Tom, there's a whole lot I don't understand. But goin' away ain't gonna ease us. There was a time we was on the land. There was a boundary to us then. Old folks died off and little fellars come. We was always one thing. We was the family. Kind of whole and clear. But now we ain't clear no more. There ain't nothin' that keeps us clear. Al - he's a-hankerin' to be off on his own and Uncle John's just draggin' around. Your Pa's lost his place, he ain't the head no more. We're crackin' up, Tom. We ain't no family now. And Rosesharn - she's gonna have her baby, but it won't have no family. I've been a-tryin' to keep her goin' but [she sighs]...and Winfield, what's he gonna be this a-way? Grown up wild, and Ruthie too! Just like animals. Got nothin' to trust. [Tearfully] Don't go, Tom. Stay and help! Help me!
They come. They come and pushed me off. They come with the cats...the cats, the caterpillar tractors. And for every one of 'em, there was ten, fifteen families thrown right out of their homes. A hundred folks and no place to live but on the road....One right after the other, they got throw'd out. Half the folks you and me know throw'd right out into the road. The one that got me come oh, about a month ago.
What was the use? He was right, and there wasn't a thing in the world I could do about it....There wasn't nothin' to eat, but I couldn't leave. Somethin' just wouldn't let me. So now I just wander around and sleep wherever I am. I used to tell myself that I was lookin' out for things, so that when the folks come back everything'd be all right. But I know'd it wasn't true. There ain't nothin' to look out fer. There ain't nobody ever comin' back. They're gone! And me, I'm just an old graveyard ghost. That's all in the world I am.
Driver: Can't you see that sticker? [A decal reads NO RIDERS ALLOWED - Instructions of Owner]
Tom: Sure, I see it. But a good guy don't pay no attention to what some heel makes him stick on his truck.
Driver: Well, scrunch down on the running board 'til we get around the bend.
Tom: Ain't you the preacher?
Casy: Used to be. Not no more. I lost the call. But boy, I sure used to have it. Oh, I used to get an irrigation ditch so squirmin' full of repentant sinners I pretty near drowned half of 'em. Not no more. I lost the spirit. I got nothin' to preach about no more, that's all. I ain't so sure of things. I asked myself, what is this here call(ed) Holy Spirit? Maybe that's love. Why, I love everybody so much, I'm fit to bust sometimes. So - maybe there ain't no sin, and there ain't no virtue. There's just what people does. Some things folks do is nice, and some ain't so nice. And that's all any man's got a right to say. 'Course I'll say a grace if somebody sets out the food, but ma heart ain't in it.
Tom: What happened? How come they got to get off? We lived here fifty years, same place.
Muley: Everybody's got to get off. Everybody's leavin', goin' out to California. Your folks, my folks, everybody's folks. Everybody except me. I ain't gettin' off.
Tom: Who done it?
Muley: Listen. [Muley gestures toward the howling wind] That's some of what done it. The dusters. They start it anyways. Blowin' like this year after year. Blowin' the land away. Blowin' the crops away. And blowin' us away now.
Tom: You crazy?
Muley: Some say that I am.
Agent: The fact of the matter, Muley, after what them dusters done to the land, the tenant system don't work no more. You don't even break even, much less show a profit. Why, one man and a tractor can handle twelve or fourteen of these places. You just pay him a wage and take all the crop.
Muley: Yeah, but uh, we couldn't do on any less than what our share is now. Why, the children ain't gettin' enough to eat as it is, and they're so ragged. We'd be ashamed if everybody else's children wasn't the same way.
Agent: I can't help that. All I know is, I got my orders. They told me to tell you to get off, and that's what I'm tellin' ya.
Muley: You mean get off of my own land?
Agent: Now don't go to blamin' me! It ain't my fault.
Muley's son: Who's fault is it?
Agent: You know who owns the land. The Shawnee Land and Cattle Company.
Muley: And who's the Shawnee Land and Cattle Company
Agent: It ain't nobody. It's a company.
Muley's son: They got a President, ain't they? They got somebody who knows what a shotgun's for, ain't they?
Agent: Oh son, it ain't his fault, because the bank tells him what to do.
Muley's son: All right, where's the bank?
Agent: Tulsa. What's the use of pickin' on him? He ain't nothin' but the manager. And he's half-crazy hisself tryin' to keep up with his orders from the East.
Muley: Then who do we shoot?
Agent: Brother, I don't know. If I did, I'd tell ya. I just don't know who's to blame.
Muley: I'm right here to tell you, mister, there ain't nobody gonna push me off my land! My grandpaw took up this land seventy years ago. My paw was born here. We was all born on it. An' some of us was killed on it. An' some of us died on it. That's what makes it arn. Bein' born on it and workin' on it and dyin', dyin' on it. An' not no piece of paper with writin' on it.
Al: Ain't you gonna look back, Ma? Give the ol' place a last look?
