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BITE THE DUST

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BITE THE DUST

Displaying bite the dust - FINAL COVER.jpg

BITE THE DUST

by Earle Reynolds

A play in three acts

DEDICATION

Dedicated to the original inhabitants of North America and their descendants, with respect for their courage, endurance, and patience under tribulation.

This work, written by my father and produced once on the stage in the 1940s, is in the public domain.  After over 60 years it was rescued from a box in a basement by my sister.  All I have done is to scan it, format it electronically, and am now publishing it as an e-book. So I also dedicate it to Earle Reynolds, my father and my skipper.

If you like this play please let others know who might appreciate it. And check cardboard boxes in your own basements  .  You never know what you might find.

Ted Reynolds

BITE THE DUST

TIME:  Last summer

PLACE:  Indian Park, in the downtown section of a large city.

ACT 1

Scene 1.Early Saturday morning.

Scene 2.  Noon.

ACT 2

Scene 1.  Late that afternoon.

Scene 2.  Sunday night.

ACT 3

Monday morning.

BITE THE DUST

ACT ONE

Scene 1

INDIAN PARK is a tiny wedge of land located in the down-town section of a large city. The park is almost entirely walled in by the backs of nearby buildings. It contains little more than a bronze marker, a fireplug, a small fountain, two benches, and a trash collection can belonging to the sanitation department.

The immediate surrounding buildings are the Church of St. Paul on the right, the City Trust Building on the left, and a corner of the sixty-story Mallory Building at the back. Out front, beyond the imagined iron fence, lies the Triangle Building.

St. Paul’s, on the right, is a vast Gothic pile. From it, a small rear entrance leads through an arched doorway down several steps to the park. A beautiful rose-window is above the doorway. Along the wall, on either side of the doorway, are small bushes and flowers.

The City Trust Building, on the left, is an enormous, windowless heap of granite. It looks solid, massive and immovable. A small rear door, far down left, leads to the park. Beside the door stands a municipal trash can.

Up left, near the corner of the building, is a fireplug. A corner of the Mallory Building juts sharply into the park, at the back. The building continues on out of sight behind the church on the right and the bank on the left. There is just enough room, between the building and the church, for an iron gate up right. Between the building and the bank, up left, lies a narrow alley, which serves them both. The alley ends in a wooden bumper up left, so that a car, driven to the end of the alley, can just be seen.

A small practical fountain, flanked by two park benches, is down center, and a bronze marker far down right.

The whole impression of the scene is that of a small, neat park, dominated by the backs of great buildings.

Depending upon one’s temperament, it might seem like a tiny clearing in the jungle of the city–or like the bottom of a dry well.

It is very early on a Saturday morning, in summer. The park is dim and cavernous, with a streak of sunlight shining through the passage between the church and the Mallory Building. There are dim lights above the doorways of the church and the bank, and near the gate up right and the alley up left.

AT CURTAIN RISE, DAN RAFFERTY enters from alley up left. He is a big policeman, of the bluff, hearty Irish variety which everyone imagines exists. He starts to cross, sees a SLEEPER on the park bench, and comes down. He regards the sleeper a moment, and raises his night-stick to give him a tap across the soles. At this moment FATHER  MARTIN opens the iron gate up right, and enters the park. He is in his fifties, alert, sensitive, a better-class Crosby.

MARTIN

Good morning, Dan.

(DAN pauses in the act of raising his stick, compromises on shaking the sleeper.)

DAN

Oh, good morning, Father Martin . . . All right, now, wake up and be off with you—the lark’s on the wing, the snail’s on the thorn—off you go, now!

(The sleeper rises, stretches, and exits up left.)

How are you, Father—early mass this morning?

MARTIN

Yes, Dan. . . . That was a very charitable way to awaken a man.

DAN

Oh, I’m in one of my better moods today, Father.

(To the departing sleeper.)

And keep on moving now—don’t you be parking down the street! . . . It’s going to be a fine day.

MARTIN

(At right)

Yes, it is . . . You know, I think the peonies are going to bloom, after all.

DAN

If they do, it’s thanks to you, father, and nobody else. It’s a wonderful thing you’re doing here, keeping this park so clean and neat.

MARTIN

It’s little enough to do for the pleasure it gives me.

DAN

Before you came; this wasn’t much more than a dump heap.

MARTIN

I suppose I shouldn’t say this–I know it’s a public park–but in a way I feel it belongs to me.

DAN

Well, father, I guess it’s more yours than anyone else’s.

MARTIN

(Almost to himself.)

There’s something about it—this tiny plot of green lost in these great depths … I get a queer sort of pleasure out of tending it and keeping it tidy. Indian Park . . . You know, Dan, a lot has happened on this little wedge of land.

DAN

Yes, that it has.

MARTIN

It must have been pretty here in the old days—a real park, with trees . . .

DAN

It was a lot bigger before they put the Mallory Building up five years ago. Ah, well, it’s progress . . . Father, in dollars and cents, what would you say this little spot of ground is worth?

MARTIN

Well, Dan, I never thought about it. How much is it worth?

DAN

My brother Timothy–the one that works in the City Hall–my brother Timothy–and it’s his word I’m taking for this–and he’s an honest man and not given to wild stories–he says this land is valued at something over a hundred thousand—yes, sir, something over a hundred thousand.

MARTIN

I am impressed, I really am. That makes these flowers rather expensive, doesn’t it?

DAN

Looking at it in such a light, it does indeed.

MARTIN

(Picking a flower and giving it to Dan.)

Here, Dan . . . Take it to your wife. You can honestly tell her it’s the costliest blossom in town.

DAN

(Taking it.)

Regulations or no regulations, I’ll take it, father, and thank you!

(JOE JACKSON enters from up right. He is a bank porter, a neat, intelligent, middle-aged Negro. He carries a lunch pail.)

JOE

Good morning, father! Morning, Mr. Rafferty.

MARTIN

Good morning, Joe.

DAN

Joe, my friend, you’re just the man I’m looking for! A man working in a bank, you should have a word to say about this. Now, I want your opinion: in dollars and cents, what would you say this park is worth?

JOE

(Crossing to bank door.)

Well, Mr. Rafferty, I’d guess it’s worth–Oh, something over a hundred thousand.

(He knocks on the door.)

Mr. Collins! It’s Joe–Joe Jackson!

(To Dan.)·

What would you say, Mr. Rafferty?

DAN

I have no opinions on the matter. Good morning to you both.

(DAN exits up right.)

JOE

Is something the matter?

MARTIN

Nothing that time won’t cure. How is Mrs. Jackson?

JOE

She’s better, father, much better. And she says to thank you for the flowers. They were a real joy to her.

(Knocks again.)

Mr. Collins!

(The door to the bank opens, and LUKE COLLINS looks out. He is a night watchman, a taciturn, irascible old man.)

It’s Joe, Mr. Collins.

LUKE

I kin see that. What d’you want?

(He throws down the bag and scraps from the meal he has been eating.)

JOE

Just trying to get in. I came half-hour early, like you told me.

LUKE

Like who told you?

JOE

Don’t you remember, Mister Collins? You told me to come early today, so I could clean up your room before I went to work.

(He picks up the bag and scraps, and puts them in trash can.)

LUKE

You damn right I remember—

MARTIN

(From the church steps.)

Good morning, Luke.

LUKE

(Muttering.)

Mornin’.

MARTIN

It’s going to be another nice day.

LUKE

What’s that to me?

(To Joe.)

Well, you gonna stand out here all day, wakin’ up the neighborhood?

MARTIN

(In a friendly fashion.)

Oh, come now, Luke, there’s no one to wake up—certainly not in your place, nor in the Mallory building—and I should hope there’s no one asleep here.

(Meaning the church.)

By the way, Joe, speaking of noises, could you do a little favor for me?

JOE

Of course, father—what is it?

MARTIN

The gate to the park seems to squeak a little louder all the time. Do you think a spot of oil might take care of it?

LUKE

You’ll come in here and get to work, that’s what you’ll do!

(Luke exits into bank.)

MARTIN.

I’m sorry, Joe—I didn’t mean to cause you trouble.

JOE

It’s all right, father.

MARTIN

Luke seems to get more crotchety every day.

JOE

Oh, I know how to handle him . . . I’ll get that gate for you just as soon as I find the time.

MARTIN

No hurry, Joe. See you later.

(JOE goes into bank. MARTIN hesitates for a moment on the top step, looks about, then enters the church. Just after he closes the door, a light shines through the rose-window, throwing a soft glow over the fountain and benches.

There is a pause. The park is lighter now. Then from off left there is the sound of a car. .It is backing up the alley, and in a moment it stops against the bumper.at the end of the alley. Just the rear end of a station wagon can be seen. Two men appear around the side of the car and enter the park. They are JOHN ONEHORSE and SIX KILLER ONEHORSE. They are dark complected, but no different in their looks or appearance from people one might see any day on the street. JOHN is in his late twenties, tall, strong, direct.  SIX KILLER is in his eighties, erect and proud, but frail. They are in ordinary street clothes, the only Indian touch being the blanket which Six Killer wears around his shoulders. They go down near the fountain, looking the park over. There is a call from the car, a girl’s voice.)

VOICE

Is this the place, John?

JOHN

This is it, Mary. Will you all wait, please?

(SIX KILLER looks slowly around. He follows with his eyes the immense height of the buildings, slowly and with dignity.)

SIX KILLER

So this is the park . . . Yes, I would have known it—you described it well, John.

JOHN

Sit down, grandfather. You must be tired.

SIX KILLER

(Doggedly.)

I am not tired.

(But he sits on the bench. He looks around again.)

It is small, John.

JOHN

Yes, grandfather, as I told you, it is small.

SIX KILLER

The cliffs, the grass, the shadows, the sky . . . But no deer.

JOHN

No.

SIX KILLER

We are the deer.

JOHN

(After a pause.)

Grandfather, do we stay?

SIX KILLER

There will be no sun . . . Your mother will not like that.

(He rises and goes to the fountain.)

Water. Is it good?

JOHN

It will do. Grandfather—

(They look at each other.)

SIX KILLER

You still wish it?

JOHN

Yes.

SIX KILLER

It may not be easy.

JOHN

I know that.

(There is a pause.)

SIX KILLER

(Decides.)

We will stay.

(He sits on the church steps, right.)

 JOHN

Good!

(Calls.)

All right, we stay! Unpack the things!

(There is immediate bustle—mingled voices from the car, the noises of unloading. BILLY and MARY ONEHORSE enter, Billy running. BILLY is an active Indian boy of 14, MARY a very pretty Indian girl of 19. They look like ordinary American kids, and wear quite ordinary clothes.)

BILLY

Oh, boy, this is it!

(He comes down to the fountain, and plays with the water.)

MARY

(Going to marker down right.)

There’s the marker. This is the one you told us about, isn’t it, John?

JOHN

Yes, that’s it.

BILLY

Boy! Look at those buildings! That looks like a church.

JOHN

It’s the back of one, Billy. And that’s a bank building, and there’s a corner of the Mallory Building . . .  it’s one of the tallest in town . . . And over there, beyond the fence, is the Triangle Building.

(Indicating out front.)

BILLY

Gosh! They didn’t leave us much room, did they?

JOHN

No, not much.

MARY

(Reading the marker.)

“Indian Park. This is the smallest park in the city. It is the site of an old Indian Camping Ground.”

BILLY

Well, now it’s the site of a new Indian camping ground.

(MARGARET ONEHORSE comes out of the back of the station wagon, and begins unloading. She is a stolid, middle-aged Indian woman, neatly dressed. With her is CHARLIE ONEHORSE. He is slow, big, powerful. He begins dragging out tent-poles.

MARGARET

Billy.  Mary.  Help us.

MARY

All right, mother.

(MARY helps with bundles, BILLY helps with tent-poles.)

CHARLIE

(Slowly)

So this is the place.

JOHN

This is it, uncle.

CHARLIE

This is what we have come three thousand miles for. It is too small.

JOHN

Yes, it’s too small

CHARLIE

I don’t like it.

SIX KILLER

(Coldly.)

You have not been asked to like it. Help Margaret set up the teepee.

CHARLIE

(Reluctant to do that.)

There are more things to bring in.

SIX KILLER

Do as you are told. Are you ashamed to help a woman set up a teepee?

CHARLIE

(In a low voice.)

It’s not right.

SIX KILLER

No, it is woman’s work. I am glad you remember that . . . Help her!

CHARLIE

(Hesitating a moment.)

All right.

(He helps Margaret work on the poles.)

MARY

(At the unloading.)

John, where is the hotel?

JOHN

It’s right across the street.

MARY

When may I go over there?

JOHN

Later, Mary. Let’s get set up here first.

MARY

John, do you have to sleep in the teepee?

JOHN

For a while at least.

MARY

Anyone would think we were uncivilized—

BILLY

You shut up, Mary. I want to sleep in a teepee—I never slept in one before.

JOHN

It may not be for long.

MARY

But Wolf Head’s medicine teepee–it’s a show piece, meant to be looked at . . . it wasn’t made to be lived in!

MARGARET

John knows what he is doing. Keep quiet and unload the car.

MARY

All right, mother.

(They turn again to their work, as the door to the bank suddenly opens, and LUKE comes out. After a moment, JOE follows him, and stands in the doorway.)

LUKE

What in hell’s goin’ on out here? What’s all the racket?

JOHN

(Coming down.)

I’m sorry if we were too noisy. We’ll be as quiet as we can.

LUKE

What are you doin’ anyway?

JOHN

We are camping here.

LUKE

You’re what?

JOHN

We are setting up our camp here.

LUKE

Camp! What in the—you can’t do that! This is a public park.

JOHN

Yes, I know. This is Indian Park. We are going to camp here.

LUKE

You’re crazy! This ain’t no campin’ ground!

JOHN

It is a camping ground for us.

LUKE

All right, wise guy—now git out of here before I—

(DAN enters from up right.)

 DAN

All right now, and we’ll see what this is all about!

(Sees the car.)

Whose car is that?

JOHN

It’s my car, officer.

DAN

(Seeing the license.)

Montana, eh? Well, Montana, you can’t park that car there. The driveway’s just for loading.

JOHN

Yes. I’ll move the car as soon as we have unloaded.

DAN

Unloaded what?

LUKE

They’re camping here—That’s what they’re doin’!

DAN

What!

LUKE

That’s what he said.

DAN

Say, what is all this

JOHN

I am John Onehorse. This is my grandfather, Six Killer, my uncle, Charlie Onehorse. This is my mother, my sister, my brother.

DAN

That’s fine, and how do you do, but listen, my friend, you can’t stay here!

JOHN

Why not?

DAN

Without ever looking it up, I know it’s against the regulations. All right now, on your way, all of you—-pack up and get out, before I have to run the lot of you in.

(MARTIN appears at the doorway of the church. He is wearing some of his vestments.)

SIX KILLER

Then we shall stay.

DAN

Oh, now see here, old man—Wait a minute! You wouldn’t be trying to tell me you’re—Oh, no . . .

SIX KILLER

We are Blackfeet. We are from a reservation in Montana. We are going to camp here.

DAN

(In awe)

Indians. Well, this is a strange and wonderful world!

(He views them admiringly.)

Father Martin—what do you think of that?

LUKE

Ah, they’re no Indians!

JOHN

No?

LUKE

You don’t even look like Indians!

JOHN

I’m sorry. How should an Indian look?

DAN

Never mind that, Luke. Nevertheless, young man, Indian or not, you won’t be camping here—come on now, pick up your things—

MARTIN

What’s it all about, Dan?

DAN

Here they are, father, six of them, fresh from Montana, Blackfoot Indians, they say. It’s all right, father, I’ll take care of them . . . Now get along with you before I recover from my astonishment—

MARTIN

Dan, just a minute.

(To Six Killer.) You intend to camp here?

SIX KILLER

This is an Indian camping ground.

MARTIN

Yes, I know it once was, but that was many years ago—

JOHN

It still is. It has never changed.

SIX KILLER

It is our right to camp here. We shall not go.

DAN

Oh, that’s not the way to talk, old man—

MARTIN

Dan, wait. You say you have a right? You have a permit?

JOHN

Yes, we have a permit—we have had it for hundreds of years. This is an Indian camping ground.

MARTIN

(Suddenly.)

I’ve seen you in this park before.

JOHN

Yes, I’ve been here before.

MARTIN

About a month ago. We spoke to each other—you mentioned my flowers.

JOHN

That’s right.

MARTIN

I didn’t realize you were an Indian.

JOHN

Didn’t you?

MARTIN

You’ve come all the way from Montana?

JOHN

Yes.

MARTIN

Just to camp here?

JOHN

Yes.

MARTIN

Why?

(JOHN does not answer.)

You’re really serious about this?

JOHN

Do you doubt it?

MARTIN

(With decision.)

Dan, I’ll vouch for them.

DAN

Vouch for them?

MARTIN

Let them stay, Dan, for a while, at any rate–until we find out what this is all about.

DAN

Oh, father, I’d like to oblige you, but I couldn’t do that!

MARTIN

Dan, you said this was my park, didn’t you?

DAN

Ah, yes—but that was in a manner of speaking—this is something else again!

MARTIN.

Dan, leave it to me—I’ll be responsible. Whatever happens, it won’t be your fault. How about it?

DAN

{A pause.)

You get that car out of there—as soon as you unload.

(He goes up right, as the bustle of work and laughter commences. He views them dubiously.)

The chief is going to scalp me for this.

CURTAIN

ACT 1

Scene 2

The scene is the same. It is nearly noon, the same day. The park is quite bright. The teepee has been erected, far up left, beside the Mallory building. It is a beautiful thing—a soft, almost translucent yellow, the Blackfoot thunderbird design printed upon it.

Items of equipment are lying about the park. and papers litter it. A few wisps of paper flutter down from the Mallory building at intervals. The benches have been moved, right and left, against the buildings.

At CURTAIN RISE MARGARET is arranging equipment and picking up papers. BILLY rushes in from up right. He waves a newspaper.

BILLY

Mother! Look—we’re in the paper! Right on the front page—Picture and everything!

(He tries to show her the paper.)

MARGARET

I got no time for papers! Look at this place . . . those crazy white men!

BILLY

(Still looking at the paper.)

Here I am—right by you!

MARGARET

They ran through the park like wild buffalo!

BILLY

Boy, oh boy!

MARGARET

Anybody would think they’d never seen an Indian before.

BILLY

(Looking up.)

Well, most of them hadn’t!

MARGARET

They stole everything they could get their hands on—

BILLY

They just wanted souvenirs, mom. That’s the way white folks are.

MARGARET

They stole the smoke flap from the teepee—and our best blanket is gone, and the top to the kettle, and one of John’s shoes—

BILLY

Where is John?

MARGARET

He and your grandfather went to the City Hall . . .  those savages! Those thieves! If I ever catch them—

BILLY

It won’t happen again. They’ve blocked off the whole park—there’s a cop up the alley, and another one by the church—

MARGARET

Cop?

BILLY

Sure—policeman.

MARGARET

Humpf!

BILLY

They’ve got orders not to let anybody in, unless we say so.

