I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
Hey, pipe down, you mugs.
Sorry to break up the game, boys...
but the old man's having bunk inspection
in an hour.
Give me my bones!
This man's army ain't been nothing
but just one inspection after another.
If ever I get back to Texas
on that range again...
the first man who says ''inspection''
he's going to be S.O.L.,
because he'll hear from my six-shooter.
And I mean sure enough, too.
There'll be no inspection where I'm going.
Why, back into vaudeville
with my old lion-taming act!
I wonder if Oscar and Minnie will know me
when I step back into the cage.
You better hope they do.
I know what I'm gonna do.
Get me some kind of construction job.
I didn't know that was your line, Sergeant.
It wasn't, but it's going to be.
Being in the Engineering Corps
has been swell experience...
and I'm making the most of it.
Well, we'll be reading about you
in the newspapers, I'll bet.
''Mr. James Allen is building
a new Panama Canal.'' Or something.
You can bet your tin hat Mr. James Allen
won't be back in the old grind of a factory.
Do you think he'll be wearing his medal?
Why, of course he will.
It's good to have you back.
You're a little thinner, Jim.
Your cooking will fix that up.
Clint! Well, you haven't changed a bit.
But, Alice, I wouldn't have known you.
She's grown up, hasn't she?
She certainly has.
And you look different, too.
I think it's the uniform I miss.
It made you look taller
and more distinguished.
I got a regular welcome-home party here,
Mr. Parker, it's nice of you to be here.
You have a lot to thank Mr. Parker for.
He feels after all you've been through,
we owe you something.
Mr. Parker is going to take you back
into the factory.
I've saved your old job for you.
You've done your bit
and your boss isn't going to forget you.
Well, I have...
I'm so glad to have you back.
I guess we'd better go home,
don't you think?
All right, I'll take this.
I'll see you later, Jim. Goodbye.
The old place hasn't changed a bit.
Well, let's sit down and have a talk.
Tell us all about the war.
I won't live that long.
What did you think
of Mr. Parker being at the station?
Say, Clint. Speaking of Mr. Parker,
will you do something for me?
Sure. What is it?
Well, will you talk to him for me
and tell him I'm not going to take that job?
And why should I tell him that?
It's kind of hard to explain.
But you see, the Army changes a fellow.
It kind of makes you think different.
I don't want to spend the rest of my life...
answering a factory whistle,
instead of a bugle call...
or be cooped up
in a shipping room all day.
I want to do something worthwhile.
Jim, how can you talk like that?
He's tired, Mother. Excited.
You don't know what you are saying.
But tomorrow morning,
after a good night's sleep...
you'll be ready to take up
where you left off at the factory.
A soldier of peace
instead of a soldier of war.
I don't want to be a soldier of anything.
You see, Mom...
I want to get out.
Away from routine.
I've had enough of that in the Army.
You found another job?
Not exactly, Mom...
but you see, I've been doing
engineering work in the Army...
and that's the kind of work
I want to do now.
A man's job.
Where you can accomplish things.
Where you can build, construct, create.
That sounds very nice.
But after all...
a job in the hand is worth two in the bush.
I don't want to tell you what to do, Jim...
but when you were in the war...
every time I passed the factory...
I was wishing for the day
my boy would be working there again.
We've moved things around quite a bit.
This is a lot nicer
than the old shipping room, isn't it?
You'll sit by this window
and check the shipments.
The job's just about the same.
Before you know it, you'll be doing it again
with your eyes shut.
They're excavating. I shouldn't think
that would scare you.
I was looking for the nearest dugout.
You'll hear lots of those explosions.
They're building a new bridge over there.
Better get busy
and file those bills of lading.
It might do some good
if you had another talk with Jim.
I certainly intend to.
Parker's given him a job anyone in town
would grab, and what does he do?
Checks in day after day late from lunch.
Loitering around that new bridge
for no reason at all.
He'll come out of it...
but it worries me, too.
Is that you, Jim?
It's me, Mom.
Maybe you could speak to him now.
- Hello, Clint.
- You're quite a stranger here.
- Had your supper?
- No, I'm not hungry.
- But you should have a bite of something.
- I can't, Mom. I don't feel like it.
Well, anyway, sit down.
I want to talk to you.
Jim, Mr. Parker's very disappointed in you.
