This is an excerpt from a completed screenplay.
"Ambush At Apache Pass" (working title) - screenplay by Derek Paterson. FADE IN: EXT. DESERT - DAY Just cactus and tumbleweed, as far as the eye can see. EXT. ATOP A HIGH RIDGE - DAY View's different from up here. Five trails of dust stream across the desert. One horse, pursued by four other horses. Too distant yet to make out their riders. Watching this is TOM HANNAY, a tall man who sits motionless on his tall horse. He's covered in a layer of dust. Only his eyes seem alive. Below, the four horses gain on the leading horse. Tom guides his horse along the ridge, following a parallel course. EXT. DRY CREEK - DAY The leading horse gallops along the creek bed. Not one rider, but two -- an APACHE WARRIOR, 20, and an APACHE GIRL, 17, in a buckskin dress. BLAM! The horse screams and topples, spilling its riders. The dazed Warrior gets to his feet. CAL, 18, rides up fast, slams his horse into the Apache Warrior and sends him sprawling. The Apache Girl springs up and runs away. Cal rides after her, leaps from his saddle and throws her onto the ground. Cal rolls her over onto her back. She claws at his face. He grabs her wrists, forces her down and ravages her neck and breasts. She twists and kicks but it's no good. The three other riders rein up and dismount. Their leader, EARL, 30s, as merciless as the noon desert sun, pulls Cal off the Apache Girl. CAL Hey! I got her first! Earl signs to the other two men, JENNINGS and HANCOCK. EARL Get a fire started. This's as good a place as any. They grab the Apache Girl and pull her up. She struggles and tries to bite them. They laugh at her. CAL Whadda we need a fire for? EARL You'll see. FLAMES CRACKLE OVER BURNING LOGS Earl squats at the fire, heating up his knife. He inspects the blackened blade. Spits on it. HISS. The unconscious Apache Warrior and the Apache Girl lie staked out on the ground, side by side. Hancock takes a whisky bottle from his saddlebag. He spits out the cork and takes a long drink. CAL What are you gonna do? Earl takes the bottle from Hancock, drinks. He gives it to Jennings who drinks and gives the bottle to Cal. Cal takes a mouthful and gags, but swallows it. Cal passes the bottle back to Hancock. EARL Gonna have us some fun. With him. Then with her. Cal licks his lips and stares hungrily at the Apache Girl. She stares back at him, her eyes filled with contempt. Earl signs to Jennings who gives him the bottle. EARL Wake him up. Jennings unbuckles his belt, opens his pants and pisses on the Apache Warrior who wakes up gasping and choking. Jennings laughs. The Apache Warrior tries to break free but it's no good. EARL Let's do it. Earl touches his knife to the Apache Warrior's shoulder. Flesh HISSES. The Apache Warrior grimaces but presses his lips tight together, refusing to make a sound. The Apache Girl turns her head away and closes her eyes. CAL Why can't we just shoot him? Earl turns his knife, examining the smoking blade. EARL I can see I'm gonna have to teach you how to enjoy yourself, young feller. What we got here's an Apache. He'd skin you alive soon as look at you. CAL That's no excuse for doing what you're doing. EARL Tell 'im, Rance. JENNINGS You only been here a while. Most of us, we lost kin and friends to Apache. You can bet they all prayed for death. And didn't get none. EARL That pretty sister of yours, you want to know what they'd do to her if they got their hands on her? You'd shoot her yourself-- CAL Don't you talk about Rita. EARL --put her out her misery. I'll talk 'bout Rita all I want. He touches his knife to flesh. HISS. The Apache Warrior shudders but makes no sound. EARL She likes me, and I like her too. Maybe I'll woo her come Saturday night. Bring her some flowers. Take her dancing. Jennings doubles over laughing. EARL What's so funny? JENNINGS You with a bunch of flowers in your hand and your hair slicked down. A real Eastern gent. Jennings clasps his hands above his heart. JENNINGS "Oh my darlin' I have come to woo you. Pardon my spurs." Cal scowls, but Earl grins. And touches his knife to flesh again. HISS. The Apache Warrior squirms silently. EARL Come on over here, Cal. I branded him. Now it's your turn. CAL Just shoot him and get it over with, dammit. JENNINGS Here, give me that knife. Earl stands and gives Jennings the knife. Jennings squats down and grabs the Apache Warrior's jaw. But the Warrior is unconscious. JENNINGS Wake up, you godless heathen! Gonna write my name on your face. HANCOCK Hey! Leave some'a him for me. Hancock raises the whisky bottle to his lips -- then slowly lowers it, staring at something. Earl sees his look and turns round fast. Jennings stands up, drops the knife. Cal sees their reaction, turns round. Tom, sitting on his horse twenty paces away, holds his Winchester at waist level. Aiming at them. Cal's eyes widen in recognition. Tom's eyes narrow as he looks at the two Apaches. His gaze comes back to Earl. Earl grins. He keeps his gaze locked on Tom but turns his head slightly to the left, then slightly to the right, warning Jennings and Hancock. They stand loose, ready to draw. EARL Best thing you can do... He turns his head and spits on the Apache warrior. EARL ...is turn and ride out of here. Leave us to our legal business. Tom doesn't even bat an eyelid. Cal anxiously looks from Earl to Tom, not sure what's gonna happen next. EARL You think you can take four of us? He spits again. EARL Mister, you got dung for brains. Hancock and Jennings grin. TOM I got a cocked Winchester, too. The grins slowly fade. Earl claws at his holster. BLAM! Tom's bullet spins him round, blocking Hancock's aim. BLAM! Jennings doubles over, his knees give way, his gun falls from his hand, they hit the ground together. Hancock side-steps, takes aim. BLAM! His head snaps back, he topples like a tree. Tom spurs his horse toward Cal who doesn't know what the hell to do. Earl's on his knees, trying to bring up his gun. BLAM! Another bullet punches Earl onto his back. Tom's horse slams into Cal with brutal force, knocking him flying. BLACKNESS. FADE IN: Cal awakens to find his hands tied behind his back -- and he's lying alongside the staked-out Apaches. The Warrior is still unconscious, the Apache Girl shows no emotion. Cal shuffles away from them. Tom's strung their horses together. Earl, Jennings