(Some scraps of paper drift down from above.)

MARGARET

And those fool people throwing paper out of the windows!

BILLY

They’ll stop after a while—that’s just the way they act here.

(He goes back to his newspaper.)

MARGARET

They’re all crazy . . . What’s that paper say?

BILLY

(Teasing)

Oh, nothing much!

MARGARET

Read it.

BILLY

(Handing it to her.)

Here you are, mom.

MARGARET

(Giving him a thwack with it.)

Don’t you tease your ma! You know I can’t read those chicken scratchings. Now you read it.

BILLY

(Reading.)

RED MAN INVADES CITY. INDIANS PARK IN INDIAN PARK. Arriving just before dawn, the traditional time for an Indian attack, a family of Blackfoot Indians, fresh from their reservation in Montana, crept quietly into town this morning in a model T Ford—”

(He looks up.)

Model T—What are they talking about?

MARGARET

Go on.

BILLY

(Reading.)

“They set up camp, teepee and all, in downtown Indian Park, where they were almost mobbed by an early crowd of friendly curiosity seekers—“

MARGARET

Friendly th1eves!

BILLY

“—and it was some time before police could restore order. A cordon finally had to be thrown about the park to protect the Indians from unintentional massacre. The family was led by John Onehorse, college graduate and war veteran, and included his grandfather Six Killer, his uncle Charlie and mother Margaret, and his sister Mary, 19, and brother Billy, 14.”

MARGARET

Let’s see it.

(She looks at the paper with him.)

BILLY

“The Onehorse family claims that perpetual camping rights in Indian Park were given the Indians in a treaty made with Governor Manley, back in 1790. John Terrence, Commissioner of Records at City Hall, said th1s morning that such a  treaty actually had been made, and as far as he knew was still in effect, but that no Indians had camped there since the 1800’s. John Onehorse, in an exclusive interview this morning, said that they had not decided how long they would stay, but “it will be until we get ready to go”. Meanwhile, his honor Mayor Hannigan will officially greet the Onehorse family at noon today, and present them the keys of the city, a fitting gesture, says the mayor, to one of America’s First Families—“

MARGARET

 (Interrupting.)

Your uncle’s not in it.

BILLY

What is it?

MARGARET

Your uncle’s not in the picture.

BILLY

Say, that’s right! Where was he?

MARGARET

He went off as soon as he could this morning. Trust him to get out of work. All right now, that’s enough of this—pick up these papers.

(They go back to their work.)

BILLY

Mother—when is John going to tell us what it’s all about?

MARGARET

Never mind that—you get to work!

BILLY

Really, mom, do you know?

MARGARET

When your brother and grandfather get ready to tell us, they will. Until then we stay here and mind our business.

BILLY

Sure, I know that—I just wondered.

(JOE comes out of the bank.)

JOE

Hello, folks—getting all set up?

(He crosses and begins oiling the gate.)

BILLY

Oh, hello.

JOE

I’m Joe Jackson—I’m a porter here at the bank. Saw you when you came in this morning. —Mr. Collins was certainly mad!

 (He laughs.)

BILLY

Mr. Collins?

JOE

The watchman … Listen, if there’s anything I can do to help you, you just let me know.

BILLY

Sure, thanks!

JOE

(Looking around.)

They sort of ran over you this morning, didn’t they?

MARY

(Entering from alley, up left.)

Hi, everybody Look what I got!

MARGARET

Did you get the bread?

MARY

Everything you asked for.

MARGARET

(Taking bundles)

Buying bread! Tomorrow I bake!

(She takes bundles into teepee.)

MARY

Billy, have you been out? Isn’t it grand? The buildings, and all those crowds—everybody rushing around It1s a long way from Montana, isn’t it?

BILLY

It sure is!

(JOE comes down with a handful of papers.)

Mary, this is Joe Jackson—he works at the bank. This is my sister Mary.

MARY

I remember you.

JOE

How do you do, Miss? Looks like you’ve had company.

MARY

Yes, doesn’t it.

BILLY

They’ve got the place blocked off now.

MARY

Yes, I know . . . the policeman didn’t want to let me in—he didn’t believe I was an Indian.

BILLY

Yeh, they all expect us to wear feathers . . . Have you seen the papers?

MARY

I have one here.

(To Joe.)

The Mayor’s coming this noon!

JOE

He is!

BILLY

He’s going to give us the key to the city.

JOE

Say, that’s swell! I’d like to see that!

MARY

Why don’t you?

JOE

Thanks . . . And I’ll help you clean up the place as soon as I get off.

(He puts his collected scraps into the can near the bank, and exits.)

BILLY

I like him.

MARY

He’s nice . . .

(MARGARET comes out of the teepee.)

Mother, when is John going to tell us why we’re here?

MARGARET

When he gets ready.

MARY

But will we have to sleep here? I don’t mind it during the day— but I don’t want to sleep in a tent.

BILLY

Well, I do!

MARY

Oh, you! Mom, couldn’t we stay here during the day, and sleep over at the hotel? It’s just across the street—

MARGARET

You’ll do what you’re told.

MARY

Of course, mother, I just mean . . . Well, all the girls back at college are going to laugh at me!

MARGARET.

Let them . . . You kids are too big for your britches anyway.

(She carries another load into teepee.)

MARY

Billy, has uncle come back?

BILLY

Not yet.

MARY

Do you know where he is?

BILLY

Oh, he’ll be all right, Mary.

MARY

I suppose so, but you know how he is . . . Where are John and Grandfather?

BILLY

They went to the City Hall.

(The door of the church opens, and MARTIN steps out on the landing.)

MARTIN

Hello—how are you getting on?

MARY

Everything is fine . . . Father Martin?

MARTIN

That’s right. And you’re Mary.

MARY

Yes. Thanks so much for helping us

MARTIN

I did very little.

MARY

You did a great deal–you kept them from throwing us out.

MARTIN

I’m only sorry I couldn’t be here to help you when had your—visitors a while ago.

MARY

It was all right. They were just curious . . . The police finally had to put everybody out.

(MARGARET comes out of teepee.)

Mother, you remember Father Martin. He helped us this morning.

MARGARET

(Regards him without expression.)

Yes. Billy, you finish picking up those papers.

(She goes back into teepee.)

MARY

Mother’s a little angry—some of our things are missing.

MARTIN

Oh that’s too bad!

MARY

It doesn’t matter. We’ll get it straightened out.

MARTIN

So you’re really going to stay.

MARY

I suppose so—if they let us.

MARTIN

Well, judging from the papers this morning, even the city fathers concede your right to camp here. Isn’t the mayor coming over?

BILLY

Sure–this noon! He’s giving us the key to the city—will it open everything?

MARTIN

So they say. I—never had one myself. You’re Billy, aren’t you?

BILLY

Yes, sir.

MARY

(Correcting him.)

Yes, Father Martin.

BILLY

I mean, yes, Father Martin.

MARTIN

It’s all right.

BILLY

Say, Father Martin?

MARTIN

Yes, Billy?

BILLY

Could I maybe–see inside there?

(Meaning the church.)

MARTIN

Why of course, Billy—you go right on in.

BILLY

Gosh, thanks!

(He climbs the steps.)

MARTIN

Just–not too noisy inside. Okay?

BILLY

Okay!

(He goes into the church.)

MARY

He always has to know about everything.

MARTIN

Why not? He’s a boy. As a matter of fact, there’s a bit of boy in me too—

MARY

There’s something you want to know.

MARTIN

Yes.

MARY

What we’re doing here?

MARTIN

Well, yes, I would. Your coming here was obviously no accident.

MARY

No?

MARTIN

You wouldn’t just pick up and drive here from Montana on the spur of the moment. Remember–I saw John here in the park, several times—just sitting quietly. So he did know about this place in advance. And, well—I can’t help wondering. Do you mind my asking?

MARY

No. But I can’t tell you.

MARTIN

(Misunderstanding.)

I see.

MARY

I mean that I don’t know. Father Martin–John had graduated from the University and was in law school when he enlisted. He came back—changed. Before, he had always been so active, ambitious, busy. Now, he didn’t go back to school–he just–sat, wrote letters, talked to the old men. And he was so quiet.

MARTIN

Do you know what was on his mind?

MARY

No. Then about four months ago John and grandfather had a long secret meeting with our leaders, and John went away. He travelled all over the country. He wrote me–but his letters said–nothing. Two weeks ago he came home, talked to grandfather–and they said we were coming here.

(MARGARET comes out of the teepee, gets another load of equipment.)

Can I help you, mother?

MARGARET

No. Where is Billy?

MARY

He’s in the church—did you want him?

MARGARET

No.

(She carries another load back into teepee.)

MARTIN

And your mother, she knows nothing?

MARY

No. . . . Mother cares only for her family and her home–that’s her life. She has no education–no book-learning, that is. She can’t even read English. But she’s a wise woman, just the same.

MARTIN

And your uncle?

MARY

Uncle? Well, uncle is—a blanket Indian.

(Her voice is low.)

Do you know what that means?

MARTIN

I’m afraid not.

MARY

It’s hard to explain, to a—

MARTIN

To a white man?

(She nods.)

Try.

MARY

{Trying.)

We are Blackfeet.  our tribe ruled the whole Northwest—

MARTIN

“The Tigers of the Plains”. You were called that, weren’t you?

MARY

Yes! How did you know?

MARTIN

I’ll confess–I  looked you up this morning,  in the encyclopedia.

MARY

Then you know that we owned all the land from the Missouri River, north and west for a thousand miles. Our men were–proud, and strong. They were hunters and fighters. And they fought–for their homes, for their families–when the white man carne. They lost, of course, and they were herded into reservations. Reservations! I assure you, Father Martin, the concentration camp is by no means the invention of our late enemies. Well, my uncle was a boy then. Does your encyclopedia say what that meant to him?

MARTIN

No.

MARY

To be kept in a stockade, forced to wear white man’s clothes, eat his food, dig in the garden–do woman’s work. You can’t know what that meant to an Indian boy, how utterly ashamed and degraded he felt. The Tigers of the Plains . . . My uncle learned only one thing from the white man, but he learned it well. He learned that drinking—-

MARTIN

I see.

MARY

It was different with my grandfather. He was a leader in the tribe—he already had honor and dignity. He had seen vis1ons–danced the true Sun Dance. He had fought well against the white man, and though he wasn’t happy, he had brave memories. He had been given his life-name–Six Killer. You may laugh at his name, Father Martin, but he was not called Six Killer as a joke.

MARTIN

In any place, your grandfather would be a great man.

MARY

And we children—well, we have no past—no Indian past, that is—but we try to tell ourselves we have a future. At least we can fight for it. But uncle—don’t you see—he was caught in the middle—he has nothing!

MARTIN

I think I understand.

MARY

Do you? I hope so. What does the white man think of when he hears the word Indian? Redskins, scalping, paint, war whoops, Sitting Bull, Happy Hunting grounds, Great White father, wild west shows, cowboys, another red skin bites the dust—that’s what he thinks, if he thinks at all. Do they think of us as human beings, as citizens, as Americans? Even in college, when the girls find out I’m an Indian, they look at me as though I were some harmless animal escaped from the zoo. Whenever—

(BILLY comes out of the church.)

BILLY

Gosh!

MARTIN

What is it, Billy?

BILLY

It’s big! That place can hold a lot of praying . . . Thanks for letting me go in.

MARTIN

That’s all right, Billy.

MARY

(To Martin.)

I’m sorry—

MARTIN

No, you’re right. Everything you said was true.

MARY

Sometimes I—did you have fun, Billy? It’s not much like our reservation church, is it?

BILLY

I’ll say it’s not—

(To Martin.)

You sure it’s the same God?

MARY

Billy!

MARTIN

(Laughing.)

Same God, Billy. Perhaps we show off a little more.

BILLY

You own this place?

MARTIN

No, I just work here. I like my job, though—

(There is the sound of voices, off left.)

BILLY

Could I come again, sometime?

MARTIN

Any time, Billy—come right in.

(JOHN and SIX KILLER enter from up left, through the alley. MARGARET comes out of teepee.)

JOHN

Hello, folks. I hear you’ve had some excitement.

MARY

Yes, there were people all over the place–the police are still here.

JOHN

I know, I had to talk my way in. Has Charlie come back?

MARY

Not yet.

BILLY

Did you see the Mayor?

JOHN

Not yet, but we’ll all see him soon . . . We’ve been to a broadcasting station.

BILLY

Oh, boy! Were you on the radio?

JOHN

We will be this noon, when we meet the Mayor.

(He crosses right.)

Well, Father Martin, how are you?

MARTIN

You seem to be having a busy day.

MARGARET

(Suddenly, to Six Killer.)

Father—you are tired. Come and rest.

SIX KILLER

I am not tired . . . We had work to do.

(He goes to teepee.)

John, I shall be in here when you want me.

JOHN

All right, grandfather.

(SIX KILLER goes into teepee, followed by MARGARET.)

Father Martin, I haven’t had time to thank you for the help you gave us this morning.

MARTIN

I was glad to be of use.

(There are voices off right.)

JOHN

Billy, why don’t you see who that is?

BILLY

Sure!

(He runs off, right.)

JOHN

Mary, get your bags and check in at the hotel.

MARY

(Delighted.)

 Do you mean 1t?

JOHN

Of course I mean it. We have a reservation.

MARY

(Starts up, and stops.)

I hope that wasn’t a pun.

JOHN

With this reservation you get hot water. Hurry now, and come right back—you’ll want to be here for the broadcast.

(MARY goes into teepee. BILLY returns from up right.)

BILLY

John, do you want to see a reporter?

JOHN

What, another one? I thought all the reporters in town had already been here!

BILLY

It’s a lady.

JOHN

Well, I’m afraid it’s almost noon—

BILLY

She’s pretty!

JOHN

(Laughing)

All right, you win! Ask her to come in—

(MARY appears from teepee, with bags.)

And Billy—take Mary’s bags over to the hotel, will you?

(BILLY takes them, and he and MARY move right.)

And hurry back, both of you!

MARY

Goodbye, Father Martin.

MARTIN

Goodbye.

(MARY and BILLY exit right.)

She’s a fine girl.

JOHN

She’s been very good about it all.

MARTIN

You mean this—expedition?

JOHN

Yes. In a way, it’s hardest on her—

(ALICE EMERSON appears up right. She is around thirty, well-groomed, pretty, capable.)

ALICE

Good morning Mr. . . . Onehorse?

JOHN

Yes.

MARTIN

I’ll be going in now. May I come back later, and see the broadcast?

JOHN

Of course.

(MARTIN exits into church. JOHN turns to Alice.)

I’m John Onehorse.

ALICE

How do you do?

 (They shake hands.)

I’m Alice Emerson, from the National Record.

JOHN

The magazine?

ALICE

Yes. Is that bad?

JOHN

No, of course not. I thought you were a newspaper reporter.

ALICE

Mr. Onehorse, we want to do an article about you.

JOHN

You’re going to write it?

ALICE

Yes. Why not?

JOHN

No reason at all. It’s just that the National Record is such an old, respectable—

ALICE

You mean I’m not respectable?

JOHN

(Laughing.)

That makes it worse, doesn’t it?

(Explains.)

I had a vision of the Record, you see–old men, with long grey beards, sitting solemnly around a table.

ALICE

Sorry, no beard. As a matter of fact, that’s what I thought about you.

JOHN

What do you mean?

ALICE

Oh, I thought an Indian was an old man, probably without a beard, who sat around cross-legged on a blanket, waiting for—

JOHN

The Happy Hunting Grounds?’

ALICE

Something like that. That’s awful, isn’t it?

JOHN

It’s usual . . . Perhaps we both have something to learn. So you want to do an article?

ALICE

That’s right.

JOHN

What about?

ALICE

Oh, I don’t know—

JOHN

Arts and crafts.

ALICE

I beg your pardon?

JOHN

Indian arts and crafts. Bead-work, weaving, metals, wood-carving, war-bonnets, teepees—

ALICE

As a matter of fact, I had thought about that. How did you know?

JOHN

They all do.

ALICE

Then why should I be an exception? Let’s start with the teepee—that’s it, isn’t it?

(She goes over to it.)

I’m afraid I know nothing about Indians.

JOHN

(Dryly.)

But you’ll write the article just the same.

ALICE

(Turning.)

What is it?

JOHN

(Does not answer this. Somewhat in the manner of a guide in an art museum.)

This is a so-called medicine teepee. It is not usually used for ordinary living purposes. Its original function corresponded to a white man’s chapel. It belongs to Wolf Head, who was once the most famous medicine man in the Northwest. The design you see is the Thunderbird, or eagle, a favourite motif in Blackfoot art. The value of the teepee cannot be estimated, since it is irreplaceable. As an Indian object of art it might be compared, for example, to the original Venus de Milo. Am I boring you?

ALICE

(Sincerely.)

Oh, no, it’s really very interest—

(Change of tone)

You’re angry.

JOHN

Not at all.

ALICE

Is something wrong?

JOHN

(Bitterly.)

Perhaps I could give you a better title for your article. How about “The Grateful Redskin, or Thank You for Everything”? Or perhaps something challenging—How Many Minorities Make a Majority?”

ALICE

What are you talking about?

JOHN

Does it matter? Or maybe something right to the point: “Indians: Filthy Treacherous Savages of a Fortunately Vanishing Race.” That last title may be a little long.

ALICE

What is all this?

(A RADIO PRODUCTION MAN enters from alley up left.)

PRO. MAN

You the Indians?

JOHN

(Turning on him, almost shouting.)

I’m the Indian

PRO. MAN

Okay, Art! This is it!

(To them.)

We’re from the radio station.

ALICE

A broadcast?

PRO. MAN

That’s it, lady, and we’re late. Hurry up, Art!

(A RADIO ENGINEER enters from the alley, stringing out cables and wires, and carrying the mike. Production man helps him set up equipment.)

JOHN

Has Miss Pearson come?

PRO. MAN

She’ll be along in a minute.

ALICE

Mr. Onehorse.

JOHN

Yes, Miss Emerson?

ALICE

I want to talk to you.

JOHN

Of course. . Perhaps this afternoon sometime—although I’m afraid we have very little Indian art to show you.

(He turns away.)

ALICE

Mr. Onehorse.

JOHN

Yes?

ALICE

I write my own assignments. You sell me, and I’ll sell my magazine. You have something worth talking about?

JOHN

(Looks hard at her.)

That’s why I came here.

ALICE

All right, I’ll see you later . . . May I stay for the broadcast?

JOHN

If you wish.

(He turns away.)

ALICE

One more thing.

JOHN

What is it?

ALICE

(She looks at him for a moment.)

Oh, nothing . . . Well, it’s—don’t let them—make a. fool of you.

JOHN

I’ll try not to.

ALICE

They’re only doing this because you’re—well, because you’re Indians. You—you’re freaks to them.

JOHN

I know that.

ALICE

I don’t know why I’m talking like this—it’s none of my business.

JOHN

Isn’t it?

ALICE

They’re just using you—to advertise their products—the mayor is here for the publicity—

JOHN

He’ll get it.

