Episode 028 (1.28)

The Midas Man


Scott Breckenridge ...............Tom Tryon
Titus McKelvy ...............Walker Edmiston
Ed Mead ...............Hal Lynch
Jace Holman ...............Richard O'Brien

Audra falls in love with a man who has come to the valley to take advantage of a bad drought.

Audra fills her water bottle at the water pump in the yard. Heath comes up from behind with two horses.

Heath: Here you are, Sis.

Audra: Oh, thanks, Heath. You shouldn't have bothered. I could have saddled him.

Heath: Well, I had to saddle mine anyway. I'm gonna go to town.

[Both mount their horses.]

Heath: Wouldn't ride too far in this heat though. You'll melt.

Audra: Oh, I'm just goin' down to the swimming hole for a swim.

Heath: That's a good idea. If I didn't have to go to the bank, I'd go with ya.

Audra: I'm glad you can't. Otherwise I'd have to take my bathing habit.

[Both ride off in different directions.]

Audra arrives at the the community water hole and starts to undress. In the meantime Scott Breckenridge resurfaces in the water hole, noticing Audra undress.

Scott: Well, the scenery around here is even lovelier than I was told.

[Audra hides behind the bush.]

Scott: Sorry. I didn't mean to frighten you.

Audra: Who are you? How did you get here?

Scott: I imagine the same way you did. Rode up, dismounted, took off my clothes and...

Audra: This is private property and you're trespassing.

Scott: Well, according to the map in my saddle bag this is a community water hole, open to everybody.

Audra: But you had to cross Barkley range to get to it.

Scott: Really?

Audra: [Huffs] Yes, and... and you'd better leave immediately.

Scott: Oh?

Audra: I'm Audra Barkley, and I'm ordering you to. - Please.

Scott: I'll need my clothes of course.

Audra: Well, get them.

[Scott starts wading toward the shore.]

Scott: They're on that bush.

Audra: Stop! Stay where you are.

Scott: Whatever you say.

Audra: Just let me think for a minute.

Scott: I'll tell you what. I'll trust you. You just close your eyes, and I'll get out of the water.

Audra: Don't you dare!

[Approaching horses can be heard.]

Audra: I'll get dressed first and then... [noticing the approaching horses] Somebody's coming. Oh, they mustn't see us!

Scott: I'm willing to take my chances.

Audra: Please.

Scott: Well, in that case...

[Scott swims to the side into hiding. Nick, Jarrod and Jace Holman approach the water hole.]

Nick: Must be down about a foot.

Jarrod: Mighty low for this time of the year.

Nick: All I can tell you is last year this time, this whole area was fine pasture. Now look around. Not enough to feed one head, let alone a heard.

Jarrod: Jace, are you as worried as Nick and the other boys I been talking to?

Holman: Rain's six weeks late. Hot weather instead of cold. I tell ya, it's the start of a bad drought. Just like the kind that ruined my place in Texas.

[Heath arrives at the water hole.]

Heath: Jarrod.

Jarrod: What's wrong?

Heath: Drought scare's brought on panic. Run on the bank this mornin' cleaned it down to the last penny. It's closed its doors.

Holman: All the cash I had was in that bank.

Jarrod: All the cash anybody had was in that bank.

[Audra looks shocked, while on Scotts face a smile appears.]

[Begin Credits]

Audra returns home from her riding. Inside the house Victoria serves coffee to Jarrod and some other man.

Scott: Fine. Thank you.

Victoria: Jarrod?

Jarrod: Yes, please.

[Audra enters the house, stops on the stairs upon hearing voices from the parlor.]

Jarrod: Well, we're more fortunate, Scott. The bank closing hurt us pretty bad, but we should be able to stay on our feet. All of our bills are paid, and most of our enterprises are solid.

Victoria: [noticing her daughter.] Audra!

[Victoria goes to Audra.]

Jarrod: I'm afraid, the rest of the ranchers around here are in debt up to their ears.

Victoria: Excuse me, Jarrod.

[Jarrod looks around and notices Audra too.]

Jarrod: Oh!

[Jarrod stands up and puts his cup down. The stranger also stands up and it is Scott Breckenridge from the water hole.]

Victoria: Mr. Breckenridge, I would like you to meet my daughter. Audra, this is Scott Breckenridge.

Scott: At your service, Miss Audra.

[Audra is speechless.]

Jarrod: Uh, Audra...

Audra: I think Mr. Breckenridge and I have met before.

Scott: Yes, I have the same feeling. Now, where was it? Uh... Let me see... I remember. Paris.

