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THE MOST FATAL DISEASE

Written by Chris Abbott / Directed by James Keach

TEASER
FADE IN:

EXT. COLORADO SPRINGS - DAY ONE
SULLY is riding his horse into town at a fairly good clip. A coach is coming in behind him.
On the coach, a man in black is riding shot gun up front with the Driver, but we cannot see who it is yet.
The coach generates some excitement amongst the townsfolk who follow it to see who's arriving. HORACE, *MATTHEW, even LOREN drift out onto the street to see who's here.

EXT. CLINIC - DAY ONE
Sully rides up to the Clinic, dismounts, hurries up to the door of the Clinic.

INT. CLINIC - DAY ONE
MIKE is going over her patients' charts when Sully opens the door.
SULLY
Michaela! Got a surprise for ya.
He hurries out without waiting for a response. She gets up, curious, grabs a shawl, follows him out of the Clinic.

EXT. CLINIC - DAY ONE
Mike comes hurrying out of the Clinic. She joins Sully who nods across the street at the Coach.

+MIKE'S POINT OF VIEW
The Coach has lettering on the side: E. BECKER MATRIMONIAL SERVICES. Smaller print identifies the city from which the business operates: Philadelphia.
SULLY (O.S.)
I passed 'em on my way into town.

+MIKE
has no idea who he's talking about.
SULLY
Told 'em I was sure you'd be happy to see 'em.
MIKE
See who?
Sully grins, turns and looks at the coach.

+CLOSE ON THE MAN IN BLACK
as he swings down from the coach.
KID COLE has a big grin for Mike.

+WIDER ANGLE
MIKE
(very pleased to see him)
Kid Cole!
KID COLE
Hello, Dr. Mike!
She runs across the street to give him a welcome embrace, after which he opens the door of the stage coach. Mike expects Sister Ruth to step out. She doesn't. Instead, three young ladies step out, one at a time:
HERMESE, a tall, big-boned young woman, in her early twenties. She is handsome, rather than beautiful, with a no nonsense attitude. MARY is shorter, more ingenuous, a happy, plump little dove. She has a ready smile and twinkling eyes. And ROSE, who, at twenty eight, is the oldest of the three. She is also the fairest of the three. She is expensively and stylishly dressed, self-assured, charming.
As the girls are stepping out of the coach, Mike deluges Kid Cole with questions:
MIKE
What brings you to Colorado Springs? Is Sister Ruth with you? It's so good to see you. How are you feeling?
Sully has joined them.
KID COLE
Never better. Matter a fact, doctor up in St. Louis tole me the consumption's gone.
MIKE
Gone?! Why -- that's wonderful.
KID COLE
Almost unheard of, he said.
Upon which, he turns and yells into the coach:
KID COLE
Ruth! Ain't none of us gettin' any younger standin' out here waitin' on ya. Ya gettin' out or not?
SISTER RUTH
'Course I'm gettin' out. Only room for one at a time!
When she sees Mike, SISTER RUTH's entire countenance softens, almost as if she's going to cry tears of joy at seeing her friend.
SISTER RUTH
Dr. Mike! If you ain't a sight for sore eyes.
Mike hugs Sister Ruth.
MIKE
(re: the coach, the girls, et. al.)
What is this all about?
Kid Cole is giving Mike the explanation for the coach as the three young ladies drift off toward conversations with our town's eligible bachelors, Loren, HANK, *Matthew and Horace, who have congregated near the coach.
KID COLE
Got an offer from this fella owns a mail order bride business. I ride protection, make sure these girls get to California in one piece. Sister Ruth sees to it their souls arrive with 'em.
SISTER RUTH
One of the girls has been havin' faintin' spells. I told Kid Cole we weren't goin' another mile without you lookin' at her.
KID COLE
What're ya talkin' about? It was my idea to stop in Colorado Springs.
SISTER RUTH
Your idea? You wouldn't stop for a meal if I didn't throw a fit.
KID COLE
A meal ain't the same as stoppin' to see Dr. Mike --
Mike has no idea what this bickering is about, but she wants to stop it.
MIKE
No matter who's idea it was, I'm glad you stopped.
KID COLE
Rose!
Rose excuses herself from the circle of people talking and moves towards Kid Cole. Matthew comes over to join Kid Cole at the same time.
KID COLE
(to Sister Ruth)
I'll get ever'body checked in.
MATTHEW
By the way, we gotta new law in town. 'Fraid you're gonna hafta check your weapon in.
KID COLE
You want me to hand over my gun?
MATTHEW
It's the law, Kid Cole. Ain't personal.
KID COLE
(reluctant, but:)
Well, if I hafta give it up to anybody, I'm glad it's you.
He gives the gun to Matthew.
KID COLE
(re: The Saloon)
See ya give the saloon a coat a paint.
SULLY
Wait'll ya see the inside.
Sully and Kid Cole go into the Gold Nugget as Matthew goes off towards the Sheriff's Office.

+ANGLE ON SISTER RUTH AND MIKE
As Rose joins them.
SISTER RUTH
(to Mike)
This is Rose. She's been feelin' poorly ever since we pulled outta Philadelphia.
MIKE
(to Rose, pleasant)
My clinic is right across the street.
She gestures for Rose to go ahead. She and Sister Ruth follow.

+ANGLE ON MARY AND HERMESE
left to contend with our bachelors by themselves.
HANK
Either a you ladies care for a sassparilla?
MARY
That sounds quite refreshing, doesn't it Hermese?
HERMESE
Yes, it does.
Hank starts to escort the young ladies into the Gold Nugget.
HANK
I think you'll find everythin' to your likin' at the Gold Nugget. You need anythin', just let me know. I'm the owner.
MARY
(impressed)
Owner! Did you hear that Hermese?
HERMESE
I heard.
As they go inside, we go to:

+ANGLE - MIKE, RUTH AND ROSE
As they approach the Clinic.
SISTER RUTH
And where is that sweet baby of yours?
MIKE
Upstairs, taking a nap. I can't wait for you to see her.
Rose precedes Sister Ruth and Mike into the Clinic.
SISTER RUTH
Just the thought a holdin' that little angel in my arms 's been keepin' me goin' the last two hundred miles.
MIKE
That's such astonishing news about Kid Cole's health. It is so good to see the two of you again.
SISTER RUTH
Well, it'll prob'ly be the last time you do.
Mike can't even imagine what she might be talking about.
SISTER RUTH
Soon's we get to California, we're gettin' a divorce.
She goes into the clinic, leaving Mike on the threshold, stunned.
FADE OUT
END OF TEASER

ACT ONE
FADE IN:

INT. GOLD NUGGET - DAY ONE
Kid Cole talks to Sully. Hank is showing Hermese and Mary around the lobby. Loren and Horace skulk in the background.
HANK
Spared no expense fixin' it up.
MARY
It is extraordinary looking, isn't it Hermese?
HERMESE
Extraordinary. Yes.

