I never rode shotgun on a hearse before. Gettin' up there don't bother me. It's stayin' up there that I mind.
I took a job in a grocery store. Fella says I'll make a crackerjack clerk. Crackerjack.
You know, I've been in some towns where the girls weren't very pretty. Matter of fact, I've been in some towns where they were downright ugly. But this is the first time I've ever been in a town where there are no girls at all — 'cept little ones.
You don't happen to have an older, grateful sister, do you?
Reminds me of that fella back home who fell off a ten-story building. As he was falling, people on each floor kept hearing him say, "So far, so good." Heh, so far, so good.
We deal in lead, friend.
The reason I understand your problem so well is that I walked into the same trap myself. Yeah. First day we got here I started thinking, maybe I could put my gun away. Settle down, get a little land, raise some cattle. The things these people know about me would work to my credit, it wouldn't work against me. I... just didn't want you to think you were the only sucker in town.
Fella I once knew in El Paso, one day he took all his clothes off and jumped in a mess of cactus. I asked him the same question, why? He said it seemed to be a good idea at the time.
The days of good hunting are over. Once there was horses, cattle, gold, fruit from the trees... no more. Now I must hunt with a price on my head, Rurales at my heels.
Enough! We get the rest when we come back.
If God didn't want them sheared, He would not have made them sheep.
Generosity. That was my first mistake. I leave these people a little bit extra and they hire these men to make trouble.
Shows you — sooner or later you must answer for every good deed.
You hear that? We're trapped! All forty of us!
Your friends, they don't like you very much anymore. You force them to make too many decisions. With me, only one decision: do what I say.
What happens to these people will happen whether I kill you first or not.
(whispering) Just a little gesture, huh? To show these people who the real boss is. You go, then I give you the guns back. I know you won't use those guns against me. Only a crazy-man makes the same mistake twice.
Once I rob a bank in Texas. Your government get after me with a whole army. Whole army! One little bank. It's clear to me, the meaning? In Texas, only Texans can rob banks.
(dying words) You came back... to a place like this. Why? A man like you...why?
A man comes to him... because he respects him... 'cause he'd be proud to work with him. And he makes me look like TWO CENTS with some damn kid's game!
We ride for days to get to this nothing in the middle of nowhere. We are ready to risk our lives to help you, and you? You hide from us. Hide. From us. But it's a different story when you're in danger, huh? You might lose your precious crops. Then you flock to us, huh? Well, we are here, my compadres and I. Here we stay. And you? You prove to us that you are worth fighting for!
You know what? They'll make up a song about you and this hat. Villages like this, they make up a song about every big thing that happens. They'll sing it for years.
When I brought back the news, you should have seen the look I got from Britt. And Chris. And they have seen a thing or two in their time, and-and done them, too. They aren't men you can impress easily, oh, no! When they looked at me... I knew I was one of them at last. (after spying alone in Calvera's camp.)
I could have told you they'd sell us out! Farmers. Farmers! No honor, no loyalty, no... all they care about is their precious crops and the miserable dirt they dig in. I hate 'em. I hate 'em all.
Yes. Yes, I am one of them. But who made us the way we are, hmm? Men with guns. Men like Calvera, and... men like you. And now me. So what do you expect us to be?
You must excuse them. They are farmers here. They are afraid of everyone and everything. They are afraid of rain, and no rain. The summer may be too hot, or the winter too cold. If the sow has no pigs, the farmer is afraid he may starve. If she has too many pigs, he is afraid she may starve.
They are farmers. They talk of nothing but fertilizer and women. I have never shared their enthusiasm for fertilizer. As for women, I became indifferent when I was eighty-three.
At my age, a little excitement is welcome.
Don't worry. Why would he kill me? Bullets cost money.
The fighting is over. Your work is done. For them, each season has its tasks. If there were a season for gratitude, they'd show it more.
[chopping firewood] I'm doing this because I'm an eccentric millionaire.
I admire your notion of fair odds, mister.
If you can't forget about him, why don't you ride sidesaddle?
