a screenplay by
The following text fades in over black:
This is a true story. The events depicted in this film took place
in Minnesota in 1987. At the request of the survivors, the names
have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been
told exactly as it occured.
FLARE TO WHITE
FADE IN FROM WHITE
Slowly the white becomes a barely perceptible image: white
particles wave over a white background. A snowfall.
A car bursts through the curtain of snow.
The car is equipped with a hitch and is towing another car,
a brand-new light brown Cutlass Ciera with the pink sales
sticker showing in its rear window.
As the car roars past, leaving snow swirling in their dirft,
the title of the film fades in.
Green highway signs point the way to MOOREHEAD,
MINNESOTA/FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA. The roads for the two cities
diverge. A sign says WELCOME TO NORTH DAKOTA and another
just after says NOW ENTERING FARGO, ND, POP. 44,412.
The car pulls into a Rodeway Inn.
A man in his early forties, balding and starting to paunch,
goes to the reception desk. The clerk is an older woman.
And how are you today, sir?
Real good now. I'm checking in
- Mr. Anderson.
The man prints "Jerry Lundega" onto a registration card,
then hastily crosses out the last name and starts to print
As she types into a computer:
Okay, Mr. Anderson, and you're
still planning on staying with
us just the night, then?
The man turns on the TV, which shows the local evening news.
- whether they will go to summer
camp at all. Katie Jensen has
It was supposed to be a project
funded by the city council; it
was supposed to benefit those
Fargo-Moorehead children who
would otherwise not be able to
afford to attend a lakeshore
summer camp. But nobody consulted
city controller Stu Jacobson...
Anderson sits alone at a table finishing dinner. Muzak
plays. A middle-aged waitress approaches holding a pot of
regular coffee in one hand and decaf in the other.
Can I warm that up for ya there?
The man looks at his watch.
THROUGH A WINDSHIELD
We are pulling into the snowswept parking lot of a one-story
brick building. Broken neon at the top of the building
identifies it as the Jolly Troll Tavern. A troll, also in
neon, holds a champagne glass aloft.
The bar is downscale even for this town. Country music
plays on the jukebox.
Two men are seated in a booth at the back. One is short,
slight, youngish. The other man is somewhat older, and
dour. The table in front of them is littered with empty
long-neck beer bottles. The ashtray is full.
I'm, uh, Jerry Lundegaard -
You're Jerry Lundegaard?
Yah, Shep Proudfoot said -
Shep said you'd be here at 7:30.
What gives, man?
Shep said 8:30.
We been sitting here an hour.
I've peed three times already.
I'm sure sorry. I - Shep told
me 8:30. It was a mix-up, I
Ya got the car?
Yah, you bet. It's in the lot
there. Brand-new burnt umber
Yeah, okay. Well, siddown then.
I'm Carl Showalter and this is
my associate Gaear Grimsrud.
Yah, how ya doin'. So, uh, we
all set on this thing, then?
Sure, Jerry, we're all set. Why
wouldn't we be?
Yah, no, I'm sure you are. Shep
vouched for you and all. I got
every confidence in you fellas.
They stare at him. An awkward beat.
... So I guess that's it, then.
Here's the keys -
No, that's not it, Jerry.
The new vehicle, plus forty
Yah, but the deal was, the car
first, see, then the forty
thousand, like as if it was the
ransom. I thought Shep told you -
Shep didn't tell us much, Jerry.
Well, okay, it's -
Except that you were gonna be
here at 7:30.
Yah, well, that was a mix-up, then.
Yeah, you already said that.
Yah. But it's not a whole pay-
in-advance deal. I give you a
brand-new vehicle in advance and -
I'm not gonna debate you, Jerry.
I'm not gonna sit here and debate.
I will say this though: what Shep
told us didn't make a whole lot
Oh, no, it's real sound. It's
all worked out.
You want your own wife kidnapped?
Carl Stares. Jerry looks blankly back.
... You - my point is, you pay
the ransom - what eighty thousand
bucks? - I mean, you give us
half the ransom, forty thousand,
you keep half. It's like robbing
Peter to play Paul, it doesn't
make any -
Okay, it's - see, it's not me
payin' the ransom. The thing is,
my wife, she's wealthy - her dad,
he's real well off. Now, I'm in
a bit of trouble -
What kind of trouble are you in,
Well, that's, that's, I'm not go
inta, inta - see, I just need
money. Now, her dad's real
So why don't you just ask him
for the money?
Grimsrud, the dour man who has not yet spoken, now softly
puts in with a Swedish-accented voice:
Or your fucking wife, you know.
Or your fucking wife, Jerry.
Well, it's all just part of this -
they don't know I need it, see.
Okay, so there's that. And even
if they did, I wouldn't get it.
So there's that on top, then. See,
these're personal matters.
Yah. Personal matters that
needn't, uh -
Okay, Jerry. You're tasking us
to perform this mission, but you,
you won't, uh, you won't - aw,
fuck it, let's take a look at
MINNEAPOLIS SUBURBAN HOUSE
Jerry enters through the kitchen door, in a parka and a red
plaid Elmer Fudd hat. He stamps snow off his feet. He is
carrying a bag of groceries which he deposits on the kitchen
Hon? Got the growshries.
Thank you, hon. How's Fargo?
Yah, real good.
Jerry enters, pulling off his plaid cap.
How ya doin', Wade?
Wade Gustafson is mid-sixtyish, vigorous, with a full head
of gray hair. His eyes remain fixed on the TV.
Yah, pretty good.
Whatcha watchin' there?
... Who they playin'?
His reaction synchronizes with a reaction from the crowd.
Jerry walks back in, taking off his coat. His wife is
putting on an apron. Jerry nods toward the living room.
Is he stayin' for supper, then?
Yah, I think so... Dad, are you
stayin' for supper?
Jerry, his wife, Wade and Scotty, twelve years old, sit
May I be excused?
Sure, ya done there?
Uh-huh. Goin' out.
Where are you going?
Just out. Just McDonald's.
Back at 9:30.
He just ate. And he didn't finish.
He's going to McDonald's instead
of finishing here?
He sees his friends there. It's
It's okay? McDonald's? What do
you think they do there? They
don't drink milkshakes, I assure
It's okay, Dad.
Wade, have ya had a chance to
think about, uh, that deal I was
talkin' about, those forty acres
there on Wayzata?
You told me about it.
Yah, you said you'd have a think
about it. I understand it's a
lot of money -
A heck of a lot. What'd you
say you were gonna put there?
A lot. It's a limited -
I know it's a lot.
I mean a parking lot.
Yah, well, seven hundred and
fifty thousand dollars is a lot
- ha ha ha!
Yah, well, it's a chunk, but -
I thought you were gonna show
it to Stan Grossman. He passes
on this stuff before it gets
kicked up to me.
Well, you know Stan'll say no
dice. That's why you pay him.
I'm asking you here, Wade. This
could work out real good for me
and Jean and Scotty -
Jean and Scotty never have to
A black like curls through the white. Twisting perspective
shows that it is an aerial shot of a two-lane highway,
bordered by snowfields. The highway carries one moving car.
Carl Showalter is driving. Gaear Grimsrud stares blankly
After a long beat:
Where is Pancakes Hause?
We stop at Pancakes Hause.
What're you, nuts? We had
pancakes for breakfast. I gotta
go somewhere I can get a shot
and a beer - and a steak maybe.
Not more fuckin' pancakes. Come
Grimsrud gives him a sour look.
... Come on, man. Okay, here's
an idea. We'll stop outside of
Brainerd. I know a place there
we can get laid. Wuddya think?
I'm fuckin' hungry now, you know.
Yeah, yeah, Jesus - I'm sayin',
we'll stop for pancakes, then
we'll get laid. Wuddya think?
GUSTAFSON OLDS GARAGE
Jerry is sitting in his glassed-in salesman's cubicle just
off the showroom floor. On the other side of his desk sit
an irate customer and his wife.
We sat here right in this room and
went over this and over this!
Yah, but that TruCoat -
I sat right here and said I didn't
want no TruCoat!
Yah, but I'm sayin', that TruCoat,
you don't get it and you get
oxidization problems. It'll cost
you a heck of lot more'n five
You're sittin' here, you're talkin'
in circles! You're talkin' like
we didn't go over this already!
Yah, but this TruCoat -
We had us a deal here for nine-
teen-five. You sat there and
darned if you didn't tell me
you'd get this car, these options,
WITHOUT THE SEALANT, for nine-
Okay, I'm not sayin' I didn't -
You called me twenty minutes ago
and said you had it! Ready to
make delivery, ya says! Come on
down and get it! And here ya are
and you're wastin' my time and
you're wastin' my wife's time and
I'm payin' nineteen-five for this
Well, okay, I'll talk to my boss...
He rises, and, as he leaves:
... See, they install that TruCoat
at the factory, there's nothin' we
can do, but I'll talk to my boss.
The couple watch him go to a nearby cubicle.
These guys here - these guys!
It's always the same! It's always
more! He's a liar!
We went over this and over this -
Jerry sits perched on the desk of another salesman who is
eating lunch as he watches a hockey game on a small portable
So you're goin' to the Gophers
You wouldn't have an extra ticket
They're playin' the Buckeyes!
Well, he never done this before,
but seein' as it's special
circumstances and all, he says I
can knock one hunnert off that
One hundred! You lied to me, Mr.
Lundegaard. You're a bald-faced
Jerry sits staring at his lap.
... A fucking liar -
Jerry mumbles into his lap:
One hunnert's the best we can
Oh, for Christ's sake, where's my
goddamn checkbook. Let's get this
WIDE EXTERIOR: TRUCK STOP
There is a restaurant with many big rigs parked nearby, and
a motel with an outsize Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox
flanking its sign: BLUE OX MOTEL.
Carl Showalter and Gaear Grimsrud are in the twin beds
having sex with two truck-stop hookers.
Oh, Jesus, yeah.
There ya go, sugar.
Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah.
The couples like in their respective beds, gazing at the
- Johnny's guests tonight will be
Lee Majors, George Wendt, and Steve
Boutsikaros from the San Diego Zoo,
so keep that dial -
We hear a morning show on television. Jean Lundegaard is
making coffee in the kitchen as Scott eats cereal at the
I'm talkin' about your potential.
