1883 (2021) s01e04 Episode Script

The Crossing

- MTV This place seems confused by the rules of night and day.
Or perhaps it simply ignores them, refusing to cool when the sun fades.
It's as if God has not yet decided what this place should become.
Will it be desert? Will it be prairie? Every living thing is armed with thorns and horns and fangs as the land wages war on itself, seeking the answer I knew that war.
That war between what you should become, and what you could become.
I looked at this place and saw my unfinished soul.
I looked at this place and knew, for me that war was over.
I know what I am now.
I'm a cowboy.
It seems the farther we get from civilization, the more of its rules we leave behind.
Its traditions.
Its inhibitions The farther west we travel, the more those rules and customs become a burden.
You speak English? Sorry.
No English.
Wife English.
Oh, um What do you call those? Pants.
In his language.
Ask him if he has more.
I know he has more because I made them.
- Can I trade for some? - Trade.
I give you something and you give I know what trade is.
Why you want my husband's pants? Tired of blisters from the saddle.
Let's talk trade.
- What do you want? - What do you have? - What do you need? - We need everything.
It's gold.
What good is gold to me out here? If everything is what you need, gold can buy it.
I just walk over to store then.
There's stores in Abilene.
Why you have gold? Why I have it is none of your business.
Then you stole it and we have no trade.
My father made jewelry of his money to hide it.
He hid some on me.
Not yours to hide anymore.
I get you pants.
There is pants.
Should fit you.
Too small for him.
You have skinny hips.
You think so? I know.
I looking at you.
When you have baby, its head coming out looking like eggplant.
What's eggplant? [CHUCKLES.]
Can you do that to my dress? [MUSIC.]
What's the matter, never seen a woman in pants before? Naw, I think you're the first.
Hey, cut it out.
It's not the worst idea you've had.
I don't want to know where you got those pants from.
- I traded for them - I said I don't want to know.
Traded what? Never mind.
I don't want to know.
- What time's the meeting? - Now.
You want me to come? No, stay with the herd.
I saw wolf tracks by the river.
That one of them gypsies? Sorta.
I'll bring you supper.
Hey, bring me two.
River looked pretty deep to me.
It's high.
Maybe we should've crossed the Red where we was.
Now we're crossing two rivers We're gonna cross twenty before we're done.
I didn't see a decent place to cross here.
There's one a few miles up.
There's a spot wild cattle use.
Ground pretty rocky.
How deep? It's a swim.
Your people know how to swim? It's illegal where we are from.
To swim? Where I am from they whip the bodies of the drowned before they are buried.
For getting in a river in the first place.
We don't swim.
We could get the cattle across first then get as many over horseback as we can, then the wagons.
Look, my two cents? If we run the cattle over first they're gonna make soup out of the bank.
You get a wagon stuck and you've got a traffic jam in the middle of the river.
I seen it, and you don't want to.
Ferry folks over then send the wagons.
Then bring the herd.
How many folks you need to hold the herd? Don't worry about the herd, I'll get the herd across, you just keep those wagons off the bank or I'm gonna have a traffic jam too.
Can you help us ferry folks across? I can do that.
That means your wife has to drive a wagon.
My wife could back a wagon through the doors of a saloon.
She'll be fine.
We'll cross in the morning.
Wait till it warms up.
Let everything get hot and a little tired.
Animals will be more ready to get in the river then.
That's rain over there.
Rain over there is a higher river here.
It's high already.
By the time I get these misfits moving it'll be midday, farmer.
Don't you worry about it.
I ain't no fucking farmer.
You were.
I was a captain, too.
I don't call myself that either Captain.
Steal some hard tack, if you don't mind.
There's some biscuits in my teepee and some bacon.
How old's the biscuits? They're new enough.
Thought we was getting a cook.
How bout we kill one of them beefs when we get across the river? We'll kill a beef when we have a cook to butcher it.
This ain't the part of the trip where we skinny up.
This is the part where we get fat.
The skinny part's coming.
We butcher it ourselves, we'll waste most of it.
Run through that herd in a month.
Then we ain't skinnying up, we're starving.
Well, have a look around, Captain.
We're starving already.
This talking back is getting contagious.
You need to have a word with that farmer.
A word that sticks.
Let me do it, I'll make sure it sticks.
By the time we get to the territories, we're gonna need all the fight he's got in him.