You haven't shown him anything.
You know your duty is to your job.
I know it, but I just can't help it.
Maybe you're not well, dear.
It isn't that, Mom. I'm all right.
I try my best when I get there,
but I just can't concentrate.
It's not the kind of work I want to do.
I said so when I came home.
It's too monotonous.
But you don't seem to realize...
That's it, realize. No one seems to realize
that I have changed. I'm different now.
I've been through hell.
Folks here are concerned with my uniform,
how I dance.
I'm out of step with everybody.
All this while I was hoping to come home
and start a new life, to be free...
and again I find myself under orders.
A drab routine, cramped, mechanical.
Even worse than the Army.
And you, all of you trying your darnedest
to map out my future...
to harness me and lead me around
to do what you think is best for me.
It doesn't occur to you that I've grown...
that I've learned life is more important
than a medal on my chest...
or a stupid, insignificant job.
- Appreciation. Why, you've...
What would you do, son?
Where would you go?
Somewhere. Anywhere, Mom,
just where I can do what I want to.
If that's really in your heart...
I think you certainly should follow it.
I knew you'd understand.
Before we know it,
he'll be leaving us again.
That doesn't matter.
He's got to be happy.
He's got to find himself.
You're a peach, Mom.
I know where there's a lot of construction
going on. Up in New England.
Hey, Allen! Allen!
Yeah, knock off a minute.
I want to see you.
- Bad news for you.
We're cutting down
and the new men will have to go. Sorry.
- You the boss here?
Think you could use a good man?
Last week I could have used you,
but I'm full up now.
- You're new here, ain't you, buddy?
Just filling in for a couple of days.
Believe me, I'm glad to be working.
It's my first job in four months.
What can I do for you?
How much can you give me
for this Belgian Croix de Guerre?
Come here, mister.
How about some poker
to see who bums the handout?
No, I'm afraid not.
I'm new in this town
and not on to the ropes.
- Been on the road?
I took to walking the ties
when my Rolls-Royce broke down.
- What's your name?
- James Allen.
James Allen? That'll do, I guess.
- Glad to know you, Pete.
- Glad to know you, Allen.
What would you say to a hamburger?
What would I say to a hamburger?
I'd shake Mr. Hamburger by the hand
''Pal, I haven't seen you
in a long, long time.''
I think I can mooch a couple
in the lunch wagon down the street.
The guy who runs it is a pretty soft egg.
What do you say?
Boy, I hope you ain't fooling.
How about giving
me and my friend a handout?
I was hoping you'd left town.
No, I've incorporated. Meet my partner.
Say, I've been laying off you
for a couple of days. Come on, be a sport.
All right. You guys sit over there.
What do I owe you?
Business is pretty good?
Yeah, pretty good.
Hey, what is this?
Put your hands on that counter
and lean over like we're talking.
Get that dough out of the register.
- Go on, do as I say.
How much is it?
There ought to be more. Where is it?
No, that's all.
Put it in your pocket and come on. Move!
And don't start yelling for the cops.
You don't have to yell, Mike.
Put them up.
Thought you'd get away?
I didn't do nothing.
- Oh, no?
I see no reason for leniency since
the money was found on your person.
Furthermore, upon detection,
you attempted to escape...
which would, of necessity,
increase the seriousness of your offence.
in accordance with the laws of this state...
sentence you to 10 years of hard labor.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5,6...
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.
A nice lucky number.
What's this for?
To put in your nose.
All right, pick them up.
Come on, pull them through.
All right, turn off.
That'll learn you to sit up
and hold on to this.
All right, you guys, get going there.
Get those shoes on and get up.
All right, come and get it.
Come on, hurry it up.
Pick up that chain.
Come on, move on.
Here, take that.
Grease, fried dough, pig fat and sorghum.
And you better get to like it...
because you're going to get
the same thing every morning, every year.
You can't get better food
on any chain gang in the state.
Yeah, and you can go all over the world
and you won't find worse.
How can anybody eat a mess like this?
Why do you take that slime
if you're going to spit it out?
The last day of my year here,
I'll spit it right in the warden's kisser.
Yeah? You'll blind him for life.
Hurry up, come on, let's go.
Come on, move on!
- Come on, there. You, get in there.
- Get in that line.
Hurry up. Come on, by me.
Line up, there. Come on.
