The River Rat (1984) - full transcript

After serving time for a theft he didn't commit, all Billy wants to do is to reconnect with his daughter. However, some loose ends, like the whereabouts of the stolen loot, just won't let him go.

Hey, Wexel,
give me a hand
with these fish.

I don't work for y'all.

I'm just here to get these cans.

You're real useful, Wexel.

Thanks a lot.
I'm busy.

Jonsy, your breakfast is ready.

Okay, Grandma.

Wexel, let me
see those spinners.

Your daddy sure
makes good fishing lures.

We could sell those real fast.

Gonna cost you $6 this time.

Six? We've been paying five.

Things is going up all over.

Come on, eat your breakfast.

I don't want you
late for school again.

Okay, Grandma.
I just got to check
something first.


What, honey?

You suppose you
could advance me
a little more money?

I could work it off.

Sorry, you've
spent every penny
on that old wreck.

It's an investment, Grandma.

Ain't nobody gonna
pay you money
to ride that old boat.

Listen, Wexel, a tourist
will pay for anything.

I'm not going to tell you again.

Get in there
and get that breakfast

and get ready for school.

How are things at home?

Your daddy feel
any better, Wexel?

No, ma'am. He's talking
about sending
down to Memphis

so my aunt can come
and take care of him.

My auntie's
the meanest woman
I've ever seen.

She's a conjure woman.

And I hate Memphis.

Got these cousins down there

who want to fight
every time they see me.

Bye, Grandma.
You ain't had time
to eat no breakfast.

You come right home
after school, you hear me?

Hey, Wexel, if you're gonna
charge more for spinners,

I'm gonna charge you
for those cans.

A dollar a bag.

They don't cost you nothing.

Think about it.

Maybe we could work out a deal.

You come with the 300?

Listen, Poley,
I told you I won't
pay more than 250.

Hundred down right now.
I'll get the rest
out of Grandma.

You don't want to
buy that engine,
you want to steal it.

How'd you think you got it?

Now, wait just a minute!

That's legal
salvage, little missy.

I dove down that wreck
and fetched it up myself.

It's all beat up.
It'll have to be rebuilt.

New parts and everything.

That is a first-class engine.

to some doctors
from up north.

And doctors don't
get nothing that
ain't first-class.

Come on, Poley.
Nobody wants
this thing but me.

$300 cash.
That's my price.

There's other
people wants it
that can afford it.

Biting out there today, Vadie?

Biting real good.

Sure hope so.

Y'all catch some big ones now.

Hi, Cal.

Jonsy got some
good sauce fiddlers
this morning.

I'll wrap you up a few.

Much obliged, Vadie.

How come you
ain't wearing your
fishing clothes, Cal?

You loafing or working today?

I got a call from
Stockman Prison, Vadie.

From a Dr. Cole,
about Billy.

Has he been hurt?

Dr. Cole runs
the rehabilitation
program up there.

He wants me to come
and tell you personal.

Billy's getting out, Vadie.

He's been paroled.

There's a lot
of paperwork you'll
have to go through.

Dr. Cole
will be calling you.

Vadie, what's the matter?

I don't know him anymore, Cal.

He wouldn't answer my letters,

he wouldn't let me
visit him anymore.


She's never even seen him.

Never seen her own father.

Welcome home, son.

He killed somebody.

He was just a kid.

Tell you how he did it?

No. He ain't
told me nothing.

Just looks
through me like
I ain't even there.

Ain't it
a pretty evening out here?

How's the fish
and hush puppies, Billy?

Taste good, Mama.

I'd better make some more.

Guess the food in that
place is pretty bad, huh?

Saw this show on TV
about prisons.

Guys taking dope,
stabbing each other
with ice picks and stuff.

Know what they said they did?

Said they raped each other.

Is that true?

Of course, it's just television.

Everything on television
is a lie anyway.

When... When guys
rape each other,

what do they do exactly?

From now on, you come
out for the trawl line.

I got enough to do
getting ready for school.

You can still handle
a boat, can't you?


There's some things
you got to watch out for.

Like eddies and boils.

You know about eddies and boils?

An eddy's this whirlpool thing.

Whip you right under.

See that thing over there?
That's a boil.

Flip over a boat
like it was nothing.

I grew up on the river.

Yeah, well, I'm just
telling you stuff
in case you forgot.

What made that scar?


You ever stick a knife
in anybody?

I'm just curious
about stuff like that.

You get that in prison?

You got people
in there give tattoos?

Done that myself.

A broken cross.

Real weird.

That mean something in prison?

I don't mind me
getting a tattoo sometime.

Look, don't touch me.

