Study Guide

Chinatown Scene 8

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Scene 8

Scene 8

  • Jake goes to the city hall and asks to find the records for the Northwest Valley (where the orange groves Yelburton claimed to be irrigating are).
  • He looks through the records and sees names have been pasted in—the clerk tells him these are new owners of the land in the valley. Jake realizes most of the land has been bought recently.
  • Jake surreptitiously rips the page out of the record book and takes it with him.
  • Then, he drives up to the Northwest Valley himself, proceeding past a "No Trespassing" sign into the orange groves.
  • Someone shoots at him and he turns and drives through the orange groves but gets stopped by a man on horseback.
  • He backtracks and gets ambushed by farmers who shoot out his radiator and then one of his tires.
  • Jake fights with the farmers, one of whom beats him with a crutch. They finally subdue him.
  • One of the farmers asks him why he's here and who he's with. Jake explains who he is and says he's trying to see if the Water Department was irrigating their land.
  • The farmer says that Water Department has been poisoning their wells and blowing up their tanks, sabotaging them—definitely not irrigating their groves.
  • One of them says Hollis Mulwray was responsible after Jake says he's working for Mrs. Mulwray, and Jake says that Mulwray's dead. Jake insults the man, who then knocks him out.
  • When Jake comes to, Evelyn's looking over him at the farmer's house (the farmer's called her).
  • As they drive back, Jake says he's realized that the new dam Hollis opposed is actually a trick—it won't divert water to L.A., but to the people who're buying up land in the Northwest Valley.
  • When Ida Sessions directed him to the obituaries, it's because the name of one of the new owners in the valley was in the list of dead people—Jaspar Lamar Crabb.
  • He died two weeks ago, but somehow managed to buy land in the valley a week ago.

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