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Friday, January 2, 2015

Nightlinger's Prayer Could Be Adopted As A New Year's Resolution

One of the best movies John Wayne made in his later years before his 1979 death was The Cowboys (1972). It is a personal favorite.

Here, Wayne plays rancher Wil Anderson who is desperate to bring his cattle to market, but there is a shortage of men in the town due to the Gold Rush. His only recourse is to enlist schoolboys to help him drive his cattle to market.

Bruce Dern played a psychotic villain (a role he was master at) named Asa Watts, but is called "Long Hair" in the movie.

Roscoe Lee Browne plays Wayne's cook, Jebediah Nightlinger on the cattle drive.

After Watts brutally shoots Anderson, he takes the cattle and leaves the boys alone in the wilderness. Nightlinger was delayed due to problems (if I recall this right) with a wheel on the chuckwagon. He catches up to the boys and the dying Anderson. After Anderson's death, they formulate a plot to re-take the cattle from Watts and his gang.

However, Nightlinger is later captured by Watts and is about to hanged when he asks to say a prayer first, which is one of the best lines of dialog on film.

Here's the prayer:
Jebediah Nightlinger: [praying to God before he's about to hanged by Asa Watts and his gang] I regret trifling with married women. I'm thoroughly ashamed at cheating at cards. I deplore my occasional departures from the truth. Forgive me for taking your name in vain, my Saturday drunkenness, my Sunday sloth. Above all, forgive me for the men I've killed in anger... 
[eyes shifting to Asa Watts] 
Jebediah Nightlinger: ... and those I am about to.
I have never made any New Year's resolutions, but I was thinking that a good resolution could be adopted/adapted along the lines of Nightlinger's prayer. (Yes, I mused about this before in a blog post.)

Here's how it could go:
I resolve not to trifle with married women and not cheat at cards. I resolve to always tell the truth and not take the Lord's name in vain.. I pledge to remain sober on Saturdays and not to kill men in anger, anymore...especially those I am tempted to.

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