Whole Wide World, The (1996) Movie Script

WOMAN: I met Bob Howard today.
My old sweetheart, Clyde,
brought him over.
It's Clyde.
Keep that joker outside.
Hi, Clyde.
Why don't you
sit down?
No, I can't stay
too long.
Bob and I are headed
up to Cross Plains.
May I?
Bob who?
You want to meet him?
Your writer friend?
Ooh, possibly.
Yeah, I want to meet him.
Why don't you bring him
up to the house,
and I'll go get another chair?
Uh, can't you just
come out to the car?
Bob's...he's scared
of your grandmother.
What did you tell him?
Only the truth.
Ah, forget it.
I'll bring him by
another time.
Wait. I'm coming.
Bob, I'd like you to meet
Novalyne Price.
Novalyne, this is Bob Howard,
also known as Robert E. Howard.
Bob's the greatest pulp writer
in the whole world.
Clyde tells me you write.
I try.
I haven't
sold anything yet.
You going to
Daniel Baker College?
Mm-hmm. Every other year.
I teach
for my tuition money.
I was too dumb for college.
So, what kind of yarns
do you write?
I've sent a couple stories
to the confession magazines.
I think the editor meets them
at the post office
and throws them
right back
in the return mail.
It's tough getting started.
How'd you get started?
I had lots of other jobs,
none of them any good.
Clerking in a store's
got to be
one of the worst damn jobs
a man can have.
I decided the only way
I could keep from working
was to start writing.
That's working, isn't it?
You're damn right it is,
only I stay at home.
I'm the boss.
Typewriter's the employee.
No arguments.
Do you practice?
I read the magazines
I write for.
The pulps.
They don't pay much.
Half a cent a word, mostly...
so I stretch my yarns.
That's easy for me, though.
I'm verbose.
I got plenty of words.
Do you try to write
like the guys
in the magazines?
Hell, no. Let them try
to write like me!
Bob's got a character
going now called Conan.
Conan's the damnedest bastard
there ever was.
Where can I find your stories?
Weird Tales publishes
most of them.
Novalyne would never
pick up a copy of that.
How much are you willing to bet?
What kind of magazines
do you read?
In high school,
I read Smart Set,
Saturday Evening Post...
H.L. Mencken's rags.
Man who looks in the mirror,
[BOTH] thinks he's shaving
the face of God.
Thank you.
I've enjoyed meeting you,
I'd looked forward to it
for a long time.
I've enjoyed it too.
Keep writing.
Bye-bye, now.
Good afternoon.
As most of you know,
my name is Booth Adams.
I'm the town mayor,
at least for the time being.
I take a great interest
in Cross Plains High.
We've got a great school,
and we're going to have
a great school year.
You as teachers are responsible
not only for the education
of the children
entrusted into your care,
but for their spiritual welfare
as well.
These children
must have good examples,
and teachers are their examples.
Now, that is a man, Ethel.
Oh, my, yes.
Yes, yes, yes.
Mrs. Smith will be
right with you.
Oh, look!
They've got pecan pie.
Sorry, Ethel.
The school board won't allow us
to have pie.
That's enough,
Who's that?
That's Dr. Howard.
Do you know Bob Howard?
I know Robert Howard.
That's the one.
Robert Howard, the writer.
That's his daddy.
Does Bob ever come in here?
No, he doesn't.
I see him in the post
office sometimes.
I've been told
he's kind of odd.
You got that right.
Well, I've met Bob,
and he's very nice.
Well, I'll tell you
one thing.
He's not very friendly.
And the stories he
writes, well...
Well, what?
Dr. Howard brought
one in one time.
It was filthy.
Not something a young
lady would read.
Do you have a telephone?
It's right over there.
Yes, Howard residence please.
I'll connect you.
Hello? Who is this?
This is Novalyne Price.
I'm a new teacher in town.
Is Bob there?
in Brownwood.
Can you have him call me
when he gets in?
I'm boarding at Mrs. Hemphill's.
He can call me there.
I'll tell him.
Uh, is he still writing?
Of course he is.
Oh. Well, I'm interested
in writing too, so...
Sure you are.
Have you heard
from that young man?
You mean
Robert Howard? No.
Well, he's shy, I hear.
Shy? I'm the one
who's supposed to be shy,
and I've called him
about a zillion times.
Every single time,
his mother tells me,
"Oh, he's writing.
He can't come to the phone,"
or "He's out of town,
but I'll tell him you called."
"I'll tell him you called."
You know, I bet she's never
told him that I called.
I bet that's it.
I'm sorry, but that just
makes me so damn mad.
Oh, God, Ethel.
You've never said "damn"
on a Sunday?
Well, Lord, no.
Think of the children.
What children?
Do you see any children in here
for me to defile
with my "damns"?
Let's get going.
Morning, cousin.
Girls and I are going to take
a little ride after church.
Would you like to join us?
Yes. Yes, I would.
Oh, I'm sorry, Ethel.
There's not room for you.
Maybe next time.
Shouldn't go running
over to a man's house,
especially one
who's not returned
any of your phone calls.
He's not interested
in you, Novalyne.
Enid, I'm only going
to ask Bob a question.
I'm not going to ask
for his hand in marriage,
and I'm not throwing myself
at him.
