Dancer, Texas Pop. 81 (1998) - full transcript

Four friends from the small Texas town of Dancer are graduating from high school and are planning to move to L.A. after graduation, taking the population of Dancer down to 77 from 81. All other 77 residents feel threatened by their decision and decide to spoil their plans by all means possible.

Y'all listen to this.

Rand McNally and Co.,
150 East 52nd Street,

New York, New York 10022.

Dear Mr. McNally,

-I called our company about...
-Think there really is a Mr.
Rand McNally?

Sounds like one of those
made up company names
to me.

Y'all, it's called Rand
McNally and Company.

Called you company about
putting our town Dancer,
Texas on...

-Could be dead.
-Yeah, so could you, Squirrel,
shut up.

I called your company about
putting our town Dancer,
Texas on your maps.

The lady on the phone said for
me to write this letter

giving you more information
about our town,

anything worth knowing.

-This won't take long.
-No kidding.

Dancer is in West Texas.

It sits smack dab in the
middle of Brewster County,

the largest county in the
United States,

larger than the state of
Connecticut, even.

On your Rand McNally road map,
Brewster County takes up
eight square inches.

It's that big blank area just
east of El Paso.

Most of the county's 6,000
folks live in Alpine,

some 80 miles away.

Dancer's isolated location
makes it the perfect spot
for the weary traveler.

And one hell of a boring spot
to grow up in.

Y'all going to let me finish
this or not?


Dancer sits just off old
Highway 90,

which used to be the major

until they built the
interstate 200 miles north.

-The commercial district...
-Commercial district!


-The commercial district
-I like that!

The commercial district has
a general store where you can
always find

plenty of hearty food stuffs,

-useful hardware, and local
-Character part's right.

There's a restaurant offering
fine dining and a friendly

and plenty of available retail
space for lease.

Other buildings of note
include a church, of course,

and the school.

24 students attend grades six
through 12.

Today, Saturday, is an
especially big day

because the largest senior
class in 20 years,
five students, is graduating.

ALL: Yee-haw!

That's all I can think to tell
you about Dancer.

I ought to mention that the
population figure is fixing
to change pretty drastically

'cause four of us, all four
guys graduating today,

are leaving town on the bus
first thing Monday morning.

Sincerely, Keller Coleman.

So what do y'all think?


What's the matter?

You don't like the letter?


sounds like you don't much
care for the town.

Didn't ask me if I liked it
or not. He just wanted

I liked it. The letter,
I mean.

Yeah, Squirrel, you would.

I tell you, Keller,
the way you talk about this

if I was Mr. Rand McNally,
I wouldn't put it on the map

You should tell him why
Dancer's important,
you know, special.

-Give reasons.
-I would have, if I could've
thought of any.

Must be some.


Well, tell you what. I'll hold
off sending the letter in case
we think of any.

You know, Keller, maybe
it isn't such a hot idea,

putting in the letter that the
four of us are leaving,
and all.

Yeah, Terrell Lee's right.

Makes it sound like we're
leaving town because we don't
like it here.

Well, aren't we?

Guess we ought to get to

Ain't starting without us.

We are sort of the feature

We got to go soon anyway
with that car coming.

Come on.

-Let's go graduate.
-All right.

Squirrel, you sit right there.

Heads up!

It's about to begin.

This is the first day

of the rest of their lives,

so we are filled with pride

as these five young people

set sail on that adventure
called life.

So without further ado,

I now pronounce you

high-school graduates.


WOMAN: Hi, you want some?

Have some of this...

This is my momma's...

Thanks for everything.


-Josie, don't strangle your

Thank you, ma'am.

You did good.

Thank you, sir.

Well, let's eat.

-We're all real proud
of you, son.



What are you wearing?

Can't I dress up to see my
only son graduate from
high school?

Well you're going to look a
little silly trying to balance

a paper plate of
fried catfish on your lap.

Oh hush!

We wouldn't dream of having
supper here.

Would we, honey?

No, ma'am.

My friends are waiting.

I hope you broke the news
to them.

Terrell Lee.

I promised them. They can't
go to L.A. without me.

We have discussed this.

You're making me ruin all
my plans.

It's not fair. Dad!

This is between you and
your mother, just leave me
out of it.

Well, at least let me go with
them for a month or two
till they get settled in.

You are going to work for your
father Monday morning,

no ifs, ands or buts.

This family

has had oil for blood
going back generations,
Terrell Lee.

It is a part of you

and you will learn to love it.

You'll see.

Now, your Daddy has
got to say hello

to all the men who work
for him.

You be sure to come back
and say goodbye to us before
we leave.

I thought about leaving town.

I had a brother-in-law
who did.

He was just about your age.

He went out to California,

You sure remind me of him.


I'll look him up.

He died a few years back,


in prison.

Thank y'all.

Leave some room for
the catfish.

Squirrel, you just don't get
enough vegetables.

Look at those scrawny arms!

When you get to California,
you be sure and eat plenty
of vegetables.

I bet they don't even eat
vegetables out there.

I heard they eat nothing but.

Well then you be sure and get
enough good red meat, too.

Yes, ma'am.

Thank y'all.

I want some of that catfish.

Your boy looked real good

Thank you.

How're you doing this year?

Getting by.




see you.

Good talking to you.

Hey, Keller!

Come over here, son.

Hi, Dale.


