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WASHITA - Part I

Written by Kathryn Ford and Julie Kirgo / Directed by James Keach

TEASER
FADE IN:
INT. CHEYENNE LODGE - DAY ONE
In a make-shift clinic, MIKE listens with a stethoscope to the back of a frail elder, LITTLE THUNDER. SNOW BIRD translates.
SNOW BIRD
Little Thunder says he feels much better.
MIKE
(surprised) I can't find any signs of congestion at all... (moves to chest) Please ask him to breathe deeply?
SNOW BIRD
(in Cheyenne) Medicine Woman asks you to take a strong breath.
Little Thunder draws a breath. As he exhales, Mike pulls back.
MIKE
What is that odor? It smells like ... garlic?
SNOW BIRD
Cloud Dancing gives it with his tea. And your medicine.
MIKE
Really? Garlic for the lungs?
LITTLE THUNDER
(in Cheyenne, proudly)
I am strong like a bear.
SNOW BIRD
He says he is strong like a bear.
He suddenly hoists Mike up and slings her over his shoulder. Caught by surprise , Mike appeals to Snow Bird, laughing:
MIKE
Please thank Little Thunder for the fine ... demonstration.
SNOW BIRD
(amused, in Cheyenne) Medicine Woman sees you are stronger.
Little Thunder puts Mike back down, then begins to scold her.
LITTLE THUNDER
(in Cheyenne)
You must listen to Cloud Dancing. You know the fancy medicine of the Whites, but he is wise in the old ways.
SNOW BIRD
He says you must listen to Cloud Dancing. You know the fancy medicine of the whites, but he is wise in the old ways.
As Mike gently eases him toward the door of the lodge:
MIKE
Yes ... I will do that. Thank you so much... (as he leaves, to Snow Bird) Little Thunder?
They share a smile and follow him out.
EXT. CHEYENNE LODGE - CONTINUOUS
As they exit, CLOUD DANCING approaches carrying a blanket wrapped bundle which he carefully sets down.
MIKE
Cloud Dancing, you must tell me about your use of garlic
She stops as he unwraps NO HARM COMES TO HIM, an emaciated boy whose radiant spirit shines through his tired eyes. He smiles up at Mike, who looks questioningly to Cloud Dancing.
CLOUD DANCING
His name is No Harm Comes To Him.
SNOW BIRD
(explains to Mike) When the soldiers destroyed our village at Sand Creek, his mother covered him with her body.
CLOUD DANCING
His medicine is very strong.
Mike smiles back at No Harm and squats down to his level.
MIKE
No Harm Comes To Him, you have a big name for such a small boy.
NO HARM
My people call me No Harm. But I am not so small -- only tired.
MIKE
Well, perhaps I can find out why.
She begins a gentle exam, peering in his eyes, feeling his arms palpating his abdomen. As she works, No Harm pulls a small wooden flute from a pouch, looks to Cloud Dancing.
NO HARM
Cloud Dancing, I have practiced.
CLOUD DANCING
Let us hear what you learn.
And No Harm begins blowing a simple MELODY on the flute.
MIKE
That's a very beautiful song.
NO HARM
(glows proudly) Cloud Dancing teaches me.
Mike smiles as he resumes playing his flute. Disturbed by her findings, she steps away, indicating for Cloud Dancing and Snow Bird to follow her. They talk quietly.
MIKE
He's quite a boy.
SNOW BIRD
And very special to my husband. More, since Walks On Clouds --
Catching Cloud Dancing's look, she stops.
CLOUD DANCING
He is special to all our people.
SNOW BIRD
(hopeful to Mike) You can tell us what is wrong?
Mike glances at Cloud Dancing, sees it's no mystery to him.
CLOUD DANCING
I see what is wrong, but she will not hear it from me.
MIKE
(gently to Snow Bird) No Harm has the same symptoms I've seen in so many of your people -- dry skin, exhaustion, the atrophied muscles --
CLOUD DANCING
Speak plain. He is starving.
MIKE
He's just not getting enough of the proper foods. (beat, hopeful) Sully's at Fort Lyon trying to retrieve government supplies. He should be back any day.
Off Cloud Dancing's skeptical look, Mike turns to watch No Harm still practicing. He smiles back -- giving Mike an idea.
MIKE
But until then, perhaps No Harm could come home with me ... I could help nurse him back. If it'd be alright with the tribe?
Understanding, Snow Bird nods. Relieved, Mike asks No Harm.
MIKE
Would you like that? I have a boy a little older than you. I know he would love a new friend.
No Harm beams, looks hopefully to Snow Bird.
SNOW BIRD
Come, we will get your bundle.
She helps the boy out. Mike reads Cloud Dancing's concern.
MIKE
Cloud Dancing, if anyone can bring back those provisions, Sully can.
CLOUD DANCING
What makes you think this time will be different?
MIKE
Because I need to have hope. (off his nod) Do you have a moment?
EXT. CHEYENNE CAMP - DAY ONE
At her horse, Mike pulls a buckskin from her saddle bags and hands it to Cloud Dancing. He opens it revealing a partially made man's shirt. As Cloud Dancing admires her workmanship:
MIKE
I rubbed it with liver and used the rope as you suggested. I must admit it did get softer.
CLOUD DANCING
You have done your work well. Sully will be pleased.
MIKE
I hope so. I've never made a wedding gift for a husband before.
She takes the shirt back and returns it to the saddlebag. Cloud Dancing digs out items from a pouch at his waist.
CLOUD DANCING
I found the stones as I promised. And the claws of a hawk. They will give him courage to face the unknown.
MIKE
...You mean marriage to me? (OFF his sly smile) Thank you.
As Mike adds them to her saddlebag, YELLS and RIFLE SHOTS catch their attention.
THEIR POV - DOG SOLDIERS
FIRING rifles in the air, ride into camp towing horses with sacks of grain and sides of beef lashed on their backs. More INDIANS rush to unload the white man's goods. BLACK KETTLE steps from a lodge and speaks sharply to the Dog Soldiers.
RESUME ANGLE
Mike watches, clearly disturbed. Snow Bird approaches with No Harm, but stops short as Mike turns on Cloud Dancing.
MIKE
Dog Soldiers!?
CLOUD DANCING
You must go now.
MIKE
You still allow them here -- after everything they've done? They killed your son!
CLOUD DANCING
(tightens) I will not judge all by the actions of one.
MIKE
But it's wrong! They're all stealing from innocent ranchers!
CLOUD DANCING
They are feeding my people.
And he walks on past Snow Bird, who trades an uneasy look with Mike, then steps up with No Harm. Mike tries to calm, forcing a smile as she lifts the boy onto her horse.
SNOW BIRD
(gently) Forgive him. My husband is ashamed. He feels responsible.
MIKE
...So does Sully. (a troubled beat) Why is it the people of real heart always struggle, while the guilty sleep well?
She looks to Snow Bird, and the two women from different worlds share a silent understanding. Then:
MIKE
Snow Bird, surely you don't approve of the Dog Soldiers' raids?
SNOW BIRD
I have never found killing to be a true path to peace ... Nor has Cloud Dancing.
OFF her steady look, Mike turns back to watch the Dog Soldiers flaunting their victory, waving the spoils of their raid in Black Kettle's face. Cloud Dancing also watches, removed from the celebration. He looks back at Mike. As their gazes lock:
FADE OUT.
END TEASER
ACT ONE
FADE IN:
INT. GENERAL STORE - DAY TWO
Days later. DOROTHY skims through a newspaper as JAKE waits.
DOROTHY
It's gotta be here somewhere.
LOREN tabulates supplies which MATTHEW takes outside. Mike comes over with more goods.
MIKE
Loren, I don't see any peas outside.
LOREN
All I got left's in cans.
MIKE
Alright, I'll take five, please.
Mike checks over her list. MYRA enters with baby SAMANTHA CRYING, causing GRACE to look over from her shopping.
MIKE
Hello, Myra ... I thought Samantha's crying had calmed down?
MYRA
It just started up again.
Loren returns with cans while Mike calmly checks the baby.
MIKE
Perhaps she's starting to teethe. If you stop by later, I can give you something to rub on her gums.
MYRA
Thanks Dr. Mike ... Loren, could I get two pounds 'a beans?
LOREN
(nods, then to Mike) Comes to seven dollars --
DOROTHY
Here it is ...
Getting everyone's attention, she reads from newspaper:
DOROTHY
"The Palmer homestead east of Colorado Springs was attacked Thursday morning by a Cheyenne war party of Dog Soldiers.
Mike tenses as she digs for money.
JAKE
I knew it. Hostiles're startin' up all over again.
He looks to Loren, who quickly moves off to get beans. Grace steps closer.
GRACE
Was anybody hurt?
DOROTHY
Says two of his best steers was stolen, along with half a ton of grain ... And his barn was burned clean to the ground... (reads) "Palmer hid in his cellar throughout the savage attack. 'Thank the good Lord my woman and girls was in Denver,' Palmer said. 'Them bloodthirsty Injuns was lookin' to scalp us all.'"
MIKE
It sounds to me like they were looking for food.
Loren returns. Mike feels all eyes on her.
JAKE
By torchin' a barn?
MIKE
They're just striking out in frustration. They wouldn't be raiding farms if the government kept its promises to provide.
Stunned, Dorothy lowers the paper to stare at her friend.
DOROTHY
Michaela, you're the last person I 'spect to be defendin' Dog Soldiers!
Mike and Myra trade glances. Myra takes her beans and starts for the door.
MIKE
I'm not defending them, I'm merely suggesting there's more this story . That paper presents a very limited point of view. Chief Black Kettle and most of the Cheyenne people want peace.
In the b.g., Myra bumps into GENERAL CUSTER coming in.
MYRA
I'm sorry, I wasn't watchin'
CUSTER
No, I beg your pardon, Madame.
The familiar voice causes Mike to turn and look.
ANOTHER ANGLE - DOOR
where Custer, with a "may I" look, takes CRYING Samantha from Myra's arms. The baby calms as Custer cuddles it.
CUSTER
There, there, no crying allowed. (smiles at Myra) She is beautiful. My wife Libby and I hope to have a daughter -- (back to baby) just as pretty as you one day.
MYRA
Thank you. She is sweet.
Myra takes her baby back. Custer tips his hat as she exits, then moves to the counter. He smiles at an unsettled Mike.
CUSTER
Dr. Quinn, how lovely to see you again.
MIKE
(cool) I see no need for false pleasantries, Mr. Custer.
A strained silence as Mike counts out her money to Loren. Undaunted, Custer looks around at the others.
CUSTER
Well, perhaps this wild territory is in more need of civility than I even thought ... Any chance of getting some eggs, Mr. Bray?
LOREN
I can get four dozen to your camp by nightfall.
CUSTER
Fine. Can't be making souffles without eggs now, can we?
LOREN
Just come to me if there's anything more you need, General.
Loren makes his point with a look at Mike.
JAKE
Goes for me, too.
CUSTER
I will do that, Gentlemen. (nods at Dorothy) Ma'am... And good day to you, Dr. Quinn.
And he's gone. Mike follows with Jake and Loren on her heels.
EXT. STORE - CONTINUOUS
They exit to watch Custer mount with his waiting escort. Army wagons and Calvary race past. Custer catches Mike's stare.
MIKE
What are you doing back in Colorado?
CUSTER
I suppose you should ask General Sheridan that, since it was he who requested my return.
With a grin, Custer and escort gallop off to join soldiers headed into the distant field. Watching them go, Matthew returns from the wagon.
MATTHEW
I thought Custer got court-martialled.
LOREN
Lucky for us they changed their minds. That weren't nothin', anyways.
MIKE
He had his own men shot! Without so much as a trial.
LOREN
They were cowards. Deserters!
MIKE
(calmly pointed) And maybe they had good reason.
LOREN
(uneasy) Ah, there you go again, tryin' to twist things all around ...
Loren goes back inside. Jake studies Mike's reaction.
JAKE
Looks like the government's finally gonna do somethin' 'bout them savages.
SMASH CUT TO:
EXT. WOODS - DAY TWO
No Harm -- hardly the "savage" -- looks much stronger creeping along with BRIAN on a hunt. Brian's about to speak, but No Harm holds up his hand, dashes to a boulder, then motions. Brian joins him and they crouch. No Harm whispers:
NO HARM
When Cheyenne stalk buffalo, there can be no talk. Only sign. (demonstrates) The buffalo herd is over there.
Brian attempts to mimic No Harm's signs. No Harm suppresses a giggle, moves swiftly to another rock nearby. Brian follows, but steps on a branch that SNAPS. As they startle and look --
A RABBIT dashes out from behind a boulder and scampers away. The boys react, disappointed.
BRIAN
I'm sorry -- stupid branch.
NO HARM
You could not help it. You are not Cheyenne.
Growing weary, No Harm sits, taking out his flute to practice.
BRIAN
What's bein' Cheyenne got to do with it?
NO HARM
Being silent is everything to us ... If we laugh and the buffalo run off, we can not eat. If we cry and the enemy hears, our village could be attacked. (BLOWS a few notes) Cheyenne babies are taught never to cry.
BRIAN
A baby that never cries? Go on.
NO HARM
When the Bluecoats killed my mother, I made myself very small and she hid me under her. And when she died, I made no sound. Not until Cloud Dancing found me ... I did not cry, so I lived.
A moment as Brian tries to digest this. Then:
BRIAN
My real ma died, too. But I cried. A lot.
No Harm nods in sympathy, then brightens, excited.
NO HARM
Brian! We can be kolas!
BRIAN
What's kolas?
NO HARM
It is Cheyenne custom. we will hunt together, share things, fight for each other in battle.
BRIAN
Sort of like bein' best friends?
No Harm nods, then solemnly gives Brian his flute. Brian thinks a moment, then digs in his pocket and pulls out a jackknife he ceremoniously gives to No Harm. As they grin --
INT. HOMESTEAD - NIGHT TWO
Brian teaches No Harm checkers, WOLF asleep at their feet. Nearby, Mike and COLLEEN fit the buckskin shirt over Matthew.
MIKE
It looks crooked. Does it look crooked?
