The Lives of the Cowboys script
Saturday, April 18, 2009

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SS (ANNC): The Lives of the Cowboys. Brought to you by Cowboy Dirt Bags. (SWEEPING) Just sweet up dirt and put it in a Cowboy Dirt Bag. Itís biodegradable. Because itís made from dirt. And now, the Lives of the Cowboys. (COWS, HORSES, TRAFFIC)

GK: Well, here we are, Dusty. Manhattan. Madison Square Garden is right up there on 34th .

SS (NY): Excuse me— gentlemen—

GK: Yes—

SS (NY): Are these your cows?

TR:: Yeah—

SS (NY): And have you paid the livestock surcharge to the City of New York?

GK: Whatís that?

SS (NY): Mayor Bloomberg has introduced congestion pricing for cattle. Six dollars per head.

GK: Six dollars per head?

SS (NY): Thatís what I said.

GK: But maíam, weíve got three hundred cattle here for the show at Madison Square Garden—

SS (NY): I donít make the rules, I just enforce them.

TR:: I donít believe it. Did you say six dollars per head?

SS (JERSEY): Parla inglese? Sexto dollare per Holsteino.

GK: Okay. I hope you take IOUs. (BRIDGE)

GK: Sure is exciting for us to be in a Wild West show with the great singing cowboy Roy Costello.

TR:: Weíve been to see all his movies— ďMoonlight On The River ColoradoĒ— ďDown By the Old Rio GrandeĒ—

GK: Love the way he hides in the limbs of trees and when the outlaws ride underneath he drops down on them.

TR:: We tried that and sat in a tree and never saw anybody ride by who youíd want to jump down on.

SS: Excuse me— Mr. Costello is wondering if one of you would sing with him.

GK: I think thatíd be possible.

SS: Good. One more thing— Mr. Costello has a thing about cleanliness and he is extremely sensitive to spitting.

GK: Thatís fine.

SS: He gets extremely upset when he sees someone chew tobacco or spit. And he also cannot stand to hear the word ďsorryĒ.

GK: No ďsorryĒ.

SS: None. No apologies. Okay— Heís in his trailer now if youíd like to go rehearse a song with him.

GK: Okay. Iím there. (FOOTSTEPS) (KNOCK)

EC (INSIDE): Whoís there?

GK: Lefty. Iím your new duet partner. (DOOR OPEN)

EC: Oh. Come on in.

GK: Thanks. (FOOTSTEPS) Nice trailer. Nice pictures. Hey. You on a horse, I see. Looks like the Grand Tetons.

EC: Yeah. I lived out there in Wyoming for the past four years. I was a fugitive. Lived in a hunting shack up in the hills.

GK: So you were on the run from the law?

EC: I was on the run from public acclaim.

GK: Oh?

EC: For three years in a row, I was named the Sexiest Man In America.

GK: I see. By whom?

EC: Thousands of women of all walks of life.

GK: Interesting.

EC: It made my life a living hell.

GK: I would imagine it would be a sort of honor—

EC: You ever walk down the street and have women throwing themselves at you? Large women?

GK: Well, Iíve been out on the range for awhile. A woman would have to throw herself a long way.

EC: It was disgusting. I felt dirty. A sex object. Felt used. So I went to Wyoming and lived in the hills. And then I went hunting with Dick Cheney. Kind of an impulsive guy when he gets a few beers in him.

GK: Iíve heard that.

EC: He was going for a grouse that flew up from a bush and he turned and shot me in the face. I used to have more hair than this.

GK: I see the pellet marks.

EC: Anyway, what with the hair loss and the pellet marks, I was no longer one of Americaís Sexiest Men.

GK: Okay.

EC: And I came back to New York, and got hired for the Wild West show.

(FOOTSTEPS APPROACH)

SS: Roy—weíre all set up now for the night herding scene. Weíve got the lights all set and the cactuses in place and the stagecoach and if you could come along—

GK: I thought he and I were going to rehearse—

SS: Itís only yodeling. No need for rehearsal. (FOOTSTEPS, HORSE PASSES) Watch your step there. (FOOTSTEPS, HORSE WHINNYING) And here are some of the other cowboys whoíll be in the scene—

TR: (JOHN): Mr. Costello, Iím honored to be doing this show as the head wrangler. I like your work and I like what you stand for.

EC: Thank you—

TR: (KIRK): And Iím here as the deeply troubled cowboy whoís out on the range trying to lose the memory of a love that was lost.

FN (DEEP): And Iíll be playing the psychotic cowboy in case you were wondering.

SS: Okay, places please. You three are over there by the hay bales and Mr. Lefty youíre there. Okay? (HAWK SPIT)

EC: Who did that? (COLD SILENCE) I said who did that? (REVOLVER HAMMER CLICK AND CYLINDER SPIN) Who spat on the floor?

TR: (KIRK): That was me, Iím afraid. Iím just nervous. It wonít happen again.

EC: I hope not. Anybody else who spits — thatís it— Iím out of here. And I mean it.

