Hangman's Knot

Synopsis: In 1865, a troop of Confederate soldiers led by Major Matt Stewart attack the wagon of gold escorted by Union cavalry and the soldiers are killed. The only wounded survivor tells that the war ended one month ago, and the group decides to take the gold and meet their liaison that knew that the war ended but did not inform the troop. The harsh Rolph Bainter kills the greedy man and the soldiers flee in his wagon driven by Major Stewart. When they meet a posse chasing them, Stewart gives wrong information to misguide the group; however, they have an accident with the wagon and lose the horses. They decide to stop a stagecoach and force the driver to transport them, but the posse returns and they are trapped in the station with the passenger. They realize that the men are not deputies and have no intention to bring them to justice but take the stolen gold.
Genre: Romance, Western
Director(s): Roy Huggins
Production: Sony Pictures Entertainment
81 min

Thought it'd be

another stagecoach.

Not this time.

That's our wagon, all right...

Remember, don't hit

that dynamite too soon.

I can't do it!

- Can't do what?

- I can't see the marker.

Been in these blazing rocks

so long I can't see.

Briggs! Shroeder!

- Rumsey!

- They got Rumsey. I seen it.

Check the others.

They can't all be dead.

I'm afraid they got Shroeder too.

Jamie, go get the mules.

Look over the bluecoats.

There's only four boxes of gold.

Get that gold on the pack mules.

Major, over here, quick!

He's alive. I didn't shoot him...

...just shot the gun out of his hand.

What'll we do?

I don't know. Can't take prisoners,

we have no medicine.

We'll leave water and food...

The horses are still around.

He could make it back to Carson City.

Put that away.

Help me get him against that rock.

Cass, you and Egan get the gold

out of that wagon, quick.

Captain, we're Confederate soldiers.

On special duty from

the army of northern Virginia.

Better keep me alive, reb.

You're going to need me.

Need you? Why?

- What's he trying to...?

- You might want this.

Thanks, Egan.

- What were you trying to tell us?

- The war is over.

You got licked, reb.

You're lying.

Lee would never give up.

Over a month ago.

Lee surren...

You better keep me alive.

He was lying. Just trying to keep

us here. He was lying, that's all.


We'll keep our meeting with

Captain Peterson. We'll know then.

They told me you'd been under fire.

I was. Five and a half days,


And you never killed a man?

I don't know.

No, sir.

I want you with us when we get home.

You won't be...

Hey, Matt, we're here!

Somewhere between here

and the Texas border...

...you're going to have to grow up.

Major! Just about given you up!

You're a sight for sore eyes,

major. All of you.

Everything came off all right?

We lost three men. We got the gold,

over a quarter-million dollars' worth.

Well, it'll be worth 3000 men

to the Confederacy...

- How long have you been here?

- Here? Right here?

- Right here.

- Too long, major.

Let's get that gold into the medicine

wagon, and you fellas dust out of here.

Time's your problem now.

Where were you

before you came up here?

Why? What's the trouble, major?

Not sure. Where were you?

Moving around, getting known.

Virginia City was my last stop,

three weeks ago. Why?

Then I won't have to tell you.

The gold isn't worth even six men

to the Confederacy.

There isn't any Confederacy.

I wanted to ride out and warn you,

but it was too late.

I was sure it was too late.

If I'd have left here,

I'd have missed you for sure.

- I wasn't gonna take it for myself. L...

- We've heard enough.

You knew where we planned to attack.

You had time to come out and stop it.

To save the lives of over a dozen...

Don't ever try that again.

What did you say?

The war's over.

There's no army, no rank.

Don't ever use your

hands on me again.

Listen to me, all of you.

The war's not over for us.

Those dead men back there

were Nevada Volunteers.

This territory will be full of posses,

men from the war...

...and they're not gonna believe

a word we tell them.

We needed Peterson, but he's dead.

Till we get out of here,

someone's gotta give orders.

So if we're gonna have trouble

from you, let's have it now.

Fine. We'll have to let these horses

blow. We'll camp here till night falls.

I guess I lost my head, Matt.

What's happened to you?

- Is it that easy to kill a man?

- Well, isn't it?

What else we been doing

for the past five years?

Peterson had it coming.

Is that all it takes?

You've changed.

A lot more than you think.

Well, you haven't.

You've known me for 10 years...

...and you've never stopped trying

to cut me down to your size.

Take care of your horse.

I'll take over, Cass.

- Coffee's still hot.

- Coffee?

I ain't been thinking

about coffee, boy.

Thank you.

That razor's not as sharp as it was,

but it's yours.

Whiskers just grow right back again.

Well, we buried the Confederacy.

We've talked about everything

but what's really on our mind.

- Anybody talked about that yet?

- About what, Cass?

If you don't know, you ain't human.

The gold?

You're human.

What do you think we should do?

It ain't as if we stole it.

It came into our hands

as part of the war.

For me...

...I aim to take a share home with me.

Anybody got a better suggestion?

Egan, how do you feel about it?

Lt'd be hard to see the wrong

in keeping it when a few hours ago...

...there was no wrong in killing for it.

What else is there to do?

Give it back to the Union government?

They'd probably hang us.

Maybe. We'll probably get

strung up for thieves in any case.

Is that what you wanna do?

To give that stuff back?

That's what won the war, not courage

or being in the right. Just gold.

If the Union wants it back,

they'll have to fight us for it.

Keeping it for ourselves

is something else.

The South is still there,

maybe she could use it.

Not my share, major.

If the war is over, it's over,

and there ain't nothing that...

I'm coming home to you, Bessie,

this time for good.

No more wandering off,

I promise you.

I'll even go to church with you

this Sunday, like you always wanted.

We'll ride up fine.

All the folks will look at you

like you was Queen of the May.

- You'll be wearing...

- I've heard all I can take.

- I'd rather hear Walsh whistle.

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Roy Huggins

Roy Huggins (July 18, 1914 – April 3, 2002) was an American novelist and an influential writer/creator and producer of character-driven television series, including Maverick, The Fugitive, and The Rockford Files. A noted writer and producer using his own name, much of his later television scriptwriting was done using the pseudonyms Thomas Fitzroy, John Thomas James, and John Francis O'Mara. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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