Canon City (1948) Movie Script

(dramatic music)
Deep in the mountains of Colorado
is the Royal Gorge
of the Arkansas River,
tamed by the steepest
tramway in the world,
climbing up
from the depths,
past 1,550 feet of sheer
red rock to the canyon rim.
A suspension bridge
spans the gorge,
its roadways soaring
higher in the air
than the topmost tip
of the Empire State Building.
Near the Royal Gorge
is the town
that is the subject
of this true story,
a town that has seen
United States Cavalry,
mountain men,
beaver hunters,
Indian scouts, gold seekers.
Settled by covered-wagon
cowhands, miners,
by hunters,
trappers, and farmers,
it is today the home
of their grandsons
and daughters,
and a typical
Western community.
Caon City,
population 7,000.
Elevation, one mile and
63 feet above sea level.
A city of small homes
that is set in a beautiful
and rugged land of mountains
and canyons,
a land
that smiles in summer,
in winter, is often
grim with blizzards.
But within Caon City,
there is another city,
a grim place
of gray stone walls...
of watchtowers,
of armed guards...
the Colorado
State Penitentiary.
Established in 1868
as a territorial prison
by the Federal Government,
it became
the state penitentiary
when Colorado was admitted
into the Union in 1876.
It has been a going business
ever since
and a home for those
who like to have their
own way too much
and have taken forbidden
steps to achieve their aims.
All kinds are here--
murderers, kidnappers,
thieves, robbers,
The warden
of a penal institution
has a grave responsibility--
absolute control
over the lives and futures
of hundreds of men.
To the tough-minded,
he must be tougher.
To those who show promise
and a desire to make good
again in society,
he must be understanding.
Meet Warden Roy Best.
How are you?
Fine, thanks.
Have a chair.
Thank you, I will.
Warden, tell me, what's the
population of this prison?
Uh, something over 1,200.
And how many of those
men are doing life?
It's better than 10%.
And what's the--
Has Chris got
a bad temper?
Well, he's allergic
to quick moves.
Then I won't make
any sudden moves.
I was about to ask,
what's the toughest job
in prison?
Well, naturally,
I think mine.
It must be
a heavy responsibility.
You don't show it.
it's always with you.
No doubt.
You must have
some inmates
with interesting
stories in here.
Well, we think we have.
Let's go and meet
some of them.
I'd like to,
very much.
These men, behind walls, disciplined,
subject to routine,
deprived of freedom,
wearing prison gray,
are still human beings--
sons and husbands
and fathers.
In spite of a few
who are untamable,
because of the many
who can be helped,
modern penology recognizes
man's need of work
and furnishes tools
and machinery.
Here in the knitting mill,
prisoners make socks
and underwear
for all inmates
and learn a trade that will
aid them after release.
And here in the prison
tailor shop,
inmates manufacture work
clothing and going-away suits.
Hey, that looks like
a good fit.
You'd never know
where it came from.
I'm getting out of here
next week.
Where do you go?
To Denver.
My wife will
meet me at the train.
She's waited 12 years--
stuck by me,
in spite of everything.
Hey, look, when they
press the coat,
don't let 'em put
a crease in the sleeve.
Other inmates work in the stamping mill,
making state license plates
and road signs.
In the West,
when they say something,
they're not fooling.
Let's ask this old timer
a few questions.
What's your name?
Joe Bundy.
Been here long?
Oh, quite a piece.
Since 1897.
50 years.
Aren't you about due
for a parole?
They can keep it.
Where would I go?
Who'd want me?
That's the worst
punishment of all--
when nobody wants you.
Here, inmates with special skills
and an artistic bent
work at making hooked rugs.
Let's talk to this boy.
What's your name, son?
Carlo Nova.
And how old are you?
14 years old.
What crime were you
convicted of?
What's your sentence?
20 years to 30 years.
(narrator) Warden Best has
recommended this inmate for parole.
The man
has proven himself.
Our next stop
is the gymnasium.
Mr. Frady, you're
athletic instructor
for the prison,
aren't you?
How long have you
been here?
I came here when I was 23,
convicted of murder.
And you got life?
I got death.
Four hours before I was
to die in the gas chamber,
the warden got my sentence
I see.
And do you expect
to be paroled?
Yes, in '49.
I'm going
to show the world
that the warden made
no mistake
when he
gave me back my life.
In the afternoon, the work details
return from their labors
on Quarry Hill.
The prison day begins early
and ends early.
Although familiarity and
routine can breed contempt,
the authorities
never forget
that these men are here
against their will.
All prisoners are checked
for contraband
on their return from work.
This electronic frisker
sounds an alarm
whenever anyone carries
a metal object past it.
The robot guard gets alarmed
over anything metallic,
harmless or not,
and it can be set so fine
that it will announce
the nails in your shoes.
Immediately after chow,
the 1,200 inmates march
into the cell house,
and by 5 p.m.,
while it is still daylight,
are locked away in their
cells for the long night.
All over the prison,
in the other cell houses,
men are filing along
the galleries,
standing before
their cell doors.
On signal, the cell doors
are opened by the bar men.
These are inmate trustees,
and one bar man
handles each tier of cells.
Again, on signal, the bar men
close the cells.
These are the hardest
hours of each prison day,
when a man is left alone
with his thoughts
of what has been,
of what might have been.
As another round
of routine ends,
every man
behind these bars
is dreaming of only
one day--
the day of freedom.
This is Johnson,
a long-termer.
Perhaps the boat model is,
to him,
a symbol of the open sea,
of freedom to roam,
of hope.
His cell neighbor
is Sherbondy,
in for the
killing of an officer.
He was committed
when he was 17.
He's now 29.
(dramatic music)
How is the
new boat coming?
She'll soon be
ready to launch.
Is that all
you're building?
A boat?
I know when
something's going on.
Wise guy, huh?
You'll never make it.
I'm not in this alone.
We've got every
angle figured.
