Cimarron Strip (1967–1968): Season 1, Episode 19 - Sound of a Drum - full transcript

Sergeant Clay Tice a free-wheeling cavalry veteran, clashes with his Sergeant-Major Chambers, a by-the-book disciplinarian. When the Sergeant-Major catches Tyce courting Dulcey at the Wayfarers Inn instead of searching for rustlers with his cavalry patrol, the junior non-com is given a choice of resigning or facing court-martial. Tyce resigns, then rounds up several malcontents from his old troop and stages a kangaroo-court in the Wayfarers Inn with Chambers as the defendant.

♪♪

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Watkins.

Sarge?

Ten minutes rest, then
we'll be cutting south.

Right.

Uh, just a second, Corporal.

We're to patrol as far as
Baker's Wells, as I understand it.

Well, that's across the flat,
Sergeant Major, right out there.

We're still here.

Corporal Watkins.



Do you see any hostiles?

Any other signs of trouble?

Nope.

We've done our
duty, Sergeant Major.

Are orders are to Baker's Wells.

Baker's Well's, Corporal.

I know Captain Bragg wanted you to
familiarize yourself with the territory,

but do you have
to do it on my time?

Yes, I suppose you do.

All right!

Ho!

♪♪

(horse whinnying)

♪♪



(horse neighing)

♪♪

That's Baker's Well,
Sergeant Major.

Oh, that's just some
Indian cowboys.

Maybe you don't know it,

but the Indians here in the outlet
are allowed to raise their own cattle.

Just so long as
they are their own.

A new man always has
a fire in his breeches.

He'll straighten
out soon enough.

I'll see to it.

Rest.

You can light up.

All right, men...

What are you doing there?

No hablo ingles.

I thought you said
they were Indians.

Sure.

Him?

He's a half-breed,
Mexican-Apache.

There are no Apache
tribes in the outlet, Sergeant.

That much I do know.

Look, Sergeant.

If you'll just tell me what
it is you're looking for,

I might just possibly
be able to help you.

I may not be experienced
in this kind of duty, Sergeant,

but even I can tell that this
iron could not make that brand.

Sergeant, those
Indians have nothing.

They're church mice,
scratching to stay alive.

Now what's a few measly head?

The ranchers have thousands.

The morality of the situation
is not the army's concern.

The army's here to
maintain law and order.

We are not stinking policemen.

We're soldiers.

We're fighting men.

For the moment, then,
small as it may be,

this is our war.

♪♪

Alert the men, cut 'em off!

Come on, men!

Come on!

♪♪

What happened, sir?

We're just breaking
in the new man.

- Get our mounts, will you?
- What about the Indians?

- We going after them?
- We'll never find them.

Sergeant.

You give up easy.

We'd never catch them now,
we'd just wear out our horses.

Well, there's one thing you
better learn, Sergeant Major.

Out here, never
get in the line of fire.

Yes, I know.

It's the only excuse for
shooting a man in the back.

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

(bugle blowing)

Company dismissed.

Whoa, I want to see the
quarter mast late this afternoon.

Yes, sir.

You're here sooner
than I expected, Marshal.

Two of the ranchers
left only an hour ago.

Don't see any scars.

Slight deafness.

Most voices a shade less
than shattering when he's angry.

Stolic's not quite so loud.

Well, I suppose we both
told him the same thing.

Depends on what you told him.

I said I'd check all the
Indian villages in the outlet,

make inquiries,
send out extra fire.

Five Indians who were rustling?

Oh, a few head.

Over the past month,
that adds up to over 100.

At $30 a head...

that's a big chunk of cash.

Those cattlemen start another
Indian war for that kind of money.

It isn't any of the
tribes around here.

They might steal a head
or two for food, but not 100.

That's big business.

- Then who's doing it?
- I don't know, but we better find out.

You only warned, Miller,
but I made a deal with him.

What deal?

The ranchers are gonna
hold off 'til the end of the week,

if I come up with the rustlers.

And if you don't?

Then that brushfire
is gonna spread

and we're gonna be
right in the middle of it.

♪♪

♪♪

(men laughing)

Don't stand to
attention, anybody.

I'm only a sergeant.

(all cheering)

The handsomest, bravest sergeant

in the whole of the US cavalry,

but a sergeant nevertheless,

noncommissioned by
oversight of the US Congress.

(all laughing)

Out of my way.

I much reach the lady fair for
whom I have fought bloody battles

with Indians and
foreign mercenaries

and several wars dating
clear back to the Revolution.

Clay.

- Clay Tyce.
- The very same.

Wounded, I am.

Half-dead, but I plucked
out the arrow from my heart

and I plugged up
the holes with mud

and dragged myself
on my all fours back here

to gaze once more
upon that face,

the soft beauty.

The golden flashing smile that

heals the wounds but breaks
the heart with tenderness.

(laughing)

Help!

Hang on for a man
in deep distress!

Mmm!

How does he get away with it?

Get away with what?

He's A-W-O-L, you know.

What's A-W-O-L?

Absent without official leave.

Oh, Francis, Clay's too much of
a soldier to do something like that.

