1922 (2017) Movie Script

[woman speaking indistinctly]
[Wilfred] To whom it may concern.
My name is Wilfred Leland James,
and this is my confession.
The issue that led to my crime
and damnation...
was 100 acres of good land
in Hemingford Home, Nebraska...
willed to my wife,
Arlette Christina Winters James.
Following the death of her father.
It was much my intention to add her 100
to our 80-acre freehold farm,
as it was to someday
pass it all on to my boy,
Henry Freeman James,
and to his thereafter.
- Now, you can still find reverse?
- Yes, sir.
Show me.
- The middle one.
- All right. All right, you're ready.
Maybe not for Omaha just yet or...
Even Lincoln, but... you take her slow...
in Hemingford Home
and you ought to be just fine.
All right? What'd I say?
- Slow.
- Slow.
In 1922, a man's pride was a man's land.
And so was his son.
[Henry grunts]
It's not too sour.
Not too sweet.
[Wilfred] Nope.
It's just right.
[Arlette chuckles]
[Wilfred] My wife...
who never did take to the farming life,
wished to cash in her new land.
She wanted us to leave all this behind.
So, what do you propose we do
with all this money and no land?
We could move.
To Omaha.
Or even St. Louis.
[Wilfred chuckles, then sniffs]
Cities are for fools.
[Henry] Ma, I agree with Pa.
I don't wanna live in Omaha or any city.
We can talk about this after supper.
[Wilfred] If we can't agree,
you should go on to your mother's.
[Arlette] And leave you
my father's land, I suppose?
That'll never happen, Wilf.
you let me buy that land from you.
How are you gonna do that?
It'd have to be over a period of time.
Eight years.
Perhaps ten, but I'll pay you, Arlette.
I'll pay you every cent.
A little money coming in
is worse than none.
Farringtons will buy it outright.
Their idea of top dollar
is apt to be far more generous than yours.
Anyway, I've had an idea of my own.
We sell the 100 acres and the farm
to the Farrington combine.
They'd buy it all just to get that close
to the railway line.
And then...
we split the money.
We both know that's what you want.
And, uh...
who, uh...?
Which one of us would the boy go with?
Of course.
A boy of 14 needs to be with his mother.
Now, that ain't fair on him, Arlette.
Now, you taking him away
from everything he knows.
- You would do that?
- Fair? Fair?
Life is rarely fair, Wilf.
Especially out here.
All right, I need a little...
Just give me a little time
to think that all over.
As a husband, I thought of going
to the law on the matter.
And yet something held me back.
It was not fear of neighbors chatter
or country gossip.
No, it was something else.
I had come to hate her.
That was what held me back.
[bucket clanging]
[bucket clanging]
Goddamn it, Wilf.
You scared the life out of me.
I've decided
that you won't be selling them 100 acres.
Oh, have you?
Not without a fight.
The Farringtons
will bring the fight to you, Wilf.
Right to you. And I'll happi...
[bucket clanging]
And I believe that there's another man...
inside of every man.
A stranger.
A conniving man.
What you doing down here, bo...?
Mr. James.
Why don't you head on home, girl?
I need a word with Henry.
Yes, sir.
See you tomorrow.
See you tomorrow.
What do you want, Pa?
[Wilfred] That spring Henry
had grown sweet
on the Cotterie girl from next door.
I've been meaning to pluck these
for a while now.
Henry, they're...
They're beautiful.
Let's find a vase.
[Wilfred] And the conniving man thought
he might use this to his advantage.
Shannon wouldn't be
in your life anymore.
Of course, neither would I.
[Henry] Papa, what are we gonna do?
[Wilfred] Well...
Sometimes the only thing to do...
is... to take the thing
that you must have.
Even if somebody get hurt.
Even if someone dies.
If she was gone...
well, everything would be the way it was.
And all the arguments, that would cease.
We could live here peacefully.
I've offered her everything I can
to make her go, and she won't go.
There's only one thing I can do.
That... we can do.
[Arlette] Henry!
Give your mama a kiss.
What's wrong with you?
Nothing, Ma.
I'm fine.
Can I have some beer?
You can finish that off.
But no more of this tomorrow.
Nor the day after, mind.
Well, a murdered man or a woman
dies not on God's time
but on man's.
