Man in the Shadow (1957) - full transcript

In effect, modern cow town Spurline is run by Virgil Renchler, owner of the Golden Empire Ranch. One night, two of Virgil's henchmen go a little too far and beat a "bracero" ranch hand to death. Faced with an obvious cover-up and opposition on every hand, sheriff Ben Sadler is goaded into investigating. His unlikely ally: Renchler's lovely, self-willed and overprotected daughter. Will Ben survive Renchler's wrath?


Come on.

- Don't forget to get that haircut.
- Yes ma'am.

- Oh Ben, what you want for dinner tonight?
- I don't know. Anything, anything but liver.

- The girls are coming over this afternoon.
- See you tonight.

- Morning Ben.
- Oh hi, Herb.

- Hot one, eh?
- Yeah, looks like it, all set for Saturday?

- Yeah, are they biting?
- Mort Williams got a four-pounder yesterday.

- Count me in.
- Fine.

- Good morning Ben.
- Good morning Ab.

- Another hot one, eh?
- Yeah, looks like it.

- Radio says it's going to be 110.
- Wouldn't be surprised if it goes higher.

- You let Hank out yet?
- No, not yet.

Thought you might want to read them off.

Want to post that for me
when you get a minute?

Who's it for?

What difference is it make?
He wouldn't come here anyhow.

- You want Hank now?
- Yeah, might as well.

- Anything else?
- No.

- Could sure use a new fan.
- Yeah.

Alright Hank my boy, you being evicted.

Already? What's the idea
coming around so early?

Come on, you old bum.

Go on, go on, we haven't got all day.

- Good morning Sheriff.
- Well Hank, what's the excuse this time?

- It ain't the season for catching cold.
- Oh, no, no, no. No cold.

Only my leg. Shrapnel I got it in France.
Hurts something terrible this time of year.

Hank, what are you going to
do when we start charging you rent?

Well, I don't reckon
I'll be able to pay Sheriff.

Sure, you could.

We got a stretch of ditch out along
the Empire Road needs a lot of digging.

Now, maybe I could persuade Judge
McCullough to let you have 10 days on it.

Oh no, you wouldn't do a thing like
that, you know I can't take that hot sun.

Well, next time we pick you
up drunk I'm going to have to see to it.

Doggone it Hank...

you going to get yourself killed one of
these days if you keep getting boozed up.

Now I mean what I say,
next time we bring you in...

you're going to take the sweat treatment
out along the road, you understand?

Alright Sheriff.

Not even a little teeny one to kill the pain?

Suffering will be good for you, now get out.

Yes sir, thank you Sheriff.

Oh and thanks for the use of the bed.

- I don't know Ben, you're too easy on him.
- No.

No, Hank hits the jug too much
but he don't hurt anybody but himself.

Se?or Sheriff?

Doggone, forgot all about this fellow,
he was here when I opened up.

- What can I do for you?
- You are the sheriff?

- It's right, who are you?
- My name is Jesus Cisneros se?or.

I have my friend se?or,
who is gone, my friend Juan Martin.

- You, you want to report a missing man?
- S?, se?or, but...

I do not think he is just perdido, lost.

I think maybe he is dead.

Come in and sit down.
Bring me that chair, will you?

Let's start all over
again, Cisneros, you say.

- You live in town?
- No se?or, on the rancho.

- Golden Empire?
- S? se?or.

Alright Cisneros, now
what's this about your friend?

He is Juan Martin se?or.

We work on the rancho together
for many months and we are friends.

Even though Juan is to me more like a son...

so young and strong, I know him well.

Alright. Just, just
tell me what happened, eh?

Se?or Sheriff, I tell you these things
so you will know that Juanito...

is not a man to run
away one night without a word.

You know how many braceros work at the ranch?

I, I never gave it any thought.

Maybe 400, perhaps 500, a great many.

And it is not a good place to work.

- Why do you work there?
- A man must work.

Sometimes it is that a man must work in
the sun for another and be paid a little.

Sometimes a man must live like
a dog and not complain like a dog.

But se?ores, a man is not a dog, even
if the patron thinks a man is a dog...

this does not make him one,
not even on the Golden Empire.

Look Cisneros, I ain't
the state employment service...

and I don't like speeches, if you got
something to tell me get on with it, eh?

The Se?or Yates, comprende? The foreman?

- Yeah?
- He does not like Juan, I do not know why.

Last night he and the Se?or
Huneker came to the bunkhouse...

as Juan washed himself and took him outside.

I am an old man se?or...

and I have seen many things and
I know a bad thing when I see it.

Last night, when they took Juanito,
from the bunkhouse, it was a bad thing.

They took him to the tool room of
the barn, I am a man of peace se?or.

I cause no trouble, but I
followed them and waited outside.

Se?or, they beat him.

With their fists they beat
him until he bled, I watched.

Maybe they had good reason, maybe
this Martin kid stepped out of line.

