Tuesday, March 29, 2016

There were three fight scenes in the saloon in the novel Shane and two in the film.  In the novel Shane goes into the saloon and mercantile store to buy work pants shortly after he is hired to work for Joe Starrett.  While there, he buys a bottle of soda-pop for Starrett’s young son.  He is challenged by one of the cattle boss’s hands, “a young fellow everyone called Chris … known for a gay manner and reckless courage.”  The cattle boss’s men had run out of the valley Starrett’s previous hired hand.  Chris decides to do the same to Shane.  Most of the dialogue I use in Scene Five between Shane and Kurt Jergens is from the exchange in the novel between Shane and Chris. 

“Hello, farmer,” he said.  He said it as if he did not like farmers.

Shane regarded him with grave attention.  “Speaking to me?” he asked mildly and finished his drink.

“Hell, there ain’t nobody else standing there.  Here, have a drink of this.”  Chris shoved his bottle along the bar.   Shane poured himself a generous slug and raised it to his lips.

“Did you hear that?  This farmer drinks whiskey!  I didn’t think these plow-pushing dirt-grubbers drank anything stronger than soda pop!”

“What’s been happening in here?  It smells.  That ain’t no clean cattleman smell.  That’s plain dirty barnyard.”  He stared at Shane.  “You, farmer.  What are you and Starrett raising out there?  Pigs?”

In the novel Shane does not accept Chris’s challenge.  Chris believes it is because Shane is a coward.  The owner of the saloon disagrees, says to his bar tender, “He wasn’t afraid of Chris.  He was afraid of himself.”  One of the homesteaders, a witness of the incident, at a meeting of homesteaders at Starrett’s place, talks about Shane’s “cowardice.”  Shane overhears, rides into town, and knocks the tar out of Chris.  Several days later, the homesteaders and their families and Shane go into town to buy supplies.  Shane goes into the saloon.  Several of the cattle boss’s men jump him.  Starrett hears of it and joins Shane in a fierce brawl.

The film replicates the novel’s first saloon scene, skips the second scene, and portrays the third.  Burdened with so many invented characters filling script space, I skipped the third scene and compressed the first two scenes into one.  Kurt Jergens seemed the logical choice to be Shane’s comic foil.
Shhotout at Garsen's Saloon -- Part One
Scene Five


Cast of Characters

            Joe Garrett, leader of the homesteaders
            Marian Garrett, Joe’s wife
            Grandma Garrett, Joe’s mother
            Johnny Garrett, dim-witted 16 year old son
            Bonnie Garrett, 12 year old daughter

            Cannonball Stone, fiery-tempered homesteader
            Opal Stone, 16 year old daughter
            Rocky Stone, 14 year old son
            Svede Svenson, Swedish homesteader

            Ebenezer Erp, town preacher
            Alley Erp, Ebenezer’s wife
            Hannah Erp, bad-breathed 16 year old daughter

            Big Bill Wretcher, cattle boss of the valley
            Rachael Wretcher, flirtatious 16 year old daughter
            Kurt Jergens, Big Bill’s German, bully-boy foreman

            George Garsen, owner of Garsen’s Saloon
            Tina Tintinnabulation, saloon girl
            Digger Phelps, undertaker and barber
            Widow Winslow, man-hunting, 35 year old widow
            Shane, gunfighter trying to escape his past

Time: 1880s
Place: Shoshone Hole, Wyoming

Scene Five

(Garsen’s Saloon.  A week later.  Garsen is behind the bar wiping glasses.  Digger Phelps is seated at a table, a bottle and a shot glass in front of him)

Garsen: Hey, Digger.  Business been slow lately?  I don’t recall anybody kickin’ the bucket this last month.

Digger: Summers are always slow.  Got to wait for the first fall chill.  (takes a drink)  Hot weather brings ‘em into the barbershop, though.  And I pull a few teeth.

Garsen: Reckon with more homesteaders comin’ into the valley, we’ll all be getting more business.

Digger: You get yours right away.  I have t’wait.

Garsen: Not too long from what I hear.  Big Bill Wretcher’s ‘bout ready to make his play!  His foreman was doin’ a lot of talking in here this week.

Digger (with interest): That so?  I could use a few stiffs right about now!

Garsen: Course, I’d rather see the homesteaders stay.  I’ve made a lot of money from the supplies Garrett and the others have bought this past year.

Digger: Big Bill won’t stand for it.  And Joe Garrett won’t back off.  There’ll be gun play.  (smiling)  And I’ll get my stiffs.

(Tina Tintinnabulation enters left)

Digger: Tina, honey!  Come sit here on my lap!

Tina (with flirtatious good humor): Two seconds on duty and already an hombre wants me on hees lap!  Carrumba!

