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Title card: Among the annals of the great state of Texas may be found the story of the first drive on the famous Chisholm Trail. A story of one of the great cattle herds of the world, of a man and a boy - - Thomas Dunson and Matthew Garth, the story of the Red River D.

Simms Reeves: Plantin' and readin', plantin' and readin'. Fill a man full of lead and stick him in the ground and then read words at him. Why, when you killed a man, why try to read the Lord in as a partner on the job?

Mr. Melville: There's three times in a man's life when he has a right to yell at the moon: when he marries, when his children come, and when he finishes a job he had to be crazy to start.

Fen: I know you have work to do, Tom, but I want to be part of it. I love you. I want to be with you. Please take me with you. I'm strong. I can stand anything you can.
Tom: It's too much for a woman.
Fen: Too much for a woman? Put your arms around me, Tom. Hold me. Feel me in your arms. Do I feel weak, Tom? I don't, do I? Oh, you'll need me. You'll need a woman. You need what a woman can give you to do what you have to do. Oh listen to me, Tom. Listen with your head and your heart too. The sun only shines half the time, Tom. The other half is night.
Tom: I've made up my mind.
Fen: Oh change your mind, Tom. Just once in your life change your mind.
Tom: I'll send for ya. Will ya come?
Fen: Of course I'll come. But you're wrong.
...
Fen: Go, please. If you're going to go, please go now. I want to be with you so much. My knees feel like...like they have knives in them. Bye.

Dunson: Don't ever trust anybody until you know 'em.
Matt: I won't - after this. Thanks for telling me.

Dunson: Yeah, well, it looks like we'll have to take you along. [he returns Matt's gun] Well, are you gonna use it?
Matt: No, no. But don't ever try to take it away from me again.
Dunson: [to Groot] He'll do.

Dunson: This is it. This is where we start growin' good beef...Everything a man could want. Good water and grass and plenty of it.
Matt: Who does it belong to?
Dunson: To me! Some day, that'll all be covered with good beef. And I'll put a mark, a brand on 'em, to show they're mine too.
Matt: What kind of a mark?
Dunson: I've been thinkin' about that. There'll be two lines, like this, like the banks of a river. It'll be the Red River brand.

Matt: I see a 'D' for Dunson, but my name's Matthew...I don't see any 'M' on that brand.
Dunson: I'll put an 'M' on it when you earn it.
Matt: That's fair enough. I'll earn it.

Dunson: Tell Don Diego, tell him that all the land north of that river's mine. Tell him to stay off of it.
Mexican: Oh, but the land is his.
Dunson: Where did he get it?
Mexican: Oh many years ago by grant and patent, inscribed by the King of all of Spain.
Dunson: You mean he took it away from whomever was here before. Indians maybe.
Mexican: Maybe so.
Dunson: Well, I'm takin' it away from him.
Mexican: Others have thought as you, senor. Others have tried.
Dunson: And you've always been good enough to stop 'em?
Mexican: Amigo, it is my work.
Dunson: Pretty unhealthy job.

Matt: How'd you know when he was gonna draw?
Dunson: By watchin' his eyes. Remember that.
Matt: I will.

Dunson: And there as they stand, there isn't a head worth a plug three cent piece...It all happened while you were away, Matt. More cattle than a man could gather elsewhere in two lifetimes. And I'm broke. Unless we can move 'em, I'm broke...I'm not gonna take it haunch-backed like the rest around here. There's no market for cattle in Texas...Then I'll take 'em where there is a market, if it means drivin' them a thousand miles.
Matt: Missouri?
Dunson: Yeah.
Matt: That's what I figured.
Dunson: And have you two been doin' a lot of figurin'? While you were at it, did you figure out the best way to get 'em there?
Matt: Which trail to take? Yeah.

