Five years after the end of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks), a veteran of three wars, now moves from town to town as a non-fiction storyteller, sharing the news of presidents and queens, glorious feuds, devastating catastrophes, and gripping adventures from the far reaches of the globe. On the plains of Texas, he crosses paths with Johanna (Helena Zengel), a 10-year-old taken in by the Kiowa people six years earlier and raised as one of their own. Johanna, hostile to a world she’s never experienced, is being returned to her biological aunt and uncle against her will. Kidd agrees to deliver the child where the law says she belongs. As they travel hundreds of miles into the unforgiving wilderness, the two will face tremendous challenges of both human and natural forces as they search for a place that either can call home.
[grand orchestral fanfare playing]
[coins continue clanking in cup]
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
CROWD: Good evening.
It’s good to be back with you all here in Wichita Falls. My name is Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, and I’m here tonight to bring y’all the news from across this great world of ours. Now…
[coin clanks in cup]
Pleasure. Now, I know how life is in these parts, working a trade sunup to sundown. No time for reading newspapers. Am I correct?
[crowd murmuring in agreement]
KIDD: Let me do that work for you. And maybe, just for tonight, we can escape our troubles and hear of the great changes that are happening out there.
Starting local, then. Our own Houston Telegraph from the first of February, this news: “The meningitis epidemic continues to spread without prejudice across the Panhandle and North Texas region. So far, it has claimed 97 souls…
[crowd gasping, murmuring]
…in just a two-month period.”
In federal news, our own Dallas Herald reports of our delegation of the state of Texas up there in the capital of Washington commencing…
[tools clanking in distance]
[tools clanking nearby]
Hey. Hey! Hey! Stop!
I’m not gonna hurt you.
Aah! Don’t bite!
Who are you? Do you have a name?
I don’t understand. I… I don’t speak Kiowa. Come. Come on. It’s all right. It’s all right. Come on. You can’t stay out here. You… Give me your hand.
Mm. These are Indian agency papers. “Johanna Leonberger.” Is that your name? Johanna?
Whoa. Whoa, whoa.
SOLDIER: Let’s see what we got here.
Gonna check it on that side.
LIEUTENANT: Got your loyalty oath?
SOLDIER: No, nothing.
Where’d you serve, Captain?
Third Texas Infantry. Surrendered Galveston 26 May, 1865.
Just bird shot.
Says here you’re from San Antonio. What’s your business up here?
I read the news from town to town. I was headed down to the Red River, and-and I seen him. I think he was transporting this little girl here for the federal authorities. Looks like the Indians had her. Here’s her agency papers. Just found them.
SOLDIER: Let’s saddle up.
What the hell do I do with this child?
Fetch her to Red River. Command post will know.
KIDD: So, the army found you three weeks ago when they cleared the Kiowa out of Montague County. You’ve been living with them since they kidnapped you when they attacked your family in Hill Country six years prior. Dear Heaven.
“Her mother, father and sister were…” Well, they passed. But you have an aunt and an uncle… still living down there. Near Castroville. So, that’s where you were being taken. I know Castroville. I used to live near there before the war. Lot of German folk down there.
[stammers, speaks German shakily]
Uh, remember your German family? Uh… All right. Come tomorrow, we’ll find somebody who can take you home.
[whistling, hollering continues]
SOLDIER: All right, me, too.
Come on. Ah, ah. Come on. Come on.
Pardon me. Lost child here.
Got a child issue here.
KIDD: Much obliged. Bless you, sir.
I got a lost… lost child.
I can’t use this.
OFFICER: That’s all I can do for now.
What’s your business?
Here to see your Indian agent.
He’s up north of the Red, on the reservation.
Well, I found this child, see, and the lieutenant who was patrolling the road told me to bring her to see you.
Well, what do you expect me to do?
She needs taken home.
OFFICER: The agent won’t be back for another three months. Strays are his responsibility. Looks like you’ll need to take her.
I-I can’t take her, sir. I work and travel from town to town. I can’t take her.
Listen, friend. Wait for the agent or take her yourself. It’s up to you.
If you will, please.
[violin playing bright tune]
Good to lay eyes on you, Captain.
