Dense forest once
covered all of Piney Ridge,but no longer is the
region a mystery.Modern highways have
penetrated the darkness,and brought in the light.Not so in Ox Head
Woods, further south.Step into it off the abandoned
road that hugs its length,and it’s like passing through a wall
and closing the door behind you.Obsolete trails wonder vaguely, crisscross,
or break at right angles for no reason.Only one leads to
the Morgan farm.Pete Morgan’s farm has
the allure of a wall castlethat everybody knows about,
but few have entered.Its only access to the outside world
is a country road that passes by.Some miles north connects with
the highway near the Renton farm.Joe Renton, like the other farmers
here abouts, is up and coming,raises good apples.Fine soil everywhere
in the valley.The young people for miles
around come to the high school.The boys graduate a little older
than those in the city.That’s because they take time out for
planting and helping with the harvest.They’re a healthy lot.And girls don’t come
prettier any place.Are we going swimming Sunday? Sure, if I’m not
needed at the store. Where do you change into
your swimming trunks? Mmm, maybe I’ll wear them over. No. Bring them.
We’ll change at the reservoir. Who else is coming? Just us.Hi Teller,
how’s hunting?Bye, kids. Miss me. What are you doing so
close to civilization? You’re growing up, Tibby. – You’re almost a woman.
– Almost! I’m woman enough already. I wouldn’t say that. Oh, what do you know about anything,
you never got past the ninth grade. I’m good at plenty of things
they don’t teach in school. What’s got into you, Meg?
You got the fidgets? I promised Pete Morgan I’d bring you by the farm
this afternoon, and I don’t know how to ask you. Looks like you’ve
asked me already. What does he want? You better ask him. Well, how long will it take? Not too awfully long, Nath. We’re here already. OK, Meg, let’s go. Hey, Nath, what’s Tibby
going to say about this?What do you think she’ll do?Pete? Yes, Meg. I brought Nath Storm,
the boy I told you about. You know, I’ve… I’ve thought
about this thing, Meg. I’m not so sure
it’s a good thing. We’ve been content with
the way things were. Maybe an outsider will spoil it. But it would be so much easier for you if Nath
would come and help out at the end of the day. – Anything between you and Nath?
– Oh, no. He and Tibby Renton
are going steady. All right, I’ll see the boy. Never could turn
you down, could I? Meg says good things
about you, Nath. Maybe you’re not as
stocky as you might be. Stopped growing too
soon, Mr. Morgan. – How’s your mother’s store getting along?
– Oh well, some days we don’t even make a $1. What did you want to see
me about, Mr. Morgan? You know about my leg? Wood. My sister and Meg have
got a curious idea that it’s hard to climb a ladder
with a wooden leg. – Well, it isn’t.
– No, sir. What’s more, they’ve got an idea that
things are getting a little run down here, can’t do as much as I used to. So they’ve talked me
into hiring somebody. Eh, help along with
the evening chores. I’ll pay $0.35 an hour. Could you make it 4 bits? It’s over an hour’s
walk home afterwards. Yeah, I hadn’t thought of that. – I’ll pay $0.50 a hour.
– Could he start today? – Sure it’s all right with you, Meg?
– Oh, yes. Thanks!Come on, Nath.Ellen? Ellen! – He’s hired Nath.
– Good. I just hope that Pete hasn’t become
too used to doing things alone. I do hope it works out. – You sure you don’t want any more, Nath?
– No, thanks, ma’am. Bet nobody’ll believe me when
I tell them I had supper here. Why not, Nath? Well, didn’t you know you
and Miss Ellen are known as… the mysterious Morgans? Are we? Well, they won’t
say it anymore. Not when I tell them what a
swell layout you’ve got here. And that you spread the
best table in the valley. It’s because we’re so
self-sufficient here. We seldom have any
need to go to town. What else do they
say about us, Nath? Oh, nothing. Except things like… Meg not being your daughter, or even related. Why don’t they ask me? Well I… I guess they’d rather whisper
gossip than find out the truth. What gossip? Well, they say… Meg’s mother and father ran away
and left her when she was still a baby. Well, that’s not true, Nath. Meg’s mother and father went
down south to find a new farm. – They left Meg in our care.
– They died down there in a runaway. Pete and I adopted Meg legally. There’s
nothing to be whispered about, Nath. She was only two
years old then. There’s nothing wrong
with being adopted. I’m grateful. Sure. And the next time I hear anybody
gossiping about it, I’ll say, so what? Meg isn’t the only
adopted girl in the world. Well, I… I hate to eat and run, folks,
but… I think I better get started. It’s kind of late so I thought I’d take
a shortcut through Ox Head Woods. – You know your way through those woods?
– No, but the winds cleared the sky. Well, I’d take the long
way around if I were you. I’ve owned the Ox Head
Woods for years and… I’m as brave as the next man, but I wouldn’t
cross through those woods at night. The woods haven’t scared
me since I was a kid. – Day or night.
