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BEST FRIENDS
Written by Sara Davidson / Directed by James Keach

TEASER
FADE IN:

EXT. TOWN - DAY ONE
Mike, Colleen, Matthew and Brian are walking to the general store. They pass Horace and the Reverend hanging a banner announcing, "Sweethearts Dance." It's fall and people are dressed for cool weather.
MIKE
Why do they call it the Sweethearts Dance?
COLLEEN
One of the town founders proposed to his wife at the dance. Lots of weddings have come out of it.
MATTHEW
They say, if you take someone to the dance, she'll be your sweetheart for life.
COLLEEN
Can I make a new dress for it?
BRIAN
You got lots of dresses from Boston.
MIKE
Well, it is fun to make something new for a special dance.
COLLEEN
What're you gonna wear?
Mike thinks a moment, and a small cloud passes over her face. As they reach the store, she continues, brightly.
MIKE
I'm not sure I'm going.

EXT. GENERAL STORE - DAY ONE
Dorothy opens the door to the store just as they approach it.
BRIAN
Hey, Miss Dorothy!
MIKE
Dorothy, how are you?
DOROTHY
Fine, thanks. It's kinda warm in there. I'm gonna step outside for some air.
Mike and Colleen move into the store, Brian and Matthew walk toward the livery, and we STAY with Dorothy. She's perspiring, and fans herself. Loren rushes up and shuts the door.
LOREN
Would you close that door!
DOROTHY
But it's hot...
LOREN
No, it's freezin'. I got my jacket on.
DOROTHY
(opens door)
I'll close it in a minute.

INT. STORE - DAY ONE
The store is filled with townsfolk, bustling with activity. Mike is picking out supplies, not far from Colleen, who's with her friends Alice and Becky, in the fabric section. Alice is looking at ribbons. Becky holds a bolt of fabric in front of herself, turns to Colleen.
BECKY
What do you think -- for the dance?
COLLEEN
Oh, it suits you perfect!

+ANGLE - MIKE
Mike looks over at the girls.

+BACK TO SCENE
BECKY
Aren't the colors pretty?
Alice suddenly grabs the bolt of fabric Becky is holding.
ALICE
That's what I'm choosin'.
BECKY
But you didn't say...
ALICE
I picked it out yesterday.
(calls)
Mr. Bray, would you cut me ten yards of this, please?
COLLEEN
That's not fair...
ALICE
You can use this, Becky...
(holds up another bolt)
And Colleen, this would be real nice on you.
BECKY
But I want that fabric...
(points to the one Alice took)
I just love it.
ALICE
We can't wear the same thing. You'll find somethin' else, I'm sure.
She heads off with the fabric.

+ANGLE - MIKE
Mike watches it all. She wants to say something, but struggles with herself not to interfere.

+BACK TO SCENE
COLLEEN
She's got no right -- tellin' us what we can and can't wear.
BECKY
But she does. You know Alice.
COLLEEN
I sure do. Who says we have to listen?
BECKY
She'll be mad.
COLLEEN
Then let's not be friends with her.
Becky considers this -- a radical idea. Then Becky nods.
BECKY
Right. We don't need her.
The girls smile at each other and link arms.

EXT. STORE - DAY ONE
Dorothy is still outside, feeling flushed and dizzy. Sully walks up, with Wolf.
SULLY
Mornin', Dorothy. Looks awful busy in there.
DOROTHY
It's madness. What with the Sweethearts Dance and all. You're goin', ain't ya?
SULLY
I'm not much for dancin'...
Dorothy starts to feel faint, and leans against a post.
SULLY
(continuing)
You all right?
DOROTHY
Just a little dizzy...
SULLY
(calls through door)
Dr. Mike!
DOROTHY
Don't trouble her. It's just so hot...
Mike comes out, sees Dorothy, feels her forehead.
MIKE
Let's go to your room, so you can lie down.

INT. DOROTHY'S ROOM - DAY ONE
Mike is taking Dorothy's pulse, asking questions.
MIKE
(continuing)
How long have you been feeling this way?
DOROTHY
Off and on... for a while.
MIKE
How's your appetite?
DOROTHY
Don't feel much like eatin'...
MIKE
Any headaches?
(Dorothy shakes head no)
Pain in your chest?
DOROTHY
You don't have to ask no more questions. I know what's wrong with me.
MIKE
What's that?
DOROTHY
I'm pregnant.
Door opens and Loren walks in holding a glass of water.
CLOSE ON MIKE
She looks from Dorothy to Loren, in shock. Pregnant!
FADE OUT
END TEASER

ACT ONE
FADE IN:

INT. CLINIC - DAY ONE
Mike is examining Dorothy on the table. She helps Dorothy put her feet up in stirrups, and drapes a sheet over her to do a pelvic exam.
MIKE
What makes you think you're pregnant?
DOROTHY
My waistband's gettin' tighter. My bust is gettin' larger. I've had three young 'uns, I know.
MIKE
But... how?
DOROTHY
(sighs)
It was my husband.
MIKE
Marcus!
DOROTHY
Remember when I left him and he came after me?
MIKE
You mean, right before he... died?
DOROTHY
(nods)
I told you, we was up all night... talkin'?
(upset)
I never dreamed this could happen.
MIKE
Dorothy, you're not pregnant.
DOROTHY
I'm not?
MIKE
No.
(with difficulty)
From what I've seen, it's... the change of life.
DOROTHY
It can't be.
MIKE
It comes to every woman. It's perfectly natural...
DOROTHY
So that's why I'm havin' these hot spells?
MIKE
(nods, goes to cupboard)
I'm going to give you a draught of lavender and gentian. Take a spoonful every three hours -- that should make you more comfortable.
DOROTHY
(flustered)
I knew it would come someday, but... I don't feel ready.
MIKE
(gently)
You have had your children.
DOROTHY
It's not that. I feel like I'm losin' my clock -- the thing that tells me another month is goin' by and all's well.
MIKE
All is well. It's just a transition. You're healthy and strong, and have wonderful things ahead of you.
Mike takes Dorothy's hand and looks at her with empathy, as DOROTHY struggles to come to grips with what's happening.