You're not a C student.
And yet you're gettin' C grades.
It's this disparity there that
concerns your dad and me.
You know what a disparity is?
Okay. Well, that's why we don't
want ya goin' out fer hockey.
The phone rings.
... What's the big deal? It's
an hour -
She picks up the phone.
Yah, hiya, hon.
Oh, hiya, Dad.
Yah, he's still here - I'll
catch him for ya.
She holds the phone away and calls:
Jerry enters in shirtsleeves and tie.
... Yah, okay...
Look, Dad, there is no fucking
Say, let's watch the language -
He takes the phone.
How ya doin', Wade?
What's goin' on there?
Oh, nothing, Wade. How ya doin'
Stan Grossman looked at your
proposal. Says it's pretty
We might be innarested.
No kiddin'! I'd need the cash
pretty quick there. In order
to close the deal.
Come by at 2:30 and we'll talk
about it. If your numbers are
right, Stan says its pretty
sweet. Stan Grossman.
Click. Dial tone.
GUSTAFSON OLD GARAGE
Jerry wanders through the service area where cars are being
worked on. He stops by an Indian in blue jeans who is
looking at the underside of a car that sits on a hydraulic
lift with a cage light hanging off its innards.
Say, Shep, how ya doin' there?
Say, ya know those two fellas
ya put me in touch with, up
there in Fargo?
Put you in touch with Grimsrud.
Well, yah, but he had a buddy
there. He, uh -
Well, I don't vouch for him.
Well, that's okay, I just -
I vouch for Grimsrud. Who's his
Never heard of him. Don't vouch
Well, that's okay, he's a buddy
of the guy ya vouched for, so I'm
not worryin'. I just, I was
wonderin', see, I gotta get in
touch with 'em for, I might not
need it anymore, sumpn's happenin',
Call 'em up.
Yah, well, see, I did that, and
I haven't been able to get 'em,
so I thought you maybe'd know an
alternate number or what have ya.
Jerry slaps his fist into his open palm and snaps his
Okay, well, real good, then.
Carl is driving. Grimsrud stares out front.
After a beat:
... Look at that. Twin Cities.
IDS Building, the big glass one.
Tallest skyscraper in the Midwest.
After the Sears, uh, Chicago...
You never been to Minneapolis?
... Would it kill you to say
"No." First thing you've said
in the last four hours. That's
a, that's a fountain of conversation,
man. That's a geyser. I mean, whoa,
daddy, stand back, man. Shit, I'm
sittin' here driving, man, doin'
all the driving, whole fuckin' way
from Brainerd, drivin', tryin' to,
you know, tryin' to chat, keep
our spirits up, fight the boredom
of the road, and you can't say one
fucking thing just in the way of
Grimsurd smokes, gazing out the window.
... Well, fuck it, I don't have
to talk either, man. See how
you like it...
... Total silence...
He is on the phone.
Yah, real good. How you doin'?
Pretty good, Mr. Lundegaard.
You're damned hard to get on the
Yah, it's pretty darned busy here,
but that's the way we like it.
That's for sure. Now, I just
need, on these last, these financing
documents you sent us, I can't
read the serial numbers of the
vehicles on here, so I -
But I already got the, it's okay,
the loans are in place, I already
got the, the what, the -
Yeah, the three hundred and twenty
thousand dollars, you got the money
Yah, so we're all set.
Yeah, but the vehicles you were
borrowing on, I just can't read
the serial numbers on your
applicaton. Maybe if you could
just read them to me -
But the deal's already done, I
already got the money -
Yeah, but we have an audit here,
I just have to know that these
vehicles you're financing with
this money, that they really
Yah, well, they exist all right.
I'm sure they do - ha ha! But
I can't read their serial numbers
here. So if you could read me -
Well, but see, I don't have 'em
in front a me - why don't I just
fax you over a copy -
No, fax is no good, that's what
I have and I can't read the darn
Yah, okay, I'll have my girl
send you over a copy, then.
Okay, because if I can't correlate
this note with the specific vehicles,
then I gotta call back that money -
Yah, how much money was that?
Three hundred and twenty thousand
dollars. See, I gotta correlate
that money with the cars it's being
Yah, no problem, I'll just fax
that over to ya, then.
No, no, fax is -
I mean send it over. I'll shoot
it right over to ya.
Okay, real good, then.
CLOSE ON TELEVISION
A morning-show host in an apron stands behind a counter on a
So I seperate the - how the heck
do I get the egg out of the shell
without breaking it?
Jean Lundegaard is curled up on the couch with a cup of
coffee, watching the television.
You just prick a little hole in
the end and blow!
Jean smiles as we hear laughter and applause from the studio
audience. She hears something else - a faint scraping sound
- and looks up.
Okay, here goes nothing.
The scraping sound persists. Jean sets down her coffee cup
From the studio audience:
We track toward the back door. A curtain is stretched tight
across its window.
Jean pulls the curtain back. Bright sunlight amplified by
snow floods in.
A man in an orange ski mask looks up from the lock.
Jean gasps, drops the curtain, rutns and runs into -
- a taller man, also in a ski mask, already in the house.
We hear the crack of the back-door window being smashed.
The tall man - Gaear Grimsrud - grabs Jean's wrist.
She screams, staring at her own imprisoned wrist, then wraps
her gaping mouth around Grimsrud's gloved thumb and bites
He drops her wrist. As Carl enters, she races up the
Grimsurd looks at his thumb.
I need ... unguent.
As the two men enter, a door at the far side is slamming
shut. A cord snakes in under the door.
Jean, sobbing, frantically pushes at buttons on the princess
The phone pops out of her hands, jangles across the tile
floor, smashes against the door and then bounces away, its
cord ripped free.
With a groaning sound, the door shifts in its frame.
Grimsrud has a crowbar jammed in between the bathroom door
and frame, and is working it.
Jean crosses to a high window above the toilet and throws it
open. Snow that had drifted against the window sifts
lightly in. Jean steps up onto the toilet.
The door creaks, moving as one piece in its frame.
Jean glances back as she steps up from the toilet seat to
The groaning of the door ends with the wood around its knob
splintering and the knob itself falling out onto the floor.
The door swings open.
Grimsrud and Carl enter.
Room empty, window open.
Carl strides to the window and hoists himself out.
Grimsrud opens the medicine cabinet and delicately taps
aside various bottles and tubes, seeking the proper unguent.
He finds a salve but after a moment sets it down, noticing
something in the mirror.
The shower curtain is drawn around the tub.
He steps toward it.
As he reaches for the curtain, it explodes outward, animated
by thrashing limbs.
Jean, screaming, tangled in the curtain, rips it off its
rings and stumbles out into the bedroom. Grimsrud follows.
Jean rushes toward the door, cloaked by the shower curtain
but awkwardly trying to push it off.
Still thrashing, Jean crashes against the upstairs railing,
trips on the curtain and falls, thumping crazily down the
Grimsrud trots down after her.
A PLAQUE: WADE GUSTAFSON INCORPORTATED
INT. WADE'S OFFICE
Wade sits behind his desk; another man rises as Jerry
How ya doin' there, Stan? How
are ya, Wade?
Stan Grossman shakes his hand.
Good to see ya again, Jerry. If
these numbers are right, this
looks pretty sweet.
Oh, those numbers are all right,
This is do-able.
Yah, thanks, Stan, it's a pretty -
What kind of finder's fee were
you looking for?
The financials are pretty thorough,
so the only thing we don't know
is your fee.
... My fee? Wade, what the
heck're you talkin' about?
Stan and I're okay.
We're good to loan in.
But we never talked about your
fee for bringin' it to us.
No, but, Wade, see, I was
bringin' you this deal for you
to loan me the money to put
in. It's my deal here, see?
Wade scowls, looks at Stan.
Jerry - we thought you were
bringin' us an investment.
Yah, right -
You're sayin' - what're you
You're sayin' that we put in
all the money and you collect
when it pays off?
No, no. I - I'd, I'd - pay you
back the principal, and interest
- heck, I'd go - one over prime -
We're not a bank, Jerry.
Wade is angry.
What the heck, Jerry, if I wanted
bank interest on seven hunnert'n
fifty thousand I'd go to Midwest
Federal. Talk to Bill Diehl.
He's at Norstar.
He's at -
No, see, I don't need a finder's
fee, I need - finder's fee's, what,
ten percent, heck that's not gonna
do it for me. I need the principal.
Jerry, we're not just going to
give you seven hundred and fifty
What the heck were you thinkin'?
Heck, if I'm only gettin' bank
interest, I'd look for complete
security. Heck, FDIC. I don't
see nothin' like that here.
Yah, but I - okay, I would, I'd
guarantee ya your money back.
I'm not talkin' about your damn
word, Jerry. Geez, what the
heck're you?... Well, look, I
don't want to cut you out of the
loop, but his here's a good deal.
I assume, if you're not innarested,
you won't mind if we move on it
We are high and wide on the office building's parking lot.
Jerry emerges wrapped in a parka, his arms sticking stiffly
out at his sides, his breath vaporizing. He goes to his
car, opens its front door, pulls out a red plastic scraper
and starts methodically scraping off the thin crust of ice
that has developed on his windshield.
The scrape-scrape-scrape sound carries in the frigid air.
Jerry goes into a frenzy, banging the scraper against the
windshield and the hood of his car.
The tantrum passes. Jerry stands pantin, staring at nothing
Scrape-scrape-scrape - he goes back to work on the
A beat, silent but for a key scraping at the lock.
The door swings open and Jerry edges in, looking about,
holding a sack of groceries.
He shuts the door.
... Got the growshries...
He has already seen the shower curtain on the floor. He
frowns, pokes at it with his foot.
Jerry walks in. He sets the groceries down on the toilet
He looks at the open window, through which snow still sifts
in. He shuts it.
He picks up the small tube of uguent that sits on the sink,
frowns at it, puts it back in the medicine chest.
He looks at the shower curtain rod holding empty rings.
Once again we are looking at the rumpled shower curtain.
