I don't want Cuba.
Hell, I didn't even want Texas.
But I do not want our boys dying.
And I don't want the Constitution dying
with them.
The Union, Abner.
Doesn't the Union mean anything to you?
It means something.
It means more than something.
But it doesn't mean everything.
My family means more to me. My farm.
The Corners means more.
York state means more to me.
And though we disagree, Avery... mean more to me than any Union.
Good day to you.
Good day, Abner.
Mid toil and tribulation
And tumult of her war
She waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore
Till with the vision glorious
Her longing eyes are blessed
And the great church victorious
Shall be the church at rest
The prophet saw...
...rising out of the sea...
...a beast with seven heads...
...and 10 horns.
On its horns were 10 diadems...
...and on its head were blasphemous names.
This beast uttered proud boasts...
...and the people cowered in fear asking:
"Who can compare with the beast
or who can fight against it?"
I wonder at the names...
...of those seven heads.
Could they be Stephen Douglas...
...James Buchanan...
...John C. Calhoun...
...Lewis Cass...
...John Breckinridge...
...Franklin Pierce...
...Horatio Seymour?
Blessed are the peacemakers.
Is that still in the Bible?
Yeah, not so fast with those cans, Hurley.
From now on, I want to see measurements.
- Measurements?
- Measurements.
There's talk of certain people
watering their milk.
You want to see measurements.
Watering milk?
What the hell are you talking about?
You ain't never done this before.
Abner Beech started this cheese factory.
He's an honest man.
- He wouldn't cheat the devil himself.
- So you say.
Abner Beech gave you the land
for this factory.
Water his milk?
You're not worth it.
You take the milk down to Juno Mills...
...and if they give you any trouble about
it, ask for Will Bishop and he'll vouch.
Go on.
Thank you.
So, what's the verse for today, Father?
Ah. Brother will betray
brother unto death...
...and the father, his child.
Children will rebel
against their parents...
...and have them put to death.
Mark 13, either verse 11 or 12.
I can't quite remember.
Ni and I have no plans
to put you to death, Father.
Just say you won't marry him.
And why would I marry Tom Beech?
I see the way you look at him.
He at you.
I'm a blind pilgrim in
this world, but even I...
...can see when a boy sparks a girl.
Dear Father,
sparks don't always lead to a fire.
If you marry him...
...well, you will kill me.
You ain't a bit well, Abner.
I'm likely as well as I'm ever to be again.
Has any more of them been saying
or doing anything?
You think I care a picayune
what they say or do?
They won't take my timber.
Accuse me of watering milk
in the factory I started.
That's what happens
when you tear up the Constitution.
Contracts no good. Charters don't count.
Man's own kids and kin turn against him.
- Where is Jeff?
- Fishing. He went off about 2:00.
They say they're biting like anything
down in the creek.
Well, stick to your work
and they won't bite you.
Sons. They make their own way.
Where do you think Jeff was last night?
Where do you think he is right this minute?
Fishing? Ha! He's down to the schoolhouse
with the Hagadorn girl.
The only thing Jeff's ever been
studious about is that teacher.
Daughter of Jee Hagadorn.
The child of that whining,
backbiting scoundrel.
Been eating his way into
me like a deer tick.
I'd not be surprised if he's behind every
mean and miserable thing that's happened.
And naturally, it's his daughter
Jeff takes a shine to.
It was you that got her the job
teaching school.
Well, that hasn't anything to do with it.
Ah. I'm not blaming her.
She's a good gal, as far as I know.
Quality, like her mother.
The world is turning upside down, M'rye.
At least the Corners is.
Lies taken for truth... neighbors turning against me.
Now my son, my only son.
- Maybe if you speak to Jeff...
- Oh, I'll speak to him, all right.
I'll speak to him so he hears me.
Boy, you run down the creek road
and see can you find Jeff.
If he's not around the schoolhouse,
he'll be around the Hagadorns'.
Tell him get back here now.
And you needn't tell him what about.
Go on, pick up your feet.
Thank you, dear.
You want a lift?
Get in. I ain't gonna bite.
You seen Jeff?
Can't call him Jeff no more.
You have to call him Tom.
I suppose your pa put him up to it.
Maybe so, maybe no.
