Snowy River: The McGregor Saga (1993) s02e02 Episode Script

The Savage Land

(calm music) Hey.
Now here's something special.
Lot 35.
14 shillings.
Come on, gentlemen, what am I to bid for these fine fold hereford cows? 16? 17 shillings a head for this lot.
19 for Mr.
McGregor there.
1 pound from you sir at the back? 21 shillings.
21 once.
21 twice.
Lot 35 sold to Matt McGregor from Langarra Station.
(cows mooing) Don't worry, Matt.
We'll get them there for you.
Follow the cow trail south that leads to the Snowy.
The river's still running? Well it's dried up in places but we'll get through.
Not much water the way we came.
Took the shortcut through the desert, did you? Well I need to push them.
I want them there in reasonable condition.
Good luck.
Thank you.
You can't get them there any sooner? If you want them dead, yeah.
I want them there in six weeks and I want them alive.
All of them.
McGregor, Luke.
I didn't think you were gonna make it.
I didn't see you on the coach.
We got held up with the branding so we took the shortcut.
You crossed 200 miles of desert.
It'll br 400 with the return trip.
You'll go back in the coach, surely.
A shortcut will get us there sooner.
What's the attraction of sitting in a saddle all day? It's better than a coach.
You people must love the desert.
Not much.
We are mountain men.
Blackwood? On the back I inquire? I'm Blackwood.
A telegram, Mr.
You want something? Oh! Oh, sir.
No, I never presume to anticipate a gratuity for so small a service.
And you're right.
The giving of gratuity demeans both giver and receiver.
Yes, sir.
Bad news? From Frank.
I'm needed back at Belmorel urgently.
A matter of papers to sign.
I lose a parcel of a land if I don't get back there fast.
And Frank can't sign for you? No.
Frank can't sign.
I don't believe in giving my power of attorney to business partners or members of my family or anyone.
This shortcut of yours, how much time does it save? Two days, maybe three.
I'll accompany you.
Only if you're equipped by the time we leave.
What do I need? Horse, bed roll, provisions for a week.
As much water as you can carry.
(ominous music) What are you after, Jackey? Salt.
Tea and berry sugar.
How do you reckon you're gonna pay for that, Jackey? What's a desert black like you doing with white man's money, eh? Did some work.
We got a right one here.
Don't you know to call a white man boss, Jackey? Name is not Jackey.
And you're not my boss.
Come on, darling, let's dance.
One, two, three.
One, two, three.
One, two, three.
One, two, three.
Manapoy! Manapoy! Where are you going? (grunting) (gun firing) I'm arresting you for attempted murder.
What? She was defending herself.
He pulled the knife! Give us your hands.
(ominous music) Trooper.
What's your name? My name's Clark.
Trooper Johnny Clark.
What's yours? Matt McGregor.
Luke McGregor.
We witnessed this incident.
We'll give evidence in any court where this woman's to be tried.
Well that'll be Otsuga.
They do a very nice trial there.
They usually end up hanging them all the same.
(calm music) (calm music) So you're telling me you're gonna go all the way back to Langarra and back to Otsuga for a native woman's trial? Well if we don't they could hang her.
You heard the trooper's version of it.
What's in it for you, McGregor? Natives don't vote.
You wouldn't understand, Oliver.
I'm told you're heading across the desert to Hooper's Crossing.
I thought I'd travel with you.
Safety in numbers.
Especially with blacks about.
Well if you're dragging her along like that you're not.
Oh I'll make sure she keeps up.
Yeah, I bet you would.
You can only join us if the woman rides.
You're obviously new to this country, sir.
Blacks don't ride.
Unable to or simply not allowed? You wanna come with us, she rides.
There's no horse for her.
Well then Mr.
Blackwood and I will buy her a horse.
You can't be serious.
Look I tell you what.
When we get back you can keep the horse.
That's a reasonable offer.
All right, the woman rides.
(calm music) (ominous music) 20 years ago there were slaves in America.
The convicts of Australia.
And there were serfs in Russia.
Now they've all been abolished.
Why? Yes, Joney? 'Cause it's unfair, missus.
O'Neil] What's unfair? Taking people's freedom off and then making them work for nothing.
Yes, Doreen? We're against it 'cause we're a democracy.
Now what is a democracy.
Where's everyone allowed to vote.
Teacher's pet.
Everyone, everyone.
Are women allowed to vote? Australia's the first place in the world to give women the vote.
Well only one state so far.
So do we all think this is a good thing? My dad says it would just play to petty coat power.
Oh really? Does he now? All right, I think that's enough for today.
School is out.
Teacher's pet! Mommy's boy! What was that all about? Nothing.
I wish you weren't our teacher, mum.
I promised to do until they found someone else.
I've got something to tell you.
What? Come on, what terrible dark secret is it that you can't even tell your own mother? I got a job.
A job? And what bout school? Not during school hours, mum.