ALICE

All right, I’ve said my say.

JOHN

Thank you. I mean that.

(POLLY PEARSON, the announcer, enters from the alley. She has a bubbly sort of hardness about her, and can turn her professional manner on and off instantly.)

POLLY

(To engineer, who with earphones on is testing mike at left.

Hi, Art!

(To production man, near him.)

Hello, Frank, all set?

PRO. MAN

Just about, Polly.

(To engineer.)

How’s it coming?

PRO. MAN

(The engineer gestures that everything is under control.)

Where are you doing your stuff?

POLLY

(Looking around.)

Well, let’s see. I guess this will do.

(Indicates a spot at left center.)

We’ll have to watch out for the echoes from these buildings. Better talk out this way.

(Indicates front.)

PRO. MAN

Okay, Polly. . Set it up here, Art.

(They set up mike at left center. Engineer continues testing.)

POLLY

(Crossing to John.)

How are you, Mr. Onehorse? All ready?

JOHN

I think so.

POLLY

(To Alice.)

Are you one of the—

JOHN

Miss Emerson is from the National Record.

(To Alice.)

This is Miss Polly Pearson, the announcer. I met her this morning at the station.

ALICE

I’ve heard your program.

POLLY

Is that a knock or a boost?

(To John.)

Now here’s the deal. I had some scripts typed up for us—you’re sure you’ve been on the air before?

JOHN

Yes.

POLLY

All right.

(Hands him scripts.)

First I’ll make some announcements, then the Mayor talks—briefly, or else. .

(Calls.)

Where is that old bast—where is his honor, anyway?

PRO. MAN

(Working up left.)

His car’s just turning in the alley.

(MARY enters from up right, and watches the work.)

POLLY

It’s about time! Now Mr. Onehorse, after the mayor gives his talk, he will interview this Mr. Six Killer—Six Killer Onehorse–now where’s he?

MARY

I’ll get him.

(She goes to teepee.)

POLLY

(Looking at John’s clothes.)

Say, you don’t happen to have any Indian costumes to wear, do you?

JOHN

No.

POLLY

Not even a war-bonnet or two?

JOHN

Not a thing.

POLLY

(Incredulous.)

What kind of an Indian are you? Oh, well—Now this is Six Killer’s script–he just reads off the answers—he can read okay?

JOHN

He can read.

POLLY

Well, you’ll sort of help him along if he needs it, won’t you?

JOHN

My grandfather will need no help.

POLLY

Sure, sure! But you be ready, just in case . . . And then I interview you—you just read off your answers.

JOHN

I’d like to look this over.

POLLY

There’s no time for that now. It’s all that stuff you told us at the station this morning—we–touched it up a little here and there—the angle is that your grandfather tells about the glorious Indian past, and you give us the Indian’s reaction to the big city—get the idea?

JOHN

I get it.

POLLY

That’s swell! Now when I give you this—

(Holds up two fingers.)

—that means we’ve only got two minutes to go. This means one minute—

(Holding up one finger.)

—and this is thirty seconds.

(Gives him the cross-finger half-minute sign.)

Sign language, see? You know all about that . . . So, if we get crowded for time, you be all ready to jump to the last question: “What is your most vivid impression of this great city” right here—

(Shows him in the script.)

You just read that answer, and we’ll quit right on the button. . Oh, here’s his honor, as usual at the last minute . . .

(A large limousine pulls slowly into sight at the end of the alley, so that just the front of the hood is seen. POLLY crosses to car, JOHN comes to center, ALICE remains at right, MARY is up by teepee. The Production man and Engineer are at far left. After the mayor enters, the bank door opens, and JOE and a couple of employees stand in the doorway. FATHER MARTIN and another priest enter from church and stand on landing. POLICE appear up right and left, keeping back the crowd, some of whom can be seen beyond the iron gate up right and in alley up left.

MAYOR HANNIGAN enters from around the car, up left, and comes down to left center near the mike. He is followed by secretary, a pretty female, by several members of his retinue, and by photographers and reporters. He is very little interested in Indians, and shows it. He is a large, florid man of middle-age, autocratic and irritable.)

POLLY

(Looking at her watch.)

Well, you just made it, your honor. We were afraid we’d have to go without you. We’re on in four minutes.

HANNIGAN

Then don’t waste time babbling, young woman. What’s the program?

POLLY

First an introduction by me, then a short talk by you—let’s say five minutes—

HANNIGAN

Let’s say until I finish.

POLLY

Well, your honor, the whole program runs only fifteen minutes— So I would appreciate it—

HANNIGAN

(Impatiently.)

All right, all right. What else?

POLLY

Then you will interview Mr. Six Killer Onehorse—here’s your script—

(Gives it to him.)

where’s Six Killer?

{SIX KILLER stands up near the teepee, with MARGARET and MARY.)

JOHN

We’re ready, grandfather.

(SIX KILLER comes down by his side.)

POLLY

Your honor, this is Mr. Six Killer Onehorse—his honor, Mayor Hannigan.

HANNIGAN (Without particular interest.)

How d’you do?

(They shake hands briefly.)

Baby—hmmm—Miss Templeton, give me my talk.

(His secretary hands it to him, and he begins to read it over to himself.)

POLLY

—And this is his grandson, Mr. John Onehorse. After your interview with Six Killer, I will interview John.

HANNIGAN

(Barely glancing up.)

How d’you do?

.

PRO MAN

Two minutes, Polly!

(He gives her the two-minute sign.)

POLLY

Okay, Frank. Now folks, we go on in two minutes—remember, first my introduction, then the Mayor’s talk, then the Mayor and Six Killer, then John and me. Everybody got that?

HANNIGAN

(Looking up irritably.)

Young woman, will you please stop drivelling? I was broadcasting when you were still short-circuiting your diapers.

POLLY

John, you stand close to your grandfather, and—keep an eye on things, will you? Now talk right into the mike, and out this way—

(Indicating front.)

—So we won’t get echoes.

PRO. MAN

One minute, Polly.

POLLY

Okay, Frank. Now folks around here, please keep quiet during the broadcast—applaud when I do this–

(She gives them a sign.)

—And stop when I do this—

(She gives them the stop sign.)

Now sneak right up, about this far away, be distinct, don’t be nervous–nothing will bite you—

PRO. MAN

Thirty seconds.

POLLY

Thirty seconds—

(Watching her watch.)

Now everybody got their scripts? All ready, Six Killer, John, your honor—

HANNIGAN

(Shouting.)

Will you shut up?

(At this moment, there is a bustle up right, and BILLY runs in.)

BILLY

Oh, boy, they’re going to broadcast!  Can I talk?

(Goes right up to mike.)

“Hello, everybody, I’m Billy Onehorse, I’m fourteen years old and in the ninth grade at—“

POLLY

Quiet, kid!

JOHN

(Quietly.)

Billy.

BILLY

(Quieting at once.)

Okay, John.

(He stands by.)

(The Production Man gives Polly a big go-ahead signal, and she takes over the mike, speaking in her professional voice—lively, chummy, insinuatingly intimate.)

POLLY

Hello . . . This is your old friend, Polly Pearson, speaking to you direct from Indian Park, in the heart of downtown, bringing you another High Noon Novelty, through the courtesy of Perfect Products, Incorporated, the originators of Mello—have you tried Mello? If you have you know—nothing is more mellow than Mello, M-E-L-L-0, the perfect product, produced by Perfect Products, Incorporated . . . and now, folks, I have a very special treat for you this fine high noon, a novelty which you will all enjoy, in fact, an Indian novelty. And here’s the story: All of you have seen Indian Park, that little gem of green set in tall buildings, right in the heart of the city. Well, today Indian Park deserves its name, for early this morning a family of full-blooded Blackfoot Indians—yes, Blackfoot, folks, and no gags please—strolled into Indian Park, and set up housekeeping. Around me are teepees: campfires, and Blackfoot Indians in full regalia, from moccasin to tomahawk—I want them to say hello to you, folks, as I call out their names. First, there’s the famous Blackfoot Indian Chief Six Killer Onehorse, age 85—say hello to the folks, chief—

SIX KILLER

(First looking at John.)

Hello.

POLLY

That’s fine! You’ll hear more from this famous old chief later— then there is his son Charlie—say hello, Charlie—where’s Charlie—-

(John indicates his absence.)

Charlie doesn’t’ t seem to be here, folks, I guess the call of the city was too much for him . . . Well, then, there’s John Onehorse, Six Killer’s grandson, and believe it or not, a college graduate—a full-blooded Indian college graduate—say hello, John.

JOHN

(Quietly.)

Hello.

POLLY

You’ll hear more from John later, too. Then there’s Margaret, John’s mother—right here beside him—say hello, Margaret.

(MARGARET refuses, shaking her head quietly.)

Margaret doesn’t seem to want to talk, folks—she’s just a little afraid of this dangerous-looking microphone here—well, anyway here’s a hello for Margaret. Then there is her daughter, Mary, age 19, right here—and now I know why Indian braves are brave—Hello, Mary, how are you this fine high noon?

MARY

I’m all right.

POLLY

That’s fine! Doesn’t she have a mellow voice, folks? —dear me! Say hello to the folks, Mary.

MARY

Hello.

POLLY

And believe me, Mary is a pretty little Indian girl—then, finally, there’s Billy, fourteen, and a real boy. Say hello, Billy.

BILLY

Hello, suckers, how are you this fine high noon?

POLLY

(Grabs him away.)

That’s fine . . . Yes, sir, a real boy . . . And now folks, I have a wonderful surprise for you. Here to greet the Onehorse family in person is none other than our little old town’s Chief citizen, the number one man of our city, our own beloved Mayor Hannigan!

(She signals for applause, gets it, and cuts it off in a hurry.)

HANNIGAN

(Ad-libbing at first.)

It’s a great pleasure to be here this noon, to welcome personally these representatives of one of America’s first families to our fair city. They are living here at Indian Park, Which was set aside by our early city authorities for the perpetual enjoyment of our Indian friends.

(Reads from script.)

The Onehorse family, fine upstanding examples of our red brothers, remind us anew of the fact that it is the family, working shoulder to shoulder for the good of our community, which is the backbone of our great American civilization. And it behooves every member of every American family; to keep constantly in mind the realization that eternal vigilance must be the watchword, if we are to maintain inviolate our fundamental rights and privileges We must be ever aware of the activities of our political leaders, so that we can eliminate the unfit and maintain in office those men who have proven, by their works and abilities, that they are fit to be entrusted with the destinies of our great city. In all modesty, I say that the present administration of this great city has faithfully fulfilled, to the last letter, the promises made during our campaign. I have worked ceaselessly to blot out the forces of corruption which we inherited from a former inefficient and vicious hotbed of political gangsterism. I have relentlessly uprooted from every department the weeds of racketeering and municipal chicanery, and I can point with pride at last to an administration which is honest, fearless, and efficient.

(HANNIGAN is obviously not through, but as he pauses for a breath, POLLY quickly gives the signal for applause, gets it, cuts it off, and takes over the mike herself.)

POLLY

Folks, you have just heard his honor, Mayor Hannigan, welcome to our city the Onehorse family, full-blooded Blackfoot Indians, who are now camping in Indian Park, in the heart of the downtown business district. Mayor Hannigan will now present Six Killer Onehorse, 85-year-old Blackfoot Indian Chief, the key to the city.

(She motions to the mayor to go ahead, handing him the big gilt key which the secretary has been holding. The mayor glares at her, and hands it abruptly to Six Killer.)

HANNIGAN

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I hand you this key to our fair city, as a symbol of the white man’s friendship for the noble red man.

SIX KILLER

(Taking it.)

Thank you.

(The photographers snap the scene. POLLY motions for the mayor to go ahead with his script containing the interview.)

HANNIGAN

(Reading from script.)

Your name is Six Killer Onehorse?

SIX KILLER

(Reading.)

Yes

HANNIGAN

(Reading.)

That is quite an interesting name. Can you tell us how you came to be called Six Killer?

SIX KILLER

(After a short pause, reads without expression.)

When I was a young brave we fought many wars with the Sioux and Crow Indians, who were our bitter enemies. It was during these wars that I was given the name Six Killer by the old men of the tribe.

HANNIGAN

(Reading.)

You must have had many exciting experiences. Can you tell us about one of them?

SIX KILLER-

 (Reads.)

When I was twenty, two women of our tribe were stolen by a band of Cree Indians, who took them away. It was winter and the snow was deep. We followed on our snowshoes for five suns, until we found the Cree camp. That night one of our braves sneaked into the camp and found one of the captive girls, and told her of our plans. Just before dawn we attacked, and the Crees rushed to get their snow-shoes, but found that the captured girls had burned them, so they were helpless in the deep snow, and we won a great victory. Many scalps hung before our wigwams that night,

HANNIGAN

(Reads.)

That was a very thrilling story. You must have had many such adventures. What did you do when the white. man came?

SIX KILLER

(Reads.)

We fought at first against the white man, but soon we realized that he was stronger, and we smoked the pipe of peace with the Great White Father. We now live on reservations, where we are—

(He pauses, and slowly begins again.)

We now live on reservations, where we are–very comfortable and happy. Our days of Indian fighting are now only a memory.

HANNIGAN

(Reads.)

Thank you very much, Chief Six Killer, for this very interesting talk. I feel sure that we all have a much greater understanding of the Indian than we had before. Thank you.

POLLY

You have just heard his honor, Mayor Hannigan, who has interviewed Chief Six Killer Onehorse, full-blooded Blackfoot Indian, now camping in Indian Park, where we are broadcasting this exclusive feature of High Noon Novelties, through the courtesy of Perfect Products, Incorporated, the originators of Mello, M-E-L-L-0. If you have not used Mello, try it today. You will find that nothing is as mellow as Mello—Mello, the perfect product, produced by Perfect Products, Incorporated . . . and now, folks, we have still another treat. Standing right here beside me is John Onehorse, grandson of Chief Six Killer, whom you have just heard, John, how is it that you do not have an Indian name, like Standing Bull, or Running Nose, or Howl in the Night, or something like that?

JOHN

(Reading.)

I was not given an Indian name, because we now are all Americans and our families have given us American names.

POLLY

(Reads.)

That is very .fine, John. I am glad to see that our red brothers are adapting themselves to White ways. I understand that you are a college graduate, John.

JOHN

(Reads.)

Yes, that is true. After I graduated from college, I went to law school, and then enlisted. I served overseas for three years.

POLLY

John is too modest to tell us that while in service he received–among other things, the purple heart, a presidential citation, and the silver star. Isn’t that true, John?

JOHN

(Reading.)

Yes, I was proud and honored to be able to fight for my country.

POLLY

And I’m sure your country is proud of you.

(She signals for applause, and cuts it off quickly.)

Now tell us, John, how does it happen that you and your family came all the way from Montana to Indian Park?

JOHN

(Reading.)

I had been here several times before, alone, and discovered that the park had been set aside many years. ago as a camping ground for Indians. Although it had not been used for this purpose for over a century, I saw no reason why I should not bring my family to see the city, and camp here while we were in town.

(PRODUCTION MAN gives the two-minute signal to POLLY, and she passes it on to JOHN.)

POLLY

No reason at all why you shouldn’t stay here as long as you like, John. We are glad to have you, and you have of course every right to camp here. Wasn’t there some legal squabble about this matter at one time?

JOHN

Yes, that is right. About twenty-five years ago an attempt was made to take over this property for building purposes, but the courts found out that it could not be touched by the white man.

POLLY

And believe it or not, folks, that’s the way it stands today. I checked this morning with the city legal department, who tell me that Indian Park is held in perpetuity for the use of the Indian, and cannot be used for any purpose by the white man.

JOHN

(Reads.)

That is true.

(He looks up from his script, and adds, ad lib.)

All of Indian Park is Indian property, forever.

(POLLY motions for him to read only from the script, and shakes her head disapprovingly.)

POLLY

You are quite right, John. Now tell me–don’t you find this park a little small, after the wide-open spaces?

JOHN

(not looking at his script.)

Yes, Indian Park is now too small.

(POLLY makes violent motions for JOHN to follow his script. The PRODUCTION MAN gives the one-minute signal.)

POLLY

Don’t you find that these great buildings are somewhat overwhelming? We are standing right beside the City Trust Building, folks, and I can almost reach out and touch about a hundred million dollars’ worth of real estate. Don’t you find these buildings awfully close, John?

(She motions for him to read from the script.)

JOHN

(Not looking at script.)

Yes, they are too close . . . they are much too close.

POLLY

I see . . .

(PRODUCTION MAN gives 30-second signal.)

Well, John, it has been a great pleasure having you with us today, and I hope you have a lot to tell your friends when you go back home. One last question; what is your most vivid impression of this great city?

(She motions violently for him to follow his script. Instead, JOHN lets it drop, and takes a paper from his pocket.)

JOHN

(Reading from his own paper.)

My impression is that according to a survey I had made of this property, St. Paul’s Church encroaches 46 feet onto land belonging to Indian Park–the Mallory Building encroaches 27

feet–and the City Trust Building 63 feet.

POLLY

(Completely at sea.)

You don’t say–well, that’s very interesting–But these buildings look pretty solid to me–I’m afraid it’s a little late to do anything about it now. Well, folks—

JOHN

Why is it too late?

POLLY

What?

JOHN

It is not too late. Move these buildings. Get them off! Get these squatters off our land!

PRO. MAN.

(Giving the signal that the broadcast is over.)

That’s all. You’re off the air.

POLLY

Off the air! Brother, but good!

CURTAIN

ACT TWO

Scene 1

The scene is the same. It is late afternoon, the same day.

AT CURTAIN RISE, MARGARET and MARY are down front, near the fountain. MARGARET is rinsing out clothes, which she later hangs on a line near teepee.

MARY

Please, mother.

MARGARET

No.

MARY

 But you could at least come and look at it.

MARGARET

I told you no. I will stay where I belong.

MARY

(Dreamily.)

The room is on the twenty-second floor–you can see all over town. The carpet’s so thick your feet just sink right in, and the bed—Oh, that bed is a dream! If you want anything, you just pick up the phone, and ask for it. And the bathroom! I haven’t words to describe that bathroom! All white and gleaming—

MARGARET

What can you do in this white and gleaming bathroom that you cannot do in Montana?

MARY.

Nothing—but it doesn’t seem the same!

MARGARET

And what is the first thing you do when you get to this fine room? You lock your door—with two locks! One lock would keep out an Indian, but the white man is smarter!

MARY

 Oh, mother!

MARGARET

All white men are thieves.

MARY

 That is sheer prejudice. Is Mr. Rafferty the policeman a thief? Is Father Martin?

MARGARET

(After a pause.)

Most white men are thieves.

MARY

Well, that’s an improvement.

MARGARET

(Breaking out.)

Ah, you are like a trained dog—the white man says jump, jump, and I will give you something–look, a room on the twenty-second floor! Lie down, roll over, beg, and you will get a nice white bathroom]

(With deep feeling.)

Is the carpet in that room softer than the pine-needles in Deer Canyon? What can you see that is better than the sun rising over Bearhat Mountain? Can you pick up your phone in this fine room and say–

(To herself.)

