(con't)

 

EXT. DESERT - MORNING - 1870

SILENCE. Vast emptiness. The burnt-orange panorama slowly sweeps from right to left, punctuated by majestic mesas (Monument Valley). An ant of a lone figure in the deep distance pans into view from the right. His compressed image shimmers in the baking heat.
He works intently on a device in front of him while surrounded by an untidy assortment of miniature chemical bottles, tools, and scattered bits of paper. This is fair-haired PECOS PETE, who wears a crumpled hat with a bullet hole in it, tattered fringe jacket, ripped chaps, torn trousers, well-worn gun and belt, boots that are coming apart, and rusty spurs.

Pecos searches his pockets for something he can't find, then frantically scrabbles amongst the paraphernalia in the dusty, red soil around him until he locates a small vial.

PECOS PETE
(smiles)
Ahhhhh...

Carefully handling the vial, he holds it up for inspection, puffs off the dust, prises out the tiny cork and delicately pours part of the contents into an opening in the device. He absently replaces the cork and lays the vial carefully in the dirt by his side while his full attention is focused on the opening. Smoke and sparks erupt and sputter from the device.

PECOS PETE
Woops.

Pecos SCRAMBLES to his feet, steps on the fringes of his jacket and FALLS flat on his face, sending bottles flying. His gun buries itself in the sand. He recovers and runs towards CAMERA, holding his hat, as device EXPLODES LOUDLY, sending him FLYING. He sprawls in the dirt CU, spits dust, shakes his head and rolls his eyeballs.

PECOS PETE (CONT'D)
Dang, that was loud.

He licks his lips, frowns, then fingers the smudgy, blackened earth in front of his nose and sniffs it...his eyes light up.

PECOS PETE (CONT'D)
Uh?

He passes out.

INT. PLUSH OFFICE - DAY - (1870)

The stocky robber baron HARLAN MCALLISTER sits at his commanding desk holding a sheaf of papers. His nameplate made of a golden spike glints on the desktop, while painted backwards on the large window behind him is: GREAT EASTERN RAILROAD. Opposite McAllister sits JAKE WINSLOW.

MCALLISTER
Are you sure there's oil out there, Jake?

JAKE WINSLOW
Sure as I can be, Harlan. It's always guesswork, but that's my guess.
McAllister stares off into space.

MCALLISTER
(dreamily)
Oil...

He comes back to earth.

MCALLISTER (CONT'D)
If we get the mineral rights to that land and run a spur line to it...we'll be the Rockerfeller's of Texas!

JAKE WINSLOW
(smiles greedily)
There's just one little problem...

MCALLISTER
I'm workin' on it.

Harlan dismisses Jake with an exuberant wave of his hand and ponders the papers in front of him. He gets up, turns, and gazes out his window to the streets below. He takes out his gold pocket watch, flips it open, and studies it with considerable interest while he caresses it with his thumb. He eventually snaps it shut and returns his gaze out the window as his hands clasp behind him and toy with the watch.

MCALLISTER
(without turning around)
MISS WELLINGTON!

The door opens quickly and the mousey but efficient MISS WELLINGTON hurries in.

MISS WELLINGTON
(expectantly)
Yes, Mister McAllister?

McAllister turns to face her.

MCALLISTER
Get Caskey up here.

Miss Wellington hurries out. McAllister sits down, places the watch carefully on the desk and gives it a spin.

EXT. EQUALITY - STREET - DAY

MICK CASKEY, a tall, salty-looking gunman rides into town and reins in his horse at the front of the Silver Dollar Saloon. He dismounts and hitches the animal.

INT. SILVER DOLLAR SALOON

A long, mirrored, richly-carved mahogany bar decorated with inlaid silver dollars runs along the left wall of the saloon. A piano faces the rear wall. SPARKY, the bartender, cleans glasses. The place is empty. Caskey ambles in and walks to the bar as Sparky looks up and nods. Caskey weighs him up. He reaches in his coat and tosses a fat envelope on the bar. Sparky eyes him, then the packet. He picks it up and rifles through a wad of notes then raises his eyebrows and looks at Caskey.

CASKEY
'Name's Caskey. What can you tell me about the Indians out yonder?

SPARKY
(cagey, but interested)
What would you like to know?

