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Sam Shepard Overview

born: 1943
lives in:
Enigmatic, magnetic, elusive, and mysterious -- these words and others like them have been employed over the decades to describe actor/playwright Sam Shepard's cryptic persona and plays. After leaving a dead-end town in the middle of a California wasteland, a young... [more]

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Excerpt from "Great Dream of Heaven"

E.V. made no bones about it; he was not a horse whisperer by any stretch. He was a remedy man. He could fix bad horses, and when he fixed them they stayed fixed. That's all he laid claim to. We had one that needed to be turned around real bad. A five-year-old my dad had claimed off the low end of the fair circuit out in Sonoma, running for $1,200 tags. He was good-looking enough with a powerful hip and gaskin but his mind was the size of a chickpea. The one intolerable habit he had was setting back hard against his lead shank when tied to anything solid. The day he dragged down half the side of our pole barn on top of himself was the day we called E.V. He showed up at our place a week late in his usual beat-up outfit: a '54 Chevy half ton with Arizona plates and a one-horse trailer sporting bald tires and a flapping canvas top. He always parked his rig down on the flat bottom and hiked the steep gravel grade up to the house because he had no rearview mirrors to negotiate our hairpin turnaround. He didn't come to our place that often because most of the "knuckleheads" Dad was able to deal with himself, but when E.V. did pay us a visit I always got excited about it. E.V. was a springy little man in his late fifties with an exaggerated limp from having his kneecap crushed in a shoeing accident when he was about my age; about fourteen. He climbed the hill in steady jerks, his gray felt hat pointing straight down at the ground and bobbing with his gait. He had an old patched inner tube slung over one shoulder and a thick snow white cotton rope dangled from his left hand with the loose end looped through his horse- hair belt. I always thought he must have washed that rope regular in Ivory to keep it so white. It was the cleanest thing about him. When he got to the top he wasn't puffing or blowing like you'd think a man his age would be. He just arrived like he'd been air-dropped. "So, Mason, you shipped him off to the killer's yet?" He grinned at my dad so you could catch a glimpse of his few brown jagged teeth and the tiny gleaming diamonds for eyes that jumped right out at you through hooded slits; like Indian eyes except they were ice blue. "Waitin' on you another week I'da cut his head off myself," my dad said, and there wasn't that much fun in his voice. "Apologize, Mason, but I had me a couple errands to run, down in Oakdale." "Errands my ass. You were off runnin' pussy is all." E.V. gave out with a high shrill squealing that was pure animal glee and me and my dad had to give in to laughing with him although my dad cut it off shorter than I felt was natural. We walked down to the round pen in back of the battered barn where we had the gelding trapped, and when E.V. caught sight of all the torn-down splintered timbers from the horse's tantrum he started to giggle again. "Hope that claimer cost more'n them two-by-twelves, Mason." My dad didn't laugh this time. His voice came out with a nasty edge to it. "Time you git done with him he won't be worth a smooth nickel anyhow." E.V. winked at me without my dad noticing and in that wink I understood there might be grown men in this world who actually get a spark out of life and somehow manage to dodge the black hole my dad had fallen into. When we reached the round pen E.V. let the inner tube slip off his shoulder to the dry ground, propped one boot up on a rail, and peeked in at the problem horse. "Stout enough, isn't he?" "Stout in his damn mind," my dad grumbled. E.V. just hunched there for a long while, studying the gelding as he trotted in short nervous circles, blowing snot, tail high and his black-rimmed ears pricked in our direction. "He's not all that dumb." E.V. grinned, keeping his eyes pinned to the horse's action. "He already suspects we've brought an idea for him. Tell you what, son–" He turned to me and as soon as his light eyes fixed on me it was as though a warm hand landed softly on my chest. There was a kindness there that surprised me how much I yearned toward it. "Take this old rubber tube over to that sycamore and wrap it around that big knobby branch. You see that branch?" He pointed to an arm of the huge tree that had always reminded me of human flesh. It was bone white and muscular with red strips of bark swirling down through the deep creases of the trunk like arteries. That tree had always spooked me for some reason, especially when I was little, trailing back through the brushy hills in pitch black. Its whiteness seemed to pop out at me and the very branch E.V. was pointing to was the part that scared me the most. More than once I'd swung a wide circle around it with my old dun mare, making sure