Ruby Gentry

Synopsis: Despite their different social class Ruby and Boake grew up together in the 1950s North Carolina. Ruby Corey lived with her poor family in the swamps while Boake Tackman lived in a mansion with servants. As long as their friendship stayed within the socially acceptable limits no one objected. In adulthood their friendship becomes a mutual romantic attraction. Ruby wants to marry Boake but he only seems interested in romantic play without commitment. Maybe conscious of his social status or maybe being afraid to offend his snobbish family and conservative hometown folk, he marries a rich girl. Out of revenge Ruby marries Jim Gentry, a recently widowed rich old man to whom many townsfolk and local businesses owe money. When Gentry dies in an accident, the town blames Ruby. A now rich Ruby takes revenge on the town's folk by calling in their debts and loans. The girl from the swamps has become the town's biggest nightmare.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director(s): King Vidor
Production: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
Rotten Tomatoes:
82 min

If you should walk down to the waterfront in the coastal town of Braddock in the state of North Carolina, you'd probably hear a story told about one of the skippers in the fishing fleet that makes this port its home... for this skipper is a woman... a strange, gaunt woman... and you can tell even at first glance that she is living somewhere in the past, as if even now, she were suffering in atonement for all the tragic consequences of her willful acts. There was a time when Ruby was beautiful and alive, and I believe it was this spirit of life and love that caused so much envy and resentment to be voiced against her by the narrow, class-conscious citizens of our town. For Ruby was born on the wrong side of the tracks, and though she struggled valiantly to overcome this stigma, the townspeople never let her forget it. I'd been in Braddock over a year and was still an outsider. They called me the new Yankee doctor. And then I met Jim Gentry, Braddock's richest man. Jim's wife was an invalid. I guess he'd tried 50 doctors before he got to me. And somehow, right away, Jim Gentry and I became friends. On that bright September evening, Jim was taking me out to a hunting party at Jud Corey's hunting lodge. To a young and ambitious doctor, that should have been the main thing on my mind. But strangely enough, it wasn't. Does Jud's daughter live at the lodge? Oh? You know Ruby? Well, no, I've seen her in town. You couldn't miss seeing Ruby if she's anywhere above the horizon. Trouble was, I couldn't figure any way to meet her. This is gonna be a mighty lively hunting party with you all set to launch a campaign for Ruby, and Boake Tackman just home from South America. Ruby used to be real gone on him. Sounds like they've already got a head start on Jud's sour mash whiskey. Don't let it shake you, Doc. It's just anatomy. I never saw anything like it in dissection lab. Oh, Jim, it's you. Don't butter me, honey. I know you're disappointed. You're blushing, sugar puss. Mr. Ginter sent your gun. Oh, boy... finished it real soon. Ginter's usually slow as tar. This gun's a hand-me-down from Pop. I had Ginter make me this new stock. Oh, Ruby, this is Dr. Manfred. Only he'll like it better if you call him Saul. - Hello there, Saul. - Hello. Saul took one look at you and got that... look... that glazed codfish stare. I told him it was just anatomy. - And what did he say? - Oh, nothing much. It was all good, Ruby. He thinks you're cuter than a speckled pup. Here, Mrs. Gentry sent you some sachets. Oh, bless her heart. - How is she? - Oh, about the same. Sachets! Did you ever! My wife set her heart on making a lady of Ruby. She didn't hold with the saying about making a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Honey, if you're a sow's ear... When you come right down to it, what would anybody want with a silk purse, huh? Mr. Gentry, sir! We've been expecting you. - This is Dr. Manfred, Jud. - How do, Doctor? - Hello, Jud. - You're real welcome. Leave those things right there. I'll take care of them. Come in, come in. Jewel! Yeah, Pa? Fetch those things off the porch. - Corner room suit you. - Fine. Hello, Jewel. I have to put you in one of the rooms outside, but it'll save you five dollars. Ma Corey! Best cook in Carolina, Saul... her food's pure sin. Hello, Ma. Get some glasses and ice. Tell Jewel to bring in some more liquor. Gentlemen, this is Dr. Manfred. Doc, the big moose is Clyde Pratt. - Hi, Doc. - Neil Fallgren over here. And Cullen McAuliffe. Any money you put in Cullen's bank, you can kiss good-bye. Jim's been doing a lot of bragging about you, Doctor. Oh, that's real nice. I want you to see this stock Ruby's got on her thirty-thirty. Isn't that a dandy? Burled walnut... a beautiful hunk of wood, Ruby. I got it off the gatepost at the old Tackman plantation. I figured finders keepers. Must be the only thing out there that isn't underwater. Why, I'd give my eye teeth for this stock. - Looks like everybody's here. - Yeah. Go ahead, Dad. I'll take the rest of this stuff. All right. Ruby? Where are you? Hi, stranger. You look just about the same to me. You have me at a disadvantage. I can't see what you look like. But I can imagine. Give me that