And if she is cut short
before atoning for sin,
all errors must be forgiven.
But what about us, Pa?
[Wilfred grunts]
Wouldn't we go to hell?
How can you say so
when you see heaven all around us?
Yet she means to drive us away from it.
And think.
If she does go to Omaha... Well...
she'll be digging her an even deeper pit
in Sheol.
If she takes you...
you'll become a city boy.
Yeah. Just forget all this and...
and start learning city ways.
Begin digging your own pit.
[Arlette] Eat or starve, Henry.
The choice is yours.
And you, you just sit there.
[Henry] Leave off.
- What did you say?
- [Henry] I said...
leave off, so we can be a family again.
The lawyer assures me the land is mine...
to do with as I wish.
And I'm gonna sell.
Now, you can sit here
and smell roasting hogs,
cook your own dinner, make your own bed.
But you, my son,
are coming with me to Omaha.
I am gonna open a dress shop.
That's my idea of fair.
[Arlette stomping]
[Arlette] Don't fool with me, Wilf.
I'm not now. Henry and I have had
many conversations about this.
He wants to go.
Least try it on for size.
And I thought I might look for work
as a mechanic.
Cars and trucks, but...
Farm machinery mostly. You know.
If I can keep that old Farmall running,
I guess I can keep anything running.
You're not fooling?
And Henry talked you into this?
Yeah. He convinced me...
it'd be better to...
take a chance at being happy in town
than to stay out here on my own
in, uh, what would be...
sure misery.
- The boy talks sense and the man listens?
- [laughing]
At long last.
Either that or a hit in the head.
[Arlette laughing]
That's not too bad. No.
[Arlette] Henry, come out here!
Let's celebrate.
[jazz music playing on record player]
- Henry.
- Stop.
Finally we're all together.
- My men see sense.
- All right. Stop.
If you're good, Wilf,
you can suck it out of the cloth later on.
Oh, no need to be so prissy.
I've seen you with Shannon Cotterie.
Pretty face and a nice little figure.
If you're not getting a touch of that,
you're a fool.
Just be careful. Fourteen's not too young
to marry out here in the middle.
[Arlette clicking]
Oh. Yes, ma'am.
Here's to Shannon Cotterie
and her future bubbies,
and if my son don't know the color
of her nipples, he's a slowpoke.
Make sure when you're laying down
with her in the corn
or behind the barn that you're a no poke.
Explore all you like
and, you know, rub it with your Johnny Mac
until he feels good and spits up.
But you stay out of the home place...
lest you get locked in
like your mummer and daddy.
[Wilfred] Gotcha.
[Wilfred grunting]
- Get off.
- [groans]
I just wanna go to sleep.
Off you will.
All right.
Nearly there.
[Arlette groans]
[Wilfred] Almost there.
[Arlette grunting]
There we go.
She can't say those things about Shannon.
Oh, but she will.
It's just how she is.
And you know that.
Hell, that's how the good Lord made her.
All right?
And she'll split you and Shannon up, too.
I guarantee that.
If we let her.
Couldn't you get your own lawyer?
You think the kind that I can afford...
could stand up to them lawyers
that Farrington would throw at us?
And she'd want that 100 acres, too.
And she means for them to have it.
This is the only way, boy.
But you've got to help me.
Will you?
I just wish there was another way.
Me, too, son.
Me, too.
This is our house.
This is where we belong.
Are you willing to fight for it, boy?
Are you willing to fight for it?
Can't you...?
I don't know...
with a pillow or something?
It would be too slow.
Too painful.
She'd struggle.
We'll send her to heaven?
It'll be quick.
Come on, boy.
Go on.
Goodbye, Mama.
[Arlette] No. [Shouting and grunting]
[Wilfred] Hold her down. Hold her down.
Goddamn it.
All right. Get out of here.
- We've gotta move her over.
- [Arlette] Let me go!
[Wilfred] Get out of the way.
[Wilfred] In 1922...
I murdered my wife.
My son...
aided me.
This is a thing I regret...
even more bitterly than the crime...
for the reasons
that this document will show.
[Wilfred & Henry grunting]
[Wilfred] All right.
Almost there.
That's no grave.
- That's no grave for Mama.
- Boy...
Okay, darling.
[Wilfred grunts, continues panting]
Come here.
