1883 (2021) s01e02 Episode Script

Behind Us, A Clif

- Captain.
- I know.
I know.
My father won't speak of the war.
When men ask if he fought, he says no.
I've seen fellow soldiers call out his name on the street.
He turns and walks the other way.
He spent three years in a Union prison.
When he came home, my mother said he weighed ninety-seven pounds.
- Gonna need a cook.
Or two.
- Why do we need a cook? - Because your passengers are feasting like it's Christmas and somebody needs to ration their food because when they run out, they're coming after my food.
Or your food - We're gonna bring a herd of beef with us.
Food ain't gonna be a problem.
- Yeah, it will.
Add a cook to the list.
You feel like moving some cows? - Somebody's gotta watch after these folks.
- If these folks can't survive six hours sitting by a river, I'd rather know it now.
- What are you looking at? - Nuthin'.
- How come I ain't got no hair? - "Ain't got no"? Been in Texas six days, you already forgot how to speak.
- How come? - You will.
When you're older.
- But how come not now? - I don't know "how come not now.
" Maybe 'cause it makes you easier to tickle.
Where's your mother? - Don't know.
- We're going to go round up some cattle.
Be back in the afternoon.
I want you to stay in camp, I want you to keep an eye on your brother, and don't wander off.
All right.
- Cool air rises from the ground and sends a shiver through me.
Then the sun finds my face, and I am warm.
The world here plays parlor tricks on your senses I do not know what the word "Texas" means.
But to me it means magic.
- Look, these here cattle, they're going to Kansas unless you can pay Kansas prices.
- What are Kansas prices? - Hell, you can get forty dollars a head for these sons of bitches up there.
Those New Yorkers sure do love their steaks.
- We can't pay that.
- Well, I don't blame you.
I wouldn't either.
I tell you what, I'll put a bee in your bonnet.
There's still wild cattle down there on the Brazos, if you got the stones to go get 'em.
- We got the stones, we just don't have the men.
- We could saddle up some of them wagon horses, stick them Germans on them.
Surely they can hold a line.
- Don't bet on it.
- Let's put them in the sell barn, lot four.
Ain't changed our mind yet, Captain.
- We're going to round some up.
Can I hire you for that? - Where you holding 'em? - Ain't found them to hold them.
- Hm.
You hunting wild cattle? - I'll give you a dollar apiece for every one you gather.
- How many you trying to get together? - Hundred or so.
- You need ten hands.
And I mean good hands.
- How 'bout three good hands and twenty who ain't worth a shit.
- If they ain't worth a shit we ain't gonna get nuthin' and we ain't gonna get paid.
- I'll pay you ten dollars apiece whether we wrangle any or not.
- You're wasting your money.
- Aw, come on, Wade.
You're handy enough for all of us.
- Yeah, there's still some wild cattle around Fort Griffith.
That's a pretty good ride though.
- We're ready when you are.
- Yee-haw.
- Yee-haw.
- Come on, boys, y'all got cattle to sort, let's go.
- We'll be back for them cattle, don't you worry.
Hya! - It seems even trees are new to this place.
They scatter about in clusters, like little villages And everywhere, treasures.
Everywhere there is a bounty just waiting to be scooped up When I looked out over this land, I only saw the freedom it promised.
I knew nothing of the horror that hides in freedom's shadow.
- Let me see 'em Put them in the pot.
- I'm going to go warn him - Don't bother.
Better they die up here than do something on the trail that gets us killed.
Only cure for stupid is reaching the gates of heaven.
- Funny, I don't recall the word "stupid" anywhere in the Bible.
- Look what the cat drug to camp.
- Across the river People Nausea has a number of them to their knees.
- You were across the river? Your dress is dry, so you didn't swim.
Either you learned how to fly or you rode the back of one of those Germans.
I don't know which image is more upsetting.
- There's a sand bar.
And a log.
- Mystery solved then.
They don't even boil it.
Just drink it like it's from a faucet.
Cholera will run the lot of them.
- What's my mother doing? - She's wasting her time.
- I'm done with berries.
Your turn.
Mind the thorns.
- Don't see any saddle horses.
- I've got a few.
