Make Haste to Live (1954) - full transcript

Crystal 'Chris' Benson, a single mother in a small New Mexico town, senses a shadowy menace stalking her in the night. She acquires a gun and makes arrangements anticipating her own death, tape-recording a message for her teenage daughter which (in flashback) tells of her involvement with Steve Blackford, who has very good reason to hate her. Chris is determined and resourceful, but Steve has had 18 years to plan revenge. Doom closes in...


I don't think I'm very hungry.

Well, try.


Do you think I've changed
very much recently?

Well, seeing you from
day-to-day like this,

it's a little difficult
for me to tell.

I think I'd notice if you
suddenly sprouted a moustache.


I mean...
I'm sorry.

My outlook on things,

the basic things.

The problem?

I thought it over, and it's just like Ms.
Cottrell said.

Girls reach
emotional maturity earlier.

And I don't think
Hack's ever going to reach...

Anything, for heavens' sakes.

I'll just have to have it out with
him, that's all.

Simply and definitely.

I'm just going
to have to tell him that

I'm fond of him
in a nice sort of way,

but that there's
a whole lot more

important things in life.

For instance, like other people

who are going places

and doing things
and thinking about things.

It's just an adjustment
he needs, that's all.

And I'll explain it
to him very simply.

Well, I'm sure you can.

Of course, it's good
to talk it over with you.

When you analyze it, it's
really very simple.

Well, I'm glad
I've been helpful.

Sometimes, I think just
talking about it

can make you see it
so much more clearly and...


Why are you so nervous lately?

I heard you walking
around again this morning.

Couldn't you sleep?
It's nothing.

I'm just over tired I suppose.

Well, it's been ten days or so.

I'm worried about you.

It's really nothing, Randy.

I'm just overtired

and I've been pushed
at the paper.

What you need is
a change, honest.

Well, I've got to go.

Take it easy or you'll crack up.

Age will not wither
and neither the snow,

No, Mom.

You're younger than anybody.

Even Hack, and that's
almost impossible.

Morning, Juana.

Why any man in his right mind

stays in this godforsaken
country, I'll never know.

Why, even a three-toed sloth...

Morning, Crys.
Morning, Spud.

Morning, Crys.
Wouldn't come within

3,000 miles of this...

Crys, we got to have
some more filler.

All right.

Young idiot phoned.

The one you had
made county attorney.

I'll call him.
Wanted to know

what to do about
the veteran's housing.

All right.
Why wouldn't he know

about the veteran's housing
for Pete's sake?

I don't know.

Hello, Hack.

Well, hi, Mrs. Benson.

You're coming
to see me? Yes.

No bad news, I hope.

Of course not.

Well, even if it was,

I guess a guy could
take it coming from you.

Why, thank you, Hack.
That's a nice thing to say.

Well, even if Randy...

Well, if things
don't work out...

She's acting so funny.

Well, if they didn't,
we'd still be friends.

Yes, Hack, we would.

But give Randy a little time.

I reckon.

Hack, I want you
to do me a favor.

Sure, ma'am.

I want you to take that envelope
and put your name on it.

And ask Mr. Parker to keep
it in his safe for you.

There's $4,000 in it.

If anything... In case
anything should happen to me,

I want you to see that
Randy gets the money.

You're sick?

No, it's just one way
of making a will.

And I have a lot more
faith in you than a lot of

lawyers and executives.

That's all, Hack.

There's nothing more.


I don't want anyone
to know anything about it.

You can depend on me.


Ain't the way it was at all.
Complete nonsense.

Hello, Crys.
Hello, Lafe.

What do you mean,
walking way over here?

You could've called
and I'd have come over.

I was out anyway.

You're looking a little peaky.

Handsome as ever,
but a little peaky.

You working too hard?

One thing or another.

You know I notice every
little thing about you.

You take care
of yourself. I will.

Lafe, I want a gun.

Real shooting gun?



Do I need a permit?

I'll get around to making
that up in a few days.

This one do?

That's a real good shooter.

Here's a couple of magazines.

You know how to use that, Crys?

Why, I think so.
You just...

Point it at whoever
you want to shoot...

And squeeze the trigger.

That's exactly
the way you do it.

Thanks, Lafe.
Don't mention it.


Aren't you glad to see me?

Sure, I'm glad
to see you, Randy.

Wonderful day.


Hack, sometimes
there's a time...

Well, when people have
to be realistic...

And face things.

That's right, Randy.

Things like, relationships

and adjustments and all.

Things kinda...

Out in the air.

Far off like.

You just can't get
your hands on it.


People can't go on
just having fun.

'Course not.

People change.

They grow up,
for heavens' sakes.

Well, I reckon they do, Randy.

And I wish you wouldn't
keep saying "I reckon."

All right.


I'm fond of you,

very fond of you.


I guess I'd be kind of
dead inside if you weren't.

But you just
have to realize that

there's a lot of important
things to think about.

Things going on in the world.

People who do things
and think about things.

You have to have a concept.

Yeah. I guess the most
important thing there is

a concept.

It has to do with a person's
integration with the world.


You want to have
anything you can dream of.

I just like to dream
'em up with ya.

But don't you see,

this is your life and all.

If you could just see that
it's a matter of emotional...

A matter of...

