by Sara Davidson
EXT TOWN - TELEGRAPH OFFICE - DAY 1
A wealthy mining baron, CLAY HARDING, his son, CALVIN, and his henchman,
BEN, ride into town on a busy morning, tie their horses up and start
into the telegraph office.
HORACE is filing messages, but when he sees Harding, Calvin and
Ben walk in, he jumps to attention.
I'm staking a new claim for gold - west of Willow Creek. Just below
my mill ....
That's fine, Mr. Harding, but I gotta wire Golden - see if it's
been staked already. We'll get an answer back in a couple of days.
Harding steps closer to Horace.
While we're waiting, I want you to keep this quiet.
Oh, course. I took an oath, when I got sworn in. All claims are
Harding considers, looks at his son and Ben, then turns and walks
out. Ben lights a stogie as he moves to Horace, threatening.
Make sure you keep your trap shut.
Horace nods vigorously.
INT SALOON - DAY
Hank is setting up at the bar when Calvin, looking arrogant, walks
in. Several men are drinking. Myra stands by.
Whiskey (Hank doesn't respond).
Are you deaf? Whiskey!
I can't serve somebody who don't shave yet.
Other men laugh
Don't you know who I am?
We know who your Daddy is.
Calvin takes a wad of bills from his pocket, slaps a few on the
That enough for a glass of whiskey?
Hank eyes the money - it's more than enough. Starts to pour.
You're gettin' older by the minute.
EXT STREET - DAY
BRIAN carrying a basket of eggs, walks in front of the saloon with
Calvin backs out, a little tipsy, Myra hangs in the door.
(Waves) Goodbye pretty lady.
Myra rolls her eyes. He turns, bumps into Brian. Brian stumbles
and the eggs go flying, splatter on the ground. Brian cries out.
Myra steps out, tries to help Brian pick them up.
Hey kid, watch your step.
MIKE is on the porch saying goodbye to a patient when she looks
up to see what's happening.
(To Calvin) You just bought yourself some eggs.
Don't need any eggs.
Calvin starts to walk away and Matthew grabs him. Calvin shoves
Matthew. That's it. They fight. Mike runs up, as do Harding and
Mike moves to pull them apart, but Ben grabs her first.
Hold on there!
Sully suddenly appears and pulls Ben off of Mike. Ben takes a swing
at Sully who ducks it and backs off, ready to pull his tomahawk.
He started it!
You pick a fight with my son?
Your son bumped into my son and made him drop the eggs.
Harding looks around. People in the crowd nod and murmur agreement.
He takes a large gold coin and throws it in the dirt at Brian's
feet, puts his arm around his son and they walk off. Ben follows.
Brian glances at Matthew, then picks up the coin. Mike looks outraged.
END OF TEASER
EXT CLINIC - DAY - ESTABLISHING
How much of this I got to drink?
INT CLINIC - DAY
Mike is examining OLIVE, who sits on the examining table. A sick
man, EZRA lies on a cot against the wall.
MIKE (over the screen)
All of it, Mr. Stone. It's called paregoric and it will calm your
That's what I need. I can't keep food down. I feel so weak ...
Olive runs a hand through her hair, and a bunch of strands come
Look at this. It's been falling out every time I brush it. (She
tears up; vulnerable). It's not the change, is it? Dr. Mike? ...
am I gettin' old and dried up?
No, of course not. (A hug). You're far too young.
I don't feel young. My teeth are even gettin' loose.
My gums are bleedin'.
We hear bell to clinic ring.
I'll give you some alum to rub on them.
As Olive comes out from behind the screen, the REVEREND walks in.
Miss Olive, how're you?
Not feelin' my best. How bout you, Reverend?
Same. I feel so poorly, I had to cancel choir practice ...
Upset stomach? (he nods). Have you noticed any hair loss?
How'd you know?
You're the fourth person I've seen with these symptoms. (nods at
cot). Ezra has the same thing. It almost seems like kind of poisoning.
You mean someone's trying to kill us?
No. But you all may have eaten something bad.
I got a bitter taste in my mouth.
You do? So do I. Sort of like metal.
What have you been drinking? Where do you get your water?
Who else gets water there? Everyone in town?
A lot of folks have wells.
MIKE: (turns to Ezra)
You're sure you haven't had water from Willow Creek?
Can't be the source then.
Ezra reaches in his coat pocket. Takes out a flask bottle, takes
You running a still?
No ma'am. Bought this from Happy Walker.
Where's he get his water?
EZRA: (a look, then)
Mike looks excited - this may be the key.
