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Civilization, at Any Price/dialogues

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(Marston approaches Allende's manor in Escalera.)

Captain: What do you want, gringo? What are you doing here? Have you heard, there's a war going on?

Marston: My name's John Marston. I've been sent here to retrieve a couple of men. Can I speak to your commander?

Captain: You want to talk to my boss, gringo?

Marston: I guess.

Captain: Because I am not good enough for you?

Marston: No, sir.

Captain: You think you're better than me? You come to my country, my poor little country, and you think you can be friends with the president?

Marston: No, sir. I am sorry, sir. Things must have come out wrong. Maybe you can help me?

Captain: You'll be sorry, friend.

(As the soldiers point guns at John, the captain bursts out laughing.)

Captain: Relax, amigo. Relax. I had you.

Marston: Sure, somewhere between the threatening stare and the soldiers armed to the teeth, yeah, yeah you had me.

Captain: Welcome to Mexico, amigo! Let's come, eat, drink! And then we'll talk.

(They sit down at an outdoors table. The Captain identifies himself.)

Vincente: My name is Capitán Vincente de Santa.

Marston: John Marston.

Vincente: My country is in pain, John Marston. Terrible pain. The rebels have seized the people by the throat and destroy our way of life.

Marston: I'm no politician, sir.

(The waiter comes over.)

Vincente: And I am no soldier. Tequila... But we are both beholden to our time. A brave man, perhaps you have heard of him, Coronel Allende. He is trying to preserve the order in our province, to keep our civilization alive, it is tough. The people are confused, and usually swayed. Sometimes in the service of what is right, you got to do terrible things. It breaks my heart.

Marston: I also am no moralist, sir.

Vincente: I wish I enjoyed your freedoms, Mr. Marston.

Marston: I am trying to find a man, an American. An outlaw named Bill Williamson. I believe he came here to seek protection from another outlaw, named Javier Escuella.

Vincente: You're no moralist, but you hunt outlaws?

Marston: So it would seem. You heard anything of these men?

Vincente: I am the government, or what is left of it. Outlaws seek each other. They are possibly hiding with thieves and killers who pose as freedom fighters in the hills around here. They're united under one traitor named Abraham Reyes.

Marston: Where can I find this Reyes?

Vincente: If I knew I would be there, hunting him with everything that is true within me. Reyes finds you.

Marston: Like cholera.

Vincente: Something like that. But it's possible though. My men are trying to lure him into a trap. Possibly you could ride with us? And if everything goes okay, I am sure the Coronel will help you.

Marston: Okay.

Vincente: (to subordinates) Vámanos! You can take your horse or ride on the wagon.

(John rides shotgun.)

Vincente: We must be quick! It is a long ride to Chuparosa. You did not expect such a warm welcome from the Mexican Army, I can see.

Marston: I didn't know what to expect. I hadn't even crossed the border and I was being shot at.

Vincente: You will hear a lot of words like "tyrant" and "oppression" here, words that the peasants have been taught, but do not understand. Meaningless words. The army is suffering...a crisis of reputation.

Marston: Even I've heard about the Colonel down here. He's not famous for his compassion.

Vincente: This is the point. Have you met Coronel Allende? Do you know him? No, like a papagayo, you just repeat lies you heard.

Marston: Maybe.

Vincente: Allende is a good man, a strong man. He carries the weight of a million problems on his shoulders.

Marston: Am I supposed to pity him?

Vincente: You gringos are so quick to judge. You love to talk badly of other people because it makes you feel better about yourselves. Maybe you should look in the mirror.

Marston: You're the one talkin' about this. And I ain't here to make judgment on the way of your government. I got enough problems with my own right now.

Vincente: This isn't America, Señor Marston. We are poor. Kindness must take a different form. What is better, to put your arm around a hungry man, or to beat him until he grows some food to eat?

Marston: I think you need to answer that question yourself.

Vincente: Who are these outlaws you hunt? This Billy the cowboy and his Mexican friend.

Marston: Bill Williamson's a fella I used to know, and Javier Escuella...well, I knew him too.

Vincente: What do you mean, you know these men?

Marston: We was friends once. They're part of a past I can't seem to get rid of.

Vincente: The past is all that's real, my friend. It cannot be erased. That is the problem with the people here. They spend too much time dreaming about imaginary futures.