I don't like to get touched.

The one thing
I couldn't let
myself do

in there was remember.

Not you, not home...

Much less I had
a daughter someplace.

Jonsy's so much
like you were, Billy.

I was glad when Joyce ran away

and I had her to raise.

I couldn't let
anybody see what
I was in that place.

Dr. Cole said
on the phone

it'd take time
for you to adjust.

We're both trying
real hard to get you...

Mama, did you ever
hear from Joyce
after she run off?

Yes, Billy. I did.

Some letters came
a few years ago.

She'd married a man
down in Memphis.

They had a new family,
but they were divorced.

She wanted to see Jonsy.

She had no right
to see Jonsy
after what she did.

I was afraid
she'd try to take her
away from me.

I'd already lost you.

I couldn't afford
to lose her, too.

God forgive me,
I told her to stay away.

I'm tired, Mama.

Think I'll get some sleep.

Good night, son.


Go to sleep, honey.
It's late.

I don't love anybody
but you, Grandma.
All I want is you.

My auntie's been
all night trying
to heal Daddy.

Burning candles,
talking this
funny language.

I think I've been
kidding myself
about this boat.

What kind
of language?
Conjure language.

She threw the Doctor
out of the house

and put a hex on him, too.

Pretty soon, that doctor's
gonna need a doctor
his own self.

I ain't never gonna get
this thing finished
without some real help.

Everybody tells me
my daddy's
gonna be well...

But they're lying.

♪ Well, it's one for the money

♪ Two for the show
Three to get ready

♪ Now go, cat, go

♪ But don't you Don't you

♪ Don't you Don't you

♪ Don't you Don't you

♪ Don't you

♪ Don't you Don't you

♪ Don't you

♪ Don't you

♪ Don't you Don't you ♪

What'd you save
that junk for?
Get rid of it.

These are not your things.

They're mine.

You got no right to harm them.

Don't you know
what you did to me

when you wouldn't
let me see you anymore?

I loved you!

I would have stuck
by you, no matter
what you did.

Nothing was more
important than us
keeping on as a family.

And you're still
shutting me out.

Me and Jonsy.

Customer outside, Grandma.

There's some real
good stuff in here.

Nostalgia stuff's
worth money
these days.

People buy anything,
long as it's old.


Could you give me a hand
on the River Rat?

Billy McCain!

Sure never thought
I'd see you
around here again.

You know, I knowed
your daddy when
he was this high.

And Whitey, too.

Distributor and solenoid
ain't no account.

Going to have to
rebuild that generator
right there, too.

I couldn't
hardly believe it
when I heard

how much money them boys robbed.

How much was there?

Only man knows
for sure is right there.

Thousands and thousands
of dollars, so they said.

Not a dollar of it saved,
so they say.

What do you mean, so they say?

Oh, you know how these
stories get built up.

Some people said them boys

hid that money
downriver before
they got caught.

Like who?

Oh, like Whitey's mama, for one.

Said Whitey told her.

How could he
tell her anything?
He got killed.


Said his ghost
told her.

You're weird, Poley.

Well, I ain't saying
I believe it.

Educated people know
there ain't no such thing
as ghosts, probably.

But Whitey's mama swore
he came to her one night.

Said he come
right up to the bed
and said, "Mama,

"there's enough money
hid downriver

"to make you
a rich woman."

How about that, Billy?

They say ghosts don't lie.

That money got
burnt to ashes
along with Whitey.

And your engine
is junk.

Well, there's a man
from Paducah offered me

$400 for that engine

it ain't that bad.
I need some parts.

Billy, that's
a first-class engine.

If you knew anything
about engines...

I know that engine's
junk, Poley.

I know you're
a goddamn liar,
like you always have been.

Get in the truck.

Well, now, hey,
wait a minute, Billy.

I mean, look,
seeing as it's you,

I can throw in some extra parts.

Come on, Billy.
Let's negotiate!

You believe Poley
going on about ghosts?

Boy, he looked like a ghost

when you made
that move on him.
You were great.


How did Whitey get killed?

Burned up
in a car wreck
with the money.

Tell me about the robbery.

I mean, I know about it
and everything,

but I want you to tell me
the whole story.

Like how you went
down the Mississippi
and all...

It ain't a story to me.

You get the toolbox
out of there.

Tell me about Joyce.

Am I like her?

Wasn't much older
than me when you
knocked her up.

Where did it happen?

Where did what happen?

Where did you do it?
Where was I,
you know, conceived?

In the car, I bet.
Was that it Billy,
in the back seat of a car?

That ain't none
of your business.

If it ain't my business,
it ain't nobody's.

