Snowy River: The McGregor Saga (1993) s02e14 Episode Script

The Choice

(peaceful orchestral music) (horse whinnies) The old place is falling down.
And you care? You obviously don't.
All I care about's protecting what we have.
The best way to do that is to do nothing.
We were playing here as kids, that game of hide and seek where you hid in the chimney and came down covered in soot.
You got a better memory than me.
Ruth's our problem.
What do you mean? Well, she's already started investigating.
She's going to write a family history.
And she'll believe what we tell her.
She's got no reason not to.
Father always said he'd burn this place down one day.
No, Frank.
- Do you want to lose Balmoral? - That's not going to happen.
- If anyone finds out the truth.
- The truth? There's no truth here to find.
It's been over 50 years.
No one else knows except us.
Then let's keep it that way.
And no one is going to find out unless we tell them.
This is all that is left.
This is the last link between Quinn and the Blackwoods.
I say we burn it, just like Father said.
(slow dramatic music) I think it's a mistake.
Quinn's the one who made the mistake, and we're still paying for it.
I still think it's a mistake.
(upbeat country music) (audience applauding) But, but of course this town's history goes back further than 25 years.
It goes back to the pioneering families of the district.
Families like the Blackwoods.
Hey, what about the McGregors? (laughing) I'm not that old, thank you, Albert.
Anyway, as a tribute to these pioneers Kathleen has suggested that we build a memorial to them.
Colin and Emily have agreed to convene a committee to raise some money for this project.
You can bank on the bank for a commitment, Matt.
Thank you, Herbert.
Now also, of course, our newspaper, the Chronicle is going to publish a series of articles on our history.
(audience applauding) Right, now we would like to hear from anyone who might be able to fill in the gaps.
It's really quite amazing when you think about it.
We still don't know very much about our beginnings here at all.
So we need your help, and we're asking for your help.
Ruth is going to be coordinating and writing the articles.
So please don't hesitate to talk to her about anything, anything at all.
Kathleen, what kind of things? Oh, old letters, old documents, diaries, anything.
All right, thanks.
(audience applauding) Thanks, Kathleen.
- [Rob.]
I could tell you were embarrassed.
- I was not embarrassed.
You squirmed.
It was not a squirm.
The bench was hard.
(laughing) All right, so I did squirm a little bit.
Well, I just got shy all of a sudden.
See, you have to remember, Rob, I come from another country.
I didn't know a soul.
And this town has accepted me with so much warmth and generosity.
It's like they've decided I belong.
Well, you do belong.
A whole town can't be wrong, can they? That's just not good enough.
We were expecting that stock yesterday.
Somebody I gotta go see.
I see you have busy times ahead.
I guess so.
From what I hear, I should be talking to you.
Kathleen says your grandfather came from England.
Yes, back in the 40s.
That was years before the town was established.
It probably wouldn't interest many people.
Well, without pioneering families like yours, the town wouldn't have been founded in the first place.
I'm sure people would love to read the true story.
Truth and publishing.
Now there's an unlikely partnership.
I have to apologize for my brother, Ruth.
He likes to make fun of things he doesn't understand.
Well, I only write the truth, and that's all Kathleen will publish, so.
Then we have nothing to fear.
Well, then I look forward to hearing the whole story.
Of course.
What was all that about? Grandfather.
Well, you're really fired them up.
Making them question themselves, who they are, what they stand for.
Well, it's what a newspaper should do.
They've really taken to Ruth.
Yeah, so's Rob.
Do you think she'll stay? Once I would have said no.
But I'm not so sure now.
Why don't you make her a full time reporter? You keep telling me how good she is.
She is good.
You stay on as editor.
I mean, you've got enough on your plate already, what with the newspaper, the warehouse, the farm.
Give her a chance, put her on full time.
That would mean quite a commitment for her.
Perhaps a commitment she doesn't want to make.
Well, you'll never know unless you ask her.
Here you go.
Ah, good, thanks.
I have heard so much history and so many stories, my head is spinning.
Do you know that Mr.
Custer from the livery stables, that he used to be a shipwright? No.