Hack, I don't know, sometimes

I think it's impossible
to talk to you.

What are we doing here anyway?

Come on, I'll race you
to the diggings.


Hello! Crys?


Over here!



Not there.

I wish you'd label these
rooms instead of...

Letting me rattle
around this labyrinth.

Thought you'd forgotten.

It's creepy in here.

Yeah. Probably hundreds
of eyes watching.


Used to be a burial chamber.

Come on, I'll show you.

There's some of the stuff
we've taken out already.

Crys, look at these
walls, covered with paintings.

They're perfectly beautiful.

Well, they are,

if you like that sort of thing.

Come on, I'll show you the hole.

Careful now.


As far as we know, bottomless.

We tried letting a line down
once, ran out of rope.

It's the only thing of
its kind ever been found.

Whether they use it as some kind
of ritual burial place or...

Some sort of religious
ceremony, we don't know.

It's a perfectly wonderful hole.


Say, maybe they use it

as part of
the marriage ceremony.

Put the couple down there
so they could be alone.

And they would be, too.

How about it, Crys?


Why, Crys?

Why do you stall on me?

I don't.
Yes, you do.

Why can't we settle this?

We will.
No, we won't.

Not unless I can get to you,

really get to you.

Why can't I, Crys?

Why do you keep holding me off?

I don't.

I find you looking
at me and smiling.

And there's love there.

Then you catch me
looking at you.

Suddenly there's fear there.

Why, Crys? Tell me,
what's wrong?

No, Josh, no.

That's not true.

I love you, Crys.

I know.

You're the finest thing
that ever happened.

You're rare and good and...

I've heard tell
that you're beautiful.

And you love me, too.

I know that.

Then what is it?

Why do I walk around
the fog half the time?

Not knowing where I am,

Not knowing whether
it's night or morning.

Because I'm thinking about you,

asking myself "why?"

There is no "why," Josh.

You're just
making it up yourself.

Then prove it.

Josh, please...

All right, Crys.


That sounds like Randy.


Hey, what goes on?

Dig up any interesting
characters lately, Mr. Bone?

Well, nothing sensational.

Say, Mom,

can I have some kids
over tonight?

If you promise to stop
calling Josh "Mr. Bone."

It's a deal.

Hello, Hack.

Hello, Mrs. Benson.

You know what?
We saw a man riding today.

Hack insists he was trailing me.

- He was.
- Don't blame him.

Nice, Josh.

Who was it?

I don't know.

Looked sort of city.

A man of infinite charm.

He said I reminded him
of someone he once knew.

Better watch out
for her, Hack. Boy.

She comes from
that kind of a family.

Don't worry, I'll watch out.


What's the matter?

Nothing. I just remembered

I have to go back to the office.

I'll see you at home
in a little while,


Randy, my darling...

You'd have to know now,

or in a little while at least.

And I'd like you to hear it
from me in my own words.

So that perhaps you can
understand a little better.

And perhaps...

In time...

You can forgive me.

I'd rather do anything
in the world than hurt you.

Most of all, that's
what's so terrible...

Hurting you.

And if it has to be that I'm...

Not here to see you
finish growing up...

Please remember all the fine
years we've had together.

Only those and...

None of the rest that may come.


Please, try not to be
hurt too badly.

This afternoon you told me
so innocently...

That what had
happened to me years ago

had finally caught up with me.

The man you met today,
I'm sure...

Was a man I met 19 years ago.

I was just your age.

Or perhaps a few months older.

I'd gone to a dance.

Some neighborhood
political club, I...

Don't remember what it was
or where it was or...

I can't even remember
who was there, except...

Mary Rose and... And...


The first party dress...

And the first dance...

And the first time
you are in love.

It was New Year's Eve.

I remember there were lanterns
of some sort floating above.

The most beautiful lanterns.

And softness all around.

And dancing on a floor
that wasn't there...

In Steve's arms.

I remember how he looked at me.

A slow smile.

And how he held me.

And what his touch did to me.

I don't think we talked,
or if we did,

I never could remember
what we said.

Or how we left Mary Rose,
my best friend.

He drove me home...

In a big foreign car.

He didn't kiss me.

He just smiled and said...

He'd see me.

And walked away...

With all of me
wrapped up in his pocket.

I think it was snowing.
I don't know, it was...

It was winter.

And I stood there so long
I became numb.

My mother knew his name
and who he was,

as she knew most of the things
from the gossip of the store.

He was a gangster, she told me.

I didn't believe her.

I couldn't believe her.

I didn't want to believe her.

I wouldn't promise not to see him again.
I couldn't.

It would be like

asking a stone
to float on the sea.

My real name was Xena.

Xena Hale.

And that summer,

it became
Mrs. Steve Blackford.

And we moved into the big brick
house he'd built in Riverside.

I called it Windsor Castle.

I had never seen so many rooms.

After that, it moved so fast,
none of it seemed real.

Except the times
I was alone with Steve.

And fewer and fewer times.

The house was like a...

with people getting on

and people
getting off crazily...

With no purpose.

People I'd meet
without knowing who they were.

People who frightened me when I
remembered what my mother kept saying.

It was during this time, Randy,

that I knew I was to have you.

And then, early one morning...

They can't put a finger on me.
We run the town.

