"Three Kings (Spoils of War)", unproduced draft, by John Ridley
SPOILS OF WAR
WRITER'S FIRST DRAFT
JULY 26th, 1995
OVER BLACK WE SEE OPENING CREDITS
President Bush in the Oval Office delivering an address to
the American people.
...This act of naked aggression must be
checked. The United States, along with
coalition forces from the Middle East,
have drawn a line in the sand. There is
only one way for this situation to be
satisfactorily resolved. The belligerent
forces from the Republic of Iraq must be
removed from Kuwait, be it by choice, or
EXT. DESERT - DAY
From a distance we see a Humvee sitting alone in the middle
of a huge, empty desert. Just the Humvee, nothing else for
miles. We hear the sound of a man making machine gun-like
CU - HUMVEE
There are three soldiers at the Humvee. Second Lieutenant
JOHN EPPS, who sweeps the horizon with a
pair of binoculars. PFC WES HAMMOND, who is behind the wheel
looking very bored, and PFC MARK JAEGER, who is at the
Humvee's thirty caliber machine gun, making the noises and
shooting at phantom troops. When Jaeger talks it's with all
the swagger of a B-movie hero.
What are you doing?
What does it look like I'm doing? I'm
killing Iraqis. At-at-at-at-at. At-at-
Could you stop, please. You're giving me
Yeah, a headache. My head hurts. You're
making me uncomfortable.
I'm making you uncomfortable. Baking
away in a desert in the middle of nowhere
facing three-hundred-thousand screaming
Iraqis with nerve gas scud missiles, that
doesn't bother you. But me making a
little noise is driving you out of your
Yes. Yes. That's exactly it. Yes.
Jaeger goes right back to playing soldier.
Knock it off!
Don't get pissed at me, just 'cause I
want to be ready when this war starts.
Ready for what? What are you supposed to
I told you, I'm shooting Iraqis.
No you're not.
Epps points in the opposite direction that Jaeger was
The Iraqis are that way. Those are our
troops you're shooting at.
With his binoculars Epps looks in the direction Jaeger was
You know what? I think you got
Schwarzkopf. You did! You got the
General right in the ass. Now that's
Another month in this desert and I might
Think we're going to do it? Think we're
going to war?
Not up to us. Up to the Iraqis. All
they have to do is get out of Kuwait.
We ought to kick their asses anyway.
Even if they do get out of Kuwait we
ought to kick their asses.
I don't think we'll go to war. We
shouldn't even be here. This isn't our
fight, it's a regional conflict. It
should be decided regionally.
People are suffering.
People were suffering in Afganistan, and
we didn't do anything.
That's 'cause the Afganis weren't smart
enough to be sitting on top of oil.
People suffering is one thing, but when
the Yuppies aren't going to have enough
gas for their BMWs it's time to break out
the tanks. Come on. Pack up. We've got
a whole lot of nothing to patrol.
As they pack up and get ready to roll on Jaeger says almost
We ought to kick their asses. Either way
we ought to.
EXT. STREET BAZAAR - EVENING
The bazaar is loud and colorful, a cacophony of Arabic fills
the air. The bazaar is filled with vendors actively selling
their wares to each passerby, literally shoving them in the
faces of prospective customers.
Epps, Wes and Jaeger walk along side by side looking almost
like the Three Musketeers, except that Wes is droning on.
...And it's very important when you sit
down never to point the soles of your
shoes at anyone. It's considered
You know so much about the Middle East,
you know where we can get something to
When do you ever point the soles of your
feet at people?
I'm saying don't do it accidently.
Oh yeah. Accidently.
Jaeger lifts his leg and purposefully points the bottom of
his foot at a vendor.
I'm sorry. My foot accidently jumped up
in the air where you could see the bottom
of it. I hate it when that happens.
(Wes slaps Jaeger's leg down.)
Come on. You're going to get us in
It was an accident. You saw it was an
I'm just trying to help you guys out. It
doesn't hurt to know something about
Like learning Arabic? You're gonna learn
Arabic you might as well learn were we
can get something to eat around here.
I didn't learn Arabic because we were
getting shipped here. You don't learn it
in a couple of weeks. I studied it in
Spanish wasn't hard enough?
I thought it would be good to know.
Yeah, if you ever need to buy a rug.
Hey, Jaeger. Why don't you try this:
Ashra Ka mahari dahra sahib.
What does that mean?
Don't shoot me, I'm friendly. You can
use that when you surrender.
How do you say "Come here, baby. I'm
horny." I can use that now.
Don't even try it. You offend a woman
out here you're in serious trouble.
Don't worry about Jaeger. He uses his
personality as a form of birth control.
Blow me. Have I said that to you guys
recently? Blow me.
As Epps and Wes walk on Jaeger notices something on a
VENDOR'S table. It is a small, square box - slightly larger
than a man's palm - fashioned of wood and metal. It is not
particularly ornate, but eye catching in its own way. The
instant Jaeger picks it up and begins to look it over the
Vendor is giving him the hard sell in Arabic. Jaeger holds
the box up to the vendor.
What is this?
All he gets is more Arabic. Jaeger calls over to Wes.
Hey, Wes. Wes!
Wes comes back over to Jaeger.
What is this?
Now you need me.
What is it? You know so much about
Arabland tell me what it is.
Wes looks over the box carefully.
Well, based on my knowledge of the
region, its culture and her people I
would have to say it's a box.
Can you eat it? If you can't eat it I
really don't care what it is.
Ask him what it is.
Wes says something to the vendor in Arabic. The Vendor
He says it's a box.
Yeah, you're funny.
It's a puzzle box. If you can figure out
how to open it there's supposed to be a
For real? A treasure?
Oh, man, you're not going to fall for
There might be something in there.
Yeah, the deed to the Brooklyn bridge.
There might be.
And you're the guy who's going to open
You could turn on a light if someone put
your hand on the switch.
Decisively, without even haggling about price, Jaeger whips
out some money and pays the vendor for the box.
Well, that showed me. Now, can we eat?
The three men walk on, Jaeger starting to work on the puzzle box.
INT. BARRACKS - NIGHT
It's filled with young soldiers messing around, playing
cards, listening to music, whatever. Jaeger lays on a bunk
holding the puzzle box, probing it with his fingers, trying
to find a way to make it open.
Wes crosses over.
You get it yet?
You will. You'll get it.
I'll show Epps. He'll be sorry when I
get this thing open.
You really think there's a treasure
I don't care if there's a lump of coal in
here. I just want to be able to rub
Epps' face in it when I crack this thing.
Wes watches Jaeger work the box for a beat.
You know the fifteenth is the deadline
for the Iraqis to get out of Kuwait.
That's in two days.
Like I said; so?
They're cancelling all leaves, all
passes. No more drills. We stand at
full ready starting--
What's your point, Wes? You have a
We're going to war, aren't we. If
they're doing all that it must mean we're
going to war.
It doesn't mean anything.
Why would they do all that if we weren't?
Jaeger, frustrated, finally looks up from his box.
Okay, so we're going to war. We're
supposed to go to war. We're soldiers,
that's what we do. The guns, the tanks,
the planes; you're just now getting the
hint we're in the war business?
Jaeger goes back to his box. Wes stands over him for a beat
(For sure aggravated)
You ever think about dying?
Come on, man. I almost had this thing open.
You ever think about it? You ever worry?
The only thing I worry about is how much
Iraqi ass I'm going to be able to kick
before this whole thing is over. The
only people who I've got anything to worry
about are the poor, dumb camel jockeys
who don't know enough to get out of the
way when I come rolling at them; an M-16
in each hand, and a grenade between my
teeth. Now if you'll excuse me, soldier,
I'd like to get back to my box. I've got
a treasure to find.
Wes lingers over Jaeger for a few more beats, then walks off as we:
President Bush in the Oval office addressing the Nation.
Just two hours ago, Allied air forces
began an attack on military targets in
Iraq and Kuwait. These attacks continue
as I speak...Our objectives are clear.
Saddam Hussein's forces will leave
Kuwait. The legitimate government of
Kuwait will be restored to its rightful
place, and Kuwait will once again be
EXT. DESERT - DAY
From a distance we see a Humvee sitting alone in the middle
of a huge, empty desert. Just the Humvee, nothing else for
miles. We hear the sound of a man making machine gun-like
CU - HUMVEE
It's like the opening scene all over again. Jaeger is at the
machine gun, Epps sweeps the horizon with his binoculars, and
Wes is behind the wheel. Only difference is that Wes watches
CNN footage of the air war on a Watchman.
(Re: His TV)
This is so weird. It's happening, but
it's not. It's like a TV show, and we're
part of it.
Will you knock it off! Damn, man.
You're going to annoy the Iraqis into
Jaeger gets down from the machine gun, pulls out his puzzle
box and starts to work on it again.
This is stupid. It's going on a month
now. How long are they going to let the
Air Force piss on those bastards? They
can bomb them all they want, Saddam ain't
going anywhere without a ground assault.
What the hell is the army waiting for?
Why you in such a hurry to get to
I've got to have something to tell people
when I get home besides I protected a
stretch of dirt that nobody wanted for
nothing in the first place.
The longer the air force hits the Iraqis,
the safer it'II be for us when we have to
You know what, Wes? If you get a note
from your mommy they might excuse you
from the war.
You all want to lay off? God. I hope
the Iraqis shoot me; put me out of my
OH MY GOD!
Startled, Epps and Wes each pull their guns and spin in
Jaeger's direction expecting to have to fire at something.
I did it! I got the box open.
Jaeger has indeed opened the box. We can see something
inside of it.
You almost got yourself shot, that's
what you did.
Wes excitedly goes over to Jaeger.
Jaeger pulls out a small tube sealed with wax.
It's...it's...I don't know what it is.
It's a container. Break the seal.
Jaeger hesitates a beat, which heightens a bit of suspense.
All three men can't help but be drawn closer to the container.
Go on, man.
Jaeger pokes his finger through the wax and pulls it off the
tube. He sticks his finger back into the container and draws
out a rolled up piece of paper.
It's a fortune box.
Jaeger unrolls it.
What's it say?
Help, I'm being held prisoner in a puzzle
We see the paper. Lines are drawn on it, large, crude
figures. It's hard to make out exactly what it all is
supposed to represent.
It's a drawing, or something. Some kind
Epps takes the paper from Jaeger and gives it a once over.
Looks like something a kid would do.
Wes takes the paper and looks it over.
It's a map, I think that's what it is.
There you go, Jaeger. Just find the
buried treasure, and you're a
Jaeger takes back the paper. All excited like a kid on
Yeah, that's exactly what I think. You
and the five thousand other suckers who
bought those boxes. Let's get out of
here. We got sand to protect.
Epps and Wes load up and get ready to move out. Jaeger just
keeps staring at the map, eyes lit like candles.
INT. INTELLIGENCE ROOM - LATER
The room is filled with maps, recon photos, HUMINT reports.
They're posted on the walls with various levels of troop
strength - allied and Iraqi - indicated. More data is
constantly flowing in, analyzed and processed.
Jaeger enters, spots WOODS - a young soldier on intel detail
- and crosses over to him.
Hey, Jaeger. What's up.
I'm looking for a favor. I need a map of
A map? All I got is maps. I'm gonna
have Delayed Map Syndrome when I finally
get out of here. What kind of map you
need? Topographical, geographical,
I don't know. A map map.
A map map.
Woods pulls out a map and hands it to Jaeger.
That shouldn't be too hard to read. Iraq
is the pink thing.
I could use some recon photos too.
Woods gives Jaeger a sideways glance.
Planning on going to war all by your lonesome?
Just...want to be ready when we do.
Ready for what? Sight-seeing?
Woods starts to dig for photos.
Some good ones.
They're all good ones. Satellites we've
got can snap a shot of the boil on
Saddam's got a boil on his ass?
Woods looks up at Jaeger with an expression that says:
I don't know.
Woods goes back to looking, pulls some photos and hands them
Thanks, man. Appreciate it.
Staring at the pictures like they held the secrets of the
ages Jaeger starts to exit. Woods mumbles after him:
Yeah. You figure out how to win the war
be sure to let us know.
INT. BARRACKS - LATER
Maps and photos cover Jaeger's bunk the way autumn leaves
cover the ground. He swings between studying the maps, and
reading from a book titled A History Of The Ottoman Empire.
Jaeger puts the book down, then slides the drawing from the
puzzle box up next to one of the recon photos. He looks at
the mosaic he's put together, looks at it like it was having
a dialogue with him. Dig it: It is talking. A voice only
Jaeger can hear. Right now it's just a little whisper, but
the voice is getting louder.
A crossing SOLDIER, carrying a football, calls to Jaeger.
Come on, Jaeger. We're playing ball.
Jaeger fairly jumps as he comes out of his trance.
No that's okay. I'm gonna...I'm doing some...
The soldier crosses off. Jaeger goes back to staring at his
maps, and photos and drawings and books. "What were you
As it all keeps talking to him we:
Once again President Bush delivers an address.
This evening, as I report to you, the
military operation known as Desert Storm
enters its final phase. The coalition
forces that face the tyranny of Saddam
Hussein have launched an all out ground
offensive...as this last, and most
critical part of the campaign begins I
ask for your prayers that God may bless
each and every one of the coalition
forces at our side in the Gulf, and that
He may continue to bless our nation, the
United States of America.
EXT. DESSERT - DAY
From a distance we see a Humvee sitting alone in the middle
of a huge, empty desert. Just the Humvee, nothing else for
miles. We hear the sound of a man making machine gun-like
CU - HUMVEE
It's our three boys again, just like we've seen them before:
Jaeger at the machine gun, Epps working his binoculars, and
Wes at the wheel watching his Watchman.
Jaeger jumps down from the machine gun pissed as all hell.
They finally start the ground war, and
where are we? Same place we've been
since we got here. Securing freedom for
Everybody's got a job to do. Figure it
this way: At least you get to go home
I'd like to go home alive with a couple
of Iraqi scalps hanging from my belt.
Hey, look at this!
Jaeger and Epps come around to Wes' Watchman. We see CNN
footage of some Iraqi soldiers - looking very tired, hungry
and scared - surrendering to a CNN news crew.
They're surrendering to a news crew. You
Jaeger tosses his hands in the air in defeat.
That's it. It's over. Eighteen hours
into the war and it's over.
Those soldiers have got loafers on. What
kind of army gives their soldiers loafers?
A casual one.
