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by Ernie Johnson (authorernieroy@yahoo.com)

Rated: PG-13   Genre: Drama   User Review:

The game between the Archer High Bowmen was scheduled. It would be the last basketball game of the season, with only bragging rights for the winners. The game the bowmen would play; however, would not be played on any hardwood basketball court; their opponents would not be six-foot guards, centers, or forwards, but rather the elements of life itself. The rules, as such, were simple - SURVIVE.

This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.



Okay, men, come here.
Both teams scamper to the sidelines
Have a seat, guys.
The coach paces in front of his team, his steps ECHO in the
He grabs his stool, places it in front of his men, and sits
Here's where we stand, guys. The
Bucs are fast and they have a
passion for victory. Their record
speaks for itself. Outside of
Geronimo and Scoop, we don't
compare in height. We are as fast
on the court and our desire to win
is just as passionate. Their
primary weapon is their zone
defense and their height
advantage. Go back to the court
for another fifteen minutes of
scrimmage using the zone defense.
(To Tony)
Tony! I want to see you for a
moment before you go out there.
(To everyone)
Okay, guys, hit the court.
The boys rush onto the court while TONY stays put.
What's up, coach?
I have a play I want you to
explain to your first squad. I
want to see if this play can short
circuit the Buc's zone defense.


                       COACH (cont'd)
They haven't seen this one.
Let's see it.
Tony watches as the coach draws up the play on his

Tony jogs out to court and huddles with his team.

Tony side inbounds the ball and Tony, from right guard
position, draws SCOOP and ROACH from their guard and left
forward positions.

The ball bounces under Roach's arm to ANGI who's left with
an easy lay-up.

They run the play again and it works the same.

On the third try, Scoop intercepts the pass and rushes down
the court for an unassisted dunk.

The coach's whistle BLOWS again as he scribbles notes on his
Lay-ups and foul shots boys. Then
you kids get ready for the rally.
The boys break up into drill lines when the ARCHERETTES
cheerleading squad enters the gym.

The disruption forces the coach to BLOW the whistle again.
Okay, men, hit the showers. See
you at T & C's tonight.
The coach heads for the door and the players break for the
locker room.

Tony stops to talk with ANN.
Hi sweetheart. Are you still going
to T & C's after rehearsal?



I told FRANK that we'd help
decorate for tonight. ROXY and
LAURA will be there too.
Angi walks over and places his arm around Paula.
Like to be my escort to the rally,
Don't sweetie me, you jerk. Get
your paws off me.
She shrugs her shoulders, knocking his arm from them. She
steps back away from him.
I have a ride anyway, but thanks.
Then can I give you a lift after
Get Lost!
Paula HUFFS and storms off to center court.
Angi gives Tony a cocky smile as he passes him on his way to
the locker room.
What was that all about, Ann?
Ann SHAKES her head from side to side.
Angi's being his everyday smug
flirt. I better get the rehearsal
I'll be waiting for you.
Ann turns and heads towards center court.Tony heads to the
locker room.

PEGGY approaches Paula at mid-court.


      ((to Paula))
What do you have, that I don't?
In regards to what, Loverboy?
Whatever it is girl, I wish I
didn't have it.
The reason I became a cheerleader
was so I could be around Angi.
Are you serious? You want to be
around Loverboy? Don't you know
the rep he has at school?
I'm up for the challenge.
Angi's more than a challenge, Peg.
If you want him, girl, then shoot
for the moon. No other girl that
I know of wants him.
Okay, girls! Let's go through our
normal routine, and then I've got
one to add for tonight. When
we're done here, we can use
everyone's help decorating T & C's
for tonight's Rally Night.
FRANK locks the door and turns to his staff.
Okay, everyone, we've got ten
minutes. Let's get ready! Come
with me Harry.
Frank shows HARRY to his table.


Frank stands at the front door and unlocks it. He turns on
the outside lights. He sees the huge crowd as he opens the
      (Talking to
They're not all coming in here,
are they?
Customers start pouring in through the now opened door.

The cheerleaders and the players are the first ones in,
followed by Coach Tolman and his wife BARBARA.
      (To the Coach)
At this rate we'll be maxed out
before eight, I can only take
two-hundred and fifty.
The coach checks his coat, along with his wife's.
Relax, Frank. Most of the parents
will leave as soon as they eat.
We'd better grab a seat.
It's nice seeing you, Barbara. You
two have a great night.
Thanks! The place looks
Barbara follows her husband to their table.
PRINCIPAL THATCHER stands at the only seat he sees
available, at Harry's table.
      (to the reporter)
Mind if I join you?
      (Looking up)
Be my guest, Henry. You can be my
first victim of the night. Have a


      (sitting down)
Victim? What do you mean?
Maybe that's a tad intense, but
I'd like to get about five
interviews tonight and you can be
my first.
Knowing what you do for a living,
you old codger, I know that
anything I say will end up in
print, right?
But of course! It's my duty to
report what's happening. Where
you're the principal of the
Bowmen, our readers would like to
know your opinion on this game
next week
It will have to wait, Harry. The
Archerettes will be hitting the
floor in a minute, and then I have
a short speech. Take my comments
from that speech, okay?
Done deal!
MARIA Alessio YELLS through the kitchen window.
Frank! It's eight o'clock.
Frank removes his apron.
On my way, honey.
Frank leaves the kitchen and heads to the dance floor. He
waits for the song to end. He flips the switch, silencing
the jukebox and he grabs the microphone.

The dance floor clears as Frank checks the microphone.

The cheerleaders assemble inside the game room, with Ann in


Could I have everyone's attention,
please? Welcome to Rally Night
here at the Town and Country.
Tonight we're all here in support
of our basketball team, the Archer
Bowmen, in a rally that we hope
will carry them to victory one
week from tonight.
Everyone applauds.
The Archerettes are about to grace
our dance floor for a routine of
cheers. Let's give an Archer
applause to Ann, Paula, Linda,
Peggy, and Roxanne, the
Frank extends his arm towards the game room.

The Archerettes leave the game room and head onto the dance
floor, led By Ann, and they perform their routine of cheers.

As the Archerettes leave the dance floor Frank returns to
the microphone.
At this time I'd like you to
welcome Archer High Principal
Henry Thatcher, who has a few
words to say to you all. Mr.
Henry stands and heads to the microphone and receives a
comfortable applause from the patrons.
Good evening students, faculty,
family, and friends who've joined
us tonight at T & C's. I've been
known to be a bit long-winded, but
tonight's not my night, nor is it
my floor. This night belongs to
the ten young men we call the
Everyone cheers and applauds.
In their regular season the Bowmen
have proved themselves by winning
the divisional championships for


                       HENRY (cont'd)
the fifteenth time in my eighteen
year tenure as their principal.
Next week's game is a prestige
only game. For the Bowmen it will
be bragging rights if they can be
the only team to beat the other
for the third consecutive year. On
behalf of the faculty, and the
students who make our school so
special, we wish the Bowmen the
very best in Wilkinson next Friday
night. Thank you!
Frank flips the switch on the jukebox. It springs to life
with another forty-five rotating on the turntable.

Peggy sits near the game room with Paula, LAURA, and LINDA,
and she starts tapping the table with her fingers.
      (to Peggy)
What in the world are you doing?
Peggy's eyes are wide open and she stares at Angi.
Right now Iím keeping score and
conniving, all at once.
Keeping score of what, or better
yet, who?
The number of girls Angi asks to
dance without success.
Are you serious? For what reason?
I can use this information to get
what I want. So far tonight,
unless I missed someone, the score
is twenty-four to nothing. I'd
say he's on a losing streak.


You're still going after him?
I sure am, and with both barrels
loaded. Tonight he's taking me
home, even though he doesn't know
it yet.
Laura stares her in the face and grabs the edge of the table
with both hands.
Don't you know the reputation he
Reputations, much the same as
rules, are meant to be broken.
It's time to make my move.
Peggy stands and walks over to the jukebox. She scans the
new selections. She puts the quarter in the slot and pushes
the appropriate buttons. She then returns to her seat with
a big smile on her face.
Linda CHUCKLES and SHAKES her head.
      (to Peggy)
What in the world are you doing?
Now I just sit and wait for the
Hully Gully to be played. I can
dance that as good, or maybe even
better than anyone in school. If
we're going to play a game, then
that game will be on my turf. That
turf happens to be the dance
He hasn't once asked you to dance,
Peg, so why should he ask now?
Is there any rule that says a girl
has to be asked by the guy?


As a matter of fact, girl, there's
none that I know of. You've got
more spunk than I gave you credit
for. Maybe you are the one girl
who can tame Loverboy down to
size. Do you think he'll bite?
If he wants to dance, as bad as I
think he does, he will. There's
my song. Wish me luck, girls.
Peggy stands and heads to the table where Angi and Roach
sit. She extends her left arm towards the DANCE FLOOR.
      (to Angi)
Would you care to join me for this
Angi stands.
I'd love to.
Angi and Peggy start to dance as the dance floor clears
around them.

When the song ends, everyone applauds.

A slow song drops onto the turntable and Peggy reaches for
Angi's hand and embraces him.

Angi's eyes lower and two rows of wrinkles form on his lower

After nine dances Angi breaks free and turns to Peggy.
I need a drink. Can I get you
Peggy stands just off the dance floor, near her table.
Thanks, I'd like a large orange,
Angi heads to the counter.

Peggy heads to the front door and waits. Eight minutes
later she sees Angi with two drinks in his hand and he's


looking all around for her.

Angi turns his head towards the coatroom and spots her
standing by the door, and works his way to her.

Angi hands Peggy her drink.
      (to Peggy)
I could use some fresh air. Would
you like to come out with me?
Sounds good to me.
Angi opens the door to step outside.
Angi steps beyond Peggy and turns around to face her.
You're a very good dancer.
Peggy stares him down as she takes a sip of her drink. Her
eyebrows rise as she lowers it from her mouth.
Oh, you mean you noticed. Why
then has it taken you over two
hours to notice me? Not only
that, but it was me who had to ask
you to dance, not the other way
      (in a huff)
Well what? Tonightís not the
first night youíve gone to a dance
alone, and unless you get mighty
darned lucky youíll leave here the
same way. Tonight youíve asked
twenty-four girls to dance and you
ended up sitting down because you
were refused each time.


      (voice raised)
What are you, some kind of
detective and keeping an eye on
No, but I might believe I have a
good reason, if I were.
Angi takes a sip of his soda.
And what might that be?
The only reason I became a
cheerleader was because you were
on the team. I've done
everything, withing obvious
boundaries, to get you to notice
me. I'm a girl, or haven't you
Peggy thrusts her chest out for him to gawk at.
Angi's face flushes a deep shade of red and he can't help
but stare.
      (In a HUFF)
Is that the best response you can
come up with, Loverboy, or can't
you live up to your
self-proclaimed nickname? I'm
going inside. If you want it,
then come and get it. You have
five minutes. Be a second late
and you can forget it. Go home
alone again and see if I care.
Peggy turns to head inside and abruptly stops and turns back
to face him.
Oh! Thanks for the drink.
Peggy then turns back towards the door and storms off


Angi stands there and reaches into his pocket for a
cigarette. After lighting it he talks aloud to himself.
I'd be a fool for not going after
her. She's headstrong and not
afraid to tell it the way she
feels it. I better get in there
before she changes her mind.
Angi takes a few more drags and then snuffs the cigarette
out. He then runs inside.
Peggy stands near the counter talking with Coach Tolman and
his wife, as they prepare to leave.