Please, I want to go home?

MARY

 (Going to her.)

Mother . . . I’m sorry’

MARGARET

I am waiting for the day when you will forget you are an Indian.

MARY

(Proudly.)

You will never see that day.

(BILLY enters from right. He is brandishing a newspaper.)

BILLY

Hey, folks! Look!

(Shows them the front page with a flourish.)

We’ve done it again!

MARY

(Reading headline.)

“GET OFF MY LAND! SAYS INDIAN.”

(She reads paper to herself.)

BILLY

And here’s another picture of us!, See, the mayor’s giving grandfather the key.to the city . . . That key was a phony— it was made out of wood.

MARGARET

Where is your grandfather?

BILLY

 Over at the hotel with John . . . He’s lying down.

MARGARET

Lying down?

MARY

He was very tired.

BILLY

He’s resting for the meeting.

MARY

They’re going to have a meeting here—all the building representatives. They wanted to have it in the Mallory Building, but John said, no, let them come to us. I’m so proud of him-¬ the way he stood up to them—

(DAN RAFFERTY enters from up left.)

DAN

Good evening to you all.

BILLY

 Oh, hello, Mr. Rafferty–are you on duty now?

DAN

From now until the sun comes up like thunder I’m your man!

BILLY

Thunder?

DAN

A bit of 1iterary license, my lad.

MARY

Look, Mr. Rafferty—we’re in the headlines . . . That’s the second time today,

DAN

(Looking at the paper.)

Now that is a daily double of the rarest kind . . . Ah, that brother of yours told them, didn’t he? Squatters, he called them . . . You take a fine picture . . . There’s Terrence Cronin, guarding the gate—I never saw a man so proud . . . But where is—your uncle, is it? He’s not in the picture.

MARY

No. He—wasn’t here.

MARGARET

Have they found him?

MARY

Not yet, mother.

DAN

(Crossing right.)

Well, it’s a great day for you . . . Now, if there’s anything you want, you have but to raise your voice. I’ll be here all night.

MARY

Oh, Mr. Rafferty—

DAN

Call me Dan, lass.

MARY

Dan–you’ll be close by?

DAN

In and out, here and there, never far away.

MARY

 Then–will you, mother?

MARGARET

Will I what?

MARY

Will you go to the movies with Billy and me?

MARGARET

I will not.

MARY

Please, mother! It’s just down the street. It’s really very amusing–it’s called The Redskin Roundup.

BILLY

Sure, I saw it! It’s swell!

(To Mary.)

Tom Eagle is in it–you remember Tom–he was in your class in high school.

(To Dan.)

In one part of the picture he’s a good Indian, and in another part of the picture he’s a bad Indian, and in the last scene he hides in ambush and shoots himself off his horse while he’s galloping by at full speed!

DAN

That I should like to see!

MARY

Will you go with us, mother?

MARGARET

I tell you no, and that’s all.Now don’t pester me any more.

(She turns to her clothes line.)

BILLY

(Slyly.)

There’s something else too.

(He pauses.)

A Mickey Mouse,

(Repeats it in Blackfoot.)

Ah-mikamo-moosak,

(MARGARET stops her work.)

A new one.

MARGARET

(Rapidly losing ground.)

You know I can’t leave the teepee

MARY

Dan will watch it—won’t you, Dan?

DAN

Like a hawk–like a soaring hawk.

BILLY

And John and grandfather are coming right over.

MARY

And we’ll come straight back.

BILLY

How about it?

MARGARET

(Decides)

I’ll get my hat.

(She goes into teepee.)

BILLY

Oh, boy, we did it!

MARY

(To Dan.)

You will watch it; won’t you? It’s Wolf Head’s medicine lodge — the most precious thing he has. He ordered her to take care of it.

DAN

I’m surprised he let you have 1t.

MARY

He offered it. It was his way of helping us.

(MARGARET comes out of teepee.)

Oh–all ready, mother?

(They move up right.)

We’ll be back early.

DAN

Take your time.

MARGARET

(At the gate. Gives a little gesture of anticipation and a happy smile.)

Ah-mikamo-moosak.

(They exit. DAN goes to teepee, sees some clothes not yet hung on the line, and is hanging them up as ALEXANDER COLEPAUGH enters from the alley. He is small, dapper, lively and professionally friendly.)

COLEPAUGH

I beg your pardon.

DAN

(Hanging the clothes.)

No visitors, bud.

COLPAUGH

I am Mr. Colepaugh.

DAN

You heard me–no visitors.

COLEPAUGH

I happen to be the attorney for the Mallory Building.  I’m here for the meeting.

DAN

Oh, there’s a meeting, is there?

COLEPAUGH

Yes—I’m a little early. I wanted to talk to Mr. John Onehorse.

DAN

He’ll be back soon.

COLEPAUGH

Fine! I’ll wait, if you don’t mind.

(DAN finishes clothes, and goes up right. COLEPAUGH goes toward teepee.)

DAN

And don’t touch that tent!

COLEPAUGH

No– no, of course not!

(DAN exits up right, COLEPAUGH goes down left, and knocks on door to bank.)

LUKE

(Opening door.)

Yeh? Oh–how are you, Mr. Colepaugh?

COLEPAUGH

Fine, Luke–just fine. Is Mr. Groper in his office?

LUKE

Yes, he is. You want to see him?

COLEPAUGH

Oh, he’ll be along for the meeting shortly. Luke, we’ll need some chairs—do you think you could get us some?

LUKE

You gonna have a meeting?

COLEPAUGH

Yes, that’s right.

LUKE

When you gonna kick those damn Indians out of here?

COLEPAUGH

Patience, Luke, patience . . . all in good time . . . Due process of law, you know.

LUKE

Law, hell! If I had my way I’d blow their heads off.

COLEPAUGH

Would you now, Luke? Oh, that’s hardly the Christian spirit, is it?

LUKE

Who do they think they are? “Tear the buildings down—“

COLEPAUGH

That would be unfortunate, wouldn’t it? You’d lose your job then, Luke. I’ll bet you wouldn’t like that. I’ll bet that would make you pretty mad. Well, Luke, you know, sometimes you have to fight fire with fire . . .

(CHARLIE enters quietly from the alley. He is not obviously drunk, but neither can one be certain he is sober. He comes down a little, looks at them without expression, then turns toward teepee.)

COLEPAUGH

(Going up.)

Oh, hello1 Are you one of the—are you one of the family?

(CHARLIE looks at him without answering.)

LUKE

Yeh, he’s one of ‘em. That’s Charlie, the old man’s son. He’s been gone all day.

COLEPAUGH

Oh! How do you do? I’m Mr. Colepaugh, from the Mallory Building. My card.

(He holds out card to Charlie, who looks at it deliberately, and then at him, but makes no move to take it.)

Ah—it’s been a nice day.

(CHARLIE turns away toward teepee.)

LUKE

The drunken bum.

(CHARLIE stops, turns, and comes down slowly.)

CHARLIE

No. Not drunk. No burn.

(He keeps on coming.)

LUKE

(Backing away, hand on holster.)

Keep away from me!

COLEPAUGH

Luke! Go on in. Do what I tell you!

(LUKE hesitates a moment, then goes into bank. CHARLIE stops, and goes back up toward teepee.)

COLEPAUGH

(Following him up, and putting hand on arm.)

Walt a minute, Mr. Onehorse. I want to talk to you.

(CHARLIE looks down at Colepaugh’s hand. COLEPAUGH speedily removes it.)

Oh—sorry . . . Do you have a minute? . . . Ah—Well, how do you like our city? Quite a place, isn’t it?

CHARLIE

(Without expression.)

It stinks.

COLEPAUGH

Yes, I– suppose it does, in a way . . . It must all seem a little strange . . . Do you–happen to know how long you’re going to stay here?

CHARLIE

Ask John.

COLEPAUGH

Oh, John . . . Yes . . . You’re his uncle, aren’t you? I wonder, Mr. Onehorse, if you and I might have a little talk together–Oh, not today, whenever you can? I have an office right there in the Mallory Building. Why don’t you come over and see me? Just ask for me in the lobby–they’ll take you up—

(CHARLIE is moving toward teepee.)

Oh–I–it must be a little expensive, seeing the town . . . I wonder if you would mind if I–

(Gets out a bill and proffers it.)

–sort of help out a little?

(CHARLIE stops and looks at the money.)

Not much fun without a little money in your pocket, now is it? This will buy a lot of–things . . .

(CHARLIE slowly reaches out, takes the bill, and moves on to teepee.)

Fine! I’ll be looking for you!

CHARLIE

(At teepee, full turn.)

Don’t hold your breath.

(He exits into teepee.)

(COLEPAUGH stares after him a moment, then goes down to bank and knock.  LUKE opens door at once.)

LUKE

Has he gone?

COLEPAUGH

I don’t know . . .

LUKE

What?

COLEPAUGH

Oh . . . He’s in the tent.

LUKE

That lousy Indian! The dirty bum! I should have—

COLEPAUGH

Just a minute, Luke! Don’t get into any trouble with him. . . It’s just possible we may be able to–(JOHN enters from up right.)

All right, Luke. Get the chairs.

(LUKE exits into bank.)

Ah, how do you do? Mr. John Onehorse?

(He crosses to meet John.)

JOHN

Yes.

COLEPAUGH

I’m very glad to know you. My name is Alexander Colepaugh. I am chief attorney for the Mallory Building.

(He hands John his card.)

JOHN

(Taking it.)

How do you do?

(They shake hands.)

COLEPAUGH

Well, well . . . Quite a cozy little place you have here.

JOHN

Yes, very little.

COLEPAUGH

I came over a little early–just a social visit–curious about our new neighbors, you know. Well, look at that wigwam– haven’t seen one of those since the world’s fair. Yes, sir, this is all very interesting. Young man, you’ve stirred up quite a rumpus.

JOHN

Good.

COLEPAUGH

Now tell me, frankly, don’t you think you were just a little too–er –dramatic?

JOHN

No, I think I did it just about right.

COLEPAUGH

(Hastily.)

Not that you’re not entitled to your opinion—publicly expressed, if you wish. 1didn’t mean that at all.

JOHN

Not at all.

COLEPAUGH

But as to the right of the matter–well, now, that’s something else again . . . Believe me, I’ve dealt in cases of disputed real estate before.

JOHN

I imagine you have.

!

COLEPAUGH

Well, we mustn’t talk shop–this is just a social chat. Oh, here’s a marker . . . “–the smallest park in the city”. You know, this really isn’t much of a place for camping.

JOHN

No, it isn’t.

COLEPAUGH

A little cramped, I should say . . . You know, Mr. Onehorse, that gives me an idea! Say, this is a real inspiration! We’ve got some property about fifty miles north of here—really beautiful land–trees, hills, a lake–I’ve pulled many a fish out of that lake. There’s forty acres—perfect camping country. Now, why don’t we make a deal? You say you’ve got a claim here—maybe you have and maybe you haven’t–but the point is, it’ll cost us both time and money to settle it. Now, I’ll tell you what I’ll do—

JOHN

You’ll swap.

COLEPAUGH

I’ll–Yes, that’s it! Your claim to this land for a clear title to that land. What do you say?

JOHN

We can keep it, I suppose, for as long as the grass shall grow.

COLEPAUGH

Ah–yes, of course . . . That’s a queer way of putting it.

JOHN

Yes, I always thought it was . . . No thank you, Mr. Colepaugh.

COLEPAUGH

Now think it over! This is no place for a camp. Be reasonable about it. Listen, you could build some cabins there—fence it in—it would be all yours. I’ll tell you! There’d be some expenses connected with your moving–suppose I threw in, let’s say, a thousand dollars to help you get set up. Now, that’s fair, isn’t it?

JOHN

You make it sound very attractive.

COLEPAUGH

Then how about it? Forget your claim here. Suppose—just suppose, I say–that a mistake was made, and a little bit of Indian land was used by us. Who’s going to do anything about it, if you don’t push the claim? This whole business will die down. Now you just quietly move out and the deal goes through. And what’s more, I’ll personally add another thousand, put it right in your pocket, and we’ll forget that part of it.

JOHN

You’re very generous.

COLEPAUGH

Oh, well, it’s worth a thousand to me not to bother with a little thing like this—it’s a nuisance–I have enough to do. Okay, then it’s a bargain?

(He extends his hand.)

JOHN

No thank you, Mr. Colepaugh.

COLEPAUGH

(Looks hard at him.)

Onehorse, I’ll give you five thousand to move out.

JOHN

No.

COLEPAUGH

Ten thousand, and that’s my last offer.

JOHN

No.

COLEPAUGH

Now, listen, don’t be a fool. What have you got to gain out of this? If we tie it up in litigation, we’ll all be dead before it’s settled, and who’s going to profit by it? Nobody. Now, use your head.

(He pauses.)

I’ll give you twenty thousand dollars in cash, tonight, if you’ll leave this place and forget the whole thing.

JOHN

Mr. Colepaugh, I don 1t see what you’re worrying about. The worst that can happen is that you’ll have to tear down a few buildings.

(SAMUEL GROPER enters from bank. He is hard, cold and abrupt. LUKE follows, leaves folding chairs by door, and exits.)

GROPER

 Hello, Colepaugh . . . We ready to start?

COLEPAUGH

Oh, come in, Sam . . . Or should I say come out?

(He laughs, gets no response from either man, and stops.)

Ah–Mr. Onehorse, this is Mr. Groper, attorney for the bank.

GROPER

How d’you do?

(They shake hands. To Colepaugh.)

Did I break up something?

JOHN

Oh, no. We were just having a little chat.

COLEPAUGH

Well, now, let’s see—

(To John.)

We’re still waiting on your attorney, Mr. Winters, I believe—

GROPER

Everett Winters?

JOHN

Yes.

GROPER

I know him.

JOHN

 That should make it very pleasant.

COLEPAUGH

And then there’s the representative from the church, Mr. Farmer . . . as soon as they come, we’l1 be ready to go.

JOHN

And my grandfather.

GROPER

Your grandfather?

JOHN

He’s just across the street—I’ll get him.

(At the gate.)

I hope you don’t mind his joining us–he has so little fun.

(He exits.)

COLEPAUGH

Now what did he mean by that?

GROPER

How do I know? . . . All right, Colepaugh–where do we stand?

COLEPAUGH

Of course I haven’t had time to check thoroughly, but it looks as if we’re on their land, all right.

GROPER

Now how in hell could a thing like that happen?

COLEPAUGH

I don’t know the details yet, but I talked to Jones today, and someone way down the line may have pulled a fast one.

GROPER

Somebody working for the city.

COLEPAUGH

Yes. These plots were first sold about fifty years ago. The seller evidently just switched a couple of book-keeping entries, put the cash in his pocket, and walked off. The property has changed hands half a dozen times since then, and now we’re left holding the bag.

GROPER

That was a long time ago–how about the statute of limitations?

COLEPAUGH

That may be an out for you and the Church, but not for us. The Mallory Building is less than seven years old.

GROPER

All right. Now how much is this damned foolishness going to cost us?

COLEPAUGH

Well, that’s the point. I don’t know where this John Onehorse fits into the deal. Just to see what he’d say, I offered him twenty thousand and that upstate property to clear out.

GROPER

He turned it down?

COLEPAUGH

Cold. Wasn’t a bit impressed. I don’t understand Indians— they don’t seem to act like normal people. Well, maybe Montague Howe can help us out–he’ll be here today, if he can make it.

GROPER

Montague Howe? Who’s he?

(DAN enters from up right.)

DAN

Either of you gentlemen need a lawyer? . . . Come on in.

(EVERETT WINTERS enters. He is about forty, affable, bustling.)

WINTERS

Good evening. My name is Winters. Is Mr. Onehorse here?

(DAN exits.)

COLEPAUGH

He’ll be right back.  I’m Alexander Colepaugh, from the Mallory Building.

(They shake hands.)

—Mr. Groper, from the Trust Company.

GROPER

Remember the Cartwright business last year?

WINTERS

Oh, of course! . . . How are you, Mr. Groper?

(They shake hands.)

GROPER

So you’ve been retained by Onehorse.

WINTERS

Yes–this looks like a very interesting case.

COLEPAUGH

Ah, Winters–I’ve made Onehorse a proposition I think he would be very wise to consider.

WINTERS What kind of a proposition?

COLEPAUGH

Well, a matter of an exchange of properties, and of course some additional stipend—

WINTERS

I don’t think Mr. Onehorse is interested in that kind of a deal.

GROPER

(Abruptly.)

Winters, what are we going to do about this?

WINTERS

Why, I thought that was made rather clear.

GROPER

(Harshly.)

Don’t be an idiot! You’re not talking to one of your Indians. We’ll never move these buildings, and you know it. We’ll either buy you out or throw you out. How much is he paying you?

WINTERS

That’s not a proper question, Groper.

GROPER

 Isn’t it? Suppose I said we’ll double it, if you’ll come in with us. Would that make it proper?

WINTERS

I don’t care for this line of talk.

GROPER

Why not?

WINTERS

You know why not–it sounds very much like a bribe.

GROPER

Sounds hell–it is a bribe.

COLEPAUGH

Oh, come now, gentlemen, that’s a very harsh thing to say. We are merely making you a better offer–let’s put it that way.

GROPER

Yes, let’s put it that way.

COLEPAUGH

We’d rather have you with us than against us.

WINTERS

I don’t see your point. They can easily get another lawyer.

GROPER

Easily, yes–but how long would it take him to get their affairs in shape? We need time, and we’re ready to pay for it.

WINTERS

Groper, do you think for a minute I’d sell them out—

GROPER

Yes, I think for a minute you would.

(DAN enters from up right. With him comes MIRIAM WHITEHEAD, a large woman with voice to match, but a not unlikable person.)

DAN

Here you are, Miss–right this way.

(He exits.)

COLEPAUGH

Oh, Miss Whitehead! How do you do?

GROPER

(To Winters.)

Think it over.

WHITEHEAD

 How are you, Mr. Colepaugh? Am I late?

COLEPAUGH

Late? Oh–no, not at all . . . This is Mr. Groper, chief attorney for the bank, and Mr. Winters, representing Mr. Onehorse. Miss Whitehead is–ah– connected with the church.

WHITEHEAD

I certainly am—I’m chairman of the property committee. Farmer said he thought he should come–that half-wit!  If there’s one thing we don t need, it’s another lawyer. How do you do?

GROPER

Farmer’s not coming?

WHITEHEAD

You catch on fast

.

COLEPAUGH

Won’t you sit down?

WHITEHEAD

Where?

COLEPAUGH

Oh—

(During the next few speeches the men get the chairs from near the bank and arrange them at center.)

Surely, Mr. Winters, we can reach some kind of agreement—

(To Whitehead.)

You’re sure Farmer’s not coming? Ah–of course not . . . Now I should say, Mr. Winters—

WHITEHEAD

Well, where are they?

COLEPAUGH

I beg your pardon?

WHITEHEAD

I said, where are they?

COLEPAUGH

They’ll be here soon.

WHITEHEAD

They really Indians?