How do I look?
To ask a question,
you look just fine.
BOB: "He stepped closer,
"as if impelled
by a powerful fascination.
"Without the slightest warning,
"he grabbed her up
in a bear-like grasp.
"She screamed
a very un-goddess-like scream,
"and there was a sound
of ripping silk,
"as with one ruthless wrench,
he tore off her skirt.
"Goddess? Ha!
"You're Muriella,
Zahiba's dancing girl.
"This crescent-shaped
birthmark on your thigh
"proves it.
"I saw it once
when Zahiba was whipping you.
"A year ago, I saw you
with that swine.
I don't forget faces,
or women's figures."
Uh, hi.
I'd like to see Bob, please?
I'd like to talk to Bob.
Mama, somebody out here
wants to see Robert.
She can't, can she?
Who is it?
It's Novalyne Price.
Well, Robert's busy.
Come in.
How you been?
Hi. Fine.
Come on in and meet my folks.
This is
Novalyne Price.
How do you do?
How do you do?
This is my dad.
How do you do?
Well, I guess we'll go
into the other room.
Have a seat.
Have a seat.
Thank you.
I can't--
Would you like something to--
Go ahead.
That's all right.
I was just going to say
that I can't stay
very long.
I've got some people
waiting for me
in the car.
Well, tell them
to leave.
I'll take you home.
Would you?
Hell, yes.
All right.
I'll be right back.
ENID: Really, Novalyne.
You girls can go on.
Bob says he'll take me home.
So, what brought you
I wanted
to ask you a question.
I'm still getting notes
and rejection slips.
Well, everybody gets them.
I still get them.
Yeah, but you sell.
Well, a man's got to
make a living some way.
I was writing when
you knocked on the door.
Didn't you hear me?
Do you always tell a story
as you're writing it?
It's a hell
of a noise, ain't it?
I find
if I talk them out,
hear the words,
the yarn
goes a little smoother.
Oh, so the voice
brings the words to life.
absolutely right.
Listen, why don't I
take you home now?
We could ride around
a while.
Okay. I'd like that.
Well, let's ride.
All right.
So, how's Brownwood?
Brownwood? I don't know.
I haven't been in months.
You haven't?
I called last week.
Your mother told me
you'd gone to Brownwood.
I could have
misunderstood her.
That must be it.
I might have been
working right then
and couldn't talk.
Oh, I see.
My folks are pretty good
about me staying at home
all the time.
Just pull right there.
That's it.
Every bastard
in this two-bit town
thinks I ought to be
out working.
That's hard on my family.
Ha. I say to hell
with what they think.
When I'm writing,
I am working.
You know that.
I get to going on a yarn,
I can't be disturbed.
You just misunderstood.
I'm sure I did.
It's a pretty night.
Yes, ma'am.
Things are in
the sear and yellow leaf.
That's a beautiful
harvest moon.
I suppose you're
responsible for it.
By all means. I designed that
specially for you.
Oh, you knew I was coming over?
You're damn right I did.
I was going along
with old Conan,
and suddenly,
you popped out of
the typewriter.
I said to myself,
"Robert Howard,
you big, ugly lummox,
there's a girl who's going
to appreciate your moonlight."
I think you're a poet.
Well, girl,
there's not many women
that can appreciate
a thing like that.
I do.
Well, you're one in a million.
One in a million!
Why don't you tell me
about your
character, Conan?
Conan is the damnedest bastard
there ever was.
He's got
a long black mane of hair,
crystal blue eyes.
He's a fighter.
Born on a battlefield.
To him, combat's a way of life.
It's all he's ever known,
all he ever wants to know.
He's no soldier
who was taught to fight.
To him, fighting
is an instinct.
It's a part of him,
like his legs, his arms,
his chest, his bull neck.
and believe me,
he don't take it from nobody.
He'll fight man, beast,
devil or god,
and when those women
feel those tree-trunk firm arms
around their waist,
well, they melt like butter
on a hot skillet.
Aw, hell.
I've been blabbing
all night long.
Hey, girl, why don't you
tell me to shut up?
Let you talk
for a while.
Tell me
about teaching school.
Those kids
ever give you any trouble?
Not if they know
what's good for them.
I don't take it from nobody...
man, beast, devil,
or student.
I'll bet you don't.
Novalyne, I want to
ask you a question.
If it's none
of my business,
you tell me
pretty damn quick.
Don't you worry. I will.
I want to know
about you and Clyde.
I was wondering if...
well, you might still be
carrying a torch for him.
Clyde happens
to be married,
in case
you haven't heard.
He's a good friend of mine,
and he always will be,
but that's all.
You're not heartbroken?
I've got a strong
heart, Bob.
Well, good.
Now that's settled,
how about tomorrow night?
Well, I don't
have a date
for tomorrow night.
Well, girl,
you've got one now.
I'll be by about 7:00.
About that moon...
I'll order another one for you.
Okay. Sure do
appreciate them.
Your publisher called
from New York
while you were out
with that girl.
What did he say?
He wanted to know
how your story was going
and if you were going
to meet his deadline.
Did you say I would?
Well, I told him
he was foolish
to think otherwise.
You've never
missed a deadline.
That's right.
Hang on.
They're thinking
of using it
for the February
cover story.
As well they should.