Matt: He's afraid.
Groot: Afraid? Why you're crazy, you're looney.
Matt: Am I?
Groot: Sure, sure, I'm scared too. But I've been here, watchin' and seein'...seein' a man fightin', fightin' with his soul and gut to hang onto this place. Fourteen years of it. And it cost him dear too. It cost him a woman. The only woman he ever wanted...You knew about that. It cost him the killin' of them seven graves, men who tried to take the place away from him. But that weren't hard. Not that.
Matt: No, he knows that kind of fighting. What else?
Groot: And then come the war when you was away. He learned a lot of things for hisself. He learned that a ranch ain't only beef but it's money. But the war took all the money out of the South. He didn't know about money, Matt. He never had none. He didn't know what to do.
Matt: You mean he just doesn't know who to fight.
Groot: Yeah.
Matt: That's all right.
Groot: He's just been waitin' for you to head the herd north and drive. A full drive that's never been done before. Nine, ten thousand head of cattle clear to Missouri.
Matt: We could make it.
Groot: We...well Matt, I'm glad you come home, cause, well, I'm glad you come home.

Dunson: I said 'Brand him.'
Matt: He's wearing a Meeker iron.
Dunson: I can't see it.
Matt: [To Teeler] Brand him.
Teeler: All right, but the next one up's another Diego.
Matt: Brand him. Put the iron on all of 'em, Teeler. Anything you see, slap it with a 'Red River D' and burn it deep.
Dunson: Why not?
Matt: You're gonna wind up branding every rump in the state of Texas except mine.
Dunson: Hand me that iron, Teeler. You don't think I'd do it, do ya?
Matt: I don't.
Dunson: Matt, I'm goin' to Missouri with every steer, cow, and bull that I can lay my hands on.
Matt: I think Meeker might be real pleased to see our brand on his stock.
Dunson: That I'll argue with Meeker.

Cherry: That's a good looking gun you were about to use back there. Can I see it? [Matt hands his gun over] And you'd like to see mine. [Cherry hands it to Matt] Nice! Awful nice! You know, there are only two things more beautiful than a good gun: a Swiss watch or a woman from anywhere. You ever had a good Swiss watch?
Matt: Go ahead! Try it!
[Cherry fires a shot and knocks a can into the air. Matt also hits the can in the air with a shot of his own]
Cherry: Hey! That's very good!
[Matt shoots at another can, knocking it into the air. Cherry hits it in the air with a shot of his own.]
Matt: Hey! Hey! That's good too! Go on! Keep it going!

Dunson: There they are, Matt. Fourteen years of hard work. And they say we can't make the drive.
Matt: They could be wrong.
Dunson: They'd better be.

Cherry: Why drive 'em to Missouri? Why not turn west at the Red and head 'em for Kansas?...There's a railroad in Kansas, too...I saw the one in Topeka, and there's one in Abilene...
Buster McGee: Abilene, that's further west!
Matt: Did you see it in Abilene?
Cherry: I didn't get there. I met a girl in Kansas City. She fancied she could sing. She had...
Matt: You know, if we could head west at the Red...
Groot: We'd save ourselves a heap of...
Dunson: We're goin' to Missouri. I've seen buyers and cash in Sedalia. [To Cherry] What have you seen in Abilene?
Cherry: Not a thing. Just the girl told me...
Dunson: We're goin' to Missouri. [Dunson walks off]
Cherry: [To Matt about Dunson] I suppose if I tangled with him, I'd have to take you on too.
Matt: You'll find him a handful by himself.

Groot: [about his false teeth, that he lost playing cards] If you was half-human, you'd give 'em back to me. You can see I could use 'em. Besides, it would help keep the dust out of my mouth.
Quo: Keep mouth shut. Dust not get in.
Groot: Bet I ate ten pounds in the last sixteen days. Before this shenanigan is over, I'll probably eat enough land to incorporate in the Union. The state of Groot.

Matt: [after shooting Bunk in the shoulder] You'd have shot him right between the eyes.
Dunson: Just as sure as you're standin' there. Well, you shot him. You can take care of him.