What is it? Apprentice level at Mr.
Gleeson's newspaper.
He says maybe I can write things.
He says Mark Twain wrote for the newspaper, and Charles Dickinson and Banjo Paterson.
Please, mum.
It's all back to front.
Not when you print it, it isn't.
Now, first we ink the flesh.
Now carefully put the paper down, just like putting pastry on top of a pie.
Now the packing.
And now the big roll.
You do it.
Whoa, it's heavy.
Now we clean it off.
And paper's out.
Master this and we'll have you writing next.
I thought you said you'd finish your homework? What are you writing? It's a secret.
Don't look, mum.
I said don't! (horse snorting) (snoring) Over there.
(ominous music) (dog howling) (snoring) (ominous music) (calm music) There! Blacks! Blacks attacking us! Sleeping beauty.
(laughing) Take that grin off your face.
There'll be none of that.
They tried to kill us.
Yeah? Well you'd be did if I had.
That spear's a warning and an offer.
An offer? You crazy? You ever go to Sunday school? Read the story of David and Saul? No, I can't say I did.
Well David caught Saul defenseless.
Instead of killing him he cut off a piece of his cloak.
That's what this fella's done.
Is that right? Yeah.
It's an offer of peace and also a warning.
Well I don't take warnings from savages.
[Luke] He wants his wife back.
Well he can't have her.
She's innocent, trooper.
Now there's still a lot of desert to cross out there.
It's their country, not ours.
Why don't you let her escape, huh? Needn't be anyone's fault.
You asking me to break the law, McGregor? If you had your way the law would kill her for something she didn't do.
And the law sometimes take a while to catch up with justice, but it catches up in the end, don't you worry.
In the meantime he's still out there watching her.
Best of luck.
(ominous music) We can rest up there.
Push on when it's cooler.
Where's the trooper? Let her go! No woman born should be chained to a brute like you.
Unchain her! You get up.
Get up! (grunting) (ominous music) You black lover! (grunting) (calm music) My father always told me about the stars down under, about how all the constellations were skewed in the sky.
I always thought it was the whiskey talking till I came here and saw it for myself.
That big southern cross.
Just like he said.
As long as you can see it, you're never lost.
Funny thing.
I never figured this land would feel like home.
Well, I'm getting some shut eye.
(wolf howling) (scuffling and shouting) That scuffling! Boy, I'll chase them on this one.
(grunting) (gun firing) (somber music) Oh Luke.
My canteen's full.
Yours? Almost.
I had a drink last night.
We better start walking then.
(calm music) (snoring) Come with me.
You, sir, are the lowest creature on God's earth.
You are a worm, Mr.
What is the meaning of this attack, Mrs.
O'Niel? Mr.
Gleeson, what is the meaning of this attack? You encouraged my son to write about what he's learning at school.
What you are teaching is revolution.
And then you use his words to write a scandalous editorial on what's wrong with education in this town.
To attack his own mother! You are indoctrinating our children with dangerous ideas, Mrs.
Indoctrinating? Votes for women.
You'd be wanting votes for the blacks next.
And why not? Now I want a right of reply.
I should print what I see fit.
And what I see fit is to expose to the public a teacher who is carting dangerously radical ideas in the minds of her students.
That people are born equal, this is a dangerously radical idea? It is exactly that idea that started both the French and American revolutions with their attendant barbarism and bloodshed.
I demand a right of reply! You may demand what you like, madam.
The advertising rents of this newspaper are one shilling per line.
You may buy your right of reply in the form of advertisement.
The discussion is closed, Mrs.
Oh it hasn't even begun, Mr.
(calm music) Come on, laddie.
(ominous music) Provisions for a week? I thought you said this route was safe.
It's madness! I'm gonna die for a piece of land.
Every time you open your mouth you waste moisture.
You don't really know where we're going, do you? Sun's on our left.
We could be walking in circles.
Yeah, not unless the sun's walking in circles with us.
He saved me from the trooper.
He got me unchained.
You can't trust him.
You can't trust any gobbers.
I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him.
We've had our conversation, Mrs.
Well we've had one conversation, Mr.
This is another.
Obviously you've overextended yourself with the purchase of your new printing press, so I bought your debts from the bank.
You've what? The bank can't do that.
They can and they did.
Obviously you want me out of here.
Perhaps not.
What good is a newspaper without a printer? Printer? I'll have you know, madam, that I am the owner, manager, compositor, printer, and editor of The Chronicle.
Maybe that's why you're in this mess, Mr.
Gleeson, too many hats.
I've never worked for a woman.
Well time's are changing, Mr.
Now you may be aware that the railway's plan to cross my property.
I reported the fact in my, in The Chronicle.
And the fees I receive will make me reasonably comfortable financially.
You will forgive me if I don't congratulate you.
Patterson's Ridge is about to expand, Mr.
And it needs a newspaper.