From another room:
Yah, Wade, I - it's Jerry, I.
Then, slightly more agitated.
... Yah, Wade, it's, I, it's
... Wade, it's Jerry, I - we
gotta talk, Wade, it's terrible...
Jerry stands in wide shot, hands on hips, looking down at a
After a motionless beat he picks up the phone and punches in
... Yah, Wade Gustafson, please.
Hold in black.
A slow tilt down from night sky brings the head of a large
paper-mache figure into frame. It is a flannel-shirt
woodsman carrying a double-edged ax over one shoulder. As
we hear the rumble of an approaching car, the continuing
tilt and boom down brings us down the woodsman's body to a
A sweep of headlights illuminates a sign on the pedestal:
WELCOME TO BRAINDERD - HOME OF PAUL BUNYAN.
The headlights sweep off and a car hums past and on into the
background. The two-lane highway is otherwise empty.
Carl drives. Grimsrud smokes and gazes out the window.
From the back seat we hear whimpering.
Grimsrud turns to look.
Jean lies bound and curled on the back seat underneath a
Shut the fuck up or I'll throw
you back in the trunk, you know.
Geez. That's more'n I've heard
you say all week.
Grimsrud stares at him, then turns back to the window.
At a loud WHOOP Carl starts and looks back out the rear
window. Fifty yards behind a state trooper has turned on
Carl eases the car onto the shoulder.
Ah, shit, the tags...
Grimsrud looks at him.
... It's just the tags. I never
put my tags on the car. Don't
worry, I'll take care of this.
He looks into the back seat as the car bounces and slows on
the gravel shoulder.
... Let's keep still back there,
lady, or we're gonna have to, ya
know, to shoot ya.
Grimsrud stares at Carl.
... Hey! I'll take care of this!
Both cars have stopped. Carl looks up at the rear-view
The trooper is stopped on the shoulder just behind them,
writing in his citation book.
We hear the trooper's door open.
The trooper walks up the shoulder, one hand resting lightly
on top of his holster, his breath steaming in the cold night
Carl opens his window as the trooper draws up.
How can I help you, officer?
The trooper scans the inside of the car, taking his time.
Grimsrud smokes and gazes calmly out his window.
This is a new car, then, sir?
It certainly is, officer. Still
got that smell!
You're required to display
temporary tags, either in the
plate area or taped inside the
Can I see your license and
He reaches for his wallet.
... I was gonna tape up the
temporary tag, ya know, to be
in full compliance, but it, uh,
it, uh ... must a slipped my
He extends his wallet toward the trooper, a folded fifty-
dollar bill protruding from it.
... So maybe the best thing
would be to take care of that,
right here in Brainerd.
What's this, sir?
That's my license and regis-
tration. I wanna be in
He forces a laugh.
... I was just thinking I could
take care of it right here. In
The policeman thoughtfully pats the fifty into the billfold
and hands the billfold back into the car.
Put that back in your pocket,
Carl's nervous smile fades.
... And step out of the car,
Grimsrud, smiling thinly, shakes his head.
There is a whimpering sound.
The policeman hesitates.
The policeman leans forward into the car, listening.
Grimsrud reaches across Carl, grabs the trooper by the hair
and slams his head down onto the car door.
The policeman grunts, digs awkwardly for footing outside and
throws an arm for balance against the outside of the car.
With his free hand, Grimsrud pops the glove compartment. He
brings a gun out and reaches across Carl and shoots - BANG -
into the back of the trooper's head.
He releases the policeman.
The policeman's head slides out the window and his body
flops back onto the street.
Carl looks out at the cop in the road.
Whoa... Whoa, Daddy.
Grimsrud takes the trooper's hat off of Carl's lap and sails
it out the open window.
You'll take care of it. Boy, you
are smooth smooth, you know.
Jean, for some reason, screams again. Then stops.
Clear him off the road.
He gets out.
Carl leans down to hoist up the body.
Headlights appear: an oncoming car.
The car approaches, slowing.
Carl, with the trooper's body hoisted halfway up, is frozen
in the headlights.
The car accelerates and roars past and away. We just make
out the silhouettes of two occupants in front.
Grimsrud slides into the driver's seat. He squeals into a U-
turn, the driver's door slamming shut with his spin.
Small red tail lights fishtail up ahead. The pursued car
churns up fine snow.
Grimsrud takes the cigarette from his mouth and stubs it in
his ashtray. We hear the churning of the car wheels and the
pinging of snow clods and salt on the car's underside.
In the back seat, Jean starts screaming.
Grimsrud is not gaining on the tail lights.
He fights with the wheel as his car swims on the road face.
The red tail lights ahead start to turn. With a distant
crunching sound, they disappear.
The headlights now show only empty road, starting to turn.
Grimsrud frowns and slows.
His headlights show the car up ahead off the road, crumpled
around a telephone pole, having failed to hold a turn.
Jean slides off the back seat and thumps into the legwell.
Grimsrud sweeps his gun off the front seat, throws open his
door and gets out.
The wrecked car's headlights shine off into a snowfield
abutting the highway. A young man in a down parka is
limping across the snowfield, away from the wrecked car.
Grimsrud strides calmly out after the injured boy. He
raises his gun and fires.
With a poof of feathers, a hole opens up in the boy's back
and he pitches into the snow.
Grimsrud walks up to the wreck and peers in its half-open
A young woman is trapped inside the twisted wreckage,
Snow swirls in the headlights of the wreck.
Grimsrud raises his gun and fires.
AN OIL PAINTING
A blue-winged teal in flight over a swampy marshland. The
room in which it hangs is dark. We hear off-screen snoring.
We track off to reveal an easel upon which we see a half-
completed oil of a grey mallard.
The continuing track reveals a couple in bed, sleeping. The
man, fortyish, pajama-clad, is big, and big-bellied. His
mouth is agape. He snores. His arms are flung over a woman
in her thirties, wearing a nightie, mouth also open, not
We hold for a long beat on their regular breathing and
The phone rings.
The woman stirs.
She reaches for the phone.
... Hi, it's Marge...
The man stirs and clears his throat with a long deep rumble.
... Oh, my. Where?... Yah...
The man sits up, gazes stupidly about.
... Okay. There in a jif...
Real good, then.
She hangs up.
... You can sleep, hon. It's
The man swings his legs out.
I'll fix ya some eggs.
That's okay, hon. I gotta run.
Gotta eat a breakfast, Marge.
I'll fix ya some eggs.
Aw, you can sleep, hon.
Ya gotta eat a breakfast...
He clears his throat with another deep rumble.
... I'll fix ya some eggs.
Leavings of a huge plate of eggs, ham, toast.
Wider, we see Marge now wearing a beige police uniform. A
patch on one arm says BRAINERD POLICE DEPARTMENT. She wears
a heavy belt holding a revolver, walkie-talkie and various
other jangling police impedimenta. Norm is in a dressing
Thanks, hon. Time to shove off.
Love ya, Margie.
As she struggles into a parka:
Love ya, hon.
He is exiting back to the bedroom; she exits out the front
EXT. GUNDERSON HOUSE
Dawn. Marge is making her way down the icy front stoop to
INT. GUNDERSON HOUSE
Norm sits back onto the bed, shrugging off his robe. Off-
screen we hear the front door open.
Marge stamps the snow off her shoes.
Prowler needs a jump.
Two police cars and an ambulance sit idling at the side of
the road, a pair of men inside each car.
The first car's driver door opens and a figure in a parka
emerges, holding two styrofoam cups. His partner leans
across the seat to close the door after him.
The reverse shows Marge approaching from her own squad car.
Margie. Thought you might need
a little warm-up.
He hands her one of the cups of coffee.
Yah, thanks a bunch. So what's
the deal, now? Gary says triple
Yah, looks pretty bad. Two
of'm're over here.
Marge looks around as they start walking.
Where is everybody?
Well - it's cold, Margie.
BY THE WRECK
Laid out in the early morning light is the wrecked car, a
pair of footprints leading out to a man in a bright orange
parka face down in the bloodstained snow, and one pair of
footsteps leading back to the road.
Marge is peering into the car.
Ah, geez. So... Aw, geez.
Here's the second one... It's
in the head and the ... hand
there, I guess that's a defensive
Marge looks up from the car.
... Where's the state trooper?
Lou, up on the shoulder, jerks his thumb.
Back there a good piece. In
the ditch next to his prowler.
Marge looks around at the road.
Okay, so we got a state trooper
pulls someone over, we got a
shooting, and these folks drive
by, and we got a high-speed
pursuit, ends here, and this
I'd be very surprised if our
suspect was from Brainerd.
Marge is studying the ground.
Yah. And I'll tell you what, from
his footprints he looks like a big
Marge suddenly doubles over, putting her head between her
knees down near the snow.
Ya see something down there, Chief?
Uh - I just, I think I'm gonna barf.
Geez, you okay, Margie?
I'm fine - it's just morning
She gets up, sweeping snow from her knees.
... Well, that passed.
Yah. Now I'm hungry again.
You had breakfast yet, Margie?
Oh, yah. Norm made some eggs.
Yah? Well, what now, d'ya think?
Let's go take a look at that
BY THE STATE TROOPER'S CAR
Marge's prowler is parked nearby.
Marge is on her hands and knees by a body down in the ditch,
again looking at footprints in the snow. She calls up to
There's two of 'em, Lou!
Yah, this guy's smaller than
DOWN IN THE DITCH
In the foreground is the head of the state trooper, facing
us. Peering at it from behind, still on her hands and
knees, is Marge.
For Pete's sake.
She gets up, clapping the snow off her hands, and climbs out
of the ditch.
How's it look, Marge?
Well, he's got his gun on his hip
there, and he looks like a nice
enough guy. It's a real shame.
You haven't monkeyed with his car
there, have ya?
She is looking at the prowler, which still idles on the
Somebody shut his lights. I guess
the little guy sat in there, waitin'
for his buddy t'come back.
Yah, woulda been cold out here.
Heck, yah. Ya think, is Dave open
You don't think he's mixed up in -
No, no, I just wanna get Norm some
Marge is driving; Lou sits next to her.
You look in his citation book?
He looks at his notebook.
