A chronicle of country music legend Johnny Cash's life, from his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recorded alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

Record Company Executive: Your fans are church folk, Johnny. Christians. They don't wanna hear you singing to a bunch of murderers and rapists, tryin' to cheer 'em up.
Johnny Cash: [pause] Well, they're not Christians, then.
[after record producer Sam Phillips stops Cash's band a couple of verses into their audition]
Sam Phillips: You know exactly what I'm telling you. We've already heard that song a hundred times. Just like that. Just... like... how... you... sing it.
Johnny Cash: Well you didn't let us bring it home.
Sam Phillips: Bring... bring it home? All right, let's bring it home. If you was hit by a truck and you was lying out there in that gutter dying, and you had time to sing *one* song. Huh? One song that people would remember before you're dirt. One song that would let God know how you felt about your time here on Earth. One song that would sum you up. You tellin' me that's the song you'd sing? That same Jimmy Davis tune we hear on the radio all day, about your peace within, and how it's real, and how you're gonna shout it? Or... would you sing somethin' different. Somethin' real. Somethin' *you* felt. Cause I'm telling you right now, that's the kind of song people want to hear. That's the kind of song that truly saves people. It ain't got nothin to do with believin' in God, Mr. Cash. It has to do with believin' in yourself.
Johnny Cash: [after a pause] I got a couple of songs I wrote in the Air Force. You got anything against the Air Force?
Sam Phillips: No.
Johnny Cash: I do.
June Carter: [on stage w/John] We've got these people all revved up, John. Now c'mon, let's sing Jackson for 'em.
Johnny Cash: You've got me all revved up. Now I've asked you forty different ways and it's time you come up with a fresh answer.
June Carter: Please sing.
Johnny Cash: I'm asking you to marry me. I love you, June. Now I know I said and done a lotta things, that I hurt you, but I promise, I'll never do that again. I only want to take care of you. I will not leave you like that dutch boy with your finger in the dam.
June Carter: [shakes head]
Johnny Cash: You're my best friend. Marry me.
June Carter: [quietly] All right.
Johnny Cash: Yeah?
[They kiss & the crowd cheers]
Jerry Lee Lewis: God gave us a great big apple, see, and He said don't touch it. He didn't say touch it once in a while; He didn't say take a nibble when you're hungry; He said don't touch it! Don't think about touchin'it, don't sing about touchin' it, don't *think* about singin' about touchin' it!
Johnny Cash: It's all right, it just happened.
June Carter: Just happened?
Johnny Cash: Yeah.
June Carter: You wear black 'cause you can't find anything else to wear? You found your sound 'cause you can't play no better? You just tried to kiss me because "it just happened?" You should try take credit for something every once in a while, John.
Johnny Cash: Aw, June, love's more important than the tour.
June Carter: Is that right?
Johnny Cash: Yes, it is.
June Carter: Well, then start loving yourself, so we can go back to work.
June Carter: Y'all can't walk no line!
Johnny Cash: Tell me you don't love me.
June Carter: I don't love you.
Johnny Cash: [grinning] You're a liar.
June Carter: I guess you ain't go no problems then.
Vivian Cash: You can't wear black. It looks like you're going to a funeral.
Johnny Cash: Maybe I am...
Johnny Cash: You're an angel.
June Carter: No, I'm not.
Johnny Cash: You've been there with me.
June Carter: I had a friend who needed help. You're my friend.
Johnny Cash: But I've done so many bad things.
June Carter: You've done a few, that's true.
Johnny Cash: My Daddy's right. It should have been me on that saw. Jack was so good. He would have done so many good things. What have I done? Just hurt everybody I know. I know I've hurt you. I'm nothin'.
June Carter: You're not nothin'. You are not nothin'. You're a good man, and God has given you a second chance to make things right, John. This is your chance, honey.
June Carter: [Sees John eating peanuts] Can I have one?
Johnny Cash: Yeah.