Yes, he built whale boats at Twofold Bay.
It's fascinating to me.
Now, I think we should publish a special anniversary issue of the Chronicle.
On the front page we could tell how the town was founded.
And on the inside we could have personal stories of people who've settled here, like Mr.
And on the back page we could look forward to the future.
Maybe I could get Matt to write a piece.
Sounds like you've got it all planned.
I have.
Just ideas though.
They're good ideas, Ruth.
They're good.
Of course, it's up to you.
I've been thinking.
If you're going to work here full time as a reporter.
What did you say? I said, if you're going to work here full time as a reporter.
Are you offering me a job? Mm-hm.
Of course, it would mean committing yourself to staying in Paterson's Ridge.
You and Mr.
Gleeson could run the paper on a day to day basis.
I'd handle the business side of things and wield my editorial red pencil.
(laughing) Do you really think I'm up to it, Kathleen? I wouldn't be offering you the job unless I thought you could do it.
Oh, it's more than I ever could have expected.
- Do I have to give you an answer right now? - No, of course not.
Oh, it's what I've always wanted.
But it's still a long way from home? Yes.
(slow music) I miss my father.
For all his stubbornness.
I'm sorry, I sound ungrateful.
No, not at all.
I'm so happy here, Kathleen.
I feel as much a part of Paterson's Ridge as Philadelphia.
Well, there'll always be a place for you here, Ruth, whatever you decide.
Thank you, thank you.
(match striking) (dramatic music) (fire crackling) (gentle music) Here they are.
Well, now we'll know what people were buying in those days.
And who was paying their bills or not.
- Thank you for your help, Mrs.
- My pleasure.
Do you want to know my life story? Well, that depends.
Anything interesting ever happen to you? Well, every day's an adventure, ma'am.
Why, sir, you could truly fascinating.
Well, maybe over a cup of tea I could bore you with some stories of my more heart-stopping exploits.
(Ruth laughing) [Frank.]
Thank you, Herbert.
There's somebody else I've got to see.
Miss Whitney.
- [Ruth.]
Do you have a moment? - I was I'm trying to write an article about your family.
I just need to ask you a couple of questions.
Wasn't it your grandfather who first settled here? It was a long time ago.
Why did he choose Paterson's Ridge? Perhaps he was a man of vision.
I mean, my father certainly was.
It must run in the family, Frank.
I always said Victoria had vision.
Was he the first settler? Perhaps Rob is right.
Victoria's the one with the vision, and the answers to all your questions I'm sure.
Now if you'll excuse me.
What? A man by the name of Quinn was the first settler.
He was a convict.
He lived in an old hut over the other side of the valley.
Does it still exist? Uh, well, we could ride out there and see.
So you can bore me with some stories of your more heart-stopping exploits? (slow gentle music) You seem very pleased with yourself today.
Why shouldn't I be? The sun is shining, the birds are singing.
It's a wonderful day to be alive.
You sound like a writer.
Thank you.
Why do I get the feeling you're not telling me everything? For a country boy you're pretty sharp.
Oh, when it comes to Philadelphia ladies I am.
You must miss it.
Philadelphia? Sometimes.
Not as often as I used to though.
I do miss my father.
Do you write to him? Mm-hm, as Jack Holbright.
He publishes my articles in the Post.
I have a drawer full of checks made out to Mr.
Holbright to prove it.
(laughs) Well, it sounds like Mr.
Holbright's going to be a very rich woman one day.
(Ruth laughs) What the? Whoa.
What is it? Well, it's Quinn's hut, what's left of it.
Do you think this was an accident? I don't think so.
Well, did anybody live here? Not for about 50 years.
What happened to Quinn? Well, he abandoned the place and moved on, I think.
Dad'll know.
It was way before the town settled.
He was kind of the first to arrive and first to leave.
What a waste.
(wood cracking) Are you all right? Yeah, I'm fine.
- Look at this.
- I wonder what's in there? (box rattling) Hidden treasure.
Gold probably.
Oh, just a book and pipe and stuff.
George Francis Quinn.
Some sort of journal.
This is Quinn's diary.
Well, a big gold nugget would have been better.
