Hurry Sundown (1967) - full transcript

Following the Second World War, a northern cannery combine negotiates for the purchase of a large tract of uncultivated Georgia farmland. The major portion of the land is owned by Julie Ann Warren and has already been optioned by her unscrupulous, draft dodging husband, Henry. Now the combine must also obtain two smaller plots - one owned by Henry's cousin Rad McDowell, a combat veteran with a wife and family; the other by Reeve Scott, a young black man whose mother had been Julie's childhood Mammy. But neither Rad nor Reeve is interested in selling and they form an unprecedented black and white partnership to improve their land. Although infuriated by the turn of events, Henry remains determined to push through the big land deal. And when Reeve's mother Rose dies, Henry tries to persuade his wife to charge Reeve with illegal ownership of his property, confident the the bigoted Judge Purcell will rule against a Negro.

When are you gonna
start over there ?

We can't blast over there.
That's not our land yet.

I thought we bought the
whole tract 15 months ago.

No, we took an option on
Mrs. Warren's land over there.

But that doesn't include the
center strip with the two farms.

Henry, when we agreed to buy your
wife's land, you guaranteed...

I know it, Mr. Elwell.

We just been held up a bit
on account of both those farmer boys

been off fighting a war.

One's back already,
another one's due any day now.

And I arranged to hear about it just
as soon as he sets foot off the bus.

Why don't you talk to the other
one in the meantime ?

I can't do that, Mr. Elwell.

We have to give Rad McDowell
the first chance to sell out.

- Why ?
- 'Cause he's white.

The other place belongs to colored.

Supposing neither
one of them wants to sell ?

Don't you worry about that, Mr. Elwell.

One of them places belongs
to a cousin of mine,

and the other one to my wife's
old colored mammy and her son.

So you see, in a manner of speaking,
it's all in the family.

We can't wait forever, Henry.

If the deal isn't wrapped up
by the end of the month,

we'll just have to drop our
option on your wife's property

and expand in the other direction.

Here is my wife now, Julie.

- How do you do ?
- Sheriff Coombs is been very helpful.

- Mr. Elwell.
- Elwell.

So nice meeting you
at last, Mrs. Warren.

I'm glad to see it isn't just a legend
what they say about southern beauty.

It's both a pleasure and a revelation
for me too, Mr. Elwell.

You see, down here we're brought up
believing that all Yankees

have horns and a tail.

- Is that so ?
- Cross my heart.

You know, I was 10 years old
before I learned that

"damn" and "Yankee"
were two separate words.

Now how about stopping by the house
for a nice, long drink ?

I'd love to, but we've got three other
places to visit before we call it a day.

- Good- bye.
- Good- bye.

- Sheriff.
- Mr. Elwell.

- Henry.
- Mr. Elwell.

Hey, Rad ? Rad.
Over here.

Let me be the first
to welcome you home.

- Somebody meeting you ?
- No, I figured I'd surprise them.

Get in, I'll run you home.

Come on, you sure as hell
ain't gonna walk it.

How's it look to you ?
It changed any ?

Yes and no. It all seems smaller.

Sure it does, now you've seen
them famous European cities and all.

You'd never been more than
20 miles away before the war.

Must've been pretty exciting, huh ?

Depends on where
you're looking from.

From over there or over here.

You look good, Rad, real good.

And you look prosperous, Cousin Henry.
Mighty prosperous.

This ? Why this ain't even
the ribbon on the package.

Can't hardly call it a beginning.

Quicker than you can think about it,
we'll be going all the way

from land poor to money rich.

Sounds like a nice trip.

- Did you hear about Riverside ?
- Lou wrote me some.

It's already the biggest thing
ever to hit Colfax County.

And before we're through, gonna be
the biggest thing to ever hit Georgia.

To be completed in October.

They made me the local manager.
I'm in charge of this whole district.

A lot different than the old
days on the shrimp boats, huh ?

I've seen to it you're gonna
get cut a piece of the pie, too.

- What pie is that ?
- Why, the money-pie.

Hell, boy, don't bother to thank me. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
I was glad to do it.

Maybe you and me
didn't always hit it off.

But say what you will,
blood is thicker than water.

So I'm making sure you get
took care of real good.

Why '2

Well, you think you're going to be happy
sinking back into the same old rut?

Breaking your back trying to scratch
a living out that little farm of yours ?

No, sir. You'll want more.

For them kids of yours, too.
Especially for that Charles.

He's a real go-getter! Spitting image
of me when I was his age.

Seems more like my son
than my cousin.

- Thanks.
- Anyways...

I sold the powers that be
on the idea of buying your place

for the exact same price
they paid for Julie's land.

$100 an acre. Even for that parcel
that's no more than swampland.

How 'bout that for horse trading ?

- Well, I don't know.
- What do you mean, you don't know ?

When else do you think you're gonna
get the chance to even see $5,000 ?

Never, I reckon. But it ain't the kind
of thing you decide on just like that.

- I'd have to think on it.
- You do that.

Only don't go letting them
have second thoughts.

I'd better be getting along, Rad,
I'm already late for church.

You at church ?
Why, it ain't even Sunday.

- Things have changed around here.
- No, not that much.

It's just that Julie's cousin,
Clem, is getting ordained today.

Gonna be the new minister.
Opportunity's knocking, Rad.

Don't wait too long to answer
the door.

I'll think on it.

Hey, Lou '2

Lou '2

Lou '2

- Something's ailing you, Reeve.
- No, Mama.

Well, something happened
to change your mood since breakfast.

You better than any of that radar
they had out in the South Pacific.

I don't know nothing about radar,

but I know when something's
plaguing my child.

Rad McDowell done come back.

I seen him down by the road,
talking with his cousin.

Henry Warren ?

I bet he's after Rad to sell his place,
just like he been nagging us.

Why don't you go over there ?
Ask Rad about it.

The two of you
have always been friendly.

- When we was kids, maybe, not since.
- Suit yourself.

But soon as I'm up and about,
I'm gonna pay me a call on Miss Julie.

She'll know how to handle
Mr. Henry Warren.

The wife always knows the best
ways to get around her man.

Mama, you living in a dream.

You can't trust no Miss Julie or
no other white folks to watch out for us.

We gotta start watching out
for ourselves.

I don't know what they done
to you in that there army.

Seems like you ain't got a kind word
to say about nobody since you got back.

You go away, you get to take
a good long look at yourself.

Your life, everything.

It ain't so easy, after that,
to fall back into old ways.

- How you been, Mr. Warren ?
- Fine, thank you, Deputy.

Can't be all over
and done with already.

Can it, Judge ?

Excuse me.

Rad ! Rad !

I'd like to have died
when I heard in town

that you was back,
and us not here to greet you.

Don't fret, honey, don't fret.

Honey, when we didn't hear
nothing this morning,

we figured you wasn't coming today.

I went into town to the beauty parlor,
so as I'd look pretty for you.

You are the prettiest
sight I ever did see.

I never even got to the beauty parlor.

It don't matter, honey.
It don't matter one bit.

Come here !

I'm home.

Great God Almighty,
I'm really home.

If you hadn't invited
the negress to attend,

the whole incident
could have been avoided.

I couldn't very well refuse to
give her communion, could I?

Until you get them a pastor of
their own, I'm their priest, too.

If God in his wisdom saw
fit to separate the races,

who are we to question him ?

Clem, I think you ought to work out
some means of mollifying Judge Purcell.

It doesn't do to start out in the ministry

with one of your most important
parishioners at odds with you.

There's a lot more to it, Bishop.
After that woman received,

I passed the communion cup
to the Judge.

He spit into it.

I was standing right there,
and I didn't see it.

It happened.

If I was you, Clem,
I wouldn't challenge the Judge on it.

Let him just come around
to you in his own good time.

Otherwise, he might just say he didn't
do it. Then where would you be ?

In almost as awkward a position as I'll
be if he expects to receive communion

without asking forgiveness.

- Come in.
- Clem, it was just lovely.

- Thank you, Julie.
- And terribly impressive.

I feel like I should start
calling you Mr. De Lavery.

I'm the same man I always was.
Whatever that's worth.

Morning, miss.

Yeah ! Run down that hen !

Giddy-up ! Yeah !

All right, Charles, supper's ready,
get to the table.

Come on.

Charles. Charles.

Lord, we thank thee for all thy bounty.

And most especially, for bringing us
together again safe and sound. Amen.

Excuse me,
I'd like to talk to the Sheriff.

- Bishop.
- Delighted to see you again, Judge.

- Thank you kindly.
- You too, Miss Purcell.

The pleasure's mine, Bishop.
And this here's our daughter, Sukie.

Judge, it looks like you're
simply surrounded by beauty.

Thank you.

Mrs. Coombs, you are
a sight for sore eyes.

Sheriff, you're a good boy,
always a good boy.


