Media/Movie Scripts/Other/Cold Mountain (2003)

         "COLD MOUNTAIN"

                                            by

                                    Anthony Minghella

                            Based On The Novel "Cold Mountain"

                                            by

                                     Charles Frazier

                

               EXT. COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN, NORTH CAROLINA. DAY

               ON A BLACK SCREEN: Credits.

               A RAUCOUS VOICE (SWIMMERíS) CHANTING IN THE CHEROKEE LANGUAGE.

               A RANGE OF MOUNTAINS SLOWLY EMERGES: shrouded in a blue mist 
               like a Chinese water color. Below them, close to a small 
               town, YOUNG MEN, armed with vicious sticks and stripped to 
               the waist, come charging in a muscular, steaming pack.

               Their opponents, also swinging sticks, attach the pack.

               A ball, barely round, made of leather, emerges, smacked 
               forwards by INMAN, who hurtles after it and collides with a 
               stick swung by SWIMMER, a young and lithe American Indian. 
               Inman falls, clutching his nose. The ball bobbles on the 
               ground in front of him. He grabs it and gets to his feet, 
               the blood pouring from his nose.

               His team form a phalanx around him and he continues to charge.

               A PRISTINE CABRIOLET pulled by an impressive horse, comes 
               down towards the town. It has to pass across the temporary 
               field of play, parting the teams. Some of the contestants 
               grab their shirts to restore propriety as the Cabriolet and 
               its two exotic passengers passes by.

               The driver is a man in his early fifties, dressed in the 
               severe garb of a minister, MONROE. And next to him, a self-
               conscious girl in the spotless elaborate, architectural skirts 
               of the period, is his daughter, ADA. Inman, using his shirt 
               to staunch his battered nose, looks at Ada, astonished by 
               her. An angel in this wild place.

               Now Swimmer stops chanting and begins, more hesitantly, to 
               translate into English:

                                     SWIMMERíS VOICE (V.O.)
                         You will be lonely. You will howl 
                         like a dog as you walk alone. You 
                         will carry dog shit cupped in your 
                         hands. You will be smeared with dog 
                         shit. Your spirit will wane and 
                         dwindle to blue, the colour of 
                         despair... 

               As the Cabriolet passes, SWIMMER takes the ball an with a 
               whoop starts to run towards the opposing goal. The game 
               resumes. Ada looks back as the men swarm into each other, 
               sticks and fists flailing.

               EXT. COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. NIGHT

               A SIDE OF BEEF turns on a huge barbecue. The battered teams 
               eating, drinking hard liquor, rehearsing victory and defeat, 
               illuminated by a roaring bonfire. Swimmer is sewing up a 
               gash in Inmanís cheek as he continues to translate:

                                     SWIMMER
                         ...This is your path. There is no 
                         other. That's a curse you can use on 
                         the Yankee before battle.

                                     INMAN
                         And that works?

                                     SWIMMER
                         You have to say it in Cherokee.

                                     INMAN
                         You said it to me in Cherokee.

               During this, Monroe and Ada have arrived, escorted by SALLY 
               SWANGER, a local woman, middle-aged, kindly, and her husband, 
               ESCO, a glorious curmudgeon. The Monroes are introduced to 
               various locals. Inamn watches them, on the other side of the 
               crowd. The Reverend Monroe, his daughter Ada. Up from 
               Charleston, bringing God's word to you heathens! Is Esco's 
               preferred introduction. Building a church. Inman watches 
               Ada, moves his head to keep her in view as Swimmer stitches, 
               and winces with pain.

                                     SWIMMER
                         So keep your head still.

               Sally collects plates for the Monroes. Hands them to Ada and 
               her father, who wait, patiently, for silverware. Esco takes 
               a plate, picks up a skewer of meat, bites on it. Monroe 
               pluckily follows suit.

                                     INMAN
                              (to Swimmer)
                         Anyway, there won't be any war. And 
                         if there is, they say it won't last 
                         a week.

                                                END OF CREDITS AND FADE TO:

               EXT. CONFEDERATE LINES. PREDAWN

               CAPTION: PETERSBURG, VIRGINIA. JULY 30TH, 1864. IN THE FOURTH 
               YEAR OF THE CIVIL WAR.

               A STAND OF TREES. The pastoral lush green Virginia. A RABBIT 
               surfaces from its hole. Peace and beauty.

               A second RABBIT shakes itself from the ground, darts into 
               open ground to confront the FORBIDDING TRENCHES OF THE 
               CONFEDERATE AND UNION ARMIES, RANGED AGAINST EACH OTHER ON 
               THE OUTSKIRTS OF PETERSBURG. Massive wooden barricades in 
               the shape of crosses, rows of X's, define the two lines. The 
               Federals have been laying siege for months. So early and 
               it's already hot. The trees are an oasis of green in a world 
               of mud between the two stark and ugly scars of the trenches.

               IN THE CONFEDERATE LINES, the men are rousing, boiling water 
               for coffee or to shave, smoking, stiff from night. There's a 
               large gun emplacement and some men still sleep against the 
               stub-nosed cannon. Another RABBIT is disturbed from its hole. 
               Ears pricked up to a distant rumbling.

               INT. TUNNEL. PREDAWN.

               A dark hole. Some evil place. A scraping sound. Shapes 
               burrowing forwards at a crouch. A silent purpose.

               EXT. CONFEDERATE LINES. PREDAWN.

               Young OAKLEY, freshly recruited, approaches a group of men, 
               like him Highlanders from Company F of the 25th North Carolina 
               Regiment. He doles out breakfast. Inman, loading his heavy 
               LeMats pistol, its nine rounds, is not hungry. Oakley serves 
               another, ROURKE, last seen in the scrum at Cold Mountain. 
               Oakley keeps his head low as he serves.

                                     ROURKE
                         Don't worry, son. Those Yankee boys 
                         keep store hours. They ain't open 
                         yet.

               INT. TUNNEL. PREDAWN

               Shadows and shapes. A BARREL rumbles along the tunnel. It 
               reaches a kneeling figure, who rolls it forwards. A relay 
               team. At the end of the tunnel, where it widens, a man, naked 
               to the waist, crouches, stacking the barrels.

               EXT. CONFEDERATE LINES. PREDAWN

               A RABBIT, scared up, darts along the trench. Rourke sees it, 
               beckons to another Cold Mountain boy, Butcher.

                                     BUTCHER
                         That's fresh breakfast. Shoot him!

                                     ROURKE
                         I'm not firing, start the damn war 
                         off.

               Butcher chases after the rabbit, Rourke in raucous support.

               INT. TUNNEL. PREDAWN

               The crouching man has wrapped FUZE WIRE around the last 
               barrel, and now retreats, paying out the wire as he does so, 
               as each man in the tunnel crawls backwards behind him.

               EXT. CONFEDERATE LINES. DAWN

               Rourke weaves through the gun emplacements, laughing.

                                     ROURKE
                         That's my rabbit!

               Great sport. Inman, fifty yards away, looks over, amused, 
               goes back to his gun.

               INT. TUNNEL. DAWN

               The fuze wire is lit. It fizzes towards the barrels.

               EXT. CONFEDERATE LINES. DAWN

               Rourke is running BUT NOW THE GROUND BUCKLES UNDER HIM AND 
               HE'S BEING LIFTED SLOWLY INTO THE AIR, the earth swelling.

               AN APOCALYPTIC EXPLOSION. FOUR TONS OF DYNAMITE RIP THE GROUND 
               OPEN IN A CRATER 135 FEET LONG, 90 FEET ACROSS, 30 FEET DEEP.

               HORSES, GUNS, MEN ARE BLOWN TO PIECES AND THROWN UP INTO THE 
               AIR.

               INMAN DISAPPEARS UNDER DIRT AND DEBRIS.

               Pandemonium. The Confederates are in complete disarray. The 
               Federals pour forwards across NO MANS LAND, through the 
               peaceful oasis of trees, roaring the roar of attack. They 
               flood towards the crater, hundreds of them, charging into a 
               dense and impenetrable WALL OF SMOKE.

               THEN THEY'RE INSIDE THE GREAT GASH OF CRATER AND CAN'T GET 
               OUT AGAIN, arriving at an insurmountable wall of mud.

               The Confederates regroup. Orders are yelled. Chaos developing 
               into battle.

               The Confederates begin firing into the crater. Guns and mortar 
               wheel round and empty into what is becoming a terrible death 
               trap.

               Inman gets to his feet. Oakley with him, and rushes through 
               the smoke to the pit, emptying his LeMats into the crater.

               LATER: A BLACK REGIMENT from the Union join the attack. Bodies 
               falling on bodies as the Federals charge in and pack their 
               comrades even tighter. The Confederates make a pincer movement 
               outside the Crater, forcing all the Federals in. It's 
               Medieval.

               No escape.

               THE CONFEDERATES jump into the pit to engage the Federals. 
               Hand to hand fighting. Too close for rifles, just bayonets, 
               and guns swung like clubs and Inman sliding down into that 
               hell, tiring the nine rounds, then the shotgun charge, which 
               does a terrible damage. Primitive. Unutterable carnage. Men 
               killing each other in embraces, soldier crushed against 
               soldier, desperate to survive, to kill, to live. An oozing 
               layer cake of bodies, dead and frantically alive, drowning 
               in slick.

               YOUNG OAKLEY loses his rifle and picks up a magazine case, 
               clubbing his opponent, then slips onto him and is stuck with 
               a bayonet, the pain of which makes him squeal.

               INMAN GOES AT IT. He's a warrior, punching and stabbing and 
               firing. A coldly efficient killer. He's grabbed from behind 
               and crushed, a hand gouging at his face, an almighty struggle.

               He falls and lands on top of Oakley, and he and his Federal 
               opponent fight to the death with the wounded boy as their 
               pillow. The slaughter continues over and around them, the 
               sound, the sound of hell and madness. The boy has his arm 
               around Inman, like lovers.

               LATER: The Confederates run after the retreating Union 
               soldiers, firing, cavalry riding them down. Inman stands, 
               the boy's blood all over him, exhausted and appalled. The 
               crater, behind him, an abattoir of men. The victors are 
               yelling, pumped mad with adrenaline. Butcher comes alongside 
               Inman.

                                     BUTCHER
                         That was something! That's hell and 
                         we've been there! Kicked old Nick's 
                         asshole.

               A WOUNDED BLACK SOLDIER sits up as Butcher celebrates.

               Butcher runs over, but can't find a charge for his musket. 
               He looks around in the stack of corpses, pulling out weapons,

               tries one: not loaded, throws it down, tries another: not 
               loaded. The wounded man can't get up, tries to drag himself 
               like a crab away from Butcher. Inman yells at him, appalled.

                                     BUTCHER
                         You got a charge?

               He picks up another musket. It fires. The wounded Federal 
               slumps back, dead.

               EXT. CONFEDERATE LINES. DUSK

               THE AFTERMATH. The dead being piled up for burial, divided 
               into allegiance. Wounded prisoners able to walk are led away.

               A great deal of casual looting. Of boots, of equipment, of 
               personal items. Inman sees a soldier in the crater, lining 
               up wounded Federals, putting their heads in a row. THE MAN 
               EXTRACTS A HAMMER FROM HIS BELT AND, SATISFIED HE HAS AN 
               ECONOMIC ARRANGEMENT, PROCEEDS DOWN THE LINE, SMASHING EACH 
               SKULL.

               Inman turns away, sees another Rebel, extravagantly costumed, 
               a strange FIDDLE head protruding from his knapsack. This is 
               STOBROD THEWES. He's bent over a dead Federal, examining his 
               mouth. He reaches behind his back and roots around in the 
               knapsack, producing A PAIR OF PLIERS, WHICH HE INSERTS INTO 
               THE CORPSE'S MOUTH. He's yanking away when A SWINGING BOOT 
               connects with his head and knocks him to the ground.

               Startled, he looks up to see Inman hovering over him.

                                     STOBROD
                         That's gold in his mouth he got no 
                         need for.
                              (shrugs)
                         We take his boots.

               He examines his fiddle for damage. Some orderlies pass, 
               lifting OAKLEY away on a gurney.

               Oakley's pale as a maiden, the life leaking from him. Inman 
               walks a way with him. Oakley looks up, desperate to be brave.

                                     OAKLEY
                         I got a few. You saw?

                                     INMAN
                         I saw.

                                     OAKLEY
                         I know you don't recognise me. I'm 
                         Mo Oakley's boy.
                              (Inman finds this 
                              incredible)
                         It's okay. I was thirteen when you 
                         all left. Am I going to die?

               Inman flicks his eyes to the Orderly, whose look confirms 
               the boy's wounds are certainly mortal.

               INT. FIELD HOSPITAL. NIGHT

               Inman sits on the ground beside Oakley's cot. Around them, 
               the wounded are certainly dying, makeshift care, oil lights, 
               groans.

                                     OAKLEY
                         I'd like to hear some music while I 
                         go.

               EXT. CONFEDERATE LINES. NIGHT

               Inman walks around the campfires. He hears some fiddle music. 
               It's Stobrod.

               Stobrod sees Inman. Inman stares, his expression an 
               instruction, the turns and walks away.

               INT. FIELD HOSPITAL. NIGHT

               Stobrod stands over Oakley. Consults with Inman.

                                     STOBROD
                         What about Bonaparte's Retreat? That's 
                         one I play.

                                     OAKLEY
                         Play me something sweet. Like a girl's 
                         waiting for me.

               Stobrod looks at Inman, confused.

                                     OAKLEY
                         Play me something like there's nothing 
                         to fear from a merciful Lord.

                                     INMAN
                              (to Stobrod)
                         You heard him.

                                     STOBROD
                              (nervous)
                         I only know a couple of tunes.

                                     OAKLEY
                         Like when you're thirsty up at 
                         Bishop's Creek and the water is so 
                         cool.

               Inman glares at Stobrod. And Stobrod starts to play.

               Hesitant, then with gathering confidence, improvising, 
               increasingly expansive, as if he's as surprised as everyone 
               else. Oakley's lips move. A whisper. Inman leans in.

                                     OAKLEY
                         I'm reaching Cold Mountain before 
                         you.

