Sergeant Rutledge (1960) Movie Script

Well, there's young Cantrell.
Let's go, he's a day late.
All right.
Ah, Dickinson. Hold that a minute,
will you? Don't drop it.
That's my whole case in there.
Evidence, affidavits, everything.
Try dressing on the front seat at a gallop.
- How do I look?
- That's how you look.
- Turn around. I expected you yesterday.
- I know.
- Any luck at the Jorgenson ranch?
- No, not yet.
Hightower, take the rest of this gear to
adjutant's quarters, will you?
Yes, sir.
- How much time we got?
- None. Come on.
- All my buttons buttoned?
- Yes.
Officers' wives?
Oh, they're not gonna let
the women sit in on this, are they?
Spicy case like yours, try and keep
them out, they'd have your scalp.
Trying to make it into a Roman circus.
Tom, they want to see a hanging.
President of the court-martial
is Colonel Otis Thornton Fosgate...
I know, I know all about it.
I know Old Stone Face.
Tom, I admire you
for defending Rutledge, but
you might as well know,
I think he's as guilty as hell.
Well, you might as well know, I don't.
Is Mary Beecher here?
Not too friendly.
I'm not calling her as a friend,
I'm calling her as a witness.
Good luck, Tom.
Mary, I know this is gonna be
an ordeal for you,
but I had to call on you. Rutledge
needs all the help that he can get.
And whose fault is that?
What is done is done.
We're in the hands of the court now,
and whatever you feel about...
But you're defending him.
You. You of all men.
Well, if you had some knowledge
of the facts...
Silence. Silence! Quiet!
You civilians, get those hats off!
Put out those cigars!
Sergeant, see that they do,
and if they don't, throw them out!
Yes, sir.
Otis isn't feeling very well this morning.
- He had a little glass of wine last night.
- Yes.
I want something understood
right here and now!
This is a court-martial!
It is not a quilting bee.
It's not a quilting bee.
Now, if there is any further disturbance,
or undue chatter,
I am gonna clear this court at once!
Cordelia, your husband
wouldn't put us out, would he?
He wouldn't dare. Just let him try.
- Court is ready, sir.
- Very good, Captain.
Now, I have been told that counsel
for the defense is not in the post.
- Well, if that's true...
- Lieutenant Cantrell is present, sir.
My apologies if my last-minute arrival
has inconvenienced the court.
Very good, Cantrell.
Now, is trial judge advocate ready
to prosecute this case?
Captain Shattuck, sir.
I'm ready for the prosecution.
Oh, yes. Yeah.
You're the officer sent down from General
Nelson Miles' headquarters, aren't you?
I see, you wear the 14th Infantry insignia.
I've been away from the regiment, sir,
detailed to the Judge Advocate-General's
department for 10 years.
Oh, yes. Lawyer, eh? Lawyer.
Sent down here to keep a staff eye
on field soldier justice, is that it?
On the contrary, sir,
justice was guaranteed the accused
when you were detailed
as president of this court.
Now, counsel being ready and present,
this general court appointed by
departmental special order 104 under
date 8th August, 1881, is now in session.
All right, Sergeant. The accused,
Sergeant Rutledge, will be brought in.
Yes, sir.
First Sergeant Braxton Rutledge, C Troop,
9th United States Cavalry.
Hang him from the rafters! Hang him high!
Quiet! Quiet!
- Mr. President?
- Order.
Mr. President, I request this courtroom
be cleared of all spectators.
This is not a public show.
A soldier is on trial
for his life before this court.
And furthermore,
by the very nature of the charges alone,
this is certainly no place for ladies.
Request granted. Dickinson.
Clear this courtroom of everybody
not directly connected with this case!
Clear them!
Otis, Otis, tell this person
you don't mean me.
Out, Cordelia.
Captain Dickinson, escort Mrs. Fosgate
and her friends to the door.
Oh, really.
This is the most absurd thing
I've ever heard in my life.
Otis Fosgate, wait till I get you home
and really tell you what I think of you.
Now, gentlemen, I want counsel for both
sides to understand that this court-martial
is being held behind closed doors
with no prejudice toward the accused,
and solely because of
the scandalous nature of the charges
and to avoid offense to public decency.
- Mulqueen, read the charge sheet.
- Sir.
Since the court acknowledges
the unspeakable nature of the charges,
I would like to suggest that
out of deference to the young lady
whose presence is necessary as a witness,
that the court omit reading of the charges
and specifications in detail
and simply cite the accused as charged
with violation of the 92nd Article of War
on both counts.
Defense Counsel, any objections?
As long as the court is aware
of Captain Shattuck's sly attempt
to create prejudice, no objections.
The accused stands charged with violation
of the 92nd Article of War on both counts.
Sergeant Rutledge, how do you plead?
- Guilty or not guilty?
- Not guilty to both charges, sir.
Not guilty?
Lieutenant Cantrell, is this prisoner's plea
made on advice of counsel?
Yes, sir. Not guilty on both charges
and not guilty on all specifications, sir.
All right, proceed, proceed.
All right, Captain Shattuck,
call your first witness.
- I call Miss Mary Beecher to the stand.
- Sir, I appeal to the court.
Captain Shattuck knows very well Miss
Beecher is here as witness for the defense.
Sir, I know of no rule
which says prosecution may not call
the defense witness
so long as it does not later
impeach her testimony.
Miss Beecher, please.
Do you swear the evidence you're about
to give is the truth, the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth,
so, help you God, ma'am?
- I do.
- Thank you, ma'am.
And now, Miss Beecher,
in your own words,
will you kindly acquaint the court
with all the circumstances
that lead up to your first meeting
with the accused, Sergeant Rutledge?
And everything that transpired thereafter?
Well, I... I was returning
to Arizona after an absence of
12 years in the East.
And when I arrived at Junction City,
I discovered that
there were no longer any passenger trains
running through to Spindle Station
into Fort Linton.
And through the friendship
of a conductor, Mr. Owens,
whom I'd known since I was a little girl,
I managed to get a ride in
the caboose of his freight train
and I was supposed to meet my father
at Spindle Station.
Mr. Owens had sent him a telegram
from Junction City.
And it was on the caboose
of that freight train that I
first met Lieutenant Cantrell.
He says the horses need water.
- You hear that, Owens?
- You think I'm deaf? Deaf and dumb?
You've been screaming
for water louder than them remounts
since we left Junction City.
How long before we get
to Spindle Station, Mr. Owens?
Well, the way I got it figured,
with the sand on the tracks
and the wind against us, I'd say,
half-hour at the outside. About midnight.
You hear that, Miss Beecher?
Half-hour, you'll get off at Spindle,
and I'll go on to Fort Linton.
You sound surprised, Lieutenant Cantrell.
What I've been trying to say is
that you're a very attractive, young and
a rather mysterious lady,
and I'm a lonely bachelor in a lonely land.
Now, there's nothing mysterious
about me.
I'm just coming home after 12 years.
But somehow, it doesn't
seem like coming home at all.
I'd forgotten what a lonely land
Arizona territory really is.
Why did your father
send you back East, Mary?
Was it school or what?
No, it was promise he made
to my mother, just before she died.
I hated going. I loved Arizona then.
And now, I just don't know.
Don't you worry, Mary.
I sent your father that telegram
from Junction City like you told me, and
he'll be at Spindle Station to meet you
and mighty glad to see you, too.