Go on in the house.
Get both wash buckets out of the pantry.
You might as well get them milk buckets
from the barn, too.
Fill them up from the kitchen pump...
and suds them up with that stuff
she keeps in the kitchen.
Under the sink. Go.
Should I heat the water?
Cold water.
It's best for blood.
Go on.
I discovered something that night
that most people never have to learn.
Murder is sin.
Murder is damnation.
But murder is also work.
I don't think I can go to school today,
I think people might see it on my face.
Shannon especially.
You can go to school Monday.
Tell the teacher you had the grippe,
didn't wanna spread it
to the rest of the class.
[Henry breathing heavily]
Oh, shit!
Get away from her!
In those days,
all sorts of things happened on farms
out in what we called the middle.
Things that went unremarked,
yet alone reported.
In those days...
a man's wife was considered
a man's business.
And if she disappeared...
well, there was an end to it.
Taking them all would have been a mistake.
She had left on foot
and only taken what she could carry.
Why hadn't she taken the T?
Because I would have heard her start it
and stopped her going.
[car approaching]
Wilfred James?
Andrew Lester. Attorney at law.
Well, before I shake that...
you'd best tell me
whose lawyer you are there, Mr. Lester.
I'm currently being retained
by the Farrington Livestock Company
of Chicago, Omaha and Des Moines.
Well, in that case,
you can just go on and put that hand away.
No offense.
How are you, Lars?
Tolerable fair.
But dry. I could use a drink.
Well, go on. You know where it is.
[Lars] Sweet and cold as ever, I guess.
I could use a drink myself, Mr. James.
Oh, yeah. Me, too.
Mending fence is hot work.
Not as hot as riding 20 miles
in Lars' truck, though, I'll bet.
My sit-upon may never be the same.
[clears throat]
Perhaps we could drink it inside,
Mr. James.
- It would be a little cooler.
- It would,
but I'd no more invite you inside
than I'd shake your hand.
- Hello, Mr. Olsen.
- Henry.
I imagine you're here on business, yeah.
My wife's.
I am.
Well, why would she send you?
Your wife didn't send me, Mr. James.
In point of fact,
I came here to look for her.
Mm. Well, that proves it then.
Proves what?
She absconded, Mr. Lester.
Did a midnight flit.
Whatever you want to call it.
But, uh...
I'd have to say...
it sounded to me
like she got as tired of you fellows
as she did of me.
And the son she gave birth to. Good day.
You... You'll pardon me for saying...
but this all seems very strange to me,
Mr. James.
Very strange indeed,
considering the amount of money
my client is willing to pay
for that piece of property.
Let's just say
trying to nail that woman down...
is like trying to nail jelly to the floor.
Could I look in the house?
Hey, Henry.
Tell this man where's your mama.
I... I don't know, Pa.
Well, don't tell me. Tell him.
Well... you called me out for breakfast
Friday morning...
and that was it.
She was gone. Packed and gone.
Is that the truth, son?
Yes, sir.
Can I go back inside? Got schoolwork
to make up from being sick.
Go. Remember it's your turn to milk.
Yes, sir.
This isn't finished.
Did I do it all right, Papa?
You did perfect, son.
Are we gonna get caught?
Are we going to jail?
- When are we gonna fill in the well?
- Not yet.
[Henry] But why?
[Wilfred] You know...
it's only a matter of time
before he brings Sheriff Jones out there.
A filled in well might make him suspicious
about why it got filled in,
so recent and all.
But one that's still being filled in...
And for good reason.
Turn around and watch her ass.
Come on.
That's it. Come on.
- Come on.
- Pa, we can't...
Come on. [Grunts]
Now what?
[cow mooing]
[cow continues mooing]
[Henry] Make her stop.
Do something!
[gun cocks]
[Wilfred grunts]
[car approaching]
Good day, gents.
Hard choring this afternoon, is it?
It's my own damn fault.
One of our cows
fell in the old livestock well.
- Is that so?
- Yes, it is.
Glass of lemonade, sheriff?
It's Arlette's.
Did she decide to come back now?
No. She took her favorite clothes but...
she left the lemonade.
Henry, go in our house,
- get the... sheriff a glass.
- Yes, sir. Yeah.
Come on up, get some shade.