It's not my business
how they run their ranch.

But Juan hit the
Se?or Yates to defend himself...

and the Se?or Yates went loco, wild
se?or and he picked up the handle of a pick.

Oh, I have seen many
things and I have seen death...

and Juan Martin died last night.

Ben, you're not going to take it seriously.

No, no, wait a minute, they
pay me to take people seriously.

People sure, but you know how
that story will go over at the ranch.

You can't go around accusing
Virg Renchler's boys of murder.

Not even a bracero's murder.

You're making a pretty
important charge against some...

- pretty important people, you know that?
- S?, se?or.

I know that a bracero does
not expect much from the law.

You listen to him Ben and you sure not
going to make a friend out of Virg Renchler.

I'll tell you what probably happened.

Some of those dirt-diggers
down there got into a fight...

and this old coot came up here
trying to get out from under it.

Alright Cisneros, I'll,
I'll try to find your friend.

You making a mistake Ben.

Look, in this office I'm the
judge of that, let's not forget it.

You will find what they did to Juan Martin?

Now, I doubt if anything happened to him.

Yates probably had this
Martin beat up and thrown off...

the ranch, I can't be expected to
track down every bracero in the county.

- S?, se?or.
- I'll get in touch with you.

Gracias, se?or.

Oh, you probably ain't going back
to ranch, where you be staying?

With my friend Aiken Clay.

- Aiken Clay.
- Se?or, to be honest...

I did not think you would help me.

For that, I am sorry and ashamed.

If it turns out to be a false
alarm you won't feel so grateful.

Wait a minute Ben, come here.

You say they killed this Martin.
How you know he's dead?

Did you feel his pulse?
Did you hold a mirror up to his mouth?

- Did you go near him?
- No.

I am not a brave man. I ran, se?or.

- I ran from the ranch, I was afraid.
- Alright. There you are.

Se?or Sheriff, have you ever
killed a steer for a barbecue?

No, but I've seen it done.

When they kill the steer, you recall that
they hit it on the head with a sledgehammer?

Yeah.

You have heard the
sound like a melon splitting?

Yeah.

It was the sound I heard se?or,
when the Se?or Yates hit Juanito.

It was a pick handle he hit him with.

If a man is given
a pick handle he can kill a bull.

Ben...

- Yeah?
- Open up, I want to see Mr. Renchler.

Is that a fact? He want to see you?

- He might.
- I don't know nothing about it.

Well, you might learn something about it.

Why don't you go to the phone and tell Mr.
Renchler Ben Sadler is got business with him.

Oh, you the sheriff.

- We don't get many sheriffs out this way.
- Well, you got one now.

You wait a minute and I'll call.

- He ain't expecting you, is he?
- Not that I know of.

Ok, I'll let him know.

Ok.

You must be a mighty important man Sheriff.

You're the first lawman gone
through these gates since I've been here.

- Yeah?
- About four miles right on up the road.

I've been there before.

Mr. Renchler said to
remind you to stick on the road.

This here is a mighty big spread.

He don't like for people
to go wandering all over the place.

- Makes the stock nervous he says.
- Makes the stock nervous?

That's what he says. Shouldn't
take you more than five or six minutes.

- They'll be looking for you.
- Yeah.

Down Rocco, down boy. Down Rocco. Attaboy.

We weren't expecting visitors today Sheriff.

I wasn't expecting to come out.

Mr. Renchler is
waiting for you in his office.

Stay Rocco, stay, stay boy.

Sheriff?

- I didn't know were having visitors today.
- Morning Miss Renchler.

He ain't no visitor Skippy, it's business.

What kind of business brings
Sheriff Sadler all the way out here?

Well, nothing important.

It's so dull out here
that anybody at all is exciting.

- Oh, I didn't mean it the way it sounds.
- It's alright.

- The boss is waiting.
- Yeah.

It's been real nice seeing you Miss Renchler.

Come in.

Yours sincerely, et cetera.
And take a letter to the Reverend Dr. Hill.

Dear Reverend, I don't presume
to advise a minister of the Lord...

Hi Sheriff, I'll
be with you in just a minute.

But regarding that matter we were
discussing, if I can see your way clear,

I think your orphanage can
count on an additional donation of...

$25,000 by Christmas, payable of course...

through the Angus Renchler Memorial
Foundation. Yours very sincerely, et cetera.

Sheriff, haven't seen you
since you got yourself elected.

- Have a cigar?
- No, no thank you.

- Well, sit down. Sit down.
- Thank you.

I'd hate to come out here when
that dog of yours is loose in the yard.

Rocco? He's...

He's pretty mean,
but ain't keeps the visitors away.

- Unwelcome ones, of course.
- Not all of them.

You'll have to excuse
Ed Sheriff, he's little edgy, he's been...

waiting for me to clear up
that payroll since early morning.

I'll only be a few minutes Mr. Renchler.