She pulls one shoulder higher. Matthew looks, it is crooked.
MATTHEW
It's fine.
MIKE
But I want it to fit right.
COLLEEN
Sully's gonna love it, just 'cause you made it. He already knows you're not so good at sewin'.
Mike hides her reaction to the innocent aside. Resigned, she grabs the hawk claws and a pencil from the table.
MIKE
I'll put these claws along the shoulder ... And the stones go over the heart. Cloud Dancing said they help to give you a long life because they last forever.
Wolf stirs, BARKS and goes to the door. Brian reacts:
BRIAN
It's Sully! Sully's back!
MIKE
Oh no, quick!
Panic hits. Colleen helps Mike try to pull the shirt over Matthew's head. Brian is already up and racing to the door.
MIKE
No, Brian -- wait!
They've got the shirt half-way up, but it's stuck on his head. Thinking fast, Mike pushes Matthew towards the back door.
MATTHEW
What're you doin'?
MIKE
Out the back. Hurry!
She shoves him outside as FOOTSTEPS are heard. Colleen grabs a book and sits. Mike does the same, diving for the table as the door opens. SULLY enters to Brian's surprise hug.
SULLY
Brian ... Ever'body.
MIKE
Welcome back.
COLLEEN
Hey, Sully.
They sit stiffly, trying too hard to appear normal.
SULLY
No Harm, didn't expect to see you.
NO HARM
Brian is my new kola.
BRIAN
We're gonna watch after each other.
SULLY
Yeah? That's good ...
Sully drops his things and crosses, squeezing Colleen's arm as he passes. Then he leans down close and kisses Mike.
MIKE
I missed you.
SULLY
Me, too ... Watcha readin'?
MIKE
A book.
Sully looks. Amused, he turns the book right-side-up. Mike smiles meekly, closes it and rises to get him some coffee.
MIKE
How was your trip?
Sully's mood dampens immediately. Mike reads his look:
MIKE
You didn't get the supplies?
SULLY
Weren't there. And they ain't comin' either. Army wants all the tribes movin' south to that new Indian Territory.
MIKE
But their home is here now! (beat, lowers voice) I'm afraid I've bad news as well. The Dog Soldiers raided another ranch ... And Custer's back.
SULLY
You're jokin'.
MIKE
I wish I were.
SULLY
He's s'posed to be kicked out!
Mike doesn't know what to say. They share a frustrated moment.
MIKE
There has to be a way to stop the Dog Soldiers from these attacks.
SULLY
Black Kettle can't even stop 'em.
MIKE
We have to try something.
OFF her determination, they look across the room to the boys. Oblivious, No Harm jumps Brian's checkers ...
EXT. LIVERY - DAY THREE
Sully and ROBERT E enter the work area.
ROBERT E
Just came in yesterday.
SULLY
Dr. Mike see it?
ROBERT E
Nope, kept it covered back here.
A large, blanket-draped form leans against the wall. Robert E pulls it off to REVEAL a long, beautiful plank of mahogany.
ROBERT E
Gonna make one fine bedboard...
Sully nods, running his hand appreciatively over the wood.
SULLY
Never seen wood like this.
ROBERT E
Don't 'spect so. Seein' it grows clear 'cross the ocean.
Sully pulls out some carving tools, hands to Robert E.
SULLY
Could you sharpen these up?
ROBERT E
(nods) Bring it all out in the mornin'.
SULLY
Thanks ... Robert E, 'bout the rest I owe on this -- could it wait a few days? Somethin's come up.
EXT. STORE - SAME MOMENT - DAY THREE
Loren sweeps around a pile of supplies; sacks of beans, corn meal, dried beef. Seated, an amused HANK slices an apple as he watches Mike and Matthew load them into the wagon.
HANK
That ain't gonna change nothin'.
Mike ignores him. Dorothy exits, sees them working -- and Loren sweeping.
DOROTHY
Loren, why aren't you helpin'?
LOREN
Last thing we oughta be doin' is feedin' 'em.
MATTHEW
Didn't have a problem takin' money for all this.
LOREN
That's business.
Annoyed, Dorothy starts to help, catching Mike's grateful look.
MIKE
It's good business to honor our promises to our Cheyenne neighbors. Perhaps if we did, all this fighting would stop.
HANK
Warrin's all them heathens know. It's what they live for.
MIKE
On more than one occasion, those "heathens" have come to this town's assistance.
HANK
Tried to burn it, too...
MIKE
Those were Dog Soldiers, and you know it.
HANK
A Indian's a Indian's a Indian, Michaela ... Won't be no peace round here 'til all of 'em's dead.
He moves on. Mike looks at Loren, who turns away and resumes sweeping. Sully approaches.
SULLY
Got enough for a couple more sacks a meal.
EXT. CHEYENNE CAMP - DAY THREE
Sacks of meal and other supplies are unloaded by Sully, Cloud Dancing and other Cheyenne. In the b.g., Mike receives a "thank you" from Black Kettle, then walks up to the wagon.
CLOUD DANCING
No Harm -- he is well?
SULLY
Gettin' stronger everyday.
MIKE
And beating Brian at checkers.
CLOUD DANCING
(smiles) Please tell him he is missed.
MIKE
We will ... There're beans here, corn meal, some dried beef --
She sees Cloud Dancing has stopped to examine a sack closely.
CLOUD DANCING
There are no markings on this. (OFF their uneasy silence) These did not come from the army. (puts it together) And how long do you think you can feed all my people?
SULLY
(a difficult truth) Government's shippin' supplies to Fort Cobb now. They want all you movin' south.
Unsettled, Cloud Dancing signals the others to stop unloading.
MIKE
Cloud Dancing, I know we can find a way --
CLOUD DANCING
And what way is that?
Mike doesn't have an answer. A WAILING grabs their attention.
A YOUNG BRAVE carries a man into camp followed by Children and an elder CHEYENNE WOMAN who WEEPS at their side. Others, including Snow Bird, rush over as the man is lowered --
Mike grabs her bag, runs after Sully and Cloud Dancing through the crowd to the man on the ground: Little Thunder. She examines him as Cloud Dancing asks the Young Brave:
CLOUD DANCING (in Cheyenne) How was he hurt?
YOUNG BRAVE
(angry, in Cheyenne)
He hunted Bear Creek. Bluecoats.
CLOUD DANCING
(translates for Mike)
He was hunting by Bear Creek. Soldiers shot him.
SULLY
... Custer!
CLOUD DANCING
(stunned) The Long Hair is back?
Sully nods. Devastated, Mike looks up and shakes her head.
MIKE
Little Thunder's dead ...
Cloud Dancing looks at his people's sorrow, controls his rage.
CLOUD DANCING
It is done.
Dog Soldiers arise within camp, YELLING, gathering weapons, racing to their horses. OFF Snow Bird's pained look, Cloud Dancing makes a decision. He catches Black Kettle's troubled gaze, then scoops ash near a fire, wipes a smear across his face and heads for his horse. Sully's on his heels.
SULLY
Where you goin'?
CLOUD DANCING
I will help my people in my own way now.
SULLY
By joinin' the Dog Soldiers?! That ain't the way! Listen -- (grabs his arm) You do this 'n you'll be playin' right into their hands. You're just givin' the army reason to fight back!
CLOUD DANCING
Your Custer has tried to kill me twice. He will not have another chance.
He pulls free from Sully's grasp. Desperate, Sully pleads.
SULLY
Cloud Dancin', don't do this!
But Cloud Dancing mounts. He catches a rifle thrown at him by a Dog Soldier and joins the others racing from camp FIRING rifles. Sully trades troubled looks with Mike, who then looks across to Snow Bird, clearly shaken as we:
FADE OUT.
END ACT ONE
ACT TWO
FADE IN:
EXT. NEW HOMESTEAD - DAY FOUR
The house is nearly finished. Sully burns frustration sawing a porch board. He stops, seeing Robert E drive up in his wagon.
SULLY
Mornin', Robert E.
ROBERT E
Sully. Got your tools all sharp. (jumps down) Brought you a few 'a mine, too.
He hands the carving tools over. Sully takes them, surprised.
SULLY
Thanks ... I thought you was carvin' yourselves a cradle?
ROBERT E
I set that aside a spell.
Robert E avoids emotion, moving to the back of the wagon.
ROBERT E
Not gettin' any answers to our letters 'bout adoptin' ... Seein' the cradle 'round, well, it just makes it harder on Grace.
As they unload the mahogany board:
SULLY
Hope you ain't givin' up on the idea?
ROBERT E
Grace won't ... Me, I could be fine livin' the rest 'a my life just with her. But she's got her heart set on havin' children. A whole family...
SULLY
Then it'll happen. Just gotta give it time.
Robert E nods. As they carry the board to the house:
EXT. GRACE'S CAFE - DAY FOUR
In the b.g., tents are pitched in the field where soldiers run through drills. Custer holds court for a captivated audience: Jake, Hank, Loren, HORACE and others. Grace refills cups.
CUSTER
Red scarves glistening in the sun were a sight to behold. There were 1800 of us, all on horse. And when the Rebs saw us coming, their cannons quaked the earth like it would crack wide open.
JAKE
(after a beat) So what happened?
CUSTER
A soldier learns quickly to do what he must if the cause is just. (smiles pointedly at Grace) Thank you, Ma'am. (as Grace leaves) I could see the horses were skittish under the roar, so I turned to my musicians -- and ordered them to play "Yankee Doodle." And then we charged.
LOREN
(grins) I bet old Virginia regretted the day she ever saw the Seventh.
CUSTER
That she did, Mr. Bray. I can assure you.
He glances off, sees Dorothy waiting nearby with a paper.
CUSTER
Finished already, Mrs. Jennings?
DOROTHY
I figured you'd want to look this over, 'fore I did the printin'.
He takes it -- and her pencil, and skims the sheet.
CUSTER
It's fine work like this that's helping build a great America.
He hands it back. Dorothy blushes under his praise.
DOROTHY
This? This was nothing ...
CUSTER
I'm afraid you're wrong, Madame. (rises, serious) It is no act of chance that God has chosen us to settle this land. Always remember that ... Gentlemen.
Custer leaves. Curious, Hank snatches the sheet from Dorothy.
HANK
Lemme see that.
Hank looks, then reluctantly passes to Horace, who reads aloud:
HORACE
"With the compliments of Major General George Armstrong Custer, commander, Seventh Cavalry, United States Army... The honor of your company and escort is requested at a dinner..."
EXT. CLINIC - DAY FOUR
Mike hands the invitation back to Dorothy.
MIKE
You can tell him I decline.
DOROTHY
Why would you do that?
MIKE
Surely you're not accepting?
DOROTHY
I most certainly am. He's invitin' the council, all the important folks in town. (as Mike resumes sweeping) General Custer came here to do a job. He deserves our support.
MIKE
And what job is that?
DOROTHY
Why, protectin' our communities. And the railroad.
MIKE
(patience waning) Protecting? Yesterday his men shot a Cheyenne in the back!
DOROTHY
Well, he must've been doin' somethin'.
MIKE
He was an old, frail man trying to hunt. He was no threat.
DOROTHY
How do you know that? Did you see it happen?
OFF Mike's silence, Dorothy gives her back the invitation.
DOROTHY
If you're not goin', you're just gonna have to tell the General yourself.
Dorothy starts to go, but stops and looks back. Pointed:
DOROTHY
Michaela, maybe it's time you make up your mind -- whose side you're really on.
And she leaves. HOLD on Mike's troubled expression.
INT. HOMESTEAD - NIGHT FOUR
On the floor, No Harm teaches Brian a Cheyenne game. Sully, distracted, plays with them. Matthew and Colleen wash dishes while Mike writes letters at the table. Colleen looks over.
COLLEEN
Who're you writin'?
MIKE
The President, War Department. Now I'm writing General Sherman.
COLLEEN
They won't listen. You already tried.
MIKE
I believe opinions can be changed.
COLLEEN
Everybody at school thinks Custer's a hero ... Just seems like you're all alone in this.
MIKE
Standing alone doesn't make the fight less important, Colleen. You just have to try harder.
MATTHEW
You ain't alone. Cheyenne've been friends to all of us.
COLLEEN
Dog Soldier's aren't our friends.
Mike catches Sully's glance from across the room. It's grown more complicated, now that Cloud Dancing ...
MIKE
No, they're not ... But I have to understand their desperation. Seeing their people killed, their land stolen, watching the railroad needlessly slaughter the buffalo ...
The SOUND of a birdcall pierces the night.
SULLY
That's Black Kettle.
MIKE
(grabs shawl) Matthew, please turn down the lamps. Colleen, watch the boys.
She joins Sully at the door, as does No Harm. Mike stops him.
MIKE
No Harm, we need you to stay inside.
NO HARM
I want to see my Chief.
SULLY
It's dangerous for Black Kettle to be off the Reservation. Don't wanna call more attention than we gotta, understand? (OFF his nod) You'll see him soon, I promise.
Mike and Sully go out. The boys crowd at the window.
On the porch, Sully returns the CALL. Black Kettle rides out from a shadow. As Mike and Sully move to meet him...
INT. HOMESTEAD - CONTINUOUS
The boys at the window watch from the darkened room.
EXT. HOMESTEAD - CONTINUOUS
Black Kettle dismounts and signs a Cheyenne greeting.
SULLY
(in Cheyenne) Honored one, it is dangerous for you to come here.
BLACK KETTLE
(signs in Cheyenne) My son, my fears are for Cloud Dancing. Have you seen him?
INT. HOMESTEAD - CONTINUOUS
NO HARM
(reading signs) He is worried for Cloud Dancing. He asks if they see him
EXT. HOMESTEAD - CONTINUOUS
SULLY
(in Cheyenne) Not since yesterday.
BLACK KETTLE
(signs in Cheyenne)
I know he rides with the Dog Soldiers, but I had hoped... My sons no longer listen to me. I do not know how to call him back to our village.
SULLY
He knows Cloud Dancin' rides with Dog Soldiers, but he hoped to find 'im here ... Says his sons no longer listen to him. He doesn't know how to call Cloud Dancin' back.