it couldn't spring out and snatch me sideways off the saddle. I was a lot younger then, though, and I gradually talked my mind out of fixing on it that way. "Loop one end through like this here, so it cinches up tight against itself." E.V. demonstrated the pattern on his outstretched arm, then tossed the inner tube in my direction. "Better let me handle that," my dad muttered as he moved in as though to pick up the tube, but E.V. stopped him short. "Nah, you let him do it, Mason. I'm gonna need you here to keep this gate propped open. He can manage. Tie it up good and high now, son. We want it way above his head." I took off fast with the tube before my dad had a chance to consider twice. I had a feeling E.V. had just invented the business about needing my dad to prop the gate. I'd seen him maneuver horses through plenty of gates without anyone's help. I had to climb the spooky tree in order to get the tube up high enough where E.V. wanted it, and by the time I got done looping and cinching it down I could see E.V. already had the gelding caught with that white rope of his. My dad was just standing there useless by the gate. I had a real clear view of things from up there and the air smelled like fresh dirt and eucalyptus. You could see far off into the tan, rolling hills where the yearling bulls were raising dust in a line down to the water tank. As E.V. passed through the gate of the round pen the gelding exploded, farting and bucking to beat all hell. E.V. let out with that same high-pitched squealing cackle of his, sank to his haunches, and jerked the gelding's head down hard with the rope. The next move he made was so quick I could hardly follow it. It was like he was dancing a jig and singing at the same time. He flipped that big rope up over the horse's rump so it slipped straight down to its outside hock, then ran hard against it, taking the gelding's hind leg right out from under him. That horse came crashing down on his rib cage with such a booming thump I thought I felt the big tree shake. E.V. was really squealing with delight now as the horse regained his feet and shook himself all over, looking like the sky had fallen in on him. "You see that?" E.V. hollered through his convulsions. "He never even saw that comin'!" My dad was brushing dirt off his ass, trying to act like it was all routine, but I could see the white flush of fear still drawn on his face. Even from way up high I could see that. Then E.V. did a funny thing. He walked right up to that horse's head and blew softly into each nostril while he gently rubbed under its neck right between the saucer-shaped jawbones. The horse seemed to almost nod asleep for a second, blinking and dropping his neck down a notch. "Now he feels kinda stupid. He thinks he mighta done that to himself, see? He's gonna think twice before he bumps and crow-hops through that gate agin." E.V. chuckled and ran his gnarly hand down the horse's shoulder. My dad caught sight of me still perched high up on the tree limb and yelled out with that kind of voice that wants everyone to know it's in charge of things. "You git down offa there now! We don't want this horse to go off again." "I'm gonna need him to tie the rope, Mason. Lest you wanna gimme a boost up there on yer shoulders." E.V. giggled again while my dad grit his teeth and glared at me. I think he was actually jealous I was getting all the action. I could feel it over all that distance to the ground; how cut off he was. E.V. led the horse over to the sycamore and tossed the free end of the rope up to me. I caught the fuzzy tip of it on the first pitch. "Feed it through that tube and fix yourself a double half hitch," he called up to me. "Do it slow and easy, now, so we don't git him worried." I followed his instructions and as I was cinching up the second loop I could see that gelding was getting himself ready for a real set-to. The muscles along his backbone rippled up like a bull snake and dark patches of sweat broke along his bowed neck. I could smell fear as strong as a dead rat in the feed bin. Fear both ways; animal and human. I could see that horse's eyeball roll back and catch me perched above him. I could see everything turned around, from his perspective, and suddenly I realized I was going to be riding the knobby branch while he unleashed his fury and tried to pull the whole damn tree down on top of himself. "Now, you just hang tight to that branch, son, 'cause this bugger is about ready to come apart." E.V.'s voice put the chill on me as I locked my arms and legs around the branch, monkey style. The gelding made one powerful, quick jerk, shaking his head like a lion, but the rubber tube snapped him right back to square one. The branch sprang a little, casting brown clusters of leaves down on my head. I blew sycamore dust out of my nose and watched the particles of it catch sunlight as they floated down to the horse's devilish ears. "You just ride her out, son!" E.V. cackled. "You're doin' just fine!" His voice caught me in that limbo where you know there's nothing on earth that can help you now; nothing can