“Well, you’re goin a go where you look. Army didn’t get you?” The thunder sounded far to the east, moving from them in its red wreaths of light.

“They can’t get no use out a me. Got some crushed vertebrates. And a stress fracture, the arm bone here, you know how bullridin you’re always leverin it off your thigh? -- she gives a little ever time you do it. Even if you tape it good you break it a little goddamn bit at a time. Tell you what, hurts like a bitch afterwards. Had a busted leg. Busted in three places. Come off the bull and it was a big bull with a lot a drop, he got rid a me in about three flat and he come after me and he was sure faster. Lucky enough. Friend a mine got his oil checked with a horn dipstick and that was all she wrote. Bunch a other things, fuckin busted ribs, sprains and pains, torn ligaments.

-Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx-

What does the bold sentence mean?

  • This is "eye dialect", where the spelling reflects regional pronunciation. "Friend a mine" = "(a) friend of mine", where the final consonant "f" is not pronounced.
    – TimR
    Nov 11, 2016 at 9:52

1 Answer 1


The passage is talking about bull riding which is a major event at a rodeo.


In particular, he is talking about a friend who was gored by a bull


Your highlighted sentence means

Friend a mine
a friend of mine

got his oil checked
got bloodily gored

with a horn dipstick
by a bull's horn

and that was all she wrote
and was killed

  • I am wondering how 'and that was all she wrote' gives off the meaning of being killed. Is it some kind of an idiom?
    – whitecap
    Nov 11, 2016 at 10:15
  • come to think of it, is it because the finality that the phrase 'and that was all she wrote' gives off?
    – whitecap
    Nov 11, 2016 at 10:30
  • 4
    @whitecap - Yes, it's an idiom. I don't think "that was all she wrote" necessarily means someone was killed. In this context, yes, probably, because the speaker is comparing his own injuries to someone else's experience and saying that he was lucky, but in general it just means "and that was the sudden end of (whatever it was)."
    – stangdon
    Nov 11, 2016 at 15:22
  • @stangdon +1 Yes, the phrase means "something came to an end" and I've taken it from the context to mean the rider was killed, it could also mean "it was really bad". Either way, the outcome was not good.
    – Peter
    Nov 11, 2016 at 17:25

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