That's why you
did the robbery, I bet.

To get the money
for an abortion.

They didn't have no
abortions back then.

Sure they did, Billy.

You probably just
didn't know about them,
that's all.

Kids today know
what their options are.

I just thought...

If she had gotten an abortion,

you'd be talking
to air right now.

Just listening to it.

I got to talk so much
because you never
ask me nothing.

Ain't you interested?

Well, how you like school?

How you like prison?

Ask me something else.

What about boyfriends?
You like boys, don't you?

I ain't no lezzie,
if that's what you mean.

Where did you learn
how to talk like that?

Like what?


Hold it up against that board.

That's just right.

Now we'll see what happens.

A straight line.

Hey, y'all, come eat
your sandwiches.

We'll leave that
in there about
30 seconds, that's all.

Pull it out.

Mighty fine.

Two little taps is all it takes.


Be careful.

Don't want to have to
paint that thing twice.


Real good.


Hey, Poley.
How you like her?

Engine runs good, huh?

Didn't have
to rebuild that
generator after all.

Wish we could keep going.

Take a real shakedown cruise.

Why can't we?
Take it down
to Memphis, maybe.

It ain't that far.

That'd be great.

Sheriff Wade says
you can't leave
the county.

It ain't up to no
Sheriff Calvin Wade.

That's right, Dr. Cole.

Memphis is just
a few hours away
on the river.

It amounts to
a little overnight
camping trip.

I talked it over
with Billy's mother.

We both feel the more time
he has with his daughter,
the better.

Is he going
to let us go?
Don't know.

Thank you, Dr. Cole.

Dr. Cole says
you can go.

Hey, Billy.

You know what
we ought to do
when we get to Memphis?

Go see Elvis's house.

They say it's fantastic.

All his clothes
are in the closets
and everything.

Listen here, Jonsy.
Too bad how
he ended up though.


It ain't good
to count on things
too much.

That's the truth.

There he was.
He had everything
in the world.

Then look what happened.
I ain't talking
about Elvis.

You mean nobody
can never count
on nothing?

I already know that.

I guess you do.

Billy and I are having
a private conversation.

What do you want, anyway?

My daddy... He died.

We're closed.

Billy, it's Dr. Cole.

Hello, Billy.


What are you doing here?

This place is just
like you described it.

Lovely and peaceful.

Is that the boat
you been working on
with your daughter?

Boy, that's very impressive.

Of course, I don't know
a thing about boats.

Where is your family?

They went to a funeral.

What do you want?

Something's happened, Billy.

Up at the prison.

It's going to mean
a change in our plans.

We got to talk.

We ain't talking here.

You get in that skiff
right there.

I'm going to check
the River Rat.

You change out of your
good clothes first.

Who's that with Billy?

Fishing customer, probably.

Want to go back there?

I can take you back to Stockman

and put your ass
right back in there.

Doc, I need more time!

I got no time!

What's that noise?

No, Billy!
Billy, I can't swim!
No, Billy!


Wexel, answer me,
you little Satan!

Wexel, where are you?

That bus is leaving
for Memphis tomorrow.

And we're gonna be on it.


You come back here!



Come back here!

There's a storm front
moving in off the coast.

We can expect thundershowers

and a slight drop
in temperature
for a couple days.

But until then, there'll
be plenty of sunshine,

and the mercury
will stay in the 90s.

Help me.

Please help.

Help. Help.

Where are you going?

You steal something?

Help me.

Please help me.

Yes, sir.
That's what
I'm trying to do.

If you let go of my arm,

I'll go fetch you
a doctor.
No. No doctor.

No doctor. Help me.

Please help me. I'll...

I'll pay you.

I'll pay you.

We're doing it.

I can't believe,
but we're finally doing it.

Okay if I take the wheel?


How you doing?

You feeling
all right this morning?

Beck is the name.
Poley Beck.

You have you an accident
on the river?

Yeah, an accident.
My boat went down.

Oh, where'd she sink?

Might be I could
salvage her for you.

Charge you a fair price.

Anybody else
on board?

So you're a doctor, huh?

Oh. Well...

I saw your I.D.
In your billfold

when I was, uh, checking.

Saw you work at Stockman Prison.

You know McCain's boat dock?

Sure do.

You here
to see Billy
on prison business?

Wexel, what the hell
are you doing in there?

How'd he get here?
He hid out.
That's what he's done.

Doggone you, Wexel.
You ain't getting away
with this.

I'm turning this boat
around right now.

No, I ain't
going back. I'm scared.

He's got this aunt
he's scared of.

It ain't her.
I've seen something.

A man.
He tried to get me.