Pa is funny on names.
He's mortified I don't up and kill people
on account of my name being Benaiah.
He says to me, "Boy, here I named you
after David's General Benaiah...
...who killed him
an 8-foot Egyptian giant...
...and instead of making ready
to kill the enemies...
...all you do is read dime novels
and cut up monkeyshines.
Should have named you Pete or Steve
or William Henry." Heh.
That's what I get every day.
Last time he went after me
for "Benaiah," I said:
"Now, look here, patriarchs in glass houses
mustn't heave stones.
You're named after Jehoiada.
In the Bible he made a covenant with God.
I ain't never seen you make no covenant.
All you do is make barrels."
Well, what did he say?
I left before he said anything.
Abner wants you
to come right straight home.
Pa send you to say that?
There ain't nothing the matter at the farm?
He don't want me for nothing special?
He didn't say.
He just said he wanted you home.
Tell Pa I ain't coming.
Tell the old man and Ma
I'm going to enlist in the Army.
If they want to say goodbye,
they can send word...
...I'll manage to slip back.
If they ain't willing...
...they needn't send word.
- Tom, don't you think...?
- His name's Jeff.
You oughtn't leave them like that.
Bye, boy.
You'll empty out the creek with that pole.
Jeff says he's going to join the Army and if you
want to say goodbye, you're to let him know.
That's what he said.
You'd better go around and get your supper.
Be safe.
Troops, fall in
behind the band in force. Quickly.
By the way he marched so proudly...'d have thought Warner Pitts
was God's gift to the Union Army.
- The big coward.
- He is not.
I thought he looked smart.
Brave and smart.
I think he just wanted to get out of town
before your tummy started showing.
Well, it's an ill wind
that blows nobody good.
I could eat a horse and chase its rider.
What does Mr. Beech say
of Jeff running off to the Army?
He don't say nothing.
Jeff is as good as dead.
Don't matter if he wins the war all by
hisself. Mr. Beech ain't got a son no more.
Except Jimmy.
You're the new son.
- Long as he stays clear of Hagadorns.
- Ain't no other Hagadorn girls besides Esther.
You ain't gonna steal Esther
while Jeff's at the war, are you, Jimmy?
Till's got no man now that Warner's gone.
Well, once upon a time,
Till was pure as the snow. Heh.
But she drifted.
She's a little long in the tooth for you,
but a desperate woman ain't choosy.
Don't let these hussies taunt you. Wouldn't
know a real man if he fell from the sky.
- Soon it'd be time for the husking bee, won't it?
- No husking bee for us.
Husking bee for everybody else,
but not for us.
You recall when we set up a ring of big
pumpkins over at the Seymours' place?
And we all sat on them under the moonlight
and Lem Hornbeck played his fiddle?
We all danced and danced
and sang all the night?
Yes, I do.
I like the husking bees later in the year.
The cider and the pumpkin pies, big fire.
I know many a husband and wife
that started at a bee.
All the men are going off to war.
Ain't no one left for bees
except Jimmy and copperheads.
Even if we was to be invited, which we
in this household ain't likely to be...
Stop it. Enough about husking bees.
No husking bees this year.
None. Back to work.
- Janey, bring some taters from the root cellar.
- Yes, ma'am.
Ain't it funny how Jeff calls this
our underground railroad?
He says ain't nobody had ever expect Mr. Beech
hiding runaways in our root cellar.
Railroad don't stop here, Janey.
The road to sweet Athy, hurroo, hurroo
While goin' the road to sweet Athy
Hurroo, hurroo
While goin' the road to sweet Athy
A stick in me hand, a drop in me eye
A doleful damsel I did spy
And, Johnny, I hardly knew ye
Listen, Paddy.
This ain't no time for singing.
Ain't you heard?
Twenty thousand dead
in a place called Antietam.
- And where would that be now?
- Maryland.
Where you and your kind
would be more welcomed.
My kind?
- I'm as American as you.
- Then why ain't you fighting at Antietam...
- ...instead of scrounging liquor around here?
- Because I don't fight for no Abe Lincoln.
Nor for any blasted Union.
- I'm a Democrat.
- You're a copperhead.
Yeah, that's right.
Slither away, copperhead.
