Revised Final Screenplay by
Behind the main title and the credits:
EXT. PLAINS COUNTRY - CLOSE SHOT - MOVING JUST ABOVE GROUND
LEVEL - A STUDY OF HOOFPRINTS - LATE AFTERNOON
The hoofprints are deeply etched in the ground, picking their
way through scrubby desert growth. An occasional tumbleweed
drifts with the light breeze across the pattern of prints;
and lightly-blown soil and sand begin the work of erasing
them. The CAMERA FOLLOWING the hoofprints
RAISES SLOWLY TO:
EXT. PLAINS COUNTRY - LONG SHOT - LATE AFTERNOON
We see the rider now. BACK TO CAMERA, jogging slowly along --
heading down a long valley toward a still-distant ranch house
with its outlying barn and corrals.
EXT. PLAINS COUNTRY - MED. SHOT - MOVING - LATE AFTERNOON
The CAMERA FRAMES and MOVES with the lone horseman. He is
ETHAN EDWARDS, a man as hard as the country he is crossing.
Ethan is in his forties, with a three-day stubble of beard.
Dust is caked in the lines of his face and powders his
clothing. He wears a long Confederate overcoat, torn at one
pocket, patched and clumsily stitched at the elbows.
His trousers are a faded blue with an off-color stripe down
the legs where once there had been the yellow stripes of the
Yankee cavalry. His saddle is Mexican and across it he carries
a folded serape in place of the Texas poncho...
Rider and horse have come a long way. The CAMERA HOLDS and
PANS the rider past and we see another detail; strapped onto
his saddle roll is a sabre and scabbard with a gray silk
sash wrapped around it... Horse and rider pass, moving closer
to the ranch as a little girl and a small dog come tearing
around the corner of the house.
EXT. THE YARD OF THE EDWARDS RANCH - MED. SHOT - DEBBIE -
She is staring wide-eyed at the distant horseman o.s.
Her little dog has seen him too and is barking excitedly.
DEBBIE quickly reaches to grab the dog by the scruff of the
neck, crouching over him. Debbie is 11 years old with a
piquant, memorable face.
EXT. THE YARD - CLOSE SHOT - DEBBIE
Here we must establish and dramatize what it is about her
face that is memorable, so that if we were to see her again
five or six years later, we would know it is she -- perhaps
the eye color or the slant of eyebrow, or a trick of
scratching bridge of nose with crooked forefinger.
EXT. THE EDWARDS HOUSE - MED. SHOT - AARON - LATE AFTERNOON
The ranch house is of adobe, solidly built, with a sod and
cross-timbered roof, deep windows. A small gallery or porch
extends across the front. AARON EDWARDS comes through the
door, attracted by the dog's barking -- and then he, too,
sees the approaching horseman and comes farther out -- curious
but not at all apprehensive. Aaron is a lean, weathered and
tired man, with a down-swept mustache; a gentler-looking man
than Ethan and possibly a few years older.
As he squints off, studying the rider, his older daughter,
LUCY, comes out to stand behind him. Lucy is from 16 to 18 --
a pleasant, feminine girl. She is carrying a mixing bowl
with some sort of batter in it, which she now completely
forgets to whip in her interest in the approaching stranger.
In the next instant MARTHA EDWARDS follows the daughter onto
the porch. Martha is a still-lovely woman, although the years
have etched fine wrinkles about her eyes and mouth, and work
has worn and coarsened her hands. Those hands will never be
idle when Martha is on scene... And now, while she shares
the family's interest in the approaching horseman, she
automatically notes that Lucy has forgotten her task -- and
she takes the mixing bowl from her and stirs the batter.
EXT. YARD OF THE EDWARDS HOUSE - FULL SHOT - LATE AFTERNOON
Along the side of the house comes BEN EDWARDS, 14, with a
man-sized armload of chunkwood clutched to his chest. He,
too, has spotted the stranger and is all attention. So much
so that he trips, but recovers his footing. He pauses to
dump the wood into a woodbox by the door -- his eyes always
riveted on the oncoming rider -- and then he moves toward
the others, biting a splinter out of a finger. Beyond Ben,
MARTIN PAULEY emerges from the barn and crosses the open
ground heading toward CAMERA. Martin is somewhat under 20, a
lithe, perfectly coordinated male animal, with Indian-straight
hair and a white man's eyes. He is carrying bridle or other
horse-gear. He looks to the family on the porch -- to see if
they recognize the stranger -- then out again. He continues,
followed by Ben, toward where
Debbie crouches over her dog.
EXT. PLAINS COUNTRY - LONG SHOT - ETHAN - LATE AFTERNOON
As he rides downslope toward the house.
THE CREDITS END.
EXT. THE EDWARDS RANCH - MED. CLOSE SHOT - MARTHA, LUCY, AND
AARON - LATE AFTERNOON
Suddenly, Martha's eyes widen as she -- even before Aaron --
recognizes the distant rider. Her hand goes to her mouth to
check the name that trembles on her lips... An instant later
Aaron, too, identifies the oncoming horseman.
He looks at her, frowning, then slowly steps out onto the
hard ground. Martha hands the bowl back to Lucy and follows
EXT. THE YARD OF THE EDWARDS HOUSE - FULL SHOT - THE GROUP
as Ethan rides in and sits his horse, looking down at them.
There is a noticeable constraint on all of them. Finally:
His eyes shift to Martha and hold. Ethan is, and always has
been, in love with his brother's wife and she with him.
(a bit shakily)
Ethan slowly, stiffly swings out of the saddle. Aaron and
Martha exchange quick glances... troubled, puzzled. Aaron
pastes on an uncertain smile as Ethan comes around his horse
toward their side.
How should I know?
But Mose Harper said...
That old goat still creakin'
around?... Whyn't someone bury him?
He goes to his saddle pack, begins unlacing it. Ben and Debbie
have inched closer -- half-shy, half-curious.
Debbie's dog begins sniffing at his heels. Ethan looks down
at them - not unfriendly, just a man not used to children.
Ben, ain't you?
(frowning at Debbie)
Lucy, you ain't much bigger than
when I saw you last.
Ethan looks in the direction of the pointing finger.
EXT. YARD - ANOTHER ANGLE
as Lucy steps down from the porch and approaches.
Lucy's going on seventeen now...
An' she's got a beau! Kisses him,
That's enough... Go on inside and
help Lucy set the table... You, too,
EXT. YARD - FULL SHOT - ANOTHER ANGLE
as Martin -- with slightly averted face -- crosses to take
the bridle of Ethan's horse and lead him away.
(wheeling on him)
Martin checks his stride, stares in surprise.
Martin!... Here we've been standing...
Ethan, you haven't forgotten Martin?
Oh... Mistook you for a half-breed.
Not quite... Quarter Cherokee. The
rest is Welsh... So they tell me.
You've done a lot of growin'...
It was Ethan found you squallin' in
a sage clump after your folks was
It just happened to be me... No need
to make any more of it...
I'll take care of your horse for
you, Uncle Ethan.
Again, he starts to lead away.
Martin stops again.
I'll take this...
He completes unlacing the pack and takes it -- treating it
as though it contained something of value. Martin watches
with a touch of resentment: Ethan doesn't trust him.
Ethan turns and sees the look. He doesn't care what Martin
thinks, nor does he explain. Martin leads the horse off.
Supper'll be ready by the time you
wash up... Let me take your coat for
He hesitates, then grudgingly surrenders it -- conscious of
its sorry condition.
And... welcome home.
He just nods, then turns to follow Aaron around the side of
the house toward the wash-up.
EXT. THE EDWARDS HOUSE - CLOSE SHOT - MARTHA
She stands alone, looking after Ethan -- his coat in her
arms. She holds it against her breast for just a moment and
her eyes are tender.
INT. EDWARDS HOUSE - FULL SHOT - NIGHT
The family is finishing dinner -- and the scene is not quite,
but almost, a still-life. Loud in the room is the pendulum
tick of a Seth-Thomas clock on the mantel above the fireplace --
in which logs are burning briskly. Ben crouches near the
fireplace, fascinatedly examining the scabbard and sabre
Ethan has brought home from the wars.
He tries to ease the blade just a bit out of its scabbard.
Aaron sits at one end of the hand-hewn table, Martha at the
other. At her right is Ethan, his fork scraping the last
crumb off his plate. Lucy sits at her father's right and
Martin at his left. Next to Martin is Debbie. In the center
of the table is the sorry remnant of what was once a meal.
Lucy and Martin have finished eating. Aaron is sipping his
coffee, and Martha -- her own plate largely untasted -- is
Ethan has shaved, changed his shirt. He straightens
contentedly and every eye is on him, expectantly.
The clock rattles alarmingly -- the usual preliminary to its
striking; and then it bangs out the strokes like a fire-alarm
gong. Eight fast clangs.
Ben! Deborah! Bed!
But I've got to help with the dishes.
Not tonight... Ben, put that sword
It's not a sword, ma... it's a saber!
(moving to Ethan)
Did you kill many damYankees with
this sabre, Uncle Ethan?
How many damYankees, Uncle Ethan?
Ben!... Martin, he'll sleep in the
bunkhouse with you tonight.
Martin nods and crosses to kiss Martha good night.
Good night, Aunt Martha... Uncle
Good night, Uncle Ethan.
Ethan doesn't like being called Uncle -- as we must know
from the quick look he shoots at Martin. But he acknowledges
Ben reluctantly puts the scabbard away, turns to Ethan.
Will you tell me tomorrow about the
The war ended three years ago, boy!
It did?... Then whyn't you come home
BEN!... Go 'long with Martin. MARCH!
As Ben reluctantly heads out with Martin, Deborah crosses to
Ethan's side and studies him gravely.
Lucy's wearing the gold locket you
gave her when she was a little girl...
She don't wear it much account of it
makes her neck green.
Well, it does... But I wouldn't care
if you gave me a gold locket if it
made my neck green or not.
Ethan looks at her gravely.
(then he remembers
He crosses to where his pack is -- a side table or something --
and burrows into it. Debbie is at his side.
How about this?
It is a gold medal or medallion -- something appropriate to
Maximilian of Mexico -- suspended by a long multi-colored
Oh! LOOK! My gold locket!
She holds it high for mother -- and all -- to see. Martha
takes it and reacts at its weight.
It's solid gold... Ethan, I don't
think she's old enough...
Let her keep it... Just something I
picked up in Mexico.
Martha reluctantly surrenders it to Debbie's eager hand.
Aaron hasn't missed the word "Mexico" and looks sharply at
Oh, thank you, Uncle Ethan...
The two girls leave the main room. Martha and Aaron both
look at Ethan -- half expecting some further explanation.
He turns from them and looks into the fire. Martha begins to
clear the table. Aaron gets up, takes a pipe and a spill --
lights it at the fire.
Passed the Todd place comin' in...
What happened to 'em?
They gave up... went back to the
cotton rows... So'd the Jamisons...
Without Martha, I don't know... She
wouldn't let a man quit.
Ethan turns and looks at her -- still busy with her dishes.
(change of tone)
Ethan, I could see it in you before
(Ethan looks at him)
You wanted to clear out!
Martha freezes in what she's doing -- listening.
And you stayed out beyond all need
Ethan can't answer, but he takes it as a challenge and almost
You askin' me to clear out now?
with grave dignity)
You're my brother... You're welcome
to stay as long as you got a mind
to... Ain't that so, Martha?
(almost a whisper)
Of course he is.
I expect to pay my own way...
Martha resumes her activity. Ethan crosses to his pack,
reaches into it for a leather pouch, brings it back and tosses
it onto the table. It lands with a resonant clink.
Both Martha and Aaron draw close to the table.
(NOTE TO WINTON HOCH: This scene should be dramatically back-
There's sixty double eagles in
there... twelve-hundred dollars.
He opens a waistline shirt button and hauls out a leather
money belt and drops that on the table.
An' twice that in here.
He reaches into the belt and takes out a few mint-fresh gold
pieces which he slides across the table.
...only these got the late Emperor
Maximilian's picture on 'em.
Martha picks up one of the gold pieces, staring at the face
on the coin: the same as that on the medal -- staring sharply
then at Ethan. Aaron is examining another coin with a
Mint fresh... not a mark on 'em.
He glances questioningly at Ethan.
Aaron shrugs and crosses to a barrel chair. He raises the
seat and lifts out a pair of old boots, some rags of clothing
and then raises a false-bottom lid and drops pouch and money
belt into it. Carefully he replaces everything. During this
Ethan's attention has gone to Martha's hand, to one cut
finger, its wound barely healed. He takes the hand -- gently.
She nods and withdraws the hand.
You were always hurting about your
She looks quickly at him and self-consciously tries to hide
her hands, conscious of their work-worn appearance.
Then for a moment their eyes meet and hold -- and a world of
sadness and hopelessness is in the look.
Aaron closes the seat of the barrel chair.
Time for bed...
He picks up one of the lamps and starts away toward their
bedroom door. Martha looks at Ethan again. His expression is
Night, Ethan... Come 'long, Martha.
She turns obediently and follows Aaron. Ethan looks after
them and waits as Aaron opens the bedroom door. Martha goes
into it and Aaron follows and closes the door.
Ethan crosses to the lamp on the mantel, blows it out.
Only the firelight strikes his face as he stares broodingly
at the closed bedroom door.
EXT. YARD OF THE EDWARDS' HOUSE - FAINT DAWN LIGHT
Debbie's dog is barking excitedly as six horsemen slowly
ride toward the house and dismount. A lamp goes on inside.
THE SIX HORSEMEN ARE:
CAPTAIN, THE REVEREND SAM CLAYTON, a big man with frosty
blue eyes, graying hair, a bristly full mustache and the air
of grave and resolute authority. He is a minister of the
Gospel with a .44 on his hip.
LARS JORGENSEN, the Edwards' neighbor, is a harried little
man, Scandinavian. As we shall find out soon, he has a brisk
and buxom wife and a rather astonishing brood of children.
BRAD JORGENSEN is one of these: sandy-haired, brash, amiable,
impulsive. He is in his early twenties.
CHARLIE MacCORRY, slightly older than Brad, is Sergeant of
Company A of the Rangers. (He is also Company A.) Charlie is
a taciturn, gently-spoken, competent man, clearly patterned
by his association with Captain, the Rev. Sam.
MOSE HARPER is an old scout -- a walking bone-rack, yet
capable of tireless feats of endurance. Some think him
"tetched" yet he has managed to endure to his age during a
time and in a region where few men lived to see their
grandchildren. He wears a ragged dark overcoat in all weather,
a narrow-brimmed hat with a feather in its band.
ED NESBY is a rancher and homesteader in his mid-thirties;
resolute, honest, self-effacing; nothing picturesque or
dramatic about him; just a solid citizen and a realist.
INT. EDWARDS' HOME - CLOSE SHOT - MARTHA
She is at the window of her bedroom, wrapper clutched with
one hand, lamp upraised in the other as she stares into the
dawn to see who these callers are. We hear the heavy foot-
falls of the approaching men, then a loud knock thrice
repeated -- an ominous sound.
INT. THE EDWARDS' - ANGLE AT DOOR
Aaron! Open up!... Sam Clayton!
The door is opened by Aaron -- holding a lamp and a gun. He
is only partly dressed -- pants, boots, undershirt. The bar
of light slashes across the faces of Sam and some of the men
Reverend... Come in!
INT. THE EDWARDS' HOUSE - FULL SHOT
Sorry to get you out of bed so
(as Martha enters,
tightening her wrapper)
Mornin', Sister Edwards.
What is it, Reverend?
Lars Jorgensen claims someone bust
into his corral last night and run
off his best cows...
You mean those pure breds he just
Jorgensen enters -- an angry little man -- closely followed
by Mose Harper, who is grinning foolishly.
Next time I raise pigs, by golly!
You never hear of anyone running off
pigs, I bet you.
Injuns has 'em... Caddoes or Kiowas...
Kiowas or Caddoes.
Mose spots Martha and at once whips off his hat and makes
her an exaggerated cavalier's bow.
Respects to a charmin' lady, ma'am.
Ed Nesby enters.
Coffee's made if you...
Coffee'd be fine, sister...
She heads for the stove.
(an old man's whimper)
My bones is cold...
His eyes brighten as he looks toward the fire and spots a
rocking chair. He shuffles toward it, plants himself and
begins rocking and half-crooning to himself.
Or bumble bees, by golly... I show
them dirty rustlers!
Lookit me, old Mose Harper, rockin'
in a rockin' chair... I'm a-goin' to
set 'n rock, 'n rock, 'n rock, 'n
The front door opens to admit Martin, fully dressed and armed,
with Charlie MacCorry.
Over here, Martin... Aaron...
Martin ranges himself next to Aaron and both face Clayton.
Raise your right hands.
Martha sets out cups on the table, begins pouring the coffee.
During the swearing-in, Ethan will enter the room from the
inner door -- unnoticed by the other men, but not by Martha.
And as the scene plays, the audience must always be conscious
of the by-play of glances between Martha and Ethan as they
face the prospect of being left in this house together.
You are hereby volunteer privates in
Company A of the Texas Rangers and
will faithfully discharge the duties
of same without recompense or monetary
compensation -- meaning no pay!...
Amen and get your shirt on, will
Ain't goin' volunteerin' after
rustlers without my morning coffee,
Reverend... Drink your own!
(sternly -- as he
reaches for his cup)
From now on, call me 'Captain'!
But Ethan advances and calmly appropriates the cup Clayton
is reaching for...
Captain the Reverend Samuel Johnson
Clayton!... Mighty impressive.
Clayton marks his surprise.
Well... the prodigal brother...
When'd you get back?
Ethan sips his coffee and doesn't answer.
Haven't seen you since the surrender.
Come to think of it, I didn't see
you at the surrender.
I don't believe in surrenderin'... I
still got my sabre, Reverend... never
turned it into any ploughshare
Is no time for kaffee-klatch while a
man's beef is been run off.
(taps his nose)
Caddoes or Kiowas... Mose Harper,
drinkin' coffee in a rockin' chair.
Martha has left the room briefly to fetch Aaron's shirt and
vest and stands behind him. Aaron drains his cup.
Ethan, countin' on you to look after
things while I'm gone.
Ethan -- cup to his lips -- looks over its rim at Martha as
Aaron starts to put on his shirt. Their eyes meet briefly,
then she looks away. Ethan sloshes the dregs of his cup into
the fire -- some of it spattering Mose.
You ain't goin'...
He sure is goin'... He's sworn in.
Well, swear him out again!... I'll
go with you.
Martha stands submissively, with her head bent, eyes averted
as Ethan crosses the room to get his coat, guns, etc. Aaron
Now, Ethan, I ain't sure...
Don't argue!... And stay close...
Maybe they're rustlers... and maybe
this dodderin' old idiot ain't so
Thankin' ye, Ethan... thankin' ye.
All right... I'll swear you in...
You can forget that...
(as Sam stares)
Wouldn't be legal anyway.
(a pause -- then
You wanted for a crime, Ethan?
Martha waits -- intent.
You askin' as a Reverend or a Captain,
I'm askin' as a Ranger of the
sovereign state of Texas.
Got a warrant?
You fit a lot of descriptions.
I figger a man's only good for one
oath at a time... I took mine to the
Confederate States of America...
(he pauses -- then)
So did you, Reverend...
He looks past him then -- at Martha and then at Aaron.
Stick close, Aaron...
He looks at Martha again... and then strides out.
EXT. THE EDWARDS' HOUSE -- DAWN LIGHT
As Ethan emerges he is brought to a momentary halt by sight
of a couple -- Brad and Lucy -- in each other's arms, standing
near the saddled horses of the posse. Clayton and Jorgensen
following him out, spot the couple, who now belatedly are
conscious of their audience.
Brad!... Is no time for lolly-
In confusion, Lucy runs back around the side of the house as
Brad -- unrepentant -- grins at his irascible old man and
heads for his waiting horse. Clayton chuckles and turns toward
Martha, who has followed them out.
Looks like I'll be reading the lines
over that pair before long, sister
Is no time for talking weddings...
Better say prayers for those dirty
thieves, by golly... running off a
Mose, last to emerge, bows elaborately to Martha.