All right, load the trucks.
Get your rings up.
Put them up.
Come on, get that ring up.
All right, take them out.
Are you up here for murder, kid?
I heard that a guy that killed four people
was being sent up here.
Nordine's always worrying
about losing his spot here as high man.
He only killed three.
More than anyone else
in this here chain gang.
His wife, his sister-in-law,
and his mother-in-law.
Killed them in one night with an ax...
so as not to disturb the neighbors.
What are you taking the rap for, kid?
For looking at a hamburger.
Come on, tell us. You're among friends.
All right, let's go.
On your feet. Come on.
Stick them up.
Hey, come on.
Hey, you, get to work.
Getting out here.
All right, get out in there.
What's the idea?
He gets two minutes to brush his teeth.
Look at that big buck swing that sledge.
He never misses.
You can lay down a nickel...
and he'd knock the buffalo's right eye out.
They like his work so much...
they're gonna keep him here
the rest of his life.
Come on, get up, quit your stalling.
I was just wiping the sweat off my face.
Well, you got it knocked off.
That won't do no good.
You got to ask their permission
to wipe the sweat off.
Wiping it off!
All right, Bomber, wipe it off.
In the first place, you've got
to get their permission to sweat.
Come on, get to work there.
I gotta quit. My stomach is...
You get to work or I'll kick that bellyache
up around your ears.
Come on. Move on, there.
Come on, get up.
Pull it through.
Spread them out.
Come on, get out of here.
So this is the washroom?
Yeah, come on, there's plenty of room.
No, thanks. I forgot my bath salts.
All right, boys, show me the men
that didn't give us a good day's work.
Ackerman hasn't been
on the job today, Warden.
Is that so?
This guy, Red,
tried to pull a faint on us today.
Pulling a faint?
I don't care what you do to me.
It doesn't matter.
So that's the way you feel about it?
Take a look at that.
Take his stinking shirt off.
All right, let him out.
Stand over there.
Well, Barney's gone.
Goodbye, Barney, old boy.
Don't forget to write, kid.
I'll see you in two or three years.
Don't forget to write, Barney.
- So long.
- So long.
See you soon.
- Good luck.
- You need it.
The lucky rat.
At least it proves something.
You really can get out of here.
Sure you can. And I'm counting the days.
They ain't gonna cheat me out of nothing.
- When is your time up?
- I got it figured out exactly.
Four days, two weeks, seven months
and 12 years.
Let me see. Four weeks from 10 years.
Nine years and 48 weeks.
You can't count those away.
Red's leaving today, too.
All right, hurry it up.
Well, there's just two ways
to get out of here.
Work out, and die out.
Might as well grab a ride into town
Yeah, I can't walk very good
without them chains on.
Doesn't a man ever break loose?
You mean, hang it on the limb?
There's too many breaks against you.
You've got to beat the chains,
and a bunch of guards
who'd just as soon bring you back dead.
It's been done...
but you got to figure out
some perfect scheme.
You gotta watch.
You gotta wait.
Maybe one year, maybe two.
hang it on the limb.
Can you hit my shackles
hard enough to bend them?
- You thinking about...
- Been thinking about it for months.
If you can bend my shackles
just so I can slide them off my foot...
I don't want to get in no trouble,
but I'd like to see you get away.
The heat's got the guards down.
- All right, you keep an eye on them.
- I am.
I'll keep my foot here,
and you hit it whenever you can.
You gotta promise not to yell,
no matter how it hurts...
- or they'll give me the works for it.
- I promise.
Hold still. If I hurt your leg,
your foot will drop off with the shackle.
Now the other one.
When you gonna do it?
- That's good.
You can rest up for it on Sunday.
- Got any dough?
- A little.
When you get to Stanton,
look up Barney. Here's his address.
- He'll take care of you.
- Thanks, Bomber.
- A little.
No matter what happens,
it's better than this.
Get them over there.
What do you think?
Looks pretty good to me.
Getting out here.
All right, get out over in there.
Hey, boss, we need some more help here.
Some of you boys give Bomber a hand.
All right, Allen. Get back to work.
Bring those dogs over here!
He won't get far.
Stand where you are.
Where do you suppose he's gone?
Let's try these woods over here.
Come on. Go get him.
You look like a new man.
- Now show me something in a cheap hat.