Oh, son, I hope I did
the right thing.
Mr. Wright wanted to know
if it was okay to give
out your address
to a Mr. Lovecraft?
He said that he was
a big fan of yours
and wanted to write you.
H.P. Lovecraft?
Yes, I believe
that was his name.
The gentleman was from
Rhode Island.
Well, Jesus, yes.
Did you say yes?
Oh, yes.
Of course I said yes.
Hey, you'd better
hurry up.
He'll be here
any second.
Calm down. He can wait.
A girl has to look her best
on a first date.
He's here.
How do I look?
Just beautiful.
Have a good time.
I will, I hope.
Oh, he's fine.
He's working hard
as usual.
Oh, he's
a great doctor.
Pardon me.
Well, I didn't know.
I at least thought you'd have on
a coat or a tie.
Well, I got on
a clean white shirt, by God.
I brought this for you.
You said you wanted to
read some of my stuff.
I brought this.
It's called
"The Devil in Iron."
Thank you.
I sure do want to read it.
Well, okay, there it is.
I'm sorry I didn't get
all dressed up.
I didn't think
we'd go to a show or anything.
I just thought
we'd drive around a while
and I'd shoot my mouth off
some more.
If there's one thing
I'm good at,
that's driving and blabbing.
When I got a pretty girl
with me,
it makes it that much better.
What's that story about,
the one you gave me?
"The Devil in Iron"?
Well, what do you think
it's about?
I don't know.
A devil made of iron?
Evil lord baits a trap for Conan
on this desolate island.
Guess what
the bait is.
A pretty girl.
You read this yarn before, girl?
Swear I didn't.
Conan, he finds
this fantastic city
which has been mysteriously
rebuilt overnight.
Now, he creeps in...
No, don't tell me.
I want to read it.
It sounds exciting.
Excitement's my specialty.
Your specialty, huh?
That's right.
Excitement and adventure.
That's what
the readers want.
That's what
I give them.
What kind of stories
you been writing lately?
Adventure? Romance?
Teaching school?
I write down
conversations that I hear
in my journal
for practice.
I try a confession.
You got a lot to confess?
It depends whether
I write about what I do
or what I think
about doing.
No luck, though.
It still all gets
sent back.
Thank you.
What was your
last one about?
It's a little hard
to explain.
It was called,
"I Gave my Daughter Movie Fame."
What did you say?
It's for the confessions.
Aren't those stories
a little bizarre?
What's it called?
"I Gave my Daughter Movie Fame."
What's it about?
I'm not going to tell you
until you stop laughing at me.
A woman has
an illegitimate child,
a daughter.
The child is adopted by her
but the mother
can't give her up,
so she keeps helping her
in secret, and...
Eventually, she helps her
become a movie star.
And very famous.
Stop laughing.
It's not that silly, is it?
Don't pay any attention to me.
I don't know a thing
about illegitimate daughters
or...movie fame.
Well, it seemed like a good idea
at the time.
Well, I haven't seen
any giant snakes
or big-busted naked women
frolicking through
the West Texas hills lately.
Oh, but I have.
You look more closely next time.
I try to write
about people
with ordinary problems,
real people.
That's where
we're different.
I write about another age,
another way of life.
Man struggling to survive.
That's my formula.
Well, you know
those tiny farmhouses
we passed on the way out?
Those are the people
I want to write about.
Not me.
I can't write about men
who toil along on a farm,
get drunk, beat up a wife
who can't fight back.
I can't write
about hate like that.
Well, just because you're poor
and you work hard
doesn't mean you're hateful.
You've lived a sheltered life.
You don't know
these people out here. I do.
Well, your stories sell,
so people must want to read
about muscle men
who wrestle monsters
and girls in skimpy dresses
who don't do a darned thing
but sit around and watch.
You stick with me, girl.
I'll teach you about writing...
and men.
Although I was
completely disappointed
by his appearance,
there was something
appealing about him.
Maybe it was the way
he laughed at my story.
He's asked me
to go to the picture show
this Sunday.
I think I might go.
How's my best gal?
You ready to go?
You look great.
Well, this fool hat
kind of bothers me.
Ain't the kind of hat
I ought to be wearing.
Why not?
Well, take those hats
the Mexicans wear, sombreros.
There's a hat.
Keeps the sun off real good.
Well, are you ready?
You look
mighty pretty today.
I like that perfume
you're wearing.
Thank you, sir.
Oh, and I hope
you'll have your
picture made for me
in that suit.
Well, you mean
with this hat on?
Yes, with that
hat on.
You look
very handsome.
I got a weak chin.
See how it recedes into my neck?
Oh, you do not.
Yes, I do.
My friend, Truett,
he's got a really weak chin.
One little tap,
he'd be out cold.
Mine's weak,
but it would take
a hell of a blow
to knock me out.
Well, do you know many
people in Brownwood?
Well, I know a few.
I know some girls.
You do?
Name one.
I might know her.
I know this girl,
foreign gal,
Jasmina Divine.
Never heard of her.
Name someone else.
I don't know.
Let me see.
Oh, I know.
Most beautiful girl
I've ever seen.
Miss Dolores of
The House of Dalton.
she rings a bell.
Old Clyde and I
were in Woolworth's
We saw
this stunning girl.