We can't miss.
That's what
they all think.
Look at Smalley,
Hathaway, Lavergne.
They tried it more
than once,
and they're still here.
Murray made it.
He was out
five years.
And they found him
and brought him back.
So, we don't make
the same mistakes.
Now, get this.
Hope springs eternal, they say,
and never more so
than for those in prison.
Take Johnson, for instance--
the boat builder.
For months,
he's been hoping.
For weeks, planning.
And now, he's decided to put
those plans into operation.
It's just a matter
of brains and of guts,
and of a lot of scheming
and a little luck.
Hi, Charlie.
Oh, hello, Willie.
Hi, Harry.
Nice weather
for December.
Yeah, don't you just
love the climate here?
Got any souvenirs?
This one's
for charity.
They tell me you've
got a load for me.
Take this
control panel
down to the desk
sergeant's office.
I've got orders to
install it this afternoon.
Nice work.
Sure, they can put you behind bars.
Sure, they can
set men to watch you,
men with tear-gas billies
and guns.
Sure, they can shove
you around
and stick a number on you
and make you
walk with your arms folded,
but they can't keep you
from having buddies,
like New, a sharp little guy
who'll try anything
and always
knows the score.
And there are others--
a fighting dozen of them.
Warden Best,
with his big hat
and his dogs
and his tough guards.
There are always ways,
if a man uses his head,
and if he picks his pals.
So much for those
who plot and plan.
Modern prison science
follows the doctrine
that besides work, man--
even man in prison--
must have recreation.
Once a week, a movie is
shown in the auditorium,
selected, of course,
and properly approved,
but something of the outside
world, nevertheless--
something to be thought over
and remembered
and discussed
during the coming week.
(dramatic music)
I found the one-reeler.
Ah, just in time.
The feature's
just beginning.
Look, I know
how you feel
about what
I told you, but--
I don't want
any part of it.
Okay, if you want to
rot in this joint,
that's your business,
but that doesn't mean
you can't help us out.
I've got some stuff
hidden in my cell
that I've
got to get rid of
for the time being.
I won't touch it.
I counted on you
as a friend, kid.
Look, I told you,
I don't want to get
mixed up in anything.
Now, keep away from me,
will ya?
Beat it!
(upbeat music)
What'd he say?
No dice.
The date's been set.
We go the 30th.
We need that guy.
He's got the one spot where
the hitters will be safe.
Why don't you talk to him?
I will.
Stop worrying.
He'll be with us.
I'm in on the break.
How do you feel
about it by now?
I haven't changed.
You can't get away
with it.
Yeah, more corn.
What you got to lose?
You're doing life.
Look, you don't need me.
We've got a special
job for you.
I might be paroled
in a few years.
Don't be a mug.
You killed a copper.
I've got a date
in your department
this afternoon.
Be seeing you then.
I understand you have
a loose connection
in the darkroom.
That's right.
Is it okay
to go in?
Wait a minute.
Is it all right
to open the door?
Where's your trouble?
Fuse box.
You can turn
the lights on.
Quite a nice little set-up
you've got here.
probably lonesome.
With the clean record
you've built up,
they leave you pretty
much alone, don't they?
I get along.
I mind my own business.
Lone wolf.
It doesn't pay.
That's why they say,
in jail, you should
work together.
Okay, it's fixed.
Just burned out.
The whole building
needs going over.
All right to turn
the lights out now?
I want to load
some film.
Use your head, kid.
A man would better
be dead
than locked up
all his life.
Come on,
straighten up a little.
(dramatic music)
Yes, Sherbondy, a special job for you.
You're in this, whether you
like it or not.
They need you.
You control the best hiding
place in the prison.
No one can enter the darkroom
without knocking,
not even the guards.
Might spoil a batch
of prints
or X-ray negatives.
The officers trust you,
would never suspect you of
hiding murder weapons.
Yes, Sherbondy,
you've been taken.
we want to come in.
Oh, uh-- uh,
just a minute,
till I put these prints
away, will ya?
(suspenseful music)
Is that X-ray film
ready yet?
Oh, uh, yeah,
yeah, I think so.
Here you are, Joe.
the doc wants it.
If you think I'll dummy up
on a rap like this,
you're crazy.
Call a screw.
Tell them they'd come
to plant it on you.
Would he believe you?
Would the warden?
No, he'd stick you
in a hole from now on.
How do you know
those guns will shoot?
I'd stake my life on it.
Besides, we'll grab
tear-gas guns
from the guards.
They take
a 12-gauge shell.
Then we'll hail
when we go.
When we go.
When's that?
The 30th.
How do you expect to
get through the gate?
It's all doped out.
Relax, Jimmy.
We'll tip you off
when it's time to pack
your weekend bag.
(dramatic music)
How's the kid, huh?
How's Bob?
Is he okay?
He's well.
Look, I shot this
last Sunday.
Gee, he looks bigger.
He is.
I never saw a child
grow so fast.
Honey, he takes after you
more and more every day.
You mean, he--
Oh, no.
Aw, the little
son of a gun.
Gee, Billy, it's good
to see you again.
Three years.
Keep it down.
I got the message
you sent
by that guy who was
paroled last month.
I did everything
he told me.
You didn't use
your real name?
No, no, a phony.
Like you said I should.
He said everything had to
be ready by the 30th.
Don't mention
that date in here.
But why?
Mrs. Wilson?
The captain would like
to see you a minute
before you
have your visit.
What's the matter?
Is anything wrong?
Well, I don't know.
He'll tell you
all about it.
This way, please.
You're a smart kid, May.
Just lay low and wait.
I'll be seeing you
on the outside.
But, Billy, you've got two
more years to go in here.
Look, I can't talk now,
but there's a deal
coming off,
and I'm gonna
cut in on it.
Don't take any chances.
Forget it.
Talk about
something else.
Say, uh, how's
your old lady?
Oh, she's swell.