So, you boys still set on

Yes, sir, all four of us are
leaving on the bus first thing
Monday morning.

Awful damned sure, ain't he?

Not as easy as you think,

When we was your age,

we thought about leaving.

Still thinking about it.

No, see for us it's
all decided.

See, when we were 11

the four of us promised after
we graduate to leave town
together on the first bus.


We made a solemn vow.

Oh, a solemn vow.

-Well, hell, that's different.
-Must be where we messed up.

We skipped the solemn vow

Talking about leaving is
one thing.

Folks get fed up with the
place. It's natural.

But actually picking up
and taking off

well, that's something else.

What is today, Saturday?

A lot can happen between now
and Monday morning.

It's put up or shut up time
for you boys.

The four of us are going.

We really are.

Keller, don't be disappointed
if things don't turn out the
way you hoped.

Some folks don't belong
in a small town.

Some folk

don't belong anywhere else.

Good luck now, Keller.

Didn't mean to be discouraging
or nothing.

-Sure hope we weren't!

No, it's okay.

Hell, I'd be surprised if one
of them left.

No more than two, definitely.

Maybe three.

I smell betting opportunities
here, fellows,

major betting opportunities.

20 dollars says one leaves.

30 on two.

You got it.

-More pie?
-Third plate's a charm.

Howdy, Squirrel.

Say, we were wondering...

Now, Vivian,

she's a senior.

Jean and Loretta are the only

Ain't no sophomores.

Three freshmen, all guys,

so all y'all is saying is
there's four guys,

just three girls.

Am I right?

Now if that ain't bad enough,

looks to me like Terrell Lee
goes steady with two of
the girls. Am I right?

I wouldn't stand for it.

SQUIRREL: Yeah, but he's been
telling me all along

that he's going to break up
with one of them,

when the time's right.

How long's he been telling
you that, Squirrel?

Since we were 13...

I wouldn't stand for it.

Looks to me like he kind of
took advantage.

I just wouldn't stand for it.


Howdy, Reverend.

We've missed you in church
these last few years.


Well, I been kind of busy
at home.

Excuse me.

-Terrell Lee.
-Hey, Squirrel, sit down.

How come everybody a girl
around here except for me?

-Hey, Josie.

Will you do us all a favor?
Will you go out with Squirrel?


No way.

That's just great,

getting shot down by a

Come on, Squirrel. Sit down
before you drop something.

Hey, Keller, I don't see your

He's probably sitting on the
porch in his underwear with a
fly swatter

wondering where everybody is.

I haven't seen my dad in
two days.

He'll turn up Squirrel, always

Doesn't bother me...

not really.

Tonight we got cousins coming
in from Midland.

Why don't you have supper
with us, Keller?

You got girl cousins?


I got to get back to
the station.

You're working tonight?

Need all the money we can get
for L.A., right?

I guess.

We'll be by later for the

Terrell Lee,

you and me, we gotta talk.

I bet you don't none of them

How much?

Come on, Terrell Lee.

-When are you gonna break up
with one of them girls, huh?
-Aw, Squirrel.

Jean, Loretta, either one.

For five you been telling me
you was gonna break up with
one of them.

I will. I promise. I'm just...

waiting for the right moment,
that's all.

How about right now?

Seems as good a moment as any.

Oh, man, I don't know, with
graduation and all.

I don't want to spoil their

What about my mood?

We're leaving town in two
days, Terrell Lee.

Well there you go. No sense in
breaking up with one now.
What's the point?

I'm just trying to be
considerate of the girls'
feelings, that's all.


Come on, Squirrel!

We're leaving now, honey.

We'll see you back up at
the house.

-I'm going over to the gas
station later.
-Did you tell them?


Did you tell them?

Terrell Lee,

it is not fair for you to lead
them on.

Now you march right over there
and you tell them you're
staying, you understand?

I can't. Not now.

Tonight then.

Mom, it's just not that easy.

Well then explain it to them.

Friends are friends,
but family is family.

Now, you have responsibilities
as a Lusk, you here?

Yes, ma'am.

Tonight, Terrell Lee.

SQUIRREL: You know what I'm
gonna do first thing when we
get out to L.A.?

I'm going to sit on that

What's that famous corner you
talk about?

-KELLER: Hollywood and Vine.
-Hollywood and Vine.

Watch all them movie stars
walk by.

You got it, Squirrel.

Damn it, we graduated today.
We should do something,

something big, really cut

Like what?

-Good point.

Think the four of us can just
show up there and get jobs
just like that, huh, Kell?

Lot easier there than here,

more interesting jobs, too.
Waitering, bartending,
pizza delivery.

I'd do that.

We don't know the first thing
about L.A.

I've done nothing but research
it for two years.

That's a whole lot different
than being there.

Seems like everybody we know
knows about somebody went
out there once

and something awful happened
to them.

What makes you think it's
gonna be any different for us?

'Cause there's the four of us

That's the beauty of it, all
four of us going, looking
after each other.

That's why we made the solemn
vow to stick together.

-What's with you all
of a sudden?

-Terrell Lee,
I've been thinking.
-Uh oh.

No, I'm serious.

About this whole girl hogging
situation that's been
going on.

Now, these are my
dating years

and you are stunting my
personal growth.


Look, you're leaving town
on Monday.

It's the principal of
the thing!

I'm serious. If you don't...

if you don't break up with
one of them girls this minute,
right now,

I'm going to be forced to
do something drastic.