+ANGLE ON SULLY AND KID COLE
SULLY
Ya like it?
KID COLE
It'll take some gettin' used to.

INT. CLINIC - DAY ONE
Mike is examining Rose but her attention is torn between the patient and the situation between Sister Ruth and Kid Cole. Mike takes the thermometer out of Rose's mouth and checks the temperature.
MIKE
How often do you have these fainting spells?
ROSE
Once or twice a week, I suppose.
MIKE
You are also running a slight fever. Have you spoken to a doctor about your symptoms?
She nods.
ROSE
He called it hysteria. He says it's common in young women these days...
(reaching into her bag)
...and the only cure for it is to thin the blood. He sent along extra leeches in case I had an attack along the way.
She brings out a bottle of leeches and hands them to Mike.
MIKE
(dry)
I don't believe bleeding is particularly helpful in these cases.
Mike puts the bottle of leeches on her desk and sits down to write out a list of foods.
MIKE
Your symptoms indicate poor nutrition, lack of exercise and fresh air.
(handing her the list)
These foods are rich in iron which will help bring your color back. A brisk walk once a day will improve your circulation and breathing. Let's see how you are feeling by tomorrow afternoon.
SISTER RUTH
(pleased)
I told Rose you'd fix her right up.
As Rose and Sister Ruth start toward the door.
MIKE
(sotto voce to Sister Ruth)
Sister Ruth, I know it isn't any of my concern, but what you said earlier -- about you and Kid Cole --
SISTER RUTH
(remorseful)
S'pose I shoulda kep' my mouth shut, but --
(beat)
Rose, you go on to the hotel and get settled in. I'll be along directly.
After Rose leaves, Sister Ruth moves over to the window and looks out. She's very sad.
SISTER RUTH
I dunno what happened to me 'n Kid Cole. Seems like we was gettin' along so well, 'n all of a sudden 'bout a month *ago, he changed.
MIKE
Changed in what way?
SISTER RUTH
One day he's happy as a lark, next day, he don't want me anywhere near 'im. Acts like I'm spyin' on 'im, or corrallin' him or somethin'.
MIKE
Did you ask him what was wrong?
SISTER RUTH
I tried to, but ever' time I bring it up, he gets busy doin' somethin' else. Now he won't even sleep in the same room as me.
(trying to put on a brave front)
Guess he's afraid I'll try to talk to him in his sleep.
(starting to get her fighting spirit back)
An' I would, too, if it'd do any good. I keep thinkin' I have a right to know what I done wrong!

+INTERCUT INSIDE THE GOLD NUGGET
to hear Sully and Kid Cole talking as they check in. Kid Cole is more irritated than sad.
KID COLE
What's wrong? What's wrong is, I ain't the marryin' kind. Never shoulda agreed to it in the first place.
SULLY
Don't ya think ya shoulda said somethin' 'fore you got married?
KID COLE
Never got the chance. Never get a chance'ta say anythin' around that woman! If she ain't the noisiest, bossiest creature on God's green Earth -- !

+IN THE CLINIC
Sister Ruth is working up a head of steam, herself.
SISTER RUTH
If he ain't the stubbornest, ornriest creature on God's green earth -- !

+IN THE GOLD NUGGET:
KID COLE
If there's anythin' to know, she knows it --

+IN THE CLINIC:
SISTER RUTH
If there's an opinion to be had, he has it --
MIKE
But these are all problems that can be worked out. You need to give it some time.

+IN THE GOLD NUGGET:
KID COLE
Time?! I already give it all the time I intend to.

+IN THE CLINIC:
SISTER RUTH
How much time do you give to a man who treats ya bad and won't tell ya why?

+IN THE GOLD NUGGET:
SULLY
So what're ya gonna do?
KID COLE
Only thing I can do: get out.

+AND IN THE CLINIC:
SISTER RUTH
If he wants to get away from me so much, then all I can say is, good riddence! Go! I'm better off on my own.
Mike is stunned.
CUT TO:

INT. GENERAL STORE - DAY ONE
The REVEREND comes slowly down the stairs. Loren, counting his money, looks up, tries not to leap to the Reverend's aid, goes back to his money, loses track of his count and goes over to the staircase just as the Reverend arrives at the bottom of it. The Reverend tries to find the humor in every situation to deflect any feeling of self-pity.
REVEREND
(proud of this accomplishment)
Well! Unless you change the number of stairs on me, I think we can safely add "comin' downstairs by myself" to my list of achievements.
LOREN
Gettin' better every day.
But just then the Reverend veers off course and is headed toward the candy jars.
LOREN
To the right! To the right!
The Reverend makes the adjustment. Loren breathes a sigh of relief when the Reverend finds the chair and sits down. Then something outside catches his eye. He moves over to the doorway to see:

+LOREN'S POINT OF VIEW - STREET IN FRONT OF THE GENERAL STORE
CLOUD DANCING is driving a wagon up to the General Store. Sitting next to him is DOROTHY; her horse is tied up to the back of the wagon. We can see they're enjoying each other's company.
She finishes writing something in her notebook as Cloud Dancing jumps down from the wagon in front of the store.

+ANGLE TO INCLUDE LOREN
surprised, and something else: hurt? irritated? He can't (or won't) put his finger on it. His tone, however, sounds judgmental.
LOREN
Will ya look at that?
REVEREND
What?
LOREN
That!
He glances back and realizes/remembers who he's talking to.
LOREN
It's Dorothy and Cloud Dancin'.
The Reverend who cannot "see" the implications Loren "feels" can only respond to the facts.
REVEREND
She must still be workin' on her book about the Indians.
LOREN
(not ready to give up his jealousy)
Yeah.
He watches Cloud Dancing help Dorothy out of the wagon. It bothers him. But he turns and goes back to the counter so that Cloud Dancing will not know he was watching.