Oh, come on.

You don't see any other soldier in
town except maybe on a Saturday night.

He's in here at least a
couple of times a week.

(cheers and applause)

I will say, for a man
that's looking for trouble,

he sure does do
it with a flourish.

(dog barking in the distance)

Well, you should
do 'em all, Marshal.

Taking a chance on 'em
throwing any one of 'em,

condition they're in.

I'll be riding out first
thing in the morning.

No trouble, I'll have
'em ready for you.

All right, Smitty, thank you.

Marshal.

(horse whinnying)

I'm Sergeant Major Chambers.

Captain Bragg
asked me to come in

and report to you about
some Indians I saw

when I was out on
the patrol this morning.

Were they running cattle?

No, they're branding.

What'd you do with them?

- Nothing.
- Nothing?

- They got away from us.
- They got away from you?

Well, thanks.

Just a minute, Marshal.

There's something else the
captain thought you should know.

Well, what's that?

They weren't all Indians.

One of 'em was a half-breed.

Mexican-Apache.

A Comanchero.

That's what the
captain suggested.

Are you new out
here, Sergeant Major?

I reported two weeks ago.

A Comanchero is an
outlaw, the worst kind.

Those Indians, were
they Apaches, too?

That's something I
couldn't say, Marshal.

Captain said
he'd try to find out.

But the Comanchero
was their leader?

He seemed to be.

So I led my men
quietly, along the bluff,

following the dread
sound of the war drum.

War drums.

♪♪

There they were.

200 brave.

War paint, screaming threats.

And me with a
patrol of only ten men.

What would you have done?

Ten men against 200?

I'd have gotten
myself 200 soldiers.

Huh, from where?

Same place you
got the 200 Indians.

(laughing)

Come on, I'll buy you a drink.

Uh, no thanks.

Sergeant Tyce is out on the
patrol and I have to join him.

Well, thank the captain
for the information.

- Of course, sir.
- Good night.

So the chief gave the
signal for the attack.

We fought...

long, hard.

The odds incredible.

♪♪

(men laughing in the distance)

(men laughing)

But we won.

And I, the lone survivor,

tell you that there will
be no Indian attack.

You may all sleep
peacefully in your beds.

(cheering)

A real hero, you're a real hero.

Beer's on me.

♪♪

- The greatest Indian fighter...
- I'll have another!

Get some more beers.

Boy, that's what I tell ya,
I guy can fight Indians...

Quiet, quiet.

This is Sergeant Chambers.

Master Sergeant, if you will.

He's the new sergeant
major at the fort.

(all shouting)

They wouldn't trust the position
with a sly old dog like me,

so they got a new man.

(laughing)

Sergeant Tyce.

You were sent out on patrol.

That's right.

What are you doing here?

Visiting.

(laughing)

man: Have a few beers.

Where's your troop?

On patrol, of course.

Without you?

Corporal Watkins is a
very competent man.

Man: Sure,
Watkins'll do the job.

- Man: Let him have...
- Man: He'll get those Indians.

Your orders were for Sergeant
Tyce, not Corporal Watkins.

Sergeant Major, sir,

that patrol was sent to scout
the territory and didn't come back.

A scouting mission for hostiles.

(men laughing)

Outlaws, rustlers.

And a few measly Indians.

Come on, Chambers.

Sergeant Tyce, you will return
with me to the fort, immediately.

♪♪

Now, Sergeant...

I think you're taking
this a bit too serious.

You're under arrest.

- Man: Oh, no, come on.
- All: No!

Man: Come on, let
him have a few beers.

I am not.

Are you resisting arrest?

I don't know.

But I'll find out.

Dulcey, am I resisting arrest?

Now, Clay, you must be careful.

Let's go, Sergeant, right now.

I don't think so.

(gunshot firing)

Well, that proved
what I've always said.

There's nothing harder than
a master sergeant's head.

(all laughing)

All right, Sergeant.

Put that bottle down in
double-time right into my cell.

Aw, come on, Marshal, this is
a matter between him and me.

It is an army problem.

That's exactly where
I want to keep it.

He usually sticks with
us about half the route,

then he turns the
patrol over to me.

You didn't think
this was irregular?

They said he was
training me, sir,

to handle the troop,
when I made sergeant.

(laughing)

There's nothing humorous
about a court of inquiry!

And you never reported these
training exercises, Corporal?

Didn't you realize
you were culpable?

- Sir.
- Guilty!

Of knowing of a breach of
regulations and not reporting it.

- Dismissed.
- Yes, sir.

We knew that we were
supposed to be out there

looking for Indian rustlers,

but, well, Sergeant Tyce,
he thought it was a lot of...

Well...

Well, sir...

Go on, Bains.

You know how he is, sir.

Yes, I know how he is.

The life of the barracks.

Very popular with his men.

But he's also accused
of dereliction of duty,

of deserting his patrol.

I'll beg your pardon, sir,
it was a very easy patrol.

It was quiet.

- There wasn't any trouble.
- There is now.

Dismissed.

Sergeant Chambers
was trying to arrest him.

Did Sergeant
Chambers threaten him?