EXT. BLACKSMITH SHOP - DAY TWO
Colleen and Becky are talking to Robert E. The girls are in the flush of having a new best friend.
COLLEEN
I got this silver heart.
(shows him heart)
Could you cut it in half and put a little hole in each piece?
BECKY
We're gonna wear 'em 'round our neck.
ROBERT E.
(takes heart)
Kind of like a puzzle that fits together?
BECKY
(nods)
It's 'cause we're best friends.
COLLEEN
And wherever we go, we'll know the other one's got the matching piece.
ROBERT E.
That's real nice -- havin' a friend you know you can count on.
(holds up heart)
I'll have this done tomorrow.
COLLEEN
Thanks, ROBERT E.
The two girls link arms and walk off, happy and pleased.

INT. BARBER SHOP - DAY TWO
Jake is shaving Loren while Hank and the Reverend look on.
HANK
Loren, if I didn't know you better, I'd say you was goin' courtin'.
LOREN
Can't a fella get a shave!
JAKE
You wouldn't be fixin' to ask someone to the Sweethearts Dance?
LOREN
Nah...
REVEREND
Come on, Loren. Who's the lucky lady?
HANK
Lucky? That's a matter of opinion.
JAKE
Tell us. We won't laugh or say nothin'. I promise.
LOREN
It's... Dorothy.
Hank bursts out laughing.
HANK
She's sick, she ain't gonna be dancin'.
LOREN
There's nothin' wrong with her.
REVEREND
I heard she fainted at the store.
LOREN
Dr. Mike says it's just... the "time of life".
JAKE
I coulda told you that.
HANK
Watch out, Loren. You know what happens to ladies then, don't ya?
LOREN
No...
JAKE
She might get a mustache.
LOREN
(horrified)
What?!
HANK
They grow hair all over their faces.
JAKE
I might have to take care of her. Course, I wouldn't charge you.
HANK
They get a hump, too. They get all shriveled up and dry and their bones break...
Loren gets up and runs out, with cream on his face.
JAKE
Where you goin'? You owe me -- for half a shave!

EXT. SCHOOL HOUSE - DAY TWO
Colleen and Becky are walking to school when they spot Alice walking with Missy. Colleen and Becky wave.

+ANGLE - ALICE AND MISSY
MISSY
There they are.
ALICE
Ignore 'em.
MISSY
I ain't seen nobody.
They walk by with their heads tipped up.

+BACK TO SCENE:
Colleen and Becky giggle. As they continue walking, a new boy in town, Richard, comes around the corner. Becky sees him first and gets a little flustered.
BECKY
There's that new boy. Richard.
RICHARD
Hey, Colleen. Becky.
Colleen speaks up but Becky's tongue tied.
COLLEEN
Hey, Richard. I finished that story.
RICHARD
Already?
COLLEEN
I couldn't put it down. Did Mr. Twain write any others?
RICHARD
We got one about a jumpin' frog. I'll bring it tomorrow, if you want.
COLLEEN
Hey, thanks!
Richard waves and walks on. When he's out of earshot...
BECKY
You like him, don't ya?
COLLEEN
Sure.
BECKY
I mean, like a beau?
COLLEEN
No, I don't like him that way. He's got all these new books his family brought from Denver, and we been tradin'. But we're just friends.
BECKY
You mean that?
COLLEEN
Why?
BECKY
(embarrassed)
I think he's awful nice...
COLLEEN
(surprised)
Becky...
BECKY
I ain't told nobody. Promise you won't tell a soul!
COLLEEN
I promise.
BECKY
I have dreams about him every night. When I see him, I get this jumpy feelin'. And he keeps watchin' me. In school, I look up and he's starin' right at me.
COLLEEN
Have you talked to him?
BECKY
I'm too scared.
COLLEEN
But you gotta talk to him.
BECKY
I can't. But... maybe you could.
COLLEEN
Me?
BECKY
You know him a little. And you got brothers. You can talk to boys.
COLLEEN
Not about those things.
BECKY
Please. Just find out what he thinks of me.
COLLEEN
How 'm I gonna do that?
BECKY
When you're talkin', just kinda drop it in. Please? I'd do anything for you, if you asked me.
COLLEEN
(uncomfortable)
All right. I'll try.
BECKY
Thanks, Colleen.
Becky looks happy, but Colleen looks uneasy with her task.

EXT. CLINIC - DAY TWO
Brian and Matthew are helping Mike with boxes of supplies that have just arrived. Several boxes are stacked on the porch. Matthew carries one inside, as Brian opens the top to another.
MATTHEW
Where you want this?
MIKE
Just put it by the cabinet.
Sully comes up, with Wolf. Brian runs and jumps into Sully's arms.
MATTHEW
(coming out of clinic)
Thought you was goin' huntin'.
SULLY
Changed my mind.
(to Mike)
Sun's out. Not a cloud in the sky. Want to take a walk?
MIKE
Now?
SULLY
Right now. May not see a day like this for a while. We could stop at Grace's for some pie.
MIKE
That sounds lovely, but it's impossible.
SULLY
Why?
MIKE
I wish you'd asked me in advance. I didn't plan...
SULLY
So what?
MIKE
We're right in the middle... I can't drop everything.
SULLY
Sure you can. Come on.
MIKE
But I have patients...
MATTHEW
Not 'til later.
BRIAN
Go on, Ma.
SULLY
Everything'll still be here when we get back.
MIKE
I'm sorry... but, really...
Sully doesn't wait for her to finish. He scoops her up in his arms and heads away from the clinic. Mike struggles, protesting, then starts to laugh.
MIKE
(continuing)
Sully! What're you doing. Sully!
Laughing, he carries her down the street, as Matthew, Brian and other townsfolk watch. Then he sets her down and holds out his hand.
SULLY
Comin'?
Still laughing, Mike takes his arm and they walk toward the cafe.

EXT. GRACE'S CAFE - DAY TWO
Robert E. talks with Grace as she takes pies from the oven. Around the cafe, several braziers have been set up with coals to warm people.
ROBERT E.
Are you sayin' you're gonna work the night of the dance?
GRACE
Look around -- It's cold, and I got some lean months ahead. I need to make money...
ROBERT E.
But it's the Sweethearts Dance.
GRACE
Think of all the sweetheart cakes I can sell.
ROBERT E.
But what's the use of makin' money if we don't get to enjoy ourselves? Sweetheart? Even the Lord takes a day of rest.
GRACE
And so will I. After the dance.
She walks off with two plates of pie, leaving Robert E. feeling frustrated.