+ANGLE - AS CLOUD DANCING ENTERS
He brings the crate of goods over to the counter, acknowledging the Reverend as he does.
CLOUD DANCING
Good morning, Reverend.
REVEREND
Beautiful day, isn't it?
CLOUD DANCING
Yes, it is.
Loren picks up the art objects and looks at them. There are jewelry items and other art items.
LOREN
I don't know that I got any customers for this stuff.
CLOUD DANCING
When we spoke last week, you said --
LOREN
I know what I said. Leave 'em, here, I'll see what I can do.
As Cloud Dancing turns to leave:
LOREN
I keep a two penny commission on every item sold.
CLOUD DANCING
As you told me last week.
LOREN
Just so there ain't no misunderstandin'.
Cloud Dancing knows that Loren is being even crankier than usual with him. He is not intimidated or even particularly curious, but he does acknowledge Loren's attitude in a small way.
CLOUD DANCING
(quietly, looking him directly in the eye)
There is no misunderstanding.
As he leaves, Loren watches him, chewing on the bitter after taste of "no misunderstanding."
CUT TO:

EXT. STREET - DAY ONE
Mike is coming out of the Clinic. Dorothy, on her way to the Gazette, stops to talk to her for a minute. Mike is distracted, worried about Sister Ruth, but Dorothy's enthusiasm is so infectious that Mike is somewhat caught up in it.
MIKE
Dorothy! I was just coming to look for you.
DOROTHY
I heard Kid Cole and Sister Ruth are in town.
MIKE
Yes. That's what I wanted to talk to you about, actually.
DOROTHY
You know, I oughtta write a book about him someday! Don't you think he'd be an interestin' subject?
MIKE
I suppose so --
Dorothy misinterprets Mike's lack of enthusiasm.
DOROTHY
But I should finish one thing before I start another! I know, I know. Oh, Michaela! This book on Cloud Dancin' -- the research 'n all. I'm havin' the best time.
Mike can see that this is not the time to talk to Dorothy about other people's problems. She doesn't begrudge her friend, in fact, she's happy for her.
MIKE
That's wonderful.
DOROTHY
(sparkling)
Better than I could ever have imagined.
(laughing)
But my goodness, if I had had any idea what I was gettin' myself into when I started this book on Cloud Dancin'. There's so much to learn, so much to do. I don't see how I'll ever get it all done.
Dorothy is about to go off to the Gazette. She stops herself:
DOROTHY
Was -- there somethin' you wanted to talk to me about?
MIKE
(a smile)
I'm glad your book is going so well.
DOROTHY
Thank you.
She hurries off, practically humming to herself. Mike watches her go.
DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. HOMESTEAD - NIGHT ONE - ESTABLISHING - STOCK

INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT ONE
Sully is already undressed and in bed. Mike, wearing a nightgown and robe, folds some of Katie's clothes to put away, sits down to brush her hair, gets back up. In other words, her nervous energy reflects her mood; Sully's quiet energy reflects his.
MIKE
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Divorce! It's so -- final.
SULLY
Maybe Kid Cole and Sister Ruth aren't meant to be together.
MIKE
I'm not saying they should stay together if they're terribly unhappy. I wouldn't ask that of anyone.
SULLY
But -- ?
MIKE
But they didn't seem unhappy before. It's difficult for me to believe that Kid Cole suddenly changed over night.
SULLY
Maybe he didn't. Maybe he was tryin' to be somethin' he couldn't be an' it finally caught up with him.
MIKE
(quietly, simply)
If that's so, he ought to tell her.
Sully understands Kid Cole's hesitance.
SULLY
It ain't as easy for some people to talk as others.
MIKE
He made promises to her -- said vows with her. If he wants to take them back, don't you think he owes it to her to tell her why?
(beat)
Don't you think he owes it to himself?
SULLY
Nothin' we can do about that.
Mike hangs her robe on the corner of the bed and gets into bed.
MIKE
I suppose you're right.
SULLY
Without meddlin', anyway.
MIKE
Which we wouldn't want to do.
SULLY
No.
(beat)
Unless --
She looks at him, waiting.
SULLY
Unless he was askin' for help.
MIKE
Do you think he was?
SULLY
Could be why he talked to me in the first place.
MIKE
That is possible.
SULLY
Though there's no way to know for sure.
MIKE
No. Except --
(beat)
-- If I were doing something impulsively -- something that would hurt the people I love -- I think I would want someone to point it out to me.
(beat)
Even though it might be considered meddling.
SULLY
I can't see any harm in gettin' them to talk to each other.
(beat)
Over supper, maybe.
MIKE
(that sounds good to her)
Over supper.
SULLY
Maybe tomorrow night.
MIKE
If you're sure it isn't meddling.
SULLY
I don't think it's meddlin'.
MIKE
(with resolve)
Tomorrow night, then. Good.
She's feeling better about the situation, and as he kisses the back of her neck, and she snuggles in to him, we:
FADE OUT
END OF ACT ONE

ACT TWO
FADE IN:

EXT. GENERAL STORE - DAY TWO
The Reverend is making his way down the sidewalk toward the General Store. He's doing quite well with the walking stick Sully made for him. Wagons and riders adjust to avoid him as he makes his straight line for the store.

INT. GENERAL STORE - DAY TWO
Loren is ringing up Mike's purchases. She notices a box of tapered candles. She picks one up and looks at it, longingly.
LOREN
They're scented. Brought 'em in all the way from New York City. Only got a few of 'em, left.
MIKE
How much are they?
LOREN
Nickel apiece.
She puts it back.
LOREN
I can give 'em to ya two fer seven cents. That's my best offer.
The Reverend, coming into the store, overhears.
REVEREND
Still having a hard time selling those candles, Loren?
Loren scowls at him.
LOREN
(quietly, to Mike)
He don't know what he's talkin' about. They're sellin' like hotcakes.
REVEREND
I'm blind, Loren, not deaf.
MIKE
It's wonderful to see you doing so well, Reverend.
REVEREND
Thanks, Dr. Mike. How're Sully and the children?
MIKE
Well, thank you.
REVEREND
I had a nice talk with Sister Ruth this mornin'.
MIKE
(hopeful)
You did?
REVEREND
I thought she might be interested in givin' the service on Sunday, but she said they'd be gone by then.
MIKE
I see.
Loren interrupts with:
LOREN
That'll be one dollar, thirteen cents.
MIKE
(a little awkward)
Would you mind -- putting it on our account --
He doesn't give her any grief about that at all. If anything, he's happy she brought it up.
LOREN
Sure, sure, don't worry about it.
As he says that, he's directing her outside. We follow them to...

EXT. THE GENERAL STORE PORCH - DAY TWO
We can still see the Reverend making his way to the stairs inside as Loren talks to Mike outside of the Reverend's hearing.
LOREN
I been thinkin' -- 'bout the Reverend.
She glances in at the Reverend, back at Loren.
LOREN
Seems to me, what with him bein' blind 'n all, this might be a good time to get a wife. Maybe one a them mail order brides.
MIKE
You think the Reverend should get a wife because he's blind?
LOREN
No. That's not what I'm sayin' at all. What I'm sayin' is, he's blind --
MIKE
Yes?
LOREN
An' he's gonna get old one a these days --
MIKE
Yes?
LOREN
An' you don't wanna be old and have no one ta look after ya --
Mike gets it: he's not talking about the Reverend at all. He's talking about himself. She can sympathize with his fear and also with his inability to express it.
MIKE
No. No one would want that. So, you think perhaps a mail order bride would be a good idea -- for the Reverend.
LOREN
Exactly!
MIKE
Of course that's a decision he'd have to make for himself.
LOREN
I know that. I'm just sayin' maybe he oughtta give it some thought.
MIKE
Perhaps he should.
She smiles at him with genuine affection, steps off the porch and leaves.

