The Lives of the Cowboys script
October 22, 2005
Sue Scott (ANNC): THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS...brought to you by Trail Scout, the Onboard Computer that fits into the horn of your saddle and saves you the embarrassment of getting lost. (TK ELECTRONIC VOICE: Turn left at cactus, one quarter mile.) Trail Scout , it's guaranteed to get you there. And now today's exciting western adventure...... (MUSIC UNDER, CATTLE, WHOOPING, HORSE WHINNY)
Garrison Keillor: Well, Dusty, might as well make camp here. Sun's going down. Horses are tired.
Tim Russell: Kind of hoping we'd make Yellow Gulch tonight.
GK: I don't think so. I reckon it's still four, five miles up the trail. I can't smell it yet.
TR: Kinda looking forward to finding me one of those fine tax-and-spend liberal floozies and some good rotgut whiskey. (GEESE HONKING OVERHEAD) Goldanged geese. Hate those critters.
GK: You're just envious cause they can put this all behind them faster than you can. (GUNSHOTS) What are you shooting at geese for? (GUNSHOT) You're not going to get a goose with a six-gun!!!
TR: Just letting em know we're here so they don't camp near us. Messy critters. I hate geese.
GK: Just writing a song about them.
Silhouettes onward they fly,
a flock of geese like commas punctuating a fall sky.
You like that line?
TR: Nope. So don't sing it.
The sun sets and the days keep getting shorter.
Like thinking you've got a dollar in your pocket but you've only got a quarter.
I'm still working on that.
Like thinking you're heading south but it's the Canadian border.
The sun sets and life is getting shorter
And it's getting cold. And I don't mean Cole Porter.
TR: Well, don't get yourself all worked up about mortality, Lefty. Every year you get in this tragic mood and talk about how we're on the trail to oblivion and so forth. Hard enough being out here on the godforsaken dusty plains without having to think about it......
GK: Sorry if I'm poor company.
TR: Compared to a dance hall floozie, yes, you are.
GK: You don't ever think about fate and how we come to be here and what the future holds?
TR: My philosophy is: things just are what they are so get over it and make the best of it. (STRUM GUITAR) Oh for crying out loud.....I thought it was a poem.
GK: A lyric poem. (SINGS)
Blue goose of October keep on flying
Fly on to San Antone and Mexico.
Blue goose of October keep on flying
Fall is going fast and so should you.
Bidding Canada goodbye
Join the "V" up in the sky
Just because your DNA
Says it's time to go away.
Blue goose of October how I envy
Your freedom as you fly across the blue
I've tried to goose myself into escaping
From the prairie but its very hard to do.
(GOOSE HONK, NEARBY)
TR: Oh boy. Lookit there. Your yodelling just attracted a goose. Git!!! (HONK) Just what we need. Wake up in the morning with green goose poop on the grass. Skedaddle on out of here! (HONK) Beat it. Find a lavatory somewhere else, ya pesky varmint. (HONK) (SIX SHOTS, PAUSE, HONK) Dagnabbit!
(HORSE GALLOP APPROACH, WHINNY, HORSE STOPS. SHE DISMOUNTS AND WALKS BRISKLY TO THE CAMPSITE AND STOPS)
SS: Evening boys, I'm Anne Billings, Department of Natural Resources, Waterfowl Division. I heard gunshots and I know there is a blue goose in the vicinity, an endangered specie, in case you didn't know, which I'm sure you did, being adults and all. Shooting an endangered blue goose is a federal offense for which you could pay up to a half-million dollars in fines and/or serve up to two years in prison.
GK: What does the "and/or" mean?
SS: You don't want to know.
TR: I wasn't aiming at him. (HONK) Hey! Here he comes! See? He's fine. Not a scratch on him.
SS: I'll have a closer look. (HONK) Come here, fella. (HONK) Let me have a look at you. (HONK) Easy. Don't worry about a thing. (HONK) I'll protect you. You okay? (GOOSE: No.) You're not? What's wrong? (GOOSE: He tried to shoot me.)
TR: Did not! I shot up into the air.
TK (GOOSE): Where do you think geese are? Up in the air!
GK: They were warning shots.
TK (GOOSE): Not to the one you're shooting at, they aren't!
SS: Okay, mister I'm putting the handcuffs on you. Face the horse and put both palms on the saddle. Feet apart. No tricks now.
GK: Well, lookit what's coming. (GEESE IN SKY FLYING, WINGS, HONKS) A whole flock of them. Heading south.
SS: Hey, wait! (TK GOOSE: So long. Bye.) You can't go! Don't! Come back!
GK: She's gone. Your only witness is gone. Flew the coop.
SS: You weren't a witness? You didn't see him?
GK: I didn't see anything. Don't remember anything.
SS: Darn. (SHE MUTTERS IN ANGER, KICKS SOMETHING)
TR: (PAUSE) Care for some coffee, ma'am?
GK: Got some fresh made.
TR: Got a fresh clean cup to drink it out of. And some flavoring.
SS: What's you fellows' names? What's your story?
TR: Well he's Lefty and I'm Dusty. He's a songwriter and I'm his best critic. We met in jail in Laramie, Wyoming, he was in for vagrancy and I was there on charges brought by a jealous husband. That was thirty some years ago, and we've stuck together because I owe him money.....keep talking about quitting the cowboy life and settling down and somehow we just never find time to do it. (STRUM) Hey, put that down. Stop that. She's in no mood for that.....
GK: Sometimes I have visions out here on the lone prairie, Dusty. Maybe it's hallucinations from bad water. Maybe it's just loneliness. But I imagine women gathering around me, beautiful women, angels, not from around here, not like anybody I know, Canadians…