The Lives of the Cowboys script
Saturday, September 2, 2006
Listen

SS: The Lives of the Cowboys. Brought to you by Santa Fe Brand Orthopedic Boots. They're painted to look pointy-toed but they're regular toes so you can walk in them and they don't hurt. And now: the Lives of the Cowboys (COWS, HORSES)

GK: Awfully quiet around here, Dusty. Makes me nervous. Nothing's happening. Why?

TR: (BEAT) We're in St. Paul. Of course, nothing's happening. And it's Labor Day weekend. Last chance to do nothing for a while.

GK: Well, I got big plans myself. Soon as we deliver these cows to the Cattle Barn at the State Fair, I am going to head up to the Grandstand for the Talent Show.

TR: And who's gonna get the cows cleaned up for the cow judging?

GK: You can do it. (SOME TRAFFIC, CARS PASSING) All you do is hose em down.

TR: I thought we were partners.

GK: This is the big talent show, Dusty. I win this, I might get a recording contract or something.

TR: You'd stand a better chance if you got you a pair of skinny jeans. Then you could look sharp while you're singing flat. Well, here we are at the State Fair. (VOICES, CAR PASSING)

SS: Morning. State Fair security check. You gentlemen mind dismounting for just a minute there?

GK: Okay, ma'am. (DISMOUNTING, SADDLE GROAN, HORSE WHINNY, CHUFF)

SS: You carrying any firearms or explosives? How about any liquids?

GK: Water in a canteen.

SS: I'm going to have to take that, sir. (SLOSHING)

SS: How about you, sir? Any gels, lotions, or toothpaste?

TR: Toothpaste? Ha! We're cowboys. Don't need toothpaste. Clean our teeth by eating dust all day.

SS: I just have to ask, sir. Is that a guitar you're carrying?

GK: Yes, ma'am. (STRUMS SOUR CHORD)

SS: Okay. Go on ahead. --- (HORSES' HOOVES) You may want to have that thing tuned.

(HUBBUB, COWS)

GK: Looks like the cattle judging is over this way, Dusty.

TR: Don't seem fair to me, you running off to the Talent Show and leaving me here with the herd.

GK: It'll be fine. All you need to do is wash em off with a hose and knock off those big clods of dirt hanging on their haunches and maybe tell em a few jokes to relax them.

TR: Easy for you to say.

GK: There's the judge right over there.

TR: Who?

GK: The little bald guy with the badge----

TR: Oh. Him.

TK (ON P.A.): (JOWLY GIBBERISH)

TR: What'd he say?

GK: Don't worry, they always repeat it a few times.

TK (ON P.A.): (JOWLY GIBBERISH)

TR: Did he say something about ----- (REFER TO PREVIOUS)

GK: Sounded more like (REFER TO PREVIOUS).....

TR: Excuse me, sir. Could you repeat that?

TK: (JOWLY GIBBERISH)

GK: I'll see you later, Dusty. Good luck. (BRIDGE) I headed over to the Grandstand where the Talent Show was taking place, and I arrived there just as a little girl with golden braids was finishing her song.

SS (LITTLE GIRL): Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can't I?
If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

TK: Beautiful, darling.

TR: Thank you very much.

TK: Thirteen-year-old Emily Brubaker from Biwabik, Minnesota.

TR: Isn't she a sweetheart?

TK: Beautiful. Contestant No. 14 ---- from Austin, Mr. Bill Nelson.

GK: This old dude with a ponytail walks up to the microphone and starts his number.

(GUITAR)

TR (WILLIE): On the road again,
just can't wait till I'm on the road again, (FADES)
the life I love is making music with my friends,
and I can't wait till I'm on the road again.....

GK: I headed backstage to the green room where a man was sitting with his dog. (PANTING) You in the talent contest?

TK: He is.

GK: Your dog?

TK: Right.

GK: What does he do?

TK: He talks.

GK: Oh great.

TK: You've heard him?

GK: No.

TK: Let me show you.

GK: I can wait.

TK: I want you to hear this.

GK: I've got to go.

TK: Listen---- Hey Buster---- (DOG PANTS) Buster, what's the part of the house that has shingles on it? (DOG WOOFS) Hear that? He said "Roof". Buster, how would you describe sandpaper? (DOG WOOFS) Hear that? He said, "Rough." Buster---

GK: I gotta go get ready.

TK: Buster----- who was the great homerun hitter of the New York Yankees?

TK (DOG): Mickey Mantle?