Crawl all the way back to Virginia
where you belong. Get on.
What was that about?
Some of these local boys ain't been reading
the same books we have in Abner's library.
"Fight, fight, fight,"
that's their answer to everything.
At least Hagadorn stands on principle.
A shouting Methodist, a temperance fanatic,
a damned abolitionist...
...but he stands on principle.
I gotta give him that.
Ten years ago, an abolitionist
wouldn't get arrested in Dearborn County.
Oh, yeah, an abolitionist would
get arrested in Dearborn County.
Jee Hagadorn was the only one.
And he was a lonely one.
County gave Frank Pierce the vote in '52,
Jimmy Buchanan the vote in '56.
And then we turn around,
we vote Abe Lincoln in '60.
Hagadorn won.
And the thing is,
he's still the same jackass he ever was.
Guess I'll hop off and walk a spell.
Suit yourself.
Just gonna find out
if they heard anything more.
Anything about Jeff.
I'll just look in and see
and then I can cut home across lots.
Whoa, boy, whoa.
Tch-tch! Hup.
No one to love
No one to love
Why no one to love?
What have you done in this beautiful world
That you're sighing
Of no one to love?
Jimmy, I didn't know you were here.
Are you hungry?
I've roasted an ear of corn
but it's the worst kind of failure.
I've watched Ni do it a hundred times,
but with me... always comes out scorched and smoky.
It's tougher than a pharaoh's heart.
Here, try a bit. See what you think.
I came to see if you heard anything,
any news.
About Tom?
About Jeff.
No. All we know is that the brigade
his regiment was in lost.
One hundred and forty-one killed,
560 wounded and 38 missing.
That's all.
That's all.
Mine eyes have seen
the glory Of the coming of the Lord
He is trampling at the vintage
Where the grapes of wrath are stored
He hath loosed the fateful lightning
With his terrible swift sword
His truth is marching on
- Has word come? Have you heard? Is he safe?
- The day has come. Yeah.
But Tom. Tom. You've seen his name.
He's safe.
Perish a hundred Toms.
Yea! Ten thousand Toms
on one such day as this.
Pray with me, child, for the Scarlet Woman
of Babylon is overthrown...
...and bound with chains,
and cast into a lake of fire.
In one day shall all her plagues come,
death and mourning and famine...
...and she shall be utterly burned.
But the list. You've seen the list?
You've seen his name?
I didn't see!
Oh, child...
...Lincoln has signed a proclamation
freeing the slaves.
My child.
What should I care...
...for all your Toms and
Dicks and Harrys...
...on such a day as this?
Woe is the great city of Babylon...
...the strong city...
...for in one hour is thy judgment come.
Glory, glory, hallelujah
Glory, glory...
Can't believe Ray Hare is dead.
Simpleminded, but, oh, could he sing.
Tenderhearted too. Wouldn't hurt a fly.
Not a good quality in a soldier, I suspect.
Still, the nicest kid
you'd ever wanna know.
Yeah, but he sang for that old copperhead.
- Maybe it was the Lord's idea of justice.
- Nonsense.
Abner Beech is a stiff-backed old mule,
but he ain't the devil.
I surely hope it ain't a judgment
on poor Ray.
I've hired out in season to the Beeches
for two years now.
Not bad people, but awful copperheadish.
What's Abner say about his son missing?
He won't talk about it.
It's like Jeff never lived.
It ain't natural.
- You reckon that orphan took Jeff's place?
- Jimmy is like a son, but Jeff is a son.
- What does this "missing" mean anyway?
- Means taken prisoner.
Ah. Rebs don't take no prisoners.
They catch them, they shoot them.
Well, you all can ask Warner Pitts
when he comes home.
Wounded in action.
A hero, I hear.
Warner Pitts? Hero?
A hero of many a well-fought bottle.
So, Warner,
how come they ain't made you general yet?
In due time, Lambert, in due time.
First, let this old leg heal,
then I'll be busy as a fiddler's elbow...
...trampling out every copperhead snake
and secret reb from here to Ohio.
What about the missing?
They say Jeff Beech and Byron Truax
is missing.
- What do you expect happened to them?
- Can't say I know.
We were part of Hooker's line.
All the boys from the Corners.
