The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
[Gil Carter reading Martin's letter]
Gil Carter: "My dear Wife, Mr. Davies will tell you what's happening here tonight. He's a good man and has done everything he can for me. I suppose there are some other good men here, too, only they don't seem to realize what they're doing. They're the ones I feel sorry for. 'Cause it'll be over for me in a little while, but they'll have to go on remembering for the rest of their lives. A man just naturally can't take the law into his own hands and hang people without hurtin' everybody in the world, 'cause then he's just not breaking one law but all laws. Law is a lot more than words you put in a book, or judges or lawyers or sheriffs you hire to carry it out. It's everything people ever have found out about justice and what's right and wrong. It's the very conscience of humanity. There can't be any such thing as civilization unless people have a conscience, because if people touch God anywhere, where is it except through their conscience? And what is anybody's conscience except a little piece of the conscience of all men that ever lived? I guess that's all I've got to say except kiss the babies for me and God bless you. Your husband, Donald."
Major Tetley: This is only slightly any of your business, my friend. Remember that.
Gil Carter: Hangin' is any man's business that's around.
Sheriff: God better have mercy on you. You won't get any from me.
Jeff Farnley: [Gil lights a cigarette during the posse's night in the woods] Put out that light you fool. You wanna give us away?
Gil Carter: Who to?
Jeff Farnley: [pulling gun] Chuck that butt or I'll plug you.
Gil Carter: Start somethin'. For every hole you make, I'll make two.
Sparks: [when eight other men promptly light up] Looks like you gonna have a lot of shootin' to do, Mr. Farnley.
Donald Martin: Why do ya keep asking me all these questions? You don't believe anything I tell you.
Major Tetley: There's truth in lies too, if you can get enough of them.
Jenny Grier: [when Juan finally speaks English after pretending he only knows Spanish] So, he speaks American!
Juan Martínez: And ten other languages, my dear - but I don't tell anything I don't want to in any of them.
[Carter and Croft are out with the posse]
Gil Carter: Doin' this in the middle of the night's crazy.
Art Croft: Thought you liked excitement?
Gil Carter: I got nothin' particular against hangin' a murderin' rustler; it's just I don't like doin' it in the dark. There's always some crazy fool who'll lose his head and start hangin' everybody in sight.
Art Croft: Us?
Gil Carter: Funnier things have happened.
Art Croft: Well we didn't have to come.
Gil Carter: Look kinda funny if we hadn't, wouldn't it?
Art Croft: Where are we goin'?
Gil Carter: He said he wanted his wife to get this letter, didn't he? Said there was nobody to look after the kids, didn't he?
[they both mount and ride out of town]
hick1: Down in Texas, where I come from, we just go out and get a man and string him up.
hick2: That's right!
Gerald Tetley: I saw your face. It was the face of a depraved, murderous beast. Only two things ever meant anything to you: power and cruelty. You can't feel pity. You can't even feel guilt. You knew they were innocent, but you were crazy to see them hanged. And to make me watch it. I could've stopped you with a gun, just as any other animal can be stopped. But I couldn't do it because I'm a coward. Aren't you glad you made me go? Weren't you proud of me? How does it feel to have begot a weakling, Major? Does it make you afraid there may be some weakness in you, too? That other men might discover and whisper about? Open the door! I want to see your face. I want to know how you feel now!
Gil Carter: They're kiddin' you, Sparks.
Sparks: I know sir. But maybe Mr. Smith's accidentally right. Maybe I ought to go along.
Judge Daniel Tyler: One more word out of you, Smith, and I'll have you up for impeding the course of justice.
Jenny Grier: Judge, you can't impede what don't move anyway.
Major Tetley: Other men with families have had to die for this sort of thing. It's too bad, but it's justice.
Donald Martin: Justice? What do you care about justice? You don't even care whether you've got the right men or not. All you know is you've lost something and somebody's got to be punished.
Art Croft: [talking about Gil Carter] Whenever he gets low in spirits or confused in his mind, he doesn't feel right until he's had a fight. It doesn't matter whether he wins or not. He feels fine again afterwards.
Gil Carter: Say, what is there to do in this town anyway?
Darby: Well, unless you want to get in line and woo Drew's daughter...
Art Croft: We don't.
Darby: The only other unmarried woman I know is 82, blind and a Payute. That leaves you five choices: eat, sleep, drink, play poker or fight. Or you can shoot some pool. I got a new table in the back room.
Gil Carter: [First lines: Gil Carter and Art Croft have just ridden into town] Deader than a Payute's grave!
Gil Carter: [Gil and Art discuss their uneasiness about certain members of the posse] Besides, I like to pick my own bosses.
Art Croft: Whether we picked 'em or not, we sure got 'em.
Gil Carter: That's what I don't like. That Smith, and Bartlett, shootin' off their mouths... Farnley... and that renegade Tetley, struttin' around in his uniform pretending he's so much. He never even *saw* the South until after the war, and then only long enough to marry that kid's mother and get run outta' the place by her folks.
Art Croft: I figured there was somethin' fishy about him, dressin' up like that.
Gil Carter: For sure. Whydya' suppose he'd be livin' in this neck 'o the woods if he didn't have something to hide?