Switchback (1997) - full transcript

F.B.I. agent Frank LaCrosse returns home to find his home has been broken into, his son is missing and Missy the babysitter is lying in a pool of her own insides. Her murder being the hallmarks of a elusive enigmatic serial killer whose slaughter spree...stretches nearly two years. Frank's desperate pursuit leads to Amarillo, Texas, where two more victims matching the killers M.O. have been found slashed to death. As Frank searches for his suspect the local Sheriff Buck Olmstead and his Deputy Nate Booker investigate the killings in-between a heated election feud, with his competition police chief Jack McGinnis. All the while drifting former doctor Lane Dixon is picked up by ex-railroad man, Bob Goodall. As a local Mechanic, Clyde 'Shorty' Callahan becomes the latest victim. Frank hopes and prays to find this sociopath before he disappears perhaps forever into the rocky mountains

whoo, there.

your folks are gonna
be home soon,

and they're gonna
get me if they see
you're still up.

ooh, hold still,
hold still.

we got to
dry you off.

there you go.

[doorbell rings]

let me get your
head in there.

oh. is somebody
at the door?

i don't care.

who can it be?

[doorbell rings]

now, you play
with your train.

i'll be right back, ok?

yeah. hurry back.
all right.

evening, ma'am.

is frank or jean home?

no, they're not.
they'll be back realsoon.

you must be missy.

forgive me for not
introducing myself, missy.

i'm tom bellingham,
an old friend of jean's
from denver.

i told her last week
i'd stop in and say hello.

when did you say
they'd be back?

maybe 30 minutes.

i'm gonna miss them.

my plane leaves
in an hour.

would you tell them
that i just dropped by

to steal a peek
at little andy?

my wife would kill me
if i came all the way
from denver

and didn't say hello.

i'm sorry, mr. bellingham.
they'll be home real soon.

i understand.

don't you worry.





[muffled screaming]

[andy grunts]

[horn blows]

"jack mcginnis
for sheriff.

it is time for a change."

my god,
that boy can smile.

[bells ringing]

morning, sheriff.

deputy in background:
coroner's been on scene
about 20, 25 minutes.

dispatcher on radio:
is the sheriff there yet?

deputy: that's a 10-4.
the sheriff's here now.

dispatcher: all right.
i'll release a couple
of units then.

reporter: coming on
the election eve,

amarillo residents
will certainly...

morning, boys.
morning, sheriff.

morning, sir.

thanks, charlie.


hey, sheriff.

hey, bud.
how's your daddy?

he's doing better.
i'll tell him you asked.

tell him to stay off
that leg.




you want to tell me
about it?

aw, ain't so bad.

male had a severed
femoral artery
in the groin area.

had her throat cut.

both wounds,
single incisions,
almost surgical cuts.

whoever done this knew
what they were doing.

nothing tentative about it.

i can give you more
when we get them
out of here.

how are you holding up?

when have you ever
known me to worry
about an election?

never. then again,
i've never known anybody
who could beat you before.

you still don't.

buck: nate.
tell me about it.

this fella registered
as, uh, bill sutherland.

home, fort worth.
checked in alone,
but paid for 2.

the owner said that he paid
from a thick wad of bills
like to choke a horse.

now, we have no money,
have no wallet.

keys, car are gone.
we're gonna get an i.d.
on the car any minute.

what about the girl?

she was a maid here
at the motel.

it's a family place.

here it is...

now, he's
in the bathroom.

he's finished
with sutherland.

she knocks on the door.

there's no answer.

she comes in.

he grabs her,
cuts her,

stops the blood
with the towel,

and then carries her
into the bathroom.


go figure.

what about
the other guy?

no, no one saw
another person.

both beds
have been slept in.

we found hair samples
in this bed matches

now, this bed's
been slept in,
but it's clean.

clean? is that a fact?

we will check it again.

we're pulling the 4 hours
surrounding the time
of the murders.

buck, we don't know
if he even came in here...

or who we're looking for.

soon as you can, nate,
bring in the waitresses.

find out
who they know...

regular customers first,

then work back
from there.

your sister
gonna vote for me?

well, she sure likes
your billboards.

aw, jeez. mcginnis.

hey, jack,
how you doin'?

looks like a bad one,

thought i'd come by
to see if you
needed any help.

well, that's mighty nice
of you to offer, jack.

maybe you and your boys
can handle traffic
out on the street.

a lot of people are
gonna be concerned
about this one

when they hear
about it, buck.

if this killer turns up
in my jurisdiction,

don't expect
a courtesy call.

if he's in
your jurisdiction, jack,

he's safe
as a church-mouse.

so what about
this missing car?

1996 ford explorer,
red, texas plates.

state patrol's got
the word out on it.

find it.

comin' up
on our turnoff.

sure you won't
come up,
stay the night?

thanks. uh, i need
to get a little further
up the road before dark.

well, just don't
get stuck out here
if this storm hits.

thanks for stopping.

radio: * there's a girl
with a heart *

* as big as the sky *

well, get in, boy.

i can't heat this car
and the whole
new mexico desert, too.

* all for the love
of sunshine *

* all for the love
of sunshine *

[clicks off radio]

[doors lock]

always drive with
my doors locked,
seat belts on.


i'm a creature
of habit.

some collection, eh?


you should have seen
my first one.

'82 seville.

had my girls
all lacquered on
with liquid sealer.

man, it was a beaut.

but after a while,
you know,
your tastes change,

you get tired of
looking at the same
old faces and all.

when i ran out of room
to put up new ones,
i had to sell her.

man, i had a heck
of a time trying
to get rid of her.

i bet.

this honey here,

this baby's
the state of the art.

now if get tired
of one of my sugars,

i just slip her out...

toss her...
and put me up a new one.

don't worry,
trudy, honey.

i wasn't going to
throw you away...yet.

hell of a lot cheaper
than buying a new car.


i'm pulling your leg.
ain't my car.

it's a friend's.
i'm just returning it
to him.

had you going, didn't i?

name's goodall.
bob goodall.

lane dixon.

where you heading,


big place, utah.

salt lake city.

me, too. now,
how's that for luck?

first i save you
from freezing to death,

now you got a free ride
to mormon land.

must be my lucky day.
must be.

i almost didn't stop.

in the old days,

i'd never think twice
about picking up
a rider.

these days, you can't
be too careful who
you let in your car.

you know, if you'd just
let me out at this place
we're coming up on,

that'd be great.

i don't think so.
there's another place

about 20 miles
up the road.

look, i said
i want out here.

sorry, friend.
this is mining country.

i can take care
of myself.

i believe you
just might be
fool enough to try.