SS: Okay, okay, okay. Let me describe the scene. The lights come up and the cattle are down at that end — And the fire is blazing and the sparks rising and we see the stars in the sky and — cue the coyotes. (COYOTE CHOIR) And up there on that butte — whereís the butte? (VOICES OFF) Move the butte in.

FN (OFF): What butte?

SS: The butte!

FN (OFF): You mean, the butt?

SS: Itís pronounced butte.

FN (OFF): You mean this big flat rock sort of a thing?

SS: Thatís it.

FN (OFF): We call this a butt.

SS: Itís a butte.

FN (OFF): Around here itís called a butt.

SS: Okay. Move the butt then. (RUMBLING) And atop the butte, or butt, is a lone Indian chanting to his tom-tom. (DRUM, CHANTING) Very good. And Roy is standing by the campfire, playing his guitar. (S

TR:UM)

EC: You want me with my foot up on a stump?

SS: Good. And your sidekick Lefty is there.

GK: Okay. (FOOTSTEPS. BWANG) Whoops. Sorry.

EC: Whatíd you say???

GK: Oh. Sorry.

EC: (JAW CLENCHING ANGER)

GK: Oh. Forgot. Sorry.

EC: Did you explain the rules to him?

SS: I did. Mr. Lefty, Roy does not want to hear the word you just said. The S-word.

EC: I grew up among apologetic mealy-mouthed people who walked around wringing their hands and being self-effacing and whingeing and thatís why I left and came to America. Itís a place where nobody says theyíre sorry. So donít. What youíre supposed to say is, ďGet over it.Ē Okay?

GK: Okay.

EC: Remember that.

GK: I will.

EC: Because it really really really irks me. It drives me up a wall. It makes me mad.

GK: Get over it.

EC: Thank you.

SS: Okay. So you and Roy are standing by the campfire and singing a song to the herd and young Scarlett rides up on her pinto pony and sheís heard your singing and — whereís young Scarlett?

FN (OFF): Sheís all set.

SS: Okay. Good. And she dismounts and then you sing to her. Okay— cue the coyotes (SFX), and the cattle (SFX), and the Indian on the butt. (SFX) And— action—

(STRUMMING)

EC (SINGS, TO ďI RIDE AN OLD PAINTĒ):
I am an old cowboy, who sleeps on the ground
I can shoot straighter than anyone around
I eat when Iím hungry, I drink when Iím dry
And I do not eat tofu, I donít even try.

(w GK) YODEL

I am a cowboy, and a marksman, and scout
And feelings are something I donít talk about
I look at the world with a skeptical eye
And I do not eat salads for fear I would die.

(w GK YODEL)

SS: Good. Good. Good. Okay— Cue Scarlett!

FN (OFF): Sheís coming around the butt. (HORSE HOOVES APPROACH)

HM: Oh wow. — Iím not alone out here on the dusty godforsaken plains. — I have a cowboy to protect me.

EC: Oh my god, kid ... youíre the most beautiful woman Iíve laid eyes on. Come, let us yodel together?

HM: (SINGS)
I am a cowgirl of THE Wild West
I can shoot straight if Iím put to the test.
I donít care for men. They bore me. Itís true.
But I might make an exception for you.



HM & EC (YODEL)

EC: That was pretty good yodeling, kid.

HM: Thanks. I donít know why but yodeling makes my mouth water. (SHE HAWKS AND SPITS) Something wrong?

EC: Nope.

HM: You just looked at me sort of strange.

EC: Sorry.

HM: I love your work, Mr. Costello.

EC (SINGS):
Just call me Roy or call me Gene.
Or call me sweetheart, if thatís what you mean.


HM (SINGS):
My love for you is sudden and total.

EC (SINGS): Likewise, Iím sure, so come let us yodel.

(HM & EC YODEL)

GK: Well, that was the romance that broke up the show. Me and Dusty sold off the herd at a loss and our horses too and got on a plane back to Texas. (JET INTERIOR, PEOPLE PASSING)

TR:: Donít care much for air travel, to be frank.

GK: Well, thereís a discomfort bag in the seat pocket.

TR:: I donít think itís big enough.

GK: Take a pill.

TR:: What I need is a drink and a cigarette.

GK: No smoking, Dusty.

TR:: I can go in the lavatory.

GK: Disabling a smoke detector is a federal offense, Dusty. There are men in Leavenworth today for taking the batteries out of smoke detectors.

(P.A. FN PUFFS INTO MIC)

FN: Welcome to Mustang Airline. This is your pilot, Buck Leonard. No co-pilot today, he had a hangover. Just me. Our flying time to Houston will be just under three hours and weíll be flying at an altitude of 36,000 feet. Unless I see some coyotes down there. In which case, hang onto your hats. Meanwhile, Iím gonna open up a Lone Star beer (POP TOP) and letís have us a ride. EEEEE HAW.

GK: Sounds like weíre going back to Texas. (THEME)

SS: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS ... brought to you by Cowboy Dirt Bags. Theyíre biodegradable...because theyíre made from dirt.

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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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