EXT POND - DAY
Mike walks beside the Willow Creek pond, with the three kids. Matthew
carries a knapsack. Mike kneels and scoops up water, runs it through
her fingers, sniffs it.
What're we looking for?
Something unusual, that isn't normally there .....
There's a tree frog!
That's not what she means.
Over here. Between the rocks.
Mike and the children walk over and look.
That silver stuff?
Hand me the copper pot.
Matthew opens bag and hands her a copper pot.
I was wonderin' why you brought it.
Mike dips pot into the water, rubs it against the rocks and pulls
it out. The silver material sticks to the copper.
What is it?
I'm not positive, but ... who has a nickel?
Matthew hands her one. She rubs the nickel with the silver material.
It shines it up.
She looks at Sully, who nods.
EXT TELEGRAPH OFFICE - DAY 2
Horace helps Mike post a sign by the chalk board: "Danger -
Bad Water. Willow Creek is contaminated with mercury. Highly poisonous.
Don't drink or eat fish caught there until further notice. Dr. M.
Where does Willow Creek have its source?
Well, let's see, it winds back up toward the hills. (points). Goes
right through that new claim of Mr. Harding's ... oh my gosh.
He checks himself, realizes he shouldn't have mentioned the new
claim. Looks embarrassed.
I wasn't sposed to say nothin' bout that claim. Please don't tell
no one. I took a oath ....
I won't. Don't worry. But ... where does the stream go from there?
It curves around past the Harding mill ...
A gold mill?
Yep. They crush all the rock from his mines there - separate out
MIKE: (turns to leave)
Thank you Horace.
Please don't say nothin''!
EXT STREET - DAY
Harding, his son, Clay and Ben are walking past the saloon. Mike
comes out of the telegraph office and spots them, approaches. Horace
follows her, with apprehension. Harding and Clay are ready to ride
out of town and have their horses saddled at the hitching post.
Sully is there, watching. So is Olive. Mike's manner, at first,
is pleasant and respectful.
Mr. Harding, may I have a word with you? (as her turns). Do you
happen to use mercury in your mining operation?
Course we do. It's the best thing for separating gold from ore.
Is it possible that some of that mercury is finding its way into
Willow Creek? It runs right by your mill.
HARDING: (gives her a hard look)
Runs by a dozen other mills, too.
Would you mind if we came and took a sample? People here are getting
sick and I'm concerned ....
Damn right I'd mind. We don't allow outsiders. Lot of folks jump
claims, leads to shooting and killing ...
You're the one doing the killing. I lost my best friend in one of
I run a safe operation.
Mr. Harding, mercury poisoning builds up slowly - until the lungs
and kidneys give out, and you die with painful convulsions ...
Harding swings onto his horse, as does Calvin.
Quite a tale. But it's not my concern.
Oh, but it is sir.
HARDING: (to Calvin)
Son, let's ride.
Mr. Harding, if I can prove to the authorities in Denver that mercury
is coming from your mill, I will shut you down. And if one person
dies, I will see to it that you're arrested and tried for manslaughter.
Harding shares at her, then tips his hat, leans over to her.
You got quite an imagination.
He spurs his horse. Calvin follows, leaving Mike, Sully and Horace
to stare after them. Ben, who's staying behind to manage Harding's
affairs, gives the three a dark look.
EXT TOWN - STREET - DAY
Mike and Sully are walking and talking, some place where they can't
I'll need a sample from the water by his mill.
I'll get it.
I'll go with you. I have to some chemical tests.
Teach me and I'll do them for you.
I couldn't trust the results.
I've done some assay work if you're thinking I can't do it right.
No, it's not that. (beat). I mean a judge might find your results
biased. You made it quite clear you have a score to settle.
Well, it's too hard a journey for someone like you to make.
Someone like me?
You ever slept in anything but a bed? (her look). I'll bring the
sample back here, and then you ...
I need to conduct the test at the source. I need you to guide me
there. Will you?
(beat; then) If you go, it'll take too long and more people are
gonna get sick.
Fine. (she walks on a beat). Then I'll go by myself.
Sully throws up his hands in frustration.
INT GENERAL STORE - DAY
Mike buys supplied.
You wouldn't be fixin' to go out after that water now?
What makes you think that ....
Getting' to know you.
Mike starts to deny it, but realizes she can't fool Olive. Mike
Someone has to stop Harding before it's too late.
Sully going with you?
He wants to go alone. Says I'll slow him down.
You ride as good as him. Must be another reason.
Well, it is rough country. And it could be dangerous.
You know what I think. I think he's scared to be out there alone
Why would that scare him?
(wry). I can't imagine.
