The Lawless Breed (1952) - full transcript

Released from jail, John Wesley Hardin leaves an account of his life with the local newspaper. It tells of his overly religious father, his resulting life of cards and guns, and his love for his step-sister replaced on her death during a gun fight with that for dance-hall girl Rosie.

They don't look near so high
from the outside.

For a time, we were afraid they
weren't high enough to hold you in.

If you're takin' a train,
there's one leavin' Huntsville
this afternoon.

- Thanks, Chuck.
- Good luck, Wes. Good luck.


- Good morning. What can I do for you?
- I'm Wes Hardin.

- John Wesley Hardin?
- That's right.

I have a story here.
Wrote it myself.
It's about me.

I think it might
interest people.

- I'd like to read your story, but--
- There's no hurry.

I'm leaving town
on the afternoon train.

If you decide to make a book of it,
I'd be much obliged.

- Where can I reach you?
- You'll find it in there on the last page.

I have been tried for murder

and condemned in a court of law.

I have been tried by public opinion
and my name connected

with every major crime in Texas
over a period of years.

In the interest
of truth and justice,

I have set down the
unvarnished facts of my life.

My own story in my own words.

Let people judge for themselves.

I was born into a fine family
in Fannon County, Texas,

on the 26th day of May, 1853.

With the outbreak
of the war between the states,

my childhood came to an end
at the age of seven.

My father raised a company
to fight for Texas.

My brother Dave
was killed in Georgia.

My brother Joe
was crippled in Mississippi.

The war ended, but peace
didn't come to Texas.

We were a proud people

ruled by a foreign army:

the Army of the United States.

My father, J.G. Hardin,

was a preacher
and a circuit rider.

He was a strong, God-fearing man

who carried his Bible
like a six-gun

and fought with the devil
wherever he found him.

- Where did you get it, son?
- I bought it.

With gambling money.

Don't back up, son.
Not when a man is coming at you.

I don't back up from any man...
unless he was my pa.

What would you do,
shoot him with that pistol?

You've grown strong
in the house of the Lord.

Yet your strength is
the strength of the devil!

I placed your feet
on a path of righteousness.

Yet you seek out
the ways of sin!

With the help of the Lord,
I may yet conquer the evil in you.

Pray for forgiveness, for mercy,

for understanding.

I'll pray for you.

Jane Brown was an orphan.

Her family had been lost
in the war,

and she'd come to live with us.

We'd grown up together.

Jane was about
the prettiest girl in Texas.


Oh, Wesley, he beat you again.

Sometimes it seems like he
enjoys it, whippin' and prayin'.

Seems like the time has to come when
a man doesn't take another whippin'!

Even from his own pa!
Even from the preacher
in this part of Texas!

I tell you, Jane,
I'm going away.

I'm gonna get me some money
so we can get our own land.

Place with green grass,
real grass, for horses.

- And water--
- That runs all year round.
A white painted house.

- Yes, I know.
- You don't believe me.

Wes, if you'd only
be patient for a while.

- Study your law books.
- Law books!

There's no more law in Texas.
Only Yankee law!

- It won't always be that way.
- I'm tired of waitin'!

There's a million head of cattle
in Texas. Maybe more.

Mavericks running wild
on the range.

Belonging to nobody
because of the war.

A man just has to round up
a few cattle, brand 'em
and drive 'em to the railroad.

But there are thousands of men.
Older men with money, horses
working these mavericks.

All I need's $200 or $300 for
an outfit and a good cow pony.

I can raise it.
I got a plan, Jane.
I'm goin'.

Will you come back for me, Wes?

I love you, Jane.
I love you.


Pa's wantin' his dinner.

Wes, I'm sorry he whipped ya.
I could hear it.

Your brother's goin' away, Joe.

It might be best that he does.

I guess it's the only thing
you can do, Wes.

Pa just don't understand you.

Jane! Joe!
Come in the house!

You better go now.

Good luck, Wes.

- You didn't answer my question, Wes.
- I'll be back for you.

I'll be waiting.


Good-bye, Wes.


Shh. Shh.

- Who is it?
- Wes Hardin.

- Hello, preacher's boy.
- Good evenin', Rosie.

- Anyone see you come into town?
- Nobody.

- No Yankee soldiers saw you?
- They couldn't see a white barn
if it was in front of 'em.

If they knew we were open
after dark, they'd throw
a lock on the door.

- Hello, preacher's boy.
- Hi, Gus.

Out after dark
in a place like this?

If the Yankees don't get ya,
the devil will.

I can take good care
of the Yankees, Gus.

The devil will be busy with you.

Marv, I'm back again.
How much for the law books?

- Same as last time.
- I don't want a loan. I wanna sell 'em.

- About ten dollars.
- That's a lot of law for ten dollars.

- The books are worth 50.
- Ten dollars.

Give him 30.

- I'll give you 20.
- Make it 25, you piker.

Stay on your own side
of the fence.

I'll give you $20.

Sold. Make yourself
a lawyer.

Now that you're in the law business
you can start collecting debts around here.

I sure will,
soon as I read up on it.

- What are you gonna do, Wes?
- Gonna get me a farm.

Buy me some stock.
Breed the best horses in Texas.

You figure you can get it
faster this way...
if you're lucky.

Maybe I'm lucky.
Who knows?

Sit in.

- What are you lookin' for?
- How to collect I.O.U.s with interest.

- You know what "interest" means?
- Yes and no.

- There's a lot of kinds of interest.
- Yeah?

Yeah. Take me,
for instance.

Yeah, I got an interest

- in somebody that's got an interest in somebody else.
- Oh.

- How would you figure that one out?
- Well, I--

Don't forget the kitty, boys.