Digger: Come here, my little chili bean!  I’ll buy you a drink.

Tina (after laughing): I bring you the drink but I no’ you little chili bean.  You naughty boy!

Digger: Okay, then you’re my hot tamale!

Tina (playing along): You stay away from me.  I no want undertaker fingers around waist.  Got that?

Digger: Si.  Comprendez.  Garsen.  Where’d you find this bundle of dynamite?

Garsen: Believe it or not, in a convent.

Tina: Where those two sodbusters always come in here?  They really like Tina.  I dance with tambourine!  Crazy one with long name give me Dixie dollars!

Digger (laughing): Confederate money ain’t worth a penny.

Tina: I know that!  But I like heem and Svede.  They fun hombres!

(Cannonball Stone and Svede Svenson enter right)

Tina: Carrumba!  Speak of Diablo!  Chihuahua!

Cannonball: Que es el burro to you, too, senorita!

Svede: Yumpin’ Yimminy!  My Svedish meatball!

Tina (to Digger): What I tell you!  Fun hombres!  (She dances over to them and tickles Cannonball under the chin)  Kootchie!  Kootchie!  Kootchie!

Svede: Why you tickle him?  What is wrong with me?

Tina: He got long name.  You don’t.

Cannonball: Patrick Henry Robert E. Lee Beauregard Jackson Cannonball Stone says, “Drinks are on the house!”

Digger (mildly sarcastic): Mighty generous of you, Stone.  The place is packed.  What you goona use?  Dickie dollars?

Cannonball (suddenly angry): You!  Undertaker!  You speak of the South with respect, you hear?!

Digger: Just wanted to make sure your folding money’s got Abe Lincoln on it.  (Scornfully)  Instead of Jefferson Davis!

(Cannonball leaps out of his chair and shoves the table Digger is seated at on top of him.  As Digger lies on the floor, Cannonball stands over him ready to draw his gun from its holster)

Cannonball: You Yankee tinhorn!  Draw!

Svede: Yumpin’ Yimminy!  Patrick Henry!  You don’t shoot a man for being rude.

Cannonball: Stay out of this, Svede!  (to Digger)  You lowdown, no good carpetbagger, draw!

Digger: Since I don’t have a gun, that’d be difficult.  Besides, my interest in corpses is plantin’ them, not bein’ one.  (with anger)  But I’ll wager this!  I’ll be plantin’ you within the month!

Cannonball: Yella streak right down his back!  ‘Bama plowboy always could lick three Yankees, ‘cause two is always runnin’!  (He laughs and struts up to the bar)

(Digger gets up, picks up his table and chair, and sits down sullenly)

Tina (to Cannonball, scolding him): You naughty boy!  You no do that!  Mr. Digger.  He my friend, too!  Bad hombre come here.  He plug you in tummy!  You bleed all over floor!

Cannonball (with bravado): I ain’t afraid a no man!

Garsen: Tina’s right.  Seems to me you’re lookin’ for trouble.

Cannonball: What d’ ya mean?!  I’m a friendly fella!  Ain’t that right, Svede?

Svede: Yah.

Cannonball: But no man alive talks against Jeff Davis without payin’ for it!

Garsen: Here!  Here now!  The drinks are on me.  You and your friend sit in the corner, and cool off.  Take this bottle, and these glasses.  (gives the bottle and glasses)  And, Tina.

Tina: Si, senor.

Garsen: Give Digger another bottle.  (He hands her a bottle)

(Cannonball and Swede go to the corner table.  Tina gives Digger his bottle)

Garsen: Paid too much for this furniture to have it busted up!

(Kurt Jergens and Big Bill Wretcher enter right)

Big Bill: Set ‘em up, Garsen.  The usual.

Garsen: Sure, Big Bill.  (pause)  Hear you just got back from the reservation up by Cheyenne.

Big Bill: That’s right.  Signed a beef contract with the government.  What’d I tell you about servin’ homesteaders in here?!

Garsen: Well, gee, Bill.  Times are tough.  I gotta make a livin’.

Big Bill (unpleasantly): You been doin’ right well, I hear.

Jergens: Barbed vire!  Hundreds of veet of barbed vire!  Yah!

Big Bill (angrily): Seems everybody’s done real good ‘round here, but Big Bill!  What do you think I should do about that, Garsen?

Garsen: I don’t want any trouble, Bill.

Jergens (looking about the room): Old building here.  Burn vast!  Yah!  Tindervox!

Garsen: I can’t order those men out of here!  They’ve got a right!

Big Bill: You don’t have to.  (to Jergens)  Take care of this.

(Jergens walks over to the corner table, smiling)

Tina: Mester Big Bill.  You leave them alone!