Why, sure he will.
You know, Arizona has changed
considerably since Geronimo was taken.
We haven't had any Apache trouble in,
oh, I don't know, two or three years.
Spindle Station coming up.
You and your dad-blame horses, Laredo.
You're running powerful late already.
If he had his way, Mary, he'd have me
throw you off the train without stopping.
If you're in such a all-fired hurry,
fetch out her other bag.
- Would you like some more hot coffee...
- No, thank you.
It's a pretty long, cold ride over there
to Spanish Wells.
I'll have to get used
to these Arizona distances.
Well, now, you know,
it's only about an hour on the train
from Fort Linton to Spindle, and then
from Spindle to Spanish Wells,
that's just a short day's ride.
- Well, that's still quite a distance.
- Not if there's a welcome at the end of it.
- My name's Tom.
- Goodbye, Tom.
There'll be a welcome for you.
Bye, Mary.
Oh, Nate. Nate Hedges.
Hey, Nate, wake up, Nate.
Nate, where are you?
He's around here someplace. I just...
Hey, Nate! Nate Hedges, wake up.
Hey, Nate!
Oh, Nate!
There ain't nobody here
to meet you, Mary.
I did send that telegram to your Dad,
you know.
Well, don't worry, Mr. Owens,
I'm sure he'll be along soon.
Well, Nate'll take care of you till he come.
You remember Nate Hedges, don't you?
- Why, Nate Hedges, is he still here?
- What's the trouble, Mary?
My father isn't here yet,
and I don't know what...
Excuse me, just a minute, Mary,
I think I'm gonna...
Nate. Busy, Nate?
Nate. Nate?
Now, look here, Owens.
I got two carloads of valuable
remounts on that train.
You ain't gonna hold me up
for anymore of that hugging and kissing.
- Hold your horses, Laredo.
- That's just what I ain't gonna do.
Hold it!
Hey, nobody starts that train but me!
Mary, you're the most beautiful girl
I've ever seen.
- And don't forget I said it to you.
- Oh, hush. Hurry now.
Mr. Hedges?
Mr. Hedges.
Nate. Nate! Nate, wake up!
Don't scream, Miss. Don't scream.
It was... It was as though he'd
sprung up at me out of the earth.
I couldn't move, I couldn't scream.
It was like a nightmare.
And that man who sprang at you
from the darkness
like something from a nightmare,
is he here in this court?
- Oh, yes, but I...
- Is that man who seized you
so brutally and viciously,
is he here in this courtroom?
- Well, yes, he is sitting right there...
- Is it that man there,
- that colored soldier?
- I object.
I withdraw the word "colored."
I refer to the accused, Sergeant Rutledge.
Is he the man who seized you
so viciously, Miss Beecher?
- Yes, but, what I'm trying to tell you...
- That is all, Miss Beecher.
Your witness, Lieutenant Cantrell.
Sir, gentlemen.
A soldier's life is at stake,
and this man is playing cheap, legal tricks.
- I resent that, sir.
- That's enough!
I will have no personalities
between counsel.
Proceed, Lieutenant.
Prosecution has stolen
a key defense witness
and ruthlessly cut off the testimony at
a point highly unfavorable to the accused.
This is not the proper time
for Defense Counsel to argue the case.
He should either cross-examine
or dismiss the witness.
The manual for court-martial clearly
states, "The trial judge advocate
"should do his utmost
to present the whole truth
"and to oppose every attempt
to suppress the facts or to distort them."
Now, I ask the court not to accept
the half-truth that Captain Shattuck
has so slickly presented,
but to insist on the whole truth,
by letting Miss Beecher go on
with the story.
I object, sir. If this is not a
personal attack on me and my...
Sit down. Now, Miss Beecher, tell me.
- Is there more to your story?
- Yes. Yes, there is.
Well, I think I speak for
the other members of this court
when I say that I'd like to hear it.
Now, Miss Beecher,
as I recall the testimony
before Captain Shattuck cut you off,
Sergeant Rutledge was pressing
his hand over your mouth.
Now tell us, what happened then?
Well, he... He warned me.
He warned me not to scream again.
He said, "Don't scream again, Miss.
"Don't scream!"
You don't have to be afraid of me.
I'm First Sergeant Rutledge,
United States Cavalry.
Quiet, ma'am. I ain't gonna hurt you.
But I ain't gonna let you scream.
Now, you listen to me.
I've been blood trailed all the way
into Spindle by three Mescaleros.
They jumped me about a mile back,
got my horse.
I killed one.
The other two are out there somewheres.
Do you understand? Apaches.
Now, tell me, what did you find in there?
He's dead.
- The old man, the stationmaster?
- Yes.
I just put my hand on his shoulder,
and he fell to the floor.
I was moving around awful fast.
One could've circled ahead of me, maybe.
Oh, you mean, while I was in there,
an Apache...
Stop it.
It's where they are now.
How did he fall, loose or how?
He was all limp and...
Less than one hour dead in this weather?
I don't know.
My father.
My father's coming here to meet me. If
the Apaches are out there, they'll kill him.
It ain't your father now. It's you and me.
You're a Western woman,
you can use a gun?
- Oh, yes, but...
- They'll have no mercy on you, lady.
They'll have no mercy.
Look out!
Do we have to go in there?
No, you stay here
while I police up the place.
- What were you doing out there?
- It's all right. You can come in now.
I took him outside. The best I could do.
- Are you all right?
- Yes.
Your father got word you were coming?
Yes. The conductor
telegraphed him from Junction City.
Name Beecher? Spanish Well Ranch?
You mean he didn't get it? Let me see.
Maybe a file copy.
A line rider could've taken it on out
to the ranch.
Dad isn't here.
When you had the lamp out back,
you were reading sign.
- What is it?
- Apaches.
The ones that jumped us,
they didn't kill the old man.
- You mean it wasn't Apaches?
- It was Apaches, but an earlier party.
The signs out back showed
30 or 40 unshod ponies.
It must've been an awful big breakout
at San Rosario Reservation.
Our ranch is on San Rosario Road.
It's a good thing your father
didn't get the message.
No time to be caught
out on the roads, Miss.
However, you and I got
to get some rest and food.
I'll see if I can rustle us up something.
- No, let me do it.
- No, you stay!
I'm sorry, Miss.
I've been a First Sergeant too long.
What I meant to say is,
rest easy here till I come back.
Please continue, Miss Beecher.
Tell us what happened then.
Well, the storm seemed
to grow in violence.
The wind blew stronger and stronger.
I thought I heard a coyote howl.
And I was afraid.
Terribly afraid.
I'm Mary Beecher.
- What did you say your name is?
- Rutledge. Braxton Rutledge.
First Sergeant, 9th Cavalry.
I didn't know they had any colored...
I mean, are you from Fort Linton?
The 9th Cavalry relieved
the white garrison a few years back.
- Then you must know Lieutenant Cantrell?
- Yes, I know him.
That Apache cut you out there.
Why didn't you tell me?
- I'm all right. You get out.
- I won't.
- There's whiskey up there.
- You want whiskey?
Up there on the shelf. Give it to me.
That isn't a knife cut.
Gunshot. Apaches didn't do it.
When did you leave Fort Linton?
- A while back.
- Yesterday?
- I said, "A while back."
- Look, Sergeant.
I know you've got to sleep,
but suppose the Apaches come back?