Angi looks at his watch and he sees that he has about a
minute left. He approaches the three of them.
Excuse me, coach, but could I
speak to Peggy a moment?
Peggy! We better get going. You
have a nice night.
You two do the same. Bye!
Coach Tolman and his wife head to the coatroom.
Peggy looks around.
      (to Peggy)
What are you looking for?
I'm looking for a place where we
can talk, but it's still crowded
in here. You had your chance,
when we were alone outside. You
blew that chance when you
questioned my femininity. Now the
quietest spot is in the game room,
and you know everyone will be
listening in there.
Peggy wears a smug look on her face as she shrugs her


Well then let's go into the game
Angi grabs her hand and leads the way through the crowd and
past the dance floor. The last few steps are past the table
where Paula, Linda, and Laura still sit, before they reach
the game room.

Peggy walks by the table with her tongue in her cheek and
she wears a huge smile on her face.

Paula notices.
      (whispering to
       both girls)
What in the world is she up to?
      (speaking softly)
You're asking me? I don't know,
but that smile on her face looked

Whatever it is, she's in the game
room talking to him now. Not only
that, but it appears as though
everyone's stopped playing games
in there, at least for the moment.
That means they're all listening
to everything that's being said.
I've got to give her some credit.
She's got a lot of moxie. If
their conversation is supposed to
be private, it sure won't be by
the time they leave that game
Moments later Peggy leaves the game room and returns to her
table and takes a seat.
      (to Peggy)
What's going on between you and


Peggy licks her lips.
Well, girls, if I played my cards
right, then you won't have to
worry about Angi anymore.
What did you do to him?
Peggy looks at Laura.
You might get to find out in about
ten minutes or less, but then
again, maybe you won't.
Angi exits the game room and works his way around the dance
floor and over to the jukebox.

Peggy sits in her chair and her fingers start tapping
against the table.

When the song ends, Angi reaches behind the jukebox and
flips the switch and shuts down the machine. He grabs the
microphone and taps the head. Sweat drips off his forehead
and into his eyes, and both hands shake.
Can I have everyone's attention
Angi waits.
In the two years I've been in high
school, I've built up a reputation
and not one I'm really proud of.
It's that reputation that has me
standing here right now. A few
minutes ago I asked Peggy Warren a
question. She wanted proof that I
meant it. If this doesn't prove I
want you to be my girl, then
nothing will. Will you be my
Peggy gets up and RUNS to the dance floor as Angi replaces
the microphone and flips the switch to the jukebox.

Everyone APPLAUDS.

Peggy hugs him and looks him in the eyes.


I will now.
The school bus pulls up in front of the high school gym and

NICK PERELLI opens the doors to the school bus.
      (Standing outside
       the bus's doors)
Good evening, Nick. Are you ready
for the ride to Wilkinson?
The cheerleaders start to board the bus.
As ready as I can be.
Reporter Harry Thompson approaches the bus.
You go on next, Harry.
The coach helps Harry on with the tripod and camera.
Is that everything?
That's all of it, Jim, and thanks.
Harry climbs aboard and grabs a seat in front of the
The coach returns outside the bus.
Okay, guys, let's get on board.
CHIEF CONNORS approaches the Coach.
Is everything okay, Tom?
As far as I know it is. I've just
had a strange feeling in my gut,
and for some unknown reason it's


                       COACH (cont'd)
stronger right now.
Weird, as in how?
I'm really not sure.
Shake it off and I'll give you an
escort to Mountain Road and then
you're on your own. Kick some
serious butt down there, Jim.
Thanks, Tom, we'll certainly try.
The coach loads the water cooler, and the bag of balls with
the first aid kit aboard the bus.
The school bus starts the slow climb to the highest point on
Mountain Road. A thick layer of clouds suddenly surrounds
the bus. Nick slows down to ten miles an hour.

As he reaches the crest, Nick checks the brakes and the
pedal slams hard to the floorboards.

The bus is well on its way downhill. Nick pumps the brakes
but the bus continues to pick up speed fast.

Forty... forty-five... fifty miles an hour.

There's pandemonium inside the school bus.

      (YELLING to Nick)
What's wrong?
I've got no brakes.
Nick looks again and they're going fifty-five, sixty,
seventy miles an hour.

Nick pulls hard on the emergency brake but it snaps.


Seventy-five, eighty miles an hour.

Nick shuts off the engine. The solid wall of granite stares
him in the face at less than a hundred feet in front of the

Everyone braces for a crash.
      (YELLING to
Brace yourselves!
Eighty-five... ninety... miles an hour

Nick steers the bus into the left lane and turns slowly
towards the right. At the last second he turns the wheel
sharply to the left.

The bus flips to the right and the exposed tires slam hard
against the wall of granite.

The tires explode and catapult the bus across the road and
over the guardrail.
Tony comes to and lets out a deep GROAN. He gently touches
the side of his head.
Oh man, what did I hit?
Tony touches the large knot on the side of his head.
Oh my God that hurts.
He removes his hand quickly.
Oh my God, what have we been
Can anyone hear me?
He waits for a response.


Don't tell me I'm the only one
Tony tries to sit up. A seat lies on top of his legs. Glass
covers his legs and stomach and blood trickles down the
sides of his face.
Dad! Dad, can you hear me?
Tony feels around slowly and finds bodies on both sides of
him and someone's head between his feet. He moves the seat
off his legs and slides it as slow as he can. He then tries
to slide himself up against the side of the bus.
A MOAN comes from the rear of the bus.
Who's that?
Paula's MOAN becomes louder and more pronounced. Her voice
is shaky and broken.
      (broken voice)
It's... It's me, Paula. Is... Is
that you, Tony?
Are you okay?
Not really. I can't move my right
arm and it hurts bad. I think I'm
bleeding. My arms and legs are
wet, but I'm not sure if it's my
blood or someone else's.
I don't mean to sound cruel, but
don't worry about that right now.
As soon as I can I'll get someone
to check out your injuries. I've
got to somehow make sure we have
Why? Everybody should be right


If I'm right, the rear door to the
bus is missing and we might've
lost some of our friends out the
Oh my God, Tony! What are we
going to do? Who's here now?
I don't know. No one answers when
I call out and there's no light in
here for me to see a whole lot.
Tears streak down the sides of Paula's face. She cries.

What are we going to do?
I can't see a thing right now. Let
me work my way through everyone
who's around me and I'll try to
find the flashlight my dad carries
under his seat.
Please be careful.
Tony's head hits one of the seats attached to the
floorboards above them.
What happened?
It looks like the bus is sitting
on its roof. I just bumped into
one of the seats above me.
Can this get any worse?
Tony slowly works his way through the maze of bodies around


I wouldn't ask that question if I
were you.
Tony finally finds the driver's seat on the opposite side of
the bus from where he looked. His father's body is still
strapped into the seat.
Tony shakes his father.
Dad! Dad, wake up!
Is your dad okay?
I don't know. I'll have to check
for a pulse. Hold on!
He takes two fingers and finds his fathers neck. He touches
it gently on one side.

Tears flow from Tony's eyes.
      (broken voice)
My... My dad didn't make it. He...
He's dead.
Oh my God, Tony, I'm sorry. Did
you find the flashlight?
Tony wipes the tears from his eyes. He reaches up under the
seat his father is in and grabs the flashlight.
Yeah, I got it.
Does it work?
Tony flips the switch and the light shines. He takes it and
shines the light towards the floor of the bus.
It seems like everyone's in a heap
down front here.
Two more MOANS are heard.


Who's that?
Tony shines the light towards where he heard the sounds. He
sees that it's BACKBOARD and REBOUND who are making the
sounds as they come to.
Tommy! Kenny! Are you guys okay?
Rebound reaches to rub the sore on the side of his head.
Man, like I have a king-sized
Be careful when you guys move.
There's glass everywhere.
Backboard tries to move a seat from across his chest.
I'll be okay, I think. My knee is
sore, but I can move it. Once I
get that light over here, I'm sure
I'll be picking glass out of my
body. I'll be okay, I think.
Be careful you two. It appears
everyone's rolled to the front of
the bus and we're sitting on its
roof. We overturned.
Is everyone okay, man?
I don't know. Right now all I
know is that there are four of us
Backboard tries to sit up.
Who's the fourth?
It's Paula and she's near the back
of the bus.
Rebound stands.


Hey, man, is she gonna be okay?
It sounds like she might have a
broken arm, Tommy, and, like
everyone else in here, I'm sure
she's got cuts from the glass.
So what's our next move.
Can you give me a hand getting my
dad out of his seat. He didn't
make it.
Sorry, my friend. I'm on my way.
Shine that light on the floor so I
don't step on anyone.
Everybody's everywhere, so be
Tony shines the light on the floor as Rebound and Backboard
work their way towards him.

The three men work together to lower Nick's body from the
upside down chair he's in.

As Nick's body is placed on the floor, more MOANS can be
heard from the middle of the bus.

Tony grabs the flashlight and shines it throughout the bus.

Who's that?
Ben tries to move two bodies from on top of himself.
Is that you, Ben?
Yeah it's me, alright, but this
body ain't meant ta take this
kinda abuse, man. My ankle hurts,
my head's poundin, and my ribs are


Be thankful if that's all that's
wrong, Ben. Watch out for all the
broken glass.
ROXANNE tries to sit up with Paula's help.
Yeah, it's me Roxy. Is everyone
I don't know yet. Are you okay?
I think so, once I get all the
glass outta my arms and legs.
Okay, guys, this won't be easy,
but we need to try and sit
everyone up, one at a time. We
need to make a path in the center
of the roof, or floor, whatever's
underneath us. Be very careful
with the girls, please.
Tommy and Ben start at the front of the bus and they lift
Roach's body up against it's side.
      (to Tony)
Where's the coach?
We'll find him Kenny. Right now I
need to find out who's alive and
who's missing.
Kenny looks down and sees that Ann's next. He turns and
looks at Tony.
Hey, man, it's like your
Ben and Kenny carefully lift Ann's body up and leans it
against the side of the bus.
      (broken voice)
Is... Is she...?


Shine that firefly this way, man,
and I'll check.
Ben checks for a pulse.
She's alive, Tony. I'm just
guessin she's out cold. She is
breathin or her own, man.
More MOANS are heard.
Thanks, Ben!
      (to Tony)
Hey, man, what can I do to help?
Everyone's clumped together in a
heap at the front of the bus. When
we slid down the side of the
mountain we must've come down
front first. I can't tell for
sure, but I think we're sitting
flat at least.
So what does that mean?
It means we have to make space in
between everyone so that we can
walk in here.
      (to Ben and Kenny)
Hold up you two.
Both men stop.
      (to Tony)
What's up?
We have to start at the back of
the bus, guys. We need to make
some room. With everyone piled up
on top of each other, down here,
we won't have room for them all.


Does that mean we have to carry
them to the back?
Well you can't drag them. There's
too much glass all over the place.
I'll shine the flashlight so you
and Scoop can do that. Be careful
where you put your feet.
I can see at least three seats
that were torn loose during the
accident. Anyone who can get back
here can sit on them. They're a
little shaky, but at least they're
soft seats and no glass.
Thanks, Paula. Okay, guys, as
much as possible let the girls
have the seats. That will free up
some space down front here.
I can see Laura Williams, Tony,
and Peggyís right beside her.
Rebound and Backboard carry Laura to the rear of the bus and
place her on one of the seats with Paula.

Paula holds her friend's motionless body close to her.
I have her, Tommy. When you get
Peggy, bring her over to Roxy. She
can hold her.
You got it, girl!
Ben holds his ribs.