Well, no, sir, but Sergeant
Tyce just lost his head.

He just wasn't thinking.

Obviously not.

Not for a long time.

Thank you, Mr. Wilde.

I don't understand why
you asked me here, Captain.

There's really
nothing I can tell you.

We won't keep you but a
moment, Ms. Coopersmith.

Please understand, this is not a
formerly convened court martial,

simply a preliminary hearing to
see if there's a basis for a trial.

Yes, sir.

Two nights ago,

on the 14th of October,

Sergeant Tyce came
into your establishment

known as the Wayfarer's Inn.

- Is that correct?
- Yes, sir, he did.

Why bother this poor girl, sir?

You ought to know how
many times I left my patrol

and went to the Wayfarer's Inn?

It was a total of eight...

oh, nine times.

Thank you, Sergeant.

You're welcome, sir.

Shut your mouth, Sergeant.

Yes, sir.

Ms. Coopersmith, do you agree?

Eight or nine times?

When he was supposed
to be out on patrols?

I... I can't say, I
didn't keep count.

Thank you, Ms. Coopersmith.

I don't know what you're
trying to do here, but...

But Sergeant Tyce
is a very fine man.

He's...

He's thoughtful and kind and...

And a very good soldier,
if you want my opinion.

I'm afraid it will be the opinion of the
army that counts, Ms. Coopersmith.

Unless you have anything
else to add, you're excused.

Man: The inquiry
is hereby adjourned.

(gavel banging)

Dulcey, you angel,

you'd take on a whole
army for me, wouldn't you?

Clay, what are they
gonna do to you?

A court martial.

I might lose a stripe or two

and maybe a month or
two in the guardhouse.

That'd be the worst of all.

A month or two
without seeing you.

Chambers: Guard?

I know it's hard for
you to understand

and more difficult for your
prisoner, but you are on guard.

Get these men to the stockade.

Outside and fall in.

Sergeant Major...

maybe Sergeant Tyce
just needed a leave.

Maybe he was filled up
with too much soldiering.

I'm sure he'll
never do it again.

Perhaps not, miss.

Let's go, Dulcey.

I promise you, if he ever
comes into my inn again

when he's not supposed
to, I'll send him right back.

That would be very
nice, miss, I'm sure.

Will he really have to spend a
whole month in the guardhouse?

That's for the court
martial to decide.

Thank you very much
for your cooperation, miss.

Come on, Dulcey.

I don't see what
you're so upset about.

It doesn't bother Tyce.

The guardhouse is
probably his second home.

♪♪

Evening, Marshal.

Things are slow tonight.

What's the reason?

I tried to talk him out of it but
he had to have it his own way.

My own way, he says.

Five definitely for supper,

not to mention the
customers off the street!

And they were here.

You'd like to know that I was
master of the kitchen tonight.

Well, Dulcey had it all
prepared before she left

and all you had to
do was heat it up.

Aye, and I did.

Yeah, with hot sauce
and hot peppers

and a dozen other
things I can't even name.

Only to make it a little
more individual, lad.

It's a Wayfarer special.

And they all walked out.

I tried my best to talk
them out of lawsuits.

I don't know.

What's wrong with Dulcey?

Oh, it was that
inquiry at the fort.

It got her all upset

and when she came
in, she just went upstairs.

Well, someone had
to step into the breach.

Aye.

I'll keep supper for you, Jim.

Yeah, well, you do that, Mac.

You lock it up good
so it won't escape.

- (laughing)
- (mockingly laughing)

Eat!

Dulcey: Yes?

Jim.

I saw the light under your door.

I couldn't sleep.

Is something bothering you?

- The fort this morning.
- Yeah?

They said they put
him in the guardhouse.

Well, he's lucky
if that's all he got.

He broke regulations.

Chambers was absolutely
right to arrest him.

Clay didn't mean any harm.

No.

He just broke a bottle
over the man's head.

Well, Jim, you've told
me over and over again

that this is a rough
country and I...

Dulcey...

I'm talking about ordinary
drunks and barroom brawls.

But these men are soldiers.

Noncommissioned officers
in the United States Cavalry

and they're supposed
to act different.

Jim, don't patronize me.

I know about the army, I
know about its regulations

and it's all very well and
good for ordinary troopers.

But Clay, he's different.

Yeah.

But maybe that's his trouble.

Sweet dreams, biscuit.

♪♪

(knocking)

Come in.

♪♪

At ease, Tyce.

Thank you, sir.

Good evening, Sergeant Major.

Hello, Tyce.

Tyce, up 'til now, you
have an excellent record.

Thank you, sir.

You fought your
share of the battles.

Acquitted yourself well.

You even have a number of
accommodations to be proud of.

How long have
you been soldiering?

A little over 20 years, sir.

I joined when I was underage.

I've been looking
into your case.

More than leaving your patrol,
there's a whole list of bench rules.

Well, now, sir,
the way I see it,

it's different than
the way it was before.

We used to have a real job
to do out here and we did it.

Now...

Well, we're garrison soldiers.