               Stobrod plays. It's wrenching. Oakley stills. Inman abruptly 
               puts his hand on the neck of the fiddle, stopping Stobrod. 
               The boy is dead. Inman gets to his feet and walks away.

               INT. CONFEDERATE TENT. NIGHT

               A dozen men in the tent. Inman has a BOOK, its cover gone, 
               rolled up and tied with a leather strap. His bookmark is A 
               FADED TINTYPE PHOTOGRAPH of a solemn young woman. He unwraps 
               the book carefully and reads a page by the sickly light next 
               to his bedroll. An OFFICER comes into the tent, approaches 
               Inman, who makes a stand.

                                     OFFICER
                         Don't get up, soldier. You are 
                         mentioned tonight in my report. You 
                         are a credit to the Highlands, to 
                         North Carolina and to the Cause.

                                     INMAN
                              (tight)
                         Do you have news, sir, on my 
                         application for transfer?

                                     OFFICER
                         I know. A bloody day. It's what our 
                         General said: Good thing war is so 
                         terrible else a man might end up 
                         liking it too much.

                                     INMAN
                         Sir. It was my understanding the 
                         medical corps was desperate for 
                         volunteers.

                                     OFFICER
                         Right now, soldier, it's me who is 
                         in need of volunteers. There's a 
                         dozen Yankees in that stand of trees 
                         between us. Stuck there from the 
                         retreat. Come daylight they can shoot 
                         us down for sport.

               EXT. CONFEDERATE LINES. NIGHT

               A beautiful night. Lots of stars. Inman and three others, 
               including Butcher, slide over the top of the trench, far to 
               one side of the stand of trees. The plan is to cast a wide 
               arc that will bring them around back of the trees, closer to 
               the enemy side than their own. The four men slither over the 
               ground. They pause. Inman has arrived at a tangle of corpses.

               He slithers over them.

               They work their way towards the trees. THERE ARE A HALF DOZEN 
               FEDERALS CROUCHING IN THE COVER OF THE TREES. They are dozing. 
               Only one of them sits with a rifle surveying the Confederate 
               lines, the others have their backs to the enemy, sitting 
               against the trunks, grabbing a few minute's sleep.

               As the four rebels approach, still crawling, one of the 
               Federals opens his eyes, sees the attack, shifts for his 
               rifle. INMAN IMMEDIATELY STANDS UP, FIRING INSTANTLY, killing 
               him and two others, while Butcher throws himself at another.

               The exchanges are brief and savage and one of Inman's party 
               and all of the Federals lay dead. Then the rebels break from 
               the trees.

               A FLARE goes up, then another, both from the Confederate 
               trenches. INMAN AND HIS ACCOMPLICES ARE PICKED OUT IN A 
               BRILLIANT GREEN LIGHT. Shots follow, from both sides, aimed 
               at the three returning men as they zigzag towards their own 
               lines. As they get close, voices cry out, rippling down the 
               trench, joining their own admonitions: Don't shoot, Hold 
               your fire, they're our boys, Hold your fire!!! They're almost 
               home. Butcher is laughing, whooping. Then just as suddenly 
               he falls, wounded. Inman stops, turns back, runs to him.

               Inman collects Butcher, drags him, carries him. They're fifty 
               yards from their lines. A BULLET CATCHES INMAN IN THE NECK.

               He goes down like a tree, blood pouring from his neck. Lying 
               on the ground, he watches the phosphorescent lights slowly 
               fade to black, all sound fading with them.

               EXT. CHAPEL, COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. 3 YEARS EARLIER. DAY

               A WOODEN JOIST swings across the view of the Blue Ridge. Men 
               are swarming over the roof of an unfinished CHAPEL, below 
               which appears the small town of COLD MOUNTAIN. Among the 
               workers, armed with nails and hammer, knees clutching a 
               rafter, is Inman, fresh and a whole lifetime younger. Rourke 
               and Butcher are also there hammering, building, kidding around 
               and Oakley, barely a teenager.

               Below them, women are setting up a lunch for the workers, 
               ADA amongst them. She has the circumspect air of the blue 
               stocking, uncomfortably aware of the dirt beneath her hem, 
               the men's radar for her every move. Inman watches her as 
               Sally Swanger approaches.

                                     SALLY
                              (to Ada, as Monroe 
                              moves off)
                         Ada, how are you settling in? Are 
                         you liking the farm?

                                     ADA
                         Very much. It's beautiful country.

                                     SALLY
                         So listen -- if you would say hello 
                         to one of these fools, I'll get a 
                         field cleared this weekend.

                                     ADA
                         Anyone? Like a forfeit?

                                     SALLY
                              (pointing at Inman 
                              who immediately looks 
                              away)
                         No. Him in particular, up in the 
                         rafters. Been pressing me all morning.

               UP ON THE ROOFBEAMS OF THE CHAPEL, the men are preoccupied 
               with talk of secession from the Union.

                                     ROURKE
                              (hammering)
                         I call this nail: Northern Aggression.
                              (hammering)
                         I call this nail: a free nigger.

                                     BUTCHER
                         Show some respect -- these nails are 
                         making a church.

                                     ROURKE
                              (hammering)
                         I call this nail: respect the church.

               Ada comes over, carrying a tray of lemonade glasses. Calls 
               up to Inman.

                                     ADA
                         Hello.

               Inman swings down. He feels the other men staring, burning a 
               hole in his head.

                                     ADA
                         I'm Ada Monroe.

                                     INMAN
                         I'm Inman.

                                     ADA
                         Inman?

                                     INMAN
                         W. P. Inman.

                                     ADA
                         W. P. Inman.

                                     INMAN
                         Repeating a thing doesn't improve 
                         it.
                              (shrugs)
                         People call me Inman.

                                     ADA
                         If you were to take a glass of 
                         lemonade your friends might stop 
                         staring. Inman.

                                     INMAN
                         They're not my friends.

               He drops down to ground level, takes the lemonade, scowls at 
               the other guys. They're breaking for lunch and as they make 
               their way to the trestle tables -- they enjoy jostling Inman.

                                     INMAN
                         Thank you.

                                     ADA
                         And what do you do?

                                     INMAN
                         I work wood. Got a piece of land. 
                         Mostly work wood.

                                     ADA
                         Clear fields?

                                     INMAN
                              (uncomfortable)
                         I can clear a field.

                                     ADA
                         So, was there something in particular 
                         you wished to say to me?

                                     INMAN
                              (thinks about it)
                         Not that comes to me.
                              (hands back the glass)
                         I'll say thank you for the lemonade.

               And he turns and joins the other men gathering round the 
               tables for lunch. Ada watches him, intrigued. Rourke and co. 
               approach ESCO SWANGER, a known sympathizer with the North, 
               to give him a bad time.

                                     ROURKE
                         Esco loves the Yankees.

                                     ESCO
                         I prefer a Yankee to a halfwit.

               Inman arrives just as Rourke points a warning finger at Esco.

               He pushes the finger down to get by. Esco continues:

                                     ESCO
                         What is it you think you'd be fighting 
                         for?

                                     ROURKE
                         The South.

                                     ESCO
                         And what's that when it's at home?

               Esco's sons, ELLIS AND ACTON, who're working at the other 
               end of the building, have now arrived at the table.

                                     ACTON
                         Pop, you causing trouble?

                                     ESCO
                         No.

                                     ELLIS
                         That means yes.

                                     ESCO
                         You cut the wood, you carry the water 
                         for good old King Cotton. Now you 
                         want to fight for him. Somebody has 
                         to explain it to me.

                                     ACTON
                              (to Rourke and the 
                              others)
                         Don't even try.

               The others are desperate to tease Inman.

                                     BUTCHER
                         How's the lemonade? Sweet?

               Ada, at the lemonade stand again, watches them laughing at 
               Inman, who keeps his head fixed on the table.

               EXT. CONFEDERATE LINES. NIGHT

               INMAN, ON A GURNEY, carried, someone with a cloth to his 
               neck, which is soaked through with blood. They start to run 
               with him, heading for the field hospital, worried that he 
               will die before the wound can be staunched, cauterized.

               Throughout, A STRANGE MUSIC PLAYS, discordant notes jangling:

               EXT. SWANGER FARM. COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

               -- from A PIANO, lashed to a cart, as it bounces along the 
               lane, passing the Swanger Farm. Sally comes out to look. 
               It's Ada riding next to one of the farmhands, a second boy 
               keeping watch over the piano. Sally goes over.

                                     SALLY
                         That's a fine looking thing.

                                     ADA
                         I've been missing it.

                                     SALLY
                         Thank you, by the way.
                              (from Ada's quizzical 
                              look)
                         Inman's down in the bottom field, 
                         clearing his debt.

                                     ADA
                         Oh dear. And then he had nothing to 
                         say.

                                     SALLY
                         He was happy.

                                     ADA
                         Really?

                                     SALLY
                         Are men so different in Charleston?

                                     ADA
                         Men? I don't know. I don't even know 
                         what a woman should be like. In 
                         Charleston I was called a thistle, 
                         twice, by two different men. Both of 
                         them -- they were hunting for a 
                         simile, what was I like -- and thistle 
                         came right to them.

                                     SALLY
                         If you're saying you might like him, 
                         why not go down and say hello.

               EXT. BOTTOM FIELD, SWANGER FARM. DAY

               Inman's working in the field, stripped to his undershirt, 
               hot work, wielding a scythe. He hears something and looks up 
               at the edge of the lane, ADA IS PLAYING THE PIANO, which is 
               still strapped to the cart. She briefly raises a hand to 
               Inman, then nods to the farmhand who sets them on their way 
               again. Inman smiles, waves back, watching as the cart rumbles 
               off down the track.

               EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. NIGHT

               It's pouting with rain. INSIDE THE FARMHOUSE, ADA IS PLAYING 
               THE PIANO.

               Men and women crowd into the parlour, in best clothes, 
               celebrating the completion of the Chapel. Inman is outside 
               on the porch, his coat soaked, water pouring off his hat. He 
               looks at Ada. She finishes. Monroe steps in front of the 
               applause, smiling. His words of thanks leak through the window 
               to Inman, who stands, watching, listening.

               INT. PARLOUR, BLACK COVE FARM. NIGHT

               Monroe circulates, with Ada. He nods at a group of men, who 
               congregate in one part, not mingling. Their leader, TEAGUE, 
               might be a minister himself, favouring a black dress coat, a 
               black crow in the corner, eyes flashing. Ada doesn't know 
               them. Esco comes by. Monroe puts a hand on his arm.

                                     MONROE
                         Esco, our friends there --
                              (indicating Teague 
                              and co.)
                         -- they helped build the Chapel?

                                     ESCO
                         That's Teague and his boys. I'd 
                         recommend you kick them out except a 
                         man don't kick a snake. One time the 
                         Teague family owned the whole of 
                         Cold Mountain. My farm, your farm, 
                         all belonged to his grand-daddy. 
                         Teague wanted this place bad. You 
                         got it. He's here sniffing out an 
                         advantage.

                                     MONROE
                         There's no advantage here, but to 
                         celebrate a job well done. Cheers --
                              (he raises his glass)
                         -- and thank you.

               And Teague raises his glass across the room.

               EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. NIGHT

               Ada appears at the door opening it onto the porch. She's 
               carrying a tray with drinks. Acknowledges Inman.

                                     ADA
                         Were you planning to come inside?

                                     INMAN
                         I'm wetter than a fish.

                                     ADA
                         There's a good fire going.

                                     INMAN
                         I'm all right.

                                     ADA
                         Somebody said you were enlisting.
                              (no response)
                         Are you?

                                     INMAN
                         If there's a war we'll all fight.

                                     ADA
                              (unimpressed)
                         If there's a mountain we'll all climb, 
                         if there's an ocean we'll all drown.

                                     INMAN
                         Call a thing a war makes it a 
                         challenge to some men.

                                     ADA
                         Did you get a picture made?

                                     INMAN
                         Say again.

                                     ADA
                         A tintype, with your gun and your 
                         courage on display.

                                     INMAN
                         You're laughing at me.

                                     ADA
                         I don't know you.

                                     INMAN
                         You're always carrying a tray.

                                     ADA
                         I'm taking a drink over to the negroes 
                         in the barn.

                                     INMAN
                              (takes the tray)
                         I'll do that. I can't get much wetter.

               He goes into the night rain. She watches him.

               EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               A beautiful day, the farm peaceful. Inman walks up the path 
               to the farmhouse, its borders flowering and pretty, a slave 
               woman weeding. He knocks on the door. Monroe answers.

                                     MONROE
                         Mr. Inman.

                                     INMAN
                         Reverend.

                                     MONROE
                         What can I do for you?

               Inman hovers, awkward. Ada appears, awkward.

                                     INMAN
                         I have some sheet music. Belonged to 
                         my father. No use to me.

               Ada comes forward, takes the package.

                                     MONROE
                         You must come in.

                                     INMAN
                         I should probably get along.

                                     ADA
                         Mr. Inman is more comfortable 
                         outdoors. Perhaps we might take a 
                         walk.

                                     MONROE
                         A splendid idea.

               EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               Monroe and Inman and Ada touring the farm. It's a biggish 
               property, over three hundred acres. And well-tended by the 
               dozen slave farmhands who work it, some of whom are dotted 
               about in the landscape. Rolling mountains dominate the view.

                                     MONROE
                              (expansive)
                         I want to get sheep into this field. 
                         A big field doesn't look right without 
                         sheep. You're a lucky fellow, Mr. 
                         Inman, you've had this view all your 
                         life.

                                     INMAN
                         I think so.

                                     MONROE
                         It's a special view. I dragged my 
                         poor daughter to Cold Mountain from 
                         Charleston because of my Doctors -- 
                         they say my heart is weak -- so the 
                         air's meant to do me good. But it's 
                         the view I think heals.

               Ada walking behind, comes alongside the two men, threading 
               her arm into her father's but, by so doing, also arriving 
               next to Inman.

                                     MONROE
                         I have to get on my visits. Can I 
                         offer you a ride back into town?

               Inman looks at Ada. No word.

               INT. PARLOUR, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               From the window Ada watches the Cabriolet head towards town.

