"Dyin’ ain’t much of a livin’, boy."
Description: Clint Eastwood stars as Josey Wales addresses a bounty hunter in the classic western The Outlaw—Josey Wales (1976).
As the Civil War rages across the land, Josey Wales is a simple a homesteader with a lovely wife and son until one day they are killed by marauding pro-Union Jayhawkers who belong to Senator James H. Lane's Redlegs from Kansas. Josey takes exception to their acts and fights back, becoming a well-known guerilla fighte with pro-Confederate Missouri Bushwhackers led by Blody Bill Anderson (John Russell).
At the end of the war, under a promise of amnesty, Josey's men surrender, but Josey refuses to surrender, and subsequently his men are slaughtered my Union soldiers with a spray of bullets from a gatling gun hidden inside a wagon. Seeking revenge, Josey commandeers the gatling gun and kills the offending Union troops. For his alleged treachery, he is labeled and outlaw.
|Fletcher:||Damn you, Senator. You promised me those men would be decently treated.|
|Senator Lane:||They were decently treated. They were decently fed and then they were decently shot. Those men are common outlaws, nothing more.|
|Senator Lane:||Fletcher, there's an old saying, to the victors belong the spoils.|
|Fletcher:||There's another old saying Senator. Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining.|
Senator Lane (Frank Schofield) assigns a posse of Union troops lead by Captain Terrell (Bill McKinney) whom Fletcher (John Vernon) calls "a bloodthirsty sonofabitch! He's a looter and a pillager! He's the worst enemy those men have got!" Fletcher, who negotiated the surrender of Wales soldiers decides to join the chase.
To increase their chance of catching Josey, the Union Army places a bounty of $5,000 on Wales...a bounty that attracts all sorts of unsavory types in need of money.
Meanwhile, Josey Wales travels West in start of a new life. But here and there he is confronted with Union troops or bounty hunters who want to take him down. When he encounters a group of blue bellies, Josey says, "Are you gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?" and then kills them all.
As Josey continues his journey, he befriends an old Cherokee indian named Lone Watie (Chief Dan George), a mangy old redbone hound dog, Little Moonlight (Geraldine Keams) a Navajo woman whom Josey rescues from a bunch of rowdy rapists at a frontier trading post, and a family of wagon train-bound settlers who were captured by Comancheroes whom Josey vanquished by approaching under a white flag of truce and then shooting them as he galloped about on a horse.
"Get Ready little lady...Hell is coming to breakfast." - Lone Watie
When Jamie (Sam Bottoms), one of the settlers says, "I wish we had time to bury them fellas," Josey replies, "To hell with them fellas. Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms."
|Grandma Sarah:||This Mr. Wales is a cold-blooded killer. He's from Missouri, where they're all known to be killers of innocent men, women and children.|
|Lone Watie:||Would you rather be riding with Comancheros, Granny?|
|Grandma Sarah:||No, I wouldn't.|
Together, this rag-tag collection of pioneers make their way to the small Texas town of Santa Rio, where Grandma Sarah's son, Tom Turner was suppose to have a homestead. Unfortunately, when they arrive at their destination, they learn that his Crooked River ranch over by Blood Butt described in letters as a place of milk and honey turns out to be run-down. When Grandma asks, "This can't be Santa Rio! My son, Tom Turner, said it was a thriving town!" Kelly (Matt Clark), a saloon customers, says, "It was; but when the silver run out, the thrivin' run out with it." Tom TUrner had been killed in the border wars by Missouri ruffians. He died a proud member of Senator Jim Lane's Redlegs, fighting for a just cause.
As Josey sat in the corner of the saloon sipping on some whiskey Granny's eulogy was not welcome news to his ears, but he didn't judge a mother for loving her son, even though those same Redlegs had killed his wife and son.
A few minutes later a bounty hunter enters the dimly-lit saloon looking for Josey Wales and announces, "You're wanted, Wales." Josey replies "Reckon I'm right popular. You a bounty hunter?" The gunman answers, “Man’s got to make a living” to which Josey replies, “Dyin’ ain’t much of a livin’, boy.”