I feel useless, man.
Youíll get your chance to help,
once weíre able to get things
organized a bit. Find a safe
place for now and grab a seat.
Tony takes a quick head count near the back.
That means there should be nine
people left, Kenny. Letís not
move them any more than we have
to. Find the coach.
Harry moves from underneath a body.
Tony! The coach is right here
beside me, son, and heís not
moving any.
      (to Harry)
Are you okay, sir?
I will be once you can get, I
think its Sparky off me.
Be careful, guys, thereís glass
Rebound and Scoop are very careful as they lift their
teammateís body off the reporter and Coach Tolman.

Sparky comes to, as does Will, who lays flat on his back on
the floor. Both MOAN as Will tries to sit up.
Man, like what's with all the
glass everywhere?
Are you okay, Will?


I donít rightly know, Tony. I
canít see much in here.
None of us can right now. Be
careful but try to lean up against
the side of the bus for now, until
we can get a real light to see.
Not to sound funny, at a time like
this, but now I know how a
basketball feels after a game.
Well at least youíre with us. How
about you, Will?
Donít fret none about this bull,
man. I hurt just like everyone
else in here does. My shoulderís
sore, my head hurts, and right now
I'm tryin ta pull glass outta my
Ben! Can you check on the coach
for me? Iíll go and check on Ann.
Tony takes the six steps towards the front where Ann is
perched up against the side of the bus.

Tony lightly taps her face.
Ann comes to, shaking her head.
Huh? What...?
Itís Tony, honey. Are you okay?


I don't know. Can you help me up?
Take it easy, babes. You just
came to.
How long have I been out?
About a half hour, give or take.
Where is everyone?
It appears as almost everyone's
here and accounted for.
What do you mean almost?
I canít be sure, until weíre able
to get an accurate head count, but
it appears we have two people
missing. I can't locate either
Linda or Harpo.
Ann cries.
Where's my dad, Tony?
Easy, honey. Heís on the floor
beside Harry, but heís
Tears flow down the sides of Ann's face.
He's not...dead...is he?
No, honey, he's not, but we won't
know how bad he is until we can
get him near some light.
What about the girls?


All the girls are accounted for
with the exception of Linda. Peggy
and Laura are with Paula and Roxy,
but theyíre still out cold.
Theyíre alive so weíll check them
when they come to.
What happened to Linda?
We canít be sure of anything,
right now Ann, but the back door
to the bus is missing and itís
possible she fell out of the bus.
There is a possibility Harpo did
      (voice raised)
Both Peg and Laura came to.
Outside of some cuts and bruises,
they'll be okay.
Thanks, Paula!
Tony turns to face Ann.
Want to be with your dad, honey?
Yes, would you please?
Take my hand and Iíll take you to
him, honey.
Ann grabs his hand as he helps her stand up.


Watch your head. Weíre sitting on
the roof and there are seats still
attached to the floor above us.
Tony helps Ann to her fatherís motionless body and she
kneels down beside him with caution and gently rubs his
Tony! Listen to an old man, son.
What do you need, Harry?
Itís not by choice, but rather by
circumstance, that youíve been
thrust into this position, young
How so, sir?
For as of this moment at least,
Coach Tolman canít be of help.
Your dad, Iím sorry to hear,
didnít make it. Iím the only
other adult down here. My mind is
too slow and my body too frail to
be of any help to the bunch of
you. You, as the team captain,
have the responsibility of being
in charge to try and keep everyone
alive until help arrives.
Everyone, including me, will be
turning to you. Youíve already
shown your leadership
abilities in what youíve been
doing so far.
What do I do next, sir?
God gave you a brain, son.
Use it and youíll have your
answer. You have five girls who
have nothing but their short
uniforms on. Itís lucky they all
wore sweaters. In any case they


                       HARRY (cont'd)
canít remain in this cold weather
for very much longer.
I see your point. Iím not ready
for all this, Mr. Thompson.
Whether youíre ready for it or
not, son, you have fifteen
teammates, cheerleaders, and two
adults, who have only you to turn
to. Your dad was a religious man,
Tony, and Iím sure you believe in
I do, but...
But nothing! Say a quick prayer
to this God and ask for his help
and guidance. Our lives depend on
I'll do that, sir.
Tony stands up. He shines the flashlight towards the rear
of the bus.
Yeah, Tony.
Take the flashlight and give me an
accurate head count. I need to
know if everyone's here. If
anyone's missing, I need to know
who it is.
Backboard heads to where Tony stands and grabs the


What's goin on man?
I donít know, yet, but the girls
arenít dressed to stay inside this
cold bus for very much longer.
I hear that. Let me take that
head count.
Backboard starts at the front and takes a mental note of
everyone who remains inside. He then approaches Tony from
the rear of the bus.
I hate ta say it, man, but we've
got three people missin.
I didnít want to hear that. Who's
not here?
Angi, Linda, and Harpo. What are
we going to do now?
Follow me back Kenny. I want to
talk to everyone at the same time.
I need to sit down too, if there's
a seat available.
There are still two chairs empty.
Tony moves towards the back with caution.
How's your dad, Ann?
He has a pulse, Tony, and heís
breathing on his own, but heís
either unconscious or in a coma,
and I canít tell which.
Iím going to talk to everyone, in
just a minute, Ann. Iím hoping to
find a way we can get a fire going


                       TONY (cont'd)
so everyone can get warmed up, but
mostly for the girls.
Thanks! They do need that right
Tony and Backboard continue towards the rear of the bus.
Tony finds an empty seat and sits down easy.
Listen up, everyone! I donít need
to tell you that itís cold, and
not only that but thereís so much
glass in here thatís itís not safe
for anyone to be able to sit down
with any degree of safety. I
didnít ask for this when I was
chosen to be your team captain,
but someone has to be in charge
and Harryís laid that burden on
me. I have to take a couple of
guys and find a safe place nearby
where we can start a fire. Warmth
is imperative.
Who do you want to go with you,
Tony? Iíd like to help, man.
Thatís good, because I do need
you, Will. Roach! Where youíre a
Boy Scout Iím going to need your
expertise in getting a place to
build and then start a fire.
I hope you have some way of
starting a fire.
Canít you do it by rubbing two
sticks together or something?
In a controlled environment where
the wood is dry Iíd say yes, but
down here the wood is damp, the
weather is cold, and just the


                       ROACH (cont'd)
opposite of the conditions we have
at the Boy Scouts.
Okay, then, what do we need?
Matches or a lighter! The rest of
the material I can get outside in
the area.
Thatís just it, Mickey, until
someone goes out there and looks
we have no idea what kind of an
area weíre in outside this bus.
Then give me the flashlight and
let Will go with me. Weíll go out
there and see what we have and
where we stand.
Tony hands the flashlight to Mickey.
Be careful you two.
Roach steps out the emergency door with the flashlight, with
Will following behind him.
See what ya can do bout gettin a
lighter or some matches, Tony.
Where the heck am I going to get
      (to Tony)
I know it's a long shot, but I
know Angi smokes, and he'd have
A long shot is correct. Angi's
amongst our three missing friends.


The inside of the bus fades as Roach and Will turn to the
left of the bus as they exit.
COACH TANNER locates the Wilkinson High Principal in the
Where are the Bowmen, Barry?
I know! I was wondering the same
thing myself. It's not like
Tolman to be late. I better go to
my office and call the Police up
there and see if they know
PRINCIPAL FALLON heads towards the hall doors.
Principal Fallon sits down at his desk and thumbs through
his Rolodex. Finding the number, he dials the Archer Police
                       JOHN (VO)
Can I help you?
Sergeant! This is the Wilkinson
High Principal, Barry Fallon. It
may be nothing, sir, but it's now
almost seven o'clock and as of
three minutes ago, the Bowmen
haven't shown up here. Would you
have any idea if their bus left
Archer yet or not?
                       JOHN (VO)
Chief Connors, escorted the bus to
Mountain Road at six oíclock, sir.
He came to the station and told me
personally that he saw them off.
He then went straight home. I
better give him a call. They


                       JOHN (cont'd)
shouldíve been there long before
now and by six-thirty at the
latest. Thank you for the call,
Mr. Fallon.
I hope everythingís okay,
Sergeant. Let me give you my
number so you can call and let me
The Principal gives his phone number and hangs up. He sits
there and waits.
Sergeant Stillwell immediately dials CHIEF CONNORS' home
                       DEBBIE (VO)
Connors' residence, can I help
Mrs. Connors, this is John at the
station, ma'am. Let me speak to
the Chief, please, and hurry.
                       CHIEF (VO)
What's wrong, John?
The Bowmen haven't arrived in
Wilkinson, sir.
                       CHIEF (VO)
Now I know why you didn't use the
radio. Call everybody in. I'll
be there in ten minutes.
Sergeant Maureen Gleason and Patrolman Fred Tollard arrive
at the station simultaneously with Chief Connors.
Chief Connors enters the main office.


Any word since you called me,
None, sir, but I called the
Wilkinson P.D. and talked to a
Sergeant Coombs. He's contacting
Chief Talbot and advised me the
chief would contact you on your
car radio.
Good thinking, Sergeant! Who
called you initially?
A Barry Fallon, the Principal down
Is he waiting for a call back?
Yes, sir!
Call him back and let him know
that both police departments are
out looking for that bus. Make
sure he says nothing to anyone
down there or thereíll be a panic
by our people who went there to
see the game, understood?
Yes, sir!
Maureen! Take car two and donít
let anyone down Mountain Road
without my authorization.
Understood, Chief!
The five-foot six Sergeant grabs the keys for car two and
heads out the door.
Fred! You come with me and drive
the cruiser.


The chief's eyes become red while he puts on a heavy jacket.
Let's go!
As Patrolman Tollard enters Mountain Road, Chief Connors
switches to tac-two frequency on the radio.
Connors to Talbot, can you read
me, Jack?
                       JACK (VO)
Affirmative, Tom, loud and clear.
I have my end secured and I've got
two of my people going to the high
school. Your people need to know
something, Tom. Over.
Yeah, youíre right, and thanks. I

was hoping to avoid a riot.
Anyway, Jack, work your way to me
and meet me at Lookout. Maintain
radio silence unless someone finds
something. Over!
Ten-four. Talbot clear.
Tom returns the radio to the cradle and turns to face the
Nice and slow, Fred, and use the
high beams. I'm looking for
anything; anything at all,
Yes, sir...!
Connors' cruiser heads south on Mountain Road. As they
approach the highest point, before the Danielson Hairpin
Curve, a heavy fog bank blankets the entire area.


What do I do now?
Cut your speed in half. If weíre
going through this then they had
to as well. Iím afraid of what
Iíll see when we reach Danielson.
Well, sir, wouldnít our people,
who went to the game, have gone
this way as well?
Come to think of it they would
have, and itís pretty obvious they
didnít see anything or we would
have been notified.
The fog thickens as the cruiser approaches the crest of
Mountain Road.
Okay, Fred, keep your feet on
those breaks. Danielson Hairpin
is just ahead and the fog up here
is so thick you can almost cut it
with a knife. Stop right here and
let me out. Iíll walk it down to
Chief Connors reaches for the flashlight. He zips up his
jacket and exits the car with the flashlight turned on.