When Apaches kill and run,
chances are they don't come back.
I'll get you something to eat.
Please don't go to sleep.
It'll be hot in a minute.
You take yours in there in the next room.
- I'll dish my own up.
- You stay where you are.
I'll get yours.
Anyone come,
you ain't gonna be in here with me.
- What're you talking about?
- I'm talking about you.
A white woman.
White women only spell trouble
for any of us.
That's nonsense.
We're just two people trying to stay alive.
Lady, you don't know
how hard I'm trying to stay alive.
Sergeant, the telegraph.
Do you know how to work
the telegraph key?
No use. The wire is cut.
Well, I suppose I must have slept
sometime during the night.
But, I thought that night would never end.
But at any time that night,
did Sergeant Rutledge
- threaten or molest you in any way?
- Certainly not.
He never stirred from his cot.
So then, what Captain Shattuck tried
to picture to the court as a brutal
and vicious attack upon you
by Sergeant Rutledge
was in reality nothing more than an effort
to prevent you from betraying
your presence to those two Apaches?
- Sergeant Rutledge saved my life.
- Thank you.
- Any further questions, Captain Shattuck?
- No questions, sir.
You may step down, Miss Beecher. And
I trust we haven't unduly distressed you.
All right, gentlemen. We've had just
about enough of this legal jockeying.
Now, let's put first things first
and clearly establish the facts
and the nature of the crimes
with which the accused has been charged.
Call your next witness, Captain Shattuck.
I call Mrs. Colonel Fosgate.
What? What did you say?
You mean,
you're calling my wife as a witness?
Yes, sir.
Well, if you knew you were gonna
have her on that stand, why didn't...
- I called Mrs. Colonel Fosgate.
- I wouldn't have...
Well, all right, Sergeant, all right.
Mulqueen, the water.
I said, "The water."
That footslogger knew all the time
he was gonna have her up there.
I'll never be able to...
you were called here as a witness.
What are these other ladies doing here?
Otis Fosgate, I would not come here
without a chaperon with all these men.
- My goodness, my mother...
- All right, all right.
All right, ladies. Sit down,
sit down and be quiet.
Cordelia, take the chair.
- The chair?
- Yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am.
- What chair?
- This chair here, ma'am.
Yes, ma'am.
- The chair, ma'am.
- Yes, thank you.
Yes, ma'am.
Do you swear to tell the truth,
the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth,
so help you God, ma'am?
Is that the King James version
of the Bible?
- Do you swear to tell the truth...
- I don't swear on anything
- but the King James Bible.
- Do you swear to tell the truth...
Cordelia, a Bible is a Bible.
Put your hand. Go on. Swear.
Do you swear to tell the truth,
the whole truth and nothing...
She does.
Carry on, Shattuck.
Mrs. Fosgate, do you recognize
the subject of this miniature painting?
It's dear little Lucy Dabney.
- Lucy Dabney.
- Yes.
With the little gold cross
she always wore around her neck.
- I would like to place this in evidence, sir.
- Accepted.
Now, Mrs. Fosgate,
you and your husband were quartered
on the post at Fort Linton
- at the time of the murders, were you not?
- Oh, yes.
And you knew
the Post Commander Major Dabney
- as well as his young daughter, Lucy?
- Oh, yes, very well.
Now, Mrs. Fosgate,
I know that to a woman of your breeding,
this is painful beyond words.
But I would like you to tell the court,
when was the last time
you saw Lucy Dabney alive?
The last time I saw Lucy was
at the sutler's store, Mr. Hubble's.
She came riding up on her horse.
So young, so lovely.
- Hi, Mrs. Fosgate.
- Yes. Hi.
- Hello, Mrs. Hackett.
- Darling.
Lucy Dabney, riding astride.
When will your father realize
that you're a grownup young lady?
Papa says as long as I say my prayers and
behave myself with the young lieutenants,
he doesn't care if I ride like Lady Godiva.
You're a very beautiful young girl,
considering you've grown up
without your poor dear mother.
- A very nice one.
- Well, thank you, Mrs. Fosgate.
Hi, Mr. Hubble.
Say, Brax,
you were right about that horse.
High-stepping action and sensitive mouth.
Thought you'd like her, Miss Lucy.
You know, I took her over
four and a half feet yesterday.
Four and a half feet?
You're going to get your neck broke, child.
I don't want you jumping a horse
when I am not around. Do you hear?
You watch it.
you got Miss Lucy's order ready?
Sure have, Dad.
- Hi, Chris.
- Hi, Lucy.
- Four and a half feet.
- Well, I did so!
four feet, anyway.
Thank you, Mr. Hubble.
My dear, is it wise to be so friendly with...
- Brax Rutledge?
- Yes.
Well, I've known him
ever since I was so high.
- I know, but...
- He taught me how to ride.
Here you are, Lucy. Just like you ordered.
Six skeins of white wool.
Say, when are you going to knit me
a pair of socks?
What about Ellie Jorgenson?
I don't want that redhead putting burrs
under my saddle.
Oh, she won't get jealous over socks.
She is knitting me a sweater.
Say, you better let me help you
with these packages.
They're pretty heavy
for a little girl like you.
Come on, Chris Hubble, oh, honest...
That was the last time I saw
Lucy Dabney alive.
Now tell me, Mrs. Fosgate.
Tell me in your own words, when was
the last time you saw Sergeant Rutledge?
- You mean...
- Yes.
Well, I was in my bedroom,
writing a letter to my daughter, Barbara
at Fort Walla Walla, Washington.
She's married to Lieutenant Pritchett.
You know of the Pritchetts
of Pritchettsville?
And she is expecting again.
Well, Otis and I couldn't be more on edge
if it was us.
Wouldn't it?
Please, Cordelia, what about Rutledge?
Rutledge? Rutledge who?
The accused, Sergeant Rutledge.
You said you saw him again that evening,
what about it?
- You were in your room, writing...
- Yes, I was in my room, writing,
and I heard two shots. Bang, Bang.
So I rushed quickly to the window
and I saw him.
That gentleman there.
It was Sergeant Rutledge,
and I watched him
till he disappeared into the darkness.
He was headed straight for East Gate.
- lf you'd like my opinion...
- Thank you, Mrs. Fosgate.
Your witness, Lieutenant Cantrell.
Defense does not challenge Mrs. Fosgate's
testimony, sir. There will be no questions.
Mr. President, if the Defense Counsel
accepts Mrs. Fosgate's testimony as fact,
must we go on?
Cantrell, why don't you plead
your man guilty
and throw him on the mercy of the court?
That's your privilege, Cantrell.
Care to exercise it?
I do not, sir.
Get on with it, Cantrell.
That's all, Cordelia, goodbye.
One more question for Mrs. Fosgate
on redirect.
Haddock. Captain Haddock.
I knew a Captain Haddock.
He was the veterinarian
who took care of...
- My name is Shattuck, ma'am.
- Shattuck?
Now, Mrs. Fosgate, please tell us
when was the exact time you saw
Sergeant Rutledge ride past your window?
It was exactly 8:00.
Nonsense, Cordelia.
You haven't known what time it was
since the day we were married.
It was exactly 8:00.
Because the clock was striking 8:00.
The little china clock
with the painted flowers
that you stole
while your men were burning Atlanta.
Thank you, Mrs. Fosgate.
You've been an excellent witness.