Hello, son. Wonder if I could have a word with you and Mrs. Boudlin.
Well, of course, sir.
SIMON: So, three months, huh? What are you going to do with her? Wait for the agent, it appears.
[saddle drops to ground]
Got kind of a wild look about her, doesn’t she?
No, she’s scared.
SIMON: Hmm. Be careful, honey. Don’t get too close.
All right, now, see here, child. I have to work. You’re gonna stay here with these kind folks. Friends. Friends. You got that, child?
SIMON: Well, shoot, Kidd. She don’t understand a damn thing, does she?
Thank you kindly.
KIDD: All right, let’s start with the local news from The Carthage Banner. “The Red River Ferry is sunk near Cross Timbers.
Waters are still too high to cross, and parts down to Elm Creek are completely washed out.”
Yanks sending soldiers too blue to muddy their boots. That’s why.
Well, now, The Clifton Record is reporting big changes that are coming to these parts that’ll have a bearing on all of these travel issues.
On page one: “The Pacific Railroad Committee voted today the Missouri, Fort Scott and Gulf lines are to be consolidated into a new line that will run from the Kansas border all the way to Galveston, Texas.”
[excited murmuring, applause]
“This will be the first railroad to cross the Indian reservation.”
Now, for some federal news.
[crowd groaning, murmuring]
“President Ulysses S. Grant…”
Oh, to hell with Grant!
Grant’s a butcher!
KIDD: “…has ordered…”
“…has ordered the Texas legislature to accept Amendments 13, 14 and 15 of the United States Constitution before any return to the Union can be considered. Those Amendments include the abolition of slavery…”
Say no to abolition. Never!
KIDD: “…affording to the former slaves the right to vote, and the repayment of our war debts.”
I’m saying no. I say Texas first and damn them amendments.
MAN: I ain’t digging no Texas soil, sweating and bleeding for some rich Yankee type.
I suggest y’all watch yourself.
Suggest y’all the same!
What are y’all even doing here, huh? You ain’t dealing with the Injuns, fixing our roads, minding our river crossings. All they’re doing is beating up on Southern folk!
[murmurs of agreement]
You know, all right. I hear you. I hear you.
MAN: Go back home where you belong.
KIDD: I hear you. Northern blues are not helping us a lot, and they’re asking for a great deal in return. We’re all hurting. All of us. But I’m thinking we got a part to play in all of this as well. There’s more than rain and Indians and Northern blues troubling our roads. I’ve seen it myself, coming in from Wichita Falls. Yeah. We’re all hurting. These are difficult times.
Appreciate it. Thank you. Thanks.
Much obliged. Thank you.
Thank you so much.
Thank you for your attention.
SIMON: Excuse me. Pardon me. Pardon me. She’s gone.
Little one! Child! [whimpers] Where are you? I-I was singing her a hymn, and I turned my back, and she was gone.
She didn’t take the horses.
She can’t be gone far.
Oh, she could be anywhere in this damn woods.
DORIS: Child? You come out now. There’s a river down there.
SIMON: Right behind you.
Little girl, where are you?
Where you at?
We need to split up!
SIMON: Yes, sir, Captain.
[Johanna shouting in Kiowa]
KIDD: No! Johanna, no! Johanna! It’s not safe! You’ll fall! Step back! Johanna!
[continues shouting in Kiowa]
[Johanna shouting in Kiowa]
DORIS: Set her on the bed. Oh. [mutters] She’s just soaked. Oh.
Surer than I live, that child’s trouble. Running off like that? I said she’s wild. Didn’t I say that?
Please, Mr. Boudlin.
Well, it’s the goddamn truth. You-you just got to look at her to know. Child’s got a curse on her.
SIMON: Well, shit, Captain. What the hell are you gonna do with her?
I’ll take her. I found her. I-I’ll take her.
You sure about that, Captain? Castroville’s damn near 400 miles. Those roads have changed since you lived down that way.
The little girl is lost. She needs to be home. Much obliged for you keeping her. I’ll be back first thing.
She ain’t been used in a while but still runs pretty good. You carrying?
Scattergun bird shot.
I, uh… kept mine from Palmito. Well, I’m sure you need it more than me. Got 20 rounds, too.