Marston: I know I can't change the past but I'm sure gonna do somethin' about the future.

Vincente: Whatever helps you sleep at night, amigo. My country is full of American criminals, mostly in the service of the rebel pigs. Mexico is an easy place for a man to lose himself, whether he wants to get lost or not.

Marston: Hopefully not too easy. I ain't got much time to find these men.

Vincente: There must be a high price on their heads.

Marston: The highest price.

Vincente: Can I ask how much?

Marston: I'm not gettin' paid. It's...it's a long story. I'm bein' made to do this.

Vincente: I will never understand you Americans.

Marston: Me neither.

Vincente: We have a system of law in Mexico, Señor, and we do not tolerate people who think they can run with their own. However, if you help us, we will help you. No one hides from Coronel Allende, for long. This rebellion, it is a disease, and it is killing this country.

Marston: Don't people have the right to stand up for themselves?

Vincente: The right? The right? Don't you throw silly ideas at me! What do you know about the rights of the Mexican people?

Marston: Very little. I'm just sayin' there must be something behind this rebellion.

Vincente: I'll tell you what's behind it, Señor Marston. Lies. Insidious lies. The peasants are stupid and, like cows, they can be herded. It only takes a few men to move many.

Marston: Maybe they've just had enough of bein' called stupid?

Vincente: You are talking about things you do not understand.

Marston: If you ask me something, I'm gonna give you an answer.

Vincente: Are you a revolutionary? Is that why you are here?

Marston: I was once, I suppose, in a twisted kind of way. Thought I could change something if I fought hard enough.

Vincente: Change what?

Marston: I don't know. Maybe that was the problem.

Vincente: Revolution is always selfish. It is nothing but greed and ego. Individuals putting their own needs above those of others. It is people fighting for change, when they have no idea what change is.

Marston: If you're a poor man beaten down all his life, any change is gonna seem good.

Vincente: What? You think that overthrowing the government is going to make a poor man rich?

Marston: If you're not helpin' them, it's only natural they're going to look for someone else who will.

Vincente: For a tired, old revolutionary, you are very naive. What do you want us to do? Walk around giving out money to every poor person in Mexico?

Marston: What a terrible idea.

Vincente: First, they need to look at why they are poor. Then, they need to go out and do some work rather than sitting on their culos talking about freedom.

(They ride a bit.)

Marston: Who is this man we're looking for, the leader of the rebels?

Vincente: Abraham Reyes? He is a traitor, a liar, a coward and a sinner. A hero who has done nothing. I have more respect for the shit I took this morning than I ever will for that pathetic worm.

Marston: That's a nice image.

Vincente: He is from a rich family. A man born in a golden cradle, who pretends to fight for the poor. He is taking advantage of the ignorant and the weak-minded.

Marston: He must be telling the people something they want to hear.

Vincente: Of course he is. All that bastard does is stand on a balcón giving speeches. It is easy to make promises you can never keep.

Marston: It takes more than a few promises to build an army.

Vincente: It is not far now. Are you ready?

Marston: Ready for what?

Vincente: We will lure the rebels into a trap. There is a train leaving Chuparosa soon and we're going to escort it. They will think it is a supply train, but there are no supplies on it!

Marston: Very clever.

Vincente: We must draw the rats out of their holes. Give them some bait they can't refuse.

(They arrive at the train station and get on their horses.)

Vincente: We cannot let the Coronel down. We must not fail.

(They ride a ways.)

Vincente: Carajo! It's the rebels!

(They defeat the rebels' attack.)

Vincente: We did it! They are retreating!

(They regroup in Casa Madrugada.)

Vincente: Todo bien, compadre? You did a good thing for Mexico today, Coronel Allende will be very pleased.

(Later, rebels attack some guards and steal the train.)

Guard: Los rebeldes estan robando el tren! (The rebels are robbing the train!)

Vincente: Levantese, perezoso! Para que le estoy pagando? Marston, you're doing to have to do something. (Get up, lazy! Why I am paying you?)

Marston: What?

Vincente: You have to go out there and stop that train before it crosses the bridge!

Marston: Got it.

Vincente: Levantese! Ustedes tambien! Muevase! Que pasa con usted? Ay, Dios mio! Levantese! Animo! (Get up! You too! Move! What happened to you? Oh, my God! Get up! Come on!)

(Marston successfully stops the train.)

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