light. Let's see what I've been missing. - Keep away. - You grown any? I'll bet you filled out some. Keep your hands off. Keep your hands off me. You little devil! That's what Boake tells me, especially when he uses a bullet developed by Brenneke. That's that ballistic man from Leipzig, Germany. That's right. Here's our guest of honor! - How are you? - Just like old times. Jud's been telling me some grand things about you, Boake. Somebody get Boake a drink. - Let's see that cartridge belt. - I got that in Brazil. Dr. Manfred, Boake Tackman. - How are you, Boake? - Doctor. Home for good or just visiting? I'm home for good this time. I'm going to trump on your heels. Got yourself some notion? Real harebrained one. Claims he's gonna drain our old plantation. Well, why not? Wet or dry, it's not worth a nickel. - It's full of salt. - Salt's no problem. is a fair start. That's more than you had. I started out with two hands and a tough hide. Gonna raise cotton? I'm gonna produce quick cash crops, produce I can ship north, because the plantation's only the beginning. Like you started out repairing tin lizzies. You got too much energy for a Carolina boy. Wears me out just listening to you. In South America, did those seoritas stir up your bloodstream? Yeah, how about it, Boake? I hear they're real hospitable. I can't say they exactly cold-shouldered me. Dinner! Dinner! Come on! But I never found one of them who could cook. That's why I came home. I saw a lot of it in South America, Dad. After they drain the swamps, they plow in chemicals. You can't eat this rich food without whiskey to cut it. Nitrates. I've been shipping plenty to Panama. I figure I'm getting it from you. Might have to get some of it on credit. I suppose we can work that out. Jim starts out by selling you something on credit, and before you know it, you're running another Gentry enterprise. Mmm. Smell that. Ma turns out the best there is. No doubt about it. First time I've seen you waiting on a table, Ruby. Maybe the last time, so take a real good look. I do that anyhow. Ma said it was time she was learning to do a woman's work. And maybe you'll sell me your thirty-thirty. You got no more use for it. Don't you just wish? It's bagging me a deer tomorrow. Dad doesn't seem to think this plan's gonna work, though, Jim. I can't sell him on it. I raised Ruby like she was a boy. Something sure must have got out of hand. Look at her, except for those pants she wears. Hear that, sugar? Mr. Pratt wants you all over fluffs. Boake's got a sound enough plan. Once the land's drained, he'll have collateral. But he'll need capital to buy the pumps and equipment. Boake's already talked to Cullen about getting a loan from the bank. Oh, he did. Cullen go for your notion? He seems to. He said to drop in any time next week. We could talk the whole plan over. - You little... - Trying to brand him, Ruby? Sprinkle some hair on her and she'd pass for a bobcat! - Ruby! - I'm in your corner, Ruby! Ruby! What's going on? Huh? Nothing, Pop. You're chasing after Boake Tackman again, ain't you? Inviting damnation for your soul. - Dry up. - Hell leave you flat! Same as before. I learned a few things in five years. Don't you think he's learned plenty, too? He ain't no kid no more, and he won't be satisfied just holding hands. That's my business. You're courtin' hellfire! - Hire yourself a church! - You watch your tongue, missy! You're leaving the hour of reckoning out of your judgment... then the wicked shall be judged for the sins of the flesh... and condemned to eternal and everlasting fire. Don't let him rile you, honey. Can't you leave those things? Come and sit down and talk to Jim and me. No... Pop's getting you up before daylight. - You'd better get some sleep. - We'll turn in pretty soon. So far, I'm not doing too well. No woman like her. One minute fighting, scratching, next minute, she's as sweet and soft as any woman alive. Guess I like her wild side best. Can't help being glad that Lettie didn't really tame her. You didn't know... Ruby lived with Lettie and me for a couple of years. When was that? While she was going to high school. Should have seen her the day Jud brought her over to the house. She was nearly 16... Thin, wild, all eyes. Jud thought I was a good enough friend to come to in time of trouble. That pleased me. There had been a beach party given the night before for the high school football team. Boake was the star fullback on the team, and one of the most popular young men in the county, which is why, I suppose, he always seemed to think that Ruby should be his for the asking. But Ruby resented his taking her for granted, and so that night, when he tried to get fresh with her, she jabbed him with her oyster knife. Even though she never let on, Ruby was scared. She knew somehow that she was in real trouble. Then, when Ruby suddenly appeared in Lettie's bedroom door, Lettie was surprised. She called Ruby over to her bed... ... and Ruby told her the whole story. How she was glad she'd hurt Boake because he deserved it, but she was sorry she'd hurt him so bad, and, well, Lettie was shocked down to her toes, deeply concerned for Ruby. She rang the emergency bell while she told Ruby that everything would be all right. I came pounding in to Lettie's room, afraid that something had happened to