"There’ll be no locks or bolts between us, Mary Kate—except those in your own mercenary little heart!"
Description: John Wayne as Sean Thornton speaks to his wife, Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O’Hara) on their honeymoon night in the motion picture The Quiet Man (1952).
Sean "Trooper" Thornton is an ex-boxer from America who returns to Ireland in the 1920s and purchases a small house in Inisfree, where Sean was born.
Sean and his mother left Ireland after his father died and settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When Sean's mother dies when he is 12 years old, Sean finds employment in the steel mills and eventually becomes a prizefighter.
Sean decides to return to the Emerald Isle after he accidentally kills a fellow boxer (Tony Gardello) in the ring. Now, all Sean wants to do is to forget his bloody past, and start a fresh new life among the rolling hills of his ancestors.
"TROOPER THORN QUITS RING. Heavyweight Challenger Hangs Up Gloves After Fatal Knockout. Vows he will never fight again." - Newspaper Headline
When Will arrives in town, he visits Cohan's Bar, the village pub where he meets some of the town locals. Michaleen Oge Flynn (Barry Ftizgerald), a funny character with a generous thirst for whisky, offers these words to the men in the pub:
"He's a nice, quiet, peace-loving man, come home to Ireland to forget his troubles. Sure, yes, yes, he's a millionare, you know, like all the Yanks. But he's eccentric - ooh, he is eccentric! Wait 'til I show ya... his bag to sleep in - a sleeping bag, he calls it! Here, let me show you how it operates."
Among those at Cohan's Bar is Squire "Red" Will Danaher (Victor McLaglen), an, ill-tempered, loudmouth of a man who begrudges Sean's land purchase because he had plans of buying the property himself.
Sean tries to make friends with Danaher, but he’d have nothing to do with it. Will instigates a fight when he mutters under his breath, “He’ll regret it to his dying day...if he ever lives that long.” But Sean's days of fighting are over and so he declines to give Will a thrashing.
When Reverend Playfair (Arthur Shields), a local minister discovers Sean is the prizefighter known as '"Trooper Thorn," Sean asks him to keep his discovery a secret, which the minister does, for a while.
While he settles in to Inesfree, Sean notices Mary Kate Danaher, Will's spinster sister and sets his sights on this beautiful Irish woman with the gorgeous mane of red hair.
|Mary Kate:||It's a bold one you are! Who gave you leave to be kissin' me?|
|Thornton:||So you can talk!|
|Mary Kate:||Yes I can, I will and I do! And it's more than talk you'll be gettin' if you step a step closer to me!|
|Thornton:||Don't worry - you've got a wallop!|
|Mary Kate:||You'll get over it, I'm thinkin'.|
|Thornton:||Well, some things a man doesn't get over so easy.|
|Mary Kate:||Like what, supposin'?|
|Thornton:||Like the sight of a girl coming through the fields with the sun on her hair... kneeling in church with a face like a saint...|
|Mary Kate:||Saint indeed!|
|Thornton:||...and now coming to a man's house to clean it for him.|
|Mary Kate:||But... that was just my way of bein' a good Christian act.|
|Thornton:||I know it was, Mary Kate Danaher. And it was nice of you.|
|Mary Kate:||Not at all.|
Sean Thorton decides to marry Mary Kate Danaher and arrives at the Danaher home, with roses in hand, wishing to court Will's sister, but Will refuses to let Sean have anything to do with her and tells the Yank to "get out!" and if he didn't he'd loose the dogs on him on the count of three. Sean strongly advises, “If you say three, Mister, you’ll never hear the man count ten."
As Sean leaves, Mary Kate watches mournfully from upstairs as rain drops trickle down her bedroom window. Mary Kate knows that without her brother's consent "she couldn't and wouldn't" be married.
Will Danaher eventually relents and sanctions Thorton's marriage when a bunch of locals in favor of the union conspire to change Will's mind, which he does reluctanly. But when Will realizes he was tricked into permitting the marriage, he refuses to give Mary Kate her dowry money, that by custom, she is entitled.
On their homeymoon night, Mary Kate insists on getting what is owed her, and tells Sean in no uncertain terms:
“I’ll wear your ring, I’ll cook, and I’ll wash, and I’ll keep the land. But that is all. Until I’ve got my dowry safe about me, I’m no married woman. I’m the servant I’ve always been, without anything of my own.”
Upset, Mary Kate runs to her bedroom and locks the door. But Sean breaks the door down, grabs her and says, "There’ll be no locks or bolts between us, Mary Kate—except those in your own mercenary little heart!" Then Will picks her up, throws her on the bed, which breaks under her weight. Just when she thinks Sean is going to force himself on her, Sean leaves the room, and spends the night sleeping on the floor outside of the bedroom.