Damn, this is sweet. We are going to be
home in no time.
Better grab up some sand to take home to
Jaeger bites at his lip. He wants to say something, but
isn't quite sure how, if he should, if... Fuck that, Jaeger.
Just say it.
We...we could go home with something
With...with millions. Millions of
What are you talking about?
Jaeger pulls out the drawing from the puzzle box.
Don't even. You're not going to show me
that tired map.
Jaeger starts to tear at his pockets like he's trying to get
at a bee. He pulls out his other maps, recon photos... The
guy's a walking atlas.
Epps looks on in shock at the spectacle.
I think you've got some issues to deal
with. Really, when we get out of here
I'm pretty sure it's shrink time for you.
Just listen to me! I've been doing some
reading. In the Sixteenth century this
region was invaded by the Turks. It
became part of the Ottoman empire. When
the Turks rolled in they raped, they
pillaged, the usual stuff. Anybody who
had anything wanted to hide it from these
bastards. They buried their treasures,
drew maps, and hid the maps in puzzle
boxes. I read about this, man. I read
Wellllll, if you read it it must be true.
Was it in the Star, or the Enquirer?
Christ! Wes, tell him. You know this
The Turks invaded, yeah. I guess people
would have hidden what they had. But
that doesn't mean what was in that box
Jager holds up the puzzle box drawing to one of the maps.
Looks at this! Look at it! The drawing
is a map of this area right here. You
can see it. The geography, the
landmarks. It's the same area.
Epps grabs the map from Jaeger.
And you know what that area is? It's
Iraq. IRAQ! We're doing a little thing
with them right now; Desert Storm. Maybe
you've read about it.
What we're doing is kicking ass. For
God's sake they got Iraqis surrendering
to news crews. The war is over. We've
just got to keep shooting people 'cause
the army spent all this money, and we've
got to put on a show for the taxpayers.
You're not saying what I think you're
saying. I can't believe you're even
It's right here. This region; an-Nagaf.
I got recon photos. There're no troops
there, no fighting--
You don't know where the Iraqis have
moved to. And our forces haven't even
engaged the Republican Guard yet, we
It's about a hundred miles from where we
are now. How long do you think it would
take us to--
It's not a hundred miles. It's a hundred
miles through three different kinds of
terrain: Pure desert, mountains, a
river. If the map is even real.
It's real. I'm telling you, it's real.
So you just want to cross into hostile
territory in the middle of a war on a
wild goose chase? It's crazy. Tell him
it's crazy, Epps.
Epps thinks. He doesn't say nuthin', just thinks. It's the
thinking that makes Wes nervous.
Epps, tell him.
Epps gets a little more thinking in. Wes sees which way this
You're out of your minds, you know that?
Both of you. You don't even know if
there's anything out there. What the
hell are you thinking?
I'm thinking about when this war is over.
Why you figure I'm here? 'Cause I got
tired of being president of GM? If a
brother doesn't play ball, or deal drugs
there aren't too many big money prospects
around, and I'm not particularly
interested in spending the rest of my
life fighting the oil companies' wars.
So I say if maybe there's something out
there, what the hell, that's what I say.
Wes can't believe what he's hearing. He pulls out the last
card he has to play.
Jaeger sweeps a hand across the great nothingness.
Deserting what? What the hell are we
Both Jaeger and Epps close on Wes for the hard sell.
It's war. People get lost all the time
in war, cut off--
We disappear for awhile. We disappear,
we came back; nobody knows nothing.
But we all got to be in for this. We all
go, or we do nothing.
Epps, you're smarter than this. Jaeger I
understand, but you're smarter.
You know it's real. You know it's real,
and you know it's there. You know it.
You're insane if you think you'll find
anything, and sure insane if you think
you can get us there and back alive.
If you say that, then I say you don't
know Second Lieutenant Epps very well, do
Wes buries his head in his hands. He squeezes at it hard
like he'd rather make his brains ooze out his ears than say
what he's going to say.
God! I don't believe I'm doing this. I
It's going to be cool, Wes. It's all all
We go, we get rich, we go home. It's
Jaeger and Epps start to pack up. To no one in particular,
and not too convincingly Wes mutters.
Yeah. That easy.
EXT. DESERT - LATER
To strains of Hendrix's Wait Until Tomorrow the Humvee cuts
across the desert kicking up plumes of loose sand. It looks
more a dune buggy out for a joy ride than a military vehicle.
I/E. HUMVEE - SIMULTANEOUS
Epps drives, Jaeger rides shotgun, relaxed, feet up on the
dash. Wes is in back with a "what the fuck did I get myself
into look on his face." The Hendrix comes from a Walkman
hooked up to a pair of small speakers. Basically these guys
are just kicking it. War? What war? Our boys are just on a
beer run. Maybe this wasn't such a bad idea after all.
Now this is war.
We're going to get court martialed, you
Hell, we'll just buy our way out.
Epps picks up a map and gives it a read. To Jaeger he says:
Hand me the navicom.
Jaeger hands Epps a piece of electronic hardware no bigger
than a video box. It's a navigational computer which can
pinpoint its location, by satellite, within meters.
Basically the ultimate compass. Epps compares the navicom's
readout with the map.
Hold on boys and girls...hold on...
Epps watches the navicom...watches it...
Yeah! Welcome to beautiful Iraq. Land
of enchantment and riches.
You're such a pussy, you know that?
How'd you get in the army?
Cool it, Jaeger. Hey, Wes? Wes?
I know you think this is crazy, but a
couple of hours from now you're going to
be one rich dude trying to buy up every
other puzzle box out there.
I'd settle for being alive. Really.
Alive would be fine.
Epps, is that a sand dune.
Why, yes, Jaeger. I believe it is.
No, please, not again.
Epps punches the accelerator and the Humvee jumps forward
like a horse out of the gate.
EXT. HUMVEE - SIMULTANEOUS
The Humvee hits the dune and takes to the air. As it arcs up
and over the desert we hear.
As gravity takes hold and brings the Hummer back to earth we:
EXT. HUMVEE - LATER
Epps is still taking it for a joy ride. Wes is still getting
Came on, I'm serious. Knock it off.
EXT. DESERT - LATER
The Hummer hits yet another dune and takes flight.
This isn't funny, all right? I mean it.
I/E. HUMVEE - SIMULTANEOUS
The occupants jostle as the Hummer touches down. Epps and
Jaeger laugh and high five. Wes is content just to go on
Hey, Wes, what kind of treasure you
figure these people buried?
If! If there's a treasure.
Yeah. If. Whatever. What kind you
figure it is?
I don't know. It would be small, easy to
transport and hide. Gold or jewels.
Yeah! Gold! How much?
How the hell should I know how much?
But that's the great thing about Gold. A
little goes a long way.
You know what I'm doing with my part of
If there's gold. If!
You know what I'm doing with my half?
Epps turns to Jaeger. There's just the slightest, slightest
hint of edge brushed across his tone.
Third. What you're going to do with your
Yeah. I meant... You know what I'm going
to do with it? I'm going to buy a Sixty-
three 'Vette Stingray. All tricked out
and cherry. I'm going to be so sweet.
A car? You're going to buy a car?
This is too much. You don't even have
the money and you're wasting it.
A car is not just a car where I come
from. I had this friend, had this wicked
candy apple red Sixty-four and a half
You're getting gold, and you're going to
blow it on wheels?
What are you going to do with your third?
Oh, that's fun.
It's not about being fun. It's about
being smart. You take that money, you
take care of it, let it grow, and you
don't ever have to do anything again.
Ever. That's freedom. That's what I'm
And I'm talking about enjoying myself.
You know, you sound just like a boy who's
Jaeger and Epps look out the front windshield. A plume of
sand rises up from the desert several hundred meters before
them. So engrossed in their discussion previously they
hadn't even noticed until Wes pointed it out.
Epps reaches over and kills the tape player. A loud quiet
comes with it. All three men just stare at the plume as it
drifts closer. Finally:
Take the binoculars.
Wh-what do you think--
TAKE THE GODDAMN BINOCULARS!
Jaeger scrambles up the binoculars, and stares off into the
distance. Epps and Wes wait...they wait...
Two vehicles. They're not supposed to be
They're not...I had the pictures.
They're not supposed to be here!
Shut up! Both of you shut the hell up!
We've got to do something. We've got to
We can see them, they can see us. We
run, they chase.
What are we going to do?
Epps thinks. Thinking's not good enough for Wes.
What are we going to do!?
We're going to keep driving.
They'll shoot us!
We run they'll shoot us anyway. If we
keep driving they might think we
friendlies; Iraqis. Or even if they know
we're Americans they might get scared,
think we're part of a detachment and keep
They're not going to--
It's the only way. We drive!
Epps is right. Jaeger and Wes know it. They shut up and
ride. Dig that tension: Wes sweating, Epps giving the wheel
a white knuckle grip. Jaeger reaches down and readies his M-
16. When he chambers it, it sounds like thunder cracking.
The plume draws closer and closer until it's not just a
plume, but two dots. Then it's two jeep-like vehicles. Next
we can even make out the passengers.
That doesn't do much to relax our boys.
Us, the Iraqis, we're almost on top of each other now. The
vehicles are going to pass within feet. Epps throws in one
Wave at them. Don't look, just wave.
All three throw up some weak, forced waves. THE VEHICLES
PASS. Look at that: The Iraqis are waving back. And that's
all they're doing, just waving.
Our boys break out into cheers.
I think I'm going to throw up. I am.
I'm going to toss.
You see that? Right by us. They went
right by. You had them Epps; you called
Figure they don't want to mess with us
anymore than we want to mess with them.
Look at you, not even breaking a sweat.
You're cool, boy. You're cool.
They all have a good laugh, but Wes brings that to a crashing
halt. Looking back at the Iraqis, in a voice dead with fear:
Oh, Jesus, they've stopped.
Epps and Jaeger look behind them.
They stopped, and they've turned around.
The two Iraqi vehicles have stopped, they've turned, and now
they're racing towards our boys. Epps momentarily freezes.
Jaeger helps him right out of it.
Go, go, go!
Epps punches it, and the Hummer takes off. The Iraqis are
right behind them.
The vehicles all do same hard driving: They twist and turn
like wild snakes over the loose sand; hit dunes, take
flight... It's the open desert, and our boys have nowhere to
Inside the Hummer it's a rough, rough ride. Our boys are
thrown violently about the cabin. For Epps controlling the
Hummer is about as easy as riding a wild horse.
The Iraqis turn things up a notch and start sending gunfire
our way. Bullets kick up around the Hummer like angry,
little bees with a hell of a sting. Epps yells at Jaeger.
Now it's Jaeger who's freezes. Epps returns the favor.
Jaeger climbs back to the Humvee's machine gun, works the
action and starts firing. Unlike before when he was playing,
the real thing is much wilder. The Humvee bounces around
like a cork in the ocean. Taking aim is nearly impossible.
The best Jaeger can do is squeeze off rounds in the Iraqis'
All Wes can do is cover his head, and stay down like a scared
Steady it out!
I steady it out, they blow us out of the
It's like a dog fight in the dirt. The vehicles weave,
cut... One of the Iraqis starts to cut across Jaeger's firing
line. Jaeger swings the machine gun around hard and lets
loose. A hail of bullets rips into the Iraqi vehicle just
above wheel level. It kicks the vehicle up and back,
whipping and twisting it horribly in the air time after time,
then smashing it back into the ground.
Jaeger is beside himself.
I got him! You see that, I nailed him!
As if in answer the remaining Iraqi vehicle's gunner tears
off a salvo that eats up the space right around Jaeger. He's
not hit, but it kicks him back down into the Humvee screaming
The boys are running out of options, and Epps knows it.
Wes, take the wheel.
No good. Wes is too scared to move. Epps reaches back and
literally pulls him up and over into the front.
With little finesse Wes takes the wheel as Epps slides over.
Epps takes up an M-16 with a grenade launcher. He loads it
up, and readies the weapon. Crawling to the back he takes
Keep it steady.
Wes does his best to give a level ride, but the Iraqi bullets
coming at them don't help much.
Epps zeroes in on the target. He takes aim and starts to
squeeze back on the trigger. He almost has a shot off when
Wes hits a dune rocking the Hummer violently. Epps loses the
Damn it! I said keep it steady.
Epps tries to take aim again. Careful aim. One shot is all
he gets. The bullets keep coming, but he's in no hurry.
Waiting...waiting... The Iraqis are only getting closer.
EPPS FIRES! The grenade rips from the launcher, riding a
trail of white smoke, and slams into the Iraqis. You know
the story: Huge explosion, car parts flying a hundred feet
into the air, bodies whipping through space, stuff Bob Dole
would hate. But maybe he would like it. They were just
Wes brings the Hummer to a halt. A spastic, scared, relieved
laugh escapes him. Jaeger, checking himself for wounds, and
Epps, M-16 still in hand, get out. Epps makes his way to the
wreckage, sweeping it with his rifle ready to blast any
survivors. Yeah, like somebody's walking away from that
Wes finally makes his way over to the others who stand and
stare at the burning hulk of whatever it was.
I thought we were dead.
Yeah, well, we're not.
We got to get out of here.
Nobody says anything. This really scares Wes.
We have to go back.
We're not going anywhere. Not 'til we
get what we came for.
We just about got killed. You know what
happened? We just about got killed, and
you want to go on?
Jaeger, go check out the Hummer for
Jaeger starts to cross back to the Hummer. Wes gives him
something to take with him.
You're crazy, you know that? You're
Jaeger goes leaving Epps and Wes all by their lonesome. Wes
turns to Epps.
You know that, right? You know he's
With a flip of his head Epps indicates the dead Iraqis.
They shouldn't have been here.
We shouldn't have been here, Epps. There
is a war going on!
This is miles from the battle lines.
They were probably deserters.
Deserters would have run, they wouldn't
They shouldn't have been out this way,
that's all I'm saying.
Wes starts to get it. It really doesn't matter what he has
We're not going back, are we?
Epps has got nothing to say to the truth. He turns and
starts to walk to the Hummer.
You bastard! You're trying to get us
Like a whip Epps snaps around. He grabs up Wes and pulls him
I'm trying to get us paid. I'm trying to
get us all paid! As long as there's a
chance something is out there we go on.
There's not going to be anymore trouble.
If there is, we go back, but there won't
Almost as an afterthought Epps realizes he's got Wes, and
lets him go. Gently he puts it:
You'll feel different after we find the
treasure. Money has away of making
people feel different.
