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POINT BLANK

Written by Carl Binder / Directed by James Keach


TEASER
FADE IN:
INT. CLINIC DAY ONE (FEBRUARY, EIGHTEEN SEVENTY-THREE)
It's just another day at the clinic...
MIKE finishes examining seven-year-old BUTCH, a rambunctious snot of a kid who can't seem to sit still. His battle-weary MOTHER watches as Mike listens to Butch's breathing with her stethoscope.
MIKE
His lungs are clear. He seems to be over the catarrh.
As Mike pulls the stethoscope away, Butch grabs the chest piece and playfully yells into it:
BUTCH
HEY!!
Mike recoils at the sharp sound, wincing as she pulls the stethoscope from her ears.
MOTHER
(to Butch) Behave yourself.
Mike tries to brush it off with a smile.
MIKE
It's all right. I'm just glad to see his spirits so.... rejuvenated. (ushering them to door) I think it's safe for him to return to school now.
The mother sighs with relief -- not that Butch is well again, but that he'll be out of the house.
MOTHER
Hallelujah. Thanks, Dr. Mike.
And out they go. Mike moves to her desk, her ears still ringing. As she sits to update Butch's chart, BRIAN comes in the side door and fetches his school books (which sit on the table by the front door).
BRIAN
Katie's down for her nap.
MIKE
Thank you, Brian.
BRIAN
Ma, after school, can I ride out to help Sully with his survey?
MIKE
Oh, Brian, I was hoping you'd help me in the garden this afternoon. You've been so busy with school and the Gazette, I hardly get to spend time with you anymore.
Brian's disappointed he can't go with Sully, but he sees how much this means to Mike.
BRIAN
All right.
There's a KNOCK at the door, and DOROTHY sticks her head in as Brian goes out.
BRIAN
(to Mike) See ya later. (as he goes) Hey, Miss Dorothy.
DOROTHY
Mornin', Brian. (turns to Mike) join me for lunch today, Michaela?
MIKE
That sounds nice. Katie just went down for her nap. When she wakes, we'll come over.
DOROTHY
Look forward to it.
She goes out. Mike turns back to her work, updating the chart in peaceful silence. The only sound heard is the steady ticking of the clock on the wall.
After a moment, another KNOCK is heard at the door. Mike looks up to it, expecting whoever it is to come in. But they don't.
MIKE
(calling) Come in.
The door remains closed. Instead, another KNOCK is heard. Mike reacts -- that's odd -- then stands and moves to the door.
She opens it to reveal a MAN standing there, mid-forties, wearing a proper suit and hat. But there's something uneasy about him. He seems nervous.
MIKE
Can I help you?
The man hesitates, a bit puzzled. He peers into the clinic, then back at Mike, noting her medical smock.
MAN
Are you the doctor?
MIKE
Yes. Dr. Michaela Quinn.
She offers a friendly smile, but it quickly vanishes as the man suddenly reaches into his coat and pulls out a revolver.
As he aims it directly at Mike:
CUT TO:
INT. GOLD NUGGET - SAME TIME - DAY ONE
HANK is at the bar, when a GUNSHOT is heard from across the street. The BARTENDER and PATRONS hear it as well, but Hank's the first one to the door.
EXT. GOLD NUGGET/CLINIC - CONTINUOUS - DAY ONE
Hank comes out in time to see the man rushing away from the clinic, quickly mounting his horse. TOWNSFOLK scatter as he gallops off, disappearing around the corner.
AT THE GENERAL STORE
LOREN and CLOUD DANCING come out, also having heard the shot (Cloud Dancing is holding an elaborately woven blanket hoping Loren would sell it in the store). They look over to see:
HANK
as he runs to the open clinic door:
HANK
Michaela!
INT. CLINIC CONTINUOUS - DAY ONE
Hank rushes in, freezing for a moment when he sees:
MIKE
lying on the floor, bleeding from a gunshot wound just below her left collar bone. She looks up at Hank, fear blanketing her face as he rushes to her side.
MIKE
(struggling) Hank...
HANK
Hang on, Michaela... hang on...
He quickly scoops her up in his arms and barrels out of the clinic.
EXT. CLINIC - CONTINUOUS - DAY ONE
Loren and Cloud Dancing hurry over and react with shock at the sight of Mike's gunshot wound as Hank urgently looks around for a wagon. This all happens fast and furious:
LOREN
Dr. Mike!
HANK
We need a wagon! somebody get a wagon!
Cloud Dancing and Loren hurry off to look for a wagon. Dorothy, having heard the gunshot, is on her way over from the Gazette. She sees the blood staining Mike's shoulder and gasps in horror.
DOROTHY
Oh my God! Michaela!
HANK
Gotta get her to Andrew's.
From inside the clinic, we hear KATIE CRY.
DOROTHY
I'll get Katie.
CLOUD DANCING
(calling to Hank) Over here!
Cloud Dancing leads Hank and Loren around the corner, where a wagon is parked beside the Sheriff's Office. Other TOWNSFOLK rush to help the men load Mike into the back.
LOREN
I'll find Sully.
HANK
And get Daniel. Tell him the guy who shot her rode outta town, headin' south. Bay horse, white stripe on the nose.
Loren runs off as Hank climbs into the wagon with Mike, cradling her head in his lap. She looks up at him, lapsing into unconsciousness.
MIKE
(barely audible) ... pressure...
She motions to her wound. Hank quickly applies pressure to the wound with his hand as Cloud Dancing finishes untethering the team and jumps up in the driver's seat.
HANK
Hang on, Michaela. Keep talkin' to me... (to Cloud Dancing) Let's go!
Cloud Dancing snaps the reins hard. Stunned townsfolk clear the way as the wagon jolts forward, hurrying out of town as we:
FADE OUT.
END OF TEASER
ACT ONE
FADE IN:
EXT. SPRINGS CHATEAU - DAY ONE
Cloud Dancing drives the wagon as fast as the team will take them, pulling up to the Chateau.
HANK
(calling out) Andrew! Andrew!
GUESTS react with horror as they see Mike in the back, now unconscious, blood soaking her dress and smock.
CLOUD DANCING
(to the guests) Get Dr. Cook!
ANDREW'S already running out of his clinic, hurrying over to Hank. He takes one look at Mike and knows this is very bad.
ANDREW
Take her inside. Quickly.
Hank carries Mike inside, with Andrew and Cloud Dancing trailing close behind.
INT. ANDREW'S CLINIC - CONTINUOUS - DAY ONE
The door slams open, and Hank carries Mike in, laying her on the examination table as Andrew immediately goes to work, cutting her dress at the shoulder to inspect the wound. Cloud Dancing hovers close by, concerned.
ANDREW
She's losing a lot of blood. The bullet must've hit the subclavian artery.
HANK
She gonna die?
Andrew doesn't answer -- he's busy gathering instruments, preparing for emergency surgery. He indicates his medicine cabinet as he looks to Hank.
ANDREW
(fast, urgent) Hank, the bottle on the top shelf, on the right. Carbolic acid. I want you to first wipe the blood away with a clean cloth, then spray the wound with the acid. Cloud Dancing, there are fresh linens in that drawer.
The men go to work as Andrew continues gathering instruments. But his frustration builds when he realizes he doesn't have the main item he needs:
ANDREW
Damn!
HANK
What?
ANDREW
I'm going to need very fine suturing thread to sew up the artery.
CLOUD DANCING
You do not have any?