I, I wonder if I could speak to you alone.

Sure, will you excuse us a minute Ed?

Don't go too far away.

Mr. Renchler, do you have a young
fellow named Martin working for you?

Sheriff, I got 400 or 500 braceros
working for me, besides my hands.

He's supposed to be about
18 to 19 years old, a stoop laborer.

I don't keep track of the stoop
laborers, is it too many of them.

I wonder if you would
check up on it and see if he's here.

- Martin, you say?
- That's right.

- What's he wanted for?
- Well, he's not wanted for anything.

You see, I got a report that he was
beaten up here on the ranch last night.

Well, that's, that's ridiculous Sheriff...

you know we don't
allow any fighting on this ranch.

Besides, a thing like that,
I would've heard about it.

Understand, I, I don't say there's
anything to this story but...

Well, it's my job,
I've got to check up on it.

Oh, sure.

Sure, you do, tell you what. I'll...

I'll get Ed Yates to check into it.
That way you won't be wasting your time.

- Drink?
- No, no thank you.

Well, that it'd cause
kind of a problem Mr. Renchler, you see...

Fact of the matter is the
story has it that Yates killed this boy.

- You trying to be funny Sheriff?
- No sir.

Who could've told you that kind
of cock-and-bull story?

The old man who has the bunk next to...

Le me put it to you straight Mr. Renchler.

The man who told me this
story says he saw your man...

Yates and another one of your hands take
this boy Martin into your tool room and...

beat him, maybe kill him.

Now, I'm not saying there's any truth
to the story, maybe Martin isn't dead.

The way all you folks
are acting, maybe he is.

Somebody is lying, I got to find out who.

You go ahead and find out anything you
want Sheriff, just don't come bothering me.

Got no time to worry
about some drunken bracero.

I'm not investigating a
drunk, I'm investigating a murder.

No, you're not.

You're looking for a missing wetback.

Sheriff, even if he should turn up
dead, you could hardly call that murder.

I reckon I can't expect
much help here, can I?

Sheriff, you're wearing
a nice, shiny new badge.

Maybe you ought to read
what it says on the badge.

It says you got yourself
elected sheriff of Bingham County...

not boss of the Golden Empire Ranch.

Ben I, I don't want to
have to go tough on you, but...

but I wonder if you've got any
idea the size of this operation.

Over in Europe there's five or six
countries aren't as big as this ranch.

That means that I'm the one that's
got to enforce the law around here.

A place as big as this, you
got to do things a special way.

A special way? Your way, you mean.

Was my father's way Sadler and his father's.

A pretty good way, it works. We never had any
trouble with the law on the Golden Empire...

we're never going to, as long as I do
the enforcing and you remember that,

And can wear that new
star of yours for a long time.

Mr. Renchler, I know what a big man
you are, how big the Golden Empire is.

Right now it doesn't mean a thing to me.

I'm investigating a charge
of murder and I don't like...

anyone, not even you, trying to stop me.

Try? I'm not trying
anything Sadler, I'm telling you.

Now, I don't like to have to put it to
you this way but you've asked for it.

You give me any more trouble and Bingham
County is going to have a new sheriff.

Got it?

You can push your wetbacks and your
white trash around all you want to...

but don't try on me.

I didn't miss.

We sure got ourselves a bigmouth
for sheriff this time, didn't we?

Ed...

did you kill that boy?

Answer me.

It was an accident, these things happen.

I asked you to teach that boy a lesson.

- I didn't tell you to kill him.
- I told you it was an accident.

Too late to do anything about it.

- Skippy still around the house?
- Yeah.

Going to have to keep
Skippy out of sight for a while.

What for?

What for? Use your head, didn't you tell
me Martin was hanging around her?

Listen, I'm going to have
to get you off the hook.

Oh, don't bother.
Chet is taking care of it right now.

Oh great, if he takes care of it
the way you took care of Martin.

We're all in trouble and just when
I got my hands full with the cotton crop.

Alright, get me Commissioner Parker.

Where? At the courthouse, you idiot.

Herb? This Virg here, how are you boy?

Listen Herb, there's a little
something I'd like you to do for me.

Well, it's no place like it on
the border, give me Ju?rez anytime.

No place like it for women, that's a fact.

I'm going down again
next month if I can recover.

- You're back already, eh?
- Yeap.

- You know Chet Huneker from the Empire?
- Hi Sheriff.

- Hello Chet.
- Go ahead Chet, you better tell him.

Well, there wasn't nothing
I could've done Sheriff.

What are you talking about?

I was driving this load of salt in from
Sonora this morning about 8 or 9 o'clock.

Out of town here about 11, 12
miles, you know, out by the dunes?

This here boy comes weaving
out across the road, drunker than a skunk.

And you hit him?

I swear I couldn't help
it Sheriff, the boy was drunk.

I hit him, drug him about
15 feet before I could stop.

It looks like the Martin boy alright Ben.

