Black Mesa Films

 

 

 

 

 

QUANAH

 

The Last Chief

 

By

 

Terry Molloy

 

 

Contact:

 

Terry Molloy                                                                                                                                      Copyright 2010

P.O. Box 1011, Jerome, AZ 86331                                                                                                      Registered WGAw

(928) 639-1343                                                                                                                                   All Rights Reserved

mailto:molloyterry@q.com

 

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EXT. GUTHRIE TEXAS - DAY

 

At the bottom of the screen we see ''Guthrie Texas April 1905 '' A train with only a few cars attached chugs into the station at Lawton. It's a small dusty, one street town in the middle of a vast empty plain. On the side of the train, in ornate gold lettering, are the words ''Quanah, Acme & Pacific Railroad''

 

A GROUP OF COWBOYS

 

-open a box car from the inside, slide a ramp begin to lead their horses out of the car. Some jump, clattering and whinnying, to the ground out onto the ground, and of the horses spook and

-          

ANOTHER GROUP OF MEN

 

-more eastern in appearance climb out of a passenger car, hauling what appears to be primitive motion picture equipment. A man in a small moustache and a tan snap brim hat is shouting orders.

 

 

THEODORE ROOSEVELT

 

- steps from the final car, which is a well appointed private carriage. He looks hale and hearty, wearing leather chaps, soft brim hat, a shortened drover coat, and his well-known glasses. He carries a hunting rifle cradled in his arms. He is followed by a tall man in a broadcloth suit and bowler hat. They walk along the side of the train, watching as the other men organize the horses and equipment.

 

AS THEY WALK,

 

we see that the man in the bowler hat is at least a head taller than Roosevelt. He looks to be in his late fifties. He walks erect, with a powerful grace. As they approach, we see that his skin is dark like an Indian. His hair is long and black and braided down his back. His eyes are blue. It is he who gives the orders to the cowboys. He is QUANAH PARKER

 

 

QUANAH

(to the head wrangler)

John, take the horses over to the water tank and let them drink. And check that front left hoof on the bay.  It looks like she might of picked up a stone.

 

WANGLER

Yes, sir, Mr. Parker.

 

Roosevelt looks around, happy to be out of Washington. He smiles.

 

ROOSEVELT

Nice little railroad you got here, Quanah. Very pleasant trip.

 

QUANAH

I'm just part owner, Teddy. It's not all mine.

 

ROOSEVELT

Still in all, Quanah.  Still in all

 

They step away from the train and look out upon the empty flat plain outside the small, quiet town.  Roosevelt takes a deep breath and pats his side with his free hand.

 

ROOSEVELT

Ah, a man can breathe out here. Not like the capitol.  You can feel the wildness here.  It's in the air!

 

Quanah looks over to his friend with a bittersweet smile. Roosevelt catches the look.

 

ROOSEVELT

(asking and expecting an answer)

What's that look, Quanah?

 

QUANAH

You see the wildness. I was just thinking about how something was missing here. . . . something . . . (he uses the Comanche word for ''virginal'' and then switches back to English) something u n t o u c h e d .

 

Roosevelt looks up briefly at Quanah.

 

ROOSEVELT

Has it changed that much?

 

Quanah gets a faraway look in his eyes.

QUANAH

Changed . . . ?

 

He looks out onto the plain.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

EXT. GREAT PLAINS – DAY

 

We are at ground level. We hear only the wind blowing through the grass. At the bottom of the screen we see ''Oklahoma 1859''. Close to us is a

 

PRAIRIE DOG

 

half way out of his burrow, holding a seedpod in his tiny little hands. He eats with quick movements, standing perfectly erect. We begin to hear a distant rumbling sound that grows louder and louder as we watch the little rodent become more and more nervous, ducking in and then back out of his hole.  Suddenly, as the sound becomes overwhelming, he disappears into his hole and an entire herd of stampeding, bellowing buffalo run directly over us.  The –

 

BUFFALO HERD

 

 

is in full flight, spooked into a mindless run for its life. The earth trembles under the impact. Huge bulls, young and old. Females with their calves.  Screaming, roaring. Above this din, we begin to hear other sounds. Human screams periodically pierce the air. High trilling war whoops. A group of-

 

YOUNG INDIAN BRAVES

 

are chasing the herd, racing along its frantic flanks with their wild eyed lathered ponies running low to the ground. The braves are almost naked, riding the surging ponies bareback, miraculously staying on in spite of every turn, twist, or jump. The camera races with the pack, gradually honing in on one particular –

 

FIFTEEN YEAR OLD BOY (QUANAH)

 

who is pacing a huge old bull bigger than the horse he rides on. He is a picture of perfect concentration. He glistens with sweat. He holds a stout feathered lance in his left hand. The bull is to his immediate right. The horse moves with the bull like a well-trained cow pony, never letting the larger animal get more than ten feet away from him. Quanah urges him closer and lifts his lance over his head. When the pony finally closes the distance and the boy can reach out and touch the bull, he grabs his lance with both hands and plunges it down into the buffalo right behind its left shoulder.

 

 

THE BUFFALO

 

goes down in a rolling, tumbling heap as if someone pulled his front legs out from underneath him. The rest of the herd veers away from the scene, sensing death and frightened by it.

 

QUANAH

 

jerks his mount to a stop. The pony puts his back legs under him and jams to a halt. The boy is off of him before he even stops and is running over to the fallen bull. We FOLLOW as the boy runs to the buffalo. He pulls out his knife on the run and, as he reaches his prey, he kneels down and sinks his knife into the buffalo's side and rips downward, opening up the animals innards. At that point

 

FOUR OTHER YOUNG BRAVES

 

come riding up to the scene. They dismount and run over, yelling and whooping.

 

QUANAH

 

reaches into the buffalo and, struggling mightily, pulls the animal's heart out of its body. He looks at the other braves, lets out a scream, and drinks some blood from the dripping heart. He then passes the heart to his companions who each in turn take a drink. Without looking back, the boy jumps back on his horse and takes out after the herd.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT.COMANCHE  ENCAMPMENT-DAY

 

A small group of ten teepees is pitched next to a small stream in an area of rolling hills, surrounded by scattered patches of trees. it's a quiet day. Camps dogs yawn and stretch lazily in the sun. Indian children run through the camp playing and laughing. We

 

DRIFT THROUGH THE CAMP,

 

examining the small day to day rituals of a Comanche camp. All we see are women, children, and old men, all the braves being at the hunt. We come upon the-

 

LARGEST OF THE LODGES –

 

where a family is in the midst of some kind of ceremony. It is a happy occasion. An older man of commanding stature is holding a baby aloft in his hands. A white woman, dressed in Indian clothes and deeply tanned by the sun, stands by his side. Opposite the man is an older man still, slightly stooped by his years. He smokes a pipe, ritualistically blowing the smoke in the sacred four directions and then to the heaven and earth. He is the –

 

MEDICINE MAN, BLACK WOLF

 

who speaks in Comanche with subtitles.

 

BLACKWOLF

The girl's name will be Prairie Flower.

 

THE MOTHER

 

is beaming. Suddenly, we are looking at her

 

THROUGH BINOCULARS.

 

We hear two men arguing off screen in English.

 

1st VOICE

(o.s.)

You sure?

 

 

2nd VOICE

(o.s.)

Absolutely.

 

1st VOICE

(o.s. -sullen )

Look real close. I'm not goin' in there unless you're  absolutely sure.

 

2nd VOICE

(almost whining)

Of course I'm sure. That's CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. And I suggest we go in there immediately and rescue her from those heathens this minute. We cannot stand by for one more second and see a Christian woman defiled by the touch of those unbaptized animals.

 

1st VOICE

( irritated )

I'11 decide when we go in, Preacher!

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. COPSE OF TREES – DAY

 

 

A group of forty Texas Rangers stand quietly in the trees, stroking their horses to keep them quiet. They are a hard looking bunch. Looking down on the encampment are the-

 

TWO MEN

 

 

who have been arguing. The taller of the two, Captain Sul Ross, is a large, dark man with a thick moustache. He is a man used to being in control. (He was appointed the youngest General in the Confederate Army.)

 

ROSS

(cont)

You worry about her sou1. I’11 worry about her body.  And if you keep trying to give orders around here, I'm going to gag you and strap you to a tree!

 

The preacher is perhaps even sleazier looking than the Rangers. He is a skinny rag of a man with greasy black hair hanging down from under his hat and a large pistol strapped on outside his dirty clerical clothes. He has a wild look in his eyes, as if the elevator is not quite getting to the top floor. His voice escalates almost to a frenzy as he speaks.

 

PREACHER

Captain Ross! I think it should be obvious to even someone of your spiritual shallowness that this white Christian woman has been brutalized and raped and forced to bear the beastly children of these savages!

 

Ross takes the binoculars from the Preacher and looks at the encampment.

 

ROSS

( a m u s e d )

Relax, Preacher. Thinkin' about all that sex might get you too worked up for your own spiritual good.

(His men laugh nervously)

We're goin' in. I’11 just be the one who says when. That's all.

 

He turns back to his men.

 

ROSS

Goodnight.  Have the men saddle up.  We’re going in.

 

CUT BACK TO THE COMANCHE  ENCAMPMENT

 

The man holding the baby hands her back to her mother.  He is Nokona, chief of the clan, and husband of Cynthia Ann

 

NOKONA

This is good. Now when we get back to the main camp, our daughter will have a name. And a fine name. One that befits a girl. (teasing) Not like the name you gave our son .

 

CYNTHIA

Our son has a fine name.

 

NOKONA

(smiling - still teasing)

''Sweet smelling one?” It's a name for a girl child.

 

CYNTHIA

(objecting)

My husband -

 

She doesn't complete her thought. She is interrupted by the whoops and hollers of-

 

THE TEXAS RANGERS,

 

as they swoop down a full gallop on the camp, shooting at women and children indiscriminately.  The Rangers bear down on the Chief and his wife.

 

THE CHIEF

 

runs to grab his bow and lance. Cynthia Ann runs for their lodge, but she is too late.

 

THE RANGERS

 

surround her, lift her up (still holding the baby), and throw her across the front of Captain Ross's saddle. She kicks and screams. His horse plunges and wheels. A1l is chaos. Shouting. Shooting. Screaming.

 

ROSS

 

settles his horse and spurs it out of the village.

 

AT THE FAR SIDE OF ENCAMPMENT

 

THE GROUP OF YOUNG BRAVES

 

is just riding in from the hunt, dragging travois of cut up buffalo behind them.

 

QUANAH

 

sees what's going on. He pulls his knife and cuts the straps that hold his travois to his pony. He and the pony jump forward as one thing and sprint toward the

 

NOW RETREATING RANGERS

 

As the Rangers gallop out of the camp, Nokona jumps on a pony and races after the soldiers and his screaming wife. He quickly overtakes the rear most rider and cuts him from his horse. The next soldier up the line turns to see his compatriot fall and Nokona bearing down on him. When Nokona is almost upon him, he raises his pistol, and firing at point blank range, and blows a hole in Nokona's face. The chief does a back flip and lands face down in the dirt.

 

QUANAH

 

gallops up and jumps off his horse while it is still moving. He runs over to his father, goes down on his knees, and cradles the older man's bloody head in his lap. Nokona is dying in his arms. Quanah looks up and sees

 

HIS MOTHER AND SISTER

 

disappearing in the distance, screaming and crying.

 

QUANAH

 

is surrounded by the other braves. He is stunned. In shock. His entire world has just been pulled out from under him. In a

 

CLOSE UP, WE SEE THE UNDENIABLE BLUE EYES OF HIS WHITE BLOOD.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT.CATTLE RANCH IN EAST TEXAS - EARLY EVENING

 

A surrey wagon drawn by two horses pulls up to a sprawling ranch house that is flanked by a large barn and various outbuildings. The sun is just going down and through a window on the wide porch of the house we see that a good-sized family is sitting down to dinner at a well set table. A fancy lamp hangs over the setting.

 

THE DRIVER OF THE SURREY

 

pulls the horses to a stop by the porch and gets down off the wagon.

 

DRIVER

Silas! They, Silas!

 

SILAS PARKER

 

walks leisurely out onto the porch. He is a tall, lean, and weathered old cowboy, still strong and erect in his fifties, hair just starting to gray. He carries himself with the carriage of a man who has always accomplished what he has started. Obstacles have only made him stronger.

 

PARKER

Say, Ben. What brings you out here so late?

 

By this time, Ben has walked around the back of the surrey and is helping a woman down to the ground. She is holding a baby wrapped tight in blankets.

 

BEN

                                                Didn't you get the letter from that Ross fella?

 

This gets Parker's attention. He starts to come forward and meet the woman. As she and Ben step up onto the porch we see that it is

 

CYNTHIA ANN PARKER

 

She is a handsome  woman, dressed in a high-buttoned, long skirted dress of the day.  Her hair is pulled back in a bun. Her hair is light brown. Her eyes blue.  There are two tribal scars cut vertically on both cheeks.

 

BEN

This here's your niece, Silas. Cynthia Ann.

 

Parker and Cynthia look at each other across a gulf of twenty odd years and two alien cultures.

 

PARKER

Cynth- ?

(calling in to the house)

Martha! Martha! Come here, quick!

 

Parker's wife, MARTHA, bustles out onto the porch, wiping her hands on her apron. She is a chubby, good-hearted woman. Various CHILDREN poke their heads out of windows and around the open door.

 

PARKER

Martha. It's Cynthia Ann. My brother's daughter.

 

Everyone now becomes very excited and it's all a big commotion as they usher her and her baby

 

INTO THE HOUSE.

 

We can hear the children talking in whispers in the b.g.  about how she was kidnapped by the Comanches long ago. How her father had his private parts cut off and stuffed in his mouth. How her mother was raped and killed. They bring Cynthia to the –

 

DINING ROOM TABLE

 

and make sure that she is seated comfortably, but it's obvious that she is not comfortable at all - in these clothes, in this house, with these people.

 

MARTHA

My God, child. l can't believe it's you. It's a miracle.

 

PARKER

Do you remember me, Cynthia Ann? Your uncle Silas?

 

Cynthia looks at him, looks around her like a frightened animal. She speaks slowly, awkwardly, not used to speaking English.

 

CYNTHIA ANN

Yes, my uncle, l remember. You and my father  . . .

 

PARKER

Yes, that's right. Your father was my broth -

 

MARTHA

Oh, Lord, Silas. The child must being starving. She probably hasn't had any decent food in years. (she pats Cynthia Ann consolingly) Can I get you something, Cynthia Ann? You're home now. You can have anything you want.

 

Cynthia Ann looks at the well-meaning woman and brightens up considerably, taking Martha literally.

 

CYNTHIA

                                                I can have anything I want?

 

MARTHA

Oh, land, child, yes!

 

Cynthia almost smiles - like a child believing in Santa Claus – joining in Martha's enthusiasm - looking directly at her.

 

CYNTHIA

I want to go home. (pause) To my husband.

 

Martha's enthusiasm immediately turns into confusion. She looks at her husband for help.

 

PARKER

But Cynthia, this is your home.

 

CYNTHIA

(still enthusiastic)

No, I mean my real home. With the Numinu.

 

PARKER

(taken aback - not understanding)

Cynthia. (he pauses, shakes his head, and talks as if to a child) You are here now. We are your family. Your real family. You will live with us from now on.

 

She turns to Martha.

 

CYNTHIA ANN

You said I could have anything I wanted.

 

MARTHA

But, Cynthia, child, you can't possibly want to go back to living with those Indians. What are you thinking about ?

 

Ben, who has followed them in, speaks up, talking as if she wasn't even there.

 

BEN

Doesn't much matter.  Her husband, if that's what you can call him, he's dead.  Got his brains blown out during the raid.

 

This news hits Cynthia Ann like a hammer. Tears come to her eyes. The truth starts to dawn on her. She sits in silence for a long beat and then looks up at them.

 

CYNTHIA ANN

You're not going to let me go back, are you? Not ever.

 

They just look at her, stupefied.

 

MARTHA

But Cynthia. You're a Parker. You're one of us.

 

Cynthia shakes her head almost imperceptively. She looks at all of them.

 

CYNTHIA ANN

No. I am (pause) your captive.