Shade sounds good,
but I believe I'll stand.
Yeah, I guess you know
that I'm not out here on my own hook.
I'm surprised you ain't got Lester
hiding there in the back of your truck.
He wanted to come,
but I put the kibosh on that.
He also said he wanted a search warrant,
but I told him he didn't need one.
I said... you'd either let me look around
or you wouldn't.
I didn't let him in the house
because I took against him.
Of course,
I'd have taken against John Apostle
if he came out here
batting for Cole Farrington's team.
Lovely room.
Gets the early light, doesn't it?
Well... stays cool most afternoons,
you know...
Sun's on the other side.
Here you go.
There we go.
- [Jones] Lot of duds.
- [Wilfred] Yeah.
Arlette liked her clothes...
and her mail-order catalogs.
But, uh... since she only took
the one suitcase...
- We've got two. See the other one...
- [Jones] Right.
- ...in the back corner right there?
- [Jones] Yeah.
I'd have to say,
she only took the ones she liked the best.
See, she had two pairs of pants...
and she had... a pair of blue denims...
and those are gone.
But, uh...
she didn't much care for pants.
Well, pants are good for traveling in,
though. Aren't they?
Man or woman,
pants are good for traveling in.
A woman might choose them.
If she was in a hurry, that is.
I suppose.
Well, uh...
She did take her good jewelry and, uh...
her picture of Nana and Pop-Pop.
[Jones] Did she now?
Well, I suppose she would, wouldn't she?
Nice room.
Nice house.
Woman would have to be crazy
to leave a nice room,
a nice house like this one.
Well, uh... Mama always talked
about the city a lot.
Uh, she had this idea
to open up a dress shop.
- Did she?
- Yes, sir.
But, uh... that would take some money
doing something like that, wouldn't it?
Well, she got them acres from her father.
[Jones] Seems to be a pair
of woman's shoes under there.
Broke in, too.
The kind that'd be good for traveling.
Don't suppose she, uh, ran away barefooty,
do you?
[Wilfred] Hmm.
No, I think she took her canvas shoes.
Anyway, those are the ones that are gone.
Well... [clears throat]
Well, someone must have come along...
picked her up, given her a ride...
before her head cleared.
- That'd be my guess.
- Yep, mine, too. Mine, too.
Well, sheriff...
if we're done in here now...
me and my boy better get back to work.
That useless well should have been
filled in three years ago.
Yeah, an old cow of mine
got out of the barn.
Her name was Elphis.
She got out of the barn
and decided to take a stroll on the cap.
Didn't have the good grace
to die on her own either.
I had to shoot her.
Go on. Come on back, I'll show you.
Right, no, no. Another time.
Thanks for the lemonade
and for being so gracious.
Could've been a lot less so,
considering who sent me here.
Oh, no. It's all right, sheriff.
We all have got our jobs.
He didn't even wanna look.
[Wilfred] If God rewards us on earth
for good deeds...
then maybe Satan rewards us for evil ones.
I can't say for sure,
but that was a good summer.
Plenty of heat and sun for the corn
and just enough rain.
Got a ways to go.
Come to papa.
[Wilfred] Henry wasn't always unsmiling
that summer,
and Shannon Cotterie was the reason why.
Mr. James?
Is Henry sick?
The boy's as healthy as a horse.
He kind of eats like one, too, don't he?
I know. It's just...
[sighs] He's different.
I... I always used to know
what he was thinking, but...
now I don't anymore.
He broods.
- Does he?
- Yeah.
You haven't seen it?
Gosh, uh...
he seems like his old self to me.
But he cares for you, Shannon.
An awful lot, darling.
So, maybe what looks like brooding to you
feels like lovesick to him. Hmm?
Yeah. I know, I've thought of that, but...
Mr. James, if...
If he was, say, sweet on someone else,
one of those girls from school...
you'd tell me, wouldn't you?
any summer's a hardworking time.
And with Arlette gone...
me and Hank been busier
than one-armed paper hangers.
So... he hardly has time to spark you,
let alone some other girl.
Yeah. No, I just...
He's so quiet now...
so moody.
Sometimes I have to say his name twice
or even three times
before he hears it and answers.
And I'm trying to...
The only thing you need to worry about
is putting him back in his place
should he get out of it.
get pretty steamed up, you know.
