The Young Riders (1989–1992): Season 1, Episode 6 - Black Ulysses - full transcript

When an escaped slave helps around Emma's farm and saves The Kid's horse, Katy, from a fire, the Riders must decide whether to obey the law - the Fugitive Slave Act - or act to save a man who has suffered a life of injustice and cruelty.

Go get Sundance.

Hey, Jimmy,
go get them over there!

Shall we close the door?

Alls I can say is
her walkin' just seemed
a tiny bit off.

You're sure she's not
just trying to get out of
ridin' in the rain?

She looks fine to me.

Could you check
her right leg again?

I'll be darned.
There might be a spec
of an abscess there.

Is it serious?

Could rightly and seriously
affect my business

if folks knew you showed me up.

I guess I know her so well
'cause she's all I got.

Well, I reckon
we better fix her up.

Leave her for a while
and I'll soak her leg
in turpentine and wintergreen.

She'll be just fine.

You hear that, girl?
You'll be fine.

Sounds like
she's gonna have company.

What do I owe you?

Well, if you don't
show me up in front of
this next customer,

by golly, we'll call it even.

Oh, that's Jimmy's horse.

That's all of 'em, Emma.

I think we got 'em all.
Somebody count.

I found Jimmy's horse.
What's goin' on?

Thunder spooked them
and they busted
out the corral.

I think we got 'em all.
Let's get 'em into the barn.

The Colt is missin'.

We better get back
out there and find her.

Is this your Colt?

Yes, it is.

Easy there.
Come on, boy.

Come on.
Let's go see mama.

Come on, boys, clear out.
Let the mother feed him.

Let 'em be. Come on.

Ike, get some rope
and tie up that fence.

Ike, go on.

Well, we're much obliged,

whatever you're doin' here.

I could use
a couple of days work.

Well, we can't pay you,
but we can feed you.

You can stay in
the tack room with me.

I'll take it.

What's your name?


Well, I think
we paid enough homage
to this weather.

Why don't we, uh,
all get some sleep, huh?

Come on, boys, time for bed.

Where'd you come from
on a night like this, huh?

What's a colored man
doin' out here?

What do you mean?

Back in Virginia,
we're just not used to
seein' 'em out.

Out of their place?

I don't mean that.

You're a long ways
from Virginia, kid.

Long as he keeps doin'
my share of the work,

he can stay as long as he wants.

Your share?

Shoot, Cody,
I'd take that any day.

Come on, Jimmy,
we got a corral to fix.

You're gonna' need
your jaw fixed if you
wake me up like that again.

I'm scared.

Hey, Jimmy, come out here
and take a look at this.


We ought to keep him
around for now,
don't you think, Jimmy?

Like the job we did
on the corral?

Just do as good a job
fixin' the bunkhouse.

Should have let us know
you were gonna
tell that guy to do it.

Could have gotten
5 more minutes sleep.

I didn't tell him nothin'.

As miraculous as it may
seem to you, gentlemen,

some people can manage to do
the right thing without
gettin' a kick in the pants.

Remember that, Jimmy.

Wake up, kid.

Get everybody to doc Wheeler's.

Fire at doc Wheeler's!
Come on, let's go!

Doc, where are you?

Katie! Katie?


Get out of there,
the smoke will kill you!


That smoke is poison!
Just get the kid out of there.

What's goin' on?

Oh, my lord.



I got more supplies comin', doc.

Forget it, Sam.
I moved the hay in
out of the rain.

A spark caught it.

Now that smoke's
full of minerals
I stored in the barn.

No! Katie? I got to get her.

Listen to her! Oh, god!

You can't go back in there.


You did all you could.

Billy, maybe you can
get a shot at her.

She's gonna burn to death!

I can't see through
the smoke, kid.

I gotta go back!

You'll die!
Now, give it up!
Give it up!

You wanna save your horse?
You come with me.

Get yourself good and wet.
Get that rope.
Get that ladder up.

If I could get on the roof
and get the smoke to come up

that will give you a chance
to get in there
and save that horse.

Get ready!

Ok, now!

Let's go.

