The Great Man's Lady (1942) Movie Script

Every day for 35 years
she's been
sitting down there
in that
infernal rocking chair
right under my nose.
Hannah Hoyt, Hannah Sempler,
whatever her right name is.
Rocking and smiling
and keeping the truth about
Ethan Hoyt all to herself.
And now,
today of all days,
Ethan Hoyt Day.
The day they are
dedicating his statue
in the city square.
She has to hide inside
the house somewhere
and pretend she doesn't know
it's any different
from 10,000 other days.
What is it?
Eastern reporters, huh?
On the square, huh?
Call off
my bloodhounds.
Who's watching
the back of the house?
Tell him to hop over
to the square.
Eastern reporters, hmm?
They're up to something.
No. Not a sign of life.
You bet.
Yeah, right away.
Who's watching
the front of the house?
Tell him not to let
those Eastern reporters
out of his sight.
I bet the old lady's
going to talk.
Depth bomb.
Yeah, this is Pierce.
Yeah, I've been
watching all morning.
No, just a few
glasses of beer.
I'm practically there.
All clear.
And so, my friends,
it is only fitting and proper
that we celebrate
the anniversary
of the birth
of a great American.
A man who founded
this great city of ours.
Who served unselfishly
in our country's
halls of Congress.
A man who died here
with the shining armor
of his ideals untarnished.
That's Froman of the AP
over there near Forbes.
That's Paula Wales
from Washington.
The other guy's Quentin
of The New York Times.
united in peace...
You know, they're
not here for buttons.
The chief was right.
I'll bet she's gonna talk.
to a man
who devoted the last 30 years
of his colorful life
to an unselfish fight
for the weak
against the powerful.
Even at the expense
of his own personal fortune.
My friends,
I give you a great man,
a great American,
Senator Ethan Hoyt.
Hannah Sempler's.
Miss Sempler's, please.
The Sempler woman's home.
Miss Hannah Sempler's house.
Follow them.
Hey, wait for me.
This is my cab.
Be a sport,
share it.
Where are you going?
Miss Hannah Sempler's.
Shake. The whole world's
going there.
All right, Forbes.
Bring up the artillery.
Well, that's one way.
I say, old boy,
that's a little unsporting.
If you want a story,
you get it.
She's not just news
anymore, she's history.
Tell the old lady
she's got guests.
Impatient guests.
Oh, the old boy himself.
To what do I owe
this peculiar honor
may I ask?
That's fine.
Hold it, Mrs. Hoyt.
My name is
Hannah Sempler.
May I ask
why you intrude here?
Miss Sempler,
I'd like to apologize
for all of us
for our rudeness
in breaking in
like this.
Very well, you may go.
The fact is, Miss Sempler,
forget our rudeness.
It's the public
who's broken in.
The public who has
the right to know.
The public, in who's eyes
Ethan Hoyt has grown
to the size
of a national hero.
The public, sir?
You are the public?
Miss Sempler,
you misunderstand.
We come here
humbly as it were,
seeking the answer
to a great human enigma.
A matter of history.
Were you married
to Ethan Hoyt?
Why did he die
in your home?
Was his real wife there?
You and he had any children?
Where are they?
Your claims, if true,
would make him a bigamist.
We ask you
to prove these claims
in the public interest.
The public, sir?
You aren't the public.
The public is made up of
millions of private homes
like mine.
In our homes,
we draw inspiration
from the memory
of our great men.
Like Senator Hoyt.
You seek to destroy
that memory.
You break in here
with cameras
and threats...
If that thing
goes off again...
You seek nothing
but scandal.
You'll find none here.
I bid you good day.
She can't prove a thing.
Because her story is nothing
but a pack of lies.
She's just an old windbag
trying to crash the limelight.
Stop it! Stop it.
Leave her alone.
You should be ashamed
of yourselves.
Whether her story
is true or not,
what right have you got
to persecute her like this?
Can't you see
she's helpless
and all alone?
She's a very old lady.
Yes, it's true.
I am old. Very old.
But I've made no claims,
I've told no lies.
Whatever I know is a matter
of my own private history.
I am content to remain silent
the rest of
my few days on Earth.
That is all.
Well, you came
with the rest of them.
What are you
waiting for?
Because I...
Yes, I know.
Got a public, too?
Not yet.
Of course not.
You're just a child.
But I will have.
I'm a biographer.
A what?
I'm writing on the life
of Senator Ethan Hoyt.
Nice job.
You like your work?
I think
he was one of the most...
Well, the most wonderful...
So do I.
Guess I ought to
know about that.
Then you have to help me.
Please, Miss Sempler.
I've spent three years
writing my book.
All the money I could raise.
I've got to know
what part you played,
were you married to him...
All sorts of things.
My book is worthless
without your help.
That's why
I had to see you.
Look away, girl.
Look all you like.
There's nothing much to see.
Just a hundred years
of memories.
Some good, some bad.
I ought to have been
buried years ago.
But you know, I...
I can't really say that.
I'd like to live
to be 200 years old.
