Come Next Spring (1956) Movie Script

Come next spring
When all the world is new
And fresh and green
And fair
Then I'll come home
And I'll carry in my heart
Just one prayer
That I'll find you
Still waiting for my arms
We'll meet, we'll kiss
We'll cling
And then once more
Love will blossom as before
Come next spring
This story
takes place in Arkansas.
It's a proud state,
and its inhabitants claim
they could fence it off
from the rest of the world
and live forever
on their own resources.
It all began on a hot
summer day in 1927.
Dag burn it!
Hi, there.
You lose somethin'?
I lost my ant.
Your ant?
Oh, I don't mean an aunt,
like, well, like my Aunt Myrtle.
- You know...
- Mm.
I mean, an ant like...
Like who?
Like A-N-T. Ant.
Oh, an ant!
Was he valuable?
Well, you couldn't
sell him or anything,
if that's what you mean.
- But he was a black ant.
- Black ant, huh?
Some kids told me that
black ants are tree ants.
- Uh-huh.
- They live in trees
like red ants live in tunnels.
I wonder where green ants live.
I wonder if there are
any green ants.
Did you ever see
a green ant, mister?
Mm-hm. One time.
One time when I was real hung-over.
Oh, here he is.
- Oh, you found him.
- Hidin' in the dirt.
Good, yeah, there he is.
Well, I guess I have to go now.
Uh, you...
you going down that way?
Well, just a minute,
I'll get my things.
Walk down the road with you.
- All right?
- Sure.
Well, this is where I live.
This is my place.
Who... who's you father?
I ain't got none.
You know, it's a funny thing,
'cause all the other kids
I know got one.
I never had one.
Sometimes I wonder
how I was born at all.
your name is Ballot, ain't it?
That's my last name.
How'd you know?
I'll... I'll walk you down
to your house.
All right.
Mom, you spilled the water!
Go in and wash.
Get ready for milkin'.
Hello, Bess.
Why are you here, Matt?
Bess, I... I've been a lot of
places these last few years.
I've been all the way to New York City
and been all the way out to California.
I've found out that whiskey tastes about
the same no matter where you are.
And, uh, last three years I...
I been wonderin'...
what my wife
and daughter was doin'.
I... I didn't know about him.
You never answered my letters.
So, one day I said to myself,
I said, "Matt, why don't you go
and find out what
your wife and daughter are doin'."
I guess I talked myself into it.
Didn't you ever get my letters?
Matt, nine years agow
hen you walked out on me,
I said to myself I never wanted
to see you again.
As far as I can see,
there's no reason
to change my mind now.
Like I told ya,
I wanted to get a look at ya.
Well, now I have.
I'll look you up again in
about eight years or so.
Matt... I reckon I was
a little hard on you.
I still think you
done wrong in comin' back,
but the damage is done now.
Bein' as you're here,
I reckon it's only fair
for you to see Annie.
So, you can stay to supper
if you stay sober.
Bess, I ain't touched a drop
in over three years.
And, well, I would like to stay,
I ain't had a chance to even
find out how Annie is.
Oh, she's all right.
Is she...?
Did she ever get over...?
No. Still mute.
Can't utter a sound.
Outside of that,
she's healthy enough.
Strong as a horse.
Where is she?
Oh, out in the woods somewheres.
Spends more time there
than she does at home.
- Shy, huh?
- Naturally.
Worries me some.
Around the animals so much shes
beginning to act like one.
Bess, does she have
a great big old white dog?
Part horse if you ask me.
I... I... I seen her, Bess.
She's a beauty.
Prettiest thing I ever seen.
I'm gonna do
the milkin' now, Mama.
All right, son.
Don't let Suzy
nurse that new calf
more than a couple
of minutes, now.
All right, I won't.
How... how 'bout me
helpin' with the chores? Uh...
- Abraham.
- Abraham?
After his great grandfather,
Abe Fullbright on Mama's side.
Grandpa was named after Lincoln.
Abraham, this is... your father.
You... you mean like a papa?
Like a papa.
Glad to meet ya.
Gee, I didn't even know
I had a papa.
You know somethin', Abraham?
I betcha I'm just as surprised
about this thing as you are.
Well, let... let's get
on with the milkin'.
You know, Mom isn't very happy
about the new calf.
She ain't. Why not?
- Because it's a he.
- Oh.
Where's your milk stool?
Oh, here it is.
Get over, Suzy! Get over!
Get over, Suzy!
Hey, she's on the cat's tail!
Get off, Suzy!
Do you suppose she hurt her?
Well, we better go see.
C'mon, kitty. C'mon, kitty.
C'mon, kitty, c'mon.
C'mon kitty.
Annie's home.
Hold still. OK, now...
Is she hurt?
Well, she don't act like
she's much hurt.
Let's see that tail.
No, it's all right.
Didn't get hurt...
Uh-oh, look, look at this.
Look at the big,
old nasty tick, there. See?
You hold still, kitty.
I'll get it out.
It ain't gonna hurt.
Hold still.
There, look at that
nasty old thing.
Kind of a big one.
Hi, there.
Annie, this here's our papa.
Honest he is, Annie.
I think he's the one that borned us.
Don't mind her.
She's just a little bashful
on account of she can't talk.
How'd you manage so well, Bess?
A woman alone with two kids?
Well, it wasn't as hard
as you might think.
I sold the timber off
the new land to the railroad.
That finished paying
for the place.
There's a family named Storys
livin' in the old house.
They sharecrop with me.
They're lazy like sharecroppers
usually are, but we manage.
Ain't fancy livin', but...
Done a good job
all the way around, Bess.
Um... sorry I come back.
What's done's done.
Children, supper's ready.
It's not much,
but I wasn't expecting anybody.