EXT. GRACE'S CAFE - DAY TWO
Mike and Sully, sitting at a table. Alice walks in with Missy and sits down.
MIKE
Hello, Alice.
ALICE
(cool)
Dr. Mike.
SULLY
Isn't that Colleen's friend?
MIKE
Not at the moment. They had a falling out... about what they're wearing to the dance.
Mike looks at Sully. She's fishing for an invitation, but Sully is silent. Grace comes up and sets pie before them.
GRACE
Seems like everybody's all worked up about that dance.
SULLY
Why's that?
GRACE
Winter's comin' -- you gotta pair up with somebody to keep warm, right?
Sully shrugs.
GRACE
(continuing)
People are fussin' about who's going with who...
MIKE
And who's dancing with whom.
SULLY
Sounds like a lot of foolishness.
(looks at sky)
Weather's holdin'. Let's walk up to Granite Canyon.
Brian runs up to the table.
BRIAN
Ma! Come quick!
MIKE
What's wrong?
BRIAN
Miss Dorothy's at the clinic. They need ya!
Dr. Mike gets up to leave, then turns back to Sully.
MIKE
I'm sorry...
She looks at him -- he shrugs. Then she rushes off with Brian, leaving Sully alone at the table.

INT. CLINIC - DAY TWO
Dorothy is on the examining table. Mike's working on her. Colleen is assisting.
MIKE
(continuing; to Dorothy)
When did the bleeding start?
DOROTHY
Last night. I thought it was... the monthly... comin' back.
MIKE
No, it's not that.
Dorothy groans in pain.
MIKE
Hold on. It's going to be all right.
(to Colleen, under her breath)
Run over to the ice house -- bring me some ice. She's haemorrhaging. I've got to stop it -- quickly.
Colleen nods, runs off for the ice.

+HOLD ON MIKE
She wipes blood of her hands, frightened at what she sees.
FADE OUT.
END OF ACT ONE

ACT TWO
FADE IN:

INT. CLINIC - RECOVERY ROOM - DAY TWO
Dorothy is dozing fitfully as Mike looks in on her.
DOROTHY
Dr. Mike?
MIKE
Don't worry, we were able to stop the bleeding. But you're going to feel weak. I want you to stay in bed a few days.
DOROTHY
But why'd this happen?
MIKE
It might be nature's way of helping the body adjust. It's not unusual to have heavy bleeding at this time.
DOROTHY
Is that all?
MIKE
Well... it might be something else.
DOROTHY
What else?
MIKE
It could be a tumor...
(quickly)
... but I don't believe it is.
DOROTHY
What would you do if it was?
MIKE
We might want to remove it.
DOROTHY
What's the worst could happen?
MIKE
Dorothy, you're stable now...
DOROTHY
I want to know.
MIKE
As a last resort, if we couldn't control the bleeding, we'd perform an extirpation of the uterus.
DOROTHY
You mean, take it out?
(Mike nods)
I don't want that.
MIKE
Course not. And there's no reason to expect it. Now try and rest.
She touches her arm to reassure her.

EXT. BRIDGE - DAY TWO
Colleen and Richard are walking along, making awkward small talk. Colleen's working up her courage...
RICHARD
I'm glad ya liked the story.
COLLEEN
Oh, I did.
(beat)
Richard, there's... something I want to tell you...
RICHARD
Go ahead.
COLLEEN
It's a little embarrassin'. And it's a secret.
RICHARD
I'm good at keepin' secrets.
COLLEEN
There's... a girl who's really sweet on you.
RICHARD
There is?
COLLEEN
She dreams about you all the time.
Richard thinks Colleen is making a confession about herself.
RICHARD
I think I know who it is. And I like her too.
COLLEEN
You do?
Colleen feels a faint stab of jealousy. She didn't know, until this moment, that she might like Richard herself.
RICHARD
Yeah. I like her a lot. Will she meet me at the Kissing Tree?
COLLEEN
I don't know...
RICHARD
If she really cares for me, she will. I'll wait for her there on Friday, after school.
COLLEEN
I'll tell her.

INT. HOMESTEAD - NIGHT TWO
Sully has come for supper with Mike and the three kids. They've finished eating.
BRIAN
(to Matthew)
How come you ain't goin' to the dance?
MATTHEW
Cause Ingrid's away -- in Pueblo, helpin' that lady who had twins.
COLLEEN
You can dance with me.
BRIAN
They're gonna have hay rides, too.
MATTHEW
I'll think about it. Now let's turn in. Night, Dr. Mike. Sully.
Everyone AD LIBS goodnights, as Matthew and Brian go out the door and Colleen retreats to her alcove. Mike and Sully are left alone at the table.
MIKE
More coffee?
SULLY
No thanks.
(beat)
Want to tell me?
MIKE
Tell what?
SULLY
What you're frettin' about.
MIKE
I am not fretting.
She stands and busies herself, washing dishes.
SULLY
You haven't looked me in the eye all night.
MIKE
(turns)
I'd like to go to the dance.
SULLY
So?
MIKE
Well, are you going to ask me?
SULLY
I just figured we'd be goin' together.
MIKE
What made you figure that?
SULLY
Cause we're courtin'. That means we go to things like this together.
MIKE
Still, I would appreciate being asked.
SULLY
All right. Would you like to go to the dance with me?
MIKE
No.
She's being playful now.
SULLY
Why not!
MIKE
You waited too long.
SULLY
Fine. I'm no good at dancin' anyway.
MIKE
You danced in Boston.
SULLY
That was the waltz. All I had to do was: one - two- three. These reels and squares get me all twisted up.
MIKE
They're easy, once you know the pattern. I'll teach you.
She takes his hands to pull him to his feet, but he resists.
SULLY
You said you didn't want to go.
MIKE
I lied. I do want to go.
Sully smiles, and they stare at each other. Then he takes her hand and kisses it.

EXT. ROAD - DAY THREE
Colleen and Becky are walking to school.
BECKY
The Kissing Tree!
COLLEEN
He cares for you a lot.
BECKY
But I ain't never kissed a boy. Have you?
COLLEEN
Well... no.
BECKY
I don't know how.
COLLEEN
I expect he does.
BECKY
What if your noses bump?
COLLEEN
Maybe you gotta turn your head.
(she experiments, turning her head)
BECKY
Do you hold your breath?
COLLEEN
I guess you do, for a minute.
BECKY
Oh, how am I gonna wait 'til Friday?
They giggle and walk on.

