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Southern Fried Biscuits
by Brett Slaughter (golfnotom@hotmail.com)

Rated: PG-13   Genre: Westerns   User Review:
NOT YET
RATED

A story about redemption, mercy, humility and strength. Southern Fried Biscuits features an unlikable and brash protagonist who really isn't a protagonist in any way. The film develops focusing on the relationship between confederate Major and a black bartender who both have one thing in common at first; they both fought in the civil war.


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.



FADE IN:

EXT. GREENVILLE MS - DOCK - DAY
                                                            
Credits Roll.
                                                            
GREENVILLE MISSISSIPPI 1900
                                                            
A large stern wheeler sits docked on the side of the
Mississippi River. Over a hundred people gather in the
summer heat. They unload the ship with wagons and horses.
                                                            
People exit the ship and walk to the dock and onto the
shore. In the midst of the bustling, Major Howard HANK Bee
walks down the middle of the ship's ramp and onto the dock.
                                                            
Hank is a fatter man, a little over sixty with red skin and
a blondish white beard. He's equally tired and tough.
                                                            
Hank's face is full of grit, boldness and experienced
impatience. He has a cowboy hat and a pair of well worn gray
Confederate pants.
                                                            
Hank approaches a DOCK HAND who holds some ponies in place
by their reins. The dock hand is a young man in his
twenties.
                                                            
                       HANK
Where the hell's my Thoroughbred?
                                                            
                       DOCK HAND
I'm sorry sir, but we only have
ponies left.
                                                            
                       HANK
Kid I'm not here to buy a pony, I
brought my horse underneath. His
name's Red. Now where the hell is
he?
                                                            
                       DOCK HAND
All the Thoroughbreds have been
claimed sir.
                                                            
                       HANK
That's bullshit kid.
                                                            
                       DOCK HAND
I'm telling the truth sir. And I'm
not a kid. I just got back from
fighting in the Mexican American
war.
                                                            

2.

                       HANK
      (sarcastically)
Well good job of not getting shot.
                                                            
Hank eyes his surroundings. About four hundred feet in front
of him he sees his horse Red, a dark horse with a tint of
red in it's coat. A well built man in his forties rests on
him.
                                                            
                       HANK
Give me a pony.
                                                            
                       DOCK HAND
What? You said you didn't have a
pony.
                                                            
Hank grabs a pony's bridle out of the Dock Hand's hand and
mounts the pony. He then kicks it in the side.
                                                            
                       HANK
Yee-haw!
                                                            
The pony flies toward the man on Hank's horse. The well
built man sees him coming toward him and rides the horse a
few feet when Hank catches up with him.
                                                            
Hank lunges and punches the man in the face, causing them to
both fall to the ground.
                                                            
Hank lays on the ground coughing and moaning. He coughs up a
little blood and then sits up. He takes a whiskey bottle out
of his pocket and chugs a swig. He stands up when Dock Hand
runs up to him.
                                                            
                       DOCK HAND
You assaulted that man and tried
to steal a pony.
                                                            
                       HANK
The son of a bitch was trying to
steal Red. You can try to steal a
man's woman, but don't ever try to
steal his horse.
                                                            
Hank mounts his horse.
                                                            
                       DOCK HAND
The Sheriff will be here.
                                                            
Hank looks at the well built man on the ground still knocked
out.
                                                            

3.

                       HANK
Well I won't. Best keep track of
those horses kid, more might get
stolen.
                                                            
Hank rides down a dirt path toward the city.
                                                            
 
EXT. MISSISSIPPI FOREST - DAY
                                                            
In rural Mississippi, Hank rides his horse through a a field
as he heads toward a forest.
                                                            
He takes a biscuit out of a sack that hangs from his saddle.
He takes a few bites as he slowly meanders forward.
                                                            
He comes to a small creek and dismounts his horse.
                                                            
                       HANK
You thirsty Red?
                                                            
The horse takes a long drink of water from the creek while
Hank scans the area.
                                                            
Hank sees the upcoming forest and hears some birds. He
suspiciously scans the area, but doesn't see anything with
the exception of some birds and squirrels.
                                                            
                       HANK
Well let's keep going Red.
                                                            
Hank takes another biscuit out of his sack and feeds it to
Red. He then mounts his horse and continues toward the
forest.
                                                            
ED sits in a large oak tree about two hundred feet in front
of Hank out of view. Ed, who's twenty five, is a short
scrawny fellow with overalls and a cap.
                                                            
JOE leans up against the tree out of view from Hank. He's a
tall man around thirty years old.
                                                            
HENRY, hides behind a bush on the other side of the trail.
He's in his early twenties and is also scrawny but with
blond shaggy hair.
                                                            
Hank continues riding and reaches the tree. Ed jumps down
and lands on Hank's back. He puts his arm around Hank trying
to choke him and take him to the ground. Hank elbows him in
the ribs.
                                                            

4.

Joe runs up to Hank, but Hank jabs him in the eye with his
fist knocking him down. He continues to struggle with Ed
while still on his horse.
                                                            
Henry runs up to the horse and pushes Hank as hard as he
can, causing Hank to fall to the ground.
                                                            
                       HANK
Take's three of ya, huh?
                                                            
Joe kicks Hank in the stomach.
                                                            
                       HANK
What the hell you bastards want?
                                                            
Hank lies on his back in pain.
                                                            
                       JOE
Everything you got.
                                                            
                       HANK
Ain't enough to go to to hell for.
                                                            
                       JOE
Who said anything about the
afterlife?
                                                            
                       HANK
I ain't talking about the
afterlife. You're gonna see hell
when I catch up to you.
                                                            
Joe kicks Hank in the face.
                                                            
                       JOE
First you gotta survive this.
                                                            
Henry digs through Hank's pockets and takes out a wallet and
a watch. Ed punches Hank repeatedly.
                                                            
                       JOE
Let's get out of here.
                                                            
Ed takes a pistol out of Hank's pocket, caulks it and points
it at Hank. Ed's hand shakes as he stares at Hank.
                                                            
                       HANK
Kill me coward.
                                                            
                       JOE
Ed we ain't out her to kill. Just
to take. He'll die of thirst
anyways.
                                                            

5.

Joe mounts Red. Henry grabs two horses out of the bushes.
                                                            
                       HANK
If you don't take my horse I might
let you bastards live.
                                                            
                       JOE
A threat from a crippled old man
don't mean much.
                                                            
                       HANK
I remember the days of the South
when a young man had respect.
                                                            
                       JOE
We all gotta do what we can to
survive.
                                                            
                       ED
Time to sleep. You shit.
                                                            
Ed punches Hank, knocking him out. Ed and Henry mount the
other two horses and the three ride away.
                                                            
 
EXT. FLASHBACK SEQUENCE - DAY
                                                            
DIXIE FARM - 1861
                                                            
A small cabin overlooks a beautiful pasture. A fifty year
old farmer, HANK'S FATHER, and his wife, HANK'S MOTHER,
stand on the cabin's porch. YOUNG HANK stands beside them.
                                                            
Young Hank is around twenty years old with blond hair.
Wearing a gray soldier's uniform, he holds a musket that is
taller than him. He looks to young to be a soldier.
                                                            
                       HANK'S FATHER
This war will be over soon. Just
keep your head up.
                                                            
                       YOUNG HANK
I'm ready for it.
                                                            
                       HANK'S MOTHER
You take good care of yourself.
                                                            
                       YOUNG HANK
I will.
                                                            

6.

                       HANK'S MOTHER
I got you your favorite thing to
eat. Fried biscuits. About thirty
of them.
                                                            
Hank's Mother hands Young Hank a small sack.
                                                            
Young Hank mounts his horse and rides away with his family
waving in the background.
                                                            
EMPTY ROAD
                                                            
Young Hank and over a hundred Rebel soldiers walk down a
dusty road. They're tired and worn as they march while
singing "Dixie".
                                                            
BATTLEFIELD
                                                            
A wide battlefield in a green field with a fence that
stretches the length of the field.
                                                            
Young Hank and two hundred other soldiers lean up against a
fence with their muskets pointed at a line of over two
hundred Union soldiers directly in front of them.
                                                            
The two sides fire at each other.
                                                            
HILL
                                                            
A much older looking Young Hank, leads forty horse soldiers
up a hill. Young Hank wears a Captain's hat and looks in
charge.
                                                            
Suddenly a group of Union horse soldiers appear coming down
the hill. In the far distance, the leader, a black man fires
his musket hitting Young Hank in the side.
                                                            
As Young Hank falls off his horse the two sides exchange
fire. The Confederate flag falls to the ground.
                                                            
HOSPITAL CAMP
                                                            
A muddy trail leads to a tent with some wooden boards for a
floor.
                                                            
Two Confederate soldiers bring Young Hank into the tent on a
cot. They lay him on the Doctor's table. The DOCTOR is an
older man who looks exhausted. Young Hank bleeds profusely.
                                                            
                       YOUNG HANK
Am I dying Doc?
                                                            

7.

                       DOCTOR
You're bleeding like hell, but
you'll make it.
                                                            
END OF FLASHBACK SEQUENCE
                                                            
 
EXT. MISSISSIPPI FOREST - EVENING
                                                            
PRESENT DAY
                                                            
It's sundown as Hank crawls over to the creek, bleeding and
shaking in pain. He pulls out a wad of cash out of his shirt
as to show they didn't take it. He lightly smiles.
                                                            
                       HANK
Well I guess I am a lucky shit.
                                                            
He takes a rag out of his pocket and dips it in the creek.
He tries to wash off the blood and then takes a drink.
                                                            
MOSES, a ninety year old black man driving a one horse
buckboard, rides up to the creek and stops. Moses has white
hair and a white beard and wears raggedy clothes.
                                                            
                       MOSES
You don't look so good.
                                                            
Hank does not see Moses face.
                                                            
                       HANK
Damn am I glad to see another
pers-.
                                                            
Hank looks up and sees that Moses is black.
                                                            
                       MOSES
Bandits?
                                                            
                       HANK
      (growling)
Yeah.
                                                            
Hank looks away.
                                                            
                       MOSES
I'm on my way into town, if you'd
like a ride.
                                                            
                       HANK
I ain't riding with no Negro.
                                                            

8.

                       MOSES
We all make choices in life.
                                                            
Moses grabs the reins and pulls forward a few feet and
stops.
                                                            
                       MOSES
Mister, the crops here are a
little dry. We thank God for the
rain he's going to send tonight.
                                                            
Moses shakes the reins causing the horse to quickly move
forward.
                                                            
Hank grunts and lets his head hit the ground.
                                                            
 
EXT. LOUISVILLE MISSISSIPPI - NIGHT
                                                            
The town has a saloon, a church and a few other buildings.
                                                            
The rain pours down as Hank slowly staggers into town. Hank
approaches the saloon when he sees three horses tied to a
post.
                                                            
He pats the back of one horse and sees some red marks. He
smiles with a vengeance.
                                                            
                       HANK
      (quietly)
Good to see you again Red.
                                                            
Hank walks up the steps of the saloon and suddenly stops. He
turns his head and sees Moses sitting on a bench watching
the rain while smoking a cigar.
                                                            
                       MOSES
Damn fine night for a walk.
                                                            
                       HANK
      (growling)
The hell with you.
                                                            
INSIDE SALOON
                                                            
The bar is full of a few people at tables and some at the
bar itself. A bartender pours some drinks.
                                                            
Joe stands at the bar with a beer in his hand and a woman on
his arm. Ed and Henry laugh and drink with two other women.
                                                            
Hank walks into the saloon and pauses.
                                                            

9.