We just brought him into Jake
Kelley's back room, deader than a coot.

I told you you couldn't believe
that old guy, he lied in his teeth.

Come on Chet, I'll take your statement.

And Chet said was an accident.

He works for the Golden Empire,
who's going to contradict him?

He gave the sheriff a statement.
That's all there is to it, there's nothing...

I wish you'd knock before you come in honey.

Can I see you a minute Dad? Alone.

- We're kind of busy.
- It's important.

Ed.

I'll be right outside.

- I just don't like that man.
- Ah, he's alright.

- Ed is a pretty good foreman.
- Sometimes the way he looks at me.

Ah, it's just your imagination honey.

Dad, I just phoned the stable but old
Pablo wouldn't let me have a horse.

He said you left orders
not to let me have one.

- Well...
- Why?

- Honey, he's just doing what I told him.
- I always ride in the morning.

I know Skippy, but...

Just for a while I wish you'd
stick pretty close to the house.

- What's it Dad? What's going on around here?
- Nothing is going on.

Do what I tell you.

Now look here little rancher,
you're not fooling anyone.

You're worried, I can see right
through you, what's wrong?

Well, nothing for you to bother
your pretty little head about.

Do what I tell you
and stay close to the house.

Now, I got work to do,
tell Ed to come back here.

- The sheriff was out here earlier.
- Yeah.

Does he have anything
to do with whatever is wrong?

- Skippy.
- What did he want?

- Who?
- The sheriff.

Oh, it's no concern of yours honey.

Dad, last night, last night after
I was in bed, I heard something.

At least I think I did.

- What did you hear?
- Then I didn't just imagine it, I did hear.

- I'm asking you what you think you heard.
- I heard a scream.

- You must've been dreaming.
- I heard it.

- You were dreaming Skippy. Ed.
- I did hear it.

Now don't ask me to say it
again, I don't like repeating myself.

Was all a dream.

Now you get on to your room.

I'm sorry Miss Skippy,
but I got strict orders.

Thought your old man told
you to stay in your room.

Yates, let me go.

You ought to call me
Ed, seeing we're so close.

Let me go, I got to get into town.

Your dad is the boss,
I only carry out orders honey.

Ed, let me, I've got to get
into town for personal reasons.

Some things a girl just has to do.

I don't know, you haven't
been very friendly with me.

Sometimes I don't mind
doing favors for a friend.

I, I need a friend right now.

Look honey.

I'm going down the gate,
relieve Bill Edmunds for chow.

You come on down in about five minutes, hear?

You be a good girl, I'll let you through.

We're going to get along just fine.

Now, I want you to tell me
if this is Juan Martin, you understand?

Just tell me if this is the boy.

S?, I will tell.

That Martin?

Pobrecito.

S?.

That is Juan Martin.

My friend.

Se?or, what did they do to him?

Why? Why did they do this to him Sheriff?

What's he mean by that Ben?

- So far I can't prove they did anything.
- But I was there se?or.

I saw it happen with these eyes.

We, we might as well face facts Cisneros.

Right now it'd be your word
against Renchler and his people.

You know what your chances
of being believed would be?

And that ain't all, a man came into
my office a little while ago, he says...

he ran Martin down
on the highway this morning.

What man? Who could lie so?

Chet Huneker.

But se?or, he was the man.

He was with the Se?or Yates when it happened.

I saw him as I see you.

Is he trying to say that
Ed Yates killed this boy?

- That's what he says.
- Why, that's crazy.

No se?or, it is the truth.

What's wrong with you?
Even listening to that kind of talk.

Now, Chet Huneker says
he hit him on the road.

A man don't admit to a
thing like that unless he did it.

I, I got to admit looks like that.

Ben, come here.

I don't know what this is about...

but if it's what I think it
is you better put a stop to it.

- What do you mean?
- This means trouble, you know what I mean.

Murder always means trouble.

Ben, I am coroner of this county.
Martin was killed in a highway accident.

Maybe, but I'm, I'm not sure.

- Ben, I'm sure.
- You're sure?

If I say it's an accident,
then an accident it's going to be.

Now, don't look for trouble,
Ben. It's not just Huneker's word.

It's the Golden Empire's word against his.

- I, I got to find out for myself.
- You don't have my Ok for it.

Alright coroner.

Se?or, can they kill and not pay for it?

No, that's one thing they can't do,
not while I'm sheriff of the county.

It's no proof other than your word.

- Now, this is important, you're in danger.
- How so se?or?

If there was a murder,
you're the witness, the only witness.

They'll try to find you.

- Se?or, you mean they will...
- They got nothing to lose.

Edna? This Jake Kelley.

Get me the Golden Empire.

Miss Renchler, I, I
didn't expect to find you here.

- I must talk to you.
- Come inside.

Why were you out at the ranch this morning?

It's, it's just business.

- I must know.
- I, I'm not so sure that you...