I'll take one.

I'll buy two and check.

It'll cost you 50 to play.

- I got three kings.
- No good.

I got a flush.

You gave me four clubs goin' in,
and you just gave me this one.

Where'd you get that card?

You gave it to me.

I gave you a heart.
Why you!

- Wes, look out!
- Drop it, Marv!

Put your hands up.

You all saw it.
He drew first.

Get out, quick.
He's got three brothers.
They won't ask who drew first.

Put my money in my hat, Rosie.

Keep your hands up!

Put it in my saddlebag.

The first man out
this door gets shot.

Stay put till you hear me ride.

Wes, look out!

Take care of yourself, Rosie!

Take care of yourself, preacher's boy!

All right, line up.
Come on, move.

Up against the bar, all of you.

It was murder,
murder in the first degree.

Habeas corpus.
That means he's real dead.

- What's the name of the man who shot him?
- The name--

My name is Marv.
Everybody calls me Marv.
I've been tending--

Not your name.
The name of the man
who did the shooting.

Lieutenant, I don't think he saw it.
He couldn't see that far.

You seem to see plenty around here.
You see it?

No, no, but he did.

- Did you see the shooting?
- I seen nothin'.

Ain't seen my wife in a week.
What time is it?

Ah! Everybody's gone blind and dumb
around here at the same time.

Who runs this riding academy?

- Who shot him?
- Wes Hardin, the preacher's boy.

- Who are you?
- Ben Hanley. This is my brother.

- Who are these two?
- We're all brothers.

Corporal, report to
headquarters on the double.

Tell 'em to alert all patrols
for Wes Hardin.

You, miss. You.
We'll need you as witnesses.

You ain't gonna need
no witnesses,

'cause there ain't
gonna be no trial.

Uncle John!
It's Wes Hardin.

Well, hello, Wes.
Step down.
Come on in.

Maybe I shouldn't.
I'm in trouble.

If you're in trouble, you've come to
the right house. Tell me about it.

Put his horse in the barn, Jeb.

- Howdy, Aunt Em.
- Good morning, Wes.

- Wes.
- Sit down, Wes.
Have some breakfast.

What kind of trouble
you in, Wes?

- I shot Gus Hanley.
- Gus Hanley! You killed him?

- Holy smoke.
- You started up with that brood,
you should've got 'em all.

He'll get his chance as soon
as they come runnin'.

Especially Dirk.
He's cut five notches already.
Wes, what I say--

- You don't say nothin'
till you're spoken to.
- There's something else.

I think I shot a couple of
Yankees gettin' out of town.

What are you tryin' to do,
start the war over again?

- Yankees don't count.
- But the Hanleys do.

- Does your pa know about all this?
- I expect he's heard by now.

Joe, saddle the horse, go to Bonham
and tell ol' Jehovah that Wes is with us.

- John, that ain't a nice way
to talk about your brother.
- Half-brother!

Pa don't have to know
where I am.

I expect he don't care.
I cut loose from him before all this.

Joe, do as I say.
Keep off the road.

There'll be patrols
lookin' for Wes.

Joe, when you see Jane,
tell her not to worry.

Tell her I'll be back
for her like I said.

You ain't goin' for a long time
unless it's in a box.

When I'm ready,
I'm goin' back for Jane.

We got plans, Uncle John.
Don't matter about the Hanleys
or Yankees or Pa.

Let the Yankees look for ya.
Let 'em all look,
'cause we won't be here.

We'll be trailin' a herd to Abilene,
and you'll be with us.

- Ready to make a drive?
- We can be ready tomorrow mornin'.

- Can't we, boys?
- We'll be ready sooner if you say so, Pa.

- Joe?
- Sure, Pa. We'll be ready.

Good. Get back
as soon as you can.

Wes, what about Gus?
He draw first?
You beat him, huh?

What do you think?
He's here, ain't he?


Fastest horse in Texas.
Howdy, Uncle John, boys.

Why, if it ain't old Wes here
with half of Texas lookin' for him.

You're a real unpopular boy.

You got the Hanley brothers
looking for him, promising
to shoot him on sight.

Got half the Yankee army
lookin' for him,
makin' the same promise.

Hey, Zeke,
real good-lookin' pony.
Must've cost ya plenty.

Nah, didn't cost me nothin'.

That Yankee major at the fort,
he confiscated this horse
from a ranch.

All I done was
confiscate him back.

- You mean you stole him.
- No, not exactly.

Major wanted to play
poker with old Zeke,
so I obliged him.

He got more cards
off the bottom than
he did off the top.

I got Rondo!

- Hello, Zeke.
- Howdy, Joe.

Roped in the last of 'em.
Ready to go whenever you are.

- Let's stop talkin'.
Take 'em to Abilene, boys.
- Run 'em along!

Jeb and some of the boys
are back at the wagon.

That pony of Zeke's got a good rein.
Quick as a cat.

Here comes old Chick Noonan.

- I wonder what he wants.
- Probably lookin' for a place
to bury his money.

-Hi, John. Hi, Wes.
-What are you doing on trail?
Pick up stray business?

I pick up business
any place I can find it.

Business was good in Abilene.

I had a special embalming
on the Durango Kid.

If I say so myself,
when he's laid out, his own wife
didn't even know him.

She thought he was a stranger
asleep in the parlor.

Uh, been any recent deaths
in Bonham?

No, not that I know of.

Not to change the subject, John,

but did you ever buy
that new black suit?

No. Why?

Ya never can tell.
They come in handy sometimes.

Yes, sir, Rosie.
I've buried 'em in Abilene,
in Santa Fe,

and I've buried 'em
in old Mexico.

But I always like to get back to
Bonham to take care of my friends.