Mike steals a look at her, and it's clear, she knows exactly what
Olive means. Mike blushes. They laugh. It's a moment of understanding
between the women.
EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - DAY
Mike and Sully have started on their journey. Sully bareback on
an Indian pony, Mike on Bear. Wolf trots along. Mike has saddle
bags and a tent tied onto her horse. Sully travels light.
EXT COUNTRYSIDE - DAY
Walking their horses, they come to a gate with a large sign: "Property
of Harding Mining Co. No Trespassing."
Isn't there a less conspicuous way?
Not if you want to follow the river you want to test.
Sully forces the gate open. Mike looks about nervously. He opens
gate, and leads his horse through. Mike follows.
DISSOLVE TO: EXT CAMPSITE - NIGHT
Mike is trying to clean up, sitting in front of her tent. Washing
her face by the campfire, pouring water from a canteen onto a handkerchief.
Sully enters from the woods, sees her, smells her scented soap.
Don't go wastin' water. We can't drink from the creek, and we got
a ways to go before there's a spring.
Sully lays down next to the fire. Mike puts her toilet items away.
Sully is at once comfortable, closes his eyes. Mike watches him
for a moment.
Well ... good night.
He doesn't respond. She lies down.
BACK TO MIKE
staring at the stars, his eyes open looking at the same, neither
daring to look at one another .....
END OF ACT ONE
EXT WOOD - DAY
Mike is still sleeping. A fire is going, a coffee pot sits in the
embers. Sully has gotten up early and quietly done everything. He's
tying his bedroll to his horse. Wolf sits quietly waiting. Sully
starts to put out the fire. The noise wakes Mike who stands and
calls to Sully, holding the blanket in front of her.
Mike springs into action, goes into a flurry of gathering and packing
her things. Sully pours coffee, sits back to watch.
Why didn't you wake me?
I said we'd leave at sun up.
You could at least have given me some warning ....
Sully eyes her pile of belongings: a mirror, toiletries, clothes,
Better hurry up and pack all that junk.
It's not junk.
She quickly takes down her tent and gathers her things.
Well at least don't be usin' any more of that fancy soap. If I can
smell it, then everybody else can too.
He turns away. We HOLD on her.
EXT TOWN - DAY
The three kids are walking down the street when they hear a commotion,
turn and look behind them
A horse comes into town with a DEAD MAN strapped onto him. A sign
pinned to his back reads like the sign Mike and Sully saw on the
gate: "Harding Mining Co. Trespassers will be shot." A
crowd gathers around the horse, including Robert E., Grace, Olive,
the Reverend, Horace, Hank, Jake, Loren and Myra. Kids approach.
Several men lift the dead man down, as Robert E takes off and reads
"Claims jumpers shot on sight - Clay Harding."
Crowd reacts with shock, fear.
Dr. Mike and Sully left yesterday to get a sample of water near
Harding's mill ... We gotta warn em. Who's ridin' with me?
You're not feeling up to it Olive.
Neither are you.
We promised to look after the younguns.
You'll go get shot, is what.
Just cause you ain't brave.
I ain't stupid.
That's a matter of opinion.
Well, I'm goin'. Jake what about you?
LOREN (to Jake)
We can't let them shoot Dr. Mike, can we?
What if someone in town needs a haircut?
Doctor Mike has helped a lotta folks in this town.
Oh yeah? Who's yellah - I'll go if you go.
Ha! (turns to Loren, taunting). How bout you old man? Giddee up?
EXT WATER'S EDGE - WASH - DAY
Mike is completing a test by the water. She's putting away her kit
when Sully enters.
We're still on track.
Let's rest here.
Don't stop for me. I'm fine if you want to move on.
We're stopping for the horses.
Sully walks away. We HOLD on Mike.
Mike is giving the horses water from their supply. Sully is pulling
off Mike's gear.
You've got to keep checking the straps. Balance the load.
How much farther before we stop?
We'll keep going until dark. (half beat). You alright with that?
Suddenly the horses get spooked. Wolf lets out a low growl.
What is it?
Don't know. Could be a bear, maybe another wolf.
And then we hear the growl.
And the horses both run off. Sully can't hold them.
ANGLE MOUNTAIN LION (stock) up on some rocks above them. He growls.
SULLY picks up a rock, throws it at the lion.
Get! Go on!
ANGLE LION (stock) as it turns and runs.
BACK TO SCENE
Mike looks after the horses. Sully starts picking up his gear.
Aren't we going after the horses?
They're long gone and we gotta move. Leave everything but what you
She chooses her brush/mirror as one of the "essentials".
He shakes his head.
