Starring: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper, Dakin Matthews, Jarlath Conroy, Paul Rae, Domhnall Gleeson, Elizabeth Marvel, Roy Lee Jones, Ed Corbin, Leon Russom, Bruce Green
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Western drama directed and written by the Coen brothers which follows 14 year-old farm girl Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), who hires Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), a boozy, trigger-happy lawman to help her fin after an outlaw named Tom Chaney (Brolin), who murdered her father. The bickering duo are accompanied on their quest by a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) who is also tracking Chaney. Together the unlikely trio ventures into hostile territory to dispense some Old West justice.
Our Favorite Quote:‘You must pay for everything in this world, one way and another. There is nothing free, except the grace of God.’ – Mattie (True Grit) Click To Tweet
Best Quotes (Total Quotes: 99)
40-Year-Old Mattie: [voice over] People do not give it credence that a young girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father’s blood, but it did happen. I was just fourteen years of age when a coward by the name of Tom Chaney shot my father down, and robbed him of his life and his horse and two California gold pieces that he carried in his trouser band. Chaney was a hired man, and Papa had taken him up to Fort Smith to help lead back a string of mustang ponies he’d bought. In town, Chaney had fallen to drink and cards, and lost all his money. He got it into his head he was been cheated and went back to the boarding house for his Henry rifle. When Papa tried to intervene, Chaney shot him.
40-Year-Old Mattie: [voice over] Chaney fled. He could have walked his horse, for not a sole in that city could be bothered to give chase. No doubt Chaney fancied himself scot free, but he was wrong. You must pay for everything in this world, one way and another. There is nothing free, except the grace of God.
Undertaker: Is that the man?
Mattie Ross: That is my father.
Undertaker: If you would like to kiss him it would be all right.
Yarnell: He has gone home. Praise the lord.
Mattie Ross: Why is it so much?
Undertaker: The quality of the casket and of the embalming. The life like appearance requires time and art. And the chemicals come dear. The particulars are in your bill. If you’d like to kiss him it would be all right.
Mattie Ross: Thank you. The spirit has flown.
Undertaker: You did not specify that he was to be shipped.
Mattie Ross: Well sixty dollars is every cent we have. It leaves nothing for our board. Yarnell, you can see to the body’s transport to the train station and accompany it home, I will have to sleep here tonight. I still have to collect father’s things and see to some other business.
Yarnell: Your mama didn’t say nothing about you seeing to no business here!
Mattie Ross: It is business Mama doesn’t know about. It’s all right, Yarnell, I dismiss you.
Yarnell: I am not sure…
Mattie Ross: Tell mama not to sign anything until I return home and see that Papa is buried in his mason’s apron.
Mattie Ross: Your terms are agreeable if I may pass the night here.
Undertaker: Here? Among these people?
[Mattie looks around the empty room]
Mattie Ross: These people?
Undertaker: I am expecting three more souls. Sullivan, Smith, and His Tongue In The Rain.
[at the Gallows three men are about to be hanged]
Repentant Condemned Man: Ladies and gentlemen beware and train up your children in the way that they should go! You see what has become of me because of drink. I killed a man in a trifling quarrel over a pocketknife. If I had received good instruction as a child…
[to the woman next to her in the crowd]
Mattie Ross: Can you point out the sheriff?
[The woman indicates a figure sitting at the gallows behind the condemned men]
Woman at Hanging: Him with the mustaches.
Repentant Condemned Man: I would be with my wife and children today. I do not know what is to become of them, but I hope and pray that you will not slight them and compel them to go into low company.
[he starts to cry and a man standing by slips a black hood over his head]
Unrepentant Condemned Man: Well, I killed the wrong man is the which-of-why I’m here. Had I killed the man I meant to I don’t believe I would have been convicted. I see men out there in that crowd is worse than me.
[he looks at the man standing behind him and nods]
Unrepentant Condemned Man: Okay.
[the man behind him slips a black hood over his head and the Indian next to him starts to speak]
Condemned Indian: Before I am hanged, I would like to say…
[the man behind him slips a hood over his head and the executioner opens the trap door and all three men are hanged]
Sheriff: No, we ain’t arrested him. ain’t caught up to him, he lit out for the Territory. I would think he has throwed in with Lucky Ned Pepper, whose gang robbed a mail hack yesterday on the Poteau River.
Mattie Ross: Why are you not looking for him?
Sheriff: I have no authority in the Indian Nation. Tom Chaney is the business of the U.S. marshals now.
Mattie Ross: When will they arrest him?
Sheriff: Not soon I am afraid. The marshals are not well staffed and, I tell you frankly, Chaney is at the end of a long list of fugitives and malefactors.
Mattie Ross: Could I hire a marshal to pursue Tom Chaney?
Sheriff: You have a lot of experience with bounty hunters?
Mattie Ross: That is a silly question. I am here to settle my father’s affairs.
Sheriff: All alone?