Step by step the Chiefís eyes train on both the road and
guardrail, but no signs of school bus can be seen. He nears
to within fifty feet of the Danielson Curve and the fog bank
breaks but still no signs. He signals Patrolman Tollard to
stop and he climbs back inside.
What's the matter, Chief?
It's damn cold out there tonight.
I didn't see as much as a piece of
broken glass or any tire marks. I
figured that if they got into any
kind of trouble, Fred, here is
where it most likely would have


                       CHIEF (cont'd)
happened. Head around the corner
to Lookout, please.
Chief Talbot waits for them as they round the corner from
the Danielson Curve. Both Chief Connors and Patrolman
Tollard exit the cruiser and head over to the guardrail.
I take it by the expression on
your face that youíve had as
little success as we did.
Evening, Tom! I didnít see a damn
thing the entire nine miles to
here. Itís like the whole bus just
A bus canít just up and vanish off
the face of the earth, Jack. There
has to be some logical
What are you going to tell your
people when you get back to
Dammit, Jack! I have to tell them
the truth. We donít know a thing.
I sure donít want those people to
be out here tonight and have them
try to play detective and going
into these mountains looking for
them. Listen! I know this may
sound far-fetched, Jack, but as
police officers we do have to take
all possibilities into account.
Go on, I'm listening.
What if these kids have been


That's totally absurd.
I was thinking the same thing. We
better head back to town. I have
to send my people home with firm
instructions not to go looking for
the bus until morning when we can
execute qualified search parties.
After a quick check on the left side of the school bus both
Roach and Geronimo check the opposite side. As Roach passes
the light along the side of the bus he can make out the form
of his teammate Angi Rosetti pinned under the roof.
Tony! It's Angi and it looks like
the bus is sitting on his legs.
Paula holds Peggy in her seat.
Oh my God, Tony, that's my
Peggy struggles to break free, but Paula holds her firm.
You stay right here, Peggy. Paula!
Watch her and make sure she stays
Tony quickly jumps out of the back and turns to his right.
Tony runs around to the side of the bus where Geronimo and
Roach stand over Angi.
Is he...?


He's got a pulse, man, but it's
weak. He can't stay under there
much longer, man.
Will! See if you can find matches
on him, will you? I can't move
the bus off him until I get
everyone moved out of the bus
and I need a fire to give them
someplace to go to.
Geronimo checks Angiís jacket. He finds the matches and then
he checks inside the book.
      (to Roach)
You've got four matches, man, and
that's it.
Geronimo hands the book of matches to Mickey.
Tony returns to the rear of the bus.
I need someone to stay with Angi
for a while.
Let me do it, Tony. He's my
Is she okay to go, Ann?
You might as well let her go.
She's no worse than the rest of us
in here.
Are you okay, Ann?
Everyone down here needs heat,
Tony, and we all need to get our
wounds taken care of. Weíre all
hurt, weíre all bleeding, and
until we get some light to see how


                       ANN (cont'd)
bad we are, we canít stop all the
I understand that. Peggy! Come
Peggy reaches for Tony's hand and steps out the back door.
If it looks bad, donít let on to
Angi, okay? Hold my hand and Iíll
take you to him.
Thank you.
Tony and Peggy reach the side of the bus.
Okay! Peggy will stay here with
Angi. You two go and get that fire
going as soon as you can. The
girls are freezing inside.
Mickey and Will turn to go to the other side of the bus.
Weíre on our way. Give us about
ten minutes.
The flashlight appears as a mere speck of light as the two
men almost disappear from sight.

They reach a clearing, away from most trees.
      (To Will)
Does this look like a safe place?
Shine that light above us, man.
Roach shines the light into the trees above them.


It looks good ta me, man. What
d'ya need me ta do?
Grab me a handful of small sticks
that I can use for kindling. Once
the fire gets going Iíll need
larger pieces to throw some heat
and give off light.
You got the matches, right?
Roach nods his head as he assembles some light pieces to get
the fire started quickly.
I'll give you the flashlight in a
Mickey sets several sticks to ignite quickly and strikes the
first match. The dry leaves ignite fast and in a matter of
a minute the sticks above them start to catch. He adds more
and more of the dry kindling. He adds some of the larger
pieces of branches he can see nearby.
Roach hands Will the flashlight.
Okay, Will, get me some bigger
pieces and quick. Get what you
can and fast. I'll keep the fire
going with what I have nearby.
Will finds several good chunks of broken tree limbs. He
breaks them down with his feet and then snatches them in his
arms and brings them over to Roach.
Use these for starters, man.
Tony sees the fire going.
Ann! You and the girls get over
to the fire first. None of you
are dressed for this kind of


I want to stay with my dad, Tony.
I'll make sure he's the next one
out of here, Ann, right after you
girls. I need you there so you
can check these girls out
thoroughly and do as much as you
can for them. I know we haven't
got much to work with so just do
the best you can. Whether you
want it or not, Ann, you're going
to become a nurse up close and
Okay! Who's going over there
You, Roxanne, Laura, and Paula!
Check Paula out first. She might
have a broken arm. Iíll have the
guys bring out all the seats we
can. I have to try and get Angi
out from under this bus, but in
order to do that I have to have
the bus empty, and that means
everyone has to be out
of here to do that.
Ann stands and leads the way.
Okay, girls, let's get over by the
fire and get warmed up.
More light shines inside the bus.
Okay, guys, it will take us all to
get these seats out of here and
over to the fire. When we get
there, ask Ann where she wants
What can I do for you, Tony?
Stay right where you are, Mr. T.
As soon as we have a place where
you can sit one of us will help


                       TONY (cont'd)
you over to it, okay?
Youíre doing just fine, son. Your
dad would be proud.
Thanks, Harry! Iíve got to get
going. Okay, guys, grab one end of
a seat and someone grab the other
and letís get these seats over
Scoop! Help Harry get over to the
fire, please! Sparky! Rebound! I
need you two to help me get the
coach over there.
How are we going to do it? Heís
unconscious and we donít want to
make things worse for him.
You're right. Any suggestions
Itís a long shot, but if we get
one of those seats we just hauled
out of here, we could pick him up
and set him across it. We would
need more guys but someone will
have to hold his head up. Iíll go
back with Tommy and weíll bring
back a seat and some
more help.
When Backboard and Sparky return, Ben and Rebound are with
them Rebound looks at Tony.
      (to Tony)
How do you want to do this?


I want two of you to hold the seat
so it doesnít tip on us. Scoop
and Backboard will help me lift
him onto the seat.
Tony repositions himself behind the coachís head.
You two lift his legs and Iíll
grab him under the arms and then
weíll lift him carefully.
Jim and Kenny bend down by the coachís legs
and are ready to lift.
On the count of three. OneÖ TwoÖ
They lift the coach up and place his limp body across the
Sparky! You hold his head while
we carry him over to the fire with
the others.
Iíve got it, Tony!
Sparky heads to the end where Coach Tolmanís head is and
holds it level.

With the sounds of breaking glass under their feet, the four
men lift the seat. Sparky holds the coachís head while they
carry it over to the fire where Ann waits for them.
We have two seats put together for
him, Tony.
Okay, guys, one more time.
Rebound, pull the seat out from
under us, will you please?


As they lift the coachís body off the seat Tommy slides the
seat away from them. They place the Coachís body down on
the makeshift bed.

Scoop approaches his friend.
Let the rest of us get your dad
out of there, man. You just tell
us where you want us to lay him
Tears start to flow down Tony's cheeks.
Kenny! Tommy! Sparky! Give me a
hand getting Mr. Perelliís body
out of the bus, will ya?
The four men make one more trip inside the almost empty bus.
Carefully the four men lift the motionless body of Tonyís
dad off the glass-riddled floor and carry it out. They see
Tony standing a distance away from the rest of the group and
carry him there.
Tony kicks some of the brush away from where he wants his
dad placed.
Right here, guys! Jim! Can you
and Tommy bring another seat to
the far side of the bus? Will!
I need you to join us. Weíre
going to try and get Angi out now.

They reach Peggy and can hear the two of them talking.
Peggy! I want you to go to the
fire right now and get yourself
warmed up.


                       TONY (cont'd)
Tony interrupts her.
But nothing! As soon as we get
him situated by the fire, and Ann
has had a chance to do what she
can for him, then you can be with
him, but for now I want you to go
and get warm. Go on!
Peggy stands and starts to head towards the back of the bus,
then stops to take another look back.
Tony waves his hands at her.
      (voice raised.)
Go on...!
Peggy heads towards the warmth and light of the now roaring
fire and she passes Scoop and Rebound as they carry one of
the seats back towards the bus.
Be easy with him, guys. Heís in a
lot of pain.
They continue on to where Tony waits for them.

Tony looks the situation over.
Where do we start?
I need to find the tire jack.
Jimmy! Do you have any idea where
the tire jack is inside the bus?
I'm on it, man.
Scoop heads to the rear of the bus and moments later returns
with the tire jack and handle.


I've got em. What're we doin?
Thereís a big tree up against the
door up at the front of the bus.
If we can somehow wedge the jack
up against it we might be able to
move the bus off him enough for
three of us to pull him free.
Itís only gonna give ya bout
twelve inches, man.
Then we better hope that will be
enough. We have to try it Jim.
Okay, Ben! You and Sparky brace
the base of the jack up against
the tree. Scoop! Find a safe
place to set it so it moves the
bus away from us and towards the
Ben and Rich go over to the tree with the jack. Ben goes to
the far side.

Scoop wedges the top of the jack up against the door brace.
Are you ready, Tony?
Rebound, and backboard grab Angiís shoulders.
Letís do it! This might hurt
some, Angi.
Angi almost screams.
Nothing can hurt as much as my
legs do right now. Get this bus
off me...!
Let's do it, Jim.


Scoop cranks on the tire jack and the bus creaks as it
starts to move.
Let me know when heís free.
The bus moves with ease.
I need a little bit more, Jim!
Jim makes two more cranks on the jack.
Thatís enough! We have him.
The three men slide Angi out from underneath.
Eight minutes later they load Angi on a seat and carry him
back to the fire across from Coach Tolman.
Linda holds onto a hole in her side with her left hand.
      (voice raised)
Can anyone hear me?
Danny lays up against a fallen evergreen, hidden by
I can hear you, but who's that?
I's Linda. Can you help me?
Iíll try, Linda. Hold on!
Danny crawls out from under the branches.
Where are you, Linda? Keep
talking! I have a bad leg so just
keep talking.


Is that you, Danny?
Thatís me, girl.
Whereís everyone else?
I donít know. I must have been
knocked out. When I came to I was
alone, sore, and cold. Are you
No! My head is pounding and I
seem to have cuts all over me. The
worst is this hole I have in my
side. Iíve been pressing my hand
against it to stop the bleeding.
Danny! Donít let me die out here
alone, please!
Youíre not going to die, Linda,
not if I can help it. Keep
talking so I can find you. I
canít see very well in the dark.
Youíre almost here. I can hear
your footsteps and your voice is
Linda sees a vague form approaching her.

Danny sits down beside her,
Okay, Iíve got you, girl. Can you
No way! If I do Iíll lose blood
all over the place.


Whereís this hole in your side?
Itís where my hand is, on my left
Danny removes his jacket and then takes off his jersey.
What are you doing?
As long as I have an ounce of
energy left, Iím not going to just
let you lay there and die.
Danny puts his jacket back on.
Iím going to make a tourniquet. I
hope thatíll stop the bleeding.
Youíd do that for me?
Danny rips the jersey.
The sacrifice is small compared to
your life.
Linda lies on the ground and tears form in the corners of
her eyes.
I canít believe youíre doing this
for me.
Linda watches as Danny removes his sneakers.
Now what are you doing?
The only things I have,to use for
a gauze pad are my socks, so Iím
taking them off. Then I'll be able
to tie my shirt tight around your


                       HARPO (cont'd)
waist. After I stop that
bleeding, either Iíll have to drag
you over to the tree where I was
when you called me, or hope you
can walk there.
What's over there?
Shelter from this cold if nothing

Danny puts his sneaker back on and folds the sock into a
thick pad. He slides his hand down Lindaís side until he
feels where her hand is pressed tight against her body.
I'm going to help you sit up. Are
you ready?
Okay! I'm ready, I guess.
Danny assists her until she's sitting upright.
Okay, girl, when I say now, I want
you to remove your hand and Iíll
put this pad up against that
wound. Then I can put my shirt
around you. Then I want you to put
your hand against the pad. Iíll
put my shirt over the pad and tie
it on the other side of you. Are
you ready?
I think so, yes.
Linda moves her hand away from the wound. Danny quickly
replaces it with the makeshift gauze pad. He holds it tight
against the wound, Linda reaches down with her bloody hand
and presses it against the pad.