Now, I don't object to mounting
the guard and inspecting the guard,

parade and reviews
and formations,

but a patrol to find
some poor Indians?

Well, it seemed
a little silly, sir.

And because you don't
like an order, you ignore it?

- Not exactly, Sergeant.
- Yes, Tyce.

Exactly.

Your offense calls for
a general court martial.

A general, sir?

But it's not like it was cowardice
in battle or something like that.

Deserting your patrol?

Attacking a
noncommissioned officer?

Chambers: Articles of war.

58 and 65.

We didn't used to go
so much by the book, sir.

We still don't.

If I went by it, you'd
lose your stripes,

spend six months in the stockade

and you'd be
discharged dishonorably.

But you said we still
don't go by the book, sir.

I'm gonna give you a choice.

Sergeant Chambers says
he'll drop his charge completely.

You'll get a clean record
and an honorable discharge.

I'd be out.

You'll be out either
way, Sergeant.

But, sir, I've been in
the army all my life.

It's the only thing I know.

What are you trying to do to me?

Nothing.

It's out of his hands.

But you just said he
could drop the charges.

If you take the discharge.

Look, Captain...

I'll soldier for you like you
never saw soldiering before.

If you're not punished,
there's no man in this fort

who will respect
an order anymore.

It's hard enough now.

A transfer to another post, sir?

Something, sir?

When?

Immediately.

♪♪

(foot stomping)

Tyce.

I'm sorry.

Sergeant.

You're just
starting to be sorry.

♪♪

- Good morning, Captain.
- Good morning, Marshal.

I got a wire from the
sheriff at Desposum.

Out in the deep and
showing up in the panhandle.

Brought in by a Comanchero.

100 head, altered brands.

How can he be sure?

A good cow town sheriff
can spot 'em in a minute.

You sure you're not
reaching, Crown?

Trying to tie this
up to the Apaches?

Well, it's enough to help
me stall those ranchers.

You're still gonna have to
give them proof sooner or later.

I'll handle them if you can
keep up those extra patrols.

Chasing fugitive Indians
is the only job left to us.

Well, I got another one for you.

Help me figure out how five Indians
can keep ducking 100 troopers.

♪♪

Branding fire?

Yeah.

And it's damp underneath.

Rained yesterday.

No, the fire's older than that.

Well...

Looks like our
rustlers are long gone.

They probably
left the territory.

I wouldn't put any
money on that.

The picking is is too
good around here.

Yeah.

Judging by all these branding
fires around here, I'd say you're right.

Well, it's a pretty
safe place, and hidden.

Is this where they do
all that brand altering?

Looks that way, doesn't it?

That's funny.

You wouldn't think
they'd stay in one place.

Unless they were pretty sure
that nobody'd bust in on them.

Army patrol might.

You'd think so, wouldn't you?

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

A little music to soothe
the savage breast, eh?

Coffee?

Piece of pie?

Anything?

The stripes back on my arm.

Don't worry your pretty
little head about me.

I'm just not used
to retirement yet.

Well, men ought
to have some work.

I had work.

I was a soldier.

Well, you'll have to find
something else, then.

Dulcey, don't mother me.

I'm sorry, I was
only trying to help.

I know.

Well, I thought about it.

Running cattle.

Maybe a job in a
store someplace.

None of it works.

Ever since I was
a little shaver,

trooper,

that's all I ever dreamed of.

That's all I ever
wanted in life.

Bugles and the sound of a drum.

Stand tall and be
counted as a man.

I'm just not fit
for anything else.

What time is it?

Almost 4:00.

Where are you going?

Out.

Out where?

Well...

For a little walk
in the sunshine.

(MacGregor whistling)

Oh.

I trust you'll report to Marshal
Crown how well I live up to my duties.

MacGregor, what are we
going to do about Clay Tyce?

Hmm?

I didn't know we were supposed
to do anything about him.

He's been acting so
peculiar, not himself at all.

His jokes have an undertone
of bitterness and he's...

He's been so...

very quiet.

The trouble with women
is they try to raise a man

all the way from
infancy to the grave.

And the trouble with girls is...

they grow up to be women.

Wouldn't be necessary
if men ever grew up.

Well, you can stop
fretting about Mr. Tyce.

From what I've seen of him,
he can well look after himself.

When?

¿Quién sabe?

- Morning.
- Morning.

You quitting?

You did, I hear it this morning.

What good are you
to me now, amigo?

Morning.

You owe me.

Sí.

You want me to pay you
here in front of el sargento?

Tomorrow night.

Baker's Wells.

It's lovely in the moonlight.

- (gunshot firing)
- (horse neighing)

Dismount, Sergeant Major.

There's no need for a good
horse to catch a stray bullet.

This isn't gonna
help things, Tyce.

Get down!

You can't fight all of us.

I don't think I'll have to.

They may not be my men anymore,

but I don't think
they're really yours yet.

I'm not gonna fight you.

Understand that.

If you kill me, it'll be murder.

What you did to me was murder.

This is only a killing.

All right, all right, there'll
be no gunplay here!

(gunshot firing)

Just stay out of this, Mac!

You'll get yourself hurt.