Mattie Ross: Well, I am the person for it. Mama was never any good at sums and she can hardly spell cat. I intend to see papa’s killer hanged.
Sheriff: Well, Nothing prevents you from offering a reward, or from so informing a marshal. It would have to be real money, though, to be persuasive. Chaney is across the river in Choctaw Nation
Mattie Ross: I will see to the money. Who’s the best marshal?
Sheriff: Well, I’d have to weigh that. William Waters is the best tracker. He is half Comanche and it is something to see him cut for sign. The meanest is Rooster Cogburn. He is a pitiless man, double tough and fear don’t enter into his thinking. He loves to pull a cork. The best is probably L.T. Quinn, he brings his prisoners in alive. Now he may let one slip by now and again but he believes even the worst of men is entitled to a fair shake.
Mattie Ross: Where can I find this Rooster?
[Mattie knocks the rough wooden door of an outhouse]
Rooster Cogburn: The jakes is occupied.
Mattie Ross: I know it is occupied Mr. Cogburn. As I said, I have business with you.
Rooster Cogburn: I have prior business.
Mattie Ross: You have been at it for quite some time, Mr. Cogburn.
Rooster Cogburn: There is no clock on my business! To hell with you! How did you stalk me here?!
Mattie Ross: The sheriff told me to look in the saloon. In the saloon they referred me here. We must talk.
Rooster Cogburn: Women ain’t allowed in the saloon!
Mattie Ross: I was not there as a customer. I am fourteen years old.
[there’s a silence before Cogburn responds]
Mattie Ross: The jakes is occupied. Will be for some time.
Mattie Ross: How much are you paying for cotton?
[Stonehill looks up from his desk]
Col. Stonehill: Nine and a half for low middling and ten for ordinary.
Mattie Ross: We got most of ours out early. Sold it to Woodson Brothers in Little Rock for eleven cents.
Col. Stonehill: Then I suggest you take the balance of it to the Woodson Brothers.
Mattie Ross: We took the balance to Woodson. We got ten and a half.
Col. Stonehill: Why’d you come here to tell me this?
Mattie Ross: I thought we might shop around up here next year but I guess we are doing all right in Little Rock.
Mattie Ross: I am Mattie Ross, daughter of Frank Ross.
Col. Stonehill: Oh, a tragic thing. May I say your father impressed me with his manly qualities. He was a close trader but he acted the gentleman.
Mattie Ross: Well, I propose to sell those ponies back to you that my father bought.
Col. Stonehill: That, I fear, is out of the question. I will see that they are shipped to you at my earliest convenience.
Mattie Ross: We don’t want the ponies now. We don’t need them.
Col. Stonehill: Well that hardly concerns me. Your father bought the ponies and paid for them and there is an end of it. I-I have the bill of sale.
Mattie Ross: And I want three hundred dollars for Papa’s saddle horse that was stolen from your stable.
Col. Stonehill: You’ll have to take that up with the man who stole the horse.
Mattie Ross: Tom Chaney stole the horse while it was in your care. You are responsible.
Col. Stonehill: Yeah, I admire your sand but I believe you will find I’m not liable for such claims.
Mattie Ross: You were the custodian. If you were a bank and were robbed you could not simply tell the depositors to go hang.
Col. Stonehill: I do not entertain hypotheticals, the world as it is is vexing enough. Secondly, your valuation of the horse is high by about two hundred dollars. How old are you?
Mattie Ross: If anything my price is low. Christ, Judy is a fine racing mare. I’ve seen her jump an eight-rail fence with a heavy rider and I am fourteen.
Col. Stonehill: Oh, well, that’s all very interesting. The ponies are yours, take them. Your father’s horse was stolen by a murderous criminal. I had provided reasonable protection for the creature as per our implicit agreement. My watchman had his teeth knocked out and can take only soup.
Mattie Ross: Then I will take it to law.
Col. Stonehill: You have no case!
Mattie Ross: Lawyer J. Noble Daggett of Dardanelle, Arkansas may think otherwise, as might a jury, petitioned by a widow and three small children.
Col. Stonehill: I will pay two hundred dollars to your father’s estate when I have in my hand a letter from your lawyer absolving me of all liability from the beginning of the world to date.
Mattie Ross: I will take two hundred dollars for Judy, plus one hundred for the ponies and twenty-five dollars for the gray horse that Tom Chaney left. He was easily worth forty. And that is three hundred twenty-five dollars total.
Col. Stonehill: The ponies have no part in it! I will not buy them.
Mattie Ross: Then the price for Judy is three hundred twenty-five dollars.
Col. Stonehill: I would not pay three hundred and twenty-five dollars for winged Pegasus! As for the gray horse, it does not belong to you!
Mattie Ross: The gray was lent to Tom Chaney by my father. Chaney only had the use of him.
Col. Stonehill: I will pay two hundred and twenty-five dollars and keep the gray horse. I don’t want the ponies.