ANDREW
I asked Preston for some months ago... but he said it wasn't necessary at a "Health Resort."
HANK
I seen Michaela use sewin' thread to stitch a wound, once.
Andrew looks down at Mike -- time is of the essence.
ANDREW
I guess we don't have much choice.
Cloud Dancing takes this cue and hurries out of the clinic.
EXT. CHATEAU CONTINUOUS - DAY ONE
Guests react -- some nervous, some visibly frightened -- as Cloud Dancing runs out and moves among them with urgency:
CLOUD DANCING
Does anyone have sewing thread? (to a woman) Dr. Cook needs sewing thread.
The woman's husband quickly leads the frightened woman away. AN OLD WOMAN nearby calls to Cloud Dancing:
OLD WOMAN
I have some.
Cloud Dancing rushes to her. She opens her handbag and begins slowing sifting through it.
OLD WOMAN
Let me see... I know I have some black thread in here somewhere...
Cloud Dancing tries to be patient, but the woman is taking her time. Finally he can wait no more and snatches the bag from her, dumping out the contents. He finds the thread and picks it up, calling apologetically over his shoulder to the woman as he runs back to the clinic:
CLOUD DANCING
Thank you.
INT. ANDREW'S CLINIC - MOMENTS LATER - DAY ONE
A chloroform cloth is draped over Mike's face as Andrew operates on her. He's very nervous -- it's all he can do to keep his hands steady. Hank and Cloud Dancing are beside him, assisting.
ANDREW
There's the artery, just beneath the clavicle. The bullet creased it. A fraction of an inch further and the laceration would've been irreparable.
Hank casts a glance at Andrew, who's trying not to buckle under the intense pressure.
HANK
You all right?
Andrew manages a nod, but then quietly reveals:
ANDREW
I've never done this kind of procedure before.
The room falls silent as Andrew picks up the suturing needle and thread and goes to work.
DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. CHATEAU LATER - DAY ONE
A few of the townsfolk are now gathered in front of the Chateau, waiting for word on Mike.
Brian stands beside Dorothy, who holds KATIE. Brian is silent, fighting to keep his emotions in check. His eyes are glued to the door of Andrew's clinic, refusing to look away.
JAKE is also here. He leans close to Dorothy, lowering his voice so Brian won't hear:
JAKE
Anybody seen who shot her?
DOROTHY
Hank did. Loren found Daniel, gave him a description. He rode out after the guy.
Loren rides up on his horse. As he dismounts:
LOREN
Any word?
JAKE
Nothin' yet.
LOREN
I found Matthew. He said Sully's up in the hills, on a survey. He's ridin' out to get him.
Loren steps over to Brian, putting a comforting hand on his shoulder. The moment is broken by Cloud Dancing, who comes out of Andrew's clinic. Everyone waits anxiously as he steps over to them.
CLOUD DANCING
She has survived the operation. But she has lost a lot of blood.
JAKE
She gonna live?
Cloud Dancing hesitates, casting a troubled look at Brian... then:
CLOUD DANCING
Andrew says it is still too early to know.
BRIAN
Can I see her?
CLOUD DANCING
Yes. They are moving her into one of the rooms.
Brian goes into Andrew's clinic as Dorothy turns to Loren.
DOROTHY
Will you have Horace wire Colleen? She needs to know about this.
LOREN
Course.
Loren and Jake move off, as Dorothy follows Cloud Dancing back into the clinic.
EXT. VALLEY IN HILLS - DAY ONE
SULLY, with WOLF nearby, surveys a valley, jotting notes on a pad as he works.
MATTHEW (O.S.)
(calling) Sully!
Sully turns to see MATTHEW riding toward him at breakneck speed. As he rides up, Sully sees the worried look on his face.
SULLY
What's wrong?
MATTHEW
It's Dr. Mike... (beat, difficult) She's been shot.
This hits Sully hard. He stands there absorbing the impact, imagining the worst.
MATTHEW
They took her out to Andrew --
Sully doesn't wait to hear more. He drops his pad and leaves his surveying equipment behind as he mounts his horse and gallops off. Matthew rides after him.
INT. CHATEAU - MIKE'S ROOM - DAY ONE
Mike in bed, unconscious, as Andrew listens to her heart with his stethoscope.
Brian sits beside her bed, watching her, struggling hard to keep his sorrow from overwhelming him. Dorothy sits across the room with Katie.
Andrew finishes, tries not to show his deep concern. But Brian picks up on it. Andrew puts a hand on his shoulder before going out. Dorothy sees Brian struggling and knows he needs some time alone with Mike. She stands, picks up Katie.
DOROTHY
I'll be just outside if you need me.
Brian nods, and Dorothy goes out. Brian looks down at Mike, then reaches over, taking her hand.
BRIAN
(softly) Ma... it's me, Brian... I'm here... (beat, tears welling) Don't leave us, Ma... please don't leave us...
He can no longer hold back the tears. He lowers his head and cries, clutching Mike's hand in his.
EXT. WOODS - LATE AFTERNOON - DAY ONE
Cloud Dancing sits alone on the ground, circled by several small cloth bundles containing tobacco. He gazes skyward, deep in prayer, his eyes searching, pleading...
EXT. CHATEAU - NIGHT ONE (STOCK)
INT. CHATEAU - MIKE'S ROOM - NIGHT ONE
CLOSE ON MIKE, still lying unconscious. But now her eyes flutter a bit... and then slowly open. Disoriented, she startles, frightened, until a HAND reaches out to her, gently stroking her hair.
SULLY (O.S.)
Shhh...
Mike turns to see:
SULLY
now sitting beside her bed. Behind him are COLLEEN, Matthew and Brian, all looking greatly relieved to see Mike awake.
Colleen's holding Katie, although Mike doesn't see her at first.
MIKE
(barely a whisper) Sully...
SULLY
It's all right. Don't try to talk, just rest --
MIKE
(fear returning) Katie...
Colleen steps forward, showing Katie to Mike.
COLLEEN
She's right here, Ma.
Mike looks up at Katie and settles.
SULLY
Everyone's safe, Michaela...
Mike looks back at Sully, who continues to stroke her hair and face. He came very close to losing her, and the relief of seeing her finally awake brings his emotions to the surface. Tears well in his eyes as he gives her a comforting smile.
SULLY
It's gonna be all right.
Mike manages a weak nod, then drifts back to sleep under Sully's gentle touch.
DISSOLVE TO:
INT. CHATEAU - MIKE'S ROOM - DAY TWO
It's two days later. Mike is awake now, still weak, but looking much better. As Andrew examines her wound and stitches for signs of bleeding and infection, Mike talks with Sully, who hasn't left her side.
MIKE
(slowly, still a bit labored) I'd never seen him before... He was well dressed, as if held just stepped off the train... (beat, difficult) He asked if I was the doctor. That was when he...
She stops short for a moment, unable to continue. Sully takes her hand in his, consoling her. After a beat:
MIKE
I remember Hank coming in... carrying me out of the clinic. Then... nothing.
Mike falls silent again as Andrew finishes taking her pulse.
ANDREW
Your pulse is strengthening. There's no indication of further bleeding or infection. (smiles) I think it's safe for you to go home now.
Mike smiles, relieved.
ANDREW
But you still need rest. Two weeks, at least, to give the artery plenty of time to heal.
SULLY
She will. I'll make sure of it.
ANDREW
Good.