No, no, Rob, this is incredible.
This is the history of Paterson's Ridge.
It's the life of a pioneer.
Don't you see? (slow gentle music) You've got soot on your face.
Where? No, it's still there.
Thank you.
My pleasure.
Are you really? Haven't you wanted to do that since the first day we met? Well, yeah, haven't you? Well, it's not a lady's place to make advances on men.
But that's not to say the thought hadn't crossed my mind.
Don't look so surprised.
I'm not.
I mean, I guess women feel the same way about men as men feel about women.
Don't they? - I can't speak for all women.
- Well, I'm not asking you to.
I'm asking you to speak for Ruth Whitney.
Well, in that case, I suspect that Ruth Whitney feels the same way about Rob McGregor as Rob McGregor feels about Ruth Whitney.
Do you really mean that? I have it from a very reliable source.
(Rob sighs) (train screeching) Excuse me, when does the train return to Melbourne? Day after tomorrow.
Soon enough, thanks.
Um, do you think Ruth will take up your offer? You don't object, Mr.
Gleeson? She's a hard worker.
She writes well.
She makes very good American cookies when she wants something from me.
No, no, no, I think we're compatible.
Can I help you? Well, I certainly do hope so, ma'am.
I'd like to talk to the manager of this fine newspaper.
You are.
Kathleen O'Neil, Mrs.
Theodore Knox, Associated Press of America.
You're a long way from home, Mr.
Well, Associated Press boasts a correspondent in every country, English speaking that is.
So how can I help a correspondent from Associated Press.
Well, I'm looking for a man, a journalist.
Goes by the name of Holbright, Jack Holbright.
(slow gentle music) You know him? I know the name.
He doesn't work for your establishment? There's no one by that name on the payroll.
Do you know where I can find him then? I do believe that if you stay in town and Jack Holbright wants to find you, then Jack Holbright will.
Tell Mr.
Holbright he can find me at the hotel.
You know, the boarding house is more comfortable.
The boarding house it is then.
Good day, Mr.
(laughing) He thinks you're Jack Holbright.
I know.
(laughs) He does.
If I'm not here when Ruth gets back, tell her that I need to see her urgently.
(laughing) (slow gentle music) Quinn.
He was supposed to have settled here back in the 30s.
Built his shack on a crown lease.
Claimed a whole lot of land for himself.
And then? People followed his lead.
They moved in, the town sprang up.
Well, what happened to Quinn? Oh, he vanished.
All that was left was his hut, this.
Well, there certainly aren't any Quinns in the cemetery.
Well, there must be some people in town who remember him.
Some of the older people maybe.
Nah, he was long gone by then.
The only first settlers here then were the Blackwoods.
Well, what happened to his land? The Blackwoods got it.
Ah, it's a pity about the hut burning down, all that history lost.
Yeah, thanks.
Banjo Paterson stayed in that hut.
You never told us that.
Ah, it was a long time ago.
Before he immortalized the famous Man from Snowy River in verse.
What was he like? Oh, he could tell you a story that'd bring tears to your eyes one minute and have you rolling with laughter the next.
I never met anyone quite like him before.
Or since.
Did he ever come back? Never saw him again.
Now the hut's gone.
Well, you better get to.
Put it all down on paper, before we lose anything else.
You've got that look again.
Kind of a far away look.
Have you ever been far away, Rob? I've been to Melbourne.
I didn't really like it much though, it was a bit noisy.
Cable trams everywhere.
(Ruth laughs) It's not like the high country.
Kathleen has asked me to work full time on the newspaper.
I told her I would think about it.
Well, it's a good life here.
A woman like you could really make a difference to a place like this.
If you took the job, how long would you stay? Well, I haven't decided if I'm going to take the job yet, Rob.
Oh, I'm sorry.
I shouldn't have asked.
No, you should've.
I'm just sorry that I can't give you an answer.
I knew I made the right choice when I left Philadelphia.
I'm a writer now, I have a career.
And I always knew that one day that I would go back home having proven myself to my father.
(sigh) Oh my father.
Every time I think about my father, it hurts.