No, y'all, wait.

I wanna hear what drastic
things Squirrel's gonna do.

What are you gonna do,

I'm gonna take one of those
girls away from him.

I'm gonna charm her,

and hustle her, and woo her.

Before you know it, she's
gonna be mine.

All right, Squirrel!

Now, Squirrel, I'm hurt.

I thought we were friends.

Of course we are!

We're the best of friends,
Terrell Lee. I hope we can
still be friends!

I don't want to do this
to you. You're forcing me
to do it.

Which girl you gonna go after,

I don't care!

I'm gonna chase after both
of them,

see which one comes around

-Oh, Squirrel, you little
heart breaker.
-That's right.

Tell you what, Terrell Lee.

If Squirrel winds up with both
those girls,

you only have yourself
to blame.

That's right.

I guess I'll just have to
learn to live with it.

No, Terrell Lee,

I hope you realize I didn't
want to do this to you.

I understand, Squirrel.

Hey, a man's gotta do what a
man's gotta do, right?

-Good luck.

Taking it like a man.

All right, then.

Well, it's closing time
I guess.

What you wanna do now?

Come on.

Come on, heartbreaker.

Hey, I got it. Let's go on
a beer run.

It's silly to drive 100 miles
one way for a six-pack
of beer.

It's not our fault we live
in a dry county.

We could go for a drive.

Hey, where we going?

We're driving.

Come on, y'all, we just
graduated! Let's go do
something wild and crazy.

Woo hoo!

Any ideas?


Terrell Lee, slow down.

Can't this thing go faster?


Look at your gas gage. It's
almost on empty.

Oh, come on, we got plenty.


Come on, turn around.

He's right, Terrell Lee.
We're a long way from town.

Okay, okay, fine.

I had no idea that
that little arrow

could go so far below the E.

Can't believe we're still

You know, I think we're gonna
make it.

We're still 20 miles
from town.

You know what I think?

I think this gage is off.

I think we still got plenty
of gas.


I think that gage is off.


If we sit here long enough,
somebody's bound to come by
sooner or later.

I don't recall seeing a car
on this road all night.
Do you?


Looks like we walk.

Well, this is great.

This is just great.


It's my fault.

I'll go back into town
and get help.

Whoa, wait a minute.

If we go back and get help,
this is gonna be all over town
by morning.

We'll never hear the end
of it.

I got a can of gas in the
truck back at
Keller's station.

Be a lot faster if we cut over
that mesa.

Get in just before sun up.

-We could get lost.

See how bright the moon is?

Come on.

Wait, y'all. We don't know
what's out there.

-Yeah we do,
a bunch of nothing.
-Come on.


What could happen?

Hey, Keller,

how's your grandpa gonna
get along without you?

I don't know.

You talk to him about it?

You know you can't sit down
and have a straight talk
with him.

The man's goofy.

Somebody's gotta
look after him.

Well, he always knew I planned
on leaving.

What are you getting at?

Sometimes a guy's got
his family to think about.

Yeah, sometimes a guy's got
his friends to think about,

especially when there's
a solemn vow involved.

Let me get this straight...

the universe is chaos, right?

And now,

billions and billions of years

it works out to the point

me and my father the drunk

live in a trailer on the
outskirts of Dancer, Texas.

So what's your point?

Well, I don't have a point.

There is no point.

That's my point.

Is your father still pretty
bad off?

And with you gone he's liable
to get worse.

I know.

There ain't nothing more
I can do for the man.

Sure is pretty country.

Wouldn't mind owning a ranch
out here.

You already have a ranch,

the family ranch.

Nah, it's my dad's,

his and the bank's.

Doesn't he want you
to stay on?

Gradually kind of take it

Brought it up
a couple of times

and he told me how

when he was my age he worked
as a ranch hand and how

nobody ever gave him anything.


Aw, parents.

The ones who should want you
to stay on, don't,

and the ones that do, well...

Your mom still giving you
a hard time about going
to work for your dad?


But you told her you're going
with us.

Terrell Lee?

Keller you met my mother.

Nobody tells her anything.

Damn it! You been hitting
around this all night!

You trying to back out of
going with us? Is that
what you're saying?

Shh, quiet.

What is it?

Get over here.

Get down.

Ah, shoot. It's just horses.

Wild mustangs.


So close to town.


I'm not coming with you guys.

We can't stay. It'll ruin

I got no choice, Keller.

What about the solemn vow
we made to each other, huh?

Stick together.
What about our plans?

We were 11! Things change
when you get older.

Oh, come on. All we've done
growing up is talk
about leaving.

Hell, we bought our
bus tickets two years ago!

When we were younger I used
to think it would be exciting
to go someplace.

Getting out of here... hell,
there wasn't much else to
talk about!

No, you were more excited
about leaving than any of us.

When you get older you realize
a person's got ties
to a place.

Have you guys even thought
about leaving?

What it all means?

Really thought about it?

-Sure, I've thought about it.
-Yeah, it's scary.

-You know how many people
are out there?
-13 million.

13 million!

We come from a place with 81.

-That's including the four
of us.
-I've researched everything!

We've never been there,

We got no idea what to expect.

The four of us against
13 million strangers.

You got all these ideas and

about us finding jobs,

getting an apartment, and
leading these great lives.

You think you got it all
worked out on paper!

People's lives don't work out
that way.