You understand,
Mrs. Wilson,
what I told you
about your brother
is for his own good.
Yes, of course.
You tell him
what I said,
but put it
in your own way.
You may save the boy
a lot of trouble.
I understand.
I'll talk to him.
Thank you very much,
It's all right.
You can see him now.
I'll send him in.
The captain spoke well
of you, Jimmy.
He says you have
a clean record so far
and that you're doing
a good job
in the projection booth
and in the darkroom too.
But I think
there's one thing
you might have forgotten.
What's that?
You kept bad company
when you were a kid, Jimmy,
and that's why you're here.
That sort of thing
can happen to you
on the inside
as well as on the outside.
He says you're keeping
bad company again.
What did he mean by that?
He meant you've--
you've made
the wrong kind of
friends in prison.
You've got to be careful,
Don't forget,
you're doing
time for murder.
The fact that you were 17
when you were sentenced
can work in your favor,
but if you get into
trouble now,
they might
keep you here for life.
But if I thought there was
some chance for parole,
ma-- maybe
a few years, even--
There is a chance, Jimmy.
Did he say that?
Did he say when?
Well, if you keep
your record clean,
as you have in the past,
it's quite possible
you might be out
of here within ten years.
Ten years?
That's right.
Oh, you've
taken so much, Jimmy.
You can take that,
can't you?
I suppose
I'll have to, sis.
So long, sis.
(overlapping shouting)
(bell ringing)
Keep working
on Sherbondy.
but what worries me
is how we're gonna get
these six guys
out of solitary.
We can't go without 'em.
We'll get 'em out.
But how?
We can't even
talk to 'em.
We can't even get near 'em
when they're in solitary.
Take it easy.
I'll get to them.
(whistle blowing)
Seconds out.
(narrator) This is cell house six,
the hotspot of the prison.
Over 200 of the hardest inmates
call it home,
and for the six most
case-hardened of these,
there is a block of cells
known as solitary--
Little Siberia.
Next time you threaten
an officer,
the warden
will keep you in here
for the rest of your time.
Go peddle your fish,
Tough guy, huh?
You ought to know.
You don't seem
to be happy
unless you're
here in Siberia
with your six pals.
Well, you'll get a good
dose of it this time.
If 60 days don't
cool you off,
I'll see that
you get some more.
And that goes for the rest
of you hyenas.
(blowing nose)
Who'd you threaten?
Gray himself.
Only next time, I won't
stop with a threat.
Got any news for us?
Everything's set.
Did you bring
anything with you?
You think I got myself
buried in here
to sit around
for 60 days?
I got a little Christmas
present for you, Tolley.
And one for myself.
We sweat blood
to get these things.
If Gray finds 'em,
we're sunk.
I think we've got
a perfect set-up.
If I give you the dope,
you could pass it on
to the other guys.
Joe, is it okay if I stay in
from the main line tonight?
I don't feel so good.
Maybe I scored a miss.
My stomach's upset.
The inmates are on their way to chow--
all but the six
in solitary.
The cell house
is almost deserted.
It is Carl Schwartzmiller,
the ringleader,
who makes the first open
assault against authority,
takes the first step
toward freedom.
That noisy fan
is noisy on purpose.
Organized carefully,
neglected to oil it
for several weeks,
the racket it makes
will cover for them.
The planning is over.
It's time for action.
It's all set.
Now, there
can be no wavering,
no turning back,
no stopping.
Whatever comes,
they must continue
on the course they have
(overlapping chatter)
Hi, Warden.
Hi, Tim.
Hi, Paddy.
You want to take
a hand in this, Roy?
I can't, doc.
I went upstairs
to a meeting,
and I'm on my way
back to prison.
You're wanted on
the telephone, doctor.
The party says
it's urgent.
Who's calling?
Well, they didn't
say, sir.
They only said it's--
it's liable to
happen any minute.
Holy smoke!
Roy, you'd better sit down
and take my hand.
Sit down, Paddy.
Well, you forced me to it.
All right.
What are we playing?
(overlapping chatter)
Don't bring
your topic here.
Aw, why do you keep
handing me the dope
one piece at a time?
I want to know
the whole set-up.
What happens next?
We sic guys
on the north perimeter
and duck out
any time we like.
The eight guys
handling the locking bars
to number six
always leave
ahead of the others.
We go when they go.
Where are the heaters?
There go
the bar men now.
Okay, let's go.
The usual routine--
the bar men returning
early from mess.
Everything will be okay--
if some sharp guard
doesn't count them,
discover two more
than there should be.
If only Johnson
and Sherbondy
can back into
cell house six on time.
In the cell house,
Morgan creeps into position,
carefully, cautiously.
There must be
no slip-up now.
This has been planned
for weeks and months,
all for these few minutes
of this day.
Everything depends
upon clockwork position,
on every man doing
his job right.
Morgan will be
the first to attack.
His target has been picked.
Here come the bar men.
Everything looks normal.
The sally port
closes behind them.
(suspenseful music)
Johnson and Sherbondy
are still with them.
They haven't been noticed.
What are you men
doing here?
(dramatic music)
Tolley and Schwartzmiller are on time.
They've sawed their
way out of Little Siberia.
Did you get the key
to the bar cage?
Yeah, take it.
(narrator) Now, to spring
the other men in Little Siberia,
the toughest crew
in the whole prison.
They'll have to hurry.
Things are taking
longer than they'd planned.
If the other prisoners get
back from mess too soon,
everything could go wrong.
The cell house six crowd is
on their way back from mess.
200 guys.
What'll do we do
with them?
Oh, leave it to me,
I'll handle it.
Open that door.
Come on, get the uniforms
off these guys.
Don't gang up,
you guys!
Keep that line moving!
Go on!
March to your cells,
same as always!
Keep moving!
(overlapping chatter)
Keep quiet!
You guys
don't want to forget,
this thing fires
tear-gas shells.
First guy that opens his yap
to yell
gets a load of it
right in their mouth.