               At the piano, she unwraps the leather lace from the package 
               of music. Inside the first book of music, there's a 
               DAGUERREOTYPE OF INMAN with his LeMats, a typical Confederate 
               pose. Some of the music has left its imprint on the picture, 
               the notes like a melody over Inman's face. Ada picks them 
               out on the piano.

               The ebullient sound of Shape Singing. A noisy choir letting 
               rip --

               INT. CHAPEL, COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN, MAY 20TH, 1861. DAY

               -- THE WHOLE CHURCH IS SINGING, MEN TO ONE SIDE: WOMEN TO 
               THE OTHER. Monroe conducts, sings. Inman is there, as is 
               Ada. He fixes on her neck, the way the hair falls.

               The door bursts open. Young OAKLEY, apologetic nod to Monroe, 
               sits at the back, then leans forward, as the singing 
               continues, to say something to Rourke, who says something to 
               Butcher, the news spreading like wildfire. Rourke gets up, 
               leaves. Butcher gets up next, follows. Another man. Another.

               Depleting the male voices, until only women and some of the 
               older men are singing and one side of the church is 
               practically empty.

               Inman, remains, fixed on Ada. Who does not look round.

               EXT. CHAPEL, COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

               Those left in the congregation now spill out into what has 
               become a melee as the NEWS OF SECESSION goes up. Enormous 
               excitement, particularly among the boys, who now seem 
               curiously attractive to the girls. Inman blinks out into the 
               sun, Ada finds him. They're awkward as they watch other 
               sweethearts embracing.

                                     ADA
                         Well, you have your war.

               TEAGUE AND HIS MEN COME RIDING UP THE STREET, their horses 
               clearing a path amongst the celebrating crowd. Teague reins 
               in his horse and rides it up against Esco Swanger.

                                     TEAGUE
                         Those who follow Lincoln, or preach 
                         abolition, best keep one eye open 
                         when they're sleeping, Old Bogey Man 
                         might get you!

               Inman steps between Esco and Teague, holding the reins of 
               Teague's horse, easy and dangerous.

                                     INMAN
                         Are you the law all of a sudden?

               Teague produces a document, which he waves in the air.

                                     TEAGUE
                         That's right, son. Home Guard for 
                         Haywood County. I'm the law from 
                         today. You all go fight now. We'll 
                         watch your sweethearts.

               And he spurs on his horse, his fellow Home Guard falling in 
               behind, riding on over the ridge. Inman walks to Ada.

                                     INMAN
                         You might be safer back in Charleston.

                                     ADA
                         But then who'll be waiting for you?

               She puts a hand on his arm for a second. They both want to 
               get to the point of declaration but don't know how. They 
               stand, people noisy around them, those about to leave, those 
               about to be left.

                                     INMAN
                         I'm going to walk back inside the 
                         Chapel.

               And he does so, making his meaning clear for her to follow.

               INT. CHAPEL, COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

               Inman walks inside. Stands with his back to the door. It 
               opens and closes. Inman turns. It's Monroe.

                                     MONROE
                         Did you want a quiet word?

               Now the door opens again and it's Ada. She's dismayed to see 
               her father.

                                     INMAN
                         Just some quiet.

                                     MONROE
                         Of course Ada.

               He indicates they should both leave. Inman sits at a bench.

               EXT. COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

               Monroe and Ada come into town in their cabriolet. They pass 
               under banners proclaiming the Confederate cause: Old Rip's 
               Awake! Watch out Yankees! The trap draws up by the Cold 
               Mountain General Store. Monroe lets Ada down.

                                     MONROE
                              (of his appointment)
                         I'll daresay Dr. O'Brien'll want to 
                         do a test or two.

                                     ADA
                         And then there'll be a coffee or 
                         two, a brandy or two...

               Monroe smiles in acknowledgement, gets back in the trap. Ada 
               heads into the store.

               INT. BEDROOM. ROOMING HOUSE. COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

               INMAN SITS ON HIS BED, wearing pants and a vest. His room is 
               like a monk's cell. Nothing in it. Inman's trunk is packed.

               He's polishing his boots, in his bare feet. One hand inside 
               the boot, the other blacking it. There's a knock at the door.

               He opens it. It's Ada. He abruptly closes the door on her.

               INT. HALLWAY, ROOMING HOUSE. COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

               Ada waits outside. She's not sure what's happening. Then 
               Inman opens the door. He's buttoning his shirt. His boots 
               are on, one conspicuously dirty, one highly polished. Somebody 
               walks up the stairs, carrying a jug and bowl. They separate 
               as the man passes them. They're tender, awkward.

                                     ADA
                         I found you this book. William 
                         Bartram. They tell me it's good. I 
                         think he writes about these parts, 
                         the author, so...

               Inman takes it.

               She has something else. Wrapped in paper.

                                     ADA
                         And this...
                              (hands it to him)
                         I'm not smiling in it. I don't know 
                         how to do that, hold a smile, so now 
                         I'm solemn...

                                     INMAN
                         Ada...

                                     ADA
                         What?

               HE KISSES HER, pressing into her, his arm circling her waist.

               Below them the sound of a MARCHING BAND. It's the RECRUITMENT 
               PARADE and brings Rourke and Butcher racing down the stairs.

               Inman pulls away from Ada as the boys hurtle for the front 
               door.

                                     ROURKE
                         Let's go!

               EXT. COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

               Rourke, Butcher, and then Inman appear in the doorway of the 
               Rooming House, and then fall in with the motley crew of 
               Volunteers AS THEY MARCH BY WITH THE BAND AND THE ENLISTED 
               SOLDIERS. The town is out to wish them well, parents, younger 
               brothers, sweethearts walking alongside their brave men. Ada 
               comes to the door of the Rooming House. Inman looks back and 
               sees her, but almost immediately loses her in the crowd. THE 
               DRUMMERS DRUM, THE CROWD CHEERS, THE RECRUITS MARCH UP THE 
               HILL --

               EXT. BEHIND CONFEDERATE LINES, VIRGINIA. DAY

               -- AND THE WOUNDED AND THE WRETCHED STRAGGLE ALONG THE 
               RAILROAD.

               A TRAIN with the seriously injured snakes past the back of 
               the Confederate lines -- its suburbs of supplies, arriving 
               and departing troops -- and into peaceful country. FIDDLE 
               PLAYS, THEN A BANJO.

               INT. BOX CAR. DAY

               A CROWDED WAGON. It's a cauldron, and those able smash through 
               the wooden walls to make a breathing hole. Some have their 
               heads thrust out like crated poultry. INMAN IS IN THERE, 
               neck bandaged, its ugly seepage making a bloody necklace. 
               The light plays black and white through the boarded sides of 
               the boxcar, flashing on Inman's face as he drifts in and out 
               of consciousness. He focuses and sees the strange head of 
               STOBROD'S FIDDLE. Stobrod is serenading him, accompanied by 
               an angel-faced and extremely heavy child-man, PANGLE, whose 
               grin of delight seems permanent even in this claustrophobic, 
               grim world. Inman is panicked, puts a hand to push the fiddle 
               away. His voice is a croak, spoiled.

                                     INMAN
                         I'm not dying.

                                     STOBROD
                              (to Pangle)
                         What'd he say?

                                     PANGLE
                         Says he ain't about to die.

                                     STOBROD
                              (to Inman)
                         Truth to tell they say you are, 
                         Soldier. We'll meet again, in the 
                         better world.

               He changes his tune, and the tempo, finding a foot-slapping 
               rhythm, the two musicians grinning at each other. Inman lapses 
               back into unconsciousness. The rhythm becomes a hammering 
               sound...

               EXT. CHAPEL, COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

               -- AS A MAN HAMMERS A TINTYPE OF HIS SON'S FACE into the 
               wooden porch of the Chapel, where it joins many other 
               portraits of those lost to the war. Monroe presides. One of 
               the slaves from Black Cove holds the ladder for the bereaved 
               father. Other families wait, with their own daguerreotype to 
               mount. It's a memorial service without bodies.

               Riders approach. Home Guard. Teague brings his horse up 
               alongside Monroe at the Chapel door, tips his hat in 
               condolence to the bereaved families. With him is a young, 
               intensely beautiful and flamboyant rider, BOSIE, his hair 
               long, a single fingernail bizarrely overgrown. Somehow 
               sinister.

                                     TEAGUE
                         My condolences to you all.
                              (he considers the 
                              slave)
                         Keep an eye on the negro. They want 
                         what the white man got -- all of you 
                         watch out your brave boys give their 
                         lives to war and meantime your slaves 
                         carry murder, rape and arson to your 
                         firesides.

                                     MONROE
                         The only slaves within twenty miles 
                         labor on my farm. They're good 
                         Christians and I'll vouchsafe for 
                         them.

               EXT. APPROACH TO BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               Cold Mountain at its loveliest. The CABRIOLET with Monroe 
               and his daughter heads towards the farm. At a bend they meet 
               a couple of riders, TWINS, from Teague's Home Guard, riding 
               furiously past them. Monroe reins in the trap and lets them 
               thunder past before continuing on their way home. Monroe is 
               intrigued by Ada, as if he's never looked at her before.

                                     ADA
                         What?

                                     MONROE
                         You're looking -- at this moment, I 
                         don't know why -- you're looking 
                         exactly like your mother.

                                     ADA
                         Every time you see the doctor you 
                         get melancholy.

                                     MONROE
                         He listens to my heart and I get 
                         emotional.

                                     ADA
                         He gives you alcohol and you get 
                         emotional.

               She squeezes his arm.

                                     MONROE
                         We commiserate about the folly of 
                         this terrible war.
                              (they ride in silence)
                         Do you worry when there's no word 
                         from him?
                              (no response)
                         From Mr. Inman?

                                     ADA
                         Yes. But then I've tried counting 
                         the number of words which passed 
                         between Mr. Inman and me.
                              (looking ahead, seeing 
                              smoke)
                         Is that a bonfire? So close to the 
                         barns.

               Then they see THE FAMILY OF SLAVES turn off the road as their 
               cabriolet approaches, running away into the fields.

                                     ADA
                         What's going on?

                                     MONROE
                              (shouting at the 
                              disappearing slaves)
                         Hey! Stop there! Hey!

               Monroe gets out of the cabriolet and runs into the fields 
               after the retreating family, who are carrying bundles, chairs, 
               personal items, all loaded up. Ada has already taken the 
               reins and has driven up to the house. THE BARN IN WHICH THE 
               SLAVE FAMILY HAD LIVED IS ON FIRE. Monroe catches one of the 
               women, remonstrates with her. She's upset, distressed, one 
               of her sons comes back, pushes Monroe to the ground. They 
               hurry away. Monroe gets up, hurries to the fire.

               A FIGURE SWINGS IN THE HEAT OF THE FLAMES, HANGING FROM A 
               BEAM. Monroe spies it as he catches up with Ada.

                                     MONROE
                         Dear God.

                                     ADA
                         No, Daddy, it's not real.

               The figure swings round. IT'S AN EFFIGY, A GROTESQUE 
               CARICATURE OF A BLACK MAN.

                                     MONROE
                              (appalled)
                         What is wrong with us all?

               Ada turns and runs off.

                                     ADA
                         I'll get help.
                              (shouting over her 
                              shoulder)
                         Keep away from the flames.

               Monroe stands and considers the flames. Ada turns back once 
               more to see him -- a small man silhouetted against the blaze.

               INT. HOSPITAL, CHARLESTON. DAY

               INMAN lies; bandaged, eyes closed, in THE BALLROOM OF A 
               COLONIAL MANSION, co-opted as one ward of a Confederate 
               hospital. Rows of beds, the wounded and the dying, are lodged 
               between some vestiges of the room's former glory.

               SOME LOCAL WOMEN, conscious of their duty to the cause, are 
               brought through by an exhausted doctor, who's lost all his 
               grace. The windows are open, but it's still insufferably 
               hot, the muslin curtains barely moving.

                                     DOCTOR
                         Most of these men will be dead by 
                         the morning or, if they're stubborn, 
                         by nightfall. I have other men outside 
                         in the quadrangle waiting for the 
                         beds.

               The women try to process this, the attitude.

                                     DOCTOR
                         So, any kind word will be a blessing.

               One woman is overpowered by the stench, gags.

                                     DOCTOR
                         It's the heat. I'm sorry. They rot.

               The women begin to approach the beds.

                                     DOCTOR
                         Don't pray. If they're not God fearing 
                         you can stir up a hornet's nest.

               MRS. MORGAN, nervous, decent, sits next to INMAN. His mouth 
               is moving. She doesn't know what he's saying.

                                     MRS. MORGAN
                         I'm sorry, you want water?

               She bends to him again. His voice is a faint croak.

                                     INMAN
                         Pigeon River. Little East Fork.

               The Doctor is on his exit, stops at the bed.

                                     MRS. MORGAN
                         I'm sorry. I don't know what he's 
                         saying.

                                     DOCTOR
                         They ramble. Names of loved ones.

                                     MRS. MORGAN
                              (listening to Inman)
                         Pigeon River. Is that a place? Cold 
                         Mountain?

               The Doctor shrugs, not a detective, moves on, stops at the 
               man in the next bed. Has a brief look, calls to a nurse.

                                     DOCTOR
                         This man is dead.

               EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. LATE AFTERNOON

               Monroe and Ada are outside, a picnic at the summer table, 
               autumn leaves blowing up around them. Nearby the charred 
               skeleton of the barn. Ada gets up, clears away.

                                     MONROE
                         Thank you.
                              (staying her for grace)
                         For your Providence, Oh lord, we 
                         thank you.

                                     ADA
                         Amen. That was the last of the ham.

                                     MONROE
                         It was delicious.

                                     ADA
                         I have to learn how to cook.

                                     MONROE
                         I was going to say something in 
                         Chapel. Perhaps some of the womenfolk 
                         will volunteer.

                                     ADA
                         I can't have people coming here and 
                         cooking for me!

                                     MONROE
                         It's my fault. I should have raised 
                         you less like a companion and more 
                         like a young woman. I'm sorry.

                                     ADA
                         I'm not sorry, but I don't know how 
                         we'll get through another winter.

                                     MONROE
                         Will you play me something? Something 
                         peaceful while I look over my sermon.

               Ada takes the dishes away. He gets out his papers, his pen 
               and ink.