-You're just being selfish
ruining all our plans.
-Your plans.

-No our plans.
-Your plans!

It's our lives.

We gotta make the decision
for ourselves.

Y'all don't listen to him.


What, you're gonna tell me you
two are having
second thoughts, too?

I don't know...

I never thought I'd graduate.
Didn't think past that,

Maybe Terrell Lee's
got a point.

Maybe we haven't really
thought about it like
we should.

I can't believe you're doing

You're ruining it for

You're a traitor.

Y'all go ahead and think
about it. Think about what
it'd be like

to stay here trapped in your
miserable lives,

just like him.
Think about it.

-Leave me alone.

He took it well.

Better than I expected.

You knew I was gonna stay?

I met your mother.


Shut up, Squirrel.

No sign of the old man, huh?

He'll be back when
he runs out of money.

You okay? You need help
with your route?

-See you later!



-Oh, hi Keller.
-Hey, Sandra.

This used to be Vivian's room.

Still is. We got cousins in
from out of town.

How y'all doing?

Vivian's sleeping on the couch
in the den.


Thank you.

Howdy, Keller.

What's bothering you?

I could just kill Terrell Lee.

Keller, if they want to

I mean, it's up to them.

Yeah, but if they don't go,
I can't go.

I can't make it out there
by myself.

I'd have to stay here.


-Is that so bad?
-Come on, Viv.

How could anybody want to
spend their whole life in a
small town like this?

Well, people do.

Some folks even like it.


since we were little you
thought of nothing but reasons
to leave.

Did you ever once think about
reasons to stay?

'Cause there are, reasons
to stay I mean.

And I think you oughtta look
at those, too.

And maybe you'll still find
that for you there are more
reasons to leave than to stay,

but I just think you and the
other guys oughtta give

and everybody in it, a chance.

I gotta go in and help with

You wanna eat with us?



You know maybe

one of these times when we
go for a walk,

we can talk about me and
what's on my mind.


-What time you get in
last night?
-Never you mind.


Can I go with you?

Could be our last time
riding together.

Okay, but I don't have to
wait on you.


Terrell Lee?

Oh, you look tired, honey.

Come on, lean forward, let
me fix your tie.

Come here.

Did you talk to your friends
last night?

Did you tell them you're
gonna stay here and work with
your daddy?


Terrell Lee,

I'm gonna go check some
rigs this afternoon.

You want to go along for

The other guys are leaving
in the morning.

I need to spend some time
with them.

Keller's not even speaking
to me.

You should go with your
father, honey, get the feel
of things.

You'll be so much further
ahead when you go to work
first thing in the morning.

Tomorrow morning I'm
gonna be at the bus stop
seeing my friends off.

Honey! You cannot be late
to work on your first day.

-Now you're just gonna...
-It's okay.

You go see your friends off.

See what an advantage it is
having your boss be your


Any aspirin?

What time is graduation?

It was yesterday.

I thought it was today,

Today is Sunday.

Damn, must have lost a day
there somewheres.

Well, I hope I had a good
time, anyways.

You did.

What? What did you hear?

-Who is that in the bedroom?

Oh, her.

Met her in a waffle house in
Fort Worth.


It's good to see that your job
hunting ain't interfering

with the really important
things in life,

like picking up strange women.


about your graduation.

-Where you going?


-Yeah, church,

the white building in town
with the pointed roof and the
cross on top.

I didn't think you ever...

I'll see you when you
get back.


No... I...

I'm hailing Mary and I'm
begging you, Reverend.

Please, please, I just

Okay Squirrel. Go right ahead.


Squirrel: Ouch!

Please stand.


Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, we give

for all your countless

Son, you all right?

...grant us forgiveness.

Howdy, Earl.

-You here on a Sunday?

Well now, Keller, you know the
store can't be open on
a Sunday.

Church-going women in town
just wouldn't stand for it.

The ranchers work seven days
a week,

livestock eats seven days a

Ranchers all know I come down
here on Sundays just to
clean up.

I'm not open, mind you.

If they want anything, I'll
sell it to them.

Then, when all the good ladies
in town are in church,

I sneak off.

Everybody is in church.

Now is your chance to make
a clean getaway.


I'll risk it.

This being your last day in
town, and all.



Earl, you been here all your
life, huh?


Well, except for a couple
years in France.


What were you doing in France?

Folks over there we were
having a world war.

I got invited.

You were in World War II?

General Patton's army,
all through France.

-What was it like?

Well, I could tell it was,
well had been, a pretty little

But by the time we chased the
Germans off of it,

it was all beaten to hell.

I think about going back.

They probably got it all
fixed up by now.

I'd kind of like to see it

Dancer must've been pretty
dull, huh?

I mean, after all that


Before I went over there I was
probably a lot like you,
I guess,

full of beans,

wanting to see everything,
do everything.

But by the time they got
through with me over there
in General Patton's army,

I just wanted to find myself
a nice little out-of-the-way
corner of the world,

get myself a nice comfortable

and just sit.




Today's sermon is on lust.


-We're confronted with a...

...every day of our life.

Turn on the television and
there it meets you,

flip through the pages
of the average woman's

Shh!'ll find the threat of
lust in an innocent

Go to the beach for a family

Hush up! will be once more
faced with the latent power
of lust

and its deceptive lair.


That Los Angeles ain't
this pretty.

Not by half.

I guess I oughtta go out there

and find out for sure.