+ANGLE - FURTHER UP THE STREET
Hermese, and Mary are walking past the Telegraph Office. Horace calls out to them.
HORACE
Good morning, ladies.
MARY
Good morning.
HORACE
Beautiful day.
HERMESE
Yes, it is. It certainly is. A beautiful day.
As they walk past, Horace follows them towards the Gold Nugget.

+ANGLE - ON THE GENERAL STORE
Loren sees the girls, decides to follow them to the Gold Nugget.
He picks up his pace when he sees *Horace.
The two men, acting as if they don't even know the other is there, continue walking faster and faster, each trying to beat the other to the doors of the Gold Nugget without ever copping to the fact that that's what they're doing.

+ANGLE - AT THE GOLD NUGGET
Hank, standing on the porch, opens the doors for the ladies as they arrive, barely beating Horace and Loren. Loren stops for a moment to catch his breath. Horace goes in without acknowledging Hank.
CUT TO:

INT. CLINIC - DAY TWO
Mike is examining Rose. She checks Rose's eyes and gums.
MIKE
Your color is coming back.
(checking the thermometer)
And your temperature is normal. How are you feeling?
ROSE
A bit -- strange.
Mike looks at her, surprised.
ROSE
When I came in from my walk yesterday -- my skin felt -- tingly. And I haven't been able to take a nap today like I usually do. I'm not tired.
Mike smiles.
MIKE
How is your breathing?
ROSE
I still have to stop to catch my breath from time to time.
MIKE
I have a suggestion for you.
Mike leans in to Rose and says this quietly:
MIKE
Throw away your corset.
ROSE
My corset?
MIKE
You'll breathe much easier without it.
ROSE
I can't remember ever meeting anyone like you, Dr. Mike. Women in Philadelphia -- they would never throw away their corsets.
Mike has to smile.
MIKE
It's a good thing we're not in Philadelphia.
(beat)
I would like to see you again in the morning just to make sure, but I would say you're well on your way to recovery.
ROSE
(excited)
That means we can go on to California!
Mike, of course, knew that's what it would mean, but she hadn't been thinking about it in those terms.
MIKE
Depending on tomorrow's examination, yes.
ROSE
Sister Ruth will be glad to hear that.
The mention of Sister Ruth's name brings a small sadness back to Mike's heart.
CUT TO:

EXT. BALCONY - RECOVERY ROOM - DAY TWO
Sister Ruth is showing KATIE the view from the Balcony.
SISTER RUTH
It was right over there I met your ma and pa.
Mike comes out onto the Balcony. Sister Ruth hugs Katie and gives her to Mike.
SISTER RUTH
She's more beautiful than I could've ever imagined.
Mike smiles.
MIKE
Sully and I were hoping you and Kid Cole would join us for supper tonight.
That puts a cloud of gloom into Sister Ruth's day.
SISTER RUTH
Oh.
As Mike puts Katie into the bassinet.
MIKE
Brian and Matthew will be there. They would love to spend some time with the two of you.
SISTER RUTH
I appreciate what you're doin'. You think if you can get the two of us t'sit down together, with friends -- remember how blessed family life can be --
She looks away from Mike, dangerously close to tears.
MIKE
Sister Ruth, I know you don't want this divorce --
SISTER RUTH
Yes, I do.
She looks at Mike with new resolve.
SISTER RUTH
I do because he does and I'm done talkin' about it.
MIKE
No one is going to make you talk to each other if you don't want to. You could still spend an evening together with friends who would like to see you.
Sister Ruth realizes immediately how selfish she's being. She looks at Mike with contrition:
SISTER RUTH
That was a rude and selfish thing I just said. 'Course we'll come.
Mike feels hopeful.
CUT TO:

EXT. GAZETTE - DAY TWO
Cloud Dancing rides up on horseback, dismounts, secures the horse and walks up the steps into the Gazette.

INT. GAZETTE - DAY TWO
Dorothy is surprised to see Cloud Dancing come in. She's a little uncomfortable, also. On a deep level she's not sure that it's appropriate for them to be alone together in her shop -- in town -- where people might talk.
DOROTHY
Cloud Dancin'! I wasn't expectin' you --
CLOUD DANCING
(looking around)
This is where you will print your book?
DOROTHY
Oh. No. My publisher will print it on a much larger press in New York City.
(quiet pride)
But this is where I print the Gazette.
(shy)
Would you -- like to see how it works?
He nods. She smiles and starts preparing the press to run. And we:
CUT TO:

INT. GOLD NUGGET SALOON - DAY TWO
Horace, Loren, and Hank* are drinking, bonding, discussing women. There are Saloon Girls in evidence. Their dress, however, is considerably more conservative than before and they do not lounge by themselves looking to pick up business.
LOREN
Whatta ya suppose it costs to buy one a them mail order brides?
HANK
Why? Ya interested?
LOREN
'Course not. Can't a man be curious?
HORACE
Twenty-five dollars to the broker for an introduction. That don't include relocation costs.
A beat and then the three other men all turn at the same time to look at Horace, curiously.
HORACE
I heard, that's all.
LOREN
What else did ya hear?
HORACE
Once ya get introduced, it's upta the girl if she agrees to marry you or not. But the twenty five is non-refundable.
LOREN
Non-refundable!
HORACE
Broker's gotta make a profit.
HANK
I can innerduce ya to some lovely ladies fer a lot less'n that. 'N ya don't have to marry 'em, neither.
LOREN
(annoyed)
Maybe marryin's a good idea. Maybe a man needs a wife.
HANK
What for?
LOREN
Companionship for one thing.
(beat)
The comfort of knowin' somebody's at home, waitin' for ya. Fixin' a nice meal for ya, or a hot water bottle for yer bed or -- or sittin' by the fire with ya, not talkin' at all.
Irritated at having revealed so much of himself to these louts, he gets up and storms off. The others sit, lost in their own thoughts, about what he just said.
CUT TO:

INT. GAZETTE - DAY TWO
Dorothy takes one page off the press and hands it to Cloud Dancing. He's impressed. He smiles, hands it back to her.
CLOUD DANCING
When you were ill, I gathered herbs for you and brought them to Michaela.
She hadn't been told that part of the story.
CLOUD DANCING
It would be a good idea if you kept some nearby --
He gives her a small leather pouch he has brought with him.
CLOUD DANCING
You can carry this with you.
She takes it from him. It's not meant to wear, but to carry in a pocket. It is filled with herbs. She is touched. She smells it. It smells sweet.
They both stand there, not knowing what to say.

+ACROSS THE STREET AT THE GOLD NUGGET
Loren is coming out of the Saloon. He starts across the street toward the Gazette. He stops dead in his tracks when he sees:

+AT THE GAZETTE
Dorothy and Cloud Dancing coming out of the Gazette. Dorothy is laughing at something Cloud Dancing is saying. She reaches out a hand and touches him on the shoulder.