I’ll fetch it back to you.
Mm, it won’t make no matter.
Captain. Why are you doing this?
[door bangs open]
DORIS: Johanna. Johanna!
Come on now. Come, come.
DORIS: Another sleeve. There we go.
There we go. Okay.
There we are.
Come now. Come now. Come now.
By the grace of God, don’t you look pretty, hmm?
Makes no matter to me what you wear. We’ll be on this road for about six days till we make Dallas. Then across Central Texas to the Hill Country, it’ll be a few weeks. We’ll have to stop and give readings, of course. We have to pay our way. I’ll keep an eye out for trouble. Settlers killing Indians for their land and Indians killing settlers for taking it. I guess you know something about that. I’m Captain Kidd, by the by. Captain. Captain. You’re Johanna. You, Johanna. And it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. Make no mistake.
[rummaging, objects clattering]
This is the bacon. I guess I’ll make some.
“Please” would be nice to hear. That’s the way it works.
That is coffee.
Yeah, coffee packs a punch, doesn’t it? It’s an acquired taste. That’s sugar.
Hmm? Bit more to your liking, huh? Easy, now. All right, that’s enough. That’s enough. Hey.
See all those words printed in a line one after the other? Put ’em all together, and you have a story.
Stories. Well, go right ahead.
That’s my wife. Down in San Antonio.
I’m gonna get some more water.
MAN: Come here and help me load this up.
If you wanna make your fortune, then that’s the place to be.
MAN: God does not see black and white.
The divide that runs across our nation.
We must keep America whole.
Texas says no, but I say to you all, under the eyes of God, that our nation, our great nation, must be made complete!
[woman speaking foreign language]
KIDD: Mrs. Gannett.
GANNETT: They paying you to take her home, or you doing it out of the goodness of your heart?
No, they’re not paying me. I just know the road.
But I’ll take a pair of rooms if you have ’em.
Yeah, I got rooms.
KIDD: Thank you.
Thank you, ma’am.
No. No, no, no.
We don’t use our… our hands and fingers.
Look. See this?
This… this is how we eat.
[singing in Kiowa]
And, uh, and we don’t sing.
We don’t sing at the table.
GANNETT: What you all looking at?
Ain’t you never seen a child eat before?
What’s her name?
She doesn’t have any English.
So, what does she speak?
Wh-What… what did she say?
She said you’ve been calling her the wrong name.
Her name’s Cicada.
Well, it’s Johanna now.
She says she got no home.
No Kiowa family, neither.
You see the hair?
They cut it when they’re in mourning.
This child is an orphan twice over.
Can you tell her that I am taking her to family, to an aunt and an uncle down near Castroville?
Kidd, she don’t got any idea what that means.
Well, they’re the only ones that will take her.
She’s got no place else. Nobody wants her.
I hear them roads are bad Castroville way.
Yeah, yeah, so I hear.
Mr. Gannett used to take ’em.
Before he went to California.
Maybe he just didn’t want to come back.
I do not have a clue as to the care of a child.
Never had the need nor the patience required.
She’s still alive, ain’t she?
That’s not nothing.
GANNETT: Road taking its toll?
KIDD: Sleeping through the night isn’t what it once was.
Your stories can only keep you company for so long.
So, what you gonna do once you’ve taken her?
KIDD: I may just keep heading south.
Work passage on a ship out of Galveston.
Go see those far-off places I… read about to people every night.
How long’s it been?
Close to five years now.
Castroville’s San Antonio way.
Yeah. Yes, it is.
Isn’t it time you went back?
Made things right with her?
Looking at you now… I’m thinking you don’t have a choice.
[coins clanking in cup]
My name is Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, and it is an honor to be back in the bustling city of Dallas.
A busy town, and y’all are busy folk, so let’s get right to it.
Now, when I got in yesterday, I collected the latest newspapers, looking for suitable readings, something to take us away from our troubles.
From The Times, on its page three…
A word, Captain?
And these are my associates.
Mr. Almay. Gentlemen.
ALMAY: Enjoyed your reading, Cap.
You take us away from our hard thoughts.
[chuckles]: Thank you.