Yeah, I'm one of us, all right.
Don't you ever say that again about your fathers, because they are not cowards! You think I'm brave because I carry a gun? Well, your fathers are much braver, because they carry responsibility — for you, your brothers, your sisters, and your mothers. And this responsibility is like a-a big rock that weighs a ton. It bends and it twists them until finally it buries them under the ground.
I have never had this kind of courage. Running a farm, working like a mule every day with no guarantee what will ever come of it... this is bravery. That's why I never started anything like that. That's why I never will.
[Calvera chats with his "good friend" Sotero while his men loot the village.]
Calvera: I can't tell you what a pleasure it is to see a village like this. So much restlessness and change in the outside world. People no longer content with their station in life. Women's fashions — shameless! Religion! You'd weep if you saw how true religion is now a thing of the past. Last month we were in San Juan, a rich town. Sit down. Rich town, much blessed by God. Big church — not like here, little church, priest comes twice a year. Big one. You'd think we'd find gold candlesticks, poor-box filled to overflowing. You know what we found? Brass candlesticks. Almost nothing in the poor box.
Bandito: We took it anyway.
Calvera: I know we took it anyway! I'm trying to show him how little religion some people now have.
Sotero: That I can see for myself.
Calvera: (slaps him forehand, then backhand) No! You don't see! What if you had to carry my load, huh? The need to provide food like a good father to fill the mouths of his hungry men. Guns, ammunition — you know how much money that costs? Huh? Uh? (slaps him twice more)
[The villagers seek advice from "the Old Man".]
the Old Man: Fight. You must fight. Fight!
Hilario: Machetes and bare hands against guns?
Old Man: Buy guns.
Old Man: Go to the border. Guns are plentiful there.
Tomas: But what are we going to use for money?
Old Man: (digs out a gold pocketwatch and hands it over) Sell that. And anything else you can gather.
Hilario: Even if we had the guns... we know how to plant and grow. We don't know how to kill.
Old Man: Then learn. Or die.
[Driving an occupied hearse to a confrontation with local bigots]
Chris Adams: Don't worry. We'll get there (to Boot Hill).
Vin: Gettin' up there doesn't worry me. Stayin' up there is what I mind.
Henry (corset salesman): Where are you from?
Chris: [Points thumb toward his back]
Henry (corset salesman): Oh, yeah. Where you headed?
Chris: [Points finger in front of him]
Miguel: We need help.
Hilario: We must buy guns. We know nothing about them. Will you buy them for us?
Chris: Guns are very expensive and hard to get. Why don't you hire men?
Chris: Gunmen. Nowadays, men are cheaper than guns.
Hilario: It won't be hard to find men here. Everyone wears a gun.
Chris: Sure. Same as they wear pants. That's expected. But good men? That's something else again.
Chris Adams: Harry! Good to see you again. What are you doing in this dump?
Harry Luck: I, uh, heard you got a contract open.
Chris: Oh, not for a high-stepper like you.
Harry: A dollar bill always looks as big to me as a bedspread.
Chris: It's just eating money, Harry. A gold eagle, room and board. Six weeks gunning for some farmers.
Harry: Ah, you old Cajun! You don't talk so good, but you always know what's going on.
Chris: Now, Harry —
Harry: (to villagers) Uh, con permiso. (he closes the door and turns to Chris) All right. All that's on top. What's underneath?
Chris: Only what I told you.
Harry: Gold? Cattle? Payroll?
Chris: Only what I told you.
Harry: Oh, sure, sure. Just tell me when you can.
Chris: Harry, please don't understand me so fast.
Harry: Look, never mind. (winks) I'm in!
[Scouting for gunmen in a local saloon.]
Miguel: There's one! Look at all the scars on his face!
Hilario: The man for us is the one who gave him that face.
Chris Adams: Hey, you learn fast.
Vin: I did hear of a job below the border shooing flies away from a village, but I can't find out what it pays.
Chris Adams: Twenty dollars.
Vin: A week?
Chris: Six weeks. Whole job.