Grateful to the hospitality of yore
rockin' chair, ma'am...
The men are mounting. Mose nimbly vaults onto the back of
his horse -- which he rides bareback, with only a blanket
EXT. THE EDWARDS' HOUSE -- DAWN LIGHT
as Ethan and Martin ride to join the group.
Let's get on with it...
She comes flying out of the house in her long flannel nightie
and runs to Martin.
Martin! Ride me as far as the well!
He swings her up in front of his saddle. They start away.
Ethan is last to ride out. He is watching Martha. He brings
a gloved hand up in a salute. She starts to raise her hand
but only brings it just above her waist, a fluttering gesture
with tremulous fingers. It is the last he will ever see of
EXT. YARD OF THE EDWARDS' HOUSE - FULL SHOT
as the posse slowly rides out, with Ethan last. Martin reins
in to let Debbie slip to the ground. Ethan passes her.
Debbie stands watching the men ride away, waving at them.
She turns and comes running back -- CAMERA PANNING -- to the
little group on the porch; Ben in the door; Lucy crossing
the porch; Aaron and Martha at the steps.
SLOW DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - FULL SHOT - POSSE - LATE AFTERNOON
Ethan and Mose are advancing at a steady walk, both men
leaning slightly out of their saddles to study the terrain --
the trail they are following. Out to one side -- fifty yards
distant -- is the main body of the posse: Sam, Jorgensen,
Charlie, Ed, moving roughly parallel to Ethan but at a faster
clip. Martin comes riding in toward Ethan from behind CAMERA.
Ethan reins in -- compressing his lips at the "Uncle."
Somethin' mighty fishy about this
trail, Uncle Ethan...
Stop callin' me 'uncle'... I ain't
Don't have to call me 'sir' neither...
Nor grampaw neither... Nor Methuselah
neither... I can whup you to a
Mose lets out a snickering laugh.
What you want me to call you?
Name's Ethan... Now what's so mighty
fishy about this trail?
Well, fust off...
He breaks and all turn at a distant hail from Jorgensen.
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - LONG SHOT - RISE OF GROUND - BRAD
He is holding his rifle with both hands straight over his
head -- and he repeats the signal until he sees they have
Brad! He's found them... Come on!
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - FULL SHOT - THE POSSE WITH BRAD IN
as Jorgensen digs spurs and leads the way. The other riders
MED. SHOT - BRAD - RISING GROUND - LATE AFTERNOON
He waits grimly until he sees them coming, then wheels his
mount and takes off over the hill.
FULL SHOT - THE POSSE
as it comes up the rise and the men rein in on the crest.
Jorgensen stares and his face mirrors shock and dismay.
The other men look down into the long valley on the far side
with equally grim expressions.
Call that young fool back!
Jorgensen doesn't even seem to hear him. Angrily Ethan whips
out revolver and fires into the air. Then he swings his arm
in a come-back gesture. He rides out ahead then a short
distance and dismounts... and slowly the others follow.
We see now, the bodies of a few bulls stiffening in the sun.
Ethan goes to the nearest one. A feathered lance is driven
into it. He pulls the lance out. Mose comes over beside him.
Caddo or Kiowa, huh?... Ain't but
one tribe uses a lance like that!
He hands the lance to Mose.
(almost a whisper)
Brad rides in -- shrill with anger.
Killed every one -- an' not for food
either... Why'd they do a thing like
Stealing the cattle was just to pull
us out... This here's a murder raid...
It shapes up to scald out either
your place... or my brother's.
Jorgensen wilts and casts an anguished look back over the
miles they have ridden.
Mama!... Oh please... please no...
And with that one word, Jorgensen calls upon his son to follow
and they take off... fast. Ed Nesby and Charlie MacCorry
follow. Sam Clayton pauses.
Jorgensen's place is closest... If
they're not there, we'll come straight
Then he too rides. Martin swings his horse back to where
Ethan and Mose still are standing.
Well, come on!
(he starts toward his
It's forty miles, sonny... Horses
can do with some grain and a little
Comanch generally hits at moonrise.
Moonrise!... It'll be midnight
before... I ain't waitin'...!
He wheels his horse and goes tearing to catch up with the
others. Ethan shrugs and stoically takes grain bag to feed
his horse. Mose does the same.
Wisht it was Caddoes... or Kiowas...
(shakes his head)
Ethan just gives him an angry look and then ruthlessly begins
discarding every bit of unnecessary equipment from his saddle.
EXT. THE EDWARDS RANCH - WIDE ANGLE - SUNDOWN
Nothing moves. Nothing could be more tranquil. The shadows
are long. A thin wisp of smoke rises from the chimney. And
then Debbie's little dog trots around the side of the house
out into the yard.
EXT. EDWARDS YARD - CLOSE SHOT - THE DOG - SUNDOWN
He comes to a standstill and his nose is working. He begins
to make excited little sounds deep in his belly.
Then he lies down, muzzle between his paws, watching,
INT. THE EDWARDS HOUSE - FULL SHOT - ANGLING TOWARD
Debbie sits on the floor, playing with a little rag doll.
The slanting blaze of the setting sun makes a brilliant area
of light in which she is sitting. Beyond her, on the porch
steps, Ben is squatting, whittling a piece of pine into a
slingshot frame. We hear Martha and Lucy busy with the dishes.
Aaron comes from behind CAMERA and stands in the doorway,
absently rapping out his pipe. Near the doorway, on a wooden
peg, hangs his gun, belt. He puts the pipe in his pocket and
glances down at Deborah, intent on her play. He looks swiftly
at where the women are busy - then stealthily eases the gun
from its holster and slides it under his shirt. He hasn't
made a sound and is sure he's got away with it.
He clears his throat noisily and reaches for a light shotgun
pegged above the door.
Think I'll see if I can pick off a
sage-hen or two, Martha...
INT. THE EDWARDS HOUSE - MED. CLOSE SHOT - MARTHA AND LUCY
busy at the wooden sink. Martha doesn't turn.
You do that, Aaron...
(still pleased with
Won't go far...
He steps out. Only then does Martha turn -- and her
EYES GO AT ONCE TO:
INT. THE EDWARDS HOUSE - ANGLING TO DOOR
and FRAMING the empty holster, as Aaron pauses on the porch.
My, the days are getting shorter!
INT. EDWARDS HOUSE - CLOSE SHOT - MARTHA AND LUCY
as Lucy heads for the lamp.
Lucy!... We don't need the lamp yet...
Lucy frowns at her mother.
Let's enjoy the dusk a while.
EXT. THE EDWARDS HOUSE - MED. CLOSE SHOT - AARON AND BEN -
Aaron is slowly scanning the terrain.
Mind you sweep up them shavin's.
(undertone -- man to
An' if you see any sage-hens, I'm
Aaron stares as the boy shifts a fold of blanket, or whatever,
by his side -- to disclose Ethan's cavalry sabre. Aaron smiles
and rubs the youngster's head, then sets out across the yard.
EXT. THE EDWARDS YARD - FULL SHOT - MOVING
Debbie's dog rises at Aaron's approach and joins his master
as they set out across the plain.
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY NEAR EDWARDS HOME - MED. CLOSE SHOT -
He is walking through the scrub and brush grass, every sense
alive and straining. He pauses every three or four strides --
casting each quadrant in turn. Once he whips, gun ready, as
a sage-hen or quail whirrs up not far from him. He smiles
grimly as he watches it fly away. He keeps on.
EXT. THE EDWARDS HOUSE - MED. CLOSE SHOT - AT PORCH
Martha comes to stand in the doorway. Ben doesn't look at
her. His eyes -- like hers -- are fixed on the figure of the
It's all right, ma... I been
watchin'... Only I wish...
I wish Uncle Ethan was here. Don't
She doesn't answer. Lucy comes to the door.
Mother, I can't see what I'm doing!...
NOT YET, LUCY!...
EXT. RISING GROUND - WIDE ANGLE - PAST AARON
He stands on the near slope of a rise and then gradually
moves toward its summit, so that only head will be
silhouetted. He drops to one knee, half-leaning against the
slope and slowly looks out... The CAMERA PANS very slowly,
following his careful sweep of the terrain.
The scene is entirely peaceful.
EXT. RISING GROUND - CLOSE SHOT - AARON
with narrowed eyes slowly scanning the ground. Suddenly the
head whips right. We hear a bird's sharp call.
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - SKYWARD SHOT - A SMALL BIRD
It is taking flight, sweeping away in erratic arcs.
EXT. RISING GROUND - CLOSE SHOT ON AARON
He squints closely at the ground from which the bird had
flown. Then slowly his eyes range toward the left.
EXT. RISING GROUND - WIDE ANGLE - PAST AARON
Across the meadow, a shadow seems to touch the grass and at
once a covey of quail takes off, whirring loud. Aaron waits
no longer, but slides down the slope and starts running at a
crouch for the house, stopping every so often to look
EXT. THE EDWARDS HOUSE - MED. CLOSE SHOT - MARTHA AND BEN -
NOTE TO W. HOCH: What J.F. has in mind for this and the
following scenes is the same kind of dramatic use of red you
achieved in "Yellow Ribbon" in the scene telling of Custer's
They are standing in the ruddy glare of the sunset and Ben
has Ethan's sabre in his hand. We hear Aaron coming at a
run, breathing hard. Ben takes a step as though to go to
him, but Martha's hand at once is on his shoulder. Aaron
gains the porch.
In the house, boy... and...
He puts finger to his lips, sign for Ben to say nothing.
Ben nods and goes inside. Aaron and Martha face each other,
the question large on her face. Slowly he nods the
confirmation of her fears, then gently propels her ahead of
him through the door.
INT. THE EDWARDS HOUSE - FULL SHOT - SUNSET
The room is deeply shadowed except where the dull crimson of
the sun through door and windows slashes the blackness.
Ben is waiting and Martha turns toward Aaron as he pulls the
door shut, bars it and sets the shotgun down. He takes the
revolver from his waist and Martha holds it as he reaches
for his gun belt.
Ben, close the shutters.
Buckling on his gun belt, he moves toward the middle of the
room, looking around him, taking inventory of his resources.
Lucy slowly approaches, biting a knuckle, eyes wide with
One shutter closes and the bar of light they were standing
in goes out. Martha, Aaron and Lucy are dark silhouettes now
against the red beam from another window.
Debbie emerges from a shadowed corner into a beam of light.
She is clutching her rag doll, nibbling a cookie. She holds
it for them to see.
I only took one, ma... Topsy was
Ben closes the shutter. And now the room is almost completely
blacked out, except for the dying light filtering through
the rifle ports of the closed shutters.
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - WIDE ANGLE SHOT - THE POSSE - DUSK
This should be an expansive view to convey the fact that the
posse has split -- the main group heading for the Jorgensen
place, Martin forking off to race alone for the Edwards ranch.
Coming toward and passing CAMERA is Martin, riding all out.
Several hundred yards away and moving in a divergent direction
are the others -- Brad and Charlie, Sam, Jorgensen and Ed
Nesby. The men are not compactly bunched, but strung out,
each taking his own best course and his own speed... As the
riders pass and the dust of their passing, we see two other
riders -- Ethan and Mose -- minute specks in the distance,
possibly a mile or two behind.
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - MOVING SHOT - ETHAN AND MOSE - DUSK
(NOTE TO W. HOCH: What we are trying to get here is that
moment of swift transition from twilight to night; of riders
briefly touched with the last colors of day and then, as
they pass, becoming one with blue shadows of night.)
Ethan and Mose are holding their mounts to a jog, in marked
contrast to the all-out pace of the others. The CAMERA PANS
after them as the dark fingers of the night stretch across
the valley. The wind begins to rise and somewhere off in the
hills a coyote pack yaps.
INT. EDWARDS - ANGLING PAST AARON AT WINDOW INTO ROOM -
Aaron is little more than a shadowy silhouette as he peers
into the night through a partly-opened shutter. Suddenly the
room leaps alight as Lucy opens an inner door and enters,
holding a lighted lamp. Aaron closes the shutter, spins on
Martha crosses the room swiftly and blows out the lamp.
In the brief moment the room has been lighted, we see that
Lucy is carrying a dark shawl in one hand; that Ben is
crouched at another window -- rifle ready; and that Deborah
is on her feet -- standing like a child who is being dressed.
I'm sorry... I couldn't find the
Hurry, Martha... Moon's fixin' to
He cautiously swings the shutters open. A pale light filters
into the room. We see Martha wrapping the shawl around
(softly to the child)
We're going to play the sleep-out
game... Remember?... Where you hide
out with grandma?
Where's she buried?
And you'll go along the ditch --
very quietly -- like a...
(her voice breaks)
Like a little mouse.
He reaches for the child, but he has to wait for Martha's
There!... And you won't come back or
make a sound... no matter what you
hear? Promise!... No matter what?
I promise... Wait!
Can't I have Topsy to keep me company?
There's no time...
Here she is, baby... Baby...
Aaron takes the child, swings her out the window.
Down low -- go!
Martha would come to the window to look out, but Aaron bars
her with an arm and draws back to the side of the window to
watch her go... Outside the little dog barks a welcome and
presumably starts to follow the girl. Aaron reacts.
Here dog... here!
The dog whines but obeys. Aaron continues watching the child's
course -- unconsciously imitating her every run and twist...
Then he smiles and we may see the brightness in the corners
of his eyes.
She reached the ditch...
He closes the shutters and turns -- and his arms go around
Martha, weeping soundlessly.
She'll be all right, mother... she'll
be all right.
EXT. A HILLOCK WITH TWO HEADBOARDS - MED. CLOSE SHOT -
Nothing stirs and we hear nothing. Then, with faintest little
rustle, Debbie comes snaking along the ground into the hollow
between the two graves and lies there face down, pressed
against Topsy. She becomes one with the earth and the
stillness. And then the moonlight strikes the tips of the
scrub growth and as a cloud scuds by, the moonlight reveals
something glittering -- like beads. And the CAMERA from that
RAISES QUICKLY TO:
CLOSE SHOT - FROM EXTREME LOW ANGLE - SCAR
The Comanche we are later to know as SCAR is painted for war --
tall, savage, mockingly looking down at what we know is the
child's hiding place... And in that instant, from a dozen
quarters and a dozen throats, sounds the wild yammer of the
EXT. RISING GROUND - MED. CLOSE SHOT - MARTIN - MOONLIGHT
He stands beside his spent and fallen horse. Its breathing
is a rasping whistle. Martin tries to haul its head up.
Useless. Breathing hard himself, his face ashen in the
moonlight, Martin looks desperately off in the direction of
the ranch. Then he jerks the rifle from its saddle scabbard --
struggling with it because it is under the horse. He freezes
then -- listening... And we hear the steady beat of two
horsemen approaching. Martin knows who they are and his face
is alive with hope. He gets the rifle free at last and goes
running toward the oncoming riders.
The CAMERA SWINGS with him and we see Ethan and Mose
approaching at the same steady gait.
Uncle Ethan... it's me... Martin!
Ethan doesn't slacken, nearly rides him down.
Out of my way!
Martin goes sprawling to his hands and knees. Mose continues
EXT. RISING GROUND - ANOTHER ANGLE - PAST THE RIDERS -
He goes running, stumbling after the riders -- desperately
calling to them...
And then at the crest of the rising ground, he stops --
We see in the distance the glow of a fire leading from the
barns and the hayricks and the house of Aaron Edwards.
Martin runs down the slope.
EXT. YARD AND APPROACH TO EDWARDS HOUSE - WIDE ANGLE - NIGHT
(NOTE TO W. HOCH: Here again that use of red is suggested.)
The ANGLE is past the porch uprights toward Mose and Ethan
as they ride in. Little tongues of fire are licking the edges
of the uprights. A few arrows, imbedded in the wood, are
burning along their shafts. Beyond are the glowing ashes of
the hayricks and the charred, smouldering rails of the corral.
There are no bodies in evidence... The red glow of the burning
is on the faces of the men as they dismount.
Ethan strides to the porch, knocking away one of the blazing
arrows as he heads to the door. He stops there -- and what
he sees makes the big shoulders droop, the huge frame slump.
Slowly then -- and removing his hat -- he goes in. Mose
shuffles to the edge of the porch and squats there and rocks
back and forth, his face working and crying soundlessly with
senile grief. We hear a splintered door crash from its hinges
within the room and Ethan's muffled voice calling through
Lucy?... Deborah? Lucy?
He strides back through the main room and out onto the porch
just as Martin comes at a shambling run across the yard.
Ethan takes a few steps out toward him. Martin would pass
him, but Ethan grabs his arm.
You stay out!
Martin tries to fight his arm free.
Nothing for you to see.
Ethan turns him and drives a brutal right to his jaw. Martin
goes down -- out cold. And only now do we understand how
merciful the blow was as Ethan looks compassionately at the
Don't let him go in there, Mose...
And he takes off at a stumbling run for the hilltop.
EXT. THE HILLOCK WITH THE TWO HEADBOARDS - FULL SHOT - ETHAN
as he nears the graves.
Lucy -- Lucy!
He runs in, looking around him. He sees the little dog, dead
on the ground. And then he sees a shadowed something:
The shawl Debbie had worn. It is spread out, almost as though
concealing a body. Fearfully he stoops and pulls it away...
There is nothing there, but the shawl. He drops to his knees,
his head bowed, his face tortured. The moonlight is clear on
the face of the nearer headboard. It is of weathered wood
and the chiselled letters on it read:
MARY JANE EDWARDS
KILLED BY COMANCHES
MAY 12, 1852
a good WIFE & MOTHER In her 41st year
SLOW DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. THE HILLOCK - FULL SHOT - SLOWLY PANNING - DAWN LIGHT
The funeral is begun. In the foreground are three newly-
made crosses at the head of as many open graves -- which we
need not see. With head bared, Sam Clayton is concluding his
prayer. Near him stand the Jorgensen family: Mrs. Jorgensen,
Lars and LAURIE -- blonde, just beginning to reach her
maturity -- and a stepping-stone of tow-headed children.
...and to Your keeping we commend
the souls of Aaron... Martha... and
Mrs. Jorgensen and Laurie -- impelled by the same feminine
sympathy and interest -- turn to look at Ethan and Martin.
The PANNING CAMERA picks them up...Ethan standing dry-eyed,
looking at the grave of Martha; Martin -- with bruised lip --
looking out across the plain.
Clayton now opens his small, well-worn Bible to a marked
Man that is born of woman is of few
days and full of trouble...
Ethan looks at him, angrily, impatiently.
He cometh forth like a...
Amen!... Put an 'amen' to it!
...like a flower and is cut down...
ETHAN ET AL.
Ethan turns on his heel and walks -- CAMERA PANNING -- to
where Ed Nesby has been holding the horses. Brad is already
mounting. Mose is there too and Charlie MacCorry. Silhouetted
against the dawn light are the rifles in each man's saddle
scabbard. Clayton is right behind Ethan.
Charlie--you and Brad ride point!
...Don't get too far ahead...
The young riders spur out.
EXT. NEAR HILLOCK - MED. CLOSE SHOT - ETHAN AND MRS.
Ethan is about to mount when Mrs. Jorgensen comes up and
catches his arm.
(he turns impatiently)
Those girls mean as much to me as
though they were my own... Maybe you
don't know my Brad's been sittin' up
with Lucy... and my Laurie's real
fond of Martin...
Ethan glances back at where Martin and Laurie are standing.
ANOTHER ANGLE - FAVORING LAURIE AND MARTIN
The girl is looking at Martin full of compassion, tries to
console him by taking his arm and squeezing it as he stares
blindly at the graves and Jorgensen stolidly beginning the
work of shovelling them full.
EXT. NEAR HILLOCK - ETHAN AND MRS. JORGENSEN AS BEFORE
Ethan looks back at her -- stone-faced.
I'd be obliged if you'd get to the
I am... I am... It's just that I
know Martha'd want you to think of
her boys as well as her girls... And
if the girls are... dead... Ethan,
don't let the boys waste their lives
Ethan shrugs his arm free and mounts.
Promise me, Ethan!
He ignores her and turns angrily to where Martin is.
Come on, if you're comin'...