- Yes, sir.
How did you get the scratches?
Lumberjacking, up in the hills.
Is that a fact?
I know many of them fellows up there.
Funny I ain't seen you before.
- Look out.
- I'm sorry.
How do you do?
Well, if it ain't old John Law himself.
- How's the rheumatism?
If they don't take me off nights
and put me on days, I'm gonna...
I'll... What's the use?
What's new? Anything?
There was a break on the Merritt County
chain gang this morning.
They say he's headed up this way.
What's the guy look like?
He's about 5'10'', heavy black hair...
brown eyes, stocky built,
around 30 years old.
Name is Allen, James Allen.
- Get us a hot towel, will you?
- Coming up.
Hope it's hot enough for you.
Those guys haven't got much chance
getting away with it, have they?
No. We've got the depot
and all the highways out of town covered.
They can get this far and no farther.
Thanks. Come in again.
How was it? Close enough?
So you hung it on the limb?
It's good to see you, kid.
- Well, how do you suppose I feel?
- What? How?
Bomber tipped me off where you were.
- All right for Bomber.
- Say, you got a place I can hide out?
- Sure, come on. I'll fix you up.
- That's great.
How are all the boys on the chain gang?
No, but I had to keep my eyes open
Do you think I'll be safe here tonight?
It's a cinch,
unless the cops pull another raid.
But don't worry about that.
They're probably too busy
looking for you to raid any joints like this.
All I need is some sleep.
I'll lam out of here early in the morning.
Make yourself at home.
We got everything you dream about
in the chain gang.
Here. I guess you still know
what this is good for?
Thanks. I got a tough day
ahead of me tomorrow.
Well, I got a tough night ahead of me.
I got to beat it now, Jim.
But the place is yours.
Wait a minute.
I'll get somebody
to see that you're comfortable.
Linda, come here.
This is Jim Allen, a pal of mine
from the chain gang. He's just escaped.
- Listen, never mind the advertising.
- It's all right with Linda.
Take good care of him, babe.
He's my personal guest.
- So long, Jim. I hope you make it.
You've got plenty of what it takes
to pull an escape from that place.
I'm not safe yet.
Not until I'm out of the state.
If there's anything I can do to help you,
just say the word.
There's nothing you can do.
- How about a drink?
- You don't mind if I take one, do you?
- No, go right ahead.
Here's to you.
A guy with your nerves
got the breaks coming to him.
I know what you're thinking.
You're among friends.
You have about 35 minutes to wait.
The train is late.
- You want everything on this one, too?
- Yeah, same as the first one.
Well, look who's here.
Chief of police, in all his glory.
Must be looking for somebody important.
All right, boys, keep your eyes open.
There he is!
Did I get your ticket?
Here it is.
Booneville? You must have got on
without me seeing you.
They were chasing somebody.
I guess you were watching.
- They were after an escaped convict.
- Catch him?
No, the guy they caught
turned out to be a hobo.
They're still looking for the convict.
I guess we can use you. What's the name?
- Is that the first or last name?
Yeah, the first name.
The full name is Allen James.
- Report 8:00 tomorrow morning.
- Yes, sir.
that's a swell idea you had
about the bend up there.
- I told the boss it was your suggestion.
- You did? That's very nice.
I don't think you'll be swinging a pick
This is the room that's for rent.
Very nice room.
What are you asking for it?
- $25 a month. And that's very reasonable.
But it's more than I feel I can pay.
I'm sorry, because I like the location.
It's not far from the bridge I'm working on.
I'm sorry, too...
because I'd like to rent this room
to a gentleman like yourself.
But you don't know anything about me.
I can tell. You look like you'd be friendly.
Not like a stranger around the house.
- How much would you be willing to pay?
- Really, it's out of the question.
Well, suppose I made it $20.
You can easily get your price for it.
I'm willing to let it go for $20. To you.
Well, it's a mighty nice room.
You'll like it.
- Hello, honey.
- All you do every night is study.
- I'll never get anywhere if I don't.
Anyway, that's not so.
We were out last night.
- I don't think you like me anymore.
- Of course I do.
We can't always be playing around.
Anyway, what's that got to do with it?
I don't know,
but you don't act like you used to.
- Now I don't seem good enough for you.
- You're imagining things.
No, I'm not. When you were first here
you weren't this way.