Ed and Henry nervously notice Hank as the room suddenly
quiets. Joe does not notice him and keeps laughing.
                                                            
Ed taps Joe on the shoulder and points at Hank.
                                                            
Joe looks Hank up and down.
                                                            
                       JOE
Holy shit. You made good time. To
tell you the truth I didn't think
you'd ever make it off that trail.
                                                            
                       HANK
You wanna lay to rest in here or
out there?
                                                            
                       JOE
      (chuckling)
Well you're a brave son of a
bitch. I'll give you that. But
there's three of us and you don't
even have a gun.
                                                            
                       HANK
You still got your's?
                                                            
Ed opens his jacket revealing a pistol.
                                                            
                       JOE
Looks like we do.
                                                            
                       HANK
Good I want to make sure it's
fair.
                                                            
Joe laughs. Hank let's out a half laugh. Joe then charges
Hank, but Hank stops him by grabbing his throat and choking
him.
                                                            
Henry runs toward Hank. Hank punches Joe in the nose, then
picks up a chair and breaks it on Henry's head.
                                                            
Ed points his pistol at Hank, but Hank grabs a piece of
broken wood from the chair and chugs it at Ed. The piece of
wood sticks in Ed's neck, causing him to drop the pistol and
fall to the ground.
                                                            
Hank kicks Joe, stopping him from getting up. Henry stands
up and hits Hank in the face. Hank responds with a punch in
the face and then punches him in the gut twice.
                                                            

10.

Henry pulls a knife from his boot and attempts to stab Hank,
but Hank reverses the knife and stabs Henry in the gut. Joe
gets up and Hank punches him square in the face.
                                                            
SHERIFF WILLIAMS enters the saloon with a bolt action rifle.
He caulks the rifle by putting the bolt in firing position
and then points it at Hank.
                                                            
Sheriff Williams is a tall and skinny man. Around seventy
he's very rugged and tough with a park ranger's type hat.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Alright. That's enough. Now, I
don't like violence in my town.
Unless it's straight from my
hands.
                                                            
Hank sits on the floor short of breath.
                                                            
                       HANK
These bastards started it.
                                                            
The Sheriff wanders over to Ed moves his head to reveal the
stick in his neck. He then feels for his pulse and sees he's
dead.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Well you got one for sure.
                                                            
Sheriff Williams examines Henry and sees he's dead.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
That's two in one night. Alright,
what the hell happened?
                                                            
                       HANK
The sons of bitches jumped me.
Tried to kill me as soon as I rode
into town.
                                                            
                       JOE
That's bullshit. It was self
defense.
                                                            
                       HANK
Yeah, three against one.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
      (to Hank)
Alright. You're coming with me.
                                                            
Hank points at Joe.
                                                            

11.

                       HANK
What about the lanky fellow? I
didn't finish him off.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
He'll get his due. Now move it.
                                                            
Hank walks out of the saloon with the Sheriff following,
holding the rifle.
                                                            
 
INT. LOUISVILLE MISSISSIPPI JAIL - NIGHT
                                                            
A small jail with a desk for the Sheriff and one cell. Hank
sits in the jail cell on a steel bench. Sheriff Williams
sits on his desk sipping a cup of coffee.
                                                            
                       HANK
Let me out of here Sheriff. I
ain't guilty of anything.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Just killing two men and
assaulting another.
                                                            
The Sheriff sips his coffee.
                                                            
                       HANK
They stole my horse and beat the
shit out of me. I was in my right.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Don't you think you're a little
old to be beating the shit out of
a couple of roughnecks?
                                                            
                       HANK
Someone had to do it.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
You could of gone easy on them.
                                                            
                       HANK
I did.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
No shit?
                                                            
                       HANK
Did you let Mr. lanky go?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Nope. I got some men watching him.
                                                            

12.

                       HANK
I'd watch him for you.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
I bet you would. Now where'd you
get your tougher than shit
attitude?
                                                            
                       HANK
Where we all got it I guess; the
war.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
I was under Huger during the seven
days battles. I sure learned to be
tough shit then.
                                                            
                       HANK
I was with Longstreet most of the
time.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Huger was a good General. Old
Longstreet made him step out.
                                                            
                       HANK
That's not how I remember it.
Huger just sorta gave up.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
We won't go down that line. Now
tell me, you figure on killing
more people in my town?
                                                            
                       HANK
Hell no. I gotta keep moving.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Where you headed?
                                                            
                       HANK
Tuscaloosa. I got a sister there.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Well the folks in the bar seem to
match your story. Your horse is in
the stable. Just be glad those
boys you messed over weren't the
respectable type.
                                                            
Sheriff Williams opens the cell door and Hank walks out.
                                                            

13.

                       HANK
You're trusting me?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Almost forty years later and I
still respect you. Hard to forget
a Major with the spitfire like
you.
                                                            
                       HANK
I guess my tale went a little
further than the battlefield.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
They ever get that bullet out
Major Hank Bee?
                                                            
                       HANK
Nope and they said they never
will.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Gives you something to remember.
Good luck Major.
                                                            
Sheriff Williams puts his hand out.
                                                            
                       HANK
Thank you.
                                                            
Hank shakes his hand.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Just don't kill anymore people in
my town. At least not tonight.
                                                            
Hank walks out of the jail.
                                                            
 
EXT. LOUISVILLE MISSISSIPPI - FRONT OF STABLE - NIGHT
                                                            
Hank mounts his horse and rides out of town.
                                                            
 
INT. HOTEL - LOUISVILLE MISSISSIPPI - NIGHT
                                                            
HOTEL ROOM
                                                            
Joe sits in a chair with one hand handcuffed to a heater.
SPARKS sits in the opposite corner of the room, sleeping in
a chair.
                                                            
Sparks is in his early sixties and looks tough.
                                                            

14.

SWAYNE stands by the door holding a double barrel shotgun.
                                                            
Swayne is in his mid fifties and is your typical gritty
cowboy.
                                                            
                       JOE
You gonna stay up all night
watching me?
                                                            
                       SWAYNE
Shut up you little shit.
                                                            
                       JOE
You should of cuffed both hands.
                                                            
                       SWAYNE
I said shut up.
                                                            
Joe swings his body around shoving his fist into Swayne's
stomach. The two struggle for control of the shot gun.
Swayne manages to throw the shotgun at Sparks, waking him
up.
                                                            
Joe grabs Swayne's pistol and hits him in the eye with it.
Sparks caulks the shotgun. Joe grabs the shotgun and hits
Sparks in the chest with it.
                                                            
The two men lay knocked out on the floor.
                                                            
                       JOE
I would have shot you two but I
can't afford the noise.
                                                            
Joe grabs the keys, unlocks his handcuffs and climbs out the
window with the shotgun and the pistol.
                                                            
 
EXT. MISSISSIPPI FIELD - DAY
                                                            
A vast field with a few apple trees spread throughout.
                                                            
Hank stands beside his horse Red. The horse munches on some
apples off the ground.
                                                            
Hank looks around and sees the sun reflecting off the field.
He mounts his horse and rides away.
                                                            
In the distance Joe's horse trots toward Hank. He has his
pistol drawn with a look of evil in his eyes.
                                                            

15.

Hank notices him and sets his horse in a trot running from
Joe. He pulls his pistol out and fires back at Joe twice.
Joe dodges the shots and fires at Hank twice, his shots miss
as well.
                                                            
They continue to trot away. Joe stops his horse on a small
hill, steadies his pistol and fires. Hank falls to the
ground. Joe rides up to him.
                                                            
Joe sees Hank on the ground. He then dismounts, rolls Hank
over and sees that he is bleeding from the gut.
                                                            
                       JOE
Bleeding bad? I got you this time
you son of a bitch.
                                                            
Hank's eyes barely watch Joe.
                                                            
                       JOE
Nobody kills my brothers and gets
away with it.
                                                            
Joe pulls some money out of Hank's pocket.
                                                            
                       JOE
Didn't hide it good enough this
time. You don't need it now. My
guess is you'll be dead within a
couple hours.
                                                            
Joe gets on his horse and pulls Red behind him. He
disappears in the distance as Hanks lays moaning and
bleeding on the ground.
                                                            
LATER
                                                            
Moses rides up in his buckboard. He sees Hank lying in a
pool of blood, barely alive.
                                                            
                       MOSES
I guess you don't have a choice
this time mister.
                                                            
Moses drags Hank's bloody body to the back of the buckboard
and while struggling eventually lifts him into the wagon.
                                                            
Moses gets back on the buckboard and whips his horse. He
quickly races through the field.
                                                            
 

16.

INT. HOTEL - MACON, MS - NIGHT
                                                            
A brick hotel with a small bar on the main floor and a half
dozen rooms on the second floor.
                                                            
INSIDE HOTEL ROOM
                                                            
Moses stands in the room with THAD. Hank lays in the bed
bandaged up, sweating and looking awful.
                                                            
Thad is a sixty five year old black man. He's tall and
commanding, the exact same body type as Hank. His face is
rough and his body old but tough.
                                                            
                       MOSES
Well is he gonna make it?
                                                            
                       THAD
I got one bullet out. The other is
too damn deep. He'll die from it,
but not for a little while.
                                                            
                       MOSES
I thought he was only shot once.
                                                            
                       THAD
This time he was.
                                                            
                       MOSES
Well Doc, I'm leaving town. No
need to tell him who dropped him
off.
                                                            
                       THAD
If you were an hour later, he'd be
dead.
                                                            
Hank opens his eyes and looks at Moses.
                                                            
                       HANK
You.
                                                            
Hank points at Moses.
                                                            
                       MOSES
What do you want with me mister?
                                                            
                       HANK
Why'd you save me?
                                                            
                       MOSES
I guess every man has the right to
see tomorrow.
                                                            

17.

Hank rolls around the bed.
                                                            
                       HANK
Oh shit I hurt.
                                                            
Hank uncomfortably grunts.
                                                            
                       THAD
Well Moses, you better get on.
He's so out of it he probably
don't even know what he's saying.
                                                            
                       MOSES
Thanks again Thad. I'll see you in
a few weeks.
                                                            
                       THAD
You got it Moses.
                                                            
The two shake hands as Hank snores in the background.
                                                            
 
INT. HOTEL - MACON, MS - DAY
                                                            
Thad walks into Hank's room carrying a tray with coffee and
two biscuits.
                                                            
Hank slowly wakes up.
                                                            
                       HANK
Where the hell am I?
                                                            
                       THAD
You're in Macon Mississippi.
                                                            
                       HANK
Why do I feel like shit?
                                                            
                       THAD
You should feel worse than that. I
pulled a bullet out of you a few
nights ago. You still got one in
ya.
                                                            
                       HANK
Well shouldn't I see a Doctor?
                                                            
                       THAD
You did. That's what I am, among
other things.
                                                            

18.