 

Her baby starts to cry and Cynthia quickly unbuttons her dress and lets the baby suck on her exposed breast. Gasps go up in the room.  She looks up, like an animal in its cage looking at its tormentors

 

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. COMANCHE ENCAMPMENT-DAY

 

We are on the staked plains of the West Texas panhandle. It's a bright summer day. It's a camp of just over a thousand Comanches. There are hundreds of teepees, horses, children, dogs. Women are stretching and curing buffalo hides. It has been a fruitful hunt.

 

YOUNG QUANAH

 

sits in front of his father's old lodge. He is surrounded by some of the young braves we saw earlier. Quanah is in the process of making new lances, wrapping razor sharp steel points to a straight staff with buffalo hide. He and the braves are talking about revenge. Quanah's anger and pain drip from him like venom. He laughs evilly at one young brave's description of the pain he will inflict on the first white man or woman he sees.

 

The Medicine Man who we saw naming his sister earlier comes riding up to the group. His name is BLACK WOLF. He is the about the same age as Silas Parker - exudes a similar kind of strength, but there is something more. A grace, a. tenderness, a humor.

 

BLACKWOLF

Quanah, can l talk to you?

 

Quanah looks up and affection replaces his anger.

 

QUANAH

Old one, you are always welcome. Join us.

 

BLACK WOLF

(hesitating)

Come. Let's take a ride away from here.

 

Quanah looks at his friends. it's an unusual request, but coming from Black Wolf, one that should not be turned down.

 

QUANAH

A ride would be good, Grandfather, my ponies are getting fat and lazy.

 

Three ponies are staked not far from his lodge. He slings up on one, and  they take off in an easy  canter out of the village.

 

CUT TO A BLUFF OVERLOOKING THE VILLAGE

 

Quanah and Black Wolf dismount. Black Wolf walks over to the edge of the bluff and Quanah follows. The older man speaks first, slowly, pausing now and then, not quite sure how to say what he has to say without having Quanah turn a deaf ear.

 

BLACK WOLF

You have seen things. Things unthinkable in the days of my father's father. Our world is not what it once was.  I do not envy you the coming seasons, Quanah. I know that right now all that you can feel is hate and anger

 

QUANAH

(looking sharply at Black Wolf and interrupting)

And shouldn't I? These whites - (he doesn't even have words for his condemnations) they - there are no words for what they are. I've sworn that I will make them pay. (he looks at Black Wolf as if he is asking him to understand) They stole my mother! Killed my father!

 

BLACK WOLF

I know how you feel. When I was your age I would have felt the same way. But hate feeds on itself until those who are caught up in it are themselves devoured.

 

His last words are lost as the younger man interrupts him again.

 

QUANAH

(restless, pacing around, angry and agitated)

Old one, it's true. All I see feel is my hate. I am going to punish the whites for what they have done! I have sworn it.

 

Black Wolf reaches out and lays his hand gently on Quanah's arm, stopping him.

 

BLACK WOLF

Eventually, you will have to put away your hate. You will be called on to become a different kind of man than we have known, for only a new kind of man will be able to lead our people through what is to come.

 

QUANAH

I don't understand any of this. Since I was old enough to talk, you have taught me that there is one all pervading spirit that guides our lives - a spirit that created all of this (he gestures to the land around them)- a spirit who loves his people. (he looks at Black Wolf with much pain) How could he have let this happen ?

 

It's the question Black Wolf knew would come. He turns and looks out on the land.  We can see his own doubt. It tortures him.

 

BLACK WOLF

I don't know, Quanah. It is a mystery to me, too. These are strange days. (turning back to Quanah) I do know this though, son. You were born for these days. You have a special destiny. I've sensed it from your birth.

 

Quanah gives Black Wolf a look that says the older man is confirming something that he too has felt.

 

QUANAH

(looking away)

I have felt something . . . but it's not clear . . . 

 

As if changing the subject, Black Wolf turns back toward the village.

 

BLACK WOLF

See the village. It is noisy, busy, crowded. Everyone has their own concerns. The women worry whether there will be a good hunt so there will be plenty of food for their children. Whether they will have to bring their sister to their husband's bed. The men whether they will be brave in war - whether they will have many ponies and wives. The children dream about the future. The old ones remember the past. These many concerns fill the village with thought and emotion. Hopes, fears, confusions, desires hover constantly over the lodges like a huge cloud of mosquitoes. It is easy to become caught up in all of this as if it were all of what reality is.  Most people do.

 

He turns now and indicates stretching out in all directions the vast panorama around them. Empty land uncluttered by any sign of human life.

 

BLACK WOLF

But when you look around you it is easy to see all small a part of the whole it is.

 

Quanah waits patiently, knowing that the older man will get around to answering his question eventually.

 

BLACK WOLF

You cannot truly call yourself a man until you have left the concerns of people behind, for they blind you to the larger reality within which we live. You are flesh and blood like these horses, like the buffalo, like the wolves that hunt them. But you are also something much more. There is an undying part of you that will eventually take flight from your dying body. Until you have touched that part of you then you will not know who you really are, because who you think you are will just be a reflection from the people around you who themselves are caught up in reflections.  It is time for you to seek your own personal vision. You must go out alone upon the land and pray.  You must not come back until you know who you are and why you are here.

 

 

Quanah turns away from the older man, unwilling to confront the truth of what he says. He has more pressing matters on his mind. He stares at the village. 

 

QUANAH

I'm sure, as always, that your words have the wisdom. And in time I know that I will seek this vision. But now there can only be one thing. We must rid our land of these whites. We must punish them until they understand their place. (growing angry) We must kill them as one would a mad dog  - without thought - without remorse.

 

Black Wolf regards the tall muscular fifteen-year old for a long moment. There is sadness in his face.

 

BLACK WOLF

And will you kill the white man (pause) in you?

 

Quanah doesn't answer has no answer

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. WEST TEXAS SETTLEMENT - MORNING

 

A group of houses, some of adobe, some of wood, are clustered around each other and surrounded by a stockade type wall. A group of ten men are saddling up in the center courtyard. Families mill around, saying their good-byes. They have pack mules loaded down with gear, their saddlebags stuffed with clothes. A heavyset father with a large drooping moustache is arguing with his teen-age son.

 

FATHER

- I don't care if Jonathan is going. He's older than you anyway. He's old enough to make –

 

SON

He's only two years older -

 

The father is loading his saddlebags.  The son stands near him shifting restlessly on his feet.

 

FATHER

(on edge)

 Don't interrupt me! And don't argue with me! You're going to stay here with your mother and sister!

 

SON

Dad, I'm not a kid anymore.

 

His father looks up at another man who is already mounted. They exchange knowing glances. He turns to his son.

 

FATHER

I know you're not a kid. That's why you have to stay here. Use your brains for a minute. The Confederacy is pulling every able bodied man they can out of Texas to fight in this (he shakes his head) war. lf we don't cheat a little and leave some of our best men behind, who's going to protect what we've built up from the Comanche and the white trash that's coming out this way. I want everything and everybody to be in one piece when I get back. That's why you have to stay here.

 

The father reaches out to his wife who is standing by.  She is trying to hold back a very worried look.

 

WIFE

Don't take any foolish chances. We need you back here.

 

FATHER

Don't worry. It can't last long anyway. We'll probably be home by spring.

 

He mounts up, as do the rest of the men. The horses begin to dance around and stir up dust. Everyone seems to be talking at once as they begin to file out of the fort. Just as the last man is going through the gate –

 

A GROUP OF FORTY COMANCHES

 

 

swoop down on them from a nearby hill. The Indians are on them before they can get their weapons drawn. Some of the Comanches have rifles - a few have pistols. Most attack with bows and lances. The whites try to group and form up some kind of defense, but it's hopeless. It's all happened too fast. Suddenly, we see that -

 

QUANAH

 

is one of the attackers. He rides an all black pony and has painted his face black. He fights with a mindless vengeance, closing in on the white men in hand-to-hand combat. Because of the element of surprise and because of the overwhelming numerical superiority, the ten white men are quickly killed.

 

INSIDE THE FORT,

 

people are scattering - women grabbing children and trying to head for some kind of shelter - older men and teenage boys running for guns to help the men outside. The screaming Comanches spill into the fort, chasing down the whites. It's total chaos. Two braves jump off their horses and grab an eighteen year old girl. They rip all her clothes from her and throw her to the ground. Four other braves surround an old man, briefly tormenting him before they cut him down. Ethan comes running out from one of the houses with an older rifle. He takes bead on an oncoming brave and blows him from his horse. He starts reloading his rifle, but there's just not enough time. He runs over to where another woman is having her clothes ripped off and uses the rifle like a club. He manages to cave in the skull of one brave before Quanah jumps off his horse and slams him in the head with his hatchet. He falls next to a screaming baby.  lt's all over quickly. A few children are taken captive. Whatever can be set on fire is torched. Weapons are collected from the dead. Then, following the lead of their older war chief, STONE CALF, the braves gallop out of the fort with screams of triumph.

 

ETHAN

 

stirs, and his eyes open. Consciousness comes back into him. He slowly and painfully manages to raise himself up on an elbow. Blood streams from his head, down his face. He looks at the death around him. He looks at the retreating Comanches. A dark and hateful look fills his face.

 

MONTAGE

 

During the years of the American Civil War, the Comanches run wild throughout Texas. We see a

 

SERIES OF SCENES

 

of their campaign of terror as the years rip by.

 

1861

 

A small wagon train coming across the plains, surrounded by attacking Comanches, wagons burning.

 

A ranch, not unlike Silas Parker's, burning to the ground, a naked male body hanging from a tall gate.

 

Another fort overwhelmed by two hundred Comanches.

 

A group of braves riding back into their camp with weapons, captives, and horses.

 

1862

 

A small group of braves sitting around a fire at night. Stone Calf, their war chief, is showing off a new pouch that he has for carrying flint. On close examination we see that it is made from a woman's breast. Quanah sits next to the chief.

 

A government surveying crew is ambushed by twenty braves.  Quanah attacks without thought of the white men's rifles. His riding and fighting abilities are those of a world-class athlete. He is in perfect physical shape. Even so, it's a miracle that he is not shot. When the last of the surveyors goes down, Stone Calf rides over to Quanah, looks at him - and nods in approval.

 

1863

 

Quanah is seated on a white pony. Both he and the horse are both dressed in their finest. They are slowly walking through the busy camp. Quanah leads a string of ponies. There is a certain awkwardness to his movements that we have not seen before. He is now in his late teens. He stops before a teepee in front of which is standing an entire family, also dressed in their best. He climbs down off of his horse, and, still holding on to the string of ponies, walks over to an older man who stands in the forefront of the family. Behind the older man stands a pretty girl also in her late teens. Quanah hands the man the reins to the string of horses. The older man takes them and smiles. The girl steps from in back of him and goes to Quanah's side. He has taken his first wife. Her name is RUNNING DEER.

 

1864

 

Three young Cheyenne braves, their dress markedly different, gallop breathlessly into the Comanche camp. As they reach the center of the village, they are greeted by Stone Calf and Quanah. The leader jumps off his winded horse and greets Stone Calf.

 

 

LEADER

We bring bad news from the north. The whites have massacred six hundred Cheyenne at Sand Creek. Down to the last child. Black Kettle's people. He tried to surrender in order to save them, but they cut him down.  They left all the bodies to rot. They prevented us from carrying out the funeral rites.(he is out of breath)

 

The Comanches are shocked and angry.

 

STONE CALF

Come to my lodge. We will smoke and talk of this.

 

LEADER

You are generous, but we must keep riding. We must spread the word.

 

Stone Calf looks at all three men, understands their mission, and motions for one of his braves to bring them fresh ponies. They mount the fresh horses and race out of the village.

 

1865

 

We see that Quanah is always close to Stone Calf - is now second in command. He is also, now, visibly older, larger, stronger, even more confident. He looks every inch like every pioneer's nightmare. One hundred warriors are with them.  They are approaching

 

THE OLD MISSION IN SAN ANTONIO.

 

 

STONE CALF AND QUANAH

 

are in the lead as they approach the old mission.

 

QUANAH

- believe them. Why should we now? They only know one law.   Kill or be killed. They're like animals.

 

STONE CALF

You overestimate them, Quanah. I think basically they are a weak people. They have learned that we will not be pushed out of the way easily. We have made them pay a higher price than they bargained for. So now they sue for peace. They want to haggle. It is how they are. 

 

As they reach the fort, a group of twenty white men, unarmed, wait outside a one story

 

ADOBE COUNCIL BUILDING.

 

They greet the Comanches graciously and through a translator, invite them inside. Stone Calf tells Quanah to stay outside with half of their men. The rest go –

 

INSIDE

 

where the white men have set up a long conference table up by the front of the room.  The warriors to sit on the floor. A discussion proceeds involving the trading of hostages and establishment of land boundries.  As they talk, a group of armed militia men enter the room and place themselves along the walls. The leader of the Texans makes it clear that they are to be taken prisoner.  The warriors immediately stand up and start fighting to escape. The militia members open fire at point blank range. It's a massacre. The Comanches try to fight back, but it's useless. Stone Calf manages to jump through a window and run to the front of the church. Riflemen appear at the upper windows and begin to fire indiscriminately. Stone Calf goes down. Quanah orders the rest of the warriors to run, knowing they are outgunned. He spurs his horse forward through a hail of gunfire and grabs Stone Calf who is struggling to his feet.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. OPEN PLAINS - DAY

 

The braves are placing Stone Calf s body on a funeral platform. They accord him the honors of a great chief.

 

1866

 

A group of forty braves, in war paint, stand on a hill overlooking a U.S. mail wagon making its way across the plains. Quanah has taken Stone Calf's place. He leads his braves down the hill with a scream.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT PARKER RANCH-NIGHT

 

1867

 

Martha Parker stands in a hallway next to a closed door. She carries a kerosene lamp and is talking to an older man in a suit. The man carries a medical bag. He is concerned. They speak in whispers.

 

DOCTOR

I really can't accept the responsibility for what happens as long as she insists on interfering.

 

MARTHA

(flustered)

Well, George, what can I do? It is her child.

 

DOCTOR

(incredulous)

Martha. 1 know she's family, but really - she's a primitive. She believes in spirits for God sakes. She thinks she can sing pneumonia away.

 

MARTHA

(caving in to his logic)

Alright, alright. Just give me a minute.

 

She opens the door and goes into a

 

DARKENED ROOM

 

Cynthia Ann sits on the edge of the bed, chanting softly. A soft wind blows the lace curtains at the open windows. Moonlight spills into the room. The baby is having trouble breathing. Martha walks over and speaks with as much finality as she can muster.

 

MARTHA

Cynthia Ann. You're going to have to let Doctor Thompson tend to the baby.

 

Cynthia Ann looks at her and shakes her head.

 

MARTHA

(almost pleading)

Please, dear. He's a very good doctor. He cured Silas of the croup last winter.

 

Silas comes through the open door. He glances at Martha who gives him a hopeless look. In a determined move, he walks around to Cynthia Ann and grasps her firmly by the arms.

 

SILAS

(gently)

C'mon, child. We've got to let the Doctor do his work.

.

He takes the child from her and hands it to Martha. Then he picks Cynthia up and half drags her out of the room. She fights against him but seems weak and listless. As he takes her out, the Doctor comes in the room. He sets his bag down on the bed and immediately goes over to the –

 

OPEN WINDOWS.

 

He closes them and the undulating lace curtains fall back into place and become completely still. He pulls down the blinds and the room becomes dark.

 

CUTTO:

 

EXT. SMALL STREAM – DAY

 

A group of four women are gathered on the balks of a small stream. Two of them are driving two stakes about three inches in diameter into the soft earth. The stakes are two feet apart. Another woman lays a buffalo robe on the ground in front of the stakes. This done, the fourth woman, who is nine months pregnant and in labor, kneels down on her hands and knees.  She grabs the stakes in both hands. The three other women move around to her rear and lift up her buckskin dress.  A wracking contraction hits

 

THE PREGNANT WOMAN

 

And we see that it is Quanah's wife.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. PARKER'S HOUSE – DAY

 

The Doctor comes into the kitchen. His jacket is off. His sleeves are rolled up. He looks tired. Martha and Cynthia Ann sit in the breakfast table. They both look up. The Doctor heaves a large sigh and just shakes his head

 

CYNTHIA ANN

 

immediately screams and runs for the bedroom. She lets loose with an unearthly Comanche wailing. It's all we hear as the Doctor and Martha just  look at one another.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. QUANAH'S TEEPEE – DAY

 

A proud Quanah stands holding his new child in the air, like we saw his father do earlier with his little sister. Black Wolf, again, presides over the naming ceremony. Quanah's exhausted wife, JUMPING DEER, beams at his side. In the b.g.. we see the camp stretch out behind them. It is large and well-populated. Full of life.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. MEDICINE LODGE CREEK, OKLAHOMA – DAY

 

The flag of the United States flies over a large white, canvas army tent.

