THE MOST FATAL DISEASE
Written by Chris Abbott / Directed by James Keach
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.
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:
I passed 'em on my way into town.
has no idea who he's talking about.
Told 'em I was sure you'd be happy to see 'em.
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.
(very pleased to see him)
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
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.
Never better. Matter a fact, doctor up in St. Louis tole me the
Gone?! Why -- that's wonderful.
Almost unheard of, he said.
Upon which, he turns and yells into the coach:
Ruth! Ain't none of us gettin' any younger standin' out here waitin'
on ya. Ya gettin' out or not?
'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.
Dr. Mike! If you ain't a sight for sore eyes.
Mike hugs Sister Ruth.
(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.
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.
One of the girls has been havin' faintin' spells. I told Kid Cole
we weren't goin' another mile without you lookin' at her.
What're ya talkin' about? It was my idea to stop in Colorado Springs.
Your idea? You wouldn't stop for a meal if I didn't throw a fit.
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
No matter who's idea it was, I'm glad you stopped.
Rose excuses herself from the circle of people talking and moves
towards Kid Cole. Matthew comes over to join Kid Cole at the same
(to Sister Ruth)
I'll get ever'body checked in.
By the way, we gotta new law in town. 'Fraid you're gonna hafta
check your weapon in.
You want me to hand over my gun?
It's the law, Kid Cole. Ain't personal.
Well, if I hafta give it up to anybody, I'm glad it's you.
He gives the gun to Matthew.
(re: The Saloon)
See ya give the saloon a coat a paint.
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.
This is Rose. She's been feelin' poorly ever since we pulled outta
(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.
Either a you ladies care for a sassparilla?
That sounds quite refreshing, doesn't it Hermese?
Yes, it does.
Hank starts to escort the young ladies into the Gold Nugget.
I think you'll find everythin' to your likin' at the Gold Nugget.
You need anythin', just let me know. I'm the owner.
Owner! Did you hear that Hermese?
As they go inside, we go to:
+ANGLE - MIKE, RUTH AND ROSE
As they approach the Clinic.
And where is that sweet baby of yours?
Upstairs, taking a nap. I can't wait for you to see her.
Rose precedes Sister Ruth and Mike into the Clinic.
Just the thought a holdin' that little angel in my arms 's been
keepin' me goin' the last two hundred miles.
That's such astonishing news about Kid Cole's health. It is so good
to see the two of you again.
Well, it'll prob'ly be the last time you do.
Mike can't even imagine what she might be talking about.
Soon's we get to California, we're gettin' a divorce.
She goes into the clinic, leaving Mike on the threshold, stunned.
END OF TEASER
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.
Spared no expense fixin' it up.
It is extraordinary looking, isn't it Hermese?
+ANGLE ON SULLY AND KID COLE
Ya like it?
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.
How often do you have these fainting spells?
Once or twice a week, I suppose.
You are also running a slight fever. Have you spoken to a doctor
about your symptoms?
He called it hysteria. He says it's common in young women these
(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.
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.
Your symptoms indicate poor nutrition, lack of exercise and fresh
(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.
I told Rose you'd fix her right up.
As Rose and Sister Ruth start toward the door.
(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 --
S'pose I shoulda kep' my mouth shut, but --
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.
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.
Changed in what way?
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'.
Did you ask him what was wrong?
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.
What's wrong? What's wrong is, I ain't the marryin' kind. Never
shoulda agreed to it in the first place.
Don't ya think ya shoulda said somethin' 'fore you got married?
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.
If he ain't the stubbornest, ornriest creature on God's green earth
+IN THE GOLD NUGGET:
If there's anythin' to know, she knows it --
+IN THE CLINIC:
If there's an opinion to be had, he has it --
But these are all problems that can be worked out. You need to give
it some time.
+IN THE GOLD NUGGET:
Time?! I already give it all the time I intend to.
+IN THE CLINIC:
How much time do you give to a man who treats ya bad and won't tell
+IN THE GOLD NUGGET:
So what're ya gonna do?
Only thing I can do: get out.
+AND IN THE CLINIC:
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.
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.
(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
Gettin' better every day.
But just then the Reverend veers off course and is headed toward
the candy jars.
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.
Will ya look at that?