So, where’d you serve, Captain?
Infantry, Third Texas.
First Texas Infantry, Northern Virginia.
Lot of good it did us.
Poor men fighting a rich man’s war.
Left us lying here in the gutter.
Way I see it, we fought, but ain’t no piece of this ours.
It’s late, Mr. Almay.
And what is your point?
Point is, us old soldiers got to live, right?
I have a little business proposition for you, seeing you traveling alone like you are.
This young girl.
What do you want?
How much you want for her?
This child is not for sale.
Word is she’s that captive out of Wichita Falls.
Mr. Almay, you are well-informed.
ALMAY: News of value travels. [laughs]
How about $50?
All right, a hundred, then.
And you can rest easy knowing at least she’ll get paid.
I mean, look at that fair skin.
I bet you were a lucky man out there in the desert.
You are scum.
In the alternative, we could just take her.
All right, boys.
What’s going on here?
Oh, thank the Lord.
We’re local traders, sir.
We became concerned about the welfare of this here child in the clutches of a strange man such as this.
SOLDIER: Search him.
I am responsible for returning this child to her family down south.
That’s her papers and my oath.
SOLDIER: Stay still.
SOLDIER: You got that?
SOLDIER 2: Yep.
You take this girl, and you get on your way.
Write ’em up.
I’ll be seeing you, Captain.
ALMAY: You hear me?
I’m coming for you as soon as I’m done with these blues.
ALMAY: J.G. Almay.
[door bangs shut]
12 Polk Street, Dallas, Texas.
Hyah! Come on!
Come on. Come on.
Come on. [grunts]
[grunting with effort]
Come on. Down, down.
ALMAY: Hey, Cap, didn’t I say I’d come for you?
ALMAY: Didn’t I say that?
[bullet whizzes, ricochets]
KIDD: Come on. Come on.
KIDD: Ha! Ha!
Higher. Come, come!
ALMAY: Let’s go.
ALMAY: Hey, Cap!
You’re good for a man of years.
But ain’t you just so damn tired of all this?
Didn’t we have our body and soul broke out there?
Seems an awful shame for it to end like this when you can just join us.
…rich pickings for some, slim pickings for the rest of us.
[both grunting with effort]
Oh, goddamn it!
Take the horses and go.
I shoot. You go.
No, no. No, this is worthless.
See this? It’s for birds.
It’s for birds, understand?
You’re not thinking straight, Cap.
She ain’t worth dying for.
Get away while you can.
What do you say, Cap?
Talk to me.
You have me… in an uncomfortable circumstance.
How exactly are we gonna work this out?
ALMAY: I figure a share for each man and an extra for me.
Considering what you did to my associate over there.
That sounds pretty fair to me.
So, what do you want me to do?
ALMAY: Just got to turn over the girl. That’s all.
No. Johanna, no!
They don’t want our money.
They want you!
Oh, Cap, what you trying to do, tickle us to death?
KIDD: Well, we don’t have a deal yet.
I think it’s ’cause you’re out of bullets and all you got left now is bird shot.
Am I right, Cap?
All right, Almay.
Damn it, you have a deal.
I’m gonna lay my gun down on this here rock.
How about you do the same?
Here’s my sidearm.
Let me see yours.
I’m laying my weapon down.
ALMAY: Clay over there is gonna show himself.
Then how about you do the same?
[whispers]: Stay down.
Oh, goddamn it!
Well, now you done gone and spoiled it, Cap.
Looks like we’re back on opposite sides.
Looks like it.
All right, Cap.
Looks like I’m coming for you now.
[wind whistling softly]
[wind whistling softly]
[rock clatters softly]
[gun bangs on rock]
[whispers]: Come on.
JOHANNA: ♪ Captain… ♪ [continues singing in Kiowa]
[continues humming, then stops]
See that? See that bird?
Yeah, that’s good.
“Bird” is “goo-toh”?
[animal bellowing nearby]
Since you’re so smart…
…”prickly pear cactus.”
“Pear cactus.” And there’s juniper out there.
And-and there’s some sage.
That’s right. It smells good.
So, what else can you teach me in Kiowa?
“Daum.” What is “daum”?
