Teddy, Gregor, Lincoln, and two other COWBOYS lead a herd of cattle through the town of Medora.  As the pass the small newspaper office of THE BAD LANDS REGISTER, Teddy turns to Gregor.

                                I'm going to pick up a newspaper, I'll
                                be along shortly.

Gregor nods.  Teddy veers off toward the newspaper office.


Teddy enters the newspaper office and finds the Marquis standing there.

                                So, Marquis, we meet again.

The Marquis looks at Teddy, unable to place him.

                                How do I know you?

                                You came to my home in New York trying
                                to raise capital for your cattle business.

                                                           (remembers distastefully)
                                Ah, yes, Rosenfeld.


                                You turned me down.  Now you see I knew
                                of what I spoke.

                                I never doubted you.  I've begun my own
                                ranch just south of here.  The Maltese

The Marquis waves his hand.

                                There is only one person in the cattle business
                                in the Bad Lands - the Marquis de Mores -
                                me.  You and the others are of no consequence.
                                Just don't get in my way, I warn you.

At which point the door opens and in steps the young and beautiful MEDORA, the Marquise de Mores.  When she sees Teddy her eyes widen and smile creeps across her face.

                                Teddy Roosevelt?

Teddy grins and takes Medora's hand.

                                Medora Von Hoffman.  Or should I say,
                                the Marquise de Mores?

The Marquis gives Teddy a dirty look.

                                Oh my goodness, Teddy.  I see you and
                                remember my youth back in New York.

                                Yes.  You and Corinne and I were all in a
                                dance class together.

                                Oh, yes, that's right.  You were very funny
                                then, Teddy.  You couldn't dance a step.

                                I'm still not much of a dancer.

Meanwhile, the Marquis' gaze is shifting between Teddy and his wife, a somewhat baffled expression on his face.

                                                           (to his wife)
                                Time to go, my dear.

                                Yes, of course.  Teddy you simply must
                                come up to the chateau for dinner tonight.

Teddy glances at the frowning Marquis and hesitates.

                                Well . . .

                                I absolutely insist.  We both do, don't we?

She glances at her husband.  There is a silent, tense moment between them.

                                . . . Yes, of course.

                                All right then.  It would be my pleasure.

The Marquis sneers.

                                Oh, that's lovely.

The Marquis strains hard for the slightest edge of a smile.



The imposing wooden structure of the "Chateau de Mores" looms over the town of Medora.


The lamps are lit and SERVANTS scurry about clearing the dinner table and straightening up.  The Marquis, Medora and Teddy relax in the study holding glasses of sherry and talking.  Actually, just Medora and Teddy are talking.  The Marquis puffs on a big fat cigar, his eyes narrowed.

                                . . . So then we were sleighing through
                                Central Park with my whole family all
                                bundled up and singing a song, when a
                                dead bird just dropped clean out of the
                                sky and landed in Papa's lap.
                                                           (she and Teddy laugh)
                                Well, I've never seen my Father jump like
                                that before or since.  It was about the fun-
                                niest thing I've ever seen in my life.  Then
                                you come running up yelling, "Have you
                                seen my Ring-Tailed Warbler," or some
                                such thing -

                                - It was a Bluebird.

                                You still remember?

                                Certainly.  I stuffed that Bluebird and still
                                have it.

                                So, my Father lifted the not-quite-dead Blue-
                                bird up and asked, "This wouldn't happen to
                                be it, would it."

Medora and Teddy burst out laughing.  The Marquis pensively puffs on his cigar, engulfed in a cloud of blue smoke.

                                Your Father was always very interested in
                                my bird collection.

                                Yes, Papa loved birds, and butterflies,
                                and insects of all sorts.  He actually
                                wrote a book about insects.

                                I know.  I read it.

                                You did?

Suddenly, the Marquis strides up to Teddy with his eyes burning.

                                Enough of this folderol!  It's time for you
                                to take your leave!

Medora jumps to her feet.