You've grown tired of me.
I was silly enough to believe you
when you said you loved me.
I said I loved you?
Now, Marie, you know that's not so.
I never said that.
You're just trying to put me in a spot.
And you know it wasn't love
just as well as I do.
So that's the way you feel?
You can't make me out cheap
and get away with it.
I know what I'm talking about, see?
And someday you're gonna be sorry.
Well, so you really think you're leaving?
I'm moving to a bigger place.
I can afford it now.
In other words, that means
we won't see each other anymore.
No, I guess we'll see each other sometime.
You don't mean that.
Marie, I appreciate all you've done for me,
but I couldn't love you.
I can't change my feeling towards you
any more than...
I can change the color of my eyes.
I know I'm speaking bluntly, but frankly...
this will save us both a lot of misery.
And is that your only reason for leaving?
- That's a pretty good one, isn't it?
- Not very.
Of course, when a fellow wants
to ditch a girl he'll do most anything...
providing it doesn't land him
back in the chain gang...
where he probably belongs.
It's from your brother.
- You wouldn't...
- I wouldn't tell...
if I had a reason to protect you.
- What do you mean?
- I wouldn't tell...
if you were my husband.
- Well, it means plenty of work.
- I'm used to that.
Yes. On the other hand,
all work and no play...
How about knocking off
and having a little recreation?
We're giving a party tonight
at the Club Chateau.
How about joining us?
- I'd like to, but...
- Fine. And that includes Mrs. James.
Well, I don't know.
I'm not sure that she can come.
- I'll ask her.
- Anyway, we'll expect you.
See you later.
Here's the revised budget
on the King's Highway Bridge.
By the way, while you were out,
your wife called.
She won't be home until Wednesday.
She's gone to the country with her cousin.
She also said her account was overdrawn.
She's got to stop it.
The same thing happened last month.
All right, make out a check
for the amount...
and deposit it in her bank
when you go to lunch.
- Good night, Mr. James.
- Good night.
Hello, yourself. Is Marie there?
That's funny. Where do you think she is?
She had a date with me
and she's giving me a stand-up...
and it's the first dame
that ever gave me a stand-up.
You can tell her that Sammy called...
and you can tell her where she can go
with little Sammy's compliments.
Tell her that, will you? And listen...
not a word to her husband, understand?
- Don't you dance?
- Not if I can get out of it.
That makes two of us.
I don't care much for dancing
in such a crowd.
- I don't like crowds anywhere.
- What do you like to do?
Build bridges, roads for people to use...
when they want to get away from things.
That sounds interesting.
But they can't get away. Nobody can.
You're a strange person.
Don't pay any attention to what I say.
You'd like to get away from here
right now, wouldn't you?
You don't like this party.
I like it better now.
Well, I was on the verge of sneaking home.
I'm not so sure I want to now.
We might make a getaway.
I don't think they'd miss us. How about it?
Well, here we are.
Tell me some more about your work.
It sounds fascinating.
Why talk about work?
That's what interests you, isn't it?
No. There are other things
that interest me, too.
Do you mind if we stay here a while,
or must you go home?
There are no musts in my life.
I'm free, white and 21.
- You're lucky.
You can go where you want,
when you want.
Yes. And no.
You're a strange, moody person.
You need somebody
to pull you out of those doldrums.
Are you applying for that job?
- I might consider it.
- You're hired.
- When do I start?
- You've started, several hours ago.
Don't you see, Marie?
If you get a divorce,
I'll give you anything you want.
I swear I will.
What's the use of arguing?
I told you I was satisfied
with the way things are.
- Can't you see that neither of us is happy?
- I'm happy!
I'm taking no chances of letting you go.
Listen. You're going to be a big shot
some day, with plenty of sugar...
and I'm going to ride right along. Get that?
I'm no fool.
I'd be a sucker to let you go now.
But I'm in love with another woman.
That's just too bad.
Why don't you play the game square?
Square? So that you and your sweet
mama can give me the grand go-by?
If you don't listen to reason,
I'll find some way.
You do, and you'll serve out your time.
It's no worse than serving out my time
You'll be sorry you said that!
You've held a sword over my head
about long enough.
It's about time you called it quits.
You've been bluffing me, and I've been
fool and coward enough to fall for it.
You filthy, good-for-nothing convict!