EXT LIVERY - DAY
The posse gathered in front of Jake's shop. Loren, Horace, Jake,
Hank, the Reverend. Grace, Olive, Robert E are there to send them
Matthew watches from the porch of Jake's store.
We'll head up to four corners, pick up the creek there.
Matthew climbs on his horse.
What do you think you're doin'?
Going with you.
This ain't a job for kids.
I don't see any kids here, do you Reverend?
The Reverend mounts up.
No, I don't. Let's ride.
They spur and start out. We go with them. Olive, Grace, Robert E
wave to them
I'll raise my arm like this when I'm gonna stop.
He turns around to demonstrate for them and gets blind-sided by
the Cooper sign hanging above the street. The Reverend does a flip
to the ground.
Everyone stops. Grace, Robert E and Olive come running up the street.
Olive bends and puts his head on her lap, stroking his brow.
Are you all right?
I don't think so ...
And with that he passes out.
That's one down.
Matthew spurs his horse, takes off. The men hurry to catch up. We
hold on Grace, Olive, Robert E and the unconscious Reverend.
EXT WOODS - DAY
A RATTLESNAKE glides over the warm rocks. CAMERA MOVES to reveal
it's headed right for SULLY, reclining on his side, back to CAMERA
and the snake. Sully's watching something.
SULLY'S POV - MIKE asleep, sitting up against a rock. They've stopped
for a rest. Wolf rests beside Mike, as if guarding her.
Hey .... psst.
ANGLE THE SNAKE
as it stops, raises its head, flicks the tongue out. Two feet from
MIKE opens her eyes.
I fell asleep.
I know. Time to get going again.
I was dreaming.
You talk in your sleep.
Pick up your gear.
Mike starts to gather her things, brush, mirror ... she looks at
herself in the mirror ....
What'd I say?
Nothing worth repeating.
That sets Mike to thinking. But then Sully sits up, revealing the
snake behind him. And the sudden movements causes the rattler to
coil and begin rattling.
Oh my God!
Wolf starts barking. Sully knows enough to hold still. He can see
it out of the corner of his eye.
Shhhh .... Wolf ... stop it ...
Wolf stops barking. Mike slowly lowers her mirror, and the sun flares
from it. Mike gets an idea. She starts to slide the reflection beam
across the ground. Sully sees what she's doing and watches ... she
moves the beam up, onto the snake's body and then into its eyes,
blinding it. At that moment, Sully makes his move, gets away, then
pulls out his tomahawk and kills the snake. He picks up his tomahawk,
the dead snake.
Mike puts her mirror away.
Never hurts to be prepared.
SULLY: (nods, then)
I'll save him for dinner.
And Sully starts walking. Wolf follows, and then Mike shakes her
head in wonder, picks up her gear, goes off after them.
EXT CLEARING - CEDAR GROVE - NIGHT
The search party is making camp. Jake starts a fire. Hank drinks
from a flask. Jake and Horace both want the same spot. Jake throws
Horace's blanket to the side, grabs the spot.
I'm sleeping here.
I wouldn't if I was you.
Why not? It's the best spot. Nice and soft.
Jakes gives him a look, picks up his blanket.
Hush up! Look!
A large skunk is walking straight toward them.
It won't bother us. Leave it be.
I don't like skunks.
Make a skunk noise.
Skunks don't make noise.
Don't scare him!
Matthew moves away. Hank picks up a rock.
What're you doin'?
Don't get him mad.
Skunks are bullies.
Hank tosses a rock at the skunk and it lets loose. We stay on the
men as it sprays them. Jake, Loren, Hank and Horace cry out in distress,
close their eyes, cover their noses, roll in the dirt in a mad tangle
EXT TRAIL - DAY
Mike and Sully come to a rock near the river, stop and peer around
it. Wolf is with them
A lean to, with a crude still beside it. No sign of activity.
BACK TO SCENE:
That's Happy Walker's still.
Shall we see if he's there?
Mike starts to straighten up.
No. He's crazy. Shoots at anything that comes near. (stands). Wait.
Cautiously, silently, Sully advances toward the still. Then stops,
turns around and looks at Mike. Motions her to come.
What is it?
She moves up to Sully and is startled.
Happy Walker on the ground, dead. An overturned jug of moonshine
beside him. He's pale, and his open mouth is nearly toothless. Mike
crouches beside him, touches his hair, and it comes out in her hand.
She looks at Sully.
END OF ACT TWO
EXT TRAIL - DAY
Sully and Mike walk along a trail. Mike stops, sets the tent down.
You need that tent?
It might rain. (his look). All right, we'll leave it.