Blonde hair,
sparkling eyes,
flawless skin.
It was--
Dolores Dalton.
That's right.
I just dropped dead
right there in the aisle.
Thump. She walked
like a queen.
Shoulders straight,
golden hair bouncing
down her back.
Yeah. I've heard
she was pretty.
Most beautiful girl
I've ever seen.
Big bosoms...
This girl was--
She was the most
Hey, girl.
Hey, hell, you be careful
with that.
That thing is loaded.
Give me that.
No. No.
Why do you have a gun, Bob?
Let go.
You never know
who you'll run into.
Now give it here!
I've been around
guns before.
I have!
You carry it all the time?
Hell, yes.
You think it's just for Sundays?
Look here.
See how dressed up I am?
I look like I got
a lot of money, right?
Well, you look
like a million,
but I don't think...
Suppose we got a flat
and I get out and fix it.
Some half-baked gunman drops by.
I'd better be ready
to shoot first.
Oh, I got you.
This is a dangerous
part of Texas.
Outlaws and vagrants,
they're all here.
Yeah, I've got a gun.
You do?
You got it with you?
No, I don't have it with me.
Well, good.
I'd hate to try and kiss you
and get shot.
Novalyne, look.
Only in Texas
do you ever see
a sunset like that.
Girl, I hope
you appreciate
everything I've done
for you today.
Now, that's
a beautiful sunset,
if I do say so myself.
That crazy guy?
He is not crazy.
He's a writer.
Enid, you're an English teacher.
You should respect that.
Not what he writes.
I wouldn't touch
one of those trash magazines.
He uses words beautifully.
He read me one of his poems
the other day.
It was so amazing.
I can't believe how he can--
Look at that guy
across the street.
What on earth
is he doing?
Novalyne, come here.
Get a look at this. Come on.
Now, isn't that
the strangest thing
you ever did see?
What do you suppose
he's doing?
I guess he thinks
he's Max Schnelling
or something.
Hey, Jesus, girl.
I almost walloped you.
Yeah, you sure did.
Why ain't you
teaching school?
I am.
I'm on my lunch break.
I just thought I'd say hi.
You almost got a broken nose
for your trouble.
Yes, I did.
What were you doing just now
with that punching thing?
I got this boxing yarn
I been thinking about
going in my head.
Come with me.
I want to show you something.
Come on.
So this is your
stomping ground, huh?
For now.
How's that after-school
play coming along?
Good. We're going to
perform it real soon.
Do you want
to come see it?
if I'm not too busy.
"Still more fool
I shall appear
"by the time
I linger here.
"With one fool's head
I came to woo,
"but I go away with two.
"Sweet adieu.
I'll keep my oath,
patiently to bear my wroth."
Very nice.
Thank you.
You ever directed
any Shakespeare?
We do a couple scenes in class,
but he's a little bit heavy
for this neck of the woods.
You know, when I read his plays,
I can't see that men have
changed much since the 1500s.
Men still
hate other men.
Well, civilization
we live in,
men become more depraved
and demonic
all the time.
Oh, it's not that bad.
Girl, when they discovered oil
in Cross Plains,
you wouldn't believe the scum
that moved in here.
Novalyne, I...
Thieves, drunkards,
wife-beaters, sex deviants...
not a decent man among them.
What about your father?
He's a good man,
isn't he?
You're damn right
he is.
He's the only one
I know.
What about your friend,
and your other
friend, Truett?
Well, you don't stick
to the subject.
You bring up a bunch
of irrelevant nonsense
to keep yourself from
seeing the truth.
Maggots of corruption
are all around you.
Hospitals and schools.
Hospitals and schools.
They heal. They teach.
You use them,
but you don't give
society credit for them?
We men made
a hell of a mistake
when we sent women
to college
and gave you the vote.
You just watch it.
See you Friday.
We're here.
Hey, Mom.
Oh, baby.
This is Bob Howard.
Bob's the writer
I've been telling you about.
Mama, Mammy.
Howdy, Mammy.
Nice to meet you.
You too.
Nice to meet you, too,
Mrs. Price.
Welcome, Bob.
Take a seat.
Thank you.
I understand
you've been lending a hand
with Novalyne's writing hopes.
Well, I been holding it out,
but so far she ain't
took hold of it.
That is not true.
I listen to every word you say,
Well, your ears
must be keeping it a secret,
because your hands
ain't been typing it out.
I think Novalyne
should teach.
That's what she's good at.
Well, maybe I'll do both.
Well, it don't work that way.
Hey, something smells
good in here.
Good deeds in this house
do not go unrewarded.
Thank you for bringing Novalyne
home, Bob.
Come on. Wake up.
Come on, hard head. Wake up.
Dr. Howard?
How's Mrs. Howard?
She's holding her own.
Robert will be
all right now.
Has he been sick too?
No. No, he hasn't.
You really like my son,
don't you?
But Bob, he...
Robert's real close to...
to his mother.
We're all real close
to our mothers...
but we manage to get along
without them eventually.
We do.
Robert's a stranger to me,
Miss Price.
He's in his own little world
most of the time,
and I'm not privy to it.
Not like you.
Hello, honey.
How you doing?
You feel all right?
My throat's a little sore.
Goddamn it.
