February 4, 2010 (Broadcast February 6)
The Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN

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The Lives of the Cowboys

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(THEME)

SS: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS... ......brought to you by Buffalo Bill's Skin
Moisturizer. It smells just like whiskey so nobody will ever know. And now lets join Dusty and Lefty for today's exciting adventure.

(HORSES WHINNY, HORSE RIDES BY. STREET TALK)

GK: Dagnab it, Dusty, if this ain't the best luck. We got us parts in a movie.

TR: Yep.

GK: Look, Dusty. That's the director. The famous Swedish director Ingmar Soderberg. This is his first western movie. Wrote the whole thing himself, I understand.

FN: People!!!! Listen up now. Mr. Soderberg has a few words for you —

TR (SODERBERG): PONDEROUS (SWEDISH)

TK (WHISPER): What is he saying?

SS: He's saying that it's a movie about the desolation of the human soul. Okay. Bring in the snow machines

(MOTORIZED FLIES MOVING IN) — Over here. (MOTORIZED MOVEMENT AND STOP) Little more. (MOTOR) Little more. (MOTOR) Little more. (MOTOR, CRUNCH) Good.

GK: Snow? In a Western?

TR (SODERBERG): (SWEDISH)

SS: Start up the snow machines. (REPEAT COMMAND. SNOW MACHINES: LOW WHIRR RISING IN PITCH SLOWLY) Snow falls and everyone goes into the saloon and you sit and look at the floor. Okay? Everybody okay with that?
GK: But­— this is a western movie. There's got to be action.

TR (SODERBERG): (SWEDISH)

SS (ASSIT DIR): Mr. Soderberg reminds you that he is the director, mister. He's the one who decides here.

GK: Let's take a vote. How many of you in favor of depression and despair because of winter? (TK ONE SMALL VOICE) How many in favor of action? (ALL SHOUT AYE) Good. Okay, you be the schoolmarm.

SS: Thank you.

GK: And you be the dance-hall floozy with the heart of gold —

HM: Wheeeeeeee!

GK: And you're the pure and innocent young ‘un just off the train —

ER: Darn. I wanted to be the floozy. Oh shoot.

TR (SODERBERG): (SWEDISH)

GK: You can be the minister.

TR (SODERBERG): (SWEDISH AGREEMENT)

FN: What about me? I want to be the stranger who comes to town —

GK: You're not strange enough.

FN: I can do strange. (HE DOES WEIRD HIGH VOICE)

GK: Not the right kind of strange.

(FN DOES LOW AND INCOMPREHENSIBLE)

GK: Okay, you be the town drunk. I'll be the cowboy hero, Jack Trueblood, a lonely man with a mysterious past.

ELVIS: What about me?
GK: You're the devious stranger who comes in on the 2:14 train and is attracted to the floozy whom I love and you and I step in and we face each other down on the street.

ELVIS: Beautiful. I love it.

GK: Okay — cue the train — places everybody — (DISTANT CHUGGING, WHISTLE)

TR (DUSTY): Hey, pardner. What about me?

GK: You're the voice-over narrator. Okay, let's get going. Places. And — underscore.

(MUSIC THEME: WESTERN)

TR (DUSTY): It was a quiet day in Yellow Gulch. Or had been. Until the train pulled in and a devious stranger got off. (TRAIN COMES TO A STOP)

TK (CONDUCTOR): Yellow Gulch!!! Station Stop, Yellow Gulch!!!

(FOOTSTEPS ON GRAVEL)

ELVIS: Well, this town looks as good as any other. May as well try my luck here. Got a bag of gold dust and a satchel full of stock certificates in the Acme Mining Company — let's see how many suckers I can find before the train pulls out for Cheyenne. Guess I'll head for the saloon. (FOOTSTEPS)

GK: Okay. Cut. Cut. (REPEAT COMMAND) Saloon scene next. Everybody in the saloon. — Poker players over there. Now we're gonna have a big saloon brawl and I break it up and she sings. Okay. Roll it.

(PIANO: CAMPTOWN RACES) (SALOON HUBBUB)

FN: Hey — you. (QUIET)

TK: You talking to me?

FN: Where'd that ace of spades come from?

TK: Outta my hand, that's where.

FN: Then what's this ace of spades doing in the deck?

TK: I don't know what you're inferring, mister.

FN: You're a dirty double-crossin' cheater, that's what you are. (BRAWL ENSURES.
SLUGGING. TABLE OVERTURNED. GLASS BREAKAGE. BODY HURLED AGAINST WALL. PIANO CRUNCH. FIST-FIGHTING.)

GK: Stop! (GUNSHOT) (BRAWL ENDS, MUTTERING) Cut it out, or the next shot isn't going to be in the ceiling. Just settle down. There's women present. Look around you.

ER: Who is he, the tall man in the elegant brown hat, is he the sheriff?

SS: No, young ‘un. That man is Jack Trueblood. He arrived here a year ago trying to atone for something in his past.

HM: And I'm in love with him. I think I am. I sort of am. Though I'm not sure he's emotionally available.

SS: Why not find out right now?

HM: Good idea. (FOOTSTEPS) Hey — Piano Man —

RD: Wow. She talked to me. — What can I do for you, ma'am?