It's something that
happened last night, isn't it?

What do you know about last night?

Oh nothing really, it's just that...

But something is wrong
at the ranch, isn't there?

Yeah, it looks like it.

I'm afraid that somebody
was killed out there last night.

Who?

One of your field workers,
kid named Juan Martin.

No. No, not Juan.

- Miss Renchler...
- Well, just yesterday...

How did it happen?

Well, that's what I'm trying to find out.

Are you sure, are you sure he's dead?

I'm sorry.

Skippy, you, you want to tell me about it?

You don't know how it is...

to be the daughter of a man like Dad.

Nobody is good enough
for you, none of the boys in town.

And there wasn't anybody
else, except there was Juan.

Oh, were you and he, I mean...

It wasn't anything important.

It's lonely out there, Juan was my age.

But Dad didn't want me to have anything to
do with anybody at the ranch either except...

oh, except to take that
Yates along when I went riding.

Juan was fun.

We didn't do anything,
we just had fun together.

Did your father know about you and Juan?

But Yates must have.

Sheriff, if anything happens, something
terrible, it wasn't Dad, it was Yates.

He's a horrible man, the way he looks at me.
The things he thinks about me, I can tell.

Do you think maybe he knew
about Juan and and was jealous?

Oh, he's so close to Dad.
Too close for Dad to see.

Last night I was in bed.

At first I thought I was
dreaming, but I don't think so now.

I heard a man screaming...

I'm sorry Ben, didn't know you were
busy, good afternoon Miss Renchler.

- I, I'll be with you in a moment.
- I better be going.

Hold it Ben, we want
to talk to you, it's important.

Yeah sure, come on in, pull up some chairs.

- I didn't expect to see her here.
- Well, neither did I.

Well, who's running the
county with you boys gone?

Must be better than a hundred.

Yeah, it's at least a hundred Harry.

- Boy.
- Alright, what can I do for you?

Go ahead Herb, let's get on with it.

Well Frankly Ben,
it's about this Martin thing...

this bracero Chet Huneker hit this morning.

- Jake Kelley told us about it Ben.
- I, we can't quite understand it.

Why you making
such a big fuss about it, that is.

After all, these things happen.
People are always getting hit by cars.

Chet admitted he ran over the boy.

I'm afraid it's not going to
be quite as simple as all that.

Ben, you know, we wouldn't
be butting into this thing for nothing.

- Oh, why are you here then?
- Frankly, I got a phone call.

Oh. Well, let me guess, Renchler.

- It's nothing wrong in that.
- No, I guess not.

He said you went out
to the Golden Empire and...

practically accused some
of his people of killing Martin.

I went out to see him.

But Ben, you can't go out to the
Empire and say things like that to him.

You know how Virg feels about
people nosing around the ranch.

Anyhow Ben, most of us,
the association and everybody...

we feel that what happens among the drifters
out at the Empire isn't any of our business.

You're not responsible
for keeping the law in Bingham County.

We're paying your salary.

I went out to investigate a reported murder.

And who reported it? Another drifter?

- What difference is that make?
- Ben, for heaven's sakes, be reasonable.

This is Virg Renchler we're talking
about, not just an ordinary person.

We got to keep us our perspective.

Now, look, I got a witness who says
he saw Ed Yates and Chet Huneker...

beat this kid Juan Martin
to death last night with a pick handle.

He swears it.
Now, I don't see any purpose in him lying.

Do I have to tell you what
Renchler means to this town?

You know what would happen if the Empire
bought its supplies at Sonora or Cherokee?

What would happen if he suddenly decided
to run his stock to the spur in Sonora?

If he told his hands not to shop here
anymore? Do I have to draw you a picture?

You know, we all do.
The town will be finished.

He didn't say he'd do it in
so many words but he meant it.

Ben, you got to stop.

If Renchler is got nothing to hide,
then he's got nothing to worry about.

What's he so afraid of?
We we'll have a little investigation.

If my witness is lying,
then Renchler is in the clear.

The truth never hurt an innocent man.

That won't do Ben. Renchler said
stop it and that's what we've got to do.

There's your jail.

This is the criminal code.

The voters of this county elected me sheriff
because I told them I'd go by this book.

And that's exactly what I intend to do,
especially when I got a murder on my hands.

- You haven't got a murder on your hands.
- I think maybe I have.

If you go ahead with this, you'll be taking
the bread out of every mouth in town.

You'll padlock every door in Spurline.

Ever occur to you maybe
I'm not the one who's doing it?

Ben, this country
is crawling with drifters like Martin.

Nobody knows how many of
them are here and nobody cares.

Why, a lot of them are
in this country illegally.

The decent people have enough
to do to take care of themselves.

Except all of a sudden, you, you have to
take out after the biggest man in the county.

Maybe the biggest man in
the state and all because some...

drunken bracero gets himself killed.

Now, we're not going to stand
by and let you ruin our town.