A helpless beat. Black Kettle looks to Mike, signs:
BLACK KETTLE
(in Cheyenne) You care for No Harm, is he well?
SULLY
He's askin' 'bout No Harm.
MIKE
(to Black Kettle)
He's fine. He and my youngest boy have become kolas.
SULLY
(in Cheyenne)
He's fine. The boys are kolas.
As Sully translates, a wistful smile comes to Black Kettle's troubled face. He signs directly to Mike as Sully translates.
BLACK KETTLE
(in Cheyenne)
We are of different nations, but we are one people.
SULLY
We are of different nations, but we are one people.
The old chief takes Mike's hand.
INT. HOMESTEAD - CONTINUOUS
Still reading the signs, No Harm grasps Brian's hand.
NO HARM
I take your hand and my heart soars.
EXT. HOMESTEAD - CONTINUOUS
MIKE
I wish it was always like this.
SULLY
(in Cheyenne)
It should always be like this.
Black Kettle studies Mike a long moment. He responds with a sign. Mike waits. OFF Sully's silence:
MIKE
What did he say? ... Sully?
SULLY
(with difficulty) He said, "I live in hopes."
MIKE
Hopes ... (in Cheyenne) Hopes.
Black Kettle reacts, nods. As they hold each other's look:
DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. HOMESTEAD PORCH - NIGHT FOUR
Much later. Deep in thought, Sully sit on the steps. Mike comes outside with mugs of coffee. She sits and gives him one.
SULLY
Thanks.
MIKE
The boys fell asleep on the floor.
SULLY
Should just leave 'em there, they'll stay warm by the fire ... You warm enough?
MIKE
It is a little cool.
SULLY
Good.
He puts an arm around her. Mike smiles, then quickly sobers.
MIKE
It's so hard trying to imagine Cloud Dancing riding with the Dog Soldiers. (studies Sully) It'd be like seeing you carry a rifle.
Sully kisses her forehead. A troubled silence.
MIKE
Snow Bird must be so worried ... Do you think he'll come back?
SULLY
Not with Custer around ... Figure Sheridan brought him back cause he knows Custer's like a loaded gun. Question isn't if he's gonna be used -- it's when ... (beat) 'Course, if somebody persuasive was to talk to Custer... maybe work his mind 'round a little ...
Mike catches his look, can't believe what he's suggesting.
MIKE
You think I should go to his dinner?
SULLY
Think about it. He's askin' ever'body who's got influence over the town. He ain't just here to kill Indians -- he's makin' sure folks think killin' 'em's the right thing to do.
She digests this a moment, but the idea is appalling.
MIKE
I could never sit there eating government beefsteak. Not with the Cheyenne going hungry just over the hill ... I'd choke.
SULLY
You're right.
MIKE
You're the one who always says you can't reason with the army.
SULLY
(knows she's hooked) It was a bad idea ...
Mulling it over, Mike tries to talk herself out of it.
MIKE
Custer would never listen to me.
INT. ARMY MESS TENT - NIGHT FIVE
CUSTER
I'm delighted you changed your mind, Dr. Quinn.
Custer holds a chair for Mike as Loren, Dorothy, the REVEREND, Horace, Jake, Sully, and TWO CAVALRY OFFICERS -- all in formal attire -- sit at the table drenched in candlelight, crystal, and food. ORDERLIES hover, serving the plates.
MIKE
Actually, I'm hoping you might do the same tonight.
Sully sends her a "slow down" look as Custer sits, chuckles.
CUSTER
Change my mind? I am intrigued.
DOROTHY
Your crystal is lovely, General.
CUSTER
Thank you. I do try to maintain a little oasis of civilization, even out here in the wilderness.
Mike stops an Orderly from pouring wine in her glass.
MIKE
No, thank you.
He moves on, skipping Custer, who catches Mike's reaction.
CUSTER
I see we finally have some common ground, Dr. Quinn.
JAKE
You sayin' you don't drink?
CUSTER
I am, Sir. Unlike many of my fellow officers, I believe liquor and war do not mix.
He pierces some meat from a platter and drops the chunks to his DOGS near his chair. Mike watches, concealing her disdain.
MIKE
Is that what we're at, General? War?
DOROTHY
(a tight smile) Michaela, can't we just enjoy our dinner?
CUSTER
It's alright, Mrs. Jennings. I'm quite used to sparring with the olive branchers in Washington. I assure you a debate with a lovely lady -- is far more appealing.
MIKE
You haven't answered my question, General.
CUSTER
The United States does not wage war on the Indian. But if they refuse to abide by our treaties, they must suffer consequences.
A strained silence.
REVEREND
I haven't tasted turtle soup since my days at the seminary.
Loren reacts, lowers his spoonful of soup --
MIKE
They do suffer the consequences of our "treaties," General. Your dogs eat better than the Cheyenne people.
CUSTER
(forces patience) Please try to understand, Dr. Quinn, the government has every intention of feeding the Indians who want peace. South of the Arkansas River, at Fort Cobb.
MIKE
(a glimmer of hope) But Black Kettle does want peace. And they were promised they could stay in the north and hunt.
CUSTER
The Treaty of Medicine Lodge gives no such promise.
MIKE
It was given to them verbally.
SULLY
I was there. Heard it.
REVEREND
(OFF the silence) Seems to me, if a promise was made, it shouldn't matter if it was written.
Mike and Sully react to his support. Cornered, Custer turns to Mike.
CUSTER
For one who was abducted by Cheyenne renegades, I find your attitude quite surprising.
MIKE
(calmly) I happen to believe hurting innocent people is wrong. No matter who the offender.
She holds his stare. A COMMOTION outside breaks the tense silence. A SOLDIER appears urgently at the flap.
SOLDIER
Sorry to interrupt, Sir, but the lady Doctor's needed right away.
All come to their feet as Sully helps Mike into her wrap.
MIKE
What happened?
SOLDIER
Railroad workers got attacked north 'a town. They're bringin' wounded in now.
DOROTHY
I'll get Colleen.
REVEREND
I'll go, too. You may need me.
Mike nods grimly. Custer turns to the Soldier.
CUSTER
Who attacked, Private?
SOLDIER
Indian War Party, Sir. Cheyenne.
This stops Mike at the door. Custer meets her troubled look.
CUSTER
Perhaps some powder and lead will be the best food for them now.
Shaken, Mike and Sully exit, followed by Dorothy and the Reverend. Custer faces the remnants of his party, and smiles.
FADE OUT.
END ACT TWO
ACT THREE
FADE IN:
EXT. STREET - NIGHT FIVE
Confusion and alarm; SHOUTS and lanterns direct SOLDIERS unloading wounded WORKERS from army wagons into the clinic.
INT. CLINIC - CONTINUOUS
Teeming with activity; the Reverend and Sully set up extra cots as Soldiers bring in the last of the injured on stretchers. Dorothy pours fresh water in pans. Colleen cleans the leg wound of a WORKER writhing in pain as Mike prepares a hypodermic.
WORKER
Snuck up while we was eatin' ... (flinches) Most of us ain't even got guns.
COLLEEN
I know it hurts, I'm almost done.
WORKER
Had me a rifle, I 'da killed 'em all. Stinkin' devils ...
Colleen and Mike trade solemn looks as Mike gives him the shot.
MIKE
The morphine will help ease the pain. Try and lay still now.
WORKER
They can all burn in hell!
MIKE
(composed, to Colleen) When you're finished here, I'll need your help removing a bullet.
OFF Colleen's grim nod, Mike moves on as a stretcher passes with another worker, WILLIAM HAYLEY, on it. Mike quickly checks the wound in his shoulder and arm.
WILLIAM
I got a wife in Soda Springs -- she's gonna be worried.
MIKE
You'll be alright, I'm a doctor. (indicates to Soldiers) Please put him over there.
As they start off, he clutches Mike by the arm, pleading:
WILLIAM
Her name's Michelle ... Michelle Hayley. Can ya get word to her?
MIKE
We'll make certain she knows you're safe.
He lets go and the Soldiers move him on. Mike takes bandages to a MAN on a cot. As she wraps his head wound, Mike sees Dorothy give water to a YOUNG WORKER, his arm in a sling.
YOUNG WORKER
A bunch tried settin' fire to the trestle but we chased 'em off. Rest was raidin' the grub tent ...
Dorothy pulls her pencil, opens her pad. She catches Mike watching and their gazes lock for an uncomfortable moment. Then, Dorothy turns back to the man. Poised to take notes:
DOROTHY
How many were in the war party?
YOUNG WORKER
Dozen, maybe ... Hard to say -- they was whoopin' and hollerin' all over camp ...
Disturbed, Mike tries to re-focus her attention on her work ...
EXT. CLINIC - NIGHT FIVE
Later. Sully waits, watching Soldiers race by as Townspeople gather at the edge of town. Mike steps outside, clearly drained from the ordeal. Sully quickly rises with concern.
MIKE
There're some serious injuries, but everyone should recover... We were lucky this time.
SULLY
This time?
MIKE
Nobody was killed.. Maybe there won't be serious repercussions.
SULLY
They've killed before. And this ain't runnin' off a few stock, or stealin' food or some guns. This time the Cheyenne attacked the railroad ... Nobody's gonna forget this.
Mike struggles with this truth. Sully grabs his jacket.
MIKE
What're you going to do?
SULLY
I'm gonna find Cloud Dancin'.
MIKE
(stops him) Please, be careful.
She embraces him tightly -- then lets go. As Sully starts off, Mike turns her attention down the street.
EXT. STREET - CONTINUOUS
A gathering riddled with fear. Jake is at the center, playing to the crowd that includes Hank, Loren, Reverend and Dorothy. In the field beyond, Soldiers prepare to ride.
JAKE
The railroad's bringin' the kind a progress we all want! And them Injuns know that! When they attack the railroad, they're attackin' the very heart of this town!
People ROAR approval. Mike moves to the edge of the crowd, finding Robert E and Grace, Horace and Myra holding her baby.
JAKE
(continues, to crowd) There ain't gonna be no gettin' 'long with the Indian. Sooner we all see that, the better!
MIKE
What's Jake doing?
ROBERT E
He's just rabble-rousin'.
GRACE
It's not takin' much. This attack's got people scared.
JAKE
(to crowd) We need action! And the man to do the job is right here! People of Colorado Springs, I give you General George Armstrong Custer!
Jake moves aside as Custer steps forward to the crowd's CHEERS.
ROBERT E
I don't like the feel 'a this.
MYRA
You can't blame folks. What's to stop that war party from headin' right into town?
MIKE
I'm sure that won't happen, Myra.
HORACE
... They done it before.
CUSTER
My good people, the Cheyenne -- all Indians -- are enemies to our civilization. We cannot allow them to carry out their barbarous warfare under any pretext they choose to allege.
Mike reacts. The Reverend weaves his way over with alarm.
REVEREND
Dr. Mike, we have to stop this!
MIKE
I agree.
CUSTER
And I assure you, I intend to use all of my powers to prevent them from doing so!
More CHEERS as Mike and the Reverend push forward, shouting:
MIKE
Listen to us, please! ...
Please listen!
REVEREND
Everybody, stop! Please!
As the crowd starts to settle:
REVEREND
All Cheyenne are not our enemy!
MIKE
This attack was a small band of Dog Soldiers. The army knows Black Kettle wants peace, he signed a treaty with our --
CUSTER
(talks over her) What the army knows, Doctor, is the seven wounded men lying in your clinic -- all attacked by your "peaceful" Cheyenne.
Mike keeps appealing to the crowd.
MIKE
You know some of these people. And you know they don't want to fight. They just want to live on their land!
Loren holds her look, clearly uncomfortable, as:
HANK
Ain't gonna be room for the both of us. Somebody's gotta go.
LOREN
(conflicted) Maybe they got a point. Ain't all of em causin' trouble. I gotta say -- I met some good Indians.
CUSTER
And I agree with my commanding Officer, Mr. Bray... "The only good Indian, is a dead Indian!"
And the crowd ERUPTS with approval and louder CHEERS. CLOSE on Mike, feeling the chances for peace slipping away...
EXT. CREEK - DAY SIX
It's early. Sully, in change of clothes, rides his horse along the creek bed. From the trees ahead, THREE DOG SOLDIERS ride out into the open to cut off his path. Sully stops, waits.
One of the Dog Soldiers is Cloud Dancing. He speaks to the others, who turn and ride away. Cloud Dancing rides on to Sully. They greet each other in Cheyenne, then:
CLOUD DANCING
You risk much by coming here.
SULLY
We gotta talk.
Cloud Dancing knows why Sully's there. They dismount and walk their horses along the creek. It's difficult for them both.
CLOUD DANCING
I have been thinking of my son, when he joined the Dog Soldiers... I think now he was right.
SULLY
And your father -- was he wrong?
CLOUD DANCING
(avoids his look) You have come about the train.
SULLY
You ain't gonna be able to stop it. These attacks are only makin' things worse.
CLOUD DANCING
When I was a boy, I could ride for many days and meet only my people. I could hunt when I wanted. And the buffalo, they were as many as stones in this creek. They could fill a valley as long as you could see ... (a quiet rage) Now I am told where I must put my lodge. Where I can hunt, what I can eat. And if I do not do as they say, they want to kill me. (stops walking, beat) Understand me, I do not wish for this fight.
SULLY
I do understand. Cloud Dancin', I know what your people've lost. But I can't figure what you think this is gonna accomplish.
CLOUD DANCING
In the north, Red Cloud and the Oglala fight. They have driven off the soldiers.
SULLY
Only cause the settlers aren't movin' there. Once the white man wants the Powder River country, Red Cloud won't stand any more chance than you do.
CLOUD DANCING
Is that a reason not to fight -- because it is impossible?... Is that what you would do? (quiet, pointed) My brother, is there nothing you would not fight for?
OFF Sully's silence, Cloud Dancing has his answer.
SULLY
And when war breaks out? What happens to the women and children, the old ones?
CLOUD DANCING
My people have been promised protection at Fort Cobb. Tonight Black Kettle moves them south, where they will be safe.