Then you and I'd
both be old ladies
and we could
compare notes.
That is, if you had
any to compare.
Now, you run along
and leave me alone.
You come back
in a hundred years
and I'll talk to you.
You go along now.
One of the meanest things
about growing old.
You forget how important
everything seems
to young people.
Hey, girl.
Scat. Go on.
I'm all right.
I'll go now.
Nothing of the sort.
Listen, I have something
very special upstairs.
Twenty-year-old stuff.
Now, come on.
We'll have our own drink
to Senator Hoyt.
Over here.
Now you give me a hand.
That's a girl.
I'm as wiry
as the devil,
mind you,
but a climb
gets me down.
That's a girl.
You know, girl,
you need more gumption
and spirit.
Yes, that's what
you need.
Where'd you say
you learned about
Ethan Hoyt?
You'll never learn
a man out of books.
Or a woman either.
Ah, yes, girl.
Men were different
in those days.
Men like Ethan.
A drink in one hand,
and luck in the other.
Open the door, girl.
There was a band
playing in his heart
and the devil
in his eyes.
And I...
I was a very young lady
in a stuffy
Philadelphia house.
In the year 1848.
Well, I must say.
What's the matter?
Making a public spectacle
of yourself.
Mama says...
Oh, don't be stuffy.
Did you see
how he smiled?
A gentleman
would never
have dared.
You mean, like
my Mr. Cadwallader?
Mama says...
Because I dare say
he's never smiled
in his whole life.
But I almost died laughing
when he proposed to me.
"Miss Sempler, I...
"I have the great honor
to address myself
to your favor.
"I am quite willing
to overlook the fact
"that you have grown up
without a mother
"to instruct you
in the duties
of a proper wife.
"But your father and I
are thoroughly agreed
That's not right
and proper.
What's not?
Making fun of the man
you're betrothed to marry.
Oh, rats!
He's really betrothed
to my father.
Hannah Sempler...
Well, they made
the agreement, not I.
Parents know better.
How do I look?
I think he likes me.
Ethan Hoyt, of course.
Hannah Sempler!
Well, he smiled,
didn't he?
He always smiles.
Every time I see him,
he smiles.
That's because
he's a ne'er-do-well.
A what?
It means he lives
with the Indians...
Mama says...
...and smells dreadful
like a buffalo.
Prove it.
He makes his clothes
from dead animals.
Oh, that isn't buffalo.
It's all the same.
Well, then I think buffalos
must smell lovely,
like the fresh air
and the sun.
Where are you going?
But you can't.
Why not?
He's down there.
That's why I'm going.
Where are you going, honey?
Don't you go
in the library.
Why not?
There's a big private
confabulation in there.
But, Delilah,
I need a book.
You gonna need two books
when your father
catch you eavesdropping.
And they ain't going to be
in your hands neither.
Don't you go.
Gentlemen, I wish
I had the power to make
you see it with my own eyes.
Two great rivers
coming together
like an arrow.
Like a sign
from the Almighty,
Pointing out
the natural site
of a great new city.
And the public buildings,
all grouped around
a great square
filled with fountains
and trees.
And behind
the city, a hill.
And on the hill, homes.
Homes, gentlemen.
Filled with light and air.
And the country
Oh, if I only
had the power.
A virgin land,
like a poem.
Like a young maiden,
just awaking
from a long sleep.
As beautiful and as lovely
as an unexpected smile.
I'm sorry, Father.
I thought you might
like some brandy.
Miss Sempler.
Mr. Cadwallader.
My daughter, Hannah,
Mr. Hoyt.
Miss Hannah.
Mr. Cadwallader is betrothed
to my daughter.
I see.
Leave the room,
Yes, Father.
To your health.
I'm sure
you'll be very happy.
Leave the room at once, miss.
We've had enough
of your childish pranks.
Yes, Father.
You were saying, Mr. Hoyt?
Yes, I was saying...
Well, the truth
of the matter is,
Mr. Sempler,
I need your help.
Money and supplies.
You have a branch
in St. Louis
and I came to you
because... Well...
Because no other business firm
would carry your risk.
Because you knew my father,
Mr. Sempler.
Yes, and I had great respect
for his judgment.
Great respect.
That's why I have
listened to you.
I've named the city for him.
Hoyt City.
He was a man
of great vision.
Enough vision to say no
to a venture like this.
Well, then you mean...
I mean no.
But there's talk
of a railroad.
Don't you wild men realize
what you're doing?
Talk of expanding
the country.
All you're expanding
is the national debt.
Larger army, more taxes.
The country's large enough
as it is.
Well, you listen to me
Mr. Sempler.
You too, Mr. Cadwallader.
This country's
going to be bigger.
A whale of a lot bigger, too.
There are
2,000 miles of America
out beyond the Mississippi.
Land and riches
beyond belief.
And it's not going to belong
to men like you.
Men who won't take a risk.
It's going to belong to men
that aren't afraid.
Men with luck in one hand
and risk in the other.
Oh, you're so right.
You're so absolutely right.
Excuse me, please.
You think
he's really going to...