Mattie Ross: I cannot accept that. There will be no settlement after I leave this office. It will go to law.
Col. Stonehill: All right, this is my last offer. Two hundred and fifty dollars. For that I get the release previously discussed and I keep your father’s saddle. The gray horse is not yours to sell.
Mattie Ross: The saddle is not for sale. I will keep it. Lawyer Dagget will prove ownership of the gray horse. He will come after you with a writ of replevin.
Col. Stonehill: A what?
Mattie Ross: Writ of replevin.
Col. Stonehill: All right, now let, listen very carefully as I will not bargain further. I will take the ponies back and the gray horse, which is mine, and settle for three hundred dollars. Now you must take that or leave it and I do not much care which it is.
Mattie Ross: Well, Lawyer Daggett would not wish me to consider anything under three hundred twenty five dollars. But I will settle for three hundred and twenty, if I am given the twenty in advance. Now here is what I have to say about the saddle.
Boarding House Landlady: Are you going to be staying with us or are you hurrying back home to your mama?
Mattie Ross: Well, I’ll stay here if you can have me. I had to spend last night at the undertakers in the company of three corpses. I felt like Ezekiel, in the valley of the dry bones.
Boarding House Landlady: And the lord bless you.
[Mattie unfolds a blanket to reveal a watch, a knife, and a long-barreled revolver]
Boarding House Landlady: This was in the poor father’s room. Now that is everything, there are no light fingers in this house.
[Mattie picks up the gun and holds it in her hands]
Boarding House Landlady: Now if you need something for to tote the gun around I can give you an empty flour sack for a nickel.
[Mattie is watching Cogburn being questioned as a witness in the courtroom]
Lawyer Goudy: Mr. Cogburn, in your four years as U.S. marshal, how many men have you shot?
Rooster Cogburn: I never shot nobody I didn’t have to.
Lawyer Goudy: Well, that was not the question. How many?
Rooster Cogburn: Shot or killed?
Lawyer Goudy: Let us restrict it to “killed” so that we may have a manageable figure.
Rooster Cogburn: About twelve, fifteen. Stopping men in flight, defending myself, et cetera.
Lawyer Goudy: Around twelve he says, or fifteen. So many that you cannot keep a precise count. I have examined the records and can supply the accurate figure.
Rooster Cogburn: Well, I believe them two Whartons makes it twenty-three.
Lawyer Goudy: And how many members of this one family, the Wharton family, have you killed?
Rooster Cogburn: Immediate, or…
Lawyer Goudy: Did you also shoot Dub Wharton, brother, and Clete Wharton, half-brother?
Rooster Cogburn: Oh, Clete was selling ardent spirits to the Cherokee. He come at me with a king bolt.
Lawyer Goudy: A king bolt? Now you were armed and he advanced upon you with nothing more than a king bolt? From a wagon tongue?
Rooster Cogburn: I’ve seen men badly tore up with things no bigger than a king bolt. I defended myself.
Lawyer Goudy: Returning to the other encounter with Aaron Wharton and his two remaining sons, you sprang from cover with revolver in hand?
Rooster Cogburn: I did.
Lawyer Goudy: Loaded and cocked?
Rooster Cogburn: Well, if it ain’t loaded and cocked it don’t shoot.
[the courtroom crowd laugh]
Lawyer Goudy: And like his son, Aaron Wharton advanced against an armed man?
Rooster Cogburn: Well, he was armed. He had that axe raised.
Lawyer Goudy: Now, I believe you testified that you backed away from Aaron Wharton?
Lawyer Goudy: Which direction were you going?
Rooster Cogburn: I always go backwards when I’m backing up.
[the courtroom crowd laugh]
Lawyer Goudy: Now, he advanced upon you much in the manner of Clete Wharton, menacing you with that little old king bolt or rolled up newspaper or whatever it was.
Rooster Cogburn: Yes sir. He commenced to cussing and laying about with threats.
Lawyer Goudy: And you were backing away? How many steps before the shooting started?
Rooster Cogburn: Uh, seven, eight steps?
Lawyer Goudy: So Aaron Wharton keeping pace, advancing away from his camp fire seven, eight step. What would that be, fifteen, twenty feet?
Rooster Cogburn: I suppose.
Lawyer Goudy: Will you explain to this jury, Mr. Cogburn, why Mr. Wharton was found immediately by his wash pot, one arm in the fire, his sleeve and hand smoldering?
Rooster Cogburn: Well…
Lawyer Goudy: Did you move the body after you shot him?
Rooster Cogburn: Why would I do that?
Lawyer Goudy: You did not drag the body over to the fire? Fling his arm in?
Rooster Cogburn: No sir.
Lawyer Goudy: Two witnesses who arrived on the scene will testify to the location of the body. You do not remember moving the body? So it was a cold blooded bushwhack, while poor Wharton was tending to his campfire?
First Lawyer: Objection.
Rooster Cogburn: I, if that was where the body was I might have moved him. I do not remember.