Nobody's got anytbing to say to that, so they say nothing.
Epps heads back to the Hummer. A beat later Wes follows.
Jaeger is already behind the wheel. Epps rides shotgun this
time. Once again Wes is in back. To Jaeger, Epps ask:
Yeah. Yeah, she's fine.
Jaeger fires it up, and pulls out. As they head off we:
I/E. HUMVEE - LATER
The sun beats down violently as the Hummer rolls along.
Epps, Jaeger and Wes all ride along in an angry silence.
Jaeger starts to smile. He chuckles to himself. Epps,
looking for anything to break the tension smiles a bit
I'm just thinking, you know, if the rest
of the boys knew what we're doing. I
mean if they knew what we were coming
You can't tell anybody about this.
I know. I know. But I'm saying, if they
knew. We're going to be millionaires,
Epps joins in cackling like a Hyena.
It'd make their heads explode.
He turns back to Wes.
You know we're going to be rich. Admit
it. You know. Come on, admit it.
In spite of himself Wes gives a little smile.
Ahh, there it is. There it is. You know
Singing to Levert:
Money, money, money, money...MONEY.
Jaeger joins in.
Money, money, money, money...MONEY.
Epps starts to slow down.
What are you doing.
Low on gas. Got to refill.
A nervous look punches it way onto Jaeger's face. Epps
stops. He and Wes jump out of the Hummer and go around back
to the reserve tanks.
Jaeger stays in the vehicle looking all tense. After a beat
Epps screams for him.
Time to face the music. Jaeger hauls himself out of the
Hummer and goes around to Epps who's got a look on his face
like he's just had a spoonful of steaming shit. He points
angrily at one of the reserve tanks.
Look at it. LOOK AT IT! Shot to hell.
It's been leaking gas since the fire
fight. I told you to check for damage.
And you missed this? How are you going
to miss something like this?
I didn't miss it. I figured if you knew
one of the reserves got hit you'd want to
So, you just let us drive on knowing we
were losing fuel? Knowing we were going
to run low in the middle of nowhere?
...I figured...I figured you'd turn back.
Wes gets a slow boil on.
...You stupid son of a bitch.
Wes lunges for Jaeger, but doesn't have the speed or the
skills. Jaeger counters, and sinks a fist into Wes' jaw.
Wes goes down, but he manages to take Jaeger to the sand with
him. They start to scrape, but it's obvious Jaeger has got
the upper hand.
Epps reaches down and yanks Jaeger off of Wes.
Get off him.
Jaeger comes up to his feet. Wes wipes some blood from his
lips. He looks down at his bloodied hand, then sneers at
You two fighting's not going to get us
Him getting us stranded out here doesn't
do much good either.
We're not stranded. We've got enough gas
in the other reserve to get us back.
Then lets go back while we still can.
As soon as we hit the mountain we would
have had to go on foot anyway. We're not
that far. We can make it.
What do we do with the Humvee?
We leave it.
What if someone takes it?
Jaeger throws his arms wide to the empty desert.
Who? Who's going to take it. We mark
the location with the navicom, we can
come right back to this spot.
Wes has had enough.
You two don't even know how crazy you
are. You want to go on your sick, little
treasure hunt then go ahead, but mark me
You have to go with us, Wes.
Really? What is that, an order, private?
You have to go with us. You can't walk
Jaeger dangles the keys to the Humvee from a finger.
And you sure as hell aren't going to
Wes burns a hole through Jaeger's head with his eyes. Epps
steps to him.
Load what you can; water, tools, weapons.
Anything you think we might need.
Wes burns on a bit more, then turns and heads for the Hummer.
Jaeger watches him go, then smiles to himself.
Who's he kidding? He wants it as bad as
we do. We're going to be fat, Epps. As
soon as we get back to Saudivillie you
and me are going to--
Epps gets up in Jaeger's face. The menace he projects is
We're going to keep going 'cause I want
some of whatever's out there. But you
ever pull something like trying to get my
ass stranded out here again, and I'll
kill you myself. You got that?
Jaeger just stands there, his fear swelling.
I got that...sir.
Epps storms over towards the Hummer leaving Jaeger to be all
scared with himself.
EXT. DESERT - LATER
A long line of footprints works their way through the sand up
to Epps, Jaeger, and Wes. Epps and Wes trek side by side.
Jaeger is behind them, having trouble keeping up. Between
pants he gasps:
Hey...hey! Slow up. You don't have to
go so fast.
Faster we get there, faster we get back.
Yeah. I know. I'm with you.
Jaeger struggles on just a bit more, then:
I'm gonna...I'm just gonna stop for a
Don't drink up all of yours, 'cause you
aren't getting any of ours.
I'm just going to have a little sip,
that's all. Just a sip.
Jaeger lets himself drop down into the sand. He looks up.
Epps and Wes are still walking.
Wait for me!
You can catch up.
Yeah...I'm right behind you.
Wes looks back at Jaeger sitting on the ground sucking on his
Thanks for straightening out Jaeger.
Epps shrugs, like hitting Jaeger wasn't much of anything.
Maybe we are crazy for doing this. But
if we do it, we do it right. I just
needed to explain that in a way I
wouldn't have to do it again.
Not much chance of that. Jaeger's an
He's not so--
He's an idiot, and he's not nearly as
hard as he thinks.
How tough you have to be to make the
army? All you've got to do is shoot a
gun, and stop a bullet.
Again Epps looks behind him as Jaeger struggles to his feet
and stumbles after his two comrades.
Look at him. We ought to just leave him
Epps gives a little laugh like he's just heard a mildly
Like he said: People get lost in wars
all the time. And out here? Out here
there are eight million ways to die.
All this talk starts to creep out Epps a little.
Okay, so he was riding you. Get over it.
Wes smiles a little smile.
I'm just talking.
They walk on.
Jaeger works to catch up, muttering to himself as he goes.
Can't even slow up for me. Wasn't for me
they wouldn't even be here. I'm the one
that found the map. Should have just
come by myself. Should've. Shouldn't
even cut them in. Shouldn't.
As Jaeger steps down be hears an audible clicking sound come
from under his boot. He goes dead still. Panic races up and
down his spine. In almost a whisper be says:
Like he couldn't be more annoyed Epps turns around.
Epps isn't sure of what he's heard.
Mine. Land mine!
Epps doesn't say anything, he just keeps on staring. Scared,
angry they don't get it:
I stepped on a land mine!
Epps and Wes look at each other, then back to Jaeger. Like
he's got no time to mess around:
You didn't step on any mine.
I heard it click.
If you stepped on a mine you'd be dead by
now. Nobody uses delayed-fuse mines
I heard it.
Maybe it's just a can, or something.
Jaeger loses it.
JESUS CHRIST, I'M STANDING ON A MINE.
SHUT UP, AND GET OVER HERE!
Just plain sick of all this, Epps and Wes trudge back over to Jaeger.
Paranoid, that's your problem. You're
just paranoid. Why'd the paranoid one
have to find the map?
Epps pulls a knife from his belt. He sinks to the ground and
probes the sand under Jaeger's foot. Nothing...nothing...
WE HEAR THE SOUND OF METAL AGAINST METAL. Epps goes white.
For a second he doesn't move. Tension falls like a steel
curtain. Slow, careful, Epps withdraws the blade and stands.
Jaeger reads the expression on Epps' face.
Oh, God! Oh God!
Just be cool.
It's a mine, isn't it?
How'm I gonna relax standing on a mine!?
We're going to get off, all right. We'll
get you off of there. Just...be cool.
Epps goes to Wes. The two start to move away from Jaeger.
Where you going?
Me and Wes are just going to talk.
Why you got to move away to talk!?
We're going to be right over here.
You're moving away because it's going to
blow up, isn't it!? It's going to blow
I said be cool, all right? Now be cool!
Epps and Wes move over and huddle.
What kind of mine?
I don't know, and I wasn't about to mess
Should have blown already. Delayed fuse,
that's Vietnam stuff.
Maybe that's all the Iraqis could afford,
okay? Maybe they got it on discount.
Maybe the fuse is messed up. Or maybe
it's going to go off in two seconds, and
we won't have to worry about getting
Jaeger down off there, all we'll have to
worry about is finding the pieces.
Behind them, pathetically, Jaeger cries:
Doesn't matter. We're not going to be
able to get him off it anyway.
There's a way.
Can't do it. Can't do it, and keep him
Epps' eyes narrow. He doesn't want to hear this kind of
I said nobody dies. Nobody dies.
Epps, my leg is falling asleep.
Epps thinks, and thinks hard.
We've got rope?
Break it out.
Epps crosses back over to Jaeger.
My leg is falling asleep.
It's not falling asleep. You've only
been standing there for three minutes.
I'm the one who can feel my leg, and it's
It falls asleep and you die, so wake it
the hell up.
Wes crosses over with climbing rope. Very, very gently Epps
wraps the middle of the rope around Jaeger's waist leaving
several feet dangling off each end.
How's this going to work?
Me and Wes each going take an end of the
rope, run our asses of, and yank you off
That's going to do it, right? I'm going
to be okay.
Not too convincingly:
You're going to be fine.
You're not going to let me die, are you!?
Don't let me die!
Ignoring the question:
When we start running suck up your
breath. You're going to get the wind
knocked out of you.
Don't let me die, Epps. I don't want to
Epps and Wes pick up separate ends of the rope, and take up
positions behind Jaeger. Epps waits a beat, afraid of what
might happen, but there is no choice. He digs in ready to
take off running. Wes whispers to him:
What if it's a Valloro 69? Just going to
bounce right up out of the ground,
explode in the air, kill him and us.
You just go when I say go.
Should have at least gotten the map off
of him. Blows up with him then we did
all this for nothing.
Epps takes a couple of deep breaths, holds one:
Wes and Epps are off the the races, churning up sand as they
race away from Jaeger. They scream like banshees as if to
Jaeger does a little chant:
Oh, God. Oh, God!
The rope goes taught. Jaeger's body jerks violently backward
as he gets the air punched out of him. As his feet leave the
ground the mine detonates.
POV - JAEGER
A fireball blossoms, and eats up the air towards the camera
as THE CAMERA ITSELF RUSHES AWAY from the belching fire and
His feet just clear the outer edge of the fireball, but still
get licked and burned by flames before he slams to the ground
several feet from the explosion.
Epps runs to Jaeger. Wes takes a casual stroll back over.
I'm all right. Oh, Jesus, I'm all right.
All casual like, Wes says:
The map okay?
EXT. DESERT - LATER
We see a set of three very odd tracks across the ground. It
looks like something has been dragged through the sand. THE
CAMERA FOLLOWS THE TRACKS TO EPPS, WES AND JAEGER who crawl
on their bellies. They thrust knifes into the sand before
them searching for mines. We get the feeling they've been at
this for awhile.
How long we going to keep this up.
Until we're out of the mine field is how
Haven't found a mine for half a mile, or more.
That don't mean nothing. Iraqis could
have just spread them out like that; make
us think we're in the clear.
You want to crawl, crawl.
Wes stands and starts to walk. Epps waits a beat and follows
suit. Only Jaeger stays down.
You're going to blow yourselves up.
Wes is right. If there were any more
mines we would have found them. Hell,
that one you stepped on was probably old
anyway; left over from the war with Iran.
You don't know that. It could be a trick.
If we step on a mine we'll know it was.
Let me see the maps.
Jaeger stays down, afraid to get up.
Get up and give me the maps.
After a beat Jaeger stands and hands over the map from the
puzzle box and a recon photo. Epps compares the two, then
takes out the navicom.
We're on course. Northeast, twenty-eight
degrees. When we hit the base of the
mountain we'll find a pass. I can see it
on the recon photo. Shouldn't be too
hard to traverse. That'll take us to the
Epps points at a black dot on the puzzle box map with a
smaller white dot in the middle.
This. Whatever it is.
It's the treasure, that's what it is.
It better be.
Epps starts to pack away the map. Real plain Jaeger says:
Epps stops, like he almost not sure what Jaeger is talking
about. Jaeger extends a hand.
Epps gets it. He hands the map back to Jaeger who tucks it
away. Our boys walk on.
You're not losing trust, are you?
Just figure it's my map, I ought to hang
on to it.
If all we wanted was the map out of you
we could have taken it while you were
standing on that mine pissing on
Probably would've too if Epps wasn't
around to stop you.
I didn't have to stop anything, 'cause
nobody was going to do nothing. We're in
this together, understand?
Yeah, I understand. Wes doesn't want to
come along in the first place, but he
gets a third of the find. That's a sweet
I'm getting tired of you riding me,
Anytime you want to do something about it
Epps stops dead in his tracks.
They all go quiet. Epps cocks an ear to the air and listens.
They all listen. Wind, but that's about it.
I don't hear any--
Shut up and listen!
Again they listen. Again they hear wind. Then, there it is;
the sound Epps is looking for: A pop, like a big balloon
being burst just over the next rise.
Quick like that Jaeger grabs his M-16 down off his shoulder
and is about to ready it when Epps slaps down the muzzle.
It's a fire fight.
Single shots doesn't mean a fire fight.
That's not a battle going on.
What is it?
Epps thinks. Yeah, what the hell is it?
EXT. DESERT - RISE
Epps, Jaeger, and Wes edge carefully up to the lip of the
rise on their bellies. They're barely visible against the
sand. Epps takes out a pair of binoculars and zeros in on
the ground below.
POV - EPPS
THROUGH BINOCULAR LENSES we see a SHI'ITE CAMP: A tent city
really. There are several uniformed IRAQI SOLDIERS who are
roughing up the Shi'ite men.
EPPS, WES, JAEGER
What is it?
Epps hands the binoculars over to Jaeger. Who looks down at
the scene on the ground.
Iraqis. A bunch of them.
What are they doing here?
Jaeger hands the binoculars to Wes.
Well, it's Iraq. I'm not sure, but I'm
guessing that has something to do with
them being here.
What are they doing in the middle of
Maybe they're looking for gold.
POV - WES
AGAIN WE SEE THROUGH THE BINOCULAR LENSES. One of the Iraqi
soldiers is pushing around a Shi'ite, having a good laugh
about it, then casual as rain pulls out a gun and gives him a
bullet, gift wrapped, straight to the brain.
EPPS, WES, JAEGER
Jesus! What the hell did he do that for?
They're Iraqis. Why are Iraqis killing
Those people down there are Shi'ites.