He glances back and realizes/remembers who he's talking to.
It's Dorothy and Cloud Dancin'.
The Reverend who cannot "see" the implications Loren "feels"
can only respond to the facts.
She must still be workin' on her book about the Indians.
(not ready to give up his jealousy)
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.
Good morning, Reverend.
Beautiful day, isn't it?
Yes, it is.
Loren picks up the art objects and looks at them. There are jewelry
items and other art items.
I don't know that I got any customers for this stuff.
When we spoke last week, you said --
I know what I said. Leave 'em, here, I'll see what I can do.
As Cloud Dancing turns to leave:
I keep a two penny commission on every item sold.
As you told me last week.
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.
(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."
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.
Dorothy! I was just coming to look for you.
I heard Kid Cole and Sister Ruth are in town.
Yes. That's what I wanted to talk to you about, actually.
You know, I oughtta write a book about him someday! Don't you think
he'd be an interestin' subject?
I suppose so --
Dorothy misinterprets Mike's lack of enthusiasm.
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.
Better than I could ever have imagined.
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:
Was -- there somethin' you wanted to talk to me about?
I'm glad your book is going so well.
She hurries off, practically humming to herself. Mike watches her
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.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Divorce! It's so -- final.
Maybe Kid Cole and Sister Ruth aren't meant to be together.
I'm not saying they should stay together if they're terribly unhappy.
I wouldn't ask that of anyone.
But -- ?
But they didn't seem unhappy before. It's difficult for me to believe
that Kid Cole suddenly changed over night.
Maybe he didn't. Maybe he was tryin' to be somethin' he couldn't
be an' it finally caught up with him.
If that's so, he ought to tell her.
Sully understands Kid Cole's hesitance.
It ain't as easy for some people to talk as others.
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?
Don't you think he owes it to himself?
Nothin' we can do about that.
Mike hangs her robe on the corner of the bed and gets into bed.
I suppose you're right.
Without meddlin', anyway.
Which we wouldn't want to do.
She looks at him, waiting.
Unless he was askin' for help.
Do you think he was?
Could be why he talked to me in the first place.
That is possible.
Though there's no way to know for sure.
No. Except --
-- 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.
Even though it might be considered meddling.
I can't see any harm in gettin' them to talk to each other.
Over supper, maybe.
(that sounds good to her)
Maybe tomorrow night.
If you're sure it isn't meddling.
I don't think it's meddlin'.
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:
END OF ACT ONE
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.
They're scented. Brought 'em in all the way from New York City.
Only got a few of 'em, left.
How much are they?
She puts it back.
I can give 'em to ya two fer seven cents. That's my best offer.
The Reverend, coming into the store, overhears.
Still having a hard time selling those candles, Loren?
Loren scowls at him.
(quietly, to Mike)
He don't know what he's talkin' about. They're sellin' like hotcakes.
I'm blind, Loren, not deaf.
It's wonderful to see you doing so well, Reverend.
Thanks, Dr. Mike. How're Sully and the children?
Well, thank you.
I had a nice talk with Sister Ruth this mornin'.
I thought she might be interested in givin' the service on Sunday,
but she said they'd be gone by then.
Loren interrupts with:
That'll be one dollar, thirteen cents.
(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.
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.
I been thinkin' -- 'bout the Reverend.
She glances in at the Reverend, back at 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.
You think the Reverend should get a wife because he's blind?
No. That's not what I'm sayin' at all. What I'm sayin' is, he's
An' he's gonna get old one a these days --
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.
No. No one would want that. So, you think perhaps a mail order bride
would be a good idea -- for the Reverend.
Of course that's a decision he'd have to make for himself.
I know that. I'm just sayin' maybe he oughtta give it some thought.
Perhaps he should.
She smiles at him with genuine affection, steps off the porch and
+ANGLE - FURTHER UP THE STREET
Hermese, and Mary are walking past the Telegraph Office. Horace
calls out to them.
Good morning, ladies.
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.
INT. CLINIC - DAY TWO
Mike is examining Rose. She checks Rose's eyes and gums.
Your color is coming back.
(checking the thermometer)
And your temperature is normal. How are you feeling?
A bit -- strange.
Mike looks at her, surprised.
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
How is your breathing?