Is that all?
Shattuck, Haddock. Haddock.
Captain Haddock. Captain Fish.
Fish, pretty fish.
Fish, Captain Fish.
You were wonderful.
Thank you, Captain Fish.
You were...
Ladies, quiet.
Cordelia, quiet, please. Ladies, sit down.
Go ahead, Shattuck, go ahead.
I call the Fort Linton post surgeon,
Dr. Walter Eckner.
Swear him in, Sergeant.
Do you swear to tell the truth,
the whole truth,
nothing but the truth,
so help you God, sir?
- I do.
- Shattuck, I...
I suppose you're going to have the doctor
give us all of the frank medical details?
I'm afraid I have no choice, sir. The
condition of both bodies is vital to my...
All right, all right.
Sergeant, escort the ladies into the
orderly room. Have them wait there.
Yes, sir.
I don't see how you can do...
- You understand, I'm a surprise witness...
- Yes, Mrs. Fosgate.
Yes, ma'am,
but please right through there.
Dr. Eckner,
you were at Fort Linton
the night of the murders,
were you not?
As there was no senior officer on the post,
I ordered the bodies left as they were,
and went to meet Lieutenant Cantrell
at the station.
The railroad station.
We returned to
Major Dabney's quarters together.
Lieutenant Cantrell and myself.
- What happened?
- Lamp.
Glad to see you back, sir. Mighty glad.
This is a terrible thing.
Ladies, this is no place for children
or any of you.
Please go to your quarters.
- Why, Cordelia!
- The idea of him trying to talk like that!
Get rid of the men
you don't need, Skidmore.
Yes, sir.
Major Dabney, Lieutenant.
Dead by a gunshot wound through
the heart. A service gun.
This toy didn't kill him.
- Light that lamp.
- Yes, sir.
It's been fired twice.
Beaten, violated and then strangled!
The filthy...
I suppose the Major surprised him
while he was still...
Ja, ja. The Major shoots and wounds him,
you can see the blood here.
Then he kills the Major and runs.
You see the blood drops
from here to the door.
Why should he stop to cover the body
with a serape so carefully?
A twisted mind, maybe, who knows? Mad!
There is an odd mark also here
on the throat.
Not from strangulation.
More like a cut, but not a cut.
Could you hand me that picture, Doctor?
The little gold cross she always wore
around her neck, it's been torn off.
Ja, I remember Lucy's little cross.
Well, you never can tell
about such a criminal. Degenerate.
He takes the cross, perhaps
a symbol of the purity he has destroyed.
- Who's sergeant of the guards?
- Skidmore, sir.
Skidmore, send a runner
for the First Sergeant.
- You mean Rutledge, sir?
- Yes. I'm going to need his help on this.
Rutledge is not here, sir.
What the hell do you mean, he's not here?
Where is he? Speak up!
Sir, I just don't know.
When was the last time you saw him?
He rode past the guardhouse
looking for Major Dabney
shortly before 8:00...
Major Dabney wouldn't be
at the guardhouse.
Normally he'd be here in his...
Yes, sir?
You mean Rutledge was here?
But it couldn't be Rutledge.
Assembly at this hour?
What's the idea, Skidmore?
That's why Rutledge
was looking for Major Dabney, sir.
Apache raiding party loose.
Three ranches burned down.
Officer of the guard
must be forming a patrol, sir.
Trouble come double, sir.
I had both bodies removed
to the post hospital.
And autopsy confirmed my spot findings.
Major Dabney shot through the heart.
His daughter, Lucy, ravaged and strangled.
The work of a degenerate.
The work of a degenerate, indeed.
Your witness, Mr. Cantrell.
Oh, no questions.
- What?
- It's stupid not to cross-examine...
Wait a minute, Doctor. Wait a minute.
Stay right where you are.
That is the second witness
against the accused
that you have failed to cross-examine.
Tom, as Defense Counsel,
it is your duty to see...
As Defense Counsel, sir,
I'm only trying to establish the truth.
Well, naturally, we all are...
I believe both Dr. Eckner
and Mrs. Fosgate have told the truth.
Tom, that was entirely beside the point...
But if you disagree, I'll be very happy
to recall Mrs. Fosgate and...
Step down, Doctor.
All right, Shattuck, call your next witness.
Come on, let's not delay here.
I am certain that by now
this court is well aware
of the peculiar involvement
of Lieutenant Cantrell in this case.
So I trust that I shall not again be charged
with employing cheap, legal tricks
when I call as my next witness,
Defense Counsel himself.
Lieutenant Cantrell.
- Well, have you any objections, Cantrell?
- No, certainly not, sir.
All right, get up there. Take the stand.
Sergeant, swear him in.
Do you swear to tell the truth,
the whole truth...
I do.
Dr. Eckner has testified
that after hearing assembly sounded,
you left the scene
of the crimes for post headquarters.
Will you tell us what action you took then?
As senior officer present,
I took command of the post
and sent a galloper to the survey camp
to inform Colonel Fosgate.
- You can confirm that, sir?
- Of course, yes, yes.
Now, when the Colonel returned
to the post,
I left with the patrol at once,
by forced march,
where we arrived at Spindle Station
shortly after dawn.
Skidmore, take two men
and cover the rear.
- Don't touch that gun, Lieutenant.
- I won't have to,
'cause you're gonna hand me that rifle
butt end first.
No, sir. You take me back now,
they'll hang me sure.
Is that a confession, Rutledge?
Drop it, Brax!
Get him!
Hold him down!
Get those arms out here.
Why didn't you shoot me
when you had the chance?
We may yet.
All right, Skidmore, search him.
And I mean hat, boots, socks,
and bring me every single thing
you find on him.
Do what you can to fix up that wound.
Are you all right?
He didn't hurt you, did he?
Of course not. He saved my life.
Did you have to treat him like an animal?
He's under arrest
for the murder of his commanding officer.
Oh, I don't believe it.
What about your father?
What happened to him?
I don't know. He just never got here.
Mary, when I got word at Fort Linton
Apaches were in this district,
- and I'd left you here alone, I was really...
- Not alone.
Sergeant Rutledge was here.
And no officer could've protected a woman
more gallantly.
Skidmore, bring in the prisoner.
Here's everything we found
on Rutledge, sir.
Put it right there.
See what this says.
"I, Colonel Thurston Tillman,
of Rutledge Hall, Prince Edward County,
"do on this twelfth day of April, 1861,
"Manumit and entirely set free
and forever quit claim
"the body and services of
the slave boy called
"Braxton Rutledge."
- What did you expect to find, Lieutenant?
- Well, I didn't find it.
All right, Rutledge,
what happened here last night?
- Why don't you ask the lady?
- I'm asking you!
Can't you see he's hurt and worn out?
Why don't you let him sit down?
- Thank you, ma'am, I can stand.
- Sit down there, Sergeant.
Brax, you heard the Lieutenant. Sit down.
Your wound is open again. Let me see it.
- No, leave me be, miss.
- I will not.
Yes, you will. And if you don't mind,
I'm going to ask you to wait outside.
All right, let's have a look at the wound.
Raise up your arms.
Give us a picture
what happened last night.
How many hostiles were there?
Give it to us, Brax.
We never figured to find you here.
There were 30 or 40 unshod ponies
here last night before the train came in.
Their signs outback show.
They killed the stationmaster.
Thirty or 40?
There really was a big breakout.
