A Prairie Home Companion Segment 16 for June 21, 2014
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SS: The Lives of the Cowboys. Brought to you by Trailhand Brand Toenail Clippers --- they cut toenails, sagebrush, barbed wire, and trim your horse's hooves. (BIG CLICK, WHINNY) And now. The Lives of the Cowboys.


GK: Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Dusty. Long way from Yellow Gulch. Symphony Hall is there---- the Lyric Opera ---- and there's the Art Institute of Chicago. Where you and I have been hired to guard that American Gothic painting. The famous one of the farmer with the pitchfork and his unhappy wife. There's been a threat by some Goths that they're gonna put tattoos on the wife.

TR: Why us? They got their own guards.

GK: The guards, most of them are artists and scholars, Dusty. They're not so good at grabbing somebody and

tying their wrists and ankles. They're more likely to watch a crime and then talk about how they felt about the

experience. Anyway, let's go in and get to work.


SS: So---- good to meet you---- glad you wore your boots and hats and vests and all. And your six-guns. Here's

"American Gothic," maybe the most famous American painting in the world, so it does attract certain lunatic


TR: Why, there's a lunatic right there. That tall man in the torn jeans and sneakers. (FN GIBBERISH)

SS: No, no, that's our curator, Mr. Gibberty. He always talks to himself. Good morning, sir. (FN GIBBERISH


GK: Any idea who in particular we might keep our eyes out for, Miss Crimberg?

SS: Look for shifty people. People coming in the gallery looking around for security cameras. And anybody carrying a paintbrush.

GK: Okay.

SS: And while you're at it, keep an eye on the Edward Hopper "Night Hawks" over there.

GK: Oh sure. The people at the counter of the diner at night.

SS: Maybe the second most famous American painting.

GK: We'll keep an eye out. We have dealt with desperados, demented prospectors, and drunken cowboys, not to mention diamondback rattlers. Anybody touches this art is gonna enter a world of pain. Count on it.

SS: Thank you. Could one of you come to my office and sign the employment contract.

TR: I'll do it.

GK: Thanks, Dusty. (FOOTSTEPS AWAY)

(GK FOOTSTEPS, THEN STOP) Interesting. Two famous paintings like these and nobody here. Not a soul. Maybe the museum hasn't opened yet. Interesting to look at them without anyone else around. Get up real close to them. Look at the brushstrokes.

SS (GOTHIC): You look so dorky with that pitchfork.

FN (GOTHIC): Aw, quit complaining.

SS (GOTHIC): I miss Iowa. Miss the farm.

FN (GOTHIC): You never said that when we were in Iowa.

SS (GOTHIC): Wish somebody'd buy us and take us back there.

FN (GOTHIC): We're not for sale. Somebody said we're worth a couple hundred million.

SS (GOTHIC): Wish I were on sale. I'd go in a minute.

FN (GOTHIC): You think they're gonna cut this picture in half?

SS (GOTHIC): I wish.

FN (GOTHIC): What's your problem?

SS (GOTHIC): Sick of looking at you.

FN (GOTHIC): Oh boy. Here we go again. Just relax.

DR: Hey, you. Pitchfork man.

FN (GOTHIC): Who's that?

DR: Me. Louie. The counterman over here in the diner.

FN (GOTHIC): Aw----- Night Hawks. That stupid Hopper painting I've been looking at for fifty years.

DR: How about you two either shut up with your bickering or think up something new to say? Tired of your noise.

FN (GOTHIC): Yeah, and why don't you wait on that couple sitting at the counter instead of standing there with

your face hanging out?

DR: You watch your mouth or I'll come over there and stick that pitchfork where the sun don't shine.

FN (GOTHIC): Ha. The way he painted you, you look like a light breeze would knock you on your keester.

DR: Ha. You don't know nothing. My guy was ten times the artist your guy was ----

FN (GOTHIC): You're saying Grant Wood was inferior to Edward Hopper?

DR: Wood couldn't paint trees, he made 'em round like lollipops.

FN (GOTHIC): Hopper couldn't paint people. Look at you----

DR: What? I'm not a person.

FN (GOTHIC): You're a cartoon.

DR: Awww. Whadda you know. ---Hey! What's the cowboy doing in here? What is this---- American Icon Week? ---- hey, you with the pointy boots. Hey you. Saddle bum! Hayseed!

GK: You talking to me?

SS (GOTHIC): Wake up. You're supposed to be guarding us.

GK: I don't think you people are supposed to be talking.

FN (GOTHIC): What does it matter? Nobody's here. Except you. And him.

GK: Who? Somebody come in?

FN (GOTHIC): The old guy with the weird hair....

SS: Shhhhhh.


TR (TRUMP): Boy O boy that is what I call a nice work of art. Mucho mucho beautiful. Grant Wood. I oughta get him to paint my picture. Well, I'm gonna put this right up here-----

GK: Hey. You!

TR (TRUMP): You talking to me?

GK: I'm not talking to the wall. You can't put that sign on that painting.

TR (TRUMP): Why not? It makes it even more distinguished.

GK: Is that your name? Trump?

TR (TRUMP): Right. You know me. I'm famous. Everybody knows me.

GK: Never saw you before in my life, but you're not going to put your name on the painting.

TR (TRUMP): People are gonna be talking about this. This is gonna be big. Gonna be huge. Wait and see.

GK: Take it off. You hear me?

TR (TRUMP): Do you know who you're talking to? --- Ouch. Ouch. Quit twisting my arm. Leggo. Ouch.


SS: Boys, you did a good job. Too good a job. We got the sign off the painting but now what to do with him? (TR

TRUMP MUFFLED) We can't let him loose here or he'll hold a press conference.

GK: Well, the westbound railroad tracks are about six blocks away. I could take him over there, wait for a highball freight and stuff him in a boxcar.

SS: And what then?

GK: The train won't stop until Cody, Wyoming. He'll get off and there's plenty of Republicans out there to see to

him and when he tells them that a cowboy at the Art Institute threw him into a boxcar, people will find him a



GK: So that's what we did. He looked sort of unhappy in that boxcar. I gave him a bottle of muscatel to keep him company and me and Dusty headed off to a fine steakhouse.

TR (DUSTY): You mind if I ask you a sort of embarrassing question?

GK: What's that?

TR: Don't tell anybody. Promise?

GK: Sure.

TR: Pinky swear?

GK: Promise.

TR: When I was alone and guarding those paintings, I heard them talking to each other. Did that happen to you?

GK: Paintings don't talk.

TR: I realize that but those did.

GK: That's crazy. Okay?

TR (DUSTY): Okay.......How long you think this job is gonna last, pardner?

GK: You like it in Chicago, don't you. I could tell.

TR: No rockslides, no sudden brushfires, no flash floods. A wonderful saloon on every block.

GK: You wouldn't feel fenced in here?

TR: I've been straddling my old saddle and listening to the murmur of the cottonwood trees long enough. I'd love a fence.

GK: I think, Dusty, when word gets around that you and I were the ones who ran Mr. Trump out of town, we're gonna get more job offers than we can handle. We may have to send for the Big Messer to come and work for us.


SS (ANNC): The Lives of the Cowboys- brought to you by Trailblazer Table Napkins ---- just because you're eating dinner off a rock doesn't mean you can't have a little elegance.....with Trailblazer Table Napkins and Placemats.