This is all a waste of time. Weíll
never get help in time.
Danny reaches around her waist with the cut jersey in his
left hand. He then reaches around with his right hand and
grabs the free end of the jersey. The widest part of the
shirt is just below the gauze pad. With a little
manipulation he slips the fabric over the gauze as she
removes her hand again and quickly returns her hand to her
Be warned, I have to make this
tight if itís going stop the
One more ache, is not going to
bother me. Do what youíve got to
Danny takes the loose end and ties a knot tight enough to
hear Linda GROAN.
Danny continues to tie knots until heís out of material.
Okay, Linda, you can remove your
hand now.
Thank you! My hand was getting
numb, but I didnít dare remove it
for fear Iíd die.
I want to see if you can stand
now. I need to get you over to the
tree where we can huddle together
to keep warm. I also want to keep
an eye on you, or kind of anyway.
I didnít go through all that to
let you die on me.


Let me help you up.
Danny stands up and moves behind her. He grabs her from
behind and under her arms. With a slow and gradual pull,
Linda is on her feet.
Now the question is, can you walk?
To where?
About twenty feet behind me!
Thereís a huge tree on its side
and we have to get inside and
under the branches. That will
give us some cover from the cold
until help comes for us.
Let me put my right arm over your
shoulder, Iím going to need help
if Iím to get there. My legs are
sore and stiff. My gut feels like
it was hit with a bowling ball.
Iíd carry you, but I have a bad
leg too.
They carefully walk the short distance and Lindaís, battered
and bruised body is set down by the fallen tree.
Iím going to to drag you in with
me, because you donít want to
dislodge the bandage on your side.
Okay, but take it easy on me, will
you please? Everything hurts,
and I do mean everything.
Danny gets behind her and slowly drags her and braces her up
against the trunk of the tree.


This may not be much better, but
itís out of the cold, kind of.
He removes his jacket and places it over her bare legs.
Here, you need this more than I
Yeah, but you donít have a shirt
on now.
The price of friendship! If you
donít mind, Linda, could I hold
you close to me? We both need it
to stay warm.
After what you just did for me, I
couldnít say no! Put those big
arms around me, but let me give
you a kiss first. You deserve
that much.
Danny leans forward and Linda gives him a kiss, then he
cuddles close.
I hope you make it, Linda. Youíre
a fantastic girl.
Thanks, That means a lot,
especially right now. What you
did for me you did with an
unselfish heart. If I donít make
it, Iíll go to Heaven knowing that
there was one guy in my life that
did something for me and asked for
nothing in return. Thank you from
the bottom of my heart.


You're welcome, Linda. I want
you to keep talking. I'm afraid
that if you don't, I'll lose you.
As Angi is brought over to the campfire, Peggy comes running
over to him.
Is he okay?
Peggy puts her hands to her face as she sees his bloodied
pant legs. Tears fill her eyes.
Heís going to need attention,
Peggy. Whereís Ann?
Sheís checking Harry. Iíll
go and get her for you.
Peggy runs over to Ann.
They got Angi out from under the
bus and he needs some attention.
Tony needs you, now.
Ann wipes tears from her eyes and heads over to Tony. She
looks at all the blood on both pant legs.
      (to Tony)
What do we have?
I have no idea what to expect
underneath those pants, Ann, but
itís imperative you do what you
can to stop the bleeding at least.
Ann tries to look through the blood stained pant legs.


I have no way of cutting his
Tony grabs a torn section of Angiís pant leg and rips it up
to his knee. He repeats the process to the right pant leg.
Tell me what you need and Iíll do
my best to get it for you.
Ann looks at Tony with a tear soaked face.
I need what we havenít got and
thatís an ambulance, but get me
some water if you can and have the
guys give me their jerseys. I
have to wash those cuts to see how
bad it is.
Done! Sparky! Take the
flashlight and go back to the bus.
If we're lucky, the water cooler
didn't break. Rebound! Go with
him and get the ball bag. The
first aid kit should be inside.
Ya need anything else, man?
Yeah! Go with them and find all
the lunch bags you can. When you
come back have one of the girls go
through them and check for glass.
I'm on it.
Smart thinking, Tony.
Itís not going to be very much,
but right about now anything will


The guys remove their jackets and are quick to take off
their jerseys and hand them to Ann. They replace their
      (to Ann)
The rest of the guys will give you
theirs when they get back from the
bus honey. Where's Will and
Theyíve gone to collect wood to
keep the fire going and hot, Tony.
Paula is tending to the fire right
Tony looks at Paula.
What did you make a sling out of?
I had to use her sweater. That's
all I had.
Iím going to go and have Roxy or
Laura relieve her so she can rest
that arm.
Tony! She volunteered. It keeps
her mind off her missing brother.
If she sits down too long sheíll
break down.
Scoop, Sparky, and Rebound return from the bus.
How'd you guys make out?
Tony sees the cooler in Sparkyís hands, Rebound with the
ball bag, And Scoop with a handful of brown bags.
Well the cap is cracked and we did

lose some water, but itís still


                       SPARKY (cont'd)
heavy, so I think most of the
water stayed in.
Good! Get it over to Ann and give
her your jersey.
I took most of the balls out of
the bag, but the first aid kitís
Ann only needs the first aid kit,
so take it out and bring it to
her, please. Give her your
T-shirt too.
There were only eight bags left in
the bus, man. The rest musta fell
out on the way down here.
That doesnít surprise me. Weíll
have to work with what we have
then. Give them to Paula. Iím
going to have one of the guys
spell her on the fire.
Ya got it. I'll give Ann my shirt
The two men head over to Paula.
      (To Paula)
Would you like to do me a favor?
Iím keeping an eye on the fire.


Iíll have one of the guys watch
the fire for a while. Itís a manís
job anyway.
Okay, but I have only one arm, so
what can I do to help?
Jim has eight lunch bags with food
in it. I need you to check every
single bag and its contents for
glass. Open the food up if you
have to, but be careful. This is
all the food we have, okay?
Okay, and thanks, Tony.
And by the way, I havenít
forgotten about your brother and
Linda. Iíll have someone go to
look for them both soon, okay?
I havenít said anything because
youíve been so busy, but thanks.
Rich! Watch the fire for a bit,
will you? Iíll have someone
switch off with you in a while so
you can get some rest.
Tony turns and heads to Ann.
      (to Ann)
How bad is it?
Iím not a doctor, Tony, but Iíd
have to think he has broken bones
in both legs. The cuts he has,
even though there was a lot of
blood on his clothes, seem to be
superficial but the real damage is


                       ANN (cont'd)
under the skin. I've wrapped both
legs, so the bleeding will stop
Do you have anything you can give
him for the pain in that first aid
There were about two dozen aspirin
in the first aid kit, Tony, and I
only gave him two of them.
How are you holding up?
As long as my dad doesnít die,
I think Iíll make it. I'm terribly
sorry to hear about your dad. Are
you okay?
I've had to accept it. I'll be
fine. Has anyone looked at your
No, but mine are not all that bad.
Let me concentrate on those who
are really hurt, okay?
I have no choice. Iím leaving
this end of it up to you.
Geronimo and Roach return to the campsite with two armloads
of wood and Tony heads over to them.
You guys need to take a break.
Hey, man, thereís not enough wood
on this ledge to keep the fire
goin another hour.


Will drops the five good-sized pieces onto the ground.
We're on a ledge?
Tony! We have no more than maybe
two hundred feet from the fire
out. The bus is up against the
side of the same ledge it came
down off, so thereís no room on
that side. At the edge of the
ledge is a drop off into some kind
of a valley below here.
Then that means the only place we
can go to get some wood is above
Not only that, but the only wood
on this ledge is pine, and thatís
a soft wood that burns really
fast. What would be good is birch
or oak, but thereís none of that
down here.
Tommy overhears the conversation and heads over to Tony.
      (to Tony)
Iím the only one whoís qualified
to go up there. Iím a mountain
climber. Even though once Iím up
there, itís a mountain, yes, itís
not as tough as some places Iíve
climbed. Iím used to a lot
tougher than this.
Then level with me, Tommy. Once
youíve thrown down enough wood to
keep us going a while, do you
think you have the strength to
find Linda and Danny?


I can probably do it if one or
both of them is conscious. Iíll
be able to call them. If they can
respond, I can find them. It
would be a heck of a lot easier if
I had a torch of some kind to go
up there with. Without a moon out
tonight itís sure to be as dark up
there as it was down here before
we got that fire going.
How are we going to be able to
make a torch?
I can answer that, man. Motor oil
from the engine of the bus. Iíd
need a tee shirt and some wire.
The wire I can get from the engine
Iíll have to ask Harry if heíd be
willing to give us his tee shirt.
Do we still have paper cups in the
ball bag?
I think so. Take a look and see.
Tony! I wonít waste any more
time. Iíll head up to the ledge
and get some wood while Jim puts
those torches together.
Tommy turns and heads towards the ledge above the campsite
with Tony right behind him.
Itís not that high, but those
jagged rocks do look sharp.


I can get up there easy enough,
but getting down without a rope
will be tricky. Remember too,
when I get Danny and Linda there,
to the ledge, Iím going to need a
way for them to get down from
What am I supposed to use?
There are eleven guys down here
including your dad and coach
Tolman. Each one of them wears a
belt on their pants. They are not
ropes, but they are just as
strong. Let me climb up there and
get that wood. Once Iíve thrown
down enough wood to keep you going
for a while, have the guys lug it
over by the fire. Then let them
all have a rest. When I get back
to this ledge, with Danny and
Linda, itíll be time to go
back to work again.
Tony turns and heads back to the quiet campsite.
Will! I need two straight sticks
about three feet long. Tommy
needs them for torches.
I'm on it, man.
Tony heads over to Harry.
I overheard you and Tommy talking.
I know what you need and if
youíll help an old man you can
have my tee shirt.
How can I help you, sir?


Help me stand up, son. My leg is
quite stiff.
Tony helps Harry stand and Harry removes his jacket and
Here you go son! I hope it works
for you.
Harry replaces his tailored white shirt and jacket.
Thanks, Harry.
Tony goes over to scoop and hands him the tee shirt.
Here you go, Jim. Did you get the
oil okay?
Yeah, man! I got three cups full.
I got some wire too.
Geronimo hands Tony two sticks.
      (to Tony)
This is the best I can find.
Thanks. Well there you go, Jim.
Cut that shirt in two and donít
pour the oil on them until
Reboundís ready to go.
Rebound drops wood to the ground behind them, while Paula
hands Tony the eight bags of food.
Iíve gone through all eight bags,
and Iíd eat anything in there.