I do, indeed.
Then you really
believe in...
She's a very headstrong
young girl, Mr. Hoyt.
And I suppose
after your marriage
you really intend to...
Oh, yes, indeed.
It helps maintain
the home.
Of course,
out where I come from...
You have women
out West?
Oh, yes. Some.
Yes, but mostly
Indian squaws,
I presume.
Only the Indians
have them.
I've heard otherwise.
Well, don't let me
influence you.
Exactly. I thought so.
I suppose that you...
Rope them.
You what?
Rope them, Mr. Cadwallader,
and brand them with hot irons
and hang them
on forked sticks
over a hot fire.
Cows, Mr. Cadwallader.
Oh, I thought
we were talking
about women.
Why, if we had women
like you have back here,
we'd treat them like queens.
Mr. Hoyt, I'd ask you
to remain
for supper, only...
I understand.
Now, just
one thing more.
About the matter of risk.
I don't want you to go away
with the wrong impression.
A good safe risk
is another story.
We take risks
every day.
Why, right this very year
it's a fair risk
that we'll make
only 10% profit
instead of 12.
That's all right,
I think you both
lost something.
My odds are all or nothing.
Good night.
I done
warned you,
honey lamb.
About the books.
Appears like to me
you need
the whole library.
Oh, that.
It didn't hurt.
Then what you
standing up for, child?
Yes, honey?
Were you
ever engaged?
I ain't telling.
I mean, engaged,
it's not like
being married, is it?
Sakes, no, child.
Engaged is maybe.
And married is done done.
Then if a girl got married
she'd have to
let him kiss her?
Who kiss who?
What all this nonsense?
Mr. Cadwallader.
That little Cadwallader
been trying to fun around?
Oh, of course not, Delilah.
Then what for
you worrying?
You don't fool
Delilah none, honey.
Oh, Delilah,
I'm in love.
Were you ever in love?
I ain't telling.
You're the
"ain't telling-est"
Ain't telling
is ain't fooling.
You're just a child.
No, Delilah, not now.
I'm in love. I...
Get in bed.
Good night,
sugar lamb.
Please go away.
In the morning.
For goodness sake.
I mean,
I'm going for good.
But you'll wake everyone.
I warn you.
I'll wake the dead.
Are you mad?
Stark, staring mad.
I believe you are.
Then come down here.
Oh, I can't.
Then I'll come up there.
Oh, no, no.
It's night.
Awfully quiet.
But it's...
It's public.
Awfully public.
Well, sir?
Well, then.
They say a full moon
makes people
do strange things.
Yeah, I guess so.
Like it's not me here,
not really.
I think we'd
better go back.
Do you
feel strange, too?
You're afraid
of something.
Of what?
I don't know.
No, there aren't any.
I know, but pretend.
Pretend what?
That there are Indians.
There really are. Listen.
How do you
stalk them?
Do what?
Stalk, you know,
like hunting.
Well, different ways.
Show me one.
Go on.
Go on.
That's fine.
Get down.
They're coming.
For goodness sake.
You shouldn't
be here.
Well, of all things.
I mean...
Go on.
You know what I mean.
I can't imagine.
I love you.
Believe me.
Oh, but you have to.
I'm going away.
You love me?
Oh, please,
you know you do.
Oh, Ethan, yes.
You don't smell
like a buffalo.
Well, not exactly.
You're crying.
May I keep it?
To take with me?
Something of you.
Oh, Ethan.
Take me with you, too.
Storm a-coming.
For the good Lord
strikes asunder what man
would join, yea verily.
I can't find
the place.
Just read the high spots.
Rain's almost here.
Maybe I can do it
without the book!
Do you take this woman
to be your
lawful wedded wife?
I do.
And do you...
...take this man to be
your lawful wedded husband
till death doth you part?
I do.
Then let no one put asunder
whom God hath joined.
I pronounce you man and wife.
Plain one's two bits,
pretty one, a dollar.
Of course, the only difference
is the flowers and things.
I'll take
the plain one,
Flowers fade, anyway.
Yes, flowers fade.
Ethan Hoyt.
All right. Let's go.
Come on.
We've got to
find shelter.
Forgot to
kiss the bride.
"Forever," the man said.
That's right, forever.
This looks like a good place
to camp for the night.
But, Ethan, it's only
three more miles.
Look, Hannah.
There's something
I've got to tell you.
Won't it wait?
Well, I mean,
you take the morning.
Things look brighter.
What do you mean?
Hoyt City.
Oh, don't worry about that.
The way I feel right now
Hoyt City will look
like Philadelphia almost.
That's what I mean.
You mean, it won't.
Well, not exactly...
Well, I don't expect it to.
But just imagine.
A real bed to sleep in.
People, lights,
hot water
and clean clothes.
I know, Hannah,
A home on the hill
overlooking the city.
A public square
filled with fountains
and trees.
What kind of trees, Ethan?
Oh, don't tell me.
I like surprises.
That's fine.
Hoyt City.
Oh, I can't wait.
Come on, Ethan.