her. She said Ruby was gonna stay with us, and no ifs or buts, so she could have protection and care a young girl needs. Not having any children of her own, Lettie set even greater store by Ruby. Taught her how to dress, how to act toward the servants, how to manage a big house, taught her all sorts of nonsense. Then Ruby finished high school, and Jud needed help, so he fetched her back to this. So maybe we weren't as kind as we meant to be... training her for a life she can't have. You see... Ruby doesn't belong. You mean socially? She's from the wrong side of the tracks. You mean to say in this day and age... You're forgetting where you are, Doctor. - But that's absurd! - It's worse than that. These fools are so full of pride about who they are, about their fine old family names, so blind with conceit over nothing, they can't see what she is! How wonderful... She is indeed. Good night, Doctor. Good night, Jim. - Ruby. - Go away, Boake. I mean it. I'll bet. I saw how you looked at me. When? Before you turned wildcat and marked me up. If your face hurts, there's some stuff in Pop's medicine box. Go away, Boake. Ruby, who'll you be hunting with tomorrow? Hmm? The doctor, I suppose. Take him up toward the ridge. When you get him to our place, get rid of him. Ruby? Will you? Maybe. Maybe I will... ...maybe I won't. Ruby... Hold it! Always put your gun through ahead of you. Oh, thanks. The other way, you're liable to get shot. Just a second. You sorry you're stuck with a greenhorn? Pop always pairs off experienced hunters with the ones who are raw at it. You'll catch on. That's the trail to the swamp. Good place if we were after birds. They come there to feed. But you want to shoot them when they're flying toward high ground. Why is that? Try getting a bird out of that muck, it'll swallow you. It's tree deep and soft as pudding. Beautiful. Not good for anything. But I guess it is beautiful. That hollow's a likely place for deer. You go on up the trail. When you get to the top, cut across the ridge. They'll smell you and come this way. Won't they smell you? - Wind's blowing my way. - Oh, sorry. That's all right, Doc. If I tried to do your job, I'd be as dumb as a dog that doesn't know "sick 'em." What do I do when I get to the ridge? If you hear me shooting, we've got a deer. If you don't, wait up there and I'll find you. Thanks. You were a long time getting rid of him. Maybe I like the doctor. Like! You can like who you want, but I won't be kept waiting. I've done some waiting. Boake, you don't know. You can have South America. You can have the whole world. This is for me. What, Boake? Hill country liquor, tidewater cooking, and North Carolina women. Like I always said, there's nothing like a dame. That's the best shot I ever made. Naturally, I missed. He was shot twice... couple inches apart. Five-pointer. He's a beauty. So are you. - No, Boake. - And no more games, Ruby. You're gonna get it straight in your head, Boake Tackman. You can't come back here and treat me like part of the scenery. I'm not just a North Carolina dame! You know I'm crazy about you. Along with devilled crab and moonshine whiskey? I remember the way your hair smelled... how it felt to put my arms around you... what a crazy, beautiful kid you were. Do you remember all the lies they told about you and me? How your family and all those snobs were so dead sure they knew what was going on. They were wrong then, and they're still wrong. You're so pretty when you lose your temper and your eyes start blazing. Why don't you give up, Ruby? You know you can't hold out the way you feel. Get out of here! I swear if you don't get out of my sight, I'll blow your head off! Oh, Miss McAuliffe! Jud, please tell Daddy I'm here. Hello, Tracy. Come on in, honey. He was about 20 yards up the slope... then, just as I fired, the wind came up. - That old alibi. - So help me. I didn't even see the one Ruby got. - Hello, Clyde. - Tracy, honey. My goodness, Neil, you look like a bear. - Hello, dear. - Hello, honey. Heavens, you don't have to stand. Sit down. - Oh, Tracy, this is... - Oh, hello, Rube. Hi, Tracy. This is my daughter, Tracy, Doctor. - Dr. Manfred, honey. - How do you do? Vorgie's told me all about you, Doctor. Our cook... you delivered her grandson, and she says you're wonderful. Thank you, Miss McAuliffe. - Ready, Boake? - All set. Here's yours, Dad. Thanks, Boake. My, you smell awful woodsy, darling. I came to fetch my men early. I knew they'd be dirty from head to foot, and I want them to look nice for my party. - Hello, Jim. - Hello, Tracy. The rest of you can take your time. If you're there by nine, I'll forgive you. We'll be there! Oh, Dr. Manfred. It's a little supper dance at the country club... sort of a welcome home party for Boake. Please come. Well, l... It's not as dull as it sounds, Doctor. If Braddock's the same old town, come sunup, you'll be riding home with nothing but a head. I'm sorry, I'd like to, but I have an engagement. Oh, well, another time. - So long. - Take care. Pleasant trip, fellows. Sorry, Tracy. - Good-bye! - Bye! Well, nice girl, Tracy. - Got brains and breeding. - Yeah, brains and breeding. Nothing has been said yet about them getting engaged, but Cullen and I are all for it. Sowing the seeds of a tarnished name... Cut that! Sowing the seeds of eternal