A bluff? You'll see.
- You'll see.
- Put that down.
- Give me the police station.
- Put that down!
You don't think you'll stop me, do you,
now that I've made up my mind?
We'll only take a minute of your time,
In view of your marvelous achievement
on the new Stevens Bridge...
the Chamber of Commerce would like you
as their principal speaker at their banquet.
Thank you very much.
I feel highly complimented.
There's two detectives coming through,
I told them you were busy
but they wouldn't wait.
I'm afraid you'll have to excuse me.
Mr. James or Mr. Allen
or whatever your name is...
I have a warrant for your arrest.
- And we can quote you literally?
Everything I've said are facts.
I want this rotten
chain-gang system exposed.
Print it all!
How about a special signed story
for our Sunday supplement?
Sure, I'll write it. Gladly.
How long were you
on the chain gang before, Mr. Allen?
Governor Baxter has not yet
signed the extradition papers.
Until he does, I cannot turn Mr. Allen
over to the custody of your state.
In view of Allen's record here
since his escape...
our state has authorized us
to assure you...
that if he'll return voluntarily...
and pay the state
the expense it's been put to...
he'll be pardoned in 90 days.
Why is it necessary
for my client to return at all?
Why mete out punishment to a man
who has proven himself a useful...
and honorable citizen?
Merely a technicality.
No prisoner is eligible for pardon
until he's served 90 days.
Does that mean
that I'll have to serve 90 days?
- Back on the chain gang?
You'll be given some clerical job
in one of the camps.
Well, it rests entirely with my client...
but I'd advise him to stay right here.
Gentlemen, there's someone else
I'd like to consult on the matter...
- if you don't mind.
They've promised me a full pardon
within 90 days if I go back.
Can you trust them?
I don't see why not.
I'm giving myself up voluntarily.
Besides, I want to get it
all cleaned up now...
so that nothing will stand in the way
of our happiness.
I think it best, darling.
Why, they can't fail to pardon you.
And then, when you come back,
you'll be free. For always.
And we'll be together. Always.
These stories you've been hearing,
gentlemen, are absurd.
Why, our chain gangs are beneficial
to the convicts...
not only physically, but morally.
I can cite you...
Gentlemen, I've decided to go back.
On your assurance of a pardon.
And you won't regret your decision.
I presume, Mr. Allen,
your Chicago attorneys informed you...
that I would be in complete charge
of your case down here?
Yes, he did.
Let's get the financial end
straightened out first.
Your capture and return cost the state...
$350. My fee will be $2,500.
and $1,500 when you get your release.
This is for the state.
You know, of course...
that you'll have to go to a prison camp
for 90 days.
- There's your check.
- Thanks, Allen.
There's no reason to believe
that after the 90 days...
I won't get my pardon then, is there?
This is a funny state
and the Governor's a little peculiar.
You see, all that publicity you gave out
about the conditions here...
didn't help any.
But I'll get my pardon?
They'll give you the pardon.
But that clerical job they promised you
isn't so definite.
They might want you to work
for about 60 days.
This is the guy
that all that fuss was about.
And if he tries to escape this time,
Escape? I'm supposed to be a trustee here.
Haven't you had orders
from the Prison Commission?
Sure, I got orders...
that if you get away from here this time,
I lose my job.
And that goes for all of you. Get me?
- Now take him out of here.
- Come on.
Go on. Find yourself a bunk.
Go on down the line.
How did you get
to this little bit of heaven, kid?
It's a long story.
Sit down, make yourself at home.
If you can.
Boy, if you think
those other chain gangs are tough...
wait till you get a load of this joint.
These are the guys that were too tough
for the chain gangs.
Now give us the story.
How'd they snatch you back?
They didn't. I came back.
He just got lonesome.
They promised me a pardon
if I'd come back for 90 days.
What's a pardon?
These boys up here
ain't never heard that word.
Neither has the Prison Commission.
What'd you do
to get sent up here, Bomber?
I decided to hang it on the limb,
so I socked a guard with a sledge.
I aimed at the rat's head, but I missed.
I can't figure
a guy walking back into this...
just because they promised to spring him
in 90 days.
They just wanna make it tough on me,
But I'll get the pardon, all right...
Listen, kid, they ain't thinking of handing
out pardons when you land in here.
This is the last word.
You might say it's ''it.''