save you, you're caught in the grips. My dad's face was pure white but to this day I don't know if it was me he was scared for or just the plain violence of the moment. The gelding snorted and pawed dirt, trying to figure out the rubber band effect of the inner tube. I thought for sure I heard a deep growl come out of him, more like the sound a bull can make when it's cornered and got its blood up. Then I could see him fix his mind. A suicidal decision passed through him, right down the length of his spine as he stretched out and set all twelve hundred pounds of raw muscle against that gleaming white rope. It was a long, slow, suspended action as the inner tube pulled like taffy and turned from black to grayish blue. Little chips of rubber started to pop off it from the extreme tension and I watched them fly into the heat of the day as though I were sitting way outside any danger; as though I were watching gnats buzz the water from the bank of a river. The branch began to bow and creak beneath me and the whole world bent sideways for a long second. When it happened it was almost slow and lazy. My heart leveled out into simple waltz time as the branch heaved up in a long arc and I saw all four feet of that gelding come clear off the ground and the wide-open panic in that horse's eye when he realized he was actually flying. His flat blazed face slammed square into the trunk of that granite sycamore and it sounded like somebody'd dropped a side of beef onto cold pavement. The branch kept throbbing for a while with me strangling it and staring straight down at the crumpled heap of the horse, flat out cold beneath me, blood rushing from both nostrils. The fat pink tongue dangled loose like a dead trout and the panicky voice of my dad was cutting through from another planet: "You kilt the son'bitch! Goddammit, E.V., you went and kilt him!" E.V. was already straddling the horse's neck and working the rope free. He peeled the gelding's eyelids back and spit on both eyeballs, then blew again, hard this time, in each ear. The horse gave a little twitch of his head and E.V. danced back away from him, giggling like a kid as he coiled up his powerful rope. "He ain't dead, he's just dreamin'," E.V. chuckled. "Unhitch that rope up there, would ya, son? Pass it on down to me." I did like E.V. said and watched my dad stagger toward his fallen horse and peer down at him for any sign of life. "Lookit that blood! Lookit that! That's a dead horse! That was gonna make me a nice saddle horse, now lookit. He's worse'n dog food." "He'll be on his feet in two minutes," E.V. snickered. "And I guaran-damn-tee ya he'll ground-tie with a shoelace, this day forward." "Well, I ain't payin' good money for this kind of a deal. I didn't hire you to slaughter the dang fool. I coulda done that myself." My dad stomped off back toward the house, leaving me still up the tree looking down at E.V.'s sweat-stained hat and the smashed horse breathing in long whistling gurgles. E.V. kept coiling the rope in loose loops and spoke to no one in particular. "Horse is just like a human being. He's gotta know his limits. Once he finds that out he's a happy camper." The horse bolted up to his feet as though on cue and shook himself again, sending long cords of blood flying across E.V.'s rope. E.V. just smiled and held the rope out away from his chest. "I was gonna have to wash it anyhow." He stepped softly up to the horse's shoulder with that peculiar hitch in his walk and grabbed a shank of mane, then led the bay back toward the round pen. The gelding led right along beside him as quiet as an old broodmare. E.V. stopped down there beside the water tank and cleaned the horse's nose out, then gently rubbed its eyes with the cold water and turned him back loose in the round pen. He watched him for a while the same way he'd watched him before, one foot propped on the rail and twirling the tip of his cotton rope. Everything was silent. The light went on in my dad's bedroom. The wind shifted and rattled the tin on the good side of the hay barn. Long after E.V. left and I heard the sound of his Chevy die away into the toolie-fog seeping up through the valley floor, I just stayed high up in that tree. I stayed and watched the night fall and the owls move into the tall eucalyptus and station themselves for the slightest hint of any skittering through the yard. I reached down and grabbed the open loop of the inner tube that E.V.'d left behind. I grabbed the black rubber with both hands and slid off the smooth muscle of the branch, bobbing in space, arms strung out tight above my head, spinning slowly in the cool night air. The whole ranch turned below me. I arched my head back and my mouth went open to the black sky. The giant splash of the Milky Way must have caused the high shrill squealing to burst out of me, just like someone had pulled a cord straight down my spine. My skin was laughing. I heard my dad come out on the screen porch and yell my name but I didn't answer. I just hung there spinning in silence. I knew right then where I'd come from and how far I'd be going away.