[horse neighs, snorts]
“Daum pahn doo-goh daw.”
“Daw” with a… [exhales] is a spirit.
For us, it’s more like a straight line.
KIDD: “Li-an,” yes.
We’re all journeying across the prairie in a straight line and looking for that place to be.
And when we find it, we go straight out and we plow it, and we plant it all in a straight line.
[chuckles] “Velly gut,” indeed.
Sehr gut, Onkel.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.
“Sehr gut, Onkel.” You just spoke German.
Can you remember anything else?
What else can you remember?
What is it?
Oh, dear God.
[reins snap, horse neighs]
You just leave that. You just leave it.
I guess we both have demons to face, going down this road.
[rustling in trees]
[horse whinnies softly]
Good day, gentlemen.
Ain’t nobody unaccounted for getting into Erath County.
Is that the law?
It is now.
I’m carrying nothing of any great value.
What’s your name, sir?
Kidd. Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd.
And your reason for traveling, Cap?
I read the news to anyone with ten cents and the time to hear it.
My, my, my, my, my.
Carrying some damage back here.
I-I got the wagon cheap, and…
the holes came with it.
Well, your newspapers sure got holes in ’em, mister.
There ain’t nothing in here about Erath County.
Hell of a lot’s been happening.
Ain’t that right, boys?
[murmurs of agreement]
But I don’t see it here.
BENJAMIN: You know, we’ve been busy.
We done fixed them Mexicans.
Injuns, too. Pushed them clean out.
Mr. Farley, he killed a right smart of Indians.
[whispers]: He scalped them real good, too.
MR. FARLEY: We’re building a whole new world down here in Erath County.
But ain’t none of it writ here.
That news didn’t travel.
Let’s take care of that.
Why don’t we have us a little read?
What do you say…
Go on, move.
MAN: Wash out that blood.
MAN 2: Don’t be staring. Keep working.
When he gets done here, bring him into town.
[Johanna singing in Kiowa]
What business is Mr. Farley in?
Business to never mind your business.
What’s your name?
Is Mr. Farley family to you, John?
Nah, Mr. Farley, he ain’t any kin of mine. No, no.
I ain’t got no kin now Tommy’s gone.
But I work for Mr. Farley all same.
What happened to… to Tommy?
Mr. Farley gone shot him.
For hollering and questioning.
Got thoughts of things in his head.
He couldn’t keep ’em in there.
Loud, loud mouth.
[laughter, jovial chatter]
Have him read that.
Mr. Farley says to read this.
MAN: Stoke it up. This fire’s got to burn.
There you go.
MAN: You, sir.
[chatter continues indistinctly]
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name…
[loudly]: My name is Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd.
And Mr. Farley has asked me to come here tonight to read to y’all the news.
He’s been kind enough to supply me with a copy of his own Erath Journal.
Sure looks like Mr. Farley is a very busy man
in these parts.
He’s an editor and a publisher, a businessman, a lawgiver.
And all of you fine folk working for him, at that.
[murmurs of agreement]
KIDD: But the way I see it, none of that is news.
So let me see if I can’t tempt you with something else.
The Harper illustrated.
It has a story reporting from the lonely little town of Keel Run, Pennsylvania.
[clears throat] I got a bad feeling about this.
Just give him a minute.
Now, Keel Run ain’t known for much.
And I’m counting none of y’all have heard of it since, well, it is in the North.
Why should you?
Keel Run is just one of a thousand little towns across our nation birthed by the work of many but enjoyed by the few.
Now, Keel Run is no Durand.
It does not trade in buffalo but in coal.
And just like you, every morning, its men rise early from their beds only to descend into the great, black coal mine.
“On the morning of February 11, 37 men of the Run attended their first shift at noon.”
“But before the next hour was up, Keel Run’s wheel of fortune had turned, for the mine, the coal mine itself, had caught fire.”
[crowd gasping, groaning]
The first dozen died in an instant.
Another seven not long after.
But I’m not here to tell you the story of those unfortunate souls or of the mine owner who’d been so lax about their safety, sitting up there in his fancy home, counting the money produced by their labor.
No, no, no, I’m here to tell you about the 11 men who lived.