INT. DOROTHY'S ROOM - DAY THREE
Dorothy's lying in bed. Loren sets a tray of soup down. He's ill at ease and keeps stealing glances at her.
DOROTHY
Thank you, Loren.
He squints at her cheeks -- looking for hair.
DOROTHY
What're you lookin' at me like that for?
LOREN
I'm not lookin'.
DOROTHY
You been creepin' around here all day. What's on your mind?
LOREN
Nothin'. Well... Jake says... you're gonna grow hair all over and get a hump.
Door opens and Dr. Mike comes in.
MIKE
Excuse me, I've come to check on Dorothy.
I'm much better, except for these stories Loren's tellin'. He thinks I'm gonna turn into a hairy hunch back.
MIKE
That's a ridiculous superstition.
LOREN
But folks say... ladies get all dry and shrivelled up.
MIKE
That doesn't have to be. Some women actually bloom. They feel more free.
DOROTHY
I think I know what you mean.
LOREN
So you're gonna be all right?
DOROTHY
'Course, Loren. I'm not the first lady to go through this. Now leave us be, and quit worryin'!
Loren takes a last look at her and leaves the room.
MIKE
How're you feeling?
DOROTHY
It's peculiar, Michaela. One minute I can't stop cryin', and the next, I feel like it's springtime and the brooks are bubbling and the sap is flowing...
MIKE
(smiles)
That's wonderful.
DOROTHY
How much longer do I have to stay in bed?
MIKE
Let me check you tomorrow. If there's no more bleeding, you can go back to normal activities.
DOROTHY
And maybe a few new ones?
Mike looks at her, then both women start to laugh.

INT. HOMESTEAD - NIGHT THREE
Mike, in her robe, is getting ready to go to sleep. She blows out the oil lamp in the dining area, and notices the lamp still on in Colleen's alcove. She walks over there and watches Colleen.

+MIKE'S POV
Colleen, in her nightgown, is staring at herself in the mirror Grandma gave her. She's practicing how to kiss, pursing her lips. Then she kisses the mirror.

+BACK TO SCENE:
MIKE
Colleen? What are you doing?
COLLEEN
(startles)
Oh! Nothin'. I was just... dreamin', I guess.
Mike picks up a brush and starts to brush Colleen's hair.
MIKE
Must have been a nice dream.
COLLEEN
Mmmm.
(beat)
Dr. Mike?
MIKE
Yes.
COLLEEN
You remember the first time you kissed a boy?
MIKE
I certainly do.
COLLEEN
How old were you?
MIKE
(remembers)
Twenty-five.
COLLEEN
That's old!
MIKE
Well, I was a little... different. I didn't go to cotillions. I was too busy -- with my studies, working with my father. I wasn't around boys much... Until I met David.
COLLEEN
How'd you know... how to do it?
MIKE
I didn't.
(get's suspicious)
Colleen... you're not... are you...
COLLEEN
Oh, no. It's just... Becky and I were talkin' and... there's nothin' wrong with it, is there?
MIKE
No, there's nothing wrong. But... you want to be careful.
COLLEEN
Careful of what?
MIKE
(uncomfortable)
Well, kissing can be very sweet, but sometimes, it can lead to... other things... Things you wouldn't want.
COLLEEN
(shakes her head)
Well, I ain't fixin' to kiss no one right now anyway. 'Night, Dr. Mike.
She hugs her and climbs into bed. Mike tucks her in, concerned.
MIKE
'Night, Colleen.

EXT. SCHOOL HOUSE - DAY FOUR
School is out and most of the kids have gone. Becky sits on a bench, doubled over in pain. Colleen sits beside her.
BECKY
My stomach hurts so bad.
COLLEEN
Take some deep breaths.
BECKY
I can't do it, Colleen. I can't go.
COLLEEN
Just be still a moment. It might pass.
BECKY
I want to go home.
COLLEEN
But he's waiting for ya...
BECKY
Will you go and explain? Tell him I'll meet him another day.
COLLEEN
You sure?
(Becky nods)
You all right goin' home?
BECKY
Yes. Please. We can't leave him out there.

EXT. KISSING TREE - DAY FOUR
Colleen has arrived to meet Richard. She doesn't see him at first, and stands, waiting.

+ANGLE
Richard comes up behind and sees -- it's Colleen. His suspicions were right!
Quietly, he goes up to her and before she can say anything, he takes her by the shoulders and kisses her. It's Colleen's first kiss. She's taken by surprise, starts to protest, but then she lets herself give in to the wonder and magic of it. She and Richard stare at each other. The world has changed.

EXT. HOMESTEAD - DAY FOUR
Mike is trying to teach Sully a reel. The mood, at first, is playful and flirtatious. There's wash on the line, and chickens are pecking.
MIKE
The Sweetheart Reel's my favorite. Starts like this -- one, two, then you slide.
SULLY
I can't see your feet.
She lifts her skirts a little.
MIKE
One, two...
SULLY
That's better.
MIKE
Aren't you going to try?
SULLY
I'd like to see that again.
She dances in front of him, holding her skirt up.
MIKE
Come on. It's simple.
She takes his hands and starts to lead him through it, but he catches her and kisses her.
MIKE
(continuing)
Sully...
SULLY
What?
MIKE
This doesn't come now.
SULLY
But it comes with courtin'.
MIKE
I'm trying to show you something...
SULLY
What's the matter?
MIKE
Nothing. But there's not much time left. Please, try...
Sully dutifully nods and follows her, but he doesn't get it right away.
MIKE
(continuing)
One, two... Start with your left foot.
SULLY
Be patient. I never done this before.
MIKE
I am patient. Left foot first.
SULLY
Take it easy. It's just a dance.
MIKE
I know, but you have to concentrate. Left foot...
SULLY
I heard ya.
MIKE
(trying to joke)
You do know your left foot, don't you?
SULLY
(irritated)
What's so important about dancin', anyway?
MIKE
It's something people enjoy.
SULLY
Well, I don't.
MIKE
But you could...
SULLY
I told ya I'm not good at it.
MIKE
You haven't tried. I taught this to Brian, for heavens sake.
SULLY
I'm not Brian. And folks don't change.
MIKE
Of course they do, if they want to. Clearly you don't.
SULLY
Look. Don't try to change me and I won't try to change you. How's that.
MIKE
Not acceptable.
SULLY
Well, that's all I got to say.
He turns and walks off, leaving her frustrated and angry.