Well, here we are.
has to start
I'm sorry, Hannah.
I wanted to tell you.
I know how it
must have sounded,
like I'm just
a plain liar.
A great city
can grow here.
You really think so?
We'll build it, Ethan,
you and I.
You bet we will.
People will help us.
That's how I meant it,
what it can really be like.
A city glittering in the sun
with towers
like silver and gold.
And people, Ethan.
Thousands of people
building something
all new and shiny.
Just like you said.
It wasn't
all talk either.
That's where
we're going to live.
There's a start.
Hoyt City is nothing
but a jumping-off point
for the gold fields.
But if the railroad
came here...
My dear Mr. Hoyt,
railroads cost money.
Can you raise any?
So, you see...
Yeah, but I'll get
the money somewhere.
I'm afraid
that's not enough.
Then what do you want?
Hoyt City.
A fair share of it.
Say three-quarters
of the land.
But you can't.
It's mine.
Sit down, Mr. Hoyt.
You're in no position
to argue.
Now play fair with us.
Take my advice.
or nothing.
No, I can't.
Why not?
My wife.
Rabbits again
for dinner.
Look here, Hoyt.
You'll make money
on this deal.
My wife won't
listen to it.
Well, what's that
got to do with business?
She owns half.
Then get her
to see it our way.
It's to
her own advantage.
Now listen, Hoyt.
I happen to know her father.
Fine man.
Fine Philadelphia home.
What's she becoming
out here?
A crack shot,
among other things.
She deserves better.
Give her back
what she had.
A real home, clothes,
social position
like my wife and daughter.
Get her to
sign over the land.
You don't want her to
turn into one of these
prairie women, do you, Hoyt?
Hannah, this is
Mr. Frisbee.
Got to clean these
here rabbits, Ethan.
Uh, Mr. Frisbee
wants you to sign this
little paper, dear.
Uh, let the
rabbits wait, dear.
This is important.
Nothing ain't important
as vittles, Ethan.
You see?
Please, dear.
Stop this foolishness.
It's just a matter
of signature.
It's a land transfer,
You mean
you want me to
sign it, Ethan?
But I forgot
how to write.
Well, here.
Just make your mark
on the paper there.
There you are.
Well, I must say.
Go on. Get out.
Get out and stay out,
you miserable, little, sneaky,
little, stuffy, little...
You rabbit!
Now he'll never
come back.
You mean
you really wanted me
to sign it, Ethan?
It's not a matter
of what we want.
It's a matter of fact.
Hoyt City's a failure.
I don't believe it.
Don't believe what?
That you can
change like this.
Give up so easily.
But it's not me, it's...
Oh, I don't mind.
I want to fill it
with diamonds and gold.
I had a dream.
So did I.
No, I mean
a dream about gold.
Oh, maybe it sounds silly,
but I really did.
A misty sort of dream
about a mountain of gold.
A black mountain
with a sunny peak,
like a beckoning finger
in the sky.
But I thought
you said...
I've changed my mind.
You mean we'll go?
But, Ethan.
We'll come back.
With our pockets bulging.
Gold flowers for your hair.
No, I mean to Hoyt City.
To finish what we've begun.
You bet we will.
We'll come back and lick
Dawson and Frisbee and the
whole Western Railroad crowd.
I'm off.
Down to see the boys.
Get things organized.
What's up?
We're off.
Where for?
How much gold
you need, Ethan?
Fifty, maybe
a hundred thousand.
Dawson and the railroad gang
got millions.
Then make it a million.
Million-dollar Hoyt.
A mountain of gold, boys.
Well, it takes money
to get there.
How much you got?
Right over here, friends.
Try your luck
with Steely Edwards.
Turn your dollar
into 100.
Turn your 100
into 1,000.
How much did
you say you had?
Got $100.
Here's your chance.
I got to get home, boys.
Get things organized.
We could use that $1,000
he's talking about.
Turn your 1,000
into a million.
You can't lose
without trying.
It's all in the cards
three-card monte,
I want your money.
The game's crooked,
the cards are fixed.
You can't win.
But who's got the money?
I take no bets from widows,
paupers, orphans or cripples.
Now, who's got the money
to bet on the ace?
The winning card,
the ace of hearts.
Watch closely,
the hand is quicker
than the eye.
And you're beaten
before you start.
Come, come, gentlemen.
Who's got the money?
I got $100.
Eye on the ace, friend.
Watch closely.
Here it is.
Now here. Here.
And now where?
I told you,
you can't win, friend.
Try it again.
For what stakes?
My horse.
Eye on the ace,
friend. Watch it closely.
Here it is.
Now, here, here.
Now where?
Two horses.
Two cows.
Six pigs.
Hannah Hoyt.
I wasn't counting
on you, madam.
But I assure you after
I get the animals bedded
down for the night...
I didn't come here
to talk nonsense.
You better be careful.
That thing might go off.
It might.
You're a very
frightening young lady.
I want everything back.
But a very lovely one.
You heard what I said.
But that's contrary
to the sport.
Sport? You call it sport
to cheat a man.
To take advantage
when he...