I still have to stop to catch my breath from time to time.
I have a suggestion for you.
Mike leans in to Rose and says this quietly:
Throw away your corset.
You'll breathe much easier without it.
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.
It's a good thing we're not in Philadelphia.
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.
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.
Depending on tomorrow's examination, yes.
Sister Ruth will be glad to hear that.
The mention of Sister Ruth's name brings a small sadness back to
EXT. BALCONY - RECOVERY ROOM - DAY TWO
Sister Ruth is showing KATIE the view from the Balcony.
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.
She's more beautiful than I could've ever imagined.
Sully and I were hoping you and Kid Cole would join us for supper
That puts a cloud of gloom into Sister Ruth's day.
As Mike puts Katie into the bassinet.
Brian and Matthew will be there. They would love to spend some time
with the two of you.
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.
Sister Ruth, I know you don't want this divorce --
Yes, I do.
She looks at Mike with new resolve.
I do because he does and I'm done talkin' about it.
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:
That was a rude and selfish thing I just said. 'Course we'll come.
Mike feels hopeful.
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
Cloud Dancin'! I wasn't expectin' you --
This is where you will print your book?
Oh. No. My publisher will print it on a much larger press in New
But this is where I print the Gazette.
Would you -- like to see how it works?
He nods. She smiles and starts preparing the press to run. And we:
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.
Whatta ya suppose it costs to buy one a them mail order brides?
Why? Ya interested?
'Course not. Can't a man be curious?
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.
I heard, that's all.
What else did ya hear?
Once ya get introduced, it's upta the girl if she agrees to marry
you or not. But the twenty five is non-refundable.
Broker's gotta make a profit.
I can innerduce ya to some lovely ladies fer a lot less'n that.
'N ya don't have to marry 'em, neither.
Maybe marryin's a good idea. Maybe a man needs a wife.
Companionship for one thing.
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.
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.
When you were ill, I gathered herbs for you and brought them to
She hadn't been told that part of the story.
It would be a good idea if you kept some nearby --
He gives her a small leather pouch he has brought with him.
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.
feels as if he's been hit in the chest with a baseball bat. And
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.
has seen -- and felt -- the shift in Dorothy's mood. He follows
+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.
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.
Smells delicious. One thing I miss, travellin' all the time, is
home cooked meals.
Y'were travellin' all the time before ya met me.
(only an attempt at patience)
Didn't say I wasn't.
I ain't the one holdin' ya back from home cooked meals.
You act like everythin' comes outta my mouth is about you.
You sayin' it ain't?
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.
Some people got the manners of a buffalo.
Least with a buffalo you can get a word in edgewise.
Sister Ruth, would you mind saying grace?
They bow their heads as Sister Ruth starts to pray.
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.
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.
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.
EXT. BARN - NIGHT TWO
As Mike crosses to the barn, looking around for him.
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.
(quiet, but angry)
Why didn't you tell me?
Tell ya what?
You said the consumption was better! I could have been treating
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.
I am your doctor. I want to help.
Only help I need from you right now is your word. You don't say
nothin' 'bout this to Sister Ruth.
She's your wife!
She knows she has no choice. She nods, numbly, as he, reassured,
tries to take a deep breath and pull himself together.
END OF ACT TWO
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.
I don't see how Kid Cole was able to hide how sick he was from us.
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.
He can't hide it from Sister Ruth forever.
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
Some men -- like Kid Cole -- don't like to ask for help. 'Specially
from the people they love.
That's just foolish pride.
She turns to him, looks at him intently, frightened.
You wouldn't keep anything from me because of pride, would you Sully?
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
"E. Becker, Matrimonial Brokerage."
(he looks up, stunned)
You're payin' for an introduction?
Loren looks at him, annoyed.
An' I suppose you're gonna blab my personal business all over the
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.
It's a lotta money if she don't say 'yes.'
Loren slams it down on the counter and looks Horace in the eye.
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.
EXT. CLINIC - DAY THREE
Kid Cole strides across the street from the Gold Nugget and goes
into the Clinic.
INT. CLINIC - DAY THREE - CLOSE 57
on a Journal of Medicine article. The word "consumption"
should be clearly readable in this article.
Mike is startled when Kid Cole comes in. She closes the journal.