It's not much?
From where I sit,
it looks like a table settin'
for a Thanksgiving reunion.
Oh, where's your dog, Annie?
It's not allowed in the house.
Oh, come on, sit down.
He ain't gonna bite you.
She always acts that way
with strangers.
You know, if you put
a saddle on that hound
I bet you could ride him
right across the meadow.
Uh... what's his name?
Oh, it's a she
and the name's Runt.
We named her
when she was a puppy.
Supper ready?
Well, look at there...
Where'd you get that there
store-bought tie, huh?
Leroy Hightower gave it to me.
Lord, we thank thee
for the blessin's
we're about to receive.
We thank thee for our health
and for the health
of our loved ones.
Oh... somebody pull
this table away from me.
Trouble is,
I just didn't have enough room.
You sure put away a lot.
That I did, Abraham, that I did.
It's them black-eyed peas.
I ain't tasted black-eyed peas
in two or three years.
Well, I... I hate
to eat and run, but, uh,
I got quite a long walk
ahead of me.
I'd run ya over to Cushing,
but the Ford's
got two flat tires.
Yeah, I...
I noticed that when I came in.
Aren't you even gonna stay all night?
Well, not this time, Abraham.
I reckon it'd be all right
if you did stay tonight.
It's a long walk and you can
bunk in Abraham's room.
Sure! I got two beds in my room.
- Two?
- What do you got two for?
Abraham's got a problem.
Oh, I see.
Well... I wouldn't want
to put you out, Bess.
I said it'd be all right.
All right with you?
All right, Abraham.
Take my luggage
into our compartment.
Annie, time you trotted up to bed.
You had a big day.
Good night, dear.
I declare you could
plant a garden in them ears.
I want you to scrub 'emout good,
now, do you hear?
All right. Good night.
Good night, Annie.
Does she sleep up there?
She wanted her own bedroom,
so, we fixed up the attic for her.
Abraham has what used
to be the spare room.
And you're in our...
Good night, Bess.
Good night, Matt.
Good night.
I hope I don't snore.
Hmm? Oh...
Well, if you do,
I've got a sure cure for it.
Sleep with your eyes open.
No need for a gun, Leroy.
- Who was it?
- That Ballot girl.
Visiting the colt again,
I guess.
She's gonna get herself killed one
of these days if she ain't careful.
Running around at night like this.
Maybe I'd better crank up the
car and run over and tell Bess.
Oh, she'll find her way home.
She knows these woods
better than we do.
We'll tell Bess in the mor...
Just won't give up on Bess,
will you, Leroy?
What do you mean? Won't give up?
Maybe I'm being encouraged.
What makes you think
Bess wants me to give up?
All right,
we'll tell herin the morning.
Boy, wish I had room for some more
of them black-eyed peas.
You sure put away a lot.
It's funny, but I never
liked 'em before.
Abraham, if you've finished
your breakfast,
better hang out your beddin'.
Not today, Mom, don't have to.
Well, that's the best
kidney tonic we've had
around here.
Look, I want you to go over
to Storys' before it gets too late.
Tell Jeff I've got a lot
of things that need
tendin' to around the barn.
Well... I guess
I'd better get movin'
before all that work starts.
I'll... I'll just say
good-bye to Annie
and then be on my way.
I'll call her.
Annie! Annie!
She's out here, Mama.
Bye, Annie.
Bye, Bess.
Bye, Matt.
- Well, goodbye.
- Bye.
Papa, can I walk
a piece with ya?
Well, I'd be mighty proud
to have ya, son.
You know, Abraham,
it wouldn't be very gentlemanly of us
to leave the ladies without
no means of transportation.
Get the jack out of the car, there.
Get this car fixed.
What's the matter?
Aren't you going outwith Runt today?
Somethin' botherin' you?
You liked him, didn't ya?
So did I... once.
I'll sure be glad
when that thing wears out
so I can have
the rubber for a slingshot.
You know, I don't think
you're gonna have very long to wait.
You know somethin'?
I sure could use a
dipper of cold water.
I'll get you some.
Abraham, I want you to go...
I ain't got time.
What do you mean,
you haven't got time, young man?
Gotta get some water
for my father!
Your father?!
Why don't he stay
with us all the time?
Run and get your water, son.
Payin' for your breakfast?
Oh, no, I...
I just figured that maybe if
I got the old buggy
in running order,
you might trot me into Cushing.
Oh, and Bess, uh,
I was noticin' yesterday,
your pasture fence
is kinda run down.
Might hold for now, but...
come next spring
with young stock and all,
it won't hold much.
You ought a get it fixed up
before next winter.
Want the job?
Can't pay more than
a dollar a day and keep.
You can share Abraham's room.
Why are you doin' this, Bess?
Oh, lots of reasons,
mostly the children.
They sort of take to you.
I forget how important
a man is to children.
Between us, of course,
you're just to be...
- A hired hand.
- Yeah.
All right, Bess.
You hired yourself a hand.
Mama, a car just
turned in the gate.
- Well, Matt Ballot, I declare!
- Well, Mr. Canary.
- When'd you get back.
- Just last night.
Hello, Matt.
Oh, hello, Leroy.
Gonna be around for a while?
Yeah, I figured I'd stay
around a little spell.
Bess, I'm plumb out
of chicken wire,
and Fordham's store's out, too.
I wonder if you could save me
a trip to Long's Camp?
Oh, I think we've got a spare
roll, Mr. Canary.
Hello there, pistol!
I swear, you growed another inch.
Let's see if I can find
a couple of pennies here.
Now, don't you spoil him, Leroy.
I reckon it's all right
this time, son.
Matt, there's some wireleanin' up
against the chicken coop down there.
Will you show Mr. Canary where it is
and let him pick what he wants?