Miss Julie,
it's a pleasure to see you.

- Hello, Julie.
- Mrs. Purcell.

I'm so glad you all could
come to greet my cousin, Clem.

Oh, no.

Just a second, Sukie,
I want you to meet the guest of honor.

Well, I was just fixing
to get a glass of punch.

All in good time, sugar.

Clem, there's some folks over
here you haven't met yet.

- Miss Julie, if you'll excuse us.
- Why, Judge, I wouldn't think of it.

But you saw how we was insulted,
me and my womenfolk, by this...

- This hot-headed cousin of yours.
- Well, what was it he did ?

Well, I'll tell you what he did.

He passed me a cup which had just
been pressed to the mouth

of an old nigger woman.

Now I ask you how you'd feel

if someone was to do a thing
like that to you, Miss Julie.

Well, seeing as how I was breast-fed
by a colored wet nurse,

one of the finest women
ever wore shoe leather,

I think I'd manage to survive.

This wasn't anything like that, no, sir.

Let me tell you, this was
nothing less than the leavings

of a drunken, syphilitic,
old nigger woman.

I can't rightly blame her.

No, she's obviously too far gone
to know what she's doing.

But I can, and I do,
blame the man who had the audacity

to pass that very same cup on to me.

Judge, do you know this woman ?

- Do you know her?
- Well, not by name.

Then how come you're so sure
she's drunken and syphilitic and all?

Unless, of course, you are specially
qualified in those fields.

We are leaving.

Judge, she don't know
what she's saying.

Well, I know what I'm saying.
And I'll tell you right here and now,

no member of my family will
ever set foot in St. Paul's

as long as that man is pastor.

- Papa, what about my wedding ?
- There are other churches.

Don't you worry your pretty little head,
Sukie. Come on.

Cousin Henry says the real smart men

was the ones who managed
to stay out of the army.

That's something Cousin Henry
knows a lot about.

He says with four kids and all,
you didn't have to go, neither.

Is that so, Daddy ?

A man's got to do
what his conscience says is right.

Cousin Henry didn't
feel like he ought to go.

And he's only got one kid.
How come is that ?

It just might be that Cousin Henry
don't know what a conscience is, son.

I'm glad that's over with.

Thought you might feel
the need of a little restorative.

I thought it went pretty well,
all things considered.

- That so ?
- Meaning ?

Well, if I was you, I'd make mighty
sure I didn't go through no red lights

or get me any parking tickets.

Leastways, not for
the next couple of years.

He came here,
to my home and my party,

with the sole purpose of
insulting my guest of honor.

My own kin.
I think he got just what he deserved.

There's my angel.

- There's my lamb.
- It ain't my fault, Mr. Warren.

- He just wouldn't stay in his room.
- Course he wouldn't, why should he ?

You've been just as good as gold all
afternoon. Haven't you, precious ?

You don't want Mama to carry you ?
Okay. There you go, sweetheart.

Come on, honey.
Stop, Colie, come on, sweetheart.

Stop it. Sugar.

Sugar, I told you, that's a no-no.

Give me that !

Come on, honey.

What did you have to do that for ?

You know he can't stand
to be yelled at.

Now, sugar.


Can you take Colie up ?
It's way past his bedtime.

- No.
- It's all right, sweetheart.

I'm sorry.

I guess we're all a bit over-tired.

I'm glad we got this minute
to ourselves.

There's something I've been wanting
to talk over with you all day.

Riverside ?

Rad McDowell come home
this morning.


He didn't jump at the idea of selling
like I thought he would.

Lord Almighty, but I'm sick
of hearing about Riverside.

Seems like that's all anybody
has ever talked to me about.

First my mama and daddy
and now you.

That land is all we got.

When I think I once looked upon you
as a way out of Riverside and all.

I can be, honey. I will.

Only, right now, we walking on eggs.

Until we get Rad and Rose to sell.

Henry, I'm not going out
there and worry Aunt Rose.

Now I thought I made
that more than clear.

You ain't gonna be worrying her.

You're gonna be showing her the pot
of gold at the end of the rainbow.


That old woman was my mammy.

And she loved me.

There was a time when she was
the only one in this whole world

I knew really loved me.

And I can't go against her.

I just... I can't.

All right, all right.

If that's the way you feel,
ain't no sense harping on it.

You do understand,
don't you, Henry ?

Sure I do, sugar.

What I don't understand is you setting
that old darkie and her few little acres

against me and your son.

- Did she awaken ?
- Didn't budge.

She's gonna holler blue murder
in the morning

when she finds out she ain't
bunking in with me no more.

Well, a husband's
got to have some rights.

It was mighty nice of you, Rad.

Holding your tongue at supper
with Charles, I mean.

I know it wasn't easy for you.

I figured I'd try it your way.
For a spell, anyways.

Only, I don't aim to let him
keep hanging around Cousin Henry.

I think Henry has a real affection
for him.

I think he wishes
Charles was his own boy.

He's got a kid of his own.
What's he want with Charles ?

Colie ain't normal.

He's nearly six years old and
he can't say a solitary word.

Folks say Henry is to blame for that.

That kind of thing
ain't nobody's fault.

Maybe, maybe not.
All I know is what folks say.

- What's that ?
- Nearly four years ago...

Didn't I write you about that ?
When Julie's daddy was dying,

and she had to go up to the
hospital in Atlanta with him,

there wasn't anybody to stay
with little Colie except for Henry.

This was just about the time the whole
Riverside thing was getting started.

Henry was always running after them,
trying to make a deal for Julie's land.

Then, this day I'm talking about,

some of the top men come down
from Atlanta and New York.

Well, Henry wasn't about
to miss out on that.

The thing was, though, he couldn't find
anybody to stay with little Colie.

Although they say he did try.

Anyhow, I guess he figured on
only being gone an hour or two.

So he took a length of clothesline
and just tied that little feller into his crib.

- Jesus.
- That ain't the half of it.

Instead of being an hour or two,
he was gone for almost the whole day.

And that child's been
peculiar ever since.

- What did Julie say ?
- I don't know.

I hear she don't admit
anything's wrong with the boy.

Certain things are just
better left to experts.

It's Colie.

- I better tend to him.
- Kissie's up there with him.

It'll be done faster
than we can talk about.

You just hold on now, Rad.
You wanna burn the place down ?

Lou, you can stall all you want to.
Only, I'm gonna be right here waiting.

Darling, what's the matter?

Did I say something ?
Or do something ?

What? What's eating you ?

Here I had it all pictured,

how it was gonna be
when you come home.

Me with a beauty parlor wave
and all gussied up to kill.

I even had it in mind to buy
some brand-new sheets.

You done dropped out of the blue,
and nothing's the way I planned it.

Honey, I wouldn't change a bit of it.

I look like I'm still working
as a welder. I do.

Wait. Maybe I can help you out there.

I brung you this,
all the way from Paris, France.

Well, I never...

- But... ls it all right ?
- Like it was made for you.

I never had anything
so pretty in all my born days.

That oughtn't to be, Lou.

We're still young, both of us.

Now's the time we ought to be
enjoying ourselves.

Getting out and doing things,
all of us.

There's got to be more to life

than just working a farm till you drop
in your tracks.

- Else nothing makes no sense.
- What's biting you, Rad ?

I don't know.
Seems like I got me a fever.

A yen to go places
while there's still time.

- What places ?
- Lots of places.

We got us a whole world
to choose from.

I knowed it. I felt it all along.

- You ain't glad to be back.
- Glad ?

Well, that don't half describe it.

Where are we gonna be while you're
hightailing it off to them places ?

Right there with me, Lou.

We can get us a trailer until we
settle on someplace permanent.


Rad McDowell, you think I done broke
my nails and stooped my back,

working day and night
keeping up this place,

raising them kids in there,
plus doing a full day's work at the plant

just so as you could
sashay back here and sell it?

- Honey, if we got...
- We got this land, Rad.

Well, that's more than a start.
It's all ours now, paid up free and clear.

Land lasts. You take care of it,
it'll take care of you.

Besides, you ask around.
Things is changed.

They gonna be changing a lot more,
too, before they're finished.

It could be that this place is gonna
be worth a lot more than $5,000.

Now, do you think Henry Warren
is studying how to do us a good turn ?

Okay, Lou, I won't go doing nothing
unless you agree with it.

Deal ?

Now, you put this damn thing on,
will you ?

You're the only one, Lou.

The only one in the whole wide
world for me.

I ain't gonna ask you
no questions, Rad.

I just want you to know,
there ain't never been nobody else.

Darling, I... Look.

There was times when
I'd get to feeling so low,

and I had started walking
through some city,

and meet some gal,
and we'd start talking...

I don't want to hear about it.

Not now, not ever.

One thing you got to hear.

There ain't nobody nowhere
meant a thing to me.