                                But dear, he is our guest.

                                Not anymore!  Go home, Rosenfeld!

Teddy calmly rises to his feet, brushes the wrinkles from his jacket and addresses Medora.

                                Thank you for dinner, Medora.

                                It was our pleasure.

                                Not mine.  Jews give me heartburn.

Teddy is about to correct him, but stops himself.

                                Perhaps we will meet again, Marquis.

                                I hope not.

Teddy turns and leaves.



This is the Times Square of 1884: horse-drawn wagons and streetcars.


Bamie Roosevelt, wearing a silk dress, holds the swaddled baby Alice in her arms.  The PHOTOGRAPHER, with his head tucked under a black cloth attached to an old view camera, waves his hand.

                                Hold your breath and don't move.

Bamie sucks in her breath.  The Photographer ignites the flash powder while releasing the
shutter - POOF!! - there is a bright flash . . .



Lightning flashes as rain pours down in buckets on the little log cabin that is the ranchhouse of the Maltese Cross Ranch.  Smoke billows from the chimney.


Teddy sits on a cot against the wall, an ink pen and a notebook in his hands, staring at a black and white photograph sitting on a ledge beside him - it's of Bamie holding baby Alice.  Our view widens until we see that the small cabin is also occupied by Gregor Lang, sharpening an axe, Lincoln Lang, reading Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ by General Lew Wallace, and three COWBOYS who are playing cards, swearing and smoking.  Teddy looks annoyed, waving smoke away from his face, but doesn't say anything, just goes back to writing.



Teddy and Lincoln Lang ride through the Bad Lands.  It's a beautiful though very cold day.  A black-bodied, brown-headed little bird on branch sings a squeaky song.

                                What's that?

                                That's a Brown-headed Cowbird, Molothrus
.  It likes to lay its eggs in other birds'

Lincoln nods, fascinated.  He points at another bird on a limb, this one with a yellow chin and breast.

                                How about that?

                                That's a Western Meadowlark, Sturnella

Lincoln is impressed.  He waves his hand at the surrounding landscape.

                                So, what are you looking for?

                                I'm not sure, but I'll know it when I see it.
                                It's a big country, there's no reason for six
                                of us to be jammed into so small a cabin.

                                We could build another cabin right near
                                the first one.  There's plenty of room.

                                                           (shakes his head)
                                No thank you.  I'm from New York City,
                                I don't need neighbors that close.  That's
                                why I'm out here.  Did you know that
                                they've just built an office building in
                                Chicago ten stories tall.  They're calling
                                it a "skyscraper."  Capital name, eh?

                                You can't scrape the sky.  Besides, why
                                do they need a building ten stories tall?

                                Because there's no room to build side-
                                ways.  That's the problem with living in
                                a city.  But out here, well, there's room
                                enough for everyone.  Even in Medora
                                it's getting a bit cowded for my taste.

Teddy and Lincoln ride down a hill and arrive at a small stream.  They ride across the stream and come upon a flat open area with the skeleton of an elk reposing in the dirt.  Teddy climbs off his horse and inspects the bones.  Lincoln steps up beside him.

                                That elk is dead.

                                No jest.

Teddy looks around, striding across the flat open area.  He kneels before the stream, scoops up a handful of water and drinks it.

                                Good water.
                                                           (rises to his feet)
                                This is it.  This will be the sight of my
                                new ranch.  Know what I'm going to call


                                                           (shakes his head)
                                That's "skyscraper."
                                                           (Teddy steps over to the
                                                           elk skeleton and lifts the
                                                           skull by its horn)
                                No, I'll call it "Elkhorn."  And this is
                                where I'll live out the rest of my days.



Teddy begins building his new cabin with his own hands, as well as the help of Gregor Lang, the three Cowboys, and young Lincoln Lang, too.  Teddy has made a sketch of the proposed ranch house.  It is quite a bit larger than the other cabins around, more like an actual, low-lying ranch house, with a veranda.  Gregor hands Teddy an ax.