He was only
slightly, madam.
As a matter of fact,
I'm drunk, too.
Completely intoxicated
by the mere sight of
the loveliest little assassin
that ever had designs
on my heart.
Stop that silly talk
or I'll shoot.
I believe you might.
Then do as I say.
Madam, you're welcome
to the animals.
But as for the money...
I want that, too.
We need it.
It's all we have in the world.
It means we can go away.
I'll tell you what.
I won't give you the money,
but I'll play you for it.
Against what?
A kiss.
Just a little one.
you'll have to
shoot me, I guess.
You deal.
I'm on the wrong side
of the table this time.
Aren't you gonna
say something?
Supper's almost ready.
Better wash your hands.
No, I mean,
aren't you gonna say
something about...
Eat your supper, Ethan.
There's a lot of work to do
if we're going
to be leaving tomorrow.
We were as young as you
in those days.
All three of us.
Ethan and I
and Steely Edwards.
He tagged after me
for eight long years.
The gambler?
The man.
He was the other man
in my life.
Things don't turn out
the way you expect.
Just like we thought
we'd find that mountain
of gold
and come right back here
to Hoyt City.
But Senator Hoyt
discovered silver.
In a way he did
and in a way he didn't.
But that was
after eight years.
Eight wonderful,
terrible years.
Wandering up and down
the whole Pacific Coast,
wherever there was
a mountain.
Wonderful times,
when Ethan and I
were alone.
Terrible times
when he was away.
Every time he came home
there was Steely Edwards.
You mean
you and Steely Edwards?
Hold your horses, girl.
I don't deny
there were moments.
There was something
pretty nice about Steely.
But that's as far as it went.
I loved Ethan too much.
That was when Ethan
was in the Washoe Mountains,
a place called Virginia City.
Yes, I was running
a boarding house
in Sacramento and...
I bought two tickets
for the concert.
I can't go, Steely,
but thanks.
That's what
you always say.
By this time
you ought to know
what I mean.
I don't know.
All I know is...
Do me a favor.
Go down to the faro house
and leave me alone.
Thought you said
you didn't like gambling.
I don't call it
working for a living.
Thanks. I suppose Ethan
never gambled in his life.
He's got nothing
to do with it.
That's just
the point.
For eight years he hasn't
had anything to do
with anything but himself.
Except when
he comes home
for a bath or a...
Oh, Steely,
forgive me.
It's just that...
I'm not quite myself.
You see, Ethan and I,
we're going to
have a baby.
Take your hands
off my wife.
Steely, please go.
Not till
we settle this
once and for all.
That's all right
with me.
Ethan, please.
Every time
I come home...
You don't know
what you're saying!
I know
what I see.
I never
carry a gun,
Lucky for you.
Get out and stay out.
Go on, Steely.
Go on now, please.
come eat something.
In the morning.
I can't help
About what?
You know better.
I'm sorry.
But there's
something else.
Will it keep?
Well, then save it
till morning, will you?
I'm tired. Dog tired.
Got a spare bed for a miner
down on his luck, Mrs. Hoyt?
Same old story.
A little gold,
but you can't get it out
of that blue stuff.
blue stuff.
Some people
claim it's silver,
but they're crazy.
It just gets in the way.
Oh, look out.
It's all over my boots.
Strange country
up there,
Virginia City.
A black hill called
the Sun Mountain.
Like a beckoning
finger in the sky.
Sun Mountain.
Like a beckoning finger
in the sky.
Great Scott! It's silver!
Literally solid!
lt'll run $5,000 a ton.
We're rich.
We're rich!
We're rich!
We're rich!
Who is rich?
Your humble servant.
Who's rich?
It's Ethan that's rich!
On his boots,
silver, gobs of it!
Big feet
but a small mind.
Steely, lend me
some money.
You know why.
For him?
For me.
I'll pay it all back.
Every cent
from the Hoyt House.
I'll cook, I'll scrub.
Oh, Steely,
I'll pay it all back.
You mean
you're going to
stay here?
And he'll let you stay?
He doesn't know about me.
I couldn't tell him, not now.
Then he wouldn't go.
Not if he knew.
You wouldn't go, Steely.
Oh, don't you see?
It's his big chance.
It's what
he's been looking for.
Grubbing and digging
his way through the mountains
for eight years.
He's got to go, Steely!
You know, if some woman
felt like that about me,
and her name was Hannah...
Oh, Steely!
Silver! Solid silver,
I tell you! Richest ore
I ever saw in my life.
Silver! Silver!
Who found it?
Ethan Hoyt.
His wife!
Silver! Silver! Silver!
Ethan, wake up!
Hmm, what is it?
That blue stuff
on your boots!
Solid silver!
Oh, Ethan, hurry.
Here, get out
the back way. Hurry!
What's that?
Money to buy mines.
Money to buy...
Where did you get it?
Hurry, don't argue.
Where'd you get it?
Steely Edwards.
That's what I thought.
You're coming with me.
Why not?
I can't.
Why not?
I can't
tell you, Ethan.