We were moving through a cornfield,
seemed like 10 feet high.
When we came to a clearing,
the rebs met us with cannons and muskets...
...and the fury of hell.
Half of us fell dead or wounded.
The other half hightailed it back
into the high corn.
Which did you do, Warner?
I got hit in the leg.
Mini ball. Worst kind of hit you can take.
That knocked me ass over teakettle.
Just a flesh wound, but
it smarted like hell.
I looked over...
...and I seen Ray Hare lying on the ground.
"Ray," I says, "you okay?"
Didn't move.
Crept over to him.
My hand to his shoulder.
And then I seen a big hole
where his eye used to be.
I got away after a while...
...hooked up with a Michigan regiment...
...but I lost track of the boys.
Don't know what became of Jeff or Byron,
Elijah or Anson.
Maybe they died in the cornfield.
Maybe they got captured. Maybe they ran.
I don't...
I don't know.
I just do not know.
It was treason, I tell you.
Treachery and treason.
We had the rebels right where we wanted
them, but those traitors in Washington...
...they let them cross over the Potomac
in their own sweet time.
He ain't good enough
to hang from the sourest crab apple tree.
- Go, Jee, give them hell.
- Huh?
- Hanging's too good for them.
- Too good indeed. McClellan...
...and those infernal Union generals
ought to be cast...
...into the eternal fire.
Burn them all.
Burn them.
Did you pay for those
raisins, Mr. Abolition?
Or do you intend to emancipate them
from our store...
...the way you'd emancipate the slaves?
Oh, Mrs. Watkins.
What do you care about the poor bondsman?
You and your Susan B. Anthony.
Rights for women?
That's nothing more than strumpets preaching
the heretical doctrine of free love.
I don't know if Mrs. Watkins holds
with free love, Hagadorn.
But she sure don't believe in a free lunch.
A little rain.
What do I do with him, Lord?
What do I do with him?
You winning the argument
with yourself, Pa?
Why weren't you there, boy? At Watkins?
Political rumble-bumble don't interest me.
The liberty of mankind don't interest you?
The fate of the republic
don't interest you?
Traitors like McClellan don't interest you?
Copperhead vipers in our own backyard
don't interest you?
I thought the copperhead
was a Southern serpent.
- I ain't never seen one in York state.
- Then you ain't looking.
"Crush the serpent's head."
We got a serpent in our own backyard here.
Abner Beech is a copperhead...
...and a copperhead is a snake.
Yup, the copperhead is a snake.
Abner Beech is a man.
Maybe he don't share your notions,
maybe he's wrong, but he's a man.
My own boy can't tell the difference
between a man and a snake.
Read Genesis, Ni.
I have, Pa.
Guess I'm too much like Adam.
I bite the apple every time.
Even a Beech heard the call to arms.
It shames me... see you loafing around the Corners...
...when others are doing the Lord's work.
I didn't know the Lord's work was killing.
There's a time for everything, Ni.
And now is the time for carrying the sword.
There's too many folks carrying swords.
Not enough pulling plows.
I'm no fighter, Pa. You know that.
You're a sore disappointment to me, boy.
A sore disappointment.
Go on.
So Mr. Lincoln emancipated the slaves.
If that's what he wants to call it.
Emancipating slaves by enslaving free men.
Hey, Abner,
what's wrong with freeing the slaves?
I mean, ain't they human too?
The president don't have any
right to do that on his own.
It ain't in the Constitution.
Mr. Jefferson wrote
that all men are created equal.
Those slaves are men, ain't they?
They are.
They surely are.
But there are cures worse
than the disease.
And war...
War ain't a cure for this.
Slavery ain't right.
Jimmy, not by my lights,
not by our lights, not by...
...nobody's lights, save the redhots
down by the cotton states thereabouts.
But killing people...
...destroying whole cities and towns...
...and turning the government in Washington
into God's almighty army...
...that ain't right either.
Only make things worse, as I see it.
It'll only make for a lot of...
A lot of dead boys.
Whoa! Whoa, whoa, whoa!
The latest crop.
The ones that could be identified.
Ray Hare's on top. Killed at Antietam.
We're returning him home to his kin
for proper burial.
Hmph. What's left of him.