SULLY
I'll get the wagon ready.
Sully goes out. Andrew's about to follow him, when Mike's voice stops him:
MIKE
Andrew... (he stops, looks back) Thank you.
Andrew smiles and nods, feeling a mixture of relief and great pride, before going out.
EXT. HOMESTEAD - DAY TWO
Cloud Dancing waits in front of the homestead with Wolf as the family wagon pulls up, with Sully driving. Brian is in the back with Mike, who reclines on a pad of several blankets. Matthew rides his horse alongside.
Following behind the wagon is Andrew's surrey, with Andrew driving and Colleen beside him, holding Katie (Mike's still too weak to hold her in the wagon).
The wagons stop, and Cloud Dancing, Sully, Matthew and Brian all hurry to help Mike down. She moves gingerly, still in a lot of pain, but thrilled to be home.
CLOUD DANCING
Ha-ho.
MIKE
Cloud Dancing.
She hugs him.
CLOUD DANCING
How are you feeling?
She looks up, her pain washing away at the sight of her house.
MIKE
Better, now that I'm home.
SULLY
C'mon... easy does it...
Brian quickly goes to open the door as Sully, Cloud Dancing and Matthew help Mike up the stairs. But before they can get inside:
LOREN (O.S.)
(calling) Dr. Mike! Sully!
Everyone turns to see:
LOREN AND JAKE
riding up in a buggy (Jake at the reins), brimming with excitement. Loren's waving a telegram as they pull to a stop and climb out, both eager to break the good news:
LOREN
Telegram just come in --
JAKE
It's from Daniel.
LOREN
He was headin' south, see, on the old stage trail, couple hours outta town, when --
JAKE
(cuts to the chase) He caught the guy who shot you.
Loren gives Jake a chiding look.
MATTHEW
(pleased) He got 'im?
JAKE
(nods) And get this -- turns out the guy's wanted for murderin' three doctors in the territory.
ANDREW
Three... ?
Mike reacts, stunned by this.
LOREN
His wife died durin' an operation in Denver. He got so mad, he killed the doctor who operated on her --
JAKE
Then started takin' revenge on every other doctor in the territory.
LOREN
But don't you worry, Dr. Mike. Daniel took him on in to Denver for trial. (big smile) He'll be swingin' from a rope by the end of the week.
Mike absorbs this news in silence. Loren and Jake exchange a look -- they thought she'd be more excited about it. After a beat, Loren looks back to Mike.
LOREN
Well... it sure is good seen' you feelin' better, Dr. Mike.
MIKE
Thank you, Loren.
SULLY
We appreciate you bringin' us the news.
Loren and Jake nod, as Sully, Cloud Dancing and Matthew lead Mike inside.
INT. MIKE AND SULLY'S BEDROOM - DAY TWO
Sully leads Mike in, where she sits on the bed, completely exhausted.
MIKE
It's so good to be back in my own bed. I feel like I could sleep for days.
She lies across the covers, savoring the comfort of the bed, as Sully pours her a glass of water from the ewer.
SULLY
Go right ahead. You need as much rest as you can get.
MIKE
Sully...
He turns to her. Mike grows quiet, reaching out to him. He sets the glass down and steps over to her, taking her hand. She pulls him to her, kissing him deeply.
Sully crawls onto the bed beside her, cupping her body in his, carefully wrapping his arms around her. Mike settles in, slowly drifting off to sleep in his protective embrace.
EXT. HOMESTEAD - PORCH - DAY TWO
Andrew sits on the porch alone, waiting for Colleen, who finally comes out of the house and moves to him. Her mood is quiet, still disturbed by the events of the last few days.
COLLEEN
Finally got Katie to sleep.
ANDREW
(standing) I suppose I should head back to the Chateau.
Colleen nods. Andrew looks at her.
ANDREW
Are you all right?
Colleen sits, shaking her head.
COLLEEN
Still can't believe this happened...
ANDREW
(sitting beside her) I know. It's terrible.
COLLEEN
And in the clinic... where you're s'posed to be safe...
ANDREW
My uncle used to tell me that doctors were like clergymen, protected from harm against the evils of the world. (quiets a beat) Times are changing.
Colleen considers this in troubled silence. Andrew puts his arm around her, comforting her. Colleen leans into him as we slowly:
DISSOLVE TO:
INT. MIKE AND SULLY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT TWO
It's late -- Mike and Sully lie in bed, asleep. We slowly PUSH IN on Mike, and as we do, we begin moving into her dream... first through sound -- the steady TICKING of a CLOCK... and then a sudden KNOCK on the door jolts us into:
INT. CLINIC - DAY ONE (MIKE'S DREAM)
where Mike is once again at her desk, updating charts... but the colors are different now, and the mood is heightened. The KNOCK is heard again, this time louder, more insistent.
Mike looks up at the door. She hesitates in fear -- she knows what's behind it, but is forced to relive the moment.
MIKE
Come in.
But the door remains closed. Mike wants to run, to get away from here, but instead she finds herself standing and walking slowly to the door...
CLOSE ON THE DOORKNOB
as the KNOCK is heard again.
ON MIKE
wanting to scream for help, but she can't. All she can do is approach the door, step by torturous step. She reaches out, grabs hold of the doorknob.
MIKE
(quietly, knowing what happens next) No... please...
The KNOCK again, this time BANGING hard. Mike turns the knob and swings open the door, but just as we catch a glimpse of the man:
SMASH CUT BACK TO:
INT. MIKE AND SULLY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT TWO (AS BEFORE)
Mike wakes with a start, which also wakes Sully. For a brief moment, Mike is disoriented, frightened...
SULLY
Michaela... what is it?
The sound of Sully's voice brings Mike back to the present. She realizes where she is and settles, taking a deep, calming breath.
MIKE
A dream... (beat, recalling it) I was back in the clinic, and the...
She quiets, unable to continue. Sully puts his arms around her again.
SULLY
It's all right. It's over -- no one's gonna hurt you... (kisses her) You're safe now.
Mike nods, trying to settle into his embrace.
SULLY
(gently) Go to sleep.
Sully back and closes his eyes, but Mike's eyes stay open. We can see she's clearly shaken by this -- this trauma is far from over. And it's on her troubled expression that we:
FADE OUT.
END OF ACT ONE
ACT TWO
FADE IN:
INT. HOMESTEAD - MORNING - DAY THREE
It's two weeks later. Brian and Matthew clear the breakfast dishes as Colleen finishes feeding Katie. Mike is all smiles as she comes downstairs, looking fully recovered and dressed for work. She's looking through her medical bag for something:
MIKE
Have any of you seen my stethoscope?
BRIAN
I think I saw it on the table by the fireplace. I'll get it.
Brian moves off to get the stethoscope as Matthew turns to Mike.
MATTHEW
Sure you're feelin' up to this?
MIKE
Andrew says I'm fit to return to work, and I must admit -- after two weeks of being cooped up in bed, I'm looking forward to getting out of the house.
COLLEEN
Just remember to take it easy. Don't push yourself too hard.
MIKE
I won't.
Brian returns with Mike's stethoscope.
MIKE
Thank you, Brian. (back to Colleen) You should think about returning to school as well.
COLLEEN
I might wait a few days, just to make sure everythin's all right here.
Mike beams with pride at the three of them.
MIKE
Thank you for helping me get through this. I love you all so much.
Sully comes in the front door, turns to Mike.
SULLY
Wagon's ready. Don't wanna be late your first day back.