COLEPAUGH

Yes. Blackfoot.

WHITEHEAD

What does that mean?

COLEPAUGH

It’s a western Indian tribe . . . Now, Winters—-

WHITEHEAD

Well, why don’t they stay there?

COLEPAUGH

(Irritated.)

What is it?

WHITEHEAD

What’s the matter with you? Can’t you hear? I said, why don’t they stay out west, or wherever they belong?

GROPER

Why don’t you ask them?

WHITEHEAD

I intend to.

(She sits.)

GROPER

Winters, how about dropping up at the office tomorrow?

WINTERS

I’ve already told you, Groper—

GROPER

No, no, this is another matter entirely. You know, I’ve had my eye on you for some time. I’ve got a little proposition to go over with you. You stop up tomorrow and have a drink.

WINTERS

Well, in that case—

WHITEHEAD

(Positively.)

I can tell you this–we won’t move an inch.

GROPER

What?

WHITEHEAD

You heard me.

GROPER

Miss Whitehead–do you know what this is all about?

WHITEHEAD

I most certainly do–and don’t you get impertinent with me!

GROPER

We have no intention of moving anything. If they can prove a legal claim–which I very much doubt–we will naturally have to make some kind of a settlement.

WHITEHEAD

Not an inch.

(She settles back, adamant.)

(JOHN and SIX KILLER enter from up right.

 COLEPAUGH

Well, here we are!

(He goes up.)

All ready for–what do you call it–a powwow?

SIX KILLER

No, that is what you call it.

COLEPAUGH

Oh–yes, of course . . . Mr. Six Killer Onehorse? I’ve heard a lot about you–yes, sir . . . Now let’s all be seated, and we’ll get started.

(They sit. JOHN confers with WINTERS)

Well, I think everybody should get acquainted. You all know Mr. John Onehorse, and his grandfather. And this is Miss Whitehead, from the church, and Mr. Groper, from the bank. One other party may come, but we’ll not wait.

(He surveys them paternally.)

Well, well! I’m very glad we’re here together this evening— I’ve always felt that nothing is as satisfactory in settling little differences, as getting together, in a spirit of peace and tolerance, and reaching an honest, open and above-board agreement.  “Open covenants, openly arrived at”, as ‘one great American put it. Now, it seems to me that our first step is to find out just what the problem is, and I suggest that we turn the meeting over to Mr. Winters.

WINTERS

(Taking papers from briefcase.)

I’ll be brief and to the point. Indian Park is Indian Territory. It was never included in the lands sold by the Indians to this city. Its boundaries were fixed and recorded, and the park preserved, in perpetuity, for the exclusive use of the Indians. This is all a matter of treaty and record, and we can prove it. Here is a photostat of the original treaty, and copies of the original map of Indian Park.

(Hands them out.)

And here–

(Hands them out.)

–Are copies of a surveyor’s report, made two months ago. There you are, you can see for yourself. St. Paul’s is here, the Mallory Building here, and here is the Trust Building. In round numbers, the church is using 3000 square feet of land belonging to Indian Park, the Mallory Building 2000 square feet, and the Trust Building 4000 square feet. That’s the story.

WHITEHEAD

(Will not look at the papers.)

Ridiculous. Don’t believe a word of it.

GROPER

Winters, this thing came up suddenly, and we haven’t had time to look into it. But I want to ask you one question: How could such a mistake be made? We have clear titles to this property. I leave it to you.

WINTERS

No, Mr. Groper, I leave it to you. You thought you had clear titles. It’s really quite simple. Property belonging to Indian Park was sold by someone who had no right to it—someone who was in a position to keep the deal quiet.

WHITEHEAD

Probably Mayor Hannigan.

WINTERS

No, Miss Whitehead–although it’s right in his line.

COLEPAUGH

It’s impossible! They could never get away with it.

WINTERS

You know better than that, Mr. Colepaugh—it’s done every day– if there’s no one to object, if the price is high enough, if the few people in on the deal are misled or paid off–why not?

WHITEHEAD

It’s all nonsense.

WINTERS

That is an opinion. We have the facts.

WHITEHEAD

Lot of foolishness.

GROPER

I see no point in bickering. You are either right or wrong– in any case we’ll have to check your claim.

WINTERS

(Gathering up the papers.)

I agree with you entirely. You must satisfy yourselves.

COLEPAUGH

Now let’s put it this way. We’re all friends here . . . Let’s suppose there’s something to your claim. What then?

(DAN enters from up right, followed by MONTAGUE HOWE. HOWE is a vague, seedy, ingratiating little man.)

DAN

Would this be the last one, now?

COLEPAUGH

(Going up.)

Oh, Mr. Howe! I was beginning to give you up. How are you?

{They shake hands.)

Mr. Howe, I want you to know these people . . . Miss Whitehead, Mr. Groper, Mr. Winters, and Mr. John Onehorse and his grandfather. Mr. Howe is from the Department of the Interior.

HOWE

From the Indian Bureau, to be exact. Now, you mustn’t let me interrupt you– You go right ahead.

(He sits.)

COLEPAUGH

Thank you, Mr. Howe . . . Let’s see–where were we? Oh, yes . . . Let us say, for the sake of discussion, that these three buildings are actually on property which you control. Now, what can we do about it?

JOHN

(Quietly.)

I have already told you. You can move the buildings.

COLEPAUGH

(Laughs in appreciation of the joke.)

Yes, yes, of course–that would be the most direct solution, now wouldn’t it? But I hardly think our stockholders would care for that–no, I hardly think so. Perhaps something less– drastic could be worked out? Perhaps a– settlement of some kind?

(There is a pause.)

WINTERS

I must admit that Mr. Onehorse has never once intimated that any solution other than the direct one would be considered.

However–

(He looks at John.)

JOHN

(Smiling slightly)

No comment.

GROPER

(Abruptly.)

Now let’s be sensible. This isn’t a game of marbles. It’s out of the question to move these buildings–my God, man, it just can’t be done!

JOHN

No?

GROPER

Be reasonable. Mr. Colepaugh has made you an offer—I think it was a fair one.

JOHN

Not interested.

GROPER

Twenty thousand is a lot of money.

JOHN

I don’t want money. I want our land.

HOWE

(Diffidently.)

I wonder if I might ask a question?

COLEPAUGH

Why certainly, Mr. Howe.

HOWE

(To John.).

You say our land. You mean Indian Park?

JOHN

I mean Indian Park. I mean the land which belongs to us. All of it. Not just part of it. Does that answer your question?

HOWE

Oh, yes– yes, thank you. Mr. Onehorse, you are not–a member of the tribe which originally owned this land?

JOHN

No, I am not. I am a Blackfoot.

HOWE

But, then– shouldn’t the descendents of the original owners make this claim?

JOHN

There are no descendents. The owners died out “without a struggle or a murmur, and without any expense to the government.”

HOWE

Now, that seems a rather unfeeling way of putting it.

JOHN

Yes, it is. Those are the exact words of the white agent, when he made the report to your department.

HOWE

Oh. But still— you– you are an indirect claimant, aren’t you?

(JOHN does not answer. WINTERS hands a sheaf of papers to Howe.)

WINTERS

During the past six months, Mr. Onehorse visited every Indian reservation and every sizeable group of Indians in this country. You have there the signatures of over three hundred Indian leaders. Without exception, they are with him.

HOWE

But– but the Indian Bureau knew nothing of this.

WINTERS

That’s your affair. The point is that these signatures are a vote of confidence in my client. In my opinion, they give him a mandate to proceed

HOWE

Oh, yes, yes–proceed, by all means.

WHITEHEAD

I don’t understand what this is all about.

COLEPAUGH

 Please, Miss Whitehead!

WHITEHEAD

 I thought we were talking about moving buildings.

GROPER

Miss Whitehead is right. That’s exactly what we were talking about. I suggest we stick to it. Now, Onehorse, While we’re assuming things, let’s suppose we are on Indian land, and concede that you have the authority to make any agreement with us you see fit,. What would you say then?

JOHN

I would say, move the buildings.

GROPER

(Blowing up)

Well, by God, that’s too much!

SIX KILLER

John, I want to talk.

(He stands.)

I will tell you why the buildings must be moved. When you have looked, you will find that we are right–you have taken our land . . . We say these buildings must be moved–and you are angry and surprised that we should say this. What reasons could we have? How would that help us? Mr. Colepaugh asks, why not take some other land, and some money? Miss Whitehead, she does not understand. Mr. Groper says, be sensible. I think you will see that we are sensible.

(He pauses and looks at them all, and then at Howe.)

Mr. Howe knows that our people are unhappy–he smiles, he speaks soft words, but that does not fool us. We have seen all that before. Mr. Howe knows that our people wish to be free, that we no longer wish to be treated as savages, or freaks, or beggars. He knows that, but it is his business to see that we stay the way we are, because if this were not so, Mr. Howe would have no job. Perhaps he could get another job where he could sit back, and smile, and do nothing, and get money for it–and perhaps he could not. Mr. Howe is also sensible. He loves the Indian– he will tell you so– but he does not want the Indian to be free.

HOWE

I very much resent that.

GROPER

 Onehorse, tell your grandfather to sit down!

SIX KILLER

No, I will not sit down– I will talk and you will listen. All of you will listen! You will move these buildings. We will make you move them. But you will not do it without a fight– and that is what we want, because we, Indians, will beat you. We will win, not because we are in the right– we have been right before, and lost– but because now we are stronger. We have learned to use your weapons, and we will beat you with them. It will not be a war of gunpowder, but a war of words, and law-books, and papers, and we now know this kind of war. We want you to fight, and fight hard, because when we beat you it will be a sign to our people, and to all people, that justice is now working for Indians. They will see this, and they will know that there is hope for us, and that someday, if we fight hard, with these weapons, we will be free.

(He sits down.)

GROPER

Now let me get this. You mean these buildings must be moved so that you can show all the Indians what you can do; so you can say, look how strong we are, we kicked the white man out! Is that what you mean?

JOHN

You may put it that way.

COLEPAUGH

You mean you would cause all this trouble just to call attention to whatever grievances the Indians think they have?

JOHN

Yes.

GROPER

Why, it’s just a cheap publicity stunt!

JOHN

You may call it a stunt, Mr. Groper, but l promise you it won’t be cheap.

GROPER

Now we know where we stand. All right, it’s a fight! But don’t you think for a minute we’ll take this quietly!

JOHN

I hope you won’t. I hope you’ll yell! I hope you’ll howl till every thinking human being in the world knows you were forced for once to give back something which never belonged to you! And don’t think this is a private fight between you and a few ignorant Indians! Don’t make that stupid blunder! Oh, no– this is a fight between your kind of people and our kind of people, and if it should turn out that there is room for only one of us–we intend to be the ones who remain! And we’ll beat you, because we’ll never stop fighting until we do!

HOWE

Mr. Onehorse, just a minute. I really must say something. This whole affair is quite out of order. In the first place, you are reservation Indians. You don’t belong here, you belong back in Montana,

JOHN

We have a legal right to leave the reservation.

HOWE

Yes, that’s true. But you’re not one of the free Indian tribes, you are one of the reservation tribes, and under the direction of your superintendent. And what is more, you really have nothing to say about this property. Whether it is built on or not built on is hardly your business.

JOHN

Then whose business is it?

HOWE

As you well know, it is the business of the government, of the Indian Office, to be exact, which holds the land in trust.

WINTERS

You mean you are accountable for this property?

HOWE

Yes, exactly.

WINTERS

 Then why did you let outsiders build upon it?

HOWE

That isn’t quite the point.  You are aware, or should be, that machinery has been set up to handle Indian affairs. First, you must obtain permission from the Claims Commission—

WINTERS

In other words, a commission must approve before a claim can even be made?

HOWE

Yes, of course. If permission is obtained, attorneys are then employed, and an appeal  made to the Court of Claims, which acts on the claim.

WINTERS

How fast?

HOWE

Well, that’s not my department.

WINTERS

How many judgments have been handed down in the last ten years?

HOWE

Oh, five or six.

WINTERS

How many are pending?

HOWE

Perhaps a hundred.

WINTERS

In other words, according to my calculation, a judgment would be reached on this claim in something over two hundred years.

HOWE

I know nothing about that.

WINTERS

Well, isn’t it true?

HOWE

Perhaps, but that is the legal procedure.  And what is more, Mr. Winters, you surely should know that an Indian cannot contract with a lawyer to make a claim, without permission from the Indian Bureau.

WHITEHEAD

(Unable to keep out of the argument.)

Now wait a minute! You mean the people he’s suing have to okay the lawyer who’s going to sue them?

HOWE

Something like that.

WHITEHEAD

An Indian can’t just go out and hire a lawyer?

HOWE

In this case, certainly not.

WHITEHEAD

Why?

HOWE

Because it is against the law.

WHITEHEAD

What law?

HOWE

Indian law, naturally.

WHITEHEAD

You mean the law the Indian Bureau makes?

HOWE

You might say that.

WHITEHEAD

Can an Indian go directly to court?

HOWE

Well, he can in a manner of speaking.

WHITEHEAD

What do you mean? Doesn’t he have the protection of the constitution?

HOWE

In a way, yes– and then again, no.

WHITEHEAD

Can an Indian vote?

HOWE

Technically, yes.

WHITEHEAD

Technically? Are there states where he can’t vote?

HOWE

Most certainly.

WHITEHEAD

Why not?

HOWE

Miss Whitehead, I have no desire—

COLEPAUGH

Miss Whitehead, please–

WHITEHEAD

(Brushing him off.)

Just a minute—

(To Howe.)

Can an Indian sell his own property?

HOWE

Well, under some circumstances—

WHITEHEAD

Can he lease it, mortgage it, rent it?

HOWE

That all depends.

WHITEHEAD

On what?

HOWE

On the circumstances. The rules must be observed.

WHITEHEAD

Whose rules?

HOWE

The Indian Bureau’s.

WHITEHEAD

Isn’t an Indian a citizen?

HOWE

Certainly!

WHITEHEAD

Then why can’t he vote? Why can’t he manage his own property? Why can’t he hire a lawyer?

HOWE

Miss Whitehead. An Indian is a citizen–but he is also not a citizen.

WHITEHEAD

He is a citizen, but he isn’t a citizen. Who thought that up, a lawyer?

HOWE

Please let me finish. He is also a ward of the government.

WHITEHEAD

You mean you’re his guardian?

HOWE

Exactly.

WHITEHEAD

This fellow here is a college graduate, a law student, a war veteran, and a grown man, and you’re his guardian?

HOWE

Yes.

WHITEHEAD

Who says so?

HOWE

The law says so, Miss Whitehead! The federal law!

WHITEHEAD

And who makes the law? Don’t answer that! You know, I think I’m going to have to do something about this—

GROPER

Say, whose side are you on?

WHITEHEAD

Never you mind that! I may not like Indians, but I hate lawyers!

GROPER

I resent that.

WHITEHEAD

Good! I resent you!

COLEPAUGH

Please, folks!

WINTERS

I suggest we break this up!

WHITEHEAD

You keep out of it!

COLEPAUGH

Please, Miss Whitehead!

WHITEHEAD

Shut up!

COLEPAUGH

You can’t talk to me like that!

WHITEHEAD

Oh, I can’t, eh? Well, let me tell you something: I’ll say what I please, when I please, and where I please, and I don’t care whether you like it or not. Furthermore, you sawed-off, half-baked shyster, if you think you can dictate to me you’ve got another think coming, I’ll tell you that right this minute. . . .

COLEPAUGH (Trying to drown her out)

No, you can’t! And what’s more you are undoubtedly the most asinine female I’ve ever had the misfortune to deal with. I’ve seen plenty of stupid women, but you are the prize winner of them all. I hope I never live to see- etc.

GROPER (Trying to drown them both out)

All right, you two, break it up! We’ve got to get something settled some time before next year. Come on, pipe down, both of you, before we queer the deal- etc.

WINTERS (Trying to interrupt them)

This is ridiculous! In all my career I’ve never seen such an exhibition of bad taste and poor judgment- etc.

HOWE (Hopelessly)

Gentlemen!

Gentlemen!

Gentlemen!

Gentlemen!

etc.

(This goes on at full blast as the curtain falls, while JOHN and SIX KILLER throughout it all sit quiet and motionless.)

CURTAIN

ACT TWO

Scene 2

It is late Sunday night. Light from the church, shining through the rose-window, casts a warm glow over the area around the fountain. Behind the fountain, a small camp fire burns. The usual dim lights are on the nearby buildings. The teepee up left is in shadow.

AT CURTAIN RISE, FATHER MARTIN and SIX KILLER are sitting on benches at center.

SIX KILLER

Yes, it is true, I have seen many campfires—but none looked stranger than this fire, here in this place.

MARTIN

Not too strange, perhaps. Call these dark buildings cliffs, and here we are at the bottom of a canyon.

SIX KILLER

With the little fountain, lights from the church, and a bronze marker saying Indian Park. No, I think not.

(He laughs quietly.)

MARTIN

It’s good to hear you laugh, Six Killer.

SIX KILIJER

You think an Indian cannot laugh?

MARTIN

No, I didn’t mean that. I meant–well, you do not laugh often.

SIX KILLER

Listen: One spring, when I was a boy, we went to the trading post with our winter furs. The white traders led us to a small hut, where there were barrels of gunpowder. One of the men said, “Look, Indians. All this is gunpowder. You know that an inch of gunpowder will kill a deer. If you make trouble I will light a match to this powder and blow you all to little pieces.”

And he lit his pipe, looking at us to see if we would be afraid. My father, White Dog, said “Give me a match,” and he took one from the trader’s hand. “What do you want it for?” asked the trader.” To see if the gunpowder is good,” said my father, and he lit the match. Nobody moved. Then my father walked slowly toward the barrels. The white men stood still a moment, then gave a yell, and ran out as fast as they could. Father put out the match, and we all laughed until we could laugh no more. Yes, an Indian can laugh!

MARTIN

Suppose the white man had not run?

SIX KILLER

He ran.

(They both chuckle.)

MARTIN

The powder must have been good.

SIX KILLER

Yes, it was good.

(Quietly bitter.)

It was better than justice, braver than courage, stronger than arrows. It took our land.

(DAN enters quietly from up right.)

MARTIN

Hello, Dan. All quiet?

(In the distance, the toll of a bell marks midnight.)

DAN

Twelve o’clock. For every man, good or bad, a new day.

SIX KILLER

For some men, the last day.

MARTIN

Six Killer . . . You say they took your land. Not every white man did that.

SIX KILLER

That is true. I do not say this to be clever or cruel, Father Martin, but many white men came to us with both hands held out. In one hand they held whiskey, and in the other–the missionary. It is hard to say which was worse for the Indian.

DAN

Is it religion you are speaking against?

SIX KILLER

By religion you mean Christianity?

DAN

I should say yes, that’s what I mean.