and Hancock lie belly-down over their saddles, tied in place. Tom walks over to Cal, drags him to his feet. Cal struggles, Tom slaps him hard. Cal collapses, sobbing. Tom pulls him over to his horse, lifts Cal's boot into the stirrup and physically heaves him up in into his saddle. Tom walks to his own horse and mounts up. He guides his horse over to the Apaches. He unwraps a water canteen strap from his saddle horn and drops the canteen beside the Apache Girl. She looks at it, then looks up at Tom. He draws a knife, takes aim, throws. The knife thumps into the ground, inches from her. Close enough for her to reach it. Tom turns his horse around, pulling the string of horses after him, Cal on the last horse. Cal looks back over his shoulder. The Apache Girl cuts herself free, then cuts the unconscious Warrior free. She opens the water canteen and holds it to the Warrior's lips. EXT. DESERT - DAY The merciless sun beats down... and Cal doesn't have his hat on. He wilts under the blazing heat. Tom constantly looks around, always alert. CAL What are you gonna do with me? Tom doesn't reply. CAL You gonna shoot me too? No reply. CAL They was only Apaches. We caught 'em off the Reservation, fair and square. Tom stops. Seems to think about that for a moment. Then he turns round. TOM What did they do? CAL What d'you mean, what did they do? They're Apaches. Tom rides on. But he's got Cal thinking... CAL What are you, some kinda Indian lover? Tom doesn't reply. CAL You shot and killed three white men because of heathen Apaches. You'll burn in Hell for this, Tom high and mighty Hannay. EXT. TOWN LIMITS - DAY Tom approaches the town, a collection of wooden buildings including a jail house, hotel, saloon, and steak house. Cal's barely able to sit upright in his saddle, the sun's got to him. Tom stops, unties Earl's horse, and rides back to Cal. He pulls a knife from his boot, cuts the ropes on Cal's wrists. Cal looks at him, not understanding. Tom rides back to Earl's horse, picks up the rope and rides into town, leading the horses -- and leaving Cal behind. Cal rubs his wrists as he watches Tom depart. He rides around the town, heading for the rear of the steak house. EXT. JAIL HOUSE - DAY Tom dismounts as SHERIFF HARRY JACKS, 40s, steps out onto the porch. TOWNSPEOPLE up and down the street have stopped and noted Tom's arrival. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Good to see you, Tom. Tom ties his horse to the rail while Harry examines the three dead men. Harry calls inside-- SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Andy, come on out here. ANDY, 20s, Harry's deputy, steps out. He stares at the bodies and gives a soft whistle. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Go fetch Billings. Tell him he's got business. Andy nods and heads for the Undertaker's up the street. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS You look like you could use a drink. Tom follows Harry inside. INT. JAIL HOUSE - DAY Harry opens a drawer, pulls out a whisky bottle and fills two glasses, nudges one across his desk to Tom. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS You want to tell me what happened? Tom knocks the drink back. TOM Not particularly. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS You know that's Quinn Ryan's brother out there? TOM I know. Harry stares into his glass. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Did you have a reason for killing them, or did you just kill them? You don't have to answer, but other people are going to ask that same question. Tom absently brushes dust off the front of his shirt, revealing a Texas Ranger badge. TOM I had plenty of reason. EXT. JAIL HOUSE - DAY A dozen townsfolk have gathered. They keep a respectful distance from the bodies. Tom exits. They stare at him, fearful and disapproving. He ignores them and crosses the street, heading toward the steak house. EXT. STEAK HOUSE - DAY Tom pauses on the porch. He takes off his hat, runs his fingers through his hair. Then goes inside. INT. STEAK HOUSE - DAY RITA, 25, an attractive redhead in a checkered dress, brings plates of food to two COWBOYS. She looks up as Tom enters. She lays down the plates and the Cowboys thank her. Tom takes a seat by a window overlooking the street. Rita straightens her dress and approaches Tom. RITA Did you have to bring half the desert in with you? Tom looks abashed and brushes himself with his hat. TOM Sorry. Rita looks across the street, sees the crowd at the jail house. RITA Who are they? TOM Fella named Jennings. Another fella named Hancock, maybe. And the middle Ryan brother, Earl. Rita sucks in a deep breath. An anxious moment. RITA Was Cal with them? TOM You can ask him yourself, when you see him. Rita sighs with relief. RITA I'll fetch your usual. TOM Thank you kindly. Rita heads into the kitchen. MATTY, 40s, wearing a suit, hat and lace tie, crosses the street and enters the steak house. MATTY Mind if I join you, Tom? SIZZLING noises from the kitchen. TOM As long as you don't expect me to talk once the grub gets here. MATTY I admire a man who can eat after killing three men. TOM Maybe one day you can tell me what that means. What's on your mind, Matty? MATTY Quinn Ryan isn't going to be happy. TOM What do you think I should do about that? MATTY I don't know. Maybe explain to him why you shot his brother. Damn it Tom, why couldn't you just arrest Earl? Why'd you have to kill him? TOM Earl wasn't the arresting kind. Neither were those fellas with him. MATTY That's no answer! TOM It's the only answer on sale today. Rita backs out of the kitchen with a plateful of steak and a pitcher of beer. Matty gets up and exits, angry. Rita puts down the plate and pitcher and watches Matty stamp across the street. RITA This means trouble for you Tom, doesn't it? Tom tucks his napkin into his collar. TOM I wouldn't have thought that's anything for you to worry about. Not any more. Rita stares at him, then spins and hurries back to the kitchen. Tom cuts up his steak and eats. INT. STEAK HOUSE KITCHEN - DAY Rita leans back against the door frame, closes her eyes. She hears something -- moves to another door. INT. CAL'S BEDROOM - DAY Cal's stripped to the waist, washing himself from a basin. Rita watches him from the doorway. He senses her, looks up. His face is swollen and burned. CAL