You've got Shi'ites in the south of Iraq
and Khurds in the North. Neither of
them've got much love for Saddam.
Probably figured once the war started
there might be an uprising, so he sent
his soldiers out to slap them around some.
They're doing more than slapping.
The Shi'ites are on our side? I didn't
Is there anything you do know?
I know you're a pussy. I know that.
All right. Let's get out of here.
The soldiers are going to kill those
We have to do something.
There's nothing we can do.
We can fight. That's what we're here
for: To fight the Iraqis. To help the
Shi'ites, and the Khurds.
I didn't sign up to help any Shi'ites.
All we were supposed to do is get the
Iraqis out of Kuwait, and if we aren't
doing that then all bets are off.
We carrying any ordinance?
Some extra grenades. A Claymore.
Epps thinks, then shakes his head.
Not enough. We're out numbered and out
gunned. They'd cut us to shreds.
So good bye, Shi'ites. Thanks for
playing. We have some lovely parting
gifts for you as you go.
We're American soldiers. We don't
Funny you should say that while we're out
looking for gold.
You're the one wanted to kill Iraqis so
I've got a new agenda now, it's get rich.
The only way the Iraqis figure into that
is not at all.
I don't want to see people killed any
more than you. But we try to help out we
die, and all we do is die.
We can't just go off and--
There's nothing we can do. We shouldn't
even be here in the first place.
There's a big, loud quiet as our boys just hang there. From
down below comes another balloon burst; another gun shot.
Epps lowers his head. He wants to fight, but it's like he
said: There's nothing they can do. Epps slides back away
from the rise, then Jaeger, and finally Wes disappears back
the way they came.
EXT. DESERT/MOUNTAINS - LATER
It's the kind of red rock and mesas one would expect to find
in a desert; not too steep or rough, but it looks as though
they will definitely takes more than a little physical
exertion to navigate.
Epps, Wes, and Jaeger approach a path at the mesa's base.
Jaeger takes out his maps and looks them over.
This is it. We're right on target.
Epps takes a long gander up towards the top of the mesa.
All we've got to do is make it to the
And find the treasure, and get it, and
get back to the Humvee, and get the hell
out of Iraqi without getting our heads
blown off, but that's about it.
We're not going to find anything standing
here. Let's get to climbing.
They ready their packs and weapons, then start up the mesa.
Our boys trekking along the pass. They push onward and
The pass has narrowed, and become more treacherous: The
rocks are loose and the footing unsure. The going has slowed
considerably as each man must be extremely careful of their
Our boys stop. The pass has seemingly came to an end. For a
short ways the face of the mesa is almost sheer. The three
soldiers take it in.
Not much of a pass.
Probably was a couple of hundred years
ago when whoever drew the map came
through here. Worn down to nothing now.
Picks up again just on the other side.
They all take a good look at what little there is to cross
on, and how far down it is to the hard, jagged rocks below.
Think we can make it?
We make it, or we go back empty handed.
Looks like we make it.
Epps and Wes edge their way towards what's left of the pass.
Jaeger just stands there staring down. Way down.
Epps, Wes and Jaeger inch along the pass hugging the face of
the mesa. Small rocks churn beneath their feet and tumble to
the ground below. No man says a word, they're too busy
trying to keep alive, and the air is filled with the sounds
of labored breathing.
Each step so very careful: Testing the pass for purchase,
making sure the footing is solid. They inch one foot
forward, then slide over the next. Their hands probe the
cliff face, fingers crawling like spider legs, looking for
something, anything, to take hold of.
Sweat drips into Epps eye. He blinks hard and fast trying to
clear his vision. Right now he can't really afford
Slowly, carefully, inch by inch the little death dance goes
Jaeger steps. He steps wrong. The pass gives way under his
foot and begins to slide down. Instinctively Wes rockets out
an arm grabbing Jaeger by the uniform. At first Jaeger
smiles, glad for the save. But then he realizes something:
Wes is literally holding his life in his hands. All Wes has
to do is loosen his grip, and...
The color drains from Jaeger's face. Wes stares back blank
as a bowl of water.
Eternity goes on for a second.
Finally Wes yanks Jaeger back up against the mesa's face,
then slides on. Jaeger just hangs where he is for a beat
clutching the rocks for dear life.
Epps makes it to the far side of the broken pass. He holds
out a hand to Wes and reels him in. Together they both help
bring in Jaeger. Wes looks back over the path they've just
The US Army: Always an adventure.
Let me see the map.
Jaeger hands the map to Epps who gives it a going over. THEY
WALK AS THEY TALK.
Should be easy going from here. Stay on
the pass straight to the dot.
What do you figure it to be?
Got to be some kind of landmark;
X marks the spot.
Something like that.
But the white dot in the middle; that's
got to mean something.
I hope it means something, otherwise...
Otherwise whatever we're looking for
could be anywhere.
Basically. But the map has been pretty
precise so far. I don't think it'll be
too hard to--
Our boys step past a grouping of rocks. They stop dead.
Sitting before them, in what looks like a small camp, is FIVE
IRAQI SOLDIERS. Time clicks by real slow for an instant.
It's a delayed reaction, like the beat it takes after you
pick up a hot pan before you realize that, yeah, it is
burning the flesh from your hand.
Our three soldiers turn and bolt back the way they came.
They run like wild rabbits for a bit, jumping over a rock
formation and hitting the deck using the rocks as cover.
Like well-trained warriors they peel their weapons from their
shoulders, lock and load, and stand ready. They wait a bit,
taking several deep breaths like divers about to go under.
Finally Epps gives the order.
Let's hit 'em!
Simultaneously they spring up from behind the rocks and bear
down on the Iraqis with their M-16s ready to blow them to
One problem: No Iraqis.
For a beat our three don't move. They hold position, breath
coming hard like sprinters at the end of a race. They're
eyes flint back and forth scanning for something...anything.
M-16 still at the ready, Epps raises up taking a tactical
stance. He inches forward, sweeping his weapon back and
forth before him for any potential target. There is none.
The Iraqis have vanished. Epps lowers the M-16, but does not
Wes and Jaeger come up from their cover and cross to Epps.
They keep their weapons ready. Eerily they all look around
as if trying to spot ghosts.
Where'd they go?
I don't know. There's a lot of space up
here. They could be just about--
Weird they didn't chase us.
Maybe they're as scared of us as we are
Just seems weird they didn't chase us.
What's weird is how they disappeared.
Doesn't make sense. Doesn't...
There is a sound; a steady swooshing that starts faint and
grows closer like a rolling thunder. Our three start looking
around, turning where they stand, trying to find the source
of the sound as it rises to a near deafening pitch. There's
nothing. They see nothing. Still the sound races closer and
closer. Epps, Jaeger and Wes raise up their weapons in
preparation to defend themselves against this unseen beast.
From below the edge of the mesa a HELICOPTER GUNSHIP -
probably a MIL MI-24 HIND-D ARMED ASSAULT HELICOPTER if you
want to be technical - raises up very dramatically into
sight. It hangs in the air ominously before our soldiers.
On board are the vanished Iraqis wearing nasty grins. The
PILOT brings the gunship about and levels her massive machine
cannons at our boys.
Wes and Jaeger don't have to be told twice. They bolt from
their spots, and not an instant too soon. The GUNNER lets
fly a barrage of shells that literally tear up the ground
where our boys were just standing. We see what the chopter's
weapons will do to rock. We can imagine what they would do
Epps, Jaeger and Wes take cover behind some rocks. The
gunship swings around, picks up speed and bears down on them.
More shells fired. They punch into and through the rocks our
boys use for cover. Again the three scatter, and just in
time as the shells rip their way through the rock.
Our three go sliding down an embankment, crouching low.
Their heads whip around looking for the gunship.
Where is it? Where'd it go?
Where the hell is it!?
Just stay down.
In answer to Jaeger's question the gunship comes swooping up
behind them like a bird of prey. Our three have all of about
a second to get running before the Iraqis send more shells
their way. They kick up chunks of rock as they ping, ping,
ping around Epps, Wes and Jaeger who make a wild, evasive
Dig it: Up ahead is a narrow passage through rock face.
They race for it, hurl themselves into it as the gunship
sends a special delivery of white-hot metal their way.
Once inside the passage they have a bit of breathing space.
It's too narrow for the gunship to get a good shot through.
Our three press themselves up against the rock walls and suck
Beyond the opening to the passage the gunship swings back and
forth like a junkyard dog patrolling its kingdom.
Jaeger's worked up a real scare.
What are we going to do? What the hell
are we going to do?
We're not going to do anything.
They're going to kill us!
They can't shoot us in here.
And they can't fly around out there
So we wait.
If they land--
If they land, we can take them. If they
don't land, then we've got nothing to
Wes watches the gunship as it seemingly settles in the air.
It floats very steady as if... Wes' eyes key in on
something: The gunship's missile pods rotating slightly,
coming in line... Wes' eyes go wide like someone just jammed
an electric cattle prod in his ass.
Epps, Wes and Jaeger sprint for the opening at the far end of
the passage as a missile rockets from the gunship's pod.
With a wild whine it rides the wind like a deadly arrow
straight into the passage. Slamming into the ground it
sprouts a terrific fireball that rides on a massive
explosion. It races through the passage, lifts our boys from
the ground and tosses them out into the open like they were
nothing more than discarded ragdolls.
Jaeger takes cover and cowers. He puts his panic into
Wes pulls his rifle. Grunting like an animal he sprays
bullets at the chopter, but it's like throwing snowballs at
an elephant. The gunship turns on Wes and fires in his
direction. It doesn't hit him, but it sends him running.
Epps has had enough of this shit. He scrambles to load a
grenade in his launcher as the gunship comes about. It races
for him, cannons at the ready. This one is going to be
close. Epps locks and loads just as the chopter swings down
on him. Epps fires, but the gunship simply jukes up and away
from the grenade the way someone might step over a bug. The
grenade impacts the rock face behind the chopter exploding
harmlessly. The chopter returns the favor by reining down a
hail of shells that kicks Epps back FLIPPING HIM UP AND OVER
the edge of the plateau. His M-16 goes flying, smashing into
the ground far below. Epps manages to grab hold of the
plateau lip with one hand. It swings him around, slamming
him hard against the cliff face. He hangs there, suspended by
his weakening grip, far above the ground.
Jaeger and Wes run to him, grabbing him by his arm. They
pull and pull hard until Epps can get some kind of purchase,
and crawl his way back up to the plateau.
At the same time the gunship lowers itself so that it hovers
above and beyond our three. It rotates so that the bay doors
are facing Epps, Wes and Jaeger. Three Iraqis are inside,
weapons trained on our targets. One of them yells something.
They want us to surrender.
The three share a nervous look. Epps fairly growls:
Yeah, I'll surrender.
Jaeger and Wes watch as, shielded by their bodies, Epps palms
a grenade from his belt. Wes and Jaeger don't quite smile,
but they know now they at least have a chance. As Epps
stands the other two turn to face the Iraqis. They all fold
their hands behind their necks which, for Epps, hides the
grenade from view. Slowly they walk towards the gunship.
One of the Iraqis starts to yell something. He lifts his
weapon and aims it at our boys. With his thumb Epps yanks
the pin from the grenade and lets fly. It's a perfect toss,
landing in the chopter's bay. The Iraqis see the grenade
land, they scramble for it. One of them grabs it up and is
about to throw it back out of the gunship.
The grenade explodes in the Iraqi's hand killing him
instantly. It also touches off a fire ball that severely
damages the gunship. It rocks, lists, spins wildly out of
Our three hug the ground as the chopter's rotors go whipping
through the air like throwing knifes landing perilously among
them. Worse still the gunship, now a lame bird, drops from
the sky towards Epps, Jaeger and Wes. All they can do is
cover their heads, as if that would do any good against two
tons of crashing steel. The chopter rushes down...down, but
it just misses them. It slams into the ground skipping over
the edge of the plateau, to the rocks below.
Our three pick themselves up. They walk to the edge of the
plateau and look down on the crash.
Jaeger, scared painted all over his face, sinks to his knees
and looks as if he's about to go into shock.
Wes looks down at Jaeger with a bit of a disdainful sneer.
Yeah. Just keeps getting better and
better, doesn't it?
They stare for awhile, then one by one move off. Us? We:
EXT. DESERT/MESA - LATER
Epps, Wes and Jaeger trek to a large crevice that runs
straight down into the ground. Jaeger takes out his maps and
photos. Epps consults the navicom.
What do you think?
Lines up with the map and the photos.
We're right where we should be.
Epps tucks the navicom away on his belt and takes a look
around. Not much to see.
I sure don't see much place else around
here to hide anything.
Wes pulls a lantern/flashlight from his pack. Going to his
belly he shines it down into the crevice.
Can't see anything.
He tosses a rock into it. We can hear it hit the ground below.
It's got a bottom.
Guess we know what the next stop is.
All right. Let's break out some utility
shovels, lanterns, and a claymore in case
we have to do any blasting. Me and
Jaeger'll climb down, and see what we can
What am I supposed to do?
Got to have someone here in case we need
help making it back up. Doesn't hurt to
have a look out either.
Think there might be more Iraqis?
Right now I wouldn't be surprised if
Eartha Kitt showed up singing Send In The
WE SEE A FEW QUICK SHOTS of Wes securing a line down into the
crevice, Epps and Jaeger clipping on rapeling harnesses, the
two men lowering themselves down into the great unknown.
INT. CREVICES - CONTINUOUS
The lantern punches a hole through the darkness as Epps uses
it like a machete to blaze a trial. He sinks down...down
until finally they touch bottom. He unclips himself from the
rope and Jaeger starts down.
The space isn't that big, like a small cave really. It's
tight enough that the lantern pretty well lights up the whole
of it. But it's big enough that one wouldn't have any idea
where to start digging.
Jaeger makes it to the bottom. Wes yells down.
Yeah, we're down.
What do you see?
More to himself:
A whole lot of nothing.
So where do we start?
Epps takes a look around, then shrugs.
Wherever you want.
Epps breaks out his utility shovel from his pack. Jaeger
follows suit. He looks around, picks a spot and starts
WES - LATER
He sits up top, weapon in hand, standing guard.
EPPS AND JAEGER - LATER
They dig furiously at sperate ends of the cave. They dig
with a determination to find something.
WES - LATER
Still up top, he's given up on standing guard. Now he
stretches out on the ground sunning himself.