They whip the bodies because it's illegal to swim.
Illegal to do everything.
Except pay taxes.
Uh Oregon.
You've seen it? I've seen it.
What was it like? It's worth the risk if that's what you're asking.
That's what I'm asking.
Once we cross the Brazos No turning back.
It takes a lot to surprise me, Thomas.
These people, they've never been allowed to think for themselves.
Now they can hardly think at all.
The fact they ain't headed for Galveston and begging their way on a boat for home shocks me.
It shocks me, Thomas.
That they haven't quit yet.
Don't know why them folks wanna go home.
Their home sounds like hell.
'Cause it's the hell they know.
Most terrifying thing on this planet is the unknown.
That's 'cause you ain't never been whipped, Captain.
Let someone put a whip to your back and tell me the unknown is what scares you.
These folks ain't never going home.
Hey We'll have to break camp and cross the river tonight.
Why tonight? It ain't safe to be behind them.
You think crossing alone the river at night is safer? These folks are gonna need help, we can't help if we're one of them.
What about Elsa? I'll get her.
I'll hook the team.
Beautiful dreamer Wake unto me Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee Sounds of the rude world Heard in the day Lull'd by the moonli [RUSTLING.]
Don't stop.
Sta I can't I can't.
Why not? I'm shy.
Since when were you shy? Well, with singing I'm shy.
I just Worry it won't sound good.
Cow don't care how it sounds.
Hell, I sing to them all night, and I ain't shy about it.
You probably should be.
Well, you sure ain't shy about hard timing me.
No, that comes pretty easy to me.
Well Somebody gotta sing to 'em.
Beautiful dreamer Wake unto me Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee Sounds of the rude world Heard in the day Lull'd by the moon Guess I'm the one being forward now.
I'm sorry, I probably should Do it again.
You gonna shoot me? Thinking about it.
We're moving the wagon across the river.
When? Now.
I should stay with the herd.
It takes three to move it.
Herd ain't going nowhere with you two swapping supper.
You got a job to do.
Y'all do it.
You mad? You like him? I do.
Then why would I be mad? I can't treat you like an adult when it suits me and a child when I'm worried.
You're one or the other.
Your mother is gonna be a different story.
You gonna tell her? Hell, no.
I ain't gonna tell her.
You're gonna tell her.
Y'all hold the herd till every wagon is across that river.
He ain't gonna shoot me? No, he said I could shoot you.
If you act up.
Well, acting up is my only skill.
No, it ain't.
Do it again.
- Come here.
Oh, no, don't go wasting your supplies on me, ma'am.
You just just keep them children fed.
You fed, too.
I would have no supplies if it weren't for you.
What're you doing? Watching.
Don't do that.
Why not? Marrying a black man ain't gonna solve your problems, ma'am.
It's gonna create a whole bunch of new ones.
This is free country.
There's degrees of free, ma'am.
What does that mean? Government can tell me who to love? Your government says you can't swim.
Can't protect yourself.
Damn right government can tell you who to love.
And how to love 'em.
They shouldn't.
But they can.
Then we go somewhere they can't.
Ma'am, you don't want nuthin' to do with me.
I'm too old.
Too set in my ways.
I don't like talking.
I like sleeping outside and I like bathing in a river.
That ain't what a woman wants.
Men have no idea what women want.
Can't argue that.
Know why? Because they never ask.
What do you want? I want to watch you eat.
Even here there are wolves.
What the hell was that? I don't know.
Oregon is not like this? Oregon is mountains and green grass to your hips all the way to the ocean.
Where you walk ankle deep in water.
Oregon is paradise.
I hope so.
I promise.
And then a family? And then we make a family.
Then we have a family.
We start making it tonight.
Looks deep.
- Well, it ain't shallow.
- [SIGH.]
- You take John with you.
- Yes, ma'am.
Come on, son.
There ain't nothing on this wagon worth dying for.
If it goes under, you get clear of these horses.
Let all this mess go down river.
You swim upriver, I'll come get you.
Nervous? I'm fine.
I love you.
Why'd you say that? Because I want you to know it.
Now I'm nervous.
Hey! Hey! [SHOUTING.]
Whoa, that was fun! Did you have fun, mama? Yeah, a real hoot, son.
Close your eyes, son.
Cover his ears.