[Audra exhales]

Scott: At the Duc d'Orleans's annual masquerade ball. You went as a water nymph.

[Audra shakes her head.]

Scott: No? Well, uh... London then. The Savoy? You were dining with Count, uh...

Jarrod: Uh, Scott, I'm afraid you have Audra mixed up with somebody else. Counts and the Continent are still just a little bit out of her line.

Scott: Well, that's their great misfortune.

Victoria: Oh, speaking of misfortunes... [to Audra] did you hear about the bank failure?

Audra: How awful.

Scott: Indeed it is. I'm sure under the circumstances the family has a lot to talk about, Mrs. Barkley. I won't intrude any further.

Victoria: You're not intruding at all.

Jarrod: Of course you're not, Scott. I'm only sorry you made the trip from San Francisco for nothing.

Scott: Not necessarily for nothing. There's a lot of money to be made in bad times as well as good. If your offer to show me around still holds I'd like to stay in town for a while.

Jarrod: It certainly does. Why don't you meet me here for breakfast in the morning? We'll get an early start.

Scott: I'll be here. Thank you for your hospitality, Mrs. Barkley.

Victoria: We look forward to seeing you tomorrow morning.

Scott: A pleasure meeting you, Miss Audra. I hope we, uh, bump into each other again sometime.

Jarrod: I'll see you to the door.

[Jarrod and Scott walk to the front door.]

Jarrod: See you in the morning, Scott.

Scott: Fine, Jarrod.

[Scott leaves.]

Audra: Scott Breckenridge. Is he really as successful and brilliant as they say?

Victoria: Well, they don't call him the Midas Man for nothing. Everything he touches turns to gold.

Next morning Nick and Heath and a few hands are hauling bales into the hayloft.

Group: [Chattering] Come on. All right boys, wind him up. Got it?

[Three riders approach.]

Nick: Good mornin', boys.

Holman: Mornin', Nick, Heath.

Heath: Mornin'.

Nick: What can we do for ya?

Holman: That the new feed we've been hearin' about?

Nick: Uh-huh. Timothy and alfalfa.

Mead: Best quality I've seen.

Heath: And it stores longer than the other too.

Holman: I was gonna try some. Till yesterday.

McKelvy: Me too. Now I haven't even got the price of a month's ordinary feed.

Heath: Well, the bank's closin' didn't do any of us any good.

Holman: We just talked to Fred Jefferson at the bank. He don't know when the bank is gonna reopen.

Mead: If we could get loans on our herds, we figured it might tide us over.

Holman: We can't keep goin' without supplies, Nick. That's why we come to you Barkleys.

Nick: Well, we got some extra supplies, but not enough for all you boys.

McKelvy: That ain't what we mean, Nick. We ain't askin' for a handout. We was hopin' maybe you'd make us a loan. Enough to get us through till the herds are sold. Don't like askin', but there's nobody else.

Mead: If you Barkleys don't help us... a lot of us is gonna have to sell to speculators.

Holman: We'll lose everything.

Nick: Well, I wish we could help, but, uh, right now all the cash we got on hand is just enough for payroll and expenses. It's gonna have to stay that way until we sell our own herd.

Holman: Is that all?

Nick: That's all.

Holman: But what about your mills and the foundry and the mines?

Nick: Oh, wait a minute. They're not cash, Jace.

Holman: But you can raise cash on 'em, can't you?

Nick: If the bank were still operatin', yes.

McKelvy: All right, Nick. Then tell us. Where do we get the money?

Nick: Sorry. I don't know.

[Jarrod and Scott approach.]

Scott: Perhaps I do. Mornin', Nick.

Nick: Mornin', Scott.

Scott: Heath.

Heath: Scott.

Jarrod: Boys, this is Scott Breckenridge. Scott, these are our neighbors. Now, this is Titus McKelvy.

Scott: Mr. McKelvy.

McKelvy: Mornin'.

Jarrod: Jace Holman.

Scott: Mr. Holman.

Jarrod: And Ed Mead.

Scott: Mr. Mead. Pleasure, gentlemen. As I was saying, I have money and I'll be happy to advance you loans in any amounts you may need.

Holman: You mean, on our herds?

Scott: I don't know anything about cattle, Mr. Holman. On your land.

Holman: What kind of terms, Mr. Breckenridge?

Scott: When does the cattle market open?

Holman: Ninety days.

Scott: Well, all right. Uh... 90 days at 12 %.

Jarrod: That's kind of high interest, isn't it, Scott?

Nick: It's twice what the bank charges.

Scott: Speculators will ask higher. And they're your only alternative, gentlemen.

Holman: You're right there.