Can't a man have no privacy? RITA What happened to you? CAL Why don't you ask your beau? Rita's surprised. RITA Tom did this to you? He's sitting out front eating my food, and he did this to you? CAL I didn't say he did it! RITA Then what happened? CAL I fell off my horse. RITA You mean you've been drinking again. CAL You're not my mother. RITA No, but I'm the closest thing you've got. Cal, you have to stop this. CAL Stop fussing over me. I won't be home tonight. RITA Where will you be? CAL Quinn Ryan's place. RITA You're going to tell him about Earl? CAL Someone has to. Nobody round here's got the guts, that's for sure. RITA What really happened, Cal? CAL I don't want to talk about it. RITA I'm asking you. CAL And I said I don't want to talk about it! RITA Sometimes you remind me of Pa when he got the devil in him. CAL I've had worse things said about me. Cal dries himself, puts on his shirt, puts on his gun belt. Rita turns and leaves. EXT. TOWN LIMITS - DAY A stagecoach approaches the town. EXT. HOTEL - UPSTAIRS WINDOW - DAY CASH POTTER, 30, a slick and handsome card sharp, watches as the stagecoach comes into town and stops at the hotel. The driver, YANCY, opens the coach door and steps aside to let two PASSENGERS climb out. He passes their bags down from the roof rack, they enter the hotel. INT. COACH - DAY BELLE CUBBINS, 25, a blonde Southern beauty, peeks out the coach window at the hotel. EXT. HOTEL - DAY Tom crosses the street to talk to Yancy. YANCY Hey Tom. TOM Hey Yancy. Good trip? YANCY Good enough. Belle emerges from the coach. Tom offers her his hand, she smiles, takes it and climbs down. BELLE Why thank you, suh. TOM My pleasure, Ma'am. Yancy climbs up and hands Bells's bags down to Tom. TOM After you, Ma'am. Belle smiles and enters the hotel. INT. CASH'S HOTEL ROOM - DAY Cash watches, amused. INT. STEAK HOUSE - DAY Rita, cleaning Tom's table, looks across the street and sees Tom following Belle into the hotel. HOOFBEATS come from the back of the steak house. Rita hurries to the back window in time to see Cal riding out of town. INT. STEAK HOUSE KITCHEN - DAY Rita throws dirty dishes into the sink and pumps water furiously. INT. HOTEL LOBBY - DAY Belle signs the register, the CLERK gives her a key. Tom waits with her bags. Belle smiles at him. BELLE You are too kind, suh. TOM Least I can do, Ma'am. It's not often we see a lady of your persuasion around these parts. Town like this, doesn't have much in the way of delicate refinements, if you catch my meaning. BELLE Just what does this town have, besides men who wish to pry into a lady's private affairs? TOM Oh, I didn't mean to pry. Maybe you'll allow me to make up for it. Let me carry your bags up to your room, then buy you some dinner. There's a chuck house across the street, good cooking and it's clean. BELLE Thank you for your kindness, but I cannot accept your offer. TOM The bags or the dinner? BELLE Both. Thank you and good day to you, suh. Tom smiles wryly. He puts down the bags, tips his hat and exits. She watches him go, then turns to the Clerk. BELLE Has anyone left a message for me? Cubbins, Miss Belle Cubbins. The Clerk gives her a note, Belle reads it, and smiles. INT. STEAK HOUSE KITCHEN - DAY Rita's up to her elbows in soapy water, clattering dishes around. Tom comes to stand in the doorway. He leans against the frame and watches her. Rita finally notices him and starts in surprise. RITA Tom! You scared me! TOM What I said, I didn't say it to hurt you. Rita keeps washing the dishes, but she calms down. TOM Fact is, you and me, there's always been a shadow between us. RITA There doesn't have to be. TOM What happened, happened. You picked the right man. I never doubted that. RITA I didn't pick him over you. Don't make it sound like I did. They posted your name out there along with the others. TOM Sorry if my turning up breathing disappointed you. RITA I didn't say that, why do you have to keep twisting things? TOM Guess it's my nature. RITA Say what you mean and have done. Be good to hear plain words around here. TOM I'm thinking of turning in my badge. RITA Leaving the Rangers? Lord's sake, why? TOM You ever bed down for the night and try to count the stars? RITA The roof kind of gets in the way. TOM I once talked with a Sioux medicine man. He said stars are the souls of dead warriors. RITA What's that to do with anything? TOM Makes a man think, that's all. About what he's doing. About where he's going. Before his time comes, and it's all over for him. RITA I never heard you talk like this before, Tom. TOM I just wanted you to know, I didn't mean to hurt you. He turns and leaves. Rita stares at the doorway. INT. HOTEL HALLWAY - DAY Belle knocks on a door. Cash opens the door and grins. INT. CASH'S HOTEL ROOM - DAY Cash closes the door, Belle puts her bags down. BELLE A true gentleman would have met me off the stagecoach. CASH Well don't you fuss none sweetheart, this gentleman's gonna take you to New Orleans, buy you everything you could ever wish for. Who was the dude with the badge? BELLE He kindly offered to carry my bags up to my room. I naturally declined. CASH Not your type, huh? BELLE We had not been formally introduced. CASH Quite the lady, aren't you? How'd you come by all those airs and graces anyway? BELLE I'm sure I told you my family owned a plantation outside Atlanta. CASH I thought it was outside Charleston? BELLE Why Cash, honey, your memory must be failing. CASH Well, we got plenty of time to kill before Deuce gets here. I got a fresh deck of cards in my bag. Belle sits down on the bed and tests the mattress. She smiles at him knowingly. Cash raises an eyebrow. EXT. ATOP A HIGH RIDGE - NIGHT As the last light of day fades, Cal comes within sight of a cattle ranch. Yellow lamplight spills from windows. INT. RYAN RANCH HOUSE - NIGHT QUINN RYAN, 40s, a grizzly bear of a man, opens the door and lets Cal inside. QUINN Where's Earl? Cal nods hello to MARTINS and SHEPHERD, two tough cowboys who stare at him without expression. Quinn pours a drink and gives it to Cal. QUINN I said where's Earl? CAL That's why I'm here. QUINN Maybe you better sit down. Cal throws back the drink. CAL Some things got to be said standing up. QUINN You been out in the sun? Quinn pours himself a drink and sprawls in a big chair. QUINN I'm about as comfortable as I'm