You don't really want to go.

You just don't want to have
to do all the chores by

Good morning.

Squirrel, give me the robe.

Wait! Wait!

Jean! Hey Jean!

GIRL: Bye-bye.

-Hi, Loretta.
-Hi, Squirrel.

Listen, don't be depressed
about choir today,

you being so terrible and all.

First time is always bad.

-Loretta, we're leaving.

You won't be quite so terrible
next week. You'll see.


you old ladies man.

-You were looking real good

No, really.

I think she's coming around.

Wasn't she saying something
to you about next week?

She says, "You won't be so
terrible next week."

See! She's really looking
forward to seeing you again.

I don't think so. Besides,
I'm leaving town tomorrow.

Then you gotta make your move

You go on over to her house
this afternoon and you call
on her.

No way, uh-uh.

Aw, come on, Squirrel.

What's the worst that can

You make a fool of yourself,

You're leaving town anyway.

I guess.

And what's the best that can


Oh, that!

-Well there you go! Go for it!
-I will, Terrell Lee!

-Thank you very much!

Your mama's ready to go.


Hey, what's Rusty up to?

Ask me later.

Hey, Earl.

I'll take a six-pack.

Do you sell beer here?

Well now, Keller, this
being a dry county and all

I can't legally sell beer.

But I figure, driving
200 miles just to pick
up a six-pack of beer,

that's a little too
far for anybody to go.

You live in a town all your
life and you think you know

Thank you, Earl.

So, Keller,

still three of you going,
so far?


You know a lot can happen
between now and tomorrow

I'm thinking chances are
that one or two others
might drop out.

What are you planning
on doing out there in
California, Keller?

We gonna get jobs, get
an apartment.

Well, Keller, I think what
he's asking is

what are you going to do
with your life?

I don't really know right off.

I guess I'm hoping that when
I get there I'll know when I
see it.

All I do know is that whatever
"it" is,

it ain't here.

Well, good luck, Keller.

I hope you find it.

I think you will.

I'm still looking for it


if you find it, give me a
holler and let me know what
the hell it is, okay?


Oh hi, Squirrel.

Just a minute. Daddy!

What? Oh, howdy, Squirrel.

Seems like you was just here
collecting just a week or two

How much do I owe you?


No... I...


Here's $5.

See me next month.

You forgot your...


Terrell Lee!

Now what kind of an impression
is the boss's son gonna make
wearing a t-shirt and jeans?

Go in and change.

Got suits in your closet you
haven't even worn.


You both could stand to
dress up.

You are inspecting oil fields,
not working in them.

Never know when you might
have to get your hands dirty.

Wait, wait! Terrell Lee!

This was my daddy's hat.

He wore it when he ran
the company.

Since you're named after him,

I know he would want you to
wear it.


Last night I heard Daddy
talking to Mama,

telling her how tough it's
gonna be around here when
you're gone.


He ain't said squat to me.

Are you telling stories?

No, really.

He told her that he couldn't
figure out how a natural-born
rancher like you

would wanna move to

He said that?

Every word,

I swear.

He said I'm a natural-born
rancher, huh?

He ain't said nothing to me
about it one way or another.

Well, he don't say much.

No, he doesn't.

-So Grandpa Terrell wore this
out in the oil fields, huh?

Didn't help him.


Rig chain...

Damned near cut him in half.

Didn't put a scratch on that
hard hat though, did it?

People say he was a real

He was.

He was one of the original

I remember once he...

walked us into a virgin

put a handful of dirty in his
mouth, chewed on it

and said, "Drill here."

Sure enough, we brought in
a gusher.


Honest to God.

Then I was going through some
of his papers a few years ago,

came across a geological
survey on that field dated
six months earlier.

Oh, I sure got a kick out
of that old man.

I'd have done anything
for him.

Even marry Mama?

Good lord, son, don't even
think thoughts like that.

Gets us both into a world
of trouble.

I got an uncle who lived in

Only job he could get in
Midland was driving a dump

He moved out there to

Only job he could get

was driving a dump truck.

Now he's back in Midland.

-Driving a dump truck?

I got cousins living in San

Their neighbors had a daughter
moved out to Los Angeles
a few years ago.

She ended up joining one
of them cults.

Somebody saw her not long ago,

bald headed,

big old bull ring in her

handing out flowers at the
Los Angeles
International Airport.

It's a true story.

Keller, you best steer clear
of them damned cults,
you hear?

Yes, sir.

I'd be scared of them

They seem to have them
about every other day,

with fires, floods,

and riots in between.

Will y'all quit trying to
discourage Keller.

It ain't fair. Y'all are
trying to influence the


It's a brave thing Keller's
doing, saying goodbye to his
friends and family,

moving out to one of the
biggest cities on earth,

where he doesn't know a soul,
hasn't got a job, doesn't know
what he's going to be doing.

Y'all oughtta be more

Yeah, thanks for the talk.

Y'all made me feel a lot
better about it, and I
appreciate it.

-See you later, Keller.

Well fellers,

odds on none of them going
just dropped to even.


You could go to school
over there at Sul Ross

and still live here.

You should talk to Daddy
about that.

I brought up college a few
years ago.

He told me all a father owes
his son is room and board
for 18 years

and after that, he's on his

L.A.'s so far off!

I hear they got a real good
meat science program down
at Sul Ross.

-Probably world famous.
-Meat science?

I don't know. Something
like that.