TK: No, it was Ruth. Babe Ruth.

TK (DOG): Who?

TK: Ruth! Ruth! RUTH!

TK (DOG): I don't get it. How about Jason Giambi?

TK: The answer is: RUTH. RUTH. RUTH.

GK: Good luck, sir. (DOOR CLOSE)

SS: Contestant No. 23?

GK: Yes, ma'am.

SS: You're up next. You ready?

GK: All ready.

SS: Just walk out to the microphone and start singing, okay?

GK: Fine.

SS: No speeches, okay? No dedications to your mother or God or your high school music teacher, okay? Just sing.

GK: Fine.

SS: Ready? Your fly zipped?

GK: All set.

SS: Go.

(LONG SERIES OF FOOTSTEPS. STOP. HARSH RATCHET OF GOOSENECK MIKE)

GK: Sorry. (FEEDBACK) Sorry. (STRUMMING)

I know about misery, I know about grief,
I've given up philosophy and every belief
I was an anarchist, a nihilist too
And then I got to meet you.

You are a song in the middle of the night,
I am the cigar and you are the light.
In the middle of the desert, you're a big ice cream soda
You're like a mountain in the middle of Dakota
I was lost and confused and full of misery
You are a miracle to me

TR: Thank you!

GK: There's more.

TR: And now, ladies and gentlemen, for your musical pleasure, Contestant Number 23 will stop singing.

GK: One more verse, please.

SS: Please. Let him sing. I found it very moving.

TR: Oh for crying out loud.

TK: Okay, but sing softer.

TR: So we can't hear you.

GK: I was feeling down, depressed and half nuts
Life was an ashtray full of old butts
A sink full of dishes, and yesterday's beer
And that's when I met you, my dear.

You are my song, you're all that I need
You are a book that I'm happy to read
You're a beacon of hope to a guy who was roaming
You're the lone Democrat in the state of Wyoming
The law of averages had gotten me down
And that was when you came around.

TK: No yodeling please.

GK: (YODEL)

(LOSER KLAXON)

TR: Disqualified. No yodeling. Read the rules next time.

SS: I loved it.

TK: He's out of here. (RATCHET)

GK: And suddenly I felt the trap door open beneath my feet. (GK CRY, FALLING, SPLASH) And I was in the tank. (GUY CREW TALK) The stagehands fished me out. Me and my old guitar. (SOUR CHORD) And they pointed me toward the exit. (GUY TALK) And that's where Dusty was waiting for me. (WHINNY) I mounted up and we headed west. (CLIP CLOPS) How'd you do in the cattle contest?

TR: Got the booby prize.

GK: How come?

TR: Got disqualified because their tails weren't braided.

GK: You gotta braid a cow's tail?

TR: Here you do.

GK: That's too much. You braid a cow's tail, you may as well put a tutu on it.

TR: Minnesota is not a western state. We know that now.

GK: I guess.

TR: How'd you do in the talent contest?

GK: Won first prize.

TR: You did not.

GK: Did so. Won first.

TR: What was the prize?

GK: Ten thousand dollars.

TR: So where is it?

GK: I gave it to a little girl.

TR: You what???

GK: She needed it more than I did. I got my talent, but she didn't have any, so I figured the cash would be a comfort to her.

TR: How come you're all wet, by the way?

GK: It's a tradition when somebody wins, they throw em into a pool.

TR: Oh. ---- What's this up ahead? Looks like another security checkpoint. Whoa. (HORSES WHINNY, STOP)

SS: Welcome to Minneapolis, gentlemen---- just need to ask a few questions.

TR: We are not carrying toothpaste or lotion or any liquids of any kind.

SS: Are you carrying any books or magazines that could be considered hurtful to any ethnic or racial minority? Are you carrying tobacco? Are you wearing cosmetics that might have been tested on animals?

TR: No, ma'am.

SS: The leather in your boots ---- was it harvested in a humane manner?

TR: Yes, ma'am.

SS: Are your horses giving off methane fumes?

TR: I don't know, but if you want to go back there and check, be my guest.

SS: Looks okay to me. Enjoy your visit. (GIDDYUPS, WHINNY, HOOVES)

(THEME)

SS: The Lives of the Cowboys. Brought to you by Rockin Chair Brand Gelatin Saddle. The only saddle with a gel-foam seat, so it molds to your butt for a perfect fit. Get a Gelatin Saddle today. Because riding doesn't have to hurt anymore.

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).

Available now»

American Public Media © |   Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy Policy