Seeing death in Josey’s eyes, the man leaves the bar, but returns saying, “I had to come back. “I know,” says Josey. In a face-to-face draw down, Josey wins the battle and eludes another attempt to take his life.
After the violence, the plucky group of pioneers decide to settle down and homestead Turner's property. As they work the land and turn the place into a decent place to live, Tom Turner's daughter, Laura Lee (Sondra Locke) attempts to get closer to Josey so she reminisces about Kansas as being all golden and smelling like sunshine. Josey adds, "Yeah, well, I always heard there were three kinds of suns in Kansas, sunshine, sunflowers, and sons-of-bitches."
Reluctant to get involved, Josey tells her, "When I get to likin' someone, they ain't around long." Laura Lee is quick to respond, "I notice when you get to DISlikin' someone they ain't around for long neither."
"And thanks a lot for Josey Wales who you changed from a murdering bushwhacker on the side of Satan to a better man kind to deliver us from the Philistines" - Grandma Sarah
All goes well, until the settlers are threatened by a local tribe of indians. As they hunker down to fight, Josey tells his comrades, "Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you're not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. 'Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That's just the way it is."
After prepping his friends, Jose mounts his horse and takes the battle to the Indians. Approaching alone on a horse, Josey meets with Ten Bears (Will Sampson), the chief of the tribe with hopes of negotiating a peace.
|Josey Wales:||You be Ten Bears?|
|Ten Bears:||I am Ten Bears.|
|Josey Wales:||I'm Josey Wales.|
|Ten Bears:||I have heard. You are the gray rider. You would not make peace with the Bluecoats. You may go in peace.|
|Josey Wales:||I reckon not. I got no where to go.|
|Ten Bears:||Then you will die.|
|Josey Wales:||I came here to die with you. Or live with you. Dying ain't so hard for men like you and me. It's living that's hard when all you've ever cared about has been butchered or raped. Government's don't live together, people live together. With government's you don't always get a fair word or a fair fight. Well, I've come here to give you either one, or get either one from ya. I came here like this so you will know my word of death is true, and then my word of life is then true. The bear lives here...the wolf, the antelope, the Comanche, and so will we. And we'll only hunt what we need to live on, same as the Comanche does. And every spring when the grass turns green and the Comanche turns north you can rest here in peace, butcher some of our cattle and jerk beef for the journey. The sign of the Comanche, that will be on our lodge. That's my word of life.|
|Ten Bears:||These things you say we will have, we already have.|
|Josey Wales:||That's true. I ain't promising you nothing extra. I'm just giving you life and you're giving me life. And I'm saying that men can live together without butchering one another.|
|Ten Bears:||It's sad that governments are chiefed by the double tongues. There is iron in your words of death for all Comanche to see, and so there is iron in your words of life. No signed paper can hold the iron. It must come from men. The words of Ten Bears carries the same iron of life and death. It is good that warriors such as we meet in the struggle of life... or death. It shall be life. [Ten Bears and Josey slash their palms with a knife to draw blood and then clasp hands]. So will it be.|
|Josey Wales:||I reckon so|
With a treaty negotiated with Comanche, Josey rides back to the homestead only to find the Union troops lead by Captain Terrell have hunted him down. With only his fast draw and nerves of steel, Josey defeats the posse. Recognizing Terrell as the man who killed his family, Josey clicks off the trigger on all of his empty pistols, firing soime twenty–four empty chambers as he advances on Terrell before belly stickng the bluecoat with his own Union cavalry saber.
Shot and bloodied from his encounter with Terrell and his men, Josey enters the saloon in Santa Rio only to find Fletcher wtih Texas Rangrs who take testimony from the locals (who perjure themself) that Josey Wales was reportedly killed in Monterey, Mexico.
When Fletcher sees Josey, whom his friends call Mr. Wilson, Fletcher knows the story to be false, but he declines to acknowledge Josey, and says, "I think I'll go down to Mexico to try to find him." Then Josey asks, "And then?" Fletcher answers, "He's got the first move. I owe him that. I think I'll try to tell him the war is over. What do you say, Mr. Wilson?" Josey replies "I reckon so. I guess we all died a little in that damn war."