This is harder than you said it would be.
I told you it was gonna take everything we had and then some.
You should've explained what "everything" meant.
No! That's why I don't like to sleep.
Ain't the first time I seen it.
Ain't never seen it from you.
You sleep like a goddam baby.
I've never understood it.
The way I grew up? Things I seen? Shit Wasn't scared of no nightmare.
Hell, we went to sleep to escape 'em I made coffee.
Morning, Captain.
What happened to "Wait till it warms?" I didn't mean me.
More current than it looks and a deep channel in the middle.
Heavy wagons will get bogged.
Well If they can't cross here they got no business going any farther.
They got no business going this far.
One could argue none of us do.
Guess I'll bring 'em.
We'll be waiting.
Will you? I said I'll help.
I'll help.
There are few things that focus one solely on the present.
Terror is one.
Grief another.
But nothing washes the world away like the lips of another.
Seems an odd custom, strangers putting their mouths together and exploring each other with their tongues.
When you think about it, kissing makes no sense at all.
That it is It's been morning for a good bit now.
Catching up on your beauty sleep, I guess.
Lord knows you don't need much of that.
Come on.
Let's work.
Come on.
- You hold the right, all right? - Okay.
- Come on.
Come on, we're going to push it to the water.
Come on, cows.
What a silly thing, kissing.
What a pointless, purposeless thing.
And I couldn't wait for another.
River rose overnight.
How much? Enough.
We need to lighten these wagons.
If it ain't absolutely necessary it doesn't make the trip.
Can we come back for the things we leave? How we gonna do that? If it's too heavy, here's where it stays.
Let's go.
We will get to Oregon with nothing.
How do we make our lives with nothing?! Josef? [SPEAKING GERMAN.]
Josef! [GRUNTING.]
Don't know how his horses drug this around on dry ground.
It's too heavy.
Get all this shit out of there.
Unpack your wagon.
Look at this.
What did I tell you in Fort Worth? I said if it is not absolutely necessary it does not make the trip.
It is necessary.
He's a musician.
No, he's not a musician! And you're not a carpenter, and he's not a fucking blacksmith.
You are pioneers, and that's all you are until you get there.
You have no home, no job, no farm.
You have the journey, that's it.
What's he sayin'? He says these things, they can't be replaced.
You are sending him to Oregon to be a beggar on the streets.
These are his choices: he unloads his wagon.
He goes back to Fort Worth, or I burn his wagon to the ground.
Tell him.
They're gonna hate you.
At least they'll be alive to do it.
We cross that? Josef? We go across that? Yes.
We go across it.
You're fine, you're fine.
Show me that trench.
Starts right here.
You gotta stay to the right of that spot.
I know it, Captain.
I passed the word.
Just hope these folks stay patient.
Cool heads cross rivers.
Hot heads drown.
Gonna pull wagons.
If someone falls off, toss them a rope and pull 'em to the bank.
Don't let them reach your horse.
They'll drag you off.
Why would they drag me off? 'Cause when people panic that's what they do.
If you come out of the saddle, that dress'll drown you.
Oh my God.
I guess we're gonna get to know each other a lot better after this day.
Looks like they came to their senses and lightened up.
A river'll do that to ya.
Strange they'd just leave it.
Should've left it in town.
Once we get to Kansas Hell, it looks like a junk yard, all the things folks dump at the river bank.
Ovens, bath tubs, wind mill blades as big as the wagon it was in.
I swear, folks must think the way west was paved.
You play? I do.
I did.
I guess I don't play anymore.
Well You can play once more.
Don't know any happy ones? [LAUGHS.]
Never had much interest in the happy ones.
Hey, cow.
Hey, cow.
- Get up.
- Yee-hoo! Whoop, whoop, whoop.
Get up, cow, get up.
Come on.
Come on.
Come on! Hey! - Hut, hut! - Woop! Get up, cow.
Hey, cow! I had abandoned every memory of Tennessee, as though I was born on this journey.
But I wasn't We were leaving a place and seeking another.
And the journey was the necessary, miserable road between the two.
Somehow I felt immune to the dangers of this place.
As if the land and I had struck a deal.
I could pass unharmed so long as I loved it.
And I did.
I loved everything about it.
But crossing the Brazos taught me there was no deal.
No matter how much we love it, the land will never love us back.

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