Mr. James...
I'm... I'm real sorry about Mrs. James.
I know you think I'll slip to Shannon
or that sheriff, but...
you don't have to worry about me.
All right now. That's enough now, Henry.
Go to bed.
She hated it when you'd call me that.
All right, Hank.
Go to bed.
[cow mooing]
[mooing continues]
[groans then coughs]
[Wilfred] The pipe led to one place
and one place only.
Pa? What happened?
I just thought I heard a fox
trying to get in the barn.
A fox?
- I haven't seen a fox for...
- Back to bed, Hank.
Down in the dark they would die.
If not of suffocation, then...
[scratching stops]
Henry returned from school later that day
and brought with him some news.
[breathing heavily]
She's 15 years old, boy.
Others get married that young.
Christ. I got no money
to give you a start. You understand?
Maybe by '25,
if crops and prices stay good,
- but right now, there ain't nothing...
- There would be enough!
If you hadn't been such a bugger
about that 100 acres, there'd be plenty!
She would've given me some of it.
- She wouldn't have talked to me this way.
- She would've talked to you much worse.
And laughed.
Your mother told you...
to keep your willy in your pants. Hmm?
And although it was as crude and hurtful
as most of what she had to say...
- you should have followed it.
- Mom would've helped me fix it.
Money fixes everything.
[car approaching]
You better make yourself scarce.
You forget how tight your mama was
with a dollar
and you forget too fast for your own good.
I'm gonna do my best for you, son.
You'd better.
[Wilfred] Harlan Cotterie prospered more
than most farmers
in the years 1916 to 1922.
- [Harlan] It's a beast.
- [Wilfred] Mm-hm.
And Harlan had always been good to me.
I'd always considered us
not just neighbors,
but good friends.
Yet in that moment I hated him.
Not because he'd come out to tax me
about my son.
It was that shiny blue Cadillac he had.
It was the new barn painted bright red.
It was the indoor plumbing.
But most of all...
it was that plain-faced, biddable wife
whose sweetly given reply
to any problem would be:
Whatever you think is best, dear.
First, and right away, she's gonna go
to the St. Eusebia Catholic Home for Girls
in Omaha.
She doesn't know it yet,
but it's gonna happen. It'll be good.
Sounds like some kind of orphanage.
It's not an orphanage.
It's a clean, wholesome and busy place.
So I've been told.
She'll have chores, get her schooling,
in four months she'll have her baby.
Then we'll give that kid up for adoption,
then she can come home.
What's my part in all this?
I assume I must have one.
Are you smarting on me, Wilf?
Look, I know you've had a tough year,
- but I will not bear you smarting on me.
- I'm not smarting on you,
but you need to know
you're not the only one who's mad...
and ashamed.
Just tell me what you want.
All right.
I know you're not a rich man...
but it's time you step up
and take share of the responsibility.
The time at that home
is gonna cost me $300.
I know you can't get your hands
on $150,
but you better get it on 75.
I can't do that.
Arlette, you know, she cleaned me out
when she left.
Well, take another shortie from the bank.
You paid off that last one already.
I had crop money to pay it back with.
Now I don't.
I've got my land...
I got my house.
And that's pretty much it.
Well, you'd better find it.
Mortgage this house,
if that's what you have to do.
Seventy-five dollars is yours to share.
Compared to your boy changing didies
at the age of 15,
I think you're getting off cheap.
And if I can't find a way, Harl?
What then?
I'm going.
And I'm not come dunning you for it.
- Mm-hm.
- If you don't... you don't.
But don't say you can't
because I know better.
You should've let her sell that acreage
to Farrington, Wilf.
If you'd done that, she'd still be here.
You'd have money in your hand.
And my daughter wouldn't be in the...
family way.
They can't send her away like that.
[Wilfred] Well, they can and they will.
Now, don't think about doing
nothing stupid or headstrong neither.
You'll only make a bad situation worse.
We could run away.
Think about it.
If we could get away with what we did...
It'd be a shame.
We could get away eloping off to Colorado.
You couldn't...
because you've got no money.
Money fixes everything, right?
As the wife says
no money spoils everything, boy.
I know that.
Shannon will, too, now that she's got
a baby to watch out for now.
- You'll see.
- Not if they make her give it away.