... Last vehicle he wrote in
was a tan Ciera at 2:18 a.m.
Under the plate number he put
DLR - I figure they stopped him
or shot him before he could finish
fillin' out the tag number.
So I got the state lookin' for a
Ciera with a tag startin' DLR.
They don't got no match yet.
I'm not sure I agree with you a
hunnert percent on your policework,
Yah, I think that vehicle there
probly had dealer plates. DLR?
Lou gazes out the window, thinking.
Yah. Say, Lou, ya hear the one
about the guy who couldn't afford
personalized plates, so he went
and changed his name to J2L 4685?
Yah, that's a good one.
The police car enters with a whoosh and hums down a straight-
ruled empty highway, cutting a landscape of flat and perfect
EMBERS FAMILY RESTAURANT
Jerry, Wade, and Stan Grossman sit in a booth, sipping
coffee. Outside the window, snow falls from a gunmetal sky.
- All's I know is, ya got a
problem, ya call a professional!
No! They said no cops! They were
darned clear on that, Wade! They
said you call the cops and we -
Well, a course they're gonna say
that! But where's my protection?
They got Jean here! I give these
sons a bitches a million dollars,
where's my guarantee they're gonna
let her go.
Well, they -
A million dollars is a lot a damn
money! And there they are, they
got my daughter!
Yah, but think this thing through
here, Wade. Ya give 'em what they
want, why wont' they let her go?
You gotta listen to me on this one,
Heck, you don't know! You're just
whistlin' Dixie here! I'm sayin',
the cops, they can advise us on
this! I'm sayin' call a professional!
No! No cops! That's final! This
is my deal here, Wade! Jean is
my wife here!
I gotta tell ya, Wade, I'm leanin'
to Jerry's viewpoint here.
We gotta protect Jean. These -
we're not holdin' any cards here,
Wade, they got all of 'em. So
they call the shots.
You're darned tootin'!
I'm tellin' ya.
Well... Why don't we...
He saws a finger under his nose.
... Stan, I'm thinkin' we should
offer 'em half a million.
Now come on here, no way, Wade!
We're not horse-trading here, Wade,
we just gotta bite the bullet on
What's the next step here, Jerry?
They're gonna call, give me
instructions for a drop. I'm
supposed to have the money ready
She rings up two dollars forty.
How was everything today?
Yah, real good now.
Snow continues to fall. Jerry and Stan stand bundled in
their parkas and galoshes near a row of beached vehicles.
Wade sits behind the wheel of an idling Lincoln, waiting for
Okay. We'll get the money together.
Don't worry about it, Jerry. Now,
d'you want anyone at home, with you,
until they call?
No, I - they don't want - they're
just s'posed to be dealin' with
me, they were real clear.
Jerry pounds his mittened hands together against the cold.
Ya know, they said no one listenin'
in, they'll be watchin', ya know.
Maybe it's all bull, but like you
said, Stan, they're callin' the
Okay. And Scotty, is he gonna
be all right?
Yah, geez, Scotty. I'll go talk
There is a tap at the horn from Wade, and Stan gets into the
The Lincoln spits snow as it grinds out of the lot and
fishtails out onto the boulevard.
Scotty lies on the bed, weeping. Jerry enters and perches
uncomfortably on the edge of his bed.
... How ya doin' there, Scotty?
Dad! What're they doing? Wuddya
think they're doin' with Mom?
It's okay, Scotty. They're not
gonna want to hurt her any.
These men, they just want money,
What if - what if sumpn goes wrong?
No, no, nothin's goin' wrong here.
Grandad and I, we're - we're makin'
sure this gets handled right.
Scott snorfles and sits up.
Dad, I really think we should call
No! We can't let anyone know about
this thing! We gotta play ball with
these guys - you ask Stan Grossman,
he'll tell ya the same thing!
Yeah, but -
We're gonna get Mom back for ya, but
we gotta play ball. Ya know, that's
the deal. Now if Lorraine calls, or
Sylvia, you just say that Mom is in
Florida with Pearl and Marty...
Scotty starts to weep again. Jerry stares down at his lap.
... That's the best we can do here.
It is a lakeside cabin surrounded by white. A brown Ciera
with dealer plates is pulling into the drive.
Grimsrud climbs out of the passenger seat as Carl climbs out
of the driver's. Grimsrud opens the back door and, with an
arm on her elbow, helps Jean out. She has her hands tied
behind her and a black hood over her head.
With a cry, she swings her elbow out of Grimsrud's grasp and
lurches away across the front lawn. Grimsrud moves to
retrieve her but Carl, grinning, lays a hand on his
They both look out at the front lawn, Grimsrud
expressionless, Carl smiling.
With muffled cries, the hooded woman lurches across the
unbroken snow, staggering this way and that, stumbling on
the uneven terrain.
She stops, stands still, her hooded head swaying.
She lurches out in an arbitrary direction. Going downhill,
she reels, staggers, and falls face-first into the snow,
Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Jesus!
Grimsrud, still expressionless, breaks away from Carl's
restraining hand to retrieve her.
BRAINERD POLICE HEADQUARTERS
We track behind Marge as she makes her way across the floor,
greeting various officers. She holds a small half-full
Beyond her we see a small glassed-in cublcle. Norm sits at
the desk inside with a box lunch spread out in front of him.
There is lettering on the cubicle's glass door: BRAINERD
PD. CHIEF GUNDERSON.
Marge enters and sits behind the desk, detaching her walkie-
talkie from her utility belt to accomodate the seat.
She slides the paper sack toward him.
Brought ya some lunch, Margie.
What're those, night crawlers?
He looks inside.
The bottom of the sack is full of fat, crawling earthworms.
You bet. Thanks for lunch. What
do we got here, Arbie's?
She starts eating.
... How's the paintin' goin'?
Pretty good. Found out the Hautmans
are entering a painting this year.
Aw, hon, you're better'n them.
They're real good.
They're good, Norm, but you're
Yah, ya think?
He leans over and kisses her.
Ah, ya got Arbie's all o'er me.
Hiya, Norm, how's the paintin'
Not too bad. You know.
How we doin' on that vehicle?
No motels registered any tan Ciera
last night. But the night before,
two men checked into the Blue Ox
registering a Ciera and leavin' the
tag space blank.
Geez, that's a good lead. The
Blue Ox, that's that trucker's
joint out there on I-35?
Yah. Owner was on the desk then,
said these two guys had company.
EXT. STRIPPER CLUB
Marge's prowler is parked in an otherwise empty lot. Snow
INT. STRIPPER CLUB
Marge sits talking with two young women at one end of an
elevated dance platform. The club, not yet open for
business, is deserted.
Where you girls from?
LeSeure. But I went to high school
in White Bear Lake.
Okay, I want you to tell me what
these fellas looked like.
Well, the little guy, he was
In what way?
I dunno. Just funny-looking.
Can you be any more specific?
I couldn't really say. He wasn't
Was he funny-looking apart from
So you were having sex with the
little fella, then?
Is there anything else you can
tell me about him?
No. Like I say, he was funny-looking.
More'n most people even.
And what about the other fella?
He was a little older. Looked like
the Marlboro man.
Yah. Maybe I'm sayin' that cause
he smoked Marlboros.
A subconscious-type thing.
Yah, that can happen.
They said they were goin' to the
Yah. Is that useful to ya?
Oh, you bet, yah.
EXT. LAKESIDE CABIN
It is now dusk. The brown Ciera with dealer plates still
sits in the drive.
We track in on Jean Lundegaard, who sits tied in a chair
with the black hood still over her head. As we track in, we
hear inarticulate cursing, intermittent banging and loud
We track in on Gaear Grimsrud, who sits smoking a cigarette
and expressionlessly gazing offscreen.
We track in on Carl Showalter, who stands over an old black-
and-white television. It plays nothing but snow. Carl is
banging on it as he mutters:
...days ... be here for days with
a - DAMMIT! - a goddamn mute ...
nothin' to do ... and the fucking -
Each "dammit" brings a pound of his fist on the TV.
... TV doesn't even ... plug me
in, man... Gimmee a - DAMMIT! -
signal... Plug me into the
ozone, baby... Plug me into the
ozone - FUCK!...
With one last bang we cut:
BACK TO THE TELEVISION SET
In extreme close-up an insect is lugging a worm.
The bark beetle carries the worm
to the nest ... where it will feed
its young for up to six weeks...
A pull back from the screen reveals that we are in Marge's
Marge and Norm are watching television in bed. From the TV
we hear insects chirring.
After a long beat, silence except for the TV, Marge murmurs,
still looking at the set:
... Well, I'm turnin' in, Norm.
Also looking at the TV:
... Oh, yah?
Marge rolls over and Norm continues to watch.
A snowflake drops through the black.
It starts snowing.
BRAINERD MAIN STREET
The lone traffic light blinks slowly, steadily, red. Snow
sifts down. There is no other movement.
We are looking up at the bottom-lit statue. Snow falls.
HIGH SHOT OF MARGE'S HOUSE
Snow drops away.
HIGH SHOT IN MARGE'S BEDROOM
The bedroom is dark. Norm is snoring.
The phone rings.
Marge gropes in the dark.
Yah, is this Marge?
... Well, yah. Who's this?
This is Mike Yanagita. Ya know
- Mike Yanagita. Remember me?
... Mike Yanagita!
Marge props herself up next to the still-sleeping Norm.
Yah, yah, course I remember.
How are ya? What time is it?
Oh, geez. It's quarter to eleven.
I hope I dint wake you.
No, that's okay.
Yah, I'm down in the Twin Cities
and I was just watching on TV
about these shootings up in
Brainderd, and I saw you on the
I thought, geez, is that Margie
Olmstead? I can't believe it!
Yah, that's me.
Well, how the heck are ya?
Okay, ya know. Okay.
Yah - how are you doon?
Oh, pretty good.
Heck, it's been such a long time,
Mike. It's great to hear from ya.
Yah... Yah, yah. Geeze, Margie!
GUSTAFSON OLDS GARAGE
Jerry is on the sales floor, showing a customer a vehicle.