There is a tremendous amount of tension between them.
Last night you said you wanted to help.
I been givin' it a lotta thought.
I am so pleased to hear that.
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.
Yes. Of course.
She goes to pour some into a smaller container for him.
The laudanum will help reduce the pain -- as well as some of the
I have been going over my medical journals. There are some new areas
of treatment for consumption --
None a which'll work.
She knows he's probably right and she doesn't want to hold out false
They are untested as yet.
B'lieve you told me once the first rule a doctor has to go by.
'Do no harm.' Ain't that what'cha tole me?
Holdin' out hope for folks that ain't there -- ain't that doin'
He takes the laudanum and stands up to leave. She's not going to
leave it at that, entirely.
And what about you?
He stops, looks at her quizzically.
What harm are you doing to Sister Ruth by keeping this a secret?
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.
'Stead, all I got to give her is a beat up ol' bag a bones dyin'
Mike starts to interrupt, but he's having none of it.
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.
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.
Ain't Sunday, ain't Christmas. Must be goin' to a funeral.
Got an appointment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
INT. CLINIC - DAY THREE
Mike is going over more medical journals. There is a knock on the
door, and Dorothy peeks her head in.
Are you busy?
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
I wanted to show you something -- Cloud Dancin' made for me.
She hands the pouch to Mike, who admires the work on it.
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.
It sounds as if the two of you are becoming good friends.
That's what I wanted to talk to you about.
When I started -- interviewin' Cloud Dancin' -- I didn't stop to
think that -- we might become -- friendly.
What would be wrong with that?
I guess there'd be nothin' wrong with it. As long as -- nobody misunderstood
-- or anythin'.
Dorothy lets it all out.
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.
Do you have to know right now?
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.
Are you afraid you might hurt someone's feelings?
Why do things have to be so complicated?
(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.
EXT. GRACE'S CAFE - DAY THREE
Loren and Rose have a cup of coffee together.
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 is impressed with Loren. This isn't flirtatious nonsense, she
really thinks he's a knowledgeable, interesting man.
Nobody ever told ya these things?
(a small laugh)
Nobody in my family ever felt it was important to teach girls anything.
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.
I would love to see your store.
It sounds so exciting -- running your own business.
He puts some change on the table and stands up to hold her chair
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
+ANGLE - HERMESE AND MARY
sitting at another table. The ladies smile at them.
+RESUME - HANK AND *HORACE
INT. GENERAL STORE - DAY THREE
As Rose looks around the store.
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
Those come all the way from -- Paris.
Loren sees Mike -- hopes she won't pull his covers.
You wouldn't think people would have much use for a beautiful, scented
candle here in the Territories.
Loren has a way of anticipating what his customers are likely to
(grateful to Mike)
Yeah. Ya gotta have a feel fer these things.
Have you seen Kid Cole?
He was walkin' to the livery earlier.
There is a lot more to running your own business than most people
EXT. STREET - DAY THREE
As Loren walks Rose back to the Gold Nugget.
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.
Thought you were goin' to California to find a husband.
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.
I'm afraid you have set a very high standard for any one else to
meet, Mr. Bray.
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.
The three men stunned by the image.
+ANGLE ON LOREN AND ROSE
Neither of whom seems particularly interested in ending their "date."
Thank you for a lovely afternoon, 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
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
You actually thinkin' about buying one a them wives?
What if I am? Ain't I got a right to be happy if I want to?
Don't seem like you is all. You ain't doin' this for -- some other
(daring him to say it)
What other reason?
Maybe you're tryin' to get back at somebody or somethin'.
This is between me 'n Rose.
Hate ta see ya make a fool a' yerself is all.
Guess I'll decide that for myself.
Loren walks off.
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.
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.
At first I thought you meant keep things simple for Sister Ruth.
But that isn't what you were talking about, is it?
'Course it is. What else could it be?
It could be that -- you're making things easy for yourself.
Easy for me?!
If you don't tell her the truth, you won't have to deal with her
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.
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
How can she ever recover from that?
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.
If that's what you're afraid of, you don't know how much she loves
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
END OF ACT THREE
EXT. GRACE'S CAFE - DAY THREE
Mike is having a cup of coffee when Sister Ruth walks up.