Scott: I've heard that Stockton cattle are the finest in the valley. Their sales should cover the loans easily.

Heath: With the drought getting worse, I wouldn't count on cattle for payin' off any loans.

Nick: You know, you could lose a whole herd. Remember what happened the last drought.

Jarrod: Nick's right, boys. Scott here's a personal friend, but I'd advice against taking him or anyone else up on short-term loans under these conditions.

Holman: You ain't hurtin' for money.

Scott: Uh, Jarrod's got a good point, gentlemen. There's a lot of risk involved in short-term loans, for everyone.

Holman: Guess it's pretty much of a gamble either way, Mr. Breckenridge. If you're willin' to risk it, so are we. You've got a deal.

Scott: Good. Jarrod, would you draw up the necessary papers?

Jarrod: Boys, I'm advising you against these loans. But if that's what you want, I'll draw up the papers.

Holman: [to Jarrod] Your advice ain't gonna feed our cattle. [to Scott] Thank you, Mr. Breckenridge. You got more faith in us than our neighbors.

Scott: Well, I'm glad you think so, Mr. Holman. Good day, gentlemen.

[The three ranchers leave.]

Nick: All right, boys. Let's get back to work.

Evening. The family is gathered around the pool table.

Victoria: You're very quiet tonight, Jarrod. Anything wrong?

Jarrod: No, no. I was just thinkin' about Scott Breckenridge. Wondering why he made all those loans so quickly. You know, there really isn't that much in it for him.

Victoria: Are you afraid he's speculating, hoping the ranchers won't be able to pay?

Jarrod: Well, I don't like to admit it, but he could be. He's completely unpredictable at times.

Audra: How can you say that when he's risking so much money just to help them? Why, if it hadn't been for him, they wouldn't even be able to by their supplies.

Jarrod: Audra, believe me. He's no philanthropist. He wouldn't risk anything just to help somebody.

Audra: Why, you probably just don't understand him.

Jarrod: I know him pretty well. I used to handle some of his legal affairs for him.

Audra: Well, I think you're wrong. I think he's wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.

Jarrod: [laughs] Most women do.

Audra: What do you mean?

Nick: He means he's like me - irresistible.

Heath: And he's got his choice of the most sophisticated ladies from San Francisco to Paris. So I'm afraid he wouldn't be interested in you, little sister.

Audra: Well, if those women are so fascinating, why isn't he married by now?

Victoria: One woman is rarely enough for a man like Scott Breckenridge. The need for conquest is too strong. They simply aren't the marrying kind.

Audra: Aren't they?

Next day. Heath is refreshing under the water pump. Audra, in a fine dress comes to drive into town.

Heath: Boy, howdy. Where are we goin' like that in broad daylight?

Audra: Into town.

Heath: In that dress? You're gonna get a terrible sunburn.

Audra: This dress is the latest thing in Godey's Lady's Book.

Heath: Well, either the sun's mighty weak back East or those Godey ladies have hides like mules.

Audra: Do me a favor. Tell Mother I'll be home later on this afternoon.

Heath: I'll tell her.

Audra: Bye-bye.

[Audra drives off.]

Heath: [calling after her] You better get some cocoa butter while you're in town. You're sure gonna need it.

In town Audra is waiting in front of the hotel looking out for Scott, but quickly pretends to watch a shop window (with guns) when he notices her.

Scott: Do you prefer a light or a heavy handle for a quick draw? Good mornin', Miss Audra.

Audra: Good morning, Mr. Breckenridge. What a pleasant surprise.

Scott: I was just about to say the same thing.

Audra: Thank you.

Scott: Isn't that one of Godey's latest frocks?

Audra: Why, yes, it's - it's called a morning dress.

Scott: Yes, all these ladies in New York are wearing them now.

Audra: Really?

Scott: Oh, they're considered to be the height of sophistication. That one makes you look at least 16.

Audra: I'm well over 16.

Scott: Well over 16? You don't say.

Audra: You're impossible.

Scott: So I've been told. Well, what brings you to town on such a hot day?

Audra: [thinking hard to find a good reason] I have an appointment at the dressmakers's.

Scott: Well, may I have the pleasure of accompanying you?

Audra: Well, thank you, but you needn't bother.

Scott: Nonsense. It's no bother at all.

[Scott and Audra walk over to the dressmaker across the street.]

Audra: Well, thank you, but you really needn't take me any further.

Scott: Well, I've seen you this far. I'll see you to the door.

[Scott looks at the door and the sign in it: "Closed. Be back later."]

Scott: It seems that your dressmaker's forgotten about your appointment.