               INT. PARLOUR, BLACK COVE FARM. DUSK

               ADA PLAYS THE PIANO. Chopin's Prelude in E Minor. Outside in 
               the garden, Monroe has adjourned to his striped campaign 
               chair, and is hunched over his notes. The door of the parlour 
               is open and the music floats over to him as he works.

               Ada plays. A FEW SPOTS OF RAIN appear at the window. Then 
               the steady drumming of a summer shower.

                                     ADA
                              (still playing)
                         Daddy, bring the tablecloth in with 
                         you!

               She plays some more. Monroe hasn't come in. The rain splashes 
               on to the window..

                                     ADA
                         Daddy, come inside before you drown!

               After a few more bars, she stops playing and, curious, goes 
               to the door. She stands at the doorway. MONROE'S SERMON IS 
               CAUGHT IN THE WIND AND BLOWS AROUND HIM, THE INK RUN TO

               ABSTRACTIONS, his hand dropped and visible to Ada as, with 
               dread, she approaches. SHE CATCHES THE SODDEN PAPERS, CHASING 
               AFTER THEM, THEN REACHES HER DEAD FATHER.

               He's like a fish, his face shining with the rain, and glass 
               eyed. She leans in to him, her head to his heart, then runs, 
               oblivious to the rain, her dress already drenched, runs down 
               the lane.

                                     ADA (V.O.)
                         Dear Mr. Inman...

               INT. HOSPITAL, CHARLESTON. NIGHT

               INMAN'S FACE as he drifts in and out of consciousness. Mrs. 
               Morgan, the hospital volunteer, sits by Inman's bed. She 
               holds ADA'S UNOPENED LETTER, badly weather damaged, the pages 
               stuck together, the writing blurred where the ink has run.

                                     MRS. MORGAN
                         It's come to you by way of Virginia.

               There are various dates, which she decodes.

                                     MRS. MORGAN
                         It's not too recent -- written this 
                         past winter. I'm afraid I can't read 
                         who it's from. Dear Mr. Inman,

               INT. BLACK COVE FARM. NIGHT

               Ada is writing at her father's desk. A lonely room.

                                     ADA (V.O.)
                         -- I'm still waiting, as I promised 
                         I would, but I find myself alone and 
                         at the end of my wits --

               INT. HOSPITAL, CHARLESTON. NIGHT

               Mrs. Morgan reads to Inman, trying to decipher the letter:

                                     MRS. MORGAN
                         -- at the end of my wits, so now I 
                         say to you, plain as I can, come 
                         back to me. Come back to me is my 
                         request.
                              (can't read the next 
                              bit)
                         Then something I can't read, 
                         something, come back to me.

               Inman is very still. Then, eyes glinting with determination, 
               gives a TINY NOD.

                                     OFFICIAL (O.S.)
                         By order of Zebulon Vance, Governor 
                         of this great state of North Carolina: 
                         any soldier turned deserter is guilty 
                         of treason and shall be hunted down 
                         like a dog. 

               EXT. COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

               Ada walks down the hill from the Chapel. There is an absence 
               of young people, but the older folk are gathered round the 
               General Store where a UNIFORMED OFFICIAL is reading from a 
               document.

                                     OFFICIAL
                         -- Any man takes in a deserter is 
                         likewise guilty of treason.

               The Official is flanked by Teague, Bosey and the twins, puffed 
               up with self-importance. Ada has to walk around him to enter 
               the store.

                                     OFFICIAL
                         The Home Guard is powered to enter 
                         any place it sees fit, without notice 
                         or constraint. Names of all deserters 
                         will be posted in every town, 
                         published in every newspaper.

               INT. GENERAL STORE, COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

               The Official continues outside as Ada enters. Ada approaches 
               Mrs Castlereagh, the owner.

                                     ADA
                         Is there a letter for me?

                                     MRS. CASTLEREAGH
                         Nothing -- we're getting no post 
                         through at all -- although if you 
                         slip out back the material you ordered 
                         has arrived.

               They go to the back of the store, to a screened-off area. 
               Mrs. Castlereagh hands her over a packet of material. There's 
               another, more furtive, transaction to take place. Mrs 
               Castlereagh hands over a second parcel as if it were 
               narcotics. Ada tears at the wrapping. It's a parcel of books.

                                     MRS. CASTLEREAGH
                         If folks knew I was taking deliveries 
                         from the North.

                                     ADA
                         I know. Thank you so much.

                                     MRS. CASTLEREAGH
                         The sooner we lose this war the 
                         better. Already one boy gone, another 
                         with his leg took off at the knee. 
                         That's enough.

                                     ADA
                         What do you hear?

                                     MRS. CASTLEREAGH
                         All I know is they say not one boy 
                         in ten from these mountains is coming 
                         home again and most of them are 
                         deserters.

               EXT. GENERAL STORE, COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

               Ada emerges, almost collides with Teague. She wriggles past 
               him, tries to make her package invisible.

               EXT. APPROACH TO BLACK COVE FARM - DAY

               IT'S WINTER. A solitary RIDER jogs his horse through the 
               frost, towards Black Cove farm.

               Ada is working at a handpump, failing to coax water from the 
               well. She's wrapped in blankets. The farm is somewhat unkempt 
               and so is she. The hem of her skirt is frayed. She rips at 
               it tearing off a strip of material, which she binds around 
               the handle in an attempt to thaw the mechanism. Then she 
               looks up to see the horseman approaching. It's Teague. Ada 
               immediately heads inside the house.

               Teague arrives at the house, takes a brace of RABBITS from 
               his saddlebag. He heads for the gate. The gate needs oiling, 
               the path is overgrown, he looks at the pump handle, the 
               abandoned pitcher.

               Ada opens the door, pinning her hair.

                                     TEAGUE
                         It's taken me too long, but I've 
                         come to pay my respects.

                                     ADA
                         Thank you.

                                     TEAGUE
                              (hands over the rabbits)
                         I reckoned you might need fattening 
                         up.

               Ada takes them. She is very queasy with these dead animals.

                                     TEAGUE
                         This house must bring bad luck. Killed 
                         my granddaddy to lose it, then my 
                         daddy died on account of not having 
                         it, then your daddy died on account 
                         of getting it. We should burn it 
                         down.

                                     ADA
                         Didn't somebody try?

                                     TEAGUE
                         Lot to manage without help. Need a 
                         hand with that pump?

                                     ADA
                         No.

                                     TEAGUE
                         I'm happy to volunteer.

                                     ADA
                         But not to volunteer for the war?

                                     TEAGUE
                         The war? I wanted to go. But you 
                         know: too old, too literate. Plus I 
                         got no spleen. Lost it from a horse's 
                         kick.

                                     ADA
                         You've got no spleen.

                                     TEAGUE
                         That's the thing about an organ. You 
                         don't know you need it till you lost 
                         it.
                              (suddenly busy with a 
                              bayonet)
                         I want to clear this path. I can 
                         just as soon do it and talk as stand 
                         around and talk. Then you can say 
                         men beat a path to your door.

                                     ADA
                         I'd really prefer it if you didn't 
                         do that.

                                     TEAGUE
                         Would you rather I did my job?
                              (scything at the path)
                         See if there's any material I should 
                         confiscate. For the war effort.

                                     ADA
                         I was raised in the good manners of 
                         the South where a gentleman doesn't 
                         enter a house with a woman alone.

                                     TEAGUE
                              (now he's at the pump)
                         Good manners didn't quite make it to 
                         these mountains. If it don't yield 
                         meat, or you can't sit on it, or 
                         suck on it...
                              (he gets the pump 
                              going, water pours 
                              out)
                         And you're sleeping all right? These 
                         cold dark nights?

                                     ADA
                         I'm sleeping fine.

                                     TEAGUE
                         It's going to be a long hard winter.

               He turns and stops at the gate, runs his hands through his 
               hair and uses the grease to ease the hinge. Then steps up 
               onto his horse, and rides away. Ada watches him. Shudders.

               INT. BLACK COVE FARM. NIGHT

               Ada comes into the kitchen. A weak oil-lamp reveals THE TWO 
               RABBITS, partially covered on a plate, flies buzzing around 
               them, a little liquid leaking from them. Ada takes a knife 
               and contemplates skinning gutting them. Suddenly she gathers 
               them up and runs out.

               EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. NIGHT

               ADA BURIES THE TWO RABBITS. The wind howls. She covers the 
               little hole with soil and stones. Pumps out water to wash 
               her hands. Thinks she hears a noise, listens, alert to any 
               unfamiliar sounds, then hurries back to the house.

               INT. BLACK COVE FARM. NIGHT

               Ada comes inside, she closes the door. Locks it. Puts a chair 
               against it. Goes upstairs, to her bedroom.

               INT. BLACK COVE FARM. NIGHT

               Ada enters her bedroom. It's a chaos of books, clothes, 
               dishes. She closes the door, sets another chair against it.

               Then drags her armchair up against that, books and papers 
               spilling onto the floor. She props up Inman's portrait, on, 
               the chair, as if he were guarding her. Sits on the bed and, 
               desolate, begins to write:

               EXT. THE OCEAN BY THE HOSPITAL, CHARLESTON. DAY

                                     ADA (V.O.)
                         Should I imagine you are dead and, 
                         that it is to your spirit I am 
                         writing? No word from you in all 
                         this time. If you receive this please 
                         know I am here and warring, too, 
                         with a faint heart.

               THERAPY FOR WOUNDED SOLDIERS. Some of those convalescing 
               swim or are helped to paddle in the healing sea. There are 
               rudimentary wheelchairs. Inman, a long way from home, is 
               amongst those sitting in one of these, very still, grey and 
               sick -- but alive. He pulls at the dressing on his neck, 
               exposing the still raw and livid wound to the sea air.

               Inman has his Bartram, his bookmark is the battered and foxed 
               picture of Ada, which he considers, before continuing to 
               read.

               Behind him A HUNDRED SLAVES AT WORK IN THE FIELDS, and behind 
               them the Mansion which has become the hospital. A series of 
               bells, of shouts, and the slaves stop working, prepare for 
               the long walk home, congregating, then forming a line, herded 
               by the foremen.

               Inman eases his position to bend over and dip his bandage in 
               the seawater. He brings the wet bandage to his neck, considers 
               the ocean, his fellow ragtag of wounded, the slaves, the 
               great fields, the Mansion. The whole meaning of this war 
               around him. A GRAVEL VOICE STARTS TO SING THE BLUES, CONTINUES 
               AS --

               EXT. HOSPITAL, CHARLESTON. DUSK

               The men return to the Hospital. A BLIND MAN IS SELLING PEANUTS 
               which he roasts over a small fire. HE'S SINGING AS --

               EXT. CHAPEL, COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

               -- A tintype of OAKLEY is added to the Chapel's votives, 
               hammered in alongside Rourke and Butcher. There are fifty or 
               more images now, the paint flaking around them. The exterior 
               of the Chapel, three years on, has taken on the burden of 
               recording history.

               There is no minister, no services, just the votives, 
               daguerreotypes or simply the names of those missing in action, 
               accompanied by tiny vases of wildflowers. The town shrouded 
               in mist, and quiet.

               EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. SPRING. DAY

               EVERYWHERE SIGNS OF PROFOUND NEGLECT, like a Grimm's fairy 
               tale of a deserted house. The fields are overgrown with weeds, 
               the gardens abandoned. The chickens have deserted the henhouse 
               and are wandering around the outbuildings, scuffing at the 
               packed dirt.

               Sally and Esco come up the overgrown path, avoiding the 
               chickens, and knock at the door.

                                     SALLY
                         Ada! Ada, It's Sally.

               They're seen from ground level, through a boxwood, as their 
               feet patrol the ground, turn away from the door, and then 
               retreat, their voices drifting away. Ada is there, crouching 
               in her hidey-hole, a blanket on the ground, her book. She 
               wants to reveal herself, but is too embarrassed.

                                     ESCO
                         Will you look at the state of this 
                         place!

                                     SALLY
                         Poor soul. She's got nobody and 
                         nothing and three hundred acres of 
                         misery.

               During this a ROOSTER, black and gold, struts into the 
               boxwood. As the rooster approaches, Ada shudders, tries to 
               shoo it away without alerting her presence. Ada peers through 
               the boxwood as Sally and Esco close the gate and recede. The 
               rooster comes at her again. She rises up, kicking out at it, 
               while he flares his wings, spurs flaying at her. Ada runs 
               from the boxwood, tormented by the triumphant rooster, which 
               continues to fly and scratch, driving her into the house.

               INT. ADA'S BEDROOM BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               Ada dabs at the scratches, her dress rolled down to the waist 
               to reveal her arms and shoulders. Now she shucks off the 
               dress completely and tries to find a clean replacement. There 
               isn't one, so she hunts through the overflowing laundry basket 
               for something less dirty.

               INT. MONROE'S BEDROOM, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               Ada enters her father's room, wearing undergarments.

               Everything as he left it and, in contrast to the rest of the 
               house, extremely tidy. She opens a wardrobe, finds one of 
               his coats, puts it on. It's much too big, and she rolls up 
               the sleeves, catches her pinched face and disheveled face in 
               a swivel mirror. She turns the mirror away and the image 
               swings into --

               EXT. GATES OF HOSPITAL, CHARLESTON. DAY

               -- the figure of Inman walking, frail, grey. A kind of 
               lurching walk, as if his balance isn't guaranteed. He gets 
               close to the gate and interests a Guard, on the lookout for 
               would-be deserters. A BLIND MAN IS SELLING PEANUTS which he 
               roasts over a small fire. He's always singing. Inman 
               approaches. When Inman speaks, his voice is a croak.

                                     BLIND MAN
                         Getting better all the time.

                                     INMAN
                         Seems that way.

                                     BLIND MAN
                         I wouldn't hurry. War's almost done.

                                     INMAN
                         Where'd you take your wound?

                                     BLIND MAN
                         Before I was born. Never saw a thing 
                         in this world, not a tree a gun or a 
                         woman. Though I put my hand on all 
                         three. Couple of things I felt back 
                         there I'd sure liked to have had a 
                         long look at.

               He's shoveling some peanuts into a twist of paper.

                                     INMAN
                         What would you give for that? To 
                         have your eyeballs back for ten 
                         minutes?