HM: Can you play that thing in E-flat-minor?

RD: E-flat-minor got shot. But how about _____(KEY)?

HM: Fine. (HE PLAYS INTRO)


HM (SINGS):

A quiet day in Yellow Gulch
I smelled manure, or was it mulch?
I viewed the morning with alarm
Then you walked in with a gun at the end of your arm—

GK: That's a mighty pretty song, Miss Carruthers.

HM: Call me Cynthia.

GK: That makes it even prettier.

HM: Well — it's forward of me to say it, but — anytime you want to hang your gunbelt around my bedpost, Jack —

ELVIS: Hello there!!!! (HE STRIDES ACROSS FLOOR) The name's Snead. W. Sylvester Snead. And I'm here with big news for one and all. A four letter word that starts with G. Gold. G-o-l-d. (EXCITED WHISPERS) Yes, this little town is on the verge of incredible growth! Unbelievable annual earnings! ....
ELVIS: ....A cash flow that won't quit! You folks are standing on a gold mine. How about it, darling? How'd you like to have a million dollars in that black silk stocking of yours?

HM: I don't think my black silk stocking is big enough for a million dollars.

ELVIS: Oh? Let me take a closer look —

GK: Stop right there. (CYLINDER SPIN, HAMMER CLICK) I don't think you're from around here, mister.

ELVIS: You just figured that out now?

GK: That's my sweetheart you're ogling.

TR (DUSTY): The two men faced each other across the saloon. The stranger in his embroidered frock coat, Jack Trueblood in his plain but honest apparel, their right hands resting lightly on the handles of their revolvers.

GK: If it's a fight you're looking for, mister, you found it.

TR (SWEDISH)

GK: Shut up, Reverend. Save it for his funeral service.

ELVIS: The funeral is going to be yours, cowboy. And me and her are not going to be present for the ceremony.

SS: “Me and her” — listen to him.

GK: I'll see you out on the street. (FOOTSTEPS) — Okay, cut. Cut. Cut. (REPEAT COMMAND) Let's do the gunfight scene. Everybody outside, lined up. Street empty. Blazing sun. Long shadows....

GK: .... Horse tied to the hitching rail, their tails switching. (WHINNIES) Train sits in the station. (STEAM RELEASE) Mothers shushing their children. (CHILDREN) The floozy weeps. (HM SOBBING) Okay. Roll it.
(SILENCE)

GK: Last chance to live, mister. Train's waiting in the station. Plenty of time to catch it.

ELVIS: You're bluffing, Jack. I just came from Red Butte. They're still talking about you there. How you turned tail and ran from a fight. (GASP OF CROWD) You know it's the truth.

FN (DEEP INCOMPREHENSIBLE)

GK: So you found out. Good. But that was then. And this is now. And I ain't running.

ER: He is so brave.

SS: Our Jack.

HM: I can't help but feel responsible for all of this.

ELVIS: Go ahead, Jack. Draw.

GK: A cowboy never draws first. You draw first.
ELVIS: What do you want me to draw? You?

GK: Draw your gun.

ELVIS: You want it in charcoal or pastels?

GK: Just draw your gun, mister.

ELVIS: How about pencil? Let me just get my sketchpad out of my back pocket — (GUNSHOT) — what? You — you shoot a man just for — for — wanting to create visual imagery? This is a capital offense? What sort of people are you? I — (HE COUGHS) Tell my mother I died for the noblest cause a man can give his life to. I died for art.

GK: He's dead.

ELVIS: Not yet!!!! You win. For now. One artist falls but others will follow — Art cannot be killed ­it lives forever! (GUNSHOT)

GK: That's a long enough speech.

ELVIS: The artist cannot be suppressed. Everywhere the human spirit cries out for freedom! Man shall prevail!

GK: You want me to shoot you again? Huh?

HM: I'm so sorry. So very sorry.

ELVIS (WHISPERS): One last kiss, my darling. Be happy. That's all I ask. Goodbye. Goodbye.

SS: Look out!!!! He has a gun!!!!! (THREE GUNSHOTS)

GK: Ohhhhh. He got me. He had a pistol in his palette. I thought he was an artist but he was a common sneak. Oh what irony. What cruel irony— And it's snowing.

TR (SWEDISH)

ER: What'd he say?

SS: He said, life is a tragedy and we must live it over and over. And the roads are very slippery.
TR (DUSTY): Snow fell on Yellow Gulch and on the two bodies that lay within a few feet of each other. Snow fell all across the West. And a young woman looked out the window of her rooming house.

ER: Next week­— I'm leaving yellow Gulch­—I'm going to go somewhere and create art and show people the beautiful depth of the human heart.

(MUSIC UP)

FN: Cut. Cut. CUT. (REPEAT COMMAND)

GK: Well done, everyone. That's a wrap.

ELVIS: I'd like to do my death speech again.

GK: Sorry.

ELVIS: And I wasn't completely satisfied with the last scene, I'd like to try the kiss again.

GK: It's all done.

TR (DUSTY): Cue the credits.

(THEME)

SS: The Lives of the Cowboys.....brought to you by Wild Bill Brand Skin Moisturizer. It smells like sweat....so no one will ever know.

(THEME OUT)

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»

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