[country music playing]

thanks for the lift.

hell, lettin'
a bunch of naked women
scare you off. heh heh.

[country music playing]

how you doin'?

i'll have a beer.

don't have beer.

ok, uh...

i'll have whatever's
in one of those bottles.

lane: i was hoping
i might catch a ride
over to raton.


you might be
waiting here
a long time, then.

well, i'll take
a ride anywhere
in that direction.

i bet you would.


you got a problem
with something?

you say this
is the guy, ben?

he's one of them,
all right.

my friend ben here

was in raton
last friday night.

claims you and some
of your friends jumped him.

well, he's mistaken.

and you're
a goddamn liar.


they aren't going
in your direction.

course right now,

i figure you'd
probably take a lift
in any direction.

look, i'm not
calling your friend
or anyone else a liar.

all i'm saying is
i wouldn't have
done that to anybody.

on your feet, boy!

you made a bad mistake
comin' in here.


now, seein' that ben can't
do this to you himself,

i'm going to teach you
a lesson.

man: hey, rick.
do it again.

come on!

your memory
becoming clearer?

i never saw him before.


son of a bitch!

get his goddamn legs.

want another piece
of him?

no, i got to
take a leak.



you keep him warmed up
till i get back, huh?


[lane grunting]

lane: uhh!

hey, luke! i said
don't kill the bastard!

i'll be right back!
ha ha ha ha.

hoo hoo ha ha ha.

try it,
and it's history.

rick: luke!
he's got a knife on me!

bring the guy
in here, alone, man.

luke: let him go.

i'll blow your
friend's head off.

some friends you got.

i didn't come
to negotiate, bud.

aah! don't bargain
with him, you asshole!
he'll cut my dick off!

now slide the piece
over here.

and let him go.

bob: you ok?


pick up the gun

and get the keys
out of my pocket.

pull the car out front,

and when you're
ready, honk.

what about you?

i'll be out directly.

hey--hey, man,
he--he let the guy go.

w-w-why don't you
do likewise, huh?

i mean, that--
that was the deal.


who said anything
about a deal?


wha--w-what are you
going to do?

oh, no, no, no, no.

no, no, please. aah!

oh! oh, thank god.

oh, thank you.

still itching
for a fight, bud?

come on and get
some of this.

lane: it's ok, bob!


ha ha ha!

nothin' like a little
excitement to get
the old blood a-pumpin'!

what you looking for?

looking for them.
someone following us?

not yet.

yeah, that's because
it takes time to
change a flat tire.

did you slash
their tires?

yeah... hell, no.

i'd have been
there all night.

how you feelin'?

must've got worked over
pretty good.

i'll live.


yeah, feeling's mutual,


i heard you were
in early.

did find a hair
in that second bed.

they're pushing it

and we isolated
20 unknowns
in the videotapes.

i ran into billy coogan
last night.

he said we're
leading mcginnis
2 to 1 out his way.

did you end up calling in
the fed boys on
those motel killings?

no. why?

'cause it looks like
we've got company.

you ever see anything
like that before?


i'll see ya, buck.
good luck out there today.

have a good day, jim.

make sure
you stop by the polls.

sheriff olmstead.


sally: it's coming,

care for some breakfast,
mr. lacrosse?

oh, no, thank you.


what can we do
for the fbi today?

you have 2 bodies
in the morgue.

i need the car
that was taken
from the motel.

take a number.

time is critical,

time is always critical,
mr. lacrosse.

what makes you so sure
that we're talkin' about
the same killer here?

excuse me.

severed femoral artery,

single incisions,
5 to 7 inches long,

inch and a half deep.

you've seen the bodies.

no prints, no weapon,
no witnesses.

i know this killer,

and when he kills,
he moves fast,

and the only chance
you have of catching him

is to find out
what he's driving

or to be
incredibly lucky.

do you mind if i call you
by your first name, frank?

now, you say
you know this killer.

you got
a physical description?

height? weight?
hair color?

male between the ages
of 20 to 50,

medium to large build,
from a western state.

probably spent a lot
of time in the east.

well, that really
narrows the field down,
doesn't it, frank?

he's a serial killer,

nate: well,
the serial killers
we've dealt with

didn't seem
to want to have
their victims found.

this one does.

sally, bring me a cup
to go, please.

right up, buck.

well, who knows, frank?

maybe we'll both
get lucky today.

hey, oscar.
hey, buck.

well, the city police
spotted the car
about 4 a.m.

the officers tailed it here,
and then instead of waiting
for backup,

one of the cops
followed him inside...

that's when the suspect
started shooting.

just beautiful.

yeah, well, he's holed up
in back someplace.

of course, mcginnis
has got his whole
swat team here now,

and he won't let any of
our deputies near the place.

course not. hell,
the tv trucks might
show up any minute.

nate: speak of the devil.

could i have
your flashlight, please?


all dressed up.

well, buck, come to see
how a real operation
is done?

i declare, jack,

you must have calluses
from patting yourself
on the back so much.

why don't you just
give me the facts here?

hold this, please.

yes, sir.

oh, my god.

what the hell's
going on over there?



christ. allen's down.
we can't reach him.

we're falling back.

bill. bill!

allen's hit.
he's in the room.

i need instructions.

get him out
of there, jack.

is he alone?

the hell's this?

jack, this is
frank lacrosse, fbi.

ask him.

listen, mister,
i got a man down--

ask him!

bill, is he alone?

bill: can't tell.

he says he's holding
a knife on one of them.

bill, where are you
in relation to the room?

we're down the hall,
northwest stairwell.

hey! hey!

bill, you're about
to have some company.
stop him!

man: i got a family
in here!

give me a 2-way
in here right now!

i want a radio!

only one down?

sir, chief mcginnis
said that--

shit. he's going
into the room.

man: shut that door!

if he gets one
of my men killed...

well, that'd make you
look real bad,
wouldn't it, jack?

all this tv coverage,
you in charge.

man: what's going on
out there?

i swear to god, i'll start
cutting in here!

who the fuck are you?

i said i negotiate
only by radio.

answer me!

are you blind, man?
i got a knife!

i see it.

uh-uh. they don't
go anywhere,
or i cut him.

they don't
have a choice.

man, i don't know
who you are,

but i'm gonna
make you pay.

before you do...

i just want to ask you
one question.


you're crazy.

where'd you get the car?

i ain't answerin'
any of your fuck--aah!

who fired that shot?

it came from inside
the apartment.

now...where did you
get the car?


the car...

from the motel.

get in there. now.

i don't know nothin'
about a motel.

i boosted it
a couple hours ago.




where'd this come from?

in the car.

along with a body.

thanks a lot, frank.