If you'd stayed home
like I told you,
you'd be feeling
fine now.
When will you be up and around?
By Saturday, I hope.
What happens then?
Mayor Adams is throwing
a Christmas party,
and Bob,
I want you to come with me.
I'm sorry. I can't go.
Why not?
I don't have time
for some tea-drinking,
cookie-pushing party.
That's not what
it is, you bastard.
A bastard?
You call me a bastard
after everything
I've done for you?
Don't I wear a tie
and that goddamn fool hat
every time we go out?
Bob, you're going to have
to learn
how to mix with people.
You can't just--
If I listened to you,
my writing would go to hell.
It would not.
Sure it would.
You're not a writer.
If I wrote like you,
I'd be wasting my time
scribbling down conversations
with every Tom, Dick,
and jackass I met.
That ain't writing.
That's copying.
I still want you to go with me.
Aw, Christ!
I'll see those sons of bitches
in hell
before I make
one of their parties.
You want to learn
to be a writer?
I'll show you what it takes!
Mama, the car won't start!
Goddamn bastard!
BOB: Dear Novalyne,
the French have one gift:
the ability to gild decay
and change
the maggots of corruption
to the hummingbirds of poetry,
as demonstrated by this volume.
Hey, what you
got there?
It's a book.
Bob sent it to me.
Next time I see him,
I'm going to kill him.
...swear it!
Why you sacrilegious
little hussy,
do you not fear God's...
Is there no honesty anywhere?
And she danced...
just like the spin
of a desert whirlwind,
like the leaping
of a quenchless flame.
The white feet spurned
the blood-stained deck.
"Sweat beaded the forehead
of the man facing her,
"and his eyes
were like burning coal.
"Smite as he would,
"he could not break past
or beat down her guard.
"She stepped back
to draw him out,
"felt her thighs lock
in an iron grip.
His breath came in gusty gulps."
You have
a phone call.
Hi, it's me.
Novalyne. Are you back?
No, I'm still at home.
Merry Christmas, by the way.
Merry Christmas to you too.
Are you still mad at me?
Yes, but not as much.
Hey, Bob, the
Pierre Louis book--
What are you doing now?
Well, not much.
I'm coming over.
Oh, Bob, you don't have to--
Now, you read that book.
No. That book
is horrendous.
I can't imagine
the fool who wrote it.
The fool?
My Conan yarns
are full of sex.
They are?
Hell, yeah.
That's what he did.
Drinking, whoring,
What else is there
to do in life?
I'm sorry, but I don't
see anything sexy
about a naked woman
dancing around
a pirate ship.
You don't?
Well, for God's sakes,
she was dancing
the mating dance.
What could be
more sexy than that?
I thought she was
crazy, like you.
Then what do you think
would make a sexy story?
Naked women aren't sexy.
What is? Naked men?
I'd look the other way.
You probably would.
A few years ago,
I had a hard time
selling sex yarns.
Now I got to work
double time
just to keep up
with the market.
Before long, there won't
be nothing held back.
Sex will infest
Books, radio.
Hell, yes.
That's the way it was
when Rome fell.
Rape and murder took
place on the stage.
Damn people loved it.
I'm sorry
I can't come in.
My mother's...
Expecting her medicine.
I know.
Here's another
Christmas present.
Thank you.
I hope you don't
stick this one
under the house.
This one
went smooth as silk.
Hell, I can write
I got a hankering to
write something bigger.
Yeah. A novel, maybe.
Hey, girl.
Let me
walk ahead here.
I got to keep an eye
out for rattlesnakes.
Don't worry.
I can handle reptiles,
especially the giant
diamond-back rattlers.
Two-foot fangs
dripping with poison.
Oh, yes.
That is a--
Ah, just joking,
that's all.
That's enough.
Robert E., you lead on,
and keep quiet.
It's beautiful.
You can see the whole world
from up here.
And others as well.
There you are.
Why don't you tell me
about that novel?
Set in Texas.
It's going to be
about the hardships
of the early pioneers,
and their conflict
with the Indians
who were trying to save
the land they loved.
I figure it'll be
the best damn book
ever written
about frontier life.
It sounds fascinating.
I know what I can do.
No one can write about
this country
like I can.
I'll be nicer to the
Indians in this novel.
Thank you.
I'll have this beautiful,
fully-dressed Indian girl.
The hero will fall
in love with her.
He'll be this morose,
ungainly misfit
among men.
Why does he have
to be a misfit?
Why can't he be
handsome and kind?
You're still
a dreamer, girl.
He's got
to be handsome, huh?
Well, to hell with it.
He'll be the most handsome man
in the west,
with the fastest gun.
Boom, boom, boom!
Christ Almighty,
slow down, girl.
If you were Mojave,
I'd have to shoot you
for wasting water.
You'd shoot your best girl
for that?
I can't help it.
That's the law of the desert.
I swear.
Why do I go out with you?
You got me there.
I was you, I'd have
high-tailed it away from me
a long time ago.
You don't give yourself
enough credit.
You have
some wonderful qualities.
Is that so?
Like what?
Well, your thoughtfulness,
your loyalty,
your intelligence,
humor, imagination.
I could go on and on.
If you don't think
a woman is attracted to that,
you're mistaken.
That's what I see in you.
Well, I...
appreciate it, girl.