I'm going to do my job.

- Now, you look here.
- Calm down Herb.

- Getting mad isn't going to help.
- It's all over town already.

You go ahead with this and you'll
have everybody hating your guts.

Let's get out of here.

It's is Ben Sadler, get me Judge McCullough.

Jack? Ben.

How soon can you get me a search warrant?

Half hour? Fine. I'll be by to pick it up.

The Golden Empire.
No, I'm not kidding, I know what I'm doing.

Alright, thanks.

- Hi you Ben.
- Afternoon Tony, can you take me soon?

In a minute.

Next you'll be inviting wetbacks in here.

Might just do that Mr. Jenkins.

That will be 50 cents Mr. Jenkins.

- Lose more customers that way.
- That's not funny Tony.

I'm not scared much, no place
else in town he can get his hair cut.

You're not even smart in talking to me today.

Well, climb in, you going to talk all day?

I mean it, news gets
around fast in this town.

A lot of people are going to be sore at you.

Well, I'll tell you.

My old man died last year.
Almost 93 years old.

He was in this
country better than 30 years...

but he still couldn't speak English.

So maybe I feel different
about people like Juan Martin.

Anyway, I don't know where
Renchler gets his hair cut...

- but it's not here.
- They got a good point though.

All Renchler has to do
is move his loading point...

to Sonora and we haven't even got a railroad.

Tell you Ben. I figure I
can cut hair almost anywhere.

Come right down to it...

this isn't much of a
town anyway, gets too hot.

Tell you something else Ben.

I still got folks over in Italy...

and back in the 20s, they'd a lot of trouble
with a guy who operated like Renchler.

And you know what happened then.

I don't want that to happen here.

I can't have any more of this.

He said, well, that's what
the Chinaman told me.

- Yeah?
- The Sheriff just left the courthouse.

- I think he's headed out toward the ranch.
- Ed, come on, sit down.

Ed, you get on to the ranch, I'll
have this information in just a minute.

Alright, he won't get past the gate.

- Have a drink Ed.
- Ab, he doesn't have your head for liquor.

Hey.

- You sure make a lot of noise.
- Open up.

I can't do that, ain't nobody home.
Anyways I got special orders about you.

I don't care if there's anybody
home or not, open the gate.

- My orders are to keep you out.
- I got a search warrant, so open up.

- Mr. Renchler ain't going to like this none.
- I ain't doing it for his approval.

Down, Rocco. Down. Down. Down, Rocco.

Looks like the dog follows orders better
than Edmunds down at the gate Sheriff.

Don't want the sheriff messing
around here anymore, the boss says.

Looks like you're not going to get out.

Looks like you're going to have
a dead dog on your hands, don't it?

The boss wouldn't like that very much.

Anyhow, he's a pretty good mutt
once you get acquainted with him.

You better hold him tight, I'll
kill him sure if you let him at me.

I'm not going to let him loose
Sheriff, I'm not mad at anybody.

Just doing what the boss says.
Come on Rocco, come on.

Sheriff?

- You won't find anything.
- What do you mean?

You came to look in
the tool room, didn't you?

- Yeah, I thought I'd have a look at it.
- Yates had it cleaned out this morning.

- Where's your father?
- Gone. In town, I guess.

- Yates?
- With him.

You better get back inside.

He in there?

Yeah, the boss's kid
came out and talked to him.

Watch out for the sheriff.

Here he comes.

For a smart man,
you sure got a hard head Sheriff.

Mr. Renchler said he didn't
want you messing around here.

- So I understand.
- If I was you, I'd take his word for it.

- He don't like people going against him.
- But you ain't me Ed.

It is right, sure happy I ain't.

Because I wouldn't want
to be standing where you are.

Hey Rocco, you hot boy?

You hot boy?

Skippy, you went into town.

After I told you to stay in the house.

- He's dead.
- Who? Who's dead? Who you talking about?

Juan, Juan Martin.
Somebody here in the ranch killed him.

Why did you do it? He wasn't hurting anyone.

Now honey, you don't
actually imagine that I'd kill somebody?

- It's your ranch.
- Skippy, believe me...

You always talk about running things. Maybe
you had him killed because he was my friend.

Don't do this to me, -

- I can whip the whole county if I've to...
- That's right.

But I can't fight you.

You can whip the county or a
poor kid who never had a chance.

The way you did my mother when
she didn't like the way you ran things.

- Like you were God.
- You don't understand honey.

You don't know what's happened.

Juan is dead, I know that and
you're to blame for it, I hate you.

I hope they catch up to you, if I can
help them punish you, I'm going to do it.

- How it go?
- Cisneros is staying with that cropper Clay.

- Oh, that figures.
- Yeah.

Well, don't worry about the sheriff anymore.

I fixed it so he'd lose a
wheel on the way into town.

A what?

I loosened some lugs on his wheel
while he was snooping around in the barn.