EPPS AND JAEGER
Their shirts are off, and they're caked with sweat and dirt.
They look like they've been digging for quite some time.
They certainly don't have the same enthusiasm they displayed
previously. Now they just seem to dig by rote.
WES - LATER
The sun has begun to sink noticeably. Wes leans over the
Hey...Hey! Sun's going down. Epps!
Jaeger! It's getting dark up here.
EPPS AND JAEGER - SIMULTANEOUS
It's obvious these guys have been digging for hours and come
up with nothing. Epps keeps digging, but just barely.
Jaeger doesn't even bother anymore. He just sits on the
He rolls over and scoffs.
There's nothing down there.
EPPS AND JAEGER
Epps notices Jaeger just sitting there.
What are you doing?
What does it look like I'm doing?
It looks like you're not doing anything.
I'm not. And I'm not doing anything,
because there's nothing down here.
Get up and dig.
We've been digging. We've been digging
for hours. If there was anything here to
find we would have found it.
Get up off your ass and dig!
Sounding defeated as all hell, and very whiney:
What's the point? There's nothing here.
The map's a fake. Christ, even I see
that now. We're just wasting our time.
We might as well give up and--
Epps spins. Like a bolt of lightning he's on Jaeger,
grabbing him up and pulling him close.
You listen to me. The whole reason we're
here is because of you and that map of
yours. I didn't do all this for nothing,
and I'm not leaving with nothing. If you
think for a second I'm giving up just
'cause you're too tired to turn over some
dirt, then you don't know John Epps too
well, do you? So you dig, and you keep
on digging 'til I say you don't have to
Epps pushes Jaeger back and he goes down to the ground hard.
A fire burns inside him. A fire that burns out of control.
Before he even knows what he's doing Jaeger springs to his
feet, shovel in hand, bringing it down in a long arc for
Epps bears him coming. He deftly side steps the blow, grabs
hold of Jaeger and forces him down. They roll around
violently like wild dogs trading blows and trying to work the
other into a choke hold.
He can hear the sounds of the struggle and yells down.
What are you doing...? What the hell are
you doing down there?
EPPS AND JAEGER
They fight on; down and dirty. Locked together they roll
around the ground, each trying to get the upper hand. They
smash into the lantern, sending the cave into near darkness.
At the same time Epps works himself on top of Jaeger. He
lands a couple of solid punches, takes a rock from the ground
and lifts it high ready to send it crashing into Jaeger's
skull. All Jaeger can do is steel himself for the deathblow.
Something catches Epps' eye: A glint of light flashes across
his faces. He stares at it; at an opening, a bare seem
really, in the side of the cave wall where light seeps
through. The rock slips from his hand. Forgetting all about
Jaeger Epps goes to the opening. Jaeger himself, as if what
just happened hadn't really happened, comes up along side
Must be a compartment.
I feel air. Probably opens up outside
somewhere. That's where the light comes
from. Couldn't see it with the lanternon.
Jaeger says what they both must have guessed by now.
The white dot; light in the dark.
That's all Epps needs to hear. He starts clawing at the
opening with his bare hands. That gets him nothing.
Grabbing up a shovel he starts to whack at it. Jaeger gets
the lantern working again, then picks up his shovel and joins
in. They keep hitting and hitting, picking up a rhythm like
a southern chain gang.
Maybe we should blast it loose with the
The rock gives way enough for Epps to pry it free. There's
just enough space for a man to reach his arm through. For a
beat Epps and Jaeger just stare at the opening almost afraid
of what mayor may not be in there.
With some trepidation Epps begins to move his hand towards
the opening. Slowly it extends closer...closer... Just as
it moves beyond the opening. vThere is a wild, screeching
hiss as some small, hairy thing leaps for Epps.
Both Epps and Jaeger recoil, Jaeger going nuts with fear.
Jaeger grabs up his M-16 and takes aim at...whatever it is.
No, don't shoot!
Too late. Jaeger squeezes off a few rounds. A couple of
bullets hit the thing, but the rest ricochet wildly about the
cave and around Epps and Jaeger. All the two men can do is
duck and cover - squeezing themselves into tight, fetal balls
- as the bullets scream back and forth like little chunks of
Eventually the bullets lose speed and die off. Jaeger and
Epps raise up off the ground. They walk to the dead thing
that jumped from the opening.
It's just a mongoose.
Is it dead?
Yeah, Bwana, you got it.
What the hell are you doing!?
EPPS AND JAEGER
I think we found something.
They go back to the opening. Epps shines a light inside to
make sure there are no more surprises, then reaches an arm
in. Jaeger looks on with great anticipation, licking his
lips like a hungry jackal, as Epps twists his arm in the
Epps' face freezes. He goes perfectly still for a beat, then
slowly draws his hand from the opening. It clutches a wooden
box. It is similar to Jaeger's puzzle box, but slightly
bigger. The instant Epps sets the box on the ground Jaeger
smashes his shovel into it shattering the ancient wood. From
the splinters pours a river of gold coins. Jaeger and Epps
are too stunned to do anything but look at it.
He leans over the crevice.
What is it? What'd you find?
EPPS AND JAEGER
Gold. It's gold.
Jaeger yells it at the top of his lungs:
His lips flutter a bit before they land on the word
EPPS AND JAEGER
They scoop up handfuls of the coins and let them run through
It's not like I figured. It's cold. And
it's heavier than I imagined.
I wouldn't know. I never imagined this.
Not in my whole life did I ever imagine
You don't have to imagine it. Not
anymore. Now all you've got to think up
is what it's going to buy you.
Epps grabs up one coin and stands.
With all his strength Epps gives the coin an underhanded toss
Wes catches the coin. He turns it over in his fingers. He
smiles, and there's nothing pleasant about it.
JAEGER AND EPPS
Epps yells up.
Wes, thrown down a pack.
A beat later an empty pack comes falling down. Epps picks it
up and takes it over to Jaeger. The two of them start
loading the coins into it.
I don't think the line will take the
weight of a man and the coins.
Wes!? We'll send the gold up, then me
and Jaeger'll climb back.
Ready when you are.
Epps is just about to attach the pack of gold to the line
when Jaeger grabs his arm.
Jaeger isn't sure how to say what he's thinking.
We send the gold up what's to stop him
from taking off and leaving us down here?
He's not going to leave us.
What's to stop him if he wanted to? All
he has to do is cut the line...
Good point. What is to stop him?
All right. I'll go up, then you send up
the gold and--
Why do I have to stay down here?
I don't see how that plan's any better.
Someone's got to send the gold up. It
can't get on the line by itself.
Why's it got to be me?
A tense moment passes.
What are you doing? You ready?
Another moment, then:
All right. You go up, I'll send up the
gold, then follow.
Yeah. Yeah, that'll work.
Jaeger goes over to the line and hooks himself on. He's just
about ready to climb up when Epps stops him. Serious as a
heart attack he says:
If you're even thinking about leaving me
down here, you better think again.
Jaeger stares at Epps for a beat, then laughs himself a
little laugh. He yells up:
Wes, I'm coming up.
Jaeger starts to climb as Wes helps out by pulling on the
Epps watches him for a bit, then looks at the pack of gold
and the rest of the equipment. Suddenly he scurries about
gathering up all the things they've brought down.
Jaeger continues his climb, disappearing up into the crevice.
A few beats later the rope comes snaking back down from,
above. Epps brings over the pack of gold and attaches it to
the rope. Yelling up:
The rope goes taught, slowly drawing the pack up, up into the
crevice finally to be swallowed from view.
Epps waits for the rope to come back down. He waits. He
waits a beat more. No rope.
He tries to keep the apprehension from his voice, but it
creeps in anyway. He tries it again.
Still more nothing. What's that sound? It's Epps' breath
getting heavier and faster.
Nothing. Then something. The rope snakes its way back down.
Epps can't help but let go of a little laugh, like a guy
who's just been given a scare by his own shadow. Taking up
his own pack Epps hooks up, then starts the climb to the top.
JAEGER AND WES
They work the rope, helping Epps up. He gets to the lip of
the crevice, and pulls himself over. He's breathing hard,
and lets his pack slide to the ground. Trying not to sound
What the hell took so long.
Just had to get the pack unhooked from
the line. It didn't seem that long.
Not when you're up here with the gold, I
Throwing Epps' own words back at him:
Not losing trust, are you?
Epps lets this go.
It'll be too dark to make our way back
now. Let's bed down for the night and
head out at first light.
What about the gold?
What about it?
Maybe we should split it up now.
We started this together, and we're
staying together, so there's no point in
splitting things up now.
What if we get separated? Way I see it
if something happens I want to be
carrying my share.
Wes might be right about that.
It stays as it is. We're halfway home
now. Let's not blow it by people getting
You're the one with all the ideas.
You've had your say, Wes. Now leave it.
Maybe you've got ideas of your own for
the gold. Maybe you've already got
things worked out.
Maybe I do.
Maybe I don't need your ideas. Maybe I
can do better on my own.
Epps sees trouble coming, and deals with it the only way he
knows how. Casually he turns from Wes as if he's about to
let things go. Suddenly he spins back around throwing a
punch to Wes' jaw that sends him to the ground.
Wes puts a hand to his mouth. It comes back stained red.
Wes goes on the boil.
You got no reason to do that!
I told you: When I straighten someone
out they stay straightened. This is how
it works: Nobody touches the gold.
Except when we're on the move and
someone's carrying it, nobody so much as
opens the pack to get an eyeful of it.
Jaeger wastes no time jumping in.
Yeah. Sure. That sounds like a plan to
Wes, still on the ground, fumes.
You got no reason to hit me. I'm getting
tired of you and Jaeger pushing me around.
Then get up and do something about it.
Wes thinks about it, but that's all he does. He's not ready
to cross that line yet.
Then just lay there and bleed.
Epps takes up his pack and moves off to bed down. Jaeger
does the same. Wes just lays on the ground...and bleeds.
EXT. MESA - EARLY MORNING
The first light of day barely begins to fight its way through
the dark. Our boys sleep in a circle around the pack filled
with gold. Surprisingly they seem to sleep pretty well, but
then the last twenty-four hours has taken a lot out of them.
There is a slight sound: Rocks crunching underneath a foot.
Someone stirs, someone moves. It's hard to tell who it is in
this bad light. They creep towards the pack, inching their
way closer and closer. They reach out a hand, just about to
grab the pack.
Wes, who obviously wasn't asleep at all, lunges for the
person, and takes them down hard. There's the ugly crunch of
body against stone as they hit the ground. M-16 in hand Wes
straddles the intruder pressing the muzzle of the rifle
against his head.
Stay down. Stay the hell down, or I will
rip your stinking head off!
Underneath him, an IRAQI SOLDIER - who already looks very
badly injured; bloody, cut, slightly burned - babbles back in
high pitched and frightened Arabic.
This is enough to wake Jaeger and Epps.
What the hell?
I caught him! I caught him trying to
steal the gold.
Get off him.
He snuck in here thinking we were asleep,
only I wasn't sleeping. Would have slit
our throats if I hadn't stopped him.
Get off him!
Epps reaches down and physically pulls Wes from the soldier
who still rattles on.
I told you. He tried to steal our gold.
He tried to kill us.
With what? He doesn't have a weapon.
He's a soldier. He doesn't need a
weapon. He's got rocks. He's got bare
The soldier goes on babbling. Wes has had just about enough
of that. He gives the soldier a kick to the ribs.
Epps gives Wes a hard push.
I told you; don't push me around.
Even now, frightened but more calmly, the soldier goes on.
Tell me what he's saying.
Wes listens, but with disdain. He translates:
Says he's one of the soldiers that was in
He lived through that?
The soldier goes on, and so does Wes.
Says they were deserters, they were
afraid to fight, don't believe in Saddam
anyway. They flew the gunship up here to
hide out. When they saw us they figured
we were going to kill them, so they shot
Why'd he come in our camp.
Wes asks him the question in Arabic and gets an answer. It's
enough to give Wes a bit of a laugh.
Says he wanted food. Liar. He wanted
How's he going to want the gold? He
couldn't even know we had it.
He...he could have been watching us.
Maybe we should give him some water.
All last night he could have been--
I think he wants something to drink.
I'm not wasting my water on him.
Jaeger gets his water and gives some to the soldier.
I don't care what he says, he wanted our
gold. Would have slit our throats if he
had the chance.
Doesn't matter. Whatever he wanted he
didn't get it. We've got no need staying
around here. It's light enough. Let's
pack up and head out.
Jaeger and Epps start to go for their gear. Wes is still on
the Iraqi soldier.
What about him? We...we have to do
Epps gives an expression that screams: What the hell are you
We can't just leave him. He'll run back
to his outfit, report our position...
You said he was a deserter.
That's what he says. He could be a spy,
You don't know that.
You don't know he isn't.
So we'll take him with us. At least 'til
we get back to the Hummer.
He'd just slow us down, and drink our
water. And if we ran into any more
Iraqis you know he'd sell us out.
We don't leave him, we don't take him
with us. What does that leave?
By way of answering Wes lifts his M-16 and works the action.
You're out of your mind.
He's an enemy soldier.
I'm not going to let you kill him.
We're at war.
The discussion starts to get real heated.
We are not at war! You and I and Jaeger
are AWOL. We have no authority--
He tried to kill us. If not just now,
then in the helicopter. That's all the
authority I need.
Jaeger goes somewhere near panic.
We don't need to do this. We got the
gold, all right? Let's just get out of
The Iraqi may not speak the language, but he's got a pretty
good idea what they are arguing about. He starts to plead
for his life
I'm not going to leave him be just so he
can stab us in the backs the minute we
turn around. I have been through too
much to lose it all now just because the
two of you don't have the stomach to do
what has to be done.
I've got no stomach for murder.
It's a combat action.
It's murder, and I won't be any part of
Then step aside.
Get out of my way.
The Iraqis begging goes into over drive. Jaeger just about
For Christ's sake, we don't need this.
Let's just go. Let's just...let's just
get out of here.
Wes yells down at the Iraqi.
Shut up! Shut the hell up!
Wes moves menacingly for the Iraqi. He thrusts his M-16
forward. Epps grabs it, and throws a punch. Unlike before
with Jaeger, this time Wes ducks the blow and swings the butt
of the M-16 back at Epps. It's not much of a blow though,
and Epps keeps on coming. He barrels into Wes and takes him
As the two men tussle the Iraqi sees his chance to get away.