Sorry I missed plantin'
Gus Hanley.

Only three days ago,
I was as close to Wes Hardin
as I am to you right now.

- Chick, you're
gettin' too sentimental.
- Where'd you see Hardin?

Why, four, five days ago
on the trail to Abilene.

Uh, he's with
the Clemens outfit.

Poor Wes Hardin.

I wonder if he's got
a black suit.

- Then what'd you do?
- Well, then I give him
a real nice hand.

- Then what?
- Then I give myself
a little bit better hand.

That's how come I'm riding Rondo.
What do you do, son?

I'll open for 200.

Two hundred? There ain't
that much money in Texas.

Yes, there is, Zeke.
Right in my saddlebag.
I'll get it.

No, no, no need.
I only got me but $20.

You got Rondo.

You got yourself a bet, son.

- How many cards you want?
- Two.

I guess I only need one.

Well, it looks like a showdown, Wes.
What you got?

Four aces! Why,
I never gave you no aces!

Yes, you did, Zeke.
Two on the deal.

I give you a pair of deu--

Looks like you lost
yourself a horse.

I'll be full-blooded
to a ringtailed baboon!

I'm through playin' cards.
My luck's against me.

You're luck's all right.
You just need to
practice up a little.

I just need a new deck.

Clemens' outfit hit town yet?

Not yet.
I hear they're due this afternoon.

Clemens' boys hang out in here?

We're just about
the official headquarters
for all the Texas outfits.

This hour of the mornin',
it's kinda quiet.

- What'll it be?
- We'll be back.

Hey, Charlie!

Run over to Marshal Hickok's
office. Tell him Dirk Hanley
and brothers are in town.

You tell him yourself.
I ain't messin' with Hanley
or any of his kin.

Hyah! Hyah!

First thing we get into Abilene,
I'm gonna get me a nice, cold beer.

Scoops of 'em.

Corn liquor for chasers.

I'm gonna get me
one of them nice, great,
big 25-cent steaks.

Then I'm gonna jump
into a nice, hot tub

and wallow around like
an old sow in a mud hole.

First thing I'm gonna do
is call Madame Lucy,
a French dressmaker,

buy Jane the fanciest
wedding dress ever been
seen in Texas.

Long white veil and big bows.

Well, your poker luck
holds out, you can buy
half-interest in the bank.

I don't want any bank.

All I want is enough money
to buy that horse farm
for me and Jane.

Hyah! Hyah!

Zeke! I thought
you and Wes was comin'
over to the bathhouse.

I tried to get him over there,
John, but he couldn't wait
to get into a poker game.

- You been here ever since?
- No, no.

We went over to
that dressmaker's.
He ordered a dress.

All satin and lace.
Cost almost $300.

- Why'd you let him come back here?
- I couldn't stop him.

Just a couple of hands,
he says. Yeah.

He almost lost all of
his money right now.

He ain't got enough
to pay for that dress.

If he gambles away Rondo, I'll--

♪ I'll tell you
All about our Nelly ♪

♪ Nelly, the flower
Of womankind ♪

Which one of you is Wes Hardin?

Who wants to know?

Got word for him
from Dirk Hanley.

Tell him we got word for him.

If the Hanleys have
come to Abilene lookin'
for trouble with Wes,

they're gonna get it.

Take it easy, son.
Wes is big enough to take care
of his own quarrels.

- I'm Wes Hardin.
- Dirk Hanley says you murdered
his brother, Gus.

Says he's gonna kill ya.
Says he's waitin'
outside the saloon.

Well, what do I tell him?

I got no quarrel
with Dirk Hanley.
Tell him I'm not comin'.


tell him I'll be
waitin' outside if he
wants to come and see me.

If loudmouth over there
is finished with
his private conversation,

maybe I can get on with my song.

I'm all through, ma'am.
It was real polite of you to wait.

I was runnin'
into bad luck anyway.

Did you get good money
for the herd? I'm gonna need
some to pay for Jane's dress.

No time to be thinkin'
about any dress.
What are you gonna do?

- Like I said.
- Listen, Wes.

When he comes to you, stand still.
Wait him out.

He'll stop before he draws.

♪ All of the gentle...

- Did you see him?
- I've seen him.

He says for you to come to him.
He'll be waitin' for you.

That's what I figured he'd say.

All right, you know what to do.

Goin' somewhere, Ben?

Hold it!

How much money
do I have comin',
Uncle John?

About enough for
Jane's weddin' dress.

Lend me ten dollars, will ya?

I feel lucky again.

Told you I was feelin' lucky.

- You're way ahead now.
Let it go at that.
- I haven't started yet.

Hardin, you're under arrest.
Hand over your gun.

- Who are you?
- The name is Hickok.

So hand over your gun.

There's two other Hanleys
in Abilene, Marshal,

so I'll be needin' my gun.

I was plannin' to offer you
a safe escort out of town.

Thanks just the same.

You're a brave boy, Hardin.
I wouldn't like to have to kill you.

You can have one hour to get
out of town on your own.

By that clock.

Gunned down Dirk Hanley
and backed up Wild Bill
all in the same five minutes.

I wouldn't be surprised
if you lived to see 21.

- Well, let's get out of here.
- Not me.

- You're pushin' your luck.
- No, I'm not.

I'm not going till I get
Jane's wedding dress.

- When will that dress be ready?
- Tomorrow morning.

Tell them that dress
has to be ready in one hour.

- John, we can't--
Go on! I want a weddin' dress
- back here before 6:00.

Come on, fellas.
Come on.

Jim, how about buyin'
your dad a drink?
I need one.

Please, you got to get out
of my place.

Wild Bill, he will be back,
ah, soon, ah?