Don't be fooled.
I'm the kind of man
that needs to be free.
I can't be tied down.
The road I walk, I walk alone.
It's funny
how women are attracted
to that quality as well.
Hi. I'm here
to pick up a package.
The name's Truett Vinson.
Oh, yeah.
Here it is.
Thank you, sir.
Excuse me. Hi.
Did you say your
name was Truett Vinson?
Yes, ma'am.
Well, hi.
I'm Novalyne Price.
I believe we
have a mutual friend.
Who's that?
Bob Howard.
Bob. Really?
How do you know Bob?
Well, I teach
in Cross Plains.
We're friends.
So do you see
a lot of Bob
up there in Cross Plains?
Off and on.
Whenever he has time.
But you two weren't
serious or anything?
Oh, no, no.
He's made it very clear
to me many times
that he is not
the marrying kind.
He has to be free.
The road he walks...
He walks alone.
That's what he says,
all right, isn't it?
How often did you
go to the movies?
Every now and then.
Bob ever
go by himself?
Only if the picture was
some wild action movie
with lots of
and stuff like that,
you know?
Who is it?
It ain't no tramp.
What are you
doing here?
I thought you might like
to take a ride.
It's 5:30
in the morning.
I know. Come on, get dressed.
I got something special
to show you...
something you might appreciate.
Come on.
Hold on.
So, how's your summer
been going?
Okay. We had some rain
about a week ago.
Yeah. Farmers
sure needed it.
I met Truett Vinson
this weekend.
Oh yeah?
How's he getting along?
You know, he and Clyde work
for the same company.
Poor fool's a bookkeeper.
Pushing papers
all day long...
It's a job you'd never
catch me doing.
When's the last time
the three of you
were together?
Long time. Too long.
I ought to give them
iron heads a call,
see if they don't want
to go out on the prowl.
What exactly do you do
out on a prowl?
Drink beer
and talk about girls.
Lie about them
is more like it.
Don't you talk about
any serious subjects?
That is serious.
Sure we do.
We argue plenty.
I want to wring Clyde's
neck sometimes,
he makes me so mad.
What do you argue about?
You ever read
The Vicar Wakefield?
Did you like it?
Yes, I did.
that's too damn bad.
I thought it was the
sorriest book I ever read.
I wonder what you'd do if
a student told you that.
If he told me I didn't know
what I was talking about?
Well, it depends
on his attitude.
The vicar was
a lousy old bastard.
The villain seduced
and raped his daughters,
and the old fool
took it piously.
No, he had a sweet
and generous nature.
He forgave,
and then he repented
his mistakes.
You know, I thought
you'd say that.
They offer you
a spoonful of manure,
and you gulp it
on down.
I know exactly
what you would do
if a kid disagreed.
You'd bawl him out.
If he was being rude, I would,
but if we were just
talking about something--
Sure you would!
It's thanks to teachers like you
that there's no room
for individual thought
in schools today.
Oh, really?
Oh, really?
Well, yeah, that's right.
Thanks indeed. Thank God.
If it wasn't for teachers
like me,
there would be
more individuals like you...
socially inept,
hating the world,
prattling off pompous ideas
that nobody wants to hear
in the first place.
Bob Howard, if you do not take
some initiative,
you are going to end up
a miserable old man
sitting at home with
no friends and no life.
And another thing.
Don't you ever, ever imply
that I do not know how to teach,
because then you really
are talking about something
that you know nothing about.
Now, why don't you
run on home?
Your mama's
waiting for you.
Novalyne, get in the car.
Get in the goddamn car!
Hell. Come on,
girl, get in here.
Go away!
I'll keep chasing you
all day long.
Now, get in the damn...
get in the goddamn car.
All men can go to hell!
We are.
Every damn one
of us.
Guess who came by my house
this morning?
I don't know. Who?
He wants me to go down
to New Mexico with him.
Do you think Bob knows
we're dating?
Mm. Yeah. He does know.
I mentioned to him
that we met
at the post office,
and we'd been to the
movies a couple times.
What happened? Was he mad?
No. I don't think so.
Well, Truett, either he was
or he wasn't.
Well, he kind of ignored me.
He didn't say a word.
He didn't seem mad.
He asked me if I'd read
The Vicar of Wakefield.
BOB: Dear Novalyne,
the weather is good.
The beer's lousy.
Hoping you are the same. Bob.
summer's flying by
as it always seems to do.
Where have you been?
I hope you're not
still mad at me.
If so, I apologize.
Let me know the next time
you'll be coming down,
hopefully at a reasonable hour.
Love, Novalyne.
BOB: Dear Novalyne, thank you
for your invitation to call,
but you honestly
can't expect me
to enjoy ridicule and contempt
so much
that I'd come back
for another dose.
You understand me, I think,
but I'll make myself clear.
You and Truett
haven't played fair with me,
concealing the fact
that you were going together.
Both of you had plenty
of opportunities to tell me,
but instead
you made a secret of it,
and no doubt laughed at me
because of it.
Taking advantage
of a friend's trust
to try and make a fool of him
seems a poor triumph.
Robert E. Howard.
"Robert E. Howard."
NOVALYNE: "Obviously, I made
a grave error
"in befriending a pathetic man
like yourself,
"and I now consider
my association with you
"over and finalized.