It ain't never been good for me except
with you, Lou. I mean that.

You recollect that motto
on my grandma's sampler?

It said, "Actions speak louder
than words."


I missed you so.

Just two minutes.

Hotter than a two-dollar pistol,
ain't ya ?


What do we pay Kissie for
if she can't keep him quiet?

Henry, when he gets like this,
I'm the only one he'll...

Come on, Henry, let go.

Henry, let go.

- Let go !
- What about me ?

If it weren't for you,
he might not be crying.

I'm through letting you wish
it all off on me. You hear?

Ain't never been nothing like
that on my side of the family.

You just take a look at Rad's kids.
Any one of them.

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed
and smart as whips.

Are you through ?

Just don't think I'm gonna sit here like
some piece of machinery

waiting for you to come back
and turn me on, you hear?



There's Reeve Scott, Daddy.

Hi, Rad.
Can you give me a lift into town ?


- How's it feel to be home ?
- Okay, I guess.

You selling out
to your Cousin Henry ?

What's it to you ?

He's playing us off against each other.

You sellout, he cuts me off
from the river.

I sell out,
he cuts you off from the road.

- There's another thing.
- Yeah ?

Ain't no sense in staying on
here unless we can make it pay.

That's for sure.

I figure we must lose a third
of what we plant each year

on account of flooding or dry spells.

At least.

Why can't we blast out irrigation
ditches and keep our whole crop ?

That's what Riverside's done.

Riverside's geared for that.
We ain't.

Know what they trained me
for in the army ?

Demolition work.
Hell, man, I blasted roads

through mountains and turned
jungles into airfields.

- What's a little ditching after that ?
- You go ahead on and do it then.

Are you kidding ?

Ain't a storekeeper in all of Georgia
would sell me as much as a firecracker.

Suppose we team up,
you do the buying, I'll do the blasting.

- I'll think on it.
- We ain't got much time.

We ought to have them dug
before we start planting.

- I said I'd think on it.
- Well, what's there to think about?

Afraid of what folks might say ?

- No.
- Sure.

- Look, I said no, didn't I ?
- Sorry, I didn't mean to push you.

My wife and kids got to live
in this town.

You better let me off here.
I don't want to embarrass you none

by having folks see you
riding me through town.

It just goes to show you,

you can't be nice to a nigger,
else he takes advantage.

I don't like that kind of talk,

But them things Reeve said, they don't
mean we ain't moving to California.

California ?
Now, whatever gave you that idea ?

It's just something
Cousin Henry said.

Well, the next time Cousin Henry
comes snooping around,

you just tell him to keep his nose out
of our affairs, you hear?

Well, Vivian, I didn't know
you were back.

I didn't know you were.

If I come back to school,
can I have you for my teacher?

Sure, if you could make it
into fourth grade.

Forget the whole thing.

- I'm looking for your grandpa.
- He'll be back in a minute.

- How's your mother, Reeve ?
- She's pretty sick.

I'm sorry to hear that.

- When you get to be her age...
- How old do you think she is ?

Maybe 72, 73.

She's gonna be 54,
her next birthday.

With the way she's been feeling lately,
I don't think she's gonna make it.

I don't know what
I'm gonna do without her.

People can survive anything.

Isn't that awful hard, Vivian ? ls that
what living in New York does to folk ?

That's what living does to folks.
New York or anyplace else.

Reeve, why didn't you ever
answer any of my letters ?

All during the war I wondered about you.

What was the use ? You wrote me
you'd fallen for some guy in New York.

Why, Reeve.

- Good to see you, son.
- Hi there, Professor.

Maybe you can help me talk
some sense into Vivian here.

This innocent, old country teacher
could outsmart any con man in Harlem.

- Is that so ?
- I came home for a short visit...

And the next thing I knew,
he had me teaching school again.

And now he's asking me
to sign up for next year.

This is your home,
this is where you belong.

You never got sick
when you were living here.

I wasn't sick in New York.
I just needed a change.

But I can't see myself spending
the rest of my life here.

Somehow, Georgia isn't my idea
of the promised land.

- You talk to her, Reeve.
- Why me ?

Because she has answers
to all of my arguments.

Well, then I don't see how
I can be a match for her.

- Giving up without a fight ?
- I figured that's what you're doing.

I mean, just saying how tough things
are down here ain't gonna cure them.

If we want it better, we gotta make it
better. Nobody's gonna do it for us.

That's sort of what they had to do in
the original promised land, wasn't it?

He's got you there, Vivian.

Anyway, what I came to see you about,
Professor, was to ask your advice.

Henry Warren's been after my mama
to sell our place to Riverside.

We don't aim to sell.

This here's the original bill
of sale my great-grandpa,

Old Jonas B., got when he
bought our place at auction.

Have you checked to see if there's a
copy of this on file in the courthouse ?

- You know they wouldn't let me.
- It's dated 1866.

Maybe the file copy got lost when
the old courthouse burned down in '76.

If it did, this is the only copy.

Would you mind if
I kept this in my safe ?

You must be reading my mind !
You think I ought to look for a lawyer ?

That would take some doing.

- I'd like to see you again.
- I don't think we ought to, Reeve.

- Why not?
- It wouldn't be fair to you.

I'm not even sure
it would be fair to me.

Well, you're the teacher.

- Hello, Mr. Warren.
- Hi there, Ada.

- Why, Henry Warren.
- Eula.

Vernon is out tending to his roses.

Don't you forget to say hello
to Sukie before you leave.

I won't.

- Judge.
- Henry ?

I just come by to apologize
for that little to-do over at my place.

You don't owe me any apology, Henry.
It's others in your family that do.

Papa, have you forgotten you're
driving me to Nancy Doakes'

for the shower they're giving me ?

- I can take her, Judge, if you like.
- You're an angel, Henry.

- Is Julie going ?
- No, she ain't.

Guess she's afraid you'd outshine her,
you pretty thing, you.

See, first she insults me,
then my daughter.

It don't seem to me to be such
a great burden for her to attend

a little shindig in Sukie's honor.

Well, it's our boy, Judge,
he ain't too well today.

I think that your son's ailment
is mighty convenient for Julie Ann.

- That ain't like you, Judge.
- Well, look at the facts, man.

It keeps her from being
Sukie's matron of honor,

or attending any of our little festivities.

But it don't stop her from
giving parties and what all

for that nigger-loving cousin of hers.

Well, you see, Judge,
it ain't just our boy.

I thought as much.

Now, on top of him,
she's all upset these days

on account of the trouble we've
been having with Rose Scott.

- With who ?
- Rose Scott, her old colored mammy.

She's a mighty sick old nigger,

and my Julie, she takes
these things pretty bad.

Then, too, there's all this
foolishness over her land.

- What land ?
- The land that she... Rose lives on.

It's Colfax land,
everybody knows that.

Only Julie's family let
old Rose live there free and clear.

As long as she kept up the taxes.

Now, with Rose fixing to die,

Julie would like her to
sell the land to Riverside.

For how much ?

I guess they might go
as high as 2,000.

High enough for the estate to pass
through my court for probate.

Yeah, come to think of it,
I guess that it will.

Then, with any kind of a
title dispute in question,

you know better than
to come to my house,

trying to prejudice my judgment.

I may not have the same glorious family
tree as your high and mighty wife,

but one thing I do pride myself on,
and that is my integrity.

I'm truly sorry, Judge.

I'd never have brought it up if
I thought you'd take offense.

Now, when this old nigger woman dies...
What'd you say her name was ?

- Rose Scott.
- Yeah, Rose Scott.

When she dies,
if her kinfolk can prove title,

and I very much doubt that they can...

You have no idea what
I have to put up against.

No, these darkies
never have any papers,

no birth certificates,
no deeds, no wills, nothing.

Anyway, if they can prove title,
there's nothing I can do about it.

But if they can't...

Henry, my little Sukie
has got her heart set on

having Julie Ann
as her matron of honor.

Yes, I do know that, Judge.

And I got my heart set on
giving her whatever she wants.

Yeah, but with you moving the
wedding off to Bay City...

Julie sets a lot by her cousin, Clem.

Well, that's your problem,
isn't it, Henry ?

So, let's see what
you can do about it, huh ?

- I'll do my best, Judge.
- Do more than that, Henry.

Do more than what?

Just a little wedding
present for you, dear.

Something Henry's going
to arrange.

I'll see if I can't get it out of him
on the way to the shower.

- Bye- bye, Papa.
- Bye, dear.

- You have a good time.
- I'll try.

Yes, sir.

Seems like old times,
riding off with you, Henry.

- You want somebody to hear?
- They wouldn't believe it, darling.

I hardly do myself.

Let me, Henry. Been too long a time
since I started your motor.

Boy, you really are something, Sukie.
Cut it out now.