You saw that. You saw
how quickly they sprung me.

I wouldn't be surprised if
we could sue them for libel.


why did you lie to me?

Did you ever go
through this house?

It's brick.
It's 12 rooms.

We throw parties,
50, 100 people.

Did you ever see me
write out the checks?

We got a car, and a porter job.

A mink coat for you.

I wear $100 suits.

I run a cigar store.

A guy comes in and puts
a quarter on the counter,

I give him two cigars.

I make about
three and a half cents.

How many cigars, Xena?

How many, hundreds of thousands?

Xena, you eat a steak,

you don't have to go down
to the slaughterhouse

and see the steer killed, do ya?

You don't have to take 'em
to the table with ya.

I was afraid, I guess,
to think about it.

I knew.

I suppose I've always known.

But you were so kind and good.

I didn't think anyone who was
so kind could...

But I was wrong.

Wrong? What's wrong?

How do you know what's wrong?

I run a legitimate business.

I sell cigars and I
collect for the boys.

What they do is
none of your business.

And now they've caught you
in a slaughterhouse.

You think I killed that cop?

You've told me
20 times you didn't.

If you'd told me once, I would've known.
If you'd...

If you'd looked at me
when you said it.

If you'd...
If you'd touched me,

Somehow, I don't know how,
but I would've known.

Who are you, Xena?

Who do you think you are, God?


You killed that man.

What are you going to do?

I'm not going to do anything.

I didn't want
a mink coat, Steve.

All I ever wanted was
to be near you.

I can't say that
it killed my mother.

But it was a coincidence.

She died just then.

She wouldn't have liked it.

She wouldn't have liked
all those flowers.

I wish they hadn't sent them.

I'm going to send them back.

Xena, honey, she doesn't know.


Look, honey, why don't you

let me get her things together?

No, I want to do it.

She had six kids and I was
the only one who lived.

This is finished.
You'll come home now.

Mary Rose is
going on a vacation,

and I'm going with her
for the two weeks.

All right. Then you come home.

I don't know.

Don't look at me like that.
I'll give you

two weeks, that's all.

I don't know.

You don't know!


She can get over all this.
You see to it.

Two weeks. Then she comes home.

Union Station.

I know him.


The cab behind.

He used to come to our house.

Following you?

Honey, they are never
gonna let you get away.

I've got to.

I've got to get away
where they can't follow me...

Until I know what to do.



I ran and kept running.

I had $816.

All my mother had saved
in her lifetime.

I was afraid to stop.

Nights, I slept in buses.

I bought tickets to places I'd never
heard of and tickets back again.

And then...

I couldn't sleep
in buses any longer.

I read about Steve.

He'd managed to clear
himself of the killing.

But you don't kill a cop and walk
away with a Good Conduct Medal.

You could almost feel
they were waiting.

They didn't have long to wait.

Somebody waved another wand,

and they had him...

For murder.

The murder of his wife,
this time.


He'd taken a woman home.

And the next morning,
after he'd left,

she must've been
searching the place

for a little private loot.
At any rate, there was an explosion.

He said he'd had two grenades
in a box in the closet,

and that she must've
accidentally exploded them.

It would've been better
perhaps if he invented a story.

It would've
sounded more convincing.

He was a better liar than that.

They said

the pieces of the body
they found...

Were pieces of me.

And that he'd
planned the accident.


I'd known too much, run away.

And he brought me back.

Mary Rose.


You didn't let anybody know?

You didn't?



I think we better sit down.

Xena, you're sick.
No, I'm all right.

We'd better get to your room
so I can put you to bed.

I'm all right.
It's not that so much.

Xena, what are you gonna do?


He'll get out of it.

He got out of the other.

He said they owned the town.

Xena, you've
got to go back. I can't.

He'd want my baby.

I couldn't stand him
knowing where I was.

He'd get
the best of me. I...

You've got to
tell them I'm alive.

But they won't be able
to find me.

But you're not able, Xena.

Yes, I am.

They won't believe me.

The other side won't believe me.

That'd be funny, wouldn't it?

They can sentence him to death.

Then I'd go back.

I couldn't let him die.

Xena, please.

You've got to
tell them I'm alive.

Mary Rose,
you've got to help me.


See, I... I ran
away from you

at the airport and
you couldn't find me.

Mary Rose,
you've got to help me.

Please forgive me. Bye.

Mary Rose was right.

They didn't believe her.

But her story
may have had some effect,

the paper said.

At least,

Steve was let off easy.

He was sentenced to...

20 years in the Illinois
State Penitentiary.

I left the bus at Candlewood.

That's as far as I
had money to go.

And it looked like a...

Good place to get lost...

And to raise you.

The rest, you know.

You asked me this morning why I'd
been so worried these last few days.

Steve was released on parole
just ten days ago.

Could he find me?
I didn't know.

What would he do?

I could only guess.

The least, I suppose,
would be to...

Kill me.

And now I'm sure he has come.

I'm sure the man
you met today is Steve.


These last 18 years...

You've given me the greatest
happiness a woman can know.

I'm grateful.

Now you'll have to judge me.

Hello, Xena.

Hello, Steve.

You look fine.

You're quite a girl.

I wondered what you'd say.

But I never
thought that you'd...

You're fine, too.