EXT. FIELD BESIDE TANDOORI INDIAN RESERVATION - DAY

INDIAN FARMER squats and sifts dark, smudgy, lifeless dirt through his fingers. He chucks away the remaining muck in disgust, stands up, looks to the sky and scowls.

INT. MCALLISTER'S OFFICE - DAY

CASKEY faces McAllister, who leans on his desk.

MCALLISTER
Nice work, Caskey. The key to this whole thing is the girl. Get her.

McAllister waves him out of the office, then smiles smugly and slaps his desk triumphantly.

EXT. TANDOORI RESERVATION - DAY

The Indian Farmer, the CHIEF, and several ELDERS and BRAVES, one of them RED DOG, sit in front of the Chief's teepee.

INDIAN FARMER
This land is blackened with poison. Nothing will grow.

Heads nod, they all agree.

BRAVE
We have done everything the white man has asked of us...but we cannot grow our corn on this land where he forces us to live. We must do something!

They all look to the Chief, who stands up.

CHIEF HOWLING WOLF
Black Bear understands the white man's ways...he will know what to do.

RED DOG
(angrily)
NO! He is not one of us! We know what to do for ourselves!

CHIEF HOWLING WOLF
You are mistaken, Red Dog.

RED DOG
We have listened to Black Bear long enough! He is a great warrior, Howling Wolf...but he is not one of us. We want to feed our own families. A man cannot be a man if he cannot feed his family!

BRAVE
It is past the time for talking. It is the time for action!

An argument breaks out. They squabble in the distance as two of the young Braves break away from the group and storm off to their teepees.

EXT. MURPHY'S GULCH - DAY

Caskey is with six capable-looking armed men.

CASKEY
(to lead man)
Bring her here...and don't harm her in any way, or you're all dead.

LEAD MAN
Don't worry, Mick. Piece of cake.

He signals to the others and they mount and ride off.

EXT. WOODED STREAM POOL - AFTERNOON

Three INDIAN GIRLS bathe gaily and splash each other. It is a perfect day. Birds twitter. The girls are alone. Gunbelts are quietly unfastened and laid on the ground. The birds go quiet, the girls are alerted and instinctively cover their breasts. They look wildly in all directions.

Half a dozen MEN attack them from O.S. SPLASHING into the water clumsily. The girls SCREAM and try to fight them off. The men wrestle with the girls impotently in the deep water as one of the girls suddenly looks beyond her captor. He freezes, then they all freeze and spin around.

WHAT THEY SEE. A RIDER dismounts 50 yards away and walks downhill rapidly towards them. This is BLACK BART. He is tall and swarthy, with black hair and dark eyes, and sports a magnificent BLACK HANDLEBAR MUSTACHE with sideburns.

He wears a long, CAPED BLACK DUSTER, black flat-topped gambler's hat ringed with silver conchos, black shirt, trousers and boots. His spurs are silver and perfect. On his left hand he wears a black glove with the fingertips sliced off. Black Bart is FRIGHTENING and DEADLY. A GUNFIGHTER.

The men desperately try to gain dry ground and their weapons, abandoning the girls. The men scramble for their guns while Bart halts and waits for them to hook on their rigs. As the belts go on, the men relax...assured in their number.

LEAD MAN
(cocky)
Somethin' we can do for ya, friend?

BLACK BART
(venomous)
Stop breathin'.

The men chuckle and look at each other, amused.

LEAD MAN
(derisively)
I'll tell ya what, friend...seein' it's such a beautiful day, and I'm in such a good mood, I'll hold my breath for a few seconds...that is if you ask nicely and say please.
(laughter)
Will that do?

Black Bart shakes his head. The men laugh nervously. This is suddenly not funny.

LEAD MAN (CONT'D)
Friend, you ain't in the position to make...requests. There's...
(looks around)
...six of us...

Bart slowly pulls open the right side of his duster and tucks it behind his revolver, revealing a belly gun stuck into his belt, then lets his hands fall free, poised to strike.

BLACK BART
(deadly)
And twelve of me.

The men falter, and eye each other nervously. One makes the barest motion to draw as they all react. In a blinding instant, Bart's revolvers whip out of their nests and FIRE repeatedly. Two men are immediately sent FLYING backwards into the water, SPLASH!