Yah, ya got yer, this loaded here,
this has yer independent, uh, yer
slipped differential, uh, yer rack-
and-pinion steering, yer alarm and
radar, and I can give it to ya with
a heck of a sealant, this TruCoat
stuff, it'll keep the salt off -
Yah, I don't need no sealant though.
Yah, you don't need that. Now
were you thinking of financing here?
You oughta be aware a this GMAC
plan they have now, it's really
Jerry, ya got a call here.
He sits in and picks up his phone.
All right, Jerry, you got this
phone to yourself?
Well ... yah.
Know who this is?
Well, yah, I got an idea. How's
that Ciera workin' out for ya?
Circumstances have changed, Jerry.
Well, what do ya mean?
Things have changed. Circumstances,
Jerry. Beyond the, uh ... acts of
God, force majeure...
What the - how's Jean?
... Who's Jean?
My wife! What the - how's -
Oh, Jean's okay. But there's
three people up in Brainerd who
aren't so okay, I'll tell ya that.
What the heck're you talkin' about?
Let's just finish up this deal
Blood has been shed, Jerry.
Jerry sits dumbly. The voice solemnly repeats:
... Blood has been shed.
What the heck d'ya mean?
Three people. In Brainerd.
That's right. And we need more
The heck d'ya mean? What a you
guys got yourself mixed up in?
We need more -
This was s'posed to be a no-rough
-stuff-type deal -
DON'T EVER INTERRUPT ME, JERRY!
JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP!
Well, I'm sorry, but I just - I -
Look. I'm not gonna debate you,
Jerry. The price is now the whole
amount. We want the entire eighty
Oh, for Chrissakes here -
Blood has been shed. We've incurred
risks, Jerry. I'm coming into town
tomorrow. Have the money ready.
Now we had a deal here! A deal's
IS IT, JERRY? You ask those three
pour souls up in Brainerd if a
deal's a deal! Go ahead, ask 'em!
... The heck d'ya mean?
I'll see you tomorrow.
Jerry slams down the phone, which immediately rings. He
angrily snatches it up.
This is Reilly Deifenbach at GMAC.
Sir, I have not yet recieved those
vehicle IDs you promised me.
Yah! I ... those are in the mail.
Mr. Lundegaard, that very well may
be. I must inform you, however,
that absent the reciept of those
numbers by tomorrow afternoon, I
will have to refer this matter to
our legal department.
My patience is at an end.
Good day, sir.
WIDE ON THE CUBICLE
We are looking at Jerry's cubicle from across the showroom.
Noise muted by distance, we watch Jerry slam down the
reciever, rise to his feet, fling the phone to the floor,
raise his desk blotter high over his head with pens and
pencils rolling off it and slam it onto his desktop.
He stands for a moment, hands on hips, glaring.
He stoops and picks up the phone, places it back on the
desktop, starts picking up the pens and pencils.
On steam-table bins of food, each identified by a plaque:
BEEF STROGANOFF, SWEDISH MEATBALLS, BROILED TORSK, CHICKEN
A complementary track shows two rays being pushed along a
buffet line, piled high with many foods.
MARGE AND NORM AT A TABLE
They sit next to each other at a long cafateria-style
Formica table, silently eating.
A hip with a hissing walkie-talkie enters frame.
Hiya, Norm. How ya doin', Margie?
How's the fricasse?
Pretty darn good, ya want some?
No, I gotta - hey, Norm, I thought
you were goin' fishin' up at Mile
Yah, after lunch.
He goes back to his food.
Whatcha got there?
Gary hands her a flimsy. Marge takes it with one hand and
looks, her other hand frozen with a forkful of food.
The numbers y'asked for, calls
made from the lobby pay phone
at the Blue Ox. Two to Minneapolis
First one's a trucking company,
second one's a private residence.
A Shep Proudfoot.
Uh-huh... A what?
Shep Proudfoot. That's a name.
... Yah, okay, I think I'll
drive down there, then.
Oh, yah? Twin Cities?
Norm, who has been eating steadily throughout, looks over at
Marge with mild interest. He stares for a beat as he
finishes chewing, and them swallows and says:
... Oh, yah?
KITCHEN OF LUNDEGAARD HOUSE
Jerry, Wade, and Stan Grossman sit around the kitchen table.
It is night. The scene is harshly toplit by a hanging
fixture. On the table are the remains of coffee and a
cinammon filbert ring.
Dammit! I wanna be a part a
No, Wade! They were real clear!
They said they'd call tomorrow,
with instructions, and it's gonna
be delivered by me alone!
It's my money, I'll deliver it
- what do they care?
Wade's got a point there. I'll
handle the call if you want, Jerry.
No, no. See - they, no, see, they
only deal with me. Ya feel this,
this nervousness on the phone there,
they're very - these guys're
All the more reason! I don't want
you - with all due respect, Jerry
- I don't want you mucking this up.
The heck d'ya mean?
They want my money, they can deal
with me. Otherwise I'm goin' to
He points at a briefcase.
... There's a million dollars
No, see -
Look, Jerry, you're not sellin'
me a damn car. It's my show here.
It's the way we prefer to handle
THE DOWNTOWN RADISSON HOTEL
Marge is at the reception desk.
How ya doin'?
Real good. How're you today, ma'am?
Real good. I'm Mrs. Gunderson, I
have a reservation.
The clerk types into a computer console.
You sure do, Mrs. Gunderson.
Is there a phone down here, ya think?
Marge is on a public phone.
... Detective Sibert? Yah, this
is Marge Gunderson from up Brainerd,
we spoke - Yah. Well, actually
I'm in town here. I had to do a
few things in the Twin Cities, so
I thought I'd check in with ya about
that USIF search on Shep Proudfoot...
Oh, yah?... Well, maybe I'll go
visit with him if I have the... No,
I can find that... Well, thanks a
bunch. Say, d'ya happen to know a
good place for lunch in the downtown
area?... Yah, the Radisson... Oh,
yah? Is it reasonable?
A GREEN FREEWAY SIGN
Through a windshield we see a sign for the MINNEAPOLIS
ROOFTOP PARKING LOT
The brown Ciera enters and drives lazy S-curves around the
few snow-covered cars parked on the roof of the lot.
It stops by one car and Carl emerges. He quickly scans the
lot, then kneels in the snow at the back of the parked car
and starts unscrewing its license plate.
Carl pulls up and hands the attendant his ticket.
Yeah, I decided not to park here.
The attendant frowns uncomprehendingly at the ticket.
... What do you mean, you decided
not to park here?
Yeah, I just came in. I decided
not to park here.
The attendant is still puzzled.
You, uh... I'm sorry, sir, but -
I decided not to - I'm, uh, not
taking the trip as it turns out.
I'm sorry, sir, we do have to
charge you the four dollars.
I just pulled in here. I just
fucking pulled in here!
Well, see, there's a minimum charge
of four dollars. Long-term parking
charges by the day.
A car behind beeps. Carl glances back, starts digging for
I guess you think, ya know, you're
an authority figure. With that
stupid fucking uniform. Huh, buddy?
The attendant doesn't say anything.
... King Clip-on Tie here. Big
He is peeling off one dollar bills.
... You know, these are the limits
of your life, man. Ruler of your
little fucking gate here. There's
your four dollars. You pathetic
piece of shit.
GUSTAFSON OLDS GARAGE
Jerry is staring up, mouth agape, at the underside of a car
on a hydraulic lift. Bewildered, he looks about, then asks
a mechanic passing by, his voice raised over the din of the
The mechanic points.
Talkin' to a cop.
Marge and Shep face each other at the other end of the floor
in a grimy and cluttered glassed-in cubicle.
Said she was a policewoman.
Marge and Shep silently talk.
Jerry stares, swallows.
INSIDE THE CUBICLE
- Wednesday night?
Shep is shaking his head.
Well, you do reside their at
1425 Fremont Terrace?
Anyone else residing there?
Well, Mr. Proudfoot, this call
came in past three in the morning.
It's just hard for me to believe
you can't remember anyone calling.
Shep says nothing.
... Now, I know you've had some
problems, struggling with the
narcotics, some other entanglements,
currently on parole -
Well, associating with criminals,
if you're the one they talked to,
that right there would be a
violation of your parole and would
end with you back in Stillwater.
Now, I saw some rough stuff on
your priors, but nothing in the
nature of a homicide...
Shep stares at her.
... I know you don't want to be
an accessory to something like
So you think you might remember
who those folks were who called
Jerry is worriedly pacing behind his desk. At a noise he
Marge has stuck her head in the door.
I wonder if I could take just a
minute of your time here -
What... What is it all about?
Huh? Do you mind if I sit down
- I'm carrying quite a load here.
Marge plops into the chair opposite him.
... You're the owner here, Mr.
Naw, I... Executive Sales Manager.
Well, you can help me. My name's
Marge Gunderson -
My father-in-law, he's the owner.
Uh-huh. Well, I'm a police officer
from up Brainerd investigating some
malfeasance and I was just wondering
if you've had any new vehicles stolen
off the lot in the past couple of
weeks - specifically a tan Cutlass
Jerry stares at her, his mouth open.
... Mr. Lundegaard?
Yah. Yah. Home a Paul Bunyan and
Babe the Blue Ox.
... Babe the Blue Ox?
Yah, ya know we've got the big
statue there. So you haven't had
any vehicles go missing, then?
No. No, ma'am.
Okey-dokey, thanks a bunch. I'll
let you get back to your paperwork,
As Marge rises, Jerry looks blankly down at the papers on
the desk in front of him.
... Yah, okay.
He looks up at Marge's retreating back. He looks back down
at the papers. He looks over at the phone.
he picks up the phone and dials four digits.
... Yah, gimmee Shep... The
heck d'ya mean?... Well, where'd
he go? It's only... No, I don't
need a mechanic - oh, geez - I
gotta talk to a friend of his, so,
uh ... have him, uh ... oh, geez...
Marge enters. She looks around the bar, a rather
characterless, lowlit meeting place for business people.
It is a bald, paunching man of about Marge's age, rising
from a booth halfway back. His features are broad,
He approaches somewhat carefully, as if on his second drink.
They hug and head back toward the booth.
Geez! You look great!
Yah - easy there - you do too!