Sugar, we ain't never gonna
get anywhere, lessen I start your motor.

Isn't this a good place, Henry ?

It's a good place,
but is it a good idea ?

My, you've gotten cautious of late.

Didn't used to be this careful.

You wasn't engaged then.

I don't feel all that engaged.

Besides, you always did
make me feel funny.

You sure you know
what you're doing ?

I ought to.

Done it often enough before,
haven't we ?

What about Howard ?

Howard's a nice, dull boy

with lots of nice, dull money.

And I aim to make him a nice,
dull wife.

Until the wedding,

don't I have the right
to take my fun while I can ?

Welcome home, sugar.

It's nice to be back.

Julie, honey, open up. It's me.

Julie, open this door, you hear?

I know you're in there.

You don't open this damn thing,

I warn you, I'm gonna kick it down.

Don't you come in here.

Don't you touch me. No.

Stop it.


Stop it.

Mama, what are you up to now ?

You don't think I'm gonna let
my Miss Julie

find me in my nightgown ?

- She coming here ?
- Done sent me word this morning.

Mama, Miss Julie's after something.

You know Henry Warren
put her up to coming out here.

I ain't saying he didn't.

But after I explains it to her,
she's gonna fix things.

Make him leave us alone.

- And if she don't?
- Then I'll say, we won't sell.

Mama, in your whole life
you ain't never said no to white folks.

It won't come to that with my Julie Ann.
You going to see that today.

You gonna see how
that child pay me heed.

Lord Almighty. There she is.

Shucks, and we thought
it was white folks.

Mind your manners, Reeve.

Hello, Professor Thurlow.
How you been keeping ?

Tolerable, Rose, just tolerable.

- And you ?
- Right smart, thank you.

- It's nice to see you again, Aunt Rose.
- You married yet, Vivian ?

You're wasting your time, Mama.
She ain't studying to marry no farmer.

- Is that so ?
- Well, not this farmer anyway.

Mama, she's here.

I'd be obliged if the two of you
would take this boy of mine

out of here and keep him busy.

We'll come back later.

- Auntie Rose.
- Julie Ann.

- My Julie Ann.
- Auntie Rose.

And you done brought Colie.
My, he's grown.

Come along, Colie,
say hello to Aunt Rose.

Leave him be, child.
Let him take his own time.

Come on, let go, Colie.

Come on, turn loose, precious.
Turn loose.

I better get these in water.

I declare, Rose, I never saw Colie take
to anyone like he does to you.

Children know who loves them.

Sometimes, Rose, I think you just
about invented love.

Least ways for me.

Hush now, child,
you'll be making me cry.

Mind if I crochet while we talk ?

Course not.
What's that you're working ?

It's an afghan. Like the one my Great
Aunt Isabelle made, remember?

Honey, why this afghan is elegant.

I'm making it for you, Rose,
with devotion in every stitch.

For me ?

Well, it's... It's only the tiniest
little part of what I feel.

- Hi there, Cousin Henry.
- Hi.

- Hi there, Lou.
- Henry.

- Rad home ?
- No, he went into town.

Charles. Mind if I wait for him ?

- Suit yourself.
- Hi there, Cousin Henry.

- Look what I brought.
- ls it for me ?

Well, maybe.
Let's see if you can use it.

You and Rad made up your mind
if you're gonna sell the place ?

You're gonna have
to talk to Rad about it, Henry.


- I hope you folks don't wait too long.
- What do you mean ?

Something tells me our Reeve
ain't gonna be so picky

about making $5,000.

You mean, you pay them
as much as white folks ?

I will if I have to.

If you'll accept my deal real quick,
I'll up my offer on your place to 7,000.

- Rad will be right back, Henry.
- Okay.

Charles ?

I kept meaning to come, Rose.
You know that.

- And Mr. Henry, how's he keeping ?
- Fine, but always on the go.

I never seem to see him anymore.

- A man's got to work, child.
- I know.

Funny, isn't it?

Papa nearly had a fit when
I ran off and married Henry.

Now it's Henry that's putting all
the old Colfax land back together again.

Doing what Papa dreamed
of all his life.

I'm happy things are working
out for you.

Did you hear Henry's made
this marvelous deal

with the Riverside people ?

They're gonna buy up
all the land Papa left me.

Really '2

Henry's been working just as hard as
can be to bring it about.

And, well, just to show you
how sweet he can be,

just now he's got them
to offer as much for your land

as they're paying for mine.

And he let me be the one
to bring you the glad tidings.

Is that why you called ?

Aunt Rose, I was planning
to come anyway.

This week or next.
I just couldn't wait to tell you.

I mean, after all you've given me,
finally I can give you something back.

Honey, I got all I want.
This is my home, this is our living.

Tell that to Mr. Henry.
You know how.

Rose, you'd be much more
comfortable in town.

I know we can fix you up
with Kissie's folks.

And I'd be able to stop by and
see you just any time I please.


- What do you mean "no"?
- We ain't selling.

Now, Rose darling,
now I know how you feel.

But there's not a blessed thing
you can do about it.

This is progress, Rose.

You think the 20th century
can stand still

just 'cause you wanna
hang on to a few little acres ?

That ain't my Julie talking.
Sounds more like Henry Warren.

Of course this is a big
opportunity for Henry.

But it's my one chance, too, Rose.

If Henry can make good of this,
maybe he'll settle down.

We might even have more children.

Aunt Rose, in a manner of speaking,
it's my future I'm asking you for.

- It's my life.
- I ain't selling.

I ain't selling our land, you hear?

Rose darling, you know just as plain
as plain, this here is Colfax land.

This is my land,
and it always has been.

Now we made it over to
your folks during the war.

But that was just for appearance sake,
to keep it out of Yankee hands.

And, since then, we let you work it

in exchange for your
keeping up the taxes and all.

But there hasn't ever been any question
about who was the rightful owner.

- That's a lie.
- Rose.

After the war was over, the Yankees
seized all this land hereabouts.

And my grandpa,
after just getting freed,

he done hired himself
out as slave labor.

Doing things you couldn't
even get a chain gang for.

And he put that money aside.

And when this piece
come up at public auction,

he bid it in at $200.

And that's the God's honest truth.

And well you know it.

Auntie Rose.

Auntie Rose.

Auntie Rose.

Reeve !

Reeve !

Somebody, help !

Reeve, she's been taken real bad.

Mama ? Mama ? It's Reeve, Mama.
I'm here.

I don't know, it just
came over her, suddenly.

Vivian, can you go for the doctor?


Stop, Colie, stop it.

Julie ?

Make her leave.


Get well real quick,
Aunt Rose, you hear?

Reeve, when she comes around,
you tell her to forget what I said.

You tell her she can stay on here
in peace as long as she lives.

You've got my sworn oath.

Come on, Colie.

Will you tell her she can stay ?
Make her hear.

Come on.

Henry, Henry.

- What's wrong, sugar?
- Henry.

Why are you crying ?
You'll be all right.

- Is there anything I can do ?
- No, she'll be all right.

Henry, it was just awful.

Calm down, honey,
let me drive you on home.

I told her everything about
Riverside, just like you said.

But before we could settle anything
she had a terrible attack.

Hi, Rad. You gonna be home later ?
I might stop by.

Look what Cousin Henry got me.

I don't know what my plans are, Henry,
but they don't include you.

Rad, you best hear
what Henry has to say.

We ain't selling out, and that's final.
You just run along home.

- Take your toys with you.
- Those were a present for Charles.

Charles got a ball and glove
of his own.

What'd you tell him that for ?
I ain't got no ball and glove.

Henry Warren ain't buying nothing
for this family. Or from us neither.

Don't cry, darling.

Your lovely, pretty little face
is gonna get all ugly.

- It's just us now.
- Now, now, now.

You don't wanna be all puffy
and everything, do you ?

Sukie, honey. Honey, what's wrong ?


Sukie, Sukie.

Sukie, dear...

Sukie, Sukie, lovey ?

What in hell is going
on around here ?

Well, might you ask ?

Well, lam asking.
ls she sick or something ?

Sick ? Heartbroken is more like it.

At Howard ?
Has Howard done something to her?

Much, much closer to home.
You done something to her.

Now, Eula, don't try my patience.
I've had me a hard day today.

- I'm in no mood for playing games.
- Very well. Very well.

Well, now, it looks like there isn't
gonna be a single, solitary person

at Sukie's wedding outside
of the immediate family.

- What?
- Well, now, what'd you expect?

Getting on your high horse
and threatening the minister.

And moving the wedding to Bay City.

You think that the folks in this town
are gonna turn on a Colfax cousin ?

- You mean they've been declining ?
- No.

But they have not been
accepting neither.

And Sukie's been getting
some mighty evasive answers

when she inquires.

Nobody's accepting ?

None of the quality folk.