– But you said you didn’t know Ox Head Woods. – A tree is a tree, and a trail is a trail.
– The trails lead nowhere. – Let the boy go, Pete.
– I don’t want him to get lost. – Close the door, Pete.
– I don’t want him to get hurt. Wait, don’t take the Ox Head Woods.
The foot bridge across the creek is out. – I’ll jump across.
– Well there’s bog on the other side. I’ll find my way around it.
Look, Mr. Morgan, I can’t… – It’s a long way around.
– I’ll save two miles by cutting through the woods. But you won’t save yourself from the screams
in the night, It’ll lodge in your bones all your life. – Screams from where?
– From the red house. Well, if I come to it,
I’ll give it a wide go by. You can’t! Did you ever run
away from the scream? Hey Nath! It will follow you
through the woods. It will follow you
all of your life. Nath! Nath! What did you say to him? Nath’s a brave lad,
but he’s fooled. I warned him but
he wouldn’t listen. You warned him against what? Courage isn’t enough. He won’t make it. He’ll be back. He’ll be back. Yes, Mrs. Storm, Nath’s sleeping here
tonight, so don’t you worry about it. Hard work and a big
supper never hurt any boy. Oh, don’t you mention it,
we’re glad to have him. Good night. How did you know he was back? Nath’s all right. He’s going to be a
great help on the farm. How did you happen
to get in here? I ran here. You scared the daylights
out of me last night. Seems like the truth shouldn’t
scare anybody. Man or boy. The truth? – You and your screams in the night almost…
– What are you talking about? Now, don’t tell me I
imagined all that stuff? I went in those words
and I heard things. – What things?
– I don’t know. I don’t know whether it was the screams
you were talking about or… just the wind. You leave well
enough alone, son. Go in and wash up. Join us for breakfast, and you can
catch the school bus with Meg. What kind of a guy
is Pete anyway? He’s always been
wonderful to me. And kind and generous. For my last birthday, he sent to the city and bought me the most wonderful
furniture he could buy for my room. He’s always been that way. But… what about
that red house? I remember hearing him talk
about it a long time ago. But I’ve never heard
him mention it since. – You haven’t?
– No. He’s just warned me to stay out
of those woods, since I was little. Do you know anything
about those screams? I don’t know, Nath.
I may be afraid to find out. Hey, look whose
moved in with the Morgans. OK, so I’m working there,
so make something out of it. Well, you’ve got nerve,
Nath Storm. Where were you last night when
I phoned like I said I would? – Working.
– Working? All night long? Ah, Tibby, can’t a guy even
earn chore money at the Morgans – without you throwing a fit?
– Not if it takes all night. Hi, mom. I see you’re not bowled over
by the rush of business. Oh, things have been
like this all day again. I suppose folks get tired coming
and asking for things I haven’t got. Look, mom. Why don’t you close the
store and marry Don Brant. He’s a nice guy. Now there’s time enough for Don and me to get
married after you’re out of school and on your own. Graduation’s just
around the corner. Why don’t you two go and get married while
you’re still young enough to enjoy it? Shame on you, talking
to your mother that way. Well, you’ve given
enough your life to me. You go down to town and tell
Don you’re ready anytime he is. He’s being transferred north. Well, that settles it. Here he’s been courting you
since I was in grammar school. If you don’t marry him now,
he’ll meet some chick up north, and then you’ll be a dead duck. Well, I’ve got to change.
I’ll be late at the Morgans. – How do you like it up there?
– Oh, it’s OK.They eat good.
I mean, well.A couple of things
got me wondering.How did Pete Morgan
lose his leg? He fell down a cliff
in the Ox Head Woods. It was a long time ago,
you were still a baby. It was Dr. Burns first
case in the valley. He amputated the leg on
the Morgan kitchen table. I wonder if it’s
the one I ate at. That was the first time Dr.
Burn ever met Ellen Morgan. Everybody knew he fell in love with her,
but nothing ever came of it. – I wonder why. He’s still a bachelor.
– I don’t know. They still act like they love each other,
the few times I’ve seen them meet. But she chose to devote her life
to her brother Pete, I guess. Seems a shame. Just like it would be a shame if you
don’t marry Don and go north with him. If I do, how long will it be before
you and Tibby get married? Oh, search me. Sometimes the more I know about women,
the less I know about women. Guy needs more than a high school education
just to find out what they’re going to do next. Will you be staying at
the Morgans again tonight? No. I’m going to take a shortcut through
Ox Head Woods by daylight, so I’ll know my way
back here tonight. Well, if you should
change your mind, would you care if I go down to town,
and talk things over Don? You do more than
talk things over. You come back here a bride. We don’t want any dead ducks
in the family, do we? How are the hens doing? We always have more
eggs than we can use. Meg? I guess Nath asked a lot of questions
on the way to school this morning. Yes, but only questions
I’ve wondered about myself. Things you’ve never explained. Can’t you tell me, Pete? Well, I didn’t know that
anything covered you. Why are you suddenly
questioning things? Because of him? Maybe. Well, maybe he won’t come back. I think he will. I hope he does. All of a sudden you
seem so grown up. And I guess I don’t
like to see it happen. I wish you were a child again. I wish you needed me
just as you did then. I don’t want you ever
to grow away from us. You mean everything
to Ellen and me. I want you to be happy. I love you both very much. You’re late today. I had to go home first. I came here through
Ox Head Woods. Yes, that would be
the quickest. Day times. Or any other time. Don’t put so high a price
on courage, son. It’s overrated. The lowest animals got
more courage than man has. You touch a snapping turtle with a
stick and he grabs at it with his teeth. Cut his head off, and he…
he still won’t let go. Now, we humans
weren’t made that way. We were born helpless. But we don’t have to stay that way.