One whole side of the tent is open. A group of army officers sit in a row of stiff backed chairs around a table. A larger group of Indians sit around the table on the ground. Many tribes are represented. Kiowa, Comanche, Arapaho, Cheyenne. Quanah is nowhere to be seen. In the b.g.. we see hundreds of teepees dotting the landscape. There is festive atmosphere to the scene. On the table is a large document and a row of quill pens stuck in ink wells. The Indians are dressed in their most colorful costumes.

 

GENERAL SHERMAN


 

 

is standing and talking. He is a small, slovenly man in an unkempt uniform. He thinks well of himself. He smiles as he talks.  There is cruelty  in the smile. A scroungy looking Indian. in an army uniform translates.

 

SHERMAN

- fortuitous time in the lives of all of our peoples. The Great Father in Washington loves his red brothers and wants them to have all that they need to live a full and rich life. Here in this paper, he promises that the southern tribes will have three million acres of land on which to reside. Upon this land they will be able to continue their lives in the tradition of their fathers as long as the buffalo roam. This he has said. This he will do. By affixing your signatures to this peace treaty you chiefs will give your peoples the greatest gift. The gift of peace. (he motions to the Chiefs sitting around him) l would like to hear your thoughts on these matters.

 

SATANA,

 

 a Comanche chief from another clan, stands. He is a large commanding figure of a man. He has seen many battles.

 

 

 

SATANA

 

We have always wanted to live in peace with the whites. It has not been easy.

At first, there were only a few of you wanting to trap and hunt and trade. That was not a problem. Soon, however, more and more of you came.

Now, you come with your soldiers and talk generously giving us land that is already ours.  This is big talk.

In spite of this, l am ready to make a mark on your paper if it will keep the peace between us.

 

INTERPRETER

 

 

(waits a beat) We want live in peace with white man all times.

 

(waits again) You come hunt trap -trade.

 

(more waiting) White Chief heap big about Give us much land. These are good words.

 

(waiting) I sign treaty.

 

 

SHERMAN AND DOCTOR EDWARDS

 

stand to the side, listening to the translation and watching the chiefs step up and put their marks on the treaty. As they talk, the ceremonies continue in the b.g. Edwards is an older portly man with bushy white hair and moustache, a ruddy complexion, and dressed in a long white drover's coat.

 

EDWARDS

- right. That's SATANA, chief of the Penatka clan of the Comanches. As far as I could find out out, there are five main clans. The buck with the buffalo headgear sitting next to him is Kicking Bird. He's the chief of the Kiowas. Almost all the big chiefs from the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, and Comanche are here. I'm impressed.

 

SHERMAN

This is, indeed, good. But I hear that one of their biggest chiefs isn't here. 

 

EDWARDS

That would be Quanah. He's the chief of the Khawadi Comanches.

 

SHERMAN

I'd feel better if he was here. I've heard stories.

 

EDWARDS

He's half white. His mom was kidnapped by the Comanches when she was a girl.

 

SHERMAN

(eyes lighting up)

So that's it . . .

 

EDWARDS

Yes, he's already half way to being a myth among his own people. I hear that he's here, but he won't attend the ceremonies. I'm going to try and find him. I have a message for him from the white side of his family. The Parkers.

 

SHERMAN

Do me a favor if you find him, will you?

 

EDWARDS

What's that?

 

SHERMAN

Look for a weakness.

 

Edwards just looks at him.

 

CUTTO:

 

INT. QUANAH'S LODGE -Night

 

Quanah sits at a small fire with his wife and their baby. She and Quanah communicate in looks and small gestures, having little need for words.  They both obviously enjoy each other's company and their child's. The child starts to cry a little. Running Deer gently puts her palm over the baby's mouth so that it can't breathe. Then she removes her hand and the baby gasps for breath. It starts to cry again and again Running Dear puts her palm over the baby's mouth. When she removes her hand this time the child does not resume crying. She then lets the child nurse. We hear someone cough outside the tent.

 

QUANAH

Come.

 

A young brave opens the flap of the tent and enters. He squats by the fire and looks from Quanah to Running Dear to the baby.

 

BRAVE

Your child grows strong.

 

Quanah nods, smiling.

 

BRAVE

A white man wishes to see you. His name is Edwards. He is a white healer.

 

QUANAH

A doctor?

 

The brave nods. Quanah looks puzzled.

 

QUANAH

Let him come.

 

The brave goes back out through the flap and within seconds Dr. Edwards enters. He stands awkward for a second, not knowing what to do. Quanah motions for him to sit and then lights up a pipe and hands it to him.  Edwards relaxes some,  smokes a bit on the pipe and then hands it back.

 

EDWARDS

Do you speak English?

 

QUANAH

My mother (pausing to remember what he  was taught) gave me some words.

 

Edwards heaves a big sigh as he looks from Quanah to his wife and back.

 

EDWARDS

I'm afraid that . . . (he stops and realizes that he’s got to make it simple) I have bad news from your mother's family.

 

QUANAH

I am listening.

 

EDWARDS

Your baby sister. . . she's dead. She died of a disease (he puts his palm on his chest)

 

QUANAH

(hurt and puzzled)

My mother could not sing away the sickness?

 

EDWARDS

A white doctor tended to her. And then your mother -

(He stops. This is proving harder than he expected)

 

QUANAH

(concerned)

What of her?

 

EDWARDS

She . . . she stopped eating. (he blurts it out, trying with hand gestures to make his point) She starved herself to death.

 

Quanah takes a deep breath and clenches his teeth together.  Hate and anger jump into his eyes, covering his pain. Running Deer glances back and forth between the two men.  Although she doesn't understand English, she knows that it's not good.

 

QUANAH

You are sure of this?

 

Edwards nods.

 

EDWARDS

She's gone.

 

Quanah looks down at the fire and closes his eyes. He remains immobile for a time, regaining his composure. Finally, he looks up. His face is a mask. No way to know what he's thinking or feeling.

 

QUANAH

You have done your job.

 

Edwards realizes that he's being dismissed. He stands up to go. He looks down to Quanah, wanting to say something more, but not having the words. Quanah sees the caring and compassion in his eyes. They connect as two human beings. There's nothing to say. Edwards leaves. Quanah stares at the fire.

 

RUNNING DEER

 

can see that something very dark has entered their lodge. She gently removes the baby from her breast and slowly hands her over to Quanah.  He looks over at his wife and then down at the child that he cradles in his arms. The wisdom of her gesture is not lost on him.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. BLACK WOLF'S LODGE – NIGHT

 

A group of twenty chiefs and their lieutenants sit around a fire, passing the pipe. SATANA, Kicking Bird, and Quanah sit close to one another. The discussion around the fire is of the treaty talks. Some of the chiefs talk of compromise and conciliation, some of all out war. A young Cheyenne firebrand, BAT, is holding forth. He speaks in Cheyenne and uses sign language at the same time.

 

BAT

I have talked long with our Sioux brothers in the north.  Crazy Horse and I are of the same mind. The whites will never be satisfied until they have taken all of our land and driven the humans from the earth.  I say we fight down to the last brave, if necessary. It would be better to die fighting than to see them whittle us away piece by piece. I say we fight until we drive them back or they kill us all. It is the honorable way.

 

The attention in the lodge turns to Black Wolf. He pauses for effect and then speaks.

 

BLACK WOLF

Bat speaks things that we all have in our hearts.

(he looks around the fire, knowing that each man there wants things the way they were before the whites came)

He also speaks as a young man - full of a young man's strength and pride. And that is how it should be. I, however, am an old man with too many wives ( the men chuckle) twelve children, twice that many grand children, and more relatives than I can count.

 

The pipe is passed to him. He takes a couple of draws and passes it on.

 

BLACK WOLF

So when I think of the whites, I think of my grandchildren. Who will care for them if I and my sons go down in battle with the blue coats? Who will care for my wives? The old ones? Perhaps it is questions such as these that led SATANA and Kicking Bird to make their mark on the white man's paper.

 

SATANA takes his cue. He exudes physical power. Has the arrogance of the undefeated. He laughs.

 

SATANA

I marked their paper because they are stupid. In the end, they have no intention of honoring their words. That's been proven many times. But they think that we don't know that, and that we will keep our word. They think of us as ignorant savages that they can fool like you would a child. This is not only stupid, it is blind. Therefore, let us do to them what they want to do to us. (he looks around, satisfied with his reasoning) We will let them think that we have accepted their terms. We will bring our people close to their forts. We will take the food, the blankets, the clothes, and the other things that they offer. And then we will do exactly what we want. We will hunt the buffalo, visit our relatives, and move our villages as we like. When they object and say that we are not honoring their treaty, we will ask for another peace conference and go through the whole process again.

 

He looks around, smiling, expecting the others to see the brilliance of his thought. Many of them laugh, enjoying the joke of it. Quanah does not join in. He looks at the fire thoughtfully. As the laughter dies down, the other chiefs begin to look in his direction. Black Wolf speaks their thoughts.

 

BLACK WOLF

Quanah. What do you think?

 

Quanah looks up and around at the men sitting at the fire. He carries the same kind of anger as Lone Wolf, but he has it more under control

 

QUANAH

First of all, you can tell them that I will not be called into their arms like a camp dog. I will sign no treaty. I will not bring my people into contact with them. They are diseased both in their thoughts and in their bodies. I will not subject my people to this. Neither will I give them the satisfaction of slowly killing us off in one battle after another.  SATANA says they are stupid. lf they are stupid, how were they able to make guns? How did they make the iron horse? No, they are not stupid. They are dangerous. And we must never forget this. These are my thoughts. (he pauses for a beat) The whites are many. They perhaps even outnumber the buffalo. They have an endless supply of men and weapons. (he stops and looks around) We cannot beat them.

 

He knows that he is speaking the shocking truth for the first time. The statement hangs in the air. Quanah lets it.

 

QUANAH

It is hard to understand them. Even though my mother was white and I have their blood in me, they remain a mystery. One thing l have come to understand, however, is their obsession with the price of things.  As you know, they even have paper that they call money.  Everything in their world can somehow be traded for this paper. It makes no sense, but it is how they are. They do not like to pay a high price for things. They bargain like paupers. I say, that perhaps we can make the price of our land and our lives too high for them to pay.

 

He looks at Black Wolf.

 

QUANAH

I am with Bat.

 

Bat nods and beams a smile.

 

QUANAH

However, we must not fight them foolishly on their terms. We must never try to engage them directly, matching our forces with theirs. That would be suicide. We must make use of their weaknesses. Strike when they least expect us.  Keep their women in a constant state of fear. Fill their children's dreams with terror. We must make them pay more than they are willing to live on our land. We must divert this flood of whites as one would divert a stream. But instead of stones and branches and mud we must use pain.

 

His face is set in anger and revenge. Most of the men in the lodge make noises of agreement. Bat lets out a war whoop. Black Wolf looks on with sadness in his face.

 

MONTAGE

 

1868

 

We see a series of scenes that cover the following two years as Quanah and his Khawadie warriors terrorize the plains. They strike selectively and stealthily. Their faces are painted in the most frightening manner, We see headlines from newspapers and the front pages of pulp magazines. The Comanches are portrayed as demons. They are the horror movie monsters of their day.

 

The carnage continues with Quanah always in the lead, seeking his revenge. Scenes of terror are interspersed with more peaceful scenes of family life in the tribe.

 

During one raid on a ranch, lit from the fire of burning buildings, Quanah watches from horseback as he men rape a white woman and leave her alive to tell the story. As we hear her scream, he grits his teeth and has look away.

We hear a gruff, raspy voice speaking in English.

 

VOICE

Here, have one of these. They're Cuban. They're the best.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. THE WHITE HOUSE – DAY

 

1870

 

 

We are in the oval office. PRESIDENT ULYSSES S. GRANT is handing a long cigar to COLONEL REYNALD SLIDELL MACKENZIE. Grant is a dark, slightly slovenly man with a thick moustache and a heavy five o'clock shadow. He bites the end of the cigar off and spits it on the carpet. He strikes a wooden match against the top of his large presidential desk and lights both cigars. MACKENZIE is a man like Grant. He is in uniform, but it is unbuttoned at the neck. He too needs a shave and a haircut. His hair is unusually long.

 

GRANT

(cont)

One of the only god-damned good things about being President is the fact that I can get the best cigars and the best whiskey available. Other than that, it's really become a pain in the ass.

 

He walks over to a bar and pours two very stiff drinks of straight whiskey. He walks over to MACKENZIE who is sitting in a chair with his boots up on the desk.

 

GRANT

(cont)

I don't know how the hell I let myself get talked into running for this god-damned job. Everyday, all day, somebody is wanting something. Every congressman, every Senator. They all got their hands out or in each other's pockets. A bigger pack of lying thieves I've never seen.

 

MACKENZIE

Don't complain to me, Ulysses. I told you-  (interrupting himself) This is good whiskey. He takes a long drink.

 

GRANT

Imported. Twelve years old.

 

MACKENZIE

I told you that you could never be a civilian again. The war changed us. Brought something ( he pauses as he searches for the right word) primitive out of us.

 

GRANT

(dismissively)

Shit.

 

MACKENZIE

Yeah, you can pretend all you want, but we both know I'm right. The war brought out the killer in us and now there's no putting it back.

 

Grant dismisses him with a wave of his hand and walks over to the window behind the desk.

 

GRANT

I don't know about any of that. Maybe you got a taste for killing. I saw that happen often enough. All I know is that I got a job that needs to be done and you're the perfect man for it.

 

MACKENZIE

It better not be behind some desk.

 

Grant turns to him.

 

GRANT

You ever heard of a tribe of Indians called the Comanches?

 

MACKENZIE

Out in Texas?

 

Grant nods and walks over to a stand which holds a map of the United States. The whole area from North Dakota to Mexico is designated ''Indian territory's. Various tribal names are placed in their respective areas Grant uses his cigar as a pointer.

 

GRANT

While we were busy killing each other, all the Plains tribes were able to stockpile food, arms, and horses. They're probably the best light cavalry in the world and now they're a well armed light cavalry. (he turns to MACKENZIE) We've got another god-damned war on our hands.

 

MACKENZIE

This mean I finally get promoted to General?

 

GRANT

I wish it was that simple.

 

He relights his cigar, which has gone out.

 

GRANT

 I've had to keep on Sherman as over-all commander.

(he spits the word out) Politics.

 

MACKENZIE

What's he going to do? Burn down all their tee-pees?

 

Grant smiles ruefully at this reference to Sherman's burning of Atlanta.

 

GRANT

Sheridan and that idiot Custer will be under Sherman and dealing mainly with the central and northern tribes.

 

MACKENZIE

Where do 1 come in?

 

GRANT

You've got to convince the southern tribes to come in to the reservation.

 

MACKENZIE

What if they don't come voluntarily?

 

GRANT

Then you'll make them. But I want you to try everything you can before it gets to that. You understand? (he looks at MACKENZIE intensely.)  I don't want a bloodbath out there.

 

MACKENZIE nods.

 

MACKENZIE

Well, tell me more about these Comanches.

 

Grant walks over to a door.

 

GRANT

Wait a minute.

 

He opens the door and motions for someone to come in. It's Ethan Bryson.

He's older. An ugly white scar runs down his forehead.  He is dressed like a cowboy. He holds his hat in his hands.

 

GRANT

This is Ethan Bryson. The Texas Rangers sent him to us.

(he nods at the two men, introducing them)

Ethan, Colonel MACKENZIE.

 

The men shake hands.

 

GRANT

Ethan's made it his business to know all there is to know about the Comanches.

 

They offer Ethan a seat.

 

MACKENZIE

Really? What are these Comanches like, Ethan?

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. LARGE COMANCHE ENCAMPMENT- DAY

 

The camp is out on the Staked Plains. It stretches as far as the eye can see.

The tribe is at the height of its power and affluence. Herds of horses numbering in the thousands graze outside the camp. The people are well fed and content. There is much laughter, and playing.

 

ETHAN

(V.O.)

They're like animals, Colonel.