Now, interfering with the peace
office is a serious business.

We'll talk about it later!

♪♪

After you, Sergeant Major.

I said I wasn't
gonna fight you, Tyce.

And I mean it.

Column of twos.

Clay!

Get away!

Is that the kind of
satisfaction you want?

To shoot a man when
he won't fight back?

Dulcey.

Oh, Dulcey, I...

Forward, ho!

Dulcey, my love.

You're a clear, sweet
chime in a battle of discord.

I pray I shall always be
able to hear you in time.

♪♪

♪♪

(door slamming)

Ah, Jim.

If you thought I was
asleep on duty, I weren't.

Just resting your eyes, right?

Aye, it's been a
hard day, and you?

No luck, I take it.

No, that Comanchero has
dropped right out of sight

and I don't believe it.

You need more men on the search.

I've got the army patrols out.

But what I need is an
experienced tracker.

- Well, how about Tyce?
- Tyce?

Well, he's unemployed now, as
you well know, just hanging around.

Here, in the inn?

He checked in this morning.

Living the high
life, I must say.

He boarded for the house at midday
then twice again before supper.

He does pretty well on a
sergeant's pay, doesn't he?

Aye.

♪♪

(crickets chirping)

♪♪

Tyce, are you crazy?

Don't worry about the sentry.

Well, now, this is a miserable
place for soldiering, isn't it?

Good old Tyce.

First time I've heard of
anybody breaking into a jail.

How long you gonna stay?

As long as it takes
to get you out.

If you want to come.

What are you in
here for, Watkins?

For not turning you in.

Well, now, that's against
the regulations, isn't it?

Chambers no doubt informed you.

He preferred the charges.

Bains, it was Chambers
that put you here, wasn't it?

Nobody else but.

- Private?
- His Majesty.

- Jackson?
- Chambers.

He does it with regulations,
hearing, court martial.

Well, who's for beating
him on his own ground?

- How?
- Come with me and I'll show you.

Sure, just walk out.

No, ride!

I've got horses
just outside the wall.

Well, then what?

They'll catch us, we'll be back
in and this time for added days.

Where's your sense
of adventure, man?

Think of the fun
you will have had.

You'll pay Chambers
back for everything.

♪♪

That's worth another 30 days.

- 60.
- Let's go!

♪♪

♪♪

Ahh...

♪ Ride hard and
keep your powder dry ♪

♪ Your sabers sharp
your banners high ♪

♪ Your leather
polished 'til it glows ♪

♪ Your men all neatly
stacked in rows ♪

♪ But beware the man
who wears the stripes ♪

♪ Upon his arm for all to see ♪

♪ He'll make you curse
the day you're born ♪

♪ And call it ♪

♪ Military form ♪♪

Good morning, my sweet,
and a very good morning to you.

Hey, what happened to you?

Well, I'm simply
enjoying a new day

and feeling very
good to be alive.

What's come over you?

Where did you go last night?

Out in the plains
to howl at the moon

with other coyotes like myself.

Did you know that a bit of
howling cleanses a man's soul?

- Nonsense...
- No, it's true.

- The louder, the cleaner.
- (giggling)

Where's breakfast?

I'll get it started if
you light the stove.

I accept the terms
of my employer.

Clay Tyce, former sergeant.

- Now a scholar.
- (giggling)

Ah, good morning, Marshal.

How's the arresting
business these days?

Slow.

Well, be patient, there's
always somebody for a cell.

I've got one heated and ready.

But do you have
a tenant in mind?

A Comanchero with
a big taste for beef,

and room for anyone
helping him, too.

Well, good hunting.

Tyce.

You gonna stay in Cimarron long?

Maybe.

I've just been
employed by Dulcey.

Any old stove should do it.

- Any old stove.
- Over here!

Any old stove.

♪ Ride hard and
keep your powder dry ♪

♪ Your saber... ♪♪

♪♪

Two squads from A troop

and one squad from B
troop are dispatched, sir.

The prisoners
cannot get very far.

They have horses,
but no rations.

The guards saw no one?

No, sir, he was
seized from behind,

knocked unconscious and gagged.

They couldn't have done that
from inside the guardhouse.

I think it was Tyce, sir.

- Was he seen?
- No, sir.

Then how do you know?

He's getting his revenge
on me, sir, I feel it.

Come now, Sergeant Major.

If he wanted revenge,
he'd sooner shoot you.

He almost did, sir, yesterday.

What do you mean?

I'd rather not say,
sir, it's personal.

♪♪

♪ Beware the man
who wears the stripes ♪

♪ Upon his arm for all to see ♪

♪ He'll make you curse
the day you're born ♪

♪ And call it military form ♪♪

Ah, Sergeant Chambers.

Welcome to the Wayfarer's Inn.

Well, you've had a
long, hot, dusty ride.

Can I offer you a drop
of something to drink?

Allow me.

To the army.

Where are they?

Ms. Coopersmith is
off to the general store

to do whatever it is that
women do in general stores.

MacGregor is off playing
deputy with the marshal.

- I mean the men.
- The men?

Watkins, Riley,
Bains and Jackson.