shame... Oh, what will the harvest be... I said to cut that! I ought to kill you for that. What's stopping you? You ain't suffered enough yet. Just wait till Boake Tackman marries that girl. He won't. And they'll live together fat and easy. He'll put his arms around her, and she'll feel as good to him as you ever did. Better likely, because of the fine life that goes with her. She and him'll have kids. No, he's mine. It seems he don't know that. They can throw Tracy McAuliffe at him all they want... Boake's mine. Why so quiet, sugar? We're going fishing. What's the use? They're not biting. Not biting? Come on, honey, give me a hand cleaning up this tacklebox. Ruby, there ain't a fish in the world won't bite if you go at it right. Not for me, they won't. You got to figure it like your old man. All these little fish that hang around near the shore, they're not for you and me. We're after the big ones. The big ones you gotta go after. Out there, where the water's deep. When we get way out yonder, you'll see old Mr. Fish... he'll come wiggling along fat and sassy. He's at the pick of the lot down there, see? All of a sudden, he looks up and sees something different. Pretty soon, old Mr. Fish can't stand it any longer. He's gotta have a sniff. And then... kerplunk! You wheels in your reel right fast... you got him hooked. Yes, sir, that's all there is to it, baby. The right time, give him the right bait. I hate leaving here. Every time, I hate it more. Kiss me again. Oh, I left my sweater. I can pick it up tomorrow or the day after if you don't need it. What if your father should stop by? Not a chance. The Judge is as dependable as an ocean tide. Moves out here the first Monday in June, and goes back to town the morning after Labor Day. I hope you noticed you got a gal that can open a door all by herself. Listen. That's the new pump. The big one. Salt marsh for 50 years. Now there's a hundred acres planted, and a hundred more almost ready to plant. You'd think nothing would ever grow. Wait and see. When I get the pump and the nitrates paid for, that land's gonna grow fleets of trucks, barges, canning factory. Boake Tackman... empire builder. Sounds like a big heart beating. It is. It's my heart. Oh. What about me? Do you really think you can compete with a man's work? Come on. It's nearly morning. The stars are fading. Boake, drive me back along the beach. - Love me? - Sure thing. Tell me. I love you, baby. Tell me like you mean it. Stop trying to put words in my mouth, Ruby. Let me say what I want to say when I'm ready to say it. Relax, honey. You've got your throttle wide open. But you're always holding back. You think I'll wait and wait while you take your own sweet time. Don't push me, Ruby. Who's pushing? You and that one-track mind of yours. Two can play at that game! It's all right. I got it. Because I love you! Because I love you! Come on, the five o'clock ferry's about to leave for the mainland! Now all the South Shore folks'll be getting their backs up because of Tracy McAuliffe. The whole fishing fleet's already talking... and everybody down to the meeting house scandalizing about you and him. Those hypocrites... let 'em talk. I'm ashamed we got the same name. I'll be changing mine pretty soon. You fool. You wanton fool. You think Boake Tackman will marry you? I don't think. I know. He's ashamed of you... sneaking out to meet you at some joint on the highway, where he don't run into his fine friends. Even if he did want to marry you, Boake Tackman's tied hand and foot. Let him try to break away. They'll stop him. They got their ways. Joe, send in a couple of bourbons with water! I got par on eight holes and two birdies, and then I miss a putt that long. - Cost me 40 bucks. - Come on, pay up. What's the matter, George? Did our big amphibious engineer take you to the cleaners? You said it! That cold dip in the ocean must have put Boake in shape! Yeah! How'd it happen? Or shall I take a guess? When Boake hit that water, I bet he fairly sizzled. Next time you're out romancing, don't forget to take your water wings. Or a couple of oars! - Sour grapes. - Okay, I admit it! Sure, the rest of us are either too old or too tired. Say, Boake, Cullen told me about your plantation... how you want to spread out, and I've got that old cotton warehouse. - You want to sell or lease? - Gotta think about it. You and Tracy coming to the barbecue tonight? Yeah. Sure, I guess so. Fine. After dinner, when our women are having themselves a hen talk, we'll get together, okay? Yeah. I read in the paper where you went to a party at the McAuliffe's. Yes. I thought about you dancing with Tracy, and honestly, Boake, I had to pity you. She's so bony. Ruby, I wanted to tell you about Tracy. That's all right, darling. I know you have to be sweet to Tracy. After all, when her father's lending you all that money... It's gonna be announced Sunday. I know you'd want me to tell you first. Tracy and I are going to be married. Our families have more or less planned it since we were kids. And are you gonna use your lying mouth to tell me you love that weak, giddy head? Ruby, with you, it's been so sweet and wild and crazy... but when it comes to settling down for the rest of my life... You see, I like the little corner of the world I was born in. I like everything about