She picks up the moonshine bottle.
You need that:
Sully grabs the bottle, tucks it in his shirt, starts out again.
EXT WASH - DAY
Hank, Jake and Horace are in the stream below the rock in their
long johns, madly washing themselves and scrubbing their clothes.
Loren's on the bank, scrubbing his clothes on a rock. Matthew watches
Smell won't come out.
I told ya' ....
JAKE: (pitches clothes to shore)
Nothin' to do but burn em.
HANK: (tosses shirt down river)
Just toss em.
They start wading out, putting on hats and boots and gun belts over
their damp long johns. Getting horses ready. Considering the different
Which way, ya' think?
That right path. goes to the mill.
No, it's the left. I been here before.
That's right, Jake.
But I seen it on the map.
Most maps are worthless.
Take the right. I know the river.
Like you know skunks? (Swings onto horse)
I'm leadin'. Left!
I think we should go this way.
Yeah, what do you know?
I know enough to still have my clothes. And if we go this way, we'll
save half a day.
Matthew rides out. But the other men shake their heads and mount
Well I'm going this way.
Hank, Jake and Loren ride off in a different direction from Matthew.
Horace is torn, then follows Hank and Jake.
Hey, wait up!
EXT WOODS - DAY
Sully and Mike are walking along a rocky path with a sharp fall
off to one side. They are picking their way over the boulders. Suddenly,
Sully stops. Listens.
And then we see the wagon, coming into view just ahead. Another
moment and they'll be seen by the two armed guards.
Mike moves for cover, loses her balance and falls on the rocks.
She lands hard on her wrist, breaking it. Sully is immediately beside
Sully put his hand over her mouth stopping the scream, holding her,
hoping the men didn't hear.
as one of the guards looks around, then shakes it off.
crouching low in the rocks, holding Mike until the men pass. Mike
nearly faints from the pain. Finally, the guards and wagon are gone
and Sully lets go of her.
Mike nods, tries to feel her wrist.
EXT LIVERY - DAY
Olive and Robert E are sitting with the kids.
That search party musta found em by now.
They're all on their way home.
Grace comes out with a plate of homemade cookies.
Hope you're right.
Right or not, worryin' bout it won't accomplish nothin'. How bout
Everyone reaches for them, and despite their fears, it's a treat
to taste them. Lots of mmmms and ahhhhhs.
BRIAN (to Grace):
You oughta open a cafe.
GRACE: (this is a joke)
What an idea.
You cook good enough.
You cook better n anyone in town.
You're just hungry now, is all.
Lot of miners would pay good for a hot dinner.
You could call it, Grace's Cafe.
How'm I gonna do that? I got no place.
I might back ya'. I know you love workin' for me, but the town needs
You could start right her ... put up a picnic table.
I never heard such foolishness! (laughs). Grace's Cafe.
But we see, from her face, that despite her protests, she's beginning
to consider it. Shoots a look at Olive.
wonder if they found em yet.
EXT WOODS - NIGHT
Sully is roasting a rabbit on sticks. Mike sits beside the fire,
watching it, as does wolf. She's got a stick splint tied to her
wrist, a sling fashioned from her petticoat and skirt. She picks
up the canteen, but can't open it with one hand. Sully takes the
canteen, opens it, pours her some water.
Your wrist hurt?
Best give it a rest.
Thank you. (irritated with herself). But it's not necessary to wait
No shame in letting folks help you.
Mike shakes her head. Looks at Sully.
I'm sorry. I wanted to show you I could do whatever you could. (rueful).
Now I'm nearly helpless.
Why don't you quit tryin' so hard?
It's an old habit.
Give it up.
They sit a beat. She takes brush out. She tries to take the pins
from her hair. He stops her. He starts taking them out for her.
She let's him. He moves behind her and begins to brush it. Mike
stiffens at first, very uncomfortable. Then, slowly, she begins
to relax ..
CLOSE ON SULLY
Mike can't see his face, but we can. He's touched by the soft feel
of her hair, the nearness of her body, the warmth of her skin.
CLOSE ON MIKE
Her shoulders droop, and she allows herself to enjoy the feeling
of Sully grooming and stroking her hair. Is it possible ... she
could enjoy being take care of?
EXT RIVER - DAY
Sully stands at the river's edge.
We should cross here.
Sully starts out into the water.
EXT CLIFF ABOVE THE RIVER
Ben and another man, on horseback, watch Sully enter the river.
They don't see Mike, hidden under the overhang of the cliff below
them. The man takes out his rifle, starts to line up on Sully. Ben
pushes the barrel down, shakes his head.
I got a better way.