I never, darling Eula.

- What can we do ?
- What can we do ?

Well now, there's nothing we can do.

You made the trouble,
now you find a cure!

Eula, I can't just back out.

The whole town heard me say it.

What do you think is gonna
happen come next election

if I was to go back on my word ?

I don't see why that should bother you.
You never carried the town.

And if it wasn't for the back
country folk,

you'd still be clerking
in your uncle's store.

Sukie, Sukie, sugar.

Eula, it's gonna be fine.

- Sukie ?
- Eula, I'm gonna...

Reeve ?

Reeve ?

Yes, Mama ?

I was wrong.

I was wrong.

Mama, whatever you done,

you did it because you
thought it was right.

Don't fret yourself about it, please.

I was a...

I was a white folks' nigger.

I was. I was.

You've got to learn from my mistakes.
You've got to fight.

You've got to.

- I will, Mama.
- You've got to.

I will.

Swear to me. Swear.

I swear, Mama.

Ain't gonna be easy.

But you'll know, at the end.

You won't have this agony.
This taste of bitterness and gall.

Easy, Mama, please.

I'm passing out of this life, Reeve.

In these last minutes,
you know what I feel most of all ?


Yes, anger and hatred.

Not so much at them
for what they done to me.

But at myself for letting them.

No, helping them do it.

And I grieve.

I truly grieve

for this sorry thing

that has been my life.

Mama ?

Mama ?

Henry Warren, you are
going to spoil me rotten.

- I swear you will.
- Yes, ma'am.

I don't remember ever being
so hungry.

Promise you'll still love me
when I'm big and fat?

I can think of a few exercises
to keep you in shape.

Henry ! You are depraved.

Making your own wife blush
before 6:00 in the morning.

Got some papers here
for you to sign, honey.

- Now ?
- No time like the present.

I declare, Henry, you are a pest
when it comes to business.

- What are they ?
- Eviction notice for the Scott place.

- I told you...
- Slow down a bit.

Look, they're not even dated, see ?

They ain't been signed
by the court or nothing.

And I swear to you by everything holy,

they ain't leaving my safe
while Rose draws breath.

Then I don't see why
I have to sign them right this very night.

Sugar, what kind of bastard
are you gonna call me

if I come running to you to sign these
the day that old woman passes on ?

I never thought of that.

Here. All three copies.

- This is the right thing to do, Henry ?
- It's the only thing, honey.

Hey, Reeve.

Did I wake you ?

Good. Listen,
I've been thinking things over.

About the other day, I think maybe
you've got something there

about us making our places pay.
And to hell with what folks say.

Improving our land's what counts.

So, I brung you a loaf of Lou's bread
and a jar of her damson plum jelly.

If you'll go make us a pot of
coffee, we can patch things up

and get down to business.

Here. And I hope you choke on it.
You uppity black bastard.

- Rad, wait.
- What for ? More sass ?

No, it's just...

Rad, my mama just now died.

She was a real
good woman, your mama.

If there's a heaven,
she's there this very minute.

I hope so, Rad, 'cause she had
enough of hell right here.

- Morning, Reeve.
- Morning, Reverend.

I wanted to give you this
for the building fund.

You don't have to.
Maybe you'd rather wait a bit.

No, sir. This is the way
my mama wanted it to be.

She's been putting money by for the
new church ever since I can remember.

- I'll announce it after the service.
- She'd like that.

- Morning, Reverend.
- Sheriff.

- Hi there, Reeve.
- Morning, Sheriff.

We sure gonna miss Aunt Rose
around here.

Why, you know, she used to bring me
a bushel of new potatoes

every spring, just like clockwork.

Appreciate your coming, Sheriff.
Mama would have, too.

Yeah, well, you see, Reeve,
I really come to bring you this.

- What is it?
- They didn't waste anytime, did they ?

Now, no hard feelings, Reeve.
I'm just doing my job.

What is it, Reeve ?

Mrs. Warren claims
the farm ain't rightly ours.

This is a notice telling me
to get off the land.

Couldn't you have waited until
after the funeral ?

Well, you know how it is, Reverend.
I'm a busy man.

I ain't got time to go all the way
out there if I don't have to.

- It's outrageous.
- I've been expecting it.

And bad news don't
improve with waiting.

- Morning, folks.
- Morning, Sheriff.

How are things coming ?

- Good morning, Vivian.
- Good morning, Mrs. Warren.

This is my husband.

Reeve, I can't tell you how sorry I am.

Is that a fact ?

I'd have done anything for Aunt Rose.
Anything in this world.

If you mean that, you can just
take yourself on out of here.

- Reeve ?
- Listen here, boy.

We know you're grieving.

But that don't give you
leave to insult my wife.

This here nigger, he told Julie
he don't want her at the funeral.

And this here nigger
meant what he said.

You can't stop me.

He's Rose's next of kin,
his wishes ought to be respected.

Come on, sugar,
no skin off our noses.

Just as you say, Cousin Clem.

I can't expect any better
from a field hand like Reeve.

But Clem ? After all I did for him ?

Taking his side against the Judge.

Miss Sukie Purcell has just
got herself a matron of honor.

That ought to fix Clem's wagon.

And just to make sure
folks don't miss the point,

I'm gonna offer Sukie the loan
of my mama's lace wedding veil.

Anybody here ?

Good morning, Judge.

Up. up!

- Sir?
- Up on your feet.

- Miss Ada, come on in here!
- You want me, Judge ?

- Who let this gal in here ?
- Why, where'd she come from ?

Get the Sheriff.

What has come over you people ?

Have you no sense of decorum ?

Isn't there a trace
of respect left in any of you ?

- You answer me.
- I'd be glad to, Judge.

Which question would you
like me to start with ?

Yes, sir?

This gal wandered
right into my private office.

- Hi, Vivian.
- Hello, Sheriff.

How come you know her?
ls she some kind of habitual criminal ?

Hell no, Judge. This here's Vivian.
Professor Thurlow's granddaughter.

Yes ?
Well, I just caught her red-handed.

- Stealing ?
- No, sitting.

- Sitting ?
- Yes, sitting.

Now, Vivian, you know better than that.

Suppose you tell the Judge
why you come in here in the first place.

I need permission to do
some research in your records

for a class I'm preparing
on local history.

Someone from your school board
will have to get you

an authorization from
the county commission for that.

Now, Judge, you're just being modest.

We all know who has
the last word around here.

I don't know
what harm it would do, Judge.

And when we get to more
modern times,

I do hope you'll come
and talk to my class.

Well, I'm a mighty busy man.

Still, I suppose I could
spare a few minutes.

It would be my duty...

I can't possibly tell you
what it would mean to them.

- Miss Ada ?
- Yes, sir?

Will you take Vivian here down to
records, give her whatever she wants.

You're such a perfect example
of everything southern.

We have the Judge's permission.

Sure enough.

All the records
are in chronological order.

Starting at the very back and
ending up in the front row here.

- Thank you.
- Better take one of these.

Things can get a mite dusty back there.

Wouldn't hurt if you was to
give them a lick and a promise.

- Here's the list and my share.
- We'll settle up later.

Okay, I'll wait here.

- Hey, Ozzie, how are you ?
- Afternoon, Mrs. McDowell.

- Hi, Ozzie, how you been ?
- Just fine and you ?

- Never better.
- Hi, Rad.

Dolph. Got a big order for you, Ozzie.

- That's what I like to hear.
- First off, I want dynamite.

One hundred and fifty pounds.

Do you want black powder
or cartridges ?

I'm not sure, wait a minute.

Reeve, come on in here a minute,
will you ?

Do we want black powder
or cartridges ?

- Cartridges, eight inches.
- Cartridges, eight inches.

Seems like black powder
would be more natural.

We don't have no 40% left,
is 50 okay ?

- Is it?
- Yes.

Yeah, 50's okay, Ozzie.

What is this, "Amos 'n Andy" ?

Reeve knows more
about this sort of thing than I do.

It is you that's buying it though,
isn't it?

- You wanna see the permit?
- Yeah.

No offense, Rad, just making sure.
Kenny ? Kenny, come out here.

Take that boy around back
and fill his order.

Rad, have you forgotten
how we do things around here ?


You remember that little hunt club
we all started a while back ?

Well, it's coming along real fine.
Got almost 200 members now.

And we kept you on the active list.

I ain't got much time
for that sort of thing anymore.

- Well, you'd better make time.
- It ain't the time that's stopping him.

He just don't have any clean sheets.

Come on, kids, we'll wait outside.

- Hey, Rad.
- What's up ?

They're trying to unload stuff
on us that's two years old.

Worse yet, it's been water-soaked,
you can see the stains.

- Ozzie, what is this ?
- That's all we got. Take it or leave it.

We'll leave it. Come on, Reeve,
let's go over to Bay City.

