The Lives of the Cowboys script
Saturday, April 29, 2006
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THEME

Sue Scott: The Lives of the Cowboys. Brought to you by Yankton Brand Medicated Neckerchiefs. Contains antiseptics, antibiotics, bug repellent, sunscreen and saddle soap. Everything you need in one neckerchief. And now: The Lives of the Cowboys.

(HORSE HOOVES)

Garrison Keillor: South Dakota. Never thought flat could be so beautiful. Look at it. Grass. Flowers blooming. Distant trees.

Tim Russell: "You are now entering Vermillion, home of the University." What does Vermillion mean?

GK: Vermillion is from the words "vera" meaning truth and "million" meaning many. The place of many truths.

TR: I thought it meant red.

GK: The whole state is red.

TR: Good point. What you chewing?

GK: Breath mints.

TR: Breath mints! (HE HAWKS AND SPITS)

GK: Want to have clean breath when I come to a college town, Dusty. Women here have high standards.

TR: People're gonna think you're a social worker. Or an interior decorator.

GK: Whoa. Whoa. (HORSE WHINNY) Pardon me, sir— you live here?

Fred Newman: Yes—

GK: I'm looking for the library.

TR: I'm looking for the saloon.

FN: Library's closed for repairs. Got two saloons —Right up there is The Stars & Stripes Saloon.

GK: What's that right across the street from it?

FN: That's the Stripes & Stars Saloon. That's where the Republicans drink. All six of them.

GK: Why is their saloon so big?

FN: They don't like to sit close to each other. In case a gun goes off, they want to have room to duck.

GK: Maybe we'll head into the Stars & Stripes Saloon, then. (FOOTSTEPS, DOOR OPEN. PIANO PLAYING "HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN" IN BARROOM STYLE. LAUGHTER. FOOTSTEPS. CREAK OF BAR STOOLS)

SS: Evening, partners! My name is Cynthia and I will be your wait person this evening. May I bring you a beverage?

GK: Would you happen to have an iced tea?

SS: Yes. We have organic tea harvested by teaworkers who were paid a fair wage and received health benefits. How about you, sir?

TR: A bottle of rotgut whiskey for me.

SS: You want a single-rot or a blend?

TR: A blend. And I'd like it made by prisoners who were being tortured at the time. (PAUSE) That was a joke.

SS: We do not allow abusive or marginalizing language here, sir. You care for ice with your rotgut?

TR: Hell no. I would no sooner put ice in whiskey than I would — never mind.

SS: How about a lemon or lime?

TR: With rotgut? You gotta be kidding.

SS: Soda?

TR: Don't you dare. (HE HAWKS)

SS: Mister— there's no spitting in here.

TR: No spitting?

SS: No spitting.

TR: How can you say no spitting? I'm a cowboy. I got a mouth full of spit.

SS: No spitting and no swearing either.

TR: Well, let me tell you what I think about that. (HAWKS AND SPITS) And as for your No Swearing, you can take that g(BEEP) sign and stick that (BEEP) and all your other (BEEP)ing rules that a (BEEP) cowboy can't even (BEEP)ing say what he (BEEP)ing thinks— that's it. I'm (BEEP) out of here. (FOOTSTEPS STOMP OUT, SLAM DOOR)

GK: Looks like you lost yourself a customer.

SS: Well, he can go over to the Republican saloon.

GK: I reckon he will do that.

SS: So how's your iced tea? You like that okay?

GK: To tell you the truth, I hadn't even thought of it. I been sitting here looking into your big blue eyes—

SS: Let me remind you there is no flirting unless the person you want to flirt with gives her permission in advance and in writing.

GK: So if I want to make a pass at you, you have to fill out a form first?

SS: Is that going to be a problem?

GK: No, I'll just wait for you to write it out, and meanwhile how about I sing you a song, darling? (STRUMS)

Dreaming of you and your eyes so blue,
I've loved you forever, it seems.
Longed for you, dear, and wanted you near,
You are the girl of my dreams.
And since I have found you just now,
I will tell you of my love somehow.

If I could be win, your heart...

FN: Excuse me, but I came over to help you with that song.

GK: Don't need your help.

FN: Your song could use some more work.

GK: I don't remember asking for your opinion, mister.

FN: I'm a Democrat. I'm here to help.

GK: Don't want it.

FN: I understand you being resistant to the idea of help — it's perfectly natural to feel that way.

GK: Good, then go away—

FN: I'm here to help. Work with me. Let me see that lyric—

GK: Hey. Give that back.

FN: That line "But since I have found you just now, I'll tell you of my love somehow" — that's a weak one. How about you try, "But now that you're here by my side, I can tell you I'm sure gratified." Or "But since you are in my vicinity, I appreciate your femininity" ? Opportunity knocks and it's opportune" — that line is weak. That's much better. Here, I'll just make the revision. (CLICK OF HAMMER ON PISTOL) What's the pistol for? Handguns are not allowed in this bar.

GK: Don't ever change a writer's work without him telling you it's okay. Okay? Get that?

FN: I'm only trying to help.

GK: Help somebody else.

SS: Where you going, mister?

GK: Going to the Republican bar across the street— (BRIDGE) And so I did. It wasn't exactly my cup of tea. Rush Limbaugh on the TV (TR RUSH RANTING) and guns hanging on the walls and a lot of Dobermans around (SNARLING) and a lifesize statue of Ann Coulter — (

SS: Hi, sailor. I'm Ann. Want to dance?) — and on the jukebox there was just one song you could play — Mr. Bush singing "My Way"—

TR (BUSH):
And now, the end is near;
Some folks are seeking my removal.
We're midway through an election year
With thirty-three percent approval.

I've done the best I could.
To stay on the right side of the highway.
But I'm popular in South Dakota
Up near Ioway.

GK: How about a drink, barkeep?

FN: (GROWLY VOICE, UNDECIPHERABLE, OFFERING A LIST OF ALTERNATIVES)

GK: Okay. How about the last one?

FN: (GROWLY, UNDECIPHERABLE, REPEATING LAST ITEM ON LIST)

GK: Sounds good. I'll have that.

FN: (GROWLY, UNDECIPHERABLE, OFFERING FURTHER OPTIONS ON LAST ITEM)

GK: Okay.

FN: (GROWLY, UNDEC, IRRITATED AT INAPPROPRIATE ANSWER)

GK: Fine. What'd I say wrong?

FN: (GROWLY, UNDEC, ANGRY)

GK: Just bring me whatever you think best. (BRIDGE) And that's how I came to be lost in Vermillion on a spring night. Whatever it was I drank made me feel I was on a ship at sea (WAVES, BOAT HORN) and humpback whales were all around us (WHALES) and mermaids standing on them playing ukeleles (SFX) except one who was playing the saxophone (SAX) and rockets were going off (SFX), and next to me was a pair of ducks and they were singing Purple Rain (SFX)

(THEME)

SS: The Lives of the Cowboys. Brought to you by Rapid City Gas-free Beans. The canned beans without the aftershock.

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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