                                     BLIND MAN
                         Ten minutes! Wouldn't give an Indian 
                         head cent. I fear it might turn me 
                         hateful.

                                     INMAN
                         That's sure what seeing's done to 
                         me.

                                     BLIND MAN
                         That ain't the way I meant it. You 
                         said ten minutes. It's having a thing 
                         and then the loss I'm talking about.

                                     INMAN
                         Then we don't agree. There's not 
                         much I wouldn't give for ten minutes 
                         of someplace.

                                     BLIND MAN
                         Someplace or someone.

                                     INMAN
                         Same difference.

                                     BLIND MAN
                         You watch yourself. They're shooting 
                         men who take themselves a walk.

               EXT. TREE PROMENADE, CHARLESTON. DAY

               Inman and a bunch of other walking wounded make their way, 
               under supervision, towards the town. The grandeur of the 
               approach, the carriages. The sorry state of the soldiers.

               INT. COURTHOUSE, CHARLESTON. DAY

               TWO GREAT TRESTLE TABLES, LOADED WITH CLOTHES. Underneath 
               the tables, boots -- laced together, origins various. The 
               charitable womenfolk are helping match clothes to recovering 
               soldiers, some of whom are still on crutches, or in 
               wheelchairs. Inman finds a black dresscoat, some pants, a 
               pair of boots. He accumulates a little pile. On his way out, 
               AN ELDERLY AND STAUNCH CONFEDERATE GENTLEMAN shakes his hand 
               and gives him an apple from the barrel.

               EXT. TEMPORARY BARBERSHOP, CHARLESTON. DAY

               Inman emerges from the Courthouse and joins the line for a 
               shave at the makeshift barbershop set up outside the 
               Courthouse. Two barbers, two chairs. A VERY ELEGANT SQUARE, 
               SOME STUCCO-FRONTED BUILDINGS, A GLIMPSE OF THE MONEYED SOUTH 
               IN SHARP CONTRAST TO THE MODEST TOWN OF COLD MOUNTAIN. AN 
               AUCTION HOUSE OPPOSITE ADVERTISES SLAVES, CATTLE, LAND...

                                     BARBER
                         Next.

               Inman settles in the seat. The Barber contemplates his scraggy 
               beard, the livid, scabbed wound on his neck.

                                     BARBER
                              (nervous)
                         I'll cut your hair, but I ain't about 
                         to shave you. That thing opens up, 
                         your head's liable to falloff.

               INT. HOSPITAL, CHARLESTON. PREDAWN

               It is almost dawn. The window by Inman's bed is a frame giving 
               onto the still dark world. The Night Guard passes by on its 
               patrol of the perimeter. A CLEAN-SHAVEN INMAN IS FULLY DRESSED 
               UNDER THE COVERS. He gets his hat, pushes his book into his 
               knapsack and, with one step up, WALKS OUT OF THE WINDOW AND 
               INTO THE WORLD.

               EXT. THE OCEAN BY THE HOSPITAL, CHARLESTON. DAWN

               Inman, his footprints in the sand, as he hurries along by 
               the edge of the ocean, away from the hospital...

               EXT. SWANGER FARM. DAY

               -- as Ada walks, the wind kicking up around her, past the 
               Swanger place. She's bent and curiously dressed in her 
               father's coat.

                                     SALLY (V.O.)
                         Ada...

               Sally Swanger calls out from the field. She's concerned at 
               Ada's gaunt, ragged appearance. Ada waits for her approach.

                                     SALLY
                         You're skinny as a whippet, girl -- 
                         you're coming indoors with me.

                                     ADA
                         I can't. I'm not -- I need to clean 
                         some clothes.

                                     SALLY
                         Great God, you ever looked at my 
                         husband! I can't get him to wear 
                         decent Church clothes Christmas 
                         morning. Hang on to me, the wind'll 
                         blow you over.

               And she folds her arm into Ada's. They walk up the lane.

               INT. SWANGER FARM. AFTERNOON

               Ada eats. Esco across from her contemplating her evident 
               appetite, the oversized man's jacket. Sally ladles more food 
               onto Ada's plate.

                                     SALLY
                         Don't go back to that dark house. 
                         There's a bed here, least till our 
                         boys get home.

                                     ESCO
                         That your daddy's coat?

                                     ADA
                         I was saying to Sally, I wasn't 
                         expecting to be visiting, so...

                                     ESCO
                         Don't suit you.

               He starts to chuckle, then Ada, too, then Sally.

                                     ESCO
                         I can't get up to your place this 
                         week.
                              (of Sally)
                         She's mad at me --

                                     ADA
                         I don't expect -

                                     ESCO
                         -- more than I can do to keep this 
                         place half-managed. I'm ready-to 
                         stop, I tell you. I just want to sit 
                         on my porch with Sal, watch my boys 
                         in the field, holler good job! every 
                         hour or so.

                                     SALLY
                         What about your people in Charleston?

                                     ADA
                         There are no people. And no money. 
                         My father had some bonds and 
                         investments. They're worthless now, 
                         of course, the war has... they're 
                         not worth anything.
                              (they look at each 
                              other)
                         I love it here. In spite of 
                         everything.

                                     ESCO
                         And waiting on a feller.

               A look from Sally.

                                     ESCO
                         Look down our well.
                              (Sally's disgusted 
                              with him)
                         She should! Look down our well with 
                         a mirror, you'll see the future. 
                         S'what they say.
                              (to Sally)
                         You do it! Don't make that face.

                                     SALLY
                         I know it ain't rightly Christian, 
                         but it's what folks do, like when 
                         they dangle a needle over the belly 
                         to see if you're carrying a boy or a 
                         girl.

                                     ADA
                         What kind of mirror?

               EXT. YARD, SWANGER FARM. LATE DAY

               AN IMAGE -- DISTORTED, WATERY. IT'S HARD TO RESOLVE BUT COULD 
               BE A CORRIDOR OF TREES. THE SUN LOW AT ONE END, THE SILHOUETTE 
               OF A FIGURE WALKING SLOWLY FORWARDS, A SUDDEN DISTURBANCE OF 
               CROWS.

               Ada is bent backwards over the well, a hand mirror glinting 
               down into the blackness. The reflection is elusive against 
               the bright evening sky, the sun almost set, and low.

                                     ESCO
                         See anything?

                                     ADA
                         I don't know.

                                     SALLY
                         I tried many a time, never saw a 
                         dickybird.

               The image is clearer. The trees sharpen, the figure walking, 
               the steep incline of the corridor, all fiercely black and 
               white as if it were a carpet of snow and black hieroglyphs 
               of trees, and crows flying. The trick of the glass and the 
               watery disc of the well surface. A buzzing in Ada's ears, 
               something like a distant music. Then the figure seems to 
               suddenly pitch forwards, but at that moment, Ada -- canted 
               over, getting dizzy has to move and the image flies away, 
               replaced with the sky, the flash of the setting sun.

                                     SALLY
                         You all right?

               Ada's faint. She sits up, blank, a little shaken.

                                     ADA (V.O.)
                         Yesterday I found myself crouched 
                         over a well like a mad woman, which 
                         I suppose I have become

               EXT. PLANTATION. DAY

               Inman walks along an expanse of marshland. Great cranes fly 
               heavily over him.

                                     ADA (V.O.)
                         -- and staring down into its secrets, 
                         I thought I saw you there, walking 
                         back to me --

               EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. LATE AFTERNOON

               Ada is writing in her father's campaign chair, a blanket 
               wrapped around her, a rake propped next to her.

                                     ADA (V.O.)
                         -- or wished I did.

                                     RUBY (O.S.)
                         That cow wants milking.

               Ada looks up from her writing with a start. She covers her 
               letter, guiltily, instinctively. In front of her, at the 
               gate, is A YOUNG RAWBONED, FERAL WOMAN, OF INDETERMINATE 
               ORIGINS. She is barefoot, and dressed in a hand-dye_ shift 
               of blue. Her name is RUBY.

                                     RUBY
                         If that letter ain't urgent, the cow 
                         is -- is what I'm saying.

                                     ADA
                         I don't know you.

                                     RUBY
                         Old Lady Swanger says you need some 
                         help. Here I am.

               Ada is instantly defensive, intimidated.

                                     ADA
                         I need help, I need, I do need help, 
                         but I need a laborer -- there's 
                         plowing and rough work and -- I think 
                         there's been a misunderstanding.

                                     RUBY
                         What's the rake for?

                                     ADA
                         The rake?

                                     RUBY
                         Ain't for gardening, that's for sure. 
                         Number one -- you got a horse I can 
                         plow all day. I'm a worker. Number 
                         two there's no man better than me 
                         cause there's no man around who ain't 
                         old or full of mischief. I know your 
                         plight.

                                     ADA
                         My plight?

                                     RUBY
                         Am I hard to hear cause you keep 
                         repeating everything. I'm not looking 
                         for money, never cared for it and 
                         now it ain't worth nothing. I expect 
                         to board and eat at the same table. 
                         I'm not a servant. Do you get my 
                         meaning?

                                     ADA
                         You're not a servant.

                                     RUBY
                         People'll have to empty their own 
                         night jars, that's my point.

                                     ADA
                         Right.

                                     RUBY
                         And I'm not planning to work while 
                         you watch neither.

                                     ADA
                         Right.

                                     RUBY
                         Is that a yes or a no?

                                     ADA
                              (looks at Ruby)
                         Yes.

                                     RUBY
                         There's half the day yet. Let's make 
                         a start. My name's Ruby. I know your 
                         name.

                                     ADA
                         The rake: there's a rooster devil, 
                         I'm sure of it. He's Lucifer himself. 
                         I go near him he's at me with his 
                         spurs.

                                     RUBY
                         I despise a flogging rooster. Where 
                         is he?

               Ada gets up, nods to the corner of the yard. Ruby goes over.

               The Rooster gathers himself up for a new opponent.

               IN ONE MOVEMENT SHE PICKS UP THE BIRD AND TWISTS OFF ITS 
               HEAD.

                                     RUBY
                         Let's put him in a pot.

               EXT. CORNFIELDS. DAWN

               Inman's walking on a track which passes through cornfields, 
               the crop high and thick around him. He stops, hearing 
               something. Riders. He wades into the field, seeking cover in 
               the tall crop, lying in the dirt. Horses appear. HOME GUARD 
               MEN ON PATROL, A CHAIN GANG OF PRISONERS: SLAVES, DESERTERS 
               IN TOW, A COUPLE OF FEDERAL SOLDIERS. They have dogs, which 
               sniff and growl, intrigued by the fields, called back by the 
               Home Guard.

               Inman waits until they're well out of sight. AS HE GETS TO 
               HIS FEET IN THE GREAT FIELDS, ANOTHER BODY APPEARS, THEN 
               ANOTHER, THEN ANOTHER, THEN ANOTHER, ALL SLAVES ON THE RUN 
               DOTTED AROUND THE FIELD. He walks to the road, paying no 
               heed to them. They assemble, paying no heed to him and move 
               off in the opposite direction. Inman turns, looks at them.

                                     INMAN
                         Hey!
                              (they stop, turn)
                         I'd pay a dollar for an egg. A piece 
                         of cheese.

               They look at him, then continue on their way.

               INT. ADA'S BEDROOM, BLACK COVE FARM. PREDAWN

               Ada wakes up to persistent knocking.

                                     RUBY
                         Ada? Ada? You up?

                                     ADA
                         Yes.
                              (opening her eyes)
                         It's still dark.

                                     RUBY
                         Tell the cows that. It's late.

               INT. KITCHEN, BLACK COVE FARM. PREDAWN

               Ada enters blearily, clutching her novel. Ruby already busy.

                                     ADA
                         I have to eat something.

                                     RUBY
                         Then you have to get up earlier.
                              (at Ada's book)
                         What's that?

                                     ADA
                         A novel.

                                     RUBY
                              (heading outside)
                         You want to carry a book carry one 
                         you can write in --

               EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. DAWN

               Ruby emerges, followed by Ada, chewing on a tomato.

                                     RUBY
                         -- we got our own story. Called Black 
                         Cove Farm: a catastrophe.

               She looks back at Ada for a reaction.

                                     RUBY
                         I can spell it, too. C-a-t-a-s-t-r-o-
                         phe. Learned the same place you did, 
                         in the schoolroom. That's one of the 
                         first words they taught me. Ruby 
                         Thewes, you are a ca-t-a-s-t-r-o-p-h-
                         e...

               They're heading for the stable.

               INT. STABLE, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               Ruby's already pitching hay. Turns to Ada.

                                     RUBY
                         You mucking out?

               Ada half-asleep, obedient, stunned by this energy.

                                     RUBY
                         Three years I was in school before 
                         my daddy -- saying God rest his soul 
                         is like wishing him what he had in 
                         life, cause he lived to rest, he was 
                         born tired -- before my daddy decided 
                         there was better use for my backside 
                         than have it sat all day in front of 
                         a blackboard.

               EXT. A FIELD OF WEEDS, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               Ruby dictates a list to Ada as they bustle along.

                                     RUBY
                         Number One -- layout a winter garden 
                         for cool season crops: turnips, 
                         onions, cabbage, greens.

               Ada scribbles, walks, scribbles.

               EXT. BARN, BLACK COVE FARM

               Ruby up a ladder, inspecting the roof.

                                     RUBY
                         Number Two: patch the shingles on 
                         the barn roof. Do we have a maul and 
                         froe?

                                     ADA
                              (writing, holding the 
                              ladder)
                         Maul?

                                     RUBY
                         M-a-u-l.

                                     ADA
                         I have no idea.

               INT. COLD HOUSE, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               Ruby cleans out leaves and detritus from the stone channel, 
               allowing the stream to flow free and cool.

                                     RUBY
                         Number three: clay crocks for 
                         preserves. Tomatoes. Beans. Jams.

               EXT. BOTTOM FIELD, BLACK COVE FARM. DUSK

               Ruby doing her version of soil analysis, scrunching the earth, 
               tasting it, spitting it out. Ada makes a face.

                                     RUBY
                         Clear and turn this field. No harm 
                         done letting it go fallow, now we'll 
                         do well.

               EXT. OUTBUILDINGS, BLACK COVE FARM. AFTERNOON

               Ruby looks up. Ada catches up with her.