Tony heads over and places the food on the empty seat. He
then turns to the entire group,
Listen up, everyone! Hereís
whatís going on. Outside of
Rebound, no one leaves the
campsite alone. Iím asking Laura
to ration the water out with
extreme caution. Once thatís gone
there is no more. Roxanne! I
want you to be in charge of what
little food we have. A little bit
for everyone. Once thatís gone,
weíre out. Paula! You and Peggy
give Ann a break watching her
father and Angi. Scoopís making
two torches that Rebound can use
to find our missing friends. Right
now heís throwing down enough wood
to keep us going for a while. Once
he grabs the torches I want all
the guys to pitch in and help lug
the wood over here near the fire
where Iím standing. Once the wood
is brought over I want all the
guysí belts, including Angi, the
my dad and Harry. We need the
belts to lower our missing friends
from the ledge if they get found.
Then I want you all to get some
rest. I donít know what shape
Danny or Linda will be in but I
pray theyíre okay.
Ben heads over to Tony.
      (to Ben)
Do me a favor and check on Harry.
See if he needs anything.
Tony takes a seat and sits down.
Rebound YELLS from the ledge.
Okay, Tony, I'm ready.


Tony turns to Scoop.
All set, man. Let's do it!
Scoop grabs the two torch poles.
Let me coat them before we go Jim,
then Iíll have you light just one.
Tommy can light the other when he
needs to.
Scoop grabs one cup of crankcase oil and coats the tee shirt
on one of the torches. He repeats the process on the second
torch. He takes one and dips the oil-soaked end into the
fire and it ignites in seconds.
Tony grabs the lit torch and starts towards the ledge, with
Scoop following behind him. He hands the lit torch up to
Go as far as you can on one,
before you light the other second,
but donít let it go out on you.
I will. Wish me luck!
Rebound bends down low to grab the lit torch. He grabs the
second one and then turns and starts to go up the path that
was created by the bus.
Tony and Scoop turn and head back to the campsite.

Everyone can hear Rebound calling for their missing friends
and they turn their heads and look.
Iím afraid of what heíll find,
Jim. I donít want to lose anyone
Listen to me, Tony! I agree, man,
youíre in charge, but whatever
happened up there is not your
responsibility. I hope like hell
he finds them both okay, but we
both know that if they fell out of


                       SCOOP (cont'd)
the bus, as fast as we wouldíve
been travellin down that hill,
then their chances of being alive
are slim. I donít want to admit
it either, Tony, but we have
to be realistic.
I know youíre right, Jim, itís
just thatÖ
Letís worry about that when the
time comes, but for now you have
people in the campground who are
hurting, me included. One thingís
for certain.
What's that?
You best not lose your cool.
Almost anyone here would have lost
it already if not for your ability
to maintain stability amongst us
all. See, whether you realize it
or not, because you lost your dad,
it would've been very easy for you
to throw your arms up and say to
hell with it, but you didn't.
Instead you somehow gained
strength from your dad, man, and
that's a good thing. Go ahead and
sit down before you fall down.
Rebound and Harpo stand on the ledge behind where the bus
Letís get some help over here!
Everyone in the campsite turns their heads towards the


Tommyís back, gang! Letís get
some guys over there. Dannyís with
Tony turns to Ben.
Keep an eye on the fire, Ben.
I got it, Tony. You guys go and
help them down.
Tony grabs the belt rope, as Scoop, Geronimo, Roach, and
Sparky follow him to the ledge.
Did you locate Linda, Tommy?
      (broken voice)
SheÖ Sheís here with us Tony, but
she didnít make it. She died in
Dannyís arms shortly before I got
to him.
Tears flow from Tony's eyes.
Iím really sorry, Danny! How bad
are you hurt?
My right knee is quite sore and my
head hurts but Iíll live. How are
we going to get down from here? I
canít climb down, not with my
Weíre going to try and do
something, Harpo. Sit tight for a
Tony readies the belt rope.


      (to Rebound)
Let me throw these up to you. I
have them all hooked together to
save some time.
I'm ready, man. Throw em up.
      (to Rebound)
What are they doing?
We're gonna lower Linda's body off
this ledge, using the belts Tony's
gonna throw up here. Then I'm
gonna lower you down the same way,
but you'll have to help some.
Tony heaves the belts as near to Tommy as he can.
I've got em, man.
Rebound unhooks only one of the belts.
How are you going to work this,
Danny and I are going to lower
Linda down first. After you guys
have her Iíll pull up the belts
and hook Danny up with them. Once
you have him Iíll throw the belts
back down and climb down from
Can you make it okay?
Well thereís no one up here to
help me, man and I was able to
make it up here by myself. I
better be able to get down alone.


We're ready when you are.
Danny slips one belt under Lindaís arms and hooks the two
ends. Rebound then takes one belt and slides the looped end
over and down until it locks the belt Danny holds. He
unravels the remaining belts.
      (to Tony)
This isn't going to be easy.
I didnít think it would be. She
canít help keep herself away from
the rocks.
Geronimo and Backboard are the
tallest guys down there, so let
them get close to the ledge. Iíll
put her legs over first then
Danny and I will start to lower
her down. Once they can grab her
feet, they can pull her away from
the rocks.
Lindaís legs are lowered over the edge, with her body face
down on the ledge.
We're on it, man.
The two centers step closer to the ledge,
We're ready!
Get ready you two! Weíre ready to
lower her down.
Rebound and Harpo lift Linda's limp body up and over the
edge and start lowering her down, hand over hand on the belt
rope to the two men below.
      (voice raised)
Two more inches and we have her,


Backboardís fingers barely touch the bottom of her feet.
We got her, man. Her body's away
from the rocks. Let her down.
The other guys gather close as her body nears the ground.
Tony unhooks the belt under her arms then hooks it back up.
Take the belts up. Kenny! Will!
You two stay here and help Danny
get down. The rest of us will
take Linda over and place her
beside my dad.
Tony, Roach and Sparky carry Linda's body and place it
beside Tony's dad. When they return to the ledge, Harpo is
unbuckling the belt around his waist.
It's nice to have you back with
us, Danny. Okay, guys, help him
get over by the fire. Make sure
he gets something to drink and a
bite of the food. You guys can
stay there. Iíll stay here until
Tommy gets down.
Tony, be honest with me, man. Do
you have enough wood to make it
until mornin?
I really donít think so, but
youíve done too much already.
Iíd rather get it now, while Iím
here, than to climb down and have
to climb back up here in an
hour or so. Thereís plenty of
wood up here. Iíll try to throw
down enough to keep us until
daybreak. By then I can see a lot
better and come back up here.


Iím not about to argue with you.
If we donít have enough heat, the
girls will freeze. Call me when
youíre ready to come down.
Iíll do that, man, but just make
sure everyone down there is warm.
Chief Talbot enters the station and wipes his forehead with
a handkerchief,
Any luck Chief?
None Paul. Itís like they up and
disappeared. Iíve got to get on
the phone and round up enough men
to get five search parties to go
out there first thing in the
Thereís a guy by the name of DAREN
HOPKINS, who came in here while
you were out with Connors. Heís
home on leave from the Marines and
he served on a search and rescue
helicopter in Vietnam.
Whereís he from, sergeant?
Heís from Archer sir, but I knew
Chief Connors would be going crazy
all night so I willingly took all
the necessary information.


If what this kid says is true, and
we can get our hands on a
helicopter, then Tom might be able
to get some help from the air.
That could save valuable time and
possibly some lives as well. Get
me Fred Stoddardís home phone
number, Paul. He just retired
from the Marines in September, if
I remember correctly. Iíll give
him a call and see what kind of
pull he still has with the
I'm on it, sir.
Chief! Frankís opening T & Cís at
Five, so we can use it as a
command post.
Chief Connors sits at his desk.
Good! Anyone who calls and wants
to go with us, have them meet us
at six oíclock. That will give me
time to set everything up. How
many called in and volunteered?
We have thirty-six as of right
Okay, so we draw the line right
there. That means seven men will
go out with each team. Maureen!
Iím going to have you man the
command post. Each one of us will
have a radio. Weíll use Tac-Two
frequency. That way weíll keep
all our reports to ourselves.


                       CHIEF (cont'd)
The phone RINGS and Patrolman Lahey picks up the receiver
Archer Police, this is Patrolman
Lahey. Can I help you?
                       JACK (VO)
Yes you can, Patrolman. Let me
speak to Tom, please. This is
Chief Talbot in Wilkinson.
Right away, sir!
Patrolman Lahey turns to Chief Connors.
Itís Chief Talbot from Wilkinson,
Chief Connors stands and heads to the phone. He grabs the
Give me some good news, Jack.
                       JACK (VO)
This is good news, Tom, but not
the news youíre looking for.
Youíve got a kid up there by the
name of Daren Hopkins. He goes by
the nickname Stretch.
Yes we do. Heís home, on leave
from the Marines. What about him?
                       JACK (VO)
Knowing you'd be very busy at the
station, up there, he came into
our station tonight after you sent
everyone home. He was a spotter
aboard a helicopter used on search
and rescue missions in Nam. Iíve
had this kid checked out by a
retired General here in town.
Darenís C.O. advised us to use his


                       JACK (cont'd)
expertise. This kid is good at
what he does.
What good does that do us, Jack?
We donít have a helicopter.
                       JACK (VO)
You will have at seven-thirty in
the morning. A Lieutenant Barrows
is coming up to Archer in a
C-fourteen search and rescue
helicopter. Call this kid up and
have him meet the helicopter at
the parking lot in the Archer
Mall. Make damn sure he has his
service ID on him. Lieutenant
Barrows will check before heís
allowed to board.
How in the world can I thank you,
                       JACK (VO)
You just did. I have five teams
leaving here about seven-thirty in
the morning, Tom. What frequency
will you be using?
Tac-Two! Our units will be
numbered one through five! Yours
will be six through ten.
                       JACK (VO)
Affirmative! Good-night!
Chief Connors hangs up the phone.
Someone place a call to the
Hopkins home and get Daren on the
line for me.


At this hour, Chief? Itís
midnight, sir.
Wake him up, patrolman!
Yes, sir!
Patrolman Lahey finds the number and dials the Hopkins home.
                       RITA (VO)
Hello! Who is this at this hour?
Iím sorry, Mrs. Hopkins, but this
is the police station in Archer
maíam. Is Daren there please?
                       RITA (VO)
Heíll be right with you, officer.
Thank you, ma'am.
                       STRETCH (VO)
This is Stretch. Is this Chief
Patrolman Lahey hands the phone to Chief Connors.
Itís Daren Hopkins, Chief.
Daren! This is Chief Connors.
Make sure you have your service ID
on you in the morning. A
Lieutenant Barrows is flying up
here with a C-fourteen helicopter
and will check your ID before
you'll be allowed to board.
                       STRETCH (VO)
Where and when do I meet it,


Seven-thirty at the Archer Mall
Parking Lot.
                       STRETCH (VO)
What frequency will you be using
Tac-Two! Use the code name Air
Search One. Make sure you have
your service ID.
                       STRETCH (VO)
Yes, sir!
Chief Connors hangs up and looks at his tired and weary
MAUREEN! You take the desk until
four-thirty. Wake us all up at
that time. Weíre going to try and
get a few hours sleep before we go
out looking for that bus.
Iím well rested anyway, sir!
Stretch arrives at the Archer Mall at seven-fifteen in his
military fatigues. He pulls out his service ID.
The whirring sounds from the double blades of a C-fourteen
helicopter he sees and hears coming from the east. He looks
Daren guides the helicopter to the ground. He heads to the
passenger side, and opens the door,
Request permission to come aboard
JACK BARROWS turns his head towards Daren.


Let me see your ID, Sergeant!
Stretch hands the Lieutenant his service ID card. He checks
the card and hands the card back.
Come aboard, sergeant!
Daren boards, takes a seat and closes the door.
Thank you, sir!
Iíve been given orders to follow
your instructions unless thereís a
safety issue. This is my ship,
son, and I make the final
decisions, understood?