Audra: Oh, well, she... she probably just stepped out for a minute. I'll just wait.

Scott: I'll wait with you.

Audra: No! It really isn't necessary. I'm sure she won't be long.

Scott: Why, I wouldn't dream of allowing a lady to wait alone. [starts whistling]

Audra: My, it's awfully warm, isn't it?

Scott: Indeed it is.

Audra: Maybe my appointment's for next week. I... I mean, I might have gotten them mixed up.

Scott: Really?

Audra: Yes, I... I don't think I'll wait any longer.

Scott: A wise decision. Inasmuch as your plans have changed, Miss Audra perhaps you'd like to have an ice with me at the hotel.

Audra: Why, thank you, Mr. Breckenridge. I... You don't think I had an appointment at all, do you? I suppose you think I came all the way into town just to see you.

Scott: Yes, I do. And I'm glad you did.

Audra: I'm glad I did too.

Nick and Heath approach a water hole with two cows to let them drink.

Holman: Hold it! You Barkleys blind or somethin'? Didn't you see my iron stuck over there?

Nick: We saw it.

Holman: Well, what do ya think you're doin'? I got 50 head back there comin' in here to drink.

Nick: Well, we'll be watered and out of here by the time they get here.

Holman: That ain't the point. It's first come, first served at a community hole and you know it. You agreed along with the rest.

Heath: We couldn't wait, Jace. We found those cows in a dried-up water hole. No tellin' how long they've been without water.

Holman: You still got water in your high pasture. Why didn't you take 'em there?

Nick: They're too weak. They'd never make it that far.

Holman: My cows are weak too. But I wouldn't go hoggin' the community hole when I had some of my own.

Nick: Hoggin'?

Heath: You want us to let these cows die, Jace? If that's what you want, say so.

Holman: Let 'em drink. To my way of thinking hoardin' water in a drought's the same as stealin'.

The family is gatherer around the fireplace, Nick is setting the balls on the pool table.

Nick: Well, how about a game, Heath?

Heath: No, thanks.

Nick: Jarrod?

Jarrod: Maybe later, Nick.

Nick: Oh, come to think of it, I don't fell too much like playin' either.

Scott: [voices from outside] Then when I got to Paris, I discovered he taught me Italian.

Audra: Oh, Scott! Hello, everybody. Sorry I'm late, Mother.

Victoria: We were beginning to worry.

Nick: Worry? We were about to send out a posse.

Scott: My apologies, Mrs. Barkley. Audra and I met accidentally in town. And I was so engrossed in the company, that I completely lost track of the time.

Victoria: We were only concerned about her driving in the dark. Thank you for seeing her home.

Scott: Not at all.

Jarrod: Well, as long as you're here, Scott, why don't you stay for dinner?

Audra: Oh, yes. Scott. Please stay.

Scott: Well, uh, if I wouldn't be intruding, I...

Victoria: Not at all. We'd love to have you.

Audra: I'll tell Silas to set another place.

Jarrod: Sit down, Scott. Can I get you a brandy?

Scott: Fine.

Jarrod: Mother?

Victoria: No, thank you.

Scott: Well, what's the latest on the drought situation?

Nick: Getting much worse. All the little water holes around are pretty well dried up. And the ranchers are using one community water hole.

Heath: And that's not workin' out too good either. Nick and I had a little run-in with Jace Holman today.

Scott: Well, it takes courage to handle adversity. It's a quality I greatly admire but often find most lacking when the chips are down.

Heath: Well, you must figure the ranchers have courage or else you wouldn't have made the loan.

Scott: On the contrary, Heath, I think they don't. When the going gets rough, I think they'll fall apart.

Jarrod: And then you'd acquire a great deal of valuable land without having to bargain for it at auction, right?

Scott: Exactly.

Jarrod: Well, I disagree with you, Scott. I think the ranchers around here have more than enough courage.

Scott: Then I get my money back with interest. Either way, I can't lose.

Heath: That's a pretty cold-blooded attitude, isn't it?

Scott: A cold-blooded attitude is a necessary part of my Midas touch.

Victoria: As I remember, Midas came to regret his golden touch. It killed everyone he loved.

Scott: I shall try to profit by his mistakes, Mrs. Barkley.

[Footsteps approaching]

Audra: Dinner's ready, Mother. I hope you like chicken creole, Scott. Silas prides himself on it.

Scott: As of the moment, it's my favorite dish.

Heath: Nick.

Jarrod: Madame.

Jace Holman and the other ranchers are placing dynamite, while Nick and Heath approach a water hole.

Nick: If you're gonna get yourself some water, you better get to it, 'cause I plan to drink this whole thing dry.