gonna get. CAL Earl's dead. QUINN Figured as much. Now. You wouldn't be here telling me he's dead if you could'a done something about it. So let's hear your story. CAL Tom Hannay shot him. QUINN What's a Texas Ranger shooting my men for? Cal stares into his empty glass. CAL We caught a couple of Apaches. QUINN Did you now? Shep. Get the man another drink. Shepherd fills Cal's glass. Cal hesitantly drinks. CAL Hannay showed up just as we was... QUINN Earl never did like Apaches. MARTINS Earl never did like anyone. Quinn chuckles. Then loses his humor. QUINN So Hannay shows up and lays down the law. Did he kill them? Cal frowns, puzzled. QUINN Did Earl kill the Apaches? CAL Didn't have a chance. That's what I'm trying to say. Earl shot it out with Hannay. QUINN What about Rance and Chris? CAL He got them too. QUINN How many Rangers he have with him? CAL It was just Hannay. He rode me down like I was a dog. Like I wasn't worth a bullet. QUINN You rather be dead? CAL No... QUINN Then quit talking like you would. Where's Earl lying? CAL At the Undertaker's. Hannay brought him into town. Quinn glances at Martins and Shepherd. They get up and exit. Cal watches them go. QUINN Reckon you ain't done riding yet. CAL You gonna collect Earl's body? QUINN Tomorrow's soon enough. We're paying somebody a visit tonight. CAL I don't honestly know where Hannay is. He might have lit out by now. Besides, Apache signal fires been burning all day. Looked back over my shoulder so much my neck hurts. QUINN God damned Apache. They're like a nest of bees when they're stirred up. Wouldn't have happened if Hannay hadn't stuck his nose in. CAL That's what I can't figure. Why a white man would choose Apache over his own kind. Quinn gets up, claps on his hat and heads for the door. QUINN I aim to ask Tom Hannay that same question real soon. INT. SALOON - NIGHT Piano music provides a pleasant background for a mix of customers, TOWNSFOLK and COWBOYS, to slake their thirst. Stairs lead up to rooms where a couple of popular GIRLS ply their trade. Poker games are under way at tables. Activity is oversee'd by JAKE MACKINNON, 50s, a gold-toothed professional gambler who wears a pearl-handled six-shooter on prominent display. He lights a fat cigar. MacKinnon's attention is on one of the poker tables where five men are playing, three of them Cowboys, the fourth man is hidden by the others. The dealer, CHARLIE, waits for ANGRY COWBOY to make a decision. CHARLIE You gonna see him or are you gonna fold, mister? Angry Cowboy throws down his cards in disgust and leans forward to glare at the man who's just cost him dearly. ANGRY COWBOY Looks like you're the only one who's making any profit. MacKinnon shifts position so he can see who else is at the table. It's Tom, in a fresh shirt and without his badge. TOM Guess it's my lucky night. ANGRY COWBOY Yep, you sure are one lucky poker player. Tom rakes in the pot and adds the money to his stack. ANGRY COWBOY Twice I seen you beat the best hands I ever played in my life. I wonder what cards you got in your hand now? TOM You folded. That means you don't get to see 'em. Angry Cowboy looks at his pals, soliciting their support. He gets it -- they've all lost money. Charlie sees the volcano smoking and grabs Tom's cards, slips them into the pack and shuffles. The Cowboys stare at his blurring hands. CHARLIE I don't mean no insult, but you boys been drinking too much tonight to expect to win much. Next time, play when you're sober. ANGRY COWBOY I don't recall asking you for your advice. MacKinnon steps up to the table. JAKE MACKINNON Gentlemen, you've been good customers, let's not end the night on a sour note. Step up to the bar and have a drink on the house. The other Cowboys think this is a great idea and head for the bar. MacKinnon nods to Charlie who leaves the table. Just Tom and Angry Cowboy remain. JAKE MACKINNON You've had too much to drink, cowboy. Maybe it's time you got on your horse and rode back to camp. ANGRY COWBOY I still got business here. MacKinnon scowls at Tom. JAKE MACKINNON Why ain't you wearing your badge? TOM Don't see the need, for a friendly game of poker. Angry Cowboy realizes what's been said. He gets up, real slow, keeping his hands above the table, and joins his pals at the bar. PETE the bartender has a drink ready for him. Angry Cowboy knocks it back. JAKE MACKINNON Tom, you attract trouble like a lantern attracts night bugs. TOM You want me to stop coming in here, you only got to say so. JAKE MACKINNON There's been times I've been glad to see you. If you get under my skin, I'll let you know. Cash enters, and holds the door open for Belle. JAKE MACKINNON Now, here's someone who might interest you. If you're looking for higher stakes. TOM You know them? JAKE MACKINNON The man, not the woman. He was in here last night. Won a pretty pot or two. Fellahs he was playing with dropped out. Know what he did? Bought them drinks and gave them the price of a steak. Said he makes it a point never to let any man walk away hungry. Tom's eyes meet Belle's. They hold each other's gaze before Belle looks away. MacKinnon goes to meet them. JAKE MACKINNON Come on in, Mr. Potter, nice to see you again. Ma'am, I don't believe I've had the pleasure. CASH Mr. MacKinnon, allow me to introduce Miss Belle Cubbins. I was just telling Miss Cubbins, you run a fine establishment. MacKinnon's smile can't hide his puzzlement. CASH Miss Cubbins has more than a passing interest in games of chance. She once worked as a dealer on a Mississippi gambling boat. JAKE MACKINNON You don't say! CASH All very respectable, of course. What we were wondering, Mr. MacKinnon, is whether you might be running any games of chance tonight? JAKE MACKINNON You might just be in luck... in more ways than one, I hope. MacKinnon leads them to the table. Tom stands up. JAKE MACKINNON Mr. Hannay. This is Mr. Potter and Miss Cubbins. I do believe they're interested in a "friendly game of poker," to use your own term. CASH Are you up for it, Mr. Hannay? TOM That depends. CASH We can limit betting, if you're worried about losing your pants. BELLE Mr. Hannay doesn't strike me as the kind of man who worries much about anything. JAKE MACKINNON You're an astute judge of character, Miss Cubbins. CASH We'll need a dealer. JAKE MACKINNON I thought Miss Cubbins...? BELLE Do you