INT. CLINIC - DAY FIVE
Mike has finished examining Dorothy, who's regained her strength, but Mike seems troubled. Dorothy senses this.
MIKE
You look fine.
Mike busies herself cleaning up.
DOROTHY
What about you, Michaela?
MIKE
Me?
DOROTHY
You don't look so fine. And I don't mean health-wise.
(beat)
Sometimes it helps to talk to somebody.
Mike looks at Dorothy, then sits down and becomes still.
MIKE
You're not going to print it in your paper, are you?
DOROTHY
Course not. This is us talkin' as friends.
MIKE
(tentative)
Sully and I have agreed to court. But... it's not going well.
DOROTHY
Why's that?
MIKE
(starts getting worked up)
I tried to teach him to dance, but it was hopeless. He says people can't change. You think he's right? I don't. What hope is there if people can't change? That's why we're here -- to learn and grow.
DOROTHY
I don't think that's what he's sayin'. He's talkin' about acceptin' folks as they are.
MIKE
But we're so different. He sleeps on the ground. He comes and goes as he pleases and I like to plan things.
DOROTHY
Sometimes differences are good for a couple.
MIKE
That's just it. I don't know if I'm suited for this. I've always been on my own.
DOROTHY
You're the one who believes folks can change.
MIKE
Sully wants to touch and kiss...
DOROTHY
(it hits her)
And you've never... been with a man?
MIKE
(shakes head no)
Maybe this is a terrible mistake.
DOROTHY
But you love him.
Mike looks at Dorothy, then bursts into tears. Dorothy holds her, and Mike gives vent to all her fears, and her feeling of vulnerability.
FADE OUT
END OF ACT TWO

ACT THREE
FADE IN:

EXT. CHURCH - DAY SIX
Everyone is coming out of church after Sunday service. The Reverend is there. Bells RING. CAMERA FOLLOWS Mike as she looks for Dorothy, then spots her. Dorothy is wiping her brow. She's had a setback, but she doesn't want to let on to Mike.
MIKE
Dorothy, how're you feeling?
DOROTHY
Fine. Fine. How 'bout you?
MIKE
Better.
DOROTHY
Good. I'm glad.
MIKE
I want to thank you for our talk. I'd love you to come to dinner?
DOROTHY
Oh. I would love that too, but I have another engagement.
MIKE
(curious, eager)
You do? With whom?
DOROTHY
It's nothing important...
MIKE
You can tell me.
DOROTHY
I'm sorry, but I can't.
MIKE
Why not?
DOROTHY
(tries to be soft)
I just can't. Thank you for the invitation. I'll come another time, if I may?
She walks off, leaving Mike curious and a little miffed.

+ANGLE
Colleen is with some friends. Colleen looks about and spots Richard. Colleen
and Richard exchange soulful looks and a discreet hand wave. They have a
secret.

+ANGLE
Becky walks up to Colleen -- catches her staring at Richard.
BECKY
Colleen?
COLLEEN
(startled, turns)
Hey, Becky.
Becky tugs her arm, takes her aside, as Richard walks off with his family.
BECKY
What happened? I'm dyin' to hear.
COLLEEN
How's your stomach?
BECKY
All better. Was he mad?
COLLEEN
No.
BECKY
That's good. What'd he say?
COLLEEN
Not much.
BECKY
He wasn't disappointed?
COLLEEN
No. I mean... I gotta tell you somethin'...
Colleen's trying to work up the nerve to tell Becky but she's feeling worse every minute.
BECKY
What?
COLLEEN
Richard was... he was... real sorry you were sick.
BECKY
Oh, that's so sweet. He's got the kindest heart. I just knew it.
Colleen nods.
BECKY
(continuing)
Does he want us to meet again?
COLLEEN
He's gonna be sorta busy the next few days.
BECKY
That's all right. I can wait.
(hugs Colleen)
Thanks, Colleen. You're the best friend ever.
With a dreamy smile, Becky walks off. Colleen is in agony, as she turns and goes to join Dr. Mike, standing with Matthew.
MIKE
(looking about, to Matthew)
Where's Brian?
MATTHEW
Playin' horseshoes.
MIKE
Colleen, there you are. I have to stop at the clinic on the way back...
MATTHEW
I feel like walkin' home.
COLLEEN
I'll walk with you.
MATTHEW
All right.
(to Mike)
We'll meet you back there.

EXT. ROAD - DAY SIX
Matthew and Colleen are walking home. Colleen's dreaming of Richard, but she's also feeling guilty about Becky.
COLLEEN
Matthew, can I ask you somethin'?
(he looks up)
How'd you know you were in love with Ingrid?
MATTHEW
Just a feelin'.
COLLEEN
Did you have it right away?
MATTHEW
First time I saw her. Course, it took me a while to figure it out. Why?
COLLEEN
Just askin'.
MATTHEW
Come on. You got that dreamy look in your eyes.
COLLEEN
(laughs)
Get away.
MATTHEW
Somethin's goin' on. You want to tell me, you know you do.
COLLEEN
It's that new boy. Richard.
MATTHEW
(surprised and tickled)
Hey! I thought he was sweet on you. But I didn't think you felt like that.
COLLEEN
I didn't. Until yesterday. But I'm in hot water now.
MATTHEW
Why's that?
COLLEEN
Cause Becky likes him.
MATTHEW
So?
COLLEEN
She's my best friend. She asked me to talk to him about her, only before I could, he kissed me. Now I can't stop thinkin' about him.
MATTHEW
Becky's got no claim on him. It's not like they were courtin'.
COLLEEN
But she'll die if she finds out.
MATTHEW
She won't die.
COLLEEN
I tried to tell her, but I couldn't.
MATTHEW
I say, follow your heart.
Colleen shakes her head as they walk on.

EXT. CLINIC - DAY SIX
Brian is waiting as Mike comes out of the clinic and starts for the wagon to
drive home.
BRIAN
Look, there's Sully.
MIKE
Where? I want to speak with him.
BRIAN
By the store.
She turns and starts to walk to the store, but stops.