Nobody’s gonna call me yellow. Who has? Nobody, yet. And nobody’s going to. – Has he been outside tonight?
– No. Give me your word. Of course. Why, you’re soaked through, Nath.
Get a blanket from the chest, Meg. You can stay in
the helper’s cabin. I warned you. But you wouldn’t listen. It wasn’t a piece of that red house
that knocked me into the stream, Mr. Morgan. And it wasn’t a scream in the
night that bowled me over. It was a human, a human strong
enough to nearly killed me. I figured it was you. Sometimes we figure too
much, son, the wrong things. Things that can’t
ever be figured. And it’s bad, bad for everyone. It’s quicksand. I need your help here, Nath. Why would I want to hurt you? What do you think
happened, Pete? There’s a curse on those woods. We know that. Are you going to
stay with us, Nath? – Why shouldn’t I?
– Well, after what’s happened, I thought… and Tibby doesn’t
want you to, does she? After what’s happened, you couldn’t get me
out of here with a triple barreled shotgun. Last night I was a coward. There’s some connection between
Pete’s red house and whoever hit me. I’m going to find out what goes on
out there if it takes exploring every Sunday between now and doomsday. I’ll help you. I thought Pete told you
not to go in those woods. I can’t help it, I want to. OK. Sunday we’ll go prowling. What about your
date with Tibby? I want her to be
sure that… that I don’t want you to stay
here just because… I mean, I don’t want her to think
I’m trying to steal you away from her. We did have a date to go
swimming Sunday anyway. So maybe asking her to come along would
keep her from throwing another fit. – Goodnight, Nath, and thanks.
– Goodnight, Meg. Help me down, honey. – Don’t drop me.
– Drop you? Who’s got hold of who? Hey, kids. I found an old trail,
maybe it leads somewhere. – Another dead end.
– They’re all dead ends, I’m hot. We’ve been on a wild goose
chase for four solid hours. Find your haunted
house on your own time. You’re on my time now. Or have you forgotten we had a
date to go swimming this afternoon? Just the two of us… remember? Let’s go back to the farm, kids.
The sun’ll be just right for swimming. Nath! What’s happened to you? Why, what’s the matter? Well, there’s a black and blue
streak across your shoulder. – How’d you get it?
– Oh, that! – I.. I don’t know.
– Of course you know. You might let me
in on your secrets. We haven’t any secrets. We told you about the red house. Look, Tibby, I, uh, I slipped in the stream
last night and fell on my shoulder. – Come on, I’ll race you across the pond.
– Aren’t you coming in? You had a swimming date,
just the two of you, remember? I’ll sun. Winner! – Do you love me?
– Sure.Just keep me well kissed.I like to be kissed.Hey, lovebirds, dinner’s ready! Are you and Nath planning
to be married, Tibby? Well, I like to keep
him guessing, Mr. Morgan. She’s like an ornery heifer
sometimes, hard to hold down. We’re glad to have
you at our house, Tibby. We’ve missed having company,
you must come back often. Besides, we like
to keep Nath happy. We had a pleasant day? Well, we wasted most of it looking for a
haunted house in the Ox Head Woods. I didn’t know there was a haunted
house in the Ox Head Woods. Well, Nath says it’s red and he’s
got to find it. Isn’t that silly? Yes, it is. Meg go with you? Seems there’s enough trouble in this world
without having to go out and look for it. Well, I’m all the trouble he
can handle if he only knew it. Well, that’s a well one you are
keeping a secret, blabbing to Pete. I didn’t blab, it just slipped out. And a fine swimming date
we had, I don’t think. You know, Tibby, you’re might pretty,
especially when you’re mad. And I guess maybe,
maybe when you’re mad, you’re just about the
prettiest gal there is. Are you sure you don’t want me to get
Pete’s pickup truck and drive you home? Can’t have your
cake and eat it too. You have chores to do. I’ll walk home, thanks. Don’t suppose I’ll be seeing
much of you weeknights. Well, what with final exams
coming up and this new job… I know. Would it be too much to ask that
we spend next Sunday by ourselves? Just you and me? Or is it more important to play
hide and seek in the woods with Meg? Go on, get madder. It makes your cheeks pink. Don’t think you’re going to
talk me into a kiss goodbye. I want you to miss ’em, long enough to make them more
important than… haunted houses. So save it for next Sunday. I thought you
were napping, Pete. You disobeyed me. Now you listen to me. I’m listening. You went into the
woods with Nath. – Well, why shouldn’t I, there only…
– Because I’ve asked you not to. We didn’t find anything, all we did was keep
getting into one dead end after another. I don’t care,
now you listen to me. All I have in the world is you. If there’s anything you want, I’ll get it for you,
But there’s one thing you’ve got to do for me. You stay out of those woods! I’ve grown up, and I’ve got
a right to do as I please. I’ve never laid hands on you in my life. But I’ll take the
whip to you if you do! Pete! Hi, Teller. – Headed for home?