It's unfinished business, you know, Rob? And I'm just so far away.
(slow gentle music) So, now I have to choose between here and home.
And if I stay, if I stay here, I might never see my father again.
And if you leave you may never come back.
Ruth, you know Colin and Emily are organizing the dance? To raise money for the memorial.
Well, I was just wondering if I could take you? Of course you can.
You have to remember that the music's probably not going to be the same as what you're used to in Philadelphia though.
Well, that's okay.
I can dance to anything, Rob.
Ruth? (upbeat music) Ruth.
Theo! (laughing) [Kathleen.]
Oh no.
Of all the places.
What are you doing here? Did father send you? - [Theo.]
- Is he all right? The last time I saw him he was barking orders at the copy boy, same as he always has.
Of course, you wouldn't know but I left the Post.
I'm working for Associated Press now.
Associated Press.
I can't believe this.
You came all the way here to this, this It's called Paterson's Ridge.
Rob, this is a very dear friend of mine from Philadelphia.
This is Mr.
Theodore Knox.
Rob McGregor.
And this is Mrs.
Kathleen O'Neil.
She Runs the newspaper.
Yeah, we've met.
- Mrs.
- Mr Knox.
Theo, please.
The same goes for you, Bob.
What are you doing here, Theo? What could have possibly have brought you all the way out to Australia? Not what, who.
A journalist, Jack Holbright.
(slow gentle music) You know him? What's so important that would bring a fellow from America all the way out here looking for him? Okay.
I'm here to make him an offer.
Associated Press wants Jack Holbright, and they won't take no for an answer.
What is it about this fellow? What aren't you telling me? It's me, Theo.
I'm Jack Holbright.
I'm the one who's been sending all those articles to the Post.
Does your father know it's you? Not yet, but I do intend to tell him.
I'm sure he'd appreciate that.
The Associated Press really wants Jack Holbright? I've got the contract in my luggage.
Of course, it's no use to anyone now.
We don't employ women correspondents.
Well then it's time that you did.
Jack Holbright proved himself the day the Post published his first article, Theo.
The fact that he's a woman makes no difference.
It makes all the difference in the world, Ruth.
But you didn't know it til I told you.
It's not a matter of knowing or not knowing.
The plain truth is that Oh, the plain truth is that men like you don't want women doing anything more then cooking their meals and turning down the beds.
Oh, Ruth.
Theo, listen to me.
The world is changing.
And it's women like me and Mrs.
O'Neil who are forcing those changes.
And it's men like you and father who are standing in the way.
So, now that you know about Jack Holbright, what are you going to do? Advise them of the truth.
And let me give you a little advice, Ruth.
Go home to your father.
(slow music) Good day to you.
It's good to see you again.
And you, Ruth.
Before I left Philadelphia, Theo Knox began courting me.
Ruth, I don't need to know this.
You do, Rob.
I want you to know because I want you to understand.
Well, what is there to understand? I mean, why is he here? He didn't even know I was here.
It's not personal, not anymore.
Theo and my father, they share the same way of thinking, Rob.
They're both narrow-minded.
And I don't want to be the kind of woman that Theo wants me to be.
He's just like my father.
Neither of them could accept that I could have a career.
And it seems apparent that they haven't changed their opinion.
Ruth, perhaps when your father finds out that you're Jack Holbright, he'll realize that he's misjudged your abilities.
Well, going by Theo's reaction, I doubt it.
What are you going to do? She's going to get on with her job because she's a professional, and because that's what I'm paying her to do.
So let's find out all we can about our founding father, Mr.
And maybe we'll even find out why he vanished.
I'm sorry if I embarrassed you outside.
No, I'm sorry about the way I reacted.
I better go.
I'd like that cable dispatched to the Associated Press of America immediately.
The second cable should be sent to a Mr.
James Whitney of the Philadelphia Post as follows.
Pleased to relay that I have by chance located Ruth working in Australia as Jack Holbright.
I wait your instructions.
Regards, Theo Knox.
If there are any replies, you'll find me at Mrs.
O'Brien's boarding house.
Thank you.
All right, listen to this.