He digs spurs and rides out with the others. Martin comes
over, with Laurie a step behind. His face is set, his eyes
(a heartbroken murmur)
Oh, Martin... Martin...
We'll find them, Mrs. Jorgensen...
We'll find them...
He swings into his saddle. Laurie impulsively runs to his
side, steps onto the toe of his stirruped boot and pulls
herself up to his level to kiss him hard and full upon the
He looks at her dully, as though hardly conscious of it. And
she is back beside her mother. Martin rides away after the
I almost hope they don't find them!
Laurie looks at her mother and understands.
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - THE SEARCHERS - EARLY MORNING LIGHT
The SEARCH THEME begins as we see the riders in turn.
A series of portraits of the men.
CLOSE SHOT - BRAD AND CHARLIE - riding point, they come to a
pause, surveying the terrain ahead. Charlie, with an arm
signal, indicates he will take the left. Brad nods and he
rides out to the right.
THE MAIN BODY OF THE MEN, Clayton passing first, expression
resolute, competent... Then Ed Nesby and old Mose, squinting
at the ground as they ride, all but sniffing like an old
MARTIN - Next to last in file. Finally:
ETHAN - His face a study of relentless purpose.
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - FULL SHOT - BRAD AND CHARLIE - AFTERNOON
The two men are at a cairn of rocks -- their horses nearby.
In the near distance, Clayton is leading the men of the search
party at a fast clip toward the cairn. Charlie is standing,
Brad tearing the rock cairn apart. In Charlie's hands is a
Comanche head-dress of polished buffalo horn and feathers.
Brad doesn't even look up as the men ride in and dismount,
but continues his grim work of uncovering the buried Indian.
Another one, eh?
This 'un come a long way 'fore he
Well, that's seven we can score up
to your brother, Ethan.
I don't like it.
What don't you like?
Injun's on a raid generly hides their
dead so you won't know how many
they've lost... If they don't care
about us knowin', it only spells one
thing... they ain't afraid of us
followin' -- or of us catchin' up
with 'em either.
You can back out any time, Nesby.
Didn't say that...
What's he doin' that for...
He wants to be sure...
Brad shifts another rock and Looks grimly upon the face (O.S.)
of the dead Comanche. Then he spits at it and stands.
Let's get along...
Why don't you finish the job?
With that he strides to the cairn, whipping a knife out. he
crouches over the body (O.S.) concealing what he is doing,
he bends to his bloody task.
Sam Clayton crosses to stand behind him.
What good does that do?
By what you preach... none!
He stands now and he faces Sam.
But by what the Comanche believe --
now he can't enter the spirit land,
but has got to wander forever between
the winds... because I took his mangy
He flings the scalp down and grinds it into the dirt with
his heel... He wipes clean the blade of his knife as he
crosses back to his horse. The men mount (those who have
dismounted) and they ride off.
EXT. NIGHT CAMP - RAVINE - CLOSE SHOT - BRAD AND MARTIN
Brad is looking out into the night -- strain and tension in
every line. Beyond them we may see some of the other men --
sitting or sprawled on the ground near a sheltered fire.
If only she's alive... I'll make it
up to her... No matter what's
happened... I'll make her forget...
She's just got to be alive...
Ethan crosses behind them carrying his blanket roll. He looks
at them sourly.
Get some rest!
They move off, heading for their blankets. The CAMERA HOLDS
on Ethan as he rolls up his blanket and turns on his side.
He fishes a miniature out of his pocket and gravely studies
it by the light of the flickering little fire.
CLOSE SHOT - THE MINIATURE - NIGHT
It is a picture of Martha. The CAMERA PULLS BACK to show
Ethan studying it gravely, then putting it away and lying
back to stare broodingly into the night.
EXT. RIDGE TOP - CLOSE SHOT - ETHAN, BRAD, MOSE, SAM -
The four faces are just over the ridge, peering at something
far distant, far below.
Could be a buffler...
It's horses, I tell ya...
It's them all right...
He starts to squirm down the ridge, the others following.
EXT. HIGH COUNTRY - FULL SHOT - THE SEARCHERS - SUNSET
Ethan's group crosses to where the other men are waiting
with the horses.
They're camped by the river -- 'bout
twenty miles from here. Soon's it
gets dark we'll circle out so's to
jump 'em before daybreak.
You're right sure you want to jump
Martin and Brad stare at Sam -- not understanding the
question. But Mose knows what he means and studiously looks
(touch of defiance)
It's what we're here for, ain't it?
I thought we were trying to get the
girls back -- alive... We jump those
Comanches, they'll kill 'em... You
But... but what are we doin' then?...
What are we supposed to do?
What I had in mind was runnin' off
their hoss herd... A Comanche on
foot is more apt to be willin' to
That makes sense to me.
What do you know about it?... What's
a quarter-breed Cherokee know about
the Comanche trick of sleeping with
his best pony tied right beside him...
You got as much chance of stampedin'
their herd as...
...as you have of findin' those girls
alive by ridin' into 'em... I say
we do it my way, Ethan... and that's
Yes, sir... But if you're wrong,
Captain Clayton, don't ever give me
They look into each other's eyes a moment, then Sam turns to
mount... and the others follow. Slowly then they start riding
down the slope.
EXT. FLAT GROUND, LIKE MARSH COUNTRY - FULL SHOT - THE
SEARCHERS - DAWN MIST EFFECT
(NOTE: It is now planned to shoot this on sound stage.)
Fog and heavy morning mist rise from the swamp. Some cattails
in the near ground. The effect is eerie, very still except
for the trilling of frogs. Then, very quietly, the men emerge
from the mist swirling around them. They are leading their
horses. Sam looks baffled, angry. They stand still, listening --
then slowly continue.
EXT. FLAT GROUND - ANOTHER ANGLE - FULL SHOT - DAWN MIST
The mist is thinning. In the f.g. is a small blackened area --
the ashes of a campfire. The men come through the mist --
wary, vigilant. It is Mose who first spots the fire. He runs
to it and drops beside and feels the ashes.
The others come up around him.
Ay-he... They was here...
SURE!... They WERE here... Now they're
out there... an' waitin' to jump
He looks at Clayton.
You got any more orders, Captain?
Just keep goin'...
They move on, slowly.
EXT. FLAT GROUND - FULL SHOT - MOVING (SOUND STAGE)
The mist is thinning as the men warily move along.
Suddenly there is the faint hoot of an owl from behind and
to one side... the men turn slightly, hearing it... A moment
later another owl hoot, from the same side but up ahead.
From the interchange of looks, we must know that the riders
are aware of its significance. Mose cups hand to his mouth
and he hoots in exact imitation of the other calls. Clayton
glares at him.
(in soft apology)
Jus' bein' sociable, Cap'n...
Ethan grins wryly. And now the first, faint, ruddy touch of
the sun hits the slowly moving horsemen and begins to burn
through the mist.
EXT. NEAR RIVER - PANNING SHOT - MORNING
The CAMERA SLOWLY PANS from a sun-touched butte or crag to
the file of men slowly walking their horses. An occasional
shred of mist drifts by. Everything about the little cavalcade
bespeaks tension, watchfulness. Suddenly -- and every man
sees it at the same time -- we see a file of eight Comanches
ride slowly out of a canyon at a distance, walking their
horses at the same pace and on a course roughly parallel
with, but slightly converging on, our group.
Brad, who has been looking up ahead, sounds a new warning.
EXT. CANYON COUNTRY - LONG SHOT - PAST THE SEARCHERS
Another Indian file of eight angles out of a different canyon
and begins to cut in toward the group -- riding slowly, very
quietly. Clayton slightly alters course, veering slightly
away from the converging files, but still riding slowly. And
then, from ahead but at a 100 yards, another Comanche group
seems to rise out of the ground and slowly begins closing
If you were tryin' to surround 'em,
you sure succeeded.
How far's the river from here, Mose?
I been baptized, Reverend... yes
suh, been baptized, thank ye...
Well, you better brace yourself for
another one... Ya-HEE!
And with that yell, he drives spurs and cuts sharply at an
angle to the converging Indian files -- and every man is
with him. In the next instant, the Comanches whoop and give
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - FULL SHOT - THE CHASE
with the Ranger group short-cutting in such a way as to
outstrip the Comanche horsemen in a mad dash for the river.
EXT. THE RIVER'S EDGE - FULL SHOT - THE GROUP
Clayton flings his hand up in a signal to halt as the Rangers
reach the bank. They rein in, wheel their horses and are
reaching for the rifles as the Comanche vanguard races into
view -- to find themselves opposed by seven veterans, sitting
their horses, rifles at their shoulders.
The charge breaks as the seven rifles bark, almost in unison --
and the Indians wheel to shelter.
And once again he spins his mount and takes off, across the
river, followed by the others.
EXT. THE RIVER - FULL SHOT
As the men pound across.
EXT. FAR BANK OF RIVER - FULL SHOT - THE GROUP
They dismount and Charlie and Nesby take the horses and run
them to some place of protection as the men group around
Clayton and Ethan. During this:
(shouting his orders)
This is as good as any... Charlie,
you and Ed take the horses...
Mose runs over and crouches beside Ethan. Beyond Ethan is
Martin, then Brad... Nesby and Charlie will rejoin the group
after an appropriate interval... with all the men shielded
behind river boulders, etc.
EXT. RIVER'S EDGE - ANGLING PAST ETHAN AND MOSE WITH MARTIN
AND BRAD BEYOND
Ethan and Mose are hunkered down behind some rocks, very
casual and business-like as they check rifles, set out and
carefully wipe cartridges.
Minds me o' the time Joe Powers an'
me fit us some Kiowas...
Martin is in the throes of buck-fever, wiping mouth with
back of his hand, peering anxiously across the river.
You think they mean to charge us,
...We found us an ole buffler
(staring across river)
EXT. RIVER'S EDGE - LONG SHOT - PAST THE GROUP
On the opposite bank, we see the full force of Comanches
riding into sight -- racing their mounts to the edge, then
wheeling off -- jeering, taunting. Brad starts to bring up
Steady, Daniel Boone! You don't want
to miss... It makes them think their
medicine's stronger than yours...
Ay-he... That's jest what I tole Joe
Powers... That un's gettin' kinda
sassy, ain't he, Ethan?
One Comanche rides a few yards into the water, brandishing
his rifle, taunting the white men. A moment later he is joined
by a second brave.
He and Mose slowly bring their rifles to bear -- and then
the two shots crack out almost simultaneously. And within
split seconds both Comanches fall. The others race away.
Sam comes charging over to Ethan and Mose.
I didn't give any order to fire!
That's all right, Captain... I don't
need any formal invitation to kill a
You got one now!
And he drops behind a rock as, with a wild whooping, the
Comanche forces swing from their places of hiding and hit
the river. The men open fire, all but Martin, who has frozen,
staring wild-eyed at the oncoming Comanches.
EXT. RIVER'S EDGE - PROFILE SHOT - THE DEFENDERS
Brad, Charlie, Clayton, Nesby are snapping shot after shot.
Only Martin seems out of it. Ethan shoots him a glance.
Slack your shoulders... Slack 'em...
Your hands'll take care of
Some of the tension leaves Martin. Somehow his gun is in
position and he is firing as fast and well as the others.
EXT. THE RIVER - FULL SHOT - INDIAN CHARGE
The Comanches are coming in, crouched low over their ponies'
necks, whooping and firing. Men and horses go down, counted
off by the expert marksmanship of the Texans. But they keep
EXT. RIVER'S EDGE - PROFILE SHOT - PAST MARTIN, ETHAN, MOSE
They drop their rifles now and pull out revolvers for close-
range work. One Comanche breaks through from the side, his
buffalo lance ready for the thrust. Ethan whirls and fires.
The Comanche horse charges through the defense line and out
and there is a muffled scream of pain from Ed Nesby.
EXT. THE RIVER - WIDE ANGLE - THE INDIANS
The charge breaks and Comanches wheel left and right, racing
back across the river. With magnificent horsemanship, one
brave rides to an unhorsed warrior crouched in the shallows
and swings him up behind. Two others, riding together, head
for one of the two dead Comanches Ethan and Mose had downed
on their first shots. Swinging simultaneously from their
saddles, they grab the dead man and carry him off.
EXT. THE RIVER'S EDGE - ANGLING PAST MOSE AND ETHAN
There goes yer scalp, Ethan!...
Ethan snuggles his rifle to his shoulder as two other racing
Comanches prepare to pick up the other dead Indian. Most of
the Comanches have regained the far bank now and are racing
away. The firing from the Texans has stopped.
I still got one out there.
EXT. RIVER'S EDGE - CLOSE SHOT - BEHIND ETHAN
The angle is along his rifle barrel as it beads on one of
the racing Comanches trying to pick up the dead Indian.
Clayton's big hand grasps the rifle barrel.
EXT. RIVER'S EDGE - CLOSE SHOT - THE TWO
Ethan looks up into Clayton's face.
Let them bury their dead...
Ethan pulls the gun free and looks out across the river.
EXT. THE RIVER - LONG SHOT - PAST THEM
The Comanches have done their work, are riding away -- and
over the saddle of one lies the limp form of the dead Indian.
Ethan looks back at Sam.
That tears it, Reverend... From now
on, you keep out...
(mad now -- facing
All of you!... I don't want you with
me... I don't need you... for what I
got to do!
No need to shout, mister.
The CAMERA SWINGS to pick up the figure of Nesby outstretched
on the ground, writhing in pain; with Charlie kneeling beside
him. The men cross to stand around the fallen man.
Reckon we got to go back -- Ed's
shoulder is smashed -- bad!
I can make it... just get me on a
No good, Ed... And Ethan's right...
This is a job for a company of
Rangers... or it's a job for one or
two men... Right now we're too many...
an' not enough...
Only one way you can stop me lookin'
for Lucy, mister... An' that's kill
That's how I feel, Uncle Ethan...
(correcting the slip)
Ethan glares at them, but has to accept it.
All right... but I'm givin' the
orders... You take 'em or we split
up here and now...
Why, sure, Ethan... There's just the
one thing we're after... finding
Deborah and Lucy...
(grimly -- turning
If they're still alive...
He heads away, for his horse. Brad and Martin look at each
other as the full import of Ethan's footnote strikes home.
Then they head for their own horses.
EXT. THE RIVER - FULL SHOT
Ethan, Martin, and Brad mount. Clayton crosses to them.
You boys got enough shells?
Vaya con dios.
The three re-enter the river and slowly start across, with
Clayton gravely looking after them. The three riders continue
across the river... and the Search Theme resumes.
EXT. WIDE ANGLE - DESERT COUNTRY - BLAZING NOON
A region of buttes and giant rock formations; treeless, arid
and seemingly reaching out to infinity. Far off we see a
cloud of dust -- miles and miles off. Only the dust, nothing
else. From behind CAMERA ride the three men -- Ethan, Brad,
and Martin -- dust-powdered, eyes bloodshot. The three are
watching that distant cloud of dust. They force their weary
EXT. DESERT COUNTRY - WIDE ANGLE - LATE AFTERNOON
The ANGLE is past some spectacular butte or citadel of rock
into another long reach of valley -- different from the first
view of it, yet alike in its suggestion of endlessness.
But now there is no cloud of dust far away -- nothing to
suggest the passage of anything but time itself.
Ethan, Martin, and Brad ride into the fringe of the butte's
shadow and scan the terrain ahead.
They got to stop sometime... if
they're human at all, they got to
Naw... a human man rides a horse
till it dies... then he goes on
afoot... A Comanche comes along...
gets that horse up... and rides it
twenty more miles... Then he eats
Ethan turns to catch Martin thirstily drinking from his
Easy on that!
Sorry... We don't even know if Debbie
'n Lucy are with this bunch... Maybe
they split up...
They're with 'em -- if they're still
Brad wheels on him.
You've said that enough!... Maybe
Lucy's dead... maybe they're both
dead... but if I hear it from you
again, I'll fight ya, Mr. Edwards!
That'll be the day!... Let's ride.
EXT. VALLEY AND CANYON WALL - WIDE ANGLE - THE RIDERS -
(NOTE: This is the gap in the rocks near the "Medicine
Country" at Monument.)
The three riders come to where the trail they have been
following forks... the main horseprint track leading ahead,
a lesser track heading for a narrow gap between two buttes.
Four of 'em cut out here... Why?
Ethan thinks he knows why. His face is bleak. But he tries
to be casual.
I'll take a look... You keep after
He turns his mount toward the gap.
You want us to fire a shot if...
No... nor build bonfires... nor beat
drums neither. I'll meet you on the
He's still grumbling as he rides off. An abashed Martin rides
ahead along the broad trail with Brad.
(NOTE: Ethan's serape, tied behind his saddle, should be
clearly seen as he rides away -- not pointed up, but visible.)
EXT. FAR SIDE OF BUTTE - TWILIGHT
Martin and Brad, riding in a direction opposite to that in
which they had taken off -- indicating their circle route --
haul up momentarily as they spot Ethan, standing beside his
horse, his back to them, some distance along. They turn
slightly off their course and ride out toward him.
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - NEAR BUTTE - TWILIGHT
Ethan turns, almost startled, as the two youths ride in.
His serape is no longer behind his saddle. Ethan looks at
them blankly for a minute -- as though not really seeing
Oh... it's you.
They both stare at him.
(a vague gesture)
I... uh... here's where they met up
They both can see that.
Trail leads off there...
They look at him and each other -- for these are clearly
unnecessary remarks and doubly surprising coming from Ethan.
Why'd they break off?
Was there water in that canyon?
Huh...? No... no water.
You all right, Ethan?
(more like his usual
Sure I'm all right...
He goes to his horse, mounts. Martin is right beside him and
he notes the missing serape.
Say!... What happened to your blanket?
Must've... Anyway, I ain't goin'
back to look for it...
He leads out. Brad rides up beside Martin. Again the two
exchange puzzled looks. Martin shrugs and the three continue
along the broad trace of the Indian ponies into the setting
EXT. NIGHT CAMP - A POCKET IN THE HILLS - TWILIGHT
Ethan crouches over a small fire built into a slit trench so
that barely the glow of the flames can be seen. Beyond him
Martin is leading their unsaddled horses away. The men have
come to the end of another long day. Both men look up as
Brad comes over a hill slope and rides recklessly down the
incline to their camp. His horse is lathered.
I saw her!... I saw Lucy!
Martin runs to his side as Brad slides off his mount.
Ethan moves more slowly.
They're camped 'bout two miles over...
I was just swingin' back when I saw
their smoke... I bellied up a ridge
an' they was right below me...
Did you see Debbie?
No, but I saw Lucy all right... She
was wearin' that blue dress... an'
she was walkin' along...
What you saw wasn't Lucy.
It was, I tell you!
What you saw was a buck wearin'
(they stare at him)
I found Lucy back there in that
canyon... I wrapped her in my blanket
an' buried her with m'own hands... I
thought it best to keep it from you --
long as I could.
He can't look at Brad or at Martin. Brad can't speak -- and
Did they...? Was she...?
Ethan wheels on him in shouting fury.
What've I got to do -- draw you a
picture?... Spell it out?... Don't
ever ask me!... Long as you live
don't ever ask me more!
Brad wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. He turns --
walking stiff-legged as though on stilts back to his horse.
He bends his head against the saddle, as though to hide his
grief. Martin turns away from him and walks back to Ethan.
And in that moment, Brad mounts and takes off in the same
direction from which he had ridden in.
They run for their horses.
EXT. ROUGH ROLLING COUNTRY - NIGHT - MOVING - CLOSE SHOT -
He comes pounding down a slope, and he takes off his hat and
skims it away. He rips off a neckerchief as though to relieve
the rush of raging blood.
EXT. THE EDGE OF A RISE - MED. CLOSE SHOT - BRAD - NIGHT
He reaches the crest and reins in. A distant firelight is on
his face. He takes one moment to look down into the Comanche
camp o.s. Then he has his gun out. His eyes are wild, his
face wet with sweat. Then he throws back his head and he
yells -- and with the yell goes charging into the camp.
