Great Scene: “True Grit”

THE LEDGE

Little Blackie, led by a wobbly LeBoeuf, finishes pulling Rooster and Mattie from the pit.

Rooster is already unwrapping the rope from his waist and talking to LeBoeuf as he and Mattie emerge:

Rooster
I will send help for you as soon as I can.
Don't wander off.

Mattie
We are not leaving him!

Rooster heaves her up onto the back of Little Blackie, LeBoeuf helping though blood still flows down one side of his face.

Rooster
I must get you to a doctor, sis, or you are not
going to make it. (to LeBoeuf) The girl is
snakebit. We are off.

He swings up behind her and nods down to LeBoeuf.

. . . I am in your debt for that shot, pard.

LeBoeuf
Never doubt the Texash Ranger.

Rooster reins the horse around and spurs it. LeBouef shouts after:

. . . Ever shtalwart!

The horse takes to the steep slope reluctantly, with stiff legs, Rooster kicking it on. Tree branches slap at him and take his hat. His face, already peppered with shot, gets new scratches.

THE MEADOW

Mattie is woozy. As Little Blackie crosses the field at full gallop Mattie looks blearily at the littering bodies of horses and men.

Next to Lucky Ned's body his horse, saddled and riderless, swings its head to watch as Rooster and Mattie pass.

Mattie's eyes are closing.

LATE DAY

Mattie's eyes half-open.

Little Blackie plunges on, through a rough road in woods, but slower now, his mouth foaming.

Rooster
Come on, you!

Mattie
We must stop. Little Blackie is played out.

Horrible noises are indeed coming from the horse, but Rooster is grim:

Rooster
We have miles yet.

He leaves off whipping the horse and takes out his knife. He leans back and slashes at the horse's whithers. Little Blackie surges.

Mattie screams.

Mattie
No!

A locked-down shot as horse and riders enter at a gallop and recede.

NIGHT

It has started to snow.

Mattie is flushed and soaked with sweat.

The horse is laboring for breath.

Rooster gives inarticulate curses as he kicks it on.

Mattie looks ahead:

Barely visible in the moonlight, a man mounted bareback rides on ahead. A sash cord holds a rifle to his back.

He recedes, outpacing us, disappearing into the darkness and the falling snow.

Mattie
He is getting away.

Rooster
Who is getting away?

Mattie
Chaney.

Rooster
Hold on, sis.

Mattie is falling. It is unclear why.

Her legs squeeze the horses flanks.

Her hand tightens on the horses mane.

Rooster's arm reaches around to hold her.

Little Blackie is giving out, going to his knees and then all the way down.

Rooster hangs on to Mattie as the horse sinks. He pulls her clear, lays her on the ground, and then steps away from her, taking out a gun.

The horrible noises coming from the horse end with a gunshot. Rooster reenters to pick up Mattie but she screams at him and claws at his face, opening fresh gashes.

He ducks his head as best he can to avoid the claws but that is the extent of his reaction.

Rooster
Put your arms around my neck, I will carry.

He presents his back and she relents, clasping her arms. He rises with a pained wheeze and he starts jogging with Mattie piggie-back.

Bouncing at his shoulder, she twists to look back.

In the dark, the darker shape of the dead horse, growing smaller.

Mattie turns forward again, eyes drooping.

LATER

Rooster is loudly wheezing as he carries Mattie before him now, his jog slowed to an unsteady walk. Her eyes are opening again.

They are now on a proper dirt road. Rooster staggers around a turn and does a barely controlled stumble to his knees, and then sits heavily back, Mattie in his lap.

Up ahead is the front porch of Bagby's store, the building dark.

Rooster sits gasping.

Mattie's voice is thick:

Mattie
Where are we?

Rooster takes out his gun, weakly raises his arm, and fires into the air. He sits panting.
Rooster
I have grown old.

The door of the distant store opens and someone emerges, holding a lamp, peering out into the dark.

FADE OUT

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