Quinn was born in London the 2nd of August, 1804.
And then in 1827 he came to Australia.
Does he say what he did? Well, he talks about arriving here and how he built his hut.
How he cleared the land and planted crops.
He sounds very successful.
You know, it's a curious thing, but in Australia it was the convicts and not the free settlers who became the commercial successes.
If he was so successful, why did he leave? And where did he go? What's the last entry? All right.
Um, it's March 1840.
He was given a big lease of land.
"I have decided to call the property Balmoral.
" But I thought the Blackwoods established Balmoral? (slow dramatic music) They did.
That's the year they built the foundation stone at Balmoral.
I've seen it.
Well, the journal entries stop, Quinn vanishes, and the Blackwoods get Balmoral.
Is it possible? I mean, could one of the Blackwoods have Murdered him? Well, with the Blackwoods anything's possible.
(slow gentle music) - [Mrs.
Good morning, Ruth.
- Good morning, Mrs.
Thank you for the use of the ledgers.
My pleasure.
Hello, Victoria.
How are you? Well, thank you.
I'll take this one.
And how is the research progressing? Interesting.
In fact, there's a little matter that you may be able to help me with.
It's regarding the first man to settle here.
His name was Quinn.
Rob and I took a drive out to Quinn's hut the other day.
I suppose that you heard it was burnt down.
Yes, I did.
Well Quinn kept a journal and we found it by accident.
The fire must have uncovered it.
This is fascinating, Ruth, but I don't see how it involves the Blackwoods.
What would you like to ask me? Well, I suppose that there is a reasonable explanation.
It's just that Quinn, in the journal, he talks about Balmoral as though it were his.
And we know that the Blackwoods established the property, of course.
Blackwoods have always owned Balmoral.
In fact, the property was named by my grandfather.
As for this man, Quinn, I vaguely remember my father making mention of him.
He used to own a snuff that had Quinn's initials on it.
But nothing else that I can remember.
Mm, I see.
And I really must rush.
Good luck with the research.
Thank you.
Frank, I need to talk to you.
It can wait.
No, it can't.
It's got a stone in its hoof, it's lame.
Pick another one.
Ruth's found a journal, Quinn's journal.
It was uncovered by the fire at the hut.
Frank, I warned you.
So she's got a journal.
It doesn't prove anything.
You don't know what's in it.
(slow dramatic music) All right, I'll take care of it Ruth, I was on my way here to invite you to dinner.
Oh, I'm very busy, Theo.
But then a telegram arrived for me.
From your father.
"Your cable received with great surprise and joy.
"Please advise Ruth position available "in editorial staff in Philadelphia.
"Best regards, James Whitney.
" Ruth, he's offering you what you've always wanted, a career on the paper.
But doing what, Theo? Working on a sewing column? I wouldn't exactly call that a career.
No, you're wrong.
He believes in Jack Holbright.
He published those articles.
Ruth, the only reason Associated Press came looking for Jack Holbright was because your father said he was the most exciting find the Post had ever made.
I don't believe it.
I've done it, Theo.
I've finally proven to my father that I'm a writer.
If anyone could do it, you could.
Take the job, Ruth.
It's a wonderful offer.
But don't you see, Theo? If I could prove it to father, then I could prove it to the Associated Press.
Oh, Ruth.
Please, try to be realistic.
They will not hire you.
There are limits for women in the professional world.
Well, I see you haven't changed, Theo.
No, and neither have you, Ruth.
You're still stubborn as ever.
(dramatic music) (slow suspenseful music) (furniture banging) Who's there? (footsteps running) (dramatic music) Yes, well the lock has been forced.
But that's easy to fix.
What I don't understand is, why would anyone want to break in here? I mean, what would they be after? Quinn's journal.
What? It was in here.
You know who did this, Kathleen.
It was the Blackwoods.
No, we can't be certain of that.
If they didn't do it, then who did? It might have been anyone.
It was dark, that's what you said.
Do you know what this town needs? Wyatt Earp.
Ah, might one inquire as to where you will be in case we need you? Doing research, Mr.
Gleeson, at Boot Hill.
The cemetery, James.