                                Let's go get some wood.

Everybody hoists an ax to their shoulders and they all head off into the nearby woods.



Everyone begins chopping down trees.  Each man has his own style of chopping, but they all seem to be quite experienced at the chore.  Teddy, on the other hand, clearly has no experience and even less ability.  What he does have, however, is sheer determination.

For each of the other men, including young Lincoln, trees begin toppling over at a regular rate.  Teddy just keeps whacking away at the same tree, wood chips cascading around.  Every time Teddy hits the tree incorrectly his entire body rattles, frequently sending his ax sailing out of his hands, occasionally causing his spectacles to fly off.

Teddy's performance is tremendously amusing to the others, but they all do their best to not laugh out loud at their boss.



As the sun sets through the forest, the woodsmen count the trees they've cut down that day.


                                                                 COWBOY #1

                                                                 COWBOY #2

                                                                 COWBOY #3


Teddy's hands are a bloody mess, but there's good color in his cheeks.  Teddy points his blistered finger at the downed trees, counting.


Now the men can no longer help themselves, they burst out into hysterical laughter.

                                                                 COWBOY #1
                                You really beavered those seventeen trees
                                down, too, I'll tell you that much.

They all continue to laugh.

                                                                 COWBOY #2
                                The beavers would be proud of you.

Teddy grins, taking the ribbing stoically.

                                People always said I had big teeth, perhaps
                                I'm part beaver after all.

Teddy snaps his big white teeth.  This just makes them all laugh more.  Lincoln has to sit down he's laughing so hard.



The Marquis, Medora and a number of men walk beside the stockyards, jammed with mooing cattle, and the stationary train.  The refrigerated sidecars are being loaded with bloody red sides of beef and big blocks of ice.  Medora pinches her nose while holding onto her husband's arm.

                                My goodness, but it stinks.

                                It certainly does.  But that is a small price
                                to pay for the amount of remuneration it
                                will return.

Medora inspects the live cattle in the pens.

                                I spent a number of summers with my
                                cousins in Chicago and parts of town
                                smelled just like this.

                                Effluvium is equally redolent the world
                                over, my dear.  Of that I can assure you.

                                Is it my imagination, or were those cows
                                in Chicago fatter than these cows here.

                                No doubt they were.  Cows that stand
                                around in the Chicago stockyards doing
                                nothing but eating their entire lives are
                                slovenly, disgusting creatures.  Their meat
                                is fatty.  These cows here have roamed
                                the range their whole lives, living as good
                                a life as a cow can lead.  Therefore, it
                                must follow that the subsequent meat
                                from these cows will be that much better.
                                Don't you agree?

Medora nods, holding her husband's arm tighter.

                                Of course I do, dear.  It's brilliant.

The Marquis nods in complete agreement.  As the train car doors are slid shut, Medora looks away, unconvinced.



The elk skull and horns that Teddy found are now mounted above the front door.  As our view widens, we see that the ranch house is completed, as well as the barn and corral.  Teddy sits on the veranda writing.

Beside Teddy sits a thick stack of paper, held down by a rock as a paperweight.  The title page reads, "Hunting Trips of a Ranchman," by Theodore Roosevelt.  Teddy intently scratches away, creating line after line, dipping his pen, writing some more, blotting, then adding a new page to the growing pile.  He looks up, removes his glasses and pinches the bridge of his nose between his squinting eyes.  Teddy looks up to heaven.

                                Is this all you have in store for me?

God doesn't answer.  Teddy sighs, replaces his glasses and continues writing.



Teddy and his men herd cattle along a trail and come upon a brand new barbed wire fence blocking their path.  A sign nailed to a fence post states: "KEEP OUT!  PRIVATE PROPERTY!  DE MORES CATTLE COMPANY."  Gregor spits.

                                That son of a bitch Marquis!

                                                                 COWBOY #1
                                Who does he think he is?