- You infernal idiot.
- The matter with you?

You trying to kill the sheriff?
You want to get the state down on us?

- You want him stopped, don't you?
- You're going too far.

I'm not getting any
deeper, you dug this hole.

As far as I'm concerned,
you can crawl out of it yourself.

Now, wait a minute Mr. Renchler,
you can't get out of it like that.

Wasn't my idea to work the kid over.

You gave the order after you
found out he came inside the...

fence and was making passes at your daughter.

- I didn't ask you to kill him.
- You think anybody will believe that?

- It's the truth.
- Prove it.

Why don't you just try and prove it?

Oh, no Mr. Renchler,
it isn't as simple as that.

Mud don't care who it splashes on.

You may not like it but you're in
this thing just as deep as I am.

- Pretty nasty cut.
- Yeah.

But you were lucky.

It sure could've been worse.

Make it home, get to bed.

I can't Doc. Too much to do, maybe tomorrow.

It's against my advice but take two of
these pills if the pain becomes severe.

Ok Doc, thanks.

- Ab.
- Howdy Sheriff. Hey, what happened to you?

- You know my orders about drinking on duty.
- Let me tell you something.

I figure your orders aren't going
to mean anything very much longer.

- I've had just about enough.
- Now, wait a minute big shot.

I had lot bigger man than
you tell me to drink, so I drink.

What do you care Sheriff?

What are you talking about?
Who told you to drink?

A friend of mine, that's who.
Good old Virg Renchler.

- What did he want? What did you tell him?
- Stop shaking me.

What did you tell him?

He said he owed him some back
wages, he wanted to pay him off.

- Cisneros?
- Yeah.

- Give me your keys.
- Eh?

Your car keys.

We was out in the fields when we heard him.

They were shooting.

I seen them when they runned away.

It was two of them, had masks on.

I see them, they didn't see me.

Come out here with
guns and they just shot him.

- Hello?
- Listen blondie.

Tell that husband of yours to lay off.

- Who is this? What do you want?
- He lays off or you'll be a young widow.

Who is? Hello?

- Helen?
- In here.

Ben.

You didn't tell me it was that bad.

- Let me see.
- It's alright.

Look I, I want you to stay
at your sister's tonight.

- What for?
- I just want you to, it's all.

I may have to work all night
and I don't want you here alone.

I'll get it.

Hello.

Listen hero, get out of town
while you're still in one piece.

Who are you? Who is this?

- You don't lay off, you'll find out.
- Now, listen here...

Edna? Edna, is Ben Sadler.

Can you tell me who just
put a call through to my home?

Pay booth, eh? Alright, thanks.

- Is this happened before?
- Ever since early afternoon.

- Every half hour or so.
- Same person?

Different people.

Going to take it out on you too.

Ben.

Be sure you're right
before you go any further.

We've lived here a long time.
These people are our friends.

Be sure I'm right? Two men have been killed.

I know I'm going against
the whole town, but I...

Darling, they're afraid, afraid they'll lose
their homes and everything they own.

Starts out with a kid nobody ever heard of.

He gets killed out at the ranch, at least...

they beat him up until they kill him.

Maybe it looks like a truck
hit him but I know better now.

This wasn't an accident, it was murder.

You'll kill our town if you go ahead.

This Martin, he didn't even live here.

Cisneros didn't live here
either but he died here.

All I'm saying is what everybody is saying.

What will happen to Spurline and all of us
without the business from the ranch?

What will happen to it without the law?

Unless we go back to being beasts,
there's got to be law for everybody...

for a wetback like Martin,
or a drifter like Cisneros or...

a cropper like Clay, even a big man
like Renchler and his punk foreman.

You stay here.

I can talk to Judge McCullough
and start proceedings...

but it'll take time to get him out of office.

And what will we use for a charge?

- I don't know, something.
- Oh, you guys can talk like that, it's easy.

But I told Renchler, I called him up
and told him in so many words.

This man Cisneros was a witness, now is dead.

You just, you just don't
forget a thing like that.

Jake, you can't blame
yourself for Cisneros's death.

I killed that old man just as sure
as if I'd have pulled the trigger myself.

No matter who's responsible, just about
takes away all doubt as far as I'm concerned.

Herb, do you still honestly believe...

that this was an accident,
this Martin boy's death?

Jim, wake up, will you? That's not the point.

Forget about whether or not it was an
accident, all that counts now is survival.

You're not doing yourself any
good by staying here tonight.

There is nothing else you can do.

I'm waiting to hear from the state crime lab.

Tonight?

Look Ben, I'm your friend.
Get home and get some sleep.

- Sadler.
- Sheriff?

You want the truth
about the Cisneros killing?

- Who is this?
- Never mind.

- You want the information?
- Well certainly, I want it.

You know the old
Blakesly place outside of town?

- Yeah, I know it.
- You be there in 15 minutes, alone.

Alright, I'll be there but who is this?