There's sun on your face...

Under the shadows.

How did you find me, Steve?

There was a picture in
Lifesome months ago,

some kids at a rodeo.

One kid took my eye.

A girl who looked like you.

Then there was a woman
in the background.

I hate that picture.

Never thought of it.
We were...

Turned so far from the camera.

Not far enough.

Apparently not.

What are you going to do, Steve?

I've given that
some little consideration.

I dare say.

Do you know what I did
in there, Xena?

I was on the shoe bench.

I pounded nails in shoe heels.

Millions of nails.

And every time I pounded
one, I thought of you...

And prayed.

You prayed, Steve?

I prayed, Xena.

I prayed that you were dying
slowly of some disease.

I even dreamed of you.

I'd see you in the
sun on the desert.

Your tongue thick,
and getting thicker for want of water.

I'd see you crawling,

dragging yourself
by your fingernails.

Then I'd see you
in some tropical place.

Tied down.

Ants all over you.

It got so I was
afraid to go to sleep.

Afraid I'd go crazy
just thinking about you.

Are you sure
you're not crazy, Steve?

Very sure.

I'm not the kid I was.

I had to learn.

I had a good teacher.
The best.

This is a town I own, Steve.

I know all about it.

I, cased the place pretty good.

I took my time.

You haven't been sleeping
very well lately, Xena.

Or should I say "Crys"?

Mom? Mom?

No, Randy.



Say, you're the man on the...

You see, you did
remind me of someone.

Crys was just about your
age when I saw her last.

I'm Steve Blackford.


I still don't get it.
Should I?

Well, Crys, I didn't think

you'd keep me that
much of a secret.

I wasn't that bad.

What's it all about, Mom?

Nothing, dear.

It's just that
it's been so long.

I haven't seen Steve
in so many years.

More or less.

But there's no
big thing about it.

I just startled her, that's all.

And I am a little disappointed
you didn't hear about me.

Turns out I am
your uncle, after all.

No kidding?

No kidding at all.

Here, let me
help you with those.

Say, I've got my bag in the car.

Why don't you ride with me and
show me the way to the house?


Can I help you, ma'am?
Yes, Hack.

You can get that
out of the tray for me.


You know, I've been thinking.

I figure it's gonna take
a college man to hold Randy.

So I'll go to college,
four years.

When I get out,
I got a college education and no dough.

So, if I stay home and work

and save enough money
to marry her,

provided some guy
in college doesn't,

then I'm a square
and she won't have me.

Hack. No...
I tell you, you can't win.

No one would ever
call you a square.

Yeah, four-cornered
Hack, that's me.

Did you ever consider
wearing shoes?

Instead of boots?

That's an odd idea.

Give it a try.

Do you want to help me
pass these? Sure.

Come and get it!

Thank you, Mrs. Benson.


You can't hurt her,
you can't twist her life.

She's a nice kid, Xena.

Well made.

Anything else, Steve.
Anything at all.

So easy for you.

I don't expect it to be easy.

Wise of you.

Just what do you want?

You haven't much money.


But as you say,
you own the town.

Perhaps you could
raise a collection.

I'm afraid it's the wrong town.

Do you think that just money
would pay for the whole deal?

Hey, everybody!

Hey! An announcement.

The next dance is
going to be a contest,

and I'm going to be the judge.

She reminds me of you.

The same softness.

I wouldn't want
to see her have your luck.

She's not going to.

She needs a father,

as you did.

She'll never have a father.

I'll tell her first.

You wouldn't.
There's a chance.

Always that...

While you're living.

Better in the first place
then, if it's going to be.

People don't work
that way, baby.

Something inside of 'em keeps
them hanging on for the chance.

The one chance of an out.

You'll hang on to that, Xena.

Your mind will be working,
thinking, scheming.

How are you going to cross me,
how are you going to get out.

And I don't underestimate you.

You are quite a girl.

There's one small difference.

I've had 18 years.

You'd be amazed at the plans

I've thought up
and thrown away again.

Then I saw
that picture of Randy,

and the whole thing
began to fit.


So, go ahead.

Work on it.

Lie awake at night
and stare at the ceiling.

I like that.

That's just what
I want you to do.

The red checks indicate funds

that are uncollectable.

And the columns added
up wrong indicate...

I'm no good at arithmetic.

Okay, Spud.

Not much of a family
resemblance, is there?


Hello, Josh.

That'll be all for now, Spud.


Hi, gravedigger.
Hi, Spud.

Sorry, I didn't know
you were tied up.

I'd like you to meet my
brother, Steve Blackford.

This is Josh Blake.

Well, how are you?

I didn't know
Crys had a brother.

Not many did.

Crys, if I buy you
a cup of coffee,

can I get some free advice?

Well, I have to be
at the courthouse by ten.

I won't keep you that long.

I've heard that the strong,
silent men of the west were shy,

but isn't this overdoing it?

Do you want me to step
outside so you can kiss her?

I don't think
that'll be necessary.

Don't mind me.

I'm psychic about these things.

Ask Crys.

I can even predict the future.

That's not very funny, Steve.

I'm sorry if you're
sensitive about it.

I suppose we're all
sensitive about some things.


take your time
with your deal, Crys.

Come on, Josh.

Good luck.

Thank you.