Lawyer Goudy: Why would you move the body, Mr. Cogburn?
Rooster Cogburn: Them hogs rooting around, they might have moved him. I do not remember.
Mattie Ross: Mr. Cogburn?
Rooster Cogburn: What is it?
Mattie Ross: I’d like to talk to you a minute.
Rooster Cogburn: What is it?
Mattie Ross: They tell me you are a man with true grit.
Rooster Cogburn: What do you want, girl? Speak up. It’s supper time.
Mattie Ross: Let me do that.
[she takes the cigarette he’s trying to roll]
Mattie Ross: Your makings are too dry. I am looking for the man who shot and killed my father, Frank Ross, in front of the Monarch boarding house. The man’s name is Tom Chaney. They say he is over in Indian Territory and I need somebody to go after him.
[she twists and licks the cigarette roll]
Rooster Cogburn: What’s your name, girl?
Mattie Ross: My name is Mattie Ross. We are located in Yell County. My mother is at home looking after my sister Victoria and my brother Little Frank.
Rooster Cogburn: You had best go home to them. They will need help with the churning.
Mattie Ross: There is a fugitive warrant out for Chaney. Government will pay you two dollars for bringing him in plus ten cents a mile for each of you. On top of that I will pay you a fifty dollar reward.
Rooster Cogburn: What are you? What you got there in your poke?
[he opens up the flour sack she’s holding and takes out the revolver]
Rooster Cogburn: My God! A Colt’s dragoon! You’re no bigger than a corn nubbin, what are you doing with a pistol like that?
Mattie Ross: Well, I intend to kill Tom Chaney with it.
Rooster Cogburn: Kill Tom Chaney?
Mattie Ross: Well, if the law fails to do so.
Rooster Cogburn: Well, that piece will do the job for you, if you found a highstump to rest it on and a wall to put behind you.
Mattie Ross: Nobody here knew my father and I am afraid nothing is going to be done about Chaney except I do it. My brother is a child and my mother is indecisive and hobbled by grief.
Rooster Cogburn: I don’t believe you have fifty dollars.
Mattie Ross: I have a contract with Colonel Stonehill which he will make payment on tomorrow or the next day, once a lawyer countersigns.
Rooster Cogburn: I don’t believe in fairy tales or sermons or stories about money, baby sister. But thank you for the cigarette.
[Mattie wakes up to see LeBoeuf is sitting on chair opposite her bed, watching her]
LeBoeuf: My name is LeBoeuf. I’ve just come from Yell County.
Mattie Ross: We have no rodeo clowns in Yell County.
LeBoeuf: A saucy line will not get you far with me. I saw your mother yesterday morning. She said for you to come right on home.
Mattie Ross: What was your business there?
[LeBoeuf drags his chair towards her bed and takes a small photograph from his coat]
LeBoeuf: This is a man I think you know.
[Mattie looks at the picture]
LeBoeuf: You called him Tom Chaney, I believe, though in the months I have been tracking him he has used the name, Theron Chelmsford, John Todd Andersen, and others. He dallied in Monroe, Louisiana, and Pine Bluff, Arkansas before turning up at your father’s place.
Mattie Ross: And why did you not catch him in Pine Bluff, Arkansas or Monroe, Louisiana?
LeBoeuf: He is a crafty one.
Mattie Ross: I thought him slow-witted myself.
LeBoeuf: That was his act.
Mattie Ross: It was a good one.
Mattie Ross: Are you some kind of law?
[LeBoeuf draws back his coat to display a star]
LeBoeuf: That’s right. I am a Texas Ranger.
Mattie Ross: That may make you a big noise in that state; in Arkansas you should mind that your Texas trappings and title do not make you an object of fun. Why have you been ineffectually pursuing Chaney?
LeBoeuf: He shot and killed a state senator named Bibbs in Waco, Texas. Bibbs family put out a reward.
Mattie Ross: Well, how came Chaney to shoot a state senator?
LeBoeuf: My understanding is there was an argument about a dog. You know anything about where Chaney has gone?
Mattie Ross: He is in the Territory, and I hold out little hope for you earning your bounty.
LeBoeuf: Why is that?
Mattie Ross: My man will beat you to it. I have hired a deputy marshal, the toughest one they have, and he is familiar with the Lucky Ned Pepper gang that they say Chaney has tied up with.
LeBoeuf: Well, I will throw in with you and your marshal.
Mattie Ross: No. Marshal Cogburn and I are fine.
LeBoeuf: It’ll be to our mutual advantage. Your marshal I presume knows the Territory; I know Chaney. It is at least a two-man job taking him alive.
Mattie Ross: When Chaney is taken he is coming back to Fort Smith to hang. I am not having him go to Texas to hang for shooting some senator.
LeBoeuf: It is not important where he hangs, is it?
Mattie Ross: It is to me. Is it to you?
LeBoeuf: Well, it means a great deal of money to me. It’s been many months’ work.