32 years of dedicated
public service,

and you just wiped
the slate clean with
one quick, easy stroke.

what are you
talking about?

oh, hell. never mind.

i'm glad you
caught the killer.

he's not the killer.

lane: good morning.
ha ha ha.

[lane chuckles]

[car rattling]

[train horn blowing]


your 7 a.m.
wake-up call.

you know, you could have
just given me a shake.

i wake easily.

my god.


mcginnis: hector saldez...

8 priors.
2 assaults with a knife,

armed robbery, conviction
of second-degree murder
in oklahoma,

and now caught in possession
of a murder victim's wallet
and car.

all you've got
on him is possession
of a stolen vehicle.

he didn't know
about the wallet
till i showed it to him.

i bet he didn't even know
there was a body in the car.

says you. ballistics have
already matched the gun

he used on my men
as the one used to cap
that john doe in the car.

any more

jack, i think all
frank's trying to say here

is we need
to keep our options open.

there's no "we"
in this, buck.

i have the suspect
in custody,

and as soon as i
get the green light
from the d.a.,

i'm going to announce
that saldez
is being charged

with the murders
of those 3 people.

don't do that.

he's setting you up.

you make that announcement,
he'll kill again
just to embarrass you.

embarrass me?

i suppose you've had
that happen to you
before, mr. lacrosse?


oh, i get it.

well, you would
like me to delay
that announcement

till after the election,
wouldn't you, buck?

that was a nice try.

who the hell
is this guy anyway?

i mean, how many times
you seen an fbi agent
work a case alone?

we can find out.

don't have much use
for us state and local
boys, do you, frank?

it's a prejudice
i have, sheriff.

no one's proved me
wrong yet.

well, i have my problems
with jack myself,

but, you know, there
for a brief moment,

i found myself thinking
he was making a lot
more sense than you.

i don't care what
you think, sheriff.

maybe not,

but you need me,

or you'd be
long gone by now.

why believe me
and not him?

first of all, i've seen
a hell of a lot more
murders than he has,

and these just don't
seem to fit that man
he's got in lockup.


maybe you haven't noticed,
but chief mcginnis and i

are engaged in an election
battle for my office
which he desperately wants,

and which i--i'm sad to say--
am desperate to defend.


well, i'll take that
as a compliment.

but the fact remains
he has a suspect
in custody and i don't.

but i'm here
to tell you, frank,

i'm not going to be
worth a damn to you
in this investigation

unless i know what you
know about this killer.


[country music playing]

when i turned around
and saw that 30.30
staring down at me,

i thought,
wow, this is it.

no joining the birds
this time.

joining the what?

old railroaders used to say
that if you were on a train

that was about to crash
and you had a chance to jump,

you were joining the birds.

you worked
on the railroad.

for a while.

mined a while,
cowboy'd a while.

fact, i did a little bit
of everything up here.

man: hey, fae,
is this ticket right?

how we gonna get through
with the storm?

ain't gonna affect us much.
it's going north.

what about you,
lane dixon?

what kind of work you do?

i'm between jobs
right now.

before that.

before that, uh...

i worked
in a hospital.

orderly? nurse?

well, i did a little
bit of everything.


that's what's
in utah, a job?

no. i've just been,

it's my first time

cook: come over
from alamosa?

man: yep.
how is it up there?

man: it's not bad.
worst of it's going north.

cook: well, we've been
watching it come down here

for the last hour or so.

how'd you know?

my father
used to say,

"weather don't
make the rules.

mountains do."

and i know
the mountains.

how y'all doing?

we're doing
just fine here.

how about you, darlin'?
get you anything?

i'm ok, thanks.

your friend's cute,
but shy.

i'm gonna get a paper.

now, did i scare him off?

tell him i won't bite
if he looks me in the eye.


[man coughing]


you all right?

he's chokin'.

he ain't breathing.
call an ambulance.

god damn it, fae,
call the ambulance!

fae: is he gonna die?

let me look at him.
i'm a doctor.

get back.
let him look at him.

he's got something
really jammed in there.

god, he's
turning blue.

get in the kitchen, fae.
god damn it, go on!

get him on the counter.

i'm going to need
a first-aid kit.

i need some alcohol.

and give me
that right there.

open up his shirt.

ok, open the bottle.

now pour.

fae: oh, my god.

god damn it, fae,
get in--

god damn!
dr. dixon.

don't call me that.

hey, i didn't
make that up.

you called
yourself one.

it clears a path.

don't give me that bullshit.

what you did in there wasn't
something you picked up
out of some book.

you've had training.

now, maybe you've
been in medical school
and dropped out,

or maybe you been
in the army,

but you don't lie to me
that you're no doctor

because i was just in
the operating room with you.

i don't want
to talk about it.

dr. dixon.

he kills for
the sensation of power.

he started with
the unconnected victim.

no one missed them
when they were alive,

and it was a long time
before anyone realized
that they were gone.

he is credited
with at least
18 known deaths.

no way of knowing
how many came

before he began
telling me about them.

he tells you about them.

what's he do, call you?

he writes.
he sends me these.

buck: why you, frank?

i headed a task force
that tracked him
for 15 months.

after the task force
formed, he changed.

he got bolder.

he started
taking more risks.

he began to see
the murders as a kind
of competition.

he turned it
into a damn game on you.


and he took
his publicity
very seriously.

but it got
harder for him.

he started
making mistakes.
we got closer.

then 3 months ago...

he just stopped.


i don't know.

he's been quiet
ever since.

[watch beeps]

i need to make a call.

go ahead on in
and use the phone
in my office, frank.

there ain't
no doubt about it.
he knows this killer.

