Paint Your Wagon (film)
|Paint Your Wagon|
Original film poster
|Screenplay by||Alan Jay Lerner|
by Alan Jay Lerner
|Music by||Lerner and Loewe|
Additional song composer:
Paint Your Wagon is a 1969
When a wagon crashes into a ravine,
Pardner is innocent and romantic, illustrated by him singing a love song about a girl named Elisa ("I Still See Elisa"), who he later confesses exists only in his imagination. Pardner is a farmer who hopes to make enough in the gold rush to buy some land, and is suspicious of the drunken and seemingly amoral Ben. Ben claims that while he is willing to fight, steal, and cheat at cards, his system of ethics does not allow him to betray a partner. Ben will share the spoils of prospecting on the condition that Pardner takes care of him in his moments of drunkenness and melancholy.
After the discovery of gold, "No Name City" springs up as a tent city with the miners alternating between wild parties ("Hand Me Down That Can o' Beans") and bouts of melancholy ("They Call the Wind Maria"). The men become frustrated with the lack of female companionship, so the arrival of a
A drunken Ben winds up with the highest bid for Elizabeth. Ben is readied for the wedding by the other miners ("Whoop-Ti-Ay"), and is married to Elizabeth under "mining law," with Ben being granted exclusive rights to "all her mineral resources." Elizabeth, not content to be treated as property, threatens to shoot Ben on their wedding night if she is not treated with respect. While she believes Ben is not the type to truly settle down, this is acceptable if he builds a proper wooden cabin to provide her with some security for when he inevitably leaves. Ben, impressed by Elizabeth's determination, enlists the miners to keep this promise, and Elizabeth rejoices in having a proper home ("A Million Miles Away Behind the Door").
Sensing the other miners becoming obsessed with her, Ben is consumed by jealousy and paranoia. News comes of the pending arrival of "six French tarts" to a neighboring town and a plan is hatched to kidnap the women and bring them to "No Name City" ("There's a Coach Comin' In"), thus providing the other miners with female companionship. Ben heads up the mission and leaves Elizabeth in the care of Pardner. The two fall in love ("I Talk to the Trees"), whereupon Elizabeth, saying she also still loves Ben, convinces them that "if a Mormon man can have two wives, why can't a woman have two husbands?"
As the town booms, the arrangement with Ben, Pardner, and Elizabeth works well for a while. But soon the town becomes large enough that civilized people from the East begin to settle there. A parson begins to make a determined effort to persuade the people of No Name City to give up their evil ways, warning the townsfolk that they will be swallowed up by God's wrath if they do not repent ("The Gospel of No Name City"). As the gold plays out, Ben and a group of miners discover that gold dust is dropping through the floor boards of many of the saloons. They tunnel under all the businesses to get the gold ("The Best Things in Life Are Dirty").
Meanwhile, a group of new settlers is rescued from the snow, and the strait-laced family is invited to spend the winter with Elizabeth and Pardner, who is assumed to be her only husband. Ben is left to fend for himself ("Wand'rin' Star"). In revenge, he introduces one of the family, naive young Horton Fenty, to the pleasures of Rotten Luck Willie's
Ben departs for other gold fields, commenting that he never knew Pardner's real name, which Pardner then reveals: Sylvester Newel. Elizabeth and Pardner reconcile and plan to stay.