                                He thinks he's claiming this land, except
                                that it lies between our ranches and the
                                river.  That won't do at all.

                                He don't need this land, he's just tryin'
                                to put us out of business is all.

                                                           (very serious)
                                Well, gentlemen, no one is putting me
                                out of business.

Teddy jumps down from his horse and retrieves a hatchet.

                                Let's see how many of these I can beaver
                                down in an hour.

The others look at each other silently asking, "Is this a good idea?"  Teddy begins chopping away with the hatchet.  Everybody else shrugs, jumps down from their horses and helps Teddy with his task.  As long strands of barbed-wire are severed, they coil up with a loud SPROING!


The Marquis sits astride his white stallion overlooking a herd of cattle ten thousand strong; an endless flowing sea of beef.  Cowboys ride around the herd shouting and snapping whips.  A cowboy comes riding up.  He is JOE FERRIS, a short stocky man, carrying a cut fence post which he drops on the ground in front of the Marquis.

                                Now who?

                                The Elkhorn.  That four-eyed feller
                                from back east.

The Marquis' eyes light up, his lip snarls.

                                Yes, that Jew, Rosenfeld.  I dare say, we'll
                                have to pay him a visit.  Right now!  Get
                                the men together!

                                Yes, sir.

Ferris turns his horse around and gallops off.  The Marquis looks down at the cut fence post.


Teddy sits on his veranda, still writing away.  Gregor, Lincoln, and the three Cowboys all do various chores in the corral and around the house.  The Marquis and his men come riding up to the front of the house.  Teddy puts down his pen and looks up.

                                Marquis, how nice of you to visit.

                                Don't play games with me, Rosenfeld!
                                You cut down my fence.  Anyone that
                                cuts down my fences is my enemy.

                                Really?  How interesting.  Anyone that
                                tries to fence me out of my own ranch
                                is going out of their way to make me
                                their enemy.

                                I was here long before you.  I claimed
                                all of the land around Medora.  It's

                                And how, if I may ask, did you claim
                                this land?  You aren't living here.  You
                                have no cattle grazing here.  How can
                                you substantiate your claim?

                                When I first got out here, I had sheep
                                grazing on this land.

                                Sheep?  This is cattle country.  Besides,
                                there's no sheep here now.  What hap-
                                pened to them?

                                They died.

                                Then I'm afraid your claim died with

                                I think not!  And I'm clearly informing
                                you that if you cut down my fences one
                                more time, you are starting a war with

                                                           (shrugs nonchalantly)
                                So be it.

The Marquis and his men turn their horses around and ride away.  Teddy looks to the others, who are all looking back at him.  Cowboy #1 looks skeptical.

                                                                 COWBOY #1
                                That son of a bitch already killed two
                                fellers from around here for cuttin' his
                                wire.  He means business.

                                Well, I do too.

Teddy shakes his head, then sits back down to write.



The train chugs up to the depot in Medora.  The Marquis walks along the length of the train as workers from the slaughterhouse wearing blood-spattered aprons begin opening the sliding doors on the train cars.  Water comes pouring out of each of the cars as the doors open, followed by disgusting stench.  The Marquis looks closer and sees that all of the cars are loaded with rotting beef.  The train CONDUCTOR comes walking up in his striped hat, pulling off his blackened gloves.  The Marquis is outraged.

                                What on Earth is the meaning of this?

                                The stores refused delivery, sir.  They all
                                said that they hadn't sold the last shipment.

                                But I don't understand.  Our prices are
                                cheaper than everyone else's.  How can
                                this be?

                                From what they told me, people just don't
                                seem to want very lean beef, it's not as tasty
                                as fattened beef.

                                How dare they!  This is the finest beef in
                                the world.  Much better than fattened beef!

                                Maybe, but it's not what folks want, I guess.

                                But they must!  Don't you understand?  I
                                have a hundred train cars of slaughtered
                                beef ready to be shipped.  What do I do
                                with that?

