Ed Tom Bell
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Quotes for
Ed Tom Bell (Character)
from No Country for Old Men (2007)

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No Country for Old Men (2007)
[first lines]
Ed Tom Bell: I was sheriff of this county when I was twenty-five years old. Hard to believe. My grandfather was a lawman; father too. Me and him was sheriffs at the same time; him up in Plano and me out here. I think he's pretty proud of that. I know I was. Some of the old time sheriffs never even wore a gun. A lotta folks find that hard to believe. Jim Scarborough'd never carried one; that's the younger Jim. Gaston Boykins wouldn't wear one up in Comanche County. I always liked to hear about the oldtimers. Never missed a chance to do so. You can't help but compare yourself against the oldtimers. Can't help but wonder how they would have operated these times. There was this boy I sent to the 'lectric chair at Huntsville Hill here a while back. My arrest and my testimony. He killt a fourteen-year-old girl. Papers said it was a crime of passion but he told me there wasn't any passion to it. Told me that he'd been planning to kill somebody for about as long as he could remember. Said that if they turned him out he'd do it again. Said he knew he was going to hell. "Be there in about fifteen minutes". I don't know what to make of that. I sure don't. The crime you see now, it's hard to even take its measure. It's not that I'm afraid of it. I always knew you had to be willing to die to even do this job. But, I don't want to push my chips forward and go out and meet something I don't understand. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He'd have to say, "O.K., I'll be part of this world."

[last lines]
Loretta Bell: How'd you sleep?
Ed Tom Bell: I don't know. Had dreams.
Loretta Bell: Well you got time for 'em now. Anythin' interesting?
Ed Tom Bell: They always is to the party concerned.
Loretta Bell: Ed Tom, I'll be polite.
Ed Tom Bell: Alright then. Two of 'em. Both had my father in 'em . It's peculiar. I'm older now then he ever was by twenty years. So in a sense he's the younger man. Anyway, first one I don't remember too well but it was about meeting him in town somewhere, he's gonna give me some money. I think I lost it. The second one, it was like we was both back in older times and I was on horseback goin' through the mountains of a night. Goin' through this pass in the mountains. It was cold and there was snow on the ground and he rode past me and kept on goin'. Never said nothin' goin' by. He just rode on past... and he had his blanket wrapped around him and his head down and when he rode past I seen he was carryin' fire in a horn the way people used to do and I could see the horn from the light inside of it. 'Bout the color of the moon. And in the dream I knew that he was goin' on ahead and he was fixin' to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold, and I knew that whenever I got there he would be there. And then I woke up...

Wendell: We goin' in?
Ed Tom Bell: Gun out and up.
Wendell: [Wendell draws his pistol] What about yours?
Ed Tom Bell: I'm hidin' behind you.

Wendell: That's very linear Sheriff.
Ed Tom Bell: Well, age will flatten a man.

Ed Tom Bell: You ride Winston.
Wendell: You sure?
Ed Tom Bell: Oh I'm sure. Anything happens to Loretta's horse, I can tell ya I don't want to be the party that was on board.

Ed Tom Bell: Now that's aggravatin'.
Wendell: Sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell: [points to a bottle of milk] Still sweatin'.
Wendell: Whoa, Sheriff! We just missed him! We gotta circulate this! On Radio!
Ed Tom Bell: Alright. What we circulate? Lookin' for a man who has recently drunk milk?

Wendell: You know, there might not have been no money.
Ed Tom Bell: That's possible.
Wendell: But you don't believe it.
Ed Tom Bell: No. Probably I don't.
Wendell: It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell: If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.

Wendell: You think this boy Moss has got any notion of the sorts of sons of bitches that're huntin' him?
Ed Tom Bell: I don't know, he ought to. He's seen the same things I've seen, and it's certainly made an impression on me.

Loretta Bell: Be careful.
Ed Tom Bell: I always am.
Loretta Bell: Don't get hurt.
Ed Tom Bell: I never do.
Loretta Bell: Don't hurt no one.
Ed Tom Bell: [smiles] Well. If you say so.

Wendell: [referring to the dead bodies in the desert] How come you reckon the coyotes ain't been at them?
Ed Tom Bell: I don't know. Supposedly, a coyote won't eat a Mexican.

Ed Tom Bell: But I think once you quit hearing "sir" and "ma'am," the rest is soon to foller.