Ma: We're going' to California, ain't we? All right then let's go to California.
Al: That don't sound like you, Ma. You never was like that before.
Ma: I never had my house pushed over before. Never had my family stuck out on the road. Never had to lose everything I had in life.
Tom: Ma, there comes a time when a man gets mad.
Ma: You told me, you promised me...
Tom: I know, Ma, I'm tryin' to. If there was a law they was workin' with, maybe we could take it but it ain't the law. They're workin' away on our spirits, tryin' to make us cringe and crawl, workin' on our decency.
Ma: You promised Tom.
Tom: I know, I'm a-tryin' to, Ma...
Ma: You gotta keep clear. The family's a-breakin' up. You gotta keep clear.
Tom: They won't. They're gettin' five now. That's all they care about.
Casy: But the moment they ain't strike-breakin', they won't get no five...
Tom: The five they're gettin' now. That's all they're interested in. I know exactly what Pa'd say. He'd say it's none of his business.
Casy: Guess that's right. You'll have to take a beatin' before you'll know.
Tom: Take a beatin'? We was out of food. Tonight we had meat, not much, but we had it. You think Pa's gonna give up his meat on account of some other fellas? Rosasharn needs milk. You think Ma's gonna starve that baby just on account of fellas yellin' outside a gate?
Casy: Tom, you gotta learn like I'm learnin'. I don't know what's right yet, myself, but I'm tryin' to find out. That's why I can't ever be a Preacher again. Preacher's gotta know. I don't know. I gotta ask.
Ma: Tommy, ain't ya gonna tell me goodbye?
Tom: I didn't know, Ma. I didn't know if I ought to...Come outside. There was some cops here tonight. They was takin' down license numbers. I guess somebody knows somethin'.
Ma: I guess it had to come, sooner or later. Sit down for a minute.
Tom: I'd like to stay, Ma. I'd like to be with ya and see your face when Pa gets settled in some nice place. I'd sure like to see ya then. But I won't never get that chance, I guess, now.
Ma: I would hide ya, Tommy.
Tom: I know you would, Ma, but I ain't gonna let ya. Ya hide somebody that's killed a guy and you're in trouble too.
Ma: All right, Tommy, but what do ya figur you're gonna do?
Tom: You know what I've been thinkin' about? About Casy, about what he said, about what he done, about how he died. I remember all of it.
Ma: He was a good man.
Tom: I been thinking about us, too, about our people living like pigs and good rich land layin' fallow. Or maybe one guy with a million acres and a hundred thousand farmers starvin'. And I been wonderin' if all our folks got together and yelled...
Ma: Oh, Tommy, they'd drag you out and cut you down just like they done to Casy.
Tom: They'd drag me anyways. Sooner or later they'd get me for one thing if not for another. Until then...
Ma: Tommy, you're not aimin' to kill nobody?
Tom: No, Ma, not that. That ain't it. It's just, well as long as I'm an outlaw anyways... maybe I can do somethin'... maybe I can just find out somethin', just scrounge around and maybe find out what it is that's wrong and see if they ain't somethin' that can be done about it. I ain't thought it out all clear, Ma. I can't. I don't know enough.
Ma: How am I gonna know about ya, Tommy? Why they could kill ya and I'd never know. They could hurt ya. How am I gonna know?
Tom: Well, maybe it's like Casy says. A fellow ain't got a soul of his own, just little piece of a big soul, the one big soul that belongs to everybody, then...
Ma: Then what, Tom?
Tom: Then it don't matter. I'll be all around in the dark. I'll be ever'-where - wherever you can look. Wherever there's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad - I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry an' they know supper's ready. An' when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise, and livin' in the houses they build - I'll be there, too.
Ma: I don't understand it, Tom.
Tom: Me, neither, Ma, but just somethin' I been thinkin' about.
Ma: Scared, ha! I ain't never gonna be scared no more. I was though, for a while it looked as though we was beat, good and beat. Looked like we didn't have nobody in the whole wide world but enemies. Like nobody was friendly no more. Made me feel kind of bad, and scared too. Like we was lost and nobody cared.
Pa: You're the one that keeps us goin', Ma. I ain't no good no more, and I know it. Seems like I spend all my time these days thinkin' how it used to be. Thinkin' of home. I ain't never gonna see it no more.
Ma: Well, Pa. A woman can change better'n a man. A man lives, sorta, well, in jerks. Baby's born and somebody dies, and that's a jerk. He gets a farm or loses it, and that's a jerk. With a woman, it's all in one flow like a stream. Little eddies and waterfalls, but the river it goes right on. A woman looks at it that way.
Pa: Well, maybe, but we sure taken a beatin'.
Ma: I know. That's what makes us tough. Rich fellas come up an' they die an' their kids ain't no good, an' they die out. But we keep a-comin'. We're the people that live. They can't wipe us out. They can't lick us. And we'll go on forever, Pa... 'cause... we're the people.