                                     RUBY
                         Number fifteen

                                     ADA
                         Sixteen.

                                     RUBY
                         Number sixteen: let's get a martin 
                         colony going in the Gourd House. 
                         Keep away crows. You got one thing 
                         in abundance on this farm and that's 
                         crows.

                                     ADA
                         What's a Gourd House?

               EXT. APPLE ORCHARD, BLACK COVE FARM. DUSK

               Ruby, delighted, contemplates the bounty of apples.

                                     RUBY
                         There's survival. On them trees.
                              (turns to an exhausted 
                              Ada)
                         You got a cider press or would that 
                         be wishing on a blessing?

                                     ADA
                         Actually, yes, I think we do.

               Ruby whoops, jogs away. Ada, exhausted takes a bite of an 
               apple, watches her.

               EXT. A BLUFF. NIGHT

               INMAN WALKS A ROCKY TRACK, FALLING AWAY TO THE RIVER AT ONE 
               SIDE, A STEEP CLIFF TO THE OTHER, the way itself broken and 
               precarious, bad country to meet an enemy.

               Inman sees A LIGHT in the distance, a torch flicking in and 
               out of view, like a star to follow. He stops, narrows his 
               eyes to focus on the view, listening hard. He pulls out the 
               Lemats.

               A MAN, ALL IN BLACK, A HORSE IN TOW, IS AT THE EDGE OF THE 
               GORGE.

               The horse has a burden -- a sack or wrapped bundle draped 
               over either side of the saddle. The attempts to heave the 
               bundle onto his shoulders. He can't, and the bundle slips to 
               the ground, cover falling enough to glimpse an arm, a head. 
               IT IS THE BODY OF A BLACK GIRL. The man tries again to lift 
               her. He's clearly upset, despairing, his hat comes off to 
               reveal long, dandy's hair, all extravagant curls. He staggers 
               with the weight of the girl, heading for the lip of the deep 
               gorge.

               He kisses the girl again and again, cheeks, mouth, mumbling 
               to her. He's at the edge now and can just let her go. THEN 
               INMAN'S GUN IS AT HIS TEMPLE.

                                     INMAN
                         Don't let go. Just back up, nice and 
                         steady, do this all in reverse, you're 
                         going to end up with her draped back 
                         over your animal.

                                     VEASEY
                         Don't pull that trigger. I am a man 
                         of God.

                                     INMAN
                         I've killed several of them.

                                     VEASEY
                         I mean I am God's minister.

                                     INMAN
                         What part of God's business is 
                         throwing a woman down a gorge.

                                     VEASEY
                         A slave woman, can you see that in 
                         this light? She's black as a bucket 
                         of tar.

               He's retreating, on his way back to the horse.

                                     INMAN
                         Is she dead?

                                     VEASEY
                         Drugged her. Like you would a 
                         butterfly. And I care for her, that's 
                         the heartbreak of it.

               He has the girl back on the horse. Inman brings the torch up 
               to his face. It's tear-stained.

                                     VEASEY
                         She's got my bastard in her belly. 
                         What kind of pistol is that I never 
                         saw the like of it?

               EXT. VEASEY TOWN. NIGHT

               Inman leads the horse, with Veasey ahead of him, hands tied 
               behind his back, desperate for a reprieve.

                                     VEASEY
                         I'm begging you. It's better you 
                         blowout my brains than return me to 
                         this place.

                                     INMAN
                         Where does she live?

                                     VEASEY
                         In our house. She sleeps in our 
                         kitchen. You don't know me, friend, 
                         but the good Lord punished me with 
                         want. I am all appetite. That's all 
                         I do all day is want: food, the female 
                         parts...

                                     INMAN
                         Shut your mouth. I don't want a sermon 
                         every time I ask a question.

               They're in the town's main drag now. There's a Chapel and 
               next to it, a small house.

                                     INMAN
                         This your place?

                                     VEASEY
                         Dear God of misery.

                                     INMAN
                         You're going to put her back where 
                         she sleeps.

                                     VEASEY
                         I do that the Members will lynch me. 
                         Consorting with a nigger, adultery, 
                         siring a bastard while serving as 
                         their preacher. We're a strict 
                         congregation we've churched men for 
                         picking up a fiddle on the sabbath.

                                     INMAN
                         So you reckoned to kill her.

               Disgusted, Inman approaches the front door of the house.

                                     VEASEY
                         There's a back door. Have pity.

               And he leads Inman down a side path.

               INT. VEASEY HOUSE. NIGHT

               Veasey comes in, now carrying the girl. Inman comes behind, 
               the gun trained on Veasey as he sets her down by the fire.

                                     VEASEY
                              (whispering)
                         Thank you. I was going to do a 
                         grievous wrong.

               He looks longing at the girl as he puts the blanket around 
               her shoulders. He turns to Inman.

                                     VESEY
                         You tasted dark meat? Sweet as 
                         liquorice. I think I should go back 
                         up to my wife. She wakes at the 
                         slightest noise.

               Inman is incredulous that he thinks he can just go to bed...

                                     INMAN
                         You find me some paper and a pen.

               EXT. CHAPEL, VEASEY TOWN. DAWN

               INMAN HAS TIED A VERY DISTRAUGHT VEASEY TO A TREE IN FRONT 
               OF HIS CHAPEL. Inman is pinning a sheet of paper above 
               Veasey's head. It's covered in handwriting. A dog barks.

                                     VEASEY
                         You're not entitled to judge me! 
                         You're nothing but an outlier, plain 
                         as daylight!

               Inman has pulled a handkerchief from Veasey's jacket. He 
               stuffs it into his mouth, cutting this diatribe short. And 
               then he walks away leaving Veasey tied to the tree, cursing 
               through the handkerchief.

               INT. ADA'S BEDROOM, BLACK COVE FARM. PREDAWN

               Ada asleep. Ruby enters, shattering the calm.

                                     RUBY
                         Morning. Pigs: you have any loose in 
                         the woods?

                                     ADA
                         No. What? No. We bought our hams.

                                     RUBY
                         There's a world more to a hog than 
                         the two hams! Lard, for example, 
                         we'll need plenty --

               She picks up some discarded laundry, contemplates the 
               overflowing laundry basket.

                                     RUBY
                         The catastrophe of Ada Monroe's 
                         laundry.
                              (marching out)
                         I can feel you shutting your eyes.

               EXT. BOTTOM FIELD. BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               Ada and Ruby working with the horse to make the beginnings 
               of A SPLIT RAIL FENCE. As they struggle with a heavy rail, 
               Ruby is testing Ada.

                                     RUBY
                         What's this wood?

                                     ADA
                         I don't know. Locust?

                                     RUBY
                         Where's North?

                                     ADA
                         North is, North is --

                                     RUBY
                         Name me three herbs growing wild on 
                         this farm.

                                     ADA
                              (frustrated with Ruby 
                              and with herself)
                         I can't! I can't! All right? I can 
                         talk about farming in Latin. Will 
                         that do? I can read French. I know 
                         Harmony and Counterpoint. I know my 
                         Bible. I can name the principal rivers 
                         of Europe, but don't ask me to name 
                         one stream in this county. I can 
                         embroider, but I can't darn, I can 
                         arrange cut flowers, but I can't 
                         grow them. If a thing has a function, 
                         if I might do something with it, it 
                         wasn't considered suitable.

                                     RUBY
                         Why?

                                     ADA
                         Ruby, you could ask why? about pretty 
                         much everything to do with me.

               They manage to get the first line of rail set down.

                                     ADA
                         This fence is about the first thing 
                         I've ever done that'll produce an 
                         actual result.

                                     RUBY
                         So you never wrapped your legs around 
                         this Inman?

               An old-fashioned look from Ada...

               EXT. SUNKEN FOREST. DAY

               Inman finds himself in A SUNKEN FOREST OF PINE. He moves 
               warily, his beard longer, his figure gaunt, his clothes 
               weathering to a uniform smudge of charcoal.

               He hears DOGS BARKING IN THE DISTANCE, FAINT SHOUTS. He picks 
               up his pace, skirts round the swampy lake.

               EXT. CAPE FEAR RIVER. DUSK

               Inman comes to the bank of a HUGE RIVER. The water, as the 
               light begins to go, is the color of mud, with bubbles, 
               belching to the surface, full of ugly prominent. Inman is 
               almost jogging now, an ear tracking his still distant 
               pursuers. The river is too wide to contemplate swimming and 
               now it begins to curve left, forcing him -- against his 
               judgment, to circle back. He approaches A SMALL JETTY.

               A sign: Ferry $5. Yell Loud.

               On the far bank there's A CABIN ON STILTS above the highwater 
               mark. Inman calls out, reluctantly, his voice still a kind 
               of growl. Then again.

               A TINY FIGURE steps out of the cabin and waves before jumping 
               into a small canoe. The canoe heads against the current, the 
               rower's back bent with the effort. As the canoe approaches, 
               Inman sees that the ferryman is, in fact, A YOUNG GIRL, not 
               eighteen. She doesn't look at him. He produces five dollars. 
               She eyes the bill with contempt.

                                     FERRYGIRL
                         For five dollars I wouldn't give a 
                         parched man a dipper of this 
                         riverwater.

                                     INMAN
                         Sign says ferry, five dollars.

                                     FERRYGIRL
                         This look like a ferry? My Daddy's 
                         dead, or gone off to the Federals, 
                         don't matter which. I'm the way across 
                         now.

                                     INMAN
                         What's the name of this thing?

                                     FERRYGIRL
                         Nothing but the mighty Cape Fear 
                         River, is all.

               A dog barks in the distance. Getting closer. Inman turns to 
               the sound. The Ferrygirl is well aware of her leverage.

                                     FERRYGIRL
                         Nobody crosses this water unless 
                         they're running from someplace. Some 
                         cross one way, some the other: makes 
                         no difference, they're all running. 
                         You want to wait for your friends?

                                     INMAN
                         I can give you thirty dollars script.

                                     FERRYGIRL
                         Let's go.

                                     VOICE (O.S.)
                         Hey! Hey! Wait!

               Inman is astonished to see VEASEY stumble out of the trees. 
               His head is shaved, his face bruised and swollen, his clothes 
               castoffs and ill-fitting, cinched at the waist with rope. He 
               stumbles towards Inman, urging him to get on with the journey.

                                     VEASEY
                         Keep going. We're both in trouble.

               He gets straight into the canoe.

                                     INMAN
                         No. Get out.

                                     VEASEY
                         It's Homeguard. Made me tell them 
                         all about you.

                                     INMAN
                         I should have shot you when I had 
                         the chance.

               Shouts, more barking. Inman jumps in the canoe, and they're 
               off. The Ferrygirl turns the boat around, rows them away 
               from the jetty with the grace of someone doing something for 
               the thousandth time.

                                     VEASEY
                         I'm not looking for revenge, by the 
                         way. For what you did to me. No, I'm 
                         a Pilgrim now, like you, traveling 
                         the road, paying our dues, relying 
                         on the kindness of strangers.

                                     INMAN
                         You're nothing like me and the last 
                         thing I want right now is a 
                         conversation.

                                     VEASEY
                              (to Ferrygirl)
                         You recall Job in the scriptures? I 
                         will give free utterance to my 
                         complaint. I will speak in the 
                         bitterness of my soul. That's our 
                         friend here...
                              (to Inman)
                         They cut off my hair. Which was hard. 
                         I was vain about my hair.
                              (to Ferrygirl)
                         I had good curls. But I deserved it. 
                         I'm the Reverend Veasey. Have I seen 
                         you in church?

               Inman sits, scouring the bank for sign of his pursuers. The 
               sun is sinking fast.

                                     FERRYGIRL
                         I'm saving for a cowhide, and when I 
                         get it I aim to get a saddle made, 
                         and when I get me a saddle I'll save 
                         for a horse, and when I got a horse 
                         I'll throw on the saddle, and then 
                         you won't see my sorry ass round 
                         this swamp again.

               She has no love for the river. Another gurgle of viscous 
               bubbles around the canoe.

                                     VEASEY
                         What's that?

                                     FERRYGIRL
                         Catfish. 'gator. Keep your hand in 
                         the boat. Already looks like some 
                         critter chewed his neck.
                              (she looks at Inman)
                         Thirty more dollars, we can go to 
                         the cabin. I'll pull this dress over 
                         my head.

                                     VEASEY
                              (excited)
                         Have we got thirty dollars?

               A sharp sound, a tiny thwack of ball on meat. The Ferrygirl 
               SUDDENLY SLUMPS BACK and falls into the water.

               Veasey grabs out at the oar, but it goes, too. The girl sinks 
               quickly, A BLOODY GAP to the side of her head. Inman, on his 
               knees and stretching, can't help her. Then a second noise as 
               A HOLE THE SIZE OF A FIST appears in the canoe, just at 
               waterlevel. Water pours into the canoe. Dogs bark, and now 
               FIGURES are visible at the jetty. HOME GUARD. One of them 
               has a sniper's rifle and is loading for a third shot. Inman 
               can see him sighting the rifle. They lie flat in the canoe.

               ANOTHER GREAT FIST OF WOOD is gouged out. Now the boat is 
               almost full of water. Veasey spits out a foul mouthful. INMAN 
               ROCKS THE CANOE AND LETS IT TURN OVER ONTO THEM, Veasey 
               surfaces from under it, clutching the wood as a raft, but 
               the canoe CATCHES INMAN A BLOW TO HIS HEAD and he sinks. 
               Veasey hauls him to the surface and, surprisingly strong, 
               holds him with one fist, the boat with the other, lets the 
               current take them, pulling them under, then up, under, then 
               up, but clinging on, as the rifle continues to deliver its 
               assault, another shot into the boat, another into the water 
               near to Veasey's arm.

               THE GIRL'S BODY comes by them, carried by the river, the 
               dress billowing out almost covering her head. The sun has 
               gone, the light fading, the canoe sliding downriver away 
               from their aggressors.

               EXT. ANOTHER PART OF THE CAPE FEAR. NIGHT

               In the moonlight, the canoe drifts into the muddy bank and 
               Veasey drags a half-drowned Inman to land, both of them 
               retching with the vile river water. AN ALLIGATOR eases into 
               the river not ten feet from where they lie, lungs heaving. 
               They get up. Veasey to his feet, Inman to his knees.