- Sure, Bess.
- Thanks, Bess.
Do you need me, Matt?
No, thank you, Leroy.
I... I don't need you.
Bess, why'd you
let him come back?
That's my business, Leroy.
You gonna let him stay?
Looks like it.
Do you think you ought to?
Well, Shorty Wilkins
will be glad to know he's back.
Shorty says the bootleg business
has been bad lately.
I don't have to listen to
that kind of talk, Leroy.
I'm afraid you're gonna
have to get
used to that kind of talk
if he stays around here.
From everybody.
Thanks, Bess.
Now, I'll pay you back
soon as Fordham restocks.
Well, there's no hurry about it.
C'mon, Leroy.
Oh, by the way, Bess.
- Had a visitor
again last night.
- Again?
You know that colt's
part thoroughbred
and naturally, I want to
protect my investment.
Any disturbance the first thing
I think of is bobcat.
I'm sorry, Mr. Canary.
I'll swear, I just can't
get over the way
this little pistol
is sproutin' up.
What you gonna be when you grow up?
I don't know.
A cowboy or an engineer, maybe.
Do you think youre tough
enough to be a cowboy?
I don't know.
I sure hope so, though.
If you're anything
like your old man, you are.
He used to lick me nearly
every night after school.
We've both growed up
a little since then.
What kind of a match do you
think we'd make now, Matt?
Well, I don't know, Leroy.
I ain't thought much
about it lately.
Seems I recollect George Camel
used to beat you up regular.
And I beat the tar
out of George last year.
George is a big boy, too.
You remember, Bess,
that's the night
I drove you home...
from the box supper
at the church.
We better get a move on, Leroy.
Thanks, Bess.
Come and visit us some night,
you and Mrs. Canary.
We'll do that.
- So long, Matt.
- Goodbye, Mr. Canary.
Take her easy, now.
Did he really bring you home?
He brought me home that night.
Oh, Annie!
You sneaked out again
last night, Annie.
Now, don't be too hard on her, Bess.
You know what you get for this.
Now, Bess, all kids like to
sneak out once in a while.
We might as well straighten out
one thing right now, Matt.
I won't tolerate
a spoiled child.
Even the Bible speaks against it
and I'm raisin'my children
by the rules.
Mom, you ain't gonna
clobber her, are ya?
Mind your own business, Abraham.
You sneak out again like that,
young lady and I will!
Oh, I almost forgot.
It's milk day.
You might as well meet
our sharecroppers.
And since you're
fixin' the Ford,
drive the milk over
to Chandler's Siding.
I'll be ready in a minute.
Oh, Bess, uh,
I guess you can handle
the Ford all right, can't you?
When I get it fixed up?
Well, I have up to now, why?
Well, I'd... I'd kinda like
to cut through the field on foot
and sorta get reacquainted
with the place.
All right, go ahead.
I'll meet you there.
Mama, can me and Annie
go along with him
to show him the way?
Sure, son. Go ahead.
C'mon, Abraham,
let's finish fixin' that tire.
Can... can I ask somethin'?
Sure, son, go ahead.
Can... can Leroy Hightowerlick you?
Can Leroy Hightower lick me?
No, I don't think
old Leroy can whop me.
Then... then why do you let
him talk to you the way he does?
Don't get me wrong, son.
I ain't no coward.
I'll fight if there's
a good reason to fight.
But old Leroyspoutin'
off at the mouth
ain't no reason for me to do
somethin' I don't want to do.
Hey... no!
Now's a good time as any
for you to learn some
respect for them babies.
You and Annie get up
in a tree. Hurry up.
You take coon, or fox,
or almost any animal.
They just as soon
stay away from people.
Even a bobcat'll run
if he's got a chance.
But not razorbacks.
A pack of them babies
get together,
and you kids would end
up as a good-sized dinner.
Go on!
Annie, he chased 'em!
He did! He chased 'em!
Shut up! Shut up!
Shut up!
Matt, this is Jeff Storys,
our sharecropper.
Matt Ballot.
- Howdy.
- Glad to know ya.
Never thought about
Mrs. Ballot having a husband.
Reckon I should've though,
her havin' two kids and all.
My wife's dead.
She's been gone quite a spell now.
Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.
Well, when a man
gets along about my age,
he don't have much use
for a wife, you know.
Oh, I want you to meet
my son Robert here.
Care for a swig
of home brew, Ballot?
Uh, not today, thank you.
Bob, this here's Mr. Ballot.
Hello, there.
Jiminy Cricket's.
- Them's bear traps, ain't they?
- Yup.
Yeah, we brought 'em
with us from Dakota.
You know, I heard that
one of these things could...
Snap a man's leg like a twig.
Well, you heard right.
Takes a lot of trap
to hold a bear.
I hate to throw
any cold water on your plans, son,
but where do you expect
you're going to find
any bear around here?
Bears like honey,
and I seen a lot of wild bees
over on that fenced-off hill.
What fenced-off hill do ya mean?
He must be talkin' about
Echo Mountain.
Echo Mountain?
You best stay off
that hill, son.
They've got it fenced off
or a good reason.
Why have they got
that land cut off, Ballot?
Well, back when I was a little shaver
about like Abraham there,
a two-bit minin' outfit come in here.
They found a bunch of ore over
in that old hill.
I don't know what it was,
copper or gold, I don't know what.
That still don't tell me
why they got it fenced off.
Well, when they got through diggin',
they didn't fill the holes in.
Didn't cover 'em over or nothin'.
Just left 'em that way.
Now you just stay away
from that hill, son.
Dag blame chiggers!
Puttin' me out of my mind!
Chiggers is one thing
I can't see why
the good Lord ever created.