So, it wasn't you who sent
away for that Sul Ross
catalog back at the house?



Guess Daddy must have sent
off for it.

Where'd you see this


a while back it was
on the bookcase,

then somehow it made
its way to the coffee table,

then it was on the kitchen

It was there till yesterday.

-I never saw it.
-Well it was on your dresser
this morning.

Wonder how it got there.

-'Cause you put it there.



I put it on your dresser, but
only your dresser.

Just 'cause your so blind
you haven't seen it lying all
over the house.

So you figure the old man
left it lying around for me
to find?

Why didn't he just say

He don't say much.

What he does say,

maybe you're not hearing.


You must be Squirrel.

I'm Sue Ann. I'm...


I know.

I did the best I could.

Looks really good.

I don't know how the two of
you live in this trailer at an
angle like this.

He was drunk when he
parked it.

Never got around to
leveling it.

Well, I guess y'all haven't
been here long.

12 years.


He wouldn't do it anyway,

level the trailer.

Be like putting down roots
or something.

Nice to meet you.

Oh, you know, your father's
still sleeping. He, um...

He was up earlier looking for
the truck keys.

Probably wanted to buy liquor.

No, he wanted to take me
to the bus stop.

Listen, you hungry? Can I fix
you something to eat?

Yeah, sure. I could eat

Good! Then we can talk and
get to know each other better.

-Miss Caldwell, let me get
that for you.

Thank you, Keller.

I fixed you and your grandpa
this tuna-fish casserole,

the kind with the potato chips
crumbled up on top.

Oh, yes, m'am. Real nice
of you.

About California...

Did I tell you about my

For two years he lived just
down the street from
Charles Manson.

Yes, ma'am. You told me.

A word to the wise.

Yes, ma'am.

Close the door! A fly got in.

Howdy, Miss Hufheinz, Miss

Keller, I brought you and
your grandfather a
taco salad.

I made another jello mold, the
kind y'all liked so much,

lime with marshmallows
and bananas and pecans.

Y'all really shouldn't go to
so much trouble.

It's no trouble.

Oh, it's a blessing to have
someone to cook for.

Got him!

Arlen, that table's covered
with dead flies.

-I'll clean it.
-Ida, sit down!

Leave those fly bodies be.

Lets the others know what's
in store for them.


I'm going to put this food
away and I'll bring your
dishes from last Sunday.


who brought all these
other dishes?

-More widow ladies.
-I know that.

I mean who brought what?

Damn it, Grandpa! All
I ask is that you put the
little labels on.

How else am I supposed
to get the right dish back to
the right lady?

Mrs. Brickmeyer makes
the beet salad...

Grandpa, you haven't even
touched Miss Hufheinz's Jello
mold from last week.

Will you please say something
to these ladies?

It ain't my fault

that I'm the only old man
in town that ain't dead.

Grandpa, you got a few
minutes? Can we talk?

I've got company.

Where's Terrell Lee?

Lord, what's happened?

He's in back. We just had some
trouble capping a well.

Terrell Lee?

Honey, is that you?

Are you all right?

He's all right. He's
just upset.

Come on out, son.

Come on out of the truck,
and try not to touch anything.

I got a big scrub brush in
the house

and I guess I better go
get it.

So, son, how you liking
the oil business so far?


You know, I been seeing your
daddy a while.

I liked him the minute I laid
eyes on him.

Women do.

I'm sure he does spend a lot
of time drinking and running

but I think he's a good man.

Or he could be with some help.

It's been tried.

By your mother?

She got tired of trying.

She left.

Well, he needs somebody,

to take care of him.

-Not that you don't do that.
-Listen lady...

You seem like a real nice

Don't waste your time.

Find yourself a nice guy.

I've looked.


There he is.

Where the hell are those keys?

Look in the truck.

Beats me why women fall for
some men instead of others.

I bet you got a lot of
girlfriends, huh?

Yeah, right.

Well, I bet pretty soon
some girl's gonna come along,

see how nice you are,
and chase after you till you
marry her.

No, ma'am.

It don't work like that.


women don't chase
after nice guys.

They chase after guys like him

and try to turn them into
nice guys.

It doesn't work.

Well, he needs me.

Maybe that's part of it:

feeling needed,

wanting to take care of

I don't know. You know him.

Maybe if you helped, the two
of us can...

I'm leaving town tomorrow.

You are? You're just going
to leave him?

What do you think is gonna
happen to him?

Look, I know he's a handful.

But maybe if you helped,
both of us can handle him.

You don't stand much of
a chance.

Any minute now,

he's gonna find his truck keys
and take you to the bus stop.


All right,

maybe you stand a little

I think it's gonna work out
real good.

I can tell already.

You and your daddy just
get used to some

decent cooking and a clean

Listen, lady, I didn't say
I was staying.

Well, it's gonna be a lot
different around here.

Just give me a chance.

You'll see.

You want dessert?

I made pie.


Who knows, maybe if we put
our heads together

we can do something about
this girl problem of yours.

This is good pie.

WOMAN: Josie, come to supper.

Sorry! This college catalog
is just so interesting I just
clean forgot about eating.

Go put that away.

I never knew meat science
was so interesting.

I mean, look at all these
courses in here.

"Horseshoeing and

"Blacksmithing I,
Blacksmithing II,
Advanced Blacksmithing..."


Oh, oh, here's a good one.