Act I, Buried Child

CHARACTERS DODGE in his seventies HALIE Dodge's wife; mid-sixties TILDEN their oldest son BRADLEY their next oldest son, an amputee VINCE Tilden's son SHELLY Vince's girlfriend FATHER DEWIS a Protestant minister Act One Scene: day. Old wooden staircase down left with pale, frayed carpet laid down on the steps. The stairs lead offstage left up into the wings with no landing. Up right is an old, dark green sofa with the stuffing coming out in spots. Stage right of the sofa is an upright lamp with a faded yellow shade and a small night table with several small bottles of pills on it. Down right of the sofa, with the screen facing the sofa, is a large, old-fashioned brown TV. A flickering blue light comes from the screen, but no image, no sound. In the dark, the light of the lamp and the TV slowly brighten in the black space. The space behind the sofa, upstage, is a large screened-in porch with a board floor. A solid interior door to stage right of the sofa leads from the porch to the outside. Beyond that are the shapes of dark elm trees. Gradually the form of dodge is made out, sitting on the couch, facing the TV, the blue light flickering on his face. He wears a well-worn T-shirt, suspenders, khaki work pants, and brown slippers. He's covered himself in an old brown blanket. He's very thin and sickly looking, in his late seventies. He just stares at the TV. More light fills the stage softly. The sound of light rain. dodge slowly tilts his head back and stares at the ceiling for a while, listening to the rain. He lowers his head again and stares at the TV. He starts to cough slowly and softly. The coughing gradually builds. He holds one hand to his mouth and tries to stifle it. The coughing gets louder, then suddenly stops when he hears the sound of his wife's voice coming from the top of the staircase. HALIE'S VOICE: Dodge? (DODGE just stares at the TV. Long pause. He stifles two short coughs.) Dodge! You want a pill, Dodge? (He doesn't answer. Takes a bottle out from under a cushion of the sofa and takes a long swig. Puts the bottle back, stares at the TV, pulls the blanket up around his neck.) You know what it is, don't you? It's the rain! Weather. That's it. Every time. Every time you get like this, it's the rain. No sooner does the rain start than you start. (Pause.) Dodge? (He makes no reply. Pulls a pack of cigarettes out from his sweater and lights one. Stares at the TV. Pause.) You should see it coming down up here. Just coming down in sheets. Blue sheets. The bridge is pretty near flooded. What's it like down there? Dodge? (DODGE turns his head back over his left shoulder and takes a look out through the porch. He turns back to the TV.) DODGE: (To himself.) Catastrophic. HALIE'S VOICE: What? What'd you say, Dodge? DODGE: (Louder.) It looks like rain to me! Plain old rain! HALIE'S VOICE: Rain? Of course it's rain! Are you having a seizure or something! Dodge? (Pause.) I'm coming down there in about five minutes if you don't answer me! DODGE: Don't come down. HALIE'S VOICE: What! DODGE: (Louder.) Don't come down! (He has another coughing attack. Stops.) HALIE'S VOICE: You should take a pill for that! I don't see why you just don't take a pill. Be done with it once and for all. Put a stop to it. (He takes the bottle out again. Another swig. Returns the bottle.) It's not Christian, but it works. It's not necessarily Christian, that is. A pill. We don't know. We're not in a position to answer something like that. There's some things the ministers can't even answer. I, personally, can't see anything wrong with it. A pill. Pain is pain. Pure and simple. Suffering is a different matter. That's entirely different. A pill seems as good an answer as any. Dodge? (Pause.) Dodge, are you watching baseball? DODGE: No. HALIE'S VOICE: What? DODGE: (Louder.) No! I'm not watching baseball. HALIE'S VOICE: What're you watching? You shouldn't be watching anything that'll get you excited! DODGE: Nothing gets me excited. HALIE'S VOICE: No horse racing! DODGE: They don't race here on Sundays. HALIE'S VOICE: What? DODGE: (Louder.) They don't race on Sundays! HALIE'S VOICE: Well, they shouldn't race on Sundays. The Sabbath. DODGE: Well, they don't! Not here anyway. The boondocks. HALIE'S VOICE: Good. I'm amazed they still have that kind of legislation. Some