EXT. A RIDGE - FULL SHOT - ETHAN AND MARTIN - NIGHT
They rein in -- staring -- as from afar they hear Brad's
yell echoing and bouncing off the canyon walls. There is
nothing they can do. They hear his shouts, then the quick
bark of his .44, and the angry shouts of the Comanche.
EXT. COMANCHE CAMP - EXTREME CLOSEUP - BRAD - RIDING - NIGHT
His face is red with the reflected light of the fires he is
passing o.s. and his eyes are alight with a crazy, savage
joy. His gun cracks once, then again -- and the hammer clicks
on a spent shell.
EXT. COMANCHE CAMP - CLOSE SHOT - SCAR - NIGHT
He stands apart, warbow drawn and arrow notched. He releases
it at his running target. We hear its impact and a high gasp
of pain... and then the jubilant, yammering yells of other
EXT. A RIDGE - FULL ON MARTIN AND ETHAN AS BEFORE - NIGHT
The distant yammering of the Comanches doesn't quite drown
out one stifled scream of pain; we can surmise a scalping
knife was busy in the last instance of Brad's life. Martin
slumps in his saddle. Ethan listens a moment, then turns to
Let's just hope he took some with
He turns his horse back the way they had come. Martin stares
What you goin' to do?
Get some sleep... Tomorrow's another
Slowly, he rides away. Slowly, reluctantly but helpless to
do otherwise, Martin follows.
EXT. PLAINS COUNTRY - LOW ANGLE SHOT - DAY
A study of horseprints etched in the soil -- the mark of the
passage of many horses; perhaps an eagle or turkey feather
fallen from a warbonnet. And then we hear and see the approach
of two plodding horses, and the dusty boots of the horsemen --
Ethan and Martin -- following the trail. The Search Theme
resumes and continues over the next three shots, helping us
suggest the passage of time, the change of scene.
EXT. PLAINS COUNTRY - LONG SHOT - ETHAN AND MARTIN - DAY
The two figures are little more than specks in a vastness of
EXT. MOUNTAIN COUNTRY - LOW ANGLE SHOT - DAY
Again we study the hooves of two horses, fighting their way
up a rocky slope and past a thorn bush on which -- fluttering
in the mountain wind -- is a torn scrap of scarlet cloth
with a bit of beadwork or Indian decoration.
EXT. PLAINS COUNTRY - LOW ANGLE SHOT - ETHAN AND MARTIN -
It is a portrait study of two faces -- etched by wind and
privation and cold into tragic, fanatic masks.
Martin has aged years in a matter of months. Falling snow
flakes touch their faces and begin to rime their stubbly
Say it. We're beat!
No... our turnin' back don't change
anything... not in the long run. If
she's alive, she's safe... for a
while... They'll keep her to raise
as one of their own, 'til she's of
an age to...
He turns his mount.
And you think we got a chance to
An Injun will chase a thing til he
thinks he's chased it enough... Then
he quits... Same when he runs...
Seems he never learns there's such a
thing as a critter that might just
keep comin' on... So we'll find them
in the end, I promise you that...
We'll find them just as sure as the
turning of the earth.
EXT. THE JORGENSEN HOUSE AND APPROACH - WIDE ANGLE -
The time is spring. It is a year and a half later.
The Jorgensen house is larger than the Edwards place -- of
sod and logs, with a covered breezeway connecting the two
separate buildings of the house: one being the keeping room,
the other the sleeping quarters of the numerous Jorgensen
brood. A meadowlark breaks into his sudden song. A dog or
two come barking around the side of the house as Ethan and
Martin ride slowly from behind CAMERA toward the house. In
that instant a lamp is lighted within the house and Lars
Jorgensen comes to the door.
EXT. THE JORGENSEN HOUSE - FULL SHOT - NEAR DOOR - TWILIGHT
Jorgensen peers at the two men as they ride up - recognizing
them, of course, but ill-prepared for the change in their
appearance and full of unspoken questions.
Bearing a lamp, Mrs. Jorgensen hurries out to stand beside
her husband -- and her face works and tears begin to well in
her eyes. Two tow-headed boys -- 13 or 14 -- come after her.
Jorgensen makes a little signal with one hand, not even
looking at the boys, and they hurry out to take the reins as
Ethan and Martin dismount.
EXT. THE JORGENSEN HOUSE - MED. SHOT - ETHAN AND MARTIN
The passage of time has stamped Martin -- and will continue
during our story more and more to stamp him -- in the image
of Ethan. Now it may show only in the set of his hat or trick
of standing; later it will be in his walk, in his speech (or
paucity of speech). Neither man is sure of his reception.
They are thinking of Brad -- dead because of their search;
and Martin is thinking of Laurie. And then Mrs. Jorgensen is
running across to Martin and has him in her arms as though
he were her son -- saying nothing, just holding him. He stands
frozen a moment and then he returns the embrace. Ethan watches
a moment, then crosses to Jorgensen.
You got my letter about your son,
Yah... Just about this time a year
It came the day before his...
The Lord giveth--the Lord taketh
Mrs. Jorgensen starts to lead the way inside. Martin hangs
I ain't fit to go indoors, miz
Jorgensen... These clothes is...
Laurie rushes past her mother.
She kisses him hard and full on the mouth -- and has no eyes
for anyone else. Mrs. Jorgensen looks on with amusement.
Martin is just bowled over.
And him probably forgettin' all about
you!... Probably can't even call
your name to mind.
And Laurie smiles triumphantly at her mother.
But I fairly forgot just how pretty
Laurie grabs his hand then and pulls him indoors -- and there
is no further resistance from Martin.
Mrs. Jorgensen and her husband converge then on Ethan -- and
her face is gravely questioning.
The little one?... Debbie?
Ethan shakes his head. She squeezes his arm reassuringly and
they start indoors.
INT. THE SPARE BEDROOM OF THE JORGENSEN'S - MED. SHOT -
MARTIN - NIGHT
This is a room off the kitchen end of the keeping room --
and described in the book as the "grandmother room": with
narrow, slit-like windows, a set of single bunk beds, possibly
Martin is in a deep wooden tub, taking a hot bath, currying
his back with a long-handled brush. Beyond him is the door.
It opens and Martin turns casually -- and at once stops being
casual as Laurie enters and purposefully crosses to a stool
or bench on which his discarded clothing is scattered.
Hey... What you doin'...?
She picks up the shirt, puts it over one arm; she reaches
for his long-handled and ragged underwear, runs a fist through
a hole in its seat, clucks and shreds it into rags. During
Don't go takin' that stuff...
Ain't worth the mendin'...
She turns and looks at him, matter of fact.
What you gettin' red-in-the-face
for?... I have brothers, haven't I?
Well I ain't one of 'em!
I'm a woman, Martie...
(he tries to say
something but she
goes right on)
We wash and mend your dirty clothes
all our lives... When you're little
we even wash you... How a man can
ever make out to get bashful in front
of a woman I'll never know...
You talk like a feller might just as
leave run around nekkid...
Wouldn't bother me...
(she heads for the
I wouldn't try it in front of pa,
though, was I you...
And she is laughing as she closes the door behind her.
INT. THE KEEPING ROOM OF THE JORGENSEN HOUSE - FULL SHOT
It is a plastered room, everything bright and shiny; a big
wood-burning cookstove, above it a row of shiny copper pots;
the furniture handmade and probably not too much unlike the
good plain Swedish modern of today.
There should be Scandinavian accents in the decor. All told,
a cheerful, warm-smelling room.
Ethan is talking as Laurie enters the room still carrying
Martin's shirt, the rags of his underwear. She will wait,
listening for a break in what Ethan is saying, to try to get
her mother's attention. Jorgensen is sitting in his usual
chair -- with his boots off, puffing his pipe more or less
in tune with what Ethan is talking about. Mrs. Jorgensen is
in her rocker, darning or knitting. Ethan is standing near
...an' then it snowed and we lost
the trail... No need to tell ya all
the places we went... Fort Richardson,
Fort Wingate an' Cobb... the Anadarko
Agency... Trouble is we don't even
know which band that war party
Mrs. Jorgensen looks up from her darning.
Well, you did all a body could, Ethan.
I got your boy killed.
Don't go blamin' yourself...
It's this country killed my boy!...
Yes, by golly!
Mrs. Jorgensen stands.
Now Lars!... It so happens we be
Texicans... We took a reachin' hold,
way far out, past where any man has
right or reason to hold on... Or if
we didn't, our folks did... So we
can't leave off without makin' them
out to be fools, wastin' their lives
'n wasted in the way they died... A
Texican's nothin' but a human man
out on a limb... This year an' next
and maybe for a hundred more. But I
don't think it'll be forever. Someday
this country will be a fine good
place to be... Maybe it needs our
bones in the ground before that time
The speech impresses everyone but Laurie, who probably hasn't
heard a word of it.
Ma!... Martie's drawers is a sight!
Ain't fit for rags!... Would it be
all right if we gave him some of
There is just the briefest hesitation...
Why...'course it would! They're in
And she leads the way briskly, with Laurie following, to a
big chest at the far end of the room.
By golly, the letter... In the chest,
mama... It came for you, Ethan...
Ethan and Jorgensen cross together to where Mrs. Jorgensen
is raising the top of a huge dower chest. She extracts a
letter, wrapped in oilskin against moths.
Joab Wilkes of the Rangers brought
Ethan takes the letter and studies it very carefully before
venturing to open it. Jorgensen is quite curious, but trying
not to seem nosy. The women remain at the chest -- pulling
out various folded garments, etc. Finally Ethan carefully
opens it and takes out a letter -- dirty as to paper, crudely
printed in pencil and with a horseshoe nail pinning a two-
inch square snip of calico to the bottom of the sheet. He
reads the letter with the habitual difficulty of a man unused
to words and then he turns the letter, removes the nail and
looks at the snip of cloth.
She comes to him, her arms piled with clothing; and
Laurie a step behind her, holding up a new pair of long-
handled underwear -- measuring it with her eyes for holes,
Will you look at this?
He holds out the snip of calico.
Why it's just a snip of calico...
You ever see it before... like mebbe
on a dress Debbie wore?
Yes!... Yes, I remember!... Have
they found her, Ethan?
No... not yet...
He takes the calico snip, places it within the letter and
carefully pockets it. He looks broodingly into the fire.
Laurie's face is troubled as she turns from him and heads
for the grandmother room, carrying the armful of clothes.
INT. THE SPARE BEDROOM - FULL SHOT - NIGHT
Martin is sitting sulkily on a cot, wrapped in a blanket.
He glares up as Laurie enters. His feet are in his boots.
Might at least have left me my pants!
Shush!... Time for bed anyway...
(putting clothes near
Likely these'll need some takin'
in... Oh, Martie, you're that gaunted!
...Ma's havin' a turkey for dinner
Laurie!... Come... come!
Ethan opens the door, enters.
Yes, Pa!... Good night, Martie...
good night, Mr. Edwards...
She wants to kiss Martie but is shy in Ethan's presence and
Good night... Laurie...
Martin stoops to remove his boots. Ethan studies him and
looks thoughtfully after the girl and at Martin.
He takes the letter out of his pocket -- as though he meant
to read it -- and then he puts it back decisively.
He starts to undress. Martin lies back on his bunk.
Jorgensen's been runnin' his cattle
with my own...
YOUR cattle?... DEBBIE'S cattle!
Ethan returns the stare without any change of expression.
He's agreed to take you on and share
the increase from my herd while I'm
gone... I'll be pushin' on tomorrow...
I ain't stayin'... I set out lookin'
for Debbie... I aim to keep on...
Because she's my... my...
She's your nothin'... She's no kin
to you at all!
I always felt like she was... Her
folks takin' me in, raisin' me like
one of their own...
That don't make 'em kin...
All right... I ain't got no kin...
I'm goin' to keep lookin' that's
How? You got any horses, or money to
buy 'em... You ain't even got money
to buy cartridges... Jorgensen's
offering you a good livin' here...
Martin throws himself back, turns his face to the wall.
Ethan looks soberly at him -- and is sorry for the brutality
of his words.
Martin... I want you to know
(turning -- mad as
Yeah... you want me to know I ain't
got no kin -- no money -- no horses --
nothing but a dead man's clothes to
wear!... You tole me that already...
Now shut your head!
EXT. THE JORGENSEN HOME - WIDE ANGLE - DAWN LIGHT
It is a still scene, with the first light of day in the sky,
a thin plume of smoke rising from the chimney.
INT. THE JORGENSEN KEEPING ROOM - MED. CLOSE SHOT - LAURIE -
She is in a robe made of an Indian blanket, belted snugly
around her waist. She wears moccasins for slippers. Her
flannel nightgown is high at the collar and almost trails
the floor. She is at the stove, frying bacon and eggs; a
coffee pot is on the boil. Beyond her the door to the
grandmother room opens and Martin comes in -- dressed in
Brad's clothes. His eyes whip around the room. Laurie doesn't
turn as he slowly approaches.
Ethan rode on... an hour ago.
The starch goes out of him. He walks heavily to the table
and sits, slumped. She looks at him compassionately.
I don't know what you can do about
finding Debbie that he can't...
He just shakes his head, not looking at her. She lifts the
food from the skillet onto a plate and sets it before him.
He'll find her now, Martie... Please
believe me... I know.
He shakes his head. She crosses to the stove for the coffee
That's what scares me -- him findin'
Now it is her turn to stare.
Laurie, I've seen his eyes when he
so much as hears the word 'Comanche'
...I've seen him take his knife an'
...never mind... But he's a man can
go crazy wild... It might come on
him when it was the worst thing could
be... What I counted on, I hoped to
be there to stop him, if such thing
Laurie has poured his coffee. Now he sips it. She sits at
the table with him.
I hoped I could hold you here... But
I guess I knew... So I stole this
She takes Ethan's letter from her breast and hands it to
him. He takes it, puzzled, and slowly reads it aloud.
'I bought a small size dress off a
Injun... If this here is a piece of
yr chiles dress bring reward. I know
where they gone... Jerem Futterman.'
Martin is on his feet.
Futterman!... He's got a little
tradin' post on the South Fork o'
the Brazos... Laurie, I just got to
get me a good horse! Think yer pa
Finish your breakfast...
I gotta catch up with him, Laurie!
(almost in tears --
Go on then! Pa's in the barn saddlin'
the Fort Worth stud... an' you can
take the light gelding with the
But that's Sweet-face -- your own
Laurie goes to the front door and throws it wide.
Take it and welcome... but don't
count on finding me here when you
get back... I've been dallying around
this god-forsaken wind-scour almost
two long years waitin' for you... I
ain't cut out to be an old maid!
I can't help it, Laurie... I just
gotta catch up with Ethan...
He runs out and she slams the door, then rests her head
INT. JORGENSEN KEEPING ROOM - FULL SHOT - EARLY MORNING
Mrs. Jorgensen quietly enters the room and sees Laurie with
head pressed against the door. She wants to offer some word
of sympathy, but doesn't know what to say. She crosses to
the stove to pour herself a cup of coffee. Then we hear the
drum of horses' hooves, the sound of Martin riding away.
Laurie flings open the door, almost as though to call him
EXT. PLAINS COUNTRY AND LAKE BEFORE JORGENSEN HOUSE - EARLY
ANGLING from behind Laurie in the doorway as Martin, riding
one horse, leading another, goes galloping away.
EXT. FUTTERMAN'S TRADING POST - WIDE ANGLE - DAY
Low, squat adobe structure, with a crudely lettered sign-
board proclaiming it:
'JEREM. FUTTERMAN, TRADER'
There are adjacent outbuildings and corral. Four horses are
tied outside, two being pack animals. A surly-looking white
man or breed sits in a stool tilted back near the door,
whittling with a long-bladed knife, eyeing the horses
covetously. He glances aside and glares as a squaw shuffles
along bearing a clumsy load of faggots on her bowed back.
Fearfully she quickens her step. The man gets up, shoves
knife into belt and heads into the post.
INT. FUTTERMAN'S TRADING POST - FULL SHOT - DAY
It is a grimy establishment with some dusty trade goods on
shelves; a counter which serves as a bar; a few plank tables
The breed seen outside enters and crosses to a side table
where another mean-looking hombre sits preparing to play a
game of solitaire with a deck of limp cards.
Ethan and Martin are at a table in the center of the room,
examining a dirty, rumpled child's dress -- Debbie's.
Martin nods soberly in answer to Ethan's inquiring look;
yes, it's hers. Both look up as FUTTERMAN crosses from the
bar, carrying a whisky jug and two dirty glasses -- his
fingers thrust inside the glasses. Futterman is a squaw man
and a killer -- dead eyes in a white face.
He sets the jug down, picks up one of the glasses -- so grey
and thumb-printed it is almost opaque. Both Ethan and Martin
regard it with disgust. Futterman gives a slight shrug, takes
the dress and starts to wipe the dirty glass with it. Martin
snatches it out of his hand.
How'd you come by this?
You said there'd be a thousand dollar
That's what I said.
You got it with you?
Ethan looks at him and beyond toward the two men.
INT. FUTTERMAN'S - CLOSE SHOT - THE TWO PLUG-UGLIES
The solitaire player has a card in mid-air -- frozen,
watching. The other man has the same buzzard-watchful look.
INT. FUTTERMAN'S - FULL SHOT - THE GROUP AS BEFORE
Reward'll be paid when I find her --
an' if she's alive...
Futterman uncorks the jug, prepares to drink.
Man's got a right to expect some
kind o' payment... I laid out for
the dress an' sendin' you the
He tilts the jug to his mouth as Ethan reaches for his heavy
leather pouch. Futterman watches greedily as Ethan lets a
gold piece slide out. He tosses it onto the table.
Twenty Yankee dollars.
Futterman puts the jug down. His hand inches -- as though
pulled by a magnet -- toward the gold piece.
...an' a man's time is worth
Ethan's big hand clamps over Futterman's and he starts
squeezing as a man would squeeze a lemon. Futterman's lips
A young buck fetched it in late last
(Ethan eases the grip)
Said it belonged to a captive chile
of Chief Scar...
Scar? Never heard of any Chief Scar.
Me neither... But this buck claimed
he was a big war chief with the
Scar's band was headin' north... to
winter in at Fort Wingate... eatin'
agency beef. That's what this buck
said... Maybe he lied.
And maybe you lie...
In that case you won't find her --
and I won't get my thousand dollars.
Ethan stands. Martin follows. Martin takes the dress and
folds it carefully.
Stay the night if you want...
(Ethan shakes his
Cards?... A jug?... If you'd like
some company, we got a few squaws on
Ethan and Martin head for the door.
The two plug-uglies stand -- mean ready to do their master's
Don't forget to come back with my
Ain't yours yet.
They leave. The CAMERA holds on Futterman as he slowly rubs
his bruised hand. His henchmen drift toward him.
Bad manners... He shoulda said 'good-
EXT. HILLY COUNTRY - MED. SHOT - ETHAN - NIGHT
They have set up camp near a cluster of cottonwoods to which
the horses have been tied. One of the horses is restless,
possibly nickering. Ethan strokes its neck, looking out
thoughtfully into the night -- listening.
Acts like somethin's out there.
Smells a change in the weather...
CAMERA PANS him to where Martin is spreading his blanket
some little distance from the small fire.
Wouldn't surprise me if we didn't
have a frost 'fore mornin'... Here...
(he picks up a saddle
and puts it close to
Whyn't you bed down closer to the
Martin is a bit surprised as Ethan takes the blanket and
spreads it near the saddle -- making the saddle serve as a
pillow. Then Ethan tosses a few more heavy pieces of dry
wood on the fire, making it blaze up.
Hey! What's the idea...?
Maybe I'm gettin' like Mose Harper --
my bones is cold tonight...
He spreads his own blanket as Martin wraps into his bedroll,
and when Martin turns, he casually arranges the blanket to
suggest it is over the figure of a man. During this:
Funny... When we passed through Fort
Wingate last winter, we didn't hear
mention of any Nawyecky Comanche
Ethan steps back -- and studies the "dummy."
Not so funny... if you recollect
what 'Nawyecka' means...
Ethan studies Martin's back -- the light on him -- and looks
around figuring the range of fire.
Sorta like 'roundabout' -- like a
man says he's goin' one place when
he means to go just the reverse...
