Robert Ford
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Quotes for
Robert Ford (Character)
from Hell's Crossroads (1957)

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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
Frank James: You're not so special, Mr. Ford. You're just like any other tyro who's prinked himself up for an escapade, hoping to be a gunslinger like them nickel books are about. You may as well quench your mind of it, because you don't have the ingredients, son.
Robert Ford: Well, I'm sorry to hear you feel that way, as I put such stock in your opinion. As for me being a gunslinger, I've just got this one granddaddy Paterson Colt and a borrowed belt to stick it in. But I also got an appetite for greater things. I hoped by joining up with you, it'd put me that much closer to getting them.
Frank James: Well, what am I supposed to say to that?
Robert Ford: Let me be your sidekick tonight.
Frank James: Sidekick?
Robert Ford: So you can examine my grit and intelligence.
Frank James: I don't know what it is about you, but the more you talk, the more you give me the willies. Now I don't believe I want you anywhere within earshot this evening, okay? You understand?
Robert Ford: Well, I'm sorry...
Frank James: Why don't you just get, now? Scat!

Jesse James: [Bob walks in on Jesse in the bath] Go away.
Robert Ford: Used to be nobody could sneak up on Jesse James.
Jesse James: Now you think otherwise?
Robert Ford: I ain't never seen you without your guns, neither.
[Jesse removes a towel, revealing his gun]
Jesse James: [pause] Can't figure it out: do you want to be like me or do you want to BE me?
Robert Ford: [defeated] I'm just making fun is all.

Jesse James: Give me some more conversations, Bob.
Charley Ford: I got one. This one's about as crackerjack.
Jesse James: Let Bob tell it.
Robert Ford: I don't even know what you're talking about.
Charley Ford: About how much you and Jesse have in common.
Jesse James: Go on, Bob.
Charley Ford: Tell a story.
Robert Ford: Nope. Nope.
Charley Ford: Entertain Jesse. He's here.
Robert Ford: Well, if you'll pardon my saying so, I guess it is interesting, the many ways you and I overlap and whatnot. You begin with our Daddies. Your daddy was a pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church; my daddy was a pastor of a church at Excelsior Springs. Um. You're the youngest of the three James boys; I'm the youngest of the five Ford boys. Between Charley and me, is another brother, Wilbur here, with six letters in his name; between Frank and you was a brother, Robert, also with six letters. Robert is my Christian name. You have blue eyes; I have blue eyes. You're five feet eight inches tall. I'm five feet eight inches tall. Oh me, I must've had a list as long as your nightshirt when I was twelve, but I've lost some curiosities over the years.
Jesse James: [stares at Bob for a long time, smiles] Ain't he something?

Jesse James: Go back to bed.
Robert Ford: I got to use the privy.
Jesse James: You think you do, but you don't.

Robert Ford: You want to investigate my courage? Do you? Find out! Find out!

Charley Ford: You think it's all made up don't ya? You think it's all yarns and newspaper stories.
Robert Ford: He's just a human being.

Robert Ford: I've been a nobody all my life. I was the baby; I was the one they made promises to that they never kept. And ever since I can recall it, Jesse James has been as big as a tree. I'm prepared for this, Jim. And I'm going to accomplish it. I know I won't get but this one opportunity and you can bet your life I'm not going to spoil it.

Robert Ford: [to Frank James] Folks sometimes take me for a nincompoop on account of the shabby first impression I make, whereas I've always thought of myself as being just a rung down from the James Brothers. And I was hoping if I ran into you aside from those peckerwoods, I was hoping I could show you how special I am. I honestly believe I'm destined for great things, Mr. James. I've got qualities that don't come shining through right at the outset, but give me a chance and I'll get the job done- I can guarantee you that.

Jesse James: [Jesse has given Bob a gun as a gift] You know what John Newman Edwards once wrote about me? He said I didn't trust two men in ten thousand and was even cautious around them. The government's sort of run me ragged. I'm going the long way around the barn to say I've been feeling cornered and just plain ornery of late and I'd be pleased if you'd accept the gun as my way of apologizing.
Robert Ford: Heaven knows I'd be ornerier if I were in your position.
Jesse James: No. I haven't been acting correctly. I can't hardly recognize myself sometimes when I'm greased. I go on journeys out of my body and look at my red hands and my mean face and I wonder about that man who's gone so wrong. I've been becoming a problem to myself.

Zee James: [Bob has shot Jesse] Bob, have you done this?
Robert Ford: I swear to God that I didn't.