Heath: If you don't, I guarantee to finish the job.

[Nick spits the water out again.]

Heath: What's the matter?

Nick: Sulfur.

Heath: Oh, well, now that's all we need. We bring sulfur up through.


Heath: Sounded like dynamite.

Nick: Yeah, right up over that rise.

[Another explosion and the water starts bubbling]

Nick and Heath ride over to where the blasting happens.

Nick: Jace, you set that blast?

Holman: Any objections?

Nick: What's the idea?

Mead: We're dynamitin' for rain.

Nick: You're what?

Heath: Dynamitin' for rain?

Mead: Worked in Nebraska. Dynamited three days and broke the drought complete.

Nick: Uh-huh. Probably was due to break anyhow.

Mead: No, sir. There wasn't a cloud in the sky.

Nick: Mm-hmm. And jackrabbits are green.

Mead: Well, all right. Don't believe me. But it's my land, and we'll do what we want.

McKelvy: There's only one big water hole left, and it's gettin' lower.

Mead: We gotta do somethin'.

Nick: Well, the stream that feeds that big water hole runs right under this ground here. You keep blastin', you're gonna foul it for sure.

Heath: It's already beginnin' to go yellow.

Holman: What are you talkin' about?

Heath: We were just there.

Nick: Sulfur's leakin' under the south end.

Holman: We better set these over in the west canyon.

Nick: It'd be better if you stopped blastin' altogether.

Holman: You Barkleys wouldn't lend us money, and I don't notice you sharing water, so don't give us any advice!

Jarrod is working at the desk. Audra rides up to the house.

[Door opens, closes]

Jarrod: Audra?

Audra: Jarrod?

Jarrod: Say, young lady, wasn't that your horse I saw tied up in town today?

Audra: Well, it may well have been. Why?

Jarrod: Well, usually when you're in town, I can expect a visit. And then the extreme pleasure of taking the prettiest young lady in Stockton to lunch.

Audra: Well, I appreciate the compliment, but I couldn't have had lunch with you today anyway.

Jarrod: I gathered as much. You've, uh... You've been seeing quite a bit of Scott lately, haven't you?

Audra: Yes, I have. And I'll never be able to thank you enough.

Jarrod: Thank me? For what?

Audra: Well, it's because of you that he came to Stockton.

Jarrod: Uh-huh, well, not exactly because of me. He never was one to miss a business opportunity, you know.

Audra: Well, anyway, you had something to do with it, and... and I can't thank you enough. Not nearly enough.

Jarrod: Well, I wish I could honestly say you're welcome. - Audra, how much do you think you know about Scott?

Audra: Well, to begin with, he was born in New York City in 1841 of English parents.

Jarrod: Now, that isn't what I mean.

Audra: [giving a short laugh] I know it isn't. Why do you ask, Jarrod?

Jarrod: Well, I just don't wanna see you get hurt, honey.

Audra: I know Scott well enough to feel positive he'd never hurt me.

Jarrod: You're sure?

Audra: I'm sure. But thanks for worrying, big brother.

At a ball. Scott and Audra are dancing.

Scott: And you know what you are tonight? An enchantress. A ravishingly beautiful enchantress.

Audra: Which one?

Scott: Mm, Cleopatra, Delilah, Juliet, take your pick.

Audra: Hmm. Cleopatra.

Scott: I would have thought you'd say Juliet.

Audra: See how little you know about the real me?

[They stop dancing outside on a balcony.]

Audra: [Sighs, looking at the stars] What a heavenly night. The stars seem almost close enough to touch.

Scott: In Tahiti, the stars are so bright their reflections light up the lagoons at night - they look like silver mirrors.

Audra: Oh, it must be exciting to see all those faraway places. Meet all kinds of people.

Scott: Exciting, yes. But all kinds of people are usually strangers, especially when you have to match wits with them.

Audra: Strangers can become friends, can't they?

Scott: Friends know your weaknesses as well as your strengths. And a successful businessman can't afford to let anyone get that close.

Audra: But if there's nobody who's close, then there's nobody who cares. Nobody to share with.

Scott: Hm. On the contrary, there are many always willing to share. But as for caring... The Tahitians have a saying. Translated, it goes something like "He who climbs up the mountain looks upon the lagoon alone."

Audra: Is that the way you want it, Scott? Looking down on the lagoon alone?

Scott: Up until these past few weeks, I thought so.

Audra: These past few weeks?

Scott: [taking out of his breast pocket a small sack with pearls in it] That's why I took the liberty of sending for these. You mentioned you liked pearls.