Katie, come on now.

Easy. Easy.

Easy, girl.
Easy, girl.

I don't know how to thank you.

A handshake will do.

I owe you.

I could've done that.

What's he got on his back?

Those are whip marks.

That man was a slave.

He's somebody's property.











Cut him down.

What's goin' on here?

You bastards!

Look what you've done to him!

Woman, you are addressing
a representative from
the state court of Missouri.

And you will keep
a civil tongue or I will
withdraw the mercies

I have just shown your husband.

Mercies? Mercies?

We give a man shelter
for one night

and you beat my husband
near to death!

Under the fugitive slave bill
of the U.S. congress,

the penalty for
harboring a runaway,

is 6 months in jail
plus a fine of $1000.

That would entitle us
to confiscate
your entire herd.

I know what I'd confiscate.

Instead, my men will now
help bring your husband
into the house,

which I trust
you will no longer
share with fugitives.

Don't you touch him!

You from these parts?

Not exactly.

Got some colored in him.

Some sass, too.

Have you seen this man?
He was here 3 nights ago.

I'm colonel savage
from the Missouri militia.
Where are you from?

Near Sweetwater.

I should be there presently.

If you spot this man
while ridin',

I expect to hear about it.

Now, you tell 'em
the shovels
and the bicarbonate

will be paid for
out of the town funds
and you meet me in my office.

Doc gonna
lose his place?

No, just the barn.
We got it under control.

We're gonna' put a trench
around it with some bi-carb.

If doc needs a place
to keep any animals,

I got room in my stables.

Thanks. But there's
only one horse in there,

and those kids
managed to get her out.

We didn't do nothin'.
It was ulysses.

Hey, fella?

This the man?

What you got there?

I'm talkin' to these boys.

I'm marshal Cain,
you talk to me.

I'm colonel homer savage
of the Missouri militia.

We got a warrant
for this here slave.

This who you were talkin' about?

What are the charges?

Murder. Insurrection.

He cut his master's throat.
We're takin' him back
to St. Louis for trial.

Your warrant may mean
somethin' in a slave state,

but this is a free territory
and Sweetwater's a free town.

Sir, I don't believe
you understand.

We're in pursuit
of an escaped slave.

And you and your townspeople
are duty bound to assist us

under the penalty
of federal law.

You understand somethin',
I make the law here.

And you take another step
sideways and I'll show you
how I back it up.

Marshal, my men and I can be
back here in less than a day.

Now, I prefer to
come back peacefully.

But no one will stand
between me and my sworn duty.

And no one tells me
how to run my town.

Sam, you just can't run
those people out of town.

If it's gonna bring problems,
we got to talk about this.

You be here when we come back.

That's what they pay me for.

Town folk standin' with Sam?


And if I were him,
I would not be
lookin' forward

to this town meetin'
they're havin' tomorrow.

I can't say I blame them
for bein' scared.

After what I saw
of that militia,
they're serious and crazy.

Even if they are crazy,
don't mean our friend
ain't cut a throat

or 2.

Maybe he is a killer.

I don't know what he is,
but he stuck his neck
out for Katie.

Maybe he just needs a place
and is tryin' to prove
he belongs here.

One thing's for sure,
he belongs to somebody.


I know where you come from
slavery's a way of life,

but there's still
some thinkin'
you could do on that.

We don't have much money
and we work long hours,

but at least all of us are free.

Bein' somebody's property
is the lowest life there is.

Bein' somebody's property...

Can you imagine?

That could drive
a man to murder.

So, you ready to turn him in
just 'cause there's a law

that says he's somebody's
personal property?

You're puttin' words
in my mouth, teaspoon.

I'm just sayin' the way it is.

Belonged to Mr. Spoon.

I'm fixin' it for ulysses.

What little he was wearin'
got tore up at doc Wheeler's.

Alls I can say is,
if town folk catch
any trouble over him,

we're all gonna be
held responsible.

What is it?


Look, whoever he is,

he's only gonna be with us
a short while.

So, let's not worry ourselves
about him.

I ain't worried.