object to a lady playing at your table, Mr. MacKinnon? JAKE MACKINNON If Mr. Hannay doesn't have problems, I see no reason-- TOM I got no problems. JAKE MACKINNON I'll go get Charlie. TOM It's been a while since I saw you sit in on game, Jake. Why don't you make up a five? JAKE MACKINNON Well. I suppose I could. Give me a moment to steal some petty cash and I'll be right with you. MacKinnon leaves. Cash picks up the cards, smiles at Tom. CASH Do you mind? TOM Not at all. Cash shuffles, spreads the deck across the table, flips 'em over, gathers them up and shuffles again. CASH Just warming up my hands. BELLE You know, the first thing I noticed about Mr. MacKinnon was his hands. How neatly trimmed his fingernails are. The French would say "manicured." CASH I believe the word comes from the Latin, manus, hand, and cura, care. Cash turns the deck up so he can see the cards. He thumbs through the deck, looking at all the cards. Then he turns them over and shuffles them. TOM Just warming up your eyes? CASH You might say. Cash shuffles, cuts the deck, shuffles again, then deals five cards each to Belle, Tom and himself, flicking them across the table. The cards fall into perfect fans. Tom lifts his cards and peeks at them. He does a surprised double take. He has four Kings and a Seven. Belle flips over her cards revealing four Queens and a Seven. She smiles, not in the least surprised. Cash flips over his cards. Four Aces and a Seven. Tom lays down his cards revealing the four Kings and a Seven. TOM That's a real smart trick. CASH It's just a matter of knowing where the cards are, and helping them come out in the right order. TOM I seen men gunned down for less. CASH Last time I worked as a dealer, that's exactly what someone tried to do. TOM They miss? CASH You might say I helped them in that regard. TOM Why the sevens? Cash deals the next card, it's the fourth Seven. CASH Seven's my lucky number. MacKinnon and Charlie sit down. Charlie nods hello to everyone. He's brought a metal cashbox and a tray of painted chips with him, marked 5, 10, 25, 50, 100. JAKE MACKINNON Ma'am, can I offer you a drink? On the house, since it's your first time here. Tom gathers Belle's cards with his own and slides them across to Charlie. Cash gives Charlie his cards and the rest of the deck. TOM What's come over you, Jake? You keep giving drinks away like this, you'll wipe yourself out. JAKE MACKINNON Wouldn't bother me none, I already got my retirement salted away. Ma'am? BELLE You wouldn't happen to have some lemonade, would you? I'm in the mood for something refreshing. MacKinnon looks over at the bar, not sure. Pete heard, he shrugs and nods, sure. JAKE MACKINNON Mr. Potter? CASH I guess whisky's refreshing enough for me. MacKinnon holds up three fingers, Pete nods. JAKE MACKINNON Shall we get down to a little game? Cash shoves a bundle of money toward Charlie. CASH I'm in for three hundred. Ten fives, five tens, four twenty-fives, and two fifties. Charlie puts the money into the cashbox, counts out the chips and shoves them toward Cash. JAKE MACKINNON Gimme the same. Charlie does, taking MacKinnon's money. Belle opens her purse, takes out cash. BELLE Two hundred. Never mind the fifties. Charlie counts out Belle's chips and takes her money. Everyone looks at Tom who counts his meager stack of chips from the previous game. TOM Looks like I got seventy dollars here. Somehow I don't think that's serious money to you folks. JAKE MACKINNON A couple of good hands and you could be walking away from the table with just under a thousand dollars. TOM That'll be the day. I'll play till my luck turns bad. If I ask you for credit, throw me out. JAKE MACKINNON I will, too. CASH Seems to me there's a lot of money sitting in that little tin box, and a lot of eyes watching. MacKinnon grins and slaps his holster. JAKE MACKINNON That's why I wear this, and Pete keeps a loaded shotgun under the counter. Charlie here, his eyes are good close up, but ask him to shoot at something ten feet away, he's as liable to put a hole in the roof. Anyone starts shooting, Charlie's job is to grab the box and run. CHARLIE I'd be obliged if someone could point me at the door. Pete brings a tray, whiskies go to the men, a glass and a jug of cloudy lemonade to the lady. JAKE MACKINNON Allow me. MacKinnon pours Belle a drink. BELLE Thank you, suh. JAKE MACKINNON Now that we're comfortable, perhaps we can begin. Charlie? Charlie shuffles the cards. CHARLIE Call it out. BELLE Five card stud, aces high, sevens wild. CHARLIE Lady says stud, aces and sevens. Charlie deals to Cash, MacKinnon, Belle and Tom. They all peek at their cards. Cash slides a card back to Charlie. CASH Gimme one. Charlie deals him another card. Cash looks at it and picks a fifty from his chip stack. BELLE Let's not frighten Mr. Hannay away just yet. Cash chuckles and throws in a 5-chip instead. JAKE MACKINNON I'll stick with what I got. MacKinnon throws a 5-chip in. Belle slides 2 cards back to Charlie. BELLE Two, please. Charlie deals her another 2 cards. Belle looks at them. BELLE I'm in. She adds a 5-chip to the pot. Tom studies his cards. He takes such a long time over it that everyone exchanges glances. JAKE MACKINNON Tom? Angry Cowboy steps away from the bar, his gun in his hand. A gunshot BOOMS! The music stops. Angry Cowboy scatters drinks and startled Customers on his way to the floor. MacKinnon draws his gun and covers the other Cowboys who freeze, staring at their friend's corpse. Tom, still sitting, slowly returns his smoking gun to its holster. He notices Cash has drawn a silver six-gun and Belle has a Derringer cocked and ready. JAKE MACKINNON Somebody get the Sheriff. A Customer rushes outside. JAKE MACKINNON Jesus, Tom, that was fast. Belle de-cocks her Derringer and returns it to her purse. Cash spins his gun like a carnival gunslinger. Tom stares at the gleaming metal as if hypnotized. Cash slips the gun back into its holster, and sips his drink, unaware that he has Tom's full attention. Harry and Andy rush inside, MacKinnon makes calm-down gestures and indicates the dead Cowboy. JAKE MACKINNON It's over. Harry looks at Cash, at Belle, finally at Tom. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Mind telling me what happened? JAKE MACKINNON Sore loser. He drew first. Didn't give no warning. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Tom? TOM Didn't have much of a choice, Harry. CASH I can verify that, Sheriff. If not for Mr. Hannay, Miss Cubbins or myself could have been killed. Harry picks up the dead man's gun and addresses the Cowboys. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS It's over. Now you boys, I want you to ride on out of here, unless you want to spend a night in the cells. Anyone wants to claim his body, it'll be at the Undertaker's until noon tomorrow. After that, it'll be underground. An Older Cowboy glares at Tom. OLDER COWBOY You know how old he was, mister? Eighteen. JAKE MACKINNON Old enough to carry a gun. Stupid enough to think he knew how to use it. Maybe you should'a taught him better. The Cowboys exit the saloon, Andy follows them. Harry calls after him-- SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Ask them his name. And tell Billings we need another coffin. Andy nods and exits. MacKinnon signs to some Customers. JAKE MACKINNON Take him out back, boys. Then have a drink on the house. The Customers drag the corpse out through a back door. MacKinnon signs to the Piano Player and the music starts up again. Harry picks up a chip, flips it like a coin and slaps it back down on the table. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Seems the only way to make a profit in this town is to open a saloon, or become an undertaker. TOM I didn't ask him to draw. JAKE MACKINNON That you didn't. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Why don't you drop by the jail house when you got a minute, Tom? We got us some things to discuss. Harry exits. JAKE MACKINNON What's he all het up about? Dumb cowboy could'a blown any of us in half. You did the right thing, Tom. Tom throws back his drink, gets up and exits. Belle watches him go. CASH Looks like he folded. Shall we continue our game? JAKE MACKINNON If you give me a few minutes, Mr. Potter, I'll drum up another couple of players. Charlie, go look for Doc Halloran, will you? MacKinnon and Charlie leave, MacKinnon gives the cashbox to Pete behind the bar. CASH Wonder what he had? Cash flips Tom's cards over. Four Kings and a Seven. CASH Son of a--! He kept the hand I dealt him. Did you know? BELLE He gave them to the dealer. At least I thought he did. CASH Why, that's downright dishonest. BELLE Seems there's more to Mr. Hannay than meets the eye. CASH I will remind you, Miss Cubbins, that we are here to earn ourselves a fortune, not to dally with strange men. Especially strange men who wear badges when they're not cheating at poker. BELLE I'll keep that in mind. Although I might question your drawing attention to yourself by showing off. "Seven's my lucky number." How gauche. CASH Had to scare him away. Last thing I want is some Texas Ranger sitting in on my poker game. BELLE I think you mean "our" poker game. CASH A slip of the tongue. Let's stop arguing like some married couple and get some practice in. We're gonna need it. EXT. JAIL HOUSE - NIGHT Harry reaches the porch steps and turns at the sound of HOOFBEATS from down the street. The noise fades. Harry looks around, then goes inside. INT. RITA'S BEDROOM - NIGHT Dressed in her nightgown, Rita brushes her hair by the open window. HOOFBEATS come from outside. She pulls back the curtain and looks out, but the sound quickly fades. She blows out the lantern, plunging the room into darkness. EXT. APACHE STATION - NIGHT A motley handful of buildings including a general store and the agent's shack. INT. AGENT'S SHACK - NIGHT POUNDING on the door. SMITH, 40s, answers the door in his nightdress and bare feet, holding a lantern. SMITH All right, all right, hold your horses... He opens the door to Quinn and Cal. SMITH Well, what do you want? Quinn barges past Smith. QUINN We're looking for an Apache. SMITH Then you've come to the right place. You're slap bang in the middle of a thousand Apaches. Cal enters and moves toward another door. Smith shifts to stop Cal but Quinn cocks his gun. Smith stares at the gun, then at Quinn. Cal opens the door and looks into a bedroom. An Apache woman sits up in bed and stares at him. CAL There's one of 'em in here. QUINN Not the one I want. Watch her. SMITH Mister, you better start making sense. QUINN An Apache brave took a ride outside the reservation today. He had a squaw with him. I hear tell he came back with some scars. SMITH If it's the brave I think you mean, he's at the warrior's gathering. Cal hears, and looks nervously at Quinn. QUINN I thought you were the Apache agent? SMITH I am the Apache agent. QUINN Why aren't you riding hell for leather to Fort Benning and telling the Army there's an uprising? SMITH Because there isn't one. Put that gun away. You pull the trigger, you'll never get out of here alive. QUINN I pull the trigger, you won't care about it one way or another. This brave, he got a name? SMITH Paza. QUINN How often does he come here? SMITH He sticks with his own kind. Won't have anything to do with me. Quinn nods toward the bedroom. QUINN Some Apaches do. SMITH Not Paza or those like him. They got reason to hate whites. It's only the word of the chiefs that keeps them from staking me out over an ant's nest. QUINN What about the squaw he was with? SMITH She's his sister. The way I heard it, she took off with some buck Paza was none too fond of. Paza lit out after them. You can bet that somewhere out there, the coyotes are gnawing on the bones of a dead Apache warrior. Smith gestures to a cupboard. SMITH I need a drink. How 'bout you? Quinn nods. Smith opens the cupboard, takes out a bottle and glasses. He sits down at a table and pours. The bottle clinks against the glasses; Smith's hands are shaking. He slides a glass toward Quinn. SMITH Look, I don't know what this is about. You seem all riled up over Paza. Maybe you got reason. But I'm asking you to do the sensible thing, forget about him, get on your horse, ride out of here and don't come back. Quinn empties his glass. QUINN That's not so easy to do. SMITH It never is. Quinn thinks about it... and holsters his gun. He nods to Cal, telling him they're leaving. CAL What's to stop him telling this Paza you're looking for him? QUINN Last thing an Apache agent wants is Apaches getting all moody. SMITH You got that right. CAL What about the sister? This startles Smith, and gives Quinn food