You all settled an' comfortable now?
Martin just grunts and snugs deeper into his blanket. Ethan
nods his satisfaction -- sure Martin isn't going to change
positions. Then he takes off his hat and boots and uses them
to complete the dummy. He picks up his rifle then and quietly
walks out of the camp.
EXT. HILLY COUNTRY - A RAVINE OR ARROYO - FULL SHOT - THREE
MEN - NIGHT
Three shadowy figures -- Futterman and his two henchmen --
are quietly dismounting, taking rifles from saddle scabbards.
At a hand signal from Futterman, they quietly fan out afoot.
EXT. NIGHT CAMP - MED. CLOSE SHOT - MARTIN
still snug in his blankets, sound asleep; the fire burning a
little lower but still shedding plenty of light on him.
EXT. HILLY COUNTRY - FULL SHOT - FROM BEHIND FUTTERMAN AND
At a crouch or crawling, the three worm their way among some
rocks until they reach a slight rise looking down into the
camp. Martin is asleep and next to him is Ethan's dummy, hat
over its face, and the fire still burning. The two henchmen
snake their rifles up to a firing position. A shot cracks...
and one man is knocked flat on his face.
The other whirls in the direction of the shot, his rifle
swinging in search of a target. A second shot splits the
night and the breed falls as though hit by a giant fist...
Martin is sitting up now, staring wildly around. Futterman
starts to run down-slope, away from the hidden marksman,
dodging between the rocks. A third shot catches him in the
back and he spins and falls and rolls down the slope into
the firepit camp area. Martin is on his feet now.
EXT. NIGHT CAMP - FULL SHOT - MARTIN
He is staring at Futterman, face down and almost at his feet.
He looks around in fear at someone approaching -- hand going
to his gun. Then he relaxes as Ethan casually enters the
camp, bareheaded, carrying his rifle.
Thanks... you did just fine...
Ethan kneels beside Futterman, turns him over, reaches into
his pockets -- first one, then another.
He just couldn't wait...
(watching him go
Ethan grins satisfiedly as he straightens and spins the gold
piece in the air, catches it and pockets it.
Even got my twenty dollars back...
We did all right.
And now Martin is getting the whole picture... and he's mad.
WE?... You just used me for bait --
staked me out like a... buildin' up
the fire... fixin' it so's... I coulda
had my brains blowed out!
Ethan is just grinning at him -- completely unruffled, denying
none of it.
Suppose you'd missed!
Ethan sobers a little, seems honestly surprised.
Never occurred to me...
EXT. THE JORGENSEN HOME - WIDE ANGLE - DAY
It is a day in early winter. Charlie MacCorry, short-coated,
is galloping across the yard as Jorgensen crosses it --
carrying a load of firewood.
Howdy, Mister Jorgensen...
MacCorry swings off his saddle near the porch, as the door
opens and Mrs. Jorgensen comes out -- shawled against the
Got a letter here...
Jorgensen lets the cordwood drop...
By golly! A letter?
For Miss Laurie...
Come in, Charlie, come in...
LAURIE!... My land!... Two letters
in the one year!...
INT. JORGENSEN KEEPING ROOM - FULL SHOT
as Charlie enters, following Mrs. Jorgensen. Jorgensen
excitedly enters and closes the door. Laurie comes in from
another room. Charlie smiles and bows clumsily.
A letter for you, Laurie...
Yes'm... Figgered it might be the
news you been waitin' for... so...
He hands the letter to Laurie who comes over eagerly, takes
it and studies the wrapper before opening it.
Real good o' you to ride all the way
over, Charlie... Might at least say
your thank you's, Laurie... Declare!
No need to...
But Laurie has no interest in anything but the letter which
she is reading skimmingly.
Laurie! Don't keep a body just
Laurie looks up then.
I was just readin' to see if...
Anyway, it's MY letter!
'Course it is. Now let's all get
comfortable an' set so's we can listen
while Laurie reads her letter...
(turning as if to go)
Maybe I'd better be goin'...
You stay, Charlie... After all,
Charlie brought the letter, Laurie...
He got a right to listen too!
Mrs. Jorgensen has been pulling and pushing chairs around
and now they all take places. Jorgensen automatically reaches
for his glasses on the mantel and puts them on -- even though
he isn't going to read the letter. Laurie has been sneaking
looks at some of the other pages.
Oh, all right! Well... Martin says...
From the beginning...
'Dear Miss Laury'... He spells it
with a Y instead of an I... E...
Wouldn't you think he'd know...
Who cares what he spells it? Read
Dear Miss Laury... I take pen in
hand to let you know Ethan and me
still are trying to catch up with
them Comanches the late Mister
Futterman told us about...
She breaks off, looks up -- puzzled.
The late Mister Futterman?
That means Mister Futterman is dead,
Wonder what happened to the poor
man. Go on, Laurie.
(resuming the letter)
We cut north through Indian territory
(her voice fades)
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - LATE SUMMER OR FALL - ETHAN AND MARTIN
leading their pack animals. Martin's voice picks up the
Soon we was meeting up with Kiowas
an' Wichitas an' even some Comanches
camped by one of the agencies...
WIDE ANGLE - A COMANCHE ENCAMPMENT - ETHAN AND MARTIN - DAY
FALL WEATHER (SILENT)
The camp is on the outskirts of a trading post. Indians watch
unsmilingly from tepees, or in little clusters afoot; a few
mounted braves ride on parallel courses as Ethan and Martin
ride through camp toward the post.
But none of them was Nawyecky's nor
claimed to know a war chief named
Scar... He's the one the late Mister
Futterman said had Debbie...
INT. APPLEBY'S TRADING POST - MED. SHOT (SILENT) - DAY
This trading post is in marked contrast to Futterman's --
being well-stocked, clean and presided over by HIRAM APPLEBY,
a resolute, clean-looking man of middle years.
Ethan and Martin -- in winter garb -- are being shown a
variety of trade goods, including a shoebox full of ornate
ribbon rosettes, such as are awarded animals at stock fairs.
Appleby is solemnly affirming the trade value of these, as
well as sleeve garters, etc.
At one o' the agencies we outfitted
with all kind an' manner of trade
goods... figgerin' that'd make it
easier for us to come an' go... You'd
laugh if I told you what was our
EXT. INDIAN ENCAMPMENT - MED. CLOSE SHOT - ETHAN AND FAT
INDIAN - EARLY WINTER OR FALL DAY
Ethan is ceremoniously pinning something on the stern-faced
buck. It is one of the rosettes seen in the shoebox.
CAMERA MOVES to an extreme CLOSEUP of the rosette. On it, in
gold letters, is:
LARD TYPE HOG
EXT. INDIAN ENCAMPMENT - FULL SHOT - EARLY FALL OR WINTER
As the Indian proudly steps back, we see beyond him a half
dozen other braves -- all rosetted. Ethan looks them over
complacently while Martin -- to hide the smile that threatens
to split his face -- bends to pick up a huge bundle of furs.
INT. JORGENSEN KEEPING ROOM - FULL SHOT - THE GROUP
reading the letter. She is at the bottom of a page.
'There is one other thing I got to
tell you before you hear it from
Ethan... How I got myself a wife'...
She stops and stares.
She looks at them - dazed.
(smacking his knee --
very happy indeed)
Good! A young man should get married
early in life. Right, mama?
Mrs. Jorgensen, full of sympathy for Laurie, just glares at
Every young man should at least
once...Go on, Laurie! Read!
A little Comanche squaw - SQUAW!
And with that she crumples the letter and throws it into the
Jorgensen is out of his chair and scrambling in the fireplace
to recover the letter. He fetches it out, beating the sparks
out. The letter is basically undamaged.
Is no way to treat a letter, Laurie
...Mama maybe you better read it...
(to Charlie, proudly)
My wife was a school teacher, Charlie
...She reads good.
Laurie snatches the letter back.
I'll read it...
Charlie crosses the room, picks up a guitar.
So he married a Comanche squaw...
Haw haw haw!
Laurie glares at him. He begins chording the guitar.
EXT. INDIAN ENCAMPMENT - MED. CLOSE SHOT - MARTIN AND "LOOK" -
FALL OR EARLY WINTER - DAY
"LOOK" is somewhat under five feet tall, pigeon-toed, platter-
faced and wide-eyed. Over her arm is a very handsome blanket.
She is coming forward shyly toward Martin, propelled by a
Comanche -- her father. Martin, with an armful of trade goods --
a few yards of bright calico, a couple of AGED SOW rosettes
and some trinkets -- is indicating the blanket. Look glances
shyly at her father.
He shakes his head negatively. Look is disappointed.
The father points to Martin's pile of trade goods. Martin
bends and picks up the indicated object: it is a battered
high-crowned beaver hat. The Indian grunts his approval and
puts it on. Look looks relieved. Martin reaches for the
blanket. Look takes a quick step backward and holds up one
finger: wait! Then she runs back through the other Comanches
now crowding forward.
EXT. INDIAN ENCAMPMENT - ANOTHER ANGLE - FULL SHOT -
who rides in slowly, leading their pack horse and Martin's
Let's go... I think I stumbled onto
The name registers with some of the nearer braves. There is
a quick interchange of glances, frowning, hostile.
When are you goin' to learn to keep
your mouth shut! Come on. Let's get
out of here.
But I just bought a good blanket.
Martin mounts and the two ride out. The Comanches stare after
them suspiciously, resentfully.
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - FULL SHOT - ETHAN AND MARTIN - MOVING
SHOT - EARLY WINTER DAY
They are riding down a slight grade beyond which (we can
assume) is the Comanche camp.
What I heard back there was that a
band o' hostile Nawyeckas came through
this way less'n two weeks ago...
Think it might be...?
He breaks and both turn as Look rides over the hill on a
little spotted Indian pony, with her squaw-bag slung up behind
her and her blanket over the saddle. She closes the gap
What's she followin' for?
Look smiles shyly at Martin.
Look, I changed my mind... You can
keep your blanket.
He gestures for her to go back.
Go on back...
She stares and then dutifully wheels her horse. Martin and
Ethan face front again. Look wheels her horse again and is
right with them. Martin stops - exasperated.
Look... you don't understand...
(he waves her away)
I don't want it.
Look just sits.
YOU don't understand, ya chunkhead!
You didn't buy any blanket! Ya bought
You got yourself a wife, sonny!
Oh no! Tell her she's got to go
And have her whole family after our
scalps for floutin' one o' their
women?... No sir! Come on, Mrs.
Look smiles and sets her horse in motion as Ethan moves ahead.
Martin's face is a mask of comic despair as he gives up. He
is mouthing the words --
And Ethan suddenly breaks into song; to the tune of "Skip To
I got another gal purtier'n you. I
got another gal purtier'n you. I
got another gal purtier'n you. Skip
to my Lou, my darlin'.
EXT. NIGHT CAMP - OPEN COUNTRY - CLOSE SHOT - ETHAN - NIGHT
Ethan is wrapped in his blanket roll, head propped by an
elbow, grinning sardonically as he watches a strange ritual
in the camp. The score is softly reprising "Skip to my Lou."
EXT. NIGHT CAMP - FULL SHOT - PAST ETHAN - NIGHT
Look is standing with her blanket folded over one arm, her
head shyly downcast, not far from where Martin (back to her)
is spreading his own bed roll. He sits on it then and begins
pulling off his boots. He is very conscious of Ethan's
watchful scrutiny. Finally he is ready. He lies back on his
blanket. At once Look is at his side to spread her own
blanket. Martin sits bolt upright and tugs his blanket free
and wraps it protectively around him. She stares at him,
She nods her understanding, hurries off to fetch a canteen.
Martin glares at Ethan.
That's the way to train 'em. Looks
like Mrs. Pauley's goin' to make you
a fine beautiful wife...
Cut it out, will ya...
Look returns with the canteen, hands it to Martin and kneels
beside him. He looks at her sympathetically.
Look... I wish I could explain to
And now Look speaks for the first time. She indicates herself.
Now she jabbers in Comanche and, at the appropriate time,
will point to the sky and imitate a bird flying.
Nay tzare T'sala-ta-komal-ta-name...
unt kang-yah Look.
(My father calls me Wild Goose Flying
in the Night Sky... but you call me
Martin looks blank, but Ethan chuckles.
Says her name's Wild Goose Flying in
the Night Sky... but she'll answer
to Look since it pleases ya...
She nods and smiles and quickly settles alongside him and
spreads her blanket over them both. Martin recoils, plants
his foot in the small of her back and sends her sprawling.
Ethan busts a gut laughing. Martin jumps to his feet, angrily.
I don't think it's so funny... If
you want to do some good, whyn't you
ask her where Scar is?
Ethan stares at the girl. Her face is suddenly impassive as
she looks from Martin to the ground.
She heard ya-all right... An' she
He gets to his feet and he crosses to stand before her. So
Unt osupanet cah-nay Scar?
(You know where Scar
She stares sullenly, not answering.
You ask her!
(she faces him)
Do you know where he went? And if he
has a girl with him... a white girl --
nai-bist pabo taibo...
She stands... She indicates Martin. She indicates herself.
No... not my wife... My...
How do you say sister?
She looks gravely from Ethan to Martin. Then, with impassive
face, she bends swiftly, picks up her blanket and walks away
from them to choose her own sleeping place. The two men don't
know what to make of it.
EXT. CAMP - OPEN COUNTRY - FULL SHOT - ETHAN AND MARTIN -
It is the same scene the following morning. The men are
standing above where Look had bedded for the night, looking
at the ground. Clearly marked on the hard ground is a crudely
Beats me how she could get that pony
out o' camp without neither of us
hearin' a thing...
She ain't goin' back to her family,
that's certain... not if she took
off where the arrow points.
Think she means for us to follow?
How should I know... She's YOUR wife!
He walks toward their horses, starts to saddle up.
I think maybe we oughta...
(hiding a grin)
Yeah, I kinda figgered you'd say
that... Bein' a new husband and all...
And Ethan starts singing "Skip to My Lou" half under his
breath. Martin gives him a sour side-glance and continues
INT. JORGENSEN HOME - GROUP AS BEFORE - LAURIE READING - DAY
Mrs. Jorgensen is bringing a lighted lamp over to the table
where Laurie is reading against the fading light of day.
Jorgensen's pipe has gone out and he lights it.
Maybe she left other signs for us to
follow but we'll never know -- 'cause
it snowed all day and all the next
week... We were heading north, through
the buffalo country when something
happened that I ain't got straight
in my own mind yet...
(her voice fades)
EXT. SNOW COUNTRY - WIDE ANGLE SHOT - TWO RIDERS (COLORADO
The two men are picking their way through a snow-mantled
grove. Martin's voice resumes the narration.
Ethan's always been throwing it up
to me that I'm a quarter-breed... I
never figgered it made much
EXT. BUFFALO HERD - WIDE ANGLE SHOT - DAY (COLO. FOOTAGE)
But this day we came on a small herd.
We needed some meat so we circled
EXT. THE HERD - ANOTHER ANGLE (COLO. FOOTAGE)
...and came up on 'em afoot... They
hadn't been hunted, so it was no
trick workin' in close.
EXT. THE HERD - MARTIN AND ETHAN - DAY (COLO. FOOTAGE)
The two men walk from behind CAMERA. Ethan aims, fires and
brings down a bull.
Ethan got a nice one on his first
shot, but then he began killing one
after another -- cows as well as
bulls -- fast as he could fire and
load... It was just a slaughter...
no sense to it...
EXT. THE HERD BEGINNING TO RUN (COLO. FOOTAGE)
Shots cracking out -- the terrified bawling of the bulls --
the beginning of the stampede.
EXT. MED. CLOSE SHOT - ETHAN AND MARTIN (PROCESS)
Martin strides across to where Ethan is firing.
Ethan, quit it!
What's the sense in it!
Ethan turns and swings a backhand blow which catches Martin
by surprise and fells him.
(in a fury)
Hunger! -- Empty bellies! That's the
sense in it, you Cherokee!...
He swings up his gun and fires again -- and again... as Martin
stares at him from the ground.
EXT. THE HERD - LONG SHOT - THE STAMPEDE (COLO. FOOTAGE)
Fear-maddened animals are swinging into full stampede fleeing
the deadly marksman. Rifle shots keep cracking out.
EXT. MED. CLOSE SHOT - ETHAN AND MARTIN AS BEFORE (PROCESS)
The thunder of the hooves is receding and Ethan grimly lowers
his rifle. Martin picks himself up -- still staring at Ethan
as though at a madman. Ethan turns and looks at him.
Least, THEY won't feed any Comanches
this winter... Killin' buffalo's as
good as killin' Injuns in this
Peaceful tribes depend on the buffalo,
Ain't that too bad... If you feel
that sorry for your kinfolk, I'm
surprised you didn't take up with
that squaw wife of yours...
He whips out his shinning knife and strides toward the dead
buffalo o.s. Martin looks after him with troubled expression.
Suddenly he hears something, borne faint by the wind.
Ethan turns. Now faintly, little more than a shred of sound,
is the distant blowing of a bugle.
Listen!... Hear it?... There! Ain't
that a bugle... and firing?
Ethan stares -- and then the bugle sound repeats and the
distant crack of shots, from long miles off.
Just hope we ain't too late...
And the two break and run for their horses.
EXT. A RIVER - WIDE ANGLE - CAVALRY CROSSING WITH PRISONERS -
It was all over long before we got
there and the soldiers was high-
tailin' it back to the agency with
their prisoners -- squaws mostly --
by the time Ethan and me reached the
EXT. SNOW SLOPE - WIDE ANGLE - ETHAN AND MARTIN
Horses and riders plunge downslope through breast-high snow.
It was the Nawyecky Comanches all
right -- the ones we'd been looking
for all this time...
EXT. BURNING INDIAN VILLAGE - WIDE ANGLE - ETHAN AND MARTIN -
as they ride in, passing dead horses, a few bodies of men.
Trouble of it was that the soldiers
had hit when most of the fightin'
men was away -- huntin' maybe... So
most of the dead was old men and
women an' kids... And it was in one
of the tepees Ethan found her -- the
little squaw who wanted me to call
Ethan has dismounted in front of one of the tepees, heads
INT. TEPEE - FULL SHOT - DAY
as Ethan enters. A body -- Look's -- is sprawled on the
ground. He crosses, turns her over. Martin enters behind
Well, you're a widower now...
What'd the soldiers have to kill her
He sees something clutched in her hand. He stoops quickly.
Ethan, who has turned indifferently to leave, pauses.
Martin shows him what Look had been clutching -- Debbie's
Look! It's hers, Debbie's...
Ethan snatches it, stares at it. Then he turns and runs from
the tepee. Martin stares at Look's body, then covers it with
So we knew Debbie had been in the
village... What Look was doing there --
whether she'd come to warn them, or
maybe to find Debbie for me... there's
no way of knowing...
He turns and then slowly heads out.
EXT. THE TEPEE - ETHAN AND MARTIN
Ethan stands there, his expression bleak, looking at the
scene. Martin joins him.
We gotta catch up with them yellow
legs... Maybe they got her with them.
Ethan isn't thinking of that at all.
And maybe they got Scar!
They start away -- fast.
EXT. SNOW COUNTRY - WIDE ANGLE - THE CAVALRY AND PRISONERS -
A long line stretching across the landscape -- women falling
and being prodded along by their captors. From behind CAMERA
ride Ethan and Martin and move to intercept the column.
EXT. THE COLUMN - FULL SHOT - DAY
as Ethan and Martin come closer and look at the shawled
prisoners stumbling along.
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - FULL SHOT - ETHAN AND MARTIN - DAY
as a young OFFICER spurs out of the column and rides toward
We're looking for a girl -- a white
She'd be about thirteen now...
We got two around that age...
You'll have to wait until we reach
the agency... Fall in behind the
But couldn't you...?
Keep the column moving!... Close
The officer spurs out to rejoin the column. Martin looks at
Ethan, his face alive with hope. But Ethan is just looking
stonily along the line of passing prisoners.