This is a break.
We've got a good chance.
Any of you guys want to go
along, just say so.
Those who don't,
keep your mouths shut
and lay low!
I'm doing life now.
I don't need
no extra ten.
Come on, there's
nothing to look at.
Get back in your holes!
Hey, Schwartzmiller.
Don't forget,
we're in on this.
Yeah, I know--
you and your friend here.
Go on, keep moving!
Here comes Clark
to make the count.
Outside, it's beginning to snow--
the birth of a blizzard.
(phone ringing)
Nonez speaking.
This is Clark
in cell house six.
McLean's had
a stroke.
Tell him to send
Captain Gentry.
You'd better get
a hold of the captain.
Send him up right away.
(hangs up call)
He can't get Gentry.
They're sending
another man.
Grab the guard
when he comes in.
You mean, we're gonna
wait for him?
Let's take the men we've
got and get out of here.
We haven't got enough.
Bring those
other screws out.
We need all the guards
we can pick up.
We gotta use 'em for cover
when we hit the gate.
The tower guards will
blast us if we don't.
They won't even see us
in the snow.
What's the matter
with you suckers?
Haven't you got any guts?
Shut up!
Come on, screw,
you're going for
a little trip!
Go on, get Gray
out here!
We can't take
Joe Gray with us.
Why not?
Why, Schwartzmiller
half killed him.
We don't have to die
on our hands.
Who says we don't?
We don't need Gray.
The guy
can't even walk.
So, what good is he?
I'll finish the job on it.
Leave him alone.
Are you telling me
what to do?
Yeah, I'm telling you.
I didn't ask in on
this party, see?
But now that I'm in on it,
I'm not gonna let you
foul it up
just to satisfy
a personal grudge.
Listen, this goes
for all you guys!
Here's another boyfriend
to take along.
Are we set?
If we clear the yard,
we're on our way.
(dramatic music)
(suspenseful music)
Come on,
we want the keys
to the north gate.
I haven't got it.
You're lying.
I'm not.
It's kept
during daytimes,
never at night.
We can't wait
for the key!
They'll see us in a minute
and start shooting!
Maybe we can
climb this thing.
Let me at that lock!
Keep back, you guys!
(suspenseful music)
They found this
key on Biggs.
See if it fits!
Got it!
(chains rattling)
It's okay!
The gate's open!
(telephone rings)
McNally speaking.
No, there's no
"Hill Gang" on tonight.
Why should there be?
McNally, there's
been a break!
12 men gone,
Joe Gray
nearly killed!
(phone clattering)
Get me the warden!
(horn blowing)
(whistle blowing)
The dread sound of the prison whistle,
announcing a break,
warning Caon City.
The people hurry
for their homes,
to protect their families,
to prepare for
whatever may be coming,
for the blast of that whistle
always means trouble,
suffering, bloodshed,
Caon City can never forget
the last time it blew--
a night of horror,
12 dead--
seven guards,
five convicts.
Tonight, another break,
a blizzard setting in
and a tornado
of desperate men at large.
The people get ready
for anything
and gather their children
into their homes.
Warden Best hurries
back to the prison,
through the storm,
to take command,
to muster his forces.
Rifles and ammunition
are issued for the manhunt.
The state police
have been alerted.
A statewide alarm is out.
(alarm blaring)
These three guards
can't go any farther.
All right,
we'll leave 'em here.
Come on.
(whistle blowing)
The cops!
Break it up!
Even a newsboy's whistle means danger.
All of Caon City is stirring
like a nest of hornets.
People have one goal--
to get to
the safety of their homes.
The fugitives have
One group got
away in a laundry truck.
Others steal cars,
like Schwartzmiller
and his group.
The keys are still in it,
the engine still warm.
Get in the back,
(dramatic music)
Listen, men, you all
know the country.
It's rough outside
and you're dealing
with some rough men.
If possible,
bring 'em in alive,
but don't take
any chances.
That's all.
Okay, warden.
Let's go, fellas.
(overlapping chatter)
(suspenseful music)
(sirens blaring)
(tires squealing)
Nice driving, Curt.
You did all right.
I'd like to see you do as
good on a night like this.
Where's the prison
dairy farm?
About a mile
up the road.
You may find a car
but you're wrong in
thinking you'll get guns.
They keep 'em
locked up in a vault.
That won't stop us.
Not tonight.
We'd better
get off the road.
We'll go through
that field.
No matter how we go,
we leave tracks in the snow.
That's not a bad thought
for a city guy,
but I beat you to it.
Go ahead and walk
in single file.
I'll follow you and
wipe the tracks away.
The wind'll do
the rest, stupid.
Hey, where are you
trying to take us?
This isn't the dairy farm.
I know.
It's not far from here.
But I thought we'd go
in here and get warm.
Whose place is this?
A family by the name
of Oliver.
Do they know you?
No, I don't think so.
Maybe they
got a car.
we'll find out.
You keep your
mouth shut.
(dramatic music)
(door closes)
Excuse us for
tracking in the snow.
Mrs. Oliver?
Why didn't you knock?
You scared me
half to death.
I'm sorry.
You see,
we're in a hurry.
We're officers from
the pen.
I suppose you heard
about the prison break.
Yes, we heard it
on the radio.
You got a phone?
Well, uh,
our car was wrecked,
and we lost some guns.
We'd like to borrow
some of yours,
and your car too,
if you don't mind.
Well, I don't know.
Now, listen he--
Uh, you've got guns,
haven't you?
Uh, yes.
Yes, we've got guns.
A .38 pistol
and a .22 rifle.
I'll get 'em for you.
That's very nice
of you, friend.
We want
ammunition too.
Go get yourself
warmed up.
Poor guy got a chill
when the car turned over.
Ripped the coat
right off his back.
Seems to me,
you men should
have on overcoats
in this kind of weather.
How'd you come
to lose your guns?
They got smashed
in the wreck.