EXT. CHEYENNE CAMP - DAY (DUSK) SIX
Camp is dismantled; lodges, provisions all packed onto travois hitched to horses. The Cheyenne make final preparations to go; the mood somber. Colleen and Matthew are with Brian and No Harm. Sully stands nearby speaking with Black Kettle and MEDICINE WOMAN LATER, a dignified woman at his side.
ANOTHER ANGLE
Watching them talk, Mike helps Snow Bird tuck away the last belongings into Snow Bird's travois. Mike is curious.
MIKE
Who's that woman with Black Kettle?
SNOW BIRD
His wife, Medicine Woman Later.
Snow Bird is amused by Mike's surprise at the name.
SNOW BIRD
When Black Kettle gave you your name, you did not understand how it was special ... (considers Mike) You have been my good friend, Medicine Woman. You have stood with me through many sorrows.
Mike is working hard to contain her emotions. Softly:
MIKE
You've been my good friend, too.
Snow Bird hands her a charm made of feathers and quills.
SNOW BIRD
For your union with Sully. It has brought many happy suns over my lodge with Cloud Dancing.
MIKE
It's lovely ... Thank you.
Mike is clearly overwhelmed by the moment. Fighting tears, she looks around at her friends preparing to leave their home.
MIKE
Why does it have to be this way?
SNOW BIRD
(a wistful smile) One day, perhaps many seasons from now, my people and your people will come to understand one another, and no longer be afraid ... I know this truth because I know you.
MIKE
(reacts, struggling) I will see you soon.
ANGLE - BRIAN AND NO HARM
as Colleen and Matthew look on.
BRIAN
You don't have to go. You can stay with us, long as you want.
NO HARM
I am Cheyenne. I belong with my people.
A different movement starts around them; people are mounting their horses. Cloud Dancing approaches quickly.
CLOUD DANCING
The sun will be gone soon, it is time.
He sees Snow Bird coming and he goes to meet her. They look at each other, their feelings tightly leashed.
CLOUD DANCING
This is right to do. (she nods, stoic) You will be safe with Black Kettle. (she nods again) Do you have nothing to say?
SNOW BIRD
You are a foolish man. You have always been a foolish man, I do not know why I sleep with you for so long.
CLOUD DANCING
I am fond of you also.
He pulls her into an embrace. Snow Bird whispers in his ear:
SNOW BIRD
I am afraid. (OFF his surprise; collects herself) Do not worry -- I go, but I do not have to be happy about it.
She swiftly mounts her horse then takes Cloud Dancing's hand. She holds it for a silent moment, then painfully lets go.
Mike and Sully join the children as the procession starts off, Black Kettle in the front. No Harm passes, holding his jackknife for Brian to see. As Brian holds up the flute, Matthew drapes a supportive arm around his shoulder. Cloud Dancing joins the group as Snow Bird passes. She rides by stoic, without looking at Cloud Dancing, and never looking back.
CLOSE ON Mike and Sully as he pulls her closer, and they silently watch their Cheyenne friends moving on.
FADE OUT.
END ACT THREE
ACT FOUR
FADE IN:
INT. NEW HOMESTEAD - DAY SEVEN
Several days later. Mike hangs Snow Bird's charm by the open door. She smiles with the bittersweet memory and moves on; wandering the room, marveling at the progress. She discovers a form against a wall, covered by a blanket. Curious, she pulls the blanket off, revealing the carved bedboard, now almost finished... And Mike's reaction goes deep. She runs her hands over the beautiful wood, imagining what's ahead...
SULLY (O.S.)
S'pose to be a surprise.
Mike turns to see Sully at the door, enjoying the moment.
SULLY
It's your weddin' present.
Mike's embarrassed, knowing he was reading her thoughts.
MIKE
Sully, it's so beautiful ...
SULLY
Will be, when it's finished. (comes close) Figure we're gonna need a bed.
He meets her shy smile warmly, and they stare at each other, already feeling the heat. Flushed, Mike breaks his look.
MIKE
May I watch you work?
SULLY
Sure.
Mike settles on the blanket as he selects a tool and begins.
MIKE
I was thinking about how lucky we are, to have this house. I can't imagine having to suddenly pack up everything and leave ... It's only been a week, and it feels as if they've been gone a year.
SULLY
I miss em, too.
MIKE
Do you think they're alright?
SULLY
Should be safe at Fort Cobb by now ... Once Custer gets his fill of chasin' Dog Soldiers, he'll move on. Maybe they'll be back.
He resumes carving. Something else has been haunting Mike.
MIKE
Sometimes I can't help but wonder if you wish you'd gone with them.
Surprised, Sully stops and moves close as Mike tries to explain.
MIKE
I mean, they've been your family for so long, and --
SULLY
Cheyenne are my family. Always will be. So are you. (touches her face) When're you gonna understand -- my heart is yours now?
OFF her reaction, Sully kisses her gently. And Mike responds, slowly at first, then with a passion she hasn't felt before. So the kiss goes on, growing heated -- as Sully gently pushes her down and Mike pulls him to her on the blanket. Just when things are about to go further, Mike pulls away, breathless.
MIKE
You'd better get back to work... Or we'll never have a bed.
Sully holds her sly smile, then groans, burying his head on her shoulder. Mike laughs. And Sully GROANS LOUDER playfully, dropping onto his back at her side. He looks over, watching her laugh.
SULLY
You're so beautiful when you laugh.
Mike looks back at him, overwhelmed by her pure joy.
MIKE
I never believed I could ever be this happy ... I love you so much.
As Sully brings her hand to his lips:
INT. TELEGRAPH OFFICE - DAY SEVEN
Matthew enters, steps around a Soldier (met earlier) leaving in a hurry. Horace is busy tapping a telegram.
MATTHEW
Dr. Mike said she had some medicine comin' in?
HORACE
Hold on -- 'portant telegram for the army.
Matthew waits as Horace keeps tapping. From the back room, the baby starts CRYING. Horace forces concentration, to no avail.
HORACE
Myra had to go shoppin' now...
Flustered, he gives up and starts for the back.
MATTHEW
Horace -- the medicine?
HORACE
Under the counter -- go ahead.
He disappears in back as Matthew comes around the counter. He finds the package and starts to go, but curiosity gets the best of him. Matthew glances back to make sure he's alone, then peeks at the telegram Horace was sending. As he reacts:
EXT. CLINIC - DAY SEVEN
A bandaged Railroad Worker (Chinese) waits on a bench as Mike steps outside with Matthew.
MIKE
Are you certain?
MATTHEW
I read it twice. Said Custer was ordered to take the Seventh Calvary south of the Arkansas River.
MIKE
But that's into Indian Territory.
Disturbed, Mike glances down the street to the field where the Calvary is now breaking camp. Matthew lowers his voice:
MATTHEW
Think Custer's up to somethin'?
MIKE
Black Kettle will have sanctuary at Fort Cobb. They won't be in any danger ... (just to be sure) Sully's at the new homestead. Would you ride out and tell him?
Matthew nods, goes. Refocusing, Mike gestures for the Worker to come inside.
INT. HOMESTEAD - NIGHT SEVEN
Sully and Mike set the table, feeling especially close. Brian PLAYS his flute for Matthew. He finishes on a squeaky note. Matthew feigns impressed.
MATTHEW
Gettin' pretty good, Brian.
BRIAN
Not as good as No Harm.
MIKE
He's been practicing much longer. I think he'll be impressed next time you see him.
BRIAN
(thinks a moment) Think they'll come back in time for your weddin'?
Sully and Mike exchange uncertain looks.
SULLY
I don't know, Brian. Hope so.
MIKE
(to Brian) Could you tell Colleen supper's ready?
As Brian heads out the back door, there's a KNOCK at the front. Mike opens it. She's surprised to discover Cloud Dancing.
MIKE
Cloud Dancing --
CLOUD DANCING
(rushing in) Sully; he is here?
MIKE
We were just about to eat. Will you join us?
CLOUD DANCING
There is no time. (to Sully) I have come for your help.
SULLY
What's wrong?
CLOUD DANCING
Black Kettle has been turned away from the Fort.
SULLY
What?!
CLOUD DANCING
The agent says he has no power to make peace with Cheyenne. Says Black Kettle must make peace with the big War Chief Sheridan.
Mike and Sully trade looks of alarm, fitting pieces together.
MIKE
Sheridan's just ordered Custer south of the Arkansas.
CLOUD DANCING
(a blow) You are sure of this?
MATTHEW
I saw a telegram.
SULLY
Army sure ain't sendin' Custer to talk about peace. Where's Black Kettle now?
CLOUD DANCING
They make camp along the Washita.
SULLY
We gotta warn 'em.
OFF Cloud Dancing's nod, Sully gathers his things. Mike starts to pack, with:
MIKE
I'm going with you. (catches Sully's look) They're my friends, too. And they may need me.
She turns to Matthew, who beats her to the punch.
MATTHEW
Don't worry bout us. I can sleep up here.
MIKE
No, I'll feel better if you ask Robert E and Grace to stay the nights with you. If they can't, you can all sleep at the clinic.
Matthew nods. As Mike continues packing, Sully stops her.
SULLY
We're gonna be ridin' for days. You sure 'bout this?
MIKE
We're wasting time.
Off her determination, Sully looks to Cloud Dancing. OFF Cloud Dancing's grim expression --
A SERIES OF SHOTS AND DISSOLVES
A) Cloud Dancing, Sully and Mike ride with urgency in the dark.
B) In the daylight, the trio pushes hard across a plain ...
C) Galloping toward the top of a rise ...
D) Dropping down from a hilltop toward a creek...
EXT. CAMP ALONG CREEK - DAY (DUSK) EIGHT
With horses grazing nearby, Cloud Dancing and Sully sit next to a small campfire. Mike dishes beans onto tin plates. She passes them along with an apology to Cloud Dancing.
MIKE
This won't taste like much ... (sitting) I'm afraid when most little girls were in the kitchen with their mothers, I was off helping my father set broken bones.
CLOUD DANCING
Your father wanted you to become a doctor?
MIKE
The desire was quite mutual.
CLOUD DANCING
My father passed the medicine to me also.
MIKE
(curiosity piqued) I've never heard you speak of your father.
As Cloud Dancing trades glances with Sully --
CLOUD DANCING
He was once a great warrior, won many scalps against the enemy... After the Treaty of Fort Laramie, he put aside the weapons and learned the medicine.
MIKE
What made him decide to change?
CLOUD DANCING
The Treaty brought many great nations together, but some were old enemies. On the way, a Cheyenne war party killed a Snake man. So a council was called. (a reflective beat) My people smoked the pipe with the Snake. Our Chiefs called on the warriors to stop fighting, and gifts were passed. The last gift was given to the grieving family of the Snake man. I still remember how the grandfather embraced the warrior who had killed his grandson. (with emotion) That warrior was my father.
As Mike digests this meaning for Cloud Dancing, she looks at Sully, sees he knows this story After a beat:
MIKE
What became of your father?
CLOUD DANCING
He died of the whooping cough. I did not know the medicine for this white man's sickness.
OFF Mike's troubled silence, he sets aside his plate and rises.
CLOUD DANCING
We must rest now. We have a long ride to the river.
As Mike watches him walk off into the shadows, FADE TO BLACK.
EXT. PLAINS (STOCK) - DAY NINE
FADING IN to a wide stretch of plains; empty, eerily call ... SOUNDS of thunderous HOOFBEATS arise, growing LOUDER until a troop of mounted CALVARY SOLDIERS charge past the camera --
SULLY (V.O.)
Michaela ... Wake up ...
EXT. CAMP - DAY (DAWN) NINE
CLOSE ON MIKE bolting awake OFF Sully's touch.
SULLY (O.S.)
Time to be goin'.
She stares up at Sully's face in dawn's light. Unsettled by the images of her dream, Mike sits up. Sully studies her.
SULLY
You alright?
MIKE
Just a dream ...
Covering, she rises quickly. ON Sully watching her:
EXT. PLAINS - DAY NINE
Mike, Sully and Cloud Dancing ride hard across a stretch of empty plains toward a small grove of trees in the distance.
EXT. PLAINS - CLUSTER OF TREES - DAY NINE
Below a small rise, the trio takes a water break. Mike stretches aching muscles as Sully comes around with a canteen.
MIKE
What's that? (freezes) Listen ...
They strain to hear ... Nothing. Sully shakes his head.
SULLY
Can't hear nothin'.
CLOUD DANCING
I do smell smoke ... Perhaps we are closer than I believed.
He grabs his horse's rope and hurries toward the rise. Mike and Sully do the same, rushing after him on foot.
ANOTHER ANGLE - THE RISE
As Sully, Cloud Dancing and Mike lead their horses toward the crest. Cloud Dancing picks up the pace, eager to see his village once again ... And Snow Bird ...
CLOUD DANCING
We have moved our lodges here in the spring before. The grass is tall then, the river swollen --
They arrive at the top and stop abruptly, looking down towards the valley below -- in complete horror and shock.
MIKE
Oh my God...
THEIR POV - WASHITA BASIN
Below along the banks of the river lies the destroyed camp of Black Kettle: smoldering lodges, bodies of Cheyenne and dead horses strewn everywhere ... Nothing but stillness, total devastation, and overwhelming death ...
RESUME ANGLE
Cloud Dancing -- now mounted -- releases a tortured CRY as he gallops down toward the remnants of his people... PUSH CLOSE ON Mike and Sully's frozen anguish and disbelief as we:
FADE OUT.
END PART ONE

WASHITA - Part II
Teleplay by Kathryn Ford / Story by Kathryn Ford and Julie Kirgo / Directed by James Keach

ACT ONE
FADE IN:
EXT. VALLEY OF THE WASHITA - DAY NINE
The massacre site along the river is utter desolation; smoke pours from remnants of smoldering lodges burned to the ground, bodies of Cheyenne women, children and elders are scattered among a few braves, all lying where they fell. Dead horses line the outskirts of the decimated village ...