"Meat Manual and Carcass

"course content will include
slaughtering and cutting

"of cattle, sheep, and hogs."

-How 'bout Sausage

"The manufacturing of
processed meats,

"Product formulation, curing,
smoking, sanitation and
quality control.

"Offered Spring only."

Josie, eat your dinner.

I moved the small herd down
south over a few sections.

They were about due.


"Livestock Slaughter

"regulations pertaining to
livestock slaughter for
human consumption."

Josie, try and eat dinner.

This meat here,

was it one of our cattle?

Sure, you remember Buster.


-We're eating Buster?
-Now, Josie, at least eat your

I'm turning vegetarian,
I swear.

These carrots don't
have names.

Let me see that catalog.

They teach plenty of things
besides meat science.

Here is one of my favorites.

"Life Drawing,

-"through the use of live nude

There's a lot of good courses
in this book.

You thinking about going?

Well there's tuition,

and room and board,
and all that.

Well, like I told you, it
wouldn't be right for me to
just give it to you.

A man of 18 needs to be on
his own

not living off his parents.

Yes, sir.

You're a good hand around
the ranch.

Wouldn't think it'd be hard
for you to get work.

I'd got to Sul Ross part time.

But I guess you're still
thinking about going to

After you've gone off,
I thought I might hire a man

to help out around here
a bit.

Maybe rent out your room
to somebody.

You interested?

I thought I might offer you
the job first

seeing as how I know you
can do the work,

and you're already moved
into that room.

Kind of kill two birds
with one stone, you know.

-Well, gosh, I...
-Well, you think on it.

Last sunset together.

Y'all missed it.


Yeah, sorry, kind of had
things to do.

I guess this is our last night

I mean, all four of us.

We've been hanging out
for as long as I can remember.

-A long time.

I would've gone crazy in this
town if it wasn't for y'all.

-I really would have.
-Yeah, me too.

Of course, there were plenty
of times when I thought

if anything was gonna drive
me crazy,

it was going to be you three.

-It was vice versa.

Saying I do things to drive
y'all crazy?

You kind of run our lives,

Someone has to take care
of things,

keep you all in line.


You know what bothers me?

-We know, Squirrel.
-Don't start it, Squirrel.

We talked about that.

It's different. It's not that.

It's my nickname, Squirrel.

Y'all are my best friends,

Been hanging out our whole
lives, the four of us.

I'd just once like to hear you
call me by my real name.
Just once.

Okay, we give up.

What is your real name?


-You know something I think
-There he goes again.

I wonder what I'd be like if
we grew up in a normal-sized

I wonder if we'd all be such
good friends.


Wonder if we'd even hang out

It's not like we got a whole
lot in common.

We might have more friends,
we just probably wouldn't be
as close to them.

I probably wouldn't have
any friends.

I'm sure you would.

No you wouldn't.


I wonder if...

I wonder if there's things we
missed out on growing up
in a town this small.

Life kind of things.

I wonder if maybe

we're behind other kids
our age.

Maybe we got the things they
missed out on. You know, the
things we take for granted.

Maybe so.

Guess we'll find out soon

Those of us who are going.

Keller, doesn't look like I'm
gonna be going with you.


Me neither.

Both of you are staying here?

I got a good job offer,

working with my father.

I got a job working
on my father.

There's this woman
my dad brought home,

Sue Ann.

She's okay.

Good for you, Squirrel.

Damn it, Terrell Lee, this is
all your fault!

-No, we had plans, for years.

Now one day it's all fallen

Come on, y'all, please!

Keller, you can still go by

All by myself, John? Come on,
are you kidding?

Come on, y'all. Don't do this
to me!

-Keller, look...

We had a deal. We promised
to stick together!

We made a solemn vow

and y'all broke it.


I gotta head home.

Yeah me, too.

I'll see you off at the bus
stop tomorrow morning, Keller.

I can't go by myself.

Sure you can.

You're up late.

Come in here a minute. There's
something I've been meaning
to talk to you about.

Terrell Lee...

things are tough right now in
the Texas oil and gas

Yes, sir, I know.

A lot of companies gone

I guess we're doing okay.

Everybody is hurting.


mama wants you to take
a management position, stand
around and wear a white shirt.

Hell, I don't even wear a
white shirt.

Well I did go oughtta here
with one sometimes to please
her, but I...

keep a set of work
clothes in the truck.

Usually I'm out working on the
rigs because...

I can't afford to pay
everybody I need.

What can I do?

Well, right now the only place
you'd be of any real help is
as an apprentice roughnecker.

It's a good place to learn
the business.

But unless you got a real
hard-on to be in the oil
and gas business,

it's not a career I'd
recommend to anybody

But it's the family business,

I mean...

Won't I have to, like,
run it someday?

The business will be yours
to run

if there's anything there.

Come over here. I want to
show you something.

This is what it's worth
right now.

That's nearly three-quarters
of a million dollars.

Son, in bookkeeping,
parentheses around a number

means it's a negative number.

We're three-quarters of a
million dollars
in debt?

It was even worst last year.

Three-quarters of a million

Folks say things are slowly
gonna get better.

If and when they do, you're
welcome to stand around oil

and wear a white shirt all
you like.

But you don't have to.

After your mama and I are
gone, if you don't want to
run the company,

don't run the company.

There are a lot of folks out
there who can. Hire one

or sell the damn thing.

Whatever you want.