Go someplace. Go home.
It's getting late.

- Go home and sleep, huh? You tired?
- Forget it.

Have the girl sing it again.
Give her this.


Miss Richardson,
that boy from Texas
wants you to sing it again.

- Again? What's the matter,
is he hard of hearin'?
- He's paying you for it.

I'll sing as long as
these keep rollin' in.

Play, play!
Sing a lot!
Sing a lot!

♪ Open thy ladders
Love, listen to me ♪

♪ In the voyage of life

Come on!
Wes, here it is.
Here's the dress.

- Now let's go.
- Hey. Huh? How's this?

How do I know it's gonna fit her?

- What do you
want me to do, put it on?
- Get somebody. Sylvester!

- What's the matter?
- Let one of the girls try this on.

Put on the dress?
Look at the time!

We want to get him out.
He wants to see how it looks.

- Oh! Emma, come here.
- Emma!

Lola, Lola,
come here, come here!
Josephine, come over here!

Hold it up there.
Put it up.
Wes, look it.

- It's nice, no? You like it?
- No.

- Put it on!
- Lola! Try it on Lola.

She's a nice girl, eh?

No, she don't look like a bride.

Wes, look at this.
Perfect. Perfect!
That's nice, huh?

- Let's see your feet.
- Feet!

- Nope, too big.
- Ah!

Look at the time!

I figure it'll take just about
one minute to fix that clock.

Marshal, in one minute,
I'm gonna be as far away
from here as I can.

Pick up my money, Uncle John.


- Oh, Wes, you shouldn't be here.
- I told you I'd be back.

- Your father'll hear us.
- Never mind.

I've come back to marry ya.
Look, Jane.

We've got enough money
to buy that farm.
Just like I promised.

Lots of pasture and trees.

Wait'll you see what
I brought you from Abilene.
Look, Jane.

- Oh, a wedding dress.
- Try it on.

- No, it's bad luck.
- I want you to... now.

It's so beautiful,

but where did you get
all that money, Wes?

I didn't steal it.

I didn't mean that.

I've been lucky, Jane.

Luckier than a man
has a right to be.

You mean, like when
you killed Dirk Hanley?

I heard.

The Hanleys came lookin' for me.

Come on, Jane.
Let's get out of here
and never come back.

I got a bad feeling
about this place.

- But we can't go now.
- Why not?

Because I-- I promised
your pa he'd be the one
to marry us.

- What'd you do that for?
- Shh. Be quiet.

- Wes. Wes!
- Get out of my way.
I'm gonna go talk to him.

Wait, Wes.

- He gave me a home.
He has a right.
- I know.

I just have a feeling
it's gonna be a funeral service

Pa says over me,
not a wedding service.

If you go to an early grave,
it won't be my doin'.
It'll be God's will.

Then I guess it's God's will
I'm still here.
He's had plenty of chances.

Jane, get into
some decent clothes.

I'm not marrying you to Jane
until you're free of the law.

If I turn myself in,
they'll hang me.
Is that what you want?

Hear me out!

The Yankees are leaving,
more every day.

Curfew's been lifted.

The only charge
that'll be brought is
the murder of Gus Hanley.

It wasn't murder.
He drew first.

Then you'll get off
if you have a fair trial.

I'm gonna send for Judge Ames,
the best lawyer in the county.

What if you're wrong?
What if I don't get a fair trial?

If I'm wrong,
I'll take up the gun
and get you free.

I believe you would.

We're going to need
the finest legal advice
that money can buy.

Now, I plan to bring
Foster and Pratt
down from Dallas.

That's gonna cost
a good deal of money.

More than you have, I'm afraid.

How much, Judge?

- How much you got?
- I got $1,200.

You're at least $700
or maybe $800 shy.

I'm very sorry, my boy,

but the scales of justice
hang in a delicate balance.

There's nothing like money
to tilt it our way.

Now, you be at Sheriff Webb's
office Monday morning.

We'll be waiting there for you.
Good day.

There goes our farm, Jane,
and he's not even sure
he can get me a fair trial.

You've got to raise
more money, Wes,
to make sure.

- Any ideas?
- I got one. I don't know
if it's any good.

That horse of yours,
you said he was fast?

They're holdin' some races
over in Cullen County this week.

I was thinkin',
they wouldn't know
about Rondo.

- If you're lucky--
- I don't think you
should go, Wes.

There'll be drinking,
painted women, gambling.

And there'll be trouble.

Please don't go.

I'm not lookin'
for any trouble, Jane.

The way you wear that gun,
you won't have to look for it.
You'd be safer here.

All right.
I'll go without my gun.

I'll ask Uncle John
and the boys to come along.

There won't be any trouble.

I'm sorry to keep
pickin' on you.

I know you've had to give up
all your money and plans
because of me.

We need that money, Jane.

When I get back Sunday,
I want you to be wearin'
that weddin' dress.

All right, folks, the third race is
a sweepstakes. Winner takes all.

All right, boys,
let's get 'em up to
their startin' line.

Come on, come on.
Let's get 'em up there.

Come on. Get 'em in
line, a straight line.

Get in straight line.
Not gonna start this race
till you're in a straight line.

Get that horse to the line.
I won't start this race.

Clint, get back!
Get set! Go!

Come on, Wes! Wes!


How much is in the pot
for the winner?

- How much, Charlie?
- Let's see. That's $385.

Oh, and to think
I had to lose that horse
in a crooked deal.

Don't forget, folks:
All bets will be paid off

at Jack Martin's Saloon
after the last race.

Hey, you! I'll bet you 500
against your 385

you can't outrun my buckskin.

- You got yourself a bet.
- So have you.

Jeb, cool him off.