it. Including Cullen McAuliffe's money? The money's part of it... so I can do the work I want to do. You can get a job! And I can work! We don't need the McAuliffe's money! Ruby, I'm not talking about earning a living. For a hundred years, the Tackmans have been sliding downhill. Ever since the tides swallowed our plantation, not one of them lifted a finger to do anything about it. Sitting out their lives on verandas, sopping up bourbon whiskey, like my dad. I'm not going to end up like him. I'm gonna do things that will shake this whole town awake! Change the whole Tidewater! Things I can be proud of. Like marrying somebody you don't love? There's all kinds of love, Ruby. I've known Tracy so many years. It's not like you and me, no... but Tracy's gentle, and she's bright as a dollar. Yeah, I know. She's got brains and breeding. Both of you! Like a pair of pedigreed hounds! Ruby, listen! It's not the end of the world. I'll still be around. I won't be tied hand and foot. We can still see each other. You'd do that? You'd come to me on the sly? - You'd try to make me your... - Ruby, I didn't say that! Ruby! Marry her! And rot! And don't ever come sneaking back here! - Stop, you! - Let him go! If anybody's gonna kill him, I am! "Last Wednesday afternoon, a surprise shower was given "for Miss Tracy McAuliffe, who will marry Mr. Boake Tackman, "son of Judge Henshel Tackman. The Tackman and McAuliffe..." Hello, Doctor. Hello. Hello, Lettie. I declare, Dr. Saul, I'm beginning to think you have a case on me, the way you're always popping in here. - Do you mind? - Mercy, no. I'm partial to doctors. One of my beaus was a doctor. Miss Drucker's making me a new dress for the wedding. She's a spinster lady, poor thing. Got no idea what catches a man's eye. I wouldn't worry if Ruby were here. Nasty old needle. I'm a brute. I was just talking. I don't really mind. Whatever that medicine is, it makes me feel lovely. Dr. Saul? Tell Jim to drive out and get Ruby. Tell him it's doctor's orders. - He'll pay you some mind. - All right, Lettie. - I'll talk to him right now. - Thank you, Doctor. - Hello, Saul. - Jim. Haven't you noticed a change in Lettie the last couple of weeks? In what way? Well, seems to me she's a lot livelier, more interested in what's going on. She's even planning on getting up to go to Tracy and Boake's wedding. Yeah, she told me. She wants you to drive out and bring Ruby here. I know, she asked me, but it'd be torture for Ruby with all that talk about the wedding. Letitia's dying, Jim. This change you've noticed is something that often happens just before the end... a sudden resurgence of energy, like a dying tree sometimes has a final burst of bloom. If you want another doctor's opinion... No, no. How soon? Two weeks, maybe less. I only hope and pray she doesn't suffer. It'll help if Ruby's here. No doubt about that. It's the kind of dress that bowls men over! It makes all the women green with envy! Letitia, I swear you've got the figure of a girl. May I have this dance? You're light as a feather, Letitia! Miss Lettie! Miss Lettie. Lie down. Please... give me the button. When it got dark, I was frightened. Papa gave me a button and told me to hold on, then nothing could happen to me. Hold on tight, he's... Miss Lettie. Did you notify Mrs. Gentry's cousins up in Raleigh? Cousins, aunts, nephews, nieces. Anything else I should do? Are you going to order the flowers? Then everything's taken care of. I just realized again how extraordinary you are. Thank you, Doctor. Not only because you're beautiful, you're so unpretentious and honest. You mustn't pay any attention to these people. This is a stuffy, snobbish town. It's the only place I know. Someday, somebody will take you out of it, and you'll see... Ruby, I... ...I think you're wonderful. Thank you, Saul. - Good-bye. - Good-bye. I'm going downtown. Here, take my car. - Thanks. - Has Saul left? He had to go to the hospital. You know, I think he started to propose to me. Saul? He lost his nerve. Is there anything I can bring you? No. I won't be long. Jim wasn't jealous of me, I'm sure of that. But he must have realized then how Lettie's death had set him free. And now, each faced a painful loss... - Yes? ...and a Ionely tomorrow. Martha says you're packing. Everything's taken care of, so I'm going out to stay with my folks. I'll be back early Wednesday morning. Why not stay on here? And give them something more to talk about? I don't see them. What's wrong with your being here... the years I've known you? Why, you'd... Now, Jim, don't tell me that I'm just like a daughter. You still planning to go to New York? I suppose so. Maybe you're planning to get married. Whatever put that in your head? It's been in Saul's head since the first day he laid eyes on you. Saul's sweet. Martha's fixing supper early so I can eat before I go. Ruby? Heaven knows what you'll do, running off, getting yourself tangled up with somebody. Don't worry about me, Jim. I don't want to lose you. You and me are the same kind of people. As far as this town is concerned, we're mongrels. Even Lettie was out of my class. Lettie was sick for eight and a half years. For eight and a half years, I didn't have a marriage, but I stuck it out. And I was gonna wait a while before I asked you. I'm asking you now. Mrs. James Gentry. That