We turn back, we'll lose
half a day, damn it.

He come out of the bog
by that flashing light.

He come after me.

This beats anything I ever saw.

You ain't going to
horn in on this trip, Wexel.

You're going home.

Get up here and sit down, boy.

What man?
What did he look like?

This big man wearing white.

You're lying to me, boy.
You ain't seen no man.

I seen him.
I seen him.
I swear I did.

He must have seen something
to be that scared.

Take it easy, Wexel.
It's okay.

That Mr. Poley
was there, too.

I was scared of the man.
And I had no place
else to go.

We got to take him back.

People will be
worried about him.

We ain't going back.
We're going to Memphis.

You got kinfolks there,
ain't you, Wexel?

My cousins.
I hate them, too.

Tough. When we get there,
you're going to call them
to come and get you.

We're not going to be
saddled with you
both legs of this trip.

Something I can
do for you, Poley?

Uh, yes, ma'am.
The Doctor asked me
to pick up his car.

What doctor?
What car?

Well, he said he left it
here yesterday evening
when he put his boat out.

That's an empty
driveway out there, Poley.

There ain't
been no doctor
with no boat.

Billy took a man out
in the skiff last night,
but the man left.

What are you up to?

Took him out
in the skiff, you said?

I'm busy, Poley.
What do you want?

I saw Billy and Jonsy
this morning on the river.

Where are they headed?
To Memphis.

You ain't making
no sense and I ain't got
the time to fool with you.

Yes, ma'am.
I'm sorry to trouble you.

Hey, when are we going to eat?

♪ He'd get the fever
on Saturday night

♪ Hotter than fat on the fire

♪ Let's check out the action

♪ At the chicken delight

♪ Hop in, oh
There ain't no stopping

♪ Rock on Rock on the bayou

♪ Hot night

♪ Rock on Rock on the bayou

♪ I'm gonna rock on forever

♪ I got a bottle

Hey, where we going?

♪ Honey, I'm yours
if you want me

♪ Step on the throttle
Turn the radio up

♪ Hold tight, oh
We're doin' all right

♪ Rock on Rock on the bayou

♪ Hot nights on the river

♪ Rock on Rock on the bayou

♪ We're gonna rock on forever

♪ Forever

What the hell
do you think you
are doing, girl?

You get some clothes on!

Ain't nobody here with us.

What do you think
that is, driftwood?

Wexel, go. Get back.

Don't worry about Wexel.

We've been going
skinny-dipping since
he's been walking.

Get out of that water.
No! No, never mind.

What's the matter with you?


I guess you're
worried about incest, huh?

It's just natural.

To be worried about it, I mean.

Do you even know
what those words mean?

I saw a film about it at school.

You wouldn't believe
how many families
got incest in 'em.

If it bothers you,
the best thing to do

is just come right out
in the open and talk about it.

There are things
that you're not supposed
to be talking about.

You don't talk about
things like that

just like they was
something else.

Maybe if you had,
you wouldn't have
got Joyce in trouble.

Engine fixed?

Sure a run of bad luck, Doctor.

First you lost your boat.

Now your car's gone.

How far is Memphis by bus?

Oh, two, three hours.

You going after Billy, huh?

He done something wrong?

Maybe he had something
to do with that boat ride
y'all took last night,

when you had your accident?

I told you
what happened.
No, sir. You lied to me!

No, that ain't right.

Here it is, I saved your life!

You ain't told me
the truth about nothing!

Not about your boat,
nor your car, nor Billy.

What puzzles me is,
why is Billy going
down the river?

Billy ever talk to you
about that money?

What money?

That money he stole.

Everybody said it was burnt up.

But I know for a fact
it's hidden downriver

What are you
talking about,
Mr. Beck?

Somebody who was there
said there's enough money

hid downriver
to make a man rich.

Of course, educated people
don't believe it...

Billy told you about that money?


Billy told me about it.

It's true, ain't it?

I knowed it was true!

I knew that money
didn't burn up!

No, it's hid
downriver, ain't it?

And Billy's gone after it!

You know where it is,
too, don't you, Doc?

And you're going to tell...

Ain't you?

What's wrong, Billy?

You ain't said
anything for miles.
Ain't you happy?

Yes, baby, I'm happy.

I want to tell you about it.

About what?
Robbery, murder.

I want you to understand
what happened.

It was Whitey, Joyce and me.

Fooling around,
like we always did.
Had us a picnic.

Whitey stole
some beer someplace.

This old widow woman
lived on the river.

Us kids all grew up
having nightmares about her.

Everybody said her husband died,

left her millions of dollars.

She was crazy.