Hey, Wes, $385 is a lot of money.
You better be--

Put up your money, mister.

Easy come, easy go.

Wes, have a drink on the hearse.

Thanks, Chick.

Hey, Wes.

Well, Rosie,
you come up here
by yourself?

- No, quite a few of us came up
from Bonham today.
- Oh, yeah?

Includin' Ike Hanley
and Sheriff Webb.

I guess that's why Chick Noonan
brought along his hearse.

Sheriff Webb's got
no cause to make trouble.

Ike Hanley has,
and you're walkin' around
without a gun.

You're wrong, Rosie.
I'm going back to Bonham
and give myself up.

After I get married
to Jane on Sunday.

You-- You're gonna
buy a farm and settle down
and raise horses, huh?

That's right.
There'll always be a place
at the table for you.

You'll make a fine farmer,
and you'll make Jane
very happy,

wonderin' every day
when you're gonna get killed.

Don't worry about it.

- I don't know why
I should care about you.
- Why do ya?

Maybe it's because you and me
are both the same kind.

Livin' high on the hog today
'cause we don't believe
tomorrow's gonna come.

All right, preacher's boy,
have it your way.

Good-bye, Rosie.


- Yeah?
- Take care of yourself.

I aim to, Rosie.

- Who's that peacock?
- That's Rosie McCoy,
a friend of mine.

- Where's she from?
- Bonham. She works for the Hanleys.

And you say
she's a friend of yours?

Best friend I have,
excepting you.

- Hey, what's goin' on
there, mister?
- Sheddin' a little weight.

We'll shed a little weight too.
Take her off, Jeb.

If you're gonna ride bareback,
you better put some glue
on the seat of your britches.

I'll be all right.
You better get somethin' for him.

He can ride frontward,
backward, sideways
and without a bridle.

- What's goin' on here?
- This fella fancies
himself a rider.

Yeah, wants to ride
without a saddle.

- Oh.
- It's all right by me.

- Fancy fella, huh?
- Yeah.


Yeah. How much money
you got?

- Hundred and a quarter... on Rondo.
- Hundred and a quarter?

All right, boys, let's get
'em up to the startin' line.

I want 'em even.

Get set. Go!

Come on, Wes.

Come on, Wes!
Come on, Wes!

Come on, Wes!
Come on, Wes!


We'll take our money now, Judge.

You'll take your money
at Jack Martin's Saloon
like everybody else.

Well, we'll get it anyway.

I tell you, I can't go
through with it, Ike.

I've known that boy
all his life.

What you mean is you're scared.

Why not?
He's the fastest draw in Texas.

He ain't lookin'
for trouble from you.

- Just handle it the way I told you.
- Yeah.

Suppose he doesn't try
to resist arrest.

Here's 500 that says he does.

Come here.
Take a look.

He ain't even wearin' a gun.

Won't be a minute, boy.
Be right out.

- Where do we get paid?
- Over here.

Over here.

Let me see your tabs.

- Wanna count it?
- Count it, Uncle John.

She's all there.

- Got your money, Wes?
- I've got it, Sheriff.

Then start walking.

You're under arrest
for killing Gus Hanley.

You're a bit out of your territory,
ain't ya, Charlie?

It's legal.
I'm making a lawful arrest.

John, you keep out of this.
Keep your hands where
I can see 'em.

There's no sense
in your arresting me
today, Charlie.

You must've talked
to Judge Ames.
Ike knows about it.

- Never mind the talk.
- I'm not looking for any trouble here.

Jane and me are gettin'
married tomorrow.

I'm not turnin' myself in
till Monday like I agreed.

And I'm keepin' my word.
Come on, Uncle John.

You're resistin' arrest.


Let's get outta here.
We've been here long enough.

- Where do you think you're goin'?
- Back to Bonham, like I said.

- That's the first place
they'd look for ya.
- I'm going to get Jane.

Why don't you stop talkin' like a fool?
You ain't goin' back.

You're headin' for
the Rio Grande right now.

If he says he's goin' back
for Jane, he's goin' back.
I'm goin' with him.

It's only a short piece.
I can make it myself.

Boys, go on back to the ranch.

If a posse comes along,
keep 'em talkin'
as long as you can.

Then send them on
the wrong road.
You understand?

- Wes, you're hurt.
- I'm all right.

- What happened?
- Charlie tried to shoot me.
Ike Hanley put him up to it.

I told him I'd turn myself
in after the wedding,
but he wouldn't listen.

- So you killed him?
- Yes, I killed him.
And Ike Hanley too.

You're a plague on the earth,
John Wesley.

Sure. Lots of people
think that.

There's a whole posse
of 'em after me right now.

But don't start praying
for my eternal soul, not yet!

I'm gettin' out of here--
clear out of Texas--

Jane and me.

We'll get that farm, Jane,
just like I promised ya.

Sure, I know. The place
with the white painted fence,
the green grass and water.

I don't believe that anymore.
I don't think you believe it.

No, you'll never
have that place, not now.

You'll never have more
than six feet of ground.

- Listen.
- Because you'll never stop killing.

I've never killed a man
except in self-defense.

- Why did you kill Gus?
- I told you. He tried to kill me first!

- And Dirk Hanley?
- He came looking for me.

Jane, we haven't got time.
Uncle John's waiting on
the other side of the creek.

What are you trying to prove,
that you're above the laws
of man and God?

Not God.

Not His laws.

Your laws, your whip.

You never made me crawl.
I was never afraid of you
or any man.

No, you're not afraid of anyone
so long as you have a gun,
so long as you can kill.

Now you talk like him.
If you'd come away
with me when I wanted,

If he hadn't interfered,
there wouldn't have been
any more killing.