Oh, you can't tell me, huh?
Or maybe I can guess.
Look at me.
Yes, Ethan.
Straight in my eyes.
You can't tell me?
Then I know.
Oh, Ethan, please.
You can't go like this
thinking what you do.
Well, what else
am I to think, Hannah?
Ethan, you have to go.
Answer me.
All right, I'll go.
But I'll never come back.
Good luck, Ethan.
Why don't you go, too?
Like all the others,
over the next hill?
Because I've already
come over that hill, Hannah.
This is all I want.
Looks like everybody is
getting out of Sacramento
as fast as they can.
They're all going down
to the boat, Mr. Steely.
You better throw away
this horse and get back
to San Francisco.
Maybe you're right.
Go on back and
save my place on the boat.
Armor's Diggings,
Salmon Flats, Placerville
and Carson City!
Connections for
the Washoe stage, Cold Hill
and Virginia City!
Last stage out of
Sacramento, mister.
The flood's coming.
Do you connect
with the stage
for Virginia City?
Yeah, at Carson City.
Get in.
Not for myself.
For a lady
and two small babies,
for Virginia City.
Steely Edwards,
you're a Godsend!
Had no idea
it was this bad.
Here, take the babies.
Help us down to the boat.
Yes, we're going
to San Francisco.
What's the matter?
Well, come along.
You always said you wanted
to take me on a trip.
If you wait any longer,
it'll be too late. Come on.
It's been too late.
Ever since the first time
I met you, Hannah.
What do you mean?
You're not going
to San Francisco.
You're going
to Virginia City.
Oh, no, Steely.
No, I can't.
Why not?
Well, I've never
heard from him.
Look, Hannah, you love him,
that's all that matters.
All your life
you've swallowed your pride
and gone back to him.
You can do it again.
All aboard.
Oh, I almost forgot.
I got something
for Mary.
I got Ethan a horse.
A what?
It's on rockers.
Little one.
It's up on the roof.
Oh, Steely!
All aboard.
My sweet babies.
You know, if they
were alive today,
they'd be 76 years old.
My children, 76.
Goodness, I must be
the oldest woman
in the world.
Mrs. Hoyt.
Perhaps you're tired.
Steely thought
I was dead, too.
That's why he went up
to Virginia City.
One snowy night
way back in 1860
or '61...
Leave the bottle.
Look out.
Save your money, stranger.
Have another bottle on me.
When Ethan Hoyt
buys drinks,
he buys them all.
That right, boys?
That's right, Ethan.
Million-dollar Hoyt!
A mountain of silver
and Ethan Hoyt on top.
You hear that, stranger?
A mountain of silver
and Ethan Hoyt on...
Stop where you are.
Take your hand
out of your pocket.
You know
I never carry a gun.
Drop that bottle.
I only came to
tell you something.
Then start talking.
It's about Hannah.
What about her?
She's dead.
He killed my wife.
That's what he did.
My wife, Hannah.
I know now what you meant
when you said,
"Come back in 100 years."
A hundred years
of greatness,
heartbreak, sorrow.
Only in spots, girl.
That's the way life goes.
You get used to it
after a while.
Hello, Martha.
Hello, John. How are you?
Glad to see you.
Oh, there's Mary.
Be with you
in a minute.
The lady's bag.
That's it.
One more bag.
I thought
you were dead.
I am.
Ethan thinks
we're both dead.
He shot me.
Where is he?
He went back
to Hoyt City.
Hannah, he's married.
He married again.
To whom?
A girl named
Martha Dawson.
It's all my fault, Hannah.
I sent you on that stage.
I wanted to go.
I'll win some money.
I'll send you back east.
But, Hannah,
he doesn't know
you're alive.
Better this way.
I can't stop him now.
He's doing what he wanted.
What I want him to do.
To build a great city.
To be a great man.
He will be, Steely.
I can't stand in his way.
Hannah, you can't
do this to yourself.
I don't matter.
But if my babies...
I buried them, Hannah.
Where little angels sleep.
Then we're all dead
for him. All four of us.
That's how
it was meant to be.
That's the boat
to San Francisco.
You said it was
too late one time.
Now it's too late
for anything else.
One of our very finest
show places, sir.
Just as modern
as 1868 itself.
A credit to the city
of San Francisco, sir.
Erected by
Mr. Steely Edwards.
Save your oratory
for the Senate.
For the Senate.
You say the woman
who calls herself
Hannah Hoyt works here?
That's right,
Mr. Sempler.
Well, come along.
No, let me
handle this,
And why?
Because if Steely Edwards
knows what you're after,
you'll never get
past the door.
Come right in, gentlemen.
Try your luck
with Steely Edwards.
Friends of mine, Steely.
From the east.
They're interested in seeing
your establishment.
Delighted to
show you around,
You know, gentlemen,
it's a peculiar thing.
But the more I tell people
that the game is crooked
and they can't win,
the more they seem
to enjoy losing.
Of course we let them
win once in a while.
But they lose it right back.
If it isn't faro,
it's hazard or three-card
monte or roulette.