He reaches into his saddlebag, pulls out a stick of dynamite, lights
a short fuse, throws it into the river below.
as the charge lands in front of him and goes off. Sully is catapulted
up and back by the blast. He lands face down, unconscious.
showered by the blast of water. She sees Sully floating, doesn't
hesitate as she goes to save him.
Mike struggles to reach him, then using her good arm, flips him
over on his back. She grabs him by the shirt, holds his head above
water, starts dragging him to the shore.
MIKE'S POV - BEN AND MAN
on their horses, making their way down the trail to the water.
pulls Sully to the shore. She looks around for a hiding place, then
drags him into some tall reeds. She looks up as Ben and the man
ride down into the river.
ANGLE - BEN AND MAN
as they search the banks of the water, step out into it.
Must have washed on downstream.
The other man nods. Ben turns his horse for home.
ANGLE - MIKE AND SULLY
hiding in the reeds.
EXT CLEARING - DAY
Mike and Sully sit on opposite sides of a large tree, their backs
to each other. Mike's in her under garments, her arm in the sling.
Sully's in his Indian briefs. Their clothes are spread out on the
rocks to dry. They're exhausted, but feel that euphoria and gratefulness
that comes from having survived an ordeal. As they talk, they're
careful not to look at one another in their underclothes.
For someone who's "nearly helpless", you did good.
We were lucky.
The Cheyenne would say you have a debt on me.
We all have a debt on each other.
An awkward moment. Sully is acknowledging her and although she doesn't
let on, it means a great deal to Mike.
Think the clothes are dry?
I'll check. (playful). Don't look.
I wouldn't dream of it.
He stands and goes to the rock, where Wolf is lying. Sully feels
She looks straight ahead, but curiosity gets the better of her,
she sneaks a look around the tree at Sully, then snaps her head
He picks up the clothes, starts back to the tree, keeping his eyes
on the ground. Wolf walks beside him. Sully can't resist lifting
his head and sneaking a look, but the wolf barks and Sully drops
Mike has the sling off her arm. Sully stands with his eyes closed,
holding up Mike's shirt, unbuttoned, so she can get into it.
Keep your eyes shut.
She slips her good hand through a sleeve, then uses that hand to
guide the injured hand through the other sleeve. Mission accomplished,
she pulls the sides of the shirt together in front of her. Tries
to do the buttons, but it's impossible with one hand.
You may open them. (as he opens eyes). Could you ... fasten the
Trying to act as if it's just another task, Sully buttons the front
of her blouse.
SMASH CUT TO
EXT LEAN TO - NIGHT
Mike is sleeping in a cave in the rock. Sully sleeps outside it,
with Wolf. Mike raises her head.
SULLY: (lifts head)
It's raining. Come inside.
It'll stop soon.
Beat. He looks over at her.
Don't be stubborn.
It's an old habit.
Give it up.
INT LEAN TO
Sully comes in and lies down next to Mike to give her warmth. She
has her back to him. They don't speak, but they're tantalizingly
aware of the other's presence. Neither can sleep.
EXT MILL - DAY (Stock)
Beside the river, we see Harding's mill. A sluice carries dirt and
waste right to the water. Liquid, probably containing mercury, oozes
from the sluice into the stream.
Mike hides behind a clump of bushes, watching the mill.
Mounted guards pass with rifles. When way is clear, Sully makes
for the river, dips glass in, fills it and moves stealthily back
Hidden from view, Mike and Sully prepare to test the water. Mike
has her kit of chemicals open. Sully holds glass of river water.
Mike hands him another glass. Takes a small gold-colored chunk and
drops it in the empty glass.
We'll put a piece of iron pyrite in there ...
Looks like fool's gold.
Exactly. (takes a vial from case). Open this - pour a few drips
in? Careful, it's acid.
Sully opens vial, pours it over pyrite. It bubbles, forming a gas
that smells putrid. Sully reacts.
What's that smell?
Hydrogen Sulfide gas. Now cut a piece of cloth off my petticoat.
Sully sets the two glasses down carefully. Takes knife and cuts
a piece of her slip.
We'll soak it in the river water, and hold it over the other glass.
If there's mercury in that water, the cloth will turn black. Mike
dips the cloth in water, then stretches it over the glass. Gas bubbles
up through the cloth.
For a moment, nothing seems to be happening. Then a circle of black
residue appears on the cloth.
BACK TO SCENE
Mike lets out a whoop ... then catches herself, looks at Sully.
They've got what they need. Wolf starts to growl - they look up
to see two armed guards coming at them. Sully sees they're trapped.