semblance of morality. That's amazing. DODGE: Yeah, it's amazing. HALIE'S VOICE: What? DODGE: (Louder.) It is amazing! HALIE'S VOICE: It is. It truly is. I would've thought these days they'd be racing on Christmas even. A big flashing Christmas tree right down at the finish line. DODGE: (Shakes his head.) No. Not yet. HALIE'S VOICE: They used to race on New Year's! I remember that. DODGE: They never raced on New Year's! HALIE'S VOICE: Sometimes they did. DODGE: They never did! HALIE'S VOICE: Before we were married they did! DODGE: "Before we were married." (DODGE waves his hand in disgust at the staircase. Leans back in sofa. Stares at TV.) HALIE'S VOICE: I went once. With a man. On New Year's. DODGE: (Mimicking her.) Oh, a "man." HALIE'S VOICE: What? DODGE: Nothing! HALIE'S VOICE: A wonderful man. A breeder. DODGE: A what? HALIE'S VOICE: A breeder! A horse breeder! Thoroughbreds. DODGE: Oh, thoroughbreds. Wonderful. You betcha. A breeder-man. HALIE'S VOICE: That's right. He knew everything there was to know. DODGE: I bet he taught you a thing or two, huh? Gave you a good turn around the old stable! HALIE'S VOICE: Knew everything there was to know about horses. We won bookoos of money that day. DODGE: What? HALIE'S VOICE: Money! We won every race I think. DODGE: Bookoos? HALIE'S VOICE: Every single race. DODGE: Bookoos of money? HALIE'S VOICE: It was one of those kind of days. DODGE: New Year's! HALIE'S VOICE: Yes! It might've been Florida. Or California! One of those two. DODGE: Can I take my pick? HALIE'S VOICE: It was Florida! DODGE: Aha! HALIE'S VOICE: Wonderful! Absolutely wonderful! The sun was just gleaming. Flamingos. Bougainvilleas. Palm trees. DODGE: (To himself, mimicking her.) Flamingos. Bougainvilleas. HALIE'S VOICE: Everything was dancing with life! Colors. There were all kinds of people from everywhere. Everyone was dressed to the nines. Not like today. Not like they dress today. People had a sense of style. DODGE: When was this anyway? HALIE'S VOICE: This was long before I knew you. DODGE: Must've been. HALIE'S VOICE: Long before. I was escorted. DODGE: To Florida? HALIE'S VOICE: Yes. Or it might've been California. I'm not sure which. DODGE: All that way you were escorted? halie's voice: Yes. DODGE: And he never laid a finger on you, I suppose? This gentleman breeder-man. (Long silence.) Halie? Are we still in the land of the living? (No answer. Long pause.) HALIE'S VOICE: Are you going out today? DODGE: (Gesturing toward rain.) In this? HALIE'S VOICE: I'm just asking a simple question. DODGE: I rarely go out in the bright sunshine, why would I go out in this? HALIE'S VOICE: I'm just asking because I'm not doing any shopping today. And if you need anything you should ask Tilden. DODGE: Tilden's not here! HALIE'S VOICE: He's in the kitchen. (DODGE looks toward left, then back toward the TV.) DODGE: All right. HALIE'S VOICE: What? DODGE: (Louder.) All right! I'll ask Tilden! HALIE'S VOICE: Don't scream. It'll only get your coughing started. DODGE: Scream? Men don't scream. HALIE'S VOICE: Just tell Tilden what you want and he'll get it. (Pause.) Bradley should be over later. DODGE: Bradley? HALIE'S VOICE: Yes. To cut your hair. DODGE: My hair? I don't need my hair cut! I haven't hardly got any hair left! HALIE'S VOICE: It won't hurt! DODGE: I don't need it! HALIE'S VOICE: It's been more than two weeks, Dodge. DODGE: I don't need it! And I never did need it! HALIE'S VOICE: I have to meet Father Dewis for lunch. DODGE: You tell Bradley that if he shows up here with those clippers, I'll separate him from his manhood! HALIE'S VOICE: I won't be very late. No later than four at the very latest. DODGE: You tell him! Last time he left me near bald! And I wasn't even awake! HALIE'S VOICE: That's not my fault! DODGE: You put him up to it! HALIE'S VOICE: I never did! DODGE: You did too! You had some fancy, idiot house-social planned! Time to dress up the corpse for company! Lower the ears a little! Put up a little front! Surprised you didn't tape a pipe to my mouth while you were at it! That woulda looked nice! Huh? A pipe? Maybe a bowler hat! Maybe a copy of the Wall Street Journal casually placed on my lap! A fat labrador retriever at my feet. HALIE'S VOICE: You always imagine the worst things of people! DODGE: That's the least of the worst! HALIE'S