Crazy how?

She lived like a hermit.

Nobody ever saw her,
except glimpses.

Come on.

They said
she had all that money
hid in the house,

in the walls, and she'd
shoot anybody come near it.

Whitey and me thought
it'd be fun to give
Joyce a good scare.

She said that she'd
do anything we'd do.

So we decided to
break in the house.

Hadn't nobody
ever been in there.

We weren't looking
to steal anything.

Just maybe take something
to prove to the other kids
we'd been there.

Hey, come here.
Let's go upstairs.
Come on. Come on.

I'm not going up there.

You said you'd
do anything we do.

Not me. I'm not
gonna go up there.

Being there
wasn't enough for Whitey.

He had to see that old woman.

He always had to
push things to the limit.

He liked trouble
the way some people
like fishing.

She just looked like
a pile of rags laying there.

It was just a game.
That's all.

It was just something to do.

Hey, Whitey.

Look at this.

We couldn't believe it.

There couldn't be
that much money in
the whole wide world.

Not doing anybody any good,
except her cats.

He didn't even think.

He just snatched that gun...

He said she'd have
killed us if he hadn't.

Billy! Come on!

I was too scared to think.

I just left her there,

I never will forget
how he looked.

Like it was the best game
we ever played.

Like there was nothing wrong.

We headed off
down the Mississippi.

Now, we knew
if they caught us,
they'd be out for blood.

But the more we drifted,

the more it was like
nothing had happened.

Like it was a dream
or something.

Something about that river
seemed to make everything
all right.

If we'd have stayed
on the river, maybe we'd
have been safe.

We went ashore, though,
and stole a car.

And the cops got you.


Whitey died, the money burned.

Joyce made a deal.

Or her daddy did.

She was a witness against me.

And they gave me life.

But Whitey
killed her, not you.
You were just there.


Is that Memphis?
It is!

Billy, it's Memphis!

I hate Memphis.

Come on, Wexel.

Where's the music coming from?

There must be a band up there.

Where there
are tourists. The place is
swarming with them.

There's a telephone booth
standing over there.

Want you to call those cousins
of yours and tell them
to come get you.

I ain't got no money.

You worry people enough already.

Tell your cousins to call
your aunt and tell her
you're okay.

Why come I can't
stay with y'all?

What are we gonna do first?

We're going to see your mother.

Go on.

I'm looking for Joyce.

Hey, Ma, some guy's here.

♪ Take no prisoners

♪ Take no prisoners

♪ We're gonna
take no prisoners ♪


I've come to see you, Joyce.

I'm out.

What do you want?

To talk.

To talk in there.

I had to testify, Billy.

I had no choice.
They were gonna
send me to jail, too.

I ain't here about that.

Who are you guys?

Uh, I guess I'm your sister...

Sort of.

Your half-sister.

I already got a half-sister.

She lives with Daddy.

I've been thinking
about you every night
for the last 13 years.

How come you run off, Joyce?

There wasn't any word
or no letters.

There wasn't nothing.

You went to prison for life.

I had a baby.
I was barely 16 years old.

What'd you come here for?

In prison, you get to
thinking that if you could
just get out of there,

ain't nothing you couldn't do.

I come to see
if there's a chance.

You got to go.

Somebody's going
to be here any minute.

You got a man.

I got a lot of men.

I ain't asking you
to just pick up
and run off with me.

I just want you
to think about it.

What's that guy want with Ma?

There's something else, too.

That money we took
is still there, most of it.

I'm going after it for us.


It's our money, free and clear.

I paid for it with
13 years out of my life.

We could have a life together.

I don't know you.

You're just something
that happened a long
time ago.

You ruined my life
for a stupid kid's joke!


Billy, we got
to get out of here.

Jonsy, wait.

Don't leave.

I've got to talk to you.

To explain.

It wasn't all my fault.


Please, talk to me.

It's okay.

Maybe I would've run away,
too, if I'd been you.

Why didn't you tell me
about the money?

I couldn't tell you.

You couldn't tell me,
but you told her?

Shouldn't have told her.
I shouldn't have told nobody.

That's what this is
all for, weren't it?

Building the boat, the trip.

Everything was
for the money and Joyce.

Why did they let you out?
Why didn't they just
keep you in jail?

You think they let
me out of there?

I bought my way out of there
with that damn money.

Everything in Stockman
is for sale, honey.

Dr. Cole is the one
who fixes who gets
out and who don't.

I made a deal
to get the money
for him.

But they were about
to catch up with him,

and something
bad happened.
What happened?

He showed up threatening
to take me back to jail

if I didn't get the money
for him right then.
He put a gun on me.