EXT. THE NOKONI AGENCY - WIDE ANGLE - DAY
The column of cavalry and prisoners enters the agency
(COLORADO FOOTAGE). We see the dead and wounded on travois;
the agency Indians watching stoically; the prisoners -- some
of them -- being herded into a chapel.
INT. OFFICE OF NOKONI AGENCY - FULL SHOT - DAY
The office has been set up as a temporary army headquarters.
The GENERAL is being interviewed by two Eastern newspaper
CORRESPONDENTS. At a table beyond is a telegrapher, sending
out a report of the victory.
A pot-bellied stove supplies heat and the General is warming
his hands at it, intermittently. An adjutant is rather wearily
filling out a long official form.
The General, for all his mudded boots remains a beau sabreur
and is loosely modeled upon a certain other well-known glory
hunter of the Indian wars. He wears a colonel's straps, but
insists upon his brevet rank.
And it was clear to me the hostiles
outnumbered us four to one... with
all the advantage of terrain...
Four to one! What did you do, general?
Ethan and Martin enter, stand in the doorway.
Sir -- we charged!... Gentlemen --
and I hope you will quote me -- I
cannot say too much for the courage
of the men who followed me into that
Cheyenne! What Cheyenne?
(turning and staring)
I beg your pardon?
That camp you hit was Nawyecka
Comanche... Chief Scar's bunch...
Scar? What a wonderful name!...
(to his aide)
Are you getting this, Keefer?
How do you spell that word --
Ethan ignores him, still facing the General.
My name's Edwards... I'm looking for
my niece... she was in that camp
when you attacked...
Well... I know there were some
Four of 'em dead... so we were told...
Unfortunately, the hostiles murdered
them as we developed the village...
Are you sure they didn't die of
carbine shots fired by a bunch o'
Yank bluebellies so scared they
couldn't tell the difference between
a Cheyenne and a Comanche?
Keefer!... Put this man under arrest!
That'll be the day...
'As we developed the village'...
Next time you develop a village, hit
it where the fightin' men are...
You won't get any headlines for
Shall I show him the captives, sir?
Just get him out of here!
(he crosses to Ethan)
INT. THE CHAPEL - MED. CLOSE SHOT - ANGLING TO DOOR -
The door is opened by a guard and Ethan takes a step into
the room -- then stops in manifest shock. Martin
is at his heels, eager and expectant. Beyond them stands
Keefer, grave and compassionate. There is a keening sound in
the room -- almost an animal sound.
INT. THE CHAPEL - REVERSE SHOT - FULL
It is a simple log-sided room with plank benches without
backs. Up front is a small box-like pulpit, no altar.
Across the front of the room, set up either on benches or on
boards over saw-horses are four blanket-covered figures --
at least two being the bodies of children.
Squatting on the floor near them is an elderly white woman
with hair hanging loosely down her back and clad in Indian
robes. Standing, facing the newcomers, is a woman who may be
no more than in her mid-thirties.
She is mad -- wild-eyed, frightened, with matted, unbrushed
golden hair, torn garments. It is she who has been making
the keening sound, the animal moans. Now she crouches at the
sight of them and looks desperately for a means of escape.
Two girls are asleep, heads together and backs to the door.
One has light hair, like Debbie's; the other brown hair. The
afternoon sun coming through a high window touches the light
He has seen the light hair and starts crossing the room.
Now the madwoman begins her screaming, running from side to
side like a trapped animal. Ethan follows Martin into the
room, Keefer behind him. Martin comes to a stop, realizing
the woman is afraid of him. The two sleeping girls stir, but
do not turn.
Don't be scared, ma'am...
The madwoman crouches behind one of the benches, looking at
them with frightened eyes.
Just don't pay any attention to her...
Martin swallows and nods and crosses to the light-haired
girl. He reaches a hand gingerly to touch her shoulder.
At the touch, the girl is on her feet, crouching -- one hand,
like a claw, drawn back to rake his face. She is unmistakably
a white girl, but she is painted like a Comanche woman --her
ears red inside, streaks of paint accenting the savagery of
her face. Her eyes are frightened, yet full of hate.
The other girl has risen almost in
the same instant -- but more out of
fear. She is younger, but painted
like the other. She moves to stand
behind the savage one.
No... She's not...
I ain't sure... Where's that doll?
Martin stares at him, then realizes what he has in mind.
He fishes the rag doll from under his coat and holds it out
to the girl. She looks at it... and we may almost suspect it
is rekindling a memory -- but then she spits at it. The other
girl laughs. Martin turns away and he's sick.
Was your niece about their age?
Not far from it...
Hard to realize they're white, isn't
They're not white any more -- they're
Comanche!... Let's see the bodies...
Martin nerves himself for the ordeal, turns to follow.
I don't need you...
Ethan and Keefer move away. As they do, the madwoman -- eyes
fixed on the rag doll in Martin's hand -- begins creeping up
behind him. Martin is torturedly watching Ethan and Keefer
as first one blanket then another is raised -- we will never
see the dead. During this:
I'd like you to see them all... It
might help us identify them... Shot
in the head -- flash-burn range...
The boy got his skull cracked...
Here's the girl...
Martin stiffens, waiting.
Martin relaxes... and in that instant the madwoman has the
doll in her hands. She cradles it and she croons.
Martin reaches to take it away. But she calmly sits, cradling
the doll, and rocks to and fro, humming a lullaby. He can't
take it. Ethan returns.
Well, we only got the one lead --
Scar... And where we begin to look,
I don't know...
There's one thing. We recovered a
bushel of trinkets in that camp...
cheap stuff... trade goods... Couldn't
help noticing that most of it was
Mexican... Maybe if you could talk
to some of those Mexican traders
along the border... What do they
That's the breed... Course it might
Time's running out... But I'm obliged
INT. JORGENSEN KEEPING ROOM - FULL SHOT - THE GROUP -
Laurie has reached the last page of the letter, reading it
by the lamp on the table. Jorgensen is knocking out the dead
ashes of his pipe. Charlie is in the shadows, a guitar in
his hands -- not playing it, but occasionally softly picking
a note or chord. Mrs. Jorgensen is dabbing moist eyes with a
corner of her apron.
...so we're setting out for New Mexico
Territory in the morning... I am
sorry I won't be back for Christmas
again this year...
She swallows hard, pauses a moment in her reading.
And you knittin' that muffler...
What's the difference!
Well, I just thought it would be a
sin and a shame not to let SOMEONE
get some good of it...
She looks almost too obviously at Charlie, which annoys
Laurie. Laurie resumes her letter reading:
There's a word crossed out... It
looks like 'I wish' or 'I will'...
(she gives up)
Anyway... 'I set pen aside in the
hope you are enjoying good health
and your folks the same... I remain,
yours truly, Martin Paulie.'
That's all there is. Not a cross on it. Laurie just looks at
it. Jorgensen stands, pocketing his pipe, easing the crick
in his back. He ceremoniously removes the spectacles and
replaces them on the mantel.
They never find that girl.
(half to herself)
And he even has to write his full
name... Martin Pauley... not even
I don't care if he never comes back!
She heads for the front door.
(rising -- saying it
Charlie hits the guitar a little stronger. Mrs. Jorgensen
looks at him -- and the matchmaker is at work.
Charlie, you'll stay for supper?...
Now I won't take no for an answer.
Thought of saying 'no' never crossed
my mind, Miz Jorgensen... No place
I'd rather be than right here, right
Mrs. Jorgensen smiles and moves about her duties. Laurie has
opened the door and is staring out wistfully... and Charlie
begins playing and singing a verse from "Skip to My Lou."
One old boot and a button shoe One
old boot and a button shoe...
EXT. DESERT COUNTRY - WIDE ANGLE - ETHAN AND MARTIN RIDING -
The search theme is heard again as the two riders, with single
pack horse, are heading south through New Mexico.
It is hot country.
EXT. DESERT COUNTRY - CLOSE MOVING SHOT - ETHAN AND MARTIN -
Their faces are sun-tanned, burned dark and dry. Gone are
the heavy coats and clothing of their northern days. They do
not speak, just ride -- and there is the same bleak, fanatic,
hard look about them both. The music theme segues into
something livelier and Mexican as we -
EXT. A MEXICAN VILLAGE - FULL SHOT - ETHAN AND MARTIN - DAY
It is a small place -- a single dirt street, a few adobe
houses; a few racks of dried meat; a burro with a load of
faggots on its back being driven along by a small boy; the
music coming from a little cantina in the middle of the
street. Before the cantina is a bone rack of a horse, without
a saddle -- only a blanket pad. There is something familiar
about the horse and Ethan is staring at it as they ride in.
EXT. THE CANTINA - FULL SHOT - DAY
The two men dismount, beating dust out of their clothes.
Ethan takes another look at the sorry old nag tied outside.
Martin pauses beside Ethan.
Martin shakes his head. They start toward the cantina.
There couldn't be two like that in
all the world...
INT. THE CANTINA - FULL SHOT - DAY
as Ethan and Martin enter. It is a dirt-floored room with a
small bar near the door, chairs and benches along the walls.
A pair of guitar players are at the far end of the room. A
couple of Mexicans are playing a noisy game of dominoes,
slapping the dominoes down hard... EMILIO FIGUEROA, back to
the door, spurred boots across one of the tables, is sipping
a drink. Emilio is a cynical, middle-aged, aristocratic-
looking man in modified charro costume. Watching the domino
game is ESTRELLA, lithe, sensuous, smoking a brown-paper
cigarette; she is barefoot. Behind the bar is the proprietor,
dozing on his stool. Ethan takes a step into the room.
MOSE!.... MOSE HARPER?
The proprietor awakens. The domino game is suspended in mid-
play. Estrella turns... and from beside Emilio, previously
obscured by the man's back and the big charro hat, pokes the
head of old Mose. Emilio turns then to look at the newcomers.
He is on his feet and advancing to meet them. As he recognizes
them a wide, foolish grin splits his face and his mouth opens
and closes in words that won't come out. He grabs and shakes
Ethan's arm, then Martin's.
Leggo my arm... You look mangier 'n
Ain't been too good... No sir, not
too good... Gettin' old, Ethan...
You were born old...
(all smiles - as they
head for the bar)
Bienvenidos, senores... Pulque?...
tequila?... mescal?... huiskey?
Y' par' el Viejo -- el vino del
pais... tequila tambien!
Martin puts his back to the bar, leans elbows on it and looks
INT. THE CANTINA - ANGLING PAST MARTIN TOWARD ESTRELLA
She is giving him an appraising once-over, then signals the
musicians to play. She rests her buttocks against a table
and waits, her eyes challenging Martin to make a move. Emilio
is watching Estrella and Martin with something akin to bored
INT. THE CANTINA - ANGLE AT BAR
Ethan has poured a drink for Mose, now one for himself --
leaving Martin's glass empty.
I been helpin' ye, Ethan... I been
lookin' all the time...
Martin turns back to the bar to take his glass. He finds it
(to Ethan's back)
Thanks for nothin'...
He angrily throws a coin on the counter, appropriates the
bottle and his glass and heads for a table closer to Estrella.
Neither Ethan nor Mose seems aware of his going.
Well, the reward still stands...
Don't want no money, Ethan... jus' a
place -- a roof over m' head... a
little grub... a bunk to sleep in...
an' a rockin' chair by the fire...
my own rockin' chair by a fire...
You help me find her, you got your
Swear it, Ethan?... Given word?
Told ya, didn't I?
Ethan... I found a man's seen her...
knows where little Debbie is!
Ethan stares at him. Mose nods his reaffirmation of it.
Then Ethan's hand locks on the old man's shoulder.
Who? Where is he... this man?
Mose winces under the grip. He can't speak, but he looks
past Ethan and he points. Ethan turns. Emilio swings his
boots off the table and slowly crosses to them. He lets
cigarette smoke curl out of his mouth. Then he smiles.
I am this man, senor... Emilio Gabriel
Fernandez y Figueroa... at your
...for a price...
...Always for a price...
As the men study each other, Estrella begins her dance --
and the rhythmic click of the castanets will beat like a
metronome. Emilio looks at the bottle on the bar, disdainfully
pushes it away and imperiously signals the proprietor to
bring something better.
INT. THE CANTINA - ANGLING PAST MARTIN TO ESTRELLA
He is knocking off his tequila and looking at the girl
hungrily. She is doing her swaying dance, playing up to him
and with unmistakable effect. He sloshes another drink into
his glass and, never taking his eyes off her, downs it.
INT. THE CANTINA - FULL SHOT - ANOTHER ANGLE - THE DANCE
Beyond Estrella we see Ethan, Emilio, and Mose at the bar --
gestures, headshakes, the entire pantomime of an inaudible
conversation. Then Ethan takes out his pouch and begins
dropping gold pieces into Emilio's hand. Meanwhile, dance
and dancer are achieving their purpose with Martin. And the
tequila is working. He gets to his feet, a little groggily.
Estrella's smile deepens and there is a clear invitation in
her eyes... Ethan turns then, his deal with Emilio concluded,
and he sees what is going on. He starts for Martin's table
just as Martin moves out to take the girl.
Come on, Don Juan... We're on our
Martin tries to push him away, his eyes still on the girl.
(taking his arm)
You breeds are all alike -- two drinks
Martin breaks free and squares off.
Take yer hands off'n me... This lady
an' me got some things to talk over!
Estrella ranges herself alongside of Martin and slips an arm
possessively through his.
Suit yourself... While you're enjoyin'
your little conversation, I'll be
ridin' out with Senor Fernandez
here... The Comanch' medicine country
ain't far... there's one camp with a
chief named Cicatriz.
Never heard of him...
Cicatriz is Mex for Scar... an' he
has a white girl in his tepee... Be
He turns and heads out. Emilio, who has come up behind him,
gives Estrella a slight smile and bow.
Buena suerte, Estrella... Hasta la
He follows Ethan. Estrella swings her body close to Martin
and lets her arms slide around his neck.
Martin blinks to clear away the fog of tequila and desire.
(a bitter laugh)
Sure... sure... Only not this year...
He pulls her arms away and goes lurching after the others.
Mose catches his arm.
'Mind Ethan 'bout my rockin' chair!
Martin continues out and Mose stands there -- his head rockin'
as though he already were in his chair.
EXT. (APPROACH TO THE NEEDLES MONUMENT) - A BROAD CANYON -
FULL SHOT - DAY
A small pack train (nine or ten horses, six or seven men)
winds through a canyon behind which we can see huge needles
of rock: majestic, savage country. At the head of the column
ride Ethan, Emilio, and Martin. Behind them come Emilio's
cargadores -- lean, hard-bitten wiry little Mexicans. One
leads a handsome palomino. The SOUND of the CASTANETS ECHOES
in the musical theme.
EXT. CANYON - MED. SHOT - HEAD OF COLUMN - MOVING - DAY
Ethan is looking around with grim interest.
Medicine country, huh?
Medicine so strong they believe the
feather of an eagle found here can
guard a man against bullets...
If you got one handy, now's the
Ethan and Emilio both look in the direction of his glance.
EXT. CANYON - FULL SHOT - REVERSE ANGLE - FROM BEHIND RIDERS -
They are turning a bend and now, ahead, we see a cordon of
Comanches -- all armed, all quiet, all very menacing as they
watch the approaching column. Emilio calls a greeting in
Comanche. It gets no answer.
EXT. CANYON - MOVING SHOT - THE COMANCHE FACES - DAY
The CAMERA PICKS UP the faces in turn, as from the white
men's viewpoint, as they ride slowly by.
EXT. COMANCHE ENCAMPMENT - FULL SHOT - DAY
One tepee stands apart from the other's -- Scar's. Beyond it
are other tepees, the gathering of braves and some squaws,
the drying racks for meat, etc. Emilio leads the way toward
the central tepee. They dismount nearby and Emilio inclines
his head toward the one tepee. Ethan and Martin brace
themselves and wait. The flap of the tepee is closed.
What are we waiting for?
Emilio cautions him with a hand gesture.
EXT. THE TEPEE - MED. CLOSE SHOT - DAY
The flap is thrust aside and SCAR steps out -- the same
Comanche we had seen at the grave when Debbie was captured.
He stands tall, arrogant, eyeing the white men with hard,
implacable eyes. He has a robe gathered about him. Across
his face is a scar.
Senores! This is Cicatriz!
EXT. INDIAN ENCAMPMENT - CLOSE SHOT - ETHAN AND MARTIN - DAY
The white men's eyes are as hard as the Comanche's: this is
the man they have long sought, the killer, the raper.
They cannot mask the hatred they feel.
(slowly... at last)
Scar... It's plain to see where you
got your name.
Scar's hand moves to the scar on his face, and a finger runs
Your name - Big Shoulders... His
name - He Who Follows.
You speak pretty good American for a
Comanche... Someone teach you?
It is a leading question and Scar knows it. He looks long at
Ethan and the suggestion of a smile touches his lips.
But he makes no direct answer. He looks instead to Emilio.
Ah-we pabbo-tie-bo ee-kee-tay?
(Why did you bring
the gringos here?)
(a shrug -- in Comanche)
Pabbo-tie-bo kim te-moo-er.
(The gringos want to
That's right... We come to trade...
Only not out here...
(with sign language
I don't stand talkin' in the wind.
Emilio quickly turns and calls to one of his men. Emilio is
Miguel... caballo -- aca!
One of the Mexicans comes on the trot, leading in the
palomino. Emilio makes a gesture -- giving it to Scar.
(Very fine horse.)
Scar looks at it greedily, then nods. He'll accept it.
He looks at Ethan. Again that faintly contemptuous smile.
He signals them to enter his tepee.
Stay out here.
He follows Ethan into the tepee... and a worried Emilio goes
INT. THE TEPEE - FULL SHOT
A small fire burns in the center of the lodge and a shaft of
sunlight strikes in from the smoke flap at the peak.
Two chunky squaws, who have been tending the fire or grinding
corn in a rock pestle, scuttle to a side of the tepee. Two
others, one half-grown and the other slightly taller, sit
with their backs to the fire, huddled over some leather work
or stitching. Both are shawled. As Scar enters, he barks a
word to the squaws near the fire.
Pie-kay! (Clear out!)
(then he turns to the
He sits on some robes, signs for them to sit opposite.
Slowly they look around them.
INT. THE TEPEE - REVERSE ANGLE - AS FROM THEIR VIEWPOINT -
TTE TWO OLDER SQUAWS
They are sitting with heads averted, slightly profiled --
but clearly Indian women, broad-faced, dark of hair and skin.
His sons are dead... So his wives
sit on the honor side of his lodge.
INT. THE TEPEE - ANGLING PAST ETHAN TOWARD THE TWO YOUNG
(glancing at them)
Are those his wives too?
One of the squaws turns -- and even in the shadows we see it
is another Indian face. The other does not turn.
Scar leans in, blocking the view.
Two sons -- killed by white men...
For each son, I take many scalps...
(Bring the lance!)
The slightly smaller of the young squaws stiffens but doesn't
move. Scar glares.
The girl gets to her feet. Ethan and Martin watch as, still
with averted face, she crosses to where a lance hangs from
the tepee wall. It has several scalps on it, including one
with light red hair. Slowly she carries it back. Scar never
takes his eyes from the faces of the white men, savoring
every moment of it. The girl extends the lance between them,
so that it is like a bare blade separating two duelists.
Neither Ethan nor Martin dares at first look at more than
the scalp pole... Then slowly their eyes lift... and the
CAMERA MOVES IN and RAISES TO:
INT. THE TEPEE - EXTREME CLOSE SHOT - DEBBIE
As the shawl slips back to reveal her light hair, the slant
green eyes looking at them from a tanned, but still white
and very beautiful face. (NOTE TO MUSIC: The SEARCH THEME
should cover all the foregoing action -- but at the first
clear view of DEBBIE, it ends dramatically.)
Debbie's eyes hold theirs -- and then Scar's voice is heard:
Swiftly she straightens, takes away the scalp pole and goes
back to her former place.
INT. THE TEPEE - MED. CLOSE SHOT - THE GROUP AS BEFORE
Scar is watching the white men like a hawk. Martin's eyes
are wide and his breathing seems suspended. But Ethan is
playing it like a poker player.
(his voice controlled)
I've seen scalps before...