would really give them something to talk about. Forget them! They'd say Boake Tackman wouldn't have me, so I hooked you to get your money. Anybody talk about my wife, I'd break them in two. They'd wonder if I was still mooning over Boake, and they'd talk about it. And after a while, maybe you'd start wondering, too. I've seen you hunt and fish, Ruby, and I never saw you cry about the ones that got away. Go up to New York if you want to. I gotta be there on business next month. We can be married then. All right, Ruby? All right, Jim. Boake and Tracy were married in the traditional manner to which Braddock was accustomed. And without telling his secret to another soul, Jim went to New York, and there made Ruby Corey his wife. Shall I carry you to the office? No. Yes? Mr. Fallgren and Mr. Biffle are here. Fine, send them in. They got here so fast, you'd think they were working for you. In a way, they are. - Good to see you, Jim. - Thank you. Howdy. What's your big news? I'll lay odds it's that assembly plant. It's bigger than that. Gentlemen... I want you to meet Mrs. Gentry. Ruby? Ruby and I were married last Thursday in New York. Congratulations, Jim. I mean it. I'm sure you do. Yes, it's not good for a man to live alone. I'll run it front page tonight if you say so, Jim. That's why I called you over. Any sort of statement you want to make? You can say we're both very happy, and we're glad to be home. And we can sure say the bride's a beauty. Let me tell you, Ru... Mrs. Gentry, you look like a million dollars. I've seen a million dollars and believe me, Ruby looks a whole lot better. Yeah. I'd better hop back to my office before they run off the paper. - I'll run along, too. - One more item. You might want to say we're going to give a party real soon. End of next week. So that all my friends can meet Mrs. Gentry. You two gentlemen are invited. And your wives. That's nice of you. Right, Shug? Very nice. Thank you very much, Mrs. Gentry. We'll sure be there. Couldn't keep us away. It was unbelievable how many prominent families stayed away. Their excuses were convincing enough, but it seemed as if some secret conspiracy had been successfully executed. Well, I have an early operation in the morning. Ate too much. Takes a Yankee to appreciate this Tidewater food. Takes a Yankee to show some manners. Oh, no. Frank. Tell them that'll be all for tonight. And they're welcome to eat before they go. Good night, Jim. Thanks for inviting me. Thanks for showing up. - Good night, Ruby. - Good night, Saul. Forget it, Jim. The ones who did come had a good time. The rest of them don't matter. Not to me. They underrated me. They'll find out they've been tempting Providence. They'll never accept me. No? We'll see about that. Jim Gentry! How long is it you've been a member of this country club? - Nearly ten years. - Ten years? Blamed if I ever saw you before at one of our Saturday night brawls! The penalty and reward of having a young wife, gentlemen. There's the next dance. I'd better get out there. - Tab. - Yes, sir. Ruby said if she was stuck with Grandpappy Stafford for more than one dance, she'd scalp whatever hair I had left. - And that I want to keep. - Thanks for the drink, Jim. - Hello, Doctor. - Neil, how are you? Good to see you. What's the matter, Jim? Somebody snatch her away? Jim? Yes, sir? - Same as before. - Okay. Jim? Doctor, can I ask you a question? Yeah, go ahead. This business they always hand you about not being able to mix your drinks... I've often wondered about that. Do you think that... - Give me a double brandy, please. - Yes, ma'am. And please put some ice in a towel. I'll take that. Here, drink this. I don't want this! Come on, honey, let's go home. Not till I finish with that scum! That filthy... Where did he go? Jim, don't be a fool! Take your hands off me! Jim, what's got in to you? I've never seen you like this. Why, you little tramp! You're dressed up to look like a lady. It's a pity you can't behave like one. None of this would have happened! Ruby! - Good night, Jim. - Good night, Doc. Ruby? I... had no business saying what I did. I'm sorry. Why... Jim, I... We... No, not now. Tomorrow's another day. Wind's shifting. Jim, when are we going to talk? - About what? - About last night. Isn't that what we came out here for? I wanted to be alone with you. That's all. But how can you forgive me if I don't tell you? I don't want to hear. I didn't mean to hurt you. I didn't even think until afterwards. I don't want to hear anything... if you saw him first, or if he saw you, or if he asked you to dance. I don't know how it happened. All of a sudden, Boake was there and we were dancing and... it seemed like we both forgot there was anybody else. Don't, Ruby! When I married you, I knew all about Boake. I would have been crazy to think he still didn't mean something to you. Jim, what is love? I've been so happy with you. Don't talk. I don' t mind being second best. Oh, Jim, I do love you. I do, I do! How could I help it? - Are you cold? - A little bit. - I'll get you something to drink. - Thanks. Jim! Jim! Jim! Jim! Jim, answer me! Jim! Answer me! Jim, where are you? Can you hear me? Jim! Jim, where are you? I keep seeing Jim's face just before it happened. And then afterwards... He was gone so quickly. It doesn't seem possible that he... ...just