A SERIES OF SHOTS AND DISSOLVES
CLOUD DANCING -- helplessly stricken -- walks through the ruins looking for Snow Bird. MIKE and SULLY -- in complete shock and grief -- numbly wander apart through the devastating nightmare; turning bodies, checking futilely for survivors, reacting in silent anguish...
ANOTHER ANGLE - BANKS OF WASHITA
Mike squats at the body of a girl Colleen's age. Struggling with her sorrow, she looks off -- and something catches her eye. Mike rushes down the bank to the river where a man's body lies face down near the water. Mike touches the wound in his back, then turns over the chief who wanted peace; BLACK KETTLE. As Mike agonizes, she notices MEDICINE WOMAN LATER floating nearby, tangled in brush. Mike wades into the frigid water and struggles to pull the dead woman up onto the bank. Her private agony is interrupted by Sully's frantic CRY:
SULLY (O.S.)
Cloud Dancing! Michaela!
ANOTHER ANGLE
Near a smoldering lodge, Sully leans over a woman lying on her back. Cloud Dancing and Mike run over. Sully looks up as they approach, and from his face, Cloud Dancing knows ... He drops to his knees next to SNOW BIRD, unmoving, and barely alive. Sully moves aside to let Mike in next to her with her medical bag.
MIKE
(heartsick) Snow Bird ...
With a strange mixture of relief and dread, Cloud Dancing gently cradles Snow Bird's head.
CLOUD DANCING
I am here now ... I am here.
SNOW BIRD
They fell into our camp before the sun ... We could not escape ...
Mike checks her wounds, takes a pulse. Cloud Dancing looks to Mike in frantic hope. OFF her grief-stricken expression, he realizes his wife is in the final moments of her life. Cloud Dancing leans close to Snow Bird's face. They SPEAK SOFTLY in Cheyenne, the words only meant for each other. Devastated, Mike exchanges looks with Sully -- until she feels Snow Bird's touch on her arm. Mike leans in close to her friend. Snow Bird gives her a weak, conspiratorial smile.
SNOW BIRD
What will Cloud Dancing do without me?
As Mike stares back, Snow Bird closes her eyes ... and is gone. Mike is shattered. She reaches out to Cloud Dancing, but he ignores her. Slowly, he rises to his feet and pulls out his knife. Mike lunges to stop him but Sully holds her back -- and Cloud Dancing slashes at his own calves, then at both forearms, drawing blood. He cuts off a handful of hair and flings it to the ground, then looks blindly to the sky and CHANTS, his voice rising in agonized song. Sully numbly pulls Mike away.
SULLY
Cheyenne death song ...
At a loss, Mike watches Cloud Dancing, her expression beyond grief. Finally, she looks to Sully, her voice flat ... distant.
MIKE
I found Black Kettle and his wife by the river ... Shot in the back.
Sully contains his reaction, then walks off. Mike watches him go for a tortured moment, then backs away from Cloud Dancing, leaving him alone with his grief. The DEATH SONG CONTINUES as Mike resumes her tormented search for survivors. As she nears a cluster of brush
TROOPER (O.S.)
Lady ... Lady, please ...
MIKE
(looks, reacts) Sully -- over here!
She drops to the side of a dying TROOPER, no older than twenty.
TROOPER
Water ...
MIKE
We'll get some ... Sully!
Mike stuffs a glove in the Trooper's shirt to stop the bleeding from his chest. The Trooper squirms in pain, gritting:
TROOPER
Got hit right off 'n hid in here. Musta blanked out ... (a glance around) Where's ever'body?
MIKE
(contained) They're gone.
TROOPER
(disbelief) Can't be. Custer'd never leave without me.
MIKE
Sully?!
Mike turns to look for him, and discovers Sully standing a few feet behind them, staring at the Trooper in a controlled rage.
MIKE
Sully, please -- I need water.
But Sully's eyes never leave the Trooper. He steps forward as he snatches a rifle off the ground, and in one fluid motion has it pointed inches from the Trooper's bewildered face. Mike reacts, grabbing the barrel --
MIKE
NO!
Sully knocks her hand off, keeping the barrel pointed at the Trooper frozen with terror. Mike latches on again, pleading:
MIKE
Sully, no! You can't! ...
Sully shakes with rage, glaring into the Trooper's fearful eyes. He cocks the rifle preparing to fire -- and Mike holds on in desperation, trying to force the barrel away.
MIKE
No, Sully! Please! ... No...
Sully's battling his own demons as the tension mounts ... suddenly, hear THUNDERING HOOVES. Startled, they look up --
A SPOOKED HORSE charges wildly through the ruins behind them.
They watch the riderless horse stumble over a body and gallop past them racing into nothingness ... Sully looks back at Mike.
She shakes her head at him with pleading eyes, then Sully yanks the rifle away from her grasp. Backing up, he turns and flings the gun with an anguished YELL as far as he can throw it. Mike painfully watches him walk off without looking back. As Mike sags next to the Trooper --
STAY WITH SULLY
moving on, struggling to recover from his rage, what he came so close to doing ... And then Sully sees something and stops. The slight body of NO HARM is easily recognizable, lying in a ditch face down. Sully drops next to the boy, finds clasped in a tiny hand; Brian's jackknife. Sully gently pulls him up onto his lap ... And underneath, he sees a blanket-wrapped bundle. Laying No Harm on the ground, Sully reaches for the bundle.
ANOTHER ANGLE - MIKE
sits numbly at the side of the Trooper, now dead. The DEATH SONG of Cloud Dancing still pierces the silence fallen over the ruins ... And then, another SOUND; faint at first, and then growing louder. Mike reacts to the distant CRIES of a baby.
RESUME--- ANGLE
where Sully, on his knees now clasps the bundle tightly to his chest, as if clinging to life itself. Mike rushes over and stops, looking down at Sully holding the CRYING bundle in disbelief. Sully looks up at Mike heartbreakingly, tears streaming down his face. He chokes out the words:
SULLY
No Harm hid 'im ...
And gently rocking the CRYING BABY, Sully CRIES with it. Mike watches through silent tears, and slowly sinks to the ground by No Harm. Sully stares back, no longer able to speak. From the deepest of places, Sully WEEPS for all the dead ...
As the lone surviving baby CRIES louder ...
And in the distance, Cloud Dancing's death SONG continues ...
DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. BANKS OF WASHITA - DAY NINE
Cloud Dancing carries the body of Snow Bird along the river.
DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. WASHITA HILLSIDE - DAY NINE
Mike places the blanket-wrapped baby inside Sully's jacket. Sully, somewhat recovered, approaches from the ruins. He watches Mike take the baby into her arms. A difficult beat.
SULLY
There's nothin' else alive. Even slaughtered all their horses ... Custer must've taken prisoners. 'Bout forty, maybe fifty women and children are missin'...
Still in shock, Mike looks off blankly at Cloud Dancing down by the river carefully placing Snow Bird on the ground.
MIKE
How could they do this?
There are no words to answer. A moment of shattering sorrow and disbelief. A SHOT rings out. They both duck and look up --
THEIR POV - HILLTOP
At the crest, a half-dozen ARAPAHO BRAVES on horseback charge towards them, YELLING and FIRING rifles.
RESUME ANGLE
Sully pulls Mike with the baby to her feet and they take off running toward the river. The charging Braves swoop down upon them. As Sully realizes there's no escape, he pushes Mike on.
SULLY
Keep goin'! RUN!
But Mike stands her ground as Sully turns to face the onslaught. With hands up, he YELLS to the Braves:
SULLY
(in Cheyenne) We are friends!
The Braves quickly overtake and surround them, taunting, SHOOTING at their feet. Mike and Sully face their enraged attackers in helpless horror ...
SULLY
(in Cheyenne) We are friends! We have come to help! Friends!
Mike tries to shield the baby. Sully prepares to defend them, but catches a bullet in the arm and falls to the ground --
MIKE
Sully!
She drops to his side, then looks up in terror as one Brave takes close aim at her with his rifle --
ANOTHER ANGLE - CLOUD DANCING
charges frantically toward them.
CLOUD DANCING
(in Cheyenne) Stop! They are friends!
Cloud Dancing runs through the Braves to shield Mike and Sully.
CLOUD DANCING
(in Cheyenne) Do not shoot! They are friends to our people!
As the Braves hear Cloud Dancing's words, they lower their guns with great hesitation ... ON Mike and Sully's reaction:
DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. WASHITA BASIN - DAY NINE
Two of the Braves quickly raid the body of the dead Trooper. Now holding the baby, Cloud Dancing speaks with the other Braves, who are wary and still on horseback.
Off to the side, Sully sits on the ground as Mike -- utterly drained and raw -- finishes bandaging his arm.
MIKE
The bullet passed right through, missed the bone ... You're lucky.
She catches his look, realizes the horrible irony of her words. Then, she helps Sully to his feet. Cloud Dancing approaches as the other Braves watch. His sorrow is tightly contained.
CLOUD DANCING
The Long Hair has moved the soldiers down the river toward other villages ... It is not safe for you here -- you must go.
Mike can't imagine leaving him. At a loss, she surveys the multitude of bodies surrounding them.
MIKE
There must be something we can do ... At least let us help you bury them.
CLOUD DANCING
We will leave my people where they fall. The birds and wolves will spread their flesh over the earth. There they will feed our mother again.
Mike looks helplessly to Sully, who nods in understanding. Cloud Dancing hands the bundled baby over to Mike.
CLOUD DANCING
Will you watch after this one for now?
MIKE
(devastated) We'll make certain he's safe.
Cloud Dancing nods. The three share a gut wrenching moment. Then, Cloud Dancing turns to go --
SULLY
Cloud Dancing, wait!
Sully jumps to stop him. The waiting Braves react with their rifles, ready to protect Cloud Dancing.
SULLY
What're you gonna do?
CLOUD DANCING
I will ride with my Arapaho brothers.
SULLY
To look for Custer? (as Cloud Dancing starts off) When's the killin' gonna stop?!
Cloud Dancing turns to look back at them. He struggles to control his rage mixed with despair.
CLOUD DANCING
Can you not see what is before you? It is already finished! (OFF Sully's pained look) Go now. Before it is too late.
He moves swiftly to the others. Grabbing the lead rope from a Brave, Cloud Dancing swings up onto his horse. The group charges quickly back up the hill.
Mike and Sully watch their friend disappear over the rise. Suddenly alone, they silently survey the destruction around them. As Mike pulls the baby tightly to her chest ...
DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. CAMPSITE ALONG CREEK - NIGHT NINE
The Cheyenne Baby lies bundled in a blanket, sound asleep. Next to it is a small campfire, where Sully mashes corn in a plate. He pours water from a pot into the mash and stirs ... From the dark nearby, we can hear Mike RETCHING and COUGHING. Sully reacts, takes a pot from the fire and pours tea into a cup. He carries it over to the creek.
ANGLE - ALONG CREEK
Mike kneels by the water, where she's clearly been sick. She turns away from Sully's approach, wiping her face with a bandana. Sully squats and offers the cup, gently coaxing:
SULLY
It's tea. It'll help settle your stomach.
Mike accepts it, avoiding his look. Her voice is hollow.
MIKE
Thank you.
She forces herself to take some sips. Sully pulls the bandana from her hand and leans over the creek to soak it in water.
SULLY
Got the corn ground up 'n soakin' like you want. But the baby's still sleepin'.
Mike nods, silent and numb. He wrings out the bandana, lays it on the back of her neck. She flinches at his touch. Moving away just slightly, Mike takes the bandana and wipes her face, fighting another wave of nausea. A somber, troubled silence as Sully waits, wishing he knew what to say. Finally:
SULLY
We oughta try'n get some sleep too. Start fresh in the mornin'.
MIKE
No ... The baby's going to need milk soon. We have to keep pushing on.
Sully knows she's right. He studies Mike's broken expression. Sully aches to comfort her, and tries reaching out again.
SULLY
Michaela ...
MIKE
(pulls away, rising) I'll want to check your arm before we go.
Mike quickly returns to the fire. OFF Sully's helplessness:
EXT. TRAIL - DAY TEN
Exhausted, Mike and Sully force themselves to keep riding, in silence, the baby bundled in a sling around Sully's chest ...
EXT. CAMPSITE - NIGHT TEN
At a rest stop, Mike numbly dips a twisted corner of a bandana into a watery mash, then attempts to get the baby to suck it ...
EXT. PLAINS - DAY ELEVEN
Mike and Sully continue their long ride home. Mike battles against falling asleep in the saddle. As Sully regards her:
EXT. HOMESTEAD - DAY (DUSK) TWELVE
MATTHEW chops wood. He sees something and yells out:
MATTHEW
Hey ever'body -- they're back!
ROBERT E emerges from the barn as GRACE, BRIAN and COLLEEN excitedly exit the cabin. They all rush to greet Sully and Mike wearily riding up.
ALL
Ma! Sully! Dr. Mike!
GRACE
We've been so worried ...
Sully hops down, favoring his hurt arm. The rush of relief turns solemn at the sight of their shattered expressions.
SULLY
Ever'body alright?
GRACE
We're fine -- but look at you!
Mike's silence is unsettling. Growing looks of concern circle the group. Mike hands the baby down to Sully.
COLLEEN
Who's that?
SULLY
Cheyenne baby ... His parents got killed.
Sully hands the baby to Grace, then helps Mike down.
MATTHEW
How? ... What happened?
Mike stiffly accepts worried embraces from Colleen and Brian, then quickly lets go.
SULLY
Custer attacked Black Kettle's village 'fore we got there.
GRACE
Oh my Lord ...
COLLEEN
(afraid to ask) Are they alright?
MIKE
(numbly) Everyone's gone, Colleen.
Stunned reactions. Matthew puts an arm around Colleen.
MATTHEW
Dead? You mean Snow Bird, Black Kettle ... ?
He stops at their silence, realizing the worst.
BRIAN
No Harm -- where's he?
Mike stares back, unable to answer. Brian looks to Sully.
BRIAN
Where is he?
Sully squats down next to Brian, searching for the right words.
SULLY
Brian, No Harm was killed with the others ... He's dead.
BRIAN
He can't be. He's just a kid.
Confused, he looks back at Mike -- and sees from her hollow expression that it's true. It slowly sinks in.