Mike smiles and starts out after Sully.
EXT. COLORADO SPRINGS - DAY THREE
Mike and Sully ride down the street in the wagon (from the direction of the Train Station). Various townsfolk welcome her with smiles and waves as she and Sully ride by.
Jake calls to Mike from the porch of the Barbershop.
JAKE
Welcome back, Dr. Mike.
MIKE
Thank you, Jake.
Loren, stocking vegetables in front of the General Store, gives Mike a smile and a wave:
LOREN
Good to see you back, Dr. Mike.
MIKE
It's good to be back.
Mike and Sully share a smile, then turn the corner and head to:
THE CLINIC
where Mike's smile suddenly fades as she catches sight of the clinic door. An uneasiness is kindled inside her -- something SULLY notices. As they pull to a stop:
SULLY
You all right?
Mike turns to Sully, trying to shake it off.
MIKE
Yes... I'm fine.
Sully climbs down and moves to help Mike down from the wagon.
SULLY
You want me to stay with you today?
MIKE
No. No, of course not.
SULLY
I'll just see you inside, then --
MIKE
It's all right, Sully. I'll be fine. (looks back at the clinic door) I'm just... a little nervous, I suppose.
SULLY
Only natural your first day back.
Mike nods, then smiles, feeling self-conscious and a little embarrassed about this. She kisses him, then repeats to herself:
MIKE
I'll be fine.
She draws a deep breath, settling herself, and goes into the clinic. Sully watches until the door is closed before climbing back in the wagon and riding off.
INT. CLINIC - CONTINUOUS - DAY THREE
Mike stands inside the door a moment, looking around. The place has been cleaned up -- all traces of the shooting have been eliminated.
She sets her medical bag down, then slips off her coat and hat and moves to her desk. She sits, trying to shake off this disturbing feeling that won't seem to go away. Instead, it builds, amplified by the TICKING of the clock on the wall.
Mike forces herself to go to work, turning her attention to the files on her desk. She's about to open one, when:
There's a KNOCK at the door.
Mike freezes, a wave of fear shooting through her body. She turns to the door, and it opens, revealing Hank. Mike quickly tries to cover her fear by opening a file and pretending to read through it -- a move that doesn't go unnoticed by Hank. She looks at him, manages a pleasant smile.
MIKE
Hello Hank.
HANK
Welcome back, Michaela.
MIKE
Thank you.
HANK
Good to see you up an' about again.
MIKE
Yes. It's good to be back at work.
A quiet beat, then Hank turns to leave.
MIKE
Hank...
He stops, looks at her.
MIKE
(heartfelt) I want to thank you... for saving my life.
HANK
That was Andrew's doin', not mine.
MIKE
But you were the one who found me, the one who took me to him. And for that I'm grateful.
Hank's uncomfortable by Mike's sincerity -- he's not quite sure how to respond to it.
HANK
Yeah, well... you're welcome.
He goes out, shutting the door behind him. The sound of the door CLOSING brings back the unsettled feeling in Mike. She looks around the room, her senses heightened. She stares up at the clock, whose TICKING seems to have gotten louder.
Mike shakes her head, frustrated by this uneasiness, trying to shake herself free of it. She decides to busy herself, carrying some charts to the file cabinet to file them.
But once again, another KNOCK on the door startles her. She spins toward it as the door opens, revealing Dorothy.
DOROTHY
Michaela, you're back! You look wonderful.
MIKE
Thank you, Dorothy.
DOROTHY
You all right? You need anythin'?
MIKE
No... No, I'm... fine. Thankfully it's a slow day.
DOROTHY
Well, I'm right next door. Holler if you need me.
MIKE
I will.
Dorothy goes out, once again plunging the room into silence.
Mike stands there, trying to calm herself. The depth of her fear has surprised her... and clearly unnerved her. And the more she tries to clear her mind of it, the more she finds herself staring at the clinic door... fixated on it... wondering just when another knock will be heard... and whose knock it will be...
After a long, torturous moment, she can stand it no more. She quickly moves to get her coat, hat and medical bag.
She stops at the door, hesitating a moment, the fear returning. She peeks through the curtains on the door's window, then, satisfied, she opens the door and goes out.
INT. HOMESTEAD - NIGHT THREE
Sully, Mike, Matthew, Colleen, Brian and Katie sit around the table eating dinner. The events of the day have left Mike rattled, but she's trying hard not to let it show. After a quiet moment:
MATTHEW
(to Mike) So... How'd it go? (off her look) Your first day back at work.
MIKE
(beat, smiles) It was nice.
BRIAN
The whole town was talkin' about it. Everybody was so glad to see you back.
MIKE
Yes. They were all very kind.
Mike suddenly feels the need to get away from the table. She turns her attention to the fireplace.
MIKE
The fire's dying.
She stands and moves to the fireplace, poking at the fire. Matthew, picking up on Mike's uneasiness, turns to Sully. Mike pretends not to see the look of concern passing between the two as she continues to poke at the roaring fire.
EXT. HOMESTEAD - MORNING - DAY FOUR
Sully is saddling two horses, preparing to ride into town with Mike. After a moment, Mike comes out of the house, without her coat and hat.
SULLY
Almost ready here.
MIKE
I, um... I may have rushed myself in going back to work.
Sully stops working and turns to her. She looks tired and drawn, as if she didn't get much sleep last night.
MIKE
I've been feeling somewhat lightheaded... especially this morning, when I came down for breakfast.
SULLY
I'll get Andrew --
MIKE
(quickly) No... (then) I'm sure I'll be fine. Another day's rest should suffice.
Sully studies her a moment, suspecting there may be more to this. But she really does look tired and weak, and so he nods, his voice understanding:
SULLY
All right, then. Why don't you go lie down.
Mike nods, then turns and goes back inside.
INT. HOMESTEAD - LATER - DAY FOUR
Colleen sits at the table, doing school work. She glances up to see Mike asleep in a chair in front of the fire, covered by a blanket. Pleased to see Mike getting the rest she needs, Colleen goes back to her school work.
ON MIKE
sound asleep... but dreaming again... and as we PUSH IN on her, we once again move into her dream... first with the sound of the TICKING CLOCK... and then the sudden, sharp KNOCK:
SMASH CUT TO:
INT. CLINIC - DAY ONE (MIKE'S DREAM)
The doorknob rattles with the KNOCKING.
Mike slowly makes her way to the door, eyes wide in paralyzing fear.
CLOSE ON THE DOOR
and through the curtains, we now see a shadowy figure looming outside.
ON MIKE
wanting to scream, but she can't. All she can do is reach out and grab hold of the doorknob.
MIKE
(quietly, knowing what happens next) No... please...
The KNOCK again, this time BANGING hard.
Mike turns the knob and swings open the door, revealing the man. But he doesn't look nervous -- in Mike's dream, his eyes are cold and intense, burning into hers.
MAN
Are you the doctor?
Mike hesitates, not wanting to answer.
MIKE
Yes.
The man suddenly reaches into his coat and pulls out a revolver. As he aims it directly at Mike:
SMASH CUT BACK TO:
INT. HOMESTEAD - DAY FOUR (AS BEFORE)
Mike wakes with a jolt:
MIKE
No!
Colleen startles, seeing the look of terror in Mike's eyes.
COLLEEN
Ma?
She hurries over to Mike's side as Mike looks around, gradually realizing where she is and what just happened.