– Uh-huh. – That’s what I figured. You been swimming?
– How’d you know? Got your suit in
that bag, haven’t you? – What are you doing here?
– Waiting for you. What for? I want you to do me a favor. You’ve got looks and
all the rest besides. Besides that, I figure
you’re the kind that’s got more sense in your head
than comes out of your mouth. Maybe I have. What kind of favor
you want out of me? I’ve got 750 bucks. I want you to buy me
a government bond. $750, where’d you get it,
you steal it? I want you to buy me that bond. Have them write my name on it and
buy it the next time you go to town. There’s an extra $10
for your trouble. – Oh I couldn’t take money…
– Sure, you could. And keep your
mouth shut to boot. I’ll be waiting every
Sunday till you bring it. Why don’t you buy it yourself. ‘Cause the guy in the village
bank’s got too long a nose. And because it’ll be a prettier
bond if you buy it for me. I better get home. Do you want me to help
you cross the stream? Thanks a lot, Teller. Is that all the thanks I get? How much more do you want? Teller. You’ll either protect these woods
of mine or I get someone who can. Oh, why don’t you keep
your trespassers at home? You gave me full rights to
the Ox Head Woods exclusive. I gave you the game rights in exchange
for keeping trespassers out. Look, Mr. Morgan, if you can’t keep
your own hired hand out of these woods, maybe I should use more than a
club to scare him away with. Oh, why don’t you? – You telling me I can use my gun?
– I don’t want anybody to get hurt but… there’s no better way of backing up a No Trespassing
sign than by a bullet missing somebody’s skull. OK, Mr. Morgan,
I’ll take care of my end. – This is going to be fun.
– And it’s going to be more than that. It’s your last chance. “Be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ’s sake,
has forgiven you.” Dear Heavenly Father,
we pray to thee to bless all those on earth
who are suffering in heart and mind, body and spirit. Grant them the blessing of
hope and faith and strength… and peace. Amen. What’s troubling you, Pete? You haven’t eaten,
you haven’t slept. Hello? Yes Tibby, I’ll call him. Tibby wants you. Hello, Tibby. No, I’m coming over. Or you can use the
pickup truck, Nath. Pete says I can use
his pickup truck. I’ll come on down. Bye. You know, when I was
a young man and in love, Sunday was always
a good day for spooning. Thanks for the
use of the truck. Always ready to give love
a helping hand, aren’t we, Meg? That’s right. Now, I might add, it’s a lot
healthier than prowling in woods. I don’t care what Pete said, I wish
we were prowling in the woods today. I wish Tibby’d
forgotten our date. So do I. There’s something
out in those woods. Something tells me we won’t find out
what it is until I find the red house. What are we going to do
with it when we find it? Bust it open, I guess,
and let some light in. Maybe it’ll shake the creeps
out of a lot of things. We’ll find it. I, uh… I got this for your graduation. I wasn’t going to give
it to you until then, but… because it’s a gray day and… because I want you to be happy… I, uh… go ahead, open it. Oh, how beautiful! – You like it?
– Oh, I love it. Oh, uh, let me put it on, huh? Now will you forgive me for
barking at you last Sunday? I didn’t exactly disobey, Pete. I’ve always wanted to
go into those woods. I did it because
I felt I had to. Strange. I felt I belonged there. Don’t ever go near
those woods again. Thanks for the watch. I’ll treasure it all my life. Tibby, you’ve
got Meg all wrong. Didn’t she ask you up to
spend the day and have dinner? Yeah, but why? Can’t anybody do anything without
you figuring they’ve got an angle? I’ve always got an angle.
I’ve got an angle on you! A girl always has a reason
when she does something. – Does she?
– Sure. OK. And what’s your reason for
dawdling with that guy Teller? – What do you mean dawdling?
– Just what I said. You think I didn’t see you? How could you?
Where were you? In the bus. Where’d you think I was? Oh, that. Yes, that. Was there some more dawdling
I didn’t know about? You don’t think I’d be interested in a
big dumb ox who makes his living hunting? Well, you were interested enough
to stop and talk to him that afternoon. Well, he was sitting on our rocks.