"My only regret
is the time wasted
"spent in your company.
Sincerely, Novalyne Price."
Well, say something.
Seemed like
such a nice man.
It's a shame he won't be
coming over any more.
Mama, what do you think?
You said it. Now tear it up.
After that hateful letter,
I should tell him to go to hell.
Don't end the friendship,
He's been a good friend.
Why don't you write
another letter?
Say what you really
want to say.
although you leave
nothing for me to say,
being a woman,
I'll say something anyway.
During the time
I went with you,
I realized perfectly
how you felt about women.
Freedom was the first law
you recognized.
Strange as it may seem,
I too demand my freedom.
I didn't think you'd resort
to middle-class melodrama,
and I can't believe
that you really in your heart
feel that we've betrayed you.
In my last letter,
I was of the opinion
that we were still friends,
and invited you to call,
assuming that our friendship
would continue
as it had in the past.
I apologize
for having made that mistake.
Please note that you will
always have my sincere wishes
for your continued success
and happiness.
Sincerely, Novalyne Price.
Mr. Howard called.
Dr. Howard?
No. Robert Howard.
What did he say?
He said
he'd be over tonight.
Did he want me to call
him back and confirm?
No, ma'am.
Well, I am going
to call Mr. Howard
and tell him where he
can really go tonight.
I am. Believe me.
Straight to hell.
Hi, Bob.
How you doing?
Everything's fine.
So, what do you think
of my buttermilk catcher?
You remember that
Kipling yarn
you told me about?
What was it
that girl said?
She said kissing a man
without a mustache
was like eating eggs
without salt.
You like your eggs
with salt, don't you?
No. I'll
have mine plain.
How are things at home?
Not good.
My mother's getting weaker
by the day.
I can never repay her
for all she's done for me.
Well, she's not expecting
to be repaid.
She believed in my writing
from the beginning.
She had faith.
You made her very proud, Bob,
but now you've got
to lead your own life.
I lead my own life!
Don't think for a second
I don't!
I'm thirsty.
Let's go into town.
I made some lemonade.
I want something
more substantial.
You got something better to do?
Last month,
I sold yarns
to Action Stories,
Top Notch,
and Weird Tales.
I sold a grand old
Conan yarn
to Mr. Wright.
I think it's the best
work I ever done.
Conan is after
this head-headed
warrior woman,
a real spitfire
of a girl.
They find a city that's
inhabited by two tribes.
One's ruled by
an evil sorceress.
She drains the youth
from young, nubile women
MAN: Good heavens!
which the tribe sacrifices
in an orgy-like ceremony,
stripped naked,
to a bloody altar.
I would like to go home.
Orgies and chained,
naked women?
My God, Bob.
Aw, hell, you pay
too much attention
to what people think.
They don't feed you
and put clothes
on your back,
then what they think
ain't worth a damn.
That's right! I care!
I care what
those people think.
Why did you
come here tonight?
Huh? Why?
Miss Price, imagine
meeting you here.
Hey, how about it?
Hey, girl.
Oh, God.
Jesus, girl. Wait up.
What you in
such a hurry for?
I have to be somewhere.
Well, I'll walk you home.
Heard you and Truett
are saving lives these days.
Yeah, I heard
you took some people
to the hospital
after they'd been
in an accident.
Yeah, that's true.
MAN: Good heavens.
I also hear you
took off your jacket
so nobody
would bleed on it.
It was my new white
pigskin jacket.
I didn't want
to ruin it.
Well, I've always said
we're really
an advancing society
when we're so willing
to save lives
we don't want to endanger
our white pigskin jacket.
You make me sound
like a monster.
I am not a mean person.
I just didn't want somebody
who wasn't really badly hurt
bleeding all over
my new white pigskin jacket.
If he was bleeding,
he was hurt.
Oh, shut up, Bob.
Just shut up.
Hello, Hemphill residence.
Miss Price, please.
Oh, it's you.
I didn't
recognize your voice.
Hi. How've you been?
Good. Good.
Hey, would you like
to see a show tonight?
Well, I've got an awful lot
of work to do tonight.
Come on. I just
took my suit out.
I'm all dressed up.
Have you shaved that mustache?
I need you in here.
How's my mama?
All right.
Here we go. Here we go.
Come on. Come on.
Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Okay, I'm setting you down now.
Thank you.
All right.
Don't you run away.
I'm cold.
Okay. Let's get
this wet thing off.
All right, Mama.
Let me get this.
Arms up.
There you go.
Okay, now, you can go ahead
and lean back.
There you go.
Here you go.
Here you go.
Here you are.
Thank you.
There you go.
Are you going out with that
little Indian girl tonight?
No. What,
and leave my best gal?
I don't want to spoil
your evening.
You ain't spoiling it.
"Were I like this forever,
you'd only too little to give.
"But here tonight, we sever
for life loves life to live.
"And the higher
a man may travel,
"the lower may he fall.
"And the scheme
that I must unravel,
it was never meant
for all."
I'm going to miss you, son.
I'm going to miss you
most of all.
You ain't going nowhere.
Will you stay with me
until your father gets home?
And bring that girl
around the house sometime.
I'd like to meet her again.
So you made it, huh?
I'm sorry.
Something came up.