Come on, get to work down there!
The case of James Allen.
- Is Mr. Ramsey present?
- Ready, Your Honor.
Please be brief. We have a great many
of these cases this afternoon.
I should first like to introduce...
the convict's brother,
the Rev. Robert Allen.
I shall leave the legal technicalities
of the case to Mr. Ramsey...
and shall present the story of James Allen
as a human being.
A man of essential fineness
and integrity of character.
A man who was decorated for bravery
in the World War.
A man who committed a crime...
but only when forced to
at the point of a gun.
His first and only offence.
A man who showed his true character
by rising from less than nothing...
to become a prominent
and honored citizen.
...and in conclusion,
I need not remind you...
that James Allen has kept
his part of the bargain.
He has returned voluntarily to this state...
and has paid
all the expenses demanded of him.
I cannot believe,
in the light of all this evidence...
and in the name of justice...
that you will bring yourselves
even to consider any other alternative.
First, I feel it is my duty...
to answer the malicious and unwarranted
attack upon the chain-gang system...
which we have heard here this afternoon.
Crime must be punished.
The men who commit crime
are hard men...
and their punishments must be hard.
But the brutality of which we hear
is a gross exaggeration...
born of the fancy of the misinformed.
The life of a convict in a chain gang
is one of hard labor.
The discipline is strict...
but there is no brutality.
The purpose of prison
is not only to punish crime...
but to discourage it.
And there is less crime in this state...
in proportion to her population...
than in 40 other states in this Union.
Finally, as evidence
of the chain gang's value...
as a character-builder,
I have but to present to you...
the very case that has been presented
to us here today...
the case of James Allen...
who entered the chain gang
as a worthless tramp...
and who left it
to become one of a great city's...
most worthy and respected citizens.
The Commission will take the case
of James Allen under consideration.
Five minutes, Allen.
They refused to pardon you.
The state's promise didn't mean anything.
It was all lies!
They just wanted to get me back...
so they can have their revenge.
To keep me here nine more years!
Why, their crimes are worse than mine.
Worse than anybody here!
They're the ones that should be in chains,
You don't have to stay here nine years.
The Commission voted that if you were
a model prisoner for one year...
they would concede that you had paid
your obligations in full.
It's only nine months, Jim.
Nine months of this torture?
I won't do it!
I won't do it, I tell you!
I'll get out of here!
Even if they kill me for it!
It's still better to be honorably free.
And in those nine months,
we'll be working for you night and day.
But you've been working night and day!
It didn't do any good.
But, Jim, we'll have the whole country
behind you then...
and the state will be forced to release you.
I'll wait nine more months.
I'll be a model prisoner...
if it kills me.
Finally, not only has James Allen
been a model prisoner...
patient and uncomplaining
for a whole year...
but we have presented letters
from countless organizations...
and prominent individuals...
beseeching you to recommend his pardon.
I think it only just, Your Honors...
that he be given his freedom
while there is still time...
for him to regain
his former position in society...
of prominence and universal respect.
We've just had a final report
on your new hearing.
They've suspended decision. Indefinitely.
- Which one did you say it was?
- This one here.
Get up, you lazy skunk!
- What's on your mind?
- You better come take a look back here.
- I gotta get to the quarry.
You'll never make the quarry in this truck.
Your spring's broken.
- There it is.
Thief! He's stealing my truck!
Stay where you are!
Keep driving, boy.
Throw that box out.
Nix, it's full of my favorite candy.
We're making it, Jim.
We'll make it yet.
Rip it, boy. Go on.
Keep going, kid.
That's once I didn't miss.
Getting out here.
- Why haven't you come before?
- I couldn't.
- I was afraid to.
- But you could have written.
It's been almost a year since you escaped.
But I haven't escaped.
They're still after me.
They'll always be after me.
I've had jobs, but I can't keep them.
Something happens, someone turns up.
I hide in rooms all day and travel by night.
No friends, no rest, no peace.
- Oh, Jim!
- Keep moving, that's all that's left for me.
Forgive me, Helen.
I had to take a chance to see you tonight.
Just to say goodbye.
- It was all going to be so different.
- It is different.
They've made it different.
I've got to go.
I can't let you go like this.
Can't you tell me where you're going?
Will you write? Do you need any money?
But you must, Jim. How do you live?