But this wasn't Apaches,
not two small caliber bullet wounds.
Did you do it, Rutledge?
I refuse to answer, sir, respectfully.
Tie him up.
Skidmore, Krump,
we're gonna track these hostiles down
and drive them back to the reservation.
All right, move in here
so you can see the map.
Three ranches have been reported
burned out.
There's Jorgenson's here,
over here's Williard's,
and here's Edward Haight's.
Now, the Apaches appear
to be moving due west.
So we're gonna go north by west fast,
and cut them off
before they reach the young lady's home
right here at Spanish Wells.
The young lady goes with us.
Now get the terrain clear in your mind.
Rutledge, with that many hostiles loose,
I can't spare anyone
to take you back to Fort Linton.
You're riding with us, too.
"One hand free" like the book says,
You know what the book says,
"One hand free, if and when
we make contact with the enemy."
How about that, Top Soldier,
he ain't sending you back.
He's letting you ride with us.
Half-soldier still Top Soldier.
No, I ain't.
I'm a prisoner, now, in bad trouble.
And I ain't gonna let none of this trouble
rub off on you.
You're 9th Cavalrymen,
and like I said, again and again,
the 9th's record is gonna speak
for us all someday,
and it's gonna speak clean.
Brax, but all we're saying,
we're your friends.
No, you ain't. You ain't no more.
You're not gonna risk
any part of this regiment's record
for one man's good.
Now listen to me, Brax, and hear me well.
You tell me yourself
you did that awful thing
down at Fort Linton,
I wouldn't believe it.
But Brax, why did you run away?
Because I walked into something
none of us can fight.
White woman business.
Now you heard your Lieutenant, Skidmore.
You get that terrain fixed in your head,
because the way he talks,
you're gonna need it.
And don't nobody call me
Top Soldier no more.
And that's an order!
- Take the girl's bags into the lean-to.
- Yes, sir.
Mary, we're gonna try to get you back
to Spanish Wells.
- Have you got anything to ride in?
- Yes.
Then please get dressed.
I'm not going anywhere until
I can say goodbye to Sergeant Rutledge.
Sergeant Rutledge is riding with us.
- Wounded and handcuffed?
- That's none of your business.
And from now on
I'll have no more backtalk from you
in front of my men.
McLaren, feed a quick breakfast.
We move out in 40 minutes.
Skidmore, feed the men,
get the horses ready,
- we move out in 40 minutes.
- Yes, sir.
We expect you to be ready in 40 minutes,
Miss Beecher.
Sit down, Brax.
When I rode into Fort Linton last night
and saw what had happened,
I couldn't believe my eyes.
It's against everything
I know about you, Brax.
You believe it now, sir, don't you?
You ran out, you deserted.
Now you refuse to make a statement.
What else you expect me to believe?
Nothing, sir.
Now, don't you play games with me, Brax.
I know you too well.
You and I served together for six years,
and I know there's no better soldier
in a fight.
And I thought there was no better man.
What does it all add up to, sir?
What do you think it adds up to?
Friendship, damn you!
And damn you again!
I'm trying to help you, Brax.
Stay out of it, Lieutenant.
It'll smudge up any man who touches it.
You let me decide that.
What about those rib wounds?
Did Dabney fire at you first?
You can't make self-defense out of it.
There's still that dead white girl.
Nobody will believe I never touched her.
You tell me you didn't, I'll believe you.
Would you repeat that, Lieutenant?
I said to Rutledge,
"You tell me you didn't, I'll believe you."
You said that, after what you'd seen
with your own eyes
- there at Fort Linton?
- I did.
But you were the arresting officer,
weren't you?
- Yes, I was.
- And you had your man in irons
- for murder, didn't you?
- I did.
Well, what did Rutledge say
when you offered to believe him?
He said, "Maybe you believe me, sir,
"but not any court-martial."
Go on with your testimony
from where you told the prisoner
you'd believe him.
Well, after that,
we watered and fed the troop,
and started out north by west
in an attempt to cut the Apaches off
before we reached Miss...
Miss Beecher's home at Spanish Wells.
How's the side holding up, Sergeant?
You know what they say about us, sir,
we heal fast.
You give me your word
you won't try to make an escape,
I'll take the irons off you.
I can't do that, sir,
'cause I ain't going back to stand trial.
Don't you be a fool, Brax.
What if you did get away?
Why, this thing would haunt you
till you couldn't stand it.
You forget, sir,
we've been haunted a long time,
too much to worry.
Yeah, it was all right for Mr. Lincoln
to say we were free,
but that ain't so. Not yet.
Maybe some day, but not yet.
All right, Rutledge.
But you make one move to get away,
and I'm gonna kill you.
Yes, sir.
But that's just what you'll have to do.
Troop, halt!
Krump, Moffat, over there.
What... What is that, Moffat?
Man staked out, and he's awful dead.
Dead, dead.
Call out, Bull Horn.
Dead man. Staked out!
Dead man. Staked out!
- My father.
- Don't jump at it, Mary.
Take it easy.
There in the rock, sir.
It's a young man.
Krump, you ride back
and tell Miss Beecher it isn't her father.
- Yes, sir.
- And keep her away from here.
Yes, sir.
Moffat, you got the stomach
to go through his clothes
for identification and personal effects,
or do you want me to do it?
Somebody better.
His own mammy wouldn't recognize him.
What's going on, Corporal?
None of your business. You hush.
Don't be a-fretting, Miss.
Don't be a-fretting.
Stripped clean. Boots, gun belt, hat, even.
Nothing left but torn shirt and pants,
and this tobacco sack.
- Well, who is he? Does anybody know?
- I know him, sir.
He was wearing
the same Kansas City shirt last night
when I was on guard duty.
That's Chris Hubble, the sutler's son.
- Chris Hubble?
- Yes, sir.
Well, what's he doing way out here?
That's a horse-killing ride.
I heard he been sparking
the Jorgenson girl, sir.
Maybe when he got news
of the Apache raid on her father's ranch...
Moffat, let me look at that.
Maybe you'd tell me
what you keep looking for, sir?
Sergeant, I didn't find
what I was looking for this time, either.
All right, Skidmore, 10 minutes for burial.
I know the ground's hard,
but get him under as far as you can.
Yes, sir.
That smoke was between us
and the San Rosario reservation.
Now, if this was a sport uprising
designed to blood the young braves
who had never known war,
the chances are they would go on back
to the reservation on their own.
If not?
Well, I was there to drive them back.
A very interesting story, Lieutenant,
which I don't challenge.
But I would like to call
the court's attention
to one all-important factor
in this testimony,
and that is Lieutenant Cantrell's
personal interest in the accused.
And I quote from
the manual for court-martial, which states,
"In case of personal interest in
or personal hostility toward the accused,
"defense counsel should apply
to be relieved."
Well, now this is a hell of a time
to bring that up with the trial half-over.
Excuse me, sir.
But Captain Shattuck
is playing ducks and drakes
with this court again.
If he would quote the text in its entirety,
it begins with the words,
"Defense counsel is not challengeable."
All right, Lieutenant.
Read the book, Mulqueen.
"Defense counsel is not challengeable."
Over here. Hand it here. Give me the book.
- Challengeable.
- All right
Well, that's quite a bit different.
Mulqueen, this is a Confederate manual.
- Read the flyleaf, Colonel.
- I can read right here, it says...