Of course, we've still got
these tear-gas billies.
They're loaded
with shotgun shells.
They'd make a nasty hole
in a person.
Yes, they would.
Dear me.
Where are the keys to
your car, Mrs. Oliver?
The car won't start.
What do you mean,
it won't start?
Well, the engine's cold.
The battery's run down.
Now, don't
give us that!
Take it easy, chum.
Well, you-- it wouldn't
start for me.
You can try it
yourself, if you want to.
Here are the keys.
It's out by the barn.
Oh, don't mind him.
He's got a nervous
I wish he'd control it.
I've got one too.
You must have been
half frozen.
(Schwartzmiller) Yeah, but he
feels a whole lot better now.
Sit down, boys.
(radio announcer)
The 12 escaped convicts
are still at large.
These men are armed
and dangerous.
Four prison officials
injured by the escapees
have been taken
to the hospital.
One is near death.
Officer Winston Williams,
kidnapped as a hostage,
is missing.
It is not yet known
what has become of him.
You were right, lady.
Your stinkin' car
won't start!
Looks like the whole blasted
country's froze up.
How do we get to
the dairy farm from here?
You can't miss it.
You follow the road
out front.
You'll come to Superintendent
Higgins' house first.
Where is
Higgins' office?
In the farm dormitory,
a couple of hundred feet
from the house.
One of us had better
stay here, just in case.
I'll stay.
Get a car
and pick me up here.
Keep an eye on this guy
before he goes nuts.
Don't forget to
come back!
I'll come back!
(door closes)
Funny-- if you're
prison guards,
you don't know where
the dairy farm is.
We're new on the job,
Mr. Oliver.
We don't know
this country yet.
Then how can you go
hunting escaped convicts?
I was just getting
I'm sure you
wouldn't object
to a nice, hot cup
of cocoa.
You'd like one, wouldn't
you, Mr. Williams?
You said these people
didn't know you.
We don't, but we
heard the radio.
Yeah, he's Williams,
and we're cons.
Sit down, Mr. Oliver.
Take it easy.
(Mrs. Oliver)
Anything else you'd like?
Yeah, some fruit,
I've got some.
You know, you don't
look like a criminal.
I'm not.
They got
the wrong man.
Get the cocoa.
(wind howling)
12 men?
My goodness,
what time did it happen?
No, I didn't know
a thing about it.
Lonnie's been writing
letters since suppertime,
and we
haven't had the radio on.
He stepped over to the
farm dormitory.
Maybe he's heard
something about it.
I'll talk to him
and call you back.
(bell ringing)
(phone ringing)
Oh, it's you, Minnie.
Yeah, I heard about it.
The boys
here in the dormitory
got it over the radio.
That's right, 12 of the
toughest cons in the pen.
You be careful, now.
Don't worry about me.
Wait a minute.
There's someone
at the door.
Oh, it's all right,
It's two guards
from the prison.
They likely
want to use the phone.
I'll call you back.
Well, I guess
I don't know you boys.
No, I guess you don't.
You're from the prison,
aren't you?
We're from the prison,
all right.
We work
on the graveyard shift.
They got us out of bed
to chase the cons
that made a break.
I just heard
about it.
wasn't it?
Yeah, worst break
since '29.
Oh, the only break
since '29.
But Roy Best
will get them back.
So he says.
Where's your husband,
Mrs. Higgins?
(dramatic music)
He's over
to the farm dormitory.
Where's that?
Just down the road
a beat.
You can see it from here.
Funny, you don't know
where the dormitory is,
if you're prison guards!
Never mind
what we are!
Our car broke down.
We want you to get
your car out
and drive us to Pueblo.
Boys, I couldn't
take my car out
on a night like this.
The roads are covered
with ice.
Those rifles belong
to my son.
Where does he keep
his ammunition?
I don't know
anything about that.
We've got no time
to fool around with you.
We want that ammunition,
and we want your car,
and you're gonna
drive it.
Now, where is it?
Locked in the garage.
Where are the keys?
I don't know that,
You better not
lie to us!
This guy's
a little upset,
but I'm not, see?
I'm glad to hear that.
You're convicts, aren't you?
I was doing life
for murder.
Get the angle?
I guess I do.
Then go across.
All right.
My husband changed his
clothes before he went out.
He left his other things
in the bedroom closet.
Maybe the car keys
are in his pocket.
I'll go see.
You'll do that.
We'll be--
Right behind you.
The keys must be somewhere
among his clothes,
but I'll have to
hunt for them.
He's like most men--
no system whatever.
Always losing his keys.
He's liable to drop 'em
any old place.
Find 'em--
that's all we want.
You'd think a man would have
one place for his things,
but not Lonnie.
he wants anything,
he's got to go digging
all through his pockets.
Keep quiet!
You make me stop talking,
I'll only start yelling.
Then you will be mad!
I'm doing
the best I can.
Here they are.
Give 'em here!
That's what
I'm trying to do!
You make me so nervous,
I can't hang onto anything!
Okay, come on.
Let's get out of here.
All right, all right,
I'm coming
as fast as I can.
(cocks gun)
(dramatic music)
Is that you, Minnie?
(phone ringing)
If that gun
had been loaded,
you'd have
killed us both!
That's what
you'd do to me!
(phone ringing)
Why does that phone
keep ringing?
You'll find out!
Wait a minute!
She knows the roads,
and we don't!
Come on, you!
(suspenseful music)
Oh, Lonnie!
Oh, Lonnie!
(wind howling)
(radio announcer)
This is station KRLN,
broadcasting from
Warden Best's office.
Two of the escaped convicts
have been reported
in the vicinity
of the Lon Higgins home.
Help is on its way there
All citizens are urged
to keep off the streets,
stay in your homes,
and report
anything suspicious.
Looks like your friends
may not come back.
Yeah, it looks like it.
More cocoa?
No, thanks.
Cigarette, Williams?
Yeah, thanks.