Who survived that fire.
The 11 men who fought back against their deadly fate.
MAN: Yes! Yes!
Thought I told you to read from the Erath, Captain.
KIDD: Well, see, Mr. Farley, I was wondering if folks might prefer some storytelling from places outside of Erath.
MAN: Let’s hear it!
Just for tonight, Mr. Farley.
MR. FARLEY: I think you ought to read from the Erath all the same, Captain.
[murmurs of protest]
Sort of thing these people expect to hear.
MAN: Let’s hear what he has to say.
How about we vote on it?
MR. FARLEY: How about we don’t?
KIDD: Now, I can read from Mr. Farley’s Erath Journal…
[murmurs of protest]
…or I can keep on with the story of the men of Keel Run.
[shouting excitedly in Kiowa]
MAN: I vote men of the Run!
KIDD: Keel Run?
All right. Very good.
MAN: Let’s hear it, Captain.
That day, those 11 men were facing a mortal enemy…
Go now. Shut this fucking thing down. Now.
…intent on destroying everything they ever cared about, everything they’d built…
Show’s over, folks!
…every pillar of progress of their own civilization.
Show’s over! Now, go on home.
And I tell you, those men refused defeat.
In the dark, they kept their heads and they worked together!
Get out of here!
Those men fought back…
Go home now!
Move! Go on, get out!
…against the odds, for better lives, for freedom!
You think that’s funny, boy?
MAN: I got him!
MAN 2: Whoa!
Y’all, clear out! Clear out!
[clamoring continues in distance]
You should’ve just read, Captain.
I was just giving the people a choice, Mr. Farley.
Well, you can read now.
You got no idea what we deal with down here.
Mexicans, blacks, Indians.
Give ’em an inch, and every one will slit your throat where you piss.
KIDD: The war is over, Mr. Farley.
We have to stop fighting sometime.
MR. FARLEY: Oh, we will.
When it’s ours alone.
Come here. Don’t…
Yeah. Get up. Stand up.
[Kidd coughs, wheezes]
You ready to read, Cap?
KIDD: No. No.
I like your stories.
JOHN: I tell you, I ain’t never heard of news reading as a business before.
It’s not a rich man’s occupation, as you can see.
Well, so how-how did you bother in it, then?
I was a printer by trade.
And I had a printworks in San Antonio.
Printed up newspapers.
Then the war came.
When it was over, it was all gone.
I lost everything.
Had to make a new life for myself right there.
Couldn’t print the newspapers anymore, but I could read ’em.
And that’s what I’ve been doing from town to town.
You got family and all?
Left a wife in San Antonio.
[chatter in foreign language]
[chatter in foreign language continues]
[repeats word in Kiowa]
[chatter in foreign language continues]
KIDD: Well, all right. This is you, John Calley.
I could come with y’all.
Yeah, I heard all about Hill Country.
That’s Kiowa land.
If they find you, they’d kill you.
The railroad’s that way, John.
Go make something of your own.
At least… take this gun.
I could get another real easy. [chuckles]
Just take it for her.
Say, Captain… those men holed up in that mine, they really beat the fire and get home?
Yeah, they really did.
Ain’t that something, huh?
Good luck to you, John.
JOHN: Thank you.
KIDD: Come on. [clicks tongue]
JOHN: Good luck.
[wind whistling softly]
[hawk screeches in distance]
Will you teach me that song you always sing?
The one that goes… [sings in Kiowa]
[both singing in Kiowa]
[Johanna humming melody]
[man singing in Kiowa in distance]
[pushing dirt on fire]
[man continues singing in distance]
Whoa, whoa, whoa.
[wind howling softly]
We have to stay on the main road!
KIDD: You don’t have to do this.
They aren’t there anymore.
Mama, Papa tot?
I want to get you away from all this pain and killing, get you clear of it.
Going back, it’s not good.
Need to put it behind you.
Move forward. Huh?
KIDD: Stay on that line.
And don’t look back, hmm?
Take the reins!
[Johanna exclaims in Kiowa]
Jump! Jump, Johanna!
[horse squeals, groans]
[water sloshing in canteen]
Yeah, good. All right.