COLLEEN
Ma, you all right?
MIKE
Colleen... I, uh... I must've... must've been dreaming...
COLLEEN
Can I get you anythin'?
Mike sees how distraught this has made Colleen, and tries hard to brush it off.
MIKE
No, I'm... (then) Actually, a glass of water would be nice...
Colleen hurries off to get the water as Mike leans back in the chair, trying to settle herself. But clearly this dream has left her more shaken than the first one.
DISSOLVE TO:
INT. MIKE AND SULLY'S BEDROOM - MORNING - DAY FIVE
CLOSE ON MIKE, lying in bed, eyes wide open. After a moment the sound of approaching FOOTSTEPS gets her attention. She closes her eyes, pretending to be asleep as the door opens, and Sully comes in.
He crouches beside her, gently touching her arm. She pretends to wake, smiling up at him.
SULLY
Mornin'.
MIKE
Good morning.
SULLY
How you feelin'?
MIKE
Better.
SULLY
Still wanna go to work?
MIKE
(beat) Of course...
As Mike slowly sits up:
SULLY
Colleen's got breakfast downstairs. I'll get the horses ready.
Mike nods. Sully kisses her on the cheek, then starts out. But as he gets to the door:
MIKE
Sully...
Sully stops, looks back at her. Although she's trying very hard to suppress it, her anxiety is becoming increasingly difficult to mask.
MIKE
Perhaps... perhaps one more day. I'm still feeling a little tired.
Sully gives her a long look... then crouches beside her again.
SULLY
You have another bad dream?
MIKE
No...
SULLY
Colleen told me about the one you had yesterday --
MIKE
Sully, I'm fine. I'm just... I'm still feeling a little lightheaded, that's all --
SULLY
I'm bringin' Andrew out here.
MIKE
You don't have to --
SULLY
(with compassion) I'm worried about you, Michaela. Wanna make sure you're all right.
Mike sees the growing concern in his eyes, then quietly relents with a nod.
INT. HOMESTEAD - DAY FIVE
Mike sits in silence as Andrew listens to her heartbeat with his stethoscope. Sully, Matthew, Colleen and Brian watch on, trading looks with Mike, who's feeling very self-conscious about this check-up.
Satisfied with what he hears, Andrew finishes and puts away his stethoscope.
ANDREW
Your heart is strong, Michaela, and the incision is completely healed. As far as I can see, you're perfectly healthy.
SULLY
But she's been feelin' tired a lot.
ANDREW
That's to be expected after a two week convalescence. (to Mike) As you know, in time, your strength will return. (back to Sully) But I see no reason why she can't return to work now.
All eyes turn back to Mike, who forces a smile, trying her best to look thrilled by this news.
MIKE
That's a relief.
Andrew returns her smile, but Sully can see the uncertainty beneath it, and knows there are much deeper problems here.
EXT. HOMESTEAD - MOMENTS LATER - DAY FIVE
Sully, Matthew and Colleen walk Andrew out to his surrey.
SULLY
Thanks for lookin' in on her.
ANDREW
My pleasure. I only hope Michaela is reassured by it.
SULLY
Yeah, well... sometimes gettin' the body healed is only the beginnin'.
Andrew gives Sully a quizzical look. Colleen fills Andrew in:
COLLEEN
She's been havin' nightmares.
ANDREW
Nightmares are not uncommon following such a trauma. They should dissipate over time.
COLLEEN
But they seem to be gettin' worse.
MATTHEW
I been readin' about soldiers from the War, how they have nightmares 'bout the battles. Gets to the point where some can't even set foot in places that look like the battlefield.
SULLY
I saw the same thing in the minin' camps, after cave-ins. Men'd just as soon kill themselves than go back in after that.
ANDREW
Are you suggesting Michaela's purposefully avoiding going back to the clinic?
Sully, Matthew and Colleen exchange a look -- this is exactly what they've been thinking. Sully turns back to Andrew.
SULLY
I think she's scared, but doesn't wanna admit it to anyone... or herself.
Andrew considers this a moment.
MATTHEW
Prob'ly thinks that if she doesn't talk about it, it'll go away somehow.
SULLY
Problem is, it won't go away 'til she does talk about it.
The group falls silent, realizing the painful road ahead for Mike.
INT. HOMESTEAD - MORNING - DAY SIX
Mike nibbles at her oatmeal breakfast as she glances over the latest edition of the Gazette. Colleen sits beside her, helping Katie eat her breakfast. Matthew comes downstairs, kisses Mike before scooping himself a bowl of oatmeal.
MATTHEW
Mornin'.
MIKE
Good morning, Matthew.
MATTHEW
(re: the Gazette) Anythin' interesting?
MIKE
Dorothy's written a wonderful article about Jake and Teresa's wedding. She's really become quite a talented writer.
Mike looks up from the paper, a thought hitting her.
MIKE
I should try my hand at writing. I think I'd enjoy it.
Brian comes in the front door, looks at Mike.
BRIAN
Sully's got the wagon hitched. You ready?
Mike turns to Brian, hesitating. She looks at Colleen and Katie, then down at the breakfast bowls.
MATTHEW
You go on ahead. We'll clean up breakfast.
Mike looks at Matthew, who gives her an encouraging, compassionate smile. Mike forces a smile back, then nods and stands. She puts on her coat and hat, then lifts Katie from her chair.
MIKE
What do you say, Katie? Are you ready to go to work with me?
Mike casts another look at Matthew and Colleen, before following Brian out.
EXT. HOMESTEAD - CONTINUOUS - DAY SIX
Mike steps outside, and as soon as she hits the porch, the same uneasiness she felt earlier in the clinic hits her again.
Sully, standing down by the wagon, watches as she pauses on the steps, trying not to let her increasing anxiety overwhelm her. She continues toward the wagon, each step becoming more arduous.
Matthew and Colleen come out and watch from the top of the steps as Mike finally reaches the wagon. Sully kisses her.
SULLY
Ready?
Mike nods. Brian jumps up into the back of the wagon and holds his hands out for Katie. Mike starts to hand her up to him, but then suddenly stops, noticing something about Katie. She pulls her back, feeling Katie's cheek and forehead.
SULLY
What's wrong?
MIKE
Katie feels warm. I think she might be running a fever.
Sully feels Katie's forehead.
SULLY
Feels all right to me.
MIKE
(feels Katie again) No, she's definitely warm. Perhaps I should stay home with her --
SULLY
(seeing through this) Michaela...
MIKE
She could be coming down with a catarrh. I wouldn't want it to get any worse --
SULLY
(compassionate) Michaela, you can't go on like this.
This silences Mike. She suspected Sully might notice her anxiety, but having him call her on it suddenly rekindles the paralyzing fear she's been trying to deny.
SULLY
You been through somethin' terrible, and I know you're scared. But you can't keep makin' excuses. You gotta --
MIKE
Excuses? Sully, Katie is feverish. I can't just --
SULLY
You gotta start talkin' about this.
MIKE
There's nothing to talk about. It's over --
SULLY
(insistent) No it isn't.
She quiets again, feeling the weight of Sully and the children's stares. She tries to keep her emotions in check.
SULLY
You been avoidin' goin' back to the clinic --
MIKE
That's nonsense --
SULLY
(continuing) -- And you got every right to be afraid. But it isn't gonna get any better until you --
MIKE
(cutting him off, getting angry now) Katie is sick! How can you stand there and expect me to ignore my daughter's well being
SULLY
There's nothin' wrong with Katie.