+HER POV
Sully, with Wolf, walks to the door of the store. Looks around, then knocks. Dorothy opens the door and beckons Sully inside. He motions Wolf to stay outside, then walks in. Door closes, and we see Dorothy pull down the shade.

+BACK TO SCENE
MIKE is troubled. So this is Dorothy's "engagement?"
BRIAN
(continuing)
What's he doin' there? It's closed.
MIKE
Maybe he has business with Loren.
BRIAN
No, Mr. Bray's at the saloon.
Mike looks toward the saloon, where Loren stands outside, talking to Hank. She looks back at the store, with the shade drawn. Then turns and guides Brian back to the wagon.
MIKE
Aren't you hungry? Let's be going.

EXT. HOMESTEAD - DAY SIX
Mike is sitting on the porch, knitting a sweater. Sully and Wolf walk up, Sully holding a box of candy.
SULLY
Dr. Mike?
MIKE
(looks up, hides knitting away)
Sully...
SULLY
I'm sorry 'bout the other day.
MIKE
No, I'm the one who's sorry. I should have been more patient.
SULLY
I wasn't too patient myself.
MIKE
Dancing is not that important. And you're right. We shouldn't try to change one another.
SULLY
Good. Cause I don't think we'd have much luck anyway.
(hands her candy)
Brought this for you.
MIKE
Thank you.
(opens box)
Where did you get this?
SULLY
Store.
MIKE
But they're closed today.
(Sully nods)
Is that what you were doing with Dorothy?
SULLY
What are you... Checkin' up on me?
MIKE
No, I was merely curious.
SULLY
(gently)
I got ways of gettin' things when I need 'em. That's all you gotta know.
Mike nods, but her question isn't answered, and she's not completely at ease.

EXT. ROAD - DAY SEVEN
Colleen is waiting to meet Becky to walk to school. Richard comes up, surprising her.
RICHARD
Colleen, I just had to come find you.
(takes her hands)
I miss you so bad.
COLLEEN
(nervous, looks around)
I'm waitin' for Becky. There's somethin' I gotta tell you...
RICHARD
Let's kiss first.
He kisses her, and she momentarily forgets everything.

+ANGLE
Becky walks up, sees them kissing. Stops in her tracks.

+BACK TO SCENE
Colleen and Richard pull apart. Colleen sees Becky, who turns and runs away.
COLLEEN
Becky, wait!
Colleen goes after her.
COLLEEN
Becky, please, let me explain...
BECKY
(turning to her)
How could you!
Becky starts off again, but Colleen catches her arm.
COLLEEN
I didn't mean for this to happen.
BECKY
(shrugs her arm off)
I trusted you.
COLLEEN
It was all a mistake. That day at the Kissin' Tree, Richard thought I was the one who'd come to meet him...
BECKY
You're supposed to be my best friend. We made a promise to each other.
COLLEEN
I'm sorry. But... it turns out he had feelin's for me...
BECKY
You're worse than Alice. All she did was take the dress I wanted. You took the one boy I cared for!
Becky takes the heart off her neck and throws it at Colleen. It hits the dirt. Colleen stares at it as Becky runs off. Then she picks it up, puts it around her neck and holds the two matching pieces together.

EXT. TOWN - DAY SEVEN
Mike finds Colleen by the fence near the pasture. Colleen is in tears.
COLLEEN
I never had a best friend before. Someone I could walk to school with, share secrets with.
MIKE
I know how nice that is. It wasn't easy for me to make friends, growing up. Your mother was the first real friend I had.
COLLEEN
Now Becky hates me. I betrayed her.
MIKE
Well, you did know Richard first. You were trading books...
COLLEEN
But Becky was the first to declare she loved him. And after the Kissin' Tree, I didn't tell her the truth.
Mike looks concerned -- she didn't know about this kissing.
MIKE
That was wrong. You must go and apologize.
COLLEEN
But she won't talk to me.
MIKE
Keep trying. Make her know how important she is to you. And I'll tell you something, Colleen. You're going to have many beaus -- they'll come and go. But if you and Becky have a true friendship, you shouldn't destroy that for a boy.
Colleen looks at her, taking in her words.

INT. GENERAL STORE - DAY SEVEN
Loren is at the counter, waiting on Mike.
MIKE
(continuing)
Where's Dorothy this morning?
Loren looks embarrassed. He doesn't want to say.
LOREN
I think she went to the telegraph office.
MIKE
I just came from there. Didn't see her.
LOREN
That all for ya?
(starts adding things up)
MIKE
She's not in her room?
LOREN
Don't think so. That's two dollars.
Just then the door to Dorothy's room opens and she comes out, followed by Sully. They're laughing and in high spirits, but they freeze when they see Mike. They act like they've been caught in the act.
SULLY
Dr. Mike.
DOROTHY
We were just... lookin' at some... old things...
SULLY
Dorothy was showin' me...
MIKE
You needn't explain.
She turns to leave the store, but suddenly, Dorothy cries out. Mike turns. Dorothy clutches at her stomach, then starts to collapse. Sully catches her. Mike stares a moment, upset and agitated at what she's just seen. But then her medical persona takes over.
MIKE
(continuing)
Bring her to the clinic.

INT. CLINIC - DAY SEVEN
Mike examines Dorothy, who's lying on the table. Mike's manner is cool and professional.
DOROTHY
What's happening? What's wrong?
MIKE
You're losing a lot of blood. I'm going to try to cauterise the uterus with silver nitrate. If that doesn't work, I may have to do the extirpation. I need your permission... before I give you chloroform.
DOROTHY
But... it's dangerous?
MIKE
There is a risk of infection. Peritonitis.
DOROTHY
I might not wake up.
They look at each other. Mike gives a slight nod.
DOROTHY
(continuing)
Do what you gotta do.
HOLD ON Mike as we...
FADE OUT
END OF ACT THREE

ACT FOUR
FADE IN:

EXT. TOWN - DAY SEVEN
Pick-up Loren, hurrying toward the clinic, where we see Mike close off the windows with screens.

INT. OPERATING ROOM - DAY SEVEN
Mike is preparing to do the cauterisation with silver nitrate, as Colleen administers chloroform to Dorothy.
MIKE
Is her breathing regular?
COLLEEN
Nice and steady.
MIKE
(prepares instruments)
Good. I'm almost ready.
COLLEEN
How will that work?
MIKE
We apply it to the site. It burns the cells so a seal will form. Hopefully, it will stop the bleeding.
COLLEEN
You done this before?
MIKE
Not in this area. The silver nitrate has to be applied very precisely, or it could destroy the surrounding tissues. One mishap and you do more harm than good.
COLLEEN
Need anything else?
MIKE
The light. Bring it as close as you can.
Colleen brings the surgical candle close to Mike. They exchange a look, then Mike starts to apply the chemical.