(door slamming) More telegrams, Theo? Ruth.
Can I talk to you for a minute? I've made a fool of myself.
Bad judgment on my part.
Luckily for you there are people, men, within the organization who do not share my fears about women doing men's work.
(slow gentle music) Difficult for you to resist, I suspect.
Is this true? Genuine article.
The world is at your feet, Ruth Whitney.
You're in the big league now.
Are you all right? I think so.
I know it's a hard choice.
You're falling in love with him, aren't you? If I stay.
Oh, the Associated Press are offering you a job.
Ruth Whitney, not Jack Holbright.
It's wonderful.
The Associated Press of America's first female correspondent.
If I go.
But how can I leave all the friends that I've made here, especially Rob.
And my father.
I mean, once upon a time working for my father was, it was all I ever dreamed of.
Ruth, you can't hope to please everyone.
Whatever you choose, choose what's best for you.
It's your life, no one else's.
Francis Blackwood, born August 2nd, 1804.
Of course.
Found something? I think so.
This came for me this morning.
(slow gentle music) It doesn't mean I'm going to take it.
Well, why not? It's what you've always wanted.
What you want can change.
Surely not that much.
Not that quickly.
Ruth, if you don't take this you're always going to wonder what you've missed out on.
But if I do take it, or even if I go home, don't you think I'm going to wonder exactly the same thing every time I think about what I've left behind? Kathleen and the Chronicle.
I remember you gave me some advice once.
You said, you said I always had to be true to myself.
Well now it's your turn.
You have to do what's right for you.
Not for Kathleen, not for your father, and not for me.
Ruth, what do you want? I want to change the way people think.
I want to make them understand that the differences between men and women are not that great.
Oh Rob, it's so exciting in New Zealand.
Women have been given the vote for the first time in his There really is no choice, is there? Not if you want to change the world.
I'm going to miss you.
(slow music) Have a seat.
Thank you for coming.
Do we have a choice? Not if you want to keep this thing quiet.
The note mentioned our grandfather.
You mean George Quinn? You can't prove that.
Maybe not, but I can make it very entertaining reading.
Perhaps if you tell us what you know, Miss Whitney.
And what you want.
All right.
It was the birthdate that gave it away.
August 2nd, 1804.
Same date, same man.
And you asked me what I want.
I'll tell you.
I want to know why.
I want to know why he changed his name, and I want to know why you tried to hide it.
- That is none of your - Quiet, Frank.
George Quinn was our grandfather.
He was a convict.
Transported from England.
He escaped from Sydney and made his way here.
So why did he change his name? Because escaped convicts cannot own land, Miss Whitney.
So Balmoral could be taken from you.
I doubt that.
The original claim wouldn't stand up.
There is a statute of limitations.
But I don't think that's what you want.
This town needs us.
It needs the jobs we provide, the wages we pay.
Well, it doesn't need people who commit arson and robbery.
Arson and robbery? That hut was my grandfather's, and so was the journal.
We were just taking what was ours.
That journal was a piece of history.
Did you burn that too? No.
I wouldn't allow it.
Are you going to publish the story, Ruth? (slow music) No.
Because I don't work here anymore.
But if in the name of goodwill you would like to make a contribution to the memorial fund.
I don't see any reason why not.
I mean, the Blackwood name should be remembered.
You know, both of you have every reason to be proud of your grandfather.
He must have been an extraordinary man.
He deserves to be remembered.
So if you want to keep your secret, the name on the memorial will have to be George Quinn.
(Victoria laughs) Of course.
(upbeat music) (audience applauding) My good friends, it gives me great pleasure to announce that this evening's proceedings have raised the princely sum of 16 pounds nine shillings and sixpence for the memorial fund.
(audience applauding) Wonderful effort.
On a sadder note, our dear friend, Miss Ruth Whitney leaves tomorrow on the first leg of her long journey to report on the New Zealand elections.
- Bon voyage, Ruth.
- [Man.]
Here, here.
Thank you.
I only hope that she might return one day to write about women voting here at Paterson's Ridge.
(audience applauding) Band, play on.
(upbeat music) (upbeat country music)