 

As he speaks, we see Quanah ride into the camp with a band of warriors still streaked with their warpaint. Quanah leads a string of horses. Behind him his men carry blankets, clothes, and guns.

 

ETHAN

(V.O.)

They are so unlike us that it's impossible to really understand them. They have no moral nature - no conscience.

 

Quanah and his group ride up to the center of the village.  Various cook fires are burning. The women are preparing a feast. Drums have been brought out.

 

ETHAN

(V.O.)

That's one of the things that make them very dangerous They are totally ruthless. They're evil, Colonel.

 

Quanah gets off his horse. People gather around. It's a Comanche Giveaway. The horses, guns, and clothes are distributed among the people, especially to those in need - the old, the crippled.

 

ETHAN

(V.O.)

They've developed a taste for killing.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. WHITE HOUSE . DAY

 

ETHAN

 

 looks directly in MACKENZIE's eyes.

 

ETHAN

(cont)

They enjoy it.

 

MACKENZIE turns, looks at Grant and smiles. He continues to look at Grant when he speaks to Ethan.

 

MACKENZIE

Tell me more, Ethan.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. VALLE DE LAS LAGRIMAS, NEW MEXICO – DAY

 

1871

 

We are in a Comanchero Camp. The Comancheros are a motley group of Mexicans and Americans who have established a steady business of trading with the various Indian tribes. The Indians bring horses and buffalo robes. The Comancheros bring guns, ammunition, jewelry, blankets, and whiskey. They have established a working truce with each other. The camp is set up out on the Staked Plains at a place called the Valley of Tears. There are tents in the b.g. A large group of whites and Comanches surround a large rough wooden table out in an open field. The Comancheros look like Mexican bandidos with their ammunition belts strapped across their chests, their sombreros, pants with concho buttons down the side of the legs.

 

QUANAH

 

and a band of about forty of his men are on the other side of the table. Rifles and pistols lie on the table top. One of the Comancheros does most of the talking. He is about six foot four inches tall and approaching three hundred pounds - all of it muscle. His name is SUN HALL. He is drinking whiskey from a jug. He hands it across to Quanah who speaks to him in fluent Spanish. Subtitles appear below.

 

QUANAH

I tried your whiskey the first time 1 ever came here.  I left with nothing.

 

Hall laughs appreciatively.

 

HALL

It's all part of doin business, Chief.  I forgot you don't drink.

 

QUANAH

Neither do my men.

 

This quiets Hall down somewhat as he realizes that he's not going to be able to take advantage of them this way.

 

HALL

Right, right. Okay, well let's get to it. What do you need today?

 

QUANAH

Guns and ammunition.

 

Hall doesn't register.  He pulls a large leather bag from under the table, opens it up, and lets Quanah look in.

 

HALL

Got some pretty glass beads all the way from Austria.  Your squaws will love these.

 

He pulls out another bag.

 

HALL

And look at this Abalone. Just came up from Baja.

 

QUANAH

I need guns and ammunition. I want some of those new repeating rifles. Whatever you've got, I'11 take.

 

Hall looks up and meets Quanah's gaze.

 

HALL

Yeah, I've got some repeaters, but they're going to cost you a fortune in horses. (he notices something) Hey, how come you got blue eyes?

 

QUANAH

I've got horses. What 1 need are rifles.

 

HALL

(realizing it for the first time)

You're a breed.

 

QUANAH

Are we going to talk business or bloodlines?

 

Hall takes another slug of whiskey.

 

HALL

Well, I'11 tell you what, Chief, the price of everything just went up today. Last week the government officially made all this illegal. We're not supposed to be trading with you heathens anymore.

 

QUANAH

Please, don't give me excuses for your thievery. I'11 give you three horses per rifle.

 

Hall looks around. There are no other whites nearby, just Mexicans. .Hall switches to English.

 

HALL

You speak American, Chief?

 

QUANAH

Speak some. (he holds his fingers up so there is no misunderstanding) Three horses. One rifle.

 

HALL

Won't do. You got half the U.S. Army coming after you. You gotta pay.

 

QUANAH

Army?

 

Hall laughs.

 

HALL

You haven't heard? Forget about the Texas Rangers. The entire Fourth Cavalry is on its way out here. Gonna run you Comanches to ground.  The fat's in the fire now, chief.

 

 

Quanah considers this for a second and nods. He picks a pair of binoculars off the table.

 

QUANAH

Sees far?

 

Hall nods.

 

EXT. TEXAS PLAINS – DAY

 

1872

 

POV BINOCULARS

 

We are looking down on a column of black soldiers, six hundred strong. They ride two abreast. The men are rough looking, unshaven, experienced in the saddle. These men are hardened veterans of four years of a vicious war and are ready for more. At their rear are a half of dozen equipment and kitchen wagons pulled by mule teams. They also are pulling a brace of heavy cannons. They move slowly, encumbered by this extra weight. The binoculars move to the front of the column.

 

COLONEL MACKENZIE RIDES WITH SIX INDIANS

 

They are talking through an interpreter. The binoculars stop.

 

QUANAH

(V.O.)

The Tonkawas ride with the buffalo soldiers.

 

CUT TO:

 

QUANAH AND WARRIORS ON HILLTOP

 

Quanah and three of his lieutenants stand on a ridge overlooking the column. They are in full warpaint. A hundred warriors wait quietly down the hill on their mounts. One of the lieutenants, a young slim brave called TRAILING THE ENEMY, looks at Quanah.

 

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

Tonkawas?

 

Quanah hands him the binoculars, and he takes a long look.

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

(spitting)

They're worse than the whites!  (he looks at Quanah disgusted and shocked) They eat (pause) people!

 

Quanah takes the binoculars back and nods distastefully.

 

QUANAH

Unbelievable.

 

He turns and walks down the slope to his men.

 

QUANAH

(loud enough to be heard by all)

Tonkawas ride with the soldiers. (the braves look around at each other, shocked) lf any of us fall during battle, the rest of us will recover the body. No matter what the cost. Your families will never have to wonder if you are supper for these carrion eaters.

 

He swings up on his horse.

 

QUANAH

Let’s teach them a lesson.

 

CUT TO:

 

MACKENZIE AND COLUMN

 

Coming around the side of a hill at a dead run come Quanah and his braves. A third of them are armed with rifles. They wear bandoleers like the Comancheros. They approach the rear of the column and open fire. All hell breaks loose. The soldiers return fire. MACKENZIE orders the column to circle. It is slow in responding. Soldiers begin to fall from their horses. The wagons start to form a smaller circle.

 

Quanah heads a group toward the front of the column. They swoop by at full speed, shooting, and screaming. MACKENZIE wheels to face them and takes bead on Quanah with his pistol. For a split second they lock eyes. Both are calm, in control. MACKENZIE shoots just as Quanah drops behind the neck of his horse and shoots his rifle with one hand. A Tonkawa next to MACKENZIE takes a bullet in the head.

 

THE COMANCHES

 

streak away from the  soldiers and out of sight as suddenly as they appeared. The column is in chaos. Dead men are strewn on the ground. Horses are screaming. Dust is everywhere.

 

MACKENZIE

 

rides down the flank of the column, talking to his men, getting off his horse and tending to the wounded. He kneels down by one burly sergeant who has taken a bullet in the thigh.

 

MACKENZIE

How is it, Sam?

 

The black man looks at his leg.

 

SAM

Got lucky. Missed the bone and the artery, I think. Shouldn't be too bad.

 

MACKENZIE

I'11 get the Doc over here.

 

He stands up to check another wounded man.

 

SAM

Colonel?

 

MACKENZIE TURNS BACK

 

MACKENZIE

Yeah, Sam?

 

SAM

This is going to be a lot different than fighting the Rebs ain't it?

 

MACKENZIE

(looking off in the direction of the Comanches)

War's war, Sam. Can't be all that different.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. ARMY CAMP NIGHT

 

They are camped next to a bluff with the wagons pulled in a semi-circle in front of them. Fires dot the area. Outside the circle, hundreds of horses are tethered for the night. Tents have been erected.

 

INT. MACKENZIE'S TENT - NIGHT

The tent is lit by a kerosene lamp. MACKENZIE sits at a small table with Doc Edwards. They have been having a drink. Edwards is still wearing a white surgeon’s smock.  It’s covered in blood

 

EDWARDS

Seven dead. Twenty wounded. Eight of those seriously.

 

MACKENZIE

Caught us with their pants down, didn't they?

 

EDWARDS

Just because they're not white, don't mean they’re not smart.

 

MACKENZIE

We're going to have to be –

 

Suddenly, a loud commotion explodes outside. Ethan Bryson runs into the tent .

 

ETHAN

Colonel!

 

MACKENZIE

 

grabs his weapon and run from the tent.

 

OUTSIDE,

 

the camp is in an uproar. Outside the wagons and the campfires we hear the yelling of Comanches and the whinnying of hundreds of horses. Soldiers are coming out of their tents and firing into the darkness. We see, the entire herd of MACKENZIE's horses being driven into a stampede by the dark shadows of the Comanches. As before, as suddenly as they appeared, they are gone. Ethan kneels down by MACKENZIE, firing his rifle.

 

 

MACKENZIE

 

stands stock still just outside the semi-circle of wagons. He empties two revolvers at the retreating Comanches. When the guns just click in his hands, he puts them down to his side. His look of anger is slowly replaced by one of grudging admiration. He has found himself a worthy enemy. A small smile tugs at his lips. He is back in his element.

 

MACKENZIE

(looking out toward the retreating Comanches)

So, Chief, you like stealing horses? You’re going to pay for that, I promise you.

CUT TO:

 

EXT. HILLTOP – DAY

 

MACKENZIE

 

 and ten of his men are on their remaining horses, looking over the countryside.  MACKENZIE scans the area with binoculars.

 

MACKENZIE

(talks as he scans the area)

They couldn't have herded all six hundred horses in a single group in the middle of the night. They got to be scattered all over this area. I want you men to spread out in twos and make, say, three or four mile sweeps. They couldn't have gotten away with more than -

 

POV BINOCULARS

 

We see two Comanche braves leading a string of about twenty ponies into ravine. They disappear into it as we watch.

 

MACKENZIE

 

immediately spurs his horse forward.

 

MACKENZIE

Forward at a gallop!

 

THE GROUP OF SOLDIERS

 

race down the hill after the stolen horses. They reach the ravine quickly, turn into it, and run down a dry creek bed. They can see their horses and the two Comanches up ahead. They begin to gain on them. Suddenly, from above them on both sides of the ravine, Quanah and his men appear and begin raining bullets and arrows down on the soldiers.

 

MACKENZIE AND HIS MEN

 

jam their horses to a stop, wheel around, and head back out of the ravine. They run for their lives. Somehow, miraculously, only one man falls from his horse. As –

 

MACKENZIE

 

looks back over his shoulder, firing his pistol at his attackers, he sees-

 

QUANAH

 

push his horse down the embankment of the ravine to the fallen man.  When he reaches him, he jumps off his pony, runs to the man, and in one flashing stroke, takes his scalp. He holds the scalp above his head and lets out a blood-chilling scream.

 

MACKENZIE

 

turns and urges his men on. Just as they are pulling out of the ravine to the relative safety of the open plain, MACKENZIE takes an arrow in his hip. He manages to keep riding. Behind him he can hear the Comanches laughing and jeering at him.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. DOCTOR EDWARD'S OFFICE, FORT SILL – DAY

 

MACKENZIE

 

is lying face down on a primitive operating table. His pants are down to his knees. Doc Edwards is in the process of removing the remains of the arrow from his buttocks. MACKENZIE periodically takes long slugs from a whiskey bottle. Edwards pulls the remainder of the wooden shaft from the wound.

 

EDWARDS

Well, here's the rest of the shaft. it's up to you whether I go in for the head. I'm going to have to do some serious digging to get it.

 

MACKENZIE

 

takes another slug.

 

MACKENZIE

Get it out. I got enough lead in me from the war.

 

Edwards bends over and starts digging.

 

MACKENZIE

SHIT!  Wait a minute!

 

The Doctor stops. MACKENZIE takes an extra long pull from the bottle and waits until it hits his stomach. He takes a deep breath.  Edwards hands him a wooden spoon. MACKENZIE puts it between his teeth, bites down, and nods to the doctor.

 

As Edwards starts to dig,

 

GENERAL SHERIDAN

 

comes, unannounced and angry, through the door - talking as he does. Lincoln described him like this: "A brown, chunky little chap, with a long body, short legs, not enough neck to hang him, and such long arms that if his ankles itch he can scratch them without stooping."

 

 

SHERIDAN

What's this I hear about a few Comanches tearing up your whole column, MACKENZIE?! It's bad enough we've got to waste man power and materiel on these primitives. But taking casualties is unacceptable. If you think for one minute that I'm going to preside over defeats of the United States Cavalry by a bunch of (he reaches for a suitable derogatory term, but can't find one) I am not going to have a Fort Fetterman or Rosebud Creek on my record! No savage called Red Cloud or Black Kettle or Piss Pot is going –

 

MACKENZIE and Edwards look at each other. This is, of course, exactly what they were in the mood for, MACKENZIE, by this time, is very drunk and slurring his words.

 

MACKENZIE

General! General! ! General! ! !

(Sheridan finally shuts up) These savages kicked our ass at Fetterman and Rosebud because they're tough, dedicated, smart, know the terrain and how to exploit our weaknesses. The longer you continue to underestimate them the longer it's going to take to wrap up this operation!

 

SHERIDAN

MACKENZIE, you're about a breath away from going on report. I'm going to forget your insubordination because you're obviously under the influence of alcohol. But consider yourself warned! Now. As far as this operation goes I've made a decision that will speed it up enormously.  I've authorized the buffalo hunters to come on to the Indian lands.

 

The doctor looks up sharply with a shocked look.

 

EDWARDS

Isn't that expressly forbidden in the treaty?

 

SHERIDAN

(looking at him incredulously)

So what? Do you think those barbarians can even read the treaty? And since when do you worry about keeping promises to an animal? Once we exterminate their food sources, they'll come crawling into the reservations.

 

SHERIDAN

 

Gives them a look that says, “Isn’t all of this self-evident, you idiots?”

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. OKLAHOMA PLAINS – DAY

 

1873

 

A long train with both passenger and freight cars barrels across the grasslands, smoke pouring from the engine stack.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. PASSENGER CAR, TRAIN – DAY

 

The car is filled with people of all types rough settler families, cowboys, and a few finely dressed women and men, buckskin clad buffalo hunters.

 

TWO  HUNTERS (BEN AND FLOYD)

 

are talking to some cowboys who sit next to them. They are passing a bottle back and forth. One of the hunters is laughing enthusiastically.

BEN

- I'm here to tell you, with this here new tanning process

they got, the price of hides just went through the roof ! Man can make a small fortune in one day out here.

 

The cowboys aren't convinced.

 

1ST COWBOY

From buffalo hides? Them animals ain't worth spit. Who's donna pay good money for a rangy buffalo skin when you can get good cow hide? And dumb? I never seen a dumber animal.

 

BEN

Well, you got that right, cowboy. God never put a dumber animal on the face of this good earth. Why, you can hunker down a couple hundred yards away from a good size herd with this here Sharps rifle ( he holds up his rifle) and just pick 'em off one by one. They're so dumb that if they can't hear the sound of the rifle they'll just stand around while you drop the whole god-dang herd.

 

1ST COWBOY

Bullshit! You buffalo hunters serve up the biggest lies I ever heard !

 

FLOYD

He ain't lying. I heard tell of a fella up Nebraska way brought down three hundred 'n sixty-five in one day.  It's a fact. I kilt a hundred 'n seventy-eight last October.  It was like shooting bullfrogs in a barrel. They just stood around and let you do it.

 

Suddenly, the train begins to brake. People look out the windows curiously because they are nowhere near a town.  We hear a little girl shout out.

 

GIRL

Look, Mommy!  Buffalos!

 

THROUGH A WINDOW

 

we see a large herd of buffalo engulfing the front of the train, spilling across the tracks, forcing them to stop. We hear the train whistle scream over and over, trying to clear the tracks.

 

BEN

 

loads his rifle.

 

BEN

Now you'll see.

 

He leans out of the window, takes bead on a particular animal, and fires. At the sound of the rifle –

 

THE REST OF THE PEOPLE IN THE CAR

 

turn around to see what is going on. Everyone starts talking at once.

 

FLOYD

 

loads his rifle and brings down another buffalo.