[nate sighs]

what are you
thinking, nate?

i'm thinkin' it's 8 a.m.,
polls are open,

and i hope to god
we're hunting the right man.

it's me.


since about 4:00
this morning.

no, i was too late again.

they did?


what did you tell them?

don't cry, honey.

no, i don't think that
they know i'm here yet.

we'll deal with that
when it comes.

i love you.

bob: you're
a strange one, doc.

you're smart,
cool under pressure.

yet something's
bothering you.

fine. you don't
want to talk about it,

that's your business.
i quit.

i was a first-year intern.

i was good.

hell, i was cocky
i thought i was so good.

when it started
to get heavy,

i used to watch other
post-graduates wash out,

and i'd think,
"that'll never happen to me."

well...here i am.

what happened?

you have a patient die
on you or something?


that's gonna happen.

but you go home,
get some sleep,

get up the next day
and try again.

yeah, i did.

it just, uh...

i couldn't shake it,
you know?

well, you seemed
cured today.

this time.

but what about
the next time?

what do you want,

there ain't
no guarantees.

what a waste.

yeah. i've heard
that before.

yeah, bet you have.

and like anyone else
in your life, i got
nothing invested in you.

my father used to say,

"nerve succeeds."

you've got the nerve, doc,

and i've seen it up close.

if you really were a quitter,

you would have stood around
like the rest of us.

deputy: as of 7:30
this morning, we have
6 reported missing persons--

3 of those are women--

and 5 homeless
who didn't report
to shelters last night.

rule out the homeless.

he needed transportation.

secretary: sheriff?

mr. saldez's attorney,
mr. martinez, is here,

and he is breathing fire
about mr. lacrosse
shooting his client.

thank you, becky.

we really do need for
this guy to cooperate
with us, frank.


maybe nate and i ought
to talk to him alone.

no. i'll talk to him.


mr. lacrosse?
the lab reports
just came back

about that hair
they found in the bed.

it is definitely
not saldez's.

a 36052.

i beg your pardon?

special agent
frank lacrosse,

am i glad
to see you.

mr. martinez,
thank you for coming in.

i wouldn't miss it.

i wanted to thank you

for making my job of
defending hector saldez

such an easy one.


how's that?
how's that?

how's violating three
of his constitutional
rights for starters?

torturing him?
questioning him?

failure to advise him
of his rights?

oh, mr. lacrosse,
you're a godsend.

may i remind you

that your client
was holding a knife
on an innocent man?

you can remind me
all you want to,

it ain't going
to mean jack
to the jury.

so i take it you don't
wish to cooperate with us?

what, are you kidding?

i came here to thank you

on behalf of my client
who i will also be

in civil proceedings
against you and
the city.

good day, gentlemen.

sit down,
mr. martinez.

you didn't hear
what i said?
i'm not staying.

oh, yes, you are.

what are you going
to do, special agent?

are you going to put
a bullet in me, too?

[knock on door]

uh, excuse me, sir.
the lab report
just got back.

it was a 36052.

thank you, bud.

nate: bud, what the hell
are you talking about?

i'm sorry, mr. martinez.
i've wasted your time.

um, what do you
mean by that 360--

oh, that's a lab term.

it's about a hair
we found in the motel.

we'll see you in court.

lab term?

'cause, look,
you wanted to know
about the car, right?

oh, that's
no longer necessary.

'cause i--i could tell you
if we made a deal.

buck: jorge...


what kind of deal
are we talking
about here?

drop the murder charges,

and i'll tell you where
he found the explorer.

forget it.

you know you can't
prove anything.

we'll see.

sometimes you win,

sometimes you lose,

he boosted the car
at the airport.

long-term parking,
lot "c."

bud: get that list
of stolen cars.

thank you, mr. martinez.

what about the hair?

oh, yeah. it belonged to a male
in his early 20s.


son of a bitch.

son of a bitch.

go back
to the waitresses
at the restaurant.

see if that hair color
sparks anything.

you got it,
mr. lacrosse.

they teach you that
little 36052 maneuver

back at the academy,
did they, frank?

no. my wife did.

and what is she,
a con woman?

sort of.

she's a lawyer.

airport security
does have videotape on
all the license plates

coming and going
from long-term parking.

we're going to pull
the last 24 hours

and cross-check that
with stolen vehicles.

well, frank, it looks like
you may have just gotten
your first big break.

i think we ought to make
an announcement, buck.


we don't know
anything yet.

we know it's not saldez.

we can blow
mcginnis' case clear
out of the water.


you do that, you'd be
letting the real killer

know that we're onto him.

i think we'd be making
a big mistake, buck.

most of the folks
in town here are going
to be voting

on their lunch hour.
we still got time.

is that what's
going on here,

winning an election?

winning that election is
my goddamn livelihood.

now, i know you don't
give a tinker's damn
about that,

but i've been working
hard in this office
for 15 years,

and if
jack mcginnis wins,

buck olmstead ain't
the only one who's gonna
lose out around here.

the only reason
mcginnis has not made
that announcement

is because he
doesn't have enough
to charge saldez.

and until that time comes,

we just stand pat.

sheriff, telephone.

sheriff olmstead.
how can i help you?

sheriff, grant montgomery,
fbi here in dallas.

i understand frank lacrosse
is in your custody.

well, he's here.
he's not in my custody.

well, i'll be arriving
in a couple of hours
to take him off your hands.

mr. montgomery, he's
working on a case here.

shouldn't be. should
be in philadelphia
on another assignment,

which he left 24 hours ago
without authorization.

and this isn't
the first time, sheriff.

he's left duty posts 3 times
in the last 2 months.

he's currently
on bureau probation.

you want to tell me
what he did wrong?

not your problem, sheriff,

but i'd appreciate it
if you'd hold him
till we get there.

what about your
ongoing investigation
with this killer?

is that what he told you?

there is no ongoing
fbi investigation, sheriff.

the case has been
closed for nearly 3 months.

that's impossible.
look, sheriff--

no. you look!

now, i got 3 people
dead in this town,

and you tell me
you're coming to
pick up the only man

that seems to know
what the hell
is going on?

now, i want
some answers.

i don't give a shit
what you want.

right now, the only thing
that you'd better deal with

is keeping that man
in your sight
till i get there.

now, if that's too much to ask
i can have a u.s. marshal

in your office in 5 minutes

who can handle that kind
of responsibility.

are we clear, sheriff?

[hangs up]

what's going on?

i don't know.

lane: what's
wrong with it?

it's not tuned
for this elevation.

did you fix it?


just patched it till
we get to the next town.

and where is that?

not far.

find everything ok,

yeah. thanks.

is this your wife
on the horse?


beautiful woman.

thanks, frank.

we had 33 wonderful
years together.

she passed on...