+LOREN
feels as if he's been hit in the chest with a baseball bat. And now:

+DOROTHY
glances up and sees Loren. She is immediately unnerved. She looks back at Cloud Dancing but cannot stop herself from looking back, again, at Loren.

+CLOUD DANCING
has seen -- and felt -- the shift in Dorothy's mood. He follows her gaze.

+ANGLE - LOREN
walks from the Gold Nugget back toward the General Store as nonchalantly as he can.

+ANGLE - ON DOROTHY AND CLOUD DANCING
Each measuring what repercussions this encounter between the three of them will have on their lives.
CUT TO:

EXT. HOMESTEAD - NIGHT TWO - ESTABLISHING - STOCK

INT. HOMESTEAD - NIGHT TWO
Sully holds Katie as BRIAN helps Mike put the food on the table. Matthew, Kid Cole and Sister Ruth are there.
SISTER RUTH
Smells delicious. One thing I miss, travellin' all the time, is home cooked meals.
KID COLE
(irritated)
Y'were travellin' all the time before ya met me.
SISTER RUTH
(only an attempt at patience)
Didn't say I wasn't.
KID COLE
I ain't the one holdin' ya back from home cooked meals.
SISTER RUTH
You act like everythin' comes outta my mouth is about you.
KID COLE
You sayin' it ain't?
MIKE
Shall we all sit down?
Kid Cole sits down without holding a chair out for Sister Ruth. She mutters as she pulls out her own chair.
SISTER RUTH
Some people got the manners of a buffalo.
KID COLE
Least with a buffalo you can get a word in edgewise.
MIKE
Sister Ruth, would you mind saying grace?
They bow their heads as Sister Ruth starts to pray.
SISTER RUTH
Dear Lord, we come to you as mortal sinners, deaf, dumb 'n blind to our own grievous faults --
Seemingly out of nowhere, Kid Cole explodes.
KID COLE
That does it! I won't sit here and listen to her call me a sinner!
He storms out before anyone can even reason with him, slamming the door behind him. They are all stunned.
Sister Ruth is mortified.
SISTER RUTH
I apologize, I truly do. I wasn't talkin' 'bout him, but I can see how he might take it that way.
Sully looks over at Mike. She gets up and follows Kid Cole outside.
CUT TO:

EXT. BARN - NIGHT TWO
As Mike crosses to the barn, looking around for him.
MIKE
Kid Cole?!
She hears a noise coming from the barn. She goes over to investigate.

+ANGLE - CLOSE ON KID COLE
bent over, racked with coughing. We can see evidence of blood in the handkerchief he's coughing into.

+ANGLE - TO INCLUDE MIKE
as she comes in. She realizes immediately what's going on.
MIKE
(quiet, but angry)
Why didn't you tell me?
KID COLE
Tell ya what?
MIKE
You said the consumption was better! I could have been treating you.
KID COLE
There ain't no more treatin' it. You know that better'n I do.
Another round of coughing leaves him weakened. Mike hurries over to him, but he puts up a hand, warning her to keep her distance.
MIKE
(anguished)
I am your doctor. I want to help.
KID COLE
Only help I need from you right now is your word. You don't say nothin' 'bout this to Sister Ruth.
MIKE
She's your wife!
KID COLE
Your word.
She knows she has no choice. She nods, numbly, as he, reassured, tries to take a deep breath and pull himself together.
FADE OUT
END OF ACT TWO

ACT THREE
FADE IN:

EXT. HOMESTEAD - NIGHT TWO - ESTABLISHING - STOCK

INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT TWO
Mike and Sully are both in bed, wide awake, thinking about the revelation they've just had about Kid Cole.
SULLY
I don't see how Kid Cole was able to hide how sick he was from us.
MIKE
Sister Ruth told me he has been keeping to himself -- even sleeping in another room. And of course, the high altitude here would alleviate the symptoms temporarily.
SULLY
He can't hide it from Sister Ruth forever.
MIKE
Why would he even try? She's his wife. She would want to help him.
Sully knows why Kid is being stubborn. He tries to explain it to Mike.
SULLY
Some men -- like Kid Cole -- don't like to ask for help. 'Specially from the people they love.
MIKE
That's just foolish pride.
She turns to him, looks at him intently, frightened.
MIKE
You wouldn't keep anything from me because of pride, would you Sully?
SULLY
Never.
DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. TELEGRAPH OFFICE - DAY THREE
Loren is writing a telegram. He pushes it across the counter to Horace. As Horace reads it, Loren counts out twenty five dollars. Loren is dressed up in his Sunday-go-to-meetin'-best, complete with hat.
HORACE
(reading)
"E. Becker, Matrimonial Brokerage."
(he looks up, stunned)
You're payin' for an introduction?
Loren looks at him, annoyed.
LOREN
An' I suppose you're gonna blab my personal business all over the territory.
HORACE
(wounded dignity)
I took an oath. You know that.
Just as he gets to the last of the twenty five dollars, Loren hesitates. Horace understands his concern.
HORACE
It's a lotta money if she don't say 'yes.'
Loren slams it down on the counter and looks Horace in the eye.
LOREN
Just see that this telegram goes out today.
He turns and walks off. Loren's courage in this area gives Horace pause to think about where his own life is headed these days.
CUT TO:

EXT. CLINIC - DAY THREE
Kid Cole strides across the street from the Gold Nugget and goes into the Clinic.
CUT TO:

INT. CLINIC - DAY THREE - CLOSE 57
on a Journal of Medicine article. The word "consumption" should be clearly readable in this article.

+WIDER
Mike is startled when Kid Cole comes in. She closes the journal. There is a tremendous amount of tension between them.
KID COLE
Last night you said you wanted to help.
MIKE
I do.
KID COLE
I been givin' it a lotta thought.
MIKE
(hopeful)
I am so pleased to hear that.
KID COLE
I could use some laudanum ta get me through to California.
Mike hopes this doesn't mean he isn't going to try anything else.
MIKE
Yes. Of course.
She goes to pour some into a smaller container for him.
MIKE
The laudanum will help reduce the pain -- as well as some of the congestion.
(beat)
I have been going over my medical journals. There are some new areas of treatment for consumption --
KID COLE
None a which'll work.
She knows he's probably right and she doesn't want to hold out false hope.
MIKE
They are untested as yet.
KID COLE
B'lieve you told me once the first rule a doctor has to go by.
(beat)
'Do no harm.' Ain't that what'cha tole me?
She nods.
KID COLE
Holdin' out hope for folks that ain't there -- ain't that doin' harm?
He takes the laudanum and stands up to leave. She's not going to leave it at that, entirely.
MIKE
And what about you?
He stops, looks at her quizzically.
MIKE
What harm are you doing to Sister Ruth by keeping this a secret?
KID COLE
Harm? Le' me tell you somethin', lady. Coupla years ago I met the only woman I'd ever considered makin' my wife. She's got a heart s'big you could put all a Texas in it and have room left over. I wanted to give her the sun and the stars.
(beat)
'Stead, all I got to give her is a beat up ol' bag a bones dyin' a consumption.
Mike starts to interrupt, but he's having none of it.
KID COLE
Don't want yer pity or yer advice. I got one shot at gettin' to California and collectin' a big fee from that marriage broker. That money'll go to Sister Ruth. Make her comfortable after I'm gone. It's as simple as that. An' that's how I intend to keep it: simple.
He takes the laudanum and leaves. Mike is very distressed.
CUT TO:

INT. GOLD NUGGET LOBBY - DAY THREE
As Loren comes through the door. Hank is surprised to see him. Hank is wiping glasses behind the bar. There are no Saloon Girls in evidence.
HANK
Ain't Sunday, ain't Christmas. Must be goin' to a funeral.
LOREN
Got an appointment.
HANK
An "appointment?"
ROSE (O.S.)
Good morning, Mr. Bray.
Hank turns to see Rose coming into the room. She's dressed up, too. Nothing terribly fancy, just first date kind of stuff.
ROSE
I hope I haven't kept you waiting.
He can't say "no," that might put her in the driver's seat. But he can't berate her either. After all, he did just arrive himself. And besides, she's so darn pretty he can't quite remember what he was going to say, anyway.
LOREN
Not too long.
He offers her his arm. She takes it. Hank watches, stunned, as they exit the Gold Nugget. Loren doesn't even look back and shoot him a dirty look. This is serious. Hank picks up another glass and wipes it while he thinks.
CUT TO:

EXT. GOLD NUGGET - DAY THREE
Dorothy is on her way to the Clinic as Loren and Rose come out of the Gold Nugget. Loren notices her, but pretends like he doesn't. Dorothy is surprised to see him with this lovely young lady, and even more surprised that he doesn't look at her and rub it in with some facial expression or comment. She watches Loren and Rose as they walk off toward the meadow. We cannot hear what they're saying, but Loren is talking and Rose is listening attentively.
CUT TO:

INT. CLINIC - DAY THREE
Mike is going over more medical journals. There is a knock on the door, and Dorothy peeks her head in.
DOROTHY
Are you busy?
MIKE
No. Come in.
Dorothy came to show Mike the pouch Cloud Dancing made for her, but her mood and tone have been altered by witnessing Loren with Rose.
DOROTHY
I wanted to show you something -- Cloud Dancin' made for me.
She hands the pouch to Mike, who admires the work on it.
MIKE
It's beautiful.
DOROTHY
He said he wanted me to have these healin' herbs nearby -- 'case I ever need 'em.
Mike recognizes that the friendship between Dorothy and Cloud Dancing is heating up.
MIKE
It sounds as if the two of you are becoming good friends.
DOROTHY
(uncomfortable)
That's what I wanted to talk to you about.
(beat)
When I started -- interviewin' Cloud Dancin' -- I didn't stop to think that -- we might become -- friendly.
MIKE
What would be wrong with that?
DOROTHY
(too quickly)
Nothin'.
(beat)
I guess there'd be nothin' wrong with it. As long as -- nobody misunderstood -- or anythin'.
MIKE
Misunderstood what?
Dorothy lets it all out.
DOROTHY
I don't know. Honestly, Michaela, I don't know how I feel about Cloud Dancin' -- or even what I want to feel about him.
MIKE
Do you have to know right now?
DOROTHY
No, I suppose not. Only, what if Cloud Dancin' -- or what if Loren --
She's a jumble of feelings. Mike's beginning to sort it out.
MIKE
Are you afraid you might hurt someone's feelings?
DOROTHY
Why do things have to be so complicated?
MIKE
(thinking of Kid Cole)
Perhaps they don't have to be.
(back to Dorothy)
Just give it some time, Dorothy. I'm sure you'll know your own heart if you give it some time.
Dorothy nods.
CUT TO:

EXT. GRACE'S CAFE - DAY THREE
Loren and Rose have a cup of coffee together.
LOREN
Only way to drink coffee is to put half a cuppa milk in it. Otherwise it could burn a hole in yer stomach. 'Cause ya all kindsa problems.
ROSE
Really?
Rose is impressed with Loren. This isn't flirtatious nonsense, she really thinks he's a knowledgeable, interesting man.
LOREN
Nobody ever told ya these things?
ROSE
(a small laugh)
Nobody in my family ever felt it was important to teach girls anything.
LOREN
Yeah? Well, things're a little more progressive out west.
She smiles up at him. It's the kind of smile that lights up the sky. Loren is feeling pretty damn good.
ROSE
I would love to see your store.
LOREN
Ya would?
ROSE
It sounds so exciting -- running your own business.
He puts some change on the table and stands up to hold her chair for her.
LOREN
It ain't always easy, I'll tell ya that.
She smiles up at him, takes his arm as they walk out.

+ANGLE - HORACE AND *HANK
sitting at another table, watching them go by. They then turn and look at:

+ANGLE - HERMESE AND MARY
sitting at another table. The ladies smile at them.

+RESUME - HANK AND *HORACE
awkward.
CUT TO:

INT. GENERAL STORE - DAY THREE
As Rose looks around the store.
LOREN
Ya gotta have a good head for numbers -- an' also for what people're gonna want. Don't do ya any good ta have things sittin' on the shelf ya can't sell.
She picks up one of the scented candles, smells it. Mike comes into the store.
LOREN
Those come all the way from -- Paris.
Loren sees Mike -- hopes she won't pull his covers.
ROSE
You wouldn't think people would have much use for a beautiful, scented candle here in the Territories.
MIKE
Loren has a way of anticipating what his customers are likely to buy.
LOREN
(grateful to Mike)
Yeah. Ya gotta have a feel fer these things.
MIKE
Have you seen Kid Cole?
LOREN
He was walkin' to the livery earlier.
MIKE
Thank you.
She leaves.
ROSE
There is a lot more to running your own business than most people think.
He beams.
CUT TO:

EXT. STREET - DAY THREE
As Loren walks Rose back to the Gold Nugget.
ROSE
And then one day Mr. Becker came to Philadelphia with his pamphlets and his stories about the wild west. I thought, Rose Gardner, this is your chance to see the world. So I signed up on the spot.
LOREN
Thought you were goin' to California to find a husband.
ROSE
Well, of course, that would be nice. If I meet someone I like. But I'm not going to marry just any old fool who has the twenty five dollars to send Mr. Becker for an introduction.
Loren, of course, has to assume she means him. But she doesn't.
ROSE
I'm afraid you have set a very high standard for any one else to meet, Mr. Bray.
LOREN
Call me Loren.
As they reach the door to the Saloon, she puts her hand out. He's not sure at first what she expects of him, then he realizes that he's supposed to kiss it. He glances around. No one watching. What the hell. He takes her hand and kisses it. As he does so:

+ANGLE - ACROSS THE STREET
As Hank and Horace come out of the alley between the Clinic and the Gazette, leading to Grace's Cafe. They stop to see:

+THEIR POINT OF VIEW
Loren kissing Rose's hand.