Hello? Hello.

- Ben, who was it?
- I don't know.

Somebody who said he could give
me some information about Cisneros.

You said you'd meet him somewhere
but you're not going, of course.

- Yeah, I'm going.
- But you can't.

- It's a trap. You can see that.
- Sure, I figure maybe it is.

- Then why are you going?
- Well, just look at this stuff on the desk.

I haven't got enough
facts here to arrest anybody.

Sure it's a trap,
but maybe, just maybe, it isn't.

Maybe there's one chance in a thousand
it's not a trap, I got to take that chance.

Then I'm going with you.

No. No, this is my
doing, I work it out myself.

Besides, the man said I had to come alone.

- Where Ben?
- The old Blakesly place.

I'll give you an hour, if you're not
back, I'm calling the state police.

Ok.

Hold it.

Turn around and get your hands up.

Huneker, so you're the pigeon.

Alright, start talking.

You got something to say, say it.

Sheriff, leastways about that Cisneros
thing, I wanted to talk to you about...

Give me that.

Hold it Chet, the boss didn't say kill him.

Just said work him over good.

Ain't enough, no man does
that to me and gets away with it.

I got an idea, give me a hand with him.

- I'll get to Ben tomorrow.
And I don't like it.

None of us like it, but we're stuck with it.

Take off.

Take off.

Hey, stop it.

Take off.

How is he?

- You about finished?
- Yeah, just about.

There.

You take it easy Ben, I'll drive you home.

Better stop by the office and I'll
give you some medicine to take along.

Alright Doctor.

Now look Ben, they're going to take you home.

Now this time, you got to stay in bed.

- Ben, I just want you to know that I...
- Why don't you just shut up.

What are you trying to do?

- You're not going anywhere, you can't.
- Don't try to stop me Doc.

If you disregard what I told you
I'm not going to be responsible.

Now, wait a minute.
Ben, you can't do anything now.

You got to listen to the doc.

Ben, it was the most
shocking thing I've ever seen.

Shocking?

You were shocked.

All you decent people were shocked.

Well, for God's sake, why?

Because my name is
Ben Sadler instead of Juan Martin?

Because I'm a taxpayer instead of a drifter?

- Ben...
- You finally got shocked.

But, what in God's green Earth
does it take to shock you people?

Murder doesn't do it.

Were you finally shocked
because they started shooting up...

the town and breaking expensive windows?

I've had just about enough.

I've lived here all my life but
it took today to teach me that...

there isn't a yard
of guts in this whole town.

This isn't a town. It's a, a trained dog act.

I'm through being pushed around.

One way or another, I'm going to
get myself a couple of murderers tonight.

And if any of you, decent
people want to try to stop me...

there's room for you
in Jake Kelley's back room too.

- Get out of my way.
- Ben, you can't do it this way.

You're the sheriff.

Now I can do it my way.

Sheriff, Sheriff...

- What do you want?
- I'm going with you.

Ain't none of your business.

Ain't going to argue with you but
Cisneros was my friend, so I'm going.

Besides, you ain't got no car.

It's over here Sheriff.

So we drag him around
the square, cut him loose...

and dump him
right in front of his own office.

He won't give us any
more trouble, he won't be able.

Renchler here.

All these small town John Laws got hot heads.

- His head ain't hard no more.
- Hey, something went wrong.

A car broke through the gate,

I thought I told you
to take care of everything.

- Listen...
- From now on, I'll handle this myself.

Now get on out there, be ready if I need you.

Keep out of sight.

Stay in here.

Renchler, come out here.

Renchler.

- Down boy. What are you doing here? Down.
- You're coming in with me.

Now, don't you think this is gone far enough?

- Let's you and me talk this over.
- It's too late for talking.

Well, now Ben, there's no reason
why two rational grown men...

Don't give me any more of that.

If you want to get to town alive, get moving.

If you want to get
there dead, just keep talking.

Now Sheriff, there's ways...

Shut up and come on with me.

- Now.
- Get him.

Idiot.

It's enough, get that dog in the house.

Now what?

Get him in that car of his.

Drive it off the bridge into the
gulch, make it look like an accident.

And take care of Clay.

What are you doing here?

You got no business here.

Now, go on, get back
into town where you belong.

Parker.

Who do you think you are?

You know better than this,
I'll have you out of office so...

fast you won't know what hit you.

Youngquist, you won't sell
another pound of feed in this county.

Shaney, Begley, you'll pay for this.

Santoro, you crummy little barber.

I'll send you back where you belong.
Now, I'm warning you.

Who do you think
keeps this town of yours alive?

Now, get on back to town.

What's the matter with you?

I'm telling you, I'll break every one of you.

Now, for the last time, get off my ranch.

- I give up, don't shoot, don't shoot.
- Alright, get him in the car.

Give me a hand, will you?

Here. You do it.

Thanks Ben.

You'll be needing this.

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