MIKE
Are you questioning my judgment?
SULLY
Yes.
Mike silences, insulted and angry.
SULLY
Michaela, look at yourself. You haven't left the house in three days.
The realization of this hits Mike hard.
SULLY
I know you don't wanna talk about it, and I understand why you wouldn't. But you can't keep pretendin' the fear's not there, 'cause it's only gonna get worse.
Mike looks up at him, meeting his steady stare. In his eyes she sees only love and a deep, aching concern for her.
SULLY
It's already gettin' worse.
Mike holds his look a moment longer, then turns to the rest of the family, seeing the same concern in their eyes.
Without a word, she rushes back into the house, leaving Sully and the children frustrated and more helpless than ever, as we:
FADE OUT.
END OF ACT TWO
ACT THREE
FADE IN:
INT. HOMESTEAD - MORNING - DAY SEVEN
Sully, Matthew, Brian, Colleen and Katie eat breakfast in worried silence. After a moment, Mike comes downstairs. She's dressed for work, and even though she looks increasingly nervous, she's also determined, forcing herself to do what she's about to do.
MIKE
Good morning, everyone.
Ad-lib "Good morning's" from the family.
MIKE
Brian, would you please saddle Flash for me?
Everyone reacts, exchanging a quiet, hopeful look. Brian turns back to Mike.
BRIAN
Sure, Ma.
Brian goes out, as Mike turns to Colleen.
MIKE
Colleen, will you look after Katie for me while I'm at work today?
Colleen smiles, encouraged.
COLLEEN
'Course.
Mike turns to Sully.
MIKE
I was awake most of the night, thinking. (beat) You were right. I've been making excuses... looking for ways to avoid going back to the clinic. (to all of them) But I'm not going to let this... incident... destroy my life. (back to Sully, forcing a smile) It's time I stopped hiding... (determination building) It's time I go back to work.
Sully returns her smile, hoping she's turned the corner.
EXT. HOMESTEAD - MOMENTS LATER - DAY SEVEN
Brian's finished saddling FLASH, and leads her out of the corral and up to the front of the homestead, as Mike comes out the front door, followed by Sully, Matthew and Colleen (who holds Katie). Brian smiles up at her.
BRIAN
All set, Ma.
MIKE
Thank you, Brian.
SULLY
You want me to ride with you?
MIKE
No, Sully. I can ride alone.
Mike knows all eyes are on her as she stares down at Flash. She starts down the steps... and once again, the paralyzing fear hits her. She fights against it, trying to overpower it, but with each step it only gets worse, slowing her down. Sully and the kids see this, and their hearts break for her.
She finally gets to Flash, takes the reins from Brian, but her heart is pounding, and her hands are trembling. Brian gives her a worried look.
BRIAN
Ma... (as she looks at him) You don't have to go.
MIKE
Yes I do, Brian. (more to herself than Brian) I have to do this.
She takes a deep breath, then reaches up and grabs hold of the saddle horn. She places her foot in the stirrup...
But she can't pull herself up. Tears well in her eyes as her fear turns to shame. She can't look at Brian... can't look at any of them, as she takes her foot out of the stirrup and just stands there, head lowered, utterly frozen.
Sully comes down the steps, moving toward her.
SULLY
Michaela, I'll go with you.
MIKE
No.
SULLY
We'll take it nice an easy --
MIKE
(sharp) No!
And with that, she turns and hurries back up the stairs and into the house.
The kids react, startled by Mike's behavior, and increasingly worried by it.
BRIAN
(to Sully) what's wrong with her, Pa? Why can't she do it?
MATTHEW
She's still scared, Brian.
SULLY
Gonna take some time.
BRIAN
But they caught the guy who shot her. She doesn't have to be afraid anymore.
SULLY
Sometimes it's hard to put things like this behind you.
Brian nods, trying to understand... but something is still clearly troubling him:
BRIAN
It's not like Ma to be afraid.
SULLY
I know that, Brian... (beat) And she knows that, too.
The kids fall silent, wondering what they can do to help Mike get through this.
EXT. GENERAL STORE - DAY SEVEN
Loren, Hank, Jake and Dorothy congregate around the wagon as Sully and Matthew load food supplies into the back.
DOROTHY
She's still not ready to come back?
SULLY
I talked to Andrew. He's gonna keep lookin' after her patients for her.
JAKE
I don't get it. She's already been to the clinic once since the shootin'. Why can't she come back?
MATTHEW
She doesn't feel safe there anymore.
DOROTHY
Poor thing. I can only imagine how frightenin' it musta been for her.
HANK
So what's she gonna do, keep herself locked up in the house the rest of her life?
LOREN
It ain't gonna come to that. Dr. Mike's a tough lady. Once she realizes that there's nothin' to be afraid of in the clinic, she'll come back.
JAKE
Hey, I got an idea. S'pose we was to set up some kinda fake accident -- you know, make it look like lots of people got hurt. That might get her to come back.
MATTHEW
And then what? She comes into town, sees that it was all a trick? Be humiliatin' for her.
Jake nods, sees his point.
Sully finishes with the supplies, turns to the group.
SULLY
If Michaela's comin' back to the clinic, it's not gonna be for other people. It's gotta be for herself.
Sully and Matthew climb up onto the wagon and ride off, leaving the others to consider this.
INT. HOMESTEAD - DAY SEVEN
Mike sits near the fire, holding a beautiful spider wheel that Cloud Dancing has made for her. Dorothy is also here, hoping to cheer Mike up. Mike is pleasant throughout the visit, but we can see that she's clearly self-conscious and increasingly restless.
CLOUD DANCING
The spider wheel will hang above you, protecting you from evil spirits.
MIKE
It's beautiful, Cloud Dancing. I think it's even prettier than the one you made for Katie. Thank you.
DOROTHY
We got a telegram from Daniel. (beat) They hung the man who shot you last night.
Mike nods in silence, but Dorothy sees that this news isn't very comforting to Mike.
DOROTHY
Michaela... You know that the chances of somethin' like this hapenin' again are pretty near impossible.
Mike nods, but again, this doesn't seem to ease her discomfort. Now Dorothy and Cloud Dancing are starting to feel uncomfortable. They exchange a quiet look, before Dorothy turns back to Mike.
DOROTHY
I hope you don't mind us comin' out to visit, Michaela.
MIKE
Oh, no... of course not.
DOROTHY
It's just... well, we're worried about you, and want to help.
CLOUD DANCING
Please let us know what we can do.
Which only makes Mike more uncomfortable. This phobia is embarrassing to her, even more so now that people know about it.
MIKE
Thank you, Dorothy, Cloud Dancing. (trying to sound like she means it) I'm sure I'll be fine.
Dorothy and Cloud Dancing nod, very concerned for their friend.
EXT. HOMESTEAD - LATER - DAY EIGHT
Colleen, Brian and Katie work out in the garden. Colleen and Brian are tending to the plants, while Katie pretty much just throws handfuls of dirt around.
Brian is distraught, his concern for Mike matched by his frustration at being unable to help her.
BRIAN
She wouldn't even leave the house to go fetch the eggs this mornin'.
Colleen nods, sharing Brian's worry. Brian looks up at her.
BRIAN
Colleen... (beat) What if she doesn't get better?
Colleen has wondered about this as well, but she won't allow herself to dwell on it.