                                     VEASEY
                         You okay?

               Inman nods, coughs. And Veasey AIMS A KICK at Inman's head, 
               knocking him back into the mud.

                                     INMAN
                         Jesus, god!

                                     VEASEY
                         I figure that righteous, given our 
                         history. Otherwise I'd bear a grudge 
                         on our journey.

                                     INMAN
                         There's nowhere I'm going with you 
                         except to Hellfire!

               INT. ADA'S BEDROOM. BLACK COVE FARM. NIGHT

               Ada, her hair plaited in a new and simpler configuration, is 
               working on Ruby's hair, while Ruby experiments with some 
               earrings.

               A pile of Ada's jewelry on the bed beside them.

                                     ADA
                         Agricola poetis viam non monstrat.

                                     RUBY
                         Which means?

                                     ADA
                         The farmer does not point out the 
                         road to a poet.

                                     RUBY
                         Which means? Should be the other way 
                         round

                                     ADA
                         Which means, I suppose, which means 
                         the poet should know where he's going.

                                     RUBY
                              (of Ada's hairdressing)
                         It's no wonder you're helpless and 
                         hopeless if it takes this long to 
                         fix your hair.
                              (of the Latin)
                         Say some more.

                                     ADA
                         Terra mutata non mutat mores.
                              (can't believe she 
                              knows all these 
                              phrases by heart)
                         It's appalling what's in my head.

                                     RUBY
                         It's appalling what's in my head?

                                     ADA
                         No, it means: A change of place does 
                         not change a character.

                                     RUBY
                         Well that's surely true even in 
                         English.

                                     ADA
                         You can keep those earrings.

                                     RUBY
                         We can't keep anything.

                                     ADA
                         I have to keep the bangles. They 
                         were my mother's.

                                     RUBY
                         Well that's all. The rest is for 
                         trading. Else they can bury you in 
                         your finery.

                                     ADA
                              (of her hair)
                         You're done.

               There's a small mirror on a stand. It has Inman's picture 
               stuck in it. She picks it up, removing the tintype, and 
               holding it up for Ruby to see her hairstyle.

                                     RUBY
                         Good God! Okay.

               She takes the mirror and shows Ada her simple plait.

                                     ADA
                         I like it.

                                     RUBY
                         Takes two minutes. That's what I 
                         like.

               She puts the earrings back in the pile.

                                     RUBY
                         How much do you love that piano?

               EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. DUSK

               THE PIANO jangles down the rutted lane on the back of Mr. 
               Roy's cart. Ada watches, A SMALL FLOCK of sheep milling around 
               her in the path. Ruby is dragging a big sow towards the yard. 
               Ada picks up one of two sacks and staggers towards the house.

               INT. KITCHEN, BLACK COVE FARM. DUSK

               Ada arrives in the kitchen. They've got it under control 
               now, scrubbed and orderly. She puts the sack down next to 
               another one. Her hands are calloused, the finger nails cracked 
               and ruined, stripes of earth under them. Ruby comes in, 
               struggling with the last sack, pleased.

                                     RUBY
                         We're careful we'll get through the 
                         winter now. I made old man Roy give 
                         me ten of those sheep on account of 
                         I said they were so small put together 
                         they were no bigger than six proper 
                         sheep.

                                     ADA
                         My father always wanted sheep on 
                         this land.

                                     RUBY
                         I'm sorry you had to lose your piano. 
                         I cut off my hair once, for money. 
                         My daddy got two dollars for it. 
                         Made a wig for a rich feller in 
                         Raleigh.

               They're working as they talk, taking the sacks into the 
               larder, putting out stuff for the evening meal.

                                     RUBY
                         Stobrod called himself a musician -- 
                         my daddy -- he could play six tune 
                         on a fiddle. Got himself shot dead 
                         at Petersburg. I was like his goat 
                         or some creature tethered to a post. 
                         He left me once, up the mountains. I 
                         was eight. He was gone over two weeks.

                                     ADA
                         Oh Ruby.

                                     RUBY
                              (defiant)
                         I was all right! He'd walk forty 
                         miles for liquor and not forty inches 
                         for kindness.

                                     ADA
                         And your mother?

                                     RUBY
                         Never met her. We're the same in 
                         that regard. He said she was -- he 
                         told me a thousand stories -- she 
                         was a wolf or an indian or a donkey. 
                         Don't say much for him, except you 
                         know he'd be fast to work up a sweat 
                         on a tree if he thought there was 
                         pleasure in it.

               There's a pause. Ruby not easy with her emotions. Abruptly 
               she jumps up.

                                     RUBY
                         There's cows to milk.

               EXT. RIVER, EN ROUTE TO SALISBURY. DAY

               Inman stands in the river, hoping to catch a fish, trying to 
               concentrate. Veasey presides, complaining...

                                     VEASEY
                         Used to be as regular as morning 
                         prayers. Matter of fact I could set 
                         my watch by my bowels. That beeswax 
                         you fed me, day before yesterday, it 
                         stops a man up. Open my gut now they'd 
                         find turds stacked up like little 
                         black twigs.

               On a parallel track across the river, RIDERS... impossible 
               to say whether Home Guard or a Federal Raiding Party. Inman 
               splashes out of the water, pushes Veasey down, silencing 
               him. The riders pass.

               Veasey spots something shining in the grass, picks it up. 
               IT'S A LONG TWO-HANDED SAW.

                                     VEASEY
                         Hey! Look at this!
                              (flexing it)
                         This is a good saw.

                                     INMAN
                              (getting up)
                         It's not yours. You take it, you 
                         make us another enemy. You're a 
                         Christian -- don' t you know your 
                         commandments?

                                     VEASEY
                         You'll find the good Lord very 
                         flexible on the subject of property. 
                         We could do a lot with this saw...

               Inman is vexed, walks away. Veasey follows, experimenting 
               with the saw's music when flexed. Inman stalks on.

               EXT. NEAR A FORD. DAY

               Inman way ahead, full of purpose. Veasey still has the saw, 
               trots to catch up.

                                     VEASEY
                         Why you in such a hurry the whole 
                         time?
                              (no answer)
                         Hurry or slow the destination is 
                         always the same. It's only the journey 
                         that is different. That's either in 
                         the Good Book or I made it up.

               Inman suddenly stops, scowling, puts up a hand, listens.

               Inman carefully scouts the track then, with great caution, 
               edges towards the river bank.

               A HEAVY SET MAN labours in the water. He's contemplating THE 
               HUGE BLACK CARCASS OF A BULL which has slipped into the ford 
               and died. The man is wet and exasperated.

                                     VEASEY
                         Good day to you!

               The man turns, his spirit evidently lifted by the prospect 
               of help. His name is JUNIOR. He's working on roping the 
               animal.

                                     JUNIOR
                         My old bull, wandered off and died 
                         in this here creek. Fouled up our 
                         water is how I found it.

               Veasey is immediately an authority on bull removal.

                                     VEASEY
                         This is a tricky one.

               The three men contemplate the carcass, swatting away the 
               swarms of flies. Junior offers a swig from a jug of liquor.

               Inman refuses, Veasey takes a long pull, shudders happily.

                                     VEASEY
                         The name for the Bull's member is a 
                         tassel. I learned that and never 
                         forgot it.

                                     JUNIOR
                         Reckon I need a train of mules.

                                     VEASEY
                              (walking away)
                         I'm getting an idea. My saw is the 
                         remedy. Let's saw up some wood and 
                         make levers.

                                     INMAN
                         Then what?

                                     VEASEY
                         Lever him out. This'll work!

               He walks into the wood.

                                     JUNIOR
                         Where you two sports heading?

                                     INMAN
                              (inscrutable)
                         I don't know where he's heading. I'm 
                         going down the road. And I got a 
                         good way to go before nightfall.

                                     JUNIOR
                              (acknowledging his 
                              attitude)
                         Charitable of you to make a stop. 
                         Ain't for me to be curious.

                                     VEASEY
                              (emerges from the 
                              woods)
                         How do you work this damn thing?

                                     INMAN
                              (to Veasey)
                         Give me that saw.
                              (to Junior)
                         Come on.

               He takes the saw, walks to the bull, gets on one side, 
               indicates Junior should go to the other.

                                     INMAN
                         Let's do this in chapters.

               And they begin to SAW OFF THE BULL'S NECK.

               LATER, and they're in A VILE STEW OF BLOOD AND INNARDS. The 
               stomach opens and its contents gush into the creek. Veasey 
               is disgusted, draws back. The two other men haul up the rest 
               of the animal onto the banks. They're exhausted.

                                     INMAN
                         You might want to leave off that 
                         water for a day or two.

                                     JUNIOR
                         There'll be a tang, I'd imagine.

               EXT. TRACK APPROACHING JUNIOR'S CABIN. EVENING

               Junior, Inman and Veasey come around a bend and there's A 
               BIG CABIN LOOMING. It's in such poor repair that one end has 
               slipped from the stones which serve as it's foundation and 
               STANDS BADLY TILTED OVER. Junior roots up another hidden jug 
               of liquor, which he drinks from, then hands to Veasey.

                                     JUNIOR
                         There's my place. Hope you can stomach 
                         a yard chock-full of females. Brought 
                         my woman home, she showed up with 
                         her three so-called sisters and their 
                         brats. The noise in that place is 
                         something awful. It's why I go 
                         hunting.

                                     VEASEY
                              (considering the wild 
                              camber)
                         Looks a bit crooked.

                                     JUNIOR
                         It is on a bit of a tilt. Them 
                         females. They all roll down one end 
                         each night!

                                     VEASEY
                         -- Roll me over!

                                     JUNIOR
                         -- In the clover

                                     VEASEY
                         One good fart -- that'll tip over!

               They guffaw, delighted in the alcohol haze. Veasey suddenly 
               exclaims, hand in the air, rushes into the bushes.

                                     VEASEY
                         Oh God of my God! Hallelujah! 
                         Hallelujah!

                                     JUNIOR
                         What's up?

                                     VEASEY
                         The Israelites! The tribes of Israel 
                         are about to flee from the banks of 
                         Egypt! Hallelujah!

                                     INMAN
                              (explaining to Junior)
                         He's got a shit coming on. It's 
                         overdue.

                                     JUNIOR
                              (bewildered)
                         And he's a Preacher? Like a Christian?

                                     INMAN
                         Like a Christian.

                                     JUNIOR
                         Good God.

               EXT. JUNIOR'S CABIN. DUSK

               The three men arrive at the yard. DOGS AND CHILDREN MILL 
               AROUND THE VISITORS. FOUR WOMEN COME OUT, one after the other 
               each of them in simple shifts which seem to emphasis their 
               voluptuousness, or so it seems to Veasey. They freely stare.

                                     JUNIOR
                         These two boys is stopping for supper. 
                         They're on the road to Atonement.

               The women consider the men, then disappear back inside.

                                     VEASEY
                         Atonement is not a place.

                                     JUNIOR
                         So what is it when it's at home?

                                     VEASEY
                         Those are fine examples of the female.

                                     JUNIOR
                         Take them all and leave the saw. Be 
                         a sight more use.

                                     SHYLA
                              (reappearing)
                         If they want to get in a tub there's 
                         an hour before food.

                                     JUNIOR
                         They love to scrub a man.
                              (to Shyla)
                         Put the water on the boil.
                              (back to the men)
                         It's my liquor, gets their titties 
                         swinging.

                                     VEASEY
                              (excited)
                         God damn!
                              (to Inman)
                         I was right about sheep droppings 
                         those stools -- like rock hard. Quite 
                         astonishing.

               INT. SMOKEHOUSE AT JUNIOR'S CABIN. DUSK

               No real furniture. Veasey is shaving. Inman stows his knapsack 
               behind the woodburning stove, on which a big kettle of boiling 
               water steams away. Then he gets in the tub, his back to the 
               door.

               Shyla comes in, brings the kettle over to the tub, pours in 
               the steaming water. She appraises Inman. It's intensely 
               sexual.

                                     SHYLA
                         That's battered flesh.
                              (of his neck wound)
                         I could work a finger in there.

                                     VEASEY
                         He's a hero. Took that wound at 
                         Petersburg.

                                     INMAN
                         He doesn't know what I am.
                              (uncomfortable with 
                              her stare)
                         Thanks.

                                     SHYLA
                              (to Veasey)
                         He's shy, ain't he?

                                     VEASEY
                         Wait up a few minutes, I'll be in 
                         that tub, then we'll see who's a shy 
                         one.

                                     SHYLA
                         I want to poke my thumb in his holes.

               A second woman comes to the door. Dolly.

                                     DOLLY
                         Lila says supper's up.

               INT. JUNIOR'S CABIN, NIGHT

               LILA, JUNIOR'S WIFE, spoons out stew from a vast pot. The 
               table crammed with customers -- her three sisters, the three 
               men, the herd of dogs and filthy children. Nobody speaks. 
               Each time Lila bends over to spoon out of the pot, her 
               cleavage strains against the flimsy fabric of her dress. 
               Veasey's mesmerized. Inman is also getting drunk, his eyes 
               increasingly glazed. When Lila makes to sit down next to 
               Junior, he slides a hand up her dress, exposing a naked 
               buttock, which he strokes and pinches as he pulls away.

                                     LILA
                         Hey!

               Junior grins, looks over at Inman, then nudges Veasey.

                                     JUNIOR
                         He's gone now. Look! His eyes have 
                         gone.

                                     INMAN
                              (vaguely, drunk)
                         What?

                                     VEASEY
                         Dolly?

                                     DOLLY
                         S'me.

                                     VEASEY
                         Dolly, Lila, Shyla and Mae. That's a 
                         poem. That's a poem.

               He begins to recite, has a verse in his mind.

                                     VEASEY
                         Dolly, Lila, Shyla and Mae
                              (but he can' t summon 
                              it)
                         Da-da da-da da-da dae...
                              (vague)
                         ...there's a poem there.

                                     JUNIOR
                         I'm leaving soon as I'm full.

                                     VEASEY
                         Really. Goodbye.

                                     JUNIOR
                         Got a bunch of traps needs visiting. 
                         I'll be back tomorrow, before dark. 
                         You'll still be here?