'Cause I ain't takin'
my eyes off him.

What's wrong, buck?

Come on.

What are you doin'?

I just come to get
this coat before I leave.

Why are you sneakin' out
in the middle of the night?

Whoa, whoa, whoa, Jimmy!

Trouble's comin'.

My master was a drunk.

And a card player.

He used to gamble away
the slaves.

I heard my mama
was gonna be sold,

so I begged him
not to separate us.

But he beat me with a cane
till I passed out.

When I come to,
my mama had been
cryin' so much

that she'd taken sick.

I figured this was a blessin',

'cause you can't sell
a sick slave.

My master, he got mad.

So, he had her brought up
to the house

so as he could whip
all the sickness out of her.

By the time I got up there,

he was still whippin' her

and she wasn't movin'.

So, he decided
to turn the whip on me.

And I ain't standin'
for no more whippings.

So I cut him with a knife.

Mama was dead on the floor.

That's what they call murder.

Why'd you run?

Why didn't you
tell the sheriff your story?

Slaves ain't got
no right to testify.

To the state of Missouri,

I'm the leader of an uprisin'.

They fancies me
as the next nat Turner.

They ain't gonna stop
until they bring me back.

That's why I got to leave.

That's why you got to stay.

You can't run forever.

You people have
already done enough.

Ah, we ain't done nothin'.

You worked for
everything you got.

My people may not have
scars on their back,
but they know injustice.

They don't run from it.

Where I come from,

slaves were just there.

I never had occasion
to give 'em any thought.

All I can say is that
you're one heck of a man

and I'm ready
to stand behind you.

You'd be risking your life

if you challenge
that Missouri militia.

I don't know,
it could be risky for them.

No offense,

but ain't no way
they gonna let the lot of you
stand up to 'em.

What about the whole town
of Sweetwater?

What do you mean?

There's a town meetin' tomorrow.

I want you to come with me.

Town folk are tough.
They're fair.

If we talk right
just might see your point.

You'd be risking
a town full of enemies.

You don't have to ask.

Ike says, we were never
that popular in town
to begin with.

Speak for yourself, ike.

How'd you know
what to do for the fire?

I was hired out to a steamboat.

Caught fire
outside of New Orleans.

I was trapped
in the cargo deck
for about 12 hours.

Don't suppose
they let you see
much of it,

but I hear New Orleans
is some kind of city.

Hell, they can't stop
a man from lookin'.

They've got
so many millionaires.

Houses 50 feet high.

Women, they wear
whalebone corsets.

Of course, uh,
given my druthers,

I'd rather be here with ya'll.

Heck, so would I.

Yeah, you wouldn't look
too good in a corset, anyway.

You watch.

Towns people are gonna'
come through for you, too.

Well, we'll see.

I'm bettin' on it.



It's one of them
pony express riders

that knows ulysses.


Come on! Come on!

Come on!
Come on!


They call themselves lawmen

and then they did this to him.

I don't see
why she made you
ride out here.

'Cause he's our marshal.

She didn't make me, Earl.

I wanted to see
how you were.
Come on, sit down.

How many men they have?

There was 12 of 'em.

And they had long barrel colts,

huntin' rifles
and plenty of shot.

You gonna be able
to do somethin', Sam?

I know what I'd do
if it was up to me.

But the town folk
called a meetin'.

Town meeting? Today?

We're headed there now.

Then, so am I.

Now hold on, Earl.

You're in no shape
to ride into town.

Hell, I ain't.

I may not be up to more
than flappin' my jaw,

but nothing's gonna keep me
from sayin' my piece.

What are you gonna
tell the town folk?

As much of the truth
as they're willing to hear.

What do you think?

Glad to see you haven't
lost your touch.

There's no one on the schedule,

but there's someone
comin' awful fast.

It's Lou!

Unless the devil hisself
got in your way,

you're doin' sunset creek
in 2 minutes.

How about a posse
of Missouri state militia
headed this way?

Get 6 fresh horses ready now.

Teaspoon, come on!

You get to that meetin'
in Sweetwater.

We ain't leavin' you here.