Read the flyleaf, Colonel.
"This manual is adopted
with no changes from the manual
"of the United States Army."
Where'd you get that thing?
If it please the court, I stole it in Atlanta
the night your men burned the place,
including the convent.
My specs, sir.
- Water?
- No.
- Well, Cantrell, do you wish to withdraw?
- I do not, sir.
All right, Shattuck, carry on.
Water. No, never mind.
That will be all, Lieutenant.
I call as my next witness
Sergeant Matthew Skidmore.
Skidmore. All right, take the stand.
All right, Sergeant, swear him in.
Do you swear to tell the truth,
the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth,
so help you God?
I do, I do.
Your name, Sergeant?
Troop Sergeant Matthew Luke Skidmore.
Troop C, 9th United States Cavalry, sir.
Skidmore, just how old are you?
Well, sir,
I don't rightly know.
You mean you don't even know
your own age?
I was slave-born.
And I saw the first steamboat
come down the Mississippi River.
At least my mammy said it was the first,
and she was holding me up to see.
That would make you at least 70 or more.
Mr. President,
what is this line of questioning?
- Skidmore is a good soldier.
- Excellent soldier.
First-rate, Shattuck,
I suppose you have a reason
for this type of questioning?
Well, sir, I was merely trying to establish
the Sergeant's reliability as a witness.
- I withdraw the question.
- Get on with it.
Skidmore, the patrol report states
that you pressed on
after seeing the burning ranch house.
I'd like to hear your version
of what happened then.
Well, sir, like you say,
the Lieutenant forced a march
trying to get the young lady home
and make sure that the Apaches
was headed back to the reservation.
We sent out gallopers and flankers,
and we took all the necessary precautions.
- Sure leaving a sloppy, wide-open trail.
- And a slow one.
And if they're heading back
for the reservation,
they're taking their own sweet time
about it.
Them young warriors get to showing off
to one another, anything can happen.
Sir, as an old soldier...
Bugler, Moffat,
circle off and take the point!
- Keep your eyes open, Skidmore.
- Yes, sir.
- Rutledge.
- Sir.
You got the same hunch I have, sir.
- How about a weapon?
- When the time comes.
- Just like the book say?
- Just like the book say.
Attention! Right on a line!
Prepare to dismount! Dismount!
Forward skirmishes!
Company, ready!
You ain't shooting ducks, rookie.
- Come back, Moffat!
- Come back, Moffat!
Corporal Moffat, come back!
Pull up, Moffat, pull up!
- Moffat!
- Horse running away, sir?
- Moffat!
- Moffat!
Come on. Come on.
Canteen, Brax, my canteen.
Can't give you no water, Moffat,
not with that wound.
Then just let me be.
Stop that talk.
I got to get you back up to the section.
No good, Sergeant.
Hold onto me and let me down easy.
Brax. Brax!
I'm here, Moffat. I'm right here, Moffat.
My three little girls.
What's gonna happen to them, Brax?
Someday, Moffat,
they gonna be awful proud of you.
You're always talking about someday
like it gonna be a promised land
here on Earth.
We're fools to fight the white man's war.
It ain't the white man's war.
We're fighting to make us proud.
Someday your little girls...
Moffat, do you hear me? Moffat.
How is he, Rutledge?
Moffat's dead, sir.
Hold it, Rutledge.
Hold it!
- Sir!
- No.
Well, that closes our book, Miss Beecher.
We buried Trooper Moffat.
And then we followed the Apache trail
toward Crazy Woman River,
which we had to cross
to get the young lady home.
So, here it is again.
Lieutenant Cantrell,
with a record as a dead shot
with all weapons that goes back
to his cadet days on the Hudson,
somehow missed with a service pistol
at 50 yards.
A miss, mind you,
that enabled his prisoner to escape.
That's all, Skidmore.
Skidmore, one moment, if you please.
Now Sergeant Skidmore,
you're under oath.
Would you please tell the court
in your opinion as a long-service soldier,
did I deliberately miss that pistol shot?
Oh, no, sir.
When you took aim, he was a dead man.
And the second time
when I tried with the carbine?
Yes, the same thing.
If the young lady hadn't...
Right, thank you very much,
Sergeant Skidmore, that's all.
Uphill, moving target, service pistol.
I might have missed him myself.
Get on with it, Shattuck.
I'm sure this court is aware
that no one can tell us the rest of the story
except the accused himself.
But I cannot call him.
Well, why not?
It's the duty of this court...
The accused
cannot be compelled unwillingly
to testify against himself.
But even so,
I am quite sure that Lieutenant Cantrell
does not dare have him testify.
On the contrary, sir,
the accused welcomes
the opportunity to testify.
Will you call him, Captain Shattuck,
or shall I?
First Sergeant Braxton Rutledge,
9th United States Cavalry.
Do you swear to tell the truth,
the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth,
so help you God?
I do.
I'd like you to pick it up
from where Sergeant Skidmore left it,
where you had so miraculously escaped
Lieutenant Cantrell's shots at you.
I rode full gallop for Crazy Woman River.
I figured if I could reach the upper ford
and cross over,
I could follow the water north
to the railroad.
After a couple of hours,
the Apache trail was still leading me
like they was making for the river, too.
And then I came down
over the top of the river bank,
and there they were.
Crossing the river fast,
like they was really going someplace.
Easy, boy.
Easy, boy.
All that land across the river
was part of Mr. Sam Beecher's ranch,
Spanish Wells.
I knew then the young lady
would never get home.
Not ever.
I recognized the old gentleman
from the times I've seen him at the fort.
It was Mr. Sam Beecher.
The young lady's father.
What happened then,
I don't like to remember.
I knew the patrol
was coming up behind me,
and there was the Indians ahead of me.
I had to keep going.
I had to cross over the river
if I was going to break free.
I tried to tell myself
what happened to the 9th Cavalry
weren't no concern of mine.
I wasn't Top Soldier no more.
Now was my time to ride away.
Ride away north, where I'd be free.
Miss Beecher, to the rear of the column!
To the rear!
- Ambush, sir!
- All right, get back!
Sir, like the book say?
Top Soldier back!
Stop that yelling and start shooting.
Squeeze them triggers.
Thank you, ma'am.
Take it easy, rookie.
Easy now, rookie. Easy, rookie.
And that's how it was, sir.
And we dug in on our position
for the night,
and did what we could for the wounded.
Now, let me get this straight, Rutledge.
What you're asking this court to believe
is that, with freedom before you,
you deliberately turned your back on it,
and by an incredible ride
and a noble disregard for your own life,
you saved that patrol from annihilation.
No, sir. That ain't how I meant it,
and there was nothing noble about it.
Oh, come, Rutledge, of course there was.
It was a brave act, admit it.
And I wasn't thinking brave.
Then what were you thinking?
Why did you come back? Tell us.
- I don't know.
- You don't know?
All I know, I kept riding.
And something kept telling me
I had to go back.
It was like...
It was like...
I just ain't got the words to say it.
Then I'll say it for you.
Bravery is your stock and trade, Rutledge.
Your whole record shows it.
But murderers and rapists
can be as brave as decent men.
You are trying to trade
your murderer's bravery
for the mercy of this court, isn't that it?
No, sir. That is not...
All right, Rutledge.
If that isn't it, what was it?
It was because the 9th Cavalry
was my home.
My real freedom. And my self respect.