We're going
to miss our show.
That's all right.
We could drive around for
a while if you want.
That would be good.
So, what you been up to?
Same old thing.
My students have been
a little
restless lately.
Oh, yeah?
when you're young,
you feel the lust
for adventure
buried in your
You don't want
to be bothered
with dreary things
like school.
I see.
How's your mother?
Not well at all.
I... I can't write.
Or do anything...
except take care of her.
What do you mean,
you can't write?
My mother requires
my constant care.
She has these terrible
night sweats.
I changed her gown
three times last night.
That's not your job.
Aw, damn it, you do
what needs to be done.
I can't let her lay there
wet and uncomfortable.
Why don't you
hire a nurse?
You've got the money.
You are not required--
No, you can't--
...to give up your life!
Listen to me!
I'm required
to give up anything
and do
whatever needs to be done!
Not your work!
Not your livelihood,
What's work?
A man can do any kind of work.
Work ain't worth a damn...
unless you do it
for somebody you love.
I'm losing her, damn it!
I know that!
I want a woman to love,
a woman to believe in me.
Is that so much to ask?
No, it's not.
It's not.
And I'm sure
you'll find one.
You're an
extraordinary man.
If you don't love me, say so.
I know you loved me once.
I believe in you, Bob.
I do. I do.
And do you love Truett?
If it's Truett you love, say so.
Say it, goddamn you.
Say it.
I don't love anyone.
I don't love anyone
at all.
I don't love anyone.
I did love you,
but you weren't ready.
You told me so
You said,
"I can't be tied down."
You said so yourself.
Well, I didn't know what
I was talking about.
I know, but there's
other reasons too.
We have all these
and they're going
to be there.
But differences can be
overcome, can't they?
Yeah. Yeah, they can.
Tell me that you'll
change your attitude.
Tell me that
you'll get out once in a while,
and that you'll try
to let go of your mother.
Tell me that now.
Bob, tell me that now.
I'm going to Louisiana State
this summer.
I've been accepted.
You made good with your writing,
and I'm going to make good
with something too.
I'm going to teach.
you dedicate yourself to...
kids in some small,
apathetic town.
What will you get out of it?
Not even a "thank you."
I'm not doing it to be thanked.
Well, you got a great cause.
To make life worth living,
a man or a woman,
you got to have a great love
or a great cause.
I have neither.
Don't say that. That's not true.
That's a colorful sweater
you got there.
It's an LSU sweater.
The other teachers gave it to me
so I'd be ready
when I got there.
Hell, I know
you'd be ready.
Question is, will they be ready
for a spitfire like you?
I'm sure they've seen
their share of spitfires.
I don't know about that.
Texas spitfires
and Louisiana spitfires
are two entirely
different breeds.
Come on. Get in.
I'll take you for a drive.
Suppose you were
a lonely, beautiful girl
who came out here
to take in the sunset.
While you were watching it...
a handsome Indian brave
stepped out of them trees there.
Now, what you do about it
would be the yarn
that you'd write.
See, I can imagine
the sunset,
and I can see
the Indian brave,
but that's as far as I go.
That's where
the story ends.
Why stop when it just
gets interesting?
The next thing you know,
I'd be telling him to
wash off the war paint
and get a good suit
of clothes
and accompany me
to Sunday School.
Something tells me he just
wouldn't want to do that.
When I saw that house,
I thought about the yarns
that you write.
Your dream.
The dream that brought you
over to my house that day.
Thanks for bringing me out here.
And thanks for telling me
what's wrong with my stories.
I mean that.
Well, you're welcome.
It's only my opinion.
You don't have to listen to it
if you don't want to.
I'd be a fool not to listen
to the greatest pulp writer
in the whole wide world,
Robert E. Howard.
Well, that you would, by God.
That you would.
Let's ride.
Now, you be sure to write.
You know my address.
Old lock-box 313.
I'll write as soon
as I get settled.
Well, don't you get
into any trouble
with those wild ideas
of yours.
You run into any of that voodoo,
you make sure
you find a Catholic,
hold up a cross,
say a prayer for you.
Okay. I will.
Hey, girl.
Take a look at that sunset
I ordered for you.
I sure do appreciate it.
DR. HOWARD: That morning,
the attending physician,
Dr. Dill, had told us
that Mrs. Howard
would never recover.
Robert looked at me,
and he went to his room
and began to type.
A minute later,
our cleaning lady saw him
walk through the back door
to his car.
She said he raised his arms
and began praying,
then she heard a shot
and saw him slumped
over the steering wheel.
I carried my boy
back into the house.
He lived for eight hours.
His mother passed away
the next day.
Thank you
for the time you gave my son,
Miss Price.
I know how much
he cared for you.
DRIVER: Five-minute stop, folks.
You've been doing
a lot of crying.
Who you crying for?
A friend.
Gone, is he?
Passed on?
He took his own life.
That's tough.
He was a writer.
He made his living
writing stories.
Could spin a yarn,
could he?
That's what
he called them.
What's your name,
Novalyne Price.
Let me ask you
something, Novalyne.
Are you glad
you had the chance
to know him?
And even though
you won't see him
for a while,
is he still your friend?
Yeah, he sure is.
Novalyne, look.
It's going to be
a beautiful sunrise.