RAPID INTERCUTS of fast action between surviving men and Bart as guns blaze, smoke and ear-splitting EXPLOSIONS fill the air, Bart's eyes FLARE in deadly concentration, men spin, fly, and CATAPULT in all directions as they are hit, FIRING as they go down, kicking up dust, hats and guns SAILING lazily in the air as remaining men TUMBLE down river bank and splash into the water in a heap.

Two dozen booming, crashing shots are loosed off in seconds. Bart is left standing, untouched, in the stillness and finality of death. He holsters his gun with a solid THWACK.

The leisurely flowing stream claims blood and tugs gently at loose clothing from the dead men as Bart approaches them. The girls scurry for their clothes in the background and rapidly get dressed as Bart checks the bodies. The girls smile at him, relieved. One of the girls is very pregnant. This is FALLEN LEAF. She walks up to Bart and hugs him.

EXT. PLAINS -AFTERNOON

WIDE SHOT of small, but prosperous western town in the distance, and a sign in the foreground. The sign reads: EQUALITY - POPULATION 216.

ECHOING GUNSHOT (O.S.) transforms "216" to "210," followed by the THWACK of a gun slamming home.

INT. ROSIE'S FUNHOUSE - PARLOUR - AFTERNOON

ROSIE, a fresh-faced, curvy young blonde in petticoats, sits on her luxurious setee surrounded by sparse Victorian elegance and cradles Pete's filthy head in her lap as he groans.

ROSIE
(twizzles her hair)
Okay, Pete, what was it this time?

PECOS PETE
A new invention that'll make me rich.

ROSIE
Make you dead, you mean.

PECOS PETE
Just a small setback, that's all.

ROSIE
(looks out window and sighs)
I'd hate to see a big one.
(faces him)
Why don't you get yourself a horse, anyways? You could have croaked just trying to get back here.

PECOS PETE
Horses and me don't get along.

ROSIE
Are you still afraid of them?

PECOS PETE
(affronted)
I ain't afraid-ouch!-of no horse, Rosie!

ROSIE
Well, if you're going to wear those chaps and spurs, you better get a horse to go with them. You're beginning to look very silly.

PECOS PETE
(pained)
Awwww, Rosie.

KATE, one of Rosie's girls, sashays down the staircase and sees Pecos in Rosie's arms. Her hands fly to her cheeks.

KATE
Oh no! Not again!

Kate rushes over to Pecos and kneels by his side. The girls exchange exasperated glances.

KATE
Honey, what did you do now?

PECOS PETE
I didn't do nothin', Katie.

KATE
Well, that nothin' you did must have been something. You look like a polecat that was drug backwards through a spinning jenny, tied to a runaway stage and set on fire.

PECOS PETE
Thanks darlin', I feel better already.

KATE
You've been tinkering again with those dangerous potions you know nothing about, haven't you?

PECOS PETE
(contrite)
No.

KATE
What are we going to do with you?

Pecos grins, looks from Kate to Rosie and back again. The girls smile at each other and shake their heads in disbelief. Rosie abruptly slips out from under Pecos' head, which thumps on the cushion, and gets up. Pecos yelps.

ROSIE
You can't be hurt that bad, you old hornswoggler. Come on, then.

Kate and Rosie help Pecos off the setee. He hobbles up the stairs with his arms around both girls' shoulders for support.

PECOS PETE
I got another great idea...

KATE
(indulging him)
Oh really? Well why don't you tell us
al-l-l about it while we clean you up.

They reach the top of the stairs and proceed along the landing.

PECOS PETE
Ya see, I was a-thinkin'...

KATE
Uh-oh, this sounds bad already.

PECOS PETE
No really, I was...

Rosie opens a door and the three of them disappear into the room with Pecos still talking. Door slams shut.

EXT. PLAINS - AFTERNOON

Tranquil scene as buckboard in distance slowly approaches. It is handled expertly by buxom, strawberry-blonde, 45-ish WOMAN in pigtails who bounces along on the seat. This is BEA.

BEA
(to horses)
COME ON, YOU TWO! I GOT A DATE WITH MY DAUGHTER AND A POWERFUL THIRST! ONCE I'M ON MY WAY, I WANNA BE THERE!

Bea races away towards town, past newly-revised sign.

EXT. ROSIE'S FUNHOUSE

BEA
(to horses)
Whoa, girls.