for sly thought. QUINN One thing's for sure. She won't be at any warrior's gathering. SMITH You are asking for a bucket load of trouble, believe me. Quinn draws his knife and rams it into the table. QUINN Swear to God, I'll make a hat out of your squaw's tits, you don't tell me where she is. Smith swallows hard. EXT. APACHE RESERVATION - NIGHT Four men creep through shadows to a darkened mud dwelling. Martins and Shepherd keep watch while Quinn opens a door and peers inside. He nods to Cal who slips inside carrying a blanket. EXT. DESERT - NIGHT Four horsemen ride hard for the horizon. One of them grips a struggling woman-sized bundle. EXT. HOTEL - DAY Dawn brings life to the town. Cash Potter steps out onto the porch and takes a deep breath. EXT. LIVERY STABLE - DAY Harry speaks with a STABLE BOY who shakes his head. Harry heads on up the street, sees Potter on the hotel porch and swings to talk to him. INT. STEAK HOUSE - DAY Rita, wiping tables and getting ready for the day, looks out the window and sees Harry approach Cash. EXT. HOTEL - DAY Cash offers Harry a cigar but Harry shakes his head. Cash lights himself a cigar. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS How long you in town for? CASH Wish I had ten dollars for every time someone asked me that question. Have I broken some law I don't know about? SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Not yet. I stopped by the saloon early this morning, just as Jake was closing up. CASH That's mighty interesting. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS I asked him about you and the lady. Jake seems to like you. Specially the way you took Doc Halloran for everything he had, then let him win some back for pride's sake. CASH A rare moment of weakness. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Jake says you're the best he's seen. And he's seen plenty. Which makes me wonder what you're doing in this one-horse town. CASH If you must know... we're waiting for a friend to arrive. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS And that friend would be...? CASH Just a friend. Once he gets here, and rests up, we'll be packing our bags. This is a charming place, but it's doubtful we'll ever come back this way. Does that answer satisfy you? SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Take my advice, keep out of trouble's way, Mr. Potter. CASH I'll remember that. Been nice talking. Harry heads for the jail house. EXT. JAIL HOUSE - DAY As Harry arrives he meets Rita, carrying a covered basket. RITA Morning, Harry. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS You didn't have to bring me breakfast. RITA Thought you and Tom might be hungry. Just some cold chicken and grits. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Well, I can't speak for Tom. He lit out last night. Rita tries to hide her disappointment -- fails. RITA All the more for you. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS You hear what happened last night? RITA No. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Tom shot someone. RITA Who? SHERIFF HARRY JACKS One of Lassiter's men. Got real sore over losing a hand of poker. Everyone says he drew on Tom. RITA You believe them, don't you? SHERIFF HARRY JACKS He was just a boy. RITA That's awful. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS I'm thinking... I'm thinking maybe Tom didn't like what he done. RITA Well. Can you blame him? SHERIFF HARRY JACKS It's hard to guess how Tom feels about anything. He keeps it to himself. Reminds me of his Pa and his brothers. Yesterday he brought three dead men into town. I never seen him colder than he was then. RITA Earl Ryan and his gang. Tom told me. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Now I got Matty and his pals, calling themselves the town elders, telling me to order Tom out of town. They're writing a letter to the Captain of the Rangers. Can you believe that? Writing a letter. Rita looks past Harry. Something's caught her attention. Harry turns and looks. EXT. HOTEL - DAY Cash looks too. EXT. JAIL HOUSE - DAY Rita walks past Harry and shields her eyes from the sun. Harry joins her and shields his eyes. EXT. TOWN LIMITS - DAY THREE APACHE WARRIORS sit on horseback, not moving, staring at the town. EXT. JAIL HOUSE - DAY Cash crosses the street to join them. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Now just what in the hell do they want? Begging your pardon, Rita. CASH Comanche? RITA Worse. They're Apache. EXT. TOWN LIMITS - DAY The three Apache Warriors turn their horses around and ride away from the town. EXT. DESERT - TOM HANNAY'S CAMP - DAY Tom squats beside a fire. He pours himself coffee from a tin pot. His saddle and a blanket lie beside the fire. Something catches his eye. He fetches a pair of binoculars from his saddlebag and peers through them. He lowers the binoculars. Thinks for a moment. He empties the coffee pot over the fire, saddles his horse. EXT. DESERT - DAY Tom rides hard, moving in parallel with a cloud of dust some distance away. INT. STEAK HOUSE - DAY Harry, Andy, Matty and a half-dozen MEN, the "Town Elders," hold an impromptu meeting. Rita serves coffee and fusses over everybody, bringing extra chairs over. RITA Anybody needs anything, give me a holler. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Thanks, Rita. MATTY There's tell of smoke trails to the east. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS It's been nigh on ten years since there was trouble from the Apache. The station agent's been living there the last three years-- TOWN ELDER Smith. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS --and he's still alive. MATTY The station agent doesn't concern me. It's us, this town. If Apaches have left the reservation, all our lives are in danger. MacKinnon enters, nods hello to Rita. Cash follows him inside but stays by the door, keeping his distance. Seeing Rita, Cash raises his hat. Rita holds up the coffee pot but Cash smiles and shakes his head, no. Rita wonders who this fellow with the frilly shirt and fancy hat is. JAKE MACKINNON Seems a mite crowded in here. No reason you couldn't have come on over to my place. No offense, Rita. Rita gives him a tin cup and pours coffee with a wry smile. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Too much temptation over in the saloon, Jake. (to Matty) What makes you think they'll come here? We're not the only town. MATTY Someone's got to ride to Fort Benning and let them know what's going on. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Benning sends patrols out every day. If there's trouble, they'll figure it out for themselves. MATTY So you propose we sit here and do nothing, is that why you called this meeting? SHERIFF HARRY JACKS I didn't say we'd do nothing-- TOWN ELDER Any more coffee, Rita? RITA Sure. Rita refills his cup, gives Harry an apologetic look. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS From now on, every man carries a gun. No exceptions. We'll post lookouts at each end of town, give us plenty of warning. If the worst happens, we'll be ready. MATTY I still think we should send a rider to Fort Benning. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Are you volunteering, Matty? MATTY I don't think that's funny, Harry. It has to be a younger man on a fast horse. How about young Andy here? SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Andy's staying put, and so is everybody else. No one leaves town till we know what's happening out there. Is that understood? MATTY Well, if the town elders are agreed-- SHERIFF HARRY JACKS I'm really hoping for your support on this, Matty. Harry's hard look hits its target, Matty backs down. MATTY Well of course, that goes without saying, we'll do everything-- RITA What about the stagecoach? SHERIFF HARRY JACKS She came through yesterday. TOWN ELDER She's due in again today. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS How do you figure that out? TOWN ELDER Special run. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Was anyone thinking about telling me? MATTY Maybe someone should ride out and warn them? SHERIFF HARRY JACKS They got eyes. Besides, I thought we just agreed. Nobody's riding anywhere. MATTY Well, I thought this was different. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS What I need you all to do is spread the word, make sure everyone knows what's going on. MATTY What about the ranchers? SHERIFF HARRY JACKS You think maybe we should send a rider to warn them? MATTY Well, that would certainly be my first... Matty catches on, Harry's making a fool of him. TOWN ELDER Sure is good coffee, Rita. Harry slams his hand down on the table, everyone jumps. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Look to your guns, and go spread the word. I want everyone to meet me in front of the jailhouse in thirty minutes. We'll figure who's going to stand lookout, and how best to defend the town. Matty looks around and gets nods from the Town Elders. MATTY We're in agreement. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Do I get to say "meeting adjourned" or do I need your permission? Looking miffed, Matty stands, claps on his hat, and marches to the door. Cash politely opens it for him. The Town Elders follow Matty outside. JAKE MACKINNON How serious you think this is? SHERIFF HARRY JACKS All we saw was three Apache. Might not mean a thing. JAKE MACKINNON And if it does? Harry indicates MacKinnon's pearl-handled gun. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Just how handy are you with that pea shooter? JAKE MACKINNON Why you don't expect me to fight, do you Harry? That's against my philosophy. SHERIFF HARRY JACK What philosophy would that be? JAKE MACKINNON Look after Jake MacKinnon and keep his retirement fund safe. I thought Tom would be here? Rita turns and goes into the kitchen. JAKE MACKINNON I say something wrong? SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Tom lit out last night. (to Cash) I guess you got an interest in this too. CASH Guess maybe I have, seeing as how I can't leave town. Cash exits. JAKE MACKINNON I've been around a mite, Harry. Saw a lot of men die in stupid fights over nothing. Yes sir. MacKinnon pours himself a coffee while Harry waits, curious. JAKE MACKINNON That cowboy last night. He had his gun in his hand when he came at Tom, and Tom still got the better of him. They watch Cash cross the street, enter the hotel. JAKE MACKINNON But that Potter fellow. He was just as fast. Maybe even faster. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS I'm glad to hear it. JAKE MACKINNON Any other time, maybe you wouldn't be so glad. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS There's a reason you're telling me this. JAKE MACKINNON I think Tom Hannay knows him. Not in a good way. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Least of my problems. Least of yours, too. JAKE MACKINNON I was wondering why you invited me along. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Thought it polite to ask first. JAKE MACKINNON I'll put the boys to work, get the windows boarded. We can cover the hotel, most of the street. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS That's what I figured. MacKinnon fishes a quarter out of his waistcoat pocket, puts it on the table along with his empty cup. He nods toward the kitchen. JAKE MACKINNON There's a woman makes good coffee. MacKinnon exits, and Rita enters from the kitchen. RITA They all gone? SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Me too. Thanks, Rita. RITA Any time. SHERIFF HARRY JACKS You see the fellow came in after Jake? RITA Dude with the fancy shirt? SHERIFF HARRY JACKS Goes by the name of Potter, Cash Potter. You know him? RITA Not before this morning. So the men get to march around with rifles, feeling important. What do the womenfolk get to do? SHERIFF HARRY JACKS First sign of trouble, you head for the hotel. Never mind bringing coffee and biscuits along, just hitch up your skirts and run. RITA All right. Am I still open for business till then? SHERIFF HARRY JACKS No reason why not. I'm hopeful nothing will come of this, those bucks will ride back to the reservation, it'll all blow over. RITA I hope so too. Harry turns to leave. RITA No word from Tom? SHERIFF HARRY JACKS If I see him, I'll make sure to tell him to drop in, let you know he's all right. If that's what you want. Rita looks away, thinks about it, then nods to Harry. RITA Thanks, Harry. Harry exits. Rita clears away the cups, finds MacKinnon's quarter, looks happily surprised, slips it into her skirt. End of excerpt.
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