Mattie Ross: Well, I’m sorry that you are paid piecework not on wages, and that you have been eluded the winter long by a halfwit.
LeBoeuf: You give out very little sugar with your pronouncements. While I sat there watching you I gave some thought to stealing a kiss, though you are very young and sick and unattractive to boot, but now I have a mind to give you five or six good licks with my belt.
Mattie Ross: Well, one would be as unpleasant as the other. If you wet your comb, it might tame that cowlick.
[Mattie’s reading the contents of a letter from her lawyer]
Dagget: [voice over] Mattie, I wish you would leave these matters entirely to me, or at the very least do me the courtesy of consulting me before entering such agreements. I am not scolding you, but I am saying your headstrong ways will lead you into a tight corner one day. I trust the enclosed document will let you conclude your business and return to Yell County. Yours, J. Noble Dagget.
Mattie Ross: I was as bad yesterday as you look today. I was forced to share a bed with Grandma Turner.
Col. Stonehill: I am not acquainted with Grandma Turner. If she’s a resident of this city it does not surprise me that she carries disease.
Col. Stonehill: This malarial place has ruined my health as it has my finances. I owe you money.
Mattie Ross: You have not traded poorly.
Col. Stonehill: Oh, certainly not. I am paying you for a horse I do not possess and have bought back a string of useless ponies which I cannot sell again.
Mattie Ross: You are forgetting the gray horse.
Col. Stonehill: Crowbait!
Mattie Ross: You are looking at the thing in the wrong light.
Col. Stonehill: I am looking at it in the light of God’s eternal truth.
Mattie Ross: Your illness is putting you down in the dumps. You will soon find a good buyer for the ponies.
Col. Stonehill: Oh, I have a tentative offer of ten dollars per head from the Pfitzer Soap Works of Little Rock.
Mattie Ross: Well, it would be a shame to destroy such spirited horseflesh.
Col. Stonehill: So it would. I am confident the deal will fall through.
Mattie Ross: Well, look here. I need a pony and I will pay ten dollars for one of them.
Col. Stonehill: No. That was lot price. No, no. It, wait a minute. Are we trading again?
[Mattie shakes Cogburn to wake him up]
Mattie Ross: Mr. Cogburn, it is I. Mattie Ross, your employer.
[Cogburn wakes up in shock and looks at her]
Mattie Ross: How long till you’re ready to go?
Rooster Cogburn: Go where?
Mattie Ross: Into the Indian Territory. In pursuit of Tom Chaney.
Rooster Cogburn: Oh. You’re the bereaved girl with stories of El Dorado. How much money you got there?
Mattie Ross: I said fifty dollars to retrieve Chaney. You did not believe me?
Rooster Cogburn: Well, I did not know. You are a hard one to figure.
Mattie Ross: How long for you to make ready to depart?
[Cogburn starts to fumble with his cigarette fixings]
Rooster Cogburn: Well now, hold on , sis. I remember your offer, I do not remember agreeing to it. If I’m to go up against Ned Pepper I will need a hundred dollars. That much I can tell you. A hundred dollars!
[Mattie takes the cigarettes fixings from his hands and start to roll his cigarette for him]
Rooster Cogburn: To retrieve your man, a hundred dollars. I will take that fifty dollars in advance. It’ll be for expenses.
Mattie Ross: You are trying to take advantage of me.
Rooster Cogburn: I’m giving you the children’s rate. I’m not a sharper, I’m an old man sleeping in a rope bed in a room behind a Chinese grocery. I have nothing.
Mattie Ross: You want to be kept in whiskey.
Rooster Cogburn: I don’t need to buy that, I confiscate it. I am an officer of the court.
[she hands him the finished cigarette]
Rooster Cogburn: Thank you. A hundred dollars. That’s the rate.
[he starts putting on his trousers]
Mattie Ross: I shall not niggle. Can we depart this afternoon?
Rooster Cogburn: We?! You’re not going. That is no part of it.
Mattie Ross: Well, you have misjudged me if you think I am silly enough to give you fifty dollars and watch you simply ride off.
Rooster Cogburn: I am a bonded U.S. marshal!
Mattie Ross: That weighs but little with me. I will see the thing done.
[he walks into the hanging skinned ducks]
Rooster Cogburn: Goddamn ducks! I can’t go after Ned Pepper and a band of hard men and look after a baby at the same time.
Mattie Ross: I am not a baby.
Rooster Cogburn: I won’t be stopping at boarding houses were there’s warm beds and hot grub on the table. I’ll be traveling fast and eating light. What little sleeping is done will take place on the ground.
Mattie Ross: Well, I have slept out at night before. Papa took me and Little Frank coon hunting last summer on the Petit Jean. We were in the woods all night. We were sat around a big fire and Yarnell told ghost stories. We had a good time.
Rooster Cogburn: Coon hunting! This ain’t no coon hunt.
Mattie Ross: It is the same idea as a coon hunt.