I told him to get off them. What did he say? He said he would. – I’ll bet.
– You calling me a liar? Now don’t make something out of nothing.
All I said was, I’ll bet. – You bet what?
– I’ll bet… he said he’d get off your rocks. Is that calling you a liar? Pop was right. Right about what? You’re too bright to be wasting your time
up at the Morgans’ for four bits an hour. Well, they just
live off their farm. We make a profit on ours. Since when is there a law
against living off the earth? We’re going to live
off the earth some day. Before we’re finished, we’re gonna
leave our kids a good farm. I want to clear out of these
hills when I get married. – Since when?
– Since now. I don’t want to be
just any farm wife. This is a good a time as
any other to find that out. Well, if you love someone,
you’ll do anything for ’em. That works both ways. Maybe someday you’ll
own this whole valley, and we can spend our
winters in the city house. Sure. With two station
wagons and a limousine. Why not? – I better get back to the Morgans’.
– What for? Let you go on with your dreaming.
I’m disturbing your sleep. City house, station wagons,
limousines. Great. Boy, when you dream,
you really dream good. Well, aren’t I
worth working for? Sure. And a lot of guys are working
on getting to the moon in a rocket. They think that’s
worth working for. But I like the
ground around here. And I just as soon
keep my feet on it. How much money have
you saved doing it? None yet. Not even $750? Not even 750 cents. Why? Nothing, I was just thinking. Nath, didn’t Meg go with you?
I thought she did. She was gone when you left. – Didn’t she leave with you this noon?
– No, only as far as the porch. Did she say she was going anywhere? She must have gone
into the woods alone. Meg! Meg! Nath! I knew you’d come. Are you hurt? Yes, I think maybe
my leg’s broken. Here, hold this. Now, put all your
weight on the other leg. We were happy here
till that boy came. Meg loved me,
trusted me, did everything I asked. Then he came. I’m losing her. I’ve fought fate 15
years ago, and I lost. You know that, Ellen. – I tried to stay away from that house.
– Yes, Pete, you tried. She kept calling. I had to go to her. Don’t dig it up again, dear. Let’s bury it, it’s past. Buried until that
boy came here. Nath doesn’t know anything about it,
Pete, that’s all in your mind. Do you think there’s a man on earth
who hasn’t something to conceal? Every living soul has
his Ox Head Woods. I can still see her. She knew there was nothing
I could do about it. – He knew it.
– Don’t dig it up again, dear, please. Forget… – Why didn’t Nath go before it happened?
– Please. Why did she scream? I loved her, she knew it. – Why did she cry out?
– Shh. It’s been 15 years, dear. Put it out of your mind. Don’t let it drive
you mad again. It’s gone. It’s over. It can’t touch Meg. – There’s nothing I can do about it.
– There is something we can do about it. We can protect
her from the past. How can I protect her from the past
when I can’t shut it out myself? – We can shut it out of this house!
– No, no, this isn’t my house. There’s no certain
place for me on earth except out there
in that icehouse. That’s where I belong. – What if Meg should find out?
– Pete, Pete, how could she find out? I didn’t want her to go.I’d rather she was dead than ever hear
the screams. I’d rather she was dead.I’d rather I died out
there in the muck and dirt. That’s where I belong. – I should have burned that place down.
– No, no. They’d search the ashes
and find her screaming. I should’ve burned it down and
the icehouse and the woods with it. Don’t you dare.
Don’t never dare.Ellen, Pete!
Open the door!Ellen!What’s happened to her? I found her in your woods.
Her leg’s broken. – Call Dr. Byrne.
– Call Jonathan, Pete. Dr. Byrne. Dr. Byrne? This is Pete Morgan,
we need you. Meg’s leg is broken. Come quick. It’s Nath.Somebody’ll hear you.Oh, I’m so glad you came. – Why did you wait so long?
– Ellen wouldn’t let me come. I never thought of climbing
that tree until tonight. I wanted to tell you
about the red house. I followed some wagon
tracks through the woods. – They were all grown…
– Where did they start? I don’t know. I headed up hill just past the big
limestone rocks we saw that Sunday. How’s Tibby? Search me. She’s gone to town for something,
graduation dress, I think. Bet you miss her. Tell me about the red house. After the limestone rocks, what? Well, I followed these
tracks through the rocks. The road’s hard to follow,
but it led to this hill. What hill? I don’t know, I was too busy
following the tracks to see. I looked down from the
top into the rocks. And there it was. What does it look like? Ugly and awful. But Nath, I had the feeling
I’ve been there before. Lots of people get that feeling,
Meg, even if they haven’t. No, this was different. I even seem to remember
the icehouse back against the rocks. Water shimmered out
from under it… as if it were flooded. – How do you know it was an icehouse?
– That’s what scares me, I know it was. – But how did I know?
