Captain John Boyd's promotion stations him at a fort where a rescued man tells a disturbing tale of cannibalism.

Colhoun: I suppose I owe you gentlemen a story. We left in April. Six of us in all. Mr. MacCready and his wife, from Ireland. Mr. Janus, from Virginia, I believe... with his servant, Jones. Myself - I'm from Scotland. And our guide... a military man, coincidently. Colonel Ives. A Detestable man... and a most disastrous guide. He professed to know a new, shorter route through the Nevada's.
Colhoun: Quite a route that was. Longer than the known one... and impossible to travel. We worked... very, very hard. By the time of the first snowfall we were still a hundred miles from this place. That was November. Preceding in the snow was futile. We took shelter in a cave. Decided to wait until the storm had passed. But the storm did not pass. The trails soon became impassable... and we had run out of food. We ate the oxen... all the horses... even my own dog. And that lasted us about a month. After that we turned to out belts... shoes... any roots we could dig up but you know there's no real nourishment in those. We remained famished. The day that Jones died I was out collecting wood. He had expired from malnourishment. And when I returned, the others were cooking his legs for dinner. Would I have stopped it had I been there? I don't know. But I must say... when I stepped inside that cave... the smell of meat cooking... I thanked the Lord. I thanked the Lord. And then things got out of hand. I ate sparingly. Others did not. The meat did not last us a week and we were soon hungry again only, this time our hunger was different. More... severe... savage. And Colonel. Ives, particularly, could not be satisfied. Janus was the first to be killed. And then Mr. MacCready. That left Colonel Ives, MacCready's wife, and I alone and I knew in that company that my days were numbered. I'm ashamed to say that I acted in the most cowardly manner. It would have been nobler, I know to have stayed and protected Mrs. MacCready from Ives, but... I was weak. I fled. It was nothing less than pure providence that I arrived here.
Pvt. Toffler: He was licking me!
Ives: I found your Private Reich up there... or what was left of him. You didn't finish! Well, I can't blame you: he was tough.
Ives: But then, a good soldier ought to be.
Colonel Hart: What did you get the medal for?
Captain John Boyd: Cowardice.
Knox: What are you cooking?
Ives: It's, uh... stew.
Knox: Need any help?
Ives: No, no, no. Perhaps later you might... contribute.
[Looking through a spyglass as three people approach the fort]
Colhoun: Breakfast... lunch... and reinforcements.
Ives: If you die first, I am definitely going to eat you, but the question is, if I die, what are you going to do? Bon app├ętit... Eat or die.
Colhoun: I said no food. I didn't say there was nothing to eat.
Ives: It's not courage to resist me Boyd. It's courage to accept me.
Ives: We won't kill indiscriminately. No... selectively. We don't want to break up families.
Lindus: How did you get behind the enemy line?
Captain John Boyd: I froze. I was scared.
Lindus: Scared? You froze while the rest of your unit fought and died? What did you do then?
Captain John Boyd: I played dead.
Lindus: But you made it behind enemy lines.
Captain John Boyd: I was buried, with my commanding officer's half shot off head in my face, his blood running down my throat.
Lindus: So how did you take the command post?
Captain John Boyd: Something... something had changed.
Lindus: We're gonna promote you, Boyd. We could shoot you. But as you singlehandedly captured the enemy command it might set a bad precedent.
Colonel Hart: Stew a la Major Knox...
Ives: You remember this? You smell it? The scent - always jogs the memory - don't you think? Remember the energy? The potency of someone else coursing through your veins? Someone brave. You know the disappointment as it dissipates. The strength slipping from your grasp. The growing, killing need to replenish. But I don't have to remind you of that. You're feeling it right now.
Ives: Morality. The last bastion of a coward.
Colonel Hart: It's lonely being a cannibal. Tough making friends.
Ives: [gun clicks] That's sooo annoying.
Ives: [takes a big breath of smoke] You know, not too long ago I couldn't do that. Could barely take a breath without coughing up a pint of blood. Tuberculosis. That along with fierce headaches... depression... suicidal ambition. I was in pretty horrible shape. In fact I was on my way to a sanatorium to convalesce when a native scout told me a curious story. Man eats the flesh of another, he takes the other man's strength, absorbs his spirit. Well. Naturally I just had to try. Consequently I ate the scout first and you know he was absolutely right. I grew stronger. Tuberculosis? Vanished. As did the headaches and the black thoughts. I returned that spring happy. And healthy. And virile...
Colonel Hart: A little too much bourbon in his bourbon.
Ives: That was very... sneaky
Ives: Of course, we've no wish to recruit everyone. We've enough mouths to feed as it is!
Ives: [looking out over the mountains] Manifest destiny. You know come april, thousands of gold-hungry Americans will over those mountains, on their way to new lives, passing right through...
[turns around indicating Fort Spencer]
Ives: here.
Colhoun: You know, if you die first, I am definitely going to eat you. The question is, if I die first, what are you going to do? Bon Appetit
Pvt. Toffler: Sick man outside! SICK MAN OUTSIDE!
Colhoun: Breakfast. Lunch. And Reinforcements.
Ives: Eat to live. Don't live to eat.
Colonel Hart: Well. Isn't this civilized?

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