Scar's eyes are mocking. He lets his robe slip back from his
shoulders, revealing a bare bronzed chest on which -- glinting
in the reflected firelight -- is the medallion that Ethan
had given Debbie. It is suspended by a chain or rawhide
string. Scar touches it.
Ethan smiles -- and he's still playing poker. He stands...
and the others follow. Scar is puzzled.
I came to trade, not to admire his
collection... Tell him we're going
to pitch camp across the crick...
Maybe we can talk trade tomorrow.
Scar hasn't understood all of it. He scowls and looks at
Ee-sap! Pabbo-tie-bo ee-sap!
(He lies! The gringo
Tomorrow -- manana -- 'puetze.'
Scar looks at Ethan and at Martin. He smiles slightly, and
he nods his agreement.
Martin and Ethan turn to go. Only then does Debbie look
swiftly at them and as swiftly away. Martin can't help but
pause, but Ethan prods him toward the tepee flap.
EXT. THE TEPEE - MED. CLOSE SHOT - MOVING - THE THREE MEN
They emerge from the tepee and begin to walk away -- not
fast, not slow, and without a side glance. Scar emerges and
looks after them -- glowering. A few other Comanches begin
to gather near his tepee.
Walk with dignity!
(after a moment; lips
If you gringo heretics have any
prayers, say them...
She's alive... Can you believe it,
she's alive... alive... An' we found
Please!... I, too, am alive... I
wish to stay that way.
They reach the waiting cargadores and the pack train,
surrounded by suspicious Comanches.
(to his men)
They mount and ride out.
EXT. SAND DUNES NEAR NEEDLES (MONUMENT) - FULL SHOT - LATE
Emilio is standing near his horse, talking to Ethan and
You understand, senores... It is not
that I am cobarde... cowardly...
Don't apologize... You did your job...
Emilio nods and mounts.
He knows you -- who you are -- and
why you are here... This I did not
understand... or I would not... even
for gold, senores... have led you
He fumbles for a pouch, holds it out to Ethan.
Take it. I do not want blood money.
Vaya con Dios!
He digs spurs and rides out. Ethan turns and looks soberly
at Martin. We hear the rest of the riders moving away.
Ethan and Martin cross the sand and go down slope toward the
creek where their horses are waiting.
EXT. SAND CREEK (MONUMENT) - FULL SHOT - THE TWO - DAY
You figger Scar means to kill us?
He's got to... All these years,
runnin', dodgin', knowin' we were
after him... Now we caught up...
It's him or us.
Why didn't he make his move back
I don't know... Somethin' tied his
hands... maybe hospitality...
He breaks and both wheel as sand slides from the top of the
dunes. They look up.
EXT. SAND DUNE - DAY
Debbie is silhouetted atop the dune, looking down at them.
(barely breathing the
She slides down the dune to stand across the creek from them.
EXT. SAND CREEK - FULL SHOT - THE THREE - DAY
Her hand cautions them to silence and against coming any
Both men move closer. She takes a
frightened step back, as if to run.
Debbie... Don't you remember me? I'm
She hesitates. She looks long at him.
We ain't goin'! We ain't goin' without
you, Debbie... Ethan, get the
horses... I'll try to keep her
How? She's even forgot her own
Debbie, you're comin' with us! Hear
No... not now... not ever.
These have been her first words in English... and they bring
new hope to Martin.
I don't care what they've done to
you... what happened...
They have done... nothing... They
are my people...
Your people? They murdered your
(reverting to Comanche)
White men killed them - to steal
cows! I was... little... I ran away...
They find me... take care of me.
No Debbie! That ain't what happened!
They been lyin' to you...
You lie! All white men lie... and
Debbie, think back! I'm Martin...
remember? Remember how I used to let
you ride my horse? Tell you stories?
Don't you remember me, Debbie?
I remember... from always... At first
I prayed to you... come and get me...
take me home... You didn't come...
I've come now...
These are my people...
Unnt-meah! Go! Go! Please!
Stand aside, boy...
Martin turns as Ethan slowly reaches for his gun. It takes
Martin a moment to realize what he is about to do.
Ethan -- NO!
He moves quickly then to put himself between Ethan and the
girl and in that instant there is the crack of a rifle.
Ethan is hit in the leg. It goes out from under him. Martin
swings and his gun is out and firing.
EXT. SAND CREEK - FULL SHOT - INCLUDING THE DUNES - DAY
A mounted Comanche is on the crest of the dune above them --
rifle raised. Martin's first shot brings him down the dune
in a spectacular horse-and-man fall. Debbie goes running
like a deer up the creek, away from Martin; in the same
instant we hear the angry yells of distant Comanches charging
from the far left. Martin turns to see Debbie running away.
Ethan is on his feet now and limping frantically toward their
horses. He shoves Martin ahead of him.
Never mind her! MOVE!
They mount and take off, just as the vanguard of the attacking
Comanches swings around a point of rock and comes charging
toward the creek.
EXT. DESERT COUNTRY - WIDE ANGLE - LATE AFTERNOON
as Ethan and Martin race their horses from the creek area
and down a long incline, as -- from the heights above -- a
dozen or more Comanches, led by Scar, come tearing after
EXT. DESERT COUNTRY - MED. CLOSE SHOT - ETHAN - MOVING - DAY
Ethan is swaying in his saddle, just barely hanging on, as
Martin races up behind him -- driving Ethan's horse along.
They swing past a huge outcrop of rock and go tearing along
a vaulting wall of stone. Their hoofbeats and those of the
pursuers bounce and echo off the canyon walls, and bullets
whine and ricochet.
EXT. CANYON COUNTRY - FULL MOVING SHOT - ETHAN AND MARTIN -
They swing around giant boulders, up-ended like pancakes.
Ethan is lurching almost out of the saddle, barely conscious.
Martin spots the cave -- ahead -- and drives his mount and
Ethan's toward it.
EXT. THE CAVE (MONUMENT) - FULL SHOT - THE TWO - DAY
Martin pulls his horse in and swings off just as Ethan slides
from his saddle. He runs toward one of the huge boulders,
crouches and starts firing.
EXT. CANYON COUNTRY - WIDE ANGLE ON THE COMANCHES - DAY
The Comanches are spread out but coming on fast. One goes
down under Martin's fire.... another is hit in the arm. He
pulls up and the other Comanches wheel away from the hidden
EXT. THE CAVE - FULL SHOT - MARTIN AND ETHAN
Martin runs back from his firing post toward where Ethan has
Go on! Get out of here while you
(pointing to the cave)
Ethan turns and sees what he means. He starts dragging himself
to the cave as Martin grabs the rifles from their saddle
scabbards, yanks off the water canteens and then drives their
horses away. Then he too runs for the shelter of the cave.
EXT. THE CANYON - ANGLING FROM BEHIND MARTIN AND ETHAN
Both men are crouching, rifles ready. In the distance we see
their horses running off -- pursued by some yelling Comanches.
Four or six others come into sight, heading for the cave --
moving cautiously, uncertainly -- not seeing their quarry.
Then the white men open fire and the Comanches bend low over
their horses' necks and clear out of there. Ethan looks grimly
They'll be back...
We won't be here... Come on!
He gets an arm under Ethan and hauls him to his feet.
EXT. THE GAP IN THE CLIFF - PANNING SHOT - SUNSET
CAMERA PANS from the top of the rock chimney to where Martin
is snaking his way through, carrying newly-filled water
canteens. He stands there, listening and looking back the
way he has come; and then, satisfied there has been no
pursuit, he continues away.
INT. THE CAVE - MED. SHOT - ETHAN - HALF-LIGHT
Ethan is lying on the hard earth, perhaps cushioned with
some boughs. He is half delirious. A small fire is burning.
Martin enters carrying the canteens. He looks
unsympathetically toward Ethan, then continues to the fire,
takes a knife and starts to sterilize it. Ethan gasps, mumbles
and then a word comes clear.
Martin stares at him -- and now, perhaps for the first time,
he is fitting pieces into the jig-saw puzzle. He shifts closer
to Ethan and we see he is preparing to dig out the bullet.
Ethan opens his eyes and looks at him.
I gotta open that leg and let the
He poises the knife.
He fumbles in his shirt pocket, brings out a greasy folded
piece of paper.
Just in case... Read it.
Martin sets the knife down, takes the paper, opens it and
'I, Ethan Edwards, being of sound
mind and without any blood kin, do
hereby bequeath all my property of
any kind to Martin Pauley...'
(he stares, then)
I don't want your property.... 'Sides,
what do you mean no 'blood kin?'
Debbie's your blood kin...
Not no more.
You can keep your will!
(he thrusts it back
into Ethan's shirt)
I ain't forgettin' you was all set
to shoot her yourself... What kind
o' man are you, anyway.
(sitting up -- eyes
She's been with the bucks! She's
nothin' now but a...
Martin shoves him back onto the ground.
Shut your dirty mouth!
He gets to his feet, trembling, and stands looking down at
Ethan, his fists clenched at his sides and murder in his
eyes. Then his eyes rove to the knife lying on the blanket.
He picks it up and he looks again at the wounded man.
I hope you die!
And he kneels again to open the wound.
EXT. DESERT COUNTRY - FULL SHOT - ETHAN AND MARTIN - DAY
Martin is hauling an improvised travois over the ground in
which, lashed by vines and some clothing, is the unconscious
figure of Ethan.
CLOSE SHOT - MOVING - MARTIN - DAY
Eyes shadowed, whiskered, drawn -- he is an implacable figure
as he drags the weary miles home. He hears a groan from Ethan
o.s. He barely lets his eyes drift to the sound. He doesn't
CLOSE SHOT - MOVING - ETHAN IN THE TRAVOIS - DAY
We see he is delirious, lips parched, strapped to the poles.
The travois jolts over the ground. As he passes out of frame,
the CAMERA HOLDS on the marks of the travois poles scraping
across the desert.
INT. JORGENSEN KEEPING ROOM - FULL SHOT - NIGHT
A party is in progress. Fiddler and banjo-player are playing
a lively square dance for one or two sets of dancers --
ranchers, their wives and daughters. Laurie is not in
evidence. At the far end of the room is a table with a punch
bowl set up and a cluster of men and women about.
Jorgensen is at the door boisterously welcoming some new
arrivals. Leading them into the room is Captain the Reverend
Sam Clayton, with a bulky oil-skin package under his arm.
With him is Charlie MacCorry, dressed in his best black suit
and scrubbed until he looks raw.
Behind them come three or four other competent-looking men --
Rangers all of them.
They're here, mama... Come in, come
INT. JORGENSEN HOME - FULL SHOT - FAVORING GROUP AT DOOR
Clayton waits for Charlie to come abreast, then hits him on
the back and drives him inside.
Here he is, Lars... Combed, curried
'n washed behind the ears!
Mrs. Jorgensen hurries over, beaming, to admire Charlie.
Why, Charlie, you look real handsome!
Yes'm... scarcely reck'nize myself...
Mrs. Jorgensen smiles and playfully pushes him toward the
You'll see her soon enough...
Clayton -- and the other Rangers -- have been hanging gunbelts
on pegs along the wall. Now he shakes out his parcel --
disclosing a green-black frock coat.
(nodding to the music)
Say, that music sounds so good it
must be sinful...
Grab a partner, reverend!
Well, now, a man of my age just can't
haul off and dance in cold blood...
but if there's any of that wild cherry
brandy of yours, Lars...
(change of heart)
Yah, by golly... One jug left... I
Mrs. Jorgensen glares as he heads out.
Last winter that man swore up and
down there wasn't a drop left -- and
me with pneumoney!... Reverend, you'd
better start clergyin' again!
EXT. JORGENSEN HOME - FULL SHOT - NIGHT
Horses, wagons fill the yard. We can hear the lively music
of the square dance. As Jorgensen opens the door and sets
out toward the barn, a battered dusty trap drives in -- and
on it are Martin and Ethan. Jorgensen at first doesn't
Hi!... You're late... hurry...
And then he sees who they are, and his jaw drops.
Ethan... Martie... No, don't get
down! ...You can't come in!
They stare at him.
The Rangers are here!
He says it as though that explains everything.
What's that got to do with us?
(eyeing the house)
What's goin' on?
(who's forgotten they
Why, my Laurie's getting married...
Martin throws the reins aside and jumps out. Jorgensen grabs
Wait! Don't you hear me! The
You been posted for murder... both
of you... That trader fella, the
late Mister Futterman...
Martin tries to break free.
I gotta see Laurie!
Go around the side... the
grandmother's room... I'll tell her...
He heads around the side. Ethan meanwhile has climbed stiffly
down, slightly favoring his leg.
Quick... hide in the barn, Ethan...
Hide? Why would I?
He brushes past the little man and heads for the door.
INT. THE JORGENSEN HOUSE - ANGLING FROM BEHIND ETHAN
as he enters, with Jorgensen at his heels. For a moment, as
he stands there, the party breezes on. Then first one, then
another sees him. They gape, and the music falters and stops.
Sam Clayton crosses to confront him across the width of the
room. Jorgensen tries to be the easy, smiling host--and makes
a very bad job of it.
Look everybody... Look who's...
He can't even finish it but stands there making flapping
INT. JORGENSEN ROOM - FULL SHOT - ETHAN AND SAM
-- others gaping. During the opening lines, Jorgensen will
covertly back toward the door to the inner room -- Laurie's
Evenin'... evenin' Reverend... or do
I call you 'Captain'...?
Came here for a wedding, Ethan...
Until that's over, I reckon 'reverend'
And news of our little girl, Ethan?
His face contorts and his smile is twisted.
She's not a little girl any more.
You've seen her!... She's alive?
I've seen her... and she's alive.
Mrs. Jorgensen throws herself against his chest, sobbing.
Ethan looks past her at Clayton. And the faces of both men
INT. THE GRANDMOTHER ROOM - FULL SHOT
The room is dark. Martin is pacing, eyes constantly turning
to the inside door. And then it opens and Laurie is inside,
holding a lamp. She is in her bridal gown and very obviously
trying to keep from betraying the stress she is under.
He just stares at her -- very lovely, strangely remote.
He suddenly is conscious of his dirty hands, his dusty, worn
I... I wrote you a letter... Reckon
you didn't get it...
(setting the lamp
One letter in five years... I read
it till the paper dried up and the
writing faded out...
It wasn't much of a letter...
No, it wasn't... You mighta said you
loved me... You mighta asked me to
wait... At least that'd have been
But I allus loved you... You know
that, without my sayin' it... I
couldn't bring myself to ask you to
wait... the little I had... not
knowin' how much longer until we
It isn't fair...
She sinks onto the bench.
It isn't fair, Martin Pauley, and
you know it!
She begins to cry, very softly. He is beside her and his arm
goes around her shoulder comfortingly.
Don't cry, Laurie... I understand
how it is... I'll just go 'way...
(spinning on him)
You do and I'll die, Martie... I
will! I'll just die!
And they are kissing through her tears when the outer door
is flung open by Charlie MacCorry. They part as he glares.
I'll thank you to leave the room,
Martin stares at him, then at her.
Charlie MacCorry!... You weren't
fixin' to marry HIM??
She sure is!... An' don't think your
comin' back is goin' to change it!
As to that, I don't know, Charlie...
We hadn't got around to talkin'
What right you got to be talkin'
marriage to any decent woman...
If you're talkin' about that crazy
AND other things... Mebbe you thought
you was gettin' away with being
comical about that Indian wife you
took... I bet she wasn't the first
Martin swings wildly but Charlie is a wily fighter. He side-
steps and chops Martin in the jaw and drives him against the
wall. Laurie runs between them.
Stop it! Both of you... I won't have
any fighting in this house.
Martin gently brushes her aside.
It's all right... Charlie, let's
I ain't wearing no gun.
Martin nods and unbuckles his gunbelt. The men head outside
as Laurie runs to get help.
EXT. THE JORGENSEN HOME - BREEZEWAY
Charlie waits assuredly as Martin follows him outside.
Martin makes a wild run, swings. The blow is neatly guarded
by Charlie's left and countered with a crisp right that puts
Martin down. Martin gets to his feet, more cautiously this
time, and comes in at a crouch; he's fighting like an Indian,
not a white man. The men from the wedding party come out now
at a run.
Charlie turns slightly and in that instant Martin springs
and drives a straight right at his face -- almost as though
there were a knife in the hand. MacCorry stumbles back into
Is this in the line of duty, sergeant?
(regaining his balance)
No sir... pleasure.
In that case, give the boys room...
Martin waits at a crouch as Charlie comes in, feints his
right and crosses his left. It is a hard blow but Martin
recovers and waits... Charlie circles and starts to repeat.
He feints his right but this time Martin springs in, ducks
and -- as the left shoots out -- he grabs the wrist and throws
Charlie over his head. What we are looking at, in effect, is
a wrestler against a boxer.
Fight fair, son... Use your fists!
Comanches don't use their fists,
reverend... Let 'em alone...
Charlie is on his feet and warily starts circling -- now
trying to imitate Martin's crouch. Suddenly Martin feints a
right swing and connects with a solid left -- reversing the
order of business. Charlie staggers and Martin follows up
with a wrestling hold, leaping behind Charlie, locking both
legs around him and driving his arms upward behind his back
so that his face is in the dirt and so he could -- under
other circumstances -- be neatly and expeditiously scalped.
With the hands locked, Martin then calmly draws a knife. He
looks innocently into the aghast faces of the crowd.
Could scalp him... but I'll just
With that he releases the paralyzed arms just long enough to
grab a lock of Charlie's hair and neatly snip it off.
He stands then and laughs as Charlie lamely gets to his feet --
easing the tortured arms. Clayton goes to Charlie's side.
Laurie moves to Martin's side.
You all right, sergeant?
Dunno... Seems so.
Well, go get cleaned up and we'll
proceed with the weddin'...
Charlie frowns and looks off at where Laurie and Martin are
Ain't goin' to be any weddin' -- not
till we get a few things cleared up
He walks rather unsteadily away leaving a thunderstruck
assembly, murmurous with surprise.
INT. JORGENSEN KEEPING ROOM - LATER THAT NIGHT
The last of the wedding guests is leaving: Ed Nesby carrying
his bull fiddle and with his wife and daughter and two smaller
children preceding him out the door.
The Jorgensens stand by -- trying to put a good face on the
wedding debacle. Charlie MacCorry is sitting dejectedly,
studying a spot on the floor. Ethan is at the mantel. Laurie
is in her room -- presumably changing out of her wedding
gown. Martin is at a sink, bathing a cut on his lip. Clayton,
still in his clerical coat, is near the door.
Well... it was a nice weddin' party...
considerin' no one got married...
Good night, Ed...
Mrs. Jorgensen puts her handkerchief to her eyes -- letting
down now that the guests have gone. Jorgensen crosses to
her, pats her sympathetically.
He leads her away. Clayton faces Ethan.
I got to ask you and Martin to ride
to the State Capitol with me, Ethan.
This an invite to a necktie party,
Captain... Nope, wouldn't say that...
Likely you had your reasons for
killin' Futterman... Probably needed
killin'... I'm speaking as a ranger
now, not as a reverend... Fact that
all three was shot in the back is
the only thing that's raised some
question -- that and a missin' gold
piece known to have been on him just
prior to his demise.
Ethan casually reaches into his pocket, takes out a gold
coin and spins it.
Martin crosses to confront Clayton.
I ain't goin' to Austin, Reverend.
Charlie gets to his feet and he has his gun in his hand.
You're goin' if the captain says
Now, now... let's not grow
Fast hoofbeats sound o.s. -- signalling the approach of a
four-man cavalry detail.
What's that? More company?
He and Jorgensen head for the door.
Kinda late getting here, aren't they?
A voice hails from outside.
Hello there! Captain Clayton?
INT. - EXT. JORGENSEN HOUSE - ANGLE AT DOOR - NIGHT
Clayton stands in the opened doorway, Jorgensen behind him,
looking out. Drawn up outside is the four-man cavalry detail,
led by a young and very crisp LIEUTENANT. We may or may not
see the sixth man, slouched over his horse. The Lieutenant
swings off and crosses.
Is Captain Clayton here, Reverend?
The Lieutenant gapes at Clayton's ministerial coat.