COLLEEN
That ain't gonna happen, Brian. She's gonna feel better real soon, I know it.
Brian manages a nod as he falls silent, returning to work.
INT./EXT. HOMESTEAD - CONTINUOUS - DAY EIGHT
Mike, looking tired and strained from the effects of yet another sleepless night, stands at the kitchen sink, washing the breakfast dishes. She pauses a moment when she looks out the window and sees:
HER POV - THROUGH WINDOW
of the kids out in the garden.
BACK TO MIKE
as a sad smile forms on her face. She steps around to the side door and opens it... and although she'd like nothing better than to go out and join them, she stays in the doorway and calls to them:
MIKE
You're all three doing a wonderful job.
COLLEEN
Thanks.
BRIAN
Tomato plants are buddin'.
MIKE
Really?
Mike looks, but from where she's standing, she can't see them. Brian and Colleen see that Mike wants to come out... but they also see her struggling with it, her frustration with herself evident on her face.
Brian, wanting desperately to help her, gets an idea. He quickly scoops some dirt into a small pot, then takes a hand shovel and digs out one of the buds, placing it in the pot. He carries it over to her.
BRIAN
See? They're buddin' early this year.
Mike looks at the bud, then up at Brian, unable to hide her deepening shame and sadness.
MIKE
Thank you, Brian.
Brian sees the tears welling in her eyes and feels terrible.
BRIAN
I'm sorry, Ma. (he starts away) I'll put it back.
MIKE
No, Brian, that's not why I'm...
But she can't finish. Colleen steps over beside Brian as Mike fights the tears in her eyes. They watch her, feeling more helpless than ever.
MIKE
(quietly) I'm sorry...
Brian and Colleen share a quiet look before Brian turns Back to Mike, trying his best to encourage her.
BRIAN
It's gonna be all right, Ma. You're gonna feel better real soon, I know it.
But Mike sees doubt and worry in his eyes, which only heightens her sadness. After a beat, she forces a nod and a weak smile.
MIKE
Thank you, Brian.
Mike steps back inside. She closes the door and leans against it, taking a deep breath, fighting to suppress her swelling emotions.
She manages to regain her composure, her expression settling into an inexorable weariness... until a sudden POUNDING ON THE DOOR shatters the silence, jolting us into:
INT. CLINIC - DAY ONE (MIKE'S DREAM)
as the doorknob RATTLES under the intense POUNDING.
Mike turns the knob and swings open the door, revealing the man, his eyes cold and intense.
MAN
Are you the doctor?
Mike hesitates, not wanting to answer.
MIKE
(quietly pleading) ... Don't shoot... please don't shoot...
But the man reaches into his coat and pulls out the revolver. He aims it directly at Mike, whose eyes widen in terror.
CLOSE ON THE GUN
The man pulls the trigger. The GUNSHOT EXPLODES as we:
SMASH CUT TO:
INT. HOMESTEAD - DAY EIGHT
Mike, who was napping in the chair by the fireplace, leaps up with a scream, throwing the blanket off her.
MIKE
NO!!
Sully hurries over from the kitchen and quickly grabs hold of her as she struggles against him.
SULLY
Michaela! Michaela, it's all right...
Mike looks around, realizing she's had another dream. She's breathing hard, scared half to death, as Sully wraps his arms around her, holding her close.
MIKE
Sully...
SULLY
Shhh... it's just a dream... just a dream...
Mike looks up at him, the tears welling in her eyes. Her voice is weak -- she's nearing the end of her rope.
MIKE
I can't do it, Sully... I can't go back there...
SULLY
It's gonna take some time --
MIKE
(trying to think through it) I should just... I should just quit my practice...
SULLY
What?
MIKE
(fast) I can start writing. I've always wanted to. I'll be able to stay home with Katie. She needs me --
SULLY
Michaela --
MIKE
Especially now, with your new job, and Colleen away at --
SULLY
(firm) Michaela, look at me.
Mike quiets, looking at him.
SULLY
What is it you're afraid of? Are you scared somethin' like this is gonna happen again?
MIKE
No. Yes. I don't know. (crumbling) I don't want to feel this way, Sully, but I can't help it. Every time I look out a window, or open a door, I feel this... this...
SULLY
What? What is it?
Mike's searching, trying to put her finger on it.
MIKE
This... fear... This paralyzing feeling that something terrible is about to happen at any moment. And the more I try to control it -- the more I try to talk myself into not feeling it -- the more it's there.
Mike turns away in shame, unable to hold his look. Sully takes her face in his hands, gently turning her to look at him.
SULLY
Michaela, listen to me. I know you're afraid. And I know you wanna be safe. But I also know you're strong.
MIKE
No...
SULLY
Yes. You're the same woman who stood in front of a chargin' army, who jumped off a cliff with me... (looking her in the eye) Who left her home to come out to the middle of nowhere and become a doctor.
MIKE
I'm not that woman anymore.
SULLY
Yes you are. And you always will be.
The moment is suddenly broken as Brian runs in the front door --
BRIAN
Sully, wind's pickin' up --
-- and swings the door shut behind him. The SLAM of the door jolts Mike, sending her diving to the floor, screaming in terror:
MIKE
Don't shoot!
Brian freezes, stunned, as Mike writhes on the floor, hiding her face in shame, the pent-up emotions finally surging to the surface. Sully crouches beside her, taking her in his arms and rocking her gently as she sobs.
MIKE
(barely audible) What's happening to me?
Sully just holds her, exchanging a deeply troubled look with Brian as we:
FADE OUT.
END OF ACT THREE
ACT FOUR
FADE IN:
INT. MIKE AND SULLY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT EIGHT
A storm is building outside. LIGHTNING FLASHES as Mike splashes water on her face. She dries her face with a towel and then stands there a moment, physically and emotionally spent.
Colleen tentatively steps into the room and speaks softly to her.
COLLEEN
Ma... ?
Mike tries to collect herself and turns to face Colleen.
MIKE
Yes, Colleen?
COLLEEN
Katie's all set for her bath. You want me to go ahead and get her started?
MIKE
(after a beat) No... no, I'll do it.
Mike goes past her out the door.
INT. HOMESTEAD - NIGHT EIGHT
The storm outside is intensifying, but inside the house is warm and dry. A gentle fire burns in the fireplace as Mike gives Katie a bath in a basin at the kitchen sink. Colleen assists her. Mike talks soothingly to Katie as she washes her.
MIKE
There you are, sweetheart... soft, warm water...
THUNDER RUMBLES outside. Katie turns to it. Mike gives her a smile, caressing her back with the wash cloth.
MIKE
Don't worry about that thunder. It's miles away from here.
Brian comes in the front door, careful not to slam it.
BRIAN
Sully and Matthew are takin' the horses in the barn. (looks out window) Wind's really pickin' up. I better close the shutters.
MIKE
Be careful.
Brian goes out. Mike finishes washing Katie and wraps a towel around her.
MIKE
All done, Katie. Nice and clean.
She carries her over by the fireplace.
MIKE
Let's come over to the fire, where it's warm.
Mike sits, and Colleen helps her dress Katie. Mike never lets Katie out of her arms during the process.
Sully comes in the front door, soaking wet.
SULLY
Barn's closed up. Matthew's helpin' Brian with the shutters.
Mike nods. Sully steps over to her.
SULLY
You all right?