He sure was a fine singer.
That he was.
I am the resurrection
and the light, sayeth the Lord.
He that believeth in me, though
he were dead, yet shall he live.
Whosoever liveth and believeth in me
shall never die.
I know that my redeemer liveth...
...and that he shall stand at
the latter day upon the earth.
And though after my skin worms
destroy this body...
...yet in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see for myself...
...and mine eyes shall behold,
and not another.
We brought nothing into this world...
...and it is certain we carry nothing out.
The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Abner at home?
He's around here somewheres.
You heard something fresh?
No, nothing.
Only want to talk it
over with Abner is all.
He'll boot you off the place if you try.
No, me and Abner is all right.
Hello, Abner.
You seen Warner Pitts since he got back?
Hardly recognize him now.
Think he'd never hoofed it over plowed land
in all his life.
He's got his boots blacked
and his hair slicked.
And he's wearing shoulder straps
and a sword.
And he's the envy of many a gal
including Till.
Holding court at the Corners
like he owns the damn place.
Warner Pitts can go to the devil.
And take his sword with him.
Well, that's what I say too, Abner.
What beats me is how a fool like that can get
to be an officer right from the word "go."
Him being the poorest
shot in the whole lot.
I mean, I could understand Byron Truax
as an officer, or your own Jeff...
Whoa! Whoa!
That's enough, Ni.
Up. Keep going.
- Up.
- Abner, what's the use of getting mad for?
Let me have my say. When I'm done,
you don't like it, no one's the worse off.
Ain't giving you your apple back, though.
- Ain't none of your business, Ni.
- Maybe so, maybe no.
Such a thing as being neighborly.
Taking things kindly, as they're meant.
I've summered them and I've wintered them.
And the Lord could take the caboodle
of them tomorrow and I wouldn't care.
They've lied about me and taken from me.
Taken from me things
no man had ought to lose.
It takes all sorts of people
to make a world, Abner.
- You've got nothing particularly against me.
- No, but your breed.
Breed? That don't count.
What does a breed amount to?
You're the last one who should lug that.
You've up and soured on your own breed,
your own son, Jeff.
You're a cheeky cuss, aren't you?
Who put you up into coming
and talking to me this way?
It's all my own idea. Hope to die.
Riled me to see you moping up here
not knowing what's become of Jeff...
...and acting like you don't care
when you do care.
Jeff sowed.
Now he must reap.
You'd feel easier in your mind
if you knew where he was...
- ...and so would M'rye.
- He snuck out behind our backs... join Lincoln's gang and levy war against
countrymen of his never done him no harm.
Now, I'm not one to lug scripture
into an argument, like some I know.
But my feeling is:
Who so taketh up the sword
shall perish by the sword.
- Guess I'll talk with M'rye about all this.
- She has borne enough.
I don't know what's possessed me, standing
around gabbing my affairs with you.
I bear you no ill will, Ni.
If fathers can't help the sons they raise up,
why less can you blame sons on their fathers.
But this ain't a thing I want to talk about
with you, not now nor ever.
Abner, I'm going south.
I'm gonna find Jeff if it takes a leg.
I don't know how much it'll cost.
I've got a little of my own saved up,
but I thought...
Perhaps you might like to...
Ni, you know I'm not a mean man.
And you know also that if...
If that boy had behaved decent...
...there's not a thing under the sun
I wouldn't have done for him.
I'm obliged to you for offering.
You fill your pockets with apples...
...if they taste good to you.
I don't want your damned apples.
You ain't going south.
Yes, I am.
I can work my way south.
Jeff would do it for me. I know he would.
Beautiful things they are.
They surely are. The Democrat tickets.
In all the Corners, do you think a single
solitary soul is gonna vote for the Democrats?
A vote for principle is
never wasted, Hurley.
Thomas Jefferson himself called the ballot:
"The rational and peaceable instrument
of reform."
- We'll cast ours with pride.
- As many of them as they'll be allowing us.
When will people learn?
Lincoln. Lincoln is now conscripting
mere boys into the Army...
...because not enough are volunteering.
He's calling it, uh, a draft.
We will cast our votes for the Constitution
and for the Democrat party...
...and we will walk
through the gates of hell...
- ...if we have to to cast these ballots.