It will buy time
to warn the town.

Then, you stick
with Emma and ulysses.

I don't wanna
start a war right here.

Go on, get!


Well, howdy.

Whoever you are, you'll submit

to a lawful search
of your house and grounds

under the authority
of the fugitive slave act.

Well, mercy me.

That sounds pretty official.

Of course,
I'll have to ask for some
documentation, please.

Where the damn
are my spectacles?

Hi, boys.
How you doin'?

Sure wish I knew how to read.

My aunt Sarah tried
to teach me once,

but she had rheumatism.

Her clothes,
they all smelled
of liniment.

I couldn't concentrate.

Well, that's kind of nice.

Stand aside, you old fool!

Search the premises.

Hey, Pete,
you go check the barn.

I said open it.

You ain't listenin'.
There's nothin' in there
for you to see.

Remove him.

Stand back, son,
or you're gonna get holes
in that tongue of yours.

Have you any idea

the price of chicken feed
these days?

I have a mind to whip you
for obstructing justice.

We got fresh tracks
heading straight for town.

Fall in and mount up.

Ulysses Jones has a knife
to the throat

of every white family
in the south.

By god, I'll find him.

That's a damn shame.

The shame is we end up
protectin' ignorant
white trash like yourself.

If I wasn't a representative
from the state of Missouri,

you'd answer for that remark.

Might answer at that.

Ok, men, let's move out!

This man is bein'
hunted like a dog.

When all he ever did

was defend himself
against a lifetime of abuse.

Look at his wrists.

Look at 'em.

I say, whoever did this
is the one
that ought to be hunted.

Now, are we gonna stand by
and let him be dragged back
and hung?

Lady, what you're sayin'
ain't exactly news to us.

This kind of thing's been
goin' on for a long time.

Now, personally,
I ain't got
nothing against slavery,

especially when it means
takin' on the whole
state militia.

And what's the militia?
Hired guns in uniform.

Whatever they are,
why should we take them on?

'Cause it's the decent thing
to do.

We are decent to one another.

But this boy
belongs to someone else.

He don't belong to us.

These men are demons.

Here's the proof.



And all I did was
give that man a sip of water
and a place in my barn.

And if he needed it again,
I'd do it tomorrow.

And damn all of them to hell!

You got something to say,

you best say it now.

My grandmamma was born a slave.

My mama was born a slave.

Slavery is the only life
I ever knew.

And when they killed my mama,

I did what any son
would have done.

I ain't never asked nobody
to fight my battles for me.

All I ask is
you understand this:

They take me back to Missouri,

they will hang me to teach
all the other slaves a lesson,

and I'd rather die first.

I don't talk too good,

but my wife speaks for me.

So let's have some quiet.

Thank you, elihu.

Now, we are god-fearing people.

We came from a free state
to make this
a free territory.

But, even in this church
every Sunday we hear

it's better to keep
south and north together

than it is to oppose
the abomination of slavery.

Why, these militia savages
are a judgment upon you.


nobody's in favor with
what they did to you.

And if you boys
like this here negro,

that's good enough for me.

But we stand up to this militia,

no tellin' what will happen.

And he ain't worth
riskin' a whole town.

They're gonna
lick Missouri spit.
Every single one.

Now, hang on!
Hang on here!

As proud as we may be
to call Sweetwater home,

if we don't stand up
for what's right,

we might as well help
that posse tear it all down.

'Cause it's not gonna be
worth the dust it's built on.

Emma, I don't like slavery,

but I got a family
and I gotta
think of them first.

That's right.

Now, let me tell
y'all somethin'.

Now, I don't give a damn
whether this boy is

white or black or even purple.

This boy made his own bed
to lie in.

We know he killed somebody
to get out.

But that's what he wanted to do.

That's what he done.

But that's his problem.

But now,
he's made it our problem.

Now, we don't need
no outsiders comin' in here

and tryin' to tell us
how to do it
at the point of a gun.

I say we call in the army.

Army's at least 2 days away.

Guess you were wrong.

Can't count on these people
to do squat.

They're just trying to protect
what's theirs, Jimmy.

