The parched remains of dead cattle are spread across the dry creek-bed of Cooper Creek. Then, a once in a lifetime flood creates an inland sea. With the creek in flood, Tom is shown ferrying his load across the waters in a small steel punt. With a passenger to help, he can get the load across in six or seven trips. As Tom and his passenger load up the punt and carry across barrels and sacks of supplies, William Henry cooks some tucker in his makeshift living room on the edge of the water.
William Henry calls them in for tucker and as Tom comes ashore, he dances light-footedly around a dressmaker’s model to the music playing in the background. The others have a good laugh. After his impromptu dance, Tom politely tips his hat to the dummy.
This two-part sequence contrasts a realistic scenario with a more fanciful one – the latter revealing a little more of Tom’s charming character. Tom dancing with a dressmaker’s model was entirely Heyer’s invention and seems at first extremely contrived. What it does reveal, however, is a tenderness and lightness to Tom that his heavy-set frame and low-key practicality otherwise conceals.