SULLY (to Wolf)
Wolf bolts away - one of the guards takes a shot at him. Misses,
but then turns the gun on Sully and Mike. They raise three hands
between them, slowly rise to face the guards as we
FADE OUT END OF ACT THREE
EXT HARDING'S CAMP
This is an encampment where Harding stays when he visits the mill.
Harding, his son, Calvin, and their henchman, Ben, stand in front
of Harding's tent, which is more elaborate than several nearby tents.
In front of tent is a table and several chairs. Guards have brought
Mike and Sully to Harding. One guard holds gun on them; other places
items they've confiscated on the desk: the blanket/pack, chemical
test kit, jug of moonshine, scrap of blackened cloth and the two
glasses used in the experiment. One is capped and still contains
water from the stream.
What's all that claptrap?
a crude way to test for mercury in the water ...
Nothing wrong with that water.
MIKE: (indicates glass)
Would you drink it, Mr. Harding?
No. I won't engage in theatrics.
Good. Then you won't object to sending a sample to Denver for analysis
My father's word is good enough.
Let me remind you, Doctor Quinn ... you are the ones who've committed
a crime - coming onto my land without permission - in spite of clear
posted warnings ...
You refused permission.
And we know why. Your mines aren't safe.
HARDING: (steps forward, angry).
I got a right to shoot you.
They stare at each other.
That wouldn't be the end of this, Mr. Harding. You'll be found out
and hung for it.
Ben steps forward.
HARDING: (continuing ominous)
Take 'em to that tent down there. Make sure they're not ... disturbed.
We'll settle it all in the morning.
Ben and the guards usher Sully and Mike toward another tent. Harding
CLOSE ON CALVIN:
Calvin lingers behind, and when everyone's turned away, he clips
the jug of moonshine under his arm and goes off toward the woods.
EXT BIG ROCK - DAY
The search party of Hank, Jake, Loren and Horace in their long johns
covered with dirt - come down a path on their horses.
What I wouldn't give for some hot biscuits.
Bacon - crackling in the skillet.
Rabbit stew, with brown gravy and potatoes and white cake for dessert.
Hey, look! What the heck ...
They stare at the landmark rock. They're right back where they started!
How'd we end up back here again?
We musta got turned around in the woods.
I told ya' - we should have stayed by the stream.
HANK (mimics him):
Told ya'. Told ya'.
We been ridin' all this time and we ain't gotten nowhere!
Why are we doin' this anyhow? Who's harebrained idea was this?
A beat, they look at each other and all speak at once.
He suckered us.
I bet he faked running into that sign. Probably never meant to come.
And what about the doc? If she didn't go pokin' her nose where it
don't belong ...
A pox on all of em. Let's go home!
We'll never live it down.
I ain't sure now which way home is.
But the three of them point in different directions.
And Wolf comes running up, barking. They follow him.
INT TENT - DAY
Mike and Sully are sitting on cots. Sully's tomahawk has been taken.
Guard with rifle outside.
What do you think they're going to do?
Take us somewhere ... make it look like an accident ...
Suddenly tent flap opens and Ben sticks his head in.
Come out here! Now!
Sully and Mike exchange glances.
Harding has brought Calvin to the tent. Mike and Sully come out.
Calvin is sick, doubled over in pain, groaning piteously.
My boy took sick. You're a doctor, right?
Mike steps toward Calvin, her professional instincts taking over.
MIKE (to Calvin)
My stomach hurts. Terrible. I've been throwing up.
Did you drink water from the creek?
Course not. We have a spring ...
He catches himself - he's just admitted he doesn't use the creek
MIKE (to Calvin):
Do you have a bitter taste in your mouth?
Did you drink or eat something ... mixed with that water? Anything
That moonshine you brought.
You drank that?
MIKE (to Harding):
It's full of mercury.
CALVIN (to father)
You said there was nothing wrong - the water was good.
Harding, at this point, doesn't care about anything except his son
surviving. He turns to Mike.
Can't you do something?
I don't have my bag ...
She holds up her hands, which are tied. Calvin drops to the ground
in pain, and Harding kneels beside him, freaking out.
Good god, please, help us ... there must be something you can do.
Get me some charcoal. Powder if you have it.
It absorbs the poison. We'll have him swallow some.
HARDING: (to guards)
Get it for her.
One guard takes off for Harding's tent. Mike kneels beside Calvin,
puts her hand on his forehead, soothes him. Sully looks on, concerned.
Hold on. Take some deep breaths, like this ....
She demonstrates, and Calvin tries to breathe as she does.
EXT PLATEAU - DAY
Harding is standing by the creek, staring at the water. Mike comes
up behind. He turns, anxious to know how his son is.