[Takes a peanut out of the bag and holds it above June's mouth]
Johnny Cash: Open your mouth...
June Carter: [June opens her mouth, but John snatches it away and eats it]
June Carter: John!
Johnny Cash: I'm sorry, I'm sorry... here.
[Takes another peanut out of the bag and holds it over June's mouth]
Johnny Cash: Open your mouth... Open your mouth...
June Carter: No... I don't trust you...
Johnny Cash: Oh, June don't say that...
June Carter: I don't...
Johnny Cash: Yes, you do... now open your mouth...
June Carter: [June opens her mouth, but John snatches away the peanut from her again]
June Carter: [Playfully hits John] John, you are a mean man! You're a mean man, and I knew it... I knew it all along...
Maybelle Carter: You should go down there to him, June.
June Carter: Mama?
Maybelle Carter: He's all mixed up.
June Carter: I am not goin' down there, if I go down there...
Maybelle Carter: You're already are down there, honey.
June Carter: I gotta tell you, I can't sing tonight. I got the laryngitis.
[Crowd laughs]
June Carter: Y'all laughin, but I do.
Billy: We just heard you hollerin up a storm back there.
June Carter: Well, I didn't have it then, Billy.
Young J.R.: [to Young Jack] How come you're so good?
Young Jack Cash: [laughs] I aint!
Young J.R.: You pick 5 times more than me.
Young Jack Cash: Well, I'm bigger than you are.
Young J.R.: You know every story in the scripture.
Young Jack Cash: Well, you know every song in mama's hymnal!
Young J.R.: Songs are easy.
Young Jack Cash: [laughs] It ain't for me.
Young J.R.: There's more words in the bible than in the Heavenly Highway Hymns.
Young Jack Cash: Look, J.R., if I'm going to be a preacher one day, I gotta know the bible front to back. I mean, you can't help nobody if you can't tell them the right story.
Vivian Cash: Your mama was here. Your daddy too.
Johnny Cash: Oh yeah. And what'd he say?
Vivian Cash: He said now you won't have to work so hard to make people think you've been in jail.
Johnny Cash: See, June, they want to see us together.
June Carter: All right, well, quit that clutchin' on me now and I'll sing with you, but you gotta quit clutchin' on me.
Johnny Cash: Now I've asked you forty different ways and it's time you come up with a fresh answer.
Jerry Lee Lewis: We're all going to hell for the songs we sing!
June Carter: And what about me, Jerry Lee; am I going to hell too?
Jerry Lee Lewis: No, June, you're beautiful.
Jerry Lee Lewis: [Later] She's making me fall in love with her.
[repeated line]
Johnny Cash: Hello, I'm Johnny Cash.
[last title cards]
Title card: In 1968, "At Folsom Prison" became one of the most popular recordings of all time, outselling even the Beatles.
Title card: That same year, John and June married and settled into the lake home in Hendersonville. Two years later they had a son, John Carter Cash.
Title card: For the next 35 years they raised their children, recorded music, toured and played the world together.
Title card: June passed in May 2003. Four months later, John followed.
Johnny Cash: You know what your problem is, June Carter? You are afraid to be in love, you are afraid of losing control, And you know what June Carter, I think you are afraid of livin' in my big fat shadow.
June Carter: Oh really? Is that what my problem is?
Johnny Cash: Yes.
June Carter: My problem is that it's 2 A.M. My problem is I'm asleep. I'm on a tour bus with eight stinkin' men. Rule number one: Don't propose to a girl on a bus, you got that? Rule number two: Don't tell her it's because you had a bad dream.
Johnny Cash: June.
June Carter: What?
Johnny Cash: Marry me.
[June glares]
Johnny Cash: Ok... Ok fine... but that's the last time i'm asking...
June Carter: Well, good. I hate reruns.
Johnny Cash: [Performing at Folsom Prison] Now, I'd like to remind you all that we're recording live, so you can't say "hell" or "shit" or anything like that!
Johnny Cash: I want to marry you and I am telling you it's the time.