Hey, wait a minute.
Sit down.
Careful about those
sudden moves, Williams.
Why don't you
go to bed, Ethel?
What good would I do
in bed?
Do you think
I could sleep?
He doesn't expect
you to sleep.
He figures you
could signal for help
from the bedroom window.
You stay right here
with us and see the fun.
(Mrs. Oliver) You know,
there's one thing I'm curious about.
Yeah, go ahead
and ask me.
I'll wring your
whole towel dry.
You seem to be
an educated person.
Education seldom goes
hand in hand with crime.
So, why did I
become a criminal?
No, not that, but what
were you charged with?
Well, this time,
I still have to
commit murder.
The first time, it
was grand theft auto.
Then, armed robbery,
armed robbery again,
then a parole violation,
and an escape.
I'm still wanted
in Illinois.
I've been in the can
on and off
since I was 20 years old.
Now tell me
crime doesn't pay.
Well, it seems to
pay the wardens.
Haven't you
any ambitions?
I want to commit
the perfect crime.
You say you have
22 years to go.
That's bad enough.
Is this any better?
How could you take
such a terrible chance?
I couldn't stand it
around there.
The joint's full
of cheap thieves.
What are you doing
now, sister?
I'm gonna get
a cup for myself.
Is it all right?
Yeah, but don't
get me wrong, sister.
I'd kill to stay
out of that joint.
You mean,
it's bad there?
Well, not the way
you see it,
but you can't lock men up
and expect them to stay put,
not even if you feed 'em
off gold plates.
They'll always
fight to get out
and take the
gold plates with 'em.
Can't you get anything
but the local station
on this box?
We must have
made the headlines
on the major networks.
(swing music)
(suspenseful music)
(radio announcer) Again, a bulletin
from Warden Best's office.
Two of the escaped convicts,
Smalley and Hathaway,
have been returned
to the prison.
So far, five of
the escaped convicts
have been recaptured.
These men state that
the break was planned
and led by
Richard Heilman,
a life termer.
Heilman is still
at large.
Stay tuned to this station
for information
and warning
Warden Best warns the people
of Three Mile County
to be on their guard.
Keep your doors locked.
Admit no strangers.
How do you like that?
Giving Heilman
all the credit.
That dope had
nothing to do with it.
I was the--
What are you doing?
Listening to the radio.
What do you got
under your apron?
I thought you might
like another orange.
Oh, thanks.
I can't stay here
much longer.
The minute
I get out of sight,
one of you would duck
for a phone.
The best way would be
to take you all with me,
but I can't do that,
because I got
nothing to take you in.
I don't want to kill you.
I wouldn't like that.
So, I'll have to
tie you all up but good,
give myself plenty
of time.
Meanwhile, the fires
will go out,
and we'll freeze.
That might kill us
It's tough, but that's
the way it's got to be.
(vehicle approaching)
This isn't the place.
It's a half-mile
down the road.
You see?
A half-truck
full of officers,
and they started
coming to the house.
Just lucky
they changed their mind.
I see.
I'll take those.
(suspenseful music)
Get me some rope!
Have you got him?
I've got him.
You're sure?
I'm sure.
Dear me,
I feel so funny.
What's the matter?
Has she fainted?
Well, by golly, you should.
Meanwhile, New and Hernandez
come to May's home
for help.
Is this the house?
(knocking on door)
Oh, boy.
I heard about the break
on the radio,
but I never dreamed it--
We needed to wait
till we got the chance.
There's no time
for gab now.
We want to get rid of
these rags,
change our clothes.
Come on, quick.
Get-- get me an outfit
for my friend.
Okay, Billy.
Well, is that
a package?
Yeah, but look,
ain't you worried
about the cops?
You do the worrying.
These things
will fix him up.
I'll go get
your clothes packed.
Make yourself
at home, Georgie.
(wind howling)
How are you, Georgie?
Who else is in there?
How did you know
we was here?
Ask the warden.
(dramatic music)
Okay, New,
the party's over!
(phone ringing)
Yes, the warden
Where at?
Well, anybody hurt?
That's fine.
Bring him in.
(radio announcer)
They got New and Hernandez?
At the home of a girl
who just moved to town.
I guess it pays to keep
track of my boys' girlfriends.
(wind howling)
(radio announcer)
Warden Best announces
the capture
of Carl Schwartzmiller
after a fierce struggle
in the farm home of
Mr. And Mrs. Lawrence Oliver.
Warden Best again
warns you
of the dangerous character
of these men.
Six are still at large--
Morgan, Heilman,
Freeman, Tolley,
Johnson, and Sherbondy.
(radio announcer)
This is station KRLN,
broadcasting from
Warden Best's office.
All citizens are urged...
Is the phone working?
Not since the storm.
How about it, mister?
You wouldn't be him,
would you?
Okay, sit down.
You're next, kid.
Take it easy, folks.
If anybody gets hurt,
it'll be your own fault.
Remember, we're not here
to play dominoes.
It's life and death
to us, see?
And the same to you.
How many men
in the family?
myself and two boys.
Where's the other one?
He's in the Army.
Then he must have plenty
of good, warm clothes.
We want 'em.
You-- get 'em, kid,
and no foolin'.
You go with him.
Who are you
snapping your fingers at?
At you, slug!
Go on,
do what I tell you!
Next, we want some
food to take with us.
That's your
department, Mrs.--
What's your name?
Okay, Smith, I want you
to pack a big, fat lunch
for three hungry guys.
Get going.
Just as you say.
You come with me,
she stays here.
Take the kids.
Any liquor
in the house?
We never touch it.
I haven't touched it
myself for ten years.
Put on a big pot of coffee,
Mrs. Smith.
You people must have
some guns here,
with shells for 'em.
We've got a couple
of .22 rifles
with ammunition.
Look, I know you hunt
deer in this county.
You've got something
heavier than rabbit guns.
A couple of 30-30s
stashed away someplace?
