Bad Company

Synopsis: A group of naive boys find that life as desperadoes in the west is more serious that they understood when they embark on abortive careers in bushwhacking. Violence, betrayal, sombre colours and a Beckettsian whimsy mark this ironic western.
Director(s): Robert Benton
Production: Paramount Pictures
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
93 min

One to the right, one to the left.

Let me go! Let me go!

Let me go! Let me go!

Take it easy.

The army'll make a man outta you.

Get on!

One man around the back.

Your boy was supposed to report

for conscription. He never showed up.

It isn't right.

This family's done its part.

We lost our eldest at Chickamauga.

Sergeant, look.

This is all that's left of him.

Hasn't this family sacrificed enough?

Well, I'm sorry, ma'am,

but the law says

that every able-bodied man

has got to join up.

I just have to do my job.

He isn't here. I swear it.

- No sign of him, Sergeant.

- Davis?

All right, search the barn...

and don't forget the privy.

If I find him, ma'am,

he just goes into the army.

If somebody else does, they're

liable to hang that boy of yours.

Stay put till I tell you. They may

come back and look some more.

Ma? Did they get Fred Chennelworth?

Yeah, I'm afraid so.

- Drew!

- I'm sorry.

It's all right. They're gone.


We ain't got any time to waste.

When you hit St Joe, book on the

first wagon train to Virginia City.

Once you're out of the Union,

the army can't get you. Now, here...

This is $100. It's all I could get.

- Joe!

- I don't need all that.

Just take it.

And write regular, hear?

You keep in touch.

Once this blasted thing is over,

why... we'll see you then.

Yes, sir.


I guess I better go saddle up Dinah.

Give me this. What a mess!

Don't know the first thing

about packing, do you?

I don't know what you're gonna do

without your poor mother to...

- Ma...

- Now, Drew, when you get to a town,

you seek out the Methodist church,

and you ask the preacher

where you can find a good cheap meal.

Most likely, he'll direct you.

Methodists know food.

That's your father.

- Goodbye, Son.

- Bye, Ma.

Wait a minute.

Take this. And don't ever forget

your precious brother.

Don't ever forget him.

September 30th 1863.

Arrived in Saint Joseph, Missouri,

after an uneventful trip.

I have found clean lodgings

in a respectable hotel

and will book passage

on a wagon train west,

where I hope to flourish

in my career.

The sun is shining - a suitable sign

for my high expectations.

Excuse me, sir.

Is this line for the wagon train?

Thank you.


- Hey, you!

- Me?

- You new in town?

- Yes.

What you runnin' from? I saw you

there with them recruiting boys.

- I don't know what you mean.

- Hey, I'm in the same boat.

- Oh, yeah?

- Not that I'm runnin'.

I done a year with 'em.

God damn their miserable souls.

I locked horns with this sergeant -

big tubby bastard named Egan.

Time and time again, he had me

pulling sh*t-sweeping details.

One fine day, I broke his nose.

I been running from 'em ever since,

the whole kit 'n' caboodle of 'em.

- Well, excuse me...

- Where you headed?

- Virginia City.

- Gonna be a silver baron, huh?

- How are you getting there?

- Wagon train.

Not unless you stick around

for six months.

- Six months?

- That's the waiting list.

Them army boys won't nod politely

every morning, neither.

- What about the stagecoach?

- It's worse.

And the riverboats, they're all

plugged up account of the war.

- Say, you got that kinda money?

- Well...

You better be careful.

This town's the armpit of America.

Man'll rob you blind

soon as look at you here.

You don't know where

to find a Methodist church, do you?

Why... Why, yes, sir. I do.

As a matter of fact,

I know a short cut. Right this way.

- Are you a Methodist yourself?

- Not exactly.

Right here. Right here.

Here, stop that this minute!

Get off of him! You big bully!

Poor baby. There, there...


85 cents! That's something!

- Who is it?

- I'm Drew Dixon, ma'am, from Ohio.

What happened to you?

I been hit over the head

and robbed, ma'am.

I bet it was the same as robbed me.

I don't know

what's become of this town.

Come on in.

Parson Clum's home is always open

to the Christian traveller.

Thank you, ma'am.

All right, I got $10 in change.

What about the rest of you?

I'm clean, Jake. Loney's got it.

I swear, you're about the biggest

tattletale I ever saw.

Two dollars and some cents.

That's all.

- Simms?

- I got two dollars and... no cents.

- Just like you, Simms.

- Huh?

- Put it in the pile.

- Hey, I been thinkin'.

Maybe we shouldn't hit the trail

with the bad weather coming.

Ah, if it was left to you, we'd be

talking till we was six feet under.

- We go now. Right, Jake?

- Wrong, you little pissant.

How far we gonna get on ten dollars?

We need more ante.

Here, let me see that.

"Reverend and Mrs R Clum,

Kervin Street."

She'll be happy

to get her purse back.

Reckon about two dollars' worth.

- There, now.

- Thank you, ma'am.

Well, just make yourself at home

while I take the Reverend's lunch

to the church.

When I come back,

we'll fix you up a good hot meal.

I won't be but a few minutes.

Get back here! Get back here!

Give me back my boot!

Give me my boot!

- Give me back my money.

- You son of a b*tch!

Let go!

Now, just hold on. I wanna talk.

Now, listen to me!

I wanna talk to you!

Listen to me!

Ah! Ow!

All right! All right! All right!

I'll give it back. I'll give it back.

Jesus, I'm bleeding!

Probably poisoned.

You just give me back my darn money.

Now, let's you and me have a talk.

You liar!

Goddamn, boy!

You're gonna wear me out.

Look, let's talk!


- You're a real tiger, ain't you?

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David Newman

David Newman (February 4, 1937 – June 27, 2003) was an American screenwriter. From the late 1960s through the early 1980s he frequently collaborated with Robert Benton. He was married to fellow writer Leslie Newman, with whom he had two children, until the time of his death. He died in 2003 of conditions from a stroke. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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