swallowed up by the waves... How could he be gone so quickly? Maybe if I hadn't called out, he would have stayed below. Or if I'd called out something else besides his name. You've got to stop blaming yourself. Without him, I... What's that? What are they doing? Just making a racket. Probably worked up about Jim. - Worked up? - I'll close the window. - Hello? - Murderer. - Who is this? - Murderer! Murderer! Somebody calling me a murderer! - Murderer! Murderer! - Who is this? I'm gonna have you reported to... They think I... killed Jim? "Sheriff Anderson, after questioning Mrs. Gentry, "did not dismiss the possibilities of suicide "or of foul play. "He said he was forced to accept Mrs. Gentry's story, "since there were no other witnesses to the tragedy. "However, he mentioned reports of domestic difficulties "in the Gentry home, and said that Mr. Gentry, "only the night before, engaged in a fistfight because of Mrs. Gentry's attentions to another man." Stay away from that window, honey. Don't pay them no mind! Somebody's got to stop them! Braddock Times? This is Mrs. James Gentry. I want to speak to Mr. Neil Fallgren. Hello, Neil? Neil, you don't really think that Jim killed himself? Or that I could possibly... Everything I told the sheriff was true! It was all lies, that story you wrote! After the brazen show you made of yourself the other night, I'd say you're getting off easy! Sure, sure I was Jim's friend! Let me tell you something, Ruby! When you sashayed in from the swamps thinking you was good as anybody, his friends should have sent you packing before you could hook him! And if we had, he'd still be alive! Tearing through the driveway! That's trespassing on private property! I'll stop them! No, Judge, that will just make things worse! - She's took enough! - Don't you understand... - Get out of my way, Doctor! - Judge, you've got to stop! Get out of here! - Are you all right? - I'm all right, Doctor. A lot of people in this town are gonna be sick! Jim had always used his money wisely, but Ruby was out for blood. The Wayne Trucking Company's missed a lot of payments, and they owe a lot of interest. How do I take over their trucks? If you want the trucks, since the loan's delinquent, you could demand payment in full. I want payment in full. Now, this note on Perry Duncan, or what did you call it? A demand note. If you intend to collect on that, it's customary to give 30 days notice. It says here 24 hours. - That's the minimum notice. - Give them the minimum. First thing tomorrow morning. How did this get here? Didn't Cullen McAuliffe loan money for this? Boake Tackman's note. The County bank did make the original note, but Mr. Gentry took it over from them. Mr. Gentry thought it a very promising project. Do you want to demand payment on that, Mrs. Gentry? Neil Fallgren. Can I take over the Braddock Times? With a writ of attachment. Well, from a business standpoint, I'd advise against it. Can I take over the Braddock Times? Naturally, you can, Mrs. Gentry. You can also take a million dollars and make a bonfire out of it. Have that note or writ or whatever you call it served on Mr. Fallgren first thing tomorrow morning. All the boats are tied up at the docks because of you. Packing plant's closed, all those folks out of work, and they're hating me because I'm your brother! They're hating me for your sins! And I told Pa he had to come and fetch you home to make you stop what you're doing. - But he wouldn't listen. - Pop's got more sense. Sister, you've got to pray, pray for forgiveness. You gone crazy, Jewel? No, kneel with me. Tell how you sinned, so's I can go to the meeting with a joyful heart and say, "Yes, yes, she sinned, but on her knees, she said she was sorry." Sorry? For getting back at people who gave me a rough time all my life? You're plowing iniquity and sowing wickedness. Go home! Get out! There'll be a reckoning. Whatsoever you sow, that shall you also reap. So far, I've reaped nothing but pleasure. Go to your meeting and tell them that! Evil... evil spawn of the devil. And tell them this is just the beginning. You've sown the wind, and you'll reap the whirlwind! Well, Boake, I expected you a couple of days ago. I've been staying out of the project. I didn't get your letter till this morning. I got here as quick as I could. Didn't even stop to dress for the occasion. What occasion? Calling on a beautiful woman. - Would you like a drink? - Sure. I was hoping you'd come to see me without being asked. Well, I thought of it. Well? I was afraid you might have blood dripping off your clothes. - I haven't hurt you. - I know. And I could. You know why I asked you to come here? Probably it's my turn, and you want to see if I'll crawl. For old times' sake. How much? What's the price? It's all yours. I'm giving it back to you. You don't owe me a cent. Tell me, why do I rate this? You trying to buy off your conscience? You think I'm sorry for what I've done to them? Those foul-mouthed, whiskey-soaked Carolina gentlemen? I've got them on their knees begging for mercy! And I'm glad! Nobody's ever harmed you enough to... Not enough? The way they tramp back and forth over my life, treating me like I was trash? They never let up. When I married Jim, when he died... and you know if it wasn't for them that you and l... Boake, now I've got