Bea hits the brake and skids to a halt, throwing up dust. She clambers out, ties up her horses, and grabs a carpetbag from the back of the buckboard. An upstairs window opens and Rosie pops out her head.

ROSIE
Hi Mom!

BEA
(looks up)
Hiya, honey! How's my girl?

ROSIE
Just fine, Mom. You coming up?

BEA
Sure am, baby!

Rosie disappears as Bea mounts the steps and opens the front door with gusto.

INT. ROSIE'S FUNHOUSE

Rosie clatters down the stairs almost too fast. Bea drops her bag and barely withstands the force of Rosie as she flings herself into Bea's arms.

BEA
(hugs Rosie tightly)
Mmmmmm...it's lovely to see you, hon.

ROSIE
(beaming)
You too, Mom.

BEA
(serious)
I ain't interrupting anything, am I?

ROSIE
(laughs)
No, Mom. It's only Pete. Kate's with him.

Bea raises her eyebrows.

BEA
That man is one lucky fella having you two lovely girls fussin' over him. What has he got that you girls are so crazy about?

ROSIE
(shocked)
Mom!
(coy)
Whaddya think?!

BEA
(guffaws, slaps Rosie's ass)
You're a piece of the old pie, Rosie!

ROSIE
I sure hope so! Wanna see Pete and Kate?

BEA
You bet your bustle!

ROSIE
C'mon!

They climb the stairs arm-in-arm. When they get to the top, Bea shouts.

BEA
PECOS! I SURE HOPE YOU AIN'T DECENT!

Bea throws open the door and bounces in. Rosie follows her, radiant.

INT. ROSIE'S FUNHOUSE - BEDROOM

Pecos and Kate are fully dressed and waiting.

BEA
(disappointed)
Shucks.

Pecos walks over and hugs Bea.

PECOS PETE
Hello, Bea. You look lovely.

Bea shoots an approving glance at Rosie and smiles. Bea looks up at Pecos, still in his embrace.

BEA
(softly)
Why, thank you Pecos. You're actually terribly decent...I hope you're takin' good care of the girls.

PECOS PETE
Of course I am, Bea. I have my little room downstairs where I can keep an eye on everything. They're safe with me.

KATE
(dry)
Depends on what you mean by safe.

Bea smiles, walks over to Kate and hugs her.

BEA
You look wonderful, Katie.
(to everyone)
So who's taking care of who, here?

They all laugh.

BEA (CONT'D)
Rose, I've got some bits and pieces of my own to take care of in town...I'll meet you all at the Silver Dollar this evening, okay?
(saucily)
Will two hours be long enough, ya'think?

Pecos looks embarrassed and the two girls' eyes light up.

KATE
Better make it three.

BEA
Ha! I'm off!

Bea trundles out of the room.

INT. ROSIE'S FUNHOUSE - STAIRCASE

Bea descends the stairs dreamily, talking to herself.

BEA
Yessir, Pecos...you're one lucky son of a gun...I quite fancy you myself!

EXT. ROSIE'S FUNHOUSE

Bea walks out the front door, smiling. Giggling is heard from the room upstairs as Bea cocks a gleeful glance their way.

EXT. MURPHY'S GULCH - SUNDOWN

Caskey is agitated, and paces back and forth. He takes out his gold pocket watch, flips open the lid and looks at it. He scans the horizon and pauses. He makes a decision, snaps the watch shut, gets on his horse and rides off.

EXT. TANDOORI RESERVATION - SUNDOWN

Red Dog and a dozen young Tandoori men sneak amongst nervous horses in the tribe's corral. They quietly lead their chargers away on foot, then mount and ride off in silence.

© copyright 2004 Paul Olsen


If you wish to read the complete script and are a producer or an agent...click this and tell me about yourself and I'll send you the URL for the script online, or arrange to send you a hard copy, whichever you prefer.

The plot thickens...did McAllister kill Bart's father? Who is Fallen Leaf? What's Red Dog up to? And who's the girl Caskey's after? What about Bart and Kate...?? Pete and Rosie...??? Bea? The Vultures of Vengeance??? And what's the business with the gold watch?? Will Bart be caught in the middle between the Indians and the townspeople?? What will Diamond Jim do?? What will Bart do?? What will Pecos do???

Gripping stuff, huh?