Hold your horses.
Can't you take a little joke ?

Kenny, show him the new stuff.
What's come over you, Rad ?

- How much is it gonna be ?
- Well, let's see.

Caps, a roll of wire,

blasting box, and the dynamite.

Comes to $97.50.

- Use this.
- Taking it with you ?


Except for the charges
and the blasting box.

- We'll come back for these.
- No, we'll take it all in one trip.

- You can't do that.
- Don't you give me orders.

I wonder if Lou is as friendly
with that coon as Rad is ?

Rad, we can't take dynamite
and fuses in the same trip.

- We're not coming back here.
- It's crazy, I tell you.

You think that was any picnic
for me in there ?

You go on, I'll take the fuses.

Let's go.

That's just gorgeous.
Absolutely breathtaking.

- Tell Mama good-bye, Colie.
- What's he all dressed up for?

Hi, Sukie, hi, Eula.

I'm taking him out to Riverside
with me.

Today ?
I thought you were gonna be so busy.

It's about time he saw
his old man in action.

- So long, everybody.
- So long.

- Bye.
- What a sweet little boy he is.

- He's got such bright little eyes.
- I'll be right back.

Henry ?

Henry, don't you think it might be better
to wait for some other day ?

You still don't trust me
with him, do you ?

- It's not that.
- Yes, it is.

I thought you'd gotten over that.

All right. Have a good time.
I sure wish I was going with you.

Why don't you drive out to Riverside
after Sukie's rehearsal ?

All right. It's a date.

It's ridiculous how she pretends
there isn't a thing wrong with that boy.

Why the whole town knows
he's never even said...

Well, don't stop on my account.

Julie, honey, I hope you don't think
that we would talk behind your back.

- Unkindly, I mean.
- God forbid.

It was just that Mama noticed
a resemblance between me

and your Great Aunt Isabelle
over here.

Yes, and I was telling them how
Vernon, that's the Judge,

he says we're related to the Colfaxes.

- Way, way back, mind you.
- So were Adam and Eve.

Sukie, you feel free to borrow as many
of my ancestors as you need.

They go along with the wedding veil.
No extra charge.

Miss Byrd, something seems
to be climbing up in back there.

Where the hell is everyone ?

There now, there now.
It's all right, Colie, it's all right.

Daddy's here. Daddy's...

Be quiet, will you ?

Look here, look here.

Sit. There you go.

There you are. Ain't that great ?

Wait. Wait, Colie, look.
Look what Daddy's got for you.

Look here what Daddy's got.

Look here.

Look, look, Colie.
Look, put your hand on there.

There you go. Look.

Ain't that something ? Two hands.
Go on, go on.

Stop it, you two. Stop it.
Have you gone crazy or something ?

- Good morning, Cousin Henry.
- I'll have the law on you for this.

Got a permit, Henry.

All we doing is blasting out
some irrigation ditches like y'all did.

- All set, Rad ?
- All set.

No offense, Cousin Henry,
but we're about to blast.

Go right ahead.

Okay, Reeve, let her rip.

I'll get you for this!

Okay, everybody,
back on the job, you hear?

Well, we done it.

What the hell kind of sheriff
are you anyway,

letting a nigger run loose
with dynamite ?

Of course I'm sure. He set that charge
off without any warning.

With my little boy right
in the line of fire.

Sure he saw him, you think he's blind ?
Now you listen, Chalmer,

they got Colie in the emergency room
this very minute.

So if you know what's good for you,
you'll round up a posse,

go out there and
arrest that nigger right now.

- How is he, Doctor?
- He's got a nasty crack on the head.

All we can do for now
is put him under sedation.

Tomorrow we'll start tests.

Now take it easy,
they got dynamite.

- Now fan out there, boys.
- You going in there alone, Chalmer ?

I'll yell if I need help.

Okay, Reeve, come on out of there,
and don't try no funny business.

Go on, go on.

Nice of you to drop by, Sheriff.

Well, this ain't no social call.
I come to get Reeve.

He's in there somewhere.

Help yourself, Sheriff,
it's right out of the pan.

Here, Sheriff.
Chicken can be mighty dry eating.

Thanks... Hey, Reeve.

Hello, honey, how are you ?

- Not now, Clara. Reeve !
- Wonderful, isn't it, Sheriff ?

The way Rad and Reeve are fixing
their places over, just like Riverside did.

Here, Sheriff, let me put a stick in that
for you.

- I got to take you in, Reeve.
- What for ?

Perhaps you could be good
enough to state the charge.

Now you know good and well
what he did.

Now, I'm warning you, Reeve,

either you come along nice
and peaceful-like,

or I'm gonna have to call in
the rest of my boys to help me.

- What's wrong, Sheriff ?
- Good evening, Reverend.

I didn't expect to see you here.
I got to arrest Reeve.

Henry Warren's proffering charges
against him on account of

the dynamiting he done today.

Do you have a warrant?

I can't wait for a warrant
every time a law gets broke.

Especially not in an emergency.

Sheriff, those men out there,
they say they waiting on you.

Well, you go on back
and tell them to hold their water.

I'm conducting an investigation
in here.

I'm sorry about all this, Professor.

You know I like you people,
I like being with you.

I like all the joshing
and jiving and jostling that goes on.

And I like your little gals, too.

You know what we say,

"The blacker the berry,
the sweeter the juice."

Hell, ain't I always treated you folks
better than a daddy would ?

I wouldn't know about that, Sheriff.

It's been a long time since
I've had need for a daddy.

- Chalmer!
- Chalmer ?

Chalmer, you all right in there ?

Now, hush up, y'all,
I'm talking business.

- What's there to talk about?
- Shut up !

When I need you, I'll call.

Okay, Reeve, come on, let's go.

We wouldn't want to see you get into
any trouble over a false arrest, Sheriff.

Maybe you ought to get
a warrant first ?

Now I can get me a warrant
just like that.

Reeve has been blasting on land
that's under a court order.

- You've got to taste my cake, honey.
- I'm full to bursting, Clara.

There wasn't any blasting done
on Reeve's land, Sheriff.

- Only on Rad McDowell's.
- That ain't what Henry Warren said.

Why don't we let the court
settle it tomorrow ?

I'll guarantee Reeve's appearance there,

and if it turns out that he's done
anything illegal,

you can arrest him then.

Well, I guess your word's
good enough for me, Reverend.

Here, take this along with you
for the ride back, honey.

- Eat this in good health.
- Why, thank you.

- Good night, y'all.
- Good night.

Where's the nigger?

What's going on, Chalmer,
they stampede you ?

Did he take it on the run ?

Now mind your own business,
all of you !

There's been a little misunderstanding,
we nearly made us a big mistake.

- You mean we ain't taking him in ?
- Just let me run my own office, Dolph.

Anytime I want him,
I know just where he is.

Right in the palm of my hand.

- Sheriff.
- Rad.

- Hi, Chalmer.
- Henry.

Good luck, Henry.

Stand up, please.

The honorable 20th judicial
court holding in

and for the County
of Colfax, State of Georgia,

the Honorable Judge
Vernon Purcell presiding.

Peace, honor, and quiet
are hereby commanded.

God save our state
and this honorable court.

Be seated.

I will now pick up the matter
of the estate of Rose Scott,

recently deceased, of this county.

What is it, Henry ?

Your Honor, I would like to present
Mr. Lars Finchley from Atlanta.

Mr. Finchley, you represent
Riverside in this matter?

No, Your Honor, I'm attorney for
Mrs. Julie Ann Colfax Warren,

interested party in the
disposition of the estate.

Fine, fine. What is it?

Judge, could we wait
a few minutes, please ?

My lawyer must've been held up a little.

- You went and got yourself a lawyer?
- Yes, sir.

I must say, I'm surprised.

You folks don't generally
come to court with lawyers.

That's why we generally lose.

It's a shame you had to go and
squander your money that way.

You don't need a lawyer.
Now, this court is your lawyer.

- Fair and impartial.
- Yes, sir.

Now, then, I can't delay
the business of this court.

But if, as we go along,
you have any questions,

if you don't understand
some of our two-dollar words,

if you're not exactly sure
what your rights are,

you just speak up and ask me.
That's all, you may sit down.

- Sorry I'm late, Your Honor.
- Now who's that ?

Carter Sillens, Bay City. I'm here to
represent the Rose Scott estate.

Approach the bench.

Are you aware, sir,
how extraordinary it is for a white man

to come into my court
and represent a black boy ?

No more than it was for my daddy to
present me with a negro half-brother.

Don't you rattle your skeleton
in my court there, sir.

Your being here at all
constitutes a treachery

to the entire white community
that's too colossal to be believed.

Well, it makes my half-brother
very proud.

You know, I would like to state
at the outset,

that I object to the irregularities
of these proceedings.

They were called illegally,
and they are being conducted illegally.