money. I can give you anything... everything. Forget your pride. I don't care now if you were wrong or right when you married Tracy. I'll never talk about it. You're worried about what people will say. We can leave. We can go anywhere in the world. Oh, Boake. And they lived happily ever after. Kiss me, Boake. - You still feel the same! - That's right. Exactly the same. There are things you can change with money, Ruby... the way you fix your hair, the way you dress. You can buy houses, dogs, guns, cars. You could even buy some people. You can buy a lot of things with Jim's money, Mrs. Gentry. But you can't buy your way out of the swamp, and you can't buy me. Boake! Boake had told her how the land had been salt marsh for 50 years. And now, as hundreds of acres were drained, plowed, and planted, all his hopes and ambitions were growing there. Will you be putting up your own sign, Mrs. Gentry? No. That stretch yonder where nothing's planted still has a lot of salt water in it. We're clearing it up as fast as we can. Turn off the pumps. But high tide'll flood it again, and you'll be right back where you started. I said turn off the pumps. I can't do it, Mrs. Gentry, unless I know for sure that... Walt! He doesn't seem to think I own this property. She owns it, all right. If I turn off those pumps, the part that's planted will get flooded, too! In a couple of weeks, all of the... Turn off the pumps. And have your men dig through that dyke. Dig through? A good, wide ditch. I don't want to wait a couple of weeks. It was almost as though Ruby were jealous of the land. As though she finally realized that her only real rival for Boake's love was his ambition, his determination to be more than just a Tackman. And so, almost as if it was another woman who stood between her and the man she loved, Ruby attacked the land and destroyed it... and watching, felt a bitter satisfaction. What Ruby had never understood was that a man and his dreams, a man and his work, are one and the same. Boake had tramped those fields, had dug in the muck with his own hands, and put all his strength and mind and will into making those frail plants grow. Got a cigarette? Match? Let's get out of here. A long way from home... A long way... Ruby, baby, sure glad to see you. Couldn't start duck season without my sugar. - Hi, Pop. - Hello, honey. You got some gun you can loan me, Jud? Sure, I got that sixteen-gauge with a full choke. Fine. Only thing is the muzzle blast. I got this compensator. Let me see that gun, Cullen. I've always wanted it. Ruby. Mrs. Gentry. Jud didn't say he was expecting you. We heard a car drive up, but... You didn't say you were planning on hunting with us today, Boake. I didn't know I was going to till just a little while ago. Sit down, gentlemen. - New gun? - Yes, it is. English. I ordered it through Ginter. - I read an ad for this gun. - Yeah, in a gun and rod journal. It's listed at nearly $2,000. You must be feeling prosperous. I ordered it last summer. That was back in the palmy days. I made up my mind I was gonna hunt with it once before I put it up for sale. Yes, these are mighty lean times. I was just thinking it's a lucky thing for us that there's a limit on ducks, Mrs. Gentry. You limiting me to the limit? No, we're just hoping you'll be generous and leave us a few. To better times, gentlemen. It's bound to come. We've weathered worse than this. Droughts and floods and Yankee invasion. You didn't drink. To better times. When the swamp trotters take over and turn the whole world into a stinking swamp. Let's go back. What's the matter? Don't you like it here? - Maybe you're afraid. - Of what? Me... of the kind of man I am now. Boake, you're hurting me. You finally got me, Ruby. You got me where you want me. But you don't like it, do you? I don't mind you taking the land, but why did you have to scuttle it? Why do you have to ruin everything you touch? Boake, I loved you so much! Ruby, it's good to see you afraid. Go on, kill me. I was wrong... I didn't know... Boake, I didn't want this. Oh, Ruby. When I think what it could have been... They shall be bound together, and thrown into a fiery pit. It's Jewel. Woe unto her in her iniquity. Get over there. Behind there. Incense she burned, and she decked herself with pearls. I can't tell where he is. Come on! Through here! Over there! Keep low! Down there! Under there! Woman is the very root of wickedness. In her beauty, a snare. The Lord strengthens the hand of the righteous to strike down the sinner. Jewel! Have you gone crazy? Come on. Get up that bank! Say you love me. Boake, say you love me. The wages of sin is death! Boake... What have I done? What have I done? Yes, Ruby Gentry was born on the wrong side of the tracks, and the people of Braddock never let her forget it.

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Silvia Richards

Silvia Richards was a screenwriter who worked on a number of films in the 1940s and 1950s, including the film noir Ruby Gentry and the Western Rancho Notorious. She also wrote for television in the 1950s and early 1960s. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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"Ruby Gentry" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 11 Aug. 2020. <>.

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