MIKE
We're fine. (hugs Katie) Katie just had a nice --
Mike's suddenly cut short as a loud CRASH is heard. Sully puts a protective arm around Mike and Katie as they turn to see:
A HUGE TREE BRANCH
slamming through the kitchen window, smashing the basin by the sink. Broken glass is everywhere, and rain and wind pour in through the open window.
Mike leaps to her feet in fear, clinging to Katie as Sully moves in to investigate the damage. Colleen stays by Mike's side.
Matthew and Brian rush in the front door. They have to raise their voices above the sound of the storm.
MATTHEW
Lightning struck the oak tree! Branch splintered off!
SULLY
Are the rest of the windows shuttered?
MATTHEW
Yeah.
SULLY
Brian, get started cleanin' up the broken glass. (to Matthew, leading him out) C'mon. We need to clear out that branch and board up the window.
As Sully and Matthew hurry out, Brian and Colleen look over at Mike, who stands motionless, eyes fixated on the smashed window and wash basin.
COLLEEN
You all right, Ma?
Mike manages a nod, and Brian and Colleen go to work. We PUSH IN on Mike as she continues to stare at the window and the shattered basin. She then looks down at Katie in her arms, the impact of what just happened greatly affecting her as we:
DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. HOMESTEAD - MORNING - DAY NINE
The storm has cleared -- the sun is shining. Brian and Matthew move from window to window, opening the shutters.
INT. MIKE AND SULLY'S BEDROOM - DAY NINE
Mike lies in bed, eyes wide open, deep in thought. After a moment she slowly sits up and pulls back the covers. But she doesn't get out of bed... she just sits there, still thinking about the events of last night.
She glances over at Katie's sleeping form in the crib and smiles softly. She then catches her reflection in the mirror. She looks tired and weak... but there's something different about her this morning.
The anxiety and fear seem to have ebbed, replaced now by the beginnings of a calmness she hasn't felt in weeks. It's as if the final missing piece of the puzzle is slowly falling into place.
After a moment she makes a decision. She stands and begins dressing for work.
INT. HOMESTEAD - DAY NINE
Sully and Matthew can be seen outside, pulling down the boards that were covering the shattered kitchen window, as Brian and Colleen eat breakfast.
The whole family stops what they're doing, surprised to see Mike coming down the stairs, ready for work.
MIKE
Good morning, everyone.
COLLEEN
Mornin', Ma.
MIKE
Brian, will you please saddle Flash for me?
The room falls silent a moment as everyone reacts to this, exchanging looks with each other.
BRIAN
Sure, Ma.
Brian goes out, not before exchanging a look with Sully. Sully turns back to Mike, puzzled.
Mike pauses a moment... and although she's still somewhat anxious about going back to work, her determination is growing. She tries to explain her revelation:
MIKE
What happened last night... the storm... this window... I finally realized something very important...
She steps over to the kitchen sink.
MIKE
I was standing right here, washing Katie in the basin... feeling safe in the comfort of my own home. (beat) If we had remained here a few minutes longer, that branch would've...
She quiets a moment... then forces herself to continue:
MIKE
It would've crashed through the window and possibly killed us both.
She turns back to the family, her anxiousness continuing to ebb.
MIKE
And now I realize -- it doesn't matter where I am, or what I'm doing. Whether I'm at home, in town... (beat) Or even at the clinic... (another beat) There are things in this world we can't control. We just have to live our lives and hope for the best.
Sully steps over to her, giving her a warm smile and a kiss.
SULLY
Sounds like good advice to me.
Mike smiles back at him as he puts his arms around her, hugging her tightly.
EXT. HOMESTEAD - DAY NINE
Brian steadies Flash as Mike walks down the steps. Sully, Matthew and Colleen (holding Katie) watch with cautious optimism as Mike reaches Flash and takes the reins from Brian.
She takes a deep breath -- this still isn't easy for her, but the fear is no longer paralyzing. Brian looks up at her.
BRIAN
You want me to ride with you, Ma?
MIKE
No thank you, Brian... I'll be fine.
BRIAN
(after a beat) Maybe when you come home, we can work in the garden together.
Mike looks down at him, the depth of his love for her giving her more strength.
MIKE
I'd like that very much.
Mike puts her foot in the stirrup and pulls herself up onto the saddle. She casts a look down at Sully and the family.
MIKE
I'll see you later.
Sully nods, and Mike urges Flash forward. As she rides away from the homestead, she looks back, waving to the family.
EXT. STREET - DAY NINE
Dorothy is on her way to the bank when something she sees up the street stops her:
ANGLE ON MIKE
riding into town (from the direction of the Train Station).
BACK TO DOROTHY
as she gives Mike a proud smile.
DOROTHY
Mornin', Michaela.
MIKE
Good morning, Dorothy.
Dorothy watches as Mike rides on, turning the corner and heading toward:
THE CLINIC
where the "CLOSED" sign still hangs on the door. Mike rides up and stops, staring down at the door. She takes a deep breath, calming herself, then dismounts. She looks across the street to see:
HANK
watching her from the porch of the Gold Nugget. He can't help it -- he too is proud of Mike for making it back. He gives her a nod and a smile and heads back into the Nugget.
MIKE
turns back to the clinic. She takes down the "CLOSED" sign, then opens the door.
INT. CLINIC - CONTINUOUS - DAY NINE
Mike stands in the doorway a moment, staring into the empty clinic, as if studying it with a new-found clarity.
She then steps inside and shuts the door. She takes off her coat and hat, moves to her desk and sits. She casts a glance over at the clock on the wall. The TICKING is nowhere near as loud as it was before...
But the uneasiness is still there. This time, however, Mike is able to calm herself. She begins consulting her patient schedule, gradually starting to relax... when suddenly:
An urgent KNOCK at the door breaks the silence.
Mike stiffens, fighting off the now familiar wave of fear that rises up inside her. She looks to the door and, with all the determination she can muster, stands and moves toward it.
She reaches out and turns the knob, swinging open the door to reveal:
LOREN
standing there, face fully lathered in shaving cream, clutching his bleeding shoulder. Jake stands beside him. Loren breathes a huge sigh of relief when he sees Mike.
LOREN
Oh, Dr. Mike, you are back. How ya feelin'?
MIKE
I'm fine... (re: his bleeding shoulder) But what happened to you?
Loren casts an irritated glance at Jake as he comes in, climbing up on the examination table.
LOREN
He cut me with his razor is what happened to me.
JAKE
How was I supposed to know you were gonna sneeze? You gotta let me know these things.
LOREN
Oh, so I'm supposed to make an announcement every time I sneeze?
JAKE
You're lucky I wasn't shavin' your neck at the time.
The sight of Loren, fully lathered up, bickering with Jake washes away any fear in Mike. She can't help but smile as she begins examining Loren's shoulder.
MIKE
This will need a few stitches.
LOREN
(to Jake, as Mike works) You can forget about the tip I was gonna give ya.
JAKE
A whole penny. How will I live without it?
Mike tries not to laugh but can't help herself. Loren turns to her, his irritation at Jake sliding away at the sight of her smile. Loren smiles back at her.
LOREN
The town sure missed you, Dr. Mike.
JAKE
It's good to have you back.
Mike pauses a moment, a look of immense relief on her face.
MIKE
Thank you. (truly meaning it now) It's good to be back.
Mike goes to work, cleaning Loren's wound before she begins stitching it up. We slowly PULL BACK as Mike works, full of confidence and finally at peace.
It's just another day at the clinic...
FADE OUT.
THE END


 

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