I never liked him.

Rightly or wrongly,
I was never able to get along with him.

When were kids,
he was always in trouble.

He wanted too many things.

Big house, lots of money.

One way or another,
he always managed to get them.

Then, after mother died,
his great big bubble burst

and he depended on me.

He's convinced I let him down.

Perhaps I have.

What the devil, Crys?
He's a two-legged walking man, isn't he?

He never quite got to be a man,

he's just a confused boy.

Then we'll paddle him on his
backside and send him on his way.

I can't, Josh.

He hasn't any place to go.

He wants to stay here with us,

work on the paper with me.

Says I owe it to him.

Perhaps I do.
But it's not possible.

I can't have him around Randy.

He's too...

Emotionally unstable.

And I can't very well
warn her about him.

I wouldn't know what to say.

Just as it's...

Difficult to explain it
to you now.

Randy'll like him.
Girls always have.


You're telling me
the whole story?


There's a sense of it that he...

Needs to be put in a sanitarium.


It's not that.

What do you want me to do?

I want to get away from here,

a long way away from here

without anyone knowing.

I'm only two jumps ahead
of the sanitarium myself.

Well, how?

Can you charter
a plane in Albuquerque?

Guess so.

Today's Tuesday.

Randy's school will
be over on Friday.

If you could get it and fly
it in here Friday night,

I could have Randy
at the airfield

without her knowing.
You could fly us to Dallas

and then we could get a
regular flight to Mexico City.

Just a cut and run.

Yes, Josh.

He can work on the paper
for the time being.

He won't like it, but it might
give him a sense of responsibility.

And it'd give me a chance to
clear my mind about everything.

I don't much like it, Crys.

Josh, please.

All right.

I can go to Albuquerque tomorrow
night and see if I can arrange it,

be back Thursday morning.

He's a nice, open-faced Charlie.

How'd he go for the story?

What story?

The one you told him.
The sob story.

The one about the brother
you're worried about.

The brother who's
only a little crazy.

What else would you tell him?

Tell me.

How have you explained
all these years

that you couldn't marry him?

Or is that even worth
bothering about?

It should please you to know

it's been worth a great deal.

I'm a happy man.

The accounts shouldn't
take too much time.

In the old days,
I wasn't a bad collection agency.

You've got 2,300 in the bank.

Here's a check for 2,200.

Sign it.

I'll take care of this
week's payroll out of it.

You've been pretty loose,
Crys, with money that is.

But we'll pack
together what we can.

This institution of yours

should be worth
a few thousand alone.

We haven't time to sell it.

Even if some innocent would buy.

Then there's your
house, it's clear.

Isn't it?


I needed some money
for hospital bills.

You were sick, Crys.

How much is the mortgage?

Four thousand.

Maybe we can raise it.

I'm afraid not.

We can try.

They only gave me that
much because it was I.

Because you own the town.

You can try if you like.

I don't think
you'll get anywhere.

One thing, Xena.

Don't try any imaginative
stories with Randy.

I don't mind your boyfriend,

but not Randy, understand me?

You brought plenty
of money along, Josh?

On the account
I got two hollow legs,

and you want
to find out anything,

it's gonna take a lot of cash

to get me to the point
where I divulge, as they say.

You're too suspicious, Lafe.

Well, I've lived a few years.

Too bad, Josh. I kinda like to
play that game of divulsion.

And I like you, too.

On account of yourself,
and on account of Crys.

I'd do anything in the
world for that girl.

You, met her brother?

No, I haven't.

But I heard.


Then we are playing divulsion.

Another round, Harry.

That he was in town.

Yeah, I met him this morning.

It would appear you
didn't take to him much.

Did you?

That one's on you.

One more, Harry.
Got me there all right.


I want to marry Crys.

More than anything in the
world, I want to marry her.

But something's wrong.

There's a...

A shadow on the back of her
that's got a hold of her.

I want to find out if that shadow
belongs to that brother of hers,

or who or what
it does belong to.

I got to know, Lafe.

You can't get your
hands on a shadow.

And I want to fight.

I'm glad you told me, boy.

Shadows all got names.

Some of 'em
got fingerprints too.

Well, then he has to have
an unbreakable alibi.

Someone who's caught
in on the money,

or for some reason has to alibi.

What is
all this? Whodunnits.

What would be the best way to do
it, Steve?

Say that you wanted
to murder someone.

Well, depends on
the circumstances.

If it were well-planned,
an accident might be best.

Unless the motive were
revenge, let's say.

Then you might want
your victim to suffer.

What would you do then?

Well, you might figure
out every last way

a person could die,

then figure them all down

to the exact circumstances.

You'd want a slow,
agonizing death.

But specifically...

Randy, that's enough whodunnit.

And you'd better get started.


Mom, can we have dinner early?

Steve's taking me to the fiesta.

He's never been
to a fiesta before.

Can you tie that?

I thought you were
going with Hack.

I'd rather go with Steve.

I can show him how much I
know about Mexican customs.

Steve says he's a smooth dancer.

That's what the man says.

You got $4,000 on the house.

You got it day before yesterday.

Where is it?

I put it away safely.

Is it intended to be
"going away" money, Crys?

No. In the event,
in the unlikely circumstance that

something should happen to me,

it's to go to Randy.