I guess it's tough on 'em.

Then we'll handle
this ourselves.

Jimmy, you take Billy,
Lou, and ike,

go to my office
and get some rifles.

Get up high somewhere.

Buck, you take the lookout.

You and Emma,

you're gonna lead ulysses
past the militia.

Past the militia where?

Back to Emma's
where they've
already searched

and he can get a fresh horse.

I'll try and get 'em
to the other side of town.

There's 12 of them, Sam.

Well, I'll talk to 'em
real nice, now.

Now, you just get
your guns ready

and pray you don't
have to use them.
Come on.

Now, we can't force
these folks to make up
their minds.

You're gonna have to
take your chances with us.

I've been takin' chances
all my life.

Virginia boy,
you wanna chance it with me?

Shoot, there's only 10 of 'em.

Rest must be watchin' the road.

Hope we pull this off.
Or this won't be a gunfight,
it will be a massacre.

This town may never be the same.

Sam ain't gonna
sweet talk those boys.

For the arrest and return
of the murderer and slave
known as ulysses Jones.

And I'm authorized to use
reasonable support
in executing it.

Look here,

if they see us, you back off
and you let me handle it.

I already told you
you talk too much.

I am serious.

Yeah, well,
you may have a warrant,
but I have a town to protect.

Then I suggest you remand him
to my custody, immediately.

He's in the doc's office
the south end of town.

Show me.

I'm gonna go back him up.

No. He's buyin' time.
We'd only get in the way.


Come on.

That's where we hid him.

You're a damn liar!

Fan out
to the other side of town.
That nigger's still here.

Yes, sir.


Sit tight.
We got company.

Don't stop
unless they force you.

They got no right to search us.

Hold up there.

I got horses waitin'
for water and hay.

You wanna talk,
you got to ride alongside.

You ready?

I said hold it.

Get your hands off our mules.

Jimmy, look.

Get out of the way!

There he is!

Run, ulysses! Run!

I'll get him!
You ain't gettin' away!



Why you wanna kill me,

you pull the trigger then!

You do it! Let me go!
Let me go! Let me go!

Takin' you back
where you belong!

Get the irons.

Don't you whip me,
I swear to god!

I'll show this town
what the law means
to the likes of him.

You whip me
and as god is my witness,
I'll kill you!

You got no right!

Don't let him do it!

Leave him be!

These 2 for that slave.

Are you sure he's worth that?

Ain't no need in
nobody else dyin'.

Throw your guns down here.

Stand aside!

All right, drop them guns.

Now, if anything happens
to those 2 people,

I don't think any of you
gonna get out of town alive.

And I don't think
that crazy colonel's
worth it.

Now, drop 'em.

Now, just keep right on ridin'

as long as god
put the ground
under your feet.

Pay no attention to him.

Hold that slave down
for a proper whippin'.

That's an order!

Damn it, I said that's an order!

Think of your women
and kids back in Missouri!

Stand your ground!

You're not gonna
let this fugitive killer
get away with it, are you?

What are you all, yellow?

Don't you disobey my orders!

You coward!

Stand your ground.

I'll have you all

Will no one administer
justice to this devil?

Stop him!

It's food and clothes, mostly.

Just so as you understand
we're not tryin'
to get rid of you.

You don't have to go.
You're safe here.

For now.

The price on me just went up.

There's gonna be
a lot of folk around here
lookin' for that reward.

Won't be as tough
as the last bunch.

It's a lot warmer here
than it is in Canada.

Yes, it is.

But there's somethin' called
the underground railroad.

Well, they brought
a lot of folk like me

and helped 'em get started out
with new lives.

I wanna do my share.

But it is a shame
to leave this place behind.

I'm 3rd generation
born in america,

even though we ain't free
in our own country.

Won't always be that way.

Yeah, that's what I try
to tell myself.

But it's gonna take
a lot of hard times
to get there.

I just hope one day
you and I can
sit down together

and not worry
about who belongs where.

That's what we all hope.

Well, I best be usin'
that head start I got.

Thank you.

All right, boys,
might as well get back to work