BRIAN
Why didn't you stop 'em?
He pushes against Mike in anger and tears. As Mike numbly absorbs the blows --
BRIAN
You shoulda stopped 'em!
Mike is thinking the same. Brian runs off to the barn.
MATTHEW
Brian!
SULLY
Let 'im go, Matthew.
Matthew turns away to hide his grief. Mike numbly pulls her things from the horse as the others look on, feeling the horrible impact. Robert E grabs the horses, reins.
ROBERT E
I'll take care 'a these ...
GRACE
We'll take this one home, get im fed. You both gotta get some rest.
SULLY
Thanks.
Robert E leads the horses away. A devastating beat.
GRACE
If there's anything we can do ...
Mike shakes her head, a million miles away.
MIKE
There's nothing anyone can do. (empty) Thank you for watching the children.
With her spirit clearly broken, Mike walks to the cabin alone. Sully meets Matthew and Colleen's shattered looks, as we:
FADE OUT.
END ACT ONE
ACT TWO
FADE IN:
INT. GENERAL STORE - DAY THIRTEEN
At the counter, HANK rummages through cigars while JAKE hovers nearby. Grace cradles the baby as DOROTHY dotes over it.
DOROTHY
He is cute. Poor little thing ...
GRACE
Hardly cried a whip last night. And I know he's gotta be hungry.
DOROTHY
Michaela and Sully must feel just awful.
GRACE
They're mighty shook up.
LOREN comes over with some baby bottles.
LOREN
I'm not so sure you should be takin' care of that 'round here.
DOROTHY
Loren!
GRACE
And what do you suggest I do?
LOREN
(annoyed, gives Grace bottles) Ah, don't you start in, too.
DOROTHY
He's a innocent, little baby.
JAKE
Just gonna grow up to hate us. Like the rest of 'em.
HANK
You mean what's left of 'em.
Hank and Jake trade satisfied grins. Mike enters unnoticed.
JAKE
Yeah, Custer sure done what he come here to do.
Mike approaches the counter boldly, her feelings buried deep.
MIKE
Loren, I'd like some flour and coffee please?
The silence is riddled with awkward looks. As Loren moves off, Dorothy studies Mike with compassion.
DOROTHY
Michaela, are you alright?
MIKE
I'm fine. Have you received any more of that special chocolate?
DOROTHY
(a little thrown) We have, but ... Michaela, I feel terrible bout what happened. All your friends --
MIKE
I'll take two blocks ... Please.
Conflicted, Dorothy glances at Grace, then moves on to a shelf. Mike dutifully regards Grace and the baby.
MIKE
Grace, how is he?
GRACE
He'll be doin' just fine, soon's I can get some milk in 'im.
A beat. Hank leans curiously toward Mike.
HANK
Hear Custer took care of our little Injun problem down at the Washita.
He searches for a reaction, but Mike remains impassive. Behind them, the REVEREND enters and stops, surprised to see Mike.
JAKE
Got a real hero's welcome back at Camp Supply. The whole command turned out for review.
DOROTHY
(bristles) What do you think you're doin'?
HANK
Just chattin' with Michaela 'bout the General's big victory.
Dorothy looks at Mike, unsettled by her unusual silence.
DOROTHY
I think you're just tryin' to be cruel.
MIKE
(eerily composed) I'll pick these things up later, when you're not so busy.
And before Dorothy can respond, Mike is on her way out rushing past the Reverend. He quickly follows her outside --
EXT. GENERAL STORE - CONTINUOUS
REVEREND
Dr. Mike --
Mike stops. The Reverend steps around to face her, uncertain.
REVEREND
Dr. Mike, you do know ... not everybody is happy about what happened to the Cheyenne.
Mike stares back without any hint of emotion.
MIKE
I believe the sentiment is a little late, don't you?
OFF his reaction, Mike steps around him and walks on. Helpless, the Reverend turns to watch her.
REVEREND
I'll see you in church tomorrow?
As Mike keeps walking ...
EXT. WOODS - DAY THIRTEEN
The same place where Brian and No Harm hunted. Brian sits alone on a log, his face stained with tears. Sully comes un behind him and stops. Without turning, Brian knows he's there. He stoically wipes his tears as Sully moves to sit by him.
BRIAN
I heard you comin'. (beat looking away) No Harm could walk 'round here without makin' a sound.
SULLY
That's 'cause No Harm was Cheyenne.
BRIAN
You make it sound like bein' Cheyenne's a good thing.
SULLY
I think it is. Don't you?
Brian thinks hard. He picks up a rock and throws it.
BRIAN
Bein' Cheyenne's what got 'im killed.
SULLY
Maybe ...
BRIAN
You don't think so?
SULLY
Sometimes bad things happen, Brian. 'N they don't make any sense.
BRIAN
I think they hated 'im just cause he's Indian.
Sully stares; out of the mouths of babes ...
SULLY
What's important now, is how you felt about him ... You saw No Harm for what he was ... A person. A friend.
BRIAN
He was my kola.
SULLY
I know ...
Sully pulls out the flute and holds it to Brian, who fights back a sudden surge of tears, struggling to be brave.
SULLY
Thought you might wanna have this with you.
BRIAN
(dismayed) He can't ever hear me play it no more.
SULLY
I dunno. Maybe he can ...
Surprised, Brian looks up. Sully's face clouds with emotion.
SULLY
Cheyenne would say No Harm's joined his ancestors with the Great Spirit. But his spirit is still here with us, too ... I think he's with you, every time you think 'bout him. Every time you play that.
Brian thinks about this a moment, then takes the flute. He tries to blow some notes. And slowly, his choked breaths turn to sobs. And Brian can't hold it back any longer. He begins to cry ... Sully puts an arm around the boy and pulls him close. As the two hold onto each other:
INT. CLINIC - DAY THIRTEEN
Mike is in control; all doctor as she feels the forehead of WILLIAM HAYLEY under Colleen's concerned, watchful eye.
WILLIAM
My shoulder's comin' 'long fine, but my arm's feelin' awful sore.
MIKE
You have a fever ... Have a seat, Mr. Hayley. Colleen, would you remove the bandage on his arm?
As he sits on a table, Colleen helps him remove his shirt. Mike moves off to gather supplies. Grace enters with the baby CRYING. Mike acknowledges her with a quick glance.
MIKE
Grace.
GRACE
Dr. Mike, I can't get him to feed on the bottle... He hasn't taken a thing since he come.
MIKE
(detached) You just need to be patient.
Grace comes closer, holding out the baby towards Mike.
GRACE
But if you could look at him, maybe somethin's wrong --
Mike steps back reflexively, avoiding contact with the baby.
MIKE
You'll have to wait, Grace. I have a patient.
She returns to William as Colleen removes his bandage. Colleen glances at Grace who jiggles the baby to calm his CRIES. Mike forces concentration as she checks William's wound, reacts:
MIKE
This hasn't healed properly. Colleen, did you clean this like I asked?
COLLEEN
(thrown) ... Of course I did.
MIKE
Apparently not well enough. This arm is infected.
WILLIAM
(alarmed) 'Fected? But I gotta get back to the railroad ...
Crushed, Colleen watches Mike clean the oozing wound. The baby's CRIES start to rattle Mike's protective amour.
MIKE
(sharp) Grace, can't you keep that baby quiet?
Stunned, Grace exchanges troubled looks with Colleen. Unaware, Mike keeps probing the wound as William squirms.
MIKE
I'm afraid I'm going to have to lance this to let it drain.
Mike moves away to collect her instruments. She glances over and sees Grace is gone. Mike contains her reaction, her feelings tightly in check. As she quickly returns to work ...
INT. HOMESTEAD - NIGHT THIRTEEN
A strained silence as Mike, Sully, Matthew, Colleen and Brian finish a solemn supper. Mike picks at her food. Matthew and Sully trade grim looks. Matthew's small talk is forced.
MATTHEW
Stew's real good, Colleen.
MIKE
(flat) Yes, it certainly is.
COLLEEN
Thanks ... (tentative to Mike) I made a cobbler for dessert. Your favorite -- apple.
Mike forces a smile back. Matthew looks to Sully.
MATTHEW
What'll happen to all the Cheyenne prisoners they took?
Sully senses Mike tensing.
SULLY
Keep 'em locked up for a while. Probably move 'em to another reservation down south.
MATTHEW
Think Custer's ever gonna find Cloud Dancin'?
Mike pushes sharply away from the table, taking her plate off. Sully answers reluctantly, distracted by watching Mike.
SULLY
I dunno, Matthew ... Figure the army'll keep attackin' villages hopin' to draw in the Dog Soldiers. Army knows they'll wanna protect their people.
Mike collects her medical bag and coat. Sully rises.
SULLY
Where ya goin'?
MIKE
I have work to catch up on at the clinic.
Sully helps her into the coat. Mike avoids his eyes.
SULLY
Kinda late, don't you think?
MIKE
There's a lot to do.
SULLY
I'll wait here then, 'til you get back.
MIKE
You don't have to do that.
SULLY
I want to.
With difficulty, Mike finally meets his look, then quickly turns to the children.
MIKE
I'll see you in the morning.
Mike leaves. Silence. Colleen is visibly shaken.
COLLEEN
She hardly touched a bite.
SULLY
Just gonna take your ma some time, is all.
The children look worried. CLOSE on Sully hoping he's right.
EXT. TELEGRAPH OFFICE - NIGHT THIRTEEN
Grace waits at the door holding the bundled baby. HORACE answers, surprised to discover Grace.
HORACE
Grace ... ?
GRACE
Horace, I'm sorry to be botherin' you so late.
MYRA appears behind Horace. Uncomfortable, Grace looks at her.
GRACE
I was hopin' maybe you could help me?
MYRA
What is it?
GRACE
It's the baby. I've been tryin' to give him a bottle, but he just won't feed on it.
HORACE
(confused) Can't figure how we can help, you should go see Dr. Mike.
But Myra understands. She holds Grace's desperate look.
GRACE
He's gettin' so weak. I was hopin' ...
Horace looks at Myra, taking a moment to register. The realization is disturbing.
HORACE
You want Myra to nurse a Indian baby?
Grace pulls the blanket aside to show the baby's face to Myra.
GRACE
(pointedly) I'm askin' if you'll feed a hungry baby.
OFF Horace's troubled look, Myra comes to a decision.
MYRA
'Course I will.
She gently takes the baby from a grateful Grace and carries him towards the back. As Grace follows, passing a stunned Horace:
EXT. GENERAL STORE - SAME MOMENT
From the porch, Dorothy watches the scene at the Telegraph Office. As Horace returns inside, her gaze shifts.
DOROTHY'S POV - THE CLINIC
Mike's horse is tied outside. Light filters from the windows.
RESUME ANGLE
Dorothy thinks a moment, then starts into the street.
INT. CLINIC - NIGHT THIRTEEN
The lamplit room is in complete disarray; all medicines, books and instruments are piled on tables and desks. With sleeves rolled up, Mike rigorously scrubs down the cabinets and shelves with a brush she dips into a pail of water. Mike ignores the KNOCK on the door. Dorothy enters and surveys the mess. Mike glances up as she keeps working. An awkward beat.
DOROTHY
You never came back for your supplies.
MIKE
I've been wanting to get to this for some time now. You can't imagine how much dust blows in.
Dorothy walks over, concerned.
DOROTHY
Michaela, you can't just go on like this.
MIKE
Like what?
DOROTHY
Pretendin' like nothin' happened. You gotta --
MIKE
I'm sorry, but I really don't have time to visit right now.
Mike quickly turns away to scrub another shelf. Dorothy considers her friend for a long beat. She reflects out loud:
DOROTHY
There've been two times in my life, when I figure I'd gotten 'bout as low in the barrel as I could ever be ... And both them times, it was you who helped me climb back out. (beat, softly) You're the dearest friend I've ever known. You ain't gettin' rid of me so easy. (OFF Mike's silence, worried) I never seen you like that today, all the fight gone out of you ... Michaela, I know you saw somethin' horrible. But you're gonna have to talk about it sooner or later.
Mike quickly returns medicines to the shelves. Dorothy moves to help, holding out bottles, catching Mike off-guard. She stiffly takes them and puts away. Dorothy tests the waters.
DOROTHY
A lot's gettin' written about that battle. Folks're believin' Custer's done a good thing. That he was mostly killin' warriors In braves ... That he's a real hero. (searches Mike's face, gently) Was he a hero, Michaela?
Disarmed, Mike looks over, her own battle raging inside.
MIKE
How should I know?
DOROTHY
I think you know better than anybody. You seen with your own --
MIKE
(tightens) I don't mean to be rude, Dorothy, but I really want to finish this tonight.
They stare at each other for an intense moment. Finally resigned, Dorothy crosses to the door and leaves. Mike takes the pail to another shelf. As she resumes her scrubbing:
DISSOLVE TO:
INT. HOMESTEAD BARN - NIGHT THIRTEEN
Mike brushes down her horse. Sully enters, tentative.
MIKE
I see the children are still up.
SULLY
Wanted to wait up for you ... They're worried bout you. (touching her arm) So am I.
His touch is unsettling. Mike moves away to brush the other side of the horse. Sully hides his hurt. An awkward beat.
MIKE
I've been thinking. Perhaps you were right about the railroad coming here, about the changes it's bringing ... (OFF his look) I think we should consider living some place else.
She could be talking about the weather. Sully is stunned.
SULLY
You don't mean that.
MIKE
There's nothing to really keep us here --
SULLY
And where're we gonna go?
MIKE
I don't know. California. Oregon. I'm sure they need doctors out there.
Sully rounds the horse to study her, his look makes her uneasy.
SULLY
Runnin' away ain't gonna change what happened.
Sully gently grabs her arm, trying to break through her armor.
SULLY
Michaela ... Bad things can happen anywhere --
MIKE
(facade cracking) I can't ... Sully...
Mike struggles for composure, almost pleading:
MIKE
I can't do this ...
Shaken by her reaction, Sully lets go. An uncomfortable beat as he allows her a chance to regain some control.