EXT. CLINIC - DAY SEVEN
Loren is waiting with Sully, Wolf, Jake, Brian, the Reverend, Horace and Myra. Loren paces.
LOREN
They've been in there for hours.
SULLY
Just seems that way.
BRIAN
She's gonna be all right, Mr. Bray.
LOREN
Oh, no, she's as good as gone. Once they start cuttin' and takin' things out...
BRIAN
But Ma cut you open and you're all right. Same with me.
LOREN
I wanted to talk to her -- one last time.
JAKE
You talked plenty.
Door to clinic opens and Mike walks out. The three men and Brian rise and face her -- a silent question on their faces.
MIKE
The procedure worked. I won't have to do major surgery.
LOREN
Are you sayin' she's alive?
MIKE
Yes.
Loren's head starts to reel and he faints, in Jake's arms. The others look at each other, then start to laugh.
BRIAN
Mr. Bray!

INT. CLINIC - DAY SEVEN
Mike is by herself, cleaning up. Sully walks in.
SULLY
Dr. Mike?
She turns her back to him and doesn't answer.
SULLY
You all right?
Still no answer. Sully approaches her.
SULLY
(continuing)
You must be tired. I know these things are hard...
He reaches out to touch her, but she moves away.
MIKE
I thought you'd be more concerned about Dorothy.
SULLY
What're you talkin' about?
Mike gives him a withering look.
MIKE
Please don't pretend. I can't bear that.
SULLY
Pretend what?
MIKE
I saw you coming out of her room, remember? And that Sunday, when the store was closed...
Sully breaks into a smile, and shakes his head, which really sets her off.
MIKE
(continuing)
What are you smiling about?
SULLY
(softly)
You're jealous.
He's getting a kick out of this, but the more he smiles, the madder she gets.
MIKE
I am not jealous. I'm stating the facts. And for God's sake, take that smirk off your face. What am I supposed to think?
They stare at each other a moment. Sully drops the smile.
SULLY
You're supposed to trust me.
He turns and walks out.

EXT. SCHOOL - DAY EIGHT
Colleen, by herself, walks toward the school house. Other children, including Becky, Alice, Missy and Brian, are milling about, waiting for school to begin. When Colleen approaches, everyone stops what they're doing and stares. Then they begin to whisper and giggle. Feeling self-conscious, Colleen looks around, spots Becky. Colleen walks up to Becky. Everyone falls silent.
COLLEEN
(softly)
Could I talk to ya?
Becky turns and walks over to Alice and Missy, giving Colleen the cold shoulder. Colleen tries to join some other girls but they turn their backs and move away as she approaches. Colleen spots Brian, playing tag.
COLLEEN
(continuing)
Brian! Brian, come here.
BRIAN
Hey, Colleen.
He approaches, and she moves off with him.
COLLEEN
What's goin' on?
BRIAN
What do you mean?
COLLEEN
Why is everybody lookin' at me funny.
Brian kicks at the ground.
COLLEEN
(continuing)
You gotta tell me. You're my brother.
BRIAN
They were talking about you and Richard.
COLLEEN
What did they say?
(off his silence)
Brian. Tell.
BRIAN
They said you was too easy. What's that mean?
COLLEEN
Easy?
BRIAN
They said you let Richard do things. That's why he likes you.
COLLEEN
That's not true!
BRIAN
What did you and him do?
Colleen looks about miserably. It seems everyone is staring at her. "Easy".
She wants the ground to open up and swallow her. Richard appears, coming to school.
RICHARD
Colleen!
This sets off a flurry of laughing and staring. Colleen turns and runs off in the other direction. Richard follows.

EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - DAY EIGHT
Colleen and Richard are talking by the road.
COLLEEN
All we did was kiss. Now the whole school's laughing. They think I'm easy.
RICHARD
Don't pay no attention to 'em.
COLLEEN
I can't go back there.
RICHARD
Yes you can. If you hide, it will look like you believe you did something wrong.
COLLEEN
Maybe I did.
RICHARD
Course you didn't.
COLLEEN
I lost my best friend. Everybody's mad...
RICHARD
They're just jealous. It'll all blow over.
COLLEEN
I wish we could put things back the way they were.
RICHARD
What're you sayin'?
COLLEEN
Can't we just be friends?
RICHARD
But... Colleen... All I want to do is be with you. I never felt like this before. And I know you like me too.
COLLEEN
It's happened so fast. I want to think it all over.
RICHARD
But... you're still comin' to the dance with me, aren't you?
COLLEEN
Maybe I'd best go with my family.
Richard stares at her, confused and dejected. She turns and walks off alone.

INT. CLINIC - RECOVERY ROOM - DAY EIGHT
Dorothy is sitting up in bed. Loren is there, with a bunch of flowers.
DOROTHY
Loren, they're so pretty.
LOREN
There's somethin' I been meanin' to ask, but I couldn't get the words out...
DOROTHY
I'm not dyin' yet, so don't go sayin' somethin' you're gonna regret.
LOREN
Last time I asked you was thirty years ago. You turned me down.
DOROTHY
What're you talkin' about?
LOREN
Will you go to the dance with me?
DOROTHY
(laughs)
Your timin' is somethin'. I'm not fit for dancin'...
LOREN
I didn't mean we have to get up and dance.
Dr. Mike walks in -- all business, cool and professional.
MIKE
Hello, Loren. Dorothy, let's check your pulse.
(takes her hand)
LOREN
Dr. Mike, you think Dorothy could come to the dance and just sit with me?
MIKE
If she sits quietly... it would be all right.
LOREN
(smiles)
Fine, then. Good day.
He leaves, and Mike starts taking Dorothy's blood pressure.
DOROTHY
Thank you for savin' my life.
MIKE
(cool)
You're quite welcome.
DOROTHY
I know you're upset, and I know what you're thinkin', but you got it all wrong.
MIKE
Do I? You were alone with Sully in your room...
DOROTHY
We had business to attend to.
MIKE
Please, Dorothy, I believe it's best to have everything out in the open. Even if it should be painful.
DOROTHY
But I'm your friend. I would never do anything to harm you.
Mike shrugs.
DOROTHY
(continuing)
And even if I wasn't your friend, that man has no place in his heart for any woman but you. He's like the needle on a compass that points true North. Don't you know that?
MIKE
I suppose so.
DOROTHY
He's as straight and sure as you are. That's the one way you're alike. And it's more important than all the little ways you're different. Ya gotta believe that.
Mike looks at her, and is finally persuaded. She nods, and takes Dorothy's hand.