There'll always be more,

because you'll
always have to prove
you're not afraid.

- Now you're talkin' crazy.
- How do you feel when you kill?

Do you feel bad?
Do you feel good?

Do you feel good, Wes?
Tell me. Tell me.

I stayed too long.

Wes Hardin!

Don't open that door.

What would you do,
shoot me down too?

- Who is it?
- Bob Jenkins.
I'm the marshal.

Sheriff Webb's been killed.
We've got a posse
around the place.

We want Wes to come out,
or we're comin' in after him.

Get away from the door.

Don't, Wes. Don't!

Put up your hands, Hardin,
and come toward us.

I'm stayin' right here.

I killed Ike Hanley
and Charlie Webb in self-defense
and you all know it!

You killed an officer of the law
during the performance
of his duty.

You killed him
while resisting arrest.

- What are you gonna do?
They catch me, they're gonna
- string me up without a prayer.

- I'll try to make the creek.
- I'll cover for you.

Go on upstairs, Joe.
I'll try and make it
through the back door.

Pa! Pa!

I heard the shots, Wes.
Sure looks like you stopped
some of 'em.

Let's get over here.

If I tied you on the saddle,
you'd bleed to death
before I went a mile.

Over here.
That's it.

G-Get down there.

Yeah. There.

Here's his horse.

I'll be right back
as soon as I can, Wes.
You'll be all right.

Tell Jane...
I'm all right.

He's not around here.
He must've taken
to the hills.

Hang on, Wes.
This is gonna bite.

- Where are we?
- We're in the territory,
headin' for Kansas.


No, we're goin' to Bonham.

I told Jane
I was comin' back for her.

We can't go back to Bonham, Wes.

I told you I was
goin' back to get her.

No, Wes, no. There's no
need for you to go back.

Jane's dead.

They killed her.

They couldn't get me,
so they killed her.

Yeah, and if you go back,
they'll get you.

- Good morning, gentlemen.
- -Good morning, good morning.

Sorry to keep you waitin'.

What I wanna know is
how, in actual practice,
the rangers can succeed

and enforce the law,
while the present sheriffs
and marshals fail?

Well, in the practical sense,
the importance of a police
agency like the rangers

can best be illustrated
by this man Wes Hardin.

This notorious killer
has escaped apprehension
for six years

simply by hopping
from county to county.

But with the rangers,
they can pursue him anywhere
on a statewide basis,

and, with a little help
from the governor's office,
can go beyond the boundaries

of Texas and bring
this man to justice.

Yes, Duncan?

Gentlemen, you can tell
your readers we'll
bring in Wes Harding.

Sure, Captain, but when?

When? You'll read about it
in the papers.

Rosie? Rosie!

- What is it?
- Where's my boot?
I can't find my boot.

Here it is.
Maybe you'd better hang it
on your watch chain.

Yeah. I guess
I'll have to.

- Goin' out to look for a card game?
- Mm-hmm.

The saloon on the corner
seems lively enough.

Where's my money?

- Pretty thin bankroll.
- Yeah.

Well, it won't always
be like this, honey--

running all the time,
living with riffraff,

rich in the morning,
poor at night.

- Someday we're gonna have a--
- Sure, Wes. A farm,

with green grass,
a white-painted house,

and water that runs
all year 'round.

You wouldn't take that farm
if somebody put it in your
lap, tied up in ribbons.

Why wouldn't I?

How many times have you
had enough to buy a farm
twice over?

We had $3,000 in Waco,
and there was a time in Houston
when you were $8,000 ahead.

But did you ever even
look at a farm, Wes?

What are you trying to say?

I'm tryin' to say
I don't like your fancy dream.

You hang onto it because it
makes you feel better than
the gamblers, the riffraff.

Maybe even better than me.

And I don't want you to feel
better than me, Wes,

'cause I love you
the way you are,
the way you really are.

One of these days,
I'm gonna surprise you, Rosie.

I'm gonna win me
a wagon load of money,
and then we'll settle down.

Might even do it tonight.
Feelin' lucky.

Good. Might win enough
to pay for dinner.

And if I don't?

We'll eat anyway.

Grandma, what would I do
without you?

- Why, you big--
- I'll be back for supper.

When did Mr. Swain
check in?

- Last night.
- Thank you.

- Who was the nosy parker?
- From the sound of him,
I'd say he came from Texas.

- What did he want to know?
- All about you and your brother.

He's probably
a business friend
of my brother's.

Then your brother must be
doing business with
the Texas Rangers.

I saw a star under his coat.

Raise $200.

- I'll call.
- Wes, Wes. A man just
stole my diamond ring!

He's still at the hotel.
Hurry, before he gets away.

I'm sorry, gentlemen.
I hate to leave
in the middle of a game,

especially when I'm ahead.

- Oh, wait a minute.
I've got three kings.
- I'm sorry. Three aces.

Wes, Wes, never mind the money.
My ring! My ring!

I'll be back, gentlemen.

- What is it?
- Wes, the rangers, they're here.

What would the rangers
be doin' in Kansas?

I don't know, but there's
one of them in the hotel
lookin' for ya.

Get outta here, Rosie.
There's gonna be some shootin'.

- No, Wes. No.
- Go back to the hotel.

What is it, Rosie?

All the time we've been here,
and you won't even
bother to unpack

or hang up the curtains.

- Complainin' about your
housekeeper again?
- Yes.

Listen, Wes.

I was born on a farm.

My father marched away
from a farm tall and brave,
in a fine new uniform.

I never saw him again.

My mother died on a farm
givin' birth to his son.

I saw plenty of farms
after that too.

People sweatin' and diggin'
their lives away.

I saw 'em slavin' so they
could save up a few pennies
for that rainy day.