- Got a few saddles, too? These sons of bitches are plow drivers.
- We warned you.
- Hell, we're better off without 'em.
- Can any of 'em ride? - I got one can ride.
- It's the water.
You have to boil it before you drink it.
Don't drink it.
- Go saddle Lightning.
- She's sick.
From the water.
They all are.
- Go saddle Lightning.
You making them tea? - These poor people don't know to boil water.
- I'll be gone 'till tomorrow late.
- Be careful.
- Shotgun's under the buckboard if there's trouble.
I have Claire if there's trouble.
- Claire usually makes things worse.
I'm taking Elsa - You're what? - This bunch is short on riders and we need her.
- I'd object, but it sounds like you're not asking my permission.
- No, ma'am, I am not.
- How am I supposed to make her a lady when you keep treating her like a man? - Plenty of ladies in this world.
Pretty short on decent men, though.
- How am I supposed to respond to that? - Sun'll be fierce.
It'll blow off.
- Here, tie it down.
- What's that for? - Not sure.
But I'd sure hate you don't have it when we find out.
Stay close to me.
- They're back early.
- Yep.
Who are they? - A stroke of luck there, Captain.
- Goddamn, Wade.
If there's a better way to get shot I don't know it, chargin' in here like a bunch of fucking bandits.
- We've seen you shoot, Grady.
I think the bandits are safe.
- Y'all hunting strays? - Wild ones.
Seen any? - Yeah, some.
Them wild bulls pester them English cows pretty good.
Must be the way they smell.
All smell the same to me, but I ain't a bull.
- Your crew's pretty light to gather wild cattle.
- Could use the help.
We'll pay.
- No need.
We need to clear some out.
Y'all best come on up to camp.
- Come on.
- Good to see you, Wade.
Almost fucking shot you.
- Whoo, yeah, I got you one.
- What you got here? - I bet you double.
- Woo.
- I'm surprised you got anything to bet at all after Abilene.
That town is hard on a cowboy's wallet.
- We stay away from that son of a bitch.
It'll suck on you like a tick.
- You better bat your eyes - Even if we get a herd to the wagons, we can't hold it.
We can't leave till we've hired some guns and some hands.
- These Germans gotta learn to hold their own, Thomas.
Or they won't survive the trip.
None of us will.
- They're barely surviving the river and they ain't camped five miles from town.
- There ain't no one to hire.
- Then we don't go.
- You can stay.
I'm going.
I want to see it one last time.
Before it's settled.
Before it's ruined.
- After you see it, then what? - Then I don't care.
The world can open up and eat me.
I don't give a shit.
- What's that for? - Well, it's for snakes.
They won't cross it.
- What about you? - Honey, I'm so far away from a bath ain't no snake gonna curl up next to me.
Ah - Mm.
- Thank you.
For bringing me.
- Hm.
Bringing you ain't a gift.
We need you.
So, thank you.
These cattle are wild.
These bulls will hook you.
Don't get caught up in the brush with one.
You push the ones that want to be pushed, the rest we leave behind.
I need you to hear me on that.
- Yes.
- I trust you.
- Know what today is? I don't know.
Thursday, maybe? - Eighteen years-ago on this day, Lee surrendered to Grant in the home of Wilmer Mclean in the village of Appomattox.
A year later, I was born.
It was Monday, April 9th, 1883, Monday was my birthday.
- Yeah, Thursday.
I think you're right.
- Hey.
Wake up.
We gotta go.
He's already saddled.
I'll follow you.
- I can't see.
- Follow the horse in front of you and watch its hooves sparking off the rocks.
- We'll ride out in a line from here.
I'll drop you off as we go.
When I'm set, I'll call out.
The next man in line does the same.
Drive due west.
When you hit the river don't cross if you don't see tracks.
It's boggy enough to swallow horse and rider both.
When you hit the meadow, wait for the men in the south to fold north.
Hold your line and we'll push 'em right into camp.
Stay here.
This is your hole.
The rest follow me.
- What do I do? - You follow 'em.
- In the back, hold - Come on, buddy.
- Hey.
Ha! - Push 'em up, push 'em up! - Come on! Get! Keep 'em comin'.