                                                           (shrugs again)
                                Hey!  You pay me to move it, I'll move it.
                                But I've gotta bring it back if delivery is
                                refused.  Talk to the stores.

The Marquis' eyes burn with anger.

                                It's a conspiracy by the Jewish bankers.
                                They want me to fail to save their invest-
                                ments.  Well, I'll show them.  I'll show
                                                           (to his men)
                                Unload these cars.  Remove the fetid beef,
                                and burn it, then load in the fresh beef.
                                I'll simply lower my prices further, then
                                people will have to buy my beef!

The men begin unloading the horrible, rotting beef.  They wince, then cover their faces with handkerchiefs as they perform the ugly task.



Teddy and his men are busily branding cows in the corral.  Simultaneously, everyone notices a terrible odor, followed by inky smoke filling the air.

                                                                 COWBOY #1
                                What the hell is that?

                                                                 COWBOY #2
                                Smells like burning garbage.

Gregor and Lincoln come driving up in a buckboard filled with supplies.  Teddy asks them:

                                What's going on?

                                The Marquis is burning an entire train-
                                load of spoiled beef.  The stores back
                                east refused shipment because they had-
                                n't sold the last lot.

                                Really?  Why?

                                The beef is too lean, is what we heard.

                                It's a good thing we decided to ship our
                                cattle east live, the old way.

                                                           (adding in)
                                The Marquis says he's going to lower the
                                price on his beef even more, that way it'll
                                have to sell.  I suppose that'll do it, too.

                                Let me teach you something I learned
                                in Economics class at Harvard University.
                                Price does not effect demand.
                                                           (everybody looks baffled;
                                                           Teddy goes on . . . )
                                If what you are selling costs a dollar and
                                nobody wants to buy it; they still won't
                                want to buy it at seventy-five cents, or fifty
                                cents, or even twenty-five cents.  What
                                people don't want, they don't want at any
                                price.  And, conversely, what they do want,
                                they'll pay for.  Class dismissed.

Teddy goes back to branding.  Everybody else is impressed; they just learned something.  Gregor smacks his pipe in his hand.

                                By God, it makes sense, too.


The Chateau de Mores looms darkly over the town.  We can just barely hear the sound of a fight between the Marquis and Medora.  This is followed by the distinct sound of a face being
slapped -


- Medora hits the hardwood floor of the foyer, holding her stinging red face.  The Marquis stands over her, his fists clenched in anger and waving in the air.

                                Damn you woman!  I am the master in
                                my own house!  I am the Marquis Antoine-
                                Amedee-Marie-Vincent-Amat Manca de
                                Vallombrosa de Mores!  The direct descend-
                                ant to the throne of France!

Medora is also angry, but slightly frightened.

                                There is no throne in France, and hasn't
                                been for over a hundred years!  And it's
                                not my fault people don't like your infernal
                                beef.  Both myself and my father have put
                                a lot of money into your scheme -

                                - Oh!  So now it's a scheme, is it?  Before
                                I was brilliant; now I'm a schemer?

He looks like he's going to hit her again.

                                My dear, I thought it was as brilliant as
                                you.  So did my father, and he's made
                                millions.  We simply must be patient.
                                People will learn.

                                Be patient?  People will learn?
                                                           (blows up)
                                I burned ten thousand pounds of spoiled
                                beef today!  If, in the next seven days, the
                                people don't learn to like my beef, and the
                                stores do not except shipment of my next
                                ten thousand pounds of refrigerated beef,
                                I'll have to burn that, too!  Then, my dear,
                                we will have taken a giant stride on the
                                road to ruin!

The Marquis grabs the sides of his throbbing skull and staggers out of the foyer.  Medora sighs, shaking her head and touching her rosy red cheek.  The Marquis climbs the wide staircase.

                                It has all gone awry, all of my beautifully
                                conceived plans.  All awry.  We have hit
                                the nadir.  There is no possible way events
                                could get any worse.


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