2 years ago.

i'm sorry.


how about you, frank?

where'd you meet
your wife at?

in law school.

so you're a lawyer, too.

i never took the bar.

i did an internship
one summer with the bureau

and never looked back.

any children?


and what does
your wife think

about you traipsing
all over the countryside
chasing banditos?

oh, actually, she's
very understanding.

that's key.

sit down and eat.

plenty more where
that came from.

no, thank you.


i make the very best
blts in this part
of the country.

the secret's
in the tomato.

built a greenhouse
out back--

he took my son.


you asked me why
he stopped killing.

we were getting close.
we had several breaks.

outside of boston,
we had roadblocks set up

within 20 minutes
of a murder there,

and he slipped
through them.

everybody felt it was
just a matter of time

before we nailed that guy.

and then he took my son.

and by doing that, he--

he removed you
from the case.

the bureau
gave the kidnapping
the highest priority.

2 weeks later,
they found this man at
a motel in wisconsin.

his prints matched
those found on my door,

and with his body,
we found detailed notes
about the victims.

dates, places, things
only the killer would know.

obviously, you don't
think the guy's dead.

it was too easy.

i tracked this man
for 18 months.

i know him.

he used that guy
to end the chase.

among the notes...

they found this.

that's my little boy.


believe in what?

i don't know.


18 victims,
18th of february...

day after tomorrow.

i assume your people
have checked
all this out?


they found nothing.

what about your son,

do you really think
he's still alive?

i don't have a choice.

texas plate, 234-4s3.

"james ruskin."


that's a hit.

james ruskin, missing out
of midland 2 days ago.

what's he driving?

'77 cadillac
eldorado, white.

we got it.
put the word out.

man: that fellow and me,

we went to school together,
went to work together,

he was the best man
at my wedding.

i broke my back 2 years ago.

you want to guess who fed
my kids while i was laid up?

come on, shorty. make me
sound like a saint.

that's broken, bob.

could you hand me
one of those spark plugs?

there you go.


what kind of work
did you guys do?

we cleared passes
for the rio grande.

you know,
a storm like this

can drop 1 1/2 to 2 feet
in these passes,

somebody's got
to clear 'em up

so the freight
can get through.

that was our job.

lane: and when did you
start doing this?

well, i was in
the service for a while,

i got married,
had a family.

i guess i figured i'd
better not tempt fate.

[radio playing]

radio: you're listening
to the country king.

620 on your dial.

and now the news.

amarillo city police
have confirmed...

hey, bob,
turn that up,
will you?

radio: suspect
in custody in connection
with the shooting

in a local apartment complex
early this morning.

sources close
to the investigation

say the suspect
may have some connection

with the 2 brutal murders
at a local motel

and a third body discovered
at the apartment complex.

you fellas been
following those murders
down in amarillo?

it's a bad business.

the last 2 days,
i've been carrying this.

you be careful
with that.

can't be too careful
is what i say.

you goin' somewhere?
stretch my legs.

how long before we're
outta here, shorty?

oh, about 10 minutes,

but you ain't goin'

you're staying
with us tonight.

next time.

sweet tooth.


bob wouldn't tell you,

but he's got
a vicious sweet tooth.


[bell on door rings]

pretty when it comes
down like that.

yeah. and if it
gets any prettier,

i'll be spending
the night here.

i just want to pick up
some candy.


pretty quiet.

quiet isn't the word.

i broke my tail
to get into work today,

nearly ran off
the road twice,
and for what?

you're the first person
i've seen today.

what about your boss?

oh, well,
he calls and tells me
he can't make it in.

i told him,
even braddock's across
the street is closed,

but does he tell me
to lock up and go home
before i get stuck?

course not.

what can i get for you?

candy corn.
small bag.


why don't you
just lock the store up
and not tell him?

oh--ha!--i would,
but he's going to call
and check on me.

otherwise, believe me,
i'd be out of here.

hey, listen,
i didn't mean to bend
your ear with this.

it's 2.75.

[telephone rings]
oh, that's him.

playing country music]

[rustles paper bag]

better tell bob.

hey, shorty.

hey, john.

how about some gas?

comin' right up.
finished for the day?

just starting.

'77 eldorado. yours?

no. it's a friend
of mine's.

she's a beaut.

wait till you see
the interior.

whoa, baby!


yeah, that's right,
larry. not a soul
the entire morning.

[girl laughs]

yeah, well, i wish
you were paying me

what you're spending
to heat the place.






see you tomorrow.

you didn't
take my money.

oh, forget it.

if i rang it up,
he'd see it tomorrow
and give me hell.

well, at least let me
buy you a cup of coffee.


but i'd better
hit the road while
i got the chance.

hey, i hate to ask,
but i might need a hand
getting my car out.

if you wouldn't mind
helping me, and then...



you wouldn't be
leading me on, would you?

[bell on door rings]
lane: bob?

[door creaks, closes]

shorty's finished
with the car.

thanks for coming in
and telling me.

sorry i can't help you.

maybe next time.

the wind must have
turned it around.

sorry if i interrupted
something back there.

you flatter me, doc.

something wrong?


nice hat, doc.

wish you fellas
would change your mind.

next time, shorty.

hang on, doc.

i forgot something.
i'll be right back.


yo! back here, bob.

forget something?


shorty: if you're gonna
try to force money on me,

you should know better,
'cause i ain't accepting it.


what's the matter, buddy?

buck: when did he
spot it?

nate: 20 minutes ago
at a gas station
in martinsberg.

the officer did not
know the car was hot.

he's going back right
now to investigate.

do we have a description
of the driver?

yes. white male,
early 20s, brown hair.

matches one of our
unknowns from the motel.

and another thing,

they're here for him.


[horn honks]
light's changed.

yeah. i see it.

becky: they're here.

nate: thank god.

wait a minute, frank.

close the door.

oh, my god,
they're leavin'.

what's the story,

you said he'd be here
15 minutes ago.

well, you know, buck's
been having some car trouble.

he's got a bad solenoid
on that starter.

i'll call him.
i'll call him right now.

buck, what the hell
are you doing?

don't ask any questions
if you don't want
to hear the answer.

buck, are you
out of your mind?

you're messing with
a federal investigation here.

that's called
obstruction of justice.

i know exactly
what it's called.

get on the phone
to the airport.

tell them to have
the chopper standing
by in 10 minutes.

a department

and i want a car
waiting for him
in martinsberg.

buck, mcginnis is going
to have a field day
with this.

even if you do win,
he'll have you impeached.

well, i guess we can
just consider this
my last official act.

colorado state patrol
says they've got

set up in
a 200-mile radius.

lot of snow up there
right now. slow going.

maybe you'll get lucky.