Teeler: A man can't eat this kind of food. After we lost another grub wagon, we should have turned back.
Dunson: Well, we didn't turn back and we're not goin' to. And even if we had, I couldn't replace what we lost. I'm broke. Got nothin' to buy it with. So you're on short rations and bad coffee. And you're gonna be until we finish the drive. And you're gonna finish it...Like it or not, that's it.

Matt: You didn't have to do that back there.
Dunson: You joined in.
Matt: Yeah, and I thought you were wrong.
Dunson: Well then why didn't ya...
Matt: Don't try and tell me what to think. I'll take your orders about work, but not about what to think.
Dunson: You think I'm to blame for that?
Matt: Just as sure as you're sittin' there.
Dunson: And so?
Matt: So I'll take your orders.

Matt: Well, here's your Red.
Dunson: It's quite a river.
Matt: Sure had a lot smaller herd the last time we crossed.
Dunson: One bull and a cow. Well, this looks like as good a place as any.
Matt: This will take us the rest of the day and part of the night. Why not cross fresh in the morning?
Dunson: We'll put 'em across now!
Matt: We've got a pretty tired bunch behind us.
Dunson: Tired men don't run away.
Matt: We can't keep 'em this wore out all the rest of the drive.
Dunson: No, but we can keep 'em this wore out until Cherry gets back. Then nobody'll want to run away.

Groot: That's awful good, Tom. Boys did all right.
Dunson: Yeah.
Groot: Why don't you tell 'em so, Tom?
Dunson: That's their job.
Groot: They're awful tired.
Dunson: I'll bet we won't have to count noses in the morning.

Buster: He's gettin' worse every day. Sometimes, I think he's goin' plum out of his head.
Groot: You know, Matt, things ain't right. It's him. He's gotta get some sleep and if he don't, somethin's gonna happen.

Dunson: Get down off them horses. I don't favor lookin' up to the likes of you...That's better. You should be crawlin'. Cherry, I sent you out after three of 'em. You brought back two.
Cherry: Bill Kelsey figured he'd rather fight. Made a good one of it for a while.
Dunson: Laredo, Teeler, you signed on for the drive and you signed on to finish it.
Laredo: That's right, we did.
Dunson: You stole beans and flour, and cartridges. Besides bein' deserters, you're common thieves.
Laredo: The law might see it different...
Dunson: I'm the law. You're a thief! You too, Teeler. Anything more?
Teeler: I know what you're gonna do to us, but first I wanna tell ya somethin'.
Dunson: Go ahead.
Teeler: You're crazy. You've been drinkin' and you ain't been sleepin'. If you ain't crazy, you're a skin close to it.
Dunson: You through?
Teeler: No. You wanna get this herd to market. Well, so do all of us. There's a good way to Abilene, but you won't listen to that. No. You want to drive to Missouri when you got the high, low, and jack against ya. I ain't through yet. This herd don't belong to you. It belongs to every poor hopin' and prayin' cattleman in the whole wide state. I shouldn't have run away. I should've stayed and put a bullet in ya. I signed a pledge, sure, but you ain't the man I signed it with.
Dunson: You finished?
Teeler: Yeah. Now you can get your Bible and read over us after you shoot us.
Dunson: I'm gonna hang ya.
Matt: No. No, you're not.
Dunson: What?
Matt: You're not going to hang them.
Dunson: Who'll stop me?
Matt: I will.

Teeler: Give me that gun. Somebody give me - I'll kill him. Let me go! He was gonna kill me! He wasn't gonna give me a chance - [Matt slaps him]
Matt: Turn him loose. Cherry, give me that gun. Here's what you've been trying for. All right, use it! Go on, you got what you wanted. What are you waiting for? If you don't want to live, all you have to do is - You're a lucky man, Teeler. This is how close it came.
Teeler: Matt, we're gettin' as crazy as he is. [Teeler returns the gun to Matt]
Matt: Keep it. You want to finish the drive?
Teeler: Where are we goin'?
Matt: Abilene.
Teeler: Who's headin' it?
Matt: I am.
Buster: What about Dunson?
Matt: He stays here. We're takin' the herd.
Teeler: That's good enough for me.
Matt: Groot? How about you?
Groot: You was wrong, Mr. Dunson. I've been with ya a lot of years. And up till now, right or wrong, I've always done like ya said. Got to be kind of a habit with me, I guess, 'cuz that's why I'm stayin' with ya.
Dunson: Go on with 'em.
Groot: Thanks. Thanks for makin' it easy on me. All right, men, I'll be comin' with you.
Matt: Throw 'em on the trail, start driving. Buster, you wait here till I get back. [He rides off to help round up the herd]
Cherry: If you come lookin' for me, Mr. Dunson, I'll be in Abilene.