June Carter: Well I'm telling you with 100 percent certainty that it is not the time. It's not about time, it's not the right time, it's not even quarter to the right time.
June Carter: [after an argument] You are not allowed to speak to me. After that stunt you pulled on the bus, the only place you are allowed to speak to me is on stage. Do you understand?
Johnny Cash: What'd I do?
June Carter: Gee, I don't know. Why don't you ask your big, fat shadow?
June Carter: It burns. It burns.
[last lines]
Johnny Cash: Why don't you tell them about the flood? Tell 'em about how you made a boat out of the front door and got us all out of there. They'll like that.
Carlene Carter: Tell us!
Johnny Cash: Come on, tell 'em. You got to pull the string tight.
Ray Cash: It was 1937; there was a flood...
June Carter: Baby baby baby...
[John and June on stage before an audience, away from mic]
June Carter: John, I'm not gonna sing that song, it's inappropriate.
[John signals to start music]
June Carter: I recorded it with my ex-husband,
[music starts]
June Carter: and I'm not gonna sing it.
Johnny Cash: There's no better way to put it behind you.
June Carter: I'm not gonna do it!
Johnny Cash: June, just sing.
[John and June begin a duet]
June Carter: There's too many "if"s in that sentence.
Johnny Cash: There's only one actually.
Johnny Cash: There's only one "if" in that sentence, June!
[looking at Jerry Lee]
Johnny Cash: I-I thought it was a good point... I mean, there is only one.
Young J.R.: [J.R. turns up the radio] Guess which Carter this is.
Young Jack Cash: I don't know J.R.
Young J.R.: Guess...
Young Jack Cash: Anita?
Young J.R.: Nope...
Young Jack Cash: Who?
Young J.R.: June.
Elvis Presley: How 'bout that Johnny Cash huh?
Johnny Cash: Marry me, June.
June Carter: Oh please, get up off your knees, you look pathetic.
Johnny Cash: I think it's about time, June.
June Carter: Time for what?
Johnny Cash: For you and me... to get married.
June Carter: Go to sleep, John.
June Carter: Ya'll can't walk no line.
Johnny Cash: Don't give me no rules. All I got are rules.
Johnny Cash: You got a library in there June.
Johnny Cash: [looking at Vivian]
Johnny Cash: I'm not the one you want babe, I'll only let you down.
June Carter: [Looks at John] Ya you're goin' to Jackson, you big talkin' man...
Elvis Presley: Nice job out there, Cash!
Jerry Lee Lewis: That's right, kiss his ass!
Johnny Cash: Hey Jerry Lee, does your momma know you're out?
Jerry Lee Lewis: [laughing] She knows.
Vivian Cash: John, whats with the black? You look like you're goin' to a funeral!
Johnny Cash: Maybe I am...
June Carter: [to Johnny] You got a hitch in your giddy-up?
Luther Perkins: [to the cops in the elevator] How do you get those shirts so... stiff?
June Carter: You walked here all the way from Nashville?
Johnny Cash: Yeah, well, walking is good for you...
Waylon Jennings: I'm a long way from home/And so all alone/ Homesick like I never thought I'd be/ I'm a long way from home/Everything is wrong/Someone please watch...
Johnny Cash: [while Waylon is still singing] June call?
Waylon Jennings:
Johnny Cash: Waylon! Did June call?
Johnny Cash: [after collapsing on stage from a drug overdose] Fortunately I keep my feathers numbered for just such an emergency.
Johnny Cash: So, where's your truck driver?
June Carter: Stock car driver. And you'll be happy to know things aren't working out between the two of us.
Johnny Cash: It doesn't make me happy! Well... maybe a little it does.
Johnny Cash: Next time I ask you to marry me, I'm gonna come up with a different way.
Jerry Lee Lewis: [to next act] Get yourselves a pine box, boys. Nobody follows The Killer!
Vivian Cash: John, I have a cassarole in the oven and your sister in the kitchen, and I don't want to talk about the tour.
