DOBBS: I was just thinking what a bonehead play that old jackass made when he put all his goods in our keeping.
CURTIN: What do you mean?
DOBBS: Figured he’d let us do his sweating for him, did he? We’ll show him.
CURTIN: What are you getting at?
DOBBS: Oh, man, can’t you see? It’s all ours. We don’t go back to Durango at all, savvy? Not at all.
CURTIN: I don’t follow you, Dobsy.
DOBBS: Oh, don’t be such a sap. Where did you ever grow up? All right, to make it clear to a dumbhead like you, we take all his goods and go straight up north and leave the jackass flat.
CURTIN: You aren’t serious, are you? You don’t really mean what you are saying.
DOBBS: Fred C. Dobbs don’t say nothing he don’t mean.
CURTIN: As long as I’m here and can do anything about it, you won’t touch a single grain of the old man’s goods.
DOBBS: I know exactly what you mean. You want to take it all for yourself and cut me out.
CURTIN: No, Dobbs, I’m on the level with the old man, just as I’d be on the level with you if you weren’t here.
DOBBS: Get off your soapbox, will you? You only sound foolish out here in this wilderness. I know you for what you are. For a long time I’ve had my suspicions about you. Now I know I’ve been right.
CURTIN: What suspicions are you talking about?
DOBBS: Oh, you’re not putting anything over on me. I see right through you. For a long time you’ve had it in your mind to bump me off at the first good opportunity and bury me out here in the bush like a dog so you could take not only the old man’s goods, but mine in the bargain. And when you get to Durango safely, you’ll have a big laugh, won’t you, thinking how dumb the old man and I were. (Curtin begins to rise.) You make another move towards me and I’ll pull the trigger. Now, get your hands up. Come on, get ’em up! Was I right, or was I? You and your Sunday school talk about protecting people’s goods. You. Come on, stand up and take it like a man. Come on, get up.
Curtin tackles Dobbs. Dobbs’ gun goes off. Curtin grabs his own gun and aims at Dobbs.
CURTIN: Let go of it. The cards are dealt the other way now, Dobbs.
CURTIN: Now listen to me…
DOBBS: I’ll listen to you.
CURTIN: Dobbs, look, you’re all wrong. Not for a moment did I ever intend to rob you or do you any harm. Just like I said, I’d fight for you and yours just the same as I’d fight for the old man’s.
DOBBS: If you really mean that give me back my gun. (Curtin empties the gun then hands it back to Dobbs.) My pal.
CURTIN: Wouldn’t it be better, the way things are, to separate tomorrow or even tonight?
DOBBS: That would suit you fine, wouldn’t it?
CURTIN: Why me more than you?
DOBBS: So you could fall on me from behind, sneak up and shoot me in the back.
CURTIN: All right, I’ll go first.
DOBBS: And wait for me on the trail to ambush me?
CURTIN: Why wouldn’t I do it now if I meant to kill you?
DOBBS: I’ll tell you why, because you’re yellow. You haven’t got nerve enough to pull the trigger while I’m looking you in the eye.
CURTIN: If you think like that, there’s nothing to do but to tie you up every night.
DOBBS: [Laughs] I’ll tell you what. I’ll make you a little bet. Three times 35 is 105. I’ll bet $105,000 you go to sleep before I do.
— The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), screenplay by John Huston, based on the novel by B. Traven
The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Accusation. Today’s suggestion by Will King.
Trivia: John Huston was fascinated by mysterious author B. Traven, who was a recluse living in Mexico. Traven approved of the director and his screenplay (by letter, obviously), and sent his intimate friend Hal Croves to the location to be a technical advisor and translator for $150 a week. The general consensus is that Croves was in fact Traven, though he always denied this. Huston was happy not to query him on the subject but his then-wife Evelyn Keyes was certain Croves was the mysterious author, believing that he was continually giving himself away, saying “I” when it should have been “he”, and using phrases that were exactly the same as those to be found in Traven’s letters to Huston. All very ironic, especially considering that Traven was offered $1000 a week to act as technical advisor on the film. It is known that “B. Traven” was a pen name, and Traven’s true identity remains a mystery to this day.
Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Will: “Accusation born of greed and paranoia. No matter which way Curtin tries to solve the dilemma, Dobbs sees deception, which is really Dobbs’s projection of his own flaws. Curtin holds the only loaded gun but can’t, as one person, tie up Dobbs to keep him secure. Seems like an impossible standoff to solve, so the sleep challenge is an interesting way to temporarily resolve the tension of the scene.”