Understood, sir!
Okay, Daren, where this is not a
military operation, for now letís
dispense with the military
formalities, okay? My name is
Thanks, Jack! Thatíll make things
a lot easier. Everyone calls me
Okay, Stretch, where are we
A mile southwest, thereíll be a
road that winds around Hadley


And we're looking for a school
I will be, yes. Iíll let you take
care of flying this bird.
Barrows lifts the helicopter up and over the town of Archer.
Can I use the radio, Jack?
What frequency?
The pilot reaches over and changes frequencies.
All set!
Stretch picks up the radio receiver and keys the mike.
Archer Command this is Air Search
One. Come in command. Over!
                       MAUREEN (VO)
This is Archer Command, Air Search
One. Over!
Air Search One, we're making our
first run from Archer to
Wilkinson. Has the ground search
begun from Archer yet? Over!
                       MAUREEN (VO)
Affirmative, Air Search One! They
should be starting their foot
search any moment now. Over!
Roger, Command Post! Air One,


Command clear!
Thereís the search teams from
Archer, Jack. Can we move this
bird out away from the road about
a hundred yards or so?
The pilot makes an adjustment to the stick and veers the
helicopter west and over the valley below Hadley Mountain
and straightens it out when he reaches the approximate
Is that better?
Much better, thanks. If our bus
is down there it wonít be up near
the road somewhere. That terrain
is steep on this side of those
Thereís a set of binoculars in the
box beside you, Stretch.
Stretch reaches into the box and pulls out the pair of
Thank you! Letís take it slow,
Jack. We may not be able to see
them, but if theyíre alive, they
can sure hear us.
What good would that do?
The pilot steers the helicopter out from the Danielson
Well thinking logically, if they
were to have a fire going theyíd
want to make it smoke so we can
see them, but there are way too


                       STRETCH (cont'd)
many ifs.
Better you than me.
The pilot steers the helicopter around towards Valleyside
Tony tends the fire as the helicopter flies overhead. The
campsite comes to life. They all start YELLING and
Geronimo YELLS with his hands around his mouth.
Weíre down here!
Tony YELLS to his teammates and friends.
Hold on! Theyíre up there looking
for us but there are too many
trees blocking their view.
Everyone grab a handful of leaves
and brush.
They hear the whirring sounds wane as it heads south and
away from them.
Theyíre sure to come back here.
When they do, weíll make sure
this fire smokes like crazy.
Theyíll be able to see the smoke
and hopefully see us as well.
Then what?
Iím not sure, but Iíd guess there
must be some people combing this
mountain looking for us right now.


If thatís the case, man, then they
can contact the people on the
ground and tell them where we are.
Will grabs a big handful of dead pine needles, as do others.
Get as much as you can, but be
quiet. When I hear them coming
back, then throw all Youíve got
onto the fire and hope like hell
it sends up a smoke signal.
Tony Listens.
Daren Keys the mike.
Air Search One to Command Post.
Come in, Over!
                       MAUREEN (VO)
This is Archer Command, Air Search
One. Go ahead, over!
We just made our first pass over
the entire stretch of Mountain
Road, Sergeant, and weíve seen
nothing out of the ordinary. Over!
                       MAUREEN (VO)
Roger, Air Search One! Make
another pass and if possible have
the pilot get lower into that
valley. I know safety will be his
first concern. Over!


We copy, Command. Weíre starting
our second run. Over and out!
Daren turns his head towards Jack.
How much lower can you get this
From what Iíve seen of the
terrain, it appears as though
everything below that road is
Valley. Thereís no reason I canít
drop another hundred feet or so.
After we get to Danielson, though,
Iíll have to bring her up to where
we were when we made the first
Barrows makes an adjustment to the stick and the helicopter
lowers a hundred feet.
Iíll let you use your judgement.
Daren places the binoculars to his eyes as the chopper heads
Tony begins to hear the faint sounds of the helicopterís
blades. He raises his right hand.
Okay everyone, when I drop my hand
throw it all on the fire.
Almost everyone has a handful of leaves, pine needles and
sticks ready to throw on the fire.
Tony drops his hand and everything is tossed onto the fire
at once. Smoke quickly rises through the heavy foliage.


Keep throwing stuff on but donít
smother it so it goes out.
Tony stirs the hot embers underneath.

Smoke fills the campsite and filters through the thick
branches above them.

Sounds of the helicopter come closer and louder as the
chopper nears Valleyside Lookout.
Stretch! Put those glasses down
and look out there, two oíclock.
Jack points to a location out to their diagonal right,
That has to be them.
Stretch drops the binoculars onto his lap and looks out in
front of the helicopter.
Thatís them, Jack! Who else would
be down there?
Stretch brings the binoculars back to his eyes and focuses
on the area around the smoke.
Thatís not the bus on fire.
Someoneís alive on that ledge.
That fire is almost a good fifty
yards north of where the bus sits.
Do you have an external speaker
on this bird?
Jack flips the switch to the external speaker.
Youíre all set. Go ahead!


Hello down there! Donít make that
fire smoke any more. We can see
you and help will be on its way
Those on the ledge start to cheer.

Tommy hugs his Rebound,
You did it, Tony! You said thatís
what we needed to and it worked.
Tears flow from Tonyís eyes as members of the team and
cheerleaders come to him with gratitude.
Switch that back to the radio
Jack switches back to Tac-Two.
Daren immediately keys the mike.
Air Search One to Archer Command
Post. Code Red! I repeat Code
Red. The bus has been spotted and
there are survivors.
                       MAUREEN (VO)
Air Search One, this is Archer
Command. What's the location of
the school bus. Over!
The bus is on a hidden ledge about
a thousand yards below the
Danielson Hairpin Curve, Sergeant.


                       STRETCH (cont'd)
                       MAUREEN (VO)
How can you be sure there are
survivors, Search One? Over!
They were able to signal us with a
smoke signal on our second pass.
The fire is almost fifty yards
north of the overturned school
bus. Over!
                       MAUREEN (VO)
Search One! Did you say the
school bus is overturned? Over!
Thatís affirmative, Archer
Command. Over!
                       MAUREEN (VO)
Can the pilot land at Valleyside
Lookout? Over!
Wait one, Archer Command. Over!
Jack adjusts the stick and the helicopter lifts up from the
valley. He takes a good look at Valleyside Lookout.
It will be a little tight, but I
can set it down there.
Go ahead and set it down and Iíll
let them know.
Daren keys the mike.
Air Search One to Archer Command.
Air Search One is setting down.


                       MAUREEN (VO)
Roger, Air Search One! Have the
pilot shut down. Heíll be there a
while before heís needed again.
Command Post clear!
We copy, Command. Air Search One
clear and out!
                       MAUREEN (VO)
Archer Command Post to all units.
Code Red! I repeat, Code Red. The
missing school bus has been
sighted below the Danielson
Hairpin Curve. It appears there
are survivors but itís not known
how many. All units converge on
Danielson. Team Six Leader, pick
up Sergeant Hopkins on your way to
Danielson. Heís with the
helicopter at Valleyside Lookout.
Team One Leader to Archer Command.
Come in, over!
                       MAUREEN (VO)
Go ahead, Chief. This is Archer
Command. Over!
Go to Phase Two, sergeant. I'll
be clear until I've had a chance
to talk to Daren Hopkins. Team
One Leader, clear!
                       MAUREEN (VO)
Ten-four, Chief! Archer Command,


Stretch gets out of Chief Talbot's cruiser and heads
straight to Chief Connors.
Hi, Chief!
Chief Connors stands at the guardrail above the bus.
Daren! I need you to tell me
everything you can about where
they are. Spare me nothing, son,
because I have to figure out how
weíre going to get them out of
there and to hospitals where they
can be treated.
Oh wow! Well theyíre sitting on a
hidden ledge that has to be about
two hundred yards long and maybe
two-hundred yards wide at the
widest point.
How do you know someoneís alive?
The bus is located sitting on its
roof about one hundred and fifty
feet from where the fire was going
when we spotted it. Those people
down there deliberately made that
fire smoky, chief, so weíd be able
to spot where they were. All I
could see on that ledge was
evergreen trees from one end to
the other.
Okay! Were you able to see anyone
at all?
No, sir! There were too many
overhanging branches in the way
for us to be able to see through,
but I was able to make out the
yellow from the bus, as the front


                       STRETCH (cont'd)
of it was near the edge on the far
left side of the ledge. I was
able to discern that itís
definitely sitting on its roof,
I need you to think with an open
mind. Where you were the only one
of us whoís been down there, what
suggestions can you make for us to
be able to get your friends off
that ledge?
I do have a suggestion, sir, but
you donít have the right equipment
here to do it.
Chief Connors YELLS.
Tell me what the hell I need,
Daren, and Iíll damn sure get it
Chief Talbot puts his arm over Tom's shoulder.
Tom! Take it easy. Heís on your
side, remember?
I apologize, Daren! What do you
Youíll need ten good men with
chain saws who are experienced at
cutting down trees. The trees by
the edge, they can drop into the
valley below. The rest of the
trees will have to be cut so they
fall away from what weíll use as a
landing site for the helicopter to
go down there and lift them out.


Is that possible?
Possible or not, chief, itís safer
than for you to go down there and
transfer those people out of
there any other way. You canít
believe you can carry those people
up that steep hill and have them
survive it. Youíre talking about
almost a thousand yards uphill.
I donít know where weíll get that
many men with chain saws who know
what theyíre doing.
Excuse me, Tom, but we have a
sawmill the other side of town
with just what you need, Cramer
Industries. I had two of their
people with me on the search teams
this morning.
Where are they now?
I sent all my teams to the Coffee
Palace in case theyíre needed.
Can you have one of your men go to
the mill and see what they can do?
Iíll call right now. Hold on!
Chief Talbot reaches for his radio and keys it.
Search Team Six Leader to Team
Nine Leader. Come in Paul. Over!


                       PAUL (VO)
Go ahead, Chief. This is Coombs.
Put Daniels on. Over!
This is Fred, Chief. What can I
do for you?
Fred! Take Paul with you and go
to your boss. What we need down
here are ten good men who know how
to cut trees down; experienced
tree cutters with their
chain saws. I need them as soon
as possible. Over!
                       FRED (VO)
Iíll do what I can for you, chief.
There should be more than twenty
men at the mill at this hour.
Chief Talbot approaches Connors by the guardrail.
Tom! We've got the men to cut
those trees down. They're on
their way and should be here in
about fifteen minutes.
Connors looks down the hill, with his radio in his hand.
Thanks, Jack!
Team One Leader, this is Shattuck
Paramedic Unit One. Come in,
please. Over!
Tom keys the mike on his radio.


Go ahead Paramedic Unit One. This
is Chief Connors. Over!
Weíve cleared the Wilkinson
roadblock, sir, and should be
there in six to seven minutes.
Copy that. How many of you are
there? Over!
Only two of us, sir. Weíre the
only two paramedics in the state.
Roger. Over and out!
A scowl forms on Connors face. He turns to his search
Listen up! As much as I hate to
say this, I want all of you to
head back to town. If you want to
go home and get your wives, feel
free to do so and then return to T
& Cís and wait together. Once we
know anything Sergeant Gleason
will tell you. Iím in touch with
her by radio. Please! I
understand these are your kids. If
it were my own Iíd feel the same
Tom watches the faces of his townspeople. The uncertainty
of their childrenís lives, shows as they turn and load
themselves into six cars. Slowly they begin to pull out and
head north towards Archer.
That had to hurt, Tom!


It did, Jack, but theyíd do me
more harm than good down on that
ledge, not to mention how tough it
would make things on the
I was wondering if or when you
were going to send them back.
I wasnít, at first, but with
fourteen men from Cramer, the two
paramedics, plus two of you and my
officer and I, thereís enough help
down there. Here comes that
paramedic unit.
The rescue vehicle pulls near the inside of the curve, but
far enough away from the granite wall to access both sides
of the vehicle.