Now, don't change how a woman feels...
when she got a chap in the belly.
You see, a chap makes a woman feel wise...
in ways a man don't understand, son.
Now, I haven't lost any respect for you
just because you gonna have a baby.
Or her. You ain't the first.
You certainly won't be the last.
But you will not... Hey.
You will not ask
a five-month pregnant girl...
to run off with you.
You can't tell me what to do.
You couldn't even cut Mama's throat
without making a mess of it.
I did...
what I did for us.
Now, what good are 180 acres
if I've got no one to pass them on to?
There was another way, Pa.
You know there was.
You cursed it all!
You cursed me!
He went off to school the next day
without any argument.
Probably because I let him take the T.
Once he was gone,
I started searching.
I wondered if she had socked
a little something away...
just like that story I sold the sheriff.
Each time I found nothing,
I became convinced there was something.
Will Hemingford Home and Trust
loan you 35 dollars?
You bet.
But... you don't need $35.
Oh, I'm sad to say that I do.
No, you don't.
You need 750. That's what you need.
And you could have it today.
And do you wanna tell me
there aren't improvements you could make?
A roof to fix?
A little more livestock?
Maybe even indoor plumbing,
like your neighbor down the road?
You could end up with improvements
that far outweigh the cost of a mortgage.
Value for money, Wilf.
Value for money.
Yeah, this new proposal...
needs a little thinking about.
Well, I ought to talk it over
with my boy, Henry.
Or, uh, Hank,
as he likes to be called now.
He's getting to an age
where... he needs to be consulted.
Well, all I got...
it'll all be his someday.
[Henry] "Papa, I have taken the truck.
I guess you know where I am going.
Leave me alone.
I know you can send Sheriff Jones after me
to bring me back,
but if you do I will tell everything.
You might think I'd change my mind
because I am just a kid, but I won't.
Without Shan, Pa,
I don't care about nothing.
I love you, Papa,
even if I don't know why
since everything we did
has brought me misery.
Your loving son, Henry 'Hank' James."
[Wilfred] Waiting for a teenage boy
to come to his senses
is like waiting for a broomstick
to sprout flowers.
But what choice did I have?
I had murdered my wife
to keep my home.
The only way I was leaving it now
would be in chains.
Three days ago, in Lyme Biska,
not far from the rider found your truck...
somebody held up a grocery store
on the edge of town.
Took $23. I got the report on my desk.
Say it was a young fella
wearing old cowboy clothes
with a bandana over his mouth
and a plainsman's hat
slouched over his eyes.
Um, Henry left from school, sheriff...
and so far as I remember he...
He had on a flannel shirt that day,
had on some corduroy trousers.
I don't... think
he took any clothes with him, and...
Anyway, he don't have no cowboy clothes,
if you mean boots and all.
He don't have no plainsman's hat neither.
- He could've stolen those, too.
- Now, you don't know anything more
than what you said,
and you ought to stop.
All right?
Now, I know your friends with Harlan.
I know y'all hang at
that Elk's Club or whatever.
My son is not a robber.
He don't treat women badly,
he don't be mean to people.
He acts like a normal kid.
And this is not how he was raised either.
Good day, sheriff.
Yeah, it's probably just a drifter
looking for a quick payday.
But I felt that I had to bring it up.
And we don't know how people talk, do we?
Talk gets around.
Talk is cheap.
[Wilfred] Sometimes work is the only thing
to help drive out bad thoughts.
Fixing a leak would only take
a day or two.
I needed work that would keep me
through the winter.
The next day I took out that mortgage
for $750.
In the end...
we all get caught.
Turn, you son of a...
Why are you...?
Come on!
[door creaking]
[Wilfred grunting]
[bones crackling]
She whispered secrets to me
only a dead woman could know.
Stay back!
[inaudible dialogue]
[Henry] Now! Hurry! Close the door!
Back up.
We're gonna get you fixed up, all right?
I'll get some wood.
I'll make it warm.
I'll make it warm.
It's dead... Henry.
No more, please.
Just kill me...
Please, just kill me.
Just kill me.
Arlette, please, just kill me.
Open my throat...
like I opened yours.
But she wouldn't.
Not till she was satisfied.
Two days ago...
a farmer on his way to Lyme Biska
noticed something... in a ditch.