 

OUTSIDE THE WINDOW

 

the herd is still milling around, not spooked by the firing of the rifles or the screaming of the train whistle.

 

 

THE COWBOYS

 

already half drunk, decide to get in on the fun. They lean out the other side of the train and start firing randomly into the herd with their pistols. Before long-

 

VARIOUS OTHER PEOPLE IN THE CAR

 

start shooting out the windows. The whole scene quickly takes on a carnival-like air. A man in a suit passes a rifle to a refined looking lady, and she delicately shoots into the milling herd. People are laughing and talking excitedly. Children jump up and down and ask to shoot.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. TRAIN – DAY

 

We see that the shooting fever has spread to other cars of the train. From almost every window people are shooting. Buffalo fall all around. Over the sound of gunfire we hear people laughing and shouting. As they laugh, we see -

 

C.U.S OF BUFFALO GETTING BLOWN AWAY IN SLOW MOTION

 

Blood spurting, heavy bodies hitting the earth, young calves bleating in agony

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

EXT. TRAIN DEPOT KANSAS CITY - DAY

 

As the train pulls into the station, we see piles twenty feet high and hundreds of yards long of buffalo skins. Tens of thousands of them being loaded on the next train back to the east. Big burly men, sweating hard, pile on load after load of skins. It's a major industry. As the train stops, the hunters and the cowboys are the first to get off.

 

IST COWBOY

Well, if I didn't see it with my own eyes, 1 wouldn't have

believed it.

 

FLOYD

Yeah, well, believe it, cowboy. And now the government is opening up the Comanche lands for hunting. That's where Lloyd and I are heading. Fresh picking down at a place called Adobe Wells. We'll think kindly of you boys when we're back in New York, drinking champagne and bedding down with a passel of those painted, pretty, perfumed NEW YORK WOMEN! !

 

Ben and Floyd just look at each other and let out blood curdling screams.

 

CUT TO:

 

CAMANCHE CAMP – DAY

 

Fall 1873

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

 

comes riding into camp and finds Quanah done by a creek watching his children play. He dismounts, walks over to Quanah, and sits down by him on the creekside.  Quanah greets him with affection.

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

Look how they grow.  It is good to hear them laugh.

 

Quanah can see that his friend is carrying bad news.

 

QUANAH

You’re troubled.

 

His friend looks over to the young Chief and sighs deeply.

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

The knowledge I have cannot be shared with words.  I need to show you a thing that only by seeing can you really know. 

 

The seriousness of his friend’s manner is not lost on Quanah.

 

QUANAH

                                                Where is this thing?

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

Five days north. (he looks at Quanah pointedly)  And you’ll need to dress like a white man’s Indian.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. KANSAS RAILHEAD – DAY

 

A brand new town has been built around the railhead.  Freshly erected buildings and tents line a muddy street.  People are everywhere.

 

QUANAH AND TRAILING THE ENEMY

 

ride slowly up on a scene of slaughter. Mountains of buffalo hides two stories tall and many city blocks long stretch along side the railroad tracks.  The enormity of the carnage is hard to take in.  Hundreds of men hustle and bustle, loading the hides.  Wagons full of new hides are being stacked.  The  train engine breaths steam like some metal dragon ready to devour every hide and carry them back east to market.

 

No one notices Quanah and Trailing the Enemy.  They are dressed in the slovenly and cast off clothes of poor white trash.  They ride old worn down horses and blend in with the few other beaten Indians working for the railroad.

 

QUANAH

 

looks on the nightmare in thinly disguised horror.  They ride slowly by the mountains of hides.  Men shouting orders. 

 

NEW FULL WAGONS

 

coming in, full of hides.  It’s an industry of death operating twenty-four hours a day.

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

 

slumps on his slowly walking horse like a shiftless, defeated Indian

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

Sherman, the white general, has loosed his dogs.  He wants them to kill all the buffalo.  Every last one.  And they’re doing it.  It won’t be long until they’ve wiped them out.  I did not believe it myself until I saw it.  How can such a thing happen?  Are these men?  Or beasts?

 

The enormity and madness of it all hit Quanah for the first time.  The idea of exterminating an entire majestic species to starve your enemy into submission is almost impossible to grasp. 

 

QUANAH

 

stares in shock as it all sinks in.  He looks at his friend in disbelief. 

 

QUANAH

They’ve gone mad.

 

He looks back to

 

THE MOUNTAINS OF STINKING HIDES.

 

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

1874

 

INT. QUANAH’S LODGE – NIGHT

 

Quanah sits with Trailing the Enemy and Blackwolf.  They are eating and talking. 

 

BLACKWOLF

The people are desperate.  The word of the slaughter has spread quickly.  Fear grips them now.  It is not good

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

A medicine man from the Tenewa named Isa-Tai is stirring the people with prophecies and magic.  He has claimed to have flown up into the sky and talked with the Great Spirit.

 

QUANAH

Isa-Tai? What kind of name for a prophet is that.  Coyote’s Asshole.  Is the white man’s madness spreading to our people?

 

 

The other two men laugh and then Blackwolf speaks.

 

BLACKWOLF

I wish it were a joke, but he has convinced many of our warriors of his powers.  He tells them that his powers give him to the ability to cure the sick, bring the dead back to life, to control the weather, and to make bullets fall to the ground, harming no one.  He predicted the dry time last year and the star with a tail.  People are grasping at anything that might stop this white devastation, and so they flock to him.  He has actually organized a Sun Dance.

 

QUANAH

(surprised)

Sun Dance?  The Comanche have never done that.  Only our brothers to the north do the Sun Dance.

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

Until now, my friend.  He has convinced the other clans to join him in this crusade. Hundreds of warriors will be here.  There has never been this kind of unity among the clans.  It shows how fearful the people are.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. COMANCHE CAMP – DAY

 

 

It is a bright, sunny June afternoon. A full blown Sun Dance is in progress. A tall wooden “sun pole” has been planted in the middle of the camp. Hundreds suround the pole, dancing, singing and drumming. Four young braves have skewered their chests with steel hooks.  The hooks are attached to long rawhide strips which are attached to the top of the pole.  The braves lean away from the pole, the hooks pulling the flesh of their chests away from their bodies. Blood and stream down their bodies. A buffalo skull is placed at the base of the pole, used as an altar during the Sun Dance.  The whole crowd dances and chants as one, the keening of their chanting becoming louder and louder. A lone man dances in between the crowd and the pierced warriors.  It is -

 

ISA-TAI.

 

He whoops and hollers, urging the tribe on. He is in his thirties, short in stature, wearing just a loin cloth and moccasins.  He is a man possessed, whipping the crowd into a frenzy.

 

QUANAH AND BLACKWOLF

 

stand off to the side, watching.

 

QUANAH

(obviously unhappy with the proceedings)

How long must we watch this.  It’s been four days now.

 

BLACKWOLF

I believe the end is here. Look.

 

ISA-TAI

 

approaches one of the young braves and screams at him.  We can’t hear what he says above the noise of the crowd.

 

THE BRAVE

 

grimaces and leans back harder, pulling away from the pole.  Suddenly, the hooks tear through his flesh and he falls to the ground, blood rushing from his wounds. 

 

THE CROWD ROARS ITS APPROVAL

 

one by one

 

THE OTHER BRAVES

 

Do the same, and the crowd roars again as they rip away from their bonds.

 

ISA-TAI

 

now addresses the crowd, screaming.

 

ISA-TAI

The Great Spirit has spoken to me!  He has told me what we must do!  We must drive the white hunters from our land and stop the slaughter of  the buffalo.  We will go to their new camp north of the river and exterminate them!  My magic will make their bullets harmless and fall to the ground.  Our warriors will be untouchable! We will make an example of them so that no more hunters will come into our land!  This is what the Great Spirit has told me! Will you follow me!?  Will you help cleanse our land with the blood of the whites?!

 

THE CROWD ROARS ITS ASSENT.

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

 

walks up to Quanah and Blackwolf.  The crowd is still roaring in the b.g.

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

(shouting above the noise)

He’s a madman.  He told some of the braves that he could shit bullets for their rifles!

 

QUANAH

(gesturing for them to follow)

Come.

 

 WE FOLLOW

 

as they walk to and enter Quanah’s lodge.  They sit and light a pipe.  Quanah offers them some water.  Finally, Quanah speaks.  Outside, we can still hear Isa-Tai.

 

 

QUANAH

Yes, he’s mad, but we may never be able to gather this many warriors together again.  Already many have gone to the reservation.

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

He cannot lead a war party.  It would be suicide. 

 

Quanah looks from one to the other.

 

QUANAH

He won’t lead them.  I will. 

 

Both men start to object, but Quanah holds up his hand to quiet them.

 

QUANAH

With the number of warriors we have, we should easily overwhelm the small group of whites at their encampment.  I have heard that there may only be thirty or so men.  If we wipe them out completely, it will be seen as a great victory for us and will draw many back to our cause.  (he pauses for effect)  I believe this may be our last chance to rally our people.  The whites come in increasing numbers and power.  The time is short.  We must take advantage of our opportunity.  We will use the madman for our own ends.

 

The other two men pause and let Quanah’s words sink in.  Both are somber.  The noise from the angry and vengeful crowd continues outside.

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

You are becoming cynical, my friend. It doesn’t sit well on you.

 

QUANAH

I am becoming desperate.  Forgive me.

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

(shaking his head in understanding)

There’s nothing to forgive.  I’m holding the same sack of shit.

 

The noise from the crowd becomes louder and more hysterical.

 

BLACKWOLF

Listen to them.  Can any good come from that?  They are already lost.

 

QUANAH

(nodding slightly)

But we must try . . .

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. ADOBE WALLS – NIGHT

 

JUNE 27, 1874

 

 

Adobe Walls is an old way station for travelers on the Sante Fe Trail.  We see a large complex, newly constructed, to support the hunters. Two stores, a corral, a saloon (Rath & Company built their smaller store with sod walls 3' wide at the bosom and tapering to about 1 1/2' wide at the top. James Hanrahan, knowing that any group of 19th century males needed a saloon, came next. That building, too, was made of sod), a restaurant, and a blacksmith shop have all been recently built by speculators out of Dodge City, Kansas.  The buildings are of cottonwood logs set on end in the ground and chinked with mud. Flat grasslands surround the complex.

 

One newcomer seeing the trading post from a distance thought he was seeing many houses around the stores until when getting close he realized the "houses" were stacks of buffalo hides. One employee of the stores estimated later that they were receiving about 1,000 buffalo hides a day shortly before the attack..

 

Various wagons are parked outside the buildings.  We see –

 

THE SCHEIDLER BROTHERS, ISAAC AND JACOB

 

Bedding down in the back of their wagon parked outside Hanrahan’s Saloon.  They are commenting on the heat of the night.  Their large Newfoundland dog curls up to sleep on the ground outside the wagon.

 

AS THE CAMERA DRIFTS AROUND THE COMPOUND,

 

we see that almost everyone is sleeping outside because of the heat.  They are on hammocks, in wagons, on the ground wrapped in blankets.  We drift  through the open door in Hanrahan’s Saloon.  It’s a large tall room with a few tables and a long plank bar set on wooden barrels. 

 

THE CAMERA DRIFTS UP TOWARD THE CEILING

 

where we see

 

A LARGE DIAMETER RIDGEPOLE

 

with no warning the ridgepole snaps with a loud explosive sound like gunfire.  Suddenly, the whole camp stirs. 

 

A YOUNG MAN (BAT MASTERSON),

 

who has been sleeping on the bar, snaps awake as dirt and dust fall on him from above.  He looks up and sees what has happened.

 

AN OLDER, BEEFY MAN  (HANRAHAN)

 

comes from a dark corner cussing.

 

HANRAHAN

What in fucking hell is going on, Bat?!

 

MASTERSON

Looks like your ridgepole snapped in half.  What the hell kind of wood you use?!  Sounded like a god-damned rifle!

 

OTHER MEN

 

come streaming in wanting to know what was going on.  As the situation is explained and examined, Hanrahan starts handing out liquor.

 

HANRAHAN

Since you’re all up, let’s get to work fixing this thing before the whole fucking roof caves in.

 

A SERIES OF SHOTS -

 

as we watch the men get organized, haul in thick tall cottonwood column, start shoring up the roof, drinking, carousing.  As the shots unfold, it becomes lighter as morning comes on.  The men succeed in stabilizing the roof and start drifting off .   Hanrahan stops one of the youngest, Billy Ogg.

 

HANRAHAN

Billy, go get me two horses from the herd picketed by the creek.  Billy Dixon and me are going out early.

 

OGG

Okay, boss.  I’ll be right back.

 

OGG

 

heads out of the compound and down to the creek to gather up the horses.  The sun is just coming up. Suddenly, the Comanche come swarming from every direction on horseback.  They are all painted, armed, and in a killing mood.  They scream as they gallop toward him.

 

He sprints back toward the compound yelling his head off.

 

OGG

Comanches!!!

 

He has enough distance from the warriors to make it into the compound just before they do.  By this time gunfire has raised the camp and chaos breaks out. The men of the compound all run for one or another of the buildings for safety.  Some end up in the stores – some in Hanrahan’s. 

 

QUANAH AND HIS WARRIORS

 

swarm into the compound, firing from their horses at whatever moves.  One group finds the

 

SCHEIDLER BROTHERS

 

who are too late getting out of their wagon.  The brothers are cut down with rifle fire.  The warriors jump off  their horses, shooting the Newfoundland on their way to the dead brothers.  They scalp the brothers and the dog, letting out blood-curdling war cries.

 

THE HUNTERS

 

barricade themselves inside the buildings.  The Comanche jump off their horses and try to break into the buildings.  The men inside pull their revolvers and shoot through small holes made expressly for this purpose.  The Comanche, at the same time, are sticking their rifles through the holes and firing randomly.  Other warriors try to break down the doors of the buildings.  It is a wild face to face fire fight.  For a minute or two it seems as if the Comanches will succeed. But the hunters, behind the protective sod walls, slowly get the better of the fight.  Warriors fall one by one – some  wounded, some dead. 

 

WE CUT BACK AND FORTH

 

between in inside the buildings with the hunters and outside with the Comanches.  There is no organization, just chaotic fighting.

 

Billy Tyler is shot through the lungs as he pauses in the doorway of a building to take a shot. Mrs. Bill Olds accidentally shoots her husband in the head as she hands a reloaded rifle up to him (the bullet entering under his chin and exiting out the top of his head).

 

The intense fighting goes on for a few minutes.  Some warriors even try to back their horses up to the doors in an attempt to break in.  Yelling, screaming, gunfire, smoke, dust, blood – all at close quarters.

 

QUANAH

 

is still on horseback in the middle of the action, shooting into the buildings. He sees his men falling all around him.

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

 

rides up.  He gets shot in his right thigh, but stays on his horse.

 

QUANAH

 

sees that he is losing too many men.  The situation is deteriorating rapidly. 

 

QUANAH

(shouting above the din to his friend)

Pull everyone out!! 

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

We’ve got to take the dead and wounded!

 

QUANAH

No!  Everyone out!  Now!!!

 

He takes a shot in the shoulder as they spread through the compound giving orders, and the warriors turn their horses and bolt out into the grasslands.

 

INSIDE OF HANRAHAN’S,

 

the hunters celebrate as they watch the Comanches ride away.  The room is filled with smoke from the guns.

 

BAT MASTERSON AND BILLY DIXON

 

slap each other on the back in disbelief. The other men are screaming in victory all around them.

 

MASTERSON

What the fuck just happened!!! JESUS CHRIST!!

 

                                                    

                                                           Masterson                              Dixon

 

DIXON

I think we  won! 

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. BLUFF OVERLOOKING COMPOUND – DAY

 

Hundreds of warriors ride up.  QUANAH and TRAILING THE ENEMY are with them.  Many are wounded. They climb off their horses and start tending to their wounds.

 

ISA-TAI

 

rides up and immediately starts making excuses.

 

ISA-TAI

One of your men is responsible for this.  He fed me impure meat before we left camp and weakened my magic-

 

QUANAH

 

is tending the wounded but is becoming angrier and angrier as Isa-Tai talks..

 

ISA-TAI

If it wasn’t for him-

CUT TO:

 

MASTERSON AND DIXON

 

They are standing outside of Hanrahan’s.  They can see the Comanches up on the bluff almost a mile away.

 

MASTERSON

Look at ‘em.  There must be five hundred or more.

