News of the World (2020) – Transcript

A Civil War veteran agrees to deliver a girl, taken by the Kiowa people years ago, to her aunt and uncle, against her will. They travel hundreds of miles and face grave dangers as they search for a place that either can call home.
News of the World (2020)

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]

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[grunting softly]

[indistinct chatter]

[horse whinnies]

[coins clanking]

♪ ♪

[coins continue clanking in cup]

[quiet chatter]

[chatter continues]

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.

[crowd murmuring]

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]

[clears throat]

[tools clanking nearby]


[horse whinnies]

[quiet chatter]


Much obliged.

[clicking tongue]

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[horse neighs]

[bird cawing]

[horse grunts]

[flies buzzing]

[birds cawing]

♪ ♪

[bushes rustling]

[wings flapping]

[twig snaps]

Hey. Hey! Hey! Stop!


I’m not gonna hurt you.

Come here.

[squeals, screams]

[both grunting]

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.

[flies buzzing]

[Kidd grunts]

Mm. These are Indian agency papers. “Johanna Leonberger.” Is that your name? Johanna?

[horse neighs]

[hoofbeats approaching]

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.

Any sidearms?

No, sir.

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.

You’re good.

What the hell do I do with this child?

Fetch her to Red River. Command post will know.

[horse neighs]




♪ ♪

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.



[speaking German]

[stammers, speaks German shakily]

Uh, remember your German family? Uh… All right. Come tomorrow, we’ll find somebody who can take you home.

♪ ♪

[cattle lowing]

♪ ♪

[men hollering]

[whistling, hollering continues]

[distressed grunt]

SOLDIER: All right, me, too.

Come on. Ah, ah. Come on. Come on.

[distressed grunting]

Pardon me. Lost child here.

[Johanna squeals]

Got a child issue here.

[indistinct chatter]

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.

Thank you.

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.


[men hollering]

[cattle lowing]

[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]

[Kidd grunts]


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.

[thunder rumbling]

KIDD: All right, let’s start with the local news from The Carthage Banner. “The Red River Ferry is sunk near Cross Timbers.

[upset murmuring]

Waters are still too high to cross, and parts down to Elm Creek are completely washed out.”

[upset murmuring]

Yanks sending soldiers too blue to muddy their boots. That’s why.

[laughter, applause]

That’s right!

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…”

[upset murmuring]

“…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…”

[angry shouting]

Say no to abolition. Never!

KIDD: “…affording to the former slaves the right to vote, and the repayment of our war debts.”

[angry murmuring]

I’m saying no. I say Texas first and damn them amendments.

[cheering, applause]

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!

[angry murmuring]

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.

[thunder crashes]

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.

♪ ♪

[thunder rumbling]

[Johanna shouting in Kiowa]

KIDD: No! Johanna, no! Johanna! It’s not safe! You’ll fall! Step back! Johanna!

[continues shouting in Kiowa]

Get down!

[Johanna screams]

[Kidd grunts]

[Johanna shouting in Kiowa]

[Johanna screams]

♪ ♪

[speaks Kiowa]

[Johanna crying]

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.

[quiet chatter]

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?

[Johanna screaming]

[door bangs open]

DORIS: Johanna. Johanna!

Come on now. Come, come.

[Doris muttering]

[screaming continues]

DORIS: Another sleeve. There we go.

There we go. Okay.

There we are.

Come now. Come now. Come now.

There. Oh!

[grunts angrily]

By the grace of God, don’t you look pretty, hmm?

[frustrated grunt]

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[Johanna grunting]


[frustrated grunt]

♪ ♪

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.

[insects chirping]

[rummaging, objects clattering]

[sniffs] Mm.

[cans 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.


[Kidd chuckles]

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.

[birds chirping]


♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[lively chatter]

MAN: Come here and help me load this up.

If you wanna make your fortune, then that’s the place to be.

[horse whinnies]

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.

Hey, Kidd.

She yours?

[indistinct chatter]

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.

[quiet chatter]

KIDD: Thank you.

Thank you, ma’am.

No. No, no, no.

We don’t use our… our hands and fingers.


Look. See this?

Spoon? Spoon?

This… this is how we eat.


[singing in Kiowa]

And, uh, and we don’t sing.

[singing continues]

We don’t sing at the table.

[singing louder]

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?



KIDD: What?

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.

Johanna Leonberger.

This man…

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.

[door creaking]

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.

[door closes]

[insects chirping]

[quiet chatter]

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.

♪ ♪

[indistinct chatter]

[coins clanking in cup]

Good evening.

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…

[indistinct chatter]

[horse neighing]

A word, Captain?

Name’s Almay.

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.

Your hands.


SOLDIER: You got that?


You take this girl, and you get on your way.

Let’s go.


Go on.

Write ’em up.

I’ll be seeing you, Captain.

Keep walking.

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.

[dog barking]

[horse neighing]

[stamp thumps]


[horse neighing]

[dog barking]


[horse whinnies]


[horse neighs]

♪ ♪

JOHANNA: Captain!