I come ta tell ya goodbye --
Goodbye -- ?
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.
Wants ta stop in Denver, get the divorce, go on the rest a the way
Mike feels terrible.
And what do you want to do?
Leave him be, I guess.
Mike's heart goes out to her.
Sister Ruth --
Some things're not ours to understand, Dr. Mike. I can make peace
But Mike is having a hard time doing the same.
Like ta ask ya one more favor. If you're up to it.
I'm on my way over to the church -- I wonder if you'd come pray
Mike nods, numbly and puts her arm around Sister Ruth as they start
towards the church.
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.
Didn't mean ta interrupt ya.
Did you -- need somethin'?
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.
She puts away her work and gives her attention to Loren.
I guess ya heard some a the rumors around town.
-- an I didn't think it'd be fair to do anythin' without tellin'
Tellin' me -- what?
About -- you know -- about me askin' Rose to marry me.
Dorothy is filled with relief, surprise and complete bewilderment.
Aw, don't act like ya ain't seen me squirin' her around town.
Oh! Rose. Marry you?
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.
Well, I -- I appreciate your thoughtfulness, Loren. I do.
So -- you don't think I should ask her?
Do you want to?
'Course I want to. Ya think I'd do something s'all out foolish if
I didn't want to do it?
Well, that's the main thing, isn't it? If you want to, I mean. It
doesn't really matter what I think.
But I will tell you, what I think is, she's a lucky girl.
If you love her, yes.
Oh. Love. Yeah. Well.
There's a long beat of silence between them as Loren tries to figure
out where to go from here.
Was there anythin' else you wanted to talk about?
He looks at her, brought out of his reverie.
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
EXT. CHURCH - NEAR CEMETARY - DAY THREE
Mike and Sister Ruth stop walking near the cemetary.
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.
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.
Perhaps there's some reason he just can't talk about.
Shouldn't be anythin' a man can't tell his wife.
I agree with you -- but if for some reason, there is -- you shouldn't
think of it as a failing on your part.
You shouldn't think of it as a failing on anyone's part.
If there's somethin' I've left unsaid -- or undone -- that coulda
helped Kid Cole with whatever his trouble is right now...
(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
Sister Ruth begins to understand something as Kid Cole approaches
and Mike tries not to give anything away.
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.
(to Sister Ruth)
Like ta talk to ya, if I could.
Mike prepares to leave.
I'll give you two some privacy.
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.
'Sides. You're the doctor. She should prob'ly hear it from you.
She looks to Mike.
Sister Ruth --
It's the consumption, ain't it? It's back.
I'm afraid so.
Truth is, it never went away.
He was trying to protect you --
Th' Hell I was. I was protectin' myself. Like you said.
I'm dyin'. An' it ain't gonna be an easy road. I'd understand if
you'd rather not stick around.
Not stick around?
That's inconceivable to her. She tries to help him understand.
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:
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
+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.
Kid Cole "mock" inspects it.
Good as when ya gave it t'me.
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.
(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.
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.
Almost missed ya.
I was beginning to think you weren't going to come.
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.
Another -- day?
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.
You're a beautiful girl, Rose. Smart, too. 'N sweet.
But not someone you would like for your wife.
I'd like it a lot. But I ain't gonna do that.
In Philadelphia -- it would be improper for a girl to ask -- why
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.
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.
Oh. Brought ya somethin'.
He hands her the gift. She opens it. It's one of the candles. She
looks up at him.
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.
Take care a yourself out there.
Kid Cole nods.
(quietly, fiercely, to Mike)
Hold on to your family and remember that we love you.
We love you, too.
She turns to Kid Cole. She throws her arms around him. He is touched
by the love she shows him.
Thanks for talkin' sense ta me, Dr. Mike.
I didn't say anything you hadn't already said to yourself.
Yeah -- but you said it a lot louder.
(overcome with sadness)
How can I say goodbye to you!
Goodbye ain't necessarily goodbye, Michaela. Ya never know what
He holds her tight and then he kisses Katie, leans down to shake
You keep an eye on that little girl, for me.
Kid Cole opens the door of the stage coach for Sister Ruth. As she
starts to step up into the coach, he stops her.
(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.
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.
They wave and yell goodbye until the last of the dust has settled.