                                     VEASEY
                         That's my fervent prayer.

                                     JUNIOR
                         My house is your house.

                                     INMAN
                              (suddenly)
                         Like to wash their hands and pray.

                                     VEASEY
                         Say again?

                                     INMAN
                         Dolly, Lila, Shyla and Mae.

                                     VEASEY
                         That's Job. Don't say much but even 
                         liquored up there's a preacher in 
                         him.

               Inman gets up suddenly, sways.

                                     INMAN
                         I'll say my goodbyes, got miles and 
                         miles to go before sunset.
                              (head spinning)
                         I'll just quickly lie down.

               And he stumbles over to the fire where he instantly curls 
               up.

                                     VEASEY
                         I'm heading for that smokehouse and 
                         I'm ready to be washed clean of my 
                         dirt.

               He gets up, wanders out of the door. Junior's eyes glint. He 
               jerks his head towards the girls then in the direction of 
               the smokehouse.

                                     JUNIOR
                         You go tend to him.
                              (to Lila)
                         I'll be seeing you.

               He picks up his gun and leaves Dolly gathering up the children 
               and herding them out.

                                     DOLLY
                         Come on you -- get!

               Shyla stays, Mae having gone off after Veasey. Lila waits 
               until the children have gone. They consider Inman supine by 
               the fire.

                                     LILA
                         He's mine. You can go rub yourself 
                         off on the Preacher.
                              (of Inman)
                         Gonna make him hug me till I grunt.

               Lila shepherds Shyla out, shuts the door, swigs from the 
               jug, walks over to Inman, then turns to the big table and 
               pushes pots and plates way down to one end to make a playing 
               field.

               Then she bends over the prostrate Inman.

                                     LILA
                         Hey!

               Inman stirs, glazed.

                                     LILA
                              (kneeling down to him)
                         You want to see what Mamma's got for 
                         you?

               SHE SLIPS A SLEEVE OF HER DRESS TO REVEAL A FULL BREAST.

               Inman is drunk, doesn't think he's awake. She takes her breast 
               to his mouth, and Inman suckles. Then she puts his hands 
               under the dress which rides up as his hands move between her 
               legs. She's naked.

                                     LILA
                         That's good. Ain't that sweet?

               SHE PULLS INMAN TO HIS FEET, KISSES HIM, THEN TURNS HER BACK 
               AND LIES FACE DOWN ON THE TABLE, HER BARE ASS UNDULATING IN 
               THE AIR.

                                     LILA
                         You just get on and ride me all the 
                         way to China.

               He doesn't move, except to sway, eyes glazed. She turns.

                                     LILA
                         You shy? You need a hand?
                              (goes to his buttons)
                         Let's have a look see what we can 
                         muster.

               She's kneeling now, her dress hunched up around her middle, 
               working the front of Inman's pants. He's in a swoon, 
               surrendering to her, getting aroused, his hand cupping her 
               head. ON CUE, THE DOOR CRASHES OPEN AND HE'S STARING DOWN 
               THE BARREL OF JUNIOR'S SHOTGUN.

               As Lila turns, Junior KICKS HER violently in the head, 
               knocking her over.

                                     JUNIOR
                         You little bitch! Look at you! Cover 
                         yourself up!

               NEXT HE SWINGS THE SHOTGUN BARREL AGAINST THE SIDE OF INMAN'S 
               HEAD. Inman falls back. Junior goes to the door and whistles.

               AND WITH THAT THE ROOM FILLS UP WITH A GROUP OF HOME GUARD 
               BRISTLING WITH WEAPONS AND PURPOSE. THEY SEIZE INMAN, DRAG 
               HIM OUT AS JUNIOR SPITS AND KICKS AT HIM.

               INT. SMOKEHOUSE AT JUNIOR'S CABIN. NIGHT

               Lila enters the smokehouse, hand to her bruised head. VEASEY'S 
               ON THE FLOOR, WITH DOLLY ASTRIDE HIM, HIS ARM CRUSHING A 
               NAKED MAE INTO AN EMBRACE. He considers Lila, beams:

                                     VEASEY
                         I had a special prayer you'd come 
                         visit.

               THREE MEN BURST IN BEHIND HER, RIFLES RAISED.

               EXT. JUNIOR'S CABIN. NIGHT

               Veasey led out, a CHAIN GANG waiting -- a bedraggled 
               collection of prisoners, slaves, deserters -- and now INMAN. 
               Veasey is joined to the line. It starts to rain.

               EXT. SWANGER FARM. DAY

               Ruby and Ada at the door of the Swanger house. They both 
               wear Monroe's clothes by now, like two little men. THEY'RE 
               CARRYING A SMALL SACK, A PIE UNDER A CLOTH. Ruby hammers at 
               the door, a little impatient. Sally Swanger opens it, has to 
               decode who it is under the clothes, the hats.

                                     SALLY
                         Ada Monroe and Ruby Thewes! Look at 
                         you both!

                                     RUBY
                         Look at us both what?

                                     SALLY
                         Like a coupla scarecrows after a 
                         thunderstorm.

                                     RUBY
                         We need a scarecrow, birds eating up 
                         half our winter garden.

                                     ADA
                         Sally's right. We should both stop 
                         toiling and stand a while with our 
                         arms stretch out. I'll volunteer.

                                     RUBY
                         We got something for you.

                                     ADA
                         For all your kindness. Coffee. And a 
                         pie.

                                     RUBY
                         That's real coffee. It ain't hickory 
                         and dirt.

                                     SALLY
                              (taking the gifts)
                         Thank you both.
                              (of the pie)
                         Ruby, I look forward to this. We all 
                         do. Esco and me.

                                     RUBY
                              (grinning at Ada)
                         She made it.

                                     ADA
                         I made it.

                                     SALLY
                         Good God in Heaven.

                                     RUBY
                              (by way of 
                              recommendation)
                         I'm still alive.

               Sally's strangely awkward, lingering at the door, staring at 
               the gifts...

                                     RUBY
                         We'll be getting along.

                                     SALLY
                              (nodding)
                         I know Esco's going to be real sorry 
                         he missed you. You all take care.

               They all kiss, then the girls walk back down the path. Ruby 
               is vexed.

                                     RUBY
                         That strike you as odd?

                                     ADA
                         What?

                                     RUBY
                         Stood at her front door?

                                     ADA
                         Sally?

                                     RUBY
                         Number one -- I know that woman all 
                         my life. I never stood outside her 
                         house -- she'd invite a wolf inside 
                         if it knocked on the door.

                                     ADA
                         Perhaps, I don't know, perhaps she 
                         was busy.

                                     RUBY
                         Number two -- Old Man Swanger was 
                         inside that house: I could smell his 
                         pipe burning. Number three -- look 
                         at these fields.

                                     ADA
                         What about them?

               She contemplated the stubble fields they're passing.

                                     RUBY
                         We came by here a week ago, they 
                         were waist high in hay.

               EXT. A PATH. DRIVING RAIN. NIGHT

               The Home Guard ride, bent under their oilskins, as the rain 
               tips down. Between the horses, unprotected and drenched, 
               their prisoners trudge along the muddy path. Inman and Veasey 
               among them. Veasey has grown some beard.

               AN OLDER MAN COLLAPSES, lies where he falls, not moving.

               There's a domino effect and so Inman falls on top of him. He 
               picks himself up, then tries to pull up the older man. He 
               doesn't move.

                                     INMAN
                         He's dead.

               The horses plough on. Inman shouts to BROWN, the leader.

                                     INMAN
                         This man's dead!

               Nobody pays any attention. He has to drag the body.

               EXT. VEASEY TOWN. DAY

               THE HOME GUARD ESCORT THE PRISONERS PAST VEASEY'S OLD CHURCH.

               More days have gone by and taken their toll on the prisoners, 
               Veasey and Inman are haggard and filthy and reduced. The 
               Home Guards stop for food, a wash, a break, chain the 
               prisoners to a horse rail.

               Citizens go by, Veasey knows them all. Some of them spit 
               contemptuously at the Deserters. None of them recognise 
               Veasey.

                                     VEASEY
                         Am I so altered that they don't see 
                         me?

               Somebody walks by with a young child.

               Veasey looks at Inman.

                                     VEASEY
                         I christened that child.

               The child stops, looks without recognizing, is tugged away 
               from the chain gang by his mother. One of the other prisoners, 
               SHEFFIELD, leans in to Inman, his voice low.

                                     SHEFFIELD
                         I'm looking to get out of this. They 
                         drag us back to fight -- we're just 
                         target practice for the Federal boys.

                                     INMAN
                         You run, we're all running with you, 
                         the lame and the stupid, of which we 
                         number both.

                                     SHEFFIELD
                         Either way we're fucked. Run or don't 
                         run.

                                     INMAN
                         Just give me some warning so I can 
                         tell the guard -- I'm not getting 
                         shot again for some cause I don't 
                         believe in.

               A GROUP OF SLAVES ARE WALKING BY, CARRYING SACKS. One of the 
               women is pregnant. Veasey studies the group, sees the pregnant 
               woman, recognizes her.

                                     VEASEY
                              (mesmerized)
                         That's Rebecca. That's Rebecca.
                              (he hisses)
                         Rebecca!

               In daylight it's apparent that Rebecca is a real beauty. She 
               turns at the sound of her name, stops, is confused. She sees 
               Veasey and approaches, appalled at his condition.

                                     REBECCA
                         Mas?

                                     VEASEY
                         Is it well with you?
                              (Rebecca nods)
                         I've been repenting for what I did. 
                         I've walked the road of atonement.

                                     REBECCA
                         Your curls is all gone.

               THE GUARD KICKS HIM.

                                     GUARD
                         Hey!

                                     VEASEY
                              (holding his head, to 
                              Rebecca)
                         God Bless you.

               Rebecca, reluctant, rejoins the other slaves, walks away 
               with them, but then turns back to look at Veasey. She clearly 
               cares about him. And seeing her has somehow broken his heart.

               He turns away from Inman, towards Sheffield.

                                     VEASEY
                         I'm with you. I got a baby coming.

               EXT. RAILROAD TRACK. DAY

               THE CHAIN GANG TRUDGES DOWN THE TRACK, horses on either side 
               of them, steep banks forming a V for the railroad. A TRAIN 
               IS COMING. Brown rides up to the prisoners, herds them off 
               the track. The train approaches quite slowly -- the boxcars 
               full of wounded soldiers. Some of the Home Guard dismount, 
               take out pipes. The prisoners wait, one of them sits down.

               Sheffield says something to Veasey, who casually yanks up 
               the sitting prisoner. Inman suddenly understands what's going 
               to happen. The train is almost on them.

                                     INMAN
                         No!

               But it's too late. SHEFFIELD JERKS FORWARD IN FRONT OF THE 
               TRAIN, PULLING ALL THE OTHERS WITH HIM, their reluctance 
               tempered by the possibility of being crushed by the oncoming 
               train.

               SOMEHOW THE CHAIN GANG GETS ACROSS THE TRACK, stumbling and 
               chaotic, the chains yanking tight, then loose, the tight 
               causing a collapse, the loose a recovery.

               They run alongside the train, blocking themselves from the 
               fire of the Guard, Sheffield screaming tactics -- and then, 
               as the train starts to pull past them, they run up the bank, 
               now all as a unit scrambling to the steep summit.

               ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRAIN THE HOME GUARD HAVE REMOUNTED 
               THEIR HORSES AND ARE RIDING HARD ALONGSIDE IT. Then they 
               have sight of the escaping prisoners silhouetted at the top 
               of the bank like a line of paper dolls stretched out along 
               the ridge. Sheffield's yelling with adrenaline, Veasey joins 
               in, elated. One of the guards raises a rifle, steadies himself 
               on his horse, FIRES. He catches Veasey, who crumples, spinning 
               round and falling down the bank, until Inman uses all his 
               strength and practically lifts him in the air. The chain 
               recovers and works back up the bank.

               But then A SECOND BULLET catches another prisoner and this 
               time the effect is catastrophic -- THE WHOLE GANG JUST FLIPS 
               OVER AND PLUMMETS DOWN THE BANK. The Home Guard approach, 
               firing randomly at the bodies as they tumble into the ditch 
               by the side of the track. Until all movement ceases. Inman 
               has a wound to his head which bleeds profusely, almost 
               completely covering his face. Brown arrives, considers the 
               carnage.

                                     BROWN
                         Get these sacks of shit under the 
                         ground.

               INT. BARN, BLACK COVE FARM. DAWN

               Ada's milking. It's barely daylight. She's slowly becoming a 
               country girl. Ruby appears in the doorway.

                                     RUBY
                         Someone's been in the corncrib.

                                     ADA
                         You sure?

                                     RUBY
                         It's a coon or possum. Scratched out 
                         a fist hole in the side. This place! 
                         I'm telling you -- we grow, others 
                         eat. I'll go into town, take the 
                         last of the cider and trade for a 
                         trap.

               INT. MONROE'S BEDROOM, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               Ada is in Monroe's bedroom, looks out as Ruby goes off to 
               town, jugs of cider swung either side of the horse. Ada goes 
               over to Monroe's closet, pulls out some clothes.

               EXT. THE WINTER GARDEN, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               Ada buttons Monroe's dress coat and completes the SCARECROW 
               she's spent the day making, save for the hat, which she now 
               fixes on, pushing in a hat pin to secure it. She's made a 
               stern black thing and steps back to consider it.

               Horsemen come riding along the lane. It's Teague and his 
               men.

               He doesn't stop but raises his hat to Ada.

               INT. KITCHEN, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               Ada looks out at the Winter Garden. From that distance it 
               really does look like her father out in the field, arms 
               outstretched as if waiting for her to run to him. She finds 
               it unbearable, her tears coming, runs out into the fields, 
               attacks the scarecrow, pulling off the hat, the clothes...

               EXT. RAILROAD TRACK. MORNING

               THE SOUND OF TINY BELLS. A misty drizzle. A GOAT snuffles 
               around in the freshly turned dirt: A hand, pale and wet, 
               protrudes from the thin layer of earth covering the bodies 
               of the murdered Chain Gang.

               SOMETHING SHIFTS UNDER THE DIRT, breaking the surface. Inman 
               wedged under three or four corpses -- their limbs and chains 