MIKE
We don't have to say anything to the children just yet, but will you think about it?
Disturbed, Sully considers her a moment, then nods.
MIKE
Thank you.
She hangs up the brush, then painfully glances back at Sully.
MIKE
Goodnight.
And Mike leaves. OFF Sully's reaction--
EXT. HOMESTEAD BARN - CONTINUOUS
Closing the door, Mike leans back against it, safely alone again. She musters every ounce of strength left to pull herself together, staring hopelessly into the dark, as we:
FADE OUT.
END ACT TWO
ACT THREE
FADE IN:
EXT. LIVERY - DAY FOURTEEN
It's early. Robert E finishes trimming a horse's hoof as Sully approaches with the carving tools. WOLF is at his side.
ROBERT E
Mornin', Sully...
SULLY
Brought these back. 'Preciate you lettin' me use 'em.
Robert E accepts the tools, regards Sully's distracted expression. As Sully turns to leave --
ROBERT E
How're you folks comin' 'long?
SULLY
(cool) How do you expect us to be?
Robert E's taken aback by Sully's tone. OFF the strained silence, Sully moves on. Robert E calls after him.
ROBERT E
Maybe you oughta remember just who you're talkin' to?! (as Sully stops) 'Case you forgot, I got a Cheyenne baby sleepin' in my bed right this minute.
This truth blindsides Sully. Guilty, he turns back. Robert E steps closer, tries again with genuine concern.
ROBERT E
So, how you folks comin' 'long?
Sully stares at his friend, letting his guard relax.
SULLY
It's been rough ... (OFF Robert E's sympathetic nod) How's the baby?
ROBERT E
He's doin' better ...
SULLY
Hope he ain't much trouble?
Robert E returns to work, grins like a proud papa.
ROBERT E
Hardly cries at all. And he sleeps most the night, long as Grace can keep her hands off 'im. She's frettin' n fussin' ... Now that Myra's helpin' with feedin', I reckon he's gonna be alright.
SULLY
What's Dr. Mike think?
ROBERT E
Can't say. She ain't been by to see 'im.
OFF Sully's reaction:
INT. HOMESTEAD - DAY FOURTEEN
Mike helps Colleen clean up after breakfast. Matthew repairs a saddle. The silence is deafening. Sully enters.
SULLY
'Mornin'.
MIKE
(forced cheer) Good morning, Sully... There're some eggs left on the stove.
SULLY
No thanks. (pours some coffee) Thought we might go by and see the baby after church.
MATTHEW
We ain't goin' to church.
SULLY
Why not?
Matthew and Colleen trade looks. Mike catches it.
MIKE
I told them they could go. I have work at the clinic.
SULLY
Thought you done all that last night.
Brian tearfully bursts through the door holding his hand.
BRIAN
Ma!
MIKE
(alarmed) Brian, what is it?
BRIAN
I was raking the barn -- it went in deep.
He holds his hand out. Mike quickly looks at it.
MIKE
A splinter?
BRIAN
It hurts -- get it out!
MIKE
(goes for bag) Have a seat ... Colleen, please?
Colleen comes over as Brian sits at the table. Mike sits by him, handing Colleen a magnifying glass and guiding her hand.
MIKE
Hold it right there.
She takes Brian's hand and searches the injured finger, then starts to probe with a needle. Brian squirms in pain.
BRIAN
Ow! That hurts!
MIKE
I have to get it ... Hold still.
BRIAN
You're hurtin' me --
SULLY
Give her a chance, Brian.
MIKE
I can't find anything.
BRIAN
It's in there, I feel it -- OW!
He tries jerking his hand away. Mike holds on in frustration.
MIKE
Honestly, Brian! It's just a splinter!
Stunned silence. Sully and Colleen trade looks. Brian turns away with hurt, angry tears. Unsettled by her outburst, Mike releases his hand, awkwardly trying to repair the damage.
MIKE
Why don't you try soaking it in some warm water?
But Brian only turns away further. After a beat, Mike rises.
MIKE
Excuse me.
And Mike goes outside. Another troubled beat. Sympathetic, Colleen reaches for Brian's hand.
COLLEEN
Here, let me try --
BRIAN
It ain't nothin'!
Brian pulls away and rushes out the back door.
INT. HOMESTEAD BARN - SAME MOMENT
Mike enters, shaken. She grabs a rake and sweeps the straw in a tearful fury, trying to regain some control. The movement helps, until she backs into a post banging her elbow. Mike reacts to the sharp pain, grabbing her arm, then swinging the rake to smash against the post. The action fuels Mike's rage, and she finally explodes; throwing the rake, bucket, tools ... smashing anything she can get her hands on against anything in the way ... until Mike's anger spends itself out leaving her exhausted and raw. And feeling again ... And she can no longer hold back the pain. As Mike crumbles onto the hay SOBBING --
RACK FOCUS TO DOOR: open just enough for Sully to painfully watch through the crack. As he pulls the door closed --
EXT. HOMESTEAD BARN - CONTINUOUS
Sully steels himself, listening to Mike WEEP.
MATTHEW (O.S.)
What're you doin'?
Sully swings around to find Matthew. Matthew hears Mike's SOBS, adding to his own sadness and confusion.
MATTHEW
Why don't you go to her?
SULLY
It ain't the right time.
MATTHEW
(upset) Right time? Listen to her!
SULLY
(calm and low) She knows I'm here. But she's gotta do this alone.
But Matthew can't handle listening to Mike WEEPING. Miserable, he moves for the door -- and Sully blocks him.
MATTHEW
We can't just leave her ... I know what she's goin' through!
SULLY
It ain't the same, Matthew! This ain't just about losin' folks you care for. It's more'n that.
Conflicted, Matthew allows Sully to pull him away from door. Sully searches for a way to explain, filling with emotion.
SULLY
I've never known anybody like your ma ... She's always tryin' so hard to see the good in folks, and ... 'n she believes she can do anything ... 'Cept she couldn't stop this. (beat, painfully) What she saw out there -- things can't ever be the same ... Your ma's lost somethin' inside herself, Matthew. She's gotta find a way to get her hope back.
Matthew struggles starting to understand. Mike's CRYING is softer now, filtering out from the barn. They both listen for a difficult moment.
MATTHEW
What if she can't? I mean, maybe she's gonna need help.
The possibility never occurred to Sully. He chews on an idea.
SULLY
Go ahead, take Colleen and Brian in to church.
MATTHEW
What're you gonna do?
SULLY
(beat, decided) I'm gonna find some help.
EXT. SKY - AN EAGLE (STOCK) - DAY FOURTEEN
The majestic bird glides lazily... A CHANT carries us into:
EXT. SACRED GROUNDS - DAY FOURTEEN
Where Cloud Dancing finishes CHANTING his prayer. His face shows the pain from the recent tragedy. He adds sage to a small fire before him, then freezes. Without turning:
CLOUD DANCING
How did you know I would be here?
WIDEN as Sully crosses over to his friend.
SULLY
This is where I found you after One-Eye killed your son.
They clasp each other's arm in a silent, emotional greeting; much unspoken passes between the two men.
CLOUD DANCING
How is the young one?
SULLY
Robert E and Grace are takin' good care of 'im.
CLOUD DANCING
(with regret) We had many babies in our village -- I do not know who gave this one life ... I do not know his name.
Cloud Dancing sits. Sully sits with him. A long silence.
SULLY
It's dangerous for you to come back here.
CLOUD DANCING
There is nothing more they can do to me ... I have seen my shadow.
SULLY
(stricken) Does the shadow always ...
He stops. Cloud Dancing offers what Sully's afraid to ask.
CLOUD DANCING
It does not always mean death ... I cannot know what is ahead, but the Spirits told me I must first return here. To finish what I began with Medicine Woman.
SULLY
(a troubled beat) She's in a dark place.
CLOUD DANCING
I know. I have been there also.
EXT. ROBERT E AND GRACE'S PORCH - NIGHT FOURTEEN
Grace rocks the baby while SINGING a soft lullaby. Robert E steps outside and takes in the sight: Grace in her glory.
ROBERT E
Gonna make that baby deaf with all your singin' ...
GRACE
(undaunted, glows) As a matter a fact, he just told me he liked it.
ROBERT E
He did now ... ?
GRACE
Said I got the prettiest voice he ever did hear.
She holds the baby out to Robert E. He eagerly takes it and cradles the baby gently, unaware how Grace is studying him.
ROBERT E
He is smilin' ...
GRACE
That's cause he's takin' to you.
ROBERT E
Yeah ... I think he is.
Grace rises, calm and resolved. She's thought this through.
GRACE
I want us to look after him, Robert E. Always.
It takes a moment. Then Robert E looks at her in disbelief. Grace jumps in, before he can respond.
GRACE
I been thinkin', maybe God didn't give us a child of our own 'cause he was savin' us for this one --
ROBERT E
You're talkin' crazy!
He hands back the baby like a hot potato. Grace is steady.
GRACE
I seen you with him. We can give him a good --
ROBERT E
He ain't our kind, he's a Indian!
Robert E immediately wishes he could take it back. Grace cradles the baby protectively.
GRACE
I'd expect that from just about anybody 'cept you.
Robert E forces calm, trying to reason:
ROBERT E
Grace, we're gonna get ourselves a family. I promise you. But doin' this, in this town? This is trouble.
GRACE
We never run from trouble before.
ROBERT E
That baby's gonna know nothin' but hate! He's gonna have nobody wantin' to be with 'im --
GRACE
He'll have us. And he'll grow up inside a lovin' home. (as he turns away) You tell me, Robert E, who better to help this child? ... Who better to understand than us?
ROBERT E
This time you're askin' too much, Grace. It's too much.
He goes inside. As Grace sinks back into her rocker:
INT. HOMESTEAD - NIGHT FOURTEEN
Mike, drained, sits in her rocker with an open book. She doesn't read, but stares off blankly at nothing.
At the table, Matthew's stopped reading to watch her. Colleen glances up from her book and follows his gaze. Matthew meets her worried look, then closes his book and rises.
MATTHEW
Think Brian's got the right idea. I'm gonna get some sleep.
COLLEEN
'Night.
MIKE
Goodnight, Matthew.
Matthew pauses behind Mike and gently squeezes her shoulder. Mike freezes at his comforting touch, unable to look at him. They both cloud with emotions, with things they need to say.
MATTHEW
'Night, Ma.
Matthew lets go and moves on. As he stops to pull on his coat, Sully comes in the door. Relieved to see him, Matthew holds his look and they share a silent understanding.
MATTHEW
Colleen, help me in the barn?
COLLEEN
I want to finish
MATTHEW
Now?
Annoyed, Colleen looks over, sees Sully, and then understands. She accepts her coat from Matthew. As they exit, Mike absently looks up. She sees Sully and startles.
MIKE
Sully ... Where've you been?
SULLY
Busy.
MIKE
(uneasy, rises) I'm glad you're here. I want to see how your arm is healing.
Mike moves away quickly to retrieve her medical bag.
SULLY
My arm's fine.
MIKE
Still, I'd like to examine --
SULLY
I said it's fine.
A strained silence. Sully patiently steps closer, adding to Mike's discomfort. She goes for the stove.
MIKE
Would you like some coffee?
SULLY
Nope. Don't want nothin' to drink, don't want you tryin' to fix nothin' -- I just want you to stop ... And look at me.
MIKE
(stops, unnerved) Sully ...
SULLY
(gently urging) Just look at me.
Mike finally does. Sully sees how fragile her guard is now.
MIKE
Why are you doing this?
SULLY
I'm not tryin' to hurt you --
MIKE
(totally disarmed) You'll make me remember. And I can't bear it. (a long beat, tortured) Sully, I know how your heart's broken ... Don't you think I hate myself for not being there for you? ... For the children?
SULLY
(quietly) We're okay.
MIKE
(composure slipping) But when you're around, all I see ... (can't finish) All I think about is how we let this happen.
SULLY
We didn't let this happen!
MIKE
We should've stopped it --
SULLY
Some things you can't stop!
MIKE
We should've tried harder! (heartbreakingly) Sully, they were our friends. And we let them down. (catching herself) No, I'm the one who sided with the town. I wanted the railroad ... I let them down.
SULLY
(after a beat) Cloud Dancin' don't think that. (OFF her reaction) He's back, wants to see you.
MIKE
(thrown) ... How could he?
SULLY
'Cause he doesn't blame you.
Mike has to sit. It takes a moment to collect herself.
MIKE
Why does he want to see me?
SULLY
To finish teachin' you the medicine. His father came to him in a dream, told him he should do this.
MIKE
... But I'm not Cheyenne.
SULLY
He can't give you his powers, those come from the spirits. But he can finish showin' you all he knows. (OFF her silence) He needs to do this, Michaela ... Maybe you can help each other.
Mike sees how important this is to Sully as well. She's both overwhelmed and terrified by the idea.
MIKE
What do I do?
SULLY
Trust 'im. Like he trusts you.
His words have a great effect on Mike. Sully studies her.
SULLY
When a medicine man teaches, he loses some of his own power. Cheyenne custom says you gotta offer some kind of gift.
MIKE
What kind of gift?
SULLY
Should be somethin' that speaks from your heart -- to his.
MIKE
(at a loss) But I don't have anything ...
Then Mike thinks of it. She goes to a dresser, and pulls out the buckskin shirt. She tentatively brings it back to Sully.
MIKE
It's your wedding present.
Sully is moved deeply by Mike's efforts in making the shirt. And he understands what she's now asking of him.
SULLY
Cloud Dancin'll be honored.
They share an emotional moment, a first step in their healing.
SULLY
I'd like to put it on -- just this once?
OFF Mike's tearful nod, Sully quickly pulls off his shirt. As he pulls on the buckskin, Mike moves around him, tugging here and there to make it fit right. She stops behind Sully, out of his view, and with great effort reaches out to squeeze his arm gently. It's the most contact she can allow for now. Sully reacts, covering her hand with his own. And this time, Mike doesn't pull away, as we:
FADE OUT.
