Moments later, Al enters the Bella Union. He looks over the men unpacking the saloon goods and says he guesses "this place ain't a hotel no more." The saloon's new madam calls out that if he wants to come back when they open that night, they'll find him a place to lay down. Al introduces himself to Cy Tolliver, the man in charge, who then introduces him to Ed Sawyer, and the madam, Joanie Stubbs. Nodding in as much of a friendly manner as he can muster, Al tells them that they "must have trained with the heathens," seeing as how they came upon the camp unbeknownst. Great way to greet the new neighbors, Al. You couldn't have brought a bundt? Cy smiles, nearly putting a crease in his cornsilk.
What passes for polite conversation in the Old West progresses to bloviation on the Indian problem. Al recounts that he has been in camp for -- he talks about having been there before, a year previous, until the cavalry drove all the whites out of the valley. "Deep fucking thinkers in Washington put forward that policy," Al says. "This year, though, so many soldiers desertin' to prospect, [they] gave up the ghost, let us all back in." He continues, grimly: "And, of course, Custer sorted out the Sioux for us, so now we're all as safe as at our mothers' tits."
Like a bored party host, Cy responds that Custer "did a job for our side, didn't he, Al?" And, like the guest that showed up uninvited, Al prattles on. "How 'bout that long-haired fucking blowhard, huh?" he says, continuing on about Custer and his routing of the Sioux. "I'll tell you this, Cy, and you can mark my words, Crazy Horse winning at Little Big Horn bought his people one good long-term ass-fucking."
"You do not want to be a dirt-worshiping heathen from this fucking point forward," Al continues, and turns suddenly as if he'd forgotten his manners to excuse himself to Joanie Stubbs with a smooth "pardon my French." She hands it right back to him, stone cold: "Oh," she says, unblinking, "I speak French." And by God if Al isn't momentarily unsettled by her response. Ian McShane plays this scene like a violin. "Well," he recovers, "here we are settlin' the world's problems," and laughs, actually showing his teeth, in a nearly unprecedented moment. "And I've been wonderin', Cy, if perhaps we should talk about our areas of overlap so's we're not at each other's throats." Cy asks Al to give him a for instance. "Uh, women," Al responds. "Would we want to agree on rates?" Joanie steps in to say that "as far as pussy, Al, we'll want to let the market sort itself out." Al does his little laugh again and says it sounds like he's up against specialty acts. He's getting only a tad flustered.