It never rains, Wes;
it pours.

- It doesn't have to be that way.
- Well, that's how it is.

If the weather doesn't get
you, the grasshoppers do,
or taxes or the mortgage.

State of Alabama
starts a war with
the state of Georgia.

You get killed by some fool
bullet meant for a general.

So you never hope and
you never plan because
someday you might get hurt.

If that's the way
you want to say it.

Well, I know a card game too.

I know that if you want to win,
you gotta take a chance. You
gotta add something to the pot.

- But you can't win, Wes, if
you're holdin' my kind of cards.
- How do you mean?

I mean you, Wes.
Now you have to sweat
from sunup to sundown

every day for a year
to earn $1,000
if you're lucky.

You used to be the kind of man
who'd sit in a card game

and win that much money
in one night.

Haven't you been thinkin'
about that, Wes?

Sure. I've thought
all about that,
but this farm is what I want!

You want it now.
It's new; it's a toy.

And when you get tired of it,
you'll wander into town,
pick up a hand,

- and have to shoot
your way outta town again.
- A man can change, can't he?

Prove it to me, Wes.
Prove it!

Because you-- you got no
right to ask me to change

till you can prove it.


Come here quick!

What is it?


What is it?

Come in, Parson. Come in.
Come in.

Is this the bride?

It sure is.

My, what a pretty dress.

And such a lovely bride.

Dearly beloved, we are gathered
here in the sight of God--

No trace of Hardin
since you let him get away
from you in Kansas City?

- No, sir, and I don't think
he's in Texas.
- Why?

These recent killin's
don't fit his pattern.

He's never been a thief
or a bandit or a bully.

I think the local officers
just charge every unsolved
shootin' to Hardin.

He's a killer, all right,
but he's brave and--

John Wesley Hardin has made
the name of Texas stink
in the nostrils of justice,

and I want him brought
in here no matter
where he is.

- Yes, sir.
- His brother and uncle still
live up near Bonham, don't they?

- Yes, sir.
- He's bound to get in touch
with 'em or drop in on 'em.

Yes, sir. We have a man
staked out, checkin' every
move and watchin' the mail.

I'd like to take a run
down there myself, sir.

Good, but don't get
too fond of him, Duncan.

If you want to sing his praises,
we'll give you a chance

to recite a eulogy
over his grave
after we hang him.

- Yes, sir.
- That's all.

Yes, sir.
We'll bring him in, sir.

All right. Bring him
in alive, if you can.

Hi, honey.
I'm hungrier than a bear.

Well, you oughta be.
Your food's been waitin'
an hour. Now it's all cold.

Well, I'm sorry.
The buckskin mare's been
havin' a little trouble.

And your corn puddin's
all burned.

I always promise myself I'd
never try to tie you down,

tell you when to come
and when to go, act
like a naggin' ol' wife.

Well now, what's the matter?

The corn pudding's not
that important. The mare's
about to have her foal.

Well, horses aren't
the only thing born
on a farm, Wes Hardin.


You mean you-- Us--

If I'd have been a mare,
you'd have known weeks ago.

"...and we expect
the baby around the end
of October.

I'm sure it will be a boy,
and I'm going to name him after you."

Women! Since when is
the good Lord letting on

whether it's boys or girls
coming into this world?

"We have a real fine farm here,
and we both wish that

you and Joe could come
for a visit sometime soon."

Maybe we could, Pa.

Maybe next winter,
after the boy is born.

I'll be back
day after tomorrow, Rosie.

- Will you be all right?
- Oh, sure, Wes.

- Wes--
- Oh, there won't be
any trouble, Rosie.

I've been
to horse auctions before.

No, no.
It's not that, Wes. It's--

It's somethin' I been
wantin' to say to you
for a long time.

You-- you remember when
I was bein' stubborn,

- when I said I didn't think
you could ever change any?
- Yeah?

Well, I was wrong.

I know what's happened to me,

and nothin's gonna change
me back to the way
I was, Wes; nothin'.

Guess all a person needs
is half a chance.

I feel safe here, Wes,
and-- and settled.

And I don't care if I never
see to the other side
of the next mountain,

'cause this is where
I wanna be-- with you.

Sure, honey.
I always heard

women get nervous and fidgety
around this time.

They get their heads
full of queer ideas.

Well, you go right on talkin'.

Wes! Hurry home!

Oh, Dan, will you
do me a favor and take him
over to the livery stable?

- Tell 'em I'll be back
in a couple of days.
- Mr. Swain, I'll do that.

That's him.

- Round-trip ticket
to Pensacola, please.
- Pensacola?

Where's Dick Taylor today?

He took the day off for himself.
I'm filling in for him, Wes.

Put your hands up, Hardin.
You're under arrest.

You're makin' a mistake, mister.
My name's Swain.

- Who are you?
- A Texas Ranger.
Now, I said put your hands up.

Don't shoot!
I want him alive!

- You get his gun?
- He hasn't got one.

All right.
Take him along.

John Wesley Hardin,

the jury, having
found you guilty

of the murder
of Sheriff Charles Webb,

it now becomes my duty
to pronounce sentence.

Frankly, there's no doubt in my mind
as to what punishment you deserve,

but this court, jealously
guarding the traditions
of American justice,

refuses to sentence you
in accordance with the demands
of popular opinion.

And again, we refuse
to sentence you
for other crimes

which you are alleged
to have committed,

but for which
you have not been tried.

In the matter of the murder
of Sheriff Webb,

the prosecution has
failed to bring forth
any witnesses

who saw
the actual commission
of this particular crime.

Some of the alleged
witnesses are dead;

others have failed
to come forward.