 

DIXON

See that one still on his horse.  I bet you I could hit him from here with my Sharps.

 

MASTERSON

Shit.  I know you’re good, but c’mon.

 

Dixon yells back into the saloon.

 

DIXON

Billy!  Bring me my Sharps!

 

Billy Ogg appears with the long barreled buffalo rifle.  Dixon takes the Sharps and rests the barrel on a nearby corral rail.  He takes his time sighting it and finally squeezes off a round.  Seconds tick by as they watch.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. BLUFF – DAY

 

QUANAH

 

has had enough and is stalking toward Isa-Tai with a murderous look on his face.

 

ISA-TAI

 

is still going about how it wasn’t his fault and about how he’s bulletproof when he is blown violently off his horse by the bullet from Dixon’s Sharp.  Blood spurts from his chest as he falls

 

QUANAH 

 

stops in his tracks, looks toward Adobe Walls in disbelief, and then back to Isa-Tai lying on the ground.  Isa-Tai stares at him with the blank look of the dead.

 

CUT BACK TO:

 

MASTERSON AND DIXON

 

MASTERSON

Holy Moley and all the fucking saints, Dixon!  That was the greatest shot I have ever seen!!

 

Dixon looks surprised.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. COMANCHE CAMP – DAY

 

Quanah walks outside his lodge, followed by Running Dear and Tonarcy, his second wife.  Tonarcy carries a baby. He is affectionate with both women, but looks troubled. He walks over to where one of his horses is tethered and swings up on the pony's back..

 

QUANAH

I'11 be back before sunset. Perhaps I'11 have an antelope for our dinner fire.

 

Both women know that it's not only hunting that draws him from the village.  They know that the experience at Adobe Walls has affected him deeply. They know he needs to be alone. He turns the horse and gallops leisurely from the village.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

EXT. TEXAS PLAINS – DAY

 

Quanah runs his mount up a small rise. There is not a sign of human life in sight - just the plain stretching out in all directions like the sea.

 

QUANAH

 

dismounts and lets his pony graze. He walks to the top of the rise and looks out. There's not a cloud in the sky. It's a warm summer day.  Quanah walks slowly, with no particular destination, lost in thought. His pony follows fifteen feet behind him, eating as he does. Quanah squats down on one knee. A light wind whispers through the tall buffalo grass.

 

 

POV QUANAH

 

An occasional bird cuts lazily across the horizon. The quiet is meditative, lulling. There is nothing here that reminds us of the human conflict, struggle, and drama that has gone before. It's just a fertile plain rolling under a constant sun. Suddenly, a jackrabbit jumps up from the grass and begins bolting for his life across our field of vision. He moves in erratic zig- zagging leaps. Just behind him is a coyote nipping at his heels. They move almost as one unit, the coyote seeming to read the hare's every jump. It's touch and go as the chase swings and comes in Quanah's general direction. As they pass close enough to see the faces of the animals, we see that the rabbit is not as panicked as his movements would suggest. The coyote on the other hand is visibly tiring. With two more jumps, the hare finally puts distance between him and his pursuer. The coyote comes to a stop, his tongue lolling out of his mouth, and watches his prey bound out of sight.

 

QUANAH

 

smiles at the vision of the exhausted coyote.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

INT. COMANCHE LODGE - DAY

 

We are in the midst of  a heated discussion. Voices are raised in both agreement and disagreement. Quanah finally lifts his hand. The rest of the men quiet down.

 

SATANA

(irritated and having his way of thinking challenged)

Well, then, what do you suggest that we do, half-breed?

 

Quanah does not rise to the bait.

 

QUANAH

I do not suggest that you do anything Satanta. You already have your mind set. It would be wasted words. l will tell you what I am going to do. (he looks at Black Wolf) The earth goes on forever. It is a big place. Big enough for everyone if they could but see it. People are like children. Put them in a huge field and they will all end up in the same place fighting over one small rock. I am going to take my people out onto the Staked Plains and Palo Duro canyon. The game is plentiful, the land is rich, and the whites are weeks away.  There we will live.

 

SATANA

And when the whites finally get there?

 

QUANAH

We will stay one jump ahead of them. As l said, the earth is large. There is room enough. Even the whites cannot fill the Plains. As long as the buffalo run, we will live well.

 

No one around the fire seems to like this third alternative. They look to each other and small one-on-one conversations break out. Bat stands up.

 

BAT

This is the talk of a woman! I am leaving! I am going to drive the whites from our lands or die! There is no other way!

 

He leaves along with a few chiefs. SATANA also stands. He just shakes his head, and he, too, leaves with the rest of the men. Only Black Wolf stays.  He lets the silence hang between them for a beat. He is pleased with Quanah.

 

BLACKWOLF

I would like to gather my family and come with you.

 

Quanah smiles affectionately.

 

QUANAH

You are always welcome at my fire, Grandfather.

 

Blackwolf looks at Quanah seriously.

 

BLACKWOLF

You know Bat is right.  The whites will come.  They will fill up the land like a flood.

 

QUANAH

I know.  But until then we will live the life of our fathers and treasure it all the more for its passing.

 

A great rueful sadness hangs in the air between them.  There is nothing left to say.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. FORT SILL OKLAHOMA – DAY

 

JULY 1874

 

ESTABLISHING SHOTS OF FORT

 

It is a sprawling complex with large parade fields, barracks, horse stables and corrals, offices, a mess, barns, etc.  The fort is packed with soldiers, civilians, and Indians that have already given up the fight and come into the reservation.  The tribal tents ring the outskirts of the fort

 

 

CUT TO:

 

LARGE CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY

 

GENERAL SHERMAN

 

is in the front of the room standing by a map of the Texas Oklahoma border.  The map includes the Texas panhandle.  The room is full of lesser officers, including MacKenzie, seated on wooden benches.  As he speaks we

 

CUT AROUND THE ROOM

 

At the various officers he is addressing and observe their individual reactions to his words.  Some are in total accord.  Others are not.  No one interrupts.  No one says a word except Sherman

 

 

SHERMAN

Colonel Miles, you will lead four companies of the Fifth Infantry and eight troops of the Sixth Cavalry. You will rendezvous at Fort Dodge and to move southward into Indian Territory.  Major Price, you will command units from the Eighth Cavalry and proceed eastward from Fort Union down the Canadian River.  Mackenzie, you will take eight troops from the Fourth Cavalry and proceed into the panhandle area from Fort Concho.  Colonel Davidson, will embark from Fort Sill with one battalion of four companies of l0th Cavalry.  And finally, Buell, you will bring your column from Fort Richardson

 

We will close in on the Staked Plains and run these primitives to the ground once and for all.  They must experience the full might of a superior people.  The white race is moving forward to fulfill its manifest destiny and no dark skinned savage is going to stand in the way. You will make them submit to your will, surrender, and come into the reservation.  If they resist, they will be exterminated down to the last woman and child. I want no quarter given

 

I will not be taking questions.  You have your orders.  Carry them out.  Dismissed.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. COMANCHE ENCAMPMENT, PALO DURO CANYON – DAY

 

 

The camp of a few hundred Comanches and Kiowa stretches along the banks of the river that runs through Palo Duro Canyon.  The wide floor of the canyon is almost a mile across with fields of lush grass and stands of cottowood trees.  It’s a warm September day.  The large camp is at peace and bustling with life.  It has the timeless feeling of a kind of life that they have been living for centuries.  Women cook and prepare skins, children play.  If we didn’t know better, they would appear to have no cares in the world.

 

QUANAH AND TRAILING ENEMY

 

are a small distance down from the village.  Quanah is working with a young horse, training him to accept him, breaking him to a rider.  Around them are literally thousands of horses.  The tribe is still rich with horses and warriors.  

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

 

talks to Quanah as he works the young bay stud.

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

They have found nothing.  They spent weeks riding in all directions, but there were no buffalo.  The whites are wiping them out.  If we don’t find some soon, it’s going to be a hard winter.  Too hard, I think.

 

QUANAH

 

looks over, concerned.

 

QUANAH

That’s why you and I will leave tomorrow.  And we will search until we find a herd big enough to feed us for the winter.  The buffalo are infinite.  The madmen cannot kill them all.  It’s impossible.

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

I hope you’re right, my friend. But I’m beginning to think that the whites are capable of any kind of horror imaginable.

 

QUANAH WALKS OVER TO HIS FRIEND

 

He puts his arm around his shoulder and smiles, full of confidence. He shakes him slightly.

 

QUANAH

We will find the buffalo.  We will feed our people. 

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY’S

 

spirits are lifted by his friend.  He smiles and points at the young bay stallion who snorts and prances at the end of a tether.

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

Will you take the bay?

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT.  A BLUFF OVERLOOKING PALO DURO CANYON - NIGHT

 

SEPTEMBER 28, 1874

 

MACKENZIE

 

is looking down into the canyon.  He can see the campfires of a few hundred Comanche down on the floor of the canyon a couple of miles away.  Three of his junior officers are standing with him.  He is talking to one of his Tonkawa scouts through an interpreter.

 

MACKENZIE

Are you sure we can make it down this trail.  It looks treacherous.

 

INTERPRETER

Your men will have to dismount and lead their horses down, but they can make it.

 

MACKENZIE

Lieutenant, get the men ready.  We’re going in.  If the Indians don’t stand and fight they will scatter all through the canyon.  If that happens I want you to direct the men to round up all of their stock – ponies, horses, mules – whatever they find. Do not pursue the hostiles if they flee.  Is that clear?

 

LIEUTENANT

Yes sir.  If the Indians run, concentrate on capturing their horses.

 

WE FOLLOW THE SOLDIERS

 

as they slowly make their way down a very steep, narrow trail to the canyon floor.  When they reach the bottom and start down the river bank to the village, they can’t help but make noise.

 

THE VILLAGE IS ALERTED

 

Shouts ring out.  The soldiers mount their horses and surge forward.  With little warning the Comanches and their Kiowa allies run, spreading through the canyon.  Gunfire and yelling.  English and Comanche.  Shadowy figures running through the camp between the lodges, across the shallow river.  Horses everywhere.  Lodges fall, start to burn.  The scene becomes lit from the flames.

 

 

MACKENZIE, MOUNTED ON HIS HORSE

 

is shooting after the fleeing Comanches and yelling at his men to round up the gigantic horse herd.  As more

 

LODGES BURN

 

We watch the soldiers gather up the ponies, horses, and mules.           

 

MACKENIZIE’S LIEUTENANT

 

rides up and addresses his superior.

 

LIEUTENANT

We’ve got maybe over half of their horses, Colonel.  Must be more than a  thousand, easy. Should we start driving them out of the canyon?

 

MACKENZIE

No, kill them.  Kill all of them.

 

LIEUTENANT

Kill them, Sir?

 

MACKENZIE

Every last one.

 

LIEUTENANT

Yes, Sir!

 

IN THE FIRE LIGHT

 

we watch hundreds of soldiers slaughter the large herd.  All we hear is the sound of gunfire and the screaming of the horses.  Body after body falls, rears up, screams, twists, contorts in pain.  The dust from the falling horses obscures the scene.  Soldiers run out of ammo and reload and continue shooting.  It takes a long time to kill over a thousand horses.  The sun is coming up as they finish.  The scene is gruesome and horrific.  A charnel house.

 

MACKENZIE,

 

on his horse, slowly walks around the piles of dead horses and mules.  The killing ground is larger than a present day football field.  Occasionally he see a horse still twitching.

MACKENZIE

(a small vengeful smile creases his lips)

(to himself) So you like stealing horses . . .

 

(In 1876, after the disastrous Battle of the Little Big Horn, Colonel Mackenzie was named to replace George Armstrong Custer in the war on the Plains. He won a decisive victory over the Northern Cheyennes. For the next seven years, he was a key commander in the Indian wars in the West. In 1883, he suffered a mental breakdown and was forced to leave the Army. He never recovered and died in an asylum in 1889.  The number of horses killed at Palo Duro Canyon was 1,028)

 

 

 

 

 

DISSOLVE

 

EXT. RUINED CAMP-DAY

 

The soldiers are gone and the Comanches have returned.  They are trying to salvage their belongings, setting up cook fires, rebuilding lodges.

 

QUANAH AND TRAILING THE ENEMY

 

come riding up from down river.  They see the devastation and spur their horses forward. As they arrive at camp, they meet.

 

BLACKWOLF

 

who is reconstructing his lodge. Blackwolf starts answering questions before they are asked.

 

BLACKWOLF

Night before last.  A few hundred soldiers.  We only had time to run for the hills.  Fortunately, none of the people was harmed.  But . . .

 

He gestures toward the thousand dead horses. They all look at the horses and then each other. 

 

QUANAH

(asking Blackwolf)

How many horses do we have left?

 

BLACKWOLF

Probably about another thousand.  I have the young men rounding them up.

 

QUANAH

We found no buffalo.  We didn’t even find any sign of buffalo.

 

The understanding passes between them. They know that it’s finally come.  They know now that the end of their way of life is at hand. 

 

QUANAH

Get every able bodied person together.  Have them skin the horses and preserve the meat.  It should get us through the winter.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. QUANAH’S LODGE – NIGHT

 

It’s dark.  The fire has died to embers. Quanah, his wives and four children apparently are sleeping peacefully.  We hear someone crying.  We come in

 

CLOSE ON RUNNING DEAR

 

She looks over to Tonarcy who looks back at her.  Neither of them is crying.  The quiet sobbing continues – not loud, but coming from the core of someone’s being – someone who has lost the most precious thing. We just watch Running Bear’s face as she too realizes that it’s the end.  It’s heartbreaking.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. FORT SILL – DAY

 

JUNE 2, 1875

 

The fort’s grounds are busier and more crowded than previously.  More Kiowa, Comanche, Cheyenne, and Arapaho have been driven to the reservation life.  They have become dependent on the government.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

INT.  INDIAN AGENT OFFICE - DAY

 

JAMES HAWORTH AND GENERAL SHERIDAN

 

 

Are arguing in Haworth’s office.  Haworth is a small man, white longish hair, dressed primly in Quaker clothing.  He is the senior government agent for Indian Affairs on the reservation, and, so, outranks Sheridan in some matters.

 

SHERIDAN

(disgusted with the agent)

Haven’t you learned anything about these primitives?   You saw what happened when you pulled the soldiers out of here!   They didn’t see it as kindness.  They saw it as weakness!

 

HAWORTH

(remaining calm and unruffled)

As much as thee likes to think of the natives as animals, they are, in reality, human beings who deserve to be treated with the compassion and understanding exemplified by our Lord.  And, as long as I am in charge here, they –

 

A BLACK SOLDIER

 

comes running into the office, snaps to attention, salutes and addresses Sheridan.

 

SOLDIER

General.  Colonel Mackenzie requests your presence on the parade ground immediately.

 

SHERIDAN

 

walks over to the open door and looks out to see.

 

QUANAH, HIS TRIBE, AND THEIR HORSES

 

Coming into the Fort.  There are approximately five hundred Comanches-  warriors, women, children, old ones.  They walk slowly, heads held high.  They bring with them their entire village – lodges, clothes, cooking utensils, buffalo robes, weapons, blankets, jewelry.  Behind them are over a thousand horses and mules.  They are all dressed in their finest.  They present the image of a proud, rich, and undefeated people.

 

QUANAH

 

rides in the front of the procession and an erect and dignified manner.

 

BLACK WOLF AND TRAILING THE ENEMY

 

ride with him

 

MACKENZIE

 

stands at attention in the middle of the parade ground ready to receive Quanah’s surrender.

 

SHERIDAN

(O.S. – to himself)

I’ll be damned. It’s over.

 

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

INT. HAWORTHS OFFICE – DAY

 

He sits at his desk doing paper work.  An assistant enters.

 

ASSISTANT

The Comanche chief, Quanah would like to talk to you.

 

HAWORTH

Let him come.

 

QUANAH

 

enters the office.  Haworth greets him politely and asks him sit in a chair across from the desk.

 

HAWORTH

What can I do for you, Quanah?

 

QUANAH

(stumbling with his English)

It has been two moons. Now my people settled in here, I like go visit my mother’s family, the Parkers, in East Texas.

 

Haworth sits back in his chair, taken by surprise at the unusual request. He looks closely at

 

QUANAH

 

and sees the undeniable white blood in him.  He realizes that this is an opportunity.  With this one man he may be able to start bridging the gap between the white and red man.  He smiles.