Audra: Oh, I've never seen anything so exquisite. [Scott start putting the pearls around Audras neck] Wait,... I really shouldn't take them.

Scott: Surely an enchantress isn't bound by rules of propriety. Audra, do you want them?

Audra: Of course I do.

Scott: Then take them.

[Scott puts the pearls around Audras neck.]

Audra: How do they look?

Scott: You look beautiful.

Victoria walks up the stairs when the front door opens.

Audra: It's been a wonderful evening.

Scott: For me too, Audra. I'll see you tomorrow.

Audra: Of course.

Scott: I'll come by in the morning. We'll go riding.

Audra: And I'll pack a lunch. And I know just the spot for it.

Scott: Till tomorrow.

Audra: Good night.

[Audra starts walking to the staircase.]

Victoria: Audra... Did you have a nice time?

Audra: Oh, marvelous. We danced and danced and danced and danced. Look what Scott gave me. He sent to San Francisco for them.

Victoria: Well, they're lovely. Is it some special occasion?

Audra: Just that I like pearls, that's all.

Victoria: Well, I'm sure Scott only meant to be thoughtful, but...

Audra: Now, Mother, I know what you're going to say. That I shouldn't accept expensive gifts unless they're from my fiancé. I know he's going to ask me, Mother. I just know it.

At the Cattlemen's Hotel.

Scott: Good morning, Mrs. Barkley.

Victoria: Mr. Breckenridge.

Scott: I received your note. This is an unexpected pleasure.

Victoria: Thank you.

Scott: May I offer you some refreshment?

Victoria: No, thank you. Is there someplace we could talk privately?

Scott: Uh, over here? I'm afraid this lobby doesn't offer the seclusion of, uh, say, the Grand Hotel in Paris.

Victoria: Nor the scandal.

Scott: I'll wager that half the intrigues in Europe start at the Grand.

Victoria: Especially the romantic ones.

Scott: Yes. At that little table on the balcony just to the left of the main staircase.

Victoria: Oh, yes. That French count used to meet his little ballerina there. The one his father tried to buy off. Now, what was her name?

Scott: Minette du Claire. [Chuckles] Lots of men used to meet her there.

Victoria: Oh?

Scott: Mm.

Victoria: Oh, she must have been more experienced than she appeared.

Scott: Well, theatrical people generally are.

Victoria: Mm, not only theatrical people. I found in most walks of life appearances can be deceiving. Audra's a very good example of that.

Scott: Audra? Deceiving? I don't think those two words go together.

Victoria: To many, she may seem completely mature. In many ways she is. But with men of the world, men like yourself, she's young and totally inexperienced.

Scott: She has all the allure of a woman, Mrs. Barkley. I hadn't noticed that she was at any disadvantage.

Victoria: She's out of her depth in an intrigue, Mr. Breckenridge. She could be badly hurt.

Scott: Is that what you think I'm offering her? An intrigue?

Victoria: Men like yourself seldom offer anything else.

Scott: Generalities can often be as deceiving as appearances, Mrs. Barkley. Anyway, whatever I'm offering, I think that Audra should have the right to choose for herself.

Victoria: In most cases, I would agree. But in this instance, I am concerned because the... wrong choice could be so very wrong.

Scott: You don't have very much faith in your daughter, do you? Are you concerned for her virtue or the Barkley name?

Victoria: Oh, no. The Barkley name has withstood many severe blows in the past and will withstand many more in the future. Does that anwer your question?

Scott: Audra and I are spending the afternoon together.

Victoria: I know.

Scott: I never take unfair advantage of an inexperienced opponent, Mrs. Barkley. At least, not unless they're fully aware of all details.

Victoria: I hope I can count on that. Good day, Mr. Breckenridge.

Scott: Good day, Mrs. Barkley.

At the picnic site. Audra and Scott share the last of the champagne.

Scott: That's the last.

Audra: Hmm. Half for you and half for me.


Scott: What was that?

Audra: Oh, that's the ranchers. They're dynamiting for rain. I'm sorry.

[They kiss.]

Scott: That was even more potent than the wine.

Audra: How much more, Scott?

Scott: So much more that when I leave here, I want to take you with me. I want to show you all the exciting places in the world. London, Paris, Rome. Make myself the envy of every man on two continents.

Audra: Oh, yes, Scott. Yes, I'll go anywhere with you. Anywhere in the world.

[Another kiss.]

Audra: Oh, I knew you loved me. I knew you'd ask me to marry you.

Scott: Audra. I didn't ask you to marry me.

Audra: Well, I know. Not... Not in so many words.

Scott: I thought we understood each other. Especially after last night. That we were two of a kind, not tied down by other people's rules.