I'll take care of Randy.

That's one thing I'll
never let you do.

She graduates Friday.

I'm glad I'll be here to see it.

I'll get a kick
out of seeing her

in her new white dress...

Saying goodbye to her
precious girlhood.

I'll be very proud.

Tomorrow's Thursday.

I want the 4,000 by tomorrow
afternoon at the very latest.

Have it for me, Crys.

Hi, Hack.
Hi, Mrs. Benson.

I've never seen a handsomer man.


You've never seen a cleaner man.

I wish you'd made
it more definite

with Randy.
She has an...

Holy smokes.


I might've been kidding before,

but really are a killer, killer.

Randy, are you going to
walk down and join us

or do you intend to
float down on a cloud?

Well, what are you doing here?

The fiesta.

Who are you taking?
Now, Randy...

Well, does he think he
doesn't have to make a date?

I didn't say that
I'd go with him.

Did I?
Well, I reckon not...

Randy, sometimes I wish you were

still young enough
to be spanked.


Mom, you take Hack.
Maybe you can

teach him something to
do with his feet. I...

Good golly!

What's that, shoes?

Well, what's wrong with...

What's wrong with
me wearing shoes?

Nothing, only...

Nothing at all.

I'll bet you'll dance divinely.

Come on, killer.


See you there, Mom.

I'm sorry, Hack.

It's not your fault.

I'm not too sure about that,

light hair's
the bridal business.

Neither am I.

Perhaps a good, swift right to
the jaw would be better after all.

We'll have to get
you a senorita.

A real pinup girl.

That ought to do the trick.

I like better the idea
of socking a jaw.

That comes later.

How about
a cold drink? Great.

I get it now what you meant by

watching the Stetsons go by.

This is beautiful.

What is?
Well, the big city,

the colored lights.

Steve, isn't that wonderful?


It is wonderful, Randy.

Root beer?

Two cokes
in bottles. Si.

Randy, I...

Wanna talk to you about Crys.

Here you
are, senor.Thanks.

Muchas gracias.

Have you, noticed anything?


She's tired.

I know.

She asked me to make
an audit of the paper.

She doesn't want you to know,

but I think it's best if
you're going to help me.

There's a mortgage
on everything.

Only a couple of dollars
in the bank.

I thought... I thought
the paper was a big success.

Professionally, yes.

Pats on the back
from the city papers.

But you can't put
them in the bank.

Hard, cold cash, no.

Steve, I...

I didn't know.

Trying to juggle everything
by herself is wrecking her.

She's agreed to let me
help financially, but...

More than anything
she needs a rest.

Well, we've tried.
Both Josh and I.

I know, I know.
It's pride more than anything.

She won't leave it.

I'd vote to do what we
can little by little. I...

I'm going back to Chicago
Friday after your graduation.

I'll send someone down

to help and take off the money
pressure, of course.


That's wonderful.

I thought it would help
if you came to Chicago

and spent your vacation with me.

You and Crys are the
only family I have. I...

I never thought
about it before but...

Seeing you has
made me realize I've

always wanted a
daughter of my own.

Well, I guess every man does

if he's honest with himself.

Can I borrow you, killer,

for part of your vacation?

Well, I don't know.

We could have a ball.

I'll ask Mom.
Of course.

No Stetsons.

No boots.

We'll get you some
real sock claws.

We'll knock their eyes out.

Will we, Steve?

We'll meet people.
Up-on-their-feet people.


It'll help Crys
more than you know.

She can sleep for weeks.

She's so good, Steve.

One in a million.

- Hello.
- Hello.

Has anyone here
seen Hack's senorita?

Mom, it's perfectly wonderful.

We've got it all figured out.

It'll be good for
everyone, it'll...

Well, anyway, guess what?

I don't know. What?

Steve asked me to spend
my vacation in Chicago.

He's going to take me to all
the shows and hear music.

And there's a restaurant

where... Up on
the 45th floor,

where there's a breeze from
the lake and very smart.

The, um,

Canary Club.
You know it, Mom?

Long time ago.

We went there together,
didn't we, Steve?

I didn't know the club
was still running.

Talk was it was owned
by one of the mobs

long ago.
You haven't said yet.

You want to very
much, don't you?


We'll talk about it later.

Right now,
you'd better save Hack

from a fate worse than life.


Where's Josh tonight?

He had to go to Albuquerque.

He was a flyer during the
war, wasn't he?

Thirty-nine missions over Italy.

What's his next mission,

an elopin'?

You're incurably
romantic, Steve.

Sure I am.

I'll show you.


Remind you?

Of course.

You always remembered
the lanterns, Xena.

Here they are.

I never told you how just

dancing with you excited me.

The intimation was there.

You're a funny little kid.

Comes a snowy night,

and the guy meets a kid
in a funny little dress.

It was a wonderful dress.

You are the prettiest kid
and the smartest.

And the one
with the most tricks.

Just a pale little doll and a...

Mouth that smiled
like it'd been hurt.

So that after a while you felt

the hurt yourself.

What happened, Xena?

Why does one girl,

just one girl,

get into a man's blood

so he can't stop
thinking about her?

So he doesn't want
to do anything cheap.

But he wants to marry her,

keep her with him for
the rest of his life...