                       HANK
A Negro doctor? What are you
trying to pull?
                                                            
                       THAD
I'm the best doctor in a hundred
miles. If you don't like it you
can walk to another.
                                                            
                       HANK
I think I will.
                                                            
Hank sits up and swings his legs over to stand up. He
struggles to get his balance.
                                                            
                       HANK
Damn, what the hell is wrong with
me?
                                                            
                       THAD
You gonna make it to the street?
                                                            
                       HANK
Get the hell out of here.
                                                            
Hank stands up, takes a step and immediately falls over.
                                                            
                       HANK
      (screaming)
Shit.
                                                            
Thad lifts Hank up.
                                                            
                       HANK
Don't touch me dammit. I don't
like to be touched. Especially-
well, you get what I'm saying.
                                                            
Thad lets go of him, grabs the tray and walks away.
                                                            
Hank eyes the tray and sniffs the air.
                                                            
                       HANK
What the hell is that? Smells
good.
                                                            
                       THAD
Man like you don't need to worry
about it.
                                                            
Thad walks out of the room and slams the door behind him.
                                                            
 

19.

EXT. FRONT OF HOTEL - DAY
                                                            
The majestic hotel and bar sits on a dirt street in the town
of Macon. A few small buildings make up the small town.
                                                            
Thad wipes down the side of the building with a rag. MAYOR
PRESTON walks up to Thad.
                                                            
Mayor Preston is in his late forties with a mustache and
fancy suit. A slick African American man with a sneaky grin.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
Thad, the building's looking
mighty fine.
                                                            
                       THAD
It's my pride and joy. My life's
work.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
I understand you have a white man
staying upstairs.
                                                            
                       THAD
You sure cut right to it Mayor.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
Well I am a man who values time
over small talk. What's the story?
                                                            
                       THAD
An old friend of mine brought him
in. Found him shot up and dying.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
And you fixed him up?
                                                            
                       THAD
I sewed the wounds. Stopped the
bleeding.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
You know what I'm getting at. Is
he gonna cause trouble?
                                                            
                       THAD
No he's not and no you ain't gonna
make no money off of him neither.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
What kind of man do you think I
am?
                                                            

20.

                       THAD
Well just between you and me, he
ain't gonna be here long. He's
dying from an old wound. I give
him thirty days at the most.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
Well shit. In that case, I guess
he ain't gonna do much for or
against me.
                                                            
                       THAD
Well Mayor Preston, I guess not.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
You have yourself a fine day Thad.
                                                            
                       THAD
I'll try my hardest.
                                                            
The Mayor pats Thad on the shoulder and walks away.
                                                            
 
INT. HOTEL BAR - MACON MISSISSIPPI - NIGHT
                                                            
The hotel bar is crowded with a number of black
sharecroppers. A few sit at card tables, some stand at the
bar. Thad works behind the bar pouring drinks.
                                                            
A smooth southern State Senator, GRANT Andrews sits at the
center of one of the card tables.
                                                            
His slick blond hair is combed back to perfection. A tall
and handsome man around the age of fifty, he sports a fancy
suit and a classy watch.
                                                            
Three other men, all black, all in dusty dirty clothes, sit
at the table playing cards with him. A fourth, BLACK CARD
PLAYER, is a skinny black man around fifty.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Well gentlemen, looks like I win
again.
                                                            
                       BLACK CARD PLAYER
Good job Senator.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Now I might be taken your money
back, but as my constituents you
get much more from me. It will
never be even, but that's okay. I
like you boys.
                                                            

21.

Grant takes some cash off the table and puts it in his
pocket. He then takes a shot glass off the table and chugs
it.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Tomorrow we'll play again.
                                                            
                       BLACK CARD PLAYER
God bless you Senator. A good man,
a good man.
                                                            
Grant walks over to the bar and places his glass down in
front of Thad.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
I'm empty. Fill it.
                                                            
                       THAD
You got it.
                                                            
Thad pours some whiskey into the shot glass.
                                                            
An OLD SHARECROPPER, a black man in his sixties, walks up to
Grant.
                                                            
                       OLD SHARECROPPER
Senator Grant. I own a farm just a
few miles up the road. I got a
hundred acres I'm farming and the
Johnson plantation is taken my
water. Can you help me?
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
It's Friday night and I'm
drinking. Let me be.
                                                            
                       OLD SHARECROPPER
But Senator, my crops will die in
a few days if I don't get them
watered. I know the Johnson's are
white, but please.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
If they're white you already know
the answer. Now get out of here
before I have you thrown in the
pig-pen.
                                                            
Old Sharecropper walks away.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
      (muttering)
Thank God for Jim Crow laws.
                                                            

22.

Grant looks at his empty glass.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
      (loudly)
I'm empty.
                                                            
Grant slaps the bar. Thad rushes over and fills his drink.
                                                            
The saloon doors open as FRANKLIN, a nerdy, curly head
fellow in his early thirties, walks in.
                                                            
                       FRANKLIN
She's here!
                                                            
Franklin holds the door open as BUCHANAN, carrying a
suitcase, walks in.
                                                            
Buchanan is tough and tall, and has a visible pistol
strapped to his belt. Behind him, MRS. Margret CAROL strolls
into the saloon and stops for the entire room to take in the
sight.
                                                            
Mrs. Carol is a beautiful blond just shy of fifty, but she
looks twenty years younger and is always dressed in a
Southern bell dress. She's the prettiest sight within a
hundred miles.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
And who is this goddess?
                                                            
Franklin approaches Grant at the bar.
                                                            
                       FRANKLIN
This is Mrs. Carol. The best
gambler in the South.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
I may have something to say about
that.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Oh Franklin. Kind words. Let me
introduce myself.
                                                            
Mrs. Carol approaches Grant and sticks out her hand. Grant
kisses it.
                                                            
                       BUCHANAN
Watch yourself. She ain't a queen.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
He's just being a gentleman. I
don't believe I caught your name.
                                                            

23.

                       SENATOR GRANT
Pardon me, I'm too distracted to
give it.
                                                            
Mrs. Carol lightly giggles.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
I'm Senator William Grant. This is
my represented district.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
A Senator? I see they have chosen
the one whom can best relate to
their struggle.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
And we shall elect the best among
us. The Statesman, the Lawyer or
the Doctor.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
I don't remember Jefferson or
Washington, or any other of those
farmers stating that.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
It's a citizen run government and
I'm a citizen. What more should be
required? Besides most are
impressed with my social standing.
Hard to know why you are the
exception.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Oh no, I'm impressed. Very
impressed.
                                                            
The suitcases weigh on Buchanan's arms.
                                                            
                       BUCHANAN
Where do these things go?
                                                            
                       FRANKLIN
      (to Thad)
Yes. What room should we take?
We'll need two.
                                                            
                       THAD
Number six and seven.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
I usually have number eight.
                                                            

24.

Mrs. Carol continues to study the Senator.
                                                            
                       THAD
I'm afraid that one's taken.
                                                            
                       BUCHANAN
Then kick them out.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
No, no Buchanan. Numbers six and
seven will be fine with me.
                                                            
                       BUCHANAN
Yes ma'am.
                                                            
Holding a whiskey bottle, Hank on all fours, slowly crawls
down the hallway.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Shall we play a game after I get
settled?
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Be careful ma'am. Your reputation
may end tonight. I'm a far better
gambler than I am a politician,
though they both do require the
same skills.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
If you were going to ruin my
reputation your's would have had
to have already started.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Impressive whit madam, but I'm
known throughout the state of
Mississippi.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Funny how word spreads. I've been
here my whole life and I've never
heard your name uttered. Not even
in a dark corner.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
I would remember one such as you.
Since I am so renowned throughout
Mississippi.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Throughout Mississippi? Huh? You
have said it twice.
                                                            

25.

                       SENATOR GRANT
I'm known from Tupelo to Biloxi.
And you? Where is your name heard?
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Oh just east of the Mississippi.
And sometimes west. Throughout
many states.
                                                            
Grant looks and acts defeated for a moment.
                                                            
Hank reaches the staircase and pauses. He then scoots onto
one step and tries to stand after he gets to the second
step.
                                                            
The crowd in the bar examines him.
                                                            
Hank falls down the stairs while holding the bottle. As he
reaches the bottom he lands with Thad standing directly
above him.
                                                            
                       HANK
Who the hell are you?
                                                            
                       THAD
I take it you're not dead yet.
                                                            
                       HANK
Nope. I even saved the bottle.
                                                            
Hank holds the bottle up with pride.
                                                            
                       THAD
Well let's get you back upstairs.
                                                            
Thad grabs Hank's arm and helps him up the stairs.
                                                            
                       HANK
Now who in the hell are you?
                                                            
                       THAD
I'm your caretaker. Now where'd
you find the bottle?
                                                            
                       HANK
It was just there.
                                                            
                       BUCHANAN
      (to Franklin)
How much you want to bet that son
of a bitch is the one in room
number eight?
                                                            

26.

                       FRANKLIN
It wouldn't surprise me.
                                                            
The two shake their heads.
                                                            
 
INT. HANK'S HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
Hank sits on the bed as Thad gets ready to leave the room.
                                                            
                       THAD
Well there ya go. Now I'm gonna
tend to the other guests.
                                                            
                       HANK
Just wait a minute. I think I
remember who you are.
                                                            
                       THAD
I'm your caretaker.
                                                            
                       HANK
But you're the man who had those
fried biscuits the other day.
                                                            
                       THAD
How'd you know they were fried?
That's not the way most people
make them.
                                                            
                       HANK
Nothing else in the world smells
that good, not even battle. My
Mama, she made the best Southern
fried biscuits you ever had.
                                                            
                       THAD
So did My Mama, that's how I know
how to do it.
                                                            
                       HANK
Say what would it take to get you
to make me some before I leave?
                                                            
                       THAD
You ain't leaving.
                                                            
                       HANK
I got too. I got to meet my sister
over in Tuscaloosa. Pulling out in
the morning.
                                                            

27.