Fascinating game,
You can't lose
without trying, gentlemen.
Why not test your luck?
The special table
with the most beautiful
croupier in the business.
She'll help you lose
your money with
the greatest of pleasure.
But she won't help you
spend any of it.
No more bets,
Keep your eye
on the little ball.
Don't expect miracles,
Lose with a smile.
Excuse me, sir. Hannah?
Is there some place
we can talk?
Steely, take my place,
All bets down, please.
All bets down.
Forgive this clutter.
It's Steely's office.
I straighten it up
myself every day,
but you know how men are.
Oh, tell me
all about yourself.
About sweet old Delilah
and Bettina and Persis, too.
I bet you married one of them.
Which one, Mr. Cadwallader?
"Mama says."
I mean Bettina.
Father, I'm so glad
to see you.
Now stop it, Hannah.
There's a time and place
for everything.
I came here
with a business proposition,
nothing more.
A what?
Everyone thinks you're dead.
So did I, until today.
I want you to
remain dead, legally.
But I...
I don't know
what you mean, Father.
You still call yourself
Hannah Hoyt?
I don't suppose
you're married to this
Steely Edwards fellow?
I'm married to Ethan Hoyt.
But he's married to
J.B. Dawson's daughter.
I know it.
He has a fine reputation.
Fine home.
Two fine children.
Two children?
So I want you to
change your name and go away.
Far away somewhere.
I'll make it
worth your while.
It means
everything to me.
Then if you won't do it
for me, do it for Ethan.
You owe it to him, Hannah.
He got nothing
but wild ideas
from you and failure.
He's come a long way
without you.
The least breath of scandal
would ruin him.
Dawson and I need him
in Congress.
He's running against
a hothead from Hoyt City.
A dreamer who thinks
that building Hoyt City
is more important
than building a railroad.
Why, great Scott,
if Ethan's not elected,
I hate to think what
it would mean for all of us!
Please go.
I might have known.
Get out.
For the last time...
Get out of here!
Get out!
The house wins, gentlemen.
The house always wins.
What's the matter?
I'm going back
to Hoyt City, Steely.
No more bets, gentlemen.
Double O.
The game is
against you, gentlemen.
You can't win.
Better luck
next time.
Better luck yourself,
Steely Edwards.
My friend Ethan Hoyt
says that if he's not elected,
the Western Railroad Company
will change its plans
and cross the river
10 miles south of here.
This is a threat, folks.
Ethan Hoyt never
used to talk like this.
He used to say
like all the rest of us,
"Give us the railroad
on fair terms
or we'll build one ourselves."
Now he tells us,
"Boys, give the
Western Railroad
"three-quarters of everything
in sight, or we'll ruin you
and your city forever."
Oh, if I only had
the silver tongue
of Ethan Hoyt...
I object to that last remark
as a mean and
unprincipled slander!
I meant no slander, sir.
If the word "silver" bothers
your conscience in any way,
suppose I say "golden."
If I had a golden voice
like Ethan Hoyt's,
I would use it
to tell the truth.
I would use it
to speak for all of us.
We're the little people,
but we're trying
to build something big.
Ethan Hoyt.
Friends, I beg your indulgence
for just a few final remarks
in reply to
my old friend and rival
for Congress, Hank Allen,
who reminds me of a dog
I had when I was a boy.
The dog's name
was Hank, too.
Well, one day Hank...
The dog, mind you.
One day
Hank caught a squirrel
all by himself.
It was a pretty miserable
little old squirrel,
but it was a squirrel
just the same,
and I needed
a piece of its fur
to finish a hunting cap
I was making myself.
That poor squirrel
was no good at all to Hank
because he didn't know
what to do with it.
But do you think
he'd let me have it?
No, sir.
He just growled and barked
and kept it all to himself,
till it was no good
to anybody,
not even himself.
That's what Hank Allen
is trying to do.
I founded this town.
I and others.
But the time has come
when we must face the facts.
Hoyt City is nothing
but a jumping-off place
for nowhere.
The railroad would put
Hoyt City on the map.
I came back here
a month ago
to live in the same
little cabin I built here
21 years ago in 1847.
I am one of yourselves.
True enough, I own
a great deal of land here.
I don't deny it.
But most of this land
I shall have to deed over to
the railroad, the same as you.
I shall be poorer, not richer.
Hank Allen to the contrary.
My friends, I take my stand
for the Western Railroad
Company and progress.
And now for Mr. Frisbee.
As for you Ethan Hoyt,
guilty conscience, huh?
No wonder you thought
you saw her
there in the crowd.
Hank Allen was right.
"Silver-tongue Hoyt."
the moonlight, Ethan?
What a strange,
lovely night.
And we rode away,
you and I.
All the wide, bright way
to the Pacific sea.
Then it was really you
this afternoon.
Yes, I didn't die.
I was bringing you
our babies.
They were as tiny
as kittens.
Little twin kittens.
Steely found them
after the flood.
He thought I was dead, too.
And after he came back
from Virginia City, he...
He told me about you.
And then I went away
with him.