[hoofbeats growing louder]
[rumbling, wind howling]
[wind howling loudly]
Where are you?
Johanna! Johanna! Johanna! Johanna! Johanna! Johanna! Jo…
[dog barking nearby]
Young man, I’m looking for the Leonbergers of Castroville.
Do we read story?
No, no story here.
No, no dime-ah.
We go there?
Yes, we go there.
No. No, Cap.
No. We go dime-ah.
[Kidd speaking Kiowa]
We go. No.
JOHANNA: No, we go.
This is… this is where you belong now, Johanna.
This is your home now.
I have business with the Leonberger family.
This child is Johanna Leonberger.
My sister, she always went her own way.
We said, “Stay in Castroville,” but she and her husband Wolf, they wanted to be out there in the valley where the land is cheaper.
So, she thinks she’s an Indian now?
KIDD: Well, s-something in between.
She needs time to adjust.
She must work.
She must learn…
The proper ways.
You know, my sister, when we found her in the bedroom, they cut her throat.
The baby sister… they bashed the brain out.
Best if she forgets all that.
She needs new memories.
Who knows what they will have taught her?
But we must try to see her as a blessing.
And we need the extra hands.
You want money for bring her here?
No. No, I don’t want your money.
Buy her books.
So she can read.
She likes stories.
KIDD: I will go.
You want some food for the journey?
KIDD: No, thank you.
He’s leaving, child.
You ungrateful girl. This man, he brought you on home.
KIDD: That’s all right.
Maybe she doesn’t understand what’s happening.
[key clicks in lock]
MR. BRANHOLME: I think Michael did this.
I’m not sure that that’s accurate.
We’ll have to inform Mr. Young about the rewriting of this contract, no?
KIDD: Hello, Willie.
Gentlemen, this is… my d-dear old friend Captain Jeffrey Kidd.
Pleasure to meet you, sir.
She’s at the church.
In the garden.
It was cholera.
There’s nothing you could have done.
It was being away for four years of war, Willie.
Four years with all the killing and all the blood.
Of wanting to go home every day.
Of wanting to see her and feel her.
To talk and laugh and dream and… and think of having a family.
Instead, I got a letter delivered to my tent… saying she was gone and already buried.
That’s when I knew.
God’s curse on me had taken her.
It was sickness, Jeff, just sickness.
It wasn’t sickness.
It was judgment for all I had seen… and all I had done.
I’ve known you 50 years.
Since we were boys.
We didn’t ask for any of this.
But it fell to us to do the fighting.
That’s not judgment.
It’s just what we had to face and… carry the rest of our days.
[birds chirping quietly]
[chatter in German]
[dog barking nearby]
We had to tie her.
She runs away.
She’s a child.
She… no work.
She doesn’t belong here.
Johanna… Captain, Johanna go?
If that’s what you want.
[Johanna crying softly]
[Johanna’s breath trembling]
Captain, Johanna go.
KIDD: Now, ladies and gentlemen, for this final story of the day.
“A man dead and buried has risen from the grave.
“Three days ago, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a Mr. Alfred Blackstone of 47 years fell into a stupor.”
“His wife called the physician, but there being no pulse, it was determined that Mr. Blackstone was, most unfortunately, dead.”
“He was buried very swiftly on the grounds of the local church, where, as divine providence would have it, a wedding was due to take place the following day.”
“But nearing the church doors, the bride abruptly stopped. From the cemetery beyond, she had heard this inexplicable sound.”
[crowd gasping, chuckling]
“The desperate, unmistakable hammering of life.”
[crowd gasps, chuckles]
“In a state of frantic excitement, she ran to a nearby grave marked ‘Alfred Blackstone.’ “
“And within moments, the entire wedding congregation was digging.”
“Finally, poor Alfred Blackstone was pulled from the earth very much alive.”
“And from his widow Blackstone’s embrace, Alfred turned to the groom and said, and I quote, ‘Feller, when you get in that church and she says, “Till death us do part”… don’t you believe a word of it.’ “
My name is Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd. This is Miss Johanna Kidd.
[applause, excited chatter]
And that is all the news of the world we have for you. We thank you, and good night.
[laughter, applause continue]