The Lives of the Cowboys script
Saturday, June 7, 2008
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SS: The Lives of the Cowboys. Brought to you by Cowpoke Toothpicks. Lemon-flavored to help you spit. And now, The Lives of the Cowboys.

(MOVIE SET HUBUB, OFF)

TR: I donno why we ever agreed to be in a movie, Lefty. Look at us. We've been standing around for forty-five minutes waiting for them to get the dang camera focused. What's the deal here—

GK: We're just extras, Dusty. But maybe if they hear me sing, they'll put me in the movie. A guy can hope.

TR: What's the movie about anyway?

GK: It's called "Ulysses West of the Mississippi." I guess the studio bought the rights to James Joyce's "Ulysses" but they couldn't afford to shoot in Ireland, so they made it into a western. Billy the Kid rides into town and shoots a guy named Finnegan and there's a wake. And he meets James Joyce in the saloon-and they face off in the street. (FOOTSTEPS IN GRAVEL)

FN: Excuse me, I'm from makeup— mind if I spray your hair? It's starting to bunch up in back.

TR: I'm a cowboy, mister. I don't do hairspray.

FN: Take off your hat. Just take a minute—

TR: The hat stays on.

FN: Your hair's flat. I gotta fix it.

GK: Course our hair is messed up. We're cowboys.

TR: Cowboys are not about hair, mister.

FN: Just let me tease it up a little back here. (HAIRSPRAY)

TR: You touch me and I'm out of here.

FN: Touch! Touch!

TR: That's it. I'm outta here. (FOOTSTEPS OFF)

GK: Dusty? — Oh well.

FN: Let me do your hair, cowboy.

GK: Okay. Whatever.

(SPURS JINGLE, OFF)

SS (OFF): Okay, places everybody places— places. (HORSES) Put that chicken up on the roof of the saloon. (CHICKEN) — (FOOTSTEPS, AS SHE TALKS) Okay. Now Cliff— you're Billy the Kid — you're standing over in the middle of the street, okay? And Mr. O'Halloran, you play James Joyce—

MS (IRISH): I bloody well know who I am, lady, what do you take me for? I come from the fair land of holy men and warriors, a land of mild breezes and lovely maidens, and heroes of whom I am one. James Joyce. World's greatest author. None other.

SS: Good. And you come out the front door of the saloon and you've got your little glasses on and you're squinting in the sun and you're angry at him because he tried to deconstruct your glass of whiskey and you yell at him and he pulls out his six-gun and the chicken jumps off the roof as he shoots and the chicken takes the bullet for you and lies there in the dirt bleeding and Billy the Kid faints at the sight of blood and you walk over to him and you kick him. Okay?

MS (IRISH): Can I kick him anyplace I want to kick him then?

TR (CLINT): No, he cannot. You touch me and I'm out of here.

MS (IRISH): Oh you'll be out of here all right. When I kick you, mister, you'll be to the other side of the moon.

SS: Just a stage kick, okay?

MS (IRISH): I'll do me best but I make no promises.

TR (CLINT): I am not going to do this scene with a crazy person.

MS (IRISH): I'm not crazy, I'm Irish. And proud of it. Stand out there and take your kicking like a man, ya bloody method actor.

SS: Let's just try one take, okay? Horses— ? Good. Chicken? (CHICKEN) Lights. Camera. And roll em. Action. (FN REPEAT COMMANDS)

(SLOW FOOTSTEPS ON GRAVEL)

TR (CLINT): Hey Joyce! James Joyce! Come out of that saloon and face me down in the street. I hear tell you been calling me a silly boogger. Nobody calls Billy the Kid a silly boogger and lives to tell about it. So come out here, James Joyce, and bring a gun with you.

SS: CUT. CUT. (HUBBUB)

TR (CLINT): What'd I do wrong?

SS: It's bugger. Not "boogger". Bugger. TR (CLINT: That's what I said. Boogger.

SS: No. It's bugger.

TR (CLINT): Bugger.

SS: Okay. Take two. Lights. Camera. Action. (FN REPEAT)

TR (CLINT): I hear tell you been calling me a silly bugger. Nobody calls Billy the Kid a silly bugger and lives to tell about it. So come out here, James Joyce, and bring a gun

(DOOR CREAKS OPEN) (SLOW FOOTSTEPS ON PORCH AND THEN STOP)

MS (IRISH): Thought I heard the ravings of some filthy lunatic out here and now I see it's only you, you silly bugger.

TR (CLINT): Take a look at this gun, sir. Is this the gun of a silly bugger?

MS (IRISH): I can't see a thing, Mr. Kid, so don't bother with it. I'm so near-sighted you're nothing but a blur — you're nothing but a grease stain, Mr. Kid.

TR (CLINT): What kind of a name is Joyce? That's not a man's name.