- Wish I could go.
Oh. A Democrat woman.
Janey, you do tempt me.
- Your name?
- Still Abner Beech.
Timothy Joseph Hurley.
You got your, uh, naturalization papers?
That I have. That I have.
They make no good.
What's that you're saying?
I've voted on them same papers
every year since 1852...
...when I helped put Frank Pierce in the
White House. No good, is it? No good?
- Why ain't they good?
- Because they ain't, that's why.
Don't block the window.
Real Americans want to vote.
- I'll call the law on you.
- Shut up, you Mick!
- Don't let him vote!
- One copperhead's one too many.
Kill him! Kill that copperhead!
You stay back away!
Timothy Joseph Hurley.
Timothy Joseph Hurley.
It was not a red letter day
for civilization, I'm afraid.
Come on.
Give us just one so we can see who won.
- Thank you.
- Thank you.
The copperheads have won.
- What?
- "Seymour elected governor."
We lost the district by 80 votes.
Goodbye, liberty.
Ain't nothing for you.
No copperhead papers here.
If you don't give me that paper, I will
tell Abner and he'll make you sweat for it.
"For Governor Horatio Seymour, 306,649.
James S. Wadsworth, 295,897.
Democratic-Constitutional Union Party
We also win lieutenant governor,
canal commissioner...
...clerk of the court of appeals
and inspector of state prisons.
Maybe we can set free all those Democrats
that the abolitionists stuck in their jails.
Oh, what a fine day is this.
Oh, looks like York state
caught copperhead fever.
I heard Till wailing about it.
Here she quits us
because her big hero came home...
...and now she's saying Warner went
and got himself shot for nothing.
"The Peace Party won the election," she said,
as if it was the worst thing in the world.
Oh. Let's light the bonfire tonight.
Let every mother's son down at the Corners
see it blaze.
Tell them we won.
By God, we could take back the Congress.
If that happens, it's a done matter.
The war is over.
The South will return.
We'll have our Union back
and our Constitution.
Well, what if the South won't come back?
What if they say, "Yanks, you go your way,
we'll go ours. Thank you."
Why, then we just leave them out.
Leave the South right out of it.
This war, this...
This wicked war between brothers, it...
It has to end.
That's why we had to vote on Tuesday.
That's why we went to the Corners
and cast those ballots.
- For the Democrats.
- For peace, Janey. For peace.
Just think you what's been going on.
Great armies being raised.
Hundreds of thousands of honest men...
...taken from their livelihoods and their
families and set to murdering each other.
Whole districts of the country
torn up by the roots...
...and homes desolated and the land
filled with widows and orphans.
And nigh on every house,
a house of mourning.
...ain't been feeling over and above well.
Janey, we will have your bonfire.
And we'll use that pile of scrap
down by the cow barn.
Oh, Jimmy. Real nice.
This is the fire of liberty.
Wonder how they like this
down in the Corners.
Good evening, miss.
How do you do, Mr. Beech?
I've come to see you
about something that is very pressing.
Janey, lay another place to supper.
- No, I can't.
- It'll be there for you if you want to.
Sit down, please.
In one sense, we ain't your friends.
There's a heap of things we shouldn't talk about
because they'll only lead to bad feeling.
So we'll leave all that severely behind.
I understand.
- That being said, what's the matter at hand?
- There seems to be different stories...
...but the gist is that a number of leading Union
generals have been discovered to be traitors.
McClellan has been dismissed
from his place at the head of the Army...
...ordered to return to New Jersey
under arrest.
And they say others
are to be treated the same way.
And some think it will be a hanging matter.
That is just spite
because we licked them at the elections.
I wouldn't worry your head about that.
That isn't all.
There's been discovered a big conspiracy about
secret sympathizers all over the North.
We've heard that since the first
day of war. There is no evidence.
They say these conspirators
are in every state of the North...
...and that they plan to bring across
infected clothes from Canada...
...and spread smallpox among us.
What kind of cock-and-bull story
will they hatch next?
You don't mean that a girl with a good head
on her shoulders give ear to such tomfoolery.
It doesn't matter what I believe. What
matters is what they believe at the Corners.
- Damn the Corners.
- Mr. Beech, they're coming here tonight.