Matt: If there's any chance at all, we'll get your herd to Abilene.
Dunson: Cherry was right. You're soft. You should've let him kill me, 'cause I'm gonna kill you. I'll catch up with ya! I don't know when, but I'll catch up. Every time you turn around, expect to see me. 'Cause one time you'll turn around and I'll be there. I'll kill ya, Matt.

Tess: Why does he [Dunson] think that way?
Matt: Because he got to a place where, see, he'd taken empty land used for nothin', made it the biggest ranch in the state of Texas. Fought to keep it...one bull and one cow, that's all he started with...After he'd done all that, gotten what he'd been after for so long, it wasn't worth anything...So he started this drive. Everybody said, 'you can't make it. You'll never get there.' He was the only one believed we could. He had to believe it. So he started thinking one way, his way. He told men what to do and made 'em do it. Otherwise, we wouldn't have got as far as we did. He started 'em for Missouri and all he knew was he had to get there. I took his herd away from him.
Tess: You love him, don't you? He must love you. That wouldn't be hard. [She kisses Matt on the lips] Did you like that?
Matt: I've always been kind of slow in making up my mind.
Tess: Maybe I can help. [They kiss again]
Matt: I don't need any more help but will you do that again? [They kiss again]

Matt: We can't take her with us, can we?
Groot: Well we could, uh...
Matt: What?
Groot: No, no, I don't suppose we could.

Tess: I'll take care of Mr. Dunson. [Dunson is surprised she knows his name] I believe it's your beef we're eating.
Dunson: Who told you that?
Tess: The man you promised to kill.
Dunson: Did he tell you that too?
Tess: You're tired, aren't you? Tired, hungry and just a little bit irritable. You'll feel better after you eat. We'll talk then.
[Dunson notices her bracelet]
Dunson: How'd you get that away from him?
Tess: I stole it...
Dunson: So you stole that bracelet. How did you get it?
Tess: Would you really like to know, Mr. Dunson?
Dunson: How'd you get it?
Tess: I got it in the rain eight days ago, before he took your herd across that river and left.
Dunson: I'm wondering whether to believe you.
Tess: I don't care whether you do or not.
Dunson: I believe that.
Tess: You wanna hear more?
Dunson: Go ahead.
Tess: It was raining. If it hadn't rained, I wouldn't be here talking to you. He wouldn't be here where you could find him to kill him. You still intend to kill him, don't you?
Dunson: Nothing you can say is gonna...
Tess: I didn't say anything...
Dunson: So he went off and left ya. I didn't give him that much credit. Are you in love with him?
Tess: I thought you'd ask that. Can a woman love a man who'd go off and leave her?
Dunson: Well, she, she shouldn't...
Tess: I wanted to go with him, but he had work to do. He had to get your cattle to market. Said I wasn't strong enough to go and nothing I could do or say to make him change his mind. But I wanted to go with him. I wanted him so much that...
Dunson: That you felt like you had knives stickin' in ya.
Tess: How did you know that? I suppose other people have felt that way before.
Dunson: They have.