Ah, Sergeant, I thought you
rode all this way to visit me.

Where are those men?

I know you got them
out of the guardhouse.

I'm sorry I didn't get
to know you better

back when we were
soldiering together.

I want those men, Tyce.

A scorching hot patrol.

A shared sip of
water from a canteen.

That's when you learn.

You took those
men to get me here.

I'm here and I'm waiting.

Waiting!

Now there's another
old army custom.

Remember all the
waiting a man must do.

Waiting for inspection,
waiting for furlough.

- Waiting for payday.
- Sergeant.

Ah, the men.

Well, if you insist.

This way, Sergeant Major.

Well, come on, you
said you wanted the men.

They're over here.

Man: I'm in.

(clearing throat)

Let's see.

All right, you men, outside.

Well, now.

Look who's here.

It's our own Sergeant
Major Chambers.

Yeah!

That makes a full house.

Welcome, Sergeant.

Any orders, Sergeant Major?

♪♪

(lock latching)

♪♪

(fly buzzing)

Got him.

For all the good you're doing, you
might as well have stayed home.

My sentiments exactly.

The three of us could
have stayed home.

And old Jim is sadly
underestimating those beggars,

expecting them
to come back here.

No sign of 'em, Jim.

They went down the
other side of the rise,

all five of them.

Well, three against five.

- The odds are with us.
- They've split up.

The Apaches went south,
with ten head of cattle.

Mac, you ride over to the fort,

- tell Captain Bragg to pick 'em up.
- Right.

- What about the Comanchero?
- He stopped to make camp.

Make camp?!

He must feel mighty secured.

Or else he's waiting
for somebody.

♪♪

(singing in Spanish)

(footsteps approaching)

Eh, Sargento.

Su dinero.

400 dolares.

Not bad, eh, soldado?

(gun cocking)

Not bad at all, amigo.

Now you just keep on singing.

(knocking)

(knocking)

(knocking)

Come in, come in, Dulcey, dear.

Did you bolt the door?

Yes.

Why?

Well, I'm having an important
business meeting here.

I don't want to be disturbed.

My customers?

I turned them away.

I'm renting the
whole inn for tonight.

It's sort of a private party.

Where's Fabrizio?

Your bartender?

I gave him the night off.

Now, Clay, I don't mind
if you have fun, but I'm...

(laughing)

Who are those men?

Comrades in arms, at
least they used to be.

Please, no nonsense.

I want to know what's going on.

An inquiry.

An inquiry in the
interest of justice.

You're invited to
watch if you care to.

And if I don't?

Then you may enjoy the
comfort of a cell 'til it's over.

(laughing)

- Clay!
- Join us, Dulcey, love.

I can guarantee you
a most enjoyable time.

Would you like a drink?

- Corporal Watkins, if you'll oblige.
- Right.

As you all know,

we have a special guest of
honor with us here this evening.

(laughing)

- He's most anxious to see you.
- To see you.

In fact, he's been
asking for you.

(laughing)

The witness and the accused,
Sergeant Major Chambers!

Chambers!

- Got a chair here for you, Sergeant.
- Sit down.

Look, he's got his hands tied.

(laughing)

- I told you, Sergeant.
- He looks...

Clay, what do you
hope to gain from this?

My self-respect.

♪♪

♪♪

This is a man we all know.

A soldier with a book

where his mind ought to be.

A book where his
heart ought to be.

In fact, there isn't much
about him that isn't a book.

That's right, Chambers.

Now let's see you
flap your covers.

Well, we're going
to open that book

and read it.

Chapter one.

- Where were you born?
- Were you born?

Or was you just issued
by the quarter master?

With US Army
stamped on your heart?

What heart?

And what army is he in, anyway?

He's been fighting us.

Ooh, have you been
fighting the US army?

- Then you're the enemy.
- Well, sure he's the enemy.

Enemy, enemy!

An enemy of the
United States army.

Did you ever think about it
that way, Chambers, did you?

- I know my duty.
- His duty.

Does his duty call for
him to betray his own men?

Strut around like a cock
in the walk, haze them?

Spying out on what they do.

They're always spying.

My duty is to
maintain discipline.

Discipline.

Well, what is this discipline?

What does it mean?

- It means obeying orders.
- No.

Back east, it means
spick and span,

dress parade and playing tin
soldier for important visitors.

- Attention!
- Right face!

- A-right hunch!
- Squad halt!

Out here, it's keeping
control of a new territory,

finding lost settlers on
their way out to the new land,

keeping the Indians happy

and making sure the civilians
don't massacre each other.

And we do it, don't we?

- Right, we do it all the time.
- We do it!

Chapter two.

The joy of Sergeant Chambers.

Or find me a soldier and I'll
show you a man behind bars.

- In the guardhouse!
- Policing the grounds.

Extra duty!

Does this give you joy?

- Does it?
- No.

Well, your name's on the
report when a man's turned in.

Have to sign it.

You're the man who whispers in the
captain's ears when the case is heard.

I have to testify.

And you're the man who
goes snooping around

to see if you can catch the
men in their criminal activity.