He springs up, knocking Jaeger to the side, and bolts past
He's getting away!
Epps turns and sees this. Maybe he's not for killing this
guy, but he certainly can't just let him get away. He takes
off running after the Iraqi, Jaeger a step behind.
The Iraqi, face flush with fear; eyes filled with terror like
a hunted animal, makes it to the rock face and starts to
climb to the plateau above. He knows if he can make it he at
least has a chance of getting away. It shows in the
desperation he climbs with.
Epps and Jaeger are right behind him. They claw at the
rocks, but can't gain ground.
The Iraqi gets closer and closer to the plateau; to freedom.
Our two soldiers scramble up right behind him.
The Iraqi gets a hand on the lip of the plateau. He's just
about to pull himself up. He's just about to get away--
WE HEAR A SHORT BURST OF GUNFIRE. Three large, bloody holes
mushroom open in the Iraqi's back.
He stands, smoke curling from the muzzle of his M-16 like a
white snake, having just send the Iraqi some bullets special
He arches, stiffens, then falls like a stone past Epps and
Jaeger to the ground below like a sack of potatoes.
As the two climb down Wes goes to the body and stands over it
like the great, white hunter standing over his kill. All
business like he says:
I had to. You saw how he ran. Would
have given us away. I had to.
There's a beat of quiet, then:
Maybe we ought to...you know, bury him.
Say some words over him.
You want to say some words?
He sneers down at the body.
Go to hell. How are those words?
Wes moves off. A beat later Jaeger walks away. Epps just
stands there looking at the body.
EXT. MESA - LATER
Wes, Epps and Jaeger are making the trek back down. Jaeger
is shouldering the pack with the gold. Wes has got his M-16.
Epps stops, and puts his pack down. He takes out the navicom
and a recon photo.
We should head Northeast.
Northeast? That's away from the Hummer;
further into Iraqi.
There's another pass on the photo. We
can avoid that narrow one we had to cross
on the way up, and it should get us back
It should, or it will? Least going back
the way we came we know what we're up
You think you can make that pass weighted
down when you almost fell the first time
you're wrong, and you're not going to
take my share of the gold with you trying
it. We're heading Northeast.
Really calm, cold and direct Wes says:
You've got an awful lot of orders in you.
Always giving orders.
I out rank you, that's why.
In the service you do, but we're not
particularly in the service right now.
Way I see it, what we're doing, that
doesn't particularly give you the right
to toss orders around.
Epps loads up his pack pretty much ignoring Wes.
We been down this road. I told you how
it is. Unless you feel like there's
something you want to do about it...
What if I do?
Epps says nothing, so Wes tries it again a little harder.
What if I do?
He works the action of his M-16.
You talk loud, and don't even have a big
stick to back it up with.
Real casual Epps takes a grenade from his belt and flips the
pin loose. He stands with the grenade in one hand and the
navicom in the other. Real calm, like he was talking about
Something happens to me I let go of this
grenade. I go, and I take the navicom
with me. And how do you suppose you're
going to find your way back to the Hummer,
when you won't even know what's up or
down. It's a big country, and you could
be heading for the allies, or wandering
right into Bhagdad. That's if you don't
die of thirst before you even get that
far. How you like my stick now?
Epps and Wes have a stare down. Jaeger, who's getting really
good at freaking out, jumps in.
Why don't you put the gun down, all
right, Wes? You put the gun down and
Epps'll put the pin back in the grenade.
Won't you Epps?
The stare down goes on a beat longer. Finally Wes lowers his
rifle. He turns to Jaeger and vents what anger he can.
I'm starting to think you're a real
bitch, you know that?
EXT. DESERT - LATER
THE CAMERA PANS over the vast expanse of nothingness. SMOKE
BEGINS TO DRIFT INTO FRAME. THE CAMERA FINALLY LANDS ON THE
SHI'ITE ENCAMPMENT, or at least what's left of it. Tents are
torn down and burned, goods scattered. It looks like a ghost
town. Epps, Wes and Jaeger wander into it. They look
around, but see no signs of life.
Wes grabs up some Shi'ite garments, white robes, and starts
to put them on.
You're going to burn up in those.
The white reflects the sun; it keeps you
cooler. That's why they wear them.
Jaeger looks to Epps who just shrugs. Jaeger gets some robes
and puts them on. Epps follows suit.
Think the Iraqi's killed them all?
Probably shot a few. Scattered the rest.
Murder, or a combat action? It's hard to
tell them apart?
They keep on moving, passing straight through the camp. Epps
marches ahead, not wanting to even deal with the other two
men. Wes talks after him. Really he talks more to himself,
and he's not sounding too lucid.
You saw how he ran didn't you? First
chance he got he ran out. Would have
gone straight to his CO, told him all
about the gold. What do you think would
have happened then, huh? Then what do
you think would have happened? Two
thousand screaming Iraqis bearing down on
us. You ought to thank me for killing
him. I'll get a medal for it. Watch and
see if I don't get a medal.
Epps isn't even paying attention, he's just walking on.
Almost, as if he senses something is wrong, he stops in his
tracks. He looks down at his feet and sees the most curious
thing. SAND IS RUSHING AWAY FROM HIS FEET, ALMOST AS IF IT'S
GOING DOWN A DRAIN. He looks at it with the same wonderment
that a dog watches television.
What the hell...?
Epps has got all of about two seconds to ponder this as a
moment later the Earth literally drops from beneath his feet.
He's standing on a sink hole that opens up swallowing him in
loose sand. Immediately he sinks to waist level. He slows
there, but still goes down with rapidity. He screams to
Jaeger and Wes.
Help! Help me!
Jaeger drops the gold and runs to the edge of the hole. Wes
Jaeger is paralyzed by indecision. He doesn't want to let
Epps drown, but if he gets too close he could easily get
sucked into. He flirts back and forth between rescue and
Sand continues to pour in on Epps.
For Christ's Sake, Jaeger! Help me!
Jaeger can't fight himself any longer. He lowers himself
halfway into the hole, stretching spread eagle trying to keep
some kind of grip on the firmer ground, and reaches for Epps.
Their arms twist and strain for each others. First their
fingers meet, then they grab hands. They work a grip down to
their wrist, but that's all they can get. Jaeger strains
like a field horse pulling Epps against the sand. It may not
be enough as he begins to slip down himself. Jaeger twists
his head and looks up at Wes. Straining to say anything he
His words fall on deaf ears. Wes just takes a step closer to
the pack of gold coins.
This only serves to energize Jaeger. He digs deeper within
himself finding an untapped reserve of strength. He grunts
and pulls, the veins on his neck puffing like balloons.
Epps finds same purchase. He pulls, swims, his way up from
the sand. A little at first, but like hitting shallow water
he's able to lift himself up.
Jager jerks him the rest of the way up to firm ground. They
collapse, chests heaving like pistons as they suck air.
As Epps regains strength he pats himself down. Suddenly he
goes back into a panic.
Epps rolls back over and thrusts his hands down into the soft
sand frantically looking for the lost computer. Jaeger joins
in. They dig and scrape as best they can, but daring to
venture only so far into the soft sand. It doesn't matter.
The navicom is lost.
What are we going to do? How are we
going to find our way back!?
We'll find our way.
We'll find our way! We'll...
Epps wants to say how, but he's got no idea. Wes grows a
No navicom. A lot of good you are now,
Lot of good you were when I was sinking
in the sand.
Without that navicam looks to me like you
forfeit the right to be in charge.
And let me guess who is.
Wes casually slides out his M-16.
I'm the one's got the big stick.
Suppose I don't go for that?
Then I suppose it'd be insurrection, and
I suppose I'd have to kill you.
What about Jaeger?
Nothing about him, unless he's got a
problem about me dealing with you.
Yeah, I got a problem with you killing Epps.
Wes turns and glares at Jaeger, who backs down.
I mean, in principle.
You know, Jaeger, you really are a bitch.
Epps isn't wasting anymore time. When Wes turns to glower at
Jaeger he lunges up for him. Wes side steps Epps and lands
the but of his rifle into the side of Epps' head. It opens a
wound, and sends Epps back down to the ground.
Epps looks up right into the muzzle of West M-16. Full of
Wes is just about to squeeze back the trigger when a shot
rings out. Wes' body jerks like he's just been hit in the
back with a truck. The way cut timber falls he slams to the
Epps and Jaeger stare at the body for a beat, then snap their
heads in the direction of the shot.
Up on a dune behind them are a group of SHI'ITES on
horseback. One of them has a high powered rifle which he has
just used to drill Wes. He fires another shot. It pings to
the ground between Epps and Jaeger.
Our two remaining men scramble. Jaeger dives for the gold
and snatches it up from the ground as bullets zip around it.
The two take off running as best they can in the sand. They
run wildly, erratically, without looking back. They run
until their bodies scream no more, then keep going on
inertia. Reaching a dune they tumble down the far side and
collapse in a heap at the bottom. They take a moment to
catch what breath they can, then:
We got to go back. We got to go back for
We can't just leave him.
Wes is dead!
What if he's not?
Then he will be when those Iraqis get to
him. He was going to kill you. He was
one blink away from it. He's dead, Epps,
and I'm sure as hell not getting my head
blow off over his carcass.
They sit there trying to catch their breath. As they do a
sound comes from the distance. They freeze, ears cocked,
trying to figure out what it is.
It's a helicopter.
Quickly, desperately, as the sound of the chopter draws
closer, they scan the horizon looking for it. Jaeger spots
it and thrusts a finger in its direction.
Epps scrambles out his binoculars. He targets the
helicopter. Jaeger waits in high anticipation.
Ours, or theirs?
Epps can't make out for sure. Jaeger asks again with growing
Ours, or theirs?
Epps takes a long, hard stare.
Ours. It's one of ours. We've got to
signal them; let them know we're down
The instant Jaeger hears this his face twists up like he's
thinking something, and he doesn't like what it is he's
thinking. Quietly, almost to himself:
We need something: A flare, a signal
Again Jaeger says it, this time including Epps too.
What do you mean no? They can fly us home.
They'll ask questions; want to know why
we were out here.
They'll search the pack.
Epps finds a mirror in one of his pockets. He stands, ready
to signal the chopter.
They'll find the gold.
Epps turns sharply back to Jaeger.
We're lost, you understand that? We've
got no navicom, and no means to find a
way back. So right now I don't give a
damn about the gold because if we don't
get off this desert, and out of Iraqi all
it's going to be good for is buying us
Epps is back around ready to signal the helicopter. He's
about to raise the mirror when he hears the sound of an M-16
action being worked. Epps turns to face Jaeger.
I can't do it, Epps. Not when we're so
close. I can't let you ruin everything.
Epps just stares at Jaeger, not frightened, but surprisingly
First Wes, now you?
I'm not like Wes. Wes was crazy.
And you; you've got it all together.
I don't want it this way. I wouldn't
kill you just to kill you, but I can't
let you lose the gold for me. Not when
we're so close.
That helicopter passes, and the only
thing we're close to is death.
Jaeger is unfazed. Very politely he says:
Sit down, Epps.
Epps takes him up on the offer. What choice does he have?
THE CAMERA STAYS TIGHT ON THE TWO MEN. They don't talk.
They don't move. They just sit as WE HEAR THE SOUND OF THE
HELICOPTER GETTING CLOSER AND LOUDER. IT REACHES A
CRESCENOO, THEN BEGINS TO FADE UNTIL IT DISAPPEARS. The
chopter is gone, along with Epps and Jaeger's best chance of
getting out of the desert alive.
Jaeger lowers his rifle. Very genuinely he says:
I'm sorry about that, Epps.
Is it all right if I stand up?
Like he didn't know he was keeping Epps from something.
Oh, yeah. Go ahead.
Epps stands. He looks around trying to figure things out.
Not much to figure. There still in the middle of a desert in
a hostile country same as they ever were.
I'm glad I didn't have to kill you. I'm
glad it didn't come to that.
Yeah. Well, me too.
I never killed anybody before. I talk a
good game, but I'm not like that.
Really, I'm not. Remember how I was
talking I wanted to blow away all those
Iraqis? That's all it was was talk. I
was scared out of my mind to go to war.
I still haven't gotten over stepping on
that land mine.
You still got a map on you?
Jaeger takes out the maps he has and hands them to Epps.
Epps looks them over, then looks over the terrain. Without
any landmarks or navigating tools the maps might as well be
I don't want to die.
Makes two of us.
I know what I did just now was crazy, but
you got to understand how much I want
It's all right. I don't like it, but
it's over now.
I never had anything before, Epps. I
never was anybody. Not the kind of
somebody you can be with a pocket full of
gold coins. When I was in high school I
Fed up with Jaeger Epps turns on him hard.
Hey, you know what? Can I be honest with
you? Right now I'm not all that
interested in how you're messed up 'cause
you didn't get the bicycle you wanted for
your thirteenth birthday. What I'm
interested in is how I can keep from
getting dead. And listening to sob
stories from some about how the
system wasn't good to him because he had
to work like everybody else instead of
being born a Kennedy doesn't do a damn
thing to help keep me alive. So do me a
favor; either shut up, or...just shut up.
Jaeger isn't sure what to say.
Epps sits down in the sand, all out of ideas. There's a long
quiet before Jaeger says:
What do you think our chances are?
If we can find the Hummer, or some
friendlies by sundown we might be okay.
We've got enough water for that. But we
won't make another day otherwise.
Again they sit for a beat.
Wonder how the war's going?
It's got to be going better than this..
Epps stands and has a last look around.
All right. pick a direction.
Jaeger just gives a surprised look.
We can't just sit here. We've got to
start moving, so pick.
You sure you want me too?
Epps nods. Jaeger stands and takes a good look around. He
considers things, although there isn't much to consider.
Finally he decisively points in a direction.
I pick that way.
Okay. Then we go this way.
Epps heads off in the opposite direction.
EXT. DESERT - LATER
Epps and Jaeger make the long march across the sand. There's
so much nothing out there it's maddening.
EXT. DESERT - LATER
Epps drops down in the sand. He lets his pack slide fram his
back, then pulls his water and takes a healthy swig. He puts
his pack back on and struggles to his feet. As Jaeger
crosses he takes Epps by the shoulder and helps to pull him
up. The two wade on.
EXT. DESERT - EVENING
Epps and Jaeger are trekking as they have been doing all day.
They look worn out, but they keep moving. Jaeger is several
paces behind Epps.
It's a desert. That's what deserts do at
night; they get cold.