Calvin's going to pull through. The charcoal worked.
Harding closes his eyes and sighs with relief.
Can I see him?
Mike nods, and they start walking toward Harding's tent.
I've sent for some paragogic - that will calm his stomach. Give
hm lots of milk to drink. And of course, none of that water...
Yes, the water.
They've reached the table in front of the tent.
People have got to be warned not drink it.
That's not enough. There's animals, fish ... everything is affected.
You know how much it'd cost not change our operation?
You know what it'll cost if you don't? It almost cost you Calvin.
We could build a tailings pond, dam up the waste so it can't seep
into the river.
HARDING: (stares at her)
I'll talk to my foreman now.
I'm grateful, about Calvin. (takes out money). What do I owe you?
Maybe, instead of paying me, you could make a settlement with the
family of Happy Walker?
Harding stares at her a moment. She's asking a lot. Then he nods.
I'll lend you two of my horses - take you back not town.
She extends her hand and he shakes it.
THEIR POV - GUARDS
Riding in with Matthew.
EXT WOODS - DAY
Mike, Sully and Matthew are riding back not town. Suddenly they
hear a noise - men's voices shouting. They stop and listen - Wolf
comes running up not them barking.
EXT RIVER FORK - DAY
the mud men are on their horses, making their way along the river
That way's North.
Shut up. You done nothin' but get us lost.
See that moss on the side of the tree?
That ain't moss, it's mold.
ON MIKE, SULLY AND MATTHEW
As they watch, the mud men round a corner and come right at them
- a terrible sight. Wolf starts barking. Mike cries out, the others
ON THE MUD MEN
Horace's horse spooks, lowers his head and Horace slides right down
the neck onto the ground, in front of Mike
HORACE: (looking up)
(turns to others)
It's Dr. Mike and Sully! We found em.
The mud men stare at Dr. Mike, with her arm in sling and her dress
Took a fall, broke my wrist, that's all.
We been searchin' for you for days.
Matthew told us.
Folks in town was worried you'd get shot.
Mike and Sully exchange a look.
Well, thank goodness you found us.
Let's take em home!
The men all cheer and whoop. Start turning their horses, but they
turn them in circles, not sure which way to go.
Sully realizes they're hopelessly lost. Moves his horse forward
Why don't I lead?
Everyone falls in line behind Sully.
EXT TOWN - TREE BY LIVERY STABLE - DAY
The children, Olive and Robert E are helping Grace get ready to
serve her first meal. Colleen and Grace set plates and utensils
on the picnic table, which is covered with a checkered cloth. Brian
hammers a sign, "Grace's Cafe," into the ground. Robert
E is tending the fire, where a big pot of chili simmers. Olive arranges
flowers on table. Suddenly they hear the sound of a group of horses
riding up. Townspeople start to shout and cheer. The kids, Robert
E., Olive and Grace drop what they're doing and run to the road.
Dr. Mike, Sully, the posse and Wolf come riding into town.
Includes the three kids, Robert E., Grace, the Reverend, Olive.
They're back. They found em!
Praise the Lord!
Told you they would.
Brian runs toward Mike, followed by Colleen.
Mike gets off her horse and holds out her one arm. Brian runs up
and hugs her. Soon the three kids and Mike are wrapped up in a warm
Nothing serious. I'm so glad to see you.
Three cheers for the search party.
Mike and Sully exchange a look. Then join the cheer.
REVEREND (leading the group)
Hip hip hoorah! Hip hip hoorah!
Hip hip hoorah!
The mud men are a little uneasy at first, but then start not bask
and preen in the crowd's applause.
There's more good news. Mr. Harding has agreed: no more mercury
will be dumped in the stream.
Crowd cheers again. The mud men and Sully start to dismount.
What happened to your clothes?
Well, gentlemen, you're just in time for the openin' of my cafe.
How'd ya like a hot meal?
GRACE (points not table)
I got chili and beans, cornbread, apple pie ...
OLIVE (looks at their muddy underwear), Maybe you wanna freshen
up first ...
After we eat!
They make a run for the tables.
ON MIKE, SULLY AND THE KIDS
See any big animals?
Just a mountain lion.
You don't have to go back there, do ya'?
No, I think we'll stay put a while.
Let's get some food!
The children run ahead, leaving Sully and Mike alone.
ANGLE - SULLY AND MIKE
I could eat anything! Unless it's snake again.
They start for the tables. Mike stops him
Do I really talk in my sleep?
Sully doesn't answer. He smiles and walks away. We HOLD ON Mike,
smiling on him as we