Thought I'd killed him.

I didn't aim to or nothing.

That man's crazy, baby.

He's a killer.

Why didn't you tell me?
I could've helped you.

Can't nobody help me.

I got to get away by myself.

I am putting you
on a bus for home.

Doggone you, Wexel,
you were supposed
to call your cousins.

Wasn't nobody home.

It don't matter.
You and me are taking
a bus up home anyway.

It's him.
It's that man!

Well, Billy.

You let us all down.

I'll get that
money for you, Doc,
without any tricks.

Just let them children go.

And they're gonna
keep all those secret,
is that it?

Now look, Billy,
I got to have that money.

And so do you.

I'll make a deal with you,
I'll split it
with you equally.

That way we'll both have a stake

in getting there safely.

But I'm warning you, Billy.
One more betrayal...

Well, children,

we're going
to have ourselves
an adventure.

We're going to go on
a good old-fashioned
treasure hunt.

We're gonna find the treasure,

go our separate ways,
and we're all gonna
live happily ever after.

It's going to be fun.

Hold it, boys.
Don't get near the body.

Thought you was all
finished with him, Sheriff.

I am.
It's you boys
I'm thinking of.

What do you mean, Sheriff?

This place
is full of poison ivy.

♪ Row, row, row your boat

♪ Gently down the stream

♪ Merrily, merrily,
merrily, merrily

♪ Row, row,
row your boat gently
down the stream

Come on, Jonsy!

♪ Row, row, row your boat
gently down the stream

♪ Merrily, merrily
merrily, merrily

♪ Life is but a dream

♪ Row, row, row your boat

♪ Gently down the stream

That's it, Jonsy, sing!

♪ Down the stream...

♪ Row, row, row your boat
gently down the stream

♪ Merrily, merrily
merrily, merrily...

You got to stop!
He's gonna drown!

You ain't a killer, baby.

Come on!

Get us back to shore.

It's easy to be
a murderer, isn't it, Jonsy?

Wasn't nobody murdered.

I always said,
life is full of surprises.

Right, sport?

I ain't murdered nobody.

Good for you, sport.
Good for you.

♪ There we were

♪ Tryin' not to break it

♪ In the end

♪ I guess we couldn't take it

♪ Still, you know I miss you so

Hey, dude, wait up.

♪ Maybe next time

♪ We'll be ready for love

♪ And we'll never
have to say goodbye

♪ Maybe next time

♪ If we're ready for love

♪ We won't have to cry

♪ And our love is gonna shine ♪

How long do we
have to stay here?

All night.

We ain't rigged
for night running.

Damn these mosquitoes,
obnoxious music.

All right.
Everybody stays on the boat.

Don't talk to nobody.

We're out of food.
If we want
to eat tonight,

somebody has to get some.

That hot dog stand
right there will be just fine.

You go get it, Billy,

and you keep in sight.

I'll just stay
here with the children.

How far to the money, Billy?

How long?


Play it your way.

The power of environment.

That's what makes
men criminals, Jonsy.

I suppose I'm proof
after 20 years at Stockman.

But now you, Billy,

you grew up in an
idyllic environment, huh?

Full of sunshine and love,

and yet you murdered
that old woman.

He didn't!
He was just there.

Whitey did it all!

Is that what he told you?

You kind of changed
your story, didn't you, Billy?

You're lying.

I never knew a con yet
that wasn't innocent.

You know you're lying.

There's always
somebody else to blame.

Go after her.
Bring her back.


♪ There's so many teachers

♪ And too many liars

♪ I've made some mistakes

♪ And Lord knows I've tried

♪ To make it right

♪ There's so many reasons why

♪ Here in the darkness

♪ I see it so clear

♪ And if there's a heaven

♪ It has to be here

♪ It's got to be
wherever you are ♪

You lied to me again.

No, I didn't, baby.

I swear,
Doc's the one that's lying.

He's trying to play
us off against each other.

I don't believe you.

Hell, ain't nobody ever
has believed me.

I don't guess
you're any different.

I don't care
if you killed nobody.

It doesn't matter.

Baby, it matters a lot.

It matters a whole lot.

I believe you.

I believe you didn't do it.

We got to stick together, okay?

When we get the money,

we'll just keep going together.

I'll help you and things.

But you got to promise me

that you'll take me with you
when you get the money.

It okay if I dance
with your girl?

Leave us alone.

Dance with him if you want to.

I don't want to.
Why not?

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

Every kid knows how to dance.

Not me.

I used to know how to dance.

If I ain't forgot,
I'll show you.

You got dancing in prison?

We got everything
in prison.
Look here now.