[helicopter engine starts]


go find him, frank.

time's a wastin'.

[tires squealing]


it's cold.

i know.

heater ain't working.
radio, too.

shorty must
have blown a fuse
when he was working.

where are we?

my shortcut.

we'll skirt
the storm this way.

cut 2 hours
off our time.

if we get there.

trust me, doc.
trust me.

doc, while
you were sleepin',
i was thinkin'...

and i've decided
i have to ask
a great favor of you.

i have a son.

i'm not the best old man
he could have had,

but i do my best.

i have someone
to keep him for me.

where's his mother?

she's dead.

my sister keeps him.

why are you
telling me this?

i've been
thinking about

if something
happened to me,

he's got no one
to look up to.

gonna happen to you.

i don't need you
to take care of him.

he needs somebody
to sort of be
a godfather to him.

be an example.

what, me?

you're smart, doc.

tough. responsible.

hard qualities
to find these days.

if something
did happen to me,

i'd appreciate it
if you'd do that
for me.


thank you.

he lives in oakland.

8899 todd street.

down near the bay.

you remember
that address?

uh, 8899 todd.

yeah. thanks, doc.

i feel better

[tires squeal]


just in time, huh?

ha ha ha!


hold on, doc!

god damn it,
get out!




hey, bob!

i'm here!

don't come down here,

it's too dangerous!

my god.

can you get out?


no! it's jammed!

then i'm coming down!

stay up there!

one wrong move,

and they'll be digging
both our asses out in july.

hang on!


god damn, you deaf
son of a bitch,

i said stay up there!

it's a little too late
for that.

if we get out
of this thing,

i'm gonna beat the shit
out of you for sure.

this ain't so bad.

oh, no,
mr. ice-water-in-the-veins?

but now,
since you're down here,

you might as well get me
out of this.

uh, here...

here, i got
a better idea.

be careful not to cut
my pearls.


real easy.

don't want you cutting
the wrong thing.

god, i'm sure gonna
miss you girls.

thank you, baby.

i'll see you later.

let's get the hell
out of here!


i gotcha.



thanks, doc.

i'm gonna still beat
the shit out of you.

come on, let's git.

i hope you know
where we are.

i sure do, partner.

i sure do.

just a little stroll,

then a nice, warm bed.


i can smell that coffee
brewing right now.



[branches snapping]

yeah, and some grits,

bacon, and some biscuits
and honey.


smell it?

you're gonna
like this place, doc.

what the hell?


[breathing heavily]


what the hell
you think you got,
9 lives or something?




get on up here!


you think that's funny,




i got you, doc.


don't even think

about trying to pull
some local strings here,

i consider what you did
to be a serious
obstruction of justice,

and i'm gonna make sure
you remember this stay.

damn, grant,

you've got me quakin'
in my boots.

mr. lacrosse?


captain heber,
colorado state patrol.

i'm supposed to hold you
till your people
get up here tomorrow.

mind if i have
a look around,

be my guest.

victim's name was
clyde "shorty" callahan.

no murder weapon
was found.

never even tried
to pull it.

we figure
it was a blitz attack.

how else
can you do that

to a man
with a loaded .38?

maybe he trusted him.

we've still got roadblocks
up on routes 10, 160,
and out on 350.

if he wanted to get out
of this valley,

he'd have to pass
through one of them.

i guarantee
no cadillac has.

what about the roads
through the mountains,
have they been checked?

no need to.

i can tell you right now
they're completely

nothing going in or out.


you don't think he made it
past the roadblocks.

he's not in the mountains.

where is he?

i didn't say
he didn't get through
the roadblocks.

i said no cadillac
like that has.

i got a report
that says

there's over 200
stranded vehicles
on i-25 alone.

and that's just between
here and pueblo.

if he were heading
to alamosa,

the weather's worse.

and i think
when we start digging
all those vehicles out,

we're gonna find us
one white cadillac.

kinda got ahead
of himself, didn't he?

not even the 17th.

i asked ruth to hold
a room for you

over at the railroad
maintenance dorm

over by the tracks.

it's the only place
in town.

i thought you were
supposed to hold me.

well, it's 20 miles
to the nearest lockup,

and i figure if the killer
can't get out,

you can't either.

thanks, captain.

don't thank me.

thank buck olmstead.

damn shame
about that election.

won't be the same
without him.

[knock on door]


good evening.

you mr. lacrosse?


sign in here, please.

terrible thing,
that murder.

you know,
i used to baby-sit
for shorty

when he was just
a little fella.

i can't believe it.

[train horn blows]

good night, ruth.

see ya, bill.

you be careful up there

bill: you betcha.

[door closes]

shorty used to do that.

what's that?

clear the passes.

his wife made him
give it up

on account
it was too dangerous.

that's irony, isn't it?

he gave up clearing
the passes

'cause it was
too dangerous.

then he gets hisself killed
in his own garage.

well, here's your key.

the room is out the door
to the right.

here you go, bob.



where is everyone, al?

i thought this place
would be packed.

well, you can't get in,

and nobody's
getting out,

so it ain't packed.

[running water]

how'd you all get in
to la veta, anyway?

ah, we hoofed it.

little car trouble
up on the mountain.

you guys
are really lucky.


don't look like
he held up to well.

he did better
than you think.

wonderful, robby.

tell sally
it was delicious.

will do, sheriff.

i brought that little
something you asked for.

oh, thank you.

i'll get you a glass.

make it 2, will ya,

well, i see
you've adjusted well
to your new situation.

care to join the recently
unemployed in a drink?

don't be so down, nate.

it's not your fault.

i just can't help
thinking that...

maybe we should have
made that announcement.


or maybe if he'd killed
in midland

instead of amarillo...


if saldez would have had
his little shoot-'em-up

in our jurisdiction
instead of mcginnis'--

who knows?

maybe we should have
turned him in.

maybe we should've
done a lot of things


but turning frank in
was never an option.

why not?