Later, while shoping in Castletown, Sean and Mary Kate come upon Will who has sold some livestock. Knowing that he will have money on hand, Mary Kate urges Sean to go ask for her dowry money. But Sean could care less about the dowry, and tells Mary Kate, "Can't you get it through your head that I didn't marry you for your fortune? I don't give a hang about the money" But Mary Kate tells Sean, "But he (Will) does, and that's the whole point of it! Now will you go ask for it?"
Again, Sean refuses and says. "Why shame ourselves." Mary Kate snorts, "Shame, the shames on you, not on me. Oh, on me if I've married a coward." Hurt, Sean says, "Is that what you think of me?" "Well, What else, if you let him rob you out of my money." Angry, Sean replies, "Money! I'm sick of the talk of it. Is that all you Danahers think about? Money!"
Mary Kate grabs the horse whip from her buggy and raises it, as if to hit Sean, but then just drives away, leaving Sean to walk the five miles back home. But Sean returns to town and confronts Will Danaher who says, "Just ask for it Yank and you'll be chewing your teeth for a week." Once again, Sean refuses to fight Danaher and goes home, to the dismay of the men in the bar who want to see Danaher get his comeuppance.
Troubled about his past, Sean visits the home of Reverend Playfair and talks candidly about his reluctance to fight and his wife's cursed dowry.
|Thorton:||Tony Gardello was a good egg. Nice little wife andt home. Couple of kids. Clean fighter. But I didn't go in there to out box him. I went in there to beat his brains out. To drive him into the canvas. To mnurder him. And that's what I did. For what? Purse. A piece of the Gate. Lousy money.|
|Reverend:||And now money is behind your troubles with Danaher.|
|Thornton:||They think I'm fraid to fight him. All the friends I've made here. Even my wife.|
|Reverend:||Well, aren't yo in a way?|
|Thornton:||Did you ever killed a man? Well I have and all this talk about her big fortune, it's not that important.|
|Reveren:||It tis to her. It must be strange to you from America, but it's an old, old custom here. And believe me, it's a good custom. The fortune means more to her that just the money.|
|Thorton:||Not to me it isn't, and worth fighting for.|
|Reverend:||Is your wife's love worth fighting for?|
|Thorton:||I don't know. All I know is I can't fight or won't fight unless I'm mad enough to kill, and if that means losing her...I don't know. Maybe, she doesn't love me enough.|
|Reverend:||It's a difficlut situation. But I think you'll find the right answer in God's good time....Oh, by the way, don't underestimate Danaher. He may be clumsy but he's got a tremendous right and a jaw of granite.|
In a final ploy to get her dowry, Kate leaves her husband ("I love him to much to go on living with a man I'm ashamed of," she tells Michaeleen) and boards a train in Castletown headed to Dublin.
Infuriated, Sean rides his horse to the station, drags his wife off the train, and forces her to walk all the way back to Inisfree to Will Danaher's farm. Along the way, a women following behind them offers Thornton a fallen tree branch, and says, "Sean, here's a good stick, to beat the lovely lady."
Arriving at Danaher's farm, Sean demands, "Danaher, you owe me 350 pounds. Let's have it." A defiant Will Danaher retorts, "I'll pay you. Never!" Then Thornton, throws Mary Kate at Will's feet. "That breaks, all bargains. You can take your sister back! It's your custom not mine. No fortune. No marriage. We call it quits."
Defeated, Will begrudgingly gives up the dowry money and tosses it to the ground. "Here's your dirty money. Take it. Count it, you spawn. And look, if ever I see that face of yours, I'll push this (his fist) threw it."
Sean takes the money and throws it in the furnace of a nearby steam engine. This, of course, makes Mary Kate very happy. It was never about the money. Mary Kate just wanted to know that Sean was willing to fight for her.
And fight he did as Sean and Will begin a rowdy knock-down, drag-out slug fest which moves through the farm fields and into the town itself.
After beating the hell out of each other, the two men take a breather to have a pint of beer at Cohan's Bar and then proceed to pound on each other again.
During this whole time, the townfolks are shouting and cheering and even betting on the winner of the donnybrook. The local Catholic priest and Protestant minister were also eager spectators in the burly brawl.
At the end of the day, Sean and Will, drunk to the gills, and now friends, stagger up to Sean's cottage arm in arm where Mary Kate waits with food on the table and a loving smile for her "Quiet Man."
Entering his home, Sean announces, "Woman-of-the-house! I have brought the brother home to supper!" Mary Kate curtseys and replies, "He is kindly welcome." Then both men sit down to eat, but not before Mary Kate orders Will to "Wipe your feet!"