                       THAD
You couldn't even get down the
stairs.
                                                            
                       HANK
There's always tomorrow. Now when
are you gonna make those biscuits
again?
                                                            
                       THAD
Maybe tomorrow. Now you get some
rest. You need it.
                                                            
Thad leaves the room and Hank groans as he lies down.
                                                            
                       HANK
Damn I feel like shit.
                                                            
 
INT. HOTEL BAR - NIGHT
                                                            
The Mayor and Old Sharecropper stand quietly in the corner.
                                                            
                       OLD SHARECROPPER
I wouldn't ask but I'm gonna loose
my farm and everything. I need
that water.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
Did you talk to the Senator?
                                                            
                       OLD SHARECROPPER
He says I'm out of luck.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
There's nothing I can do for you.
It is what it is.
                                                            
Mrs. Carol and Grant sit a table with a few locals playing
cards.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
How long will you grace us with
your presence in this town?
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
As long as it takes to win all
your money.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Well Mrs. Carol, I'm delighted to
know you'll be staying for a
while.
                                                            

28.

                       MRS. CAROL
Tell me Senator, do you ever have
regrets regarding what you do?
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Regrets are a waste of time. All I
do is serve the people and have
some fun on the side. I'm curious,
what is it you think I do?
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Rip poor black folk off. That's
what I see anyway.
                                                            
                       BLACK CARD PLAYER
The Senator treats us as fair as
Jim Crow let's him.
                                                            
The Senator smiles at Black card player.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Thank you!
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
But I must ask Mrs. Carol; And you
don't?
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Rip poor black folk off?
Absolutely not. I give them an
opportunity.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
To win? That means you have to
loose every now and then.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Oh and I do occasionally.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
And if you win?
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
At least they lost to someone as
beautiful as me.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
      (laughing)
I'll give you that. I will give
you that.
                                                            
Thad stands at the bar with SHERIFF LONGSTREET.
                                                            

29.

The Sheriff is a white man in his late fifties with a round
face and a thick mustache.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
Thad, how's business?
                                                            
                       THAD
It's the busiest night of the
week.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
I hear you have a man upstairs.
I'd like to see him.
                                                            
                       THAD
He's resting, maybe in a day or
two.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
I can deal with that, if you get
me a drink.
                                                            
                       THAD
Good deal to me.
                                                            
Thad pours the Sheriff a drink.
                                                            
LATER
                                                            
The saloon is near empty as Sheriff Longstreet and the Mayor
sit at a table drinking. Thad wipes down the bar. Grant and
Mrs. Carol sit at another table when she stands up.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Well you might have beat me
tonight, but we'll see where the
luck turns tomorrow night.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Double or nothing it is.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
In the meanwhile, I'm in room six
if you can't sleep tonight.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
In that case I'm wide awake.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
      (smiling)
Knock twice. That way I'll know
it's you.
                                                            

30.

                       SENATOR GRANT
Goodnight ma'am.
                                                            
Mrs. Carol walks upstairs.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
Senator get your ass over here
before you commit yourself to more
responsibility.
                                                            
Grant stands up and walks over to Sheriff Longstreet's table
and sits down.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Responsibility is a big word for
you Sheriff. Who's been teaching
you English?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
Watch it Senator. I kick shit like
you down the road every day.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Golly Sheriff, I had no idea, if I
did I would've kept my mouth shut.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
Thad, get over here.
                                                            
Thad approaches the table and tosses some cash and coins on
the table.
                                                            
                       THAD
That's all of it.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
You better not be holding back.
                                                            
                       THAD
I never would. I know what
happens. I don't want a rope.
                                                            
The men start counting the money.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
My counts thirty three dollars. Am
I right?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
That's what I got too.
                                                            

31.

                       SENATOR GRANT
That's three for Thad and that
should cover his operating costs.
Five for the Mayor. Fifteen for me
and ten for the Sheriff. Am I
correct?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
Yep. That's what I figured.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
That's the agreement.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
I was talking to the white man at
this table.
                                                            
Grant snarls at the Mayor.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
Seems fair Senator. It's a damn
good thing you're representing
this district. I would find it
hard to make a deal like this with
any other bureaucrat.
                                                            
Grant puts his fifteen dollars in his pocket.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Oh you'd be surprised how easy it
would be. Good night men. I have a
guest to attend to.
                                                            
Grant stands up and walks up the stairs.
                                                            
 
INT. MRS CAROL'S HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
Grant and Mrs. Carol lie in bed in their sleepwear.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Well I do believe I have a new
favorite town in Mississippi.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
And I have a new favorite loser at
cards.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Not for long. Tell me how'd you
end up here?
                                                            

32.

                       SENATOR GRANT
I was a flawed candidate for
sainthood. My old man was a
Confederate Major. He kept me out
of the war and then when he got
home he was State Senate Majority
leader. He shipped me out in the
middle of these sticks to turn me
into a respectable person.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Did it work?
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
You tell me? Reconstruction
changed everything. It might be a
corrupt South but it is still the
South nonetheless.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Well you are a Senator and a
helluva gambler. I'd say you
turned out alright in my book.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Well that just wins all the races.
And what's your story? Born
beautiful and luck came with it?
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
My father was the Governor of
Tennessee, I was born into a
bright future. I wanted to earn my
own way, become my own woman.
There's not very many
independently wealthy women in the
South these days.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Well, now I can say I've met at
least one.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
I believe it would be best if you
woke up in your own bed. I don't
want people talking.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
I do appreciate your sense of
humor. We both know I'll be
staying here tonight.
                                                            

33.

Mrs. Carol reaches under her pillow and pulls out a small
derringer pistol. She examines the pistol closely.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
This may be a small pistol but it
sure does get men moving.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
I can take a hint, but tell me is
there a chance I will ever be
welcomed back?
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Might be as soon as tomorrow,
maybe never. You just never can
tell.
                                                            
Grant stands up and walks toward the door. He turns around
and faces Mrs. Carol.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
You sure are an independent woman.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
What a generous compliment. I do
thank you!
                                                            
Senator Grant opens the door and leaves the room shaking his
head with a grin on his face.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
They always leave with a bigger
smile than they entered with.
                                                            
 
INT. HANK'S HOTEL ROOM - DAY
                                                            
Thad walks into the room carrying a tray of fried biscuits.
Hank quickly sits up in his bed.
                                                            
                       HANK
I'd recognize that smell anywhere.
                                                            
                       THAD
We'll try this again. See if
you're humble enough to eat them.
                                                            
                       HANK
Where the hell am I and who the
hell are you?
                                                            

34.

                       THAD
You don't remember the last few
days?
                                                            
                       HANK
I think I'd remember sleeping in a
Negro house.
                                                            
                       THAD
You're in Macon Mississippi. You
were shot.
                                                            
                       HANK
Yeah I was a shot a long time ago.
                                                            
                       THAD
Nope, you were shot again. This
time I got the bullet out. But the
old bullet stays. It hit your
liver.
                                                            
                       HANK
What do you mean? What are you
telling me?
                                                            
                       THAD
You don't even have a month to
live. And it's gonna be the worst
month of your life. You won't have
the energy to do anything and
you're gonna hurt all over.
                                                            
                       HANK
You ain't lying. I feel like shit.
                                                            
                       THAD
Take a biscuit.
                                                            
Thad hands Hank a biscuit, but Hank glares at his black
hand. Hank then grabs his own from the tray and munches on
it.
                                                            
                       THAD
You'd think we were carrying a
damn disease.
                                                            
                       HANK
These are damn good biscuits.
                                                            
                       THAD
I made them original.
                                                            

35.

                       HANK
I gotta go see my sister in
Alabama. Tuscaloosa. When do you
think I'll be able to do that?
                                                            
                       THAD
Never. Unless it's in a box.
                                                            
                       HANK
Well shit. Don't sound too good
for me.
                                                            
                       THAD
Nope. Now you get some sleep. I'll
be back in a few hours.
                                                            
                       HANK
I'll get some sleep. But Mr. I'll
make it Tuscaloosa, that's for
damn sure.
                                                            
Thad walks out of the room. Hank scans the room and then
lays down in the bed.
                                                            
 
INT. HOTEL BAR - MACON, MS - DAY
                                                            
Thad wipes down the bar with a rag when PEARL walks in.
                                                            
Pearl, the hotel maid, is in her fifties and is beautiful,
black and tough.
                                                            
Thad pauses and stares at her.
                                                            
                       THAD
Well I have to say I seem to
always forget how beautiful you
are.
                                                            
                       PEARL
I'll tell you what, you still have
your charm.
                                                            
                       THAD
And you'll always have your
beauty.
                                                            
The two clean some card tables and sweep the floor.
                                                            
                       PEARL
What is it that makes you think
someday you'll sweep me up? Ain't
enough time gone by that you've
lost hope? Any other man would
            (MORE)

36.

                       PEARL (cont'd)
have given up by now.
                                                            
                       THAD
I ain't any other man. What's your
story? Is it may age? You used to
say it was your boy, didn't want
to make me raise him. He's old and
gone now. What is it?
                                                            
                       PEARL
Thad it's the same thing it's
always been.
                                                            
                       THAD
Your sister died forty years ago.
It's been too long not to fall in
love again. You know I miss her.
And you know she would want you to
be happy.
                                                            
                       PEARL
Well maybe someday we can love
each other in a more traditional
way. For now I just love working
with you.
                                                            
                       THAD
I will settle for anything I can
get.
                                                            
                       PEARL
That's why your worth the wait.
Say I heard you have a dying white
man upstairs.
                                                            
                       THAD
Yeah, he's taking just a little of
my time.
                                                            
                       PEARL
You're a kind man. Even though he
hates us.
                                                            
                       THAD
He don't hate, he's just angry.
                                                            
                       PEARL
Yeah he's angry he's white. Makes
things so tough.
                                                            
                       THAD
If only we were all color blind.
                                                            

37.

                       PEARL
But we ain't.
                                                            
 
EXT. STREETS OF MACON - DAY
                                                            
Sheriff Longstreet and Mayor Preston stand in the street
conversing when Sheriff Williams, Sparks and Swayne ride up
to them.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
      (to Longstreet)
You the Sheriff here?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
I'm wearing a badge aren't I?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Yeah for some damn reason.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
What the hell's your concern? And
why the hell are you riding
through my town with a badge?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
I'll tell you why I'm hot and
heavy. I've been tracking an
outlaw in every corner of my
county. Then I tracked him all the
counties next to me and now I'm
here at the last one. My bet is
your the one who let him get
passed you.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
I'm not the one chasing him.
                                                            
Williams pulls out his pistol.
                                                            
Longstreet goes for his, but the Mayor grabs him.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
Hold on men. We can calm down. We
want to kill outlaws, not have
Sheriffs killing each other on
Main street.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
I'm not gonna shoot ya, I'm
showing you what I'm gonna kill
the bastard with.
                                                            

38.

                       MAYOR PRESTON
I believe you will.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Now I'm hungry, I'm tired and I'm
thirsty. So you tell me if this
man is in this town before I ride
up into those hills to find him.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
He's not here.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
Why don't you relax here at the
hotel. We'll buy you a drink and
we can freshen up your horses.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
I guess we could do that. But only
an hour. Swayne, Sparks, take our
horses over to the stable.
                                                            
                       SPARKS
You got it boss.
                                                            
Williams dismounts and follows Longstreet and Preston into
the hotel.
                                                            
 
INT. HOTEL BAR - DAY
                                                            
Longstreet, Preston and Williams stand and drink while
Sparks and Swayne play a card game with Senator Grant. Thad
tends bar.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
I didn't mean to cause you
troubles earlier, but we do things
differently here. If we don't
treat everything like a problem it
will become one.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
I know what you mean. Living with
reconstruction is a helluva an
ordeal.
                                                            
Senator Grant throws his cards down smiling. Swayne and
Sparks look depressed.
                                                            

39.