It's up to you.

I hear now John and Squirrel
are staying.

Word sure travels fast around

My dad will be happy.

He has 20 dollars that just
one of y'all will leave.

-Nah, don't be so sure.

Lately I've looked at staying
like you said, and you're

There are a lot of really
nice things about this town.

Things I didn't notice till
I was fixing to leave.

And what with the others
staying now,

it looks like I got no choice
but to...

but to stay here in Dancer.

And I thought...

you and I was getting along
real well

and we talk to each other
real good.

So I thought maybe you and me
could think about maybe...

getting a...

engaged or married, or


-I've know you ever since
I can remember, Keller.

Marrying you would be like
marrying my brother.

You used to talk about us
getting married all the time.

We were 12, 13!

And all you talked about
was leaving town,

about how you don't belong
in a small town,

how you don't understand why
anybody would want to
live in a small town.


I do.

Well if you don't marry me,
who are you gonna marry,


You gonna be Mrs. Squirrel?

I'm gonna go to Sul Ross next

take some classes and meet

1,800 people go to school

and 6,000 in the town.

6,000 people.

Can you imagine
all those people?

L.A. has got 13 million.


6,000 is more people
than somebody could ever

much less get to know.

So, seems to me

that 6,000 is bigger than any
town needs to be.

13 million?

I just don't see the point.

Anyway, I'm gonna work
on a teaching certificate

and while I'm there, around
all those people,

I'll probably meet some guy
I like, who is from another
small town.

We'll get married

and move to his small town,
or my small town,
or some other small town.

That sounds nice.

For me...

not for you.


Damn! What the...

-Sorry, I was uh...

I was cleaning up and
I dropped the pitcher.

-That is my favorite pitcher.

We gotta talk.

Oh, well hell.

All right, have... There's
a fly in here.

Damn it! Listen to me.

I've been thinking I should
stick around for a while.

I mean, you're not getting
any younger.

You're just looking for
excuses, Keller. Don't be a
chicken shit.

Grandpa, you need me to
take care of you.

Horse hockey. I got
ten widow ladies just aching
for you to get out of here

so they can take good care of

I ain't gonna let you spoil it
by staying.

-Don't Grandpa me!

I put up with you for 12
years, since your folks died.

With you out of here I can
finally cut loose.

I love you, Keller.
Now goodbye.

All right.

Then maybe you and me
should have a talk

about the birds and the bees.

What do you need to know?

Not me, you!

You know it's a lot different
out there nowadays.

Do you know what people
mean when they say safe sex?

Keller, at my age there ain't
no such thing.

I could keel over right in
the middle of it.

At my age, you don't worry
about catching something,

you worry about finishing up
in one piece.

I'm gonna miss you, Grandpa.

Your leaving in the morning.

Go to bed.

Well you should go, too.

There's flies out here
that you let in.

They need killing.

Did I call it or did
I call it?

It ain't settled yet.

Here he is.

-I'd say that pretty much
settles it.
-I think that's about it.

-Earl, you owe me 30.
-Yeah, you got it.

Bobby, I need 20 from you.

Take it easy, Seth.

-Good luck, Keller.
-Thank you, sir.

-Bye. You take care now.
-See you.

-See y'all.
-Let us know how the women
are out there.

-Tell us how the beer is out
-Good luck out there, Keller.

-Good luck, son.
-Thanks, Earl.

-Take care, Keller.
-All right, Flora.

-Bye, Keller.
-See you, Jean, Loretta.

With 13 million people out

you're bound to find yourself
a real nice girl.

Think so?

I'm going to miss you.

I'll miss you too.

-Bye, Josie.


Squirrel? Looks good.

Oh, yeah, um... I got your old
job at the gas station.

I start today. No more
paper route.

Good for you, Squirrel.

And listen, y'all, about last

I was really upset. I didn't
mean the things I said.

-It's okay.

I knew I had to leave town

and I didn't want to leave
you guys.

-You tell Terrell Lee, okay?

When I get out to L.A. I'm
gonna do all the things
we talked about.

I'm gonna write you and I'm
gonna really rub it in.

You'll make new friends out
there, Keller.

Won't be the same.

Guess it won't.

Hey guys, the bus is coming!

Take care of yourself.

Take it easy, Keller.

Anybody seen Terrell Lee?


-Here he comes!
-I see Terrell Lee!

Changed my mind.

Need some company?

What about you taking over
the family business?

My dad and I talked.

We decided I explore other
career options.

How did your mom
take the news?

She says she'll never speak
to me and my dad again

and then my dad said he's
looking forward to the peace
and quiet,

so she started yelling again.

She'll be fine.


Take care of him, all right?


-I'll miss you guys.
-Miss you, too.

-Get out of here before your
mama shows up.
-Don't count on it.

Hey, Squirrel!

A going away present
for you.

Oh, no, Terrell Lee. Your car?
Hot damn!

Thank you!

-You know what I just

Now there's three of them

and only two of us.

Yeah, how 'bout that?

-Things in Dancer are
definitely looking up.

I forgot my budgets.
What are we gonna do?

We'll be fine.

Dear Mr. Rand McNally,

here's why you should put
out town, Dancer, Texas, on
your maps.

There's 81... 79 people who
live there.

They're good people,
every one,

as fine as people
you'll find anywhere.

That seems like the best
reason there is to put
any town on a map.

Sincerely, Keller Coleman.