'cause he told
the truth.

once you've heard
the truth,

everything else
is just cheap whiskey.

i might have settled
for it.

no, you wouldn't.

you're a good policeman,

you're gonna do just fine
with jack.

now you go on home
and hug those children.

give that pretty wife
of yours a kiss

and know
that what you've done
was the right thing.

what about you, buck?


well, as you can see,

this whole experience
has just devastated me.

good night, sheriff.

bob, good to see ya.

you, too, hank.
hey, bob.

hey, tate.

what's news,

cubby: someone got killed
over in martinsberg.

they think it might
be the same guy
from amarillo?

if they do,
they ain't saying?

state patrol say
they're looking
for a young fella.

you boys seem to be
up on all the news.

well, hell,

we been stuck here
since the day
before yesterday.

haven't done anything
but watch tv.

well, then...

it's time we get
that pass opened up
and move on.

well, they're gonna send
a crew up tonight.

you're more than welcome
to go with them.

be like old times.

in my youth, friend.
in my youth.

thank you, hank.

now, what's your rush?

uh, you see,

the lack of female
clientele disturbs me.

uh, by the way, tate,

you hear anything
about the 218?


last i heard,
it's going up.

but it don't come here.
you know that.

just asking.

[train horn blows]

well, they got
the pass open.

don't worry.

the 218's
the only train
till tomorrow.

[bells ringing]

[train horn blows]

[breathing heavily]

[bird calls]

[men conversing]

[water running]

first man:
pass is clear, boys.

got the word
the pass is clear.

second man:
all right. thank you.

third man:
you ready to go?

fourth man:
you're full of shit, joe,
you know that, right?

third man:
i know what
i'm talking about.

a cadillac. i know
what a cadillac is.

fourth man:
filled with pictures
of naked women, right?

third man:
that's what i said.

fourth man: uh-huh.

[turns off water]

third man:
i heard it on the radio.

what about that car?

you heard it, too?

tell this guy
it's the truth,
will ya?

it's the car
that the killer in amarillo
was driving, wasn't it?

see? he knows.

hey, stranger.

how about this
for a day?

they sent a plow
to the pass last night
and had some luck.

we got about 30 minutes
before the train leaves.

you feeling all right,

yeah, i'm fine.

i'm just, uh...

just a little tired

sleep ok?


thought maybe you heard
the police were looking
for a car like mine.

white cadillac.

yeah, i did.

well, that car that
they're looking for
had texas plates.

mine had oklahoma tags,

uh, yeah.

that's right.

you do believe me,
don't you?

yeah. it's just, uh,
it's crazy.

it just took me
by surprise.

you? how about me?

well, i'm going
to catch the weather.

throw on your clothes,
and we'll grab a bite
before we go.


female weathercaster:
frigid temperatures continue
to blow in from the northwest,

and it looks like
we won't even reach
the 32-degree mark

until sometime
this weekend.

man on television:
at cherry creek dodge,

we've been steering
you right with great deals
for 16 years.

now we've put special
anniversary sale prices

on every car, truck,
and van...

hey, doc. ready?

where did you get
that car?

look, doc,
i can understand
your concerns,

but you ever stop
to think

about how many
white caddies
there probably are

in the great state
of texas?

probably a lot.

i'd say more than that.

but not that many
with pictures.

where'd you get the car?

well, i lied to you.

i wasn't taking it
to no one.

it's my car.

bought it in tulsa
the day before
i picked you up,

but that doesn't mean
i killed anyone.

stop right there.

i told you
it was a friend's

because i figured you'd
feel too uncomfortable
if you thought it was mine.

and i was right, wasn't i?

wasn't i?

i was gonna throw
all those pictures out
when i got to salt lake.

they were a hoot,
though, weren't they?
those pictures?



if i killed
those people...

why would i travel
in that car?

don't come any closer.

if i was the killer,

would i take you
to all the places
where i'm known,

introduce you
to my friends,

even save your neck?

i mean it!

if i was the killer,
why didn't i kill you?

i had plenty of chances.

god damn it!

it was my car!

prove it!
with what?!

i got off a train

and bought it
off a fella
for 500 bucks!

i knew it wasn't
on the up and up

of the price.

what did you
expect me to do,

ask him
for a receipt?

that is the truth!

and if you can't
trust me,

then turn me in,

'cause all i got
is my word.

reporter on television:
in amarillo today,

police officials
have announced

that the key suspect
has been booked

for the murders
of 3 people there friday.

amarillo city police chief
jack mcginnis

praised investigators

for the arrest
of hector saldez.

i want to thank
the combined efforts

of the city police
and forensic departments

for the arrest
of this killer.

the suspect's name
is hector saldez.

mr. saldez has been wanted
in new mexico and oklahoma

on assault charges.

now, both of these states
have waived extradition

so that we may proceed
with the prosecution.

chief, do these murders

have anything
to do with the murder
in colorado yesterday?

well, i can't comment
on their investigation.

reporter: chief mcginnis
would not comment

on whether
there was any connection

between the slayings
in texas and a recent
murder in...

just an accident, al.

nothing to get
all excited about.


let me know
what we owe you
for damages.


colorado state patrol
found his car

in a stream
near a railroad trestle.

seems he lost control
while chasing a train.

they're looking
for his body now.

a train?

a rio grande freight.

the 218.


it wasn't a date.

he set him up.

we've gotta get in touch
with that train.

can't. they're out
of contact till it gets
to the other side.

storm's knocked out
telephone transmission.

how long?

5 hours.

5 hours.

he knew frank
wouldn't give up,

so he sucked him in.

are you saying

that the killer
was expecting him
to be there?

and i helped deliver him.


who are you?

ray calabrese.

don't shoot me.


how'd you lose
your shoe?

getting on the train.

how'd you get here?

i was with
that crew that cleared
la veta pass last night.

everyone else went
back down to martinsberg
with the plow.

i live in salida,

on the other side
of the pass.

218 picks me up here,
takes me home.

[train horn blows]

when's the next one
due over?

this is it for the day.

no, that's not possible.

there's gotta
be another one.

not unless you wanted
to climb the hill

to the upper grade
at understanding,

catch the 20-10.

there are 2 lines
through the pass.

the upper grade
is on the other side
of the hill.

what's "understanding,"
a town?

no, man.

it's a railroad siding.

when's it come through?

the 20-10?
in about an hour.

you can't go up there
like that.

watch me.


what do i owe you?

bill's already been

bob paid it.

you know where
i can find him?

over at the freight office.