 

HAWORTH

Yes.  I think that would be a good idea.  I will write you the necessary pass that will allow you to travel in Texas.  I’ll have it for you by the end of the day.

 

QUANAH

 

stands, thanks the agent, and starts to go.

 

HAWORTH

Quanah.

 

QUANAH

(turning back to the agent)

Yes?

 

HAWORTH

God go with you.

 

It’s a sentiment to which Quanah has no idea how to respond..

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. PARKER RANCH, EAST TEXAS – DAY

 

 

It’s a hot summer day.  The land is a mix of pasture, woods, and rolling hills.

 

FOUR YOUNG COWBOYS

 

are building an addition onto their bunkhouse next to a large barn.  In the b.g. we can see a large two story house.  The boys are half working, half horsing around.  Suddenly, one of them spots

 

QUANAH

 

who approaches on horseback, wearing his traditional Comanche clothing. 

 

THE COWBOYS 

 

are surprised, confused.  They don’t know what to do.  Finally, one of them bolts for the big house, running ahead of Quanah who is riding in the same direction. As Quanah reaches the house, the cowboy has already gone inside.

 

SILAS PARKER

 

comes out onto the porch carrying a rifle.  He is not happy. 

 

PARKER

Get out of here.

 

Quanah produces an envelope and hands it in the direction of Parker.  Parker motions for the young cowboy to get the envelope and bring it to him. He opens it and starts to read.  He looks up to Quanah, astonished.

 

PARKER

(yelling)

Martha!!  Get out here!

 

CUT TO:

 

MONTAGE

 

A series of shots and short scenes as the shocked family welcomes Quanah into the fold and begins to do the inevitable make-over.

 

The put him in white man’s clothes, teach him to eat with a fork and knife, improve his English, take him to church, teach him to run cattle, tell him his family’s history, introduce him to friends and neighbors, etc.

 

The younger people on the ranch are more eager to ask him questions about what it’s like being a Comanche, obviously fascinated with someone so foreign and exotic and perhaps dangerous.

 

Summer passes, and then fall turns to winter.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. PARKER KITCHEN – MORNING

 

Martha is putting breakfast on the table.  The family comes in one by one.  She looks around.

 

MARTHA

Where’s Quanah?

 

SILAS

Said he wasn’t feeling well.  He’s still in bed.

 

MARTHA

 

looks concerned and walks out of the kitchen.  We  FOLLOW as she walks down the hall to a door, knocks, opens it, and walks in.

 

QUANAH

 

is lying in the bed.  He doesn’t look good.

 

MARTHA  

 

Walks over and touches his forehead.

 

MARTHA

Lord almighty.  You’re on fire, son.

 

QUANAH

 

looks up.  His eyes barely open. 

 

QUANAH

I need – medicine man.

 

MARTHA

I’ll have Silas fetch the doctor.

 

QUANAH

No.  Medicine man.  My people.  Indian healer.

 

MARTHA

Land sakes, son.  There’s no Indians of any kind around here anymore.  Specially, no medicine men.

 

QUANAH

 

grabs her hand with all the strength he has.

 

QUANAH

Must find.  One of mine.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. PARKER PARLOR – DAY

 

Silas, Martha, and a white Doctor holding his black bag are standing in the parlor.  The Doctor is shaking his head.

 

DOCTOR

-not good.  He’s slowly dying and I haven’t got the vaguest idea what’s wrong with him.  Never seen anything like it.  It’s like part of him wants to die – like – well, I don’t know.  Sometimes he talks incoherently in Comanche I would guess, like he’s talking to somebody else in the room.

 

MARTHA

 

looks searchingly at Silas.   The Doctor catches the look.

 

DOCTOR

Is there anything else I should know?

 

SILAS AND MARTHA

 

look at each other again.

 

SILAS

We never told him that his mother and baby sister died in that room . . .

 

DOCTOR

Well, I’m sorry, but there’s nothing else I can do.  Maybe you ought to find him that medicine man he keeps asking for.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. QUANAH’S BEDROOM – DAY

 

MARTHA

 

comes in.  She is followed by a

 

MEXICAN-INDIAN WOMAN,

 

wearing a long white dress with brightly colored embroidery stitched all around it.  She is stocky with long black hair braided down her back.  Her age is hard to tell.  Anywhere between thirty and fifty.  She looks strong  in both body and mind.

 

MARTHA

Quanah, this is Florinda.  She comes from Mexico.  People around here call her a witch.  She says she can help.

 

QUANAH

 

weakly beckons Florinda forward.  He finds it hard to even speak.

 

QUANAH

(in Spanish)

You know the healing ways of my people?

 

She looks at him with a penetrating gaze and then directs her glance around his body.  She runs her hand along him, inches away from his body.

 

FLORINDA

(smiles knowingly)

I have a friend who knows all the healing ways.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. PARKER RANCH – DAY

 

It is a bright sunny Spring day. 

 

QUANAH

 

lies on a cot under a large elm. 

 

FLORINDA

 

is with him.  She is sitting on a small wooden stool, carefully removing small white tufts of fiber from the top of a small round cactus. Next to her is a fire.  Over the fire hangs a large pot. When she finishes cleaning the cactus, she throws it in the pot. She then dips a ladle in the pot and pours its contents into a metal cup. She tests the contents for heat, and then helps Quanah raise his head and sip from the cup.

 

FLORINDA

This is my friend, Mescalito.  He will heal you.  Drink deep.

 

QUANAH

 

does as she requests and drinks deeply from the cup.  His face shrivels up with distaste at the contents. When he’s done, she fills the cup again, and brings the cup to his lips.  He hesitates.

 

QUANAH

So bitter . . .

 

FLORINDA

(smiling)

But so strong . . .

 

CUT TO:

 

QUANAH’S POV

 

He is looking up into the branches and leaves of the tree above him.  The leaves, blowing in the breeze, ease into slow motion.  As they do, their color intensifies from a normal shade of green to an iridescent emerald.  They begin to glow from the inside.  As they do, Quanah’s visions telescopes into a group of three or four particular leaves.  At that point, we can see into the coursing cellular structure of the leaves. We see their fluids pumping through their veins.  We come in closer and see the microscopic organisms at work.  We see cell mitosis.  At this point,  the sounds of the wind through the leaves slowly morphs into ALIEN ELECTRONIC SOUNDS.  As the soundtrack changes we plunge deeper into the structure of one leaf.  Suddenly, we are at the atomic level of activity.  All sound is electric.  All visuals are interlocking energy grids and planes constantly in motion.

 

Out of nowhere there is the loud ragged sound of a crow’s cry.

 

QUANAH

 

snaps back into the material world and opens his eyes.  He sees the crow fly across his line of vision.  As the crow crosses the screen, against the blue sky and white clouds, something odd happens.  Every time that his wings flap downward, it is as if the feathered tips dip into the sky like a pebble thrown into a pond.  The sky behind the bird is breaking into a million crystallized fragments.  As the crow leaves the screen, the tiny fragments start to coalesce into geometric form out on the horizon line.  Rather quickly it becomes obvious that we are looking at the skyline of

 

A MODERN CITY

 

 

We rush toward the wavering mirage-life apparition, and, as we are almost there, we experience an

 

ABRUPT CUT TO:

 

EXT. MODERN DAY DALLAS - DAY

 

We are suddenly in the midst of the city itself.  Loud, crowded, honking, hectic traffic.  People scurrying everywhere.  Jumbo jets overhead. The

 

CUTS ARE QUICK

 

Garish fast food palaces, urban cowboys in monster trucks, beautiful white women lounging at poolside with nothing on, a violent drug bust, screaming fire trucks, tall mirrored skyscrapers, and finally a big blinking red neon sign of an Indian head wearing a war bonnet.  The sign blinks on and off - 

 

BIG CHIEF MOTEL – POOL – FREE HBO – WIRELESS INTERNET.

 

SMASH CUT BACK TO:

 

QUANAH,

 

up on his elbows, staring incredulously into the distance.

 

He looks over to

 

FLORINDA

 

who appears as a luminous being of light.  She reaches out and her glowing hand comes in close and closes his eyes. 

 

THE SCREEN GOES BLACK.

 

SLOW DISSOLVE TO:

 

EXT. PARKER RANCH – DAY

 

QUANAH

 

is standing outside the house next to a saddled horse.  He is dressed like one of the cowboys at the ranch. He looks every bit the white man.

 

SILAS AND MARTHA

 

stand next to him.  They are obviously saying goodbye. Quanah is talking directly to Martha

 

QUANAH

(his English is more fluent)

It’s not goodbye.  I’ll be back, now that I know I’m really a part of this family.  But I do have another family, and they need me more than you do.  There is much work to be done.

 

MARTHA

(understanding)

Just come back when you can.  There’ll always be a place for you.

 

They hug and then Quanah turns to Silas.

 

QUANAH

I would like to make the family name my own.  I would like to be known from now on as Quanah Parker.  Would you give me your permission?

 

 

PARKER

(smiling broadly and taking Quanah’s hand)

You don’t need my permission, son.  That is your name.  Quanah Parker.

 

CUT TO:

 

C.U. OF SILAS

PARKER

(he says it again, pleased at the sound of it.)

Quanah Parker. 

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. FORT SILL – NIGHT

 

QUANAH

 

approaches a lodge on the outskirts of the fort.  He dismounts, lifts the flap of the tent, and enters.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. LODGE – NIGHT

 

TONARCY, RUNNING DEER AND FOUR CHILDREN

 

are in the lodge.  A small fire burns.  Running Deer is showing her oldest daughter how to bead on a piece of leather.  Two young boys are wrestling around.  A small baby sleeps.  As Quanah enters, looking like a white cowboy,

 

TONARCY

 

reacts with fear.  She jumps to the side and lets out a little cry.

 

QUANAH

 

takes off his wide brimmed hat and smiles.  It takes a second before they recognize him.  Then they both rush to him, laughing. 

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

INT. HAWORTH’S OFFICE – DAY

 

1878

 

Haworth stands at a window looking out at the Fort. 

 

QUANAH

 

enters dressed in a mixture of white and Comanche clothing.

 

QUANAH

Mr. Haworth.

 

HAWORTH

Yes, Quanah.  I asked thee to come in today, because there are two new developments of which thee should be aware.  Would the like to sit?

 

They get comfortable and Haworth continues.

 

HAWORTH

First, a Mr. Charles Goodnight would like to talk to thee regarding obtaining your permission to graze his cattle on reservation land.  As acting Chief of your people thee would have the legal authority to enter into an agreement with him.  The terms would be established between he and thee and a contract would be signed, binding the both of thee legally.  I would advise thee to not rush into any agreement without long and careful deliberation.

(he looks steadily at Quanah)

Mr. Goodnight is a business man.  He will be looking to obtain the best terms for himself.  He will want to maximize his profit and minimize his expenses.  Doth thee understand these terms?

 

 

QUANAH

Yes, Mr. Haworth, I do.  My English has been improving greatly with your help, and I appreciate your –

(he searches for the words)

concern.  Can you set up a meeting between Mr. Goodnight and me?

 

HAWORTH

 

nods, but his face looks worried.  He is distracted.

 

QUANAH

What is the other thing you wanted to talk about?

 

HAWORTH

 

stands and walks around, back to the window, and looks out.

 

HAWORTH

The other is even more serious.  I have received word that the government in Washington wants to divide up the reservation and give each member of the various tribe their own plot of one hundred and sixty acres.  Each member would legally own that plot and be able to dispose of it at will.

 

QUANAH

 

stands up and walks over to Haworth, looking him directly in his eyes.

 

QUANAH

You mean he would be able to sell the property?  (Haworth nods) To anyone with the money?  (Haworth nods again.) To a white man? (Haworth nods looking steadily back at Quanah)

 

HAWORTH

Thee understands rightly.

 

This news hits Quanah hard.  He understands exactly what it means.  It means the whites could buy the reservation right out from under them.  We can see the wheels turning behind Quanah’s eyes.  First comes the understanding, then the fear of losing what land they have left, then the meditation of how to respond, and then a slight smile tugs at his lips.

 

HAWORTH

 

is struggling mightily with something else.  Coming out of his reverie Quanah sees this battle going on inside the Indian Agent.

 

QUANAH

Is there anything else I should know?

 

HAWORTH

 

makes his decision, sighs, and speaks.

 

HAWORTH

Mr. Goodnight is said to have ridden with the group of Texas Rangers that took your mother.

 

QUANAH

How soon can you arrange that meeting with Mr. Goodnight?

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT.  RESERVATION GRASSLAND – DAY

 

QUANAH, GOODNIGHT AND TWO OF GOODNIGHT’S ASSOCIATES

 

look out upon the three million acres of lush rolling grassland of the reservation from the back of their horses.

 

 

GOODNIGHT

 

is one of the originals.  One of the first cattlemen to drive cattle from Texas to the railheads of Kansas and Colorado.  He helped Chisom create the Chisom trail, and then created the Goodnight/Loving trail.  He is a hard man and longtime Indian fighter.  He also rode with the group of Texas Rangers that kidnapped Cynthia Ann Parker from Nokona.  He is forty-two at his first meeting with Quanah – a respected and powerful cattleman.  Quanah is in his mid-thirties – still a physically powerful and imposing figure.  They are both aware of whom each other is.  It creates a powerful, unspoken tension between them

 

 

 

GOODNIGHT

So, Chief, you understand exactly what we are talking about?  We would be allowed to graze our cattle freely on the land and then at our discretion be allowed to round them up and drive them to the railhead at Dodge City.

 

QUANAH

(playing the dumb Indian)

Me understand .  You pay to graze.

 

GOODNIGHT

 

looks over to his two associates, smiling slightly.  He believes he will take advantage of the uneducated Comanche.

 

GOODNIGHT

Of course.  We were thinking that ten cents per head per year would be a fair rate.  It would bring your tribe great wealth, considering that there would be at least one hundred thousand head.

 

 

QUANAH

 

looks over to Goodnight. It’s just what he expected. Now, it’s his turn to smile.  He knows that he has the upper hand.  The railhead is just north of his lands.  His lands are lush with grass and rivers.  The cattle will fatten up easily so they will bring the highest price at market.

 

QUANAH

The price is a dollar a head a year.

 

THE WHITE MEN

 

choke and laugh and look at Quanah in disbelief.

 

GOODNIGHT

Chief, maybe you didn’t understand me –

 

This man has robbed enough from Quanah.  He’s not going to steal anymore.

 

QUANAH

(interrupting)

I understand you completely.  One American dollar -  per head per year.  It’s not up for negotiation.  Do you understand me?

 

Their eyes lock.  Goodnight sees a look in Quanah’s eyes that is a combination implacability, hate, and daring.

 

 

GOODNIGHT

 

turns back and talks to his associates.  Their discussion is short.  They know they are not going to get over on Quanah.

 

GOODNIGHT

Alright, we’ll do it, but that means that we have total access to our beef at all times.

 

QUANAH

Agreed –

 

THE CATTLEMEN

 

start to turn away, not bothering to shake hands, not happy being bested by the Comanche half-breed.

 

QUANAH

There’s just one more thing.

 

GOODNIGHT

 

turns back to Quanah with a disbelieving look.  How can this Indian be asking for anything else?

 

QUANAH

I’ll need to use your lawyers. 

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. SENATE HEARING ROOM, WASHINGTON D.C. – DAY

 

QUANAH AND THE LAWYERS

 

sit at a long table in front of a group of Senators. 

 

ONE OF THE LAWYERS IS SPEAKING

 

He is the classic silver haired, silver tongued snake oil salesman – all charm and two dollar words and smiles.  So convincing.  His position is so obvious that you already agree with him. He just has to let you know why you do.

 

LAWYER

And so, you see that this legal and binding lease contract between Mr. Goodnight and the sovereign Comanche Nation encompasses all the lands between the Red and Cimmaron Rivers for the next ten years.  The financial benefits for the regions are, of course, without question.  The cattle industry is quickly becoming the mainstay of the whole southwest and Mr. Goodnight and his associates . . .

 

While the lawyer drones on, we see

 

QUANAH

 

dressed in a suit, sitting at the table, looking every bit the white man.  We

 

COME IN CLOSE

 

To see those blue eyes.  Behind those eyes is growing a complexity of character we can only guess at.  Is he remembering tender, idyllic times with his mother as a child? His murderous rampaging across Texas? The mountainous piles of dead buffalo?  His mind exploding peyote revelations? 