And the way I was deserting it,
I wasn't nothing worse
than a swamp-running nigger.
And I ain't that.
Do you hear me? I'm a man.
This goading of the witness
is beyond belief.
Shattuck, in the name
of common decency.
Decency? Stop acting like a child, Cantrell.
I'm not trying for a hanging verdict
merely to whitewash this mess.
This man killed your commanding officer,
admits it.
He's as guilty as hell, and you know it.
Prosecution rests.
If Sergeant Rutledge hasn't answered
Captain Shattuck's attack
to the court's satisfaction,
I can only say this.
If he had not been my prisoner
during the action at Crazy Woman River,
I would have cited him for gallantry
above and beyond the call of duty.
Before the defense opens its argument,
this court will take a brief recess.
Sergeant, open those doors,
air this place out a little.
Yes, sir.
Excellent statement that Rutledge made.
Shows a fine loyal feeling for his regiment,
poor devil.
And a good soldier.
I served with him myself.
I hate hangings. Bad for troop morale.
We'll have no more talk about hangings.
Incidentally, I'm glad
that none of you gentlemen
have mentioned the color
of the man's skin.
Very well put, Mr. President.
Jacks or better?
- Size of the pot, $5.
- I'm out.
I see your five, and raise you 20.
- I'm out.
- I pass.
Give me three cards.
Cards, Mulqueen.
Mulqueen, are you bluffing again?
You men back there, get those hats off.
Put out those butts.
All right, Cantrell, proceed.
As my first witness,
I recall Miss Mary Beecher to the stand.
Mary, I called you back to the stand
because I want you to tell the truth.
Now, tell exactly what happened
that night at Crazy Woman...
I intend to tell the truth,
no matter what you ask me.
Now, Miss Beecher,
would you please tell the court
what happened after the attack in the river
and we had dug in for the night?
Well, it had turned bitterly cold.
And we did all we could for the wounded
to make them comfortable.
And it was then that you took me aside,
and told me how Sergeant Rutledge had...
Had seen my father die.
Mary, I don't know if this will be
any consolation or comfort to you,
but Rutledge says
that your father died quickly.
Nothing like that Hubble boy.
You know, it's strange, Tom.
I can't even remember my father's face.
All I can remember
is just the touch of his hand on my cheek.
Such a rough hand,
oh, so gentle.
No, Tom, I hate this land.
It killed my mother,
and now it killed my father.
I wish I'd never come back to it.
Oh, but, Mary, it's a good land. It really is.
Maybe not now, but
like Rutledge says, "Someday."
Tom, you're not going
to take him back now, are you?
For the first time,
I don't really know what I'm gonna do.
Because you know they'll hang him
if you do.
Tom, you know he never touched that girl.
I just have to think about it
a little bit more, Mary.
Just a little bit more.
Who's Captain Buffalo?
Oh, he's a...
Well, when the Plains Indians
first saw the troopers of the 9th Cavalry,
it was in the dead of winter
and they were all wearing
buffalo coats to keep them warm.
They had buffalo caps on.
They looked like buffaloes.
Consequently, the Indians started
calling them buffalo soldiers.
And Captain Buffalo is...
Well, he's the ideal soldier, you know.
Giant size, kind of a Paul Bunyan.
I guess they're laying it on
a little thick now for Rutledge.
Try to give him confidence
and cheer him up.
What a wonderful way to do it.
Too bad we couldn't take Otway back
for a real military funeral.
He sure earned
his 50 cents a day yesterday.
Top Soldier, you wanna read burial service
for Otway?
No, sir.
We're gonna do it upright for him, Krump.
We're gonna wait for the Lieutenant
to read the words over him.
Feel all right, Skidmore?
I'll make it.
Thank you, miss.
Lieutenant will never put those irons
back on you now, Top Soldier.
That's the truth, Brax.
Like I told you when he took them off,
he ain't never gonna put them
back on you again.
Yeah. It's more like
they recommended Top Soldier
for the Congressional Medal of Honor.
- Ain't that so?
- That's right.
- Yeah.
- That's right.
He's right, Top Soldier.
General Nelson "Handsome" Miles himself
will come down to pin it on you.
General Miles? That's small fry.
The President himself is gonna call
Brax back to Washington
just so he can shake his hand.
Top Soldier strutting into
that big, blessed White House
where Mr. Abraham Lincoln lives.
Brax, don't you count on going free.
The Lieutenant is a strong man for duty.
- He's got to take you back.
- No, Sergeant Skidmore.
He'll never take him back now.
Soldier can never
think by his heart, ma'am.
He got to think by the book.
It's against both my oath and my duty
to say this to you.
Brax, you've got to go.
And you better go now.
Lieutenant's coming back.
When the burial party's finished,
send them down here.
Mary Beecher,
will you come down here, please?
Krump! McClaren!
Mary, I'm sorry to have to ask you
to do this, but I need a witness.
It's a little gold cross.
But what does it mean?
I'm not sure what it means.
You just remember that you saw me
take it off a dead Apache.
All right.
Bring that jacket with you, too.
Well, how are you, Sergeant?
You're gonna make it?
I'm ready for duty, sir.
How about our rookie here?
How're you feeling this morning?
He's a brave soldier, sir.
I's brave, but I's awful scared, too, sir.
Well, you're a good man.
In another nine or 10 years
you're gonna make corporal.
- The Lord's truth, sir?
- Lord's truth.
There's a mark on it, sir. "C.H."
All right, Krump,
you're acting platoon sergeant.
Yes, sir.
We move out for Fort Linton
in 20 minutes.
Tom, I thought you said last night...
Why, you cheap, contemptible,
tin-plated, book soldier!
Would you mind repeating that,
Miss Beecher?
I said he was a cheap, contemptible,
tin-plated, book soldier.
Thank you, Miss Beecher,
you may step down.
Miss Beecher,
there isn't a man in this court
who didn't know and deeply respect
your father, Sam Beecher.
Very fine gentleman.
Will you please accept
our deepest sympathies for your loss?
Thank you.
And now, is there anything more
you would like to tell this court
- before you leave this stand?
- Yes, there is.
Sergeant Rutledge saved all our lives.
And in common decency,
Lieutenant Cantrell at least owes him his.
Miss Mary Beecher
has identified this cross
with this broken chain,
as the one I took
from the dead Apache's headband.
And these 27 affidavits
from the commissioned,
enlisted, and civilian personnel
at Fort Linton
have testified that that cross
is the one that was habitually worn
by Lucy Dabney.
The cross which our post surgeon,
Dr. Eckner, has testified
was torn from her neck.
That's correct, Doctor?
Miss Beecher has also identified
this bloodstained hunting jacket.
Now, I'd like to call the court's attention
to the initials
that have been burned into the jacket,
on the inside.
The initials C.H.,
which are the initials of the sutler's son,
Chris Hubble...
- What's your point?
- Now, just a minute.
...whose body we found on the trail
and who is the only person from whom
the Apaches could have taken that cross.
Quiet. Quiet!
I'll have order in this court!
Lieutenant, if you've rested your case,
proceed with the summation.
Ready with summation, sir.
You've now heard all the testimony
of both the defense and prosecution.
And yet, neither side has been able
to place before you a witness
who actually saw the crimes
which the accused, Sergeant Rutledge,
is alleged to have committed.