– Well, didn’t you go look? I didn’t dare go without you. My heart started pounding. Are you sure you
didn’t hear screams? Yes. I think I did. I think that’s why I ran,
I don’t know. You’d better go. But come back again
tomorrow night. Your hair tickles. Jeannie… are you all right? Just turned out my light. I thought I heard
you calling for me. No. I was just
about to go to sleep. Good. Sleep soundly, Jeannie. You were in Meg’s
room just now. Yes, I was. You sneaked up the tree. – You were there with her in the dark.
– Is there a law against me seeing her? Yes, mine. There was peace in this house until you came.
You took her into the woods. – Meg went into the woods on her own.
– She wouldn’t have gone if it weren’t for you. Her leg wouldn’t have been
broken if it weren’t for you. You’ve got no right to
treat her like a child. You caused all the
trouble you’re going to. I don’t want you here anymore. Get out, now! You don’t need to
think I want this job. – I could work for Rentons any day I like.
– Clear out. Never trespass on
my property again. If you do, you’ll get hurt. – Is that fair warning?
– Yes, that’s clear enough. You can take one place off. Nath’s quit, he’s gone
to work for Tibby’s folks. Without even saying goodbye? But it seems they
needed him this morning. He said to say goodbye
to you and Meg. That’s not like Nath. He’s a nice boy. What are we going
to do for help? We can manage alone. Meg will soon be up and around
and we can manage alone. Just you and me and… Meg. Did you quarrel with Nath? Don’t lie to me, Pete. Why should I
quarrel with the boy? For the same reason you
killed Jeannie’s husband. Because you wanted
her all to yourself. Ellen! Ellen! Meg, dear. Nath’s gone. He sent you his love. He needed a full time job
now that school’s about over. I was putting some dishes away and
the wall cupboard came down on my arm. We’ll miss Nath, won’t we? It’s going to be lonesome
for you, isn’t it? Why don’t you padlock this door
and go out to the Morgans’. I’ve quit there, Mom. I’m going to work
for the Rentons. Well, with Tibby around,
then you won’t be lonesome. I’ll be OK, Mom. Well, happy honeymoon. Thanks again for everything. – Goodbye, son.
– Bye. – Goodbye, darling.
– Goodbye, Mom. Hello, doctor. How’s my patient? I bet it
feels better with that cast off. I’ve been cheating a little, Dr. Byrne.
I tried walking without my crutches. Uh-huh.
I brought up the mail. – Where’s Ellen?
– Gathering the eggs. How’s everyone in the valley? Oh, new baby at Sheriff Hawk’s. New hired hand at the Rentons’. Who? Mrs. Storm’s boy, Nath. Yeah. Everybody’s wondering what the
Rentons want most, the Storm boy for a son-in-law or an
extra hand on the farm for free. – Is Nath living at the Rentons’?
– No. I see him going back
to the store nights. Say, wasn’t he working here at the time
you broke this pretty leg? Yes, but he had to
get a full-time job. He’s got a full-time
job handling Tibby. She’s a wild one. Well, I’ve got a few babies coming,
few old folks dying. I’ve got to be going. – Hiya, Pete.
– Hello, doctor. Our Meg’s about as good as new.
Young bones knit fast. Yeah, well, thank heavens
she was luckier than I was. Yes, but then a girl needs a pretty leg
more than a man does. With a little help and being careful,
she can forget the crutches. Well, I’ll help her,
I’ll take care of her. I’ll watch her like
a Saint Bernard. All right. Say hello to her for me. – I will.
– Bye bye. – Bye.
– Bye. Remember when I had to learn to
walk again, just like climbing
a mountain all day long. Better lean on me. Mustn’t try too
much the first time. I just want to help you. That’s what I’m for. That’s what I like. Oh, hi. – What you got on?
– My new play suit. Do you like it? It’s all right. You might as well still be working at the
Morgans’ for all the fun you are to me. If you’d spend a little more
time working around this place instead of preening your
feathers like a pet canary, maybe you’d know what it
is to be tired at night. I had a nice Sunday picnic all planned
for us tomorrow down by the stream. But I’m not gonna
waste it on you. You sleep all day
if you want to. Oh, just till 10:00 or 11:00. You didn’t sleep till any 10:00 or 11:00 up at
the Morgans’ because you wanted to see her. Go stick your head under a
faucet and cool off, Tibby. If you want to go on that picnic
tomorrow, I’ll be here till 11:00. So you finally made
up your mind to come. Here’s your bond. I’ve been here every Sunday. Well, I couldn’t get
here before today. Who do you think you
are, standing me up? You’ve been drinking. So what? Well, I’m sorry I came at all.
I’m sorry I got your old bond. – Did you tell anybody?
– You’re drunk. Who are you kidding? You can fool around with pretty boy
Nath Storm as much as you like. But when you decide on
a man, you come to me. You had to catch him
when he was drunk. Just try it sometime when he’s sober,
just once, he’d kill you. Can’t you see
you’re not wanted? Yeah, I can. The next time you feel like
snooping around Ox Head Woods, read the signs, the part
about “at your own risk.” Why? Because some yellow belly’ll
sock me in the dark? Because I got full
rights to them woods. – Who gave ’em to you?