Rosanne Cash: Hey Daddy, you okay?
Johnny Cash: Yeah honey, I'm fine. See you in the mornin'.
Johnny Cash: Looks like we're here.
June Carter: Oh, thank goodness. Get me outta this car with all these boys.
Johnny Cash: You know, when I was in the service, I used to look at pictures of you. In magazines.
June Carter: ...Oh?
Johnny Cash: Oh, no. It's... It's not like that.
Young Jack Cash: [dying] Do you hear 'em JR? Do you hear them angels?
Carrie Cash: I can hear 'em Jack, they're beautiful. So beautiful.
Ray Cash: Mister big shot, mister pill poppin' rock star. Who are you to judge, you ain't got nothin', big empty house, nothin', children you don't see, nothin', big ol' expensive tractor stuck in the mud, nothin'.
Johnny Cash: The phone's dead.
Waylon Jennings: Yeah. It's been turned off due to insufficient fundellations.
June Carter: So y'all sit down, squat down or lie down but make yourselves at home 'cause here's the one and only, Mr. Johnny Cash!
Waylon Jennings: How come you ain't ever tried this kind of pickin', Luther?
[Picks a song on his guitar]
Luther Perkins: Well, Waylon, whatever you're lookin' for, I've already found.
Johnny Cash: This one's for your warden!
Johnny Cash: [while singing while he's high on stage] Come on, man, play the fuckin' thing!
Johnny Cash: You got something against the Air Force, Mr. Phillips?
Sam Phillips: No...
Johnny Cash: Well, I do.
Johnny Cash: I'm really glad ya'll could be here today, especially you dad, glad you came. Not everybody's here. Jack's not here is he, huh? Where you been? That's what you said to me, remember? I was twelve years old and he got Jack's bloody clothes, and you asked where I'd been.
Ray Cash: Well, where were you?
Johnny Cash: Where were you?
Johnny Cash: [playing for the inmates at Folsom prison] Once in El Paso, I had this bag of... Oh... you heard about that? You been in El Paso, too? Well, anyways, I felt tough, you know?. Like I'd seen a thing or two, you know? Well, that was till a moment ago... 'cuz I got to tell you, my hat's off to you now, 'cuz I ain't never had to drink this yellow water you got here at Folsom!
Carlene Carter: [shouts through screen door] Mama! Johnny Cash is here!
Elvis Presley: Want some chili fries?
[first lines]
Warden: M-Mr. Cash? M-Mr. Cash?
Five and Dime Manager: Divorce is an abomination. Marriage is for life.
June Carter: I'm sorry I let you down, ma'am.
Johnny Cash: Jerry Lee just sit your ass down.
Carrie Cash: Ray, why don't you let JR take the babies in?
Ray Cash: I told Roz we'd have a crop today. What do i say if he pulls up here and we're shy? You ready to unload that piano?
Carrie Cash: We're not sellin' Daddy's piano. And i'm not the one in Bartstown drinkin every saturday.
[ray angrily kicks a can]
Carrie Cash: [continuing to work, singing] Am I a soldier of the cross A follower of the Lamb, And shall I fear...
Young J.R.: [joining in] to own His cause Or blush to speak His name
Vivian Cash: [talking to Johnny, and pointing to a bag] That bag over there are letters 10 to 1 from girls. 10 to 1, and they're obscene. Reba's been trying to answer some of them but half of them aint even 15, and they're sending pictures of themselves in bathing suits. Pictures for you to look at while you're doing time at Folsom.
Record Company Executive: [talking about the Opry] He's been banned for smashing out the footlights.
Record Company Executive: If he smashes out lights at Folsom, they're gonna keep him there.
Johnny Cash: [laughing]
Johnny Cash: It's funny, you know, because I haven't talked about Jack in a long time. After he passed I talked about him all the time. But I guess people grew tired of it... so I just stopped.
Luther Perkins: That boy Elvis sure talks a lot of poon.

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