 

BEHIND HIM,

 

spectators crane their heads to see a wild Comanche chief.  We hear them whispering in the b.g.  Quanah hears them also.

 

HIS EYES CLOSE

 

And a small smile plays across his lips.  We’ll never know what he’s thinking.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. QUANAH’S LODGE - DAY

 

BLACKWOLF AND QUANAH

 

Blackwolf is lying on some robes.  He is old and dying.  Quanah kneels next to him. 

 

BLACKWOLF

You have changed much, Quanah.  You have grown as a man, a husband, a father, and as a leader of you people.  But there is something more.  At first I thought that it was your white blood finally coming out, but it’s something quite different –something, perhaps, not even human. Somewhere along the line you have finally gone on your vision quest.  And you have succeeded, haven’t you?

 

QUANAH

(nodding)

When you told me long ago that I would have to leave the concerns of people behind to truly find my way – to achieve my own vision, I had no idea what you meant. But I have been given the gift of a great medicine.  It is that medicine that has allowed me to leave my hate behind – to see that truly we are all spirits – all part of one infinite spirit.  I have learned that our life in this world is just one stage of our journey, and the journey is never ending.  It is a glorious mystery, Grandfather.

 

It is this that you wanted me to learn, isn’t it?

 

BLACKWOLF

 

smiles weakly and nods.

 

BLACKWOLF

It is a truth that cannot be taught, only experienced.  You have much yet to do, but I will wait for you on the other side, my son.

 

He closes his eyes. 

 

DISSOLVE TO BLACK:

 

We now revert to the classic, time-honored method of

 

PASSING THROUGH THE YEARS MONTAGE

 

We cover the next twenty-five years of the lives of both Quanah and the Nation at large.

 

THE YEARS ROLL BY

 

1880

 

Marriage ceremony as Quanah takes his third wife.

 

1881

 

A boy child is born.  Trailing the Enemy conducts the naming ceremony

 

1884

 

We see workers beginning on the construction of Quanah’s first house.  It’s a forty-room mansion.  Quanah and Trailing the Enemy look on.

 

1885

 

“Glover Cleveland Elected President”

 

1889

 

Newspaper articles from the Lawton Constitution and Morning Press to early Washington Post splash across the screen.

 

Quanah Parker appointed Judge in the Court of Indian Offenses”

 

Marriage ceremony as Quanah takes fourth wife

Baby being born to much celebration

 

1893

 

Comanche Chief Parker with an Indian delegation visit the Jerome Commission in Washington DC regarding the Indian lands.

 

September 16

 

The largest and most spectacular land run in northern Oklahoma, the Cherokee Strip, today!

 

Quanah takes fifth wife.

 

1897

 

“McKinley Wins!”

 

1898

 

“Explosion sink USS Maine.  IT’S WAR!!”

 

1901

 

“McKinley Assassinated – Roosevelt President!”

 

1902

 

“Grazing on Reservations ended by Government. Loss of income to the Comanches.”

 

1905

 

“Roosevelt By A Landslide”

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. PENNSYLVANIA BLVD – DAY

 

 

Roosevelt’s inauguration parade is in progress.  The usual pomp and circumstance.  One unusual note is a procession of Indian Chiefs. Among them are Quanah, Little Plume (Piegan), Buckskin Charley (Ute), Geronimo (Chiricahua Apache), Hollow Horn Bear (Brulé Sioux), and American Horse (Oglala Sioux)

 

QUANAH AND GERONIMO

 

ride side by side.  They are talking reservation matters. By this time, Geronimo is also at Fort Sill with his people.

 

QUANAH

-not looking good.  There is too much pressure to open the lands.  It’s the final grab.  I’ll do what I can, of course, but you know how they are.

 

GERONIMO

You’ve done as much as any man could.  Will you attend their ball tonight?

 

QUANAH

Yes.  Sometimes more work gets done at these events than in the actual halls of Congress.  Wish me luck.  I’ll need it.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. INAUGURATIONAL BALL -  NIGHT

 

It is a glittering affair in a huge ballroom.  A band is playing a waltz.  Large chandeliers.  A grand staircase.  Everyone dressed to the nines.  The dance floor is crowded with swirling dancers.  Waiters carrying trays of drinks drift through the crowd.  Knots of well dressed older men converse intently. 

 

QUANAH

 

Is with such a group.  He is dressed in white tie and tails holding a glass of champagne. He strikes a very handsome and imposing figure.  Women in the room seem particularly fascinated by him.  He is in the middle of a discussion of how he might delay more white developers from obtaining more reservation land when-

 

ETHAN A. HITCHCOCK, SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR

 

 

approaches the group.  He is quickly introduced to Quanah and immediately changes the subject of the conversation.  He is smiling and speaking condescendingly to Quanah.

 

HITCHCOCK

Mr. Parker, you have done an exceedingly good job in bringing your people into the civilized world.  I must commend you.  You’ve established schools, courts, businesses.  It’s quite remarkable really –

 

A CROWD

 

has started to gather around, fascinated by the spectacle of a savage dressed in a tuxedo attending a Presidential Inauguration.  They talk amongst themselves and listen intermittently.

 

HITCHCOCK

(cont)

As far as I can see, there is only one more thing you have to do to complete your personal transition into the white way and become the ultimate example for your people.

 

This statement gets the attention of the crowd.

 

QUANAH

 

Listens politely and takes a sip of champagne. He has a look on his face as if he knows what is coming.

 

QUANAH

What would that be, Mr. Hitchcock?

 

HITCHCOCK

Well, it’s pretty obvious I would think.  It’s well known that you still hold to a Comanche custom of taking multiple wives.  I believe that you currently have five wives.  The only thing for you to do is to go back to the reservation and tell all but one of those wives that they have to go.

 

This last statement really get the attention of the crowd around them, especially the women.  They lean forward intently.

 

QUANAH

 

Smiles and looks around the crowd, concentrating on the attentive women.  His charm and charisma have their effect.  He finally turns his attention back to Hitchcock.

 

QUANAH

(still smiling rakishly)

You’d better go tell them which ones have to leave.

 

The crowd explodes with shocked in takes of breath and laughter.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. SENATE HEARING ROOM – DAY

 

Once again Quanah is in Washington, lobbying for the rights of his people.  Once again he is sitting at a long table in front of a dais filled with Senators.  Once again he has a team of lawyers.  A different team.  As the hearings drone on with legaleze concerning the partition of certain lands,

 

A CONGRESSIONAL PAGE

 

approaches the table and gives a slip of paper to one of Quanah’s lawyers.

 

THE LAWYER

 

reads the note and a look of surprise comes across his face.  He leans over and whispers to Quanah.

 

LAWYER

The President has invited you to the White House tonight.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. WHITE HOUSE PORCH – EVENING

 

QUANAH

 

pulls up in a fancy surrey drawn by to beautiful black horses. He is dressed in the latest fashion and looks good.  He is greeted personally by

 

ROOSEVELT

 

who shakes his hand heartily and escorts up the stairs.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. WHITE HOUSE LIBRARY – NIGHT

 

Roosevelt and Quanah are alone in the library.  A fire burns in a large fireplace.  Some of Roosevelt’s hunting trophies are mounted on the walls.  Quanah sits comfortably on a overstuffed leather couch, tendrils of smoke rise from a cigar he holds loosely in his hand.  Roosevelt is pouring brandy into two snifters. 

 

ROOSEVELT

 

is talking as he pours.

 

ROOSEVELT

This country is like no other in the world.  It is still new and unformed in many parts.  We have an opportunity to shape it consciously.  We have the chance to control how it grows. 

 

ROOSEVELT

 

walks over and hands Quanah a snifter.  He sits across from him in a large leather chair.

 

QUANAH

 

takes a sip of brandy and sits back, waiting for Roosevelt to speak.

 

ROOSEVELT

Business interests, if left alone, would exploit every acre for whatever resources would put a dollar in their pockets.  They only think of making riches in the short term.  They could care less what happens generations down the road.  I want to preserve vast tracts of land in order to leave them in their pristine state.  There is a majestic beauty to many of the lands in the west that must not be destroyed.  They seem to me to be sacred in their way.

 

He stops to light a cigar and gather his thoughts.

 

ROOSEVELT

(cont)

I have followed your exploits for years.  It strikes me that you have a singular perspective.  I know of no other man who has made the transition from the tribal to the, if you forgive the term, civilized form of life.  It is that perspective that I think would be helpful to me in my pursuit to save much of the west for future generations.  I have asked you here to see if you would join me in this work.  I would like to be able to draw from you, your knowledge, your relationship to the land, your understanding.  (he leans forward) Will you help me?

 

QUANAH

 

sits back and lets Roosevelt’s words sink in. Surprise, amusement and a slight bewilderment dance across his features. Finally, he speaks

 

QUANAH

You are one very strange white man.

 

ROOSEVELT

 

busts out laughing.

 

 

QUANAH

 

reaches across and they shake hands.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. QUANAH’S LODGE – DAY

 

Quanah and Trailing the Enemy sit quietly sharing a pipe.  They are both noticeably older.

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

 

is dressed like a cowboy – hat, chaps, boots.

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

The price of beef just spiked again in Europe.  Charlie says that it should put the worth of the herd into seven figures.  We’ll start the drive on Thursday.  Shouldn’t be any problems.  It’s almost getting easy these days.

 

 

QUANAH

 

wears a combination of Comanche and white clothing.  He seems at peace.  He leans back and smokes the pipe and smiles.

 

QUANAH

Did you ever think you’d be calling Goodnight by his first name?  You’ve become good friends.

 

TRAILING THE ENEMY

The older I get, the stranger the world becomes, my old friend. I don’t even try and understand it anymore.

(standing)

I’ve got to go.  There’s still much to do before Thursday.

 

QUANAH

 

stands and they both walk outside. 

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. LARGE YARD - EVENING

 

LARGE TWO-STORY HOUSE

 

 

The house is well over a few thousand square feet.  Balconies run along the whole face of the second floor.  Five white stars are painted on the red roof. 

 

QUANAH AND TRAILING THE ENEMY

 

stand and look at the house.

 

ONE OF QUANAH’S WIVES

 

comes out on the front porch.  She shouts to Quanah and Trailing the Enemy

 

WOMAN

Let’s go you two. Come eat. Food is on the table. 

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

EXT. HOUSE – NIGHT

 

The moon has risen.  We can still see the white stars on the roof. We hear laughter from inside the well-lit house.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

INT. HOUSE – NIGHT

 

QUANAH

 

Is sitting around a large fireplace in his living room which is filled with his now five wives, many children, and grandchildren. The family members move in and out of the room.  The children are noisy and playful, running through the house.  It’s the controlled chaos of a very large family. He has a

 

CUTE FIVE YEAR OLD GIRL

 

sitting on his lap.  She is laughing.

 

GIRL

Oh, Grandpa, you’re so funny.  Tell me another story.  Please.

 

Quanah looks down at her, smiling, and caressing her cheek.

 

QUANAH

It’s time for bed, little one.

 

She protests, but her mother picks her up and carries her off, calling the other smaller children to come along.

 

A SMALL BOY

 

comes up to Quanah on his way out, looks up at him with wide blue eyes and asks him a question.

 

BOY

Is the President really coming tomorrow?

 

QUANAH

Yes, he is, Chee.

 

 

BOY

And you’re really going wolf hunting with him?

 

QUANAH

I sure am.

 

BOY

Wow, Grandpa, can I go?

 

QUANAH

(laughing)

You can go to bed, young man. Go.

 

As the boy runs upstairs,

 

QUANAH

 

stands and walks out onto the wide porch that surrounds the house.  It is a beautiful, warm, summer, night.  We hear crickets.  The moon has come up over the eastern horizon.  A lone wolf howls in the distance.  Another answers.  We come in close on

 

QUANAH.

 

His face is old now, wrinkled and lined with age.  A look of reverie crosses his face and we

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

EXT. STAKED PLAINS – DAY

 

Quanah is young again, running on horseback with his friends, chasing down the buffalo.  Laughing in the sun.  Full of wild life.  The plains roar with the sound of buffalo, running horses, wild Comanches.

 

CUT ABRUPTLY BACK TO:

 

QUANAH

 

Standing on the large porch of his white man’s house.  We can hear children laughing from the upstairs bedrooms. He looks up toward the laughter, shakes his head, and smiles.

 

CUT BACK TO:

 

THE BEGINNING SCENE OF THE SCREENPLAY

 

EXT. GRASSLAND OUTSIDE GUTHRIE TEXAS - DAY

 

A camera crew is setting up a bulky movie camera – vintage early 1900’s.  A director in knickers and snap brim hat is talking loudly.

 

DIRECTOR

Mr. President, if we could just get you and the Chief standing a little closer together.

 

QUANAH AND ROOSEVELT

 

stride through the tall grass, rifles at the ready.  Roosevelt shouts back at the director.

 

ROOSEVELT

Perhaps you can instruct the wolves to jump in front of our rifles, Mr. Director

 

THE DIRECTOR

 

Is frustrated but determined to get what he can.  He takes out his anger on the camerman.

 

DIRECTOR

Alright, you heard what he said!  C’mon.  Let’s go.  We’re losing the light!

 

CUT TO:

 

ACTUAL FOOTAGE

 

of Quanah and Roosevelt hunting wolves.

 

CUT BACK TO:

 

MODERN FOOTAGE

 

THE DIRECTOR

 

approaches Quanah during a break in the shooting.  The sun is going down.

 

DIRECTOR

Listen, Chief.  How would you like to be in the movies?  I think you could make a lot of money.  I could make you a star.

 

QUANAH

 

looks over to Roosevelt who is standing by a table outside of the large tent.  The table is filled with food.  Roosevelt is eating

 

QUANAH

(shouting to Roosevelt)

Teddy!  What’s a star?!

 

ROOSEVELT

 

looks up and laughs.

 

ROOSEVELT

Stuff and nonsense, Quanah!  Stuff and nonsense! Do you like to play pretend?  Like a child?  That’s what stars do!

 

QUANAH

 

shakes the director’s hand.

 

QUANAH

Thanks for the offer, but I’ll think I’ll go get something to eat.

 

He turns and starts to walk over to Roosevelt.

 

THE DIRECTOR

 

yells at him.

 

DIRECTOR

Chief!  Maybe you didn’t hear me!  I can make you a lot of money!

 

CUT TO:

 

TIGHT CLOSE UP ON QUANAH

 

For the last time we clearly see both the white and Comanche blood in the man.  Amusement dances in his blue eyes. He smiles patiently and contently.

 

QUANAH

(quietly)

I have a lot of money.

 

We hear Roosevelt bust out in a explosive horse laugh as we

 

FREEZE FRAME ON QUANAH’S FACE

 

With Roosevelt’s laughter echoing on the soundtrack .

 

AND SLOWLY DISSOLVE TO BLACK

 

GRAPHICS BEGIN TO SCROLL UPWARD ACROSS THE SCREEN.

 

 

“WHEN QUANAH PARKER DIED ON FEBRUARY 22, 1911 HE HAD FIVE WIVES AND TWENTY FIVE CHILDREN

 

HE OWNED A FORTY ROOM MANSION

 

HE WAS A SUCCESSFUL CATTLE RANCHER

 

 

AND A MAJOR STOCKHOLDER IN THE QUANAH, ACME AND PACIFIC RAILROAD

 

 

HE WAS A JUDGE AND SUCCESSFUL LOBBYIST FOR INDIAN RIGHTS IN WASHINGTON

 

HE HAD A TOWN NAMED AFTER HIM IN TEXAS

 

HE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NATIVE AMERICAN CHURCH, THE ONLY LEGALLY RECOGNIZED CHURCH IN THE U.S. WHOSE MEMBERS ARE ALLOWED TO USE A PSYCHEDELIC SUBSTANCE AS A SACRAMENT.

 

HE BECAME FRIENDS WITH TEDDY ROOSEVELT AND RODE IN HIS INAUGARATION CEREMONY

 

HE WAS VOTED BY HIS TRIBE TO BE OFFICIALLY DESIGNATED

“THE LAST CHIEF OF THE COMANCHES”

 

THE EPITAPH ON HIS TOMBSTONE READS:

 

"Resting Here Until Day Breaks
And Shadows Fall
and Darkness Disappears
is
Quanah Parker
Last Chief of the Comanches
Born - 1852
Died Feb. 23, 1911"

 

 

 

 



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