                       SENATOR GRANT
And gentleman I have won another
round. I think I'll buy you all a
drink with all my luck.
                                                            
Grant gets up and walks toward the bar.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Sheriff Williams. My father speaks
highly of you. What are you doing
in this neck of the woods?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Seeing how a king lives.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
      (laughing)
Well I don't know about that. I'm
just having fun.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
You live here now?
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Some of the time. Fall and Spring
mostly. I love summers in
Connecticut and winters in
Florida. And you?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
I don't get that restless.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Well I have to get back to a game.
                                                            
Grant tries to shake Williams hand.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Never did like politicians.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
Sheriff there is someone who might
no more about your outlaw.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Well lead me to him.
                                                            
Thad stands behind the bar.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
Thad, I think it's time we see
your wounded guest.
                                                            
 

40.

INT. HANK'S ROOM - DAY
                                                            
Hank, sits up in bed while Sheriff Williams, Longtreet,
Preston and Thad face him.
                                                            
                       HANK
And then he shot me right off my
horse. Then I woke up here. I'd
like to get the son of a bitch
myself.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
I'll try to bring him back alive.
You can finish him off.
                                                            
                       HANK
Sounds good to me.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Sheriff what's past the swamp?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
Tuscaloosa. He'll stay in the
swamp lands if he can. They don't
take kindly to strangers.
                                                            
                       HANK
If you're going that way I'll
follow you.
                                                            
                       THAD
You'll die man. You just get some
sleep.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Well thanks for the hints. I'm
headed out right now.
                                                            
                       HANK
I'll go with you.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
You rest here. You need your
energy. I'll bring him back and
you can pull the trigger or slap
the horse if we noose the son of a
bitch.
                                                            
                       HANK
Now that would be just fine!
                                                            
 

41.

EXT. STREETS OF MACON - DAY
                                                            
Sheriff Williams, Swayne and Sparks ride out of town.
                                                            
                       SWAYNE
What'd you think of that Sheriff?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Squirrelly fella. Wouldn't trust
him if I had too.
                                                            
                       SPARKS
I trust him more than that
Senator. He took all my money.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
It was your choice to play with
him.
                                                            
                       SPARKS
I'll take all my anger out on the
damn outlaw.
                                                            
                       SWAYNE
Me too. He gave me a damn big
shiner.
                                                            
 
INT. HANK'S ROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
Pearl grabs some blankets off of the floor and then carries
a tray of food over to Hank.
                                                            
                       PEARL
You awake Mister?
                                                            
                       HANK
I sure am. Are you that man's
wife? The one that keeps coming in
here.
                                                            
                       PEARL
No. Just work here too. Now I'll
feed you, but I ain't gonna bathe
you. I don't see you paying for
any of this anyway.
                                                            
                       HANK
Don't mind me, I'm getting out of
here as soon as I can get down the
stairs.
                                                            

42.

                       PEARL
Well I wish you luck.
                                                            
Hank stairs at the tray beside him.
                                                            
                       HANK
What'd you make me?
                                                            
                       PEARL
Roast beef mashed potatoes. And
biscuits.
                                                            
                       HANK
I'll take it. If you ain't married
to him, what's stopping you?
                                                            
                       PEARL
You sure are a curious fellow.
                                                            
Pearl walks toward the door as Hank takes a large bite.
                                                            
                       HANK
No answer huh? Ma'am, I ain't a
man who likes the blacks too well.
If you ask me you all got it easy
now days. But I'll give you this,
you are a damn good cook.
                                                            
                       PEARL
      (sarcastic)
Why thank you.
                                                            
                       HANK
And if you don't mind me saying,
ain't no reason to not be married
to that man.
                                                            
Hank munches down on his biscuit.
                                                            
Pearl walks out of the room and shuts the door. She shakes
her head with a reflective smile.
                                                            
 
INT. HOTEL BAR - NIGHT
                                                            
Grant and Mrs. Carol sit at a table with a few locals
playing cards.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
At the rate I'm playing you might
be here forever.
                                                            

43.

                       MRS. CAROL
I could take your money a lot
quicker if you want.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
I think this speed is just right.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Well I must powder my nose and use
the ladies room. But don't you go
anywhere. I'll be back soon.
                                                            
Mrs. Carol walks up the stairs.
                                                            
AMELIA, a young black girl around thirteen walks up to the
Senator.
                                                            
                       AMELIA
Can I shine your shoes?
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
You sure can.
                                                            
Grant creepily smiles at her as she shines his shoes.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
      (whispering)
You sure are a cute little girl.
                                                            
LATER
                                                            
Sheriff Longstreet, the Mayor, Mrs Carol and Senator Grant
all sit at a table playing cards. Thad stands behind the
bar. Hank wanders down the stairs when Thad sees him and
approaches him.
                                                            
                       THAD
What are you doing?
                                                            
                       HANK
I just want to catch a game. It's
the least I could do on account
I'm a dying man.
                                                            
                       THAD
You can't. You need to sleep.
                                                            
                       HANK
That's all I do anymore. What kind
of life is that? If that's how
it's gonna be just take me out
back and shoot me in the head. Let
the pigs eat off me for a few
            (MORE)

44.

                       HANK (cont'd)
days. Then I'll be of some use.
                                                            
                       THAD
One quick game. If you're here any
longer you'll be dead in the
morning.
                                                            
                       HANK
Thanks Doc, or whoever the hell
you are.
                                                            
                       THAD
I'm Thad.
                                                            
                       HANK
What the hell you say?
                                                            
                       THAD
My name, it's Thad. You can call
me that.
                                                            
                       HANK
Well hell, now I know your name.
                                                            
Hank walks over to the table.
                                                            
                       HANK
Can I join in?
                                                            
Everyone looks at him.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
Next hand maybe.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
Ten dollar minimum. If you're good
for it, we'll take ya.
                                                            
                       HANK
Yeah, I can join.
                                                            
Hank lays a ten dollar bill on the table, takes some chips
and sits down.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
We're playing five card stud and
the lady is pulling out royals so
watch out for her.
                                                            
                       HANK
I'm an ace man myself.
                                                            

45.

                       MAYOR PRESTON
Good luck with that. As dealer I
make the rules. Don't look at the
card first round. Fifth card upper
hand determines winner.
                                                            
The Mayor deals the cards.
                                                            
                       HANK
Can we trust him being colored and
all?
                                                            
The Mayor snarls while Sheriff Longstreet motions him to
ignore it.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Yeah, we can trust him.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
You must be feeling better.
                                                            
                       HANK
I can move around and still think.
                                                            
Hank smiles at Mrs. Carol.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
So that means you can still win.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Or loose.
                                                            
                       HANK
      (to Mrs. Carol)
I don't believe we've met and I
would remember you.
                                                            
Hank reaches his hand over the table and shakes hands with
Mrs. Carol.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Well I am flattered to meet you.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Are we gonna call our hands
already?
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
Reveal your hands.
                                                            
Everyone at the table lifts up their cards and places them
on the table.
                                                            

46.

                       MAYOR PRESTON
      (to Hank)
Well Mr. looks like you win.
                                                            
                       HANK
It's good to be damn lucky!
                                                            
Hank pushes the pot toward him.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
I think I've found myself a new
competitor.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Don't take much to get lucky once.
                                                            
                       HANK
Then why haven't you?
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
You're a damn smooth shit talker
for someone fifty pounds over
weight and on a death bed.
                                                            
                       HANK
And with all those imperfections I
can still out gamble you.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
I'm off my game cause I've been
winning all week.
                                                            
                       HANK
I thought you were playing off,
cause Daddy ain't here to aid you.
                                                            
The Senator fumes.
                                                            
                       HANK
Yeah, I know who you are.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
You don't know me. I've never met
you.
                                                            
                       HANK
I know your type. Best schools,
fancy clothes, greatest promise.
All that money, all that hope and
all he could buy you was a Senate
seat in a shit town.
                                                            

47.

Grant jumps up and grabs Hank's throat pushing him off his
chair to the ground. He pulls out a knife and holds it to
Hank's neck. Hank's face is red as he chokes.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Tough shit talker now.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
As much as I hate it when someone
knocks our town, you can't kill
him in front of me.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Then get me a rope or this son of
a bitch is gonna bleed.
                                                            
                       THAD
      (nervous)
Senator he's all talk. He's crazy,
he's out of it. He's dying, don't
kill him. Let nature do it.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Come on Senator, we're just
playing a game.
                                                            
Grant still chokes Hank as he nearly passes out.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
      (nervously smiling)
And besides, I rarely endorse
violence.
                                                            
Senator Grant lets go of Hank's neck.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
The old man's not worth it.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Yeah, he ain't worth shit.
                                                            
Hank starts coughing severely. He then rolls over as he
coughs up blood. He kneels and coughs more blood.
                                                            
                       THAD
Let's get him upstairs.
                                                            
Thad and Sheriff Longstreet lift him up and carry him
upstairs.
                                                            

48.

                       SENATOR GRANT
Let the old bastard bleed to
death. That's a natural death for
him.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
      (to Mrs. Carol)
You going upstairs with me?
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
No.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Never did like that word.
                                                            
Grant grabs a whiskey bottle and walks upstairs.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
Helluva town we live in.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
I don't live here.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
As Mayor I highly recommend it.
                                                            
 
INT. HANK'S ROOM - DAY
                                                            
Hank sits at a small table and looks out the window as the
early morning sun shines into the room.
                                                            
Thad walks into the room carrying a coffee pot and a basket
with a towel over it.
                                                            
                       THAD
You look pretty good for a man who
had a hard night last night.
                                                            
                       HANK
I won forty dollars. It's yours
for all your troubles.
                                                            
Hank hands Thad the money. Thad pours Hank a cup of coffee.
                                                            
                       THAD
I'll accept. I could use the
money. I got big plans someday.
                                                            
                       HANK
To do what?
                                                            

49.

                       THAD
Go visit the big cities. Spend
some time in Florida. It's been a
helluva time here, but I'd like to
see some more country.
                                                            
                       HANK
You can't do it alone. Tell me why
you're not married to that Pearl
gal? The one who cleans up around
here.
                                                            
                       THAD
Hank, I can't give you a reason.
That's the awful truth of it.
                                                            
                       HANK
Well let me tell you about women.
Sometimes you just got to say what
you're doing and then they'll go
with it. If they don't, best find
one who will.
                                                            
                       THAD
Women advice from you? Who knew
it'd be full of so much wisdom.
                                                            
                       HANK
Lot's of wisdom in this torn up
body, mostly based on what not to
do.
                                                            
                       THAD
Say how old are you?
                                                            
                       HANK
Sixty, and you?
                                                            
                       THAD
Sixty five. I'd like to see
seventy.
                                                            
                       HANK
You just might. Who the hell
thought we ever would.
                                                            
                       THAD
I sure never thought I would.
                                                            
                       HANK
You serve in the war?
                                                            

50.