Tess: Now will you tell me something, Mr. Dunson?
Dunson: What?
Tess: Why do you want to kill him?
Dunson: Because he's a thief.
Tess: Do you think he thinks that?
Dunson: He should. I picked him up in the brush leading a cow. That's fourteen years ago. Taught him all I could. He knew what I was planning. Saw what I was building. He knew that someday, it'd all be his. His land, his cattle, the whole thing. Even talked of a woman as men will talk. A strong woman who could bear him sons, a woman like you.
Tess: Why did you want him to have a son?
Dunson: Because I built something. Built it with my own hands. And I can't live forever and live to see it grow. I thought I had a son. But I haven't and I want one.
Tess: I'm sorry for you, Mr. Dunson. Very sorry.

Dunson: What would you say if, if I offered ya half of everything I own for a son?
Tess: Your son?
Dunson: You can have a son, can't ya? That's all that matters.
Tess: By Dunson out of Millay? Half of everything you've got.
Dunson: That's right.
Tess: I'll have your son, Mr. Dunson, if you'll stop now. Stop now and go back where you came from. I'll have your son.
Dunson: Yeah, I thought so.

Dunson: When did you fall in love with him?
Tess: It was under a wagon, in six inches of mud. When did, when did you...when did you fall in love with her?
Dunson: Who?
Tess: The girl you told me about. The one you left, walked out on.
Dunson: 'I told you about'? Did he tell you...?
Tess: No, no, you told me. You knew how I felt when he left me. She must have felt the same way when you left her. That's right, isn't it? Or can't you remember?
Dunson: I can remember.
Tess: Oh I, I hope so, because, because I want you to think about it while I ask you something. I want you to think hard.
Dunson: What?
Tess: I want to go on with you.
Dunson: That won't do any good. Nothing you can say or do...
Tess: And though I know you told me that, oh please, I want to go with you. Please.
Dunson: All right.
Tess: Thanks. Thanks a lot.

Melville: You gonna wait for Dunson, huh? I've been talkin' to some of your men. Isn't that check and the fact that you got here, isn't that gonna make any difference?
Matt: I don't think so, Mr. Melville.
Melville: I suppose I'm crazy but...
Matt: You want me to run away?
Melville: No, of course not. Couldn't, couldn't I talk to him?
Matt: I still have to talk to him after that.

Tess: I know you've only a few hours, but listen for just a minute, that's all, and then I won't talk about it anymore. Just a minute. He hasn't changed his mind, Matthew.
Matt: I didn't think he would.
Tess: We saw the railroad and I thought, I thought it might make a difference, but it didn't. Nothing would. He's like something you can't move. Even I've gotten to believe it's got to happen - your meeting. I was gonna ask you to run but, no I'm not, I'm not. It wouldn't do any good. You're too much like him. Oh, stop me, Matthew! Stop me! God bless you, Matthew. [He kisses her]

Melville: You know that young man [Matt] isn't gonna use his gun, don't ya?
Cherry: Yeah. But I haven't any such notions.

Tess: Stop it. Stop it. Stop makin' a holy...Stop it I said. I'm mad, good and mad. And who wouldn't be. You Dunson, pretendin' you're gonna kill him. Why, it's the last thing in the world you...Stay still. I'm mad I told ya. And you Matthew Garth, gettin' your face all beat up and all bloody. You oughta see how, you oughta see how silly you look, like, like somethin' the cat dragged - STAY STILL - What a fool I've been, expectin' trouble for days when, when anybody with half a mind would know you two love each other. [To Dunson] It took somebody else to shoot ya. He wouldn't do it. Are ya hurt?
Dunson: No, just nicked the...
Tess: Then stay still. No, don't stay still. I changed my mind. Go ahead. Beat each other crazy. Maybe it will put the sense in both of ya. Go ahead. Go on. Do it!

Dunson: You'd better marry that girl, Matt.
Matt: Yeah, I think I...Hey, when are you gonna stop telling people what to do?
Dunson: Right now. At least as soon as...
Matt: When?
Dunson: ...as soon as I tell ya one thing more.
Matt: What?
Dunson: When we get back to the ranch, I want ya to change the brand. It'll be like this, the Red River 'D' and we'll add an 'M' to it. You don't mind that do ya?
Matt: No. [They smile affectionately toward each other]
Dunson: You've earned it.

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