[gun bumps on counter]


right then.
i'm on my way.


can i talk to you?

i'm sorry.

i'm sorry
i doubted you.

doc, if i had been
in your shoes,

hearing what you heard,

i'd have probably held
a gun on me, too.

if the offer's
still open, uh,

i'm going over
with you.

glad to have you,



how you doing,

oh, god.

hey, doc!

this crusty
old thing here...

oh, welcome!

...is tex monroe.

climb aboard.

i'll tell ya,
any friend of this man
is a friend of mine.

come on. i got a lot
to tell ya about bobby.

come on in here.

now, if you won't
help him,

let me out of here,
and i will.

you've helped the fbi
enough already,

don't you think?

my god, man.

he's trying to find
his son.

it's a pipe dream,

buck: jack.

i need your help here,

i wish i could help you,


i-it's a federal thing.

by the time
it would take me
to get a hearing--

i don't need a hearing.
i need you to turn the key.

christ, buck.

this is the last thing
i need on the first day.

yes, it is.

open the door.

[lock buzzes]

you're off
to a good start, jack.

anything else you need?

well, as a matter
of fact...

there is.

yep, we're getting up
close to the pass.

trains still get
swept away in slides
up here.

careful what you touch
up there, doc.

yes siree.
those levers control them
big 4-ton wings out there.

you send one out
by accident--


have just a little
bit of trouble getting
through the next tunnel.

what gives them power?

them big air tanks
in the main compartment.

this always been your job,
working this thing?

aw, no, no.

i just a-haulin'
this spreader
over to alamosa.

clearing passes
ain't a job i cotton to.

night work, mostly.

cold. oh, god.

bobby, he used to clear
these passes up here, though.

long time ago, tex.

long time ago.

[horn blows]


aah! aah!

anybody got a light?

well, i'll be damned.

this is the place...

where them murders were
in amarillo.

the motel in amarillo.

been on the news
for 2 days.

did i say something?

yeah, tex, you did.

hope i didn't
say nothin' bad.

nothing bad, tex.

it's just ol' doc
over there

has got me pegged
as a killer
right about now.

what? where'd you get
a crazy thought
like that?

why, they're looking
for some young fella
with brown hair...

sorta like yours. geez.

this here man...

is the salt
of the earth.

the salt of the earth.


stay right there, doc.

oh, my god.

let me help him.

it's too late.

there's nothing
you can do.


bring that pack
down here.

i'll take the gun.

relax, doc.

you followed me
from the motel.

from the night before.

i watched you check in.

the motel was full,

so you shared a room
with that fella.

i didn't stay.


i was car shopping
that night.

but by the time
you came over

for breakfast
the next morning,

i was back.

i heard you ask
for a ride.

then i paid your friend
mr. sutherland a visit.

[water running]

it was a quick visit.

they'll find you.

i don't think so.

like tex said,

they ain't lookin'
for me.

where's the gun?



i didn't do it.

get away from him.

look, it was him.

he's the one who did it.
he's the one who killed him.
i didn't do it.

where is he?!

what? who?

i will kill you
to find him.

i don't know what
you're talking about.

look out!


you made good time,

i have to admit,

i was worried for awhile
that you'd make it at all.

drop the gun
so we can talk civilized.

state patrol knows
i'm on this train.

they know you're on it.

they'll be waiting
on the other side.

always needing help,
aren't you, frank?

you didn't start out
that way.

in the beginning,

when it was just me
and you,

it was a challenge.

i'd make a move,

then you'd make a move.

then you have
to start playing
the game unfairly.

it never was a game.

oh, yes, it was.

me against you.

then it was me against you
and 50 other agents.

then 200 agents.

you never seemed
to have any trouble.

hey, don't bullshit me,

so i had to level
the playing field.

that's why i took
your boy.

where is he?

remember the deal?

kill me to find him.


you had your chance,

you should have
taken it!

[train horn blowing]

bye, frank!

[gunshot echoing]

[raspy breathing]

don't talk.



[louder clank]




radio: southern pacific,
this is denver dispatch.
you read me?



you got the nerve,

it's time to give it up.



where's my son?

kill me to find him,

that was the deal.





[horn blows]





southern pacific 20-10,

this is colorado
state patrol.

try him again.

you know,
tex is an old fella.

just because he doesn't
answer his radio

doesn't mean...

you know, that's odd.

there's no smoke
coming out
of that smokestack.


sy, get the dispatcher!


oh, my god.


back there.

take care of this one.

is that him?

the killer's dead.

what about your boy?

just hang in there,

we'll get you
to the hospital.

he's lost a lot of blood.

he's got hypothermia.

help me up.

sir, you better
come here.

[speaking spanish]

gracias, amigo.

he said the city
condemned this place

about 2 months ago.

ain't nobody lived here

[speaking spanish]

he's missing his son.

the guy was a killer,


but he wasn't a liar.

[train horn blows]



[guitar music playing]

martina mcbride singing:
* whoa whoa *

* whoa oh oh *

* where i used
to have a heart *

* feels like
a mile-wide ditch *

* i got a hole inside *

* the doctor
just can't stitch *

* gone without a trace *

* you left a hollow *

* place *

* there's not a stone
to mark *

* where i *

* used to have *

* a heart *

* there were times
when i would hold you *

* and feel the poundin'
in my chest *

* and now
i'm just as empty *

* as a canyon
way out west *

* that's how deep
i loved you *

* babe,
i love you still *

* to the bottom
of this space *

* i'll never fill *

* where i used
to have a heart *

* feels like
a mile-wide ditch *

* i got a hole inside *

* the doctor
just can't stitch *

* gone without a trace *

* you left a hollow *

* place *

* there's not a stone
to mark *

* where i *

* used to have *

* a heart *

* guess i'll learn
to live with *

* a different kind
of pain *

* i'm sufferin'
from a sickness *

* that i cannot
give a name *

* it's such
a strange sensation *

* i've never felt
before *

* missin' you *

* has cut me *

* to the core *

* where i used
to have a heart *

* feels like
a mile-wide ditch *

* i got a hole inside *

* the doctor
just can't stitch *

* gone without a trace *

* you left
a hollow place *

* there's not a stone
to mark *

* where i *

* used to have *

* a heart *

* whoa whoa oh oh *

* whoa oh ho *

* oh ooh *

* where i *

* used to have *

* a heart *

[music ends]