That bonfire of yours made them mad.
Heaven only knows what they're gonna do
when they get here.
I couldn't bear not to tell you.
I'm obliged.
Whatever happens, I'm obliged.
I would be all the more set
on you staying to supper.
You have a hungry look, Hurley.
Red and ruddy.
I've been kissed by strawberries
on the hill, as the poet says.
You like Mr. Whittier's poetry?
Don't know about his poems, ma'am.
Can't say I like his politics.
Perhaps poetry is more important
than politics.
Mr. Beech, I asked a school friend of mine to
send me the papers that came to her house.
I've been going through them religiously
whenever I could be alone.
I don't mean to say I don't think
you're wrong. I do think you're wrong.
But I am starting to understand how you
should believe yourself to be right.
Smoke the damned copperheads out!
I wasn't born in the woods
to be scared by an owl.
Come on out now, copperheads!
Eat up.
Hey, copperhead!
You're not being very social.
I got a nice, warm
pot of tar waiting for you.
Yeah, copperhead, it's in your honor.
Come on out.
M'rye, take Janey and Jimmy upstairs.
Stay there.
Hurley, get the ax. Stay
by the kitchen door.
I think you had ought to go home, dear.
You can leave by the back door.
Come on out!
What are you waiting for, Abner?
Why don't you join us?
Not afraid of a little fire, are you?
We've come to take you and Paddy out
for a little ride on the rail.
Hey, Mick, you wanna be a black Irishman?
Yeah, let me at him.
- A celebration.
- You know, the fire is warm.
Niggers wanna share some tar.
Come on out, copperheads!
They're all traitors.
Come on out, copperheads.
Come on out.
Come on out, Paddy!
They're leaving.
Abner, the house is on fire!
M'rye, look what I found.
Not the fires of hell could burn that.
Jeff used to play with it for hours
at a stretch when he was a baby.
Who is it?
Where is my daughter?
Come in.
Never under your roof.
- I swore I never would, and I never will.
- Under my roof?
You'd need a crowbar to get under my roof.
What's left of it.
I haven't a house anymore, Hagadorn.
So your oath ain't binding.
The Bible says swear not at all,
so come in.
Where's my daughter?
I stand on a father's rights.
I sent Esther out to you.
Just before your redhots
lit up my house like Gomorrah!
We didn't intend for that.
Well, burning out a viper's nest
is a tricky business.
But your Esther ain't here.
Well, I been home. She's not home.
Good Lord.
Hurley, Janey, bring the lanterns, quick.
Esther! Esther!
- Esther!
- Esther!
- Esther!
- Esther!
- Esther!
- Esther!
Well, old '76, what's the word?
Is she...?
Well, we looked and looked,
but there weren't no sign of her.
We'll look again come morning light.
Likely she just run off in the woods.
Why did they burn our house down?
War's a...
It's a fever, son.
It's a fever, and you...
You get het up, and the fever
push you out of your right mind.
You do things you wouldn't do
if you weren't sick.
...kill, you maim.
You lose sight of...
...who you are, where you live.
It's like you've got no...
No kin no more.
No neighbors.
You lose...
You lose your bearings.
And you...
...ain't who you really are.
Well, well, well.
If it ain't Winfield
Scott and Robert E. Lee.
War must be over
if you boys have come home.
Why don't you come on in here
and tell me a war story?
I'm sorry, Jeff.
Others got it worse.
Tell me a good story.
Embellish it as you find necessary.
How about you hear a true tale of courage
and bravery right out of Fenimore Cooper.
That would please me very much, Ni.
Stick to the facts only
when it's convenient.
Well, uh...
...the fact is,
after taking my leave of the Corners...
...I hopped a freight train to Albany,
made it down to New York on a riverboat.
Hitched up
with the Sanitary Commission folks.
Got them to let me sail on a boat
to Annapolis.
I hung around Camp Parole,
talking with fellas...
...who'd been prisoners in Richmond
and got exchanged and sent north.
And, uh, they said there's a whole slew
of our fellas in Southern prisons...
...brought in after Antietam...
...and they was getting paroled in
exchange for the Johnny Rebs we captured.
I waited around Camp Parole.
And then, uh, one day,
along comes Mr. Blue Jay himself.