Big Bill: Don’t worry your pretty little head about sodbusters, senorita.  When I’ve finished my business with Joe Garrett and his riff raff, you’re goin’ to be my wife!

Tina: Carrumba!  (She exits hastily left)

Jergens: Sodvusters.  You vill stand up!  (Cannonball and Svede stand)  You vill leave, immediately!

Cannonball: Hey, you can’t order me around!

Jergens: You vish to protest?!

Cannonball: You’re darned right I do!

(Jergens flattens Cannonball against the wall with a straight right)

Svede: Yumpin’ Yimminy!

Jergens: How about you?

Svede: I tink I better go now.

Jergens (indicating the unconscious Cannonball): You vill take him vit you!  Dat is an order!

Svede: Yah!  Yah!  Yust as soon as I wake him up.

Jergens: You vill do it now!  Schnell!  Schnell!  (He whips his riding crop against his boot)

(Svede grabs a hold of Cannonball’s arms and hastily drags him out the right exit.  Jergens returns to the bar)

Big Bill: When Garrett gets wind of this, he’ll be down here quick.  We’ll be ready for him!  (He motions toward the corner table.  Jergens takes a bottle that Garsen relinquishes without protest and sits at the table)

(Shane enters left, a pair of farmer’s pants over his left arm.  He sees Garsen and walks with measured strides over to the bar)

Garsen: What can I do for you, stranger?

Shane: Nobody was in your store.  I want to buy these work pants.

Garsen: Two dollars.  (pause)  You homesteading along the river?

Shane: Working for Joe Garrett.  (Big Bill and Jergens look up with interest)

Garsen: Then I’ll put this on his tab.

(Shane tosses a coin on the bar)

Shane: A shot of sarsaparilla.

Garsen: Coming right up.  (Garsen fills a shot glass with sarsaparilla)

(Shane takes the glass, takes a sip, puts the glass down, and, elbows on the table, glances at the two men at the corner table.  Kurt Jergens gets up from the table and saunters over to the bar)

Jergens (to Garsen): You vill give us vone more bottle!  (Garsen finds another bottle and places it on the bar.  Meanwhile, Jergens looks Shane over deliberately.  Then, disdainfully)  Hello, farmer.

Shane (after finishing his drink, mildly): Speaking to me?

Jergens: You are standing here, yah?  (pause)  Haf a man’s drink!

(Jergens pours Shane a glass of whiskey and places it in front of Shane.  Shane reaches for the glass, his hand trembles, and he pulls it back)

Jergens (sarcastically, to Digger): Dis farmer doesn’t drink vhiskey!  Just … sodie pop!

(Shane looks away, anger in his eyes)

Jergens (after a pause, sniffing the air): Garsen.  Vhat is happening here?  It schmells.  Not clean cattleman schmell.  Dirty barnyard schmell.  (He stares at Shane for five seconds)  You.  Farmer.  Vhat you and Garrett raising?  Pigs?

Shane (after a relaxed pause, to Garsen): I’ll have a clean glass.  (Garsen gives him one.  Shane pours sarsaparilla into it.  To Jergens) Sodie pop.  Drink up.  The bubbles will take your smell out of your nose.

(Jergen’ss eyes bug out.  He raises his right fist.  Shane slaps him three times very rapidly.  Jergens shakes his head, stunned)

Shane (calmly): You forgot your drink.

(Jergens stares at the glass a moment, then throws a round-house right.  Shane steps inside the blow and delivers a blow low into Jergens’s stomach.  Jergens gasps; his head comes down.  Shane grabs Jergens’s hair with his left hand and, with his right knee, connects with Jergens’s chin.  Jergens flips over backwards and lies totally still.  Shane looks at him for five seconds and then walks carefully over to Big Bill)

Shane (after a pause, softly): Perhaps you have something to say about soda pop, or pigs.

(Big Bill remains totally motionless, too afraid to move.  After a ten second pause, Shane walks slowly to the right exit, stops, and turns)

Shane: All things change, Wretcher.  Give a little.

 (Big Bill remains rigidly silent)

 (Shane, after a reasonable pause, strides out the right exit)

Big Bill (after a five second pause): Who was that man?!

Digger: He calls himself … Shane.  But I thought he was a souse!

Big Bill (after a five second pause): Garsen!

Garsen: Yes sir.

Big Bill: Send off a telegram to Cheyenne.  (pause, then slowly, with emphasis) Send it to … Stark Verisimilitude!  (An ominous chord of music is heard)

Digger (with shocked alarm): The vicious gun fighter?!

Big Bill: Look to your coffins, undertaker.  And your embalming fluid!  (He gets up and walks to Digger’s table)  Garrett and Shane are dead men!  (He turns, walks grimly to the bar, snaps his fingers at Garsen)  Garsen, that telegram!  (He and Garsen exit left)