+RESUME ANGLE
The three men stunned by the image.

+ANGLE ON LOREN AND ROSE
Neither of whom seems particularly interested in ending their "date."
ROSE
Thank you for a lovely afternoon, Loren.
LOREN
Maybe -- you don't hafta go all the way to California to find a -- an excitin' life. Maybe you could be happy in a place like Colorado Springs.
ROSE
I do like the people here, already. I can tell you that.
He brightens, she smiles and goes inside.

+WIDER ANGLE - AS LOREN TURNS TO LEAVE
Horace goes on up the street toward the telegraph office. Hank stops Loren to talk to him.

+ANGLE - HANK AND LOREN
HANK
You actually thinkin' about buying one a them wives?
LOREN
What if I am? Ain't I got a right to be happy if I want to?
HANK
Don't seem like you is all. You ain't doin' this for -- some other reason?
LOREN
(daring him to say it)
What other reason?
HANK
Maybe you're tryin' to get back at somebody or somethin'.
LOREN
This is between me 'n Rose.
HANK
Hate ta see ya make a fool a' yerself is all.
LOREN
Guess I'll decide that for myself.
Loren walks off.
CUT TO:

EXT. LIVERY - DAY THREE
Kid Cole is grooming one of the stage coach horses. He coughs, real hard. Takes the laudanum out and drinks some. He looks up to see Mike come in. He puts the laudanum away.
MIKE
Loren said I might find you here. I've been thinking about what you said -- earlier -- about wanting to keep things simple.
He doesn't respond. She goes on.
MIKE
At first I thought you meant keep things simple for Sister Ruth.
(beat)
But that isn't what you were talking about, is it?
KID COLE
'Course it is. What else could it be?
MIKE
It could be that -- you're making things easy for yourself.
KID COLE
(offended)
Easy for me?!
MIKE
If you don't tell her the truth, you won't have to deal with her grief.
KID COLE
That ain't it.
(when she doesn't respond)
I'm savin' her from havin' to watch her husband turn into a helpless, useless ol' man -- no better 'n a baby -- maybe worse.
MIKE
You can't protect her from that. All you can do is hide it from her. And what do you leave her then? Her husband is dead and the time she could have spent with him, saying goodbye to him, loving him and accepting his death -- you've stolen that precious time from her.
(beat)
How can she ever recover from that?
KID COLE
I ain't gonna have her feelin' sorry for me. Or disgust. What if she can't take it? What if she -- leaves?
It's out of his mouth before he even realizes that this has been his greatest fear.
MIKE
If that's what you're afraid of, you don't know how much she loves you.
KID COLE
Why'd you have ta put your two cents into this anyway?
He storms off, angry, scared. Mike watches him go, sad, and a little frightened herself.
FADE OUT
END OF ACT THREE

ACT FOUR
FADE IN:

EXT. GRACE'S CAFE - DAY THREE
Mike is having a cup of coffee when Sister Ruth walks up.
SISTER RUTH
I come ta tell ya goodbye --
MIKE
Goodbye -- ?
SISTER RUTH
Kid Cole's dead set on leavin' first thing in the mornin'. I told him I thought Rose could use a day or two more here in Colorado Springs, but he says it's time to get on with things.
MIKE
I see.
SISTER RUTH
Wants ta stop in Denver, get the divorce, go on the rest a the way himself.
Mike feels terrible.
MIKE
And what do you want to do?
SISTER RUTH
Leave him be, I guess.
Mike's heart goes out to her.
MIKE
Sister Ruth --
SISTER RUTH
Some things're not ours to understand, Dr. Mike. I can make peace with that.
But Mike is having a hard time doing the same.
SISTER RUTH
Like ta ask ya one more favor. If you're up to it.
MIKE
Certainly.
SISTER RUTH
I'm on my way over to the church -- I wonder if you'd come pray with me?
Mike nods, numbly and puts her arm around Sister Ruth as they start towards the church.
CUT TO:

INT. GAZETTE - DAY THREE
Loren comes into the Gazette. Dorothy is in the middle of printing the paper. She turns off the press when she sees him.
DOROTHY
(surprised)
Loren!
LOREN
Didn't mean ta interrupt ya.
DOROTHY
Did you -- need somethin'?
LOREN
No. Just -- wanted ta talk to ya.
She thinks she knows what this is about: her and Cloud Dancing. She doesn't relish having the conversation, but she's willing.
DOROTHY
All right.
She puts away her work and gives her attention to Loren.
LOREN
I guess ya heard some a the rumors around town.
She hasn't.
LOREN
-- an I didn't think it'd be fair to do anythin' without tellin' ya, first.
DOROTHY
Tellin' me -- what?
LOREN
About -- you know -- about me askin' Rose to marry me.
Dorothy is filled with relief, surprise and complete bewilderment.
DOROTHY
Rose?
LOREN
Aw, don't act like ya ain't seen me squirin' her around town.
DOROTHY
Oh! Rose. Marry you?
LOREN
I'm gonna ask her, but I'm givin' ya the chance to -- tell me what ya think, first.
A whole new set of emotions floods Dorothy's heart. Loren, married? She doesn't wish to marry him herself, but -- Loren? She never thought she would have to face this particular possibility.
DOROTHY
Well, I -- I appreciate your thoughtfulness, Loren. I do.
LOREN
So -- you don't think I should ask her?
DOROTHY
Do you want to?
LOREN
'Course I want to. Ya think I'd do something s'all out foolish if I didn't want to do it?
DOROTHY
Well, that's the main thing, isn't it? If you want to, I mean. It doesn't really matter what I think.
LOREN
Don't?
DOROTHY
But I will tell you, what I think is, she's a lucky girl.
LOREN
She is.
DOROTHY
If you love her, yes.
LOREN
Oh. Love. Yeah. Well.
There's a long beat of silence between them as Loren tries to figure out where to go from here.
DOROTHY
Was there anythin' else you wanted to talk about?
He looks at her, brought out of his reverie.
LOREN
(sad)
No.
He turns and leaves. She watches him go. This is heart breaking stuff for her, too, even though she wouldn't do anything to change it.