They ain't big enough
so's you can see 'em,
so you don't know whether
they're pretty or not.
They don't help the crops none.
Now, you give me just one reason
why the good Lord
ever created chiggers.
You know,
there's always a chance
that milk train might be
on time for once.
- This milk day?
- Yep.
The kids and I are gonna walk
back through the new 40.
Thought maybe you'd like to
drive to Chandler's Siding
with Matt.
- That's a good idea.
- Uh... Bess...
Uh, be kinda careful goin' back.
On the way over here we ran
in to a bunch of razorbacks.
Papa chased 'em!
Hey, Bob, you walk Miss Ballot and
the kids back home.
I'll get the eggs.
They ain't but
four-and-a-half dozen.
Them dag-blasted hens
is gettin' lazier every day.
This is as good a place as any.
Hey, ain't that Tom Totter?
Hi there, Totter.
Hello, Ballot.
Hi, Mr. Smith, how you been?
Oh, been fair.
Say, Ballot, can I get
that other can for you?
What? Oh, no, no, no.
Hey, Storys! Did you hear
the one about
the two black crowsin Kansas City?
Eh... looks like I ain't
the most popular manin Arkansas.
Well, can't say that you are.
Think this is gonna be
a permanent thing?
I don't know.
Maybe you can do
something about it.
It's up to you
and it'll take time.
Look at it like
you was one of them, Matt.
Put yourself in their place.
What would you
have been thinkin'
the night Abraham was born?
Do you feel the same
as they do, Mr. Canary?
I've always felt that
you was a lot more of a man
than they gave you credit for.
If you're still around here
come next spring,
you'll prove I'm right.
Well, I swear!
If it ain't our old friend
Matt Ballot!
Seen Shorty Wilkins yet?
I ain't been
looking for him, Leroy.
C'mon, Leroy.
If you've never worked
from sunup till sundown on the farm,
it may sound like
a terrible way to live.
But then you wouldn't know
how grand it is
to sit down to eat when
everything tastes good.
And to go to bed at eight o'clock
so tired it seems like midnight.
And to wake up at
sunrise feeling so healthy
that everything in the world
is beautiful to see.
There, now.
When you take it off,
put it on a hanger
and I'll sew it later.
You youngsters get to bed.
Aw, gee, Mama!
Oh, now, you heard me.
You wanted to go to town tomorrow,
so, you have to get
a goodnight's sleep tonight.
Go along, now.
What are you lookin' at?
You been starin' at me
all evenin'.
Oh... Nothin', I was just thinkin'...
I was thinkin' that come next spring
if we keep workin' like this,
place ought a be
in pretty good shape.
How come people
are always sayin'
"Come next spring
somethin's goin' to happen?"
Oh, it's just a sayin'meanin' in
the springtime or not too far away.
Seems to me, it mean sit
ain't never gonna get done.
Good night, Abraham.
- Are you comin'?
- Hm?
Oh, oh, yeah, I'll be along in
just a minute, Abraham.
How come you sleep with me?
All the other kids' papas
sleep with their mamas.
Good night, Abraham!
Good night.
You know, Bess,
Abraham might have somethin' there.
Good night, Matt.
Good night.
Did you ever think about it?
Good night, Matthew.
Well, think about it.
Good night, Bess.
It'll take me about an
hour to do my shoppin'.
Uh, you pick up the hardware we need.
Oh, and for goodness' sake,
undo your collar, you'll smother.
Abraham, you run over
to Aunt Bessie's,
and tell her we'll come by but
we can't stay to supper.
And don't you
let her stuff you now.
- Oh, hello, Jeff!
- Hello, Miss Ballot.
You comin' with me?
All right, then you can
look around by yourself.
You got your dime?
Well, don't spend it
all on candy.
Why don't you and the children
pick me up at Aunt Bessie's
- in about an hour, huh?
- All right, we will.
Shoot you a stick of pool.
Boy, are you lucky!
That ain't luck, Billy.
That's pure science.
Your science just ran out.
Oh, hello, Mr. Storys.
Who's your friend?
This is Matt Ballot.
Matt, this is Nick.
- Pleased to meet you.
- Glad to know you, Nick.
- Want to play a game?
- Yes.
This is the only table
I have open.
- OK?
- OK.
Please, keep your feet
on the floor,
don't be breakin' the cushions. OK?
Match you to see who breaks.
Tell me somethin', Leroy.
What're ya plannin'
for the future?
You're a big boy now.
You should be thinkin'
about the future.
You gonna stay
a hired hand all your life?
I got it all figured out.
I'm gonna find me a purty little girl
who already has a farm of her own,
and I'm gonna marry her.
You mean, uh, you're gonna
get married and settle down?
Settle down?
Who said anythin'
about settlin' down?
No, siree,
I'm just gonna marry her
and then take off
and see the country.
I'm gonna drink all the liquor
in 48 states.
And in about nine years
I figure by then I will
have had my fill of fun...
I'm comin' back
to my little girl.
You mean, uh, marryin' first
is like takin' out insurance
for your old age?
That's right.'
Course it's gonna be
kind of rough on the
rest of you fellas.
How's that?
'Cause just when you get warmed up
to foolin' around with my woman,
I'm gonna come back home
and ruin everythin' for ya.
I made up my mind, I'm gonna
stay outta trouble in this town.
And when I make up
my mind to somethin', I can...
I can be pretty darn stubborn.
You been...
you been tryin' to get my goat
ever since I got back.
But I only got one thing
to say to you, Leroy.
Hope you have more luck
findin' the little girl
you're lookin' for.
Pay for the game,
will you, Jeff?
On top of everything else
I've ever said about Ballot,
I never calculated I'd have
to call him a coward, too.
Havin' a big day, Annie?
I was sayin' to Bob last night,
I says...