Audra: But you just said...

Scott: What I just said was an invitation... to a wonderful, exciting romantic interlude... with no strings attached for either of us. Strings choke love, Audra. The... They destroy it, turn it into hate.

Audra: No. No, I want strings. I want to be tied to you for the rest of my life. I love you.

Scott: I love you. But love is... a thing of wings and wind. Clip those wings and... [Sighs] Well, I won't do it. I can't do it.

Audra: What you're saying is... you want me for your mistress, not for your wife.

Scott: What I'm saying is that I want you. That's the important thing.

Audra: No! You don't want me. Not really. Not enough!

Scott: Audra... Audra!

Audra: You're treating me like I was a cheap...

Scott: Audra!

Audra: I never wanna see you again! Never!

Scott: Listen to me.

[Audra drives off.]

At Jarrod's office. ??????

Mead: There's never been a drought like this since I been in the valley.

McKelvy: It's bound to break soon. All we need is a little time.

Scott: I'm standing firm, gentlemen. I want the full amount with interest, and I want it one week from today when it's due.

Holman: We can't pay by then, and you know it!

Scott: Then I'll expect you to vacate the land.

Holman: Suppose we refuse to get off?

Scott: You do that, Mr. Holman, and this range will be swarming with state deputies within 48 hours. I believe that's all, gentlemen. That is, till next week.

Mead: You can't steal our land just 'cause we signed a piece of paper.

Scott: You ask Jarrod about that piece of paper. He wrote it.

Jarrod: He's within his rights.

Mead: You Barkleys got influence. Can't you force him to give us some time?

Jarrod: Not without breaking the law.

Holman: Then you're sayin' he's right. You're on his side.

Jarrod: Legally, yes.

Holman: Jarrod... how much do you figure on making on this swindle?

Jarrod: I don't think you mean that, Jace.

McKelvy: Maybe he does. Maybe he doesn't. But if it turns out it is true, you'll regret the day you ever saw this valley, Jarrod.

[The three ranchers leave the office.]

Jarrod: Scott, I'm gonna ask you one more time. Extend those loans for 30 days at the same rate of interest.

Scott: I like it the way it is.

Jarrod: All right then. Suppose I underwrite those loans with mortgages on the Barkley mills?

Scott: [Laughs] That's a gallant gesture, Jarrod. Too bad your neighbors aren't worth it.

Jarrod: They may be frightened men, but they're honest. And they're my friends.

Scott: They've a very interesting way of showing it.

The family is gathered again, the boys playing some pool.

Jarrod: And even if we could break those contracts, it would take months. All assets would be tied up, and none of the ranchers would be able to hold out.

Nick: He's not a financier, he's a... vulture.

Jarrod: I'm afraid you're right, Nick. While everybody else is praying for rain, he's hoping the drought will last.

Nick: But just until every rancher who owes him money is beaten into the ground.

Jarrod: Yeah. And when I think I'm the one who suggested he come here in the first place.

Heath: Heard Jace Holman pointing that up in the saloon today.

Victoria: Jarrod, is there anything we've overlooked that would change Scott's mind?

Jarrod: I doubt it. I've already taken the liberty of offering him mortgages on our mills. He refused. Apparently he doesn't realize exactly how much losing their land means to the ranchers. Or worse, he knows and just couldn't care less.

Audra: Excuse me.

Victoria: Where are you going?

Audra: There's something I have to do before dinner.

Jarrod: What Scott's up to is clear enough. As soon as the drought's over, property values rise, and he can ask any price he wants.

Heath: I heard there's talk in Sacramento of finding a way to bring year-round water into the valley.

Nick: If they do, they'll have the support of every rancher in this valley, I promise you that.

Jarrod: If there're any left around to give support.

Audra drives into town to the hotel and goes up to Scott's room.

Audra: [knocking]

Scott: Who is it?

Audra: Audra Barkley.

Scott: [opens the door] Audra.

Audra: May I come in?

Scott: I rather thought a bachelor's hotel room was a little out-of-bounds by your rules.

Audra: Please. It's important. [goes in] I know you're surprised to see me.

Scott: After our last meeting, it is a little unexpected.

Audra: I didn't want to come. I had to.

Scott: Had to? Why?

Audra: Because I have to make you understand how important the ranchers' land is to them. It's not just property, Scott. It's their whole life. And if you take it away from them, then... then they won't have anything. Not anything.

Scott: They knew that when they signed the contracts.

Audra: But they were desperate then. They didn't know what else to do.

Scott: And desperate or not, they knew the terms.

Audra: Then you won't change your mind about the extension?