Hyah! Come on!

[horse neighs]


[horse squeals]


Come on. Come on.

[panting, grunting]





Come on. [grunts]





[grunting with effort]


[horse neighing]

[grunting, panting]


[both grunting]

Come on. Down, down.

[bullets whizzing]

[horse neighing]

[bullet ricochets]

[both gasp]

ALMAY: Hey, Cap, didn’t I say I’d come for you?


ALMAY: Didn’t I say that?

[bullet whizzes, ricochets]


[bullet whizzes]


[gunfire continues]

KIDD: Come on. Come on.

ALMAY: Move!

[bullet whizzes]

KIDD: Ha! Ha!


[panting, grunting]

[gun cocking]

[bullet ricochets]


[gunfire continues]

[bullet ricochets]


Higher. Come, come!

ALMAY: Let’s go.

[both grunting]

[bullet ricochets]


[panting quietly]

ALMAY: Hey, Cap!

You’re good for a man of years.

But ain’t you just so damn tired of all this?

Help me.

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.

This world…


…rich pickings for some, slim pickings for the rest of us.

[both grunting with effort]



Oh, goddamn it!



You go.

Take the horses and go.

I shoot. You go.

[Almay laughs]


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.

[Almay laughs]

Mr. Almay!

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.

All right.

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.

Here’s mine.

[whispers]: Dime-ah.

Captain, boom?

Boom, boom.

[coins jingling]

ALMAY: Clay over there is gonna show himself.

Then how about you do the same?

Sounds good!

[whispers]: Stay down.

[panting quietly]


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]

[Johanna panting]

[wind whistling softly]

[twig snaps]

[rock clatters softly]

[dust falling]


[wind whistling]

[footsteps above]

[dust falling]

[gun bangs on rock]

[gunshot echoing]

♪ ♪

[whispers]: Come on.

JOHANNA: ♪ Captain… ♪ [continues singing in Kiowa]

[continues singing]

[humming melody]

[continues humming]

[continues humming, then stops]

♪ ♪

[grunts softly]


See that? See that bird?




Yeah, that’s good.




“Bird” is “goo-toh”?



[Johanna chuckles]

[animal bellowing nearby]

JOHANNA: “Aungopih.”

KIDD: “Buffalo.”

Since you’re so smart…

…”prickly pear cactus.”


“Pear cactus.” And there’s juniper out there.

And-and there’s some sage.




“Sage.” Yeah.

That’s right. It smells good.



So, what else can you teach me in Kiowa?


“Daum.” What is “daum”?

[horse neighs, snorts]


The-the earth.

All right.


The clouds?

The sky.

“Daum pahn doo-goh daw.”

Like, coll-collected?

“Daum daw”?

[exhales slowly]


“Daw” with a… [exhales] is a spirit.

A breath.

[Johanna exhales]

A circle.

For us, it’s more like a straight line.

A 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.


Very good.

“Velly gut.”

[chuckles] “Velly gut,” indeed.

Sehr gut, Onkel.

Whoa, whoa.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

[horse whinnies]

“Sehr gut, Onkel.” You just spoke German.


Can you remember anything else?

What else can you remember?

♪ ♪


What is it?

Oh, dear God.

Hyah! Hyah!

[reins snap, horse neighs]


You just leave that. You just leave it.

Forget it.

I guess we both have demons to face, going down this road.

[buffalo bellowing]

[rustling in trees]

[horse whinnies softly]

[guns cock]

Good day, gentlemen.

Road’s closed.

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?

The news.

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.

[men laughing]

[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…

…news man?

[man chuckles]

Go on, move.

[lively chatter]

[men shouting]

[liquid bubbling]

[bison bellowing]

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]

[man coughing]

[singing continues]

What business is Mr. Farley in?

Mr. Far…

Business to never mind your business.

What’s your name?

John Calley.

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.

[indistinct chatter]

♪ ♪

[indistinct shouting]

[laughter, jovial chatter]

Have him read that.

Hey, Captain.

Mr. Farley says to read this.

MAN: Stoke it up. This fire’s got to burn.

Dime-ah? Dime-ah?

[coins clanking]


There you go.



[coin clanks]


MAN: You, sir.

[chatter continues indistinctly]

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name…

[chatter continues]

[loudly]: My name is Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd.

[chatter quiets]

And Mr. Farley has asked me to come here tonight to read to y’all the news.

[scattered shouts]

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.

[laughter, murmuring]

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.”

[indistinct murmuring]

“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.

[snaps fingers]

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.

WOMAN: Yeah!

[crowd murmuring]

Who survived that fire.


The 11 men who fought back against their deadly fate.

CROWD: Yeah!

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.

Go. Go!

…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?

[crowd clamoring]


MAN: I got him!

MAN 2: Whoa!

[clamoring continues]



[clamoring continues]

MAN: Move!

Y’all, clear out! Clear out!

[Johanna panting]

[clamoring continues in distance]

[gun cocks]

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.