Oh, God.
Forgive me, Hannah.
Forgive me.
I failed you.
I've always failed you.
Oh, my goodness, Ethan.
Get up off the ground.
There are no Indians
to stalk around here.
I remember.
And then I...
And then I went away with you
for 12 glorious years.
It's chilly.
Come inside, Ethan.
Light your candle
again, Ethan.
I'm like
a blind man, Hannah.
A man in the dark.
That's why
I came back.
You'll see again, Ethan.
You'll see
what Hank Allen sees.
What you yourself
used to see better
than any man on Earth.
A fine, bright world.
We started
to build it once.
But it's not as simple
as all that, Hannah.
I've changed.
I came back here alone
and tried to build
what we dreamed together.
You and I.
But it was no good
alone, Hannah.
The heart was
gone out of me.
Oh, I don't want to make
any excuses, not anymore.
I guess I just took
the easiest way.
Just like I've always done,
except when you've been around
to keep me straight.
I'm in this thing
just as deep
as the rest of them.
Corrupting judges
and legislators
to get what we want.
Money is a great
power, Hannah.
And my money is tied up with
the Western Railroad Company.
So, you see,
if I fight Dawson
and those people,
I'd really be
fighting myself.
But that's right.
That's what you must do.
Then you've got
to help me, Hannah.
I can't do it alone.
Without you
I've been lost.
You're not alone, Ethan.
You have a family.
Yes, a little boy
and a little girl.
But there's
you, too, Hannah.
I'm all mixed up.
No, you're not.
I've divorced you.
Before I came here.
Not because I don't love you,
because I always will.
But because our marriage
was the only weapon
they could use against you.
But I can't
let you do this.
You've got to
do it, Ethan.
Speak for all the things
we dreamed together.
Speak for the truth
and fight for it.
Speak for
all the people to hear.
Help them to
build something
fine and free.
A country that
your little boy and girl,
that all our children
will be proud
to inherit and live in.
I'll do it.
I know you will, Ethan.
If only we were
beginning all over.
Spring never comes
again, Ethan.
Perhaps in the Indian summer
we'll meet once more.
Now, go.
Go, Ethan.
And don't look back.
Good luck, Ethan.
And so he rode away
on his horse.
Just like he rode
into my life on one.
Right straight down
that hill.
Well, where there
used to be a hill.
He rode down it
into greatness
and glory. Yeah.
The other man in my life
turned out pretty well, too.
Poor old Steely.
I guess I must be
the only person
in the whole world
who really
remembers him.
He died the same year
as Ethan, in 1906,
in the San Francisco fire.
He died the way
he always lived.
Helping other people.
Help me down
the steps, girl.
I get a bit creaky
at night, it seems.
Do you mind
if I say something?
No. Speak ahead, girl.
I think the wrong person
is on that horse
in the square.
It ought to be you.
Oh. Nonsense!
Girl, I'm nobody.
Just an old lady
who talks too much.
What was I saying now?
Mmm... Oh, yes.
I wanted you to know how
men like Ethan climb a long,
hard road to greatness.
They need help, mind you,
and then all of a sudden,
there they are.
Up there on their own.
You see, Ethan's light
never went out again.
He used it like a torch
against all the dark,
unscrupulous things
that men like Dawson
and Frisbee do.
He used it like a beacon
to give men hope,
men building
a place of their own.
Hoyt City and
a thousand other places
all over the 48 states.
Yes. That's what
he did, girl.
And he did it
all alone.
I never saw him again
until he came back home
to die in 1906.
Then he was all alone
again in the world,
like I was,
and he came back here
to die,
a bright spring day.
His truth is marching on
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
His truth is marching on
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Come out of that.
Haven't the likes
of you newspaper cubs
any shame at all?
Oh, let me go, Murphy.
I want the news.
Is the senator dead?
What's he doing
in Hannah Sempler's house?
The public must know.
I want to get
at the bottom of things.
The bottom of it, is it?
Sure, and I'll be glad
to help you along.
Come on,
get along with you.
And let a great gentleman
die in his own proper time
as he likes.
How'd I do?
Fine, Ethan. Fine.
You gave me
the strength.
And the courage.
But you did it
alone, Ethan.
All alone.
No, Hannah.
Not alone.
You were with me
every step of the way.
I wanted you to
be proud of me.
I am proud of you, Ethan.
Prouder than a cat
with a dozen kittens.
Yes, Ethan.
Come closer, girl.
Just one thing more.
A kiss.
And now, there he is.
Up there on his horse.
And nobody is ever
going to change it.
He stirs the heart
like a challenge.
That's it.
That's what
he always did.
there were people
trampled by life,
wherever men
wanted to rise up in all
the bright glory of hope,
he lifted them up.
He still does.
He always will.
I'm kissing
my biography goodbye.
Now run along.
You've got 100 years
of your own to live,
if you can take it.
But I'd better
help you home.
Oh, listen, girl, I've been
getting home on my own
since Abe Lincoln died.
But thank you
just the same.
Run along.
Forever, Ethan.
Now no one can change it.