Scott: I don't consider sentiment appropriate collateral.

Audra: I see. Well, then I have another offer.

Scott: Oh? A mortgage?

Audra: In a way.

Scott: Well, Jarrod already made that offer. I turned him down, flat.

Audra: It's not the same as Jarrod's.

Scott: All right. What's your offer?

Audra: Myself.

Scott: That's an interesting offer. Go on.

Audra: If you'll extend the loans to the ranchers, I'll go away with you.

Scott: I see.

Audra: And I'll stay. For as long as you want me.

Scott: Oh, there is no limit to the sacrifices you Barkleys will make for your neighbors, is there? You place a high value on yourself. That land is worth over half a million dollars. What makes you think you're worth that?

Audra: You. And the things you said to me.

Scott: Audra, you have a shrewd marketing sense.

Audra: Then you accept?

Scott: A half a million dollars is a lot of money. I'll have to think about it. I'll let you know as soon as I can.

Audra: You're the most despicable man I've ever known.

Scott: I rather imagined you thought that.

[Audra leaves. Scott follows her unto the staircase. Holman, McKelvy and Mead see Audra leaving the hotel.]

Holman: Just like I told you. Thick as thieves! The whole bunch of 'em!

The family is assembled in the parlor.

Heath: [playing checkers with Jarrod] One more?

Jarrod: No, thanks, Heath.

[The front door bursts open and the three ranchers walk in.]

Victoria: Gentlemen. Jace, how is your wife?

Holman: Fair enough.

Victoria: Titus, has that grandson of yours started walking yet?

McKelvy: He sure has, Victoria.

Victoria: Good. Ed, I understand your mother's 70th birthday is tomorrow. I'll send her over some apple cake. I know she likes it.

Holman: We didn't come here for apple cake. Or nice talk either.

Jarrod: What did you come here for, Jace?

Holman: We figured you Barkleys are in cahoots with Breckenridge on this loan deal. That's why you brought him here.

Jarrod: Jace, you're wrong, and you know it.

Mead: We don't know nothin' of the kind.

Heath: What are you drivin' at, Jace?

Holman: If you're not all in the same boat... what was your sister doin' with Breckenridge at his hotel?

Heath: Why, you...

Victoria: Heath, let him finish.

Holman: All right. We come for some straight answers. If we don't get 'em, we'll dynamite till every water hole in this area's fouled and there ain't a Barkley steer left alive.

Scott: That won't be necessary.

Jarrod: What do you want here?

Scott: When I last saw these gentlemen, I assumed that they were on their way here, so I thought I would come along and clear the air. I took Jarrod up on an old offer to come to Stockton as a cover-up for my real reason for being here. Which was to take advantage of the crash that I knew was inevitable. The Barkleys had nothing to do with my succeeding. They're on your side.

Holman: It sure looked that way at the hotel tonight.

Scott: Both Jarrod and Audra made offers for bargains of extensions of your loans. Audra's offer was by far the more interesting. That's why she was at my hotel. Audra has offered to go away with me, anywhere, for as long as I want her. Why she thinks you gentlemen are worth it, I will never know. But your loans are extended. I'm accepting her offer. Audra?

Heath: She's not going anywhere.

Victoria: You may leave now, Mr. Breckenridge.

Scott: Well, Audra, did you come to the hotel to play games, or did you mean it?

Audra: I meant it.

Jarrod: Audra, you don't know what you're doing.

Audra: Yes, I do. And not you or anybody else in this family can say or do anything to stop me. I'll pack my things.

[Audra goes upstairs.]

McKelvy: Speakin' for myself... I don't think I accept your extension, Mr. Breckenridge.

Scott: The extensions are granted whether you accept them or not, gentlemen. On the other hand, Mrs. Barkley, I have no intention of letting your daughter go through with her promise to me. I once said that I admire courage. I had never thought to find so much in one so young and so beautiful. Will you tell her good-by for me?

Victoria: I will. And thank you.

Scott: [to Jarrod] I can find my way out.

Audra: [from above] Mother? Do you know where...

[Audra sees Scott standing in the door ready to leave.]

The family is gathered in the pool room.

Victoria: [to Heath] To steady your nerves.

Heath: Jarrod's needs it.

Jarrod: Ahh.


Jarrod: Thunder and lightning!

Nick: Yee-hoo!

Heath: The drought's over!

[The boys go outside to watch.]

Audra: Of course, if it hadn't been for the drought, he never would have come to Stockton.

Victoria: "So much courage in one so young and so beautiful." That's what he said about you just before he left.

[It finally rains.]

[End credits]