Carla Jean Moss: Sheriff, was that a true story about Charlie Walser?
Ed Tom Bell: Who's Charlie Walser? Oh! Well... uh... a true story? I couldn't swear to every detail but it's certainly true that it is a story.

Ed Tom Bell: You know Charlie Walser? Has the place east of Sanderson? Well you know how they used to slaughter beeves, hit 'em with a maul right here to stun 'em... and then up and slit their throats? Well here Charlie has one trussed up and all set to drain him and the beef comes to. It starts thrashing around, six hundred pounds of very pissed-off livestock if you'll pardon me... Charlie grabs his gun there to shoot the damn thing in the head but what with the swingin' and twistin' it's a glance-shot and ricochets around and comes back hits Charlie in the shoulder. You go see Charlie, he still can't reach up with his right hand for his hat... Point bein', even in the contest between man and steer the issue is not certain.

Ed Tom Bell: How many of those things you got now?
Ellis: Cats? Several. Well, depends what you mean by got. Some are half-wild, and some are just outlaws.

Ed Tom Bell: That man that shot you died in prison.
Ellis: Angola. Yeah...
Ed Tom Bell: What you'd done he had been released?
Ellis: Oh, I dunno. Nothing. Wouldn't be no point in it.
Ed Tom Bell: I'm kindly surprised to hear you say that.
Ellis: Well all the time ya spend trying to get back what's been took from ya, more is going out the door. After a while you just have to try to get a tourniquet on it. Your granddad never asked me to sign on as a deputy.

Ed Tom Bell: [talking to Ellis] I always figured when I got older, God would sorta come inta my life somehow. And he didn't. I don't blame him. If I was him I would have the same opinion of me that he does.

Ed Tom Bell: Here last week they found this couple out in California. They rent out rooms for old people, kill'em, bury'em in the yard, cash their social security checks. Well, they'd tortur'em first, I don't know why. Maybe the television set was broke.

Ed Tom Bell: The motel in Del Rio?
Wendell: Yes, sir. None of the three had I.D. on 'em, but they're tellin' me all three is Mexican... was Mexicans.
Ed Tom Bell: There's a question, whether they stopped being and when.
Wendell: Yes, sir.

El Paso Sheriff: Yea, well, none of that explains your man though.
Ed Tom Bell: Uh-huh.
El Paso Sheriff: He's just a goddamn homicidal lunatic, Ed Tom.
Ed Tom Bell: I'm not sure he's a lunatic.
El Paso Sheriff: Yea well what would you call him?
Ed Tom Bell: Well, sometimes I think he's pretty much a ghost.
El Paso Sheriff: Oh he's real all right.
Ed Tom Bell: Oh yea.
El Paso Sheriff: Yea all that over at the Eagle Hotel? Huh, it's beyond everything.
Ed Tom Bell: Yea. Got some hard bark on him.
El Paso Sheriff: Well... well, that don't hardly say it. He shoots the desk clerk one day, walks right back in the next and shoots a retired army colonel.

Wendell: [Viewing the desert crime scene] It's a mess, ain't it, Sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell: If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.

Ed Tom Bell: Any word on those vehicles yet?
Sheriff Bell's Secretary: Sheriff, I found out everything there was to find. Those vehicles are titled and registered to deceased people. The owner of that Bronco's been dead 20 years. You want me to see if I can find out anything about the Mexican ones?
Ed Tom Bell: Oh, Lord no. Here's this month's checks.
Sheriff Bell's Secretary: That DEA agent called again. You gonna wanna talk to him?
Ed Tom Bell: Gonna try to keep from him as much as I can.
Sheriff Bell's Secretary: He's goin' back out there. Wanted to know if you wanted to go with him.
Ed Tom Bell: That's cordial of him. Can I get you to call Loretta for me, tell her I'm going to Odessa to see Carla Jean Moss?
Sheriff Bell's Secretary: Yeah, sure.
Ed Tom Bell: I'll call her when I get there. I'd call her now but she'll want me to come home and I just might.
Sheriff Bell's Secretary: You want me to wait 'til you quit the building?
Ed Tom Bell: Uh-huh. Don't wanna lie without what it's absolutely necessary. What is it Torbert says about truth and justice?
Sheriff Bell's Secretary: Oh... we dedicate ourselves daily and new. Somethin' like that.
Ed Tom Bell: I'm gonna commence dedicatin' myself twice daily. Might come to three times before it's over with.