Now Sergeant Rutledge has told you,
of his own free will,
that he entered Major Dabney's quarters.
on urgent duty,
to inform him of the Apache raids.
And that there he found the naked body
of the Dabney girl strangled.
And moved by an impulse
of pity and decency,
he was about to cover
that poor, young body with a serape
when Major Dabney entered, and Dabney,
in blind fury and outrage,
opened fire upon him,
wounding him grievously twice.
And it was then and only then,
in defense of his own life, that he returned
the fire, killing Major Dabney.
Now the trial judge advocate
states that this is a bald-faced lie
and charges rape and murder.
And the defense maintains
that this story is the simple truth,
and that Sergeant Rutledge's action,
in defense of his own life,
is justifiable homicide.
So we may say that
in circumstantial evidence,
this trial is deadlocked.
The scales of justice hanging
in even balance,
but being capable of tipped
one way or the other by one iota,
of just one featherweight,
of direct and tangible evidence.
Now defense has introduced
that evidence.
This golden cross right here
and this coat.
And as much as it pains me
in the presence of
the young man's bereaved father,
not even he
can tell us where his son was
that one full hour
before the shots were heard.
So I maintain that there is only
one possible conclusion to be reached,
that Chris Hubble violated
and murdered Lucy Dabney,
and First Sergeant Rutledge
is innocent of the crimes.
Order in this court! Silence!
Quiet, everybody!
I must deplore,
as I'm sure that this court does,
Defense Counsel's cruel
and clumsy attempt
to shift the burden of guilt
to the dead son of this heartbroken man,
Mr. Hubble.
A dead boy,
unable to speak for himself now.
And to attempt to shift it, mark you,
by the cheap theatrical device
of this trinket.
He claims proof
that the Dabney girl wore this cross
around her neck.
All he has actually shown
is that she wore a cross.
Most of the women of the Southwest
are God-fearing women.
And a cross around their necks
is not an unusual ornament.
Nor is this cross unique,
unusual, or in any way
in of itself identifiable.
As the contents of this box
will prove to you.
I defy Defense Counsel to mix this,
the original cross, with these others
and then tell this court
which is which.
- I object!
- Objection is not in order.
Captain Shattuck is merely
meeting argument with argument.
Oh, Lieutenant,
could you identify this cross
if I mixed it with all these others?
You know I couldn't, sir.
He's even broke the chain on... I...
No, I couldn't.
Proceed, Captain Shattuck.
As for this coat,
despite Mrs. Fosgate's testimony
that she saw it at the sutler's store,
it's a fairly common garment
in this district.
And as for the initials C.H.,
the Apaches might have taken it from
any of those looted, burned-out ranches.
It might have belonged to Charlie Haight.
Or to the foreman at Williard's,
Clay Hagathorn.
So much for Lieutenant Cantrell's
tangible, direct evidence.
I have just two more points to make,
and then I shall be done.
First, at no time in these proceedings
has Defense Counsel
been able to convincingly explain
the most damning fact of all.
If Rutledge was not guilty, why did he run?
Point number two is a delicate one.
A shadowy thing that, in a way,
has hung over this court
from the very start.
Well, I would like to call
the court's attention to the fact
that it was not I
who tried to shift the guilt
to a dead white boy to save this man!
It was not I who stooped to use
the symbol of the cross
to pin the hateful charge of rape
on a dead white boy to save this man!
And finally, it was not I
who tried to write the word "murderer"
on the gravestone
of that innocent white boy
to salvage the life and freedom
- of this negro!
- I object!
If the color of a man's skin
is to be introduced as evidence,
or even argument,
by this court,
then I say it's this court
that stands on trial, and not that soldier!
Mr. Cantrell!
This court has been very patient with you,
knowing of your long service
with Sergeant Rutledge,
but I will not tolerate an attack
upon this court's integrity.
And may I also point out to the court
that in violation
of all the rules and procedures,
Defense Counsel is interrupting
my argument.
You may not!
Now, the one overriding rule
of this court-martial, or any court-martial,
is to seek out truth and administer justice,
and that is exactly what we're going to do.
Take your places.
Gentlemen, in my opinion, this entire case
hangs on this little cross.
Is it or is it not Lucy Dabney's?
- And on this coat.
- Sir,
if it's permitted,
I think that I could pick out that cross.
Even if you mixed it with the others.
I sold it to Major Dabney
for little Lucy's twelfth birthday.
There's a little nick under the crossbar
that she discovered herself.
Well, damn it! He's right!
It's right there, you see?
I offered to exchange it,
but Lucy said, "No."
She said that way
she'd always know it as her own.
Sir, I must object!
This is not testimony.
This man is not even under oath.
But it may be truth and justice,
Captain Shattuck.
Mr. Hubble,
will you take the stand, please?
Do I need to? I've...
Come right on up, Mr. Hubble.
It's all right, Mr. Hubble. Sit down, please.
Sergeant, swear in the sutler.
Do you swear to tell the truth,
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,
- so help you God?
- I do.
All right, Captain Shattuck,
according to the rules and procedures,
- you may question the witness first.
- No questions, sir.
Lieutenant Cantrell? Your witness.
Mr. Hubble, why did you tell me
at Fort Linton
that you could not identify Lucy's cross?
It was too soon.
Chris was my son.
My only son.
It's hard for a man to admit.
It's all right. It's all right.
You take your time, collect yourself.
My boy is dead.
The truth can't hurt him now.
Not anymore.
I wanted to believe it was the Sergeant.
Now I can't stand by and see him hung
for something my boy did.
Would you please tell us
how you think it happened?
Well, after he...
After he did the thing,
he must have torn the cross off Lucy.
But why?
- Why would he do that?
- Go on, Mr. Hubble.
like I told you at Fort Linton,
I was upstairs when he ran into the house.
Shouted up something
about the Apache raids.
- When I came down, he was gone.
- And the coat was gone, too?
- The coat?
- Yes. The hunting jacket. It was gone, too?
Yes, it was.
Mr. Hubble,
it was when Colonel Fosgate
was about to call attention to the coat
that you offered to identify the cross.
What is your first name?
They call you Chan, don't they?
- That's right, short for Chandler.
- Chandler Hubble.
Is that Chris' coat or is it your coat?
You know, Chris was not a big man.
Won't you stand up? Let's try the coat on.
No, I never said it wasn't my coat.
Chris just grabbed the first thing.
Yes, he grabbed the first thing,
and whatever was in the pockets.
And that cross was in the pocket
because you put it there.
- That's not so.
- No, you had the same opportunity
as Chris. You knew Lucy
was gonna be alone, didn't you?
- No.
- Yes, you did.
You knew Lucy was gonna be alone.
And now, to save your own neck,
you're trying to pin the shame of it
on Chris, your own dead son.
- Lies. Lies!
- Why?
Because you knew Lucy was alone
and Lucy trusted you
as everybody trusted you.
You went there
and strangled and killed her.
- Why?
- No! I had to.
- I had to!
- Cantrell!
Don't you understand?
Gee, the way she walked!
The way her body moved.
She drove me crazy! I had to have her!
I had to! I had to!
You know I had to!
God, help me! God, help me!
Place that man under restraint. Doctor...
Why, Mr. Hubble.
- Goodbye.
- Goodbye.
Well, go ahead,
say it.
Mary, you're the most beautiful girl
I've ever seen.
And don't you forget I said it to you.
Eyes left!