Epps...Epps! I'm gonna stop for a
Just let me rest for a second.
We've got to keep moving while there's
You know what I'm going to do? I'm just
going to take a second. I want to look
at the gold.
Don't you touch it.
I just want to look at it. Remind me of
what I'm dying for.
The deal was no one touches it until we
get out of here.
Yeah, but we made that deal while Wes was
still alive. He's gone. Time for a new
Jaeger takes the pack from his back and starts to open it.
Epps turns and races back to him grabbing him by the wrist
and forcing Jaeger to let go of the pack.
You listen to me. If, if we get out of
this I don't care what you do with your
share, but until then you've only got one
thing to think about and that's staying
alive. So you leave that gold alone, or
you and I are going to have to have a
Epps waits for a response from Jaeger, but gets none.
Jaeger's eyes seem to be glazed, and his stare fixed on a
point well beyond Epps. He raises a hand, points off into
Epps turns and looks. Off a ways is a light in the window of
what looks to be a shack-type building. Epps stares at it as
if it were the holy Grail
What do you figure it is?
Place all alone like that? Must be a
boarder check point.
Which boarder? Saudi? Kuwait? Syria?
Couldn't be Syria. We couldn't have gone
that far north. It's got to be Saudi.
Epps heads for the shack doing double time. Jaeger puts the
pack back on and races to catch up.
They've got to have water. We'll get
same water, some directions, maybe they
even have a vehicle.
We can head back for our lines, and they
don't even have to know about the gold.
Epps. What if they're not Saudi.
Epps stops dead, now not more than one hundred meters from
If it's a checkpoint, it could be Iraqi.
Epps considers this.
We've got no cboice. Either way, we've
got no choice.
Epps and Jaeger keep on for the shack walking with
apprehension now instead of running. Epps stops less than
fifty meters away.
Well, we should identify ourselves.
Yeah, I guess we should.
Epps takes in a deep breath ready to yell to the shack.
Instead he turns to Jaeger.
Even if they are Iraqis probably all
they'll do is take us prisoner for
awhile. Got to figure we're still
kicking their asses in the war. They
don't want any trouble.
Hell, they'll probably just surrender to
Again Epps takes a deep breath. And again just as he's about
to cry out he turns to Jaeger.
That's if the war is even still going on.
Way things were shaping up it's probably
Epps takes a beat, then sucks in a breath. He yells for the
Before Epps can even finish getting the word out machine gun
fire erupts from the house and burns towards Epps and Jaeger.
They dive for cover, hugging the ground as bullets whistle
and ping through the space around them. They are forced back
and down against a narrow stretch of rock, but it offers
little protection and is chipped away by the hot lead. It's
just a matter of moments before nothing stands before them
and death. At the top of his lungs Jaeger starts yelling:
Ashra Ka mahari dahra sahib! Ashra Ka
mahari dahra sahib!
Just as quickly as it began the shooting stops. From the
shack we hear some chatter in Arabic, then the door opens. A
few MEN appear in the doorway. They laugh and beckon for
Epps and Jaeger to join them.
What did you say?
I don't know. Something Wes had taught
me. I think it means "Don't shoot.
We're your friends."
They must be Saudis. It's a Saudi
checkpoint. Oh sweet, Jesus. Come on.
Epps hurriedly stumbles in the dark for the shack. Jaeger is
just steps behind him.
They enter the dimly lit shack to the good nature of the FOUR
men inside. Epps and Jaeger see a fire in an open hearth and
go right to it to warm their bands as the four men go on
chattering behind them.
Oh, man, this is good. What do you think
the chances are they've got a whirlpool
in this place?
As they rub their hands together Epps looks up. He freezes.
Hanging on the wall is a very handsome, nicely framed
portrait of Saddam Hussein. Epps nudges Jaeger who also
looks up. He also freezes.
They must have thought we were Iraqi when
you yelled to them. They couldn't tell
in the dark.
What are we going to do?
Epps thinks. What are they going to do?
Slip out your M-16.
And then what?
And then shoot them.
I...I never killed anyone before. I told
Well, you're going to start with a bang,
'cause you've got four of them to take down.
Behind Epps and Jaeger one of the Iraqis asks a question of
them in Arabic.
I don't have a weapon.
Again the Iraqi asks the question. We can tell by the tone
of his voice he expects an answer.
Don't go bitch on me now! You were going
to kill me. Kill them!
I just said I would. I don't think I--
The Iraqis sense that something is wrong. They move
menacingly for their weapons.
Shoot them, Jaeger! SHOOT THEM!
Jaeger whips around at the same time pulling his M-16. He
jerks back hard on the trigger spraying back and forth, back
Dig it: The Iraqis do a death dance in the strobe light of
the muzzle flashes. They do the twist, they do the jerk,
then they all fall down.
The bullets that miss do a nasty job of redecorating the
place; shredding walls, eating up wood.
Jaeger keeps firing until his clip is empty. He stands
huffing, eyes glazed like he's a million miles away from what
he just did. Epps steps up and takes the weapon from Jaeger.
That's like an alarm clock that brings Jaeger back to the
land of the living. Jaeger takes one look around at all the
carnage, then doubles over and gets to puking.
Epps just watches this pathetic sight. When Jaeger is all
Let's get some sleep.
INT. SHACK - MORNING
The sun has just pushed itself well above the horizon as
Jaeger comes awake. The second he does he sees a MAN - Arab,
wearing white robes - peering through the window. Jaeger
gives a start, and the man disappears. Jaeger quickly shakes
Epp...Epps! There's someone at the
This wakes Epps up quick.
I don't know. He didn't have a uniform
on. He...he had on white robes, like the
guys who killed Wes.
Epps does some quick figuring, then staying low, scrambles
across the floor to one of the dead Iraqis and grabs up his
weapon. He grabs another one tosses it to Jaeger.
Carefully, still low, Epps creeps over to the window. Slowly
he raises up and looks out.
Epps lowers himself back down and does some thinking.
What do we do?
We can't stay here. Even if that wasn't
an Iraqi soldier it's only a matter of
time before some show up. Get all the
water you can carry, and we'll head out
Sun rises in the East. We go the
opposite direction. May not find
anything, but at least we'll know we're
heading towards Saudi Arabia.
As Jaeger gathers up what water he can find, creeps for
the door. With the muzzle of his gun he pulls it open a
crack and peers out. Still nothing. It's like the man
vanished into thin air.
Jaeger, stocked up on water, comes over with the gold and
Epps' pack which Epps shoulders.
Jaeger nods. Epps opens the door, and the two men carefully
snake their way out weapons at the ready. It seems, though,
there is nothing to be ready for. There is no one around.
Suddenly the man appears from around the shack. Epps and
Jaeger turn on him targeting with their assault weapons, but
they do not fire. The man just stands. He doesn't say
anything, he makes no threatening moves. The three stay
still as statues for several beats until Epps jerks his head
indicating to Jaeger they should move on. That they do,
weapons still on the man, until they are beyond his range.
They walk on a little ways. Jaeger spots something, and
thrusts a finger in its direction.
Mounted on a horse, riding on a dune that runs parallel to
them, is ANOTHER ARAB MAN. He makes no effort to draw nearer
to Epps and Jaeger, but nor does he lose them.
What do we do?
We keep going, that's what we do. We
ignore them, maybe they ignore us.
As if to be contrary to Epps' statement ANOTHER TWO ARABS ON
HORSE BACK appear up over a dune before them.
Jesus! How many of them are there?
Epps doesn't know, and he doesn't want to find out. They
change direction heading away from the Arabs. But again MORE
ARABS ride up over a dune. Epps gets the feeling he and
Jaeger are about to be boxed in.
I don't like this. Let's go.
Epps breaks into a run. Jaeger is only steps behind him.
Like something out of an old John Ford western dozens of
mounted Arabs suddenly appear over a dune. They ride fast
and hard for Epps and Jaeger like Apaches heading for a wagon
train. They easily overtake our two, momentarily swallowing
them amongst the thundering hoofs, and ride on a bit as if
playing with them.
Epps and Jaeger stop, then bolt in the other direction. The
Arabs ride back, again past Epps and Jaeger swiping them to
the ground; the horses kicking up a spray of lose sand over
them. It looks like a cattle round up, and our two are the
Epps and Jaeger get up to make another run of it, and again
the Arabs bear down on them. This time they mean business.
They completely surround them, cutting off all means of
escape. The Arabs start screaming something back and forth
in Arabic. We don't know what, but it sounds unpleasant.
Epps and Jaeger come skidding to a halt. They turn in their
tracks digging in the scene. It goes like this: They are
completely outnumbered and out gunned by a mounted force.
Doesn't get any simpler.
Epps and Jaeger drop their weapons. Their hands go in the
EXT. SHI'ITE CAMP - LATER
The mounted Arabs lead Epps and Jaeger, hands tied before
them and almost literally being towed by the horses, into
their camp. It is similar to the Shi'ite camps we've seen
before with several tent dwellings.
As the party enters groups of Shi'ites come over to stare at
Epps and Jaeger. They chatter amongst themselves, but our
boys have no idea what they're talking about, and that just
makes things all the scarier.
From our boy's point of view this is all like an unending
nightmare: Being dragged along through a desert, not knowing
the language, not knowing what's going to happen. Their
world skews and slides as if they were on a tilt-a-whirl.
Finally they reach a tent. One of the Arabs tosses Epps and
Jaeger's packs on the ground just before it. Another cuts
them loose and SHOVES THEM INSIDE THE TENT, then yells
something at them in Arabic. He leaves, and our two are
What do you make of them?
Shi'ites, I think.
Is that good, or bad?
I don't know. They killed Wes.
Why haven't they killed us!?
I don't know!
...Maybe...maybe we can fight our way
With what? Against how many?
We can't just sit here waiting to die.
You come up with a better plan, let me
Maybe...maybe if we traded them the gold.
If we gave it to them they might let us
live; they might not kill us.
From O.C. we hear a voice:
I always knew you were a bitch.
Epps and Jaeger's hearts seize up and stop. It's as if
they've heard the voice of a ghost, and they have. IT'S WES!
He carries with him the pack of gold. Epps can barely get
his name out.
You were shot. We were standing right
there, you were shot!
In the flack jacket. Still like getting
hit in the back with a baseball bat.
Took the air right out of me, but I was
just unconscious for awhile. 'Course,
you didn't stick around to find that out.
You left me for dead.
Like a guy who just took two steps over the edge:
YOU LEFT ME FOR DEAD!
Ohhh, shit. Somebody's crazy. Epps gets the feeling there's
not going to be much dialog going on here. Wes gets real
calm again, which is almost as scary as him acting nuts.
When my Shi'ite friends saw that they had
shot an American they were very
apologetic. Turns out we've been kicking
ass in this little war. They figure
we've finally gotten Saddam off their
backs. They brought me to their camp,
cleaned me up, fed me... I'm their new
best buddy. America number one, Joe.
But there's something the Shi'ites can't
figure out: They can't figure out why my
two buddies, two fellow Americans, left
me out in the desert. They can't seem to
figure out what those same two guys were
doing in an Iraqi outpost. It's almost
as if they were Iraqi spies, or
something. And I've got to tell you they
hate anything that's got to do with the
Iraqis. See how I mean?
We had to take shelter in the checkpoint.
Jesus, Wes, I killed the Iraqis in there.
You actually got around to killing
someone. I'm impressed. I guess you're
only half a bitch.
Wes, we thought you were dead, and we
thought we were next. Hanging around to
get killed wouldn't have done anyone any
Sure, and I guess it was just convenient
there was one less person to split the
Look, I know you guys are telling the
truth. It's just the Shi'ites don't know
that. I guess you could tell them...but
then you don't speak the language do you?
Wes gets right up into Jaeger's face.
Of course Wes knows they don't. He allows himself a very
sweet, shit eating grin.
They're going to kill you slow. I'll see
He steps away and starts to open the pack of gold.
Thanks for taking care of this for me.
Tell me something, Wes. Are you crazy,
greedy, or just stupid? Jaeger says
I didn't say that. I never said--
Me? I say you don't have enough brains
to be stupid.
For a second Wes is taken by surprise by the statement, but
he smiles at Epps' boldness. He sets down the pack of gold
and gets right up into Epps' face.
You disappoint me, Epps. Always figured
you to be a man; a real bright guy. I
had respect for you.
That why you tried to put a bullet in my
head in the middle of the desert.
That's just what things came to.
Sometimes you can't help that. It
doesn't change me respecting you. And
now you let me down. I expected more
from you, you know? I really did. I
expected you to--
A KNIFE SLIDES UP INTO FRAME UNTIL THE THE TIP RESTS JUST
UNDER WES' THROAT, CHOKING OFF HIS WORDS.
Now it's Epps' turn to go smug.
You expect this?
Wes' got nothing to say. To Jaeger:
Get the gold!
Jaeger grabs up the pack.
Now let's try things another way. Let's
try this: You and me and Jaeger are
going to walk out of here. We're going
to walk out all smiling and friendly so
your little Shi'ite buddies won't suspect
a thing. Then we're going to hop on some
horses, and ride away, and live happily
ever after. It's all going to happen
just like that, because if it doesn't
then I'm going to gut you like a fat pig.
You understand me...soldier?
Wes says nothing.
I'll take that as a yes.
Epps gruffly spins Wes around and presses the knife up
against his back so that it is hidden.
EPPS MARCHES WES OUTSIDE THE TENT, stopping momentarily to
grab up his pack with his free hand. To Jaeger he says:
Get the water.
Jaeger does as he's told.
They'll kill you. You won't make it ten
feet before they cut you down.
You don't know John Epps very well, do
Can you ride a horse?
No, but I figure now's a real good time
They walk on through the camp towards some saddled horses.
They pass a Shi'ite who says something to Wes in Arabic.
Epps gives Wes a poke in the back with the knife.
Don't say anything.
The Shi'ite, obviously expecting an answer, says whatever it
was he said again.
Just keep quiet.
I have to answer him.
So you can give us away?
If I don't answer, he'll know something's
Epps gives this a lot of thought in a very short time.
You answer him, but you answer him wrong
and you're going to be staring at your
insides while you're dying.
Wes very calmly says something to the Shi'ite. The Shi'ite
just stands there for a beat looking at the three men, then
suddenly explodes in screams. No way of knowing for sure
what he's saying, but since he's going off like a Westec
alarm it's a pretty good bet he's been tipped of.
