Judge Priest

Synopsis: Judge William "Billy" Priest lives in a very patriotic (Confederate) southern town. Priest plays a laid-back, widowed judge who helps uphold the law in his toughest court case yet. In the meantime, he plays matchmaker for his young nephew.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director(s): John Ford
Production: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
80 min

Hear, hear. Hear.

Court's called to order.

Your honor, there is no doubt in the mind

of the Commonwealth...

...that this prisoner

is a confirmed chicken thief.

He has no place in this

God-fearing community.

He is a vagrant.

He cometh from no man knows whence.

Since arriving in our midst...

...he has been known to do no honest work.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky asks-...

...nay, demands-...

...that he be adjudged guilty...

...and sentenced to six months

on the chain gang.

Hey. Hey, boy. Wake up there.

Sheriff, wake him up there.

If anybody's gonna sleep

in this court, it'll be me.

Hey, wake up.

- Huh?

Come here, boy.

Here. Come on over here.

Right there.

What's your name?

Uh, Jeff Poindexter.


- Yeah.

Who gave you that?

- Mr. Ranny.


You mean Major Randolph Poindexter

from down at-at-at Pine Bluff?

Yes, Pine Bluff.

Yeah. Looks like you, uh, Poindexters...

...is always gettin' mixed up

with some chicken somehow.

Hey, Sergeant...

...it seems like I recollect,

uh, you and Major Ranny...

...havin' some, uh, connection

with the flesh of fowl at one time.

Doggoned if we didn't.

You know, Major Ranny was

the fire-eatin'est soldier...

...that ever chased a Yank up a tree.

You know, Billy, you and me

pretty near starved that day...

...when we went foraging for a snack

after the Battle of 'Chickamaugy.'


No, no. It was the-

It-It was the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.

'Twas no such a thing.

It was 'Chickamaugy'.

No, you're both wrong.

- I'm not wrong.

It was the summer of'63,

and we were just outside of Nashville.

No, Billy's right.

I remember.

For wasnt I there with you?

Your Honor, the Commonwealth

objects to this digression.

Now, now, now, Senator,

uh, you know-

Now the- Now the point is that,

uh-that the major-...

...uh, he acted the part

of a gentleman and a soldier.

And he removed the temptation

from out of our path...

...by eatin' up all the fat hens

i-i-in the whole bunch...

...and leavin' us nothing but a lot

of old skinny dominick roosters.

You remember, boys?

- Come to think of it, Billy,

They were no such a thing.

They were Yankee chickens.

They were Rhode Island Reds.

I know 'cause l-...

Your Honor.

- Dominick.

Your Honor.

- It was dominicks.

Is this a court of law?

- I know this.

I ask you, is this a court of law?

Now, now, now, Senator.

I wouldn't- I would, uh-

Don't get on your high horse that way.

You know we ain't in any great big hurry,

but, uh, incidentally...

...what are you-what are you

charged with there, boy?

Nothing, Judge, but I wasn't

near them chickens, sure enough.

I just fishin'.


Where was you fishin'?

Down Sleepy River.

Ain't no fish in Sleepy River.

- There are so.

Ain't neither.

- Full of catfish.

Doc's right, Jimmy.

- Yeah?

Sure enough.

I catch catfish in there that long.

There's your proof hes lying.

Here. Come here.

What-What-What do you use for bait?

Oh, I get a hunk of beef liver.

Beef liver?

That's good, huh?

Yes. I take the beef liver and put it

on the hook and chuck it out there.

Let 'em have a first piece for nothin', see?

And then you put some more on

there and chuck it out there.

And then they think they

gonna get that for nothin'.

And you catch 'em as long

as you got the liver.


And I go down there all the time,

and I don't carry nothin' but that liver.

Y-Yeah. I remember.

Oh, down there. I bet it must have

been that long, you know?

Sure, sir. Sure enough.

I've got to take down the judge's clothes

Got to take 'em in the house

Yes, Lord

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Irvin S. Cobb

Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb (June 23, 1876 – March 11, 1944) was an American author, humorist, editor and columnist from Paducah, Kentucky, who relocated to New York in 1904, living there for the remainder of his life. He wrote for the New York World, Joseph Pulitzer's newspaper, as the highest paid staff reporter in the United States. Cobb also wrote more than 60 books and 300 short stories. Some of his works were adapted for silent movies. Several of his Judge Priest short stories were adapted in the 1930s for two feature films directed by John Ford. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Judge Priest" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 1 Oct. 2023. <https://www.scripts.com/script/judge_priest_11435>.

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