                       THAD
Yeah, on the blue side.
                                                            
                       HANK
Well I figured that much. Hell of
a thing. And for what? You feel
any more free than you were
before.
                                                            
                       THAD
It wasn't about me. Wasn't about
freedom. It was about State's
rights. If it was about me, I
could vote. I could stay anywhere,
go to school anywhere. I guess the
only difference is instead of a
man telling me I can't do
something, a law says it.
                                                            
                       HANK
Well I see a difference. The South
has been put through hell. It's a
different world here. For almost
forty years we've been told we're
being reconstructed. When I look
around all I see is destruction.
                                                            
                       THAD
I gotta ask you something.
Something I've always wanted to
ask a white man. Is that okay?
                                                            
                       HANK
Well you've spared me this far, so
I think you've earned an honest
answer to any question.
                                                            
                       THAD
Does a white man fear a black man?
Do you think we're diseased? Or do
you think we're not human? What is
it about us?
                                                            
                       HANK
I can only speak for me. I'll tell
you honestly cause I got nothing
to loose. I don't understand you
people. You're different. That's
it.
                                                            
                       THAD
But why judge a man for the color
of his skin? At least give him a
chance to say something you agree
            (MORE)

51.

                       THAD (cont'd)
or disagree with.
                                                            
                       HANK
I guess we can't risk that. The
man might be right. If a white man
can see a difference in color, he
don't need nothing else. He's made
up his mind. He's convinced.
                                                            
                       THAD
Convinced of what?
                                                            
                       HANK
What he has to tell himself.
                                                            
                       THAD
I think someday we can all be the
same. We don't have to be the same
color or person, but we might see
each other as people. Just that,
nothing else.
                                                            
                       HANK
That's a helluva dream. I guess it
always starts with one man.
                                                            
                       THAD
That it do.
                                                            
                       HANK
A lot has changed since I got
here.
                                                            
                       THAD
How so?
                                                            
                       HANK
Before I got here, I wouldn't let
a black man carry me out of a fire
if I had the choice. I wouldn't
sleep in a bed made by a black
woman and I sure wouldn't eat
their food.
                                                            
                       THAD
And now?
                                                            
                       HANK
I wouldn't have it any other way.
I've been cared for before, but
not like this. You've treated me
like a King. Rather I go to my
grave this month or tomorrow, I'll
            (MORE)

52.

                       HANK (cont'd)
always be grateful for that.
                                                            
                       THAD
What could I have done? You're a
man in need.
                                                            
Thad removes the towel from the basket revealing fried
biscuits.
                                                            
                       HANK
Now we got something that makes us
the same.
                                                            
                       THAD
Damn right.
                                                            
The two eat biscuits together.
                                                            
 
INT. HOTEL BAR - DAY
                                                            
Thad stands by the bar as Pearl walks in. The room is empty
and the morning sun shines in the windows.
                                                            
                       THAD
It's Sunday morning. We're slow in
here. I'm gonna take a ride out to
the prairie and have a picnic. You
gonna come or do I gotta get
somebody else?
                                                            
                       PEARL
Well I guess I ain't doing
nothing. I could take a couple
hours.
                                                            
                       THAD
It's about damn time. I mean, I'll
go hitch up the team.
                                                            
Thad walks out of the bar as Pearl shakes her head with a
smile.
                                                            
 
EXT. PRAIRIE NEAR MACON - DAY
                                                            
Thad drives a small buckboard on a dirt road beside the
Noxubee River. Pearl sits beside him holding his arm.
                                                            
They pass beautiful fields and fall colored trees. Deer
munch on bushes, birds fly around while ducks land in the
water and pheasants roam.
                                                            

53.

LATER
                                                            
Thad and Pearl sit on a blanket near the river.
                                                            
                       THAD
It took us a long time to do this.
                                                            
                       PEARL
Too long.
                                                            
                       THAD
How's your boy doing. Still a
respectable lawyer in DC?
                                                            
                       PEARL
Thad, we both know you helped
raise him. Sent money for his
schooling. He's who he is because
of you.
                                                            
                       THAD
And you always said you wouldn't
marry me, because you didn't want
me feeling like I needed to raise
the boy.
                                                            
                       PEARL
You're a patient man Thad.
                                                            
                       THAD
I'm glad you finally took note.
                                                            
                       PEARL
I've always known. Just hard to
say. The boy's got two little
girls now. Man I'd like to see
them.
                                                            
                       THAD
Let's visit. We'll go next year.
What do you say?
                                                            
                       PEARL
We can't afford that. Besides the
hotel will fall apart without us.
                                                            
                       THAD
Let it. That's not what's
important. You are. What you want
is. Besides I've saved some money.
We can do it.
                                                            

54.

                       PEARL
I would love that.
                                                            
                       THAD
It's done. We'll do it.
                                                            
                       PEARL
Why would you spend your life's
savings on a woman who won't let
you take her as your wife?
                                                            
                       THAD
Because I love you. That's what
people who love each other do.
They sacrifice and they don't
think a second word about it.
                                                            
                       PEARL
Thad I love you too. I really do
although I know I've never said
it.
                                                            
                       THAD
You didn't have to Pearl. I always
felt it.
                                                            
The two kiss.
                                                            
 
INT. MACON CHURCH - DAY
                                                            
The church is one big room with pews and an altar. A
Christian MINISTER stands at the front as people in church
clothes walk out of the building. Hank, all dressed up
approaches the Minister.
                                                            
The Minister is in his late fifties and has a bold Southern
accent.
                                                            
                       HANK
Great words Minister.
                                                            
                       MINISTER
It wasn't me speaking. It was the
Lord speaking to you.
                                                            
                       HANK
I gotta ask you, what happens when
we die?
                                                            
                       MINISTER
The age old mystery to the lost.
Comfort can be granted to those
who are found in Jesus. What do
            (MORE)

55.

                       MINISTER (cont'd)
you think?
                                                            
                       HANK
Hell if your bad; A place full of
fire and hate. Heaven if your
good; gold streets, beautiful
women and angels. My Momma, she'll
be there for sure.
                                                            
                       MINISTER
What about you? How will you feel?
Where will your heart be?
                                                            
                       HANK
I guess I'd feel good if I was in
Heaven or bad if in Hell.
                                                            
                       MINISTER
Heaven is with God and hell is
with the Devil. That's enough for
me to know where I want to go.
                                                            
                       HANK
What if a man's killed? What if
he's killed a lot of men? Maybe
for a good reason or maybe cause
he was told.
                                                            
                       MINISTER
If this man feels bad about it, he
should repent. Come unto Jesus. He
should engulf himself with love
and not hate.
                                                            
                       HANK
But can he get into heaven? Is he
doomed to hell?
                                                            
                       MINISTER
The bible tells us the first man
who killed chose the devil over
God. He made that choice
continually, it wasn't just once.
I reckon if he chose the right way
after choosing the wrong way he
could make it to heaven.
                                                            
                       HANK
Well how does he reconcile his bad
deeds?
                                                            

56.

                       MINISTER
He must do what his Father did. He
must love. He must sacrifice for
others. Not a great sacrifice like
Jesus did, not that much is
required of us, but a loving act
toward his fellow men. He must
accept his Savior. Does that
answer your questions?
                                                            
                       HANK
I believe it does. Thank you
Minister.
                                                            
The Minister points up.
                                                            
                       MINISTER
Don't forget to thank God. You may
be lost, but with him you shall be
found.
                                                            
 
EXT. HANK'S ROOM. - NIGHT
                                                            
Thad walks into the room. Hank sits at his table reading a
newspaper.
                                                            
                       THAD
I wanted to thank you for your
words of wisdom.
                                                            
                       HANK
What did I do?
                                                            
                       THAD
It's what you said. You told me
that a woman will go with you or
not. Luckily she did.
                                                            
                       HANK
You married her?
                                                            
                       THAD
Not yet. But we're headed in the
right direction.
                                                            
                       HANK
Good to hear Thad.
                                                            
                       THAD
Look at that, you called me by my
name.
                                                            

57.

                       HANK
I did. We must be making progress.
                                                            
                       THAD
We must be.
                                                            
                       HANK
Tell me something. Did you ever
kill a man in the war?
                                                            
                       THAD
A few. I shot some too, just
wounded them.
                                                            
                       HANK
I've been thinking of this bullet
in me. That's what's killing me
isn't it.
                                                            
                       THAD
Yeah. It is.
                                                            
                       HANK
Yeah well it's a helluva thing
that a bullet some bastard put in
me is ending me now.
                                                            
                       THAD
I guess it was slow.
                                                            
                       HANK
Yeah. You ever feel bad about
hurting or killing a man?
                                                            
                       THAD
Sometimes. But I was just doing
what I was told to do. No use
beating myself up for it. The war
was hell. Worst thing I ever saw.
I do wish someday I could say I
was sorry to a man I shot or
killed.
                                                            
                       HANK
Me too. It's been on my mind.
                                                            
                       THAD
Where were you when you got shot?
                                                            
                       HANK
Franklin. Out there in Tennessee.
You in that one?
                                                            

58.

Thad poses a curious look on his face.
                                                            
                       THAD
No, just South of there. Thirty
miles.
                                                            
                       HANK
Hell we just missed each other.
                                                            
                       THAD
I guess so. Well you get some
sleep. I'll be down stairs if you
need anything.
                                                            
Thad hurries out of the room as Hank lies in bed with a
pondering look on his face.
                                                            
 
EXT. SWAMP OUTSKIRTS OF MACON - DAY
                                                            
Sundown hits the swamp on the outskirts of Macon. Sheriff
Williams, Sparks and Swayne ride slowly down a dirt path. A
wooded area makes things hard to see.
                                                            
A creek leading to a pond runs parallel to the path.
Williams stops his horse and puts his hand up. Swayne and
Sparks both stop. They all dismount and walk toward the
water.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Somethings not right.
                                                            
They all look around carefully.
                                                            
BANG, a shot rings out from a rifle as Swayne falls to the
ground hit in the gut.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Stay down.
                                                            
                       SWAYNE
Shit I'm hit. Damn it burns.
                                                            
Sparks and the Sheriff hunker down and scan the area.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Shut up. Keep quiet.
                                                            
Some rustling comes from the trees where the shot came from.
Sparks runs toward the trees screaming, firing his double
barrel twice.
                                                            

59.