Rooster Cogburn: It don’t come within forty miles of being a coon hunt!
Mattie Ross: You are just trying to make your work sound harder than it is. Here is the money. Now, I aim to get Tom Chaney and if you are not game I will find somebody who is game. All I have heard out of you so far is talk. I know you can drink whiskey and snore and spit and wallow in filth and bemoan your station. The rest has been braggadocio. They told me you had grit and that is why I came to you. I am not paying for talk. I can get all the talk I need and more at the Monarch Boarding House.
[Rooster stares at her]
Rooster Cogburn: Leave the money. Meet me here at seven o’clock tomorrow morning and we’ll begin our coon hunt.
[as Mattie is getting ready to meet Cogburn]
Mattie Ross: [voice over] Dearest Mother. I am about to embark on a great adventure. I have learned that Tom Chaney has fled into the wild and I shall assist the authorities in pursuit. You know that Papa would want me to be firm in the right as he always was, so do not fear on my account. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil. The author of all things watches over me. And I have a fine horse. Kiss little Frankie for me and pinch Violet’s cheek. My Papa’s death will soon be avenged. I am off for the Choctaw Nation.
Mattie Ross: Where is Marshal Cogburn?
Mr. Lee: Went away. Left this.
[he hands her a note and Mattie opens the note and reads]
Rooster Cogburn: [voice over] Here inside is a train ticket for your return home. Use it. By
the time you read this I will be across the river in the Indian nation. Pursuit would be futile. I will return with your man Chaney. Leave me to my work. Reuben Cogburn.
[as Mattie emerges from the River she has crossed on her horse to reach Cogburn]
Rooster Cogburn: That is quite a horse. I will give you ten dollars for him.
Mattie Ross: From the money you stole from me?
Rooster Cogburn: That was not stolen. I’m out for your man.
Mattie Ross: I was to accompany you. If I do not, there is no agreement and my money was stolen.
LeBoeuf: Marshal, put this child back on the ferry. We have a long road, and time is a-wasting.
Mattie Ross: If I go back and it’s to the office of the U.S. marshals to report the theft of my money. And futile, Marshal Cogburn “Pursuit would be futile”? It’s not spelt f-u-d-e-l.
[LeBoeuf grabs Mattie offer her horse, throws her to the ground]
LeBoeuf: It is time for your spanking.
[he begins to spank her]
LeBoeuf: Now you will do as the grown-ups say! Or I will get myself a birch switch and stripe your leg!
Mattie Ross: Are you going to let him do this, Marshal?
Rooster Cogburn: No, I don’t believe I will. Put your switch away, LeBoeuf.
LeBoeuf: I aim to finish what I started.
Rooster Cogburn: That will be the biggest mistake you ever made, you Texas brush-popper!
[LeBoeuf hears the sound of a gun being cocked and stops beating Mattie, he flings the switch aside and walks to his horse]
LeBoeuf: Hoorawed by a little girl.
[LeBoeuf and Mattie are sitting around a large fire at night]
LeBoeuf: I am not accustomed to so large a fire. In Texas, we’ll make do with a fire of little more than twigs or buffalo chips, heat the night’s ration of beans. And, it is Ranger policy never to make your camp in the same place as your cook fire. Very imprudent to make your
presence known in unsettled country.
[Cogburn enters with an armload of wood and dumps the wood on the fire]
LeBoeuf: How do you know that Bagby will have intelligence?
Rooster Cogburn: He has a store.
LeBoeuf: That makes him an authority on movements in the Territory?
Rooster Cogburn: We have entered a wild place and anyone coming in, wanting any kind of supply, cannot pick and choose his portal.
LeBoeuf: That is a piece of foolishness. All the snakes are asleep this time of year.
Rooster Cogburn: They have been known to wake up.
Mattie Ross: Well, let me have a rope too.
Rooster Cogburn: A snake would not bother you. You are too little and bony. You should fetch water for the morning, put it by the fire. The creek’s going to ice over tonight.
Mattie Ross: I am not going down there again. If you want any more water you can fetch it yourself.
LeBoeuf: You’re lucky to be traveling in a place where a spring is so handy. In my country you can ride for days and see no ground water. I have lapped filthy water from a hoof print and was glad to have it.
Rooster Cogburn: If I ever meet one of you Texas waddies who says he had never drank water out of a horse track I think I’ll shake his hand, give him a Daniel Webster cigar.
LeBoeuf: You don’t believe it?
Rooster Cogburn: Oh, I believed it the first twenty-five times I heard it. Maybe, maybe it is true. Maybe lapping water off the ground is Ranger policy.
LeBoeuf: You are getting ready to show your ignorance now, Cogburn. I don’t mind a little personal chaffing but I won’t hear anything against the Ranger troop from a man like you.
Rooster Cogburn: How long you boys been mounted on sheep down there?