Just like it says
in the storybooks.

What happened between us, Xena?

When I walked into your
office the other night,

what did I see?

You were a pretty kid,

but you turned into a
really beautiful woman.

You knew too many
beautiful women, Steve.

That was your trouble.

Faces and figures,
nothing else there.

I could pass them in the
street and not know them.

But I couldn't pass you

3,000 miles away.

That's what
I'm asking. Why.


Steve, please, for God's sake,

let Randy alone.

Just to hurt me, don't hurt her.

If you're thinking
of what we once had...

A dame always thinks she still has
it, doesn't she?

Never thinks it won't work.

Baby, it's tough enough

sleeping in the
same house with you.

All right. Now I know.

You do.

Yes. And you know, too.

There's nothing I
won't do to save Randy.


But tell me...

You were a dead woman,
legally, 18 years ago.

What can a dead woman do?


Mom! Mom!

It's all right, Randy.
It's harmless.


Holy moly,
that must've scared you.

It certainly did.
Well, how'd it get in here?

I don't know.
It must've come

from a long line
of porch climbers.

Why are you still dressed?

Well, I,
I fell asleep with my clothes on.

Now you run back
and get into bed.Okay.

Any more catastrophes,
just call.

Run along now.
Good night.

It's morning, almost.

Good night.

Hello? Hello.

Yes, Lafe?

Get down here quick.

Why, what's happened?

My office. Old Gus Weatherly
just got himself shot

in the mine.


Theater in Geronimo.

Place got broken into
and a lot of stuff gone.

We got the guy, though.


Mexican kid named Rudolfo.

Rudolfo? It couldn't be.

Well, get down here and see.

I'll be right there.


How long ago did it happen?

Do you know what time it was?

Well, I've been here
about an hour.

They called me about
an hour and a half ago.

I'd say roughly about
two and a half hours.

Why, Crys?

Nothing. I'll be right there.

Yes, yes.
That's what they always say.

- Hello, girl.
- Mrs. Benson.

She'll do you a lot of good.

Surely she will.

Coroner can go to a house

as easy as he can
an office, can't he?

If a man gets shot,
seems like his body ought to be sent home.

Never had a chance,
didn't even have a gun on him.

Had no time to say anything?


Both the other watchmen
heard a blast,

door of that old strong room
being blown.

Then they heard three shots.

When they got there,

poor old Gus, dead.

Saw nobody.

Then they got in touch with me

and I picked up
some of the boys.

And on the way over
there, we made a sweep.

Found Rudolfo hiding in the
sagebrush down the bend,

holding a gun.

What's missing?

I don't know how much
until we make a check.

I ain't never get them boys
to keep their own guns clean.

Nothing found on Rudolfo?

That don't prove a thing.
He had plenty of time

to bury it in the desert.

Lucky I had sense enough
to make a sweep.

Said he had a fight with
his girl at the fiesta.

Came up there in the hills
so he could be alone.

Fine story, ain't it?

You want to see him?


Said he heard the blast,
ran down the road.

Said he heard
people running rowdy.

Then he got frightened
and hid in the brush.

Little later,
he said he saw somebody

running close by.

That he saw.

I stand up to go away,

and I am hit on the head. Hard.

So, I know nothing more.

Then I know I am standing
there with this gun

in my hand.

I look at it...

I do not know how I have it.

I think what to do.

And then he comes.

Yup. I come.

Take a look
at his head. Here, you see this?

Did you see the man?

It is a truth, I did not.

Would you recognize his voice?

He comes up in the dark

and he does not speak.

That don't look
like much of a bruise.

He could've got it falling.

Surely you approve I
do not do these things.

We'll have to learn more about
it, Rudolfo.

Surely you will help me.

Thank you.

Folks been a-hintin' I'm
gettin' too old to be sheriff.

Maybe this'll
change their minds.

I'm gonna hand 'em
an open-and-shut case.

He couldn't have done it, Lafe.

Maybe right now he's got
eyes like a sick cow,

but have you ever seen
him when he was mad?

Yes. But even so, I...

Yes, girl?

I don't know.

I don't know.

Mine business?


Crys, Rudolfo couldn't have done
that, it's not possible.

At first thought, yes.

At any thought.

He's simple minded
and he's got a temper

and he's been in trouble
before, but nothing like this.

He's not a killer.

Then it's...

It's an amazing series
of coincidences.

Have you ever seen
him when he's mad?


Is the same question
on your mind?


Well, I have to ask it.

What, Josh?

You told me there was
something wrong with Steve.

"Emotionally unstable" were
the words as I remember it.

Now what I want to know is,

was Steve home at the time

this thing happened at the mine?

Josh, what on earth
are you talking...

I'm sorry, Crys.
I've got to ask it.

Yes. He was home.

I saw him come in.

I was awake most of the night.

He came in shortly after we did.

And he didn't go out again?

I'm sorry, Crys.

It's all right.

Crys, let me take over for you.

Just get me away from
here, Josh.

You can see what he's
doing to us already.

I told you I was awake
most of the night.

He kept going over the old days,

of how I let him down,

over and over again.

It's become an
obsession with him.

I can't stand much more of it.

Josh, I can't wait
until tomorrow night.

Can you get a plane
in the air tonight?