                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
You won't hit shit with that
double barrel.
                                                            
Sparks tosses his shotgun, pulls out a pistol and looks
around the trees.
                                                            
Joe, leans against a stump with a lever action Winchester
rifle. He caulks it quietly and fires at Sparks hitting him
in the leg.
                                                            
The Sheriff fires in the direction of the shot, but hit's
nothing.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
I got three officers. You ain't
gonna get us all. Drop the gun
Joe, you'll get a trial.
                                                            
Sparks sits up and scoots backwards toward the road. Joe
lays down and sneaks under a log. He points it at Sparks and
fires hitting him in the shoulder.
                                                            
                       SPARKS
Ah shit!
                                                            
Sparks jumps up and tries to run, gets a couple feet before
a BANG is heard. Sparks falls dead, after being shot in the
back.
                                                            
Sheriff Williams caulks his bolt action and fires hitting
the log covering Joe.
                                                            
Joe looks up with a number of splinters in his head. He runs
toward a fatter tree and stands upright behind it.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Joe I got you. Your a dead son of
a bitch now. You killed Sparks!
Your dead!
                                                            
Joe caulks his rifle and points it at Swayne who's barely
sitting up.
                                                            
Williams uses his horse to separate himself from the tree.
                                                            
Joe fires killing Swayne, he then runs toward the water.
Williams fires missing Joe. Joe fires back hitting Williams
in the side before jumping in the water.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
I wouldn't do that.
                                                            

60.

Williams stands up, caulks his rifle and stumbles toward the
water.
                                                            
He examines the water and sees a little movement. He fires
at the water...nothing happens. He fires again...nothing
happens.
                                                            
The third time he fires, Joe stands up when an alligator
jumps up and tackles him, devouring him.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
There is justice in the world.
                                                            
The Sheriff watches the alligator twist and turn in the
water.
                                                            
 
INT. HOTEL BAR - NIGHT
                                                            
Mrs. Carol and the Senator finish up a game. Hank walks down
the stairs. The Sheriff talks to Thad.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Well could I end the night in your
room Mrs. Carol?
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
I think not Senator.
                                                            
Hank approaches the card table.
                                                            
                       HANK
Excuse me Ma'am. Can I buy you a
drink?
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
She could do far better. Besides
ain't you learned from the other
night.
                                                            
                       HANK
Yeah I did. You're one tough son
of a bitch when you go up against
the ill.
                                                            
                       HANK
      (to Mrs. Carol)
Now what do you say?
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
I could always use a drink.
                                                            
Grant pulls his knife.
                                                            

61.

                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
Whoa. We don't need that.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Well he got it again.
                                                            
                       HANK
You're a jealous old corn shit. I
tell you what. I'll give you
something to be jealous of.
                                                            
Hank quickly pulls out a pistol and points it at Grant.
Grant has a shocked look on his face.
                                                            
                       HANK
Fast huh? I could send you to hell
a lot quicker then that little
poker could. So why don't we just
holster them for now.
                                                            
Grant puts his knife down and walks toward the stairs. He
turns and looks at the Sheriff.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
You know it's illegal to threaten
a Senator?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
If you wanted to enforce that law
yourself I guess you should of
brought a gun today.
                                                            
Grant snarls at Longstreet and storms upstairs.
                                                            
Hank puts his pistol back in his coat.
                                                            
                       HANK
      (to Mrs. Carol)
How about that drink?
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
I feel like I could use one.
                                                            
The two walk toward the bar.
                                                            
                       HANK
You know I'm in bad health. Could
be my last night on earth. I could
love you like there's no tomorrow,
cause there may not be one for me.
                                                            
Mrs. Carol downs a glass of whiskey.
                                                            

62.

                       MRS. CAROL
That line never seems to work on
me. Thanks for the drink and good
night.
                                                            
                       HANK
Not even a hug?
                                                            
Mrs. Carol kisses Hank on the cheek and walks upstairs.
                                                            
Thad looks at Hank.
                                                            
                       THAD
You're a lucky man.
                                                            
                       HANK
For the kiss?
                                                            
                       THAD
No, that she's leaving. That's not
your kind of woman. You could do
much better.
                                                            
                       HANK
Even on my death bed?
                                                            
                       THAD
Especially cause you're on your
death bed.
                                                            
The two share a laugh.
                                                            
 
EXT. STREETS OF MACON - DAY
                                                            
Sheriff Williams rides into town with three horses following
behind, each carrying a dead body. The live alligator is
dragged by a rope tied around the last horse.
                                                            
Thad, Mayor Preston, Sheriff Longstreet and Hank stand
outside the hotel taking in the scene.
                                                            
                       THAD
      (to himself)
Only in Mississippi.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
Well what happened?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
I lost two deputies but I gained
another.
                                                            

63.

                       MAYOR PRESTON
Did you get the outlaw?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Yeah, he's one dead some bitch.
                                                            
                       HANK
You did what you said you do. You
brought him back. But he ain't
alive.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
It's best this way. Trials are a
damn waste of time.
                                                            
                       THAD
You bleeding? You need a rest?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
I just got nicked in the side.
I'll be fine. I got to get back to
my town. I'll make it their by
night fall if I hurry.
                                                            
                       HANK
Thirty miles is a long way.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
I've been further in worst
conditions.
                                                            
The Sheriff rides on.
                                                            
Hank watches Joe as the horse carrying his body rides away.
                                                            
                       HANK
Fate finally caught up with the
son of a bitch.
                                                            
 
EXT. STREETS OF MACON - DAY
                                                            
A small stage coach sits in front of the hotel as Franklin
and Buchanan load Mrs. Carol's stuff into it. Mrs. Carol
walks out with Grant following close behind.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Well it seems that we are parting
ways. For a long time?
                                                            
Mrs. Carol turns around.
                                                            

64.

                       MRS. CAROL
Possibly forever.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
You'll miss me. You'll wish these
last couple of nights went
differently.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
I slept fine.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Yeah with some other man in your
bed.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
I'm sorry I was interested in you
for a time. That was back when I
thought you were a United States
Senator. You're just a State
Senator and those are a dime a
dozen.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
And you are a whore.
                                                            
Buchanan punches Grant in the face.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Seems we all get what we deserve.
                                                            
Senator Grant lies on the ground.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
You can't hit a Senator.
                                                            
                       BUCHANAN
Seems I just did.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
I forgot to mention you are a pig
as well.
                                                            
The Senator stands up.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Well then we are the perfect
match.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
I'm afraid not. I don't sleep in
the mire, just with it sometimes.
                                                            

65.

                       SENATOR GRANT
Have a safe trip.
                                                            
                       MRS. CAROL
Good day, State Senator.
                                                            
Mrs. Carol boards the stage as the Sheriff stands on the
porch. The stage drives away as Grant walks toward the
hotel.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
Well looks like you'll have no
responsibility after all.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Shut your mouth.
                                                            
Grant walks into the hotel bar.
                                                            
LATER - INSIDE HOTEL BAR
                                                            
Grant runs around the room drinking and causing a ruckus. He
holds a whiskey bottle as he shoves people and throws a few
chairs.
                                                            
Mayor Preston, Sheriff Longstreet and Hank sit at the bar
watching Grant's fit. Thad stands behind the bar.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
She was a whore dammit! I own this
town. I own it!
                                                            
                       THAD
      (to Mayor)
He's pretty riled up for the
middle of the day. I never seen
him like this.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
      (to Sheriff)
He's getting out of hand, you
might want to stop him.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
Getting drunk never hurt nobody.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
It's never the getting drunk that
does it, it's always what happens
next.
                                                            

66.

                       THAD
Hank you might want to scat. He's
probably still mad at you.
                                                            
                       HANK
I'm going for a walk.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
You must be feeling better.
                                                            
                       HANK
Just slightly.
                                                            
Hank gets up and walks out of the bar while Grant continues
to make a ruckus.
                                                            
LATER STREETS OF MACON
                                                            
Grant walks out of the bar carrying his bottle. He struggles
to walk in a straight line. He turns the corner to go up the
street when he sees Amelia down an alley.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Hey girl you wanna do something
more than shine my shoes?
                                                            
Thad walks out of the hotel and starts sweeping the porch.
                                                            
Grant grabs Amelia by the shoulder.
                                                            
                       AMELIA
I don't know Mister.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Come on there's nothing wrong with
me.
                                                            
Grant squeezes her shoulder tighter.
                                                            
                       AMELIA
Mister that hurts.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
You don't know what pain is.
                                                            
Grant slaps her, causing her to hit the ground. He then
kneels on top of her as she squeals.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
We're gonna have some fun.
                                                            
The girl cries as she struggles to get away.
                                                            

67.

Thad hears her.
                                                            
                       THAD
      (to himself)
Amelia?
                                                            
Thad runs around the corner and sees Grant on top of Amelia.
                                                            
                       THAD
What the hell are you doing?
                                                            
Thad runs up to Grant and grabs his shoulder.
                                                            
                       SENATOR GRANT
Get off me you ape.
                                                            
Grant punches Thad in the nose and returns to the girl as
Thad hits the ground.
                                                            
Grant unzips his pants. Thad sees a double bit ax kneeling
against the building wall.
                                                            
                       THAD
Stop you son of a bitch or I'll
kill you.
                                                            
Grant punches Thad in the stomach and then punches him in
the mouth. Grant returns to the girl.
                                                            
Thad stands up, grabs the ax and hits Grant in the back.
Grant stands up and looks at Thad before he falls to the
ground, dead.
                                                            
Hank runs up to Thad.
                                                            
                       HANK
What the hell happened?
                                                            
Mayor Preston and Sheriff Longstreet run into the alley.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
What happened?
                                                            
                       THAD
Grant's dead.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
We can see that. Now what
happened?
                                                            
                       THAD
Grant was trying to rape Amelia
and then-
                                                            

68.

                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
And then what?
                                                            
                       HANK
Thad saw me do what I had too. I
killed him with an ax. He wasn't
going to stop no other way.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
That's what happened?
                                                            
Amelia nods her head yes.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
Thad?
                                                            
Hank nods at Thad.
                                                            
                       THAD
Yeah, I reckon that's what
happened.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
Well then I guess your under
arrest Hank. Until we can figure
this all out.
                                                            
                       THAD
It was self defense.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
We gotta go by the law.
                                                            
                       THAD
      (whispering)
What the hell are you doing?
                                                            
                       HANK
      (whispering)
A black man killed a white
Senator. They'll crucify you.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
Come on Hank. We're taking you to
jail.
                                                            
Hank and Sheriff Longstreet walk down the street toward the
jail.
                                                            
 

69.