- Whoa! - Come on, cow! - Come on.
- They're coming out of the south with a few more.
We'll marry them here, then push em on.
Makes you wonder what the rich folk are doing, huh? - They ain't doing this.
No, ma'am, they ain't.
- I looked to my right and saw my father, somehow riding vertically toward the earth.
Beyond him, cowboys and cattle pushed toward us, dust following them like a cloudy shadow.
The light was soft and pale and pink, like God decided to light this day with candles.
And the whole of Texas spread out before me.
It was the most magnificent thing I'd ever seen.
- Well, that went better than I expected.
- You having fun? - Yeah.
- We got to get someone at the mouth of that draw, so they don't leak into it.
Someone else to push from the rear.
- I'll do it.
Can I do it? You can do it.
- All right, boys.
Let's get a moving.
Yip! - Freedom To most, it is an idea.
An abstract thought that pertains to control.
That's not freedom.
That's independence.
Freedom is riding wild over untamed land with no notion any moment exists beyond the one you are living.
- They gonna play music all night? - It looks that way.
- When do they sleep? - That is a question yet to be answered.
You sleep now.
Yes, ma'am.
- Godless noise.
We could be listening to cicadas and frogs by the river, but instead we're listening to this.
- For once, we're in agreement.
But I don't mind the song.
I mean, it's sad But I suppose I'd be sad too if I was a world away from my home.
- You are a world away from your home.
I don't know what he expects to find in these mountains, or wherever it is we're headed, but I'll tell you what we won't find: we won't find civilization.
We won't find a church for prayer or a house with wood floors or painted walls, restaurants or friends or schools for our children.
We just left it all behind.
- I don't recall anyone forcing you on the train, Claire.
- Fate forced me.
When it robbed me of a husband and robbed my child of a future with him.
What was I to do, beg on the street? Don't recall anyone forcing me Who the hell do you think you are? - I - What is so funny? - Honestly, Claire I don't have the energy or the interest to continue this conversation.
- Well.
He's a dreamer, Margaret.
Always has been.
And they never come true.
- It's coming true, Claire.
- No.
This is not the dream.
This is the nightmare.
You'll see.
- You drink coffee? - It's not for me.
- No one else here.
You lied! - I did, didn't I? - What kind of a woman drinks coffee? - I can't wait to hear this lecture on womanhood.
This coffee is for him.
After a long night.
Someday, if you're lucky to find a man or simply find a man who is extremely unlucky, you will learn coffee is a welcome treat after a hard ride.
- Take it easy, just a little bit.
- Where's the wagon boss? - He camps to the south.
Fucking gypsies.
Gypsies don't travel with much, I've learned.
But you, uh You Irish, y'all usually travel well stocked.
I'll ask again, where's your wagon boss? - You'll be meeting him soon enough.
- Mm-hmm.
- We have nothing to offer you, sir.
Be gone! - Be gone, she says.
- What do you want here? - Last I checked, ain't nobody owned the river.
Be gone.
- God dammit.
- Go! You're not welcome here! Go! Go! - You are the devil! I see you! I see you! I see you! - And to think, all I wanted to do was water the horses.
Ain't all I want to do now.
- It'll be the last thing you do.
- There's a dozen guns with sixty bullets between 'em out here.
You've only got two.
- And they're both for you.
- Aw! Get off me! - John? John? - No! No! No, no! John! John! - Mama? - John! Oh my God, oh my God! - Hey.
That's a girl.
- Yep.
Dress sort of gave it away.
- Pretty handy.
- She got around good.
- Not awful to look at either.
- Hard to tell with that hat hanging over her head like elephant ears.
Come on.
- Hey.
Thirsty? There you go.
Would you take off your hat? Wanna get a better look at you.
- Why get a better look? - Well.
There's a fair chance you're too pretty for me.
If you are, I'd rather know now so I don't waste my time.
- Maybe you're too pretty for me.
- Well, shoot.
I mean, if me being pretty is the problem, then we ain't got a problem.
Too pretty for me.
Dang it.
- And just like that, horror steps from the shadows.
And our freedom was gone - We're gonna ride into town with Josef and meet the Marshal.