[LeBoeuf sits forward in anger]
LeBoeuf: My white Appaloosa still be galloping when that big American stud of yours is winded and collapsed. Now make another joke about it. You are only trying to put on a show for this girl Mattie, who what you must think is a keen tongue.
Rooster Cogburn: This is like women talking.
LeBoeuf: Yes, that is the way! Make me out foolish in this girl’s eyes.
Rooster Cogburn: I think she has got you pretty well figured.
[Mattie breaks the long silence that follows]
Mattie Ross: Would you two like to hear the story of “The Midnight Caller”? One of you is going to have to be “The Caller” and I will tell you what to say, and I will do all the other parts myself.
Mattie Ross: Where is Mr. LeBoeuf?
Rooster Cogburn: Down by the creek performing his necessaries.
Mattie Ross: Well, Marshal Cogburn, I welcome the chance for a private parley. I gather that you and Mr. LeBoeuf have come to some sort of agreement and as your employer I believe I have a right to know the particulars.
Rooster Cogburn: The particulars is that we bring Chaney down to the magistrate in San Saba Texas where they have a considerable reward on offer. Which we split.
Mattie Ross: I did not want him brought to Texas, to have a Texas punishment administered for a Texas crime. That was not our agreement.
Rooster Cogburn: What you want is to have him caught and punished.
Mattie Ross: I want him to know that he is being punished for killing my father.
Rooster Cogburn: Oh, you can let him know that. You can tell him to his face. You can spit on him, make him eat sand out of the road. I’ll hold him down. Well, if you want I will flay the flesh off the soles of his feet, find you an Indian pepper you can rub into the wound. Isn’t that a hundred dollars’ value?
Mattie Ross: No, it is not. When I have bought and paid for something I will have my way. Why do you think I am paying you if not to have my way?
Rooster Cogburn: It’s time for you to learn you cannot have your way in every little particular. You find I fail to satisfy your terms I will return your money at the end of this expedition.
Mattie Ross: Little Blackie and I are riding back to the U.S. marshals’ office. This is fraud!
Rooster Cogburn: Oh, Goddamn it!
LeBoeuf: What’s going on?
Rooster Cogburn: This is a business conversation.
LeBoeuf: Is that what you call it. It sounds to me like you are still being hoorawed by a little girl.
Rooster Cogburn: Did you say hoorawed?
LeBoeuf: That was the word.
Mattie Ross: There is no hoorawing in it. My agreement with the Marshal antedates yours. It has the force of law.
LeBoeuf: The force of law! This man is a notorious thumper! He rode by the light of the moon with Quantrill and Bloody Bill Anderson!
Rooster Cogburn: That men was patriots, Texas trash!
LeBoeuf: They murdered women and children in Lawrence, Kansas.
Rooster Cogburn: That’s a God damned lie! What army was you in, mister?
LeBoeuf: I was at Shreveport first with Kirby-Smith, then…
Rooster Cogburn: Yeah? What side was you on?
LeBoeuf: I was in the army of Northern Virginia, Cogburn, and I don’t have to hang my head when I say it!
Rooster Cogburn: If you had served with Captain Quantrill…
LeBoeuf: Captain? Captain Quantrill indeed!
Rooster Cogburn: Best let this go, LeBoeuf!
LeBoeuf: Captain of what?
Rooster Cogburn: Good, then! There are not sufficient dollars in the state of Texas to make it worth my while to listen to your opinions. Our agreement is nullified.
LeBoeuf: That suits me!
[LeBoeuf turns his horse to leave]
Rooster Cogburn: It’s each man for himself!
LeBoeuf: Congratulations, Cogburn. You’ve graduated from marauder to wet nurse.
[as he’s riding away]
[after Cogburn has met with Bagby]
Mattie Ross: Has Chaney been here?
Rooster Cogburn: No. But Coke Hayes was, two days ago. Coke runs with Lucky Ned. He bought supplies, with this.
[he flips a coin to Mattie]
Mattie Ross: Well, this is Papa’s gold piece! Tom Chaney, here we come!
Rooster Cogburn: Well, it is not the world’s only California gold piece.
Mattie Ross: They are rare, here.
Rooster Cogburn: They are rare. But if it is Chaney’s, it could just as easily mean that Lucky Ned and his gang fell upon him, as that he fell in with them. Chaney could be a corpse.
Mattie Ross: That would be a bitter disappointment, Marshal. What do we do?
Rooster Cogburn: Oh, pursue. Ned’s unfinished business for the marshals anyhow, and when we have him we’ll also have Chaney, or learn the whereabouts of his body. Bagby didn’t know which way they went, but now that we know they come through here, they couldn’t be going but one of two ways; heading north toward the Winding Stair Mountains, pushing further west. I suspect north. More to rob.