EXT. CHURCH - NEAR CEMETARY - DAY THREE
Mike and Sister Ruth stop walking near the cemetary.
SISTER RUTH
I keep askin' God, show me what I done to bring so much unhappiness to this man so I can undo it. Show me my sin so I can repent of it -- so he won't go away.
MIKE
Perhaps you haven't done anything wrong. Perhaps...
Mike is struggling not to betray Kid Cole while at the same time trying to comfort Sister Ruth.
MIKE
Perhaps there's some reason he just can't talk about.
SISTER RUTH
Shouldn't be anythin' a man can't tell his wife.
MIKE
I agree with you -- but if for some reason, there is -- you shouldn't think of it as a failing on your part.
(beat, realizing)
You shouldn't think of it as a failing on anyone's part.
SISTER RUTH
(quietly)
If there's somethin' I've left unsaid -- or undone -- that coulda helped Kid Cole with whatever his trouble is right now...
MIKE
(very difficult for her)
Perhaps it's time for you to let him work out his own trouble.
They look up and see:

+ANGLE - KID COLE
approaching.

+RESUME ANGLE
Sister Ruth begins to understand something as Kid Cole approaches and Mike tries not to give anything away.
SISTER RUTH
You know something ya ain't tellin' me.
Mike can't deny it, but can't confirm it either. Kid Cole joins them, talks to Sister Ruth.
KID COLE
(to Sister Ruth)
Like ta talk to ya, if I could.
Mike prepares to leave.
MIKE
I'll give you two some privacy.
KID COLE
No need. You're the one talked some sense into me. Nuthin' I gotta say you can't hear.
Sister Ruth looks to Mike, back to Kid Cole, who's struggling to find the words.
KID COLE
'Sides. You're the doctor. She should prob'ly hear it from you.
SISTER RUTH
Doctor?
She looks to Mike.
MIKE
Sister Ruth --
SISTER RUTH
It's the consumption, ain't it? It's back.
MIKE
I'm afraid so.
KID COLE
Truth is, it never went away.
MIKE
(to Ruth)
He was trying to protect you --
KID COLE
Th' Hell I was. I was protectin' myself. Like you said.
(to Ruth)
I'm dyin'. An' it ain't gonna be an easy road. I'd understand if you'd rather not stick around.
SISTER RUTH
Not stick around?
That's inconceivable to her. She tries to help him understand.
SISTER RUTH
Guess you didn't hear what I said when we got married. For better or for worse -- in sickness and in health -- 'til death us do part.
He moves to her and holds her, as Mike watches on, her heart filled with emotion, we:
DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. STREETS - COLORADO SPRINGS - DAY FOUR
The Stage Coach is outside the Gold Nugget. Hermese and Mary approach the stage coach. They look over at:

+ANGLE - HANK AND HORACE
The two men look away, at the ground, at the sky, anywhere but at them.

+RESUME - HERMESE AND MARY
Resigned to their fate, Hermese and Mary board the stage coach.

+ANGLE - THE GOLD NUGGET
Kid Cole and Matthew come out of the Gold Nugget. Matthew hands Kid Cole his gun back.
MATTHEW
Here y'go.
Kid Cole "mock" inspects it.
MATTHEW
Good as when ya gave it t'me.
KID COLE
Guess so.
(beat, sincere)
I been keepin' an eye on you while we been here. You're doin' a good job, kid. Don't let nobody tell ya otherwise.
Matthew smiles, looks down at the ground, a little shy, then back up at him.
MATTHEW
(teasing him back)
I 'preciate it, Kid Cole. If you're ever lookin' for work, come 'n see me. I'll consider makin' ya my deputy.
Kid Cole laughs at Matthew's audacious humor.

+ANGLE - ROSE
is looking around for Loren. She's packed and ready to go, but only because he hasn't proposed yet. She sees him arriving from the General Store. She breathes a sigh of relief.
ROSE
Mr. Bray! Loren!
He sees her, walks over to her. He's carrying a wrapped gift. She doesn't mention it, hoping it might be an engagement present.
LOREN
Almost missed ya.
ROSE
I was beginning to think you weren't going to come.
He nods.
LOREN
Yeah, I was hopin' we'd have another day or so, myself.
This doesn't sound good. She knows he's about to let her down.
ROSE
Another -- day?
LOREN
Aw, Rose, I ain't any good at makin' speeches. Never was. Truth is, I've let too many opportunities slip right past me 'cause I couldn't think what to say.
(beat)
You're a beautiful girl, Rose. Smart, too. 'N sweet.
ROSE
But not someone you would like for your wife.
LOREN
I'd like it a lot. But I ain't gonna do that.
ROSE
In Philadelphia -- it would be improper for a girl to ask -- why --?
LOREN
Ya only get one chance ta love somebody with every fiber of your bein' in this lifetime -- 'n I don't want you to miss out on that chance by settlin' down here with me.
(beat)
There's someone out there waitin' on ya. He better treat ya good, or he'll have Loren Bray to answer to.
She smiles. He remembers.
LOREN
Oh. Brought ya somethin'.
He hands her the gift. She opens it. It's one of the candles. She looks up at him.
LOREN
People 'round here don't appreciate fine things like you do, Rose. I hope you enjoy it.
Without her even suggesting, and within eye shot of every yahoo in town, Loren reaches down, takes her hand, and kisses it. Then he hurries off because he can't risk watching her go.

+ANGLE - THE SULLY WAGON
rolls into town as Sister Ruth comes out of the Gold Nugget. As Mike, Sully, Brian and Katie come over to say goodbye. Sister Ruth hugs Mike as Sully shakes hands with Kid Cole.
KID COLE
Sully.
SULLY
Take care a yourself out there.
Kid Cole nods.
SISTER RUTH
(quietly, fiercely, to Mike)
Hold on to your family and remember that we love you.
MIKE
We love you, too.
She turns to Kid Cole. She throws her arms around him. He is touched by the love she shows him.
KID COLE
Thanks for talkin' sense ta me, Dr. Mike.
MIKE
I didn't say anything you hadn't already said to yourself.
KID COLE
Yeah -- but you said it a lot louder.
MIKE
(overcome with sadness)
How can I say goodbye to you!
KID COLE
Goodbye ain't necessarily goodbye, Michaela. Ya never know what tomorrow'll bring.
He holds her tight and then he kisses Katie, leans down to shake Brian's hand.
KID COLE
(to Brian)
You keep an eye on that little girl, for me.
BRIAN
Yes, sir.
Kid Cole opens the door of the stage coach for Sister Ruth. As she starts to step up into the coach, he stops her.
KID COLE
(quietly, with great love)
When I said you was the bossiest women I'd ever met -- you understand I meant that as a compliment.
She laughs, pulls his hat down over his brows, gets into the coach. He shuts the door.
KID COLE
Movin' out!

+TOWNSFOLK
all wave and yell goodbye.

+ANGLE - MIKE AND SULLY
look at each other, lovingly. They look at Katie and Brian -- then back at the coach.

+WIDER ANGLE
They wave and yell goodbye until the last of the dust has settled. And we:
FADE OUT
THE END


 

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