You're Captain Clayton?...
Ethan chuckles, to Clayton's very obvious annoyance.
(recovering, he salutes)
Colonel Greenhill's compliments,
The Colonel wishes to know how soon you could put a company
of Rangers in the field, fully armed and...
Hold on, son... Who's this Colonel
Greenhill you're talking about?
Why Colonel Greenhill is Colonel
Greenhill, sir... Commanding Officer,
Fifth U.S. Cavalry... I'm Lieutenant
Oh... Now what's this your pa wants
My pa wants to know... Colonel
Greenhill wants to know how soon you
could put a company of your Rangers
in the field, fully armed and
equipped, for joint punitive action
against the Comanches.
Yes sir... We've received information
about a band of Comanches under a
chief named Scar...
That maybe he's not far from here --
holed up somewhere, waiting his chance
to get back over the border... He
raided north about a month ago...
ran into more army than he bargained
for... Now he's running for cover,
for keeps this time...
And what makes you think he's in
Yesterday, one of our patrols picked
up a man claims he was a prisoner
with Scar till only two days ago...
He talks crazy but I brought him
along... Says he lives here... keeps
mentioning a rocking chair.
(half to himself)
And then he is striding to the door, calling it:
And the old man totters in, half-supported by a trooper --
hollow-eyed, weak, almost delirious.
Come f'r my rockin' chai'... ole
Where's Scar, Mose... SCAR?
Ask him about Debbie!... Is she all
My rockin' chai'...
Leave the poor man be! Can't you see
he's out of his mind...
She tries to lead him away, but Ethan shoves her aside and
grips the old man by his arms.
Mose... try to remember!... You were
in Scar's camp...
Ay-he... Made out I was crazy...
(he giggles foolishly)
Ate dirt... chewed grass... I fooled
'em, Ethan!... an' I got away...
Scar! Where's he holed in?
Seven Fingers... ay-he... Seven...
He staggers and this time Mrs. Jorgensen won't be denied.
Now that's enough! Here... by the
fire... What you need's a good bowl
She leads him away, at last to his rocker by the fire.
During this, Ethan and Clayton have been mulling Mose's
That's what he told us... but there's
no such place on the maps.
Wait a minute! Isn't that the Caddo
name for where all those canyons
branch on the Malapai?
(from his rocker)
Caddo or Kiowa... ay-he... ay-eh...
Sam Clayton wheels on the Lieutenant.
You tell your pa a company of Rangers --
all fourteen of 'em -- fully armed
an' equipped will be in the field by
daylight... headin' for the south
end of the Malapai. If he can catch
up with us, well an' good...
But... but captain, we can't possibly
take the field tomorrow... for your
Sonny, yonder's a passel of murderers,
complete with Texican scalps an'
white girl captive... You want to
protect us, you just get out of our
way... Now skedaddle!
The lieutenant skedaddles. Sam whirls on Martin and Ethan.
Ethan, you an' Martin are hereby
appointed civilian scouts -- without
pay... Charlie, hightail it to
headquarters an' spread the word...
He leaves. Martin's hands go to his side -- recalling where
he left his guns.
He heads for the inner door to the grandmother room.
INT. THE GRANDMOTHER ROOM - FULL SHOT
as Martin enters and crosses to where he had dropped his
gunbelt. Even before he reaches it, Laurie is in the room --
closing the door after her.
Martie... don't go! Not this time.
It's too late... She's a woman grown
I got to fetch her home...
Fetch what home?... The leavin's of
Comanche bucks -- sold time an' again
to the highest bidder?... With savage
brats of her own, most like?...
Laurie! Shut your mouth!
Do you know what Ethan will do if he
has a chance?... He'll put a bullet
in her brain! And I tell you Martha
would want him to!
Only if I'm dead!
He strides out past her.
INT. THE KEEPING ROOM - FULL SHOT
as Martin re-enters. Ethan and Sam are waiting. Martin looks
hard at Ethan.
(eyes never leaving
As they stride out,
INT. JORGENSEN HOUSE - GRANDMOTHER ROOM - CLOSE SHOT -
LAURIE - NIGHT
as she stands at the window, in her bridal gown, and sadly
watches Martin again going away. Softly the score reprises --
sadly now -- "Skip to My Lou."
EXT. MESA COUNTRY - LONG SHOT - THE RANGERS - DAWN LIGHT
A file of eighteen men and horses -- Rangers -- is walking
under the shoulder of a mesa, keeping well below the skyline.
FULL SHOT - THE FILE OF RANGERS - DAWN LIGHT
They pass CAMERA one by one -- Sam Clayton in the lead, Martin
behind him leading two horses, then the others -- grim-
looking, capable men of varying ages; some with long drooping
mustaches, some in need of shaves, some chawing tobacco.
CLOSE SHOT - ETHAN - AT RIM OF A MESA - DAWN LIGHT
He is lying prone, his hat off, squinting down into a long
reach of desert canyon at the Comanche encampment -- with
tepees set up, a thin wisp of smoke rising from a fire, the
horse herd penned in a draw cut off by an improvised corral
of rawhide ropes.
EXT. THE COMANCHE ENCAMPMENT - WIDE ANGLE SHOT - DAWN LIGHT
The camp is sleeping. A dog yaps shrilly. One of the tepee
flaps opens and Scar steps out. He picks up a stone or a
chunk of wood and throws it. The dog yelps and runs off.
Scar's air is troubled, suspicious. He heads for the horse
herd. The camp sleeps on.
CLOSE SHOT - ETHAN - AT RIM OF A MESA - DAWN LIGHT
His face betrays a bitter inner satisfaction. He looks back
along the trail as faintly we hear the approach of the Ranger
company. Then he squirms back, retrieving his hat.
FULL SHOT - HEAD OF RANGER COLUMN - DAWN LIGHT
Sam, seeing Ethan in the near distance, raises his hand in a
signal for halt and waits. Ethan scrambles down the trail to
join him. He takes the reins of his horse from Martin.
We can get within 500 yards... there's
a hogback to the south.
How many, would you say?
Enough to go around... I'd say about
a dozen apiece... Mount 'em up!
He moves as though to mount, but Martin steps forward.
Wait! We go chargin' in, they'll
kill her... and you know it.
It's what I'm countin' on.
Sam stares at him, but Martin isn't surprised.
I know you are... Only it ain't goin'
to be that way... she's alive...
Livin' with Comanches ain't bein'
She's alive... Better she's alive
and livin' with Comanches than her
brains bashed out...
Now son, it's a bitter thing to say,
but there's more than your sister at
There sure is! I'm going to tell you
somethin'... I wasn't going to speak
of it... But I'll tell you now. Did
you notice them scalps strung on
Did you see the third scalp from the
point of the lance? Long... wavy
I saw it... And don't try to tell me
it was Aunt Martha's or Lucy's...
You don't remember it, but I remember.
That was your mother's scalp!
Martin stares, quick disbelief in his eyes. But Ethan's eyes
hold his and there is no doubting the truth in them.
I didn't want to tell you... but
maybe it's your right to know.
Now mount up, son...
Sam puts his hand on Martin's elbow -- as though to turn him
to his duty. But Martin jerks the arm away.
It don't change it... All I'm askin'
is a chance to sneak in there... an'
try to get her out before you come
What if you're caught?
It won't tell 'em anything, will it!
Just a man alone...
I say NO!
Go ahead, son... But at the first
alarm, we're comin' in -- and we
ain't goin' to have time to pick and
choose our targets when we do...
Ethan looks long and hard at Martin, then reaches into his
shirt for the folded, dirty, dog-eared paper that was his
will. Slowly he tears it into shreds.
It's your funeral...
Martin squats and starts pulling off his boots. He glances
up as Charlie MacCorry comes over, an Indian blanket in his
hands. He tosses it onto Martin's shoulder.
Here... you fight like a Comanch...
Maybe this'll help ya pass as one.
Then he grins and extends his hand. Martin takes it -- and
they shake as Charlie pulls him to his feet. Martin drops
his hat, and then -- at a crouching run -- he heads for the
distant Comanche camp.
FULL SHOT - FROM BEHIND CLAYTON AND ETHAN, TOWARD MARTIN
as he runs downslope under the shelter of the hogback toward
the unseen camp. Clayton waves an arm at his men and starts
leading out -- in a somewhat different direction.
FULL SHOT - THE RANGERS, FAVORING CLAYTON AND ETHAN
They are leading their horses down the slope, still under
the lee of the butte, when two riders are seen approaching
at a fast gallop -- Lt. Greenhill and his courier. (The latter
is a bugler).
(calling -- still
Captain Clayton... Captain!
Sam whips off his hat and makes frantic signals to Greenhill
to shut up. Greenhill pulls to a canter, puzzled, and rides
Go on! Whyn't you have your bugler
sound the charge while you're at
Never mind... Your pa know you're
Yes, sir... Troop's about ten miles
back... The Colonel sent me looking
Well you found me... Good work, son...
He starts away. Greenhill follows.
If there's anything I can do, sir...
(under his breath)
God forbid... No, son, you flog on
back and tell your pa where we're
at... and where he's at...
But he knows THAT, sir... Can't I
All right... But keep your eye on
me, boy... I'm the hard case you're
up against here -- not these childish
savages... If you don't hear me first
time I holler, you better read my
mind... I don't aim to raise no two
hollers on any subject at hand...
He whips out his sabre -- to the imminent peril of Captain
Sam who quickly shifts out of the way.
Watch that knife, boy!
Then Sam continues away and the Rangers after him.
EXT. OUTSKIRTS OF COMANCHE CAMP - FULL SHOT - DAWN LIGHT
Martin runs from behind CAMERA and dodges behind a rock. The
camp is still asleep, very quiet. Martin runs out from behind
the rock and makes another short dash toward the camp,
dropping behind a pile of blankets or other impedimenta. A
dog runs out of one of the tepees, begins barking.
EXT. THE HORSE HERD - MED. CLOSE SHOT - SCAR
He stands with another Comanche -- inspecting the horse lines.
In the near distance the dog's barking is heard -- shrill,
insistent. Scar, almost like an animal, sniffs the air
suspiciously. The other Comanche laughs.
Scar isn't satisfied but returns to his work.
EXT. THE COMANCHE CAMP - ANGLE FAVORING SCAR'S TEPEE PAST
He is staring at it -- remembering it from certain distinct
decorations. The lower part of the tepee is rolled up, for
better air circulation. Martin wraps Charlie's blanket around
him and begins walking to the tepee.
EXT. THE LEE OF THE HOGBACK OR RISE - FULL SHOT - THE
The line is drawn up, dismounted, the men checking their
sidearms, tightening cinches, etc. Sam moves briskly along
the line of men, then mounts his horse.
The State of Texas is payin' you
boys $12 a month. Here's your chance
to earn it... Now I don't want any
foolin' around after scalps. We ain't
got the time... Yankee cavalry's on
its way here to set those Comanches
free... We gotta beat 'em to it --
our way... Now mount an' guide center
on young Greenhill here. Son, you
just follow me... And WATCH THAT
The last comes as Greenhill tries to mount, simultaneously
flailing out his sabre perilously close to Clayton.
EXT. SCAR'S TEPEE - MED. CLOSE SHOT - MARTIN
Martin has gained the tepee, takes one quick look around,
then strides in.
INT. SCAR'S TEPEE
as Martin enters. One robe, tossed back, shows where Scar
has slept. Against one wall lie the huddled figures of two
squaws. Two other figures -- one being Debbie's -- sleep in
robes. Martin's eyes go to Scar's place and then rove slowly
and hold on:
INT. TEPEE - MED. CLOSE SHOT - DEBBIE
She moves slightly so that the light strikes her fair hair.
Martin kneels close to her and gently touches her shoulder,
to awaken her. Her eyes open, then widen in fear. Martin
quickly claps a hand over his mouth.
Silently she fights him, trying to pull the hand away.
(a hoarse whisper)
And then her fingernails rake his hand. He winces and lets
go. She screams and tries to leap up. He grabs her. The other
squaws wake -- begin squawking.
I'm takin' you whether you want to
Debbie sees something beyond him. Her eyes widen.
INT. TEPEE - SHOOTING FROM EXTREME LOW ANGLE, AS FROM HER
P.O.V. - SCAR
He looms in the flap of the tepee much as he had over the
grave when he first kidnapped her. He has a scalping knife
in his hand. Scar whips his arm back. Behind him we see the
other Comanche -- the one from the horse herd.
INT. TEPEE - FULL SHOT
Martin spins and his gun is out. He fans the trigger hammer
twice -- and both slugs hit Scar. As the other Comanche leaps
in, Martin's gun speaks again. And then he is on his feet,
catching Debbie by the arm -- unresisting now -- and pulling
her after him through the camp. Shouts and cries bespeak the
awakening of the camp.
EXT. THE HOGBACK - FULL SHOT - THE RANGER GROUP
They are mounted and in line. The echo of a shot comes
bouncing back. Clayton is facing the men. He solemnly doffs
his hat and bows his head.
For these Thy gifts which we are
about to receive...
(donning his hat, he
turns to the bugler)
Sound that horn, son, and Leave Us
Go Amongst Them...YA-HEE!
And shouting the rebel yell, he leads the charge. The yell
is picked up by every man and the bugler sounds the charge
as though he had a regiment at his back. Lt. Greenhill -- a
West Point beau sabreur in strange company -- has his sabre
at the "charge."
FULL MOVING SHOT - ON THE CHARGE
In the swamp of men and horses, we just have time to notice
that Sam is darting a somewhat worried look at Greenhill's
saber ominously close to his back. The charge is sounding,
the hooves are drumming and the men are yelling the way they
did when they rode with Bedford Forrest -- reins in their
teeth, guns in their fists.
EXT. THE ENCAMPMENT - FULL SHOT - AS THE RANGERS HIT
Comanches are running from the tepees, trying to reach their
horse herd as the file of Rangers knifes in. The bark of
hand guns is a steady sound now -- and the Comanches have
never been up against such marksmen. One charging Ranger
rides down a tepee. Another, with two guns drawn, scores a
running double on two Indians racing toward him from opposite
sides of his fast-running horse. A dodging Comanche screams
as a barrel-chested roan hits him broadside and sends him
sprawling into the embers of the campfire.
EXT. SCAR'S TEPEE - FULL SHOT - ETHAN
He yanks his horse back to its haunches, firing at a Comanche
crouched near the tepee. The charge races past him. Ethan
swings off and runs to the tepee flap, whips it open and
glares. A squaw comes running out at him, knife upraised,
but he knocks her sprawling with a full arm sweep. He turns
and his face is a mask of frustration -- and then he freezes,
seeing what he has been looking for:
EXT. THE INDIAN ENCAMPMENT - LONG SHOT - ETHAN'S P.O.V.
Martin is running with Debbie, trying to pull her along,
while she kicks and claws and tries to break free. (They are
about thirty yards from the camp proper.) Riderless horses
are milling, circling. O.s. we can hear the firing, the yells.
EXT. SCAR'S TEPEE - FULL SHOT
Ethan remounts and heads around the side of Scar's tepee.
In the distance we see Martin and Debbie. The Rangers,
regrouping, are charging back through the camp, driving the
Comanche horse herd.
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - MED. CLOSE SHOT - MARTIN AND DEBBIE
Martin hears Ethan's horse riding down at them; he turns,
and Debbie pulls free and starts to run away.
No, Ethan! NO!
He goes running into the path of Ethan's horse.
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - MOVING SHOT - ETHAN
as Martin runs and grabs hold of his stirrup, trying to fight
the horse to a stop. Ethan swings on him -- once, twice --
and Martin is knocked sprawling. Ethan rides on, relentlessly.
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - FULL SHOT - DEBBIE AND ETHAN
She is running and dodging, trying to escape the horseman.
Ethan has his gun drawn. She ducks to one side and the horse
goes past. Both figures are almost obscured in the dust.
Ethan spins his mount and charges after her. She runs and
then falls -- and he is off his horse and striding toward
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - ETHAN AND DEBBIE
Ethan is at the left of CAMERA and slightly closer to the
foreground, with Debbie at the right, supine on the ground
and the dust swirling around her. Ethan draws and raises his
gun. The hammer goes back.
I'm sorry, girl... Shut your eyes...
The dust clears. The CAMERA MOVES slightly forward along the
gun arm and HOLDS on Debbie's face -- the eyes gazing
fearlessly, innocently into Ethan's. We HOLD for a long moment
and then the gun lowers. Ethan slowly holsters it and walks
over to her.
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - CLOSE SHOT - ETHAN
He looks down at her.
You sure favor your mother...
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - MED. CLOSE SHOT - THE TWO
He extends his hand to her. She takes it and he helps her to
her feet. And then she is against his chest and his arm goes
protectingly about her. They are standing that way when Martin
stumbles up -- and stares.
EXT. COMANCHE CAMP - WIDE ANGLE - DAY
The line of Rangers is afoot now, each man near his horse,
each man with rifle out, pumping shot after shot at the
fleeting remnant of Comanches riding down the long valley
with their scattered horse herd milling and criss-crossing
in mid-ground... And then as the firing slackens, from afar
we can hear the blare of a cavalry bugle sounding the charge:
sign of the approach of Greenhill's troop.
EXT. THE INDIAN ENCAMPMENT - FULL SHOT - FAVORING CLAYTON
It is perhaps half an hour later. Clayton is very grim of
face and occasionally wincing. His trousers are down over
his ankles, his shirt-tails flapping over his long-handled
red underwear. Behind him Charlie MacCorry is kneeling,
applying some crude first aid to Sam's rump. Beyond them
some of the Rangers are readying for the move-out. Sam looks
up angrily as COLONEL GREENHILL, a guidon bearer, and bugler
ride in. Greenhill is a choleric man.
Clayton, if you were in my command
I'd have you courtmartialed for this!
(angrily, to MacCorry)
Hurry it up!
What's the matter, sir... You wounded?
What is it, Sergeant -- a bullet or
Charlie just gapes, but Clayton -- grim-lipped -- bends a
meaningful glare on someone off. Greenhill looks that way.
EXT. THE INDIAN ENCAMPMENT - CLOSE SHOT - LT. GREENHILL
He is standing with his sabre at salute -- looking as
miserable as any shavetail would look when in disgrace. It
could be that the end of the sabre has a pronounced bend.
EXT. THE INDIAN ENCAMPMENT - FULL SHOT - THE GROUP
Sam suddenly slaps MacCorry's hand away and grabs for his
pants and pulls them up -- and around a tepee come three
figures -- Ethan, Debbie, and Martin -- with Ethan holding
Debbie's hand. And Sam's face is split by a grin as he tucks
his shirt-tails in and goes to meet them.
EXT. THE JORGENSEN HOUSE - CLOSE SHOT - MOSE HARPER -
He is in a rocker on the porch. Suddenly he stares out and
stops rocking. Faint in the distance, but coming closer, the
clop-clop of two horses, moving at a walk. A moment later
Jorgensen emerges and comes to stand beside Mose, shading
his eyes and squinting against the sun, still not recognizing
the distant horsemen. He is joined by Mrs. Jorgensen. And
then Laurie comes out and she too stares, frowning at first,
then with dawning realization.
Lars and Mrs. Jorgensen also begin to guess... to suspect...
and then to know. And Laurie starts to run.
CLOSE SHOT - MOVING WITH LAURIE
The CAMERA MOVES ahead of her as she runs blindly over the
hard-packed ground, running as hard as she can toward the
still unseen but nearing horsemen.
FULL SHOT - THE GROUP
Ethan has Debbie on the pommel of his saddle, his arm
supporting her, and she is asleep. Martin is riding beside
them. Laurie comes running up to stare at Ethan and at the
girl. He smiles and puts a finger to his lips -- cautioning
her against waking Debbie -- and then he rides by. Laurie
looks then at Martin. He doesn't know whether to smile or
not; he just waits. And then she is beside him and she steps
onto his stirruped foot and vaults up beside him, and she
kisses him just as she had on the day he left the graves to
take up the search. And still holding her beside him, he
rides slowly after Ethan and Debbie toward the house.
Writers : Frank Nugent
Genres : Drama Western