Step down a little.

Now come back this way.

Now step up a little.

Now step back.

Now step back.
Now turn sideways one time.

Now step back.
Step back here.

Now step up here.

Step up. Step back.

Step down.

Life is full
of surprises,
huh, sport?

How about some dessert?


You got room for dessert
after all that popcorn?


How about ice cream?

You like ice cream?

Let's get
some ice cream.
Maybe it'll cool us off.

He couldn't have done it, Cal.

The police was here
after they'd already gone.

We don't really know
where they went
when they left here.

I called the
authorities in Memphis.
They'll talk to Joyce.

The Coast Guard'll be
looking for them
on the river.

Vadie, that's evidence.

My auntie say

thunder means
the devil's walking,

looking for souls to catch.

You shut up about your auntie.

You're as crazy as she is.

She says she
seen the devil
up in St. Louis.

Sure. Where else?

My daddy used
to say this old river
had one ghost a mile.

He'd tell us about
pirates and soldiers,

He'd say, "Look yonder,
there goes one
of them right now."

I never did look in time.

Why do we try to
frighten our children

with stories
of the supernatural?

The natural world
is far more terrifying.

Come on, Wexel,
let's get inside.

What's the matter with you?

I don't know.
I'm sick.

Got an infection.

Allergic reaction to the sun

or the mosquitoes
or this damn river.

Billy, we got
to get off this river.

We're staying on this river.

Why? So that another
accident can happen?

Now, I'm warning you, Billy.
I'm warning you.
One more trick...

I saved you back there,
now didn't I?


Something happened
upriver, Billy.

A man was murdered.

A fat, dirty, little man
named Poley Beck.

You killed Poley Beck?

I didn't kill him, Billy.
Why would I kill him?

I didn't even know the man.

No, you see...

There was this
little gold necklace
found on the body.

An Elvis Presley necklace
with your initials
on the back.

So you see, Billy.

You see, you're
going to need me now
more than ever.


Billy, be careful!

What is it?

What is it?

I don't know.

Lightning must have
struck something.

All right, inside.

Get inside.
Everybody inside!

All right.

All right, we've all
been telling ghost stories.

Now you tell a story, Billy.

You tell me where
that money is. Now.

We left the river
about a day from here.

I hot-wired this Cajun's car.
Skip the details.

Just tell me where the money is.

I'm telling you
how to get there, Doc.

We passed through
a little crossroads

called Devil's Head, Louisiana.

Our luck had run out.

I went speeding
right past this cop.

Whitey said
if they caught us,
they'd burn us both.

He brought them all down on us.

- I'm warning you, Billy.
- Quit stalling.

The road dead-ended
at this Cajun cemetery.

There was a funeral
just letting out.

Whitey looked dead.

I figured
they'd kill me, too,
if they got me.

So I run.

But you took the money with you.


You hid the money
after the accident,
not before.


Okay, get back.
Get away from the car!

I couldn't let them
catch me with that money.

I had to get rid of it.

I'm betting you hid
the money in a coffin.

That's perfect.

All right now, Billy,

what was the name
of the cemetery?

The Cajuns called it
La Croix Cassee.

"The broken cross."


Now, what's the name
on the grave?

Tell me the name, Billy.

Don't tell him, Billy.
He'll kill us.

Tell me the name on the grave!

I'll tell you!
Just leave her alone, Doc.

Take it easy. I'll tell you.


Billy, look.

struck a barge!
That's a runaway!

Start the engine!
Put it in reverse!

We got to get out
of here. That thing
is going to blow up.

Billy, the barge.
We've got to see
if anybody's alive!

There's nothing we can do, baby.

If Doc hasn't been killed,
he'll be right after us.

Besides, this place is gonna
be crawling with Coast Guard.
We can't stay here.

It's all right, baby.

We'll be there soon.
It'll all be over.

I don't want it to be over.

You ought to let me get you
to a doctor, mister.

No, that's all right.
I'll take care of it.

I've been eaten up
by mosquitoes,
I must be allergic to them.

That ain't no mosquito.

That's poison ivy.

Poison ivy?

You must have laid
down and wallowed in it.

I had it worse
than that when I was a kid.

Eyes swollen shut.

Whole body swole
up like a tomato.

My own mama didn't recognize me.

I'm serious, mister.

That's gonna get a whole lot
worse unless you get help.

Think she'll
be safe here?
Oh, yeah.

Maybe we'll
find a way to get
her back home.

Guess we can
do anything once
we get the money.

When are we gonna eat?

Better find something.

First thing we gotta
do is find a way to get
Wexel back home somehow.

Then we can go anyplace we want.