Say, you feel like
you're in need of swig,
that little sawed-off fellowover
there is the man to see.
Oh, Shorty!
- Oh, you know him?
- Sure.
Shorty Wilkins has been
the local bootlegger
as far back as I can remember.
Hey, Matthew!
How are ya, boy?
How are you, Shorty.
- How ya, Shorty?
- How ya, Jeff.
How you been doin', boy?
Fine, fine. You?
Oh... tolerable.
Say, I sure am glad to see you.
Well, I bet you ain't gonna be glad to
see me when I give you the bad news.
I don't drink no more.
Oh, that's a shame.
And you were one of my
best customers, too.
What happened?
Well, one mornin' I woke up
and I found out
I just lost my taste for it.
Yeah, me too.
Just hate the stuff.
Never touch it myself.
By darn, I ain't lost
my taste for it!
Come on, Matt.
Cover up for us.
I'll take a pint
of your panther juice.
Don't forget, there's a nickel
back on the bottle.
Hey! It's the dummy!
What's your hurry, dummy?
What's the matter, dummy?
Cat get your tongue?
Yeah, that's what it is.
The dag burn cat got her
tongue when she was little.
Look at me, I'm her old man.
Hey, you guys
leave my sister alone!
Who said so?
Aw, don't hit him.
He's a sissy and
a tattletale besides.
tattletale hangin' on a...
Try that on me.
You leave me alone!
Here, here,
what's goin' on there?
What is this, Abraham?
What're you doin'
fightin' in the street?
Those kids weremakin' fun of Annie.
They're always pickin' on us.
Don't you let them get your goat.
Kids like that are,
well, they always got
to have somebody to pick on.
They just ain't got no better sense.
Come on, honey.
Mama's waitin' for us.
Come on, Abraham.
Abraham, get the bucket
out of the back, there.
Mighty thoughtful of old man Haley
to have his water trough right up here
on top of the hill like this.
Oh, excuse me, Annie.
Annie, you children
stay out of your father's way.
It's gettin' so he
can't even walk with you
under foot all the time.
I don't mind, Bess.
Oh, Annie, I almost forgot.
I got you somethin'.
Gee, it's a French harp.
I noticed that sometimes
when your mama calls you,
you don't act like you hear her.
She can't tell.
So, if you hear her,
you blow on that once.
Why, Matt, that's a right good idea.
Will Annie ever be able
to talk, Mom?
You ask too many questions, son.
Is it a secret
why she can't talk?
I told you, it's an act of God.
Now, I don't want you
to ask about it again.
But he will ask again, Bess.
And he'll keep right on asking.
And Annie'd ask too if she...
if she could.
So, I think it's only fair
that we give them an answer now.
No, Matt. Not yet.
Annie, would you like to know
why you can't talk like other folks?
Matt, please.
Then come on, honey, listen to me.
Now, I'm warning you,
it ain't a very pretty story.
And I'm gambling quite
a bit telling you.
In the first place, it wasn't no act
of Godlike you always been told.
God gave you a voice
just like everybody else.
When you was a year old, I thought it was
the most powerful voice I'd ever heard.
And before you was
two years old you...
you could talk a little.
Course, I couldn't understand
much of what you said,
but to your mama, it was greater
than the Gettysburg Address.
But... your...
your papa wasn't much good.
He got a real good deal
when he married your mama.
He got a pretty girl, and a real nice
little farm thrown in to boot.
But he wasn't growed up enough
to appreciate it, so,
he let the farm run down and he made
the pretty girl stop loving him.
He didn't care, he didn't
have sense enough to care
just so long as he had another
jar of whiskey around someplace.
Then... then one night
he come by the church
to pick up you and your mama.
He... he'd been over with them
fun-loving boys at Long's Camp.
Your mama thought he was
a little too drunk to drive
and she wanted to take
the wheel, but he insisted.
He always got his way,
maybe because he was bigger
and stronger than her.
Maybe because she loved him too much.
Anyway... I run the car off the road
over at Red Oaks, wrecked it.
Your mama and me walked away
from the wreck unhurt, but...
you've never uttered a sound since.
So, if you want to starthatin' me,
you better do it right
now before you...
before you get to liking me too much.
Anything wrong?
There's nothin' wrong.
Uh... I just can't sleep.
Do you want me
to fix you some coffee?
Oh, Matt.
- No, Matt.
- Bess.
- Bess.
- Matt, please.
What's the matter, honey?
I may as well look you
right in the eye
when I say this.
What you done to me and
the kids was a bad thing, Matt.
A real bad thing.
But I reckon you done
some paying for it
before you come home.
And I allow,
since you've been here,
you acted right manly.
But I been lonely
a terrible long time, Matt.
And you've only been good
a couple of months.
How do I know you
won't get restless again?
Yeah, I guess you don't know, Bess.
I know I won't, but I guess
there's no way for you to know it.
I hope you won't.
But I can't help
being scared at times.
Maybe I'll get over
being scared.
I think I have a little.
But, let's wait a spell.
For my sake, let's be sure
everything's right.
Goodnight, Bess.
And I tell you!
I know from actual observation,
that red liquor and Christianity
can't live in the same hide
at the same time.
But there's always that man
who claims he can control it.
"I can take a drink," he says.
"Or I can let it alone."
- Amen.
- Ha...
remember the scripture,
"Wine is a mocker,
strong drink a brawler,
and he that erreth
therein is not wise."
And brothers and sisters,
I'll tell you somethin' further.
A lion cub is a good pet,
just like a kitten,
so long as he is a cub.
But when he grows up,
he'll destroy you.
And brothers and sisters
it's the same with alcohol.
You can control it at first,
but someday it'll destroy you.
But, Mama, I don't drink.