– Pete Morgan. Then would you be knowing
how Meg broke her leg? No, I wouldn’t. But if it was you snooping around
these woods, you’d get this. Come on, Tibby,
let’s get out of here. This is the way it
could always be, Jeannie. We don’t need anybody else. Meg. What’s the matter, child? I don’t know.
Just heartsick, I guess. You miss Nath, don’t you? Yes. And something’s wrong here.
I don’t know what it is. Wrong in what way? Ellen, who is Jeannie? Where did you hear that name? Pete’s called me that several times,
and when he does, I’m afraid. When has he called
you that name? Up in my room when my leg
was hurting, out by the pond. Has Pete ever
laid hands on you? No. Why do you ask that? Finish the dishes, dear. – Anything wrong?
– No. You’re working too hard, Pete. Why don’t we get
Nath back to help? We’re better off without him. I’m sure Meg misses him. She’s young, she deserves the company
of a nice boy like Nath, a little fun. That’s what you said
about Herb Snell years ago. Herb Snell was fun, remember? I didn’t have time to
learn how to dance. I was too busy earning the money that would make
it possible for me to ask Jeannie to be my wife. And Herb Snell was busy becoming
the best dancer in the valley. Nath’s like you were, not Herb. He’s a fine boy,
honest, a hard worker. He has a girl.
What does he want with Meg? Meg needs to be with
young people like Nath. You can’t condemn
her to loneliness. Meg belongs here with us. Do you want to chain her
to this place all her life? All my life, yes. I’ve given my life to you, Pete, because you’re my brother and
I loved you, and you needed me. You know what it’s meant
to me, what I’ve lost. You know what Jonathan
Byrne and I might have had. Well, did I ask you
not to marry him? No, but you wouldn’t let me
take Meg with me if I did. Did you expect me to? Whatever happiness I get,
I’ve got to find while I live. You can find
happiness by giving it. Well, do you think I could
find it with that boy back here? Do you think he’d stop prowling in those
woods until he found the red house? He wouldn’t stop at that,
he’d dig deeper. He’d dig up a skull and
bring in home as a trophy. What do you think
that would do to Meg? What do you think would happen
to her if she found out the truth? – She’d loathe me all the rest of her life.
– But you’ve got to be fair to Meg. All right, so I’m not fair. But I can’t let her go. As long as the red house
stands in that quarry, my whole life is Meg’s
and her life is mine. What are you
going to do, Ellen? I’m going to burn that
place out of Pete’s mind. I don’t care if it starts a forest fire.
It’s going up in flames tonight. – You can’t go into those woods.
– I know them well enough. It isn’t that, I didn’t tell you or Nath the
whole truth about how my leg was broken. I fell, but it was because
somebody was shooting at me. – I was afraid Nath would get shot, afraid…
– Teller. It’s Pete’s fault for letting Teller
think he owns those woods. He’s just trying to scare
you, but he’s afraid of me. – Let me go with you.
– No, your leg isn’t strong enough. I don’t want to
stay here alone. Come with me as far as
Nath’s cabin. Lock yourself in. I’ll be back before
Pete knows I’m gone. Ellen? Meg? Ellen! Meg? Ellen! Meg! Wait here for me. Meg! Ellen! All right, Nath, come up out of there.
I got you covered. Miss Ellen.
Miss Ellen! I didn’t aim to kill. Miss Ellen, please.Ellen!Pete! Pete!Pete, where are you? Pete! Didn’t you hear me?
Ellen’s hurt, she needs help. Yes, I know. She’s bleeding,
she’s been shot. Ellen’s lost now. Lost. Nothing will help. Pete, you’re not gonna
sit here and let her die. She was going to the red house. 15 years those woods
have been calling to me.Storm’s store.It won’t get me. Nath, it’s Meg. I need help. He can’t help.
Nobody can help. Ellen’s in the woods, hurt.
Teller shot her.– I can’t carry her out alone.
– Where is she? On the trail we took just before
we reached the limestone rocks. I’ll call Dr. Byrne
and the sheriff. – I’ll bring a stretcher.
– Hurry! You’re not going back in there,
you can’t do it. You’ll be lost too, believe me,
I know the woods are evil. I know what’s there,
I know the dangers. – Oh, darling, don’t.
– Let go of me. You don’t know. Darling, I’ve
stopped the bleeding. You’ll be fine now. You’ll get everything
you need soon. Nath’s coming. And he’s called Jonathan. Jonathan. Need him. Does it hurt as much now? Doesn’t hurt now. Be fine. Pete! Pity Pete. Pity him. Love him. – How is she?
– She’s asleep, I bandaged her. Oh, Nath, thanks. I made a stretcher out of a blanket
and a couple of rake handles. – It’s all I had.
– Did you get Dr. Byrne? He wasn’t in. I left a message.