Jesse James: You know I'm real comfortable with your brother. Hell, he's ugly as sin and he smells like a skunk and he's so ignorant he couldn't drive nails in the snow, but he's sort of easy to be around. I can't say the same for you, Bob.
Robert Ford: I'm sorry to hear you say that.
Jesse James: [pause] You know how it is when you're with your girlfriend and the moon is out and you know she wants to be kissed even though she never said so?
Robert Ford: Yeah.
Jesse James: You're giving me signs that grieve my soul and make me wonder if maybe your mind's been changed about me.
Robert Ford: What do you want me to do? Swear my good faith on the Bible?

Robert Ford: They gave me ten days.
Charley Ford: For what?
Robert Ford: Arresting him.
Charley Ford: You and me, huh?
Robert Ford: It's going to happen one way or another. It's going to happen, Charley, and it might as well be us who get rich on it.
Charley Ford: Bob, he's our friend.
Robert Ford: He murdered Ed Miller. He's going to murder Liddil and Cummins if the chance ever comes. Seems to me Jesse's riding from man to man, saying goodbye to the gang. Your friendship could put you under the pansies.
Charley Ford: I'll grind it fine in my mind, Bob. I can't go any further than that, right now.
Robert Ford: You'll come around.
Charley Ford: You think it's all made up, don't you? You think it's all yarns and newspaper stories.
Robert Ford: He's just a human being.

Governor Crittenden: Jesse James sent me a telegram last month, saying he was going to kill me if he had to wreck a train to do it. He said that once I was in his hands he was going to cut my heart out and eat it in strips like it was bacon.
[pause]
Governor Crittenden: I'm going to wreck his train first.
Robert Ford: [Bob scoffs, Crittenden glares at him] I'm sorry, Your Excellency. I was thinking of something else.
Governor Crittenden: Jesse James is nothing more than a public outlaw who's made his reputation by stealing whatever he could and by killing whoever got in his way. You'll hear some fools say he's getting back at Republicans and Union men for wrongs his family suffered during the war, but his victims have scarcely ever been selected with reference to their political views. I'm saying his sins will soon find him out. I'm saying his cup of iniquity is full. I'm saying Jesse James is a desperate case and may require a desperate remedy.

Jesse James: Did I ever mention that scalawag George Shepherd? George was one of Quantrill's lieutenants and he gave me a story like Bob's, is why I thought of him, giving me everything we had in common and so on, just so he could join the gang. How could I know he had a grudge against me and was lying to get on my good side? I said 'Come aboard, George. Glad to have ya,'. George thought he was smart. 'Cept he wasn't. He rode into camp one morning and about twenty guns opened up on him.
[laughs]
Jesse James: But he only had one eye- and you need two eyes to get Jesse.
Robert Ford: You oughn't think of me like you do George Shepherd.
Jesse James: You brought him to mind.
Robert Ford: It's not very flattering.
Jesse James: [ignoring him] Sure is good eating, Martha.
Martha Bolton: Well, I'm so glad you enjoyed it.
Robert Ford: How come George had a grudge against you?
Jesse James: Hmm?
Robert Ford: I said "How come George had a grudge against you?"
Jesse James: Oh. George asked me to protect this nephew of his during the war and it so happens the kid had five thousand dollars on him. The kid winds up killed, and all the money swiped from him, and when George was in prison someone whispers to him it was Jesse James slit the boy's throat.
Charley Ford: Just mean gossip, was it?
Jesse James: Bob's the expert; let's put it to him.
[Bob stands up abruptly, pouting]
Jesse James: Oh dear, I've made him cranky.
Robert Ford: I'm not cranky. I've been through this before, is all. Once people get around to making fun of me, they just don't ever let up.

Robert Ford: I can't believe I woke up this morning wondering if my Daddy would loan me his overcoat, and here it is just past midnight and I've already robbed a railroad train and I'm sitting in a rocking chair chatting with none other than Jesse James.
Jesse James: Yeah, it's a wonderful world.
Robert Ford: [reaches into his pocket and removes a newspaper clipping] Oh, what's this? I was real agitated this morning, wondering if I'd be able to tell you and Frank apart. So I had the clipping that described you both. You want me to read it?
Jesse James: Go on.
Robert Ford: Well, I gotta find... here. 'Jesse James, the youngest, has a face as smooth and innocent as a schoolgirl. The blue eyes, very clear and penetrating, are never at rest. His form is tall and graceful and capable of great endurance and great effort. Jesse is lighthearted, reckless, and devil-may-care. There is always a smile on his lips-'
Jesse James: All right, all right.
Robert Ford: Well, yeah. Then it's 'Frank, Frank, Frank... ' You know what I've got right next to my bed? The Train Robbers, or a story of the James Boys, by R.W. Stevens. Many's the night I've stayed up with my mouth opens and my eyes open, reading about your escapades in the Wide Awake Library.
Jesse James: They're all lies, you know.
Robert Ford: 'Course they are.