And that's the reason
Solomon admonishes.
Look not on the wine
when it is red,
and it sparkleth in the glass
when it goeth down smoothly,
for at the last
it biteth like a serpent
and stingeth like an adder.
Now, we'll sing hymn number 83.
"God Moves in a Mysterious Way,"
hymn number 83.
God moves
in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform
He plants his footstep in the sea
And rides upon the storm
Ye fearful saints
Fresh courage take
The clouds ye
so much dread
- Are big with mercy
- I've got to get home.
And shall break
in blessings
Is there something wrong here?
Brother Meaner,
when the air gets still
and sticky like it is now,
and the sky looks like it does,
that usually means a cyclone.
Well, it seems to me it was
just last prayer meetin' night
that I asked you men to help dig
a storm cellar for the church,
but you were all too busy.
"Come next spring," you said.
Brother Meaner,
I allow you got a point there,
but this ain't no time
for bickering.
All right, services dismissed!
But I want all of you
back here tonight!
Don't forget services
as usual next Sunday.
- Is he all right?
- Yeah, I'm all right.
Now, look folks let's just
simmer down a little bit, huh?
Don't get panicky
before somebody gets hurt.
You take care of your family,
Ballot, we'll take care of ours.
I know how you feel about me,
but this ain't no time to
voice our personal grievances.
Now, you listen to me
before somebody gets killed.
We're gonna get out of here a lot
faster if we just... just calm down.
Start actin' like grownups.
Now, Jeff, get somebody
to help you and get that
wagon out of here.
Help him, Bob. Rest of you get on back
to your cars and get the engine started.
Delbert, go on inside and open up them
windows if you want to save your church.
Mr. Canary, you follow Smith outright after
this car gets clear. Go ahead back it up.
- You coming with us, Jeff?
- I suspect we'd better.
That cellar's so full of water
it looks like
a cistern in April.
All right,
you kids get in that cellar,
and don't stick your noses
out for any reason.
Bob, get a couple of
lanterns and light 'em up.
Jeff, get a couple
of buckets of water.
I'm going in the house
and open up the windows.
Don't be wastin' time
on that food!
Good heavens! They've got every
animal in the place down here.
Get that calf out of here.
But, Mama,
he can blow away same as us.
Go on, Bob, take it out.
Annie, put that dog...
Oh, the pig, Abraham,
what's the matter with you?
Matt, can you help him
get that calf out?
That calf's all right, Bess.
Just let it sit right
hereby the steps.
Get off my foot.
You're all right, there's plenty
of room down here.
It ain't the room,
it's the smell.
We're liable to be here
for an hour,
and if we are, the air'll be
so thick you can chew it.
Oh, we got everything down here?
Gosh! We forgot the kittens.
Never mind about the kittens.
We got enough livestock
down here now.
What's the matter, Bob?
Are you scared?
Yeah, to tell you the truth,
Mr. Ballot, I am.
I ain't sure gettin' down here
in this cellar makes us safe.
Why, I've even heard to tell those twisters
could suck all the water out of a well.
This ain't no time
to be thinking about
things like that, son.
Where's Annie?
- Huh?
- Where's Annie?
Annie... Oh, no.
What is it?
It's out there right now.
It's a mile high and a mile
across the top.
Maybe a few feet at the bottom.
It's a regular old snorter, huh?
Looks like it's off
the barn door.
Why, I've heard tell
of them things
blowing a broom straw
through solid rock.
I believe it now.
Dag burn fence lifter,
blow the hair right off
a man's chest.
You all right, honey?
Annie, why do you do
things like that?
Come here.
Sounds like it's gone.
Yeah. They don't stay long,
but they sure raise
Cainwhile they're here.
Let's take a look.
How do you know
it ain't out there
just waitin' for you
to open that door?
Well, looks like we got
a little work cut out for us.
Yes, sir.
We sure have.
Suzy! Where's Suzy?
Yep, there's... lots of work to do.
That looks like Mr. Totter.
Wonder what he wants?
I'd better go
freshen up a little.
Hello, Ballot.
Hello, Totter.
Mr. Canary, what...
what is all this?
Didn't Totter tell you?
No, he didn't say nothin'.
Something we decided at a
church meeting last night.
Being's you're the only one in
the neighborhood
that suffered any serious damage,
we figuredwe'd lend you a hand.
Course we cant bring your cow back,
but we can pitch in a little lumber
and some sweat
and we ought a have that barn back
in business, no time at all.
Well, that's real
nice of you folks.
I know that Bess and
the kids will appreciate it.
Oh, dang it.
It's hard for a feller
like me to say it, Ballot,
but we ain't doing this
just for Bess and the kids.
Thank you, Totter.
And all at
once it was Halloween.
Halloween was a different kind
of holiday in those days.
As I recall, most of the kids went
in for more exciting sports
than just plain old
trick or treat.
And it was a big night
for the grownups, too.
The Halloween dance
at the school
has always been one of
the year's biggest events.
Bess and Matt went to the dance
for the first time in years.
Well, you look like
a high school girl.
You look pretty nice yourself.
Well, that's, uh, that's my J.B.
You'll put every man there
in the shade.
Will I, Bess?
Oh, Bess, I love you so much.
Anybody going to the dance?
Come on in, Jeff.
Well, where did you
get that Celluloid collar?
Yes, sir, he got hisself a girl.
No, really?
A real female type girl?
- I reckon.
- Did you hear that?
Who is it, Bob?
Lovey Crockett.
Lovey... Lovey Crockett!
Bess, did you hear that?
Bob's courtin' Lovey Crockett.
I heard. She's a nice girl, Bob.
Say, talking about gettin'dressed up,
looky there, Bob.
It's a dag burned movie star!