I'd like you with us.
- Somebody needs to be here in case they come back.
- Cowboys are here.
They've done dealt with their share of bandits.
- I'm so sorry.
- What are you sorry about? You didn't shoot her.
- I'm still sorry.
Are you? - Yes.
- You don't know what that word means.
But you're going to learn.
All of you are going to learn.
- Going after them? - Yeah.
- They were rough and they were rude, and they were looking for it But I can't say they started it.
- It don't matter who started it.
- I'm just saying Not sure there's justice in it.
- I believe in you, and I believe in that boy, and I believe in our daughter.
And that's all.
Justice don't factor into it.
You know that gun that's in your saddle bag? - Yes, sir? - You sleep with it.
You think they came to town? Where else would they go? - Well, if they're here they'll be at the White Elephant.
You're the only one without a badge.
- Will a badge make me shoot better? - Doubtful.
But it'll keep a rope off your neck if things go sideways.
Raise your right hand.
- Ain't I gotta swear to something? - You just did.
- What about me? - What did you say? - Me.
What about me? - You just keep your trap shut 'til I tell you to open it.
Come on, keep up.
Come here.
You see any of 'em, you point 'em out, all right? All right, any more? That back table.
Yeah, I know this crew.
Clyde Barker! What of this business on the Trinity? - We were just watering horses and these immigrants - Is there any more? Don't just sit there shaking, are there any more? - I ain't armed.
Them immigrants took my guns.
- I can see that.
If you want to dance with the girls? Dance with the girls.
If you want to drink at the bar? Drink at the bar.
But if anybody here fancy himself a gunman You're in the wrong town.
There's only one killer in Fort Worth and that's me.
- We're gonna head north first thing in the morning.
- They ain't ready.
- They'd better get ready.
Because everybody in this town is gonna be looking for us, and if they find us they're gonna hang us from a fucking tree.
- God damnit.
- Did you find them? - We found them.
- And? - We murdered them.
- Keep 20 feet between you.
At water you wait to cross until the wagon in front of you has crossed.
Do not let your children ride on the buckboard, they will fall off.
Hold your children and mind your animals.
- I figure we'll see you up to the Red.
Ain't got nuthin better to do.
Besides, there's a few widows among them now.
- You change your minds as well? - Well, it's the chivalrous thing to do.
- Earn your keep.
This ain't no travelling fucking carnival.
- We know what this is better than you do.
- We know what we're getting into, Captain.
And we earn our keep.
- It's time.
- No.
Don't touch me.
- Go help them hold the cattle.
Let me talk with her.
You don't want to go? - Where are you going, James? What do you think is waiting for you out there? Eden? Eden is a garden.
There are no gardens here.
- You plant gardens.
You build them.
- No, gardeners plant gardens, James.
We are not gardeners.
- You'll die here.
- You say that like it's a warning.
What do I have left to live for, James? I have had seven children and they have all ended up just like this one.
In the dirt I kneel beside.
I am done kneeling.
I am ready to lay down.
- Well, I can't just leave you here.
- Well, it's a free country, remember? It is not your decision to make.
It is mine.
And I have made it.
- Goodbye, Claire.
- God damn you, James.
God damn you and your dreams.
- Move 'em, Thomas! - Let's go.
- You let her stay? - I didn't let her do anything.
That choice ain't mine.
Don't look back.
- What are you gonna do? - I'll catch up.
- Stay in the wagon, son.
- Figure I'd stick around.
Make sure you don't drown in a river.
- Thought I was too pretty for you.
- You are, but I'm pretty short on common sense, so - I've painted a picture of my husband in my mind And he don't look like you.
- Well, I'm a cowboy, ma'am.
We don't look like nobody's husband.
But we're the ones you think about when your husband ain't around.
- Come on.
- No way to stop her? - For what? I've dug my share alone.
- So have I, and wouldn't wish it on anybody.
I admire her courage.
- It wasn't courage.
- Yes, it was.
What began as a journey had become a retreat.
Into the unknown.
We were backing into the abyss, so worried our sins would follow us, we didn't bother watching where we walked.
And behind us was a cliff.

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