Jesse James: [indicating Frank] My brother and me are hardly on speaking terms these days.
Robert Ford: I wasn't going to mention it.
Jesse James: [pulls two snakes out of a box, startling Bob] You scared?
Robert Ford: Just surprised a little.
Jesse James: They aren't as succulent as I like and they're the devil to clean but if a man skins them and fries them in garlic and oil-mercy, thems good eating.
Robert Ford: Well, I've never been that hungry.
Jesse James: I give them names.
Robert Ford: Such as?
Jesse James: Such as enemies. I give them the names of enemies.
[cuts their heads off with a knife]

Dorothy Evans: Why did you kill him?
Robert Ford: Well, he was gonna kill me.
Dorothy Evans: So you were scared and that's the only reason?
Robert Ford: Yeah. And the reward money.
[long pause]
Dorothy Evans: Do you want me to change the subject?
Robert Ford: You know what I expected? Applause.
[laughs to himself]
Robert Ford: I was only 20 years old then. I couldn't see how it would look to people. I was surprised by what happened. They didn't applaud.

Robert Ford: How's that leg?
Dick Liddil: Full of torment, Bob. Thanks for askin'.

Robert Ford: [Looking at Wood lying on the floor in a pool of blood with a bullet hole in his head] He's still suckin' air, but I think he's a goner.

Robert Ford: Your brother Frank and I just had a real nice visit. Chit-chattin about this and that. There must have been a hundred subjects we entertained...
Jesse James: [interrupting] Good lord, you know what this stew needs?
Robert Ford: [hesitating] ... dumplings?
Jesse James: Noodles! You get yourself some noodle stew, your clock'll tick all night!
[Bob nervously smiles]
Jesse James: You ever see that woman up in Fayette, can suck noodles up 'er nose? In Fayette?
Robert Ford: No. I don't believe I have.
Jesse James: Never heard of her? Huh? She got canals up there you never dreamed of.

Bowery Saloon Singer: [singing] Jesse had a wife to mourn for his life. Three children, they were brave. But that dirty little coward...
[Bob draws his gun and shoots the floor of the saloon]
Robert Ford: I'm Robert Ford...
[saloon patrons stand in stunned silence while Bob throws his gun on the floor]
Robert Ford: It was two children. Not three.

Dick Liddil: Can you hand me that six-gun there, Bob?
[Bob hands Dick his "grandaddy" paterson colt]
Dick Liddil: [holding the gun to Bob's head, whispering] If you so much as mention my name to Jesse... Boy, I'd find out about it. You had better believe *that*. And I'll look you up. I will knock on your door. And I will be as mad as a hornet. I will be hot.
Robert Ford: Careful with that iron, Dick.
Dick Liddil: You know where I stand on these matters and that's all there is to it. Me and you can be as friendly as pigs from now on.

Wood Hite: [about Dick] His philanderin' ways have instigated such malice. He's a yellow snake in the grass and can't be trusted.
Wilbur Ford: Dick told me a complete other version of that affair.
Robert Ford: [upstairs, waking Dick] Wood Hite's downstairs.
Wood Hite: You mean he's here?
[Bob and Dick grab their Colts and ready themselves]


I Shot Jesse James (1949)
Bob Ford: Whatta yuh got to eat?
Joe, Silver King Bartender: Sweet corn, cormeal mush, corpone with cracklins,and corn whiskey.
Bob Ford: I'll have it.

[last lines]
Bob Ford: I... I want to tell you something I ain't never told anyone. I'm sorry for what I done to Jess.
Cynthy Waters: Oh, Bob!
Bob Ford: I loved him.


The Long Riders (1980)
[Jesse is meeting with the Ford Brothers]
Jesse James: It ain't straight.
Robert Ford: What?
Jesse James: That sampler; it ain't straight
[turns his back on the Fords]
Robert Ford: [pulls his gun] I shot Jesse James.
[shoots Jesse in the back]


Jesse James (1939)
Bob Ford: [masked and holding a gun on train passengers] If you don't know what this is, folks, it's a hold-up!
[a woman screams]
Bob Ford: Stay in your seats, keep your hands in sight, and the gent who just threwed his pocketbook in the spittoon will kindly take it out and wipe it clean before we get to him.


The Return of Frank James (1940)
Bob Ford: Have a drink, Major.
Maj. Rufus Cobb: I don't drink with rats.
Liberty bartender: Watch out, Major!
Maj. Rufus Cobb: No danger. The Fords only shoot at backs.