- Oh, you stop.
- Mama. Mama, Runt's back.
- Just calm down now, Abraham.
- What's that?
Oh, Runt's been missing
a couple of days.
Five days.
And she's out in the back
and she's awful thin.
Well, let's go
have a look at her, huh?
Come on.
She looks like
she's starved to death.
I better get her
somethin' to eat.
Oh, no,
she ain't starved, Abraham.
She just had her puppies, that's all.
She certainly has.
Yeah, old Runt's
gone off some fool place
- and had her puppies.
- I bet them pups is over
in that Echo Mountain country.
Ain't no dog the size of Runt's
gonna get all het up
over the puny hounds
around here.
There's some big wild dogs over
in that fenced-off section, too.
Yeah, but shed better be careful
with all them open shafts.
And I got me some bear
traps set out there, too.
Oh, I don't think
we gotta worry about Runt,
she knows how
to take care of herself.
Give her some milk, Abraham.
We'd better go.
Howdy, folks.
How 'bout this dance, Bess?
I promised it to Matt, Leroy.
Seems a shame to waste
a dance on the husband.
An old habit of ours, Leroy.
We always dance the first
and last dance together.
Thought maybe
you'd broken the habit.
I had 'em both last year.
Excuse me, Bess.
Matt, there's Myrtle.
I promised her that recipe
I cut out of the newspaper.
All right, all right,
you go ahead and gossip
all you want,
- I'll go get it for you.
- It's in my coat.
Here, here. What's going on here?
Well, if it ain't old
"pass the bottle" Ballot.
Have a snort, Matt.
No, thanks, Billy.
I'm not doing much drinking
now these days.
I never seen him take a drink.
Come on, Matt, it's Halloween.
No thank you, Jeff.
Aw, come on, Matt,
one little snort won't hurt you.
Wouldn't do me no good neither.
What he means is,
one snort would just send him
off on a month's toot.
Matt never was a man
who could take just one snort.
Well, I know that
used to be true, Billy.
As a matter of fact, I used to be
so water-logged with alcohol
that one drink would just
wake up all that wasin my system.
But not no more.
Oh, come on now, Matt.
Come on, I...
I grew up with you.
Tell you what.
Now you always did like
this silver buckle, didn't you?
Yeah, it's a nice buckle.
I'll bet you this buckle
against that new
Stetson you got up there,
that you can't take one snort
and not tilt the bottle
for the rest of the night.
- What do you say?
- You tempt me, Billy.
That's a real nice
looking buckle.
- Well, then go on and bet me.
- Nah, nah, no...
- I need a new hat.
- Go on, Matt.
I'll bet you can do it.
You had a right
to say what you did.
I've been pretty
hard on him myself.
I'm real happy for you.
He's changed a lot, Myrtle.
- It's been wonderful.
- Oh...
I swear you get prettier
looking every day, Myrtle.
- Doesn't she, Bess?
- She sure does.
I think it's the dress,
it's real becoming on you.
Oh, I declare, Matt,
you could charm an Eskimo
into buying an icebox.
Uh, is this what you wanted, Bess?
Yeah, that's it.
Is that Lovey Crockett?
That's Lovey Crockett.
Well, I swear.
I'll be right back.
Well, well! Looky who's growed up.
Looky who's growed up!
Now, just a minute.
Well... Looks like
I better be goin', honey,
before your big feller
beats the tar out of me.
Don't strike me, son.
Rowdy, someday is going
torun into somebody
that's gonna put him
in his place.
I gotta feeling that
that time ain't very far off.
Matt, you behave yourself.
Let's dance.
Then I'll come home
And I'll carry
in my heart
Just one prayer
That I'll find you
Still waiting for my arms
We'll meet, we'll kiss
We'll cling
Matt, you been drinking.
I had one little snort.
Oh, Matt.
Look, Billy Jackson bet me
his new silver belt
buckle against my Stetson that...
I thought you was off drink.
Well, I am. I just had one drink.
One comes before ten.
Oh, honey, I'm man enough
to take one drink...
Oh, stop it.
Have many times
have I heard that before?
When I was a punk kid, yeah,
but Bess, honey,
that one drink is all I'm gonna have.
All right, then prove it,
prove it right this minute.
Let's go home.
Oh, Bess, be reasonable.
The party's
just gettin' started.
Then you won't go.
I don't see any reason to go.
Then I hope you have
a wonderful time.
You can drink and
dance until you drop.
I'm going home.
You lose.
Yes siree, yearling.
You've got yourself
the prettiest girl in the room.
How'd you ever lasso
a deal like her.
Now, don't you start nothin',
Leroy Hightower!
Start something? Me?
I'd be scared to, Lovey.
This yearling looks like
he might beat the hide off me
if I got him a little madder.
He might at that, Leroy.
I used to do it
when I was about his age.
That was a while ago, Matt.
I could whip you
the day I was born, Leroy.
I don't think things have
changed much since then.
Then I think you better step
outside and prove it.
I'd be happy to oblige.
I've been swallowing
your insults and bad manners
just about long enough.
I can fight my own
fights, Mr. Ballot.
Then go find yourself one, son.
This is mine.
- Hey, Shorty. What is it?
- It's a fight.
Wait a minute,
wait a minute, who is it?
Matt Ballot and Leroy Hightower,
and this has been brewing
for a long time.
Hey, everybody,
there's gonna be a fight!
Matt Ballot and Leroy Hightower,
they're squaring off right out
there in the parking lot now.
Come on!
I'm gonna beat
the tar out of you, Ballot.
Stop bragging, Leroy,
put your money where your mouth is.
Where is he? Where'd he go?
Stop racing the engine.
You're just digging in deeper.
No, no, no, Jeff,
let it sit right here,
I want to talk some sense
into this woman.