[to Mattie whilst riding along slowly]
Rooster Cogburn: I bought an eating place called The Green Frog. Started calling myself Burroughs, but I drank and picked up and my wife did not care for the company of my river
friends. She decided to go back to her first husband, he was a clerk in a hardware store. Uh, she said, “Goodbye, Reuben, a love for decency does not abide in you.” Imagine a divorced woman talking about decency. I told her, “Goodbye, Nola. Hope that little nail-selling bastard keeps you happy this time.” She took my boy with her too. Uh, he never cared for me anyway. I guess I did speak awful rough to him, I did not mean nothing by it. You would not want to see a clumsier child than Horace. I bet he broke forty cups.
[Cogburn gazes at the body of the man hanging from the tree]
Rooster Cogburn: Is it Chaney?
Mattie Ross: I would not recognize the soles of his feet.
Rooster Cogburn: Well, you’ll have to clamber up and look. I’m too old and too fat.
[whilst Mattie is climbing up the tree to look at the hanging body]
Rooster Cogburn: At The Green Frog it had one billiard table, served ladies and men both, mostly men. Tried running it myself for a while, but couldn’t keep good help and I never did learn how to buy meat. Is it him?
Mattie Ross: I believe not.
Rooster Cogburn: No! Cut him down!
Mattie Ross: Why?
Rooster Cogburn: I might know him.
[Mattie reluctantly climbs further to get closer to the body]
Rooster Cogburn: That’s when I went out to the staked plains of Texas. Shoot buffalo with Vernon Shaftoe and a Flathead Indian named Olly. Well, the Mormons, well they run Shaftoe out of Great Salt Lake City, don’t ask me what for. Call it a misunderstanding and leave it go at that. Well, big shaggies about all gone now. Damned shame. I would give three dollars right now for a pickled buffalo tongue.
[Mattie starts cutting the rope]
Mattie Ross: Why did they hang him so high?
Rooster Cogburn: Well, I don’t know. Possibly in the belief it would make him more dead.
[the rope snaps and the body drops, Cogburn turns the body over to look at it]
Rooster Cogburn: I do not know this man.
[after the Indian has taken the body of the hanged man]
Mattie Ross: Why is he taking the hanged man? Did he know him?
Rooster Cogburn: He did not. But it is a dead body, possibly worth something in trade.
Rooster Cogburn: Well my second wife, Edna, she got the notion she wanted me to be a lawyer. Bought this heavy book called Daniels on Negotiable Instruments, set me to reading it. Never could get a grip on it, I was happy enough to set it aside, leave Texas. There ain’t six trees between there and Canada, nothing else grows but has stickers on it. That’s when…
[they hear distant gunshot and stop riding]
Rooster Cogburn: I knew it.
Mattie Ross: Knew what?
Rooster Cogburn: We’re being followed. I asked that Indian to signal with a shot if someone was on our trail.
Mattie Ross: Should we be concerned, Marshal?
Rooster Cogburn: No. It’s Mr. LeBoeuf, using us as bird dogs in hopes of cutting in once we’ve flushed the prey.
Mattie Ross: Well, perhaps we could double back over our tracks, and confuse the trail in a clever way.
Rooster Cogburn: No, we will wait right here, offer our friend a warm hello, ask him where he is going.
[a rider wearing a bear’s skin and head rides towards them]
Rooster Cogburn: You are not LeBoeuf.
Bear Man: My name is Forster. I practice dentistry in the Nation. Also, veterinary arts. And medicine, on those humans that will sit still for it.
[indicating to the corpse on the horse that’s behind the Bear Man]
Rooster Cogburn: You have your work cut out for you there.
Bear Man: Traded for him with an Indian, who said he came by him honestly. I gave up two dental mirrors and a bottle of expectorant. Do either of you need medical attention?
Rooster Cogburn: No. It’s late, fixing to get cold. Do you know of anywhere to take shelter?
Bear Man: I have my bearskin. You might want to head over to the Original Greaser Bob’s. He notched a dugout into a hollow along the Carrillon River. And if you ride the river you won’t fail to see it. Greaser Bob, the Original Greaser Bob, is hunting north of the picket wire and would not begrudge its use.
Rooster Cogburn: Much obliged.
[the Bear Man tilts his head to indicate the corpse behind him]
Bear Man: I have taken his teeth. I will entertain an offer for the rest of him.
[after Cogburn and Mattie have managed to get inside the cabin]
Emmett Quincy: You said it was a man on the roof. I thought it was Potter.
Rooster Cogburn: You was always dumb, Quincy, and remain true to form.
[he stirs a pot with a wooden spoon]
Rooster Cogburn: This here’s an awful lot of sofky. You boys looking for company?
Emmett Quincy: That is our supper and breakfast both. I like a big breakfast.
Moon (The Kid): Sofky always cooks up bigger than you think.
Rooster Cogburn: Oh, and a good store of whiskey here as well. What are you boys up to, outside of cooking banquets?
Emmett Quincy: We’re just having our supper. We didn’t know who was out there weather like this. It might have been some crazy man. Anyone can say he is a marshal.
Moon (The Kid): My leg hurts.
Rooster Cogburn: I’ll bet it does.
Total Quotes: 99