EXT. DANCE - NIGHT NINE
The town is decorated for the Sweethearts Dance. We see Grace's refreshment stand, a table for cider, and a wagon for hay rides. There are fires and lanterns. A band is playing and people wearing their best clothes are dancing and milling about. We see our townsfolk among the crowd, including Horace, Myra, Hank, the Reverend, Jake.
]


+ANGLE - GRACE'S STAND
She hands plates of cake to two customers. Glances at Robert E. who's standing, watching the dancers.

+ANGLE
Mike and the three children arrive. Mike looks breathtaking in one of her Boston dresses. Colleen looks beautiful in the dress she made from fabric picked out at the store.
BRIAN
Let's go on the hay ride, Matthew.
MATTHEW
All right.
(to Colleen)
Comin'?
COLLEEN
I want to get some cider.
The kids walk off, leaving Mike standing by the dance area. She watches, wistfully. She's resigned to not dancing.

EXT. CIDER TABLE - NIGHT NINE
Richard drinks a cup of hot cider. He finishes and sets it on the table, then stands, awkwardly. Alice, Becky and Missy walk up.
ALICE
Hey, Richard. What're you doin' all by yourself?
(teasing)
Where's Colleen?
RICHARD
She turned me down.
BECKY
She did?
Richard nods. Alice makes a little moan and dabs at her eye.
RICHARD
Somethin' wrong?
ALICE
I think I got an eyelash in my eye. Or a speck of dirt. Can you take a look?
She tips her face up to Richard, and he leans close to look.
RICHARD
This one?
ALICE
No, the other.

+ANGLE
Colleen walks toward the cider table. Sees the young people and stops.

+BACK TO SCENE
Richard and Alice are standing very close together, their faces almost
touching.
RICHARD
I don't see anything.
ALICE
You sure?
RICHARD
Yeah. But you got real pretty eyes, Alice.
Richard's hormones take over -- he can't resist. He kisses Alice. Becky can't watch any more. She turns, and sees Colleen.

+ANGLE
Colleen is frozen with shock. Then she walks to a tree or bench to steady herself. She feels like she's been stabbed. Becky approaches. Colleen sees her.
COLLEEN
Hey, Becky.
BECKY
Richard said you turned him down.
COLLEEN
That's right. But he sure didn't lose no time.
BECKY
Why'd you do it?
COLLEEN
I felt bad about... you. And I wanted to think it all over.
(Becky nods)
Guess it doesn't matter now.
BECKY
What's so special about him? Who is he, anyway?
COLLEEN
Just a boy. Not worth all this fussin'.
BECKY
He's not even handsome.
COLLEEN
No, he's funny lookin'.
BECKY
With that lick of hair always fallin' in his eyes.
They burst out laughing -- it breaks the ice.
COLLEEN
I'm sorry, Becky. I never meant to hurt you.
(beat)
I've missed you.
BECKY
I missed you too.
COLLEEN
I'll never do nothin' like that again.
BECKY
Got a new installment of Harper's. Want to come by my place later and read it?
COLLEEN
All right. Could we make hot chocolate?
BECKY
Yeah, we could.
They link arms and start walking off, but Colleen stops.
COLLEEN
Hold on.
Colleen takes one of the matching necklaces off her neck and offers it to Becky. After a moment, Becky takes it and puts it around her own neck. They smile, and walk on.

EXT. DANCE AREA - NIGHT NINE
Dorothy and Loren sit in comfortable chairs, watching.
DOROTHY
Wouldn't you like to dance, Loren? I remember you were passable.
LOREN
Naw, I'm happy where I am.
DOROTHY
There's a lot of pretty young ladies that don't have a partner.
LOREN
No one prettier than you.
DOROTHY
You're a foolish man.
LOREN
Maybe. But when I look at you, I see a girl of sixteen, with fiery hair blowin' all about.
DOROTHY
You're losin' your eyesight, too.
Loren laughs.
LOREN
I'll always see you that way.

EXT. GRACE'S STAND - NIGHT NINE
There's a lull in her business, and Grace is alone. She looks off at the people dancing and laughing. Then she looks at her money box. She flips it closed. She walks over and taps Robert E. on the shoulder.
GRACE
May I have this dance?
ROBERT E.
Did you make enough money? Sell all your cakes?
Grace looks around, and then yells out.
GRACE
Free cake!
She puts her hand out, and Robert E. takes her to dance.

EXT. DANCE AREA - NIGHT NINE
Mike is watching the dancers. The band strikes up the Sweethearts Reel. Jake is the caller.
JAKE
Choose your partners now for the Sweethearts Reel!
People scurry to get partners and move onto the floor. Horace dances with Myra. Mike watches, trying to keep a cheerful face, but she's aching with frustration.
Sully, wearing a suit, appears at her side.
SULLY
This one's your favorite, right?
MIKE
Sully!
He takes her arm and starts to lead her to the floor.
MIKE
(continuing)
What are you doing?
He says nothing, but escorts her to the line of dancers. The reel begins, and Sully dances with her -- perfectly.
MIKE
(continuing)
How did you learn this?
SULLY
I had lessons. From a friend.
He motions with his head towards Dorothy, in her chair. Mike looks at Dorothy, who smiles at her. They exchange a look of complicity.

+ANGLE
Matthew and Brian, with Colleen and Becky. They all watch, smiling, as Mike and Sully dance.

+BACK TO SCENE
Mike and Sully twirl around the floor.
MIKE
You were right. I was jealous.
SULLY
I know.
MIKE
It was foolish.
SULLY
It was.
MIKE
(playful)
Must you agree with me all the time?
Sully stops a moment, kisses her, and she doesn't resist as she did before. Then they begin to dance again, their eyes locked together with renewed pleasure in each other's company.
FADE OUT
THE END

 

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