INT. INSIDE JAIL. - NIGHT
                                                            
The jail is one big room with a couple cells and a few
desks.
                                                            
Mayor Preston sits in a chair with his feet on the desk.
Sheriff Longstreet sits in a chair across from him. The two
smoke cigars while Hank sits in a jail cell.
                                                            
Thad walks into the jail.
                                                            
                       THAD
You gonna let him out soon?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
Can't do it. One of the most
violent crimes this State's ever
seen. The Senator's Father is
coming to town.
                                                            
                       THAD
He's a dying man. He'll die in
that cell. He needs to be staying
in a hotel room.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
I can't have that. It's time you
hear the truth. We're hanging him
tomorrow at ten A-M. The victim
was an important man. The crime
was too violent.
                                                            
                       THAD
It was self defense. The man is
dying anyway. And that Senator was
a shit. You know it.
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
The law is the law. We have to
follow it.
                                                            
                       THAD
What about a trial? A judge and a
jury?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
Now is your time to say your last
words to him.
                                                            
Thad walks over to Hank. Hank has his head down looking
depressed.
                                                            
Thad pauses and stares at Hank.
                                                            

70.

                       HANK
Don't tread water. Say what's on
your mind.
                                                            
                       THAD
Well I thought you'd die the day
you got here. Not like this. You
outlived my expectations.
                                                            
                       HANK
Death is inevitable. Most people
don't know how or even when. They
just know if. I'd rather not know
I guess.
                                                            
                       THAD
They're hanging you tomorrow.
There's nothing I can do about it.
It is what it is.
                                                            
                       HANK
You've done enough. More than
enough. I guess you were right. I
won't make it to Tuscaloosa.
                                                            
                       THAD
Why did you want to go there so
bad anyhow?
                                                            
                       HANK
My sister's selling my parents
house. I was supposed to get some
money but I guess I don't need it
now.
                                                            
                       THAD
I guess not.
                                                            
                       HANK
Goodbye Thad. Go marry that woman.
It's time you two were as happy as
you can be.
                                                            
                       THAD
Goodbye friend.
                                                            
Thad puts out his black hand to shake Hank's. Hank puts out
his white hand as we see the two hands shaking.
                                                            
                       HANK
Goodbye friend.
                                                            

71.

                       THAD
Sleep well. For me too.
                                                            
Thad winks at Hank. Hank has a puzzled look on his face.
Thad leaves the jail.
                                                            
 
EXT. MISSISSIPPI FOREST - NIGHT
                                                            
Thad rides his horse at a fast trot through a field, as the
darkness of the landscape is lit up by the moon.
                                                            
 
INT. LOUISVILLE MISSISSIPPI - DAY
                                                            
Thad trots his horse up to the Louisville jail as the sun
starts to rise. He dismounts and runs up the steps and bangs
on the jail door. He's completely out of breath.
                                                            
Sheriff Williams quickly opens the door.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
You look famished. Let me get you
some water.
                                                            
Williams grabs a canteen of water and hands it to Thad. He
chugs it.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Why are you here?
                                                            
                       THAD
They're gonna hang him. The damn
stupid Sheriff. They're gonna hang
Hank.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Why? Why the hell would they do
that?
                                                            
                       THAD
I killed the Senator. He was
trying to rape a poor black girl.
It was self defense, but Hank took
the blame.
                                                            
Williams puts up his suspenders and puts his gun belt on.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
When are they gonna do it?
                                                            
                       THAD
Ten A-M.
                                                            

72.

                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
That doesn't give us much time.
                                                            
                       THAD
So you'll help me?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Yeah. I never liked that
carpetbagging son of a bitch
Senator anyways.
                                                            
Sheriff Williams grabs his rifle and the two run out the
door.
                                                            
 
EXT. MACON, MS - DAY
                                                            
A platform stands up in the middle of the street. Dozens of
people watch as Sheriff Longstreet leads Hank up the gallows
to the rope. Mayor Preston stands beside him.
                                                            
A couple men in suits stand closely watching Hank.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
You about ready?
                                                            
                       MAYOR PRESTON
Yeah. I hope everything goes well.
We haven't had a hanging here in a
long time.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
Yeah, and there's a lot of
important people here.
                                                            
Longstreet puts the rope around Hank's neck.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
      (to Hank)
You've let the Confederates down.
Who knew a Major like you would be
hung by his own folk?
                                                            
                       HANK
You're a helluva sheriff, a
helluva sheriff.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
      (loudly)
Folks this man killed a State
Senator, in the back with an ax.
Don't get much worse than that.
May God have mercy on your soul,
            (MORE)

73.

                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET (cont'd)
cause we ain't.
                                                            
As Sheriff Longstreet walks over to pull the lever Sheriff
Williams trots into town with his rifle drawn. Williams aims
and hits the rope right before Longstreet pulls the lever.
                                                            
Everyone screams, people scatter. Longstreet pulls a pistol
and points it at Hank. Williams reaches the gallows and re
bolts his rifle.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
You shoot that son of a bitch I'll
kill you and everyone in this
town.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
The hell you will, you're a
Sheriff.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Call my bluff. I'd like to see you
dead.
                                                            
Thad rides up to the gallows in a buckboard.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
      (to Longstreet)
He's taking him out of here. You
follow him or even as much as
think about it, I'll hang your
head above my fireplace.
                                                            
Hank walks down to the buckboard and gets in.
                                                            
                       HANK
      (to Williams)
Thanks Sheriff.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
Anytime.
                                                            
The buckboard rides off.
                                                            
                       SHERIFF LONGSTREET
Why you helping those degenerates?
                                                            
                       SHERIFF WILLIAMS
I never liked you Longstreet, and
those two are damn good men.
                                                            
Williams rides off in the other direction.
                                                            
 

74.

EXT. ALABAMA PRAIRIE - DAY
                                                            
The buckboard rushes through a meadow and then a dirt road.
They pass swamps, forests and fields
                                                            
Hank chokes and coughs. He hunches over.
                                                            
                       HANK
Where are we headed?
                                                            
                       THAD
Tuscaloosa. You're gonna die in
Tuscaloosa, just like you wanted.
                                                            
                       HANK
Almost being hanged just about
killed me in Macon.
                                                            
                       THAD
You ain't gonna die yet. I'll
promise you that much.
                                                            
Hank coughs up some blood. The buckboard stops next to a
pond. Thad carries Hank out to the pond. Thad gives Hank
some water from his hand.
                                                            
                       HANK
      (coughing)
A few weeks ago I never would've
of drank from a black man's hands.
                                                            
                       THAD
A few weeks ago I wouldn't of
tried to stop a white man's
hanging.
                                                            
                       HANK
Things can change.
                                                            
                       THAD
Hank I gotta tell you something
that I don't want too.
                                                            
                       HANK
Then don't!
                                                            
                       THAD
No, I got too.
                                                            
                       HANK
What is it?
                                                            

75.

                       THAD
I was a leader in the Union army.
We fought at the battle of
Franklin. I wasn't thirty miles a
way. That was a lie. I was in the
middle of it. I shot a Major off
his horse while riding down a
hill. I think I shot you Hank.
                                                            
                       HANK
I always wanted to kill that man.
The one who shot me. Killing you
is the last thing I would want to
do to you. I guess that means I
forgive you if you were that man.
                                                            
                       THAD
I guess that means you've been
forgiven of any wrong doing too.
Sacrifice can overcome malice.
                                                            
                       HANK
Damn true. Were you helping me
because you knew you shot me years
ago?
                                                            
                       THAD
No, I figured it out later. I
guess I just helped you cause it
was the Christian thing to do.
                                                            
                       HANK
You're a good man.
                                                            
Hank starts to fade away.
                                                            
                       THAD
You too. Hank, you don't look too
good.
                                                            
                       HANK
How much time you think I got
left?
                                                            
                       THAD
Maybe a day. Maybe less.
                                                            
                       HANK
It's more than a day to
Tuscaloosa. You got a letter, a
paper, maybe a writing tool?
                                                            

76.

                       THAD
Yeah why?
                                                            
                       HANK
I just got to write some last
thoughts.
                                                            
                       THAD
You got it.
                                                            
Thad grabs a paper and an ink pencil from the buckboard. He
hands it to Hank. Hank writes a few sentences down.
                                                            
                       HANK
Give this to my sister. But don't
read it. Just give it to her.
                                                            
                       THAD
I'll do it.
                                                            
Thad puts the paper in his pocket.
                                                            
Hank stands up and the two walk over to the buckboard.
                                                            
LATER
                                                            
The buckboard rushes down a dirt road while Hank slips down.
Thad holds Hank up. Hank is barely conscious, coughing and
throwing up. He moans in pain with a blanket over him as he
sweats.
                                                            
 
EXT. FRONT OF TUSCALOOSA HOUSE - DAY
                                                            
A beautiful Victorian home with a white picket fence in the
heart of Tuscaloosa.
                                                            
The buck board rolls in front of the house and stops. Thad
looks over at a fading Hank.
                                                            
                       THAD
Hank we made it. Hank, we're here.
                                                            
Barely opening his eyes Hank looks up at Thad.
                                                            
                       THAD
You made it Hank. You made it to
Tuscaloosa.
                                                            
                       HANK
Thank you Thad. I do thank you.
                                                            
Hank closes his eyes and passes away.
                                                            

77.

Tears run down Thad's face and hit Hank.
                                                            
VIRGINIA, Hank's sister is around fifty. Dressed in a
Southern dress, she walks out and approaches the buckboard.
                                                            
                       VIRGINIA
Can I help you?
                                                            
                       THAD
I've brought your brother Hank. He
passed away on the ride here.
                                                            
                       VIRGINIA
A black man riding with my
brother? I've seen it all.
                                                            
                       THAD
He wanted me to give you this. His
last wishes.
                                                            
Thad hands her the folded paper. She opens it and reads it.
while nodding her head with a surprised look.
                                                            
                       VIRGINIA
I really have seen it all. Do you
want that in a note or cash?
                                                            
                       THAD
Want what?
                                                            
                       VIRGINIA
Read the letter. I'll go get cash.
                                                            
Thad reads the letter.
                                                            
                       HANK (V.O)
Virginia, I'm sorry I could not
come earlier, but if I die before
I see you, please give the black
man with me my share of the
inheritance. He has sacrificed and
saved my life on many occasions.
These are my wishes. Please
comply. Love Hank.
                                                            
Thad looks over at Hank and smiles.
                                                            
                       THAD
You're a good man. A damn good
man.
                                                            
 

78.

EXT. HOTEL BAR - NIGHT
                                                            
Pearl cleans some rags behind the Hotel bar in a wash
bucket. Thad walks up to her.
                                                            
                       THAD
You want to go to Washington?
                                                            
                       PEARL
I thought you were dead.
                                                            
Pearl cries as she hugs him.
                                                            
                       PEARL
How can we afford it?
                                                            
Thad shows her an envelope full of money.
                                                            
                       PEARL
Oh my goodness. How'd you get
this?
                                                            
                       THAD
I'll have plenty of time to
explain on the way.
                                                            
 
EXT. WASHINGTON DC CAPITOL MALL - DAY
                                                            
Pearl and Thad stand beside the Washington Monument. Pearl's
son, a young man in his twenties, his wife and their two
girls play around the Monument.
                                                            
                       THAD (V.O.)
We've come along way since the
civil war. But we gotta long ways
to go. I believe together, we can
get there.
                                                            


FADE OUT.


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