Howard: Gold in Mexico? Why sure there is. Not ten days from here by rail and pack train, there's a mountain waiting for the right guy to come along, discover a treasure, and then tickle her until she lets him have it. The question is, are you the right guy?...Aw, real bonanzas are few and far between that take a lot of finding. Say, answer me this one, will ya? Why's gold worth some twenty bucks an ounce?
Man: I don't know. 'Cause it's scarce.
Howard: A thousand men, say, go searching for gold. After six months, one of 'em is lucky - one out of the thousand. His find represents not only his own labor but that of nine hundred and ninety-nine others to boot. That's uh, six thousand months or five hundred years scrabbling over mountains, going hungry and thirsty. An ounce of gold, mister, is worth what it is because of the human labor that went into the finding and the getting of it.
Man: Never thought of it just like that...
Howard: Well, there's no other explanation, mister. Gold itself ain't good for nothin' except makin' jewelry with and gold teeth. Aw, gold's a devilish sort of a thing anyway. You start out to tell yourself you'll be satisfied with twenty-five thousand handsome smackers worth of it, 'so help me Lord and cross my heart.' Fine resolution. After months of sweatin' yourself dizzy and growing short on provisions and findin' nothin', you finally come down to fifteen thousand and then ten, finally you say, 'Lord, let me just find five thousand dollars worth and never ask for anything more the rest of my life.'...Here in this joint, it seems like a lot, but I tell you, if you was to make a real strike, you couldn't be dragged away. Not even the threat of miserable death'd keep you from trying to add ten thousand more. Ten you want to get twenty-five. Twenty-five you want to get fifty. Fifty, a hundred. Like roulette. One more turn, you know, always one more.
Dobbs: It wouldn't be that way with me. I swear it wouldn't. I'd take only what I set out to get, even if there was still a half a million dollars worth lying around waitin' to be picked up.
Howard: I've dug in Alaska and in Canada and Colorado. I was with the crowd in British Honduras where I made my fare back home and almost enough over to cure me of the fever I'd caught. I've dug in California and Australia, all over the world practically. Yeah, I know what gold does to men's souls.
Man: You talk as though you struck it rich sometime or other, Pop. How about it? Then what are you doin' in here, a down-and-outer?
Howard: That's gold, that's what it makes of us. Never knew a prospector yet that died rich. Make one fortune, you're sure to blow it in trying to find another. I'm no exception to the rule. Aw sure, I'm an odd old bone now, but say, don't you guys think the spirit's gone. I'm all set to shoulder a pickax and a shovel any time anybody's willing to share expenses. I'd rather go by myself. Going it alone's the best way. But you got to have a stomach for loneliness. Some guys go nutty with it. On the other hand, going with a partner or two is dangerous. Murder's always lurkin' about. Partners accusin' each other of all sorts of crimes. Aw, as long as there's no find, the noble brotherhood will last, but when the piles of gold begin to grow, that's when the trouble starts.
Curtin: Me, now, I wouldn't mind a little of that kind of trouble.
Dobbs: I think I'll go to sleep and dream about piles of gold gettin' bigger and bigger and bigger...
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