"Long way from the Corners,"
he says, I joshed him back...
...and I went to see the commissioner
about his exchange... his papers fixed up,
and that's all there is to it.
Thank you.
Is that all there is to it, Jeff?
Wish I could tell you a tale, Mr. Avery...
...but there's the war you read about
in the newspaper...
...and there's the war that really is.
Me and Byron Truax was fighting in
a cornfield and got chased out.
We lost our regiment and fell in
with some stragglers from Michigan.
We waded through a creek and set our sights
on taking a battery on top of a knoll...
...but we didn't see the sharpshooters
hidden behind a rail fence.
These rebs gave it to us straight.
Mowed us all down.
Byron got it right in the face.
Let out a kind of little
cry, and that was it.
At dusk, the rebs come out
looking for guns and blankets off the dead.
Most everybody was dead, or nearly so...
...but a few of us was playing possum...
...because it would have been a sure death
to get up.
Were you hurt?
Just a scratch on the arm.
The rebs found me and the other living ones
and marched us to the rear of the line...
...where they skinned us like bandits
and marched us off to Richmond.
Your, um...
Your arm?
It was only a scratch, really.
But it got worse on the march
and it wasn't tended to decently.
And by the time we got to Libby,
it was purple-like.
Pus was leaking from it.
Smelled awful.
I was scared to death.
I ain't ashamed to say it.
Doctor at Libby took one look at it,
said it was gangrene.
Took me in this butcher shop
they called a hospital...
...fed me some whiskey,
and cut the damn thing off.
Thomas Jefferson Beech,
the one-armed man.
Mighty glad to see you back, Jeff.
You too, Ni.
Oh, my boy.
I fear no foe
With thee at hand
To bless
llls have no weight
And tears
No bitterness
Where is death's sting?
Where, grave
Thy victory?
Each triumphs still
If thou abide
With me
My pa was not a wishy-washy man.
No, sir.
Everything he did, he did all out.
And he did it for the Lord...
...whether he was pounding out firkins
or singing out psalms.
Some of you probably wish
he wasn't so all-out when he was singing.
He raised me and my sis all by himself.
He fed us on Bible verses
for breakfast, lunch and supper.
And I groused at that diet, but I guess some
of it stuck, and I'm grateful that it did.
Now, I ain't one for quoting chapters.
Seems to me one of the wisest things
he ever told us was this:
Love thy neighbor as thyself.
I'm gonna say that again.
Love thy neighbor as thyself.
Seems to me we do an awful poor job
of living up to that one.
Oh, we love our neighbor just fine
when the sun's out...
...and the crops are high and our
neighbor's agreeing with everything we say.
Oh, we love him just fine.
But he'll be a bit ornery...
...maybe got a different way
of looking at things.
All of a sudden, we don't love our neighbor
so much anymore.
In fact, we hate him.
And we'll call him names.
We'll burn his house down.
Maybe even kill him.
All the while we sit in church
mouthing the words... pretty little hymns
that we don't mean.
When I went down to Richmond... go pick up Jeff...
...I seen men... Boys really,
some no more than 16 years old.
...without arms and legs and eyes.
And they was the ones that wasn't killed.
They was the lucky ones.
I seen black slaves in Virginia..., 40, 50 years old...
...and they'd get bought
and sold and whipped...
...just because of the color of their skin.
And I seen all this...
...and I wondered what happened
to "love thy neighbor"?
And then I come home...
...and I see that Abner and M'rye's house
got burned to the ground...
...and I thought...
...what happened to "love thy neighbor"?
And I found my father dead.
Dead as any soldier on a battlefield.
And I thought...
...what happened to "love thy neighbor"?
Nothing I can say can bring back Pa.
And nothing I can say
can bring back the Beeches' house.
Maybe in the face of all this madness...
...we can start loving our neighbor.
One-handed fishing
is gonna take some getting used to.
My cooking may take even more
getting used to.
I shall have to ask Ni for lessons.
What do you think will happen first...
...our wedding or the war's end?
That's an easy one.
First lesson of courtship:
Never make a long engagement
to a pretty girl.
It ain't natural.
As for the war...
...she has many a hand left to deal.
Many a sorrowful hand.