END ACT THREE
ACT FOUR
FADE IN:
EXT. SACRED GROUNDS - DAY FIFTEEN
Early morning. Sully, carrying a blanket-bundle, leads Mike through trees and into a clearing. They find Cloud Dancing re-constructing a sweat lodge. Mike is not prepared for the moment of facing him again. She stops abruptly some distance away, as Cloud Dancing turns and sees them. Sully drops the bundle, trades looks with them both, then slips away. Mike stares at Cloud Dancing through a long, emotional struggle.
MIKE
I wish I knew what to say to you.
CLOUD DANCING
(also struggling) I know what is in your heart. It is also in mine. (with regret) I should never have let Snow Bird go on without me.
Mike reacts strongly, coming closer.
MIKE
But you didn't cause this! Cloud Dancing, it was my people who did this to yours! (stops, broken) I feel so sick ... And ashamed ...
A long, agonizing beat. Cloud Dancing steps toward Mike.
CLOUD DANCING
One cannot live in anger and blame ... It is time for us both to heal.
MIKE
(lost) But I don't know how.
CLOUD DANCING
The Spirits will help. Then we will talk of the medicine.
MIKE
(weary, uncertain) I can't say if your spirits exist or not. I'm not even sure how I feel about my own God anymore.
CLOUD DANCING
Just because we are angry with them, does not mean they go away.
OFF Mike's reaction:
INT. NEW HOMESTEAD - DAY FIFTEEN
Brian helps Sully fit the last poster to the new bedboard..
BRIAN
How long she gonna be gone?
SULLY
Long's it takes. Few days maybe.
Sully hammers a peg into both pieces.
BRIAN
I thought Cloud Dancin' already taught her stuff.
SULLY
He wants her to know ever'thing now. Figures it'll help make your ma a better doctor. It's kinda his way of makin things right outta somethin' bad.
Off Brian's puzzled look, Sully stops working.
SULLY
When awful things happen, if folks can find somethin' good comin' out of it, it helps ... Keeps 'em goin'.
BRIAN
Is that what you do? (as Sully nods, thinks a moment) Kinda like Ma dyin', and us comin' to live with Dr. Mike?
SULLY
That's right. (an emotional beat) When No Harm died, he covered up that baby so it could live ... Maybe he'll grow up to be a great leader like Black Kettle, work for peace. Maybe save somebody else.
Sully watches this impact Brian. He holds out a peg.
SULLY
Wanna put in the last one?
Brian fits the peg into a hole and takes the hammer.
BRIAN
Sully? Can we visit the baby?
SULLY
Sure. Soon's we finish.
Pleased, Brian starts pounding the peg:
EXT. SWEAT LODGE - ESTABLISHING - DAY FIFTEEN
DRUMMING and the CHANTING of Cloud Dancing comes from inside.
INT. SWEAT LODGE - DAY FIFTEEN
Mike is wrapped in a blanket sitting across from Cloud Dancing. She watches him intensely through the steam as he drums and prays in an ancient language. They're both drenched in sweat, and the DRUMMING and CHANTING has a powerful, almost hypnotic effect. Moved by his undying faith, Mike closes her eyes and finally lets go, allowing herself to feel all around her ...
EXT. GRACE'S CAFE - DAY FIFTEEN
Usual business in the b.g. Grace hands the baby to Brian as Robert E and Sully look on.
GRACE
Put your hand under his head ...
Brian does, cradling the baby carefully, studying his face.
BRIAN
Hey little guy... He looks happy. (sobering beat) Guess he don't know what happened to 'im.
Silence. All eyes fix on Brian as he talks to the baby.
BRIAN
It's real awful when ya lose your ma and pa ... Don't worry, you're gonna find people to love you. Just like me when my ma died.
He glances at Sully, who smiles back. Grace looks at Robert E, who can't take his eyes off Brian or the baby. Brian catches Robert E's stare, and decides to explain to him:
BRIAN
My Kola saved his life. He hid 'im from the soldiers with his body. And his ma saved his life the same way ... So it's real important this baby grow up good.
Overwhelmed, Robert E nods back to the boy.
BRIAN
Sully says he could be a chief some day. Maybe get folks to stop bein' so mad and fightin' all the time ... (then, to baby) You can maybe even help save somebody's life, too.
ROBERT E
Maybe he already has ...
Robert E looks at Grace, holding out his hand. Grace knows what he's offering. As she clasps his hand lovingly ...
EXT. SACRED GROUNDS - NIGHT FIFTEEN
Mike is clothed again, seated with Cloud Dancing at a fire. She watches him offer more sage to the flames, then settle.
CLOUD DANCING
To understand the medicine, you must know how it began ... One day long ago, the animals were angry at man for killing and eating them. So they came together in council, where each animal decided on a sickness he would give to man ... Now, when the plants heard about this, they were angry at the animals, who, after all, ate them in large quantities. So the plants decided they would provide man with the remedies for each sickness ...
As Cloud Dancing continues, Mike listens intensely, a spark of life returning to her pain-dulled face.
DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. WOODS - DAY SIXTEEN
Cloud Dancing and Mike walk side-by-side through some trees, passionately locked in conversation.
MIKE
How much do you give them?
CLOUD DANCING
As much as they will drink ... You can find this cedar in the high hills. It grows short there, hugging the ground.
MIKE
I've seen it. It has a small berry.
CLOUD DANCING
(impressed) That is right. If a tea cannot be made, the berry may be chewed and the juice swallowed ...
DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. SACRED GROUNDS - DAY (DAWN) SEVENTEEN
Mike lies on the ground, wrapped in a blanket near a small campfire. She's wide awake, and has been all night. She turns over and looks off. Something catches her eye and Mike watches.
ANGLE - CLOUD DANCING
stands at the edge of a clearing nearby, looking very alone. Waiting for the sunrise, he stares off expectantly at the distant horizon. Mike steps up to his side. She looks off at the view, then studies him with compassion.
MIKE
You must miss them all terribly.
CLOUD DANCING
(stoic) I carry them with me always.
MIKE
... So will I.
They share a moment of connection and sorrow. Mike looks out, appreciating the beauty for the first time in a long while.
MIKE
A friend once told me we should listen more to nature's song ... I'd forgotten how beautiful it could be. (beat) Thank you for helping me find it again.
CLOUD DANCING
When we close our hearts to our pain -- they stay closed to all that is around us. To the joy as well as the sadness. Even to those we love.
His words hit home. He starts them walking through the trees.
MIKE
All I wanted to do was forget.
CLOUD DANCING
My people need you to remember. If the truth is not lost, perhaps something will be learned.
Mike nods, understanding.
CLOUD DANCING
I must leave soon. Will you bring to me the baby tonight?
MIKE
(stops, stunned) You're going away?
CLOUD DANCING
You have learned all I can teach --
MIKE
(panic rising) No ... I mean -- I still feel ... (can't find words) Cloud Dancing, I don't know where I belong anymore.
CLOUD DANCING
(a wistful smile) Sully once said the same words ... This answer is already within you. Or you would not have had the courage to come here.
MIKE
(still unsettled) Where will you take him?
CLOUD DANCING
Time for my people is short, few who are left know the old ways ... There is a band of Cheyenne in the north who refuse to live on a reservation. They hunt the land you call the Yellowstone. I know these people, they will raise this baby in the ways of my grandfathers ...
MIKE
And what about you? ... Where will you go?
And from his look, Mike knows he can't give her an answer ...
EXT. GRACE'S CAFE - DAY SEVENTEEN
GRACE
He wants him back?
Grace stops cooking. Mike senses the glances coming from some customers. She keeps her voice down:
MIKE
Could you bring him to the new homestead after dark?
GRACE
No! He can't have him! Robert E and me decided, we're gonna raise him.
Grace lifts the baby from a basket on her counter.
MIKE
Grace --
But Grace is heading for the Livery. Mike hurries after her.
MIKE
Grace, I'm sorry. I didn't know.
GRACE
You said his parents were dead!
MIKE
But he's still part of a tribe. There're other bands. They share the same way of life, the same traditions. He'll be raised the way --
Grace cuts Mike off, defiant and hurt.
GRACE
We can raise him right!
MIKE
I know you can --
GRACE
He'd be safe with us.
Her point stops Mike momentarily. She sees Robert E watching from the Livery. He meets Mike's pained look and he knows.
MIKE
Grace, if there were no Cheyenne who could take this baby, I don't believe he could find two more loving people to care for him ...
Grace sees Robert E approaching with concern. She stares at the baby, trying to maintain dignity in the face of her pain.
GRACE
What kind of life can they give him, that we can't?
MIKE
A Cheyenne life.
GRACE
Bein' hunted by soldiers? Or starvin' on some horrible reservation?
Mike achingly knows this is probable. After a difficult beat:
MIKE
I suppose some of that will depend on us.
EXT. NEW HOMESTEAD - NIGHT SEVENTEEN
In the glow of a lamp, Mike -- with Sully at her side -- hands the buckskin shirt to Cloud Dancing. He stares at it, confused.
MIKE
To thank you for all you've taught me ... And for your friendship.
Emotions rising, Cloud Dancing looks at Sully questioningly.
SULLY
We both want you to have it.
Overwhelmed, Cloud Dancing opens the Cheyenne shirt and admires it. The air is charged with the things none of them can say.
SULLY
She put stones over the heart to help protect you ...
MIKE
And the claws of a hawk will give you courage, to face the unknown.
Cloud Dancing meets her look, moved that she remembers, understanding her meaning. Mike then adds sheepishly:
MIKE
It fits a little crooked. My sewing's not quite as good as my cooking.
They all manage slight smiles, then Cloud Dancing sobers.
CLOUD DANCING
I will wear it proudly.
SOUNDS of an approaching wagon grabs their attention. Cloud Dancing immediately slips into a shadow, Mike turns to Sully with an "I'll go" look. Sully stays back protectively as she heads down to the wagon. Recognizing it, Mike calls back:
MIKE
It's Robert E!
Cloud Dancing steps back into view, but stays by the house.
ANOTHER ANGLE - THE WAGON
Robert E stops it with Grace clutching the baby, at his side. The Reverend drives up a second wagon with Brian, Matthew and Colleen, who all quickly climb down. Mike is surprised.
MIKE
What're you doing here?
The children stay back, uncertain about Mike's state.
MATTHEW
Wanted to say goodbye, too.
COLLEEN
And we wanna be with you.
Mike is caught blindsided. She catches the Reverend's look.
REVEREND
I wanted Cloud Dancing to know that my prayers go with him. And all his people.
They share a moment of repair, then Mike looks at them all.
MIKE
I'm glad you're here ...
She turns her attention on Grace and Robert E; waiting, stoic.
ROBERT E
You take 'im, Dr. Mike. We said our goodbyes.
He puts his arm around Grace as she kisses the baby one last time, then hands him down. Caught off-guard, Mike is forced to accept it... And she finds herself really looking at the baby for the first time since that horrible day an eternity ago. Overcome with feelings, she meets Grace's tearful look.
MIKE
Cloud Dancing knows what you've done. When he's older, this baby will be told about you.
OFF Grace's stoic nod, Mike starts back toward the house --
Where Sully leads a horse to Cloud Dancing. The two men face each other, brimming with feelings. Mike stops to watch.
SULLY
I ain't sayin' goodbye ...
CLOUD DANCING
There is no such word in Cheyenne.
They embrace tightly. Then Cloud Dancing mounts and edges his horse to Mike. She turns her attention back to the baby, talking to him so that Cloud Dancing can also hear.
MIKE
You must always remember -- how a negro couple took care of you when there was no one. And that a white woman nursed you at her breast ... And now you'll grow up part of a brave, proud people. (looks up at Cloud Dancing) Sully and I thought of a name ... (back to baby) We'll call you "Live In Hopes." (hands baby to Cloud Dancing) This way he can carry the words of his chief.
Overwhelmed, Cloud Dancing looks at the group watching him from the wagons in silence. Then he regards the baby in his arms, clearly struggling with deep feelings.
CLOUD DANCING
Live in Hopes. It is a good name.
He looks at Mike, then Sully. They share a powerful, emotional moment. Then he quickly reins his horse around and trots off.
As she watches him go, Mike finally gives in to a rush of feelings, and begins to cry. Colleen comes up behind her and stops, the boys not far behind. Mike turns to see her, and opens her arms. Relieved, Colleen rushes to Mike's embrace. And Mike cries harder -- quickly including the boys in her arms. As they cling tightly to each other, Mike reassures:
MIKE
I missed you ...
She sees Sully watching her -- and makes room for him. Sully steps into her embrace, and they hold on tight, neither wanting to ever let go. As the family begins to heal ...
EXT. GENERAL STORE - NIGHT SEVENTEEN
CLOSE ON DOOR as it opens. In a sleeping gown, Dorothy peers out holding a lantern. She reacts with surprise:
DOROTHY
Michaela ... It must be three o'clock in the mornin'!
REVERSE TO Mike, full of feelings she's no longer fighting, a spark of fire back in her eyes. Mike's come with a purpose; her voice is quiet, but determined, and rich with emotion:
MIKE
The first time I met the Cheyenne people hey helped me search for Brian when he ran away ... Later, Cloud Dancing and Sully brought Black Kettle to the homestead. He'd been wounded by the army and they needed my help. That's when Black Kettle gave me my Cheyenne name: (says in Cheyenne) "Medicine Woman." (then) It means Medicine Woman ... (an emotional beat) I've never known a man who wanted peace more.
Tearing, Dorothy waits, relieved to see her friend talking and feeling again. She understands now why Mike has come.
MIKE
I want to tell you about Chief Black Kettle. About the Cheyenne Nation. I want people to know who they are ... And what's happened to them.
DOROTHY
You tell me the truth, Michaela, and I'll print it.
The two women share an emotional moment bonded by their mission ... and more. Dorothy steps back and lets Mike come inside. As the door closes, MOVE DOWN BUILDING TO WINDOW:
CLOSE THROUGH WINDOW TO SEE Mike sitting at a table with renewed strength and hope. Dorothy appears, setting down the lamp and sitting next to Mike with her pad and pencil ready.
As Mike begins to talk about her friends the Cheyenne ...
FADE OUT.
THE END


 

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