Bill: Richard Gere
Abby: Brooke Adams
The Farmer: Sam Shephard
Linda: Linda Manz
The Farm Foreman: Robert Wilke
Plot Summary: (Setting 1905-1907)
Bill, his sister Linda and his girlfriend Abby leave Chicago for the panhandle of Texas. There they work as
harvesters in the wheatfields of a wealthy farmer. The farmer is sick, and the doctor tells him he has only a year to live.
the beauty of Abby, the farmer asks her to marry him. Bill urges her to do so.
"We're all going to be
gone in a couple of years. Who's going to care that we acted perfect?" he asks. Bill and Abby plan to marry each other
after the farmer dies. So the other harvesters leave and Abby marries the farmer. Now she, her "brother"
and her "sister" live luxurious lives. But the farmer dislikes Bill and Bill senses Abby has fallen in love with the farmer.
When the farmer suspects that Bill has been more than a brother, Bill leaves with a flying circus.
day Bill returns, but only to tell Abby he has forgiven her. He gets ready to
leave again, but the farmer
sees Abby bid Bill goodbye so tenderly as to confirm all his suspicions. On that very day, a swarm of locusts invades
the farm. As they fight the insects with smoke and fire far into the night, the farmer sees Bill helping. His rage breaks
out, and he starts to fight with Bill. A lantern is hurled into the dry wheat, a burning wagon rolls across the fields,
and fire spreads out of control. Helpers and harvesters run, leaving the fire to burn itself out.
night, the farmer accuses his wife of lying, and the next morning he hunts for
Bill with a gun. In self defense,
Bill kills the farmer. Bill, Abby and Linda are afraid and run before anyone can catch them.
"There never was a perfect person around. You just got half-devil and half-angel in you," says Linda laconically.
the farmer's foreman follows with the police, and Bill is caught and shot. At
a loss, the girls separate.
Abby places Linda in a school and goes off on a train full of soldiers. Linda runs away from school with an old friend, a
fellow harvester. As the film closes, we see the two wilding off down the railroad tracks, headed nowhere--or anywhere.
Me and my brother. It just used to be me and my brother. We used to do things together. We used to go out on
the streets. There was suffering and pain and hunger. Some people, their tongues were hanging out of their mouth.
He used to juggle apples. He used to amuse us, entertain us. In fact all three of us been going places, looking for
things, searching for things, going on adventures. They told everybody they were brother and sister.
My brother didn't want nobody to know. You know how people are... you tell them something, they start talking.
met this guy named Ding Dong. He told me the whole earth is going up in flames.
Flames will come out of
here and there and they'll just rise up. The mountains are going to go up in big flames, the water's going to
rise in big flames. There's going to be creatures running every which way, some of them burnt, half their
wings burning. People are going to be screaming and hollering for help. The people that have been good,
they're going to go to heaven and escape all that fire. But if you been bad, God don't even hear you, he don't
even hear you talking.
farmer, he didn't know when he first saw her, or what it was about her that caught
his eye. Maybe it was
the way the wind blew through her hair. He knew he was going to die. He knew there was nothing that could be done.
You only live on this earth once. And to my opinion as long as you're around you should have it nice.
the time the sun went up until it went down, they were working all the time. Non-stop,
just keep going.
You didn't work, they'd ship you right out of there. They don't need you--they can always get somebody else.
farmer, he had a big spread and a lot of money. Whoever was sitting in the chair
when he'd come around,
why they'd stand up and give it to him. Wasn't no harm in him. You'd give him a flower, he'd keep it forever.
He was headed for the barnyard any minute, but he wasn't going around squawking about it, like some people.
In one way I felt sorry for him, cause he had nobody to stand out for him, be by his side, hold his hand when he
needed attention or something. That's touching.
was tired of living like the rest of them, nosing around like a pig in the gutter.
He wasn't in the mood no
more. He figured there must be something wrong with them, the way they always got no luck, and they
ought to get it straightened out. He figured some people need more than they got; other people got more than they
need. Just a matter of getting us all together.
been thinking what to do with my future. I could be a mud doctor, checking out
the earth, underneath.
First "Key" Conversation:
Never though he'd have the guts. Who'd know but you and me?
That's all that matters, isn't it?
You talk like it was all right.
He'll never have a chance to enjoy his money anyway.
What makes you think we're talking about just a couple of months?
Bill: Look the man's got one foot on a banana peel, the other on a roller skate.
We'll all be gone in a couple of years. Who's going to care that we acted perfect?
I held out a long time. I had rich men pay me compliments. Have I ever said anything
that would make you think...
You don't have to. I hate it, to see you stooped over out there, them looking
at your ass
like you're a whore. Hate it.
Linda's Narration, Continued
never been this rich, all right? I mean, we were just all of a sudden living like
kings. Just nothing to do all day but
crack jokes, lay around. We didn't have to work. I'm telling you the rich got it figured out.
got to like this farm. Do anything I like. Roll in the field, talk to the wheat
patches. When I was sleeping they'd
talk to me. They'd go in my dreams. Nobody sent us letters, we didn't receive no cards. Sometimes I feel very old.
Like my whole life's over. Like I'm not around no more.
of getting sicker, he just stayed the same. He didn't get sicker, he didn't get
better. They were kindhearted.
They thought he was going out on his own steam. I don't know, the doc must have come over or something and
gave him something. Probably some kind of medicine or something. I could have just took it, put it in the ditch.
Like they do to a horse, they shoot him right away.
when things were about to blow, this flying circus came in. After six months on
this wheat patch, I needed
a breath of fresh air. They were screaming and yelling and bopping each other. He, the big one, pushed the little
one and say come on, I started it, you stop. The little one started it... and if they couldn't think of a good one to
come back with, they'd start fighting. Little one said "no I didn't do this," the big one said, "yes you did do this"
--you couldn't sort it out.
devil just sitting there laughing. He's glad when people does bad. Then he sends
them to the snake house.
He just sits there and laughs and watches while you're sitting there all tied up in snakes and eating your eyes out.
They go down your throat and eat all your systems out. I think the devil was on the farm.
He seen how it all was. She loves the farmer.
taught me keys on the piano and notes. He taught me about the parts of the globe.
You didn't do nothing to me. I didn't know what I had with you. I think about
The things I said to you, how I pushed you into this. Got nobody to blame but myself.
I've got to get going before it gets too late.
Linda's Narration, Continued
Nobody's perfect. There was never a perfect person around. You just got half-devil and half-angel in you.
promised herself she'd live a good life from now on. She blamed it all on herself.
She didn't care if she
was happy or not. She just wanted to make up for what she did wrong.
sun looks ghostly when there's a mist on the river and everything's quiet. I never
knowed it before.
And you could see people on the shore, but it was far off and you couldn't see what they were doing. They were
probably calling for help or something, or they were trying to bury somebody or something. We seen trees that the
leaves are shaking and it looks like shadows of guys coming at you and stuff. We heard owls squawking away,
hooting away. We didn't know where we were going, what we were going to do. I've never been on a boat before.
That was the first time. Some sights that I saw was really spooky, that it gave me goosebumps. I felt like cold hands
touching the back of my neck. And it could have been the dead coming for or something. I remember this guy,
his name was Black Jack. He died. He only had one leg, and he died. And I think that was Black Jack, making
girl, she didn't know where she was going, or what she was going to do. She didn't
have no money on her.
Maybe she'd meet up with a character. I was hoping things would work out for her, she was a good friend of mine.