They're breaking regulations.

Riley.

Not walking my post properly.

Rifle set wrong on my shoulder.

Two days in the stockade!

Bains.

Late coming home from
a Saturday night pass.

Three days in stockade.

Watkins.

Refusing to report
a friend, 30 days.

Jackson.

Eating while on guard duty.

Ten days.

What crimes are these to
be reported and punished?

- The book says...
- The book!

You're the one
who reads the book.

You're the one
who uses the book,

you make the choices,
you judge your own men.

Who made you God?

I don't have to answer you.

I am not on trial.

That is exactly
what you are, on trial.

And so far it sounds to me
as if you are as guilty as sin.

What does the jury think?

- Yeah, guilty!
- Guilty!

- Guilty as sin!
- And the sentence?

- You men have no right...
- We have every right!

We are the victims.

What will it be?

- Tar and feathers.
- And flog him.

- 30 days on bread and water.
- And hard labor.

Or hanging.

♪♪

♪♪

Ah, good, good.

All nice and snug.

Clay.

I can't believe this is you.

Well, it's not.

Clay Tyce was a
sergeant of cavalry.

I'm Mr. Tyce, sergeant
of nothing at all.

He did that.

Now he pays for it.

Without a chance
to defend himself?

- Well, he had his chance.
- Oh, no.

You want a trial? Have a trial.

You presented your case,
now let him present his.

What case?

You judged him just
as he judged you,

hearing only one side.

If you do that you're
no better than he is.

Maybe she's got a point, Tyce.

What did you
bring them here for?

To try him or to hang him?

All right, the defense.

Go on, Chambers, defend.

I have nothing to defend.

I ask permission to
act as his counsel.

Dulcey.

(laughing)

Dulcey, it's not
that kind of a trial.

- You were the prosecutor.
- That's true, you spoke.

- Let her speak for him.
- Yeah, let her.

All right.

This court appoints
you his defender.

Go on, defend,
but make it quick.

I want to speak with him first.

Sergeant?

Oh, let her.

What could it hurt?

We'll keep a close watch.

I thank you, miss.

I don't know how we're
gonna change their minds,

but, uh, thank you
for the delay, anyhow.

We can't change their minds.

They've been drinking,
they're filled with hate.

I don't like you very
much myself, Sergeant,

but I won't see you hang.

- I want you to get out of here.
- How?

I'll loosen the rope.

When you see it clear,
duck out that side door.

- And get shot?
- You won't be.

Tyce has a gun.

The bullets, Sergeant, will
have to pass through me.

Did you see his eyes
when he saw that rope?

(laughing)

And the way he began to sweat.

Now go.

I'll stand in front
of you all the way.

Um, I can't do that, miss.

What do you mean, you can't?

If I run, they'll never take
an order from me again.

They're going to hang you,
don't you understand that?

Do you expect to issue
orders from your grave?

Until I'm dead, I'm still
their sergeant major.

You're a fool.

That may be, miss.

I don't expect
you to understand.

Do you?

Really?

Well, that's the
beauty of it, miss.

I don't have to
understand anything

other than following orders and
seeing that they're carried out.

That's the way
the army wants it.

- Is that how you want it?
- That has nothing to do with it.

Of course I don't
wanna die like this.

Well, then.

But I can't change
myself for them.

I'm Army.

It's the only life I know.

It's the only faith I have.

Can you understand this, miss?

That's what Clay said...

almost exactly.

His life, the army.

Of course.

He's a soldier,
too, in his own way.

Clay: Dulcey...

how much of a
defense can he have?

(laughing)

- Sergeant, please.
- No, miss.

They're my men and
I have to face 'em.

It must be a great comfort

to be so sure that you're
doing the right thing all the time.

Hey, hey, here they come.

(all murmuring)

Hey, he's loose!

- She did that.
- (gun cocking)

You don't need that.

I gave him his chance to run.

He wouldn't take it.

Brave enough to take
your medicine, are you?

As a matter of fact, he is.

Then let's get on
with the medicine.

No.

Let's get on with the defense.

Dulcey, my love, this
wouldn't be a trick, would it?

Just the truth.

You talk about the book,

army regulations.

Of course Sergeant Major
Chambers used them.

He has nothing else.

- Isn't that right, Sergeant?
- I have to use them.

How did you become
a sergeant major?

Good record, service.

How long?

Almost 30 years.

Did you ever fight?

Yes, I fought.

In a war?

Killing, shooting?

That kind of glory,

if that's what you want to
call it, only comes to a few.

For the rest, it's
marching, riding,

moving, waiting.

You're not answering
my question.

As best I can, miss.

Where were you when
the battles were fought?

Where I was assigned.

And where was that?

At general headquarters
most of the time.

(laughing)

Far behind the lines!

Doing bookwork!

That's the only soldiering
he knows, that book!

Without it, what would he do?

For that matter, what
would any of you do?

All right.

You've let the little
lady have her fun.

She can tell the marshal
she tried to save him.

Now let's get on
with the hanging.

No, the verdict.

How do you find?

Before you vote, remember this.