You haven't changed a bit, have you?
For a while there,
I had hopes for you,
but the first chance you get,
you're drinking and fighting.
You... you ain't being
fair, Miss Ballot.
Sure, he had a drink,
so did every man at the dance.
I'm higher than
a Dakota kite myself.
It's a man's privilege
to drink on Halloween.
Halloween ain't a Lord's day.
It's a man-made holiday
and so is liquor.
And if I was Ballot's age, I...
If I was Ballot's age,
I'd have tackled that no-good
Leroy Hightower a long time ago.
Fact is, Ballot's been
taking so much from him,
I was wondering
if Ballot was all man.
And then tonight,
pushing and pushing.
He's the one to blame,
Miss Ballot, not your husband.
All right, Jeff, you're
just wasting your breath.
She ain't gonna listen
to neither one of us.
Might as well
get this car outta here.
You forgot to say "uncle", Matt.
Hey, wait for me.
If you've lost your spirits
I've got plenty more.
Bess! Bess!
How about a little
spirits, Mr. Totter?
No, drink it yourself.
I never touch it,
but I'll make you a good deal.
Help, I can't swim!
I can't swim!
Get up. Get up.
- I've had enough.
- Get up there.
All right, Ballot,
don't kill the man.
Shut up!
Cheer up, Ballot.
If I had a dollar
for every ruckus
I had with my old lady,
I wouldn't be working for you.
You'd be working for me.
You don't understand, Jeff.
This ain't no ordinary man
and wife squabble.
Me and Bess ain't been living
together as man and wife.
What's that?
That's right.
As far as her and meis concerned,
I'm just a...
I'm just a hired hand.
You better come in
and dry off your pants.
Might as well.
No, sir, it ain't easy
living with a woman.
Need a light here.
I lived with my old lady
for 30 odd years.
'Fore she died.
I was 55 when it happened.
Wait a minute...
I'm 74 now.
That's right,
I was 55 the day she left.
How old is Bob?
Well, according
to your figure, Jeff,
he was born two years
after she died.
That's right. No!
You told me that, uh,
you was 72 one time.
I lie so much about my age,
I ain't got no notion
how old I am.
Well, uh, you was in the army.
You could look at
your army record.
I lied to them, too.
Well, Jeff, why don't you just lay...
That's right, sleep it off.
Your lip's cut.
That's the least of my trouble, Jeff.
Did you win?
You was there.
Oh, yeah.
Tell you the truth, I don't ever
remember much about Halloween.
Where's Bob?
Hmm? Oh, he come in about 2:00,
and I sent him over to the place
to water the stock.
Must've been a big night.
Did I talk much, Ballot?
Sometimes I say
fool things when I...
after I've had a snort or two.
Well, you, uh... you had a little
trouble remembering how old you are.
I did?
Funny things a man says
after a snort or two, ain't it?
I'm 74 and I got
my army papers to prove it.
Say, I'll get you
a bite of breakfast
if you'll wait 'til
I change my pants.
Uh, thank you just the same, Jeff,
but I gotta get on over there,
probably for the last time.
Huh, it's the Ford.
- Matt, Matt, Annie's missing!
- Wha... What?
She took off with Runt
last night after we left.
Abraham went to the party alone.
Well, why didn't you
come get me sooner?
I didn't know 'til this morning.
Abraham was asleep
when I got home,
so, I just went to bed.
Well, come on,
let's go see if we can find her.
Bob's gathering some
of the neighbors to help us.
They'll meet us at the house.
Matt, may have
some bad news for you.
Is this off of Annie?
It's off her jacket.
Where'd you get it?
Well, I took a run
over to Echo Mountain
while Miss Ballot
went to get you,
and I found it stuck
on a barbed-wire fence.
I figured she might be
over on that mountain.
She must've gone up the
retrying to find Runt's pups.
- Oh, that kid, that idiot kid.
- That's a rough country.
Some of them holes
are over 100 feet deep.
- You got any rope with you?
- About 50 feet.
Come on, let's go.
There are dog tracks, all right,
but don't look like Runt's.
Bob, find anything?
Nope, not a darned thing.
Here you just don't
know where to look.
She might be any place.
It's my fault, Matt.
It's all my fault.
Stop whipping yourself, Bess.
No, Matt. I drove her to it.
I've always been so careful
not to let anybody
know I loved them.
Even my own children.
I... I did that to you,
too, Matt.
Making such a fuss over a man taking
a little drink on a holiday.
Bess, Bess, Bess, drink is never
gonna be a problem to me again.
I had no business
being so stubborn.
Now, Bess... pull yourself together.
Listen to me, Bess, listen to me.
Now, honey, I been thinking
if we find Annie...
When we find her...
If we could just afford to take
her to one of them specialists,
I... I got a feeling that she...
she could talk again.
And, well, I've been saving my money
for the last couple of years, Bess.
If I... if I go on
back out to the coast
and get a real good job
and save all I can...
No, Matt, don't leave us.
We need you.
We love you.
I love you.
Oh, Bess.
- Annie!
- Annie!
Annie, Annie!
We found her, she's over here!
We've found her,
she's over here!
Hang on, Annie!
Hang on!
Get that rope over here, Leroy.
Hold on, Annie, hold tight.
- Here.
- You go down, Matt,
and I'll hold.
Go ahead, I'm stronger than you.
Hey, give me a hand here.
Hang on.
Hang on, Annie.
Get on my back.
Hang on.
Get on.
Get on.
Keep a steady pull.
Steady, Matt.
Don't let it turn.
Don't let it twist.
That took a lot of nerve, Matt.
Thanks, Leroy.
Bess, honey.
- Who screamed?
- Wh... What?
Who screamed?