Yes, of course.
Can you wait at the airfield for us?


Trust me, Josh.

Don't baby me
or I'll go completely.

I want a long time to baby you.

Juana's here.
Says she's got to see you.

In a minute.

If I leave right away,

I'll make it around nine.

You'll be all right?

A rock.



Anybody home?



It's terrible, Hack.

Now, don't worry.

The poor kid.

Your mother will
get him out of it.

She'll find out what happened.

Do you think so?


Your mother can do anything.

Hack, you know what?

You're getting to be
almost handsome.

I'm trying.

There's gonna be a lot
of guys in Chicago.

A lot of guys in college, too.

Some of 'em are going
to be pretty rugged.


I'm sorry
about last night.Okay.

I don't know what's the
matter with me anyway.

Sometimes you just need
a good sock on the jaw.

I guess.

You know what?

I'm going to go
to summer school,

and work nights.

And I'm going to study ranching.

And one of these days I'm...

Going to have a nice
ranch of my own.

I believe you.


You think it'll work...

If I stop saying "I reckon"?

You think you could wait?

I reckon.


I've been calling.

I'm sorry.

I had to think something out,

and time just got away, I guess.


Don't worry.

I don't care if there
isn't any money.

I can get a job this
summer and help out.

I don't care about anything
as long as you don't worry.

It'll work out, you'll see.

I've got news
for you. What?

I made it up with Hack.

I'm glad.

I don't know what
it is about him,

but I can't do anything with him

when he looks at me like that.

And you know, he was right.

He said that I needed
a good sock in the jaw.

And I do, too, from both of you.

And a kick in the pants.

I've only been
thinking of myself.

No, dear.

So, I'm not going
away this summer.

I'm going to stay and help.

I couldn't leave you like this.

I told Steve.

Just now.

What did he say?
He was mad.

I didn't know that it
meant that much to him.

Madder than I could understand.

I don't know,
he acted sort of funny.


Hack said that you
could get Rudolfo off.

Is it true? Can you?

I'm sure I can.

You're a wiz, Mom.


I don't want anyone to
know anything about it.

I won't tell.

Are you glad I'm staying?

Yes, Randy.
Very glad.

Thank you.

Thank you very much
for what you said.

It's Steve.

you go home and fix
yourself some dinner.

I'll be here for a while.


Hi, Unc.
Hi, kid.

I'm sorry

about Chicago and all, honest.

It's all right.

You lost that hand.

You can't force a kid.

There'll be plenty of time.

She might be a little
more lonely after a while.

What else do
you want from me, Steve?

At the moment,
the four thousand from the mortgage.

Isn't that petty
cash to you now?

Whether I need the money or
not, I want it.

So you don't have it.

You think I hit that mine.

Why don't you make
a full confession?

Write a note, tell about
me, save Rudolfo?

You won't have to be around,

watch Randy's eyes when
she finds out about you.

You can drive off a cliff
with the note in your hand.

You'll be a heroine.

The difficulty...

How could I be sure
it would stick on you?

That's the difficulty.

I'll get the money
for you, Steve.

It'll take me an hour or so.

Where will you be?

What's going on?

What are you trying to do?

Nothing. I don't know
anything to do.

Get the money.

I'll be at the house with Randy.



Randy, listen to me.

Do exactly as I say and
don't ask any questions.

I'll explain later.

Well, yes, Mother,
but what on earth is...

Is Steve there yet?


Then leave right away.

Go out by the back patio,

and make sure
he doesn't see you.

Well, yes, Mother, but what...

Randy, listen to me.

Go to Lafe's office,
and wait for me there.

Stay with Lafe until
you hear from me.

He's driving up now, Steve.

Hang up, Randy.

And run. Hurry.

Don't let him see you.




Hey, Randy!

Lafe, this is Josh.

Yes, boy.

I've been trying to reach Crys.

I've called the house and the
office, but there's no answer.

You don't say.

You want to go out and admire
the moon a minute, Randy?

She just called Randy, Josh,

sent her over here.
Kind of in a panic, the kid said.

I've been calling around,
trying to get a line,

I can't get in touch
with either her or him.

The brother, that is.

Lafe, I believe
he's a little crazy.

Worse than that, boy.

I checked up on him
as you suggested.

He's got a fine criminal record.

What do you want me to do?

I got every reason to
believe he's a killer, Josh.

That gun we took off Rudolfo

is the gun I gave Crys,
only two days ago.

Lafe, does Crys
know about the gun?

Probably. That's the trouble.

This brother may have
caught on she knew.

All ready, Lafe.

We're starting a sweep.
You come on in.

We'll find you.

Now, be careful, boy.

Where's Randy?

I don't know.
Isn't she at home?


Well, at Hack's then.

Where are you heading?

I told you, to get the money.


At the Indian diggings. Why?

I'll ride with you.

What's the matter?

Nothing at all.

Is this it?

The burial chamber.


I could have sworn
I crossed here.


I can't! I can't!


You're a murderer,

and you deserve to die!

But I can't give Randy
a murderer for a mother, too.




Crys. Crys.

Where is he?

It was terrible.

He fell over the cliff.

It's all right, Crys.

We know your brother
killed old Gus, girl.

We know you found out
he used your gun.



Are you all right?

Yes, I'm all right now.