Vin: Well, that's ridiculous. You heard of anything?
Chris: Yeah. Below the border shooing flies away from a village. Their village. (indicates Hilario and company)
Vin: Twenty dollars.
Chris: You can come in right now.
Vin: Nah, that wouldn't even pay for my bullets.
Hilario: Ours is a poor village.
Miguel: We understand. You can make much more as a grocery clerk. And it's good, steady work.
Vin: How many you got?
[Chris holds up one finger; Vin shakes his head and holds up two fingers.]
Hilario: Did you have any luck?
Chris Adams: Found a man who would have been perfect. With gun or knife, couldn't ask for any better. But he wouldn't do it.
Hilario : The money, it was not enough?
Chris: He doesn't give a hoot about money.
Hilario: A man in this line of work who doesn't care about money?
Chris: Men in this line of work are not all alike. Some care about nothing but money. Others, for reasons of their own, enjoy only the danger.
Vin: And the competition.
Miguel: If he is the best with a gun and a knife, with whom does he compete?
[Chris and Vin approach O'Reilly, who is chopping wood on a farm for his breakfast.]
Chris Adams: Morning. I'm a friend of Harry Luck's. He tells me you're broke.
O'Reilly: Nah. I'm doing this because I'm an eccentric millionaire.
Chris: There's a job for six men, watching over a village south of the border.
O'Reilly: How big's the opposition?
Chris: Thirty guns.
O'Reilly: (stops axe in mid-swing) I admire your notion of fair odds, mister.
Chris: Harry tells me you faced bigger odds during the Travis County war.
O'Reilly: Well, they paid me six hundred dollars for that one.
Vin: He said you got that Selena thing cleared up in less than a month.
O'Reilly: Paid me eight hundred dollars for that one.
Vin: You cost a lot.
O'Reilly: Yeah. That's right, I cost a lot.
Chris: The offer is twenty dollars.
[O'Reilly keeps chopping wood. Chris and Vin turn to leave.]
O'Reilly: Twenty dollars? Right now, that's a lot.
Lee: You need men for a job down in Mexico.
Chris: That's right.
Lee: How long?
Chris: Four, six weeks.
Lee: How much does the job pay?
Chris: I thought you were looking for the Johnson brothers.
Lee: I found them. How much does the job pay?
Chris: Twenty. We leave tomorrow.
Lee: I'll have the money before we leave. It should just cover my last two days rent.
Vin: Twenty dollars. You must be livin' in style.
Lee: Yes. I have the most stylish corner of the filthy storeroom out back. That and one plate of beans, ten dollars a day.
Vin: Yeah, things do get kinda high when they find out you're on the run.
[Chico rides into the village with Petra across his saddle bow.]
Chris: So that's where they were. You hid them.
Chico: Sure, they hid them, but she won't tell where. They're afraid — she's afraid — of me, you, him... all of us. Farmers. Their families told them we'd rape them.
Chris: Well, we might. In my opinion, though, you might have given us the benefit of the doubt. Well, just as you please.
Vin: You know, as long as you were out there, why didn't you bring 'em all in?
Chico: What for? Leave them out there. Let Calvera find them. He'll take good care of them.
Chris: Bring them in. (to Petra) Show him where.
[Britt has just dropped an escaping bandit with a single long-range pistol shot.]
Chico: Oh... that was the greatest shot I've ever seen!
Britt: The worst. I was aiming at the horse.
[Practice-shooting, Miguel jerks his rifle's trigger and fires a wild shot.]
O'Reilly: Miguel, didn't I tell you to squeeze? Hmm? Just like when you're milking the goat, Miguel.
Miguel: I-instead, I get excited!
O'Reilly: Well, don't get excited. (he takes the rifle, cocks it, and hands it back) Now, this time, squeeze. Slowly, but squeeze. Squeeze. (Miguel fires another wild shot)SQUEEZE! I'll tell you what. Don't shoot. You take the gun like this... (holds it by the barrel) and you use it like a club! All right?