I called the sheriff. She’s sleeping awfully sound. She’s dead. What you got on your mind, me? I couldn’t get you
out of my mind, baby. That’s the way you
are with me too. Let’s do something about it. Let’s borrow your
father’s truck and elope. Elope? Holy smoke.
Pop would kill us. Come on, baby. We’ll drive across the state line.
I’ll cash in my bond. We’ll splurge it having a honeymoon
that’ll top any honeymoon anybody ever had. The truck’s in the orchard shed, we can
head out the back road, they won’t hear us. She hurt bad? She’s dead. You think I didn’t love Ellen. Every day for years
she’s died for me. You think I can forget that? But she forgot the woods.That’s what’s killed her.You hate me now, don’t you?Yes, I think I do.You let Ellen die. No, no. You defy the woods,
and you will hurt. She defied them, and she’s dead. Ellen didn’t hate me. She always understood. You’ll leave me now, I
suppose, won’t you, Meg? Yes. Everything I love… dies. I can’t lose you, Jeannie. Don’t call me that name, Pete. Who was she? Who was Jeannie?
Was her real name Genevieve? – Was she my mother, Pete?
– I don’t know. You do know.
I can’t stay here any longer. Yes. She was your mother. – Now are you happy?
– What happened to her? Meg, for the love of heavens… – She was killed, wasn’t she?
– But it was an accident, I… It wasn’t an accident.
Something awful must’ve happened. – You must have hated her or…
– Hated her? I’ve worshiped your mother. No man ever loved a woman more. But she married your father,
a man without heart, without soul. – Is that why you killed her?
– No, no, no, you’ve got to believe me, Meg. I never hurt your mother. I never even so much as
said a harsh word to her. And then when you were
born in the red house, I loved you like
you were my own. That’s why I
remembered the house. It was his fault. He got jealous. He took to accusing Jeannie
and me of… bad things. He lied. But the worst was when… he was going to take
Jeannie and you away. I ran to the red house, to plead
with your mother not to go. I heard him coming
home in the surrey. I begged her to decide
before it was too late. She got frightened. I don’t know why. She screamed. – There was no reason I wasn’t going.
– Then you did kill her. No, it was an accident,
I just tried to keep her quiet. I just put my hand over
her mouth, only that. She was smothered. Then he came in the door, and went crazy. I knew it was his fault. He was the one
who killed Jeannie. I picked up a bullwhip, and I beat him! Till he wasn’t
handsome anymore, until he was dead, finished! I was out of my mind. I picked up their bodies and
I put them in the surrey. I whipped the horses
into the icehouse. The spring had broken
through in there. The mud was deep, deep enough. When I came to my senses, I… I tried to kill myself,
I jumped into the quarry. Ellen should’ve
let me die there. Nath! Nath! Nath, where are you? Nath’s gone. He’s taken your rifle, he’s gone
to the woods. Teller will kill him. I love him, Pete. I love him like you
loved Jeannie, Pete. I don’t know the woods at night,
Pete, you do. You’ve got to help me stop him. I’ll forget what happened.
I won’t hold it against you. You can make up for what you did. Jeannie
will forgive you, she’ll forgive you, Pete. I can end this? I can be free. There was a truck
road to the red house. You go ahead, start the truck.
I’ll catch up with you. Listen. – My pop must’ve found out…
– I wish that’s all that was. What do you mean? They’re after me. – Pop’ll whip me.
– Stop that crying. Stop it! You don’t really love me! Better stop! I didn’t know what I was doing. Maybe Teller didn’t either, kid,
but it all adds up to murder. Murder? Look out, that branch! We can’t make it this way. Who’s there? It’s Ray Hall, Nath.
I came as quickly as I could. I telephoned the
state highway police. – Any signs of Teller?
– No, Sheriff. – But I heard a car here in the woods.
– Yeah, so did I. Is Teller here? Not yet. We’re on time. Come, dear. Don’t be afraid. Step out of the door,
he’ll see us. Why must we bolt the door? Nothing has changed. Just as it was. Just as it was. She’s just like you, Jeannie. I’ve come to plead
with you not to go. Don’t go with him, Jeannie. I can’t live without you. Pete, we’ve come
here to help Nath. – He could be killed.
– Yes! I’d kill to keep you here. Does Herb love you that
much, enough to kill for you? When he comes back
to the village, we’ll be gone, you
and the baby and me. We’ll be gone. And I swear before God I’ll kill him
before I’ll let him take you away. You stay here with me, Jeannie. There isn’t much time left. Decide, Jeannie, decide! Oh, Nath! Nath! Meg! Stop it! Open the door, Meg! – Jeannie!
– Meg! – Open up or I’ll shoot it.
– Jeannie. Meg, it’s Nath. Stop or I’ll shoot! Stop, Pete!
Stop or I’ll shoot! I thought I better finish what Ellen
started out to do, sweetheart. I set fire to the red house. Looking forward’s much
better than looking back.