Where are they?
The .22s
are all we've got.
Who do you think
you're kidding?
What are you gonna do?
You don't have to
convince him you're tough.
Keep your hands off him!
Okay, pappy.
Show me where
you keep your guns.
How old are you?
How far is this place
from town?
Eight miles.
Why did you
have to stop here?
Why didn't you go on?
Well, we ran out of gas.
Hey, nobody's gonna
hurt you.
You're gonna be
all right.
There's plenty of
his stuff in there.
There's enough
for all of us.
It'll feel good to get
these wet things off.
My feets are frozen.
Come on, Freeman.
I'm okay.
All I need
is another coat,
so as I can ditch
this uniform.
Keep your eyes
on the road, Tolley.
You don't have to
tell me to do that.
Where's the stuff, kid?
Right in here.
Are those all the guns
they've got?
So he says.
Load 'em, will you?
We need some gas.
Most of you ranchers
have storage tanks.
You've got one,
ain't ya?
(Mr. Smith)
Yes, but it's empty.
We'll find out
about that.
Show me where
the tank is, honey.
It's just out there,
at the side
of the house.
Okay, come on,
show me.
Take it easy, mister.
Sit down.
Sit down.
There's the tank.
Right there,
in front of you.
Don't get excited.
Nobody's gonna hurt you.
I haven't seen
anything like you
since they locked me up.
Now, listen, kid.
You're pretty keen about
your old man, ain't ya?
You mean, Mr. Smith?
He's not my father,
he's my uncle.
Just the same, you wouldn't
want him to get hurt.
No, of course not.
Then don't be that way!
Or I will get tough
with you.
No, let me--
Stay where you are!
That means you too!
Where's Freeman?
He's out there.
Let me go!
Please, no!
Get inside, you!
Listen, chump,
I know how your mind works,
and I don't like it!
I want you to leave
these women alone!
You want me?
Who's running
this picnic?
That's what
I want to know.
Are you telling me
what to do?
You dumb apes!
You've been framing
this break
ever since you've
been buried in the can.
I didn't want
any part of it,
but you dragged me
into it, see?
There's only one shell
in this trick heater,
but it's a 12-gauge, see,
and it spreads.
Well, how about it?
You want a sample?
That's how you'll end--
killing each other.
Yeah, maybe
you're right, lady,
but we're not gonna
mess up your dining room.
We're moving
out of here, see?
I mean, now.
How do we travel
without the gas?
You've got a car,
haven't you, Smith?
Then, that's how
we travel.
Go on, outside.
Nice guys.
Come on, kid, show us
where the car is.
If we run into trouble,
we'll be back.
I guess you'd hate that.
I don't blame you.
Here's the sandwiches,
with coffee.
Go on.
Tell the kid I'm--
Tell her nothing.
(engine sputtering)
(engine turns over)
(radio announcer)
The two convicts who invaded the home
of Mrs. Lon Higgins
earlier this evening
later shot at our
prison officers
at an isolated cabin,
where they had
taken refuge.
One convict wounded,
the other killed.
No answer.
The lines are still down.
Ma, Ma,
they're coming back!
Oh, go back to room,
Go on!
Maxine, you stay
with them!
(pounding on door)
Open up, or we're
breaking in!
Oh, let them in!
They'll kill us
if we--
Turn out the lights
in the kitchen.
Hurry up!
You said they'd
followed us here.
a half-truck coming!
There's gonna
be shooting!
Lie down on the floor!
Not you, pappy.
I need you
for a front.
Here they come!
(suspenseful music)
(brakes screeching)
Smith, are you in there?
(window shattering)
Get on the floor!
Do you want to be
Those men are gone.
You can come in now.
(narrator) Of the fugitives
cornered at the Smith home,
only Sherbondy makes good
his getaway.
The whole countryside
is alive with pursuers.
The blizzard is increasing
in intensity,
merciless alike to
the hunters and the hunted.
(dogs barking)
(dramatic music)
Sherbondy finds
a safe hiding place.
Tolley was captured,
waiting in the freezing
waters of a creek
to hide his tracks.
He's badly frostbitten.
He's the ninth
accounted for.
Freeman put up
a savage struggle.
Wounded, defiant,
cursing his captors,
he's stopped in his tracks
only by the knowledge
that he will be shot down
if he makes a move.
He's number ten
to be checked off.
That leaves two
still at large--
Sherbondy and Johnson,
the boat builder.
(train whistle blowing)
Johnson is the one who
decided to go it alone.
It's now 4:00 in
the afternoon of the next day.
Johnson has been free
for almost 24 hours--
running, hiding,
going without food.
He battles his way up,
out of the gorge.
It's a rock-wall trap.
(dramatic music)
Only number 12,
James Sherbondy,
is still at large.
After 48 hours, hunger
forces him from hiding.
Lock that door!
Pull down the shade!
I saw your pictures
in the paper.
Yeah, you're Sherbondy.
You people
got a phone here?
No phone.
See for yourself.
I will.
I don't want to
hurt anybody, see?
But you've
got to give me
something to eat.
Well, I guess I could fry
a couple of eggs for you.
Yeah, yeah,
make if five eggs.
Rustle up some soup,
coffee, milk.
Don't touch me!
(Mrs. Bauer) Leave him alone.
Your first name's James,
isn't it?
Sit down, Jimmy.
And be careful of that
cannon you've got there.
It's the craziest-lookin'
thing I ever saw.
It'll kill.
It will?
My goodness,
you must be starved.
Here, maybe this
milk will hold you
'til I can get
something ready for you.
(Mr. Bauer)
One of the escaped convicts is dead.
Three of them are wounded.
They got ten of them
the first night--
all but you
and another fella.
The National Guard's
been all out,
looking for you--
and airplanes.
Don't mention it.
Land sakes.
I haven't
eaten anything
since supper,
Tuesday night.
I see you people
have a car outside.
It's so cold, we can't
get it started.