We have our own way of doing
things in this county, Mr. Sillens.

And we don't hesitate
to cut through red tape

for the benefit of our citizens.

And we don't need any advice
from Bay City

on how to run our judicial system.
This is a simple, informal parlay.

If it's so simple and informal,
why the high-priced legal talent ?

Because this here estate is disputed,
and Rose Scott died intestate.

Rose Scott did not die intestate,
and I am here to file her will.

Your Honor, if it pleases the court,

I suggest the whole question
of a will is immaterial.

How's that ?

Because there's a prior claim
to the property.

My client, Mrs. Warren, informed
the deceased and her son of that claim.

And an eviction notice
was issued to Reeve Scott

only a few days ago.

Yes, I know all that. Get to the point.

Well, it's simply that if
my client's claim is upheld,

then Rose Scott had no right to leave
the land in question to anyone.

But I have here a photostatic
copy of a deed of sale

that was issued in this county
to Jonas B. Scott.

October 16th, 1866.

Who's making all that racket?

- Vivian Thurlow.
- And those pickaninnies with you ?

My history class. I wanted them to get
a look at democracy in action.

See they keep quiet, you hear?

- Where were we ?
- The Scott deed.


Now this can't be accepted
in evidence as a true copy,

this is just a reproduction.
It's kind of blurred, too.

As you wish.

Here's the original.

Well, this looks genuine.

Of course we'll have to send it along
to Atlanta to be authenticated.

Judge ? Your Honor?
I think I can be of help.

Speak up then.

Well, the other day,

when you were kind enough
to let me do research in the old records,

I happened to run across
the registration of this deed.

- What?
- Yes,

Miss Hemmings was good enough
to show me where to look.

Naturally, being a friend of the
Scott's, it just caught my eye.

As I recall, I gave you a duster
and asked you to tidy up a bit.

I didn't give you leave to go
snooping into county records.

No, the Judge did that.

Miss Ada, did you see
this purported registration ?

- No, Judge.
- Page 136, volume 10.

- We only have your word for that.
- Why don't we examine the book itself?

That's an excellent idea, sir.

Miss Ada, can we entrust
this little mission to you ?

I'll have it up here in no time.

- Judge, what is all this rigmarole ?
- Let me do things my way, Henry.

We didn't figure
on Reeve's having a lawyer.

Now, I want to make sure that he won't
have any grounds for an appeal.

Or would you prefer having my
decision reversed in a higher court ?

- I understand.
- Right.

Here it is, Judge. Volume 10.

Now then, what page
did you say this was ?

- 136.
- 136.


Wait a minute!

Wait a minute ! There isn't
even such a page as 136 here,

let alone a registration of your deed.

- There must be, Judge.
- See for yourself here.

There's 135, and it goes to 138.

Look here, Mr. Sillens,
there's something funny going on.

There's nothing unusual about that.

These old records
have been through a lot.

You can't expect them to be perfect.

Well, you've got to admit, that's a very
convenient accident, Your Honor.

Explain yourself, sir.

Your Honor, I would like to put
Vivian Thurlow on the stand

to testify under oath that
she saw that deed on the files

just a few days ago.

You know better than that, Mr. Sillens.

Anything she said
would be unsubstantiated

and therefore inadmissible.

I would still like it on the record.

Your Honor, I'm afraid
I would have to object.


Now then, lam not disallowing
this so-called deed of yours.

But until we can get a
verification from Atlanta,

it seems only fair we should let
Mrs. Warren present her case.

Your Honor, I call Mrs. Henry Warren
to the stand.

Yes, please.

Raise your right hand.

Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth,
the whole truth,

and nothing but the truth,
so help you God ?

I do.

Please be seated.

Now then, Mrs. Warren,
did you personally speak to Rose Scott

and tell her about your claim
to this land ?

Yes. I needed it back to
complete the Riverside package.

Not that I wanted the money. I told Rose
she could keep that for herself.

What'd she say ?

What could she say ?
She knew it was my land.

In other words, she admitted
the land belonged to you.


You tell the court why
Rose Scott didn't quit this place.

Well, she was very sick.
This was near the end.

And I knew she wanted to die in
the house she'd lived in all her life.

So I let her stay on.
That was the least I could do.

And folks say
we don't take care of our own.

Thank you, Mrs. Warren. That's all.

One moment, Mrs. Warren.
I have a few questions I'd like to ask.

How long did Rose Scott live on
this particular piece of land ?

Always. She was born there.

And her father ?
He was born there, too ?

- So far as I know.
- Her grandfather ?

He was one of our slaves.
Naturally, he was born on our land.

- Is it over already ?
- It will be if I don't hurry.

Where's the deed ?
The deed to this place, where is it?

- Right where it's always been.
- They're really giving it to Reeve.

Twisting every little thing
to Henry's advantage.

They even got somebody to go
into the records

and tear out the registration of his deed.

You didn't expect no different,
did you ? What do you want with this ?

It's the only thing that can help Reeve.
Our deed confirms his.

Have you gone plumb out of your
head ? You can't take this into court.

Got to. They get rid of him,
how do we know we ain't next?

- Because we're white.
- This ain't about black and white.

You think everybody feels like that ?

Look, who cares what they feel ?
Give me the damn thing, will you ?

- I'm not gonna let you do it. No.
- Give it to me.

No, Rad ! Rad !

No further questions.

Now, I'd like to clear up one point,
Mrs. Warren.

- These taxes the Scotts paid...
- Telephone call, Mr. Warren.

Why did they pay taxes on your land ?

Well my family felt they ought to pay
something, you know, in lieu of rent.

Taxes was what they agreed on,
and I went along with that.

Thank you. You may stand down.

Hello, Cousin Henry ?
It's me, Charles.

Now listen, my daddy's fixing to do
something terrible,

and Mama can't stop him.

Okay, Charles, I'll attend to it.

You just go back home
as if nothing had happened.

In other words, Your Honor,
the land in question

was only loaned to Reeve Scott's
forbearers by the Colfax family

during the war to keep it
out of Yankee hands.

Now, this loan, under a verbal contract,

has continued in effect
up to the present day.

The Scott family has been
permitted to work it...

Rad will be outside in two minutes.
I want you to go out there and stop him.

You must stop him before
he gets inside the building.

Let's get cracking.

Doctor, it didn't hurt him any, did it?

When are we gonna get
the results on all those tests ?

Yes, all right.

Thank you, Doctor.

Vivian, you know you're not allowed
in here.

- I have to talk to you, Mrs. Warren.
- What about ?

Won't you please give up
your claim to that land ?

Why should I ?

That little bit of land
can't mean that much to you,

but it's all Reeve has,
that farm is his whole life.

Don't ask me to shed any tears
for Reeve Scott.

- He nearly killed my boy.
- What?

Yes, he set off dynamite
while Colie was in the line of fire.

That's not true. Your little boy
wasn't anywhere near that place.

Lying for Reeve
isn't going to help him, Vivian.

lam not lying. I was there.

Please, Vivian, get out of here.

If your husband told you that,
then he's lying.

I don't know why I did that.

It doesn't matter.

Please forgive me.

I understand, believe me,
Mrs. Warren.

I know exactly how you feel.

You see, I've been where you're going.

What are you talking about?

What you said in court this morning,
and the way you acted just now.

It's all a part of the same thing,

he's turning you into something
just as bad as he is.

- That's enough.
- All right.

- But let me thank you first.
- What?

You saved me from a big mistake.

I was hooked on a guy in New York,
a guy exactly like your husband.

- A white man ?
- No.

You whites don't have a
monopoly on that kind of man.

But in every other way,
they're like twins.

Ambitious and ruthless.
Corrupting everyone...

I won't let you talk about Henry
like that.

Don't take my word for what
happened to your little boy.

There were a hundred other people out
there, and you ask any one of them.

Excuse me.
I'm in the wrong place.

No, I'm not! You are!

- Now what are you doing here ?
- Cleaning up.

I swear to God I wish I'd let
you sell that place to Henry.

I wish you'd given it away.

I can just see all of us out in the cold.

I can see Dolph and his hunt club
burning the roof over our heads.

You know what happens to white
men who take up for colored.

Think of the kids.
What's it gonna be like for them,

growing up with all the other kids at
school hating them because of you ?

Don't any of us matter?
Don't you care what happens to us ?

Rad, please !

You ain't going in there, Rad.

Get out of my way, Dolph.

Stop him! Stop him! Stop him!

Son of a...

Sheriff! Do something !

Sheriff, please !

I move that the claim of
Mrs. Julie Ann Colfax Warren

to this property be set aside.

Motion denied.

I move that the claim of Reeve Scott

for the property bequeathed him by his
mother be upheld by this court.


I move the true copy
of the deed of sale

dated October 16th, 1866,
be recognized.