[O'Reilly walks in while the gunmen except Chris are eating dinner.]
Harry: Yeah, these people really know how to cook. Dig in! There's tons of it.
O'Reilly: You know what these people, the villagers, have been eating ever since we got here? Tortillas and a few beans. That's all.
[All stop chewing and look at each other. Cut to scene of Vin dishing out food to village children.]
[Calvera meets Chris Adams and Vin as he rides into the village.]
Calvera: I should have guessed. When my men didn't come back, I should have guessed. How many of you did they hire?
Calvera: New wall.
Chris: There's lots of new walls, all around.
Calvera: They won't keep me out.
Chris: They were built to keep you in.
Chris: There won't be any trouble... if you ride on.
Calvera: Ride on? Where am I going to get the food for my men?
Chico: Buy it or grow it!
O'Reilly: Or maybe even work for it.
Calvera: Hm, seven. Somehow I don't think you've solved my problem.
Chris: Solving your problems isn't our line.
Vin: We deal in lead, friend.
Calvera: So do I. We're in the same business, eh?
Vin: Only as competitors.
Calvera: Why not as partners? Suppose I offer you equal shares.
Chris: Of what?
Calvera: Everything. Down to the last grain.
Chico: And the people of the village? What about them?
Calvera: I leave it to you. Do men of our profession worry about things like that? It may even be sacrilegious! If God didn't want them sheared, He would not have made them sheep. What do you say?
Chris: Ride on.
Calvera: If I leave here with empty hands, everyone in this village will answer to me when I come back.
Chris: You won't come back.
Calvera: Why not?
Chris: Won't have any guns. Take them off right now and drop them.
[While a few of Calvera's men snipe at the village, three local boys run out to join O'Reilly.]
Boy 1: We drew straws, and we got you.
O'Reiily: You got me? What do you mean, you got me?
Boy 2: If you get killed, we take your rifle and avenge you. And we see to it that there's always fresh flowers on your grave.
O'Reilly: That's a mighty big comfort.
Boy 1: I told you he'd appreciate that!
O'Reilly: Now, don't you kids be too disappointed if your plans don't work out.
Boy 2: We won't. If you stay alive, we'll be just as happy.
Boy 1: Maybe even happier.
Boy 2: Maybe.
[A village girl takes an interest in the youngest hired gun.]
Petra: I'm sorry, but I thought... you know what I thought.
Chico: Yes, yes. I know.
Petra: I wasn't afraid of you, it's my father. He said to "Stay away from those men. They are brutes. They are cruel."
Chico: He's right, you know that? He's right. Go back home now.
Petra: He's wrong.
Chico: Well... go home anyway. Before he finds out you're here.
Petra: He already knows. He says he'll punish me for being so shameless. But I don't care.
Chico: Your gun has gotten you everything you have. Isn't that true? Hmm? Well, isn't it true?
Vin: Sure. Everything. After a while, you can call bartenders and Faro dealers by their first names. Maybe two hundred of 'em. Rented rooms you live in, five hundred. Meals eaten in hash-houses, a thousand. Home, none. Wife, none. Kids... none. Prospects, zero. Suppose I left anything out?
Chris Adams: Yeah. Places you're tied down to, none. People with a hold on you, none. Men you step aside for, none.
Lee: Insults swallowed, none. Enemies, none.
Chris: No enemies?
Chico: Now that's the kind of arithmetic I like!
Chris: Yeah. I did too, at your age.
[Chris hears O'Reilly's three local boys call him "Bernardo."]
Chris Adams: You've been adopted. "Bernardo O'Reilly."
O'Reilly: That's my real name. Irish on one side, Mexican on the other, and me in the middle.
Vin: I guess right about now you kinda wish you'd given your crops to Calvera, huh?
Hilario: Yes. And no. Both at the same time. Yes, when I think of what he might do. No, when I remember the feeling in my chest this morning as I saw him running away — from us. That's a feeling worth dying for. Have you ever... felt something like that?
Vin: Not for a long, long time. I, uh, I envy you.