I'm expecting, ya know.
I see that! That's great!
A waitress meets them at the table.
... What can I get ya?
Just a Diet Coke.
Again she glances about.
... This is a nice place.
Yah, ya know it's the Radisson,
so it's pretty good.
You're livin' in Edina, then?
Oh, yah, couple years now. It's
actually Eden Prarie - that school
district. So Chief Gunderson, then!
So ya went and married Norm Son-of-
Oh, yah, a long time ago.
Great. What brings ya down - are
ya down here on that homicide -
if you're allowed, ya know, to
Oh, yah, but there's not a heckuva
lot to discuss. What about you,
Mike? Are you married - you have
Well, yah, I was married. I was
married to - You mind if I sit
He is sliding out of his side of the booth and easing in
next to Marge.
... I was married to Linda
No, I - Mike - wyncha sit over
there, I'd prefer that.
Huh? Oh, okay, I'm sorry.
No, just so I can see ya, ya know.
Don't have to turn my neck.
Oh, sure, I unnerstand, I didn't
mean to -
No, no, that's fine.
Yah, sorry, so I was married to
Linda Cooksey - ya remember Linda?
She was a year behind us.
I think I remember Linda, yah.
She was - yah. So things didn't
work out, huh?
And then I, and then I been workin'
for Honeywell for a few years now.
Well, they're a good outfit.
Yah, if you're an engineer, yah,
you could do a lot worse. Of
course, it's not, uh, it's
nothin' like your achievement.
It sounds like you're doin' really
Yah, well, I, uh ... it's not that
it didn't work out - Linda passed
away. She, uh...
Yah, I, uh... She had leukemia,
No, I didn't...
It was a tough, uh ... it was a
long - She fought real hard,
I'm sorry, Mike.
Oh, ya know, that's, uh - what
can I say?...
He holds up his drink.
... Better times, huh?
Marge clinks it.
I was so... I been so ... and
then I saw you on TV, and I
remembered, ya know... I always
Well, I always liked you, Mike.
I always liked ya so much...
It's okay, Mike - Should we get
together another time, ya think?
No - I'm sorry! It's just - I
been so lonely - then I saw you,
He is weeping.
... I'm sorry... I shouldn't a
done this... I thought we'd have
a really terrific time, and now
You were such a super lady ...
and then I... I been so lonely...
It's okay, Mike...
CARLTON CELEBRITY ROOM
Carl Showalter is sitting at a small table with a tarty-
looking blonde in a low-cut gown. Each holds a drink.
Just in town on business. Just
in and out. Ha ha! A little of
the old in-and-out!
Carl looks around.
Have ya been to the Celebrity Room
before? With other, uh, clients?
I don't think so. It's nice.
Yeah, well, it depends on the artist.
You know, Jose Feliciano, ya got no
The reverse shows a disappearing waiter and the backs of
many, many people sitting at tables between us and the very
distant stage. Jose Feliciano, very small, performs on a
spotlit stool. The acoustics are poor.
... What is he, deaf?... So,
uh, how long have you been with
the escort service?
I don't know. Few munce.
Ya find the work interesting, do ya?
... What're you talking about?
A DIRTY BEDROOM
Carl is humping the escort.
We hear the door burst open.
The escort is grabbed and flung out of bed.
Shep! What the hell are you doing?
I'm banging that girl! Shep! Jesus
Shep slaps him hard, forehand, backhand.
Fuck out of my house!
He hauls him up -
Shep! Don't you dare fucking hit
me, man! Don't you -
- punches him and flings him away.
Carl hits a sofa and we see his bare legs disappear as he
flips back over it.
Shep enters frame to circle the sofa and kick at Carl behind
Fuck outta here. Put me back in
Stillwater. Little fucking shit.
There is a knock at the door.
Hey! Come on in there!
Shep strides to the door, flings it open.
A man in boxer shorts stands in the doorway.
C'mon, brother, it's late - Unghh!
Shep hits him twice, then grabs both of his ears and starts
banging his head against the wall.
The hooker runs by, clutching her clothes, and Shep kicks
her in the ass as she passes.
He spins and goes back into the apartment.
Carl is hopping desperately into his pants.
Stay away from me, man! Hey!
Smoke a fuckin' peace pipe, man!
Don't you dare fuckin' - Unghh!
After hitting him several times, Shep yanks Carl's belt out
of his dangling pants and strangles him with it. Carl
gurgles. Shep knees Carl repeatedly, then dumps him onto
the floor and starts whipping him with the buckle end of the
CHAIN RESTAURANT PHONE BOOTH
Carl listens to the phone ring at the other end. His face
is deeply bruised and cut.
Finally, through the phone...
All right, Jerry, I'm through
fucking around. You got the
Jerry is at the kitchen phone. Through the door to the
dining room we see Wade picking up an extension.
Yah, I got the money, but, uh -
Don't you fucking but me, Jerry.
I want you with this money on the
Dayton-Radisson parking ramp, top
level, thirty minutes, and we'll
wrap this up.
Yah, okay, but, uh -
You're there in thirty minutes or
I find you, Jerry, and I shoot
you, and I shoot your fucking wife,
and I shoot all your little fucking
children, and I shoot 'em all in the
back of their little fucking heads.
... Yah, well, you stay away from
Scotty now -
Okay, real good, then.
The line goes dead.
A door slams offscreen.
Wade, briefcase in hand, gets into his Cadillac, slams the
door and peels out.
Wade's jaw works as he glares out at traffic. He mumbles to
himself as he drives.
Okay ... here's your damn money,
now where's my daughter?...
Goddamn punk ... where's my damn
He pulls out a gun, cracks the barrel, peers in.
... You little punk.
Jerry sits in the foyer, trying to pull on pair of galoshes.
Scotty's voice comes from upstairs:
It's okay, Scotty.
Where're you going?
Be back in a minute. If Stan
calls you, just tell him I went
to Embers. Oh, geez -
Thunk! - his first boot goes on.
Marge sits on the bed in her hotel room, shoes off,
massaging her feet. The phone is pressed to her ear, and
through it, we hear ringing.
MILLE LACS LAKE
It is late evening, blowing storm. A leisurely pan across
the bleak gray expanse finds a little hut in the middle of
the frozen lake with a pickup truck parked next to it.
Norm has a cellular phone to his ear. His feet are
stretched out to an electric heater. The interior is bathed
in soft orange light.
Yah, okay. How's the hotel?
Oh, pretty good. They bitin'?
Yeah, couple a muskies. No pike
yet. How d'you feel?
Not on your feet too much?
You shouldn't be on your feet too
much, you got weight you're not
used too. How's the food down
Had dinner at a place called the
King's Table. Buffet style. It
was pretty darn good.
Was it reasonable?
Yah, not too bad. So it's nice
Yah, it's good. No pike yet, but
The top, open, level. Snow blows. A car sits idling.
Another car pulls onto the roof. It creeps over to the
parked car and stops. It continues to idle as its door
opens and Wade steps out, carrying the briefcase.
The door of the other car bangs open and Carl bounces out.
Who the fuck are you? Who the
fuck are you?
I got your goddamn money, you
little punk. Now where's my
I am through fucking around! Drop
that fucking briefcase!
Where's my daughter?
Fuck you, man! Where's Jerry? I
gave SIMPLE FUCKING INSTRUCTIONS -
Where's my damn daughter? No
Jean, no money!
Drop that fucking money!
No Jean, no money!
Is this a fucking joke here?
He pulls out a gun and fires into Wade's gut.
... Is this a fucking joke?
Unghh ... oh, geez...
He is on the pavement, clutching at his gut. Snow swirls.
You fucking imbeciles!
He bends down next to Wade to pick up the briefcase.
Oh, for Christ ... oh, geez...
Wade brings out his gun and fires at Carl's head, close by.
Carl stumbles and falls back, and then stands up again. His
jaw is gouting blood.
One hand pressed to his jaw, he fires down at Wade several
times. Blood streams through the hand pressed to his jaw.
... Mmmmmphnck! He fnkem shop me...
He pockets the gun, picks up the briefcase one-handed,
flings it into his car, gets in, peels out.
Carl screams down the ramp. He takes a corner at high speed
and swerves, just missing Jerry in his Olds on his way to
INT. JERRY'S CAR
Jerry recovers from the near miss and continues up.
Carl squeals to a halt at the gate, still pressing his hand
to his bleeding jaw.
Ophhem ma fuchem gaphe!
May I have your ticket, please?
Jerry pulls to a halt next to Wade's idling Cadillac. He
gets out and walks slowly to Wade's body, prostrate in the
Oh! Oh, geez!
He bends down, picks Wade up by the armpits and drags him
over to the back of the Cadillac. He drops Wade's body,
walks to the driver's side of the car, pulls the keys and
walks back to pop the trunk. He wrestles Wade's body into
the trunk, slams it shut and walks back to the scene of the
He kicks at the snow with his galoshed feet, trying to hide
the fresh bloodstains.
Jerry approaches in the Cadillac.
The wooden gate barring the exit has been broken away. The
booth is empty.
Jerry eases toward the street, looking over at the booth as
Inside the booth we see the awkwardly angled leg of a
EXT. JERRY'S HOUSE
The car pulls into the driveway.
Jerry enters and sits on the foyer chair to take off his
Stan Grossman called.
... Is everything okay?
Thoonk - the first boot comes off.
Are you calling Stan?
Well... I'm goin' ta bed now.
Carl mumbles as he drives, underlit by the dim dash lights,
one hand now holding a piece of rag to his shredded jaw.
... Fnnkn ashlzh... Fnk...
Carl's car roars into frame, violently swirling the snow.
Its red tail lights fishtail away.
HOLD IN BLACK
HARD CUT TO: BRIGHT - LOOKING THROUGH A WINDSHIELD
It is a starky sunny day. We are cruising down a street of
humble lookalike houses.
We pan right as we draw toward one house in particular. In
its driveway a man in a hooded parka shovels snow. He
notices the approaching car and gives its driver a wave.
The driver is Gary, the Brainderd police officer. He gives
a finger-to-the-head salute and pulls over.
Gary slams his door shut and the other man plants his shovel
in the snow.