We'll get it
started, somehow.
We're all gonna take
a little trip.
Not now.
Toward morning.
Where are we going?
We'll head for Pueblo.
If we meet anybody,
I'll be on the floor,
under a blanket,
with this in my hand.
It'll be up to you
to tell a good story.
How do you like 'em?
Straight up
or turned over?
Straight up.
They'll be ready
in a minute.
What time is it?
Just past 7:00.
Take it easy, Jimmy.
(toy gun firing)
Hey, pretty keen,
ain't it?
Jerry got it
for Christmas.
Yeah, I never had
anything like this
when I was a kid.
I used to practice with
one whittled out of wood.
(cat meows)
Machine Gun Kelly.
(imitates rapid gunfire)
(cat meows)
Makin' believe
I was blasting
all the kids
that pushed me around.
I got the idea
that a guy could get
places with a gun.
Oh, what a sucker
idea that was.
(Mr. Bauer)
You started early.
(cat meows)
A kid begins with
hoisting milk bottles
off a doorstep,
or apples
from a fruit stand.
He finds it easy to get
what other people have got.
First thing you know,
he's got a heater in his hand,
and one night, some guy
with real guts
scares the pants
off him,
and he pulls the trigger.
You killed a deputy,
didn't you?
He was after me,
and we shot it out.
A good man died,
and I thought I was
a great guy.
I hadn't got any sense that
I'd been in the can a while.
I might have gotten
a parole in ten years,
but I just couldn't
wait that long.
(child fusses)
He seems to have
a fever.
He hasn't been well.
Do you mind
if I take him and--
and put him to bed?
Oh, sure, go ahead.
(child fusses)
Be quiet, sweetie,
just for a few minutes.
Wait 'til Mommy sees
what your temperature is.
It's bad.
Worse than I thought.
Haven't you got any
medicine for him?
Nothing that'll help.
The doctor told me
this might happen,
and if it did,
I was to get Jerry
to the hospital as
fast as I could.
It's his appendix.
Mommy, it hurts.
I know, darling.
We'll get it
fixed soon.
He can't stay here.
I've got to get him
to town.
It might rupture
if I don't,
and you know
what that means.
Yeah, but you said
you couldn't get
your car started.
I could take him
across the road
to Mr. Brooks.
His car is okay.
He'll take us in.
And the minute he gets
you to the hospital,
he'll call the prison.
No, he won't.
I won't tell him anything
about you being here.
You expect me
to believe that?
You've got to.
You've got to.
(dramatic music)
Take him,
and make it quick,
before I change
my mind.
Honey, wait.
But don't forget,
you're leaving
your husband
and your
little girl here.
You turn me in,
they'll get hurt.
You can trust me!
Trust her!
You can.
She'll keep her word.
What's a promise,
made to a guy like me?
She knows you two
are safe!
I don't want to
hurt anybody!
I just want to be free!
(door slams)
He's gone, he's gone!
He's gone.
300 men are hunting you, Sherbondy--
prison guards,
city and state police,
National Guardsmen,
citizen volunteers,
combing the
frozen highlands for you.
This is your freedom,
The sound of a car,
and you're a hunted animal,
diving for cover,
always ready to flee
or to fight.
Hold it!
Get out of there!
Hold it there,
I can use this car!
I got her started.
I thought
I'd catch up with you.
What's the idea?
You said you wanted
to get to Pueblo.
I knew you'd never
make it on foot.
My boy might have died.
You let him live.
This is the least
I could do.
Come on, get in.
Why did you
bring the kid?
I had no place
to leave her.
she wanted to come.
I like you,
and you forgot
to say good-bye.
Remember, Bauer,
you're not doing this
because you want to,
but because I'm making you.
I mean that.
I've got my gun on you,
see, all the time.
Yeah, I know.
What do we do now?
What can we do?
Good-bye, kid.
Will they hurt you?
They'll treat me like
I've never been away.
Oh, no, don't!
No, don't!
You'll see him again.
You'll see him
Don't cry, dear.
It is 61 hours after the break.
All 12 have been
crossed out, checked off,
accounted for.
The reign of terror
is over.
Two of the 12
lie in the prison morgue.
The other ten are here,
back in solitary,
back in the Siberia
of Colorado State Prison.
They will be here
for a long time.
in the warden's home...
Here in the home
of Warden Roy Best,
in Caon City, Colorado,
are two brave women
who distinguished
on a night which
will be long remembered
by the people
of this community.
Acting on behalf
of Governor Lee Knaus
of Colorado,
Warden Best is
presenting these ladies
with "The Denver Post"
Gold Medal Award
for Heroism.
Warden Best.
Mrs. Higgins,
Mrs. Oliver...
Are you nervous?
I'm shaking
like a leaf.
So am I.
You didn't tell me
this would be heard
on the radio.
Well, I knew if I did,
you wouldn't show up.
We men like to think
that we have all
the physical courage,
but on the night
of the break,
you girls certainly
stole the show.
These gold medals,
awarded by
"The Denver Post,"
testify that
the State of Colorado
is proud of you.
Thank you so much.
Thank you, warden.
And Mrs. Oliver,
if I just had you
patrolling the yard
with that hammer,
my troubles
would be over.
Warden, may I speak
to you a moment?
Mrs. Bauer.
Have a chair.
Will you tell me
what you've done
with James Sherbondy?
All ten of those men are
in solitary confinement.
That's pretty bad,
isn't it?
Well, they're
pretty bad boys.
Will you keep Sherbondy
in that long?
That, I can't answer.
When he let me take
my boy to the hospital,
he knew it meant
My little girl and I have
prayed for him ever since.
Remember the ten lepers
who were cleansed
by Our Savior?
One returned to give
glory to God.
Please do what
you can for him.
Is there hope?
Yes, even here in prison,
there's always hope.
But the way back
for the violent
and the savage,
whether they be men
or groups or nations,
can only be by the road
of right and law
and justice.