Listen, baby...
How far's the cemetery?

It's a few miles that way.

Do we have to walk all that way?

How else we going to get there?

Look at what they've done.

Figure it'll still be there?

What's the matter, Billy.
Why are you stopping here?

I was
just wondering
what kind of man

would take children
into a place like this.

It's only a graveyard.


There's so many tombs.

You know which one it is?


Lying on a body all those years.

Will we still
be able to spend it,
won't we?

Let me tell you
something, darlin'.

This ain't no damn game
we're playing.

Doc didn't kill Poley Beck.
He made it look like I did.

They out there looking
for me right now.

Doc killed Poley?

I ain't gonna let them
send me to jail
for it either.

I'll die first.

I can tell them about Doc.
They'd believe me.

Yeah, they'd believe
you'd lie for me.

We ain't gonna
have no life together, baby.

I ain't meant to have a life.

All I can do is run.

No, Billy.
Listen, maybe if you
turned in the money,

they'd believe you.

If we just went back
with the money together,

they'll know
we were telling
the truth about Doc.

I'd make them believe us.

It's all over, baby.

Quit dreaming.

It doesn't
have to be over, Billy.

We'll go to Sheriff Cal
with the money,
he'll believe us then.

Billy, it'd be all right
if we just turned
in the money.

Don't touch it.





Where are you, children?

Don't run away
from me, children.




Where are you, children?

I'm not going to hurt you.

I just want to talk to you.

I want to explain things to you.

Jonsy? Sport?

Come on, now.
This is old Doc.

Come on, now.
Come on out.

I can see you
in there, children.

Come on now.
I know you're in there.
Come on out.

Come on out and talk to me.

You know, I'm gonna
get angry, children.


Don't die, please!
Don't die.

Mr. McCain.

Billy, Billy...

He's coming back.

Then this barge
come and blowed up, man.

Then we come to this graveyard.

And he chopped open that grave.

I seen them cat food
boxes laying on that
dead skeleton.

Then here come Doc.
He looked just
like a big monster.

My cousins see
me coming this time.

Man, they better watch out.

How come you talk like that?

I can't understand
a word they're saying.

All right,
you're ready
to talk to me now?

Did you call Sheriff Cal?

Getting a plane.
Be here this afternoon.

All right, no more tall tale.

What the hell were you
doing in that graveyard
at the middle of the night?

You know tourists.

They'll do anything.

I got to see Billy now.

Don't worry, chere.
He is not hurt real bad.

He's a pretty lucky fella,
your papa.

You're a long way
from home, huh, chere?

We came down the river together.

Daddy loves the river.

He loves taking me
places with him, too.

When we get back home
and get settled
and everything,

we're going to plan
another trip somewhere.

We're just going
to keep traveling.

See the whole country, maybe.


Whatever happens,

whatever they do to me in here,

you're my daughter,
and I love you.

Ready to answer
my questions now?

Keep away from him!

He didn't do anything.
It was Dr. Cole.

Everything was for the money.

Money? What money?

What money you talking about?

What's going on around here?

Look, look over there.

Look! There's more.


Easy, Jonsy.


It's just poison ivy.

I found Poley Beck
dead in a patch of it.

That's where he must've got it.

He's covered with it,
Sheriff Cal.

Doc is. Dr. Cole.

That proves he killed Poley.

You got to believe me.

I know all about
Dr. Cole, Jonsy.

What's going to happen to Billy?

We'll keep him home.

I'm sorry, sport.

I guess after
what you've been through,

you'll be glad
to stay in your
own backyard a while, eh?

Our backyard's
the Mississippi river.

♪ Follow me

♪ Whispers the river's song

♪ Come back to me

♪ Softly she sings

♪ Gently she brings me home

♪ And the tears are washed away

♪ On the tide
of a slow-movin' dream

♪ Where she rocks me to sleep

♪ While she sings
the river's song

♪ Stay with me

♪ Whispers the river's song

♪ Come away with me

♪ Follow your heart

♪ Reach out your hand
and hold on

♪ The wind begins to rise

♪ As it carries my soul
on its wings

♪ Above the shimmering
water that sings

♪ The river's song

♪ Secrets run deep

♪ And she hides them
beneath her smile

♪ She's as silent as sleep

♪ Till the rain and the thunder

♪ Rise up and drive her wild

♪ Oh, won't you follow me?

♪ Whispers the river's song

♪ Come back to me

♪ Softly she sings

♪ Gently she brings me home

♪ The tears are washed away

♪ On the tide
of a slow-movin' dream

♪ Where she rocks me to sleep

♪ While she sings
the river's song ♪