How ya doin'?
The two men caucus the driveway without shaking hands and
without standing particularly close. They stand stiffly,
arms down at their sides and breath streaming out of their
parka hoods. Each has an awkward leaning-away posture, head
drawn slightly back and chin tucked in, to keep his face
from protruding into the cold.
... So, I'm tendin' bar there at
Ecklund && Swedlin's last Tuesday
and this little guy's drinkin'
and he says, 'So where can a guy
find some action - I'm goin' crazy
down there at the lake.' And I
says, 'What kinda action?' and he
says, 'Woman action, what do I
look like,' And I says 'Well,
what do I look like, I don't
arrange that kinda thing,' and he
says, 'I'm goin' crazy out there
at the lake' and I says, 'Well,
this ain't that kinda place.'
So he says, 'So I get it, so you
think I'm some kinda jerk for
askin',' only he doesn't use the
And then he calls me a jerk and
says the last guy who thought he
was a jerk was dead now. So I
don't say nothin' and he says, 'What
do ya think about that?' So I
says, 'Well, that don't sound like
too good a deal for him then.'
Ya got that right.
And he says, 'Yah, that guy's dead
and I don't mean a old age.' And
then he says, 'Geez, I'm goin'
crazy out there at the lake.'
White Bear Lake?
Well, Ecklund && Swedlin's, that's
closer ta Moose Lake, so I made
So, ya know, he's drinkin', so I
don't think a whole great deal of
it, but Mrs. Mohra heard about the
homicides out here and she thought
I should call it in, so I called
it in. End a story.
What'd this guy look like anyways?
Oh, he was a little guy, kinda
Uh-huh - in what way?
Just a general way.
Okay, well, thanks a bunch, Mr.
Mohra. You're right, it's probably
nothin', but thanks for callin'
Oh sure. They say she's gonna
turn cold tomorrow.
Yah, got a front movin' in.
Ya got that right.
CLOSE ON CARL SHOWALTER
In his car, now parked, one hand holding the rag pressed to
his mangled jaw. He is staring down at something in the
front seat next to him.
His other hand holds open the briefcase. It has money
inside - a lot of money.
Carl unfreezes, takes out one of the bank-wrapped wads and
looks at it.
He paws through the money in the briefcase to get a feeling
for the amount.
... Jeshush Shrist... Jeshush
Excited, he counts out a bundle of bills and tosses it onto
the back seat.
He starts to take the rag away from his chin but the layer
pressed against his face sticks, its loose weave bound to
his skin by clotted blood.
He pulls very gently and winces as blood starts to flow
He carefully tears the rag in half so that only a bit of it
remains adhering to his jaw.
It is pulled over to the side of an untraveled road. THe
door opens and Carl emerges with the briefcase.
He slogs through the snow, down a gulley and up the
embankment to a barbed-wire fence. He kneels at one of the
fence posts and frantically digs into the snow with his bare
hands, throws in the briefcase and covers it back up.
He stands and tries to beat the circulation back into his
red, frozen hands.
He looks to the right.
A regular line of identical fence posts stretches away
against unblemished white.
He looks to the left.
A regular line of identical fence posts stretches away
against unblemished white.
He looks at the fence post in front of him.
He looks about the snowy vastness for a marker. Finding
none, he kicks the fence post a couple of times, failing to
scar or tilt it, then hurriedly plants a couple of sicks up
against the post.
He bends down, scoops up a handful of snow, presses it
against his wounded jaw, and lopes back to the idling car.
Marge has a packed overnight back sitting on the unmade bed.
She is ready to leave, already wearing her parka, but is on
No, I'm leavin' this mornin', back
up to Brainerd.
Well, I'm sorry I won't see ya.
Mm. But ya think he's all right?
I saw him last night and he's -
What'd he say?
Well, it was nothin' specific
he said, it just seemd like it
all hit him really hard, his
wife dyin' -
No. No. No. They weren't -
he, uh, he was bothering Linda
for about, oh, for a good year.
Really pestering her, wouldn't
leave her alone.
So ... they didn't...
No. No. They never married.
Mike's had psychiatric problems.
Oh. Oh, my.
Yah, he - he's been struggling.
He's living with his parents now.
Yah, Linda's fine. You should
Geez. Well - geez. That's a
Marge drives, gazing out at the road.
MARGE AT A DRIVE-THROUGH
She leans out of her open window and yells at the order
MARGE AT THE GUSTAFSON OLDS GARAGE
She sits in the lot, eating a breakfast sandwich.
JERRY LUNDEGAARD'S OFFICE
Jerry is at his desk using a blunt pencil to enter numbers
onto a form. Beneath the form is a piece of carbon paper
and beneath that another form copy, which Jerry periodically
checks. The carbon-copy form shows thick smudgy, illegible
Jerry hums nervously.
Glass rattles as someone taps at his door.
Jerry looks up and freezes, mouth hanging open, brow knit
Marge sticks her head in the door.
Mr. Lundegaard? Sorry to bother
you again. Can I come in?
She starts to enter.
Yah, no, I'm kinda - I'm kinda
I unnerstand. I'll keep it real
short, then. I'm on my way out
of town, but I was just - Do you
mind if I sit down? I'm carrying
a bit of a load here.
No, I -
But she is already sitting into the chair opposite with a
sigh of relieved weight.
Yah, it's this vehicle I asked you
about yesterday. I was just
Yah, like I told ya, we haven't had
any vehicles go missing.
Okay, are you sure, cause, I mean,
how do you know? Because, see,
the crime I'm investigating, the
perpetrators were driving a car
with dealer plates. And they
called someone who works here, so
it'd be quite a coincidence if
they weren't, ya know, connected.
Yah, I see.
So how do you - have you done any
kind of inventory recently?
The car's not from our lot, ma'am.
but do you know that for sure
Well, I would know. I'm the
Executive Sales Manager.
Yah, but -
We run a pretty tight ship here.
I know, but - well, how do you
establish that, sir? Are the
cars, uh, counted daily or what
kind of -
Ma'am, I answered your question.
There is a silent beat.
... I'm sorry, sir?
Ma'am, I answered your question.
I answered the darn - I'm
cooperating here, and I...
Sir, you have no call to get
snippy with me. I'm just doin'
my job here.
I'm not, uh, I'm not arguin' here.
I'm cooperating... There's no, uh
- we're doin' all we can...
He trails off into silence.
Sir, could I talk to Mr. Gustafson?
Jerry stares at her.
... Mr. Lundegaard?
Well, heck, if you wanna, if you
wanna play games here! I'm
workin' with ya on this thing, but
He is getting angrily off his feet.
Okay, I'll do a damned lot count!
Sir? Right now?
Sure right now! You're darned
He is yanking his parka from a hook behind the opened door
and grabbing a pair of galoshes.
... If it's so damned imporant
I'm sorry, sir, I -
Jerry has the parka slung over one arm and the galoshes
pinched in his hand.
Aw, what the Christ!
He stamps out the door.
After a long moment her stare breaks. She glances idly
around the office.
There is a framed picture facing away from her on the
desktop. She turns it to face her. It is Scotty, holding
an accordion. There is another picture of Jean.
Marge looks at it, looks around, for some reason, at the
She looks at a trophy shelf on the wall behind her.
She fiddles idly with a pencil. She pulls a clipboard
toward her. It holds a form from the General Motors Finance
She looks idly around. Her look abruptly locks.
... Oh, for Pete's sake.
Jerry is easing his car around the near corner of the
Marge's voice is flat with dismay:
... Oh, for Pete's sake...
She grabs the phone and punches in a number.
... For Pete's s- he's fleein' the
interview. He's feelin' the
Jerry makes a left turn into traffic.
... Detective Sibert, please...
We are looking across a steam table at a man in blue. He
moves slowly to the right, pushing his tray along a
cafeteria line. Behind him, in the depth of the room, is an
eating area of long Formica tables at which sit a mix of
uniformed and civilian-clothed police and staff.
We are listening to an offscreen woman's voice.
Well, so far we're just saying he's
wanted for questioning in connection
with a triple homicide. Nobody at
the dealship there's been much help
guessing where he might go...
The woman is entering frame sliding a tray. Marge enters
behind her, sliding her own. We move laterally with them as
they slowly make their way along the line.
We called his house; his little
boy said he hadn't been there.
And his wife?
She's visiting relatives in Florida.
Now his boss, this guy Gustafson,
he's also disappeared. Nobody at
his office knows where he is.
Geez. Looks like this thing goes
higher than we thought. You call
His wife's in the hospital, has
been for a couple months. The big C.
And this Shep Proudfoot character,
he's a little darling. He's now
wanted for assault and parole
violation. He clobbered a neighbor
of his last night and another
person who could be one of your perps,
and he's at large.
Boy, this thing is really ... geez.
Well, they're all out on the wire.
Well, you know...
Yah. Well, I just can't thank you
enough, Detective Sibert, this
cooperation has been outstanding.
Ah, well, we haven't had to run
around like you. When're you due?
End a April.
This'll be our first. We've been
waiting a long time.
That's wonderful. Mm-mm. It'll
change your life, a course.
Oh, yah, I know that!
They can really take over, that's
You have children?
Detective Sibert pulls an accordion of plastic picture
sleeves from her purse to show Marge.
I thought you'd never ask. The
older one is Janet, she's nine, and
the younger one is Morgan.
Oh, now he's adorable.
He's three now. Course, not in that
Oh, he's adorable.
Yah, he -
Where'd you get him that parka?
They have reached the end of the cafeteria line. With a nod
to the cashier, Detective Sibert indicates hers and Marge's
Both of these.
Oh, no, I can't let you do that.
Oh, don't be silly.
Well, okay - thank you, Detective.
Oh, don't be silly.
He sits eating a Swanson's TV dinner from a TV tray he has
set up in front of an easy chair.
He watches the old black-and-white TV set whose image - it
might be a game show - is still heavily ghosting and
diffused by snow. The audio crackles with interference.
Despite the impenetrability of its image, it holds
Grimsrud's complete attention.
At the sound of the front door opening, Grimsrud looks up.
Carl enters, his face suppurating and raw.