MS (IRISH): It is when I wear it, Kid. Now go peddle your papers elsewhere before I give you a piece of my tongue, ya bloody ruffian ya. Ya been robbin the poorbox long enough, and it's time somebody showed you which side your bread is buttered on, ya bloody barbarous barbarian you.

TR (CLINT): Well, at least I'm sober.

MS: Don't you go casting your nasturtiums on my character. You're nothing but a common lunatic, you are. And silly bugger.

TR (CLINT): No man ever called me a boogger and lived— ya— ya big—

SS: Cut! Cut! Cut!

TR (CLINT): What?

SS: Bugger.

TR (CLINT): Sorry.

SS: Places. Lights! Camera! Roll it!

TR (CLINT): No man ever called me a - sorry.

SS: Cut! Cut!

TR (CLINT): Sorry. I just choked for some reason.

MS (IRISH): Choked on a booger.

SS: Places! Lights! Camera! Roll it!

TR: No man ever called me a bugger and lived -

MS (IRISH): Ya don't scare me one whit, you pitiful silly bugger. I'm going to come out there and use your leg for a fire hydrant I will. You're a public nuisance and you're obstructing a public thoroughfare. And your fly is open.

TR (CLINT): My fly is not open.

MS (IRISH): Take a look. It's wide open.

TR (CLINT): You're just trying to get me to look down so you can make your move. Well— I'll show ya— (HE DRAWS GUN)

(STRUM OF GUITAR)

SS: CUT! CUT! CUT! (FN REPEAT COMMANDS) Who's got the guitar? Come on. Fess up. Who are you? (FOOTSTEPS)

GK: Sorry, ma'am. That was me. Had it hanging over my shoulder and I went to move it.

SS: Who gave him the guitar???!!!!

GK: I snuck it in, ma'am.

SS: Well, just sneak it out.

GK: I just thought maybe a song'd be good at this point in the story.

SS: Get him out of here. (HUBBUB OF VOICES, HUSTLING LEFTY OUT)

GK: Wait. Please. Ma'am— listen. This is my big chance. Just listen to it. Okay? Please.

SS: OKAY. TAKE A BREAK. Let's hear it.

GK (SINGS):
As I walked out in the streets of old Donegal
As I walked out with those Donegal boys
I saw in a bookstore an enormous chronicle
And it was Ulysses by Mr. James Joyce.
He wrote like only a Dubliner can
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
I never finished Finnegan's Wake
I started it once and took a break

SS: THANK YOU. NO THANK YOU. (HUBBUB) Okay, let's pick up the scene from "ya pitiful silly bugger" — okay? (HORSES) Get the chicken up on the roof— (CHICKEN)

FN: Chicken's in place.

SS: Cliff— places please. Places everybody. Let's pick it up from "ya pitiful silly bugger" — Lights. Camera. And roll it. (FN REPEATS)

MS (IRISH): Ahhhh— ya pitiful silly bugger. I'm going to come out there and use your leg for a fire hydrant I will. You're a public nuisance and you're obstructing a public thoroughfare. And your fly is open.

TR (CLINT): My fly is not open.

MS (IRISH): Take a look. It's wide open.

TR (CLINT): You're just trying to get me to look down so you can make your move. Well— I'll show ya— (HE DRAWS GUN)

(CHICKEN FLURRY) (GUNSHOT)

MS (IRISH): Missed me and hit the chicken, ya idjit.

TR (CLINT): Oh my gosh....animal blood.... (HE FAINTS AND FALLS) (FAST FOOTSTEPS ON GRAVEL)

SS: Careful, Mr. O'Halloran.

(BIG KICK, AND BWANGGG. TR GROAN)

(BRIDGE)

GK: James Joyce had played soccer as a child and when he kicked, he went for accuracy. While they carried away Mr. West, I got to sing my song. (SINGS)

And this is the story of Joyce's Ulysses,
Life is a voyage and it isn't for sissies
Some things end and others begin again
Here's a toast to good old Finnegan. (YODEL)

MS (IRISH): I was a singer too, you know.

GK: And what did you sing?

MS (IRISH): I sang a lullaby called "Toora Loora" — know that one?

GK: I do.

MS (IRISH): It's the California version.

GK: Where'd you learn that?

MS (IRISH): Ventura.

GK: Is that right, Mr. Joyce?

MS (IRISH): I don't know if it was right but I lived there anyway.

(THEY SING, DUET)

MS & GK: Toora loora loora
Toora loora lay
I am from Ventura
And San Francisco Bay.
Toora loora loora
Toor loora lie
Maggie was an Irish girl
And I love her til' I die.

(THEME)

SS (ANNC): The Lives of the Cowboys. Brought to you by Whiskey Drink Boxes. The little box of whiskey with a straw. The portable drink for the man on the trail. (POP, SLURP)

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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