And the newspaper needs you.
And I shall need my freedom.
Freedom to publish this? Certainly.
Alongside my rebuttal.
(calm music) You let an unarmed, chained, aborigine woman drive off the horses and escape from custody? There were others.
With spears.
Spears? And where was your rifle? It was dark.
I was trying to fight them off.
And what were McGregor and the others doing while you were valiantly fighting for their lives? They might have been speared.
Might have been? It all happened so fast.
But not too fast for you to grab the one remaining horse and save your own skin, right? I did everything I could, sir.
You can take a fresh horse.
You can go back into the desert and you can find Blackwood and the McGregors.
They might all be dead.
In that case I suggest you take one of the mules and bring back their bodies.
(ominous music) Don't, don't! Why did you come back? They only speak pigeon, McGregor.
I heard him speaking English in Salt Springs.
You must have spent some time with the missionaries.
Him? He knows the story of David and Saul.
My guess is he learned it at one of the missions.
That is absurd, McGregor.
Smart fella, McGregor.
Well I'm Matt.
This is Oliver Blackwood.
What's your name? Better you don't know our names.
Then you can't tell trooper.
We're heading for Hooper's Crossing.
You're not going to make it.
(bird calling) She say you helped her.
If we help you trooper don't get her, all right? You have my word.
White man promises, cobbler's worth.
If you don't believe us, we'll give you our guns.
Gun no use here.
Shoot us and the desert will kill you.
Come on then.
I don't trust him.
Yeah? I do.
(ominous music) That suck.
Everyone knows you can find water under an old creek bed.
What have we got? Lizard.
Dawana and quandons.
Bush trekker.
Good for you.
You see what I see? Easy there, easy.
That's my horse, the one I bought in Salt Springs.
Must have smelled us or the water.
Good boy.
Well let him drink, for heaven's sake.
If the horse didn't bring his own water, best thing to do is eat it.
The horse drinks.
Enough water for people, lizard, snake, birds.
I said the horse drinks.
Put it away, Oliver.
(grunts) Sorry about this.
But I gotta get back home.
You take a leave of your senses, man? I don't need an excuse.
You act like children.
If he dies People come with gun and look for him.
Better he doesn't die.
She'll take you to Hooper Crossing and I'll go and look for him.
Okay? Okay.
(horse trotting) McGregor's party attacked by blacks on 10th of Feb.
That's two days ago.
Who is this from, Frank? The police at Salt Springs.
Why did they say what's happened to dad and Luke? Missing.
They've dispatched a search party.
[Rob] For what's that worth.
What do you mean? Salt Springs is a tiny little outback town, two man and a dog.
I don't know what kind of search party they could organize from there.
At least they're on the spot.
We're 400 miles away.
Yes, but we know the desert shortcut.
We did it with dad four years ago.
Something bothers me about this whole story.
What? It seems so out of character.
What do you mean? Rob, remember the aborigines we met in the desert, the gentlest people.
I can't see them hurting anybody, least of all dad.
He prides himself on getting on with them.
I cannot, for the life of me, understand the way you McGregors sentimentalize the blacks! Maybe after this How far is it to the desert, Rob? To Hooper's Crossing? Well if left at first light and made good time we could be there in say 15 hours.
(ominous music) Come on, get up.
Come on.
Come on, get up! Come on, come on! (birds squawking) (gun firing) (ominous music) (panting) Let me help you.
(gun firing) (ominous music) We'll head straight for the eight mile billabong.
It's probably dry but that's where he'll be coming through.
If he's not there by now I don't like his chances.
How much further to water? A while.
What? An hour? Maybe two, huh? We don't go by clocks.
(calm music) (water splashing) You're here.
How did you know? This is the last water before Hooper Crossing.
There is nowhere else here to bring you.
Where's Blackwood? I thought I help him.
And he tried to kill me.
I'm sorry.
Where is he now? His horse died.
Now he will die.
You think I should have let him kill me? Make my wife widow? No, of course not.
You're friend was the fool.
If you don't live with the land, you die with it.
A nice thought to go out on, wouldn't you say, McGregor? We meet again.
Come back to finish the job, eh, trooper? Well you can't expect me to leave any witnesses now, can you? Well I'm not the only witness.
There's these two, there's Blackwood.
Blacks don't count.
The desert will take care of Mr.
This little transaction shouldn't take long to settle.
(gun firing) Matt! (calm music) We're going now.
I can't thank you enough.
Thank you.
Our home is for Langarra.
It's in the high country.
Everyone knows me up there, so if you're up that way go to family.
(calm music) (calm music) [Man] Matt McGregor, made it after all! Thank you, you really made that easy.
Thanks, Tom.
I thought you might like to see the next copy of your newspaper.
Well it's not often a man gets to read his own obituary.
Look, it's your paper, I know, but can I make a suggestion? Of course.
Rewrite it for Luke.
(calm music) (calm music)