Both Chiefs walk over to the paramedics as Lauren Gallagher
exits from the driverís side.
Youíre a woman!
Yes, sir, I am, but Iím only one
of two fully qualified paramedics
inside the state. The other is my
partner. Iím Lauren Gallagher and
my partner is Paul Simms. Whoís
in charge here?
Iím Chief Connors, maíam, and Iím
in charge.
Has anyone been down there with
these people yet?


Not yet! Iíve been waiting for
you to get here. I also have some
men who are coming to saw down
some trees so the helicopter can
lift those people off that ledge.
Lives can be lost in a matter of
minutes, Chief. My partner and I
are going down there as soon as we
have our equipment. Whoís going
down there with us?
Iíll go down with you, Miss
Gallagher. Jack! Keep in touch
by radio. Daren! Go back to the
helicopter and wait for my
instructions, please!
Tom assists the two paramedics with their gear.
      (To Paul Simms)
You seem to have a rolling
hospital in this thing.
To do what we have to do, Chief,
this rescue vehicle has to be just
about that.
Paul hands Tom two rolled up stretchers.
Are you ready, Lauren?
Chief Connors and the two paramedics start their descent
down into the bowels of Mount Hadley.
Chief Connors sees the shattered remnants of tires that peer
above the ledge.


There's the bus!
Paul Simms lowers his gear and points to their right.
Everyoneís over there, chief.
Oh my God and some of them are
Chief Connors drops the two stretchers and brings both hands
to his mouth.
Tony looks towards the ledge, as do others who are awake.
      (voice raised)
Their here guys! Kenny! Watch the
fire for me, will you? Tommy!
You, Scoop, and Will come with me.
Everyone else stay where you are.
Backboard gets off his seat and takes over watching the fire
as Tony and the others go to the ledge.
Scoop reaches the ledge first.
Man, like are you guys a sight for
sore eyes.
Tony, Rebound, and Geronimo joins him below the ledge.
Iím glad to see everyone made it,
Tony wipes his face with his right hand.


We all didnít make it, Mr.
Tell me when we get down below?
How do we get down?
I can tell you, chief!
Rebound and Scoop assist the paramedics first, and then help
lowering their gear to the ground.
Whoís been in charge down here?
I have maíam! My name is Tony.
Tony! My nameís Lauren Gallagher
and this is Paul Simms. We are
known as paramedics. That means
we are almost like doctors but
instead of at a hospital, weíre in
the field. I want you to take us
to those who are hurt the worst.
Follow me!
Tony takes the two paramedics over to the fire where both
Coach Tolman and Angi remain laid out on the double seats.
This is Coach Tolman. Heís been
unconscious from the start. Thatís
Angi Rosetti, one of the
basketball players. We had to
pull him out from underneath the
bus. These two are the worst,
then thereís Harry Thompson. He
has something wrong with his
heart. He told me not to tell
anyone in the campsite, but youíre
like doctors so I thoughtÖ


Paul! Have Tony take you to Harry
Thompson, and right now.
Paul goes with Tony to a seat at the far side of the fire.
Tony shakes the elderly sports reporter.
Harry wake up!
Let me in there, Tony!
Tony steps aside and Paul checks for a pulse. Three times
in different places he tries to find a faint pulse, but
finds nothing. He CALLS out to his partner.
Lauren, get over here!
Gallagher comes towards him running.
What is it, Paul?
Paul stands to face her.
See if you can find a pulse. I
Lauren tries several times. After three unsuccessful
attempts, she checks his body. She then looks up at Tony,
Iím sorry, Tony, but heís been
gone for about an hour.
Tony buries his face in his hands and once again tears fall
from his eyes.
Chief Connors sees two bodies lying on the ground, away from
the rest of the group by the fire. He looks at Rebound,


      (to Rebound)
Who didn't make it?
Nick Perelli and Linda Johnson,
Tom places his hand on Reboundís shoulder.
Thanks, Tommy!
Paramedic Gallagher CALLS out to Chief Connors.
      (raised voice)
Tom heads to where Lauren kneels on the ground.
Yes, Miss Gallagher. Whatís
Mr. Thompson didnít make it. It
appears he died sometime within
the last hour or so.
Tom doubles his fist.
You better get someone over here
to help you. He needs to be
placed with the others.
Tom heads over to Scoop.
I can make it, man. What do ya
need, Chief?
Give me a hand and help me move
Harry, will you. He didn't make
it and I have to get him with the


Miss Gallagher returns to Coach Tolman and Ann is by his
You must be Ann! I hear youíve
been the nurse down here.
Lauren kneels down beside Annís father.
I did the best I could with what
little I had to work with.
Paul! I want you to check the
young man on the other seats
behind me. Is the connection
ready to Shattuck?
Itís all set Miss Gallagher.
Paul hands Lauren the radio and then goes to check on Angi.
Stepping back and away from the students, Chief Connors
grabs his radio and keys the mike.
Team One Leader to Team Six
Leader. Come in Jack. Over!
                       JACK (VO)
Go ahead, Tom. This is Talbot.
When those men arrive with the
saws make sure someone brings down
a rope. Thereís a ledge you have
to climb down from and itís about
ten feet high. A rope will make
it easier. Over!
                       JACK (VO)
Roger, Tom! I have a manila rope
in my car. I'll bring it down
when we leave here. How bad is it
down there?


Better than I thought Iíd find,
but we did lose three people. We
lost one this past hour. Over and
Sergeant Coombs pulls the cruiser up the hill and parks away
from the curve, while the truckload of men pulls up behind
him. Chief Talbot heads to his own cruiser and removes the
manila rope, as the men alight from the rack body truck.
Chief Talbot throws the rope over his shoulder.
Listen up, guys! Iíll lead the
way. Thereís a ledge down there
that weíll need this rope to climb
down from. Once we get down there
Iím going to ask Fred to be in
charge of cutting the trees and
clearing an area for a landing
pad. Okay, men, letís go! Paul!
Go to the helicopter and once we
start bringing people up, help get
them into the ambulances so they
can get to hospitals and treated.
The second group starts their descent from Mountain Road
with fourteen chain saws, three cans of fuel, and a rope.
Talbot leads the group onto the ledge above the campsite. He
looks at what's left of the school bus.
Oh my God! Ken! Take one end of
this rope and secure it tight to
one of those trees, will you?
KEN BELLOWS unravels the rest of the hundred feet of rope
and ties one end to a tree.


All set, Chief. This endís
Okay, guys! One at a time go
ahead and climb down. Once youíre
all down there weíll lower the
saws and fuel. Fred! You go
first so you can head over and
assess what needs to be done and
On my way.
The fourteen men lower to the ledge and Chief Talbot pulls
up the loose end of the rope. He ties off five of the chain
saws and starts lowering them down to the men who wait just
below him.
Once Chief Talbot is on the lower ledge, he goes over to
Have you seen the inside of that
bus, Tom?
No I haven't. What I've witnessed
on this ledge, is enough to make
my skin crawl. I have to
commend these young people for
their bravery and camaraderie
under the most adverse of
Just a little insight, Tom! Every
window throughout the bus is out,
only four seats remain bolted to
the floor above them, and shards
of glass are strewn about the roof
thatís now an excuse for a floor.


Both chiefs head over to where Coach Tolman still lays on
the seat.
Lauren kneels beside the coach with her radio in her hand.
PM Unit One to Southwick! Over!
                       DOCTOR (VO)
This is Doctor Paulsen at
Southwick, Unit One. Go ahead.
Doctor! I have a male Caucasian,
age approximately forty-five.
Victim is unconscious at this time
and heís been unconscious for over
fourteen hours. Vital signs are
weak but stable. There are no
physical signs of blunt force
trauma. Over!
                       DOCTOR (VO)
Roger, PM One! Can you administer
oxygen? Over!
Negative, doctor! Weíre down the
side of a mountain, on a ledge and
were unable to carry the oxygen
down with us to this location.
                       DOCTOR (VO)
How soon can you transport victim?
We are over a thousand yards down
the side of a mountain, doctor,
and men are clearing a landing pad
for a helicopter to come in here
and lift these people out, but a
close estimate is about an hour.


                       DOCTOR (VO)
Administer Saline, normal drip. As
soon as possible get the victim
under oxygen. Keep a close eye on
those vital signs. Over!
Roger, doctor. We have a second
victim, doctor. Heís a teen-aged
male Caucasian with blunt force
trauma to both legs. He was
thrown clear of the interior of
the bus then the bus landed on top
of both legs. Vitals are normal
but heís in severe
pain. Over!
                       DOCTOR (VO)
Splint the legs for
transportation. Administer a shot
of codeine, sixty
milligrams, to relieve some of
that pain. Transport both victims
as soon as you can. Over!
Roger, Southwick! All the others
have cuts and bruises comparable
with the type of accident theyíve
been involved in. I do have one
teen-aged female with a broken
arm. Itís been immobilized.
                       DOCTOR (VO)
Understood. Any changes, PM Unit
One, call me. As soon as you can,
transport the serious victims here
to Southwick. The rest can go to
Edgewater. Over!
Copy Southwick. PM Unit One
Chain saws hum in the background.
How are they, Miss Gallagher?
Let me medicate them first, chief.


Lauren sets the saline drip up for Coach Tolman.
I want this man to be on the first
trip out of here, Chief. I need
to get him on oxygen as soon as is
humanly possible.
He will be!
Connors watches her stick the needle into the coachís arm.
Do you have someone who can hold
this bag up for me?
His daughter is over on one of the
seats. Iíll go and get her.
Tom heads over to where Ann sits.
Are you up to the task of helping
your dad?
Ann smiles.
Miss Gallagher just gave him an
injection and she needs someone to
hold the bag so the medicine can
go into your dadís body.
I want to do it!
Ann gets up and the Chief takes her over to Lauren.
Miss Gallagher! Ann will hold
that for you.


Hi, Ann. Just hold the bag above
his body so the medicine can drip
where it needs to go.
Tom grabs his radio and keys the mike.
Team Leader One to Air Rescue One.
Come in. Over!
                       STRETCH (VO)
Team Leader One this is Air Rescue
One. Go ahead. Over!
How long can that bird stay in the
air? Over!
                       STRETCH (VO)
Safe time In the air is two and a
half hours once weíre airborne.
Warm that bird up. Weíre about
ten minutes away from being ready
to land that thing. Over and out!
Pilot Barrows fires up the helicopter.
Stretch grabs the radio and keys the mike.
Air Rescue One to Archer Command
Post. Come in. Over!
                       MAUREEN (VO)
Go ahead Air Rescue One. This is
Archer Command. Over!


Send the four ambulances from
Wilkinson to just south of
Lookout. Leave Lookout for a
landing pad for Air Rescue One.
The ones from Archer, have them
converge just north of Lookout.
Over and out!
Roger, Air Rescue One. Command
The fire is snuffed out. The last tree is cut down and six
of the team makes light work of cutting it into smaller
pieces and roll the remnants away from the makeshift landing
      (To Connors)
You better get that bird in the
air. Our guys are just about done
here. If he canít set that
helicopter down here then heís
no pilot.
I agree, and thanks for
Tom reaches for the radio and keys the mike.
Team Leader One to Air Rescue One.
Come in Air Rescue One. Over!
                       STRETCH (VO)
Go ahead Team Leader One. This is
Daren. Over!
Thereís enough room to set a small
plane on this ledge, Daren. Get
Air Rescue One airborne and set it
down so we can get these people
out of here. Over!