Epps rears back a fist and slams it into Wes' face.
Epps and Jaeger take off running for the horses, practically
leaping into the saddles as Shi'ites come pouring out of
their tents. Forgetting himself, Wes screams in English.
Jaeger and Epps spur their horses and take off riding hard.
It's amazing what you can do when a bunch of angry Shi'ites
are chasing you.
Wes grabs an assault weapon from a near by Shi'ite and mounts
up with blood in his eyes. He leads a charge of armed,
mounted Shi'ites that looks like a posse going after some bad
Out front Epps and Jaeger pull up for a second.
Epps takes a look behind him. He can't hardly miss the
sandstorm Wes and the Shi'ites kick up as they ride for them.
Oh, yeah. They're coming.
Epps points off to some foothills in the distance. It's the
only thing close to cover for miles around.
Ride for the hills. We'll try to lose
They take the reigns to their horses and get to riding.
Behind them Wes yells to his riders, and signals for them to
split up, and try to cut off Epps and Jaeger.
Epps and Jaeger hit the hills. They ride up for a bit, then
stop to spot Wes. Wes and his crew are better riders and
have closed the gap. All the two can do now is try to lose
them in the terrain.
Epps and Jaeger ride as best they can, and somewhat
erratically to cover their trail. They head up a ways, then
cut across in a parallel direction. Jaeger looks back, but
sees no sign of Wes.
We lost them!
Just as the words leave Jaeger's mouth a hail of bullets
explodes the ground before them. Their horses rear up, and
it's all they can do to fight them. Just ahead are the
Shi'ites who split off from Wes, having circled around Epps
The two yank their horses back, and ride hard in the opposite
direction with the Shi'ites just behind. They fire on Epps
and Jaeger, the bullets pinging off the rocks all around them.
Epps and Jaeger are little more than passengers on their
horses as they run wild like stampeding mustangs. And good
for it, too, otherwise they might be dead by now. They break
for a trail that leads further up the mountain, but it
does little to shake loose their pursuers.
As Epps and Jaeger level out they can see the trail below
them, and Wes and his posse riding for them. Our two start
back the way they came. but the other Shi'ites crest the
Epps looks from side to side. Either way is certain death.
Then he looks off towards an embankment. It is VERY steep.
It would take an expert rider to make it down the embankment
safely. All Epps knows is there aren't any gun totting
Shi'ites in that direction.
Which way do we go!?
We go this way.
Fear gives way to desperation. Both men whip their steeds
hard. The beasts leap to the embankment and start the wild
ride down. Both Epps and Jaeger have to lean back in their
saddles until they're almost parallel to the ground just to
stay on their horses.
Wes sees this and swears. He signals to his men to cut back
the other way.
Epps reaches the bottom of the embankment. Jaeger is almost
there when he looses control of his horse. Both rider and
animal go tumbling in an ugly fall.
The horse gets up and bolts off before Jaeger can get to her.
Just then Wes and his men make it back down the trail, and
start riding hard for Jaeger.
Epps pulls his horse around and takes off for his fallen
comrade. As he rides in he leans to the side and low.
Stretching out an arm Epps literally scoops Jaeger, and
swings him up behind him. A couple of rodeo performers
couldn't have done it better.
Problem is with the extra weight they can't go very fast.
Wes and his men close hard now. The bullets fly fast and
furious swarming all around our boys.
Epps whips the horse, trying to get everything she's got to
give. This is it: They get away now, or not at all. Their
horse finds a little something extra. She goes faster,
Suddenly Epps pulls up hard on the reins. The horse rears
up, she goes wild. It takes everything Epps has to control
her. But better that than if she'd taken another stride.
They've come to the edge of a very, very sharp cliff. Epps
may be a good rider for a novice, but no way he could get
this beast to fly.
Finally he calms the horse down, but it doesn't matter. Wes
and the Shi'ites ride up behind them cutting them off. Wes
stands down from his horse.
Epps and Jaeger, with nowhere to go, do the same.
The gold; give it to me.
Epps takes the pack from Jaeger, but doesn't throw it to Wes.
Give it to me!
If I give it to you, will you let us go?
Wes smiles and lies so badly he doesn't even bother trying to
Sure. Whatever you want. For old time
Epps has got no choice, really. He tosses the pack to Wes'
feet who stoops to pick it up. Wes starts to open the pack.
Looks like at the end of the day we
finally find out who's better than who,
don't we, Epps? Like I said; I expected
more from you.
It's like I said; you don't really know
lieutenant John Epps very well, do you?
Wes rips open the pack. He's got about one second to see
what's inside. NO GOLD. JUST A BOOBY TRAPPED CLAYMORE MINE.
Epps grabs Jaeger and yanks to him to the ground.
There is a horrific furry of sound and fire that easily
destroys Wes and a few of the Shi'ite standing next to him.
The rest, along with the horses, scatter for dear life.
Epps stays down until the coast is clear, then gets up.
Jaeger, to say the least, is stunned.
Damn it. We lost the horses.
It wasn't the gold. It was the claymore
mine. The gold's in my pack.
When did you make the switch?
It's always been like that. When you
left me down in the crevice to send the
gold up I figured I'd better...take
precautions. I rigged it to blow if
anyone opened the pack. Just in case
somebody thought they could do better on
We had a deal. No one touches the gold
until we're out of here. No one breaks
the deal, no one had anything to worry
What if it hadn't been Wes? What if...I
mean, accidently, what if I had...
You shouldn't think about things like
that. It'll just make you crazy.
We hold on the two men, on the smoking remains of Wes. We
hold on them, then:
EXT. DESERT/ROAD - LATER
Epps and Jaeger come up to the road, a small highway. It's
eerie; a road in the middle of the desert. Quiet. No cars.
They just stand and stare at it for a beat.
A car's got to come along sooner or
later. When it does, we jack it.
How do we do that?
You lie in the middle of the road, look
like you're hurt. When the car stops I
run over to the driver and put a gun to
Why do I have to lie in the road?
Somebody has to.
Yeah, but why me? What if the car
Then I'm a rich man.
Epps sits by the side of the road waiting for a car. The
only thing he gets is more quiet. Jaeger sits next to him.
After a couple of beats:
I want you to know... I don't know. I
just think you're a hell of a guy.
This whole time, you've kept your head.
You didn't go money simple like me and
Wes. You've just been trying to figure
how to get us out of here. And you've
been fair too. I mean, even after
Threatened to blow my brains out?
Yeah. Even after that. You didn't take
it out on me, except for maybe making me
lie in the middle of the road now. But
I'd say you've been very fair. I just
think it's a hell of a man who can keep
from going money simple.
Don't make so much out of it. Only
reason I haven't figured a way to get all
that money for myself is because I've
been too busy figuring ways to stay
alive. Believe me; if I had a minute to
catch my breath I might have played
things the way you and Wes had. I'm no
better than anybody else. I've just been
They sit a while more. Still no car.
I'm thinking about taking a trip.
Thought you were going to buy a car.
Still am. There's more gold than I
thought, and since there's only two of us
now... Where should I go?
I don't know.
I've never been anywhere. I wouldn't
know where to go. Where would you go?
How the hell should I know?
Another long beat. Still no car.
I'd go to Australia. Lot of land, not
many people. I think after this I'd like
to quit people for awhile. And the girls
go crazy for brothers down there.
That's what I hear. Don't matter. Girls
go crazy everywhere for a man with gold.
From the distance we hear the faint sound of a car motor. It
draws closer and closer.
Epps and Jaeger stand. Knowing they're so close to the end
of a long adventure they become very business like.
Well, this is it. We get the car, find
some Americans. We find Americans we'll
be all right.
We'll make up some kind of lie. They
won't find the gold.
Epps and Jaeger just stand staring at each other as the car
Okay. See you in a minute.
Jaeger goes out and lays in the car's path. Epps goes to
hide behind some rocks.
The car keeps getting closer and closer.
Jaeger yells over to Epps.
Epps, I don't think he's slowing down.
He'll slow down.
The car gets closer.
He's not slowing.
He's going to slow down.
The car gets closer.
The car barrels right for Jaeger. Forget what Epps says,
it's not slowing down and Jaeger knows it.
At the last possible second Jaeger rolls out of the way. The
car doesn't slow, tearing across the stretch of road where
Jaeger lay, but swerves to avoid him. The DRIVER loses
control for a few seconds and is forced to skid to a halt.
Epps runs to the car, rips open the driver's door, and
presses the muzzle of an assault weapon to his head.
You speak English? DO YOU SPEAK
Jaeger runs over and jumps in the car. Epps gets in behind
the driver, keeping the gun pressed to his head.
Where were you going?
What's in the other direction?
This road, it leads straight to Kuwait.
Turn the car around.
Please, I beg of you. The American army
is there. I am Iraqi. They will kill
Nobody's going to hurt you.
Epps takes a gold coin from his back and gives it to the driver.
You see that? Gold. You take us to the
Americans, and we'll give you another
one. Now drive.
The driver turns around the car and starts back in the
direction he came.
They drive on for awhile, mostly in silence. Epps and Jaeger
are too anxious to have this all over to say much, and the
driver is too scared. Finally the driver starts to talk.
You are Americans, yes?
Neither Jaeger or Epps answer.
We didn't not all want this war, do you
know? We didn't not all want to invade
our brothers and sisters in Kuwait. Now
your army crushes us. So few days, and
so many have died. And many fear we will
all die. Please tell this to your
people: We did not want this war.
Still Jaeger and Epps say nothing. Outside the car the
traffic flowing in the opposite direction gradually gets
thicker and thicker.
I have a brother in our army. When I
take you back, will you look for him? If
he is still alive, will you look for him
and take care of him?
This last bit gets to Epps.
Yeah. We'll look for him.
Outside the traffic away from Kuwait has gotten so thick
everything is at a stand still. There are Iraqi military
vehicles pulling out, as well as a good many civilian cars
and trucks. It clogs up both lanes, and envelopes the car.
Some people try to make their way on foot as it is now much
Look at this.
Iraqis. They are fleeing from Kuwait,
from your military.
See if you can't drive around this.
The driver tries to work the car free of the congestion, but
he's wedged in, and not going anywhere.
From out of the sky swoop down a flight of AMERICAN F-15E
FIGHTER JETS. They swing down on the far end of the highway,
engines roaring like angry lions. For a second time stands
still. Everyone on the road stops and looks up at the jets.
Time starts again, and with a deadly vengeance.
The fighter pilots begin to strafe the highway: Vehicles and
people, civilian and military alike. There is no
distinction, only carnage.
This is the infamous Al Jahra highway from Basrah to Kuwait
City that was strafed with deadly accuracy over and over on
the last day of the war by American forces. It became known
as the Highway of Death.
The huge shells rip a bloody path, shredding cars and trucks,
igniting explosions, straight towards the car with Epps,
Jaeger and the driver. With barely seconds to go before they
are shot to pieces as well. They dive from the car, Epps
dragging the driver out, and scramble for cover along the
side of the road.
The planes turn back for another pass.
What the hell are they doing? There're
civilians in there.
Not even thinking about what he's doing Jaeger jumps up and
screams at the jets.
DON'T SHOOT! DON'T SHOOT! THEY'RE
Epps jumps up and drags Jaeger back down to cover as the
shells fram the jets cut dangerously close to them.
The jets bank and swoop for another run.
Epps realizes there is something wrong. He looks around
desperately, but doesn't see...THERE, BACK IN THE CAR!
Epps runs for the car, trying to beat the jets.
Jaeger lunges for Epps but misses him. Epps snakes his way
through the burning hulks towards their car. He dodges,
jukes and weaves among shells, shrapnel and explosions that
go off all around him. He just makes it to the car, grabbing
up the gold, as the fighters once again swing low and cut
A wicked hail of shells reigns down. It sets off a series of
violent explosions that knocks Jaeger off his feet. It takes
him a beat to recover. By then the fighters have done their
job, and fly off.
Jaeger stands. He walks towards the road over the plaintive
wails of the barely living. The car, the gold, Epps... they
are essentially disintegrated.
AS THE CAMERA PULLS BACK AND UP WE SEE THAT IT ISN'T JUST
THEIR CAR AND EPPS THAT ARE GONE. There isn't much of
anything left on this road. Just death, destruction and
INT. MILITARY COURTROOM - MONTHS LATER
Jaeger is cleaned up, in dress uniform, and sitting at a
table before a MILITARY TRIBUNAL. He looks very sullen, as
if this whole adventure has robbed him of his soul.
The members of the tribunal just look pissed.
The members of this tribunal have reached
a verdict. Based on the evidence
presented we find the defended guilty as
charged of desertion, insurrection,
insubordination, and conduct unbecoming.
Further the tribunal will recommend that
the defendant be sentenced to life
imprisonment, and that from this day
forward he shall no longer walk as a free
man. You should consider yourself quite
fortunate, son. There was a time when
lesser crimes would have found you before
a firing squad. I don't know that a
person like you has much to say for
himself, but it is your right say
Jager doesn't stand. He doesn't look at the tribunal. He
just begins to talk.
I'm sorry, I guess. Not for looking for
the gold, or leaving my post. You know
what it's like to have gold raining out
of your hands? That'll give me enough to
think about the rest of my days in the
brig. I'm just sorry about Wes. He was
all right. It was the gold that made him
what he became. If I hadn't found that
map, if I hadn't talked them into going
searching...Wes just might have made it
home after all. I guess I feel
responsible for him.
The way I view things you're responsible
for the lives of two men: Private First
Class Wes Hanmond, and Second Lieutenant
Yeah, well, I've been thinking about
that. See, there was an explosion and
everything, but I never really aaw Epps
get killed. And nobody ever found the
gold. I guess they both could have been
burned to slag. I guess. But there were
a lot of bodies out on that road. A
smart man could have found some
identification to use. A smart man could
have made his way up to Syria or Turkey.
A smart man could have gotten himself
right out of the Middle East. A smart
man with enough gold. Way I figure,
right about now old Epps is sitting in a
bar in Sydney, or Melboure, or maybe
Brisbane telling stories to one of the
prettiest Aussies you ever saw.
The members of the tribunal just scoff.
I find it highly unlikely that anyone
could accomplish such a thing.
Well, Sir, I guess you don't know Second
Lieutenant John Epps very well, do you?
Jaeger allows himself a slight smile as he leaves the
tribunal with this question.
Three Kings (Spoils of War)
Writers : John Ridley
Genres : Action Adventure War