- Motion denied.
- On what grounds, Your Honor?

On what grounds ? Because the
scallywag who made out this document

disgraced the flag and obviously
worked for the Yankees.

And he barely knew
the first thing about writing.

You can't even make out the name.
I mean, you call that a signature ?

Looks like a whole lot of
chicken tracks to me.

Now, despite the innuendos
of Mr. Sillens,

we're still gonna send
this deed along to Atlanta

and see if they can verify it.
But that may take a couple of months.

And during that time, the court
shall appoint an administrator

for the land in question.

Mr. Henry Warren, would you be
willing to accept that job ?

- Yes, Judge.
- Just a minute, Judge.

- Who's that ?
- Rad McDowell, Judge.

Have you something to add
to Mrs. Warren's case, Rad ?

- Yes, sir.
- Why don't you step on up here then ?

My own deed here proves that
the Scott deed is genuine.

- What?
- See ?

It says my place is bounded
by the river on one side,

and by that certain tract belonging
to J.B. Scott on the other.

- You sure this deed is correct?
- Positive.

And see, on mine, you can make out
that scallywag's signature.

Purcell, Vernon C. Purcell.
Same as your own name, Judge.

Your granddaddy maybe ?

Seems like I'm not the only one
with a family skeleton, Your Honor.


Quiet, or I'll throw every last one
of you in jail.

This document
doesn't change a thing.

It's entirely outside the
relevant issues of this case.

- Judge ?
- Yes, Miss Julie ?

I'm withdrawing my claim
to that land.

- It's Reeve's place, free and clear.
- Julie !

Mr. Finchley, would you please have

the necessary papers drawn up
for me to sign ?

Quiet ! Quiet ! Quiet in here!

Order in the courtroom!

Julie! Julie!

I want you to go home, and pack my
overnight bag, and bring it back here.

What in the hell do you think
you were up to in court ?

- Now you listen here...
- Keep your voice down.


Just bring me what I need for tonight.
I'll be around for the rest tomorrow.

- Wait a minute, Kissie. What is this ?
- Go on.

I asked you a question.

- I'm moving in here with Colie.
- Why ? He ain't any worse, is he ?

It's no use, Henry. I know
what really happened yesterday.

I can explain all that.

No more lies, Henry.
Just leave me alone.

Now you wait a minute...

You'll wake him up.

I ain't leaving here till we've had
this thing out.

- Now listen...
- No. You listen.

The doctor just told me there's still a
chance that Colie can be cured.

Soon as he's fit to travel,

I'm gonna take him to the
Menninger Clinic in Topeka.

And if they can't help him,
I'm gonna keep going until he's well.

Or until there aren't any more
specialists to see.

We ain't got the money for that.

Now that you've handed that place
to Reeve on a silver platter,

the whole deal with Riverside
will fall through. Including my job.

I'm gonna put the house
on the market.

And I'll sell my land
to the first bidder.

Where we gonna live ?

"We" aren't gonna live anywhere.

- But we're married.
- For the moment.

It can't end like this.

Please. This is too important a thing
to decide in the heat of an argument.

I love you, Julie.

I need you.

I can't make it without you.

Please. Don't throw away six years
of our lives for one moment of anger.

I'm not angry, Henry.

If I were, there might be
some hope for us.

I love you.
And I know you love me.

Just give us a few minutes alone.

- We'll have those fires blazing again.
- It won't work, Henry.

It won't work ?

You're feeling something right now.

That same old itch we
always give each other.

Don't. It makes my skin crawl.

You snotty bitch.

Where do you get off being
so goddamned high and mighty ?

I want you moved out
by the end of the week.

So they can start showing the house.

And where am I supposed to go ?

Back to the shrimp boats.

Or anywhere you like.

Open this door.

You got the keys to my car.

Cousin Henry ?

What you doing here
this time of night ?

I'm running away.

Just go on home.
Act like nothing happened.

They don't know you tipped me off.

Don't make me go back. Please.

- Who's there ?
- It's me.

Miss your train to New York ?

I changed my mind about going.

May I come in ?

I decided to stick around.
Protect my investment.

I stuck my neck out at least three miles
to help you save this place.

Why should I run off and let it all
fall into some other girl's lap ?

I'm moving in.

Reeve, I can't think of
any more clever things to say.

I love you.

Only you.

- Hi, what's up ?
- Charles is missing.

Lou and I are going to look for him.
Will you take care of the others ?

- Sure. Come on, boys.
- Have they had supper yet ?

- Yes, they have.
- Well, don't worry about them.

Thank you.

If I'd have stuck with this instead
of letting myself get sidetracked,

I'd have been right on top by now.

Have my own band...


I could still do it.

Nothing to keep me here.

Maybe I'll just take off.

Head for California.

You know, Charles...

There ain't a dream been dreamed
can't come true out there.

I tell you,
California is the coming thing.

A man can make whatever
he wants of himself out there.

God damn it !

I'll do it.

I wish I was your son.

- Why ?
- So's I could go with you.

Couldn't you, maybe,
take me anyway ?


I don't cost too much to feed.

Never worry about money.

I can always get money.

You mean you'll take me ?

Why not?

Sheriff? Sorry to interrupt you here,
but your office was closed.

- Something wrong ?
- It's my boy, Charles. He's missing.

- What you mean "missing"?
- Just that.

Nobody's seen him since early
this afternoon.

He'll turn up.

Chalmer, the boy is missing.

Now I expect you to do something
about it. It's your job.

Don't you preach to me
about law and order.

- Not after what you've done.
- Sheriff, please.

Maybe something happened to him.
Maybe somebody...

Maybe you should've thought
about that a little sooner.

- Please, Mr. Coombs.
- Okay, okay, don't get excited.

Nobody gonna do anything to him.
Why should they ?

He's the one that told us
what you was aiming to do.

I'll show you, boy.

Wonderful, honey.

- See if the house doesn't get him.
- One more ?

Yeah. Hi, Henry.

Just hanging around.


Yeah. Yeah.

Sure thing. Sounds like fun.

I'll meet you out at Riverside.

- Mr. Warren ain't home.
- We're looking for our little boy.

Charles. Charles.

You scared us half to death.

- Where's Cousin Henry ?
- What have you been up to, Charles ?

Running away from home.

Because you told Cousin Henry
I was fixing to help Reeve.

Don't hit me.

I ain't gonna hit you.
Don't be afraid of me, Charles.

Whatever you do, I'll try to understand.
Try to help you.

- Can't we talk this out at home ?
- No! I wish you'd never come back!

I wish you'd have got killed in the war,
you goddamned nigger-lover!

Don't, Rad, please !

Now, I don't care what you think of me,
I'm still your father,

and I aim to see that
you do what's right.

Good night and thank you.

What time you want it to go off?

- An hour from now it'd be all right.
- No, make it 5:00.

Okay, we all wanna be home in bed
when things start to pop.

Charles ? You up there ?

Wake up, damn it.

- Something wrong ?
- Where's Charles ? Charles McDowell ?

Guess he went back home
with his mom and daddy.

- What are you talking about?
- His mom and daddy came for him.

- Yeah ?
- Dolph, it's me, Henry.

We've gotta stop this thing right away.

- The hell you say ?
- No, listen, listen.

Charles ain't here like I thought!

He's out there. He went back home.

Good. The more the merrier.

No, it's too late to do anything now
except get ourselves blown up, Henry.

- Good night.
- No, no...

Cousin Henry !

Come on, Charles, run like hell!

Come on !

- Come on, Charles.
- No !

- All hell's gonna...
- No !

Outside, everybody ! Quick!

Come on, now !
Head for Reeve's place !

Run as fast as you can ! Don't stop for
nothing ! Come on, now, move!

- Charles ! Where's Charles ?
- I'll find him ! You go on!

Charles, all hell's gonna break loose
in a minute !

Do you want to get killed ?

Charles !

Charles ?

He got hit running back to Rad.


I killed him.

Just as much as if I'd put a bullet
in his head.

- No.
- If I hadn't gone into court,

he'd still be alive.

- They was only getting even with me.
- No.

- Just like you said they would.
- No, you done right.

I understand that now.

The last thing I ever done for Charles
was to hit him.

He was running to you, not away.

So he must've known how you really felt.


I know, I know.

Come on, boys.

Looks like Henry's won after all.

Only if we let him. We can still hold on.

You can, maybe. My place is gone.

Well, we got this place.
We can work it together.

And we'll work to get
your place back in shape.

That's a couple of years away.

So what?
We're young, we got time.

I'm sorry, Rad.
We've all come to help you.

Come on.

Don't give her this stuff.

That Henry Warren, already on the job.

That mess is sure gonna
cost Riverside a pretty penny.

I will never again sell dynamite to a man
that don't know how to handle it.

Or a nigger.
There ought to be a law against it.