[A faction of villagers, led by Sotero, wants to make peace with Calvera; the Seven discuss their next move.]
Britt: You want to go?
Harry: Well, there comes a time to turn Mother's picture to the wall and get out. The village will be no worse off than it was before we came.
Chris Adams: You forget one thing. We took a contract.
Vin: Not the kind any court would enforce.
Chris: That's just the kind you've got to keep.
Vin: That's a noble thought, but the way things are right now... I don't know.
Harry: The odds are too high!
Chris: Much too high.
Harry: Then we go?
Chris: No. We lower the odds.
[The Seven return from a raid to find Calvera's men holding the village.]
Calvera: You should not be surprised. My good friend Sotero, he, ah, arranged for them to come in. Comprende? Well, anyway, to business. I could kill you all. You agree? (a long pause) Well, you don't disagree. Anyway, I don't want to kill you.
Chris Adams: Why so generous?
Calvera: Practical. They hear about it up north, maybe some friends of yours make more trouble for me — a man who never wants no trouble. We, ah, have a saying here: "A thief who steals from a thief is pardoned for one hundred years." All right, what does that leave? Only one thing. I pardon you. Ride on.
Chris: Just like that? (snaps fingers)
Calvera: Si, just like...(snaps fingers) I'll make it easy for you. You want food? (to henchmen) Give them food. Water? All right, water. Horses? Saddled and waiting. Guns? Your guns, your gunbelts you take off and you put here, now.
Calvera: What I can't understand is why a man like you took this job in the first place. Why, huh?
Chris: I wonder myself.
Calvera: Oh, come on, come on. Tell me why.
Vin: Fella I once knew in El Paso, one day he took all his clothes off and jumped in a mess of cactus. So I asked him the same question. "Why?"
Vin: He said it seemed to be a good idea at the time.
Calvera: Go get your clothes, your saddlebags. Anything you want, take. Your friends in there owe you at least that much.
[Calvera's men have escorted the Seven well outside the village and tossed their guns on the ground.]
Britt: Nobody throws me my own guns and says ride on. Nobody. (puts his gunbelt back on)
Vin: Took me a long time to learn my elbow from a hat rack. Right now, I belong in that border town, sleeping on white sheets. (puts his gunbelt on) But I'll ride back to that village.
Harry Luck: You're crazy. all of you! They won't lift a finger to help. Think of the odds!
O'Reilly': Harry, nobody's asking you to go back.
Chris Adams: Ride on, Harry. It's all right.
Harry: You bet your sweet life I will! (grabs his gear and mounts) Come on, Lee. If they want to get killed, let 'em.
Chris: Go ahead, Lee. You don't owe anything to anybody.
Lee: Except to myself. (dismounts and puts his guns on)
Harry: You're crazy! ALL of you!
[Harry has been shot riding to Chris' rescue in the final battle against Calvera]
Harry Luck: Chris... I hate to die a sucker. We didn't come here just to keep an eye on a lot of corn and chili peppers, did we? There was something else all along, wasn't there?
Chris Adams: (Lies to Harry)Yes, Harry. You had it pegged right all along.
Harry: I knew it. What was it?
Chris: Gold. Sacks of it.
Harry: Sounds... beautiful. How much?
Chris: At least a hundred and fifty.
Harry: My cut would have been what?
Chris: About seventy thousand.
Harry: I'll be damned. (he expires)
Chris: Maybe you won't be.
[The surviving gunmen are preparing to ride out of the village.]
Old Man: You could e-stay, you know. They would not be sorry to have you e-stay.
Chris Adams: They won't be sorry to see us go, either.
Old Man: (nods) The fighting is over. Your work is done. For them, each season has its tasks. If there were a season for gratitude, they'd show it more.
Vin: We didn't get any more than we expected, old man.
Old Man: Only the farmers have won. They remain forever. They are like the land itself. You helped rid them of Calvera the way a strong wind helps rid them of locusts. You are like the wind, blowing across the land and... passing on. Vaya con Dios.