Therefore, it is the sentence
of this court

that you be confined
at hard labor

for a period of 25 years
in the state prison
at Huntsville.

Has the prisoner
anything to say?

Yes, I have, Your Honor.

If you and the jury weren't
afraid of public opinion,

I never would have
been convicted,

because I shot Charlie Webb
in self-defense,
and you all know it.

Maybe I did wrong.
Maybe I deserve
to be punished.

But I'm not a murderer.

I never killed a man
who didn't try
to kill me first.

Take him away.

Keep the place, Rosie,
no matter what.

I will, Wes.
I promise.

The little fella, Rosie, tell him--
tell him I never--

I will, Wes.
I will.

Wes! Wes! Wes!

Wes! Wes! Wes!


25 years.

Time enough
for a child to grow up.

Time enough for a man to think.

Time enough to die.

Today, on the 20th
of March, 1894,

in the 16th year
of my imprisonment,

I have received a full pardon
from Governor J.S. Holgg.

I append the document
as an appropriate note

on which to end this narrative.

Henry Johnson!

I've warmed your dinner
for the last time tonight.

What's keeping you?

I was reading a story,
Amy, a true story.

What kind of a story is it?

I don't know yet, Amy,

because I don't rightly know
how this story is going to end.



Why didn't you tell us
you were coming?

I wanted to come home
this way, Rosie.

Kinda like I was
just coming back

from that horse auction
to Pensacola

a long time ago.

Place looks fine, Rosie.

You're lookin' so pretty,

prettier than I remembered.

I dreamt of you, Rosie,

every night and every day
for all these years.

I dreamed of you
for so hard that

I couldn't rightly remember
what you looked like anymore.

I nearly went crazy
tryin' to draw a picture
of you in my mind.

I know, Wes. I know.
A woman dreams too.

We tried to keep the place
together, Wes. We--
we got some good horses.

We whitewash the stables
every spring,

and we tried to get
the house painted.

Is that him?


What sort of a boy is he, Rosie?

John's almost a man now.

He's worked like one
since he was 12.

He's been waiting
a long time for this day.

We both have.

Hello, son.

You must be--


Your ma said you were
grown up, but...

I didn't expect to see a man.

Ma says if I keep on growing,
I'll be as tall as you.

You're strong too;

You've worked hard,
haven't you, son?

I don't mind workin'.

Well, now that
there's two of us,

maybe you'll have time
for some fun once in a while.

Nice pony. Is he--
Is he yours?

I guess he's rightly yours now.

Well, you work the place, son.

I figure everything here
belongs as much to you as--

You ought to remember this, Pa;
it's yours.

Sometimes people come
out here asking to see it.
I keep it loaded too.

This how you used to do it, Pa?

How come you never put
any notches on your gun?

John, did you see your father?

Where are you going?

Wes, what is it?
What's wrong? What did
you say to him?

I hit him, Rosie.
I hit him.

Why? Why?

That gun!

He put it on,
and it was me 20 years ago,

thinkin' I could lick
the world with a gun.

I went crazy, and I hit him.

Oh, it'll be all right, Wes.
You'll explain it to him.
It'll be all right.

I don't think it will,
Rosie. He'll be out
lookin' for trouble.

Oh, don't say that.
He's a good boy.

- He'll be out lookin' for trouble.
- What do you mean?

It's happened before.
It's happened to me;
I remember.

My pa and me.

I'm goin' after him.
I'm gonna bring him home.

Hello, John.
What can I do for you?

A whiskey.

I didn't know
you'd started drinkin'.

Have you seen your pa?

Boys said they seen him
come through town
a little while ago.

Look, I came in here
for a drink, not to answer
a lot of dumb questions.

- All right, all right.
- Whiskey.

What makes you
so tough today, Hardin?
'Cause your old man's home?

- Figures the old man will back him up.
- Why don't you shut up?

Think you're man enough?
Why don't you make me shut up?

Maybe he'd show us his pa's
famous trick of carryin'
a gun under his vest

so he can shoot a man
in the back when
he ain't lookin'.

Better go on home, John.
No sense starting
anything with him.

You know--

You know, if I was Wes Hardin
and came home from the pen
after 16 years,

the first thing I'd do
is unlimber my six-gun,

start bangin' away
at the nearest target.

'Specially if I was comin' home

to a swell lookin' woman
like Mrs. Hardin.

Easy, son.

You stay out of this.
It's my fight.

There's not gonna be any fight.

Here's his gun.
Keep it.

All right. The boy's not
armed now, and neither am I.

So see that you don't
shoot off anything
but your mouth.

I'll take care
of you another time
with a horsewhip.

- Come on.
- I ain't afraid of you, Hardin,

even if you have
got a gun under your coat,
so draw and fire!

What did I tell you?
Did you see him reach?

- Gimme my gun!
- No! Don't give it to him.

Somebody get Doc Barker.

I thought you said he had a gun.

He reached, I tell ya.
You all saw it.

He was wearing a gun
under arm when he killed Webb.
Now, don't try anything.

- I'll get him for this!
- No.

You're not gonna live
the way I lived

and end up like this
on a dirty floor.

It'd be my fault, son.
Don't you understand?

Leave it alone.
He'll get his.

But you leave it alone.
Swear to me!

I swear it, Pa.
I swear it.

Keep him quiet for a couple
of weeks, Mrs. Hardin,
and he'll be all right.

- I'll come out and have another
look at him this evening.
- Thank you, Doctor.

- Now, John, you drive real slow.
- Sure, Ma.

Remember the last time
we rode in a wagon, Rosie?
Long time ago.

Yeah. This time
is different, Wes.

This time we know
where we're going.

- John!
- Yes, Pa?

Let's go home.