Remains of a woman.
A pair of her back teeth were missing.
Was Arlette missing a couple
of back teeth?
When I, uh...
When I came out that day
just after she ran off...
Your boy mentioned
that she took... her good jewelry
and you mentioned something about $200.
Isn't that right?
Well, there you go.
She was robbed on the road.
Some bad egg...
picked her up, killed her and...
robbed her of her money and her jewelry.
Henry's body arrived in Hemingford
by train on the 18th of December.
- Mr. James.
- Tell us what happend.
- Mr. James. Mr. James.
- Mr. James.
- What about your son?
- Describe what you're feeling
now that your son's body
is back in Hemingford.
- Mr. James.
- Just give us something to print.
Mr. James.
[Wilfred hisses]
I'm sorry, Mr. James.
Rats got to them.
Got to both of them
before they were found.
[sobbing] Look what they done...
to my boy.
fix him up.
Mr. James, sir...
- the damage is...
- Yeah. I can see what the damn damage is.
You fix him up, get him off this...
- Sir...
- ...plate here
and put him in a coffin.
A fine coffin.
Your finest coffin.
- Yes, sir.
- I got money.
Certainly, Mr. James.
Now, you cover him up now.
My boy.
All right.
I got money, so...
Whatever it takes.
No father should have to kiss his son
for the last time...
but if any father deserved such a fate...
it was I.
[man] "You believe in God,
believe also in me.
Do not let your heart be troubled.
Believe in God...
believe also in me.
In my father's house
are many dwelling places.
If it were not so,
I would have told you.
And the way you know..."
[Wilfred] The attendance was much smaller
for Henry.
"If I go and prepare a place for you
I will come again
and receive you to myself.
That where I am
there you may be also.
And you know the way where I go..."
Now, just hear me out.
I wanna sell you my 100 acres.
That's good land, Harl.
Hard times, huh?
Half your house and half your barn
all caved in.
Hermie Gordon says you even got a cow
living in there with you.
I wanna give you that land...
for $500.
Arlette's rolling in her grave.
Sallie left me.
I don't think she's coming back.
Called me a self-righteous fool
and she's right.
We're in that same broke wagon.
Two men who started the year with wives...
ending the year without them.
[Harlan laughs]
Two men started the year
with living children...
ended the year with dead ones.
I still got both my hands.
That's something, I suppose.
That land's cursed.
Sell it to the bank.
Well, now...
See, uh...
they'd just turn around
and sell it to Farrington.
that stream there...
they'd be filling up with blood...
hog intestines.
That's your stream, too, Harl.
And all I ask is...
they don't get their hands on it.
Not them.
don't come back here ever.
[cow mooing]
What the hell happened to you, girl?
[gun cocks]
All right, girl.
Take it easy.
All right, easy now.
It's all right. Easy now.
Almost over.
Okay, girl.
It's nearly over.
It's okay.
It's okay.
Shh. [Gun cocks]
That was the end of 1922.
I lost the farm, of course.
When the hog-butchers finally swooped in,
I was forced to sell
at an insanely low price.
Harlan Cotterie hung on
till about '25 or so...
and then the bank took his farm.
I went to Omaha.
A city of fools...
and I hauled pallets for 14 months.
The only reason I stopped?
Whenever I tried to busy myself with work,
to keep out the thoughts...
they'd find me.
Took me two solid years
to drink up Arlette's hundred acres.
When I wasn't drinking...
I visited the places that Henry had been
during the last month of his life.
Can I help you, sir?
There was a robbery here, uh...
oh, about two years back.
You wouldn't happen to know
about nothing like that?
Well, that was my son.
Henry was right.
There was another way.
There always is.
But in 1922...
the conniving man
inside farmer Wilfred James...
had begged to differ.
[Henry] But I can't pray now
or ever again.
If I got down on my knees,
I think God would strike me dead.
I hope there is no God.
I imagine all murderers hope there isn't.
Because if there's no heaven,
there's no hell.
[Wilfred] Son...
...I was the one...
who killed her.
[Henry] No, Pa.
We did it together.
[Wilfred] All right, Hank.
I love you... son.
[Henry] I know.
But I don't much deserve it.
it'll be quick.
[Wilfred] In the end...
we all get caught.