He reacts to Grimsrud's wordless look with a grotesque
You should she zhe uzher guy!
He glances around.
... The fuck happen a her?
Jean sits slumped in a straight-backed chair facing the
wall. Her hooded head, resting on her chin, is motionless.
There is blood on the facing wall.
She started shrieking, you know.
He shakes his head.
... Well, I gotta muddy.
He is plunking down eight bank-wrapped bundles on the table.
... All of it. All eighty gran.
Forty for you...
He makes one pile, pockets the rest.
... Forty for me. Sho thishuzh
He slaps keys down on the table.
... You c'n'ave my truck. I'm
takin' a Shiera.
We split that.
Carl looks at him.
HOW THE FUCK DO WE SHPLITTA FUCKIN'
CAR? Ya dummy! Widda fuckin'
Grimsrud looks sourly up. There is a beat. Finally:
One of us pays the other for half.
HOLD ON! NO FUCKIN' WAY! YOU
FUCKIN' NOTISH ISH? I GOT FUCKIN'
SHOT INNA FAISH! I WENT'N GOTTA
FUCKIN' MONEY! I GET SHOT FUCKIN'
PICKIN' IT UP! I BEEN UP FOR
THIRTY-SHIKSH FUCKIN' HOURZH! I'M
TAKIN' THAT FUCKIN' CAR! THAT
Carl waits for an argument, but only gets the steady sour
Carl pulls out a gun.
... YOU FUCKIN' ASH-HOLE! I
LISHEN A YOUR BULLSHIT FOR A WHOLE
A beat. Carl returns Grimsrud's stare.
... Are we shquare?
Grimsrud says nothing.
... ARE WE SHQUARE?
Disgusted, Carl pockets the gun and heads for the door.
... Fuckin' ash-hole. And if
you shee your friend Shep Proudpfut,
tell him I'm gonna NAIL hizh
We are pulling Carl as he walks toward the car. Behind him
we see the cabin door opening. Carl turns, reacting to the
Grimsrud is bounding out wearing mittens and a red hunter's
cap, but no overcoat. He is holding an ax.
Carl fumbles in his pocket for his gun.
Grimsrud swings overhand, burying the ax in Carl's neck.
In her cruiser, on her two-way. Through it we hear Lou's
voice, heavily filtered:
His wife. This guy says she was
kidnapped last Wednesday.
The day of our homicides.
Marge is peering to one side as she drives, looking through
the bare trees that border the road on a declivity that runs
down to a large frozen lake.
And this guy is...
But we still haven't found Gustafson.
Sorry - didn't copy.
Still missing. We're looking.
Copy. And Lundegaard too.
Yah. Where are ya, Margie?
We hear, distant but growing louder, harsh engine noise, as
of a chainsaw or lawnmower.
Oh, I'm almost back - I'm driving
around Moose Lake.
Oh. Gary's loudmouth.
Yah, the loudmouth. So the whole
state has it, Lundegaard and
Yah, it's over the wire, it's
everywhere, they'll find 'em.
We've got a -
There's the car! There's the car!
We are slowing as we approach a short driveway leading down
to a cabin. Parked in front is the brown Cutlass Ciera.
My car! My car! Tan Ciera!
Don't go in! Wait for back-up!
Marge is straining to look. The power-tool noise is louder
here but still muffled, its source not yet visible.
... Chief Gunderson?
Copy. Yah, send me back-up!
Yes, ma'am. Are we the closest PD?
Yah, Menominie only has Chief Perpich
and he takes February off to go to
Marge pulls her prowler over some distance past the cabin.
She gets out, zips up her khaki parka and pulls up its fur-
For a moment, she stands listening to the muffled roar of
the power tool. Then, with one curved arm half pressing
against, half supporting her belly, she takes slow, gingerly
steps down the slope, through the deep snow, through the
trees angling toward the cabin and the source of the
She slogs from tree to tree, letting each one support her
downhill-leaning weight for a moment before slogging to the
The roar grows louder. Marge stands panting by one tree,
her breath vaporizing out of her snorkel hood. She squints
down toward the cabin's back lot.
A tall man with his back to us, wearing a red plaid quilted
jacket and a hunting cap with earflaps, is laboring over a
large power tool which his body blocks from view.
The man is forcing downward something which engages the
roaring power tool and makes harsh spluttering noises.
The man is Grimsrud, his nose red and eyes watering from the
cold, hatflaps pulled down over his ears. His breath steams
as he sourly goes about his work, both hands pressing down a
shod foot, as it if were the shaft of a butter churn.
The roar is very loud.
Marge slogs down to the next tree, panting, looking.
Grimsrud forces more of the leg into the machine, which we
can now see sprays small wet chunks out the bottom.
Marge's eyes shift.
A large dark form lies in the snow next to Grimsrud.
Grimsrud works on, eyes watering. With a grunt he bends
down out of frame and then re-enters holding a thick log.
He uses it to force the leg deeper into the machine.
Marge is advancing. She holds a gun extended toward
Grimsrud, who is still turned away.
Grimsrud rubs his nose with the back of his hand.
Marge closes in, grimacing.
Grimsrud's back strains as he puts his weight into the log
that pushes down into the machine.
The dark shape in the snow next to his side is the rest of
Carl Showalter's body.
Marge has drawn to within twenty yards. When she bellows it
sounds hollow and distant, her voice all but eaten up by the
roar of the power tool.
Stop! Police! Turn around and
Startled, Grimsrud scowls. He turns to face her.
Marge bellows again:
... Hands up!
Conscious of the noise, she shows with a twist of her
shoulder the armpatch insignia.
With a quick twist, he reaches back for the log, hurls it at
Marge and then starts running away.
Marge twists her body sideways, shielding herself.
No need - the heavy log travels perhaps ten yards and lands
in the snow several feet short of her.
Grimsrud pants up the hill - slow going through the deep
She fires in the air.
She lowers the gun and carefully sighs.
Grimsrud still slogs up the hill - a miss.
Marge sights again.
She fires again.
Grimsrud pitches forward. He mutters in Swedish as he
reaches down to clutch at his wounded leg.
Marge walks toward him, gun trained on him as her other hand
reaches under her parka and gropes around her waist.
It comes out with a pair of handcuffs, which she opens with
a snap of the wrist.
... All right, buddy. On your
belly and your hands clasped
Marge drives. Grimsrud sits in the back seat, hands cuffed
For a long moment there, he is quiet - only engine hum and
the periodic clomp of wheels on pavement seams - as Marge
grimly shakes her head.
... So that was Mrs. Lundegaard
She glances up in the rear-view mirror.
Grimsrud, cheeks sunk, eyes hollow, looks sourly out at the
Marge shakes her head.
... I guess that was your
accomplice in the wood chipper.
Grimsrud's head bobs with bumps on the road; otherwise he is
motionless, reactionless, scowling and gazing out.
... And those three people in
Marge, gazing forward, seems to be talking to herself.
... And for what? For a little
bit of money.
We hear distant sirens.
... There's more to life than money,
She glances up in the rear-view mirror.
... Don't you know that?... And
here ya are, and it's a beautiful
Grimsrud's hollow eyes stare out.
The sirens are getting louder. Marge pulls over.
She leans forward to the dash to give two short signalling
WHOOPS on her siren.
She turns on her flashers.
She leans back with a creak and jangle of utilities.
She stares forward, shakes her head. We hear the dull click
of her flashers.
... I just don't unnerstand it.
Outside it is snowing. The sky, the earth, the road - all
A squad car, gumballs spinning, punches through the white.
It approaches in slow motion.
An ambulance punches through after it.
Another squad car.
HIGH AND WIDE ON A SHABBY MOTEL
It stands next to a highway on a snowy, windslept plain.
One or two cars dot the parking lot along with an idling
MOTEL ROOM DOORWAY
We are looking over the shoulders of two uniformed policemen
who stand on either side of the door, their hands resting
lightly on their holstered sidearms. One of them raps at
A title fades in: OUTSIDE OF BISMARK, NORTH DAKOTA
After a pause, muffled through the door:
Mr. Anderson, is this your burgundy
88 out here?
... Just a sec.
Could you open the door, please?
... Yah. Yah, just a sec.
We hear a clatter from inside.
... Just a sec...
One of the policemen unholsters his gun and nods to someone
whose back enters - a superintendent holding a ring of keys.
This man turns a key in the door and then stands away.
The two policemen, guns at the ready, bang into the motel
The rough hand-held camera rushes in behind them as the two
men give the room a two-handed sweep with their guns.
The room is empty.
Cop one indicates the open bathroom door.
The two men charge the bathroom, belts jingling, guns at the
ready, jittery camera behind them rushing to keep pace.
A man in boxer shorts is halfway out the bathroom window.
The policemen holster their guns and charge the window, and
drag Jerry Lundegaard back into the room.
His flesh quivers as he thrashes and keens in short,
The cops wrestle him to the floor but his palsied thrashing
continues. The policemen struggle to restrain him.
Call an ambulance!
You got him okay?
Cop One pinions Jerry's arms to the floor and Jerry bursts
into uncontrolled sobbing.
Yah, yah, call an ambulance.
Jerry sobs and screams.
We are square on Norm, who sits in bed watching television.
After a long beat, Marge enters frame in a nightie and
climbs into bed, with some effort.
Norm reaches for her hand as both watch the television.
At length Norm speaks, but keeps his eyes on the TV.
They announced it.
Marge looks at him.
They announced it?
Marge looks at him, waiting for more, but Norm's eyes stay
fixed on the television.
Norm, that's terrific!
Norm tries to suppress a smile of pleasure.
It's just the three cent.
Hautman's blue-winged teal got the
twenty-nine cent. People don't
much use the three-cent.
Oh, for Pete's - a course they do!
Every time they raise the darned
postage, people need the little
When they're stuck with a bunch a
the old ones!
Yah, I guess.
Her eyes go back to the TV.
... I'm so proud a you, Norm.
I love you, Margie.
I love you, Norm.
Both of them are watching the TV as Norm reaches out to rest
a hand on top of her stomach.
... Two more months.
Marge absently rests her own hand on top of his.
Two more months.
Hold; fade out.