VOICE: I don't need to hear it! All day long I hear things like that and I don't need to hear more. DODGE: You better tell him! HALIE'S VOICE: You tell him yourself! He's your own son. You should be able to talk to your own son. DODGE: Not while I'm sleeping! He cut my hair while I was sleeping! HALIE'S VOICE: Well he won't do it again. DODGE: There's no guarantee. He's a snake, that one. HALIE'S VOICE: I promise he won't do it without your consent. DODGE: (After pause.) There's no reason for him to even come over here. HALIE'S VOICE: He feels responsible. DODGE: For my hair? HALIE'S VOICE: For your appearance. DODGE: My appearance is out of his domain! It's even out of mine! In fact, it's disappeared! I'm an invisible man! HALIE'S VOICE: Don't be ridiculous. DODGE: He better not try it. That's all I've got to say. HALIE'S VOICE: Tilden will watch out for you. DODGE: Tilden won't protect me from Bradley! HALIE'S VOICE: Tilden's the oldest. He'll protect you. DODGE: Tilden can't even protect himself! HALIE'S VOICE: Not so loud! He'll hear you. He's right in the kitchen. DODGE: (Yelling off left.) Tilden! HALIE'S VOICE: Dodge, what are you trying to do? DODGE: (Yelling off left.) Tilden, get your ass in here! HALIE'S VOICE: Why do you enjoy stirring things up? DODGE: I don't enjoy anything! HALIE'S VOICE: That's a terrible thing to say. DODGE: Tilden! HALIE'S VOICE: That's the kind of statement that leads people right to an early grave. DODGE: Tilden! HALIE'S VOICE: It's no wonder people have turned their backs on Jesus! DODGE: TILDEN!! HALIE'S VOICE: It's no wonder the messengers of God's word are shouting louder now than ever before. Screaming to the four winds. DODGE: TILDEN!!!! (DODGE goes into a violent, spasmodic coughing attack as tilden enters from left, his arms loaded with fresh ears of corn. TILDEN is dodge's oldest son, late forties, wears heavy construction boots covered with mud, dark green work pants, a plaid shirt, and a faded brown windbreaker. He has a butch haircut, wet from the rain. Something about him is profoundly burned-out and displaced. He stops center with the ears of corn in his arms and just stares at dodge until he slowly finishes his coughing attack. DODGE looks up at him slowly. DODGE stares at the corn. Long pause as they watch each other.) HALIE'S VOICE: Dodge, if you don't take that pill nobody's going to force you. Least of all me. There's no honor in self-destruction. No honor at all. (The two men ignore the voice.) DODGE: (To TILDEN.) Where'd you get that? TILDEN: Picked it. DODGE: You picked all that? (TILDEN nods.) You expecting company? TILDEN: No. DODGE: Where'd you pick it from? TILDEN: Right out back. DODGE: Out back where?! TILDEN: Right out in back. DODGE: There's nothing out there--in back. TILDEN: There's corn. DODGE: There hasn't been corn out there since about nineteen thirty-five! That's the last time I planted corn out there! TILDEN: It's out there now. DODGE: (Yelling at stairs.) Halie! HALIE'S VOICE: Yes, dear! Have you come to your senses? DODGE: Tilden's brought a whole bunch of sweet corn in here! There's no corn out back, is there? TILDEN: (To himself.) There's tons of corn. HALIE'S VOICE: Not that I know of! DODGE: That's what I thought. HALIE'S VOICE: Not since about nineteen thirty-five! DODGE: (To TILDEN.) That's right. Nineteen thirty-five. That was the last of it. TILDEN: It's out there now. DODGE: You go and take that corn back to wherever you got it from! TILDEN: (After pause, staring at dodge.) It's picked. I picked it all in the rain. Once it's picked you can't put it back. DODGE: I haven't had trouble with the neighbors here for fifty-seven years. I don't even know who the neighbors are! And I don't wanna know! Now go put that corn back where it came from! (TILDEN stares at dodge, then walks slowly over to him and dumps all the corn on dodge's lap and steps back. dodge stares at the corn then back to tilden. Long pause.) Are you having trouble here, Tilden? Are you in some kind of trouble again? TILDEN: I'm not in any trouble. DODGE: You can tell me if you are. I'm still your father. TILDEN: I know that. DODGE: I know you had a little trouble back there in New Mexico. That's why you came out here. Isn't that the reason you came back?
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