[gasps, grunts]

Come here. Don’t…

Stand up!


Yeah. Get up. Stand up.

[coughs, groans]

[Kidd coughs, wheezes]

You ready to read, Cap?

[gun fires]

[gun clicks]

KIDD: No. No.

No! No!

[gun fires]

[groaning weakly]

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.


[tools clanking]

[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.


[John sighs]

All right.

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.

Right there.


Well, goddamn.

Ain’t that something, huh?

Good luck to you, John.

JOHN: Thank you.

KIDD: Come on. [clicks tongue]

[horse whinnies]

JOHN: Good luck.

[wind whistling softly]

[hawk screeches in distance]

♪ ♪

[horse whinnies]

Will you teach me that song you always sing?

The one that goes… [sings in Kiowa]

[both singing in Kiowa]

[singing continues]

[Johanna humming melody]

[man singing in Kiowa in distance]

[pushing dirt on fire]

[man continues singing in distance]

[wheel squeaking]

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

[wind howling softly]

[hammering continues]

We have to stay on the main road!

Main road!

We go.

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

KIDD: You don’t have to do this.

They aren’t there anymore.

Su-hanna go.

[wind whistling]

[door creaks]

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[wind howling]

♪ ♪

Mama, Papa tot?


They’re dead.

♪ ♪

I want to get you away from all this pain and killing, get you clear of it.

Going back, it’s not good.

[speaks Kiowa]

Need to put it behind you.

Move forward. Huh?

[speaks Kiowa]



KIDD: Stay on that line.

And don’t look back, hmm?

[wheel clunks]

[horse whinnies]


[wheels squeaking]



Hang on.

[Johanna whimpers]

Take the reins!

[horse neighs]



[Johanna exclaims in Kiowa]

[wheel rattling]

Jump! Jump, Johanna!


[horse squealing]

[horse shrieking]

[both panting]

[horse squeals, groans]

[gun fires]

[gunshot echoing]

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[Kidd grunts]

[water sloshing in canteen]

Yeah, good. All right.

[sighs softly]

[Johanna panting]

[panting continues]

[exhales sharply]

♪ ♪

[distant hoofbeats]

[horses neighing]


[Kidd grunts]


[hoofbeats growing louder]

[grunts, pants]

[rumbling, wind howling]



[wind howling loudly]

[distressed grunting]


Where are you?

Johanna! Johanna! Johanna! Johanna! Johanna! Johanna! Jo…




Thank God.


♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[horse neighing]

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[birds chirping]

♪ ♪

[horse neighing]

[dog barking nearby]

[quiet chatter]

Young man, I’m looking for the Leonbergers of Castroville.

[speaks German]


Do we read story?


No, no story here.

No dime-ah?

No, no dime-ah.

We go there?


Yes, we go there.

No. No, Cap.

No. We go dime-ah.

No. No.

We go.


We go!

[Kidd speaking Kiowa]

We go. No.

JOHANNA: No, we go.

This is… this is where you belong now, Johanna.

[speaks Kiowa]

This is your home now.

♪ ♪

Good day.

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.


[speaks German]

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…

[speaks German]

The proper ways.

Of course.

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.

ANNA: 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.

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[indistinct chatter]

[cattle lowing]

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[key clicks in lock]

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[quiet chatter]

MR. BRANHOLME: I think Michael did this.

“Expressly agreed.”

I’m not sure that that’s accurate.

We’ll have to inform Mr. Young about the rewriting of this contract, no?

This here.

KIDD: Hello, Willie.

[chuckles] Jeffrey.

My God.

Gentlemen, this is… my d-dear old friend Captain Jeffrey Kidd.

Pleasure to meet you, sir.

KIDD: Gentlemen.


She’s at the church.

In the garden.

It was cholera.

There’s nothing you could have done.

Doctor said.

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.

We lived.

She died.

That’s not judgment.

It’s just what we had to face and… carry the rest of our days.

[bell tolling]

[birds chirping quietly]

[grunting softly]

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[crying softly]

[chickens clucking]

[indistinct chatter]

♪ ♪

[horse whinnies]

♪ ♪

Ha! Ha!


♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[chatter in German]

[horse whinnies]

[dog barking nearby]

♪ ♪

[goats bleating]

We had to tie her.

She runs away.

She’s a child.

She… no work.

My mistake.

She doesn’t belong here.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry.

Johanna… Captain, Johanna go?


If that’s what you want.

[Johanna crying softly]

♪ ♪

[Johanna sniffles]

[Johanna’s breath trembling]

♪ ♪

Captain, Johanna go.

♪ ♪

[goat bleats]

KIDD: Now, ladies and gentlemen, for this final story of the day.

[crowd groaning]

“A man dead and buried has risen from the grave.

[gasping, murmuring]

“Three days ago, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a Mr. Alfred Blackstone of 47 years fell into a stupor.”

[crowd murmuring]

“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.’ “


[crowd chattering]


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]

♪ ♪


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