If you found me in the street
with a bullet through my heart

and the life bleeding out of me,

you would track down the murderer
and try him and hang him for it.

Well, I'm dead.

And there's the
man who killed me.

♪♪

Well?

Guilty.

♪♪

Guilty.

Let him swing.

♪♪

- Hang him.
- ♪♪

Tie him up.

- Yeah, let's go!
- Let's go!

Oh, Clay, stop it, you don't
know what you're doing!

Yes, I do.

He's going to crawl.

He'll break and
plead and scream.

And then we'll hang him.

All right, hung jury time...

- Get him up here.
- You'll remember those three days.

(all shouting)

Not gonna waste any time.

Oh, it's nice, sir.

It's a good fit for
you, move the head.

(all shouting)

Just a little speech.

Sarge, you look fine.

Beautiful for a hanging.

Sergeant Chambers,
do you want to live?

Yes.

Beg.

- Come on, Sarge, bend a little bit.
- Pour your heart out!

Come on, Sarge, a
little something for us.

Isn't hanging me enough?

No.

(laughing)

- Ain't he funny?
- Get on with it.

You hang me,
someone will hang you.

We'll both be dead, but
the books will balance.

A rope around his neck
and still he goes by the book.

- Even Steven.
- Oh, Sergeant, bend a little.

I didn't write it.

Someone smarter
than me did that.

Smarter than you.

There are rules.

It all evens out.

Finish it off, Sergeant.

♪♪

♪♪

Sarge, now that's enough.

- Tyce, what are you doing?
- Sergeant!

Ease off, Sergeant.

Jim.

You all look like you're
redecorating the place.

I liked it the way it was.

Good evening, men.

Nice to have you in town.

Stay out of this, Marshal.

You're interfering with something
that doesn't concern you.

Here, in my own backyard?

Sergeant Chambers
was tried and convicted.

- For what?
- The crimes as charged.

Crimes?

Well, the way I hear it,

the only crime he's ever committed
was riding hard herd on you boys.

Is that so bad?

You all skipped out of
the guardhouse tonight

and the captain's a
might upset about it.

What's a guardhouse
without prisoners?

Now, Chambers, he put you there.

Is that his crime?

Bains.

The captain said that
you overstayed your pass.

Now, you knew where
you'd wind up, didn't you?

Yeah, I suppose so.

But you took the chance.

You stacked ten
days in the guardhouse

against an extra drink because
you thought it was worth it.

Now, you made your choice.

Sure.

And Watkins.

You got 30 days for
not turning in a friend.

Now, what did you
expect? A medal?

No.

You all act like you've never
been in the guardhouse before,

like a bunch of raw recruits

who never even thought
that there was such a thing.

But you do know.

You've been there before and
you're gonna be there again.

And somebody
has to put you there.

Are you gonna hang the
next man who does as well?

The army sure would
run out of sergeants.

That's right.

Y'all broke out
of the guardhouse

and you knew you'd be caught,

but the fun was
worth it, wasn't it?

- (laughing)
- Sure.

It was.

There's nothing
like a good hazing.

Now, I'd say that all you
boys were here for fun,

all of you except
ex-Sergeant Tyce,

who was here for murder.

♪♪

He wanted you to do it for him.

All of you.

♪♪

You must be getting a little
uncomfortable up there, Sergeant.

Thank you, Corporal.

♪♪

- Jackson, get my gear.
- Yes, Sergeant Major.

Outside and fall in.

Go on, move it!

What are you doing?

Where are you going?

Back to the guardhouse.

You heard Sergeant Chambers.

The men wouldn't have
gone through with it.

But he would have.

Yes, I know.

Sergeant.

I'm sorry.

Sorry?

What I said about you
being far behind the lines?

I didn't really mean that.

It was the only thing I
could think of to help you.

Well, I appreciate that, miss,

and you may have been right.

Marshal, thank you.

Dulcey.

Is my supper ready?

Uh, I haven't had a
chance to think of it.

Well, do you mind
starting it, please?

- All right, in a minute.
- Now.

- Jim...
- Dulcey.

Clear infraction, are you?

Just in case.

Francis.

Put him in the cell.

Right.

Hey, get going.

And get the other
one ready, too.

For me?

For a rustler.

Worse.

A trooper who took a
payout from rustlers,

to keep his patrol clear any
time they were in operation.

He told you that?

His English was
good enough for that.

That honorable discharge, Tyce,

you should have taken it
and cleared out of town fast.

You could have lived very nicely

on your reputation
and your medals.

Now you got nothing.

Nothing at all.

You can undo that gun belt now.

You're wrong, you know, Marshal.

Whatever happens to me now...

I'll always have my ribbons.

And my memories.

Jim!

♪♪

Dulcey, get back there!

This is no cheap
little rustler, Marshal.

This is Tyce.

Sergeant Tyce.

Troop B of the Fifth.

The finest troop in the
whole of the US cavalry!

(gunshots firing)

(door creaking)

(glass shattering)

(gunshots firing)

♪♪

♪♪

I don't understand
what happened.

Why did he change?

He didn't change, Dulcey.

He never was the man
you thought he was.

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