SIX KILLER

I will tell you of the first missionary our tribe ever saw .We were sent word that a man was coming to tell of the white man’s god. We prepared for him in our best way–we painted our faces, We put on our best clothes, our medicine men got out their finest drums. This was how we greeted him, because this was our way of honoring him. His first words were: “I don’t want you people to fix up like this. Wash your faces, put your medicine drums away. I have come to tell you of the only God.” This to us, to Blackfeet, who each morning were awakened by the prayers of our old men, who each day were lectured by our mothers on virtue and honor, who were taught to see good in all things–in trees and lakes and mountains—I have said enough.

MARTIN

(Slowly)

Your first missionary was a stupid man.

SIX KILLER

He was as wise as the last.

DAN

Now I must ask you something. You say the white man brought the Indian bad things, but were not some bad things there already? Didn’t you have Indian enemies, didn’t you fight and kill? Was it that the white man brought you nothing worth while? Was there nothing left for you to learn? Surely not every one of you was a perfect man.

SIX KILLER

No, we were none of us perfect. And there were men amongst us who stole, who were lazy, who were dirty, or weak. We had poor red trash, just as you have poor white trash. But a man of this sort was known, and his place in the tribe was low. His name was never called out in public, and he had no seat in the tribal council. It is true, as you say, that our religion and our actions did not always agree. At times, we prayed peace and fought war, just as–others have done. No, we were not perfect men. But listen to this, both of you: Through the long years, we Blackfeet had learned a good way of life, and most men in our tribe tried to live that way. We had truth and honesty, we had love for our children and our old people, and we were loyal to our tribe–and all these things were mixed, in some way, with the paint on our faces, with our long hair, with our medicine men, and with our drums. Your religion is mixed with your vestments, your candles, your altars, and your choir. If I should say; take these things away, they are childish and barbaric, you would be angry and insulted. You would say, who are these savages to tell us what to do! That is how we felt when the White missionary came . . . W did not accept a better God, we accepted a God who had gunpowder. We did not give up our lands for love of our white neighbor, but because our white neighbor made laws–gunpowder laws.

MARTIN

Some day there will be better laws.

SIX KILLER

That may be true, but I shall not be here to see it. I am old and tired–this is my last fight. But my grandson is not old or tired! He knows how to fight you, Father Martin, and he will never stop.

MARTIN

Six Killer, believe me–I’m not against you. If tomorrow they should begin to tear this church down stone by stone, to get it off your land, I should say good–and I should help them.

DAN

He is speaking for: us both.

SIX KILLER

I believe you . . .

(To Martin.)

Mary told me of her talk with you•.

MARTIN

Yes . . . Has your son returned? I haven’t seen him since you arrived.

SIX KILLER

He came back. He has spent the whole day in the teepee. My son Charlie is not a bad man. He has never harmed anyone. But he has a bad rule of life–it is easier to give up.

MARTIN

I know. It is a rule that I-­-

(Change of tone.)

You had a meeting last night?

SIX KILLER

Yes.

DAN

Ah,    that was a grand party! A wonderful time was had by all! And when the argument was over, I personally applied a raw beef-steak to the eye of Mr. Colepaugh!

MARTIN.

Now that was a generous deed.

DAN

‘Twas worth it, 1t really was.

MARTIN

 (To Six Killer.)

What happened?

SIX KILLER

They came, they talked, they tried to bargain . . John was ready for them.

MARTIN

This will be a real fight. I have been thinking–Six Killer wouldn’t it be better if you stayed at the hotel, with the children? You are not strong, and it’s possible—

SIX KILLER

I will stay here.

(JOE JACKSON enters from up left.)

DAN

Oh, hello, Joe—you’re up late.

JOE

(Going down to bank door.)

Good evening. Just got out of class. I hope I’m not bothering you folks.

SIX KILLER

Come over, sit down.

JOE

Thank you, not tonight sir I’d better be getting on home.

(He knocks on bank door.)

MARTIN

How was school tonight? Joe will be a full-fledged lawyer one of these days.

JOE

It’s a slow business, father.

(He knocks again and calls.)

Mr. Collins!

(to them.)

Sometimes I think I started a little late—

(The bank door opens abruptly, and LUKE COLLINS sticks his head out.)

LUKE

What do you want?

JOE

I’d like to get my lunchbox, please.

LUKE

Lunchbox! I ain’t seen no lunchbox!

JOE

It’s right inside the door, where I always leave it.

(He reaches in.)

LUKE

No you don’t

(He pushes Joe back with his foot.)

Keep your damn black head out of here!

MARTIN

(Somewhat sternly.)

Luke, why don’t you let the man have his lunchbox?

LUKE

Why don’t he take it with him when he goes?

(He kicks it out.)

Here, damn you, next time you don’t get it!

(LUKE slams the door shut. JOE picks up lunchbox and crosses.)

JOE

Thanks, Father, I needed a little help there.

MARTIN

That Luke!

JOE

I’m afraid he doesn’t care much for colored folks.

SIX KILLER

I was a boy when the first colored men came to our lands. We called them “black white-men”.

JOE

Black white-men?

SIX. KILLER

We could see no difference except color.

JOE

You couldn’t!

SIX KILLER

(Wryly.)

No. We thought they were both ugly.

MARTIN

There’s a moral in that.

JOE

More than one, as a matter of fact.

(JOHN enters from up right. He comes down.)

JOHN

Hello, Dan . . . How are you, Father Martin?

MARTIN

John, this is Joe Jackson. He works at the bank.

JOHN

How do you do?

(They shake hands.)

JOE

I was here when you carne in yesterday.

JOHN

Was that just yesterday? Grandfather, it’s late.

(Gently.)

You should be asleep. How do you feel?

SIX KILLER

I am all right.

MARTIN

 I’m afraid I tired him with my gossiping.

SIX KILLER

No, it was I. When I find someone to listen to my old man’s talk, I do not know when to stop.

MARTIN

(Rising.)

I must be going,-

JOE

Are you walking around the church, father?

MARTIN

Yes, Joe, if you don’t mind waiting a few minutes. Come in.

JOE

(Following him.)

 Good night, folks.-See you tomorrow•.

MARTIN

(In threshold, to John.)

I’ll leave the light on in the church when I go.

JOHN

Thank you. Good night.

(MARTIN and JOE exit into church.)

DAN

Well, I’ll be taking my turn around the block.

JOHN

You’ll be here all night?

DAN

Not far off at any time.

(He goes up right.)

JOHN

Dan–I haven’t had time to thank you for all you’ve done.

DAN

Nonsense, man–it was my duty and my pleasure. You’re fine people, all of you. You remind me of the Kilgarens–we lived next to them when I was a boy. They were good neighbors-­ Well, good night.

JOHN

Oh, Dan, I meant to ask–did your chief scalp you?

DAN

No, he did not . . . But I am now known at the station as Heap Big Flat Feet.

(He exits up right.)

SIX KILLER

(Rising.)

You are right. It is late. Good night.

(Starts up.)

JOHN

Has Charlie gone to bed?)

SIX KILLER

Yes. I do not know what he is thinking, but he is very troubled. John, I think we must send him back.

JOHN

You feel strongly about this?

SIX KILLER

I do. And there is another reason. If I should die, he would be the eldest.

JOHN

You are not going to die,

SIX KILLER

Are you God? Do you decide these things?

JOHN

Then suppose it happens. I will keep on . . . Charlie has no hand in it.

SIX KILLER

(Stubbornly.)

I should not like to think that he would be the eldest. He must go back-.

JOHN

Very well.

SIX KILLER

 Good. Now I think I will go to sleep.

(He goes to teepee.)

Are you coming?

JOHN

In a little while.

SIX KILLER

Good night.

JOHN

Grandfather.

SIX KILLER

Yes?

JOHN

You are not going to die.

SIX KILLER

(Smiles grimly.)

You forbid it?

JOHN

(Returning the smile, but serious.)

Yes. I need you.

SIX KILLER

It is good to be needed.

(He goes into teepee. JOHN sits on bench near fountain. He is tired. After a moment, ALICE EMERSON enters from up right, and comes down quietly.)

ALICE

(Softly)

Hello.

JOHN

(Starting to rise.)

Oh . . . Miss Emerson.

ALICE

No – sit down

(She sits beside him.)

I hoped I’d see you tonight.

JOHN

When you didn’t come back I —

ALICE

.

–You gave me up?

JOHN

I’m afraid so.

ALICE

 Mr. Onehorse, let me report. I now know:  a) How to build a birchbark canoe; b) The significance of wampum; c) The origin of the red man; d) —

JOHN

Indian Bureau Pamphlets 26, 32 and 57.

ALICE

Correct! Or close enough that it doesn’t matter. I have just emerged from ten grueling hours in a nasty little alcove at the public library. I am what is known as tired . . . The things I’ve read . . . John, what is all this?

JOHN

So you thought the Great White Father was tenderly caring for his little red children?

ALICE

The fact is, I just never thought about .it before yesterday.

JOHN

Of course you didn’t. Why should you?

ALICE

I’m thinking now.

(Shows him a pamphlet.)

“Indian Home Life–Past and Present” 25 pages . . . 24 about the past . . . and then, page 25, the present: “The Indian is fast assuming the habits and customs of modern civilization and becoming a citizen in every sense of the word.”

JOHN

Well, good for him.

ALICE

 John, what kind of double talk is this?

(Meaning the pamphlet.)

JOHN

The usual kind.

ALICE

Everything is done for your own good, they say; and everything that is done leaves you worse off than you were before. The law says you’re a citizen–a citizen with money you can’t spend, lands you don’t control, votes you can’t use. Did you ever try to vote, John?

JOHN

Oh, yes. Once I went to the polls. I had fulfilled all the requirements. But they are very clever–there is a joker. The laws also say that each voter must satisfy the voting official as to his ability to read and write. The voting official said to me, “Listen, Indian–you can’t satisfy me that you can read and write–and you never will.” That was as near as I ever got to voting.

(He speaks in a low voice.)

If this is anyone’s country, it’s my country. When the war came, I fought for it. Sometimes, over there, I wondered what I was fighting for. When I came back, I found out. I was fighting for the privilege of returning to a reservation, putting on a blanket, and living in a shack . . . They gave me medals. They gave twenty thousand of us medals. Now we can all go back to reservations, we can all sit in blankets, and wait for the next war. While we’re  waiting, we can pick up four bits any day, dancing for the tourists.

ALICE

John.

JOHN

I’m sorry . . . I don’t usually whine. This has been – quite a day.

ALICE

Did your plans go wrong?

JOHN

No–everything happened just as I expected. It’s just that, somehow I feel—Not long ago there was a picture in all the papers-­ perhaps you saw it. Three Indians, wearing all the expected Indian regalia–a self-appointed committee who were going to present their grievances to the United Nations. It was ludicrous, and it was pathetic–not because they had no just grievances-­ they could point to over 400 openly violated treaties–but be­ cause they were so obviously impotent, so weak, like babies crying for the moon. You’re only formidable when you carry a big stick.

ALICE

But John, you have a big stick here.

JOHN

Have I? I wonder. Today, headlines. Tomorrow, the back pages. In a week, a restraining injunction. In a month, the Indian Bureau takes over. Things drag on, somewhere a deal is made, and ten years from now, a one-inch box on page 37 of the New York Times– “Indian Claim settled by Compromise.” But the buildings will stand.

ALICE

John, if you know this now, you knew it before. What did you expect to happen?

JOHN

I don’t know. A miracle, I suppose. Forgive me–I’m very tired,

ALICE

I must go.

(They rise.)

JOHN

I’ll get you a taxi.

(They go up right.)

ALICE

No, my car is just across the street . . . But I’ll tell you what. I’ll buy you a drink at the hotel bar.

JOHN

I’d like that, but I’m afraid you can’t.

ALICE

Why not?

JOHN

Haven’t you heard? It’s very much against the law to buy liquor for an Indian.

ALICE

You’re joking!

JOHN

I wish I were.

(They look at each other, and simultaneously burst into laughter.)

ALICE

That’s too ridiculous . . . Well, will you settle for a cup of coffee?

JOHN

(Looking around with mock caution.)

I’ll settle for nothing less than a double scotch!

(They exit up right. There is a pause. Then the lights above the bank door, and on the corner up left, go out, and stage left is darkened. LUKE opens the door to the bank, and stands framed for a second in the light from within.)

LUKE

(In a hoarse whisper!)

Put out that light!

(The light goes out.)

Come on!

(Another man appears from bank, and they go quietly along bank wall and up to teepee. There is the flare of a match, and they move around behind the teepee. Each man carries a small gasoline can. teepee. CHARLIE appears from teepee.)

CHARLIE

Who’s there?

LUKE

(From behind teepee.)

Wait a minute!

(He comes around.)

Oh, it’s Charlie!

(Ingratiating.)

Hello, Charlie, how are you?

CHARLIE

What you doing here?

LUKE

Nothing . . . Just getting’ a little air. Hear you saw Mr. Colepaugh today. He said you and him got along just fine. That’s smart, Charlie, he can do you a lot of good. You stick to him, you won’t never have nothin’ more to worry about. All the money you want–all the fun you want–

CHARLIE

Yeh.

LUKE

Everything’s gonna be all right – and you and me gonna be real good friends, aint we?

(He holds out his hand.)

CHARLIE

Yeh. Good friends.

CHARLIE

(He comes to LUKE, and suddenly grabs him.)

What you up to?

LUKE

Nothin’, Charlie, not a thing!

(The red glow of a fire appears behind teepee.)

CHARLIE

(Seeing it.)

What’s that?

LUKE

That damn fool! I don’t know, Charlie, I don’t know what it is!

(CHARLIE is choking him)

Wait a minute–Charlie–no–wait–

(The other man comes down and hits CHARLIE from behind. CHARLIE releases LUKE and goes down.)

MAN

Let’s get out of here!

(He runs out through the alley up left. LUKE runs down to the door of the bank, and tries desperately to open it. CHARLIE rises and starts down after him.)

LUKE

(Turning and pulling his gun.)

Stay away from me! Stay away, I tell you!

(He shoots one shot. CHARLIE stops, wavers a moment, then keeps on coming. LUKE shoots three more shots in quick succession, gets the door open and goes in, shutting door behind him. At once the door of the church opens, and MARTIN and JOE run out.)

MARTIN

Charlie! What’s the matter?

CHARLIE

Get father–Margaret–

MARGARET comes out of teepee, followed by SIX KILLER. DAN runs in from up right. MARGARET, MARTIN, and JOE run around the teepee to fight the fire. DAN goes down to Charlie.)

DAN

Who was it? Who did it?

CHARLIE

He went in there!

DAN

Luke?

(He runs to bank door, and pounds on it .JOHN and ALICE run in from up right.)

JOHN

What is it? What happened?

DAN

It was that bastard Luke. I’ll turn in the alarm.

(He runs off up right.)

JOHN

Charlie, are you all right?

CHARLIE

Yeh–get that fire.

(JOHN goes around behind teepee.)

ALICE

(To Charlie.)

You’re hurt!

(MARTIN comes around from behind teepee.)

Father Martin! He’s been hit!

(MARTIN looks at Charlie’s shoulder.)

MARTIN

(To Alice.)

Get the hotel doctor.

CHARLIE

Don’t need no doctor.

MARTIN

(To Alice.)

Go ahead.

(She exits, up right.)

I think it’s just a flesh wound.

CHARLIE

It don’t hurt.

MARTIN

Charlie, who did this?

CHARLIE

That guy in the bank, Luke. And there was another man with him. I didn’t get a good look—

(JOHN, JOE and MARGARET come from behind teepee. The glow has died down.)

JOHN

We caught it just in time. Another minute—

JOE

They had gasoline, but they didn’t have time to use it.

JOHN

(Seeing Charlie.)

Charlie–what’s the matter?

MARTIN

He was hit in the shoulder.

(JOHN and JOE look at it.)

CHARLIE

Just nicked me.

JOE

Four shots, and that’s all the damage he did. You’re lucky.

CHARLIE

How’s the teepee?

JOHN

Burned some, but it’s not too bad. It could have been much worse.

SIX KILLER

(Sitting quietly on bench down right, in the light from the open church door.)

Yes . . . much worse . . .

MARGARET

Father!

(They all come down.)

JOHN

(Opening Six Killer’s shirt.)

He’s shot–

MARTIN

Don’t move him–the doctor will be here in a minute.

JOHN

Tell him to hurry–Joe–

JOE

Sure–I’ll tell him.

(He goes off up right.)

JOHN

Grandfather—

SIX KILLER

John–learn a lesson from this–teepees don’t stop bullets-­never did–

JOHN

Don’t try to talk–the doctor’s coming.

SIX KILLER

Doctors are for the living–Charlie-­

(CHARLIE comes to him.)

Are you all right?

CHARLIE

I’m all right.

SIX KILLER

You’re a good boy–remember that–a good boy.

MARGARET

Father! —

SIX KILLER

Stop your crying–I’m not dead yet.

;

.JOHN

You’re not going to die.

SIX KILLER

You think not—John–We will win?

JOHN

Yes.

SIX KILLER

You are sure.

JOHN

Nothing can stop us.

SIX KILLER

No . . . John . . . Mokokit–ki–ackamimat–

JOHN

Mokokit–ki–ackamimat.

(DAN comes in, is warned by a gesture from MARTIN, and comes down quietly.)

SIX KILLER

Father Martin—

MARTIN

Here I am

SIX KILLER

You are praying for me.

MARTIN

Yes.

SIX KILLER

(With a trace of his old fire.)

You think an Indian cannot pray?

MARTIN

Please—

SIX KILLER

This was our Sun Dance prayer, in the old days—

(He prays.)

Our Father, teach us the way of truth. Keep me and my family and my tribe in our True Father’s path, so we may be good in our minds and in our bodies. Teach all the little ones in your way. Make peace on all the world. We thank you for the sun and for the good summer weather again. We thank you—

(His voice fades out. He rouses for a moment.)

You like that prayer?

MARTIN

Yes.

SIX KILLER

I thought you would.

(His head sinks on his breast.)

CURTAIN

ACT THREE

The scene is the same. It is the next morning. Monday.

AT CURTAIN RISE, MARGARET and BILLY are packing equipment near the site of the teepee. The teepee cover is down, only the poles remain standing. The fountain is dry.

(BILLY enters from up right, with newspapers.)

BILLY

(Soberly.)

Here are the latest editions.

MARY

(Crossing to meet him.)

Let‘s see them.

(They go down right, near church steps.)

BILLY

It’s not on the front page.

MARY

No–this wouldn’t be . . . Here it is.

(They look at the paper quietly for a moment,)

It’s the same story . . . “Watchman Claims Self-Defense in Shooting of Indians . . . Aged Indian Not Expected to Live . . . “

(Then bend over the paper, sitting on church steps.)

(Two clerks enter from bank, and stand near doorway, smoking cigarettes.)

FIRST CLERK

This the place?

SECOND CLERK

Yeh, this is it . . . That old woman’s his daughter . . . Those are the kids.

(MARGARET and the children ignore them.)

FIRST CLERK

How’d it happen7

SECOND CLERK

Well, the way I get it, old Luke had come out in the park for a breath of fresh air, see? It was all dark and everybody was asleep, and he sees this blaze up where the tent was. Naturally he goes up to see about it, and this big Indian, Charlie, comes out and jumps him.

FIRST CLERK

Thought he did it, huh?

SECOND CLERK

How do I know what he thought? The Indian had already threatened Luke, according to this lawyer Colepaugh, Anyway, Luke manages to get away, runs down here to the bank, the Indian follows him, and Luke has to shoot him. Got him in the shoulder. One of the shots hit the old man.

FIRST CLERK

Kill him?

SECOND CLERK

Paper says “condition critical”, whatever that means. Well, let’s get back to work.

(They step on their cigarettes.)

FIRST CLERK

Boy, you never can tell about Indians, can you?

SECOND CLERK

Ah, they’re all alike–Indians, niggers, dagos, jews—

FIRST CLERK

(As they exit into bank.)

Say, you know what I heard? —–

MARY

(Reading paper down right with Billy.)

. . . “The son, Charlie Onehorse, slightly wounded in the shoulder, is being held for assault. “I’m sorry the accident occurred to the old man,” said the watchman Collins, but if I hadn’t shot I would have been murdered.”

(They throw down the paper, and take up another one.)

BILLY

If it’s an Indian–accident; if it’s a white man—murder!

MARY

(Looking in the second paper.)

Here it is . . . The same thing.

(They continue reading.)

(A MOTHER and TWO CHILDREN enter from up right.)

MOTHER

Now you stay right with me.

CHILD

Is that one of the Indians?

(Points at Margaret, who ignores them.)

MOTHER

Darling, it isn’t polite to point. . . Yes, that must be one of them.

(They go up to Margaret.)

I beg your pardon, Jimmie was so anxious to see a real Indian. He’s taking Indians this week at school . . . I wonder if it would be asking too much . . . Could we possibly have your autograph?

(She holds out autograph book. MARGARET looks at her without expression.)

CHILD

What’s the matter with her?

MOTHER

I don’t suppose she understands English, dear.

(Sees Mary and Billy, down right. Going down to them.)

I beg your pardon. Can you tell me where the–teepee, is it called?–where the teepee is?

BILLY

(Looking up.)

We took it down.

MOTHER

 Oh. Are you one of the—-

MARY

The teepee was damaged last night.

MOTHER

I see. Oh, dear, that’s too bad. I did so want to show it to the children!

(She starts to re-cross, JOHN enters from up right.)

How do you do? Are you one of the Indians?

(Extends her autograph book.)

I wonder if you would—

JOHN

(Going past her.)

Will you excuse me, please?

MOTHER

Well! You could at least be polite!

(She exits up right.)

MARGARET

(Coming to him quickly.)

John. How is he?

JOHN

Still unconscious . . . I couldn’t see him. They said to come back in a couple of hours.

MARY

Oh, John—

JOHN

Buck up, kid. Have you eaten?

MARY

No. Mother won’t leave, and we didn’t want to go without her.

JOHN

Take her across the street . . . Mother, go with Mary and get some food.

MARGARET

I want to see father,

(ALICE enters from up right.)

JOHN

After a while. You eat first, and then I’ll take you.

MARGARET

You mean that?

JOHN

Yes, I promise.

MARGARET

All right.

(She moves up right with children.)

JOHN

Billy–

(BILLY pauses.)

Look after them.

BILLY

I will, John.

(MARGARET, MARY and BILLY exit up right.)

JOHN

—Alice.

ALICE

(Coming down.)

Good morning, John. How is he?

JOHN

There’s no change . . .

ALICE

And Charlie? —

JOHN

Still in jail. Winters is down there, arranging bail. It seems that Charlie is a dangerous person . . . Listen to this—an editorial!

(Reads.)

“The spectacle of the Indians who were permitted to camp in a downtown park is a disgusting exhibition of poor judgment on the part of the present city administration. The Indians are not to blame, since they are ignorant savages from a reservation somewhere out in the west, who didn’t know they were mere pawns and human billboards for some brazen political advertising. At all events, these Indians should be shipped home and steps taken—“.

(He throws the paper down.)

Somebody evidently doesn’t like the mayor.

ALICE

(Looking at a paper.)

John!

(Reads.)

“It Isn’t Funny Any More. Some newspapers thought they had a humorous story Saturday when a band of Indians set up camp in downtown Indian Park. They don’t think it so funny today, when one of the Indians is in the hospital, and another in jail, after a drunken attack on a night watchman at the City Trust Company. Perhaps this will be a lesson—“

(Puts down the paper.)

John, that man Collins can’t get away with this! How about the other man? Didn’t Charlie say there were two of them?

JOHN

“What other man?” says Luke. “I was out, getting a breath of fresh air, when I saw the fire.” That’s1 all he says, and he sticks to it. You realize, if Charlie is convicted, they can put us out of here as public menaces.

ALICE

Oh, no! . . . John–you’ve taken the teepee down!

JOHN

Early this morning it was a target for a brick, probably thrown from the Mallory building. A very good shot — ripped out one whole panel. I decided the teepee had suffered enough damage.

ALICE

Were you in it?

JOHN

Oh, yes — very much in it.

ALICE

But John, it might have — what are you going to do?

JOHN

Stay here, of course. I may throw a few bricks myself!

ALICE

I knew you would.

JOHN

And I’m not doing so badly, by some standards. Miss Polly Pearson tells me I could make a hundred dollars “just like that,” by endorsing Mello . . . The mayor would like to give our whole family a job — campaigning for him — however he was careful to say “no warbonnets, no deal.” His honor may not be so anxious to hire us now. And Jimmy’s Burlecue on 49th would be delighted to offer us a two-week engagement—

ALICE

Please, John—

JOHN

Wait. The very select Association for the Advancement of Indian Art has invited me to address them. The subject? Indian Art. That is the accolade.

ALICE

(Quietly.)

John.

JOHN

Yes?

ALICE

For whatever it’s worth, I’m with you.

JOHN

I know you are

ALICE

I mean with you, John. All the way.

JOHN

That may be a long way.

ALICE

I hope it is.

(They look at each other. ALICE comes to him, and quietly kisses him.)

JOHN

You didn’t have to do that.

ALICE

Of course I didn’t. I wanted to.

JOHN

Alice — I don’t know what to tell you —

ALICE

Yes, you do– you just don’t want to hurt me.

JOHN

(Trying to soften the rebuff.)

You’re such a fine girl —

ALICE

(Hurt.)

Yes, I am, aren’t I? — one of the finest. I’m white, too.

JOHN

Alice, that never even occurred —

ALICE

(Contrite.)

I know it didn’t. I shouldn’t have said that -­ I’m sorry . . . A lady feels so ridiculous at a time like this. Well, John, now you know . . . Think it over– maybe you’ll get used to the idea.

JOHN

I hope I do.

ALICE

(Changing the subject)

Give me a cigarette.

(He gives her one.)

ALICE

Did you hear Mitchell’s broadcast this morning?

JOHN

No, I didn’t.

ALICE

It was mostly about you.

JOHN

Really? Good or bad?

ALICE

He was for you, John —

JOHN

That’s important- thousands of people listen to him. Lots of them will be on our side.

ALICE

We can use them .Right now our side is a very select group . . . a priest, a janitor, a magazine writer, a quite impractical policeman —

(MIRIAM WHITEHEAD appears up left.)

JOHN

–And for who knows what unfathomable motives, Miss Whitehead! Come in, Miss Whitehead.

WHITEHEAD

(Coming down.)

Well, still around?

JOHN

Yes, still around.

WHITEHEAD

Where are all the policemen?

JOHN

They don’t seem to be here any longer.

WHITEHEAD

What’s the matter with the fountain?

ALICE

It looks like it’s not running.

WHITEHEAD

Who are you?

JOHN

This is Miss Emerson.

WHITEHEAD

I heard about you . . . The one who works for the National Record?

ALICE

The one who did work for the Record.

WHITEHEAD

Fired you, eh?

JOHN

Alice — I didn’t know–

ALICE

It seems that someone knew someone who knew someone — you know how it is.

JOHN

I’m sorry –-

WHITEHEAD

Serves you right. Teach you to mind your own business.

(To John.)

Hear you’ve been burned out.

JOHN

Partly.

WHITEHEAD

How’s the old man?

JOHN

He’s very ill.

WHITEHEAD

Too bad. It was that man Collins. Colepaugh set him up to it.

JOHN

(Calmly)

Can you prove that?

WHITEHEAD

Of course not. He’s too smart– you’ll never prove a thing. What are you going to do now?

JOHN

Stay here.

WHITEHEAD

Not going home?

JOHN

No.

WHITEHEAD

You’re a fool.

ALICE

Miss Whitehead, would you mind getting the hell out of here?

WHITEHEAD

Yes, when I find out what I want to know.

(To John.)

I called Washington about you.

JOHN

(Moving away.)

Did you?

WHITEHEAD

Yes, I did. Talked to McIntyre himself. He said he knew all about you. Said you were a born trouble-maker.

JOHN

That’s right.

WHITEHEAD

Said you were a sore-head — said you were expelled from college. That true?

JOHN

Yes.

WHITEHEAD

I thought you graduated.

JOHN

I went to another college, where they weren’t so — particular.

WHITEHEAD

McIntyre said you were a jailbird. That so?

JOHN

If that’s the name for it, yes, I’ve been in jail.

WHITEHEAD

What for?

ALICE

 John — this woman has no right —

JOHN

— I had a fight with a white man.

ALICE

What about?

JOHN

It was a matter involving the right to vote. Do you want to know the details?

WHITEHEAD

No, I think I know enough.

(She goes up.)

JOHN

Miss Whitehead.

WHITEHEAD

(Stopping)

Well?

JOHN

Why did you come here?

WHITEHEAD

I wanted to be sure I hadn’t made a mistake.

JOHN

Are you satisfied now?

WHITEHEAD

Yes, I think so.

JOHN

All right, do something about it.

WHITEHEAD

(Hugely amused)

Do something about it! That’s very funny

(She exits up right)

ALICE

John, that woman’s crazy!

JOHN

Eccentric, my dear — anyone with her money and influence couldn’t be crazy . . .

ALICE

I don’t like the way she laughed. What’s so funny?

JOHN

I’m not quite sure . . . Alice, I’m sorry about your job.

ALICE

It’s no great loss, and don’t you worry about it. As a matter of fact, I have an appointment at — Good Lord, I’ve got ten minutes to make it!

(She goes up left)

JOHN Wait, I’ll go to the car with you,

(They start out.)

You have a new lead? Tell me about it.

ALICE

(As they go off up left.)

Well, I called Bolivar Johnson this morning, told him the whole story, and he told me to come and see him—

(They exit up left.)

(TWO MEN enter from up right, as JOHN and ALICE exit.)

FIRST MAN

–No it’s just like I was telling you . . . Here’s the layout—main entrance right there—

(The alley.)

Hat check here —

(Where the teepee was.)

In a wigwam, you get it? . . . You check your hats right in a wigwam . . . Rest rooms over behind the church . . . Stage for the floor show right here . . . Dig out a basement for dressing rooms . . . Dance Floor here . . . Tables there . . .

(Down left.)

Club Indian!

SECOND MAN

You kill me.

FIRST MAN

It’s a natural! Brother, you can make a million in this town if you know the angles. To think the Indians sold this little old island for 24 bucks.

SECOND MAN

For 24 bucks they can have it back.

FIRST MAN

All I need to swing this deal is a measly fifty grand. That’s where you come in.

SECOND MAN

That’s where I go out.

FIRST MAN

Now, wait a minute–

(MARY enters from up right.)

Listen, sister, we’re looking for a man named John Onehorse.

(MARY starts to pass, man grabs her arm.)

Well, what’s the matter with you? You heard me – where’s this guy Onehorse?

SECOND MAN

Ah, the dame’s deaf.

FIRST MAN

 When I talk to somebody I expect an answer. Now, listen you–

MARY

What do you want?

FIRST MAN

She talks! . . . Where’s this fellow Onehorse?

MARY

He’s not here. Will you go away, please?

FIRST MAN

Yeh, I’ll go away, when I get damned good and ready. . . . Wait a minute. —You one of this gang?

MARY

Yes. Will you please leave me alone?

FIRST MAN

 Well! Look at this! Say, how’d you like to be a hat-check girl! Come to think of it, I might be able to get you something better to do–

MARY

Get out of here!

(She starts to go, and he holds her.)

FIRST MAN

Now just a minute, baby, you don’t have to get sore—

(JOHN enters from up left.)

JOHN

(To Mary.)

What’s the matter?

MARY

Mikastook-akasitak.

JOHN

(To them.)

Get out.

FIRST MAN

You John Onehorse? Murillo’s the name . . . got a proposition for you–a good deal–

JOHN

You heard me. Get out.

(WINTERS and GROPER enter from up right.)

MURILLO

(Belligerently.)

Say, listen, brother—

SECOND MAN

(Nudging Murillo.)

Get smart, Murillo. You tired of living?

MURILLO

He can’t talk to me like that-­

(Reacts to John.)

Okay, okay, I’m going!

(They go left.)

—If that guy don’t know a good thing when he sees one . . . Ah, what can you expect from a bunch of ignorant–­

(They exit left.)

GROPER

Well, Onehorse, you seem to be having a busy morning.

JOHN

Just a minute–What is it, Mary?

MARY

John, she won’t touch a thing . . . She just sits there.

JOHN

Stay with her, Mary–if I’m not over there in–fifteen minutes, bring her back over here.

MARY

(Going up right.)

All right, John.

(She exits up right.)

JOHN

Well, Mr. Winters, I’ve been expecting to see you–but hardly in the company of Mr. Groper.

GROPER

(Easily.)

Just by chance, Onehorse—we were both coming in at the same time.

JOHN

I see.

WINTERS

I was shocked to hear about your grandfather, John. You have my deepest sympathy.

JOHN

Thank you. What were you able to do about Charlie?

WINTERS

Not very much, I’m afraid. They’ve set the bail rather high. As a matter of fact, it might be better, under the circumstances—

JOHN

I want him out.

WINTERS

Then I’m afraid you’ll have to raise ten thousand cash. None of the bondsmen will touch it.

JOHN

Ten thousand! That’s ridiculous!

WINTERS

Attempting to break into a bank is a serious business.

JOHN

Break into—Oh, so that’s it.

WINTERS

Yes, that’s the charge, I’m sorry to say.

JOHN

What’s to be done?

WINTERS

Well, I–really don’t know. I’ll have very little time during the next week. I–you must remember, John, I have other interests besides your own.

JOHN

Yes . . . Is Groper one of them?

GROPER

(Enjoying all this.)

Now why should you say a thing like that? I came here on a perfectly legitimate errand.

JOHN

All right, speak up.

GROPER

(Suddenly hard.)

Yes, I’ll speak up. I’ve just been investigating this so-called claim of yours. Onehorse, you have no claim.

JOHN

What do you mean?

GROPER

Just what I say. These buildings are not built on Indian property, because this isn’t Indian property. This park was sold to the city, quite legally, in a later treaty made about a hundred years ago.

JOHN

That’s a lie. There was no later treaty.

GROPER

We have the document to prove it.

JOHN

If you have, you forged it. I checked every foot of this land from the beginning to the present. There is no record of a later treaty.

GROPER

(With relish.)

You just didn’t look in the right places.

JOHN

You’ll never get away with this.

GROPER

Oh, I don’t know, Onehorse–I’ve gotten away with worse. Anyway, let’s see you try to stop us.

(He crosses to bank, opening door with key.)

WINTERS

John, this thing has made me look at the matter in a somewhat different light. Now make no mistake about it, I’m very much in sympathy with your feelings. But there are a number of things—

JOHN

Come out with it.

WINTERS

All right. John, you’ll have to get someone else. To tell you the truth, it’s too hot for me to handle. Look at it my way-­I have to make a living in this town, and I just can’t afford to make the wrong kind of enemies. I hope you see my position.

JOHN

I see it very well. You brought the papers with you?

WINTERS

Papers?

JOHN

Among other things, the copies of the original treaty and map, the signatures, the surveyors’ report. If you’re not going to handle this case, obviously someone else must.

WINTERS

I’m afraid, Onehorse, that gives rise to certain difficulties—

JOHN

For instance.

WINTERS

I’m not in a position just now to turn anything over to you.

JOHN

Why not?

WINTERS

As a matter of fact, everything has been taken out of my hands–­ You see, I didn’t feel I could reasonably refuse Mr. Howe’s request.

JOHN

What request? You mean you gave Montague Howe—

WINTERS

(Glibly.)

He was extremely insistent, and he certainly seemed to know his rights. After all, John, you are an Indian. You must remember this whole affair has placed me in a very unpleasant position. Naturally, it’s not my custom to handle a client’s affairs in such an irregular fashion–but on the other hand—

JOHN

(Quietly.)

You bastard.

WINTERS

I beg your pardon?

JOHN

Get out of here. There was never any doubt where Groper and Colepaugh stood but you—

WINTERS

I see no reason for such language. You can at least act civilized. —

JOHN

Get out of here before I crack your skull.

WINTERS

(Crossing left.)

Certainly, if that’s the way you feel about it—

GROPER

(In fine fettle.)

Onehorse! When do you plan to move the buildings? Be sure to let me know–I want to be around to see it.

(Suddenly vicious.)

There’s only one thing going to move around here–you’re going to move–today–and I wouldn’t miss it for a million dollars!

(GROPER and WINTERS exit into bank. JOHN pauses at center for a moment, goes right, picks up a paper, and slowly crumples it. This is his low point. Then from off left, singing voices are heard. The song grows in volume, and DAN, JOE and CHARLIE enter, arm in arm, singing a lugubrious Indian Chant. DAN is in plainclothes, CHARLIE has his arm in a sling.)

DAN

(A little tight.)

Ah, John, my boy, it’s good to see you! Perhaps you noticed the little ditty we were singing–an Indian song, my lad, as who should know better than you, entitled–by the name of–called–

JOE

(Sings.)

“The White man killed our buffalo, so—Every white man is our buffalo.”

DAN

Thank you, Joe. You’re in good voice.

(Confidentially.)

‘Tis not a song to be sung in mixed company!

JOHN

(To Charlie.)

How did you get out?

CHARLIE

On bail.

JOHN

Who paid it?

CHARLIE

I don’t know–some woman.

JOHN

I wonder—what was her name?

CHARLIE

White–White something.

JOE

 Miss Whitehead went bail, John.

JOHN

Whitehead!  long ago?

JOE

Oh, an hour or so.

JOHN

Then when she came here, she must have already . . . I knew it! It had to be that way! . . . Miss Whitehead, thank you very much!

DAN

Well, John, my boy, here we are, ready to help! Three good men—a black man, a red man, and a white man—if there’s any other color, step up!

CHARLIE

(Anxiously.)

I haven’t been drinking, John!

DAN

That is correct—a most abstemious man. To Jerry’s I take them— “What’ll it be?” I say, “These are friends of mine, so give them the best.” “Bourbon,” says Joe, speaking up like the true gentleman he is, while Charlie, I blush to say, says “Make mine water”.

CHARLIE

Not a drop, not since day before yesterday. Not even when that man asked me.

JOHN

Who?

JOE

Mr. Winters.

CHARLIE

He was down at the jail, and said he was sorry to hear about Six Killer. Then he said, “Well, I guess now you’ll be the boss in your family.”

JOHN

(In a low voice.)

What did you say?

CHARLIE

Why, I just said, no, John’s the boss in my family, and that suits me.

JOHN

Thank you.

CHARLIE

What for? It’s so — ain’t it? And then he asked me to have a drink with him but I didn’t take it, John, no sir, I said to him, “not me”–

DAN

(Breaking in.)

John, my friend, we’ve come to help you! Where do we begin?

JOHN

Why are you wearing plain clothes? Are you off duty?

DAN

For thirty days! Owing to a happy accident in which I so far forgot myself as to tap Luke over the head with a shillalah.

JOHN

We’re going to do more than tap him over the head! Joe, what did you find out? Was I right?

JOE

It worked out just the way you said – they’re checking on it now!

JOHN

How soon will we know?

DAN

What is all this?

JOHN

Dan, I haven’t had time to tell you . . When they carne here last night, they had two cans of gasoline — and they didn’t have a chance to use them. They left the cans. That was very careless of them.

DAN

Ah, cans, is it? From little cans do giant oak trees grow!

JOHN

Exactly. Joe, I want you to —

(MARY, MARGARET and BILLY enter from up right.)

Mary, we’re on the track of something

MARGARET

Now I want to see father.

JOHN

In a little while, mother.

MARGARET

I want to see him now.

MARY

She’s been like this– she wouldn’t eat a thing.

MARGARET

You promised me.

JOHN

All right, we’ll go over there now– but they may not let us see him.

(To the others.)

I’ll be back as soon as I can —

(As they turn to go, MARTIN enters from up right,)

Oh, father — we were just leaving for the hospital.

MARTIN

Good. I just came from there.

MARGARET

(Going to him.)

Did you see him? How is he?

MARTIN

(Gently)

I saw him. I talked to him. He’s very weak– but he’s going to be all right.

(To John.)

He’s not young, John, and it’s too soon to be certain, but the prognosis is fair. Your grandfather is a fighter.

MARGARET

Let me go to him.

JOHN

Of course – I’ll take you now.

MARTIN

John — he wants you to stay here. He said, “Tell him to stay and fight.” He sent you this, and a message.

(Hands John a medal.)

JOHN

(Taking it.)

I haven’t seen this in years.

JOE

What is it?

MARGARET

I will tell you. For the good of his people, he signed a treaty with the white man. The Blackfeet were given land — their own land — it would be theirs, said the treaty —

“For as long as the grass shall grow.” It was signed by the President of the United States. Three years later they were moved — the land was too good for Indians. They signed another treaty — “for as long as the grass shall grow.” They were moved five times. At last they had land even the white man didn’t want. You could walk across it on the rocks, and never touch your foot to the soil. They lived there. One day a man brought a medal — for my father, from the white commissioner.

JOE

(Reading medal.)

“To Six Killer Onehorse.”

JOHN

Almost pure silver. They were made up by the hundreds. It’s a very handy thing to have — you can trade it for a meal any place in the west.

JOE

“For meritorious service.”

MARGARET

(Moving up.)

Show me the way.

MARY

I’ll go with her, John.

JOHN

Yes . . . Billy, you stay, I’ll need you . . .  Father Martin, would you take them over?

MARTIN

Of course —

JOHN

Wait — you said there was a message?

MARTIN

Oh. I wrote it down just as he said it —

(Hands message to John.)

— It’s in my best phonetic script —

JOHN

(Reading.)

Mo-ko-kit-ki-ack-amimat . . . Of course — Mokokit-ki-ackamimat–

MARTIN

He said that here, last night. What does it mean?

JOHN

It’s a little hard to translate — what would you say, Billy?

BILLY

(Saying it to himself.)

Mokokit-ki-ackamimat . . . “Get tough and don’t give up!”

JOHN

That’s it.

DAN

“Get tough and don’t give up.” That I like.”

JOE

That’s just what we’re going to do, Mrs. Onehorse.

MARGARET

I have seen priests, writers, men of law, friends of the Indians — I have seen all of them before. They have come and gone. You may be different. We will see.

(She exits, followed by MARY and MARTIN.)

JOE

(Softly.)

We will see.

(There is a short pause.)

JOHN

(Briskly.)

All right, Joe, how far have we gotten? What did you find out?

JOE

John, you were right. The one thing we had to go on were these cans—here on the spot and full of gasoline, they were presumptive evidence of guilt.

DAN

Presumptive evidence of guilt! Isn’t it marvelous what a man can learn in night law school?

JOHN

Let him talk, Dan.

JOE

So I had them take the cans to headquarters. I didn’t touch them myself, I let them handle it. .Just as you thought, the fingerprints of Luke Collins were on one can–they couldn’t identify the prints on the other one. So they talked to Collins.

JOHN

Well?

JOE

(Putting on a good show.)

“Why the gasoline, Luke,” they asked him. “What gasoline?” says Luke, but they pinned him down. “Who was your friend, Luke?” they said. “What friend,” says Luke—

DAN

–As well he might!

JOE

It was a matter of minutes to check his friends—

DAN

A very few he has, you may be sure—

JOE

And they find a man named Willy Schultz.

DAN

I know him! A nasty, unworthy character, and fit candidate for a cell!

JOHN

And. now what?

JOE

They’re working on Willy right this minute.

DAN

Ah, I should be there!

JOHN

Joe, that’s fine! Do you think they know anything more by now?

JOE

(Going up left.)

I’ll find out soon enough. There’s a phone across the street.

DAN

(Following him.)

Wait for me! You can always use a little expert advice! John, if a good fight develops, keep it going till I get back!

(JOE and DAN exit up left.)

CHARLIE

John.

JOHN

Yes, Charlie.

CHARLIE

What can I do?

JOHN

I think you did your share last night.

CHARLIE

No–there was nothing to that. John—Colepaugh gave me some money. I didn’t have no business taking it. Here–I didn’t use it–not a bit of it.

(He proffers the money.)

JOHN

It doesn’t matter.

CHARLIE

No, take it.

(John takes the money.)

Now I feel better. John, I want to do something—I want to put the teepee up.

JOHN

But Charlie—it’s in pretty bad shape.

BILLY

John, let’s put it back. They can burn it up, they can rip it to pieces! We’ll tell Wolf Head why we did it. He’ll understand.

JOHN

I think he will. Come here.

(BILLY comes to him. JOHN puts his arms around their shoulders.)

Win or lose, right this minute I feel pretty good. Let’s put up the teepee!

(They start up, as COLEPAUGH enters from up right. He has a black eye. CHARLIE and BILLY go on up left and start unpacking the teepee. JOHN crosses to meet COLEPAUGH.)

Mr. Colepaugh! Come in . . . How is the eye today?

COLEPAUGH

Never mind my eye. Has Groper been here?

JOHN

He just left.

COLEPAUGH

He told you about the new treaty?

JOHN

He told me.

COLEPAUGH

 All right. I may as well warn you, Onehorse, you have an hour to get out of here.

JOHN

An hour. No more, no less?

COLEPAUGH

If you1 re not out by then, I’ll have you thrown out. You understand?

JOHN

Perfectly.

(COLEPAUGH crosses to bank door.)

Mr. Colepaugh. This treaty–it was made about a century ago?

COLEPAUGH

Yes.

JOHN

And you discovered it only last night?

COLEPAUGH

That’s correct.

JOHN

I should like to see it.

COLEPAUGH

You’ll see it when the time comes.

JOHN

You mean the ink isn’t quite dry?

COLEPAUGH

I fail to appreciate the joke. One hour, Onehorse. And you can be thankful to get off as easily as you have. If it weren’t for the old man in the hospital—

(DAN and JOE enter from up left.)

JOHN

I don’t need you to remind me of my grandfather!

COLEPAUGH

Sorry that accident had to happen—

JOE

(Coming down.)

And well you may be, Mr. Colepaugh, for if he dies a little matter of arson will turn into a little matter of murder.

COLEPAUGH

Murder?

JOE

How could you be such a fool? To use Luke as a tool—you should have known he would blunder somehow .And to let him hire an accomplice–that was worse than stupid.

COLEPAUGH

Accomplice! I never—

JOE

He didn’t tell you? Willy Schultz, Mr. Colepaugh–not a very clever young man,

(To John.)

Willy talked, and when he talked, Luke talked.

COLEPAUGH

What has that to do with me?

JOE

They implicate you, Colepaugh.

DAN

Sworn and signed affidavits to that effect.

COLEPAUGH

That’s ridiculous! I know nothing about it.

JOHN

No? You’re a lawyer–you know that accidentally killing a man while committing a felony is murder–and that you’re as guilty as Luke! And we’ll prove it! If my grandfather dies—

DAN

Have you ever seen the death house, Mr. Colepaugh?

COLEPAUGH

(Suddenly.)

Where’s Groper?

JOHN

So Groper had a hand in it!

COLEPAUGH

Now listen to me, I didn’t have anything to do with this—it was all Groper’s idea–that crazy Luke–all I said to him was–­ I don’t know anything about it–Groper started all this—

(GROPER comes hurriedly out of bank.)

GROPER

They said I’d find Colepaugh—Oh—I called your office. I want to see you–something’s come up!

COLEPAUGH

I’ll say something’s come up! Did you think you could leave me holding the bag? Oh, no–it was your idea and you’re in it as deep as I am. Burning out Indians is one thing, but murder is another —

GROPER

Shut up, you fool! Murder! What are you talking about?

COLEPAUGH

If that old man dies—

GROPER

Six Killer? Why, you confounded ass, he’s probably sitting up in bed drinking a bowl of soup. What made you think he was dead?

COLEPAUGH

I never said he was dead.

GROPER

(Angrily.)

What are you up to? You trying to drag me into something?

JOHN

Up to your neck.

GROPER

(To John.)

I don’t know what this fool’s been telling you, but you’re not going to pin anything on me—

(MIRIAM WHITEHEAD and a MAN enter. The man is yet another lawyer, her lawyer, a MR. BRECKENRIDGE. He tags along behind her.)

WHITEHEAD

Still here, eh?

JOHN

Miss Whitehead, I want to thank you—

WHITEHEAD

Never mind that, young man. Don’t get it into your head that I like Indians, because I don’t. I don’t like anybody–and some people less than others,

(Indicating lawyers.)

What are they: doing here?

JOHN

Sweating.

WHITEHEAD

(Proudly, looking at Colepaugh.)

Look at that eye. I did that.

(Her own lawyer has been tagging her around, writing on a pad.)

Don’t mind him. He’s my lawyer. I hate him.

(To her lawyer.)

Are they ready to sign? The name is Onehorse.

LAWYER

Onehorse . . . Is that one word or two?

WHITEHEAD

One word, you imbecile!

(To John.)

How’s your grandfather?

JOHN

Holding his own.

WHITEHEAD

The only good one in the bunch. They don’t make them like him any more. Are you a full-blooded Indian?

JOHN

I don’t know. Are you a full-blooded White?

WHTEHEAD

My ancestors came over on the Mayflower. Of course, I don’t know what they did after they got here.

JOHN

The Mayflower. The Indians made one big mistake. They let the Mayflower land.

WHITEHEAD

Don’t be clever, young man!

JOHN

I can’t take credit for that remark .Another Indian said it-­ a Cherokee–a man named Will Rogers.

(ALICE enters from up left with MONTAGUE HOWE in tow. HOWE carries a briefcase.)

ALICE

Look what I picked up in the alley!

JOHN

Won’t you join us, Mr. Howe?

HOWE

Oh, Mr. Onehorse, I’m so glad you’re here? Mr. McIntyre said if you weren’t I was fired!

JOHN

I’d hate to think of your losing your job.

HOWE

Thank you. I just flew back from Washington. Here are your papers–

(Gives brief-case to John.)

It was a terrible mistake.

JOHN

(To Whitehead.)

I don’t suppose you had anything to do with this.

WHITEHEAD

Who, me?

JOHN

Mr. Howe, this is so sudden.

HOWE

I assure you, Mr. Onehorse, the Bureau has only your interests at heart. I admit I made an unfortunate error, but we’ll forget that, won’t we? And I have some good news–Mr. McIntyre said to tell you your case would be before the court of claims within a month–and we won’t settle for less than what you ask.

ALICE

There’s your miracle!

JOHN

No, Alice, no miracle. Very neat, very timely, wonderful news–but no miracle.

(To Howe.)

McIntyre sent that message?

HOWE

Yes, he did.

JOHN

Did Miss Wh1tehead call him this morning?

HOWE

I–I think she did.

JOHN

Did McIntyre hear Mitchell this morning?

HOWE

Mitchell’s broadcast? Oh yes, he never misses it.

JOHN

Mr. Howe, I wonder if Senator Carter from Oklahoma called on McIntyre this morning1

HOWE

Yes, he did! How did you know?

JOHN

He’s been waiting for a chance like this. The Bureau was pretty busy this morning, wasn’t it?

HOWE

Oh my, yes! People in and out, messages, phone calls–it was terrible! Usually it’s so quiet and restful there–

JOHN

No miracle . . . Mr. McIntyre is a very clever man. He has a good job and he wants to keep it. He rides with the tide–and the tide is turning.

COLEPAUGH

I know nothing about a tide–I do know that your accusations against me are preposterous.

JOHN

Oh–you’ve been thinking it over.

COLEPAUGH

I have. It’s the word of that stupid Collins against my own, and I think I know what the outcome of any court action would be.

JOHN

All right, Colepaugh, you may get out of this. But how long do you think your luck will last? The good old days are almost over, gentlemen, almost over. The old reliable methods-­ the broken promises, the unfair pressures, the shady practices, the open swindles, the burnings and killings—they were good while they lasted, but they won’t be good much longer. You’ll have to learn some new tricks, because the underdog is getting smarter every day. It’s harder to cheat him, harder to lynch him, harder to keep him in his place. Learn some new tricks, gentlemen, or we’ll beat you!

(Taking in the group.)

And we’re no longer alone–we have help now. The people on the sidelines, the people who sleep peacefully at night, the people who never thought about it before–they’re thinking about it now. And they’ve made a great discovery—if we win–we six funny little Indians–if we win, all men of good will, win; if we lose, all men of good will, lose. And so they’re beginning to stir—the little people start to work and fight, the people with money and influence use their power—and slowly, surely, little by little, the tide begins to turn.

(Pause.)

Now, I believe you said something about a later treaty.

HOWE

What treaty?

JOHN

(To Colepaugh.)

Why don’t you tell him?

COLEPAUGH

I certainly will. We happen to have found a treaty which was made about a hundred years ago, and will clearly prove—

GROPER

Shut up, Colepaugh.

COLEPAUGH

What?

GROPER

I said shut up. Haven’t you caught on yet? Onehorse, there seems to have been a mistake.

JOHN

Then you don’t have the document?

COLEPAUGH

Of course we have it! We have it right–­

(He reaches in his pocket.)

GROPER

Will you keep quiet! No, we do not have it. We were only told about it. The party who told us later discovered it was not authentic, so obviously—

JOHN

That’s too bad. I was hoping you’d try to bluff it through. I looked forward to sending you up the river.

GROPER

Better luck next time.

(At bank door)

I’ll be seeing you, Onehorse.

JOHN

More and more as time goes on.

GROPER

That’s what I’m afraid of.

(He exits into bank.)

COLEPAUGH

Mr. Onehorse–I wonder if I might have a word with you–in private.

JOHN

No

COLEPAUGH

It’s in your own interest.

DAN

Whenever a lawyer tells me that I duck.

JOHN

You have nothing to say to me.

COLEPAUGH

(Turning away.)

To think that six wretched Indians—

JOE

(Coming to him.)

Do you still think you’re fighting Indians? Do you still think it’s a matter of moving these ridiculous buildings? If you do, you’re even stupider than I thought—

WHITEHEAD

Colepaugh, you were born a fool, and you’ll die a fool. You’ve gone the way of the dodo, man, and the sooner you realize it–­

(WHITEHEAD’s lawyer coughs apologetically and comes down.)

Well, what do you want?

LAWYER

Ah–now?

WHITEHEAD

All right, now.

(Goes up right. To John.)

And don’t thank me! I detest grateful people!

(She exits.)

LAWYER

(Coming to John.)

Mr. Onehorse.

JOHN

Yes?

LAWYER

I am Mr. Breckenridge–Miss Whitehead’s lawyer. She has instructed me to give you this check.

(Hands check to John.)

I am also instructed to say–er—“Give them hell.” Also—

(He consults his notes.)

I am told to ask you–It is true, I believe, that you were once arrested for–er–fighting?

JOHN

Yes.

LAWYER

I am instructed to ask you if, by any chance, your opponent was a lawyer?

JOHN

As it happens, he was.

LAWYER

In that case, I am to take back the check–­

(Does so.)

And give you one for twice the amount.

(Does so.)

(A POSTMAN comes in from up left.)

POSTMAN

You John Onehorse? Got some mail for you–­

(Hands him a thick packet.)

First class.

(Indicates bundle he is carrying.)

Second class.

(Indicates HELPER carrying heavy load.)

Third class.

(Indicates the alley.)

Fourth class in the alley. I hate Mondays!

ALICE

You had to give them a little time, John–you just got here Saturday!

JOE

We may not win, but they’ll know they’ve had a fight!

DAN

(Standing on a pile of luggage at the corner of the Mallory Building.)

Ah, Joe, I’m not a betting man, but three to one says we will knock this building down! After all, what is it but a pile of bricks?

(He strikes the building. A brick comes loose. He holds it in his hand.)

Well, what do you know?

(The fountain comes up, full force.)

CURTAIN

THIRD CURTAIN CALL:  A wrecking crew (the stage crew) are “tearing” the buildings down, equipped with sledges, crowbars, a pneumatic drill, etc.

ABOUT THIS PLAY

I hope you liked this and will pass it on. I further hope that some people will want to try to actually perform it on stage. I particularly would like to see it put on outdoors in a small park in a big city overshadowed by tall buildings with the Onehorse family played by Native American actors. It would be great if Sundance or someone scripted it as a film; it would take only the one setting, no special effects, and little change in the dialogue.

If at least some of the proceeds went to American Indian protest movements, it would be magnificent — but maybe that’s too much to expect. Anyway I can always hope.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Earle Reynolds (1910-1998) always had an interest in people, groups and cultures. Born to a Jewish father and a Roman Catholic mother, both of whom performed as trapeze artists in a small traveling circus, his first friends were “the bearded lady, the man with no arms and the Wild Man of Borneo.” He spent the rest of his childhood in Vicksburg, Mississippi where his friends were both black and white. Between 1936-51, he married Barbara Leonard, fathered three children, earned a doctorate in physical anthropology from the University of Wisconsin, wrote and produced plays in Yellow Springs, Ohio-(Solitude, No Pace for a Lady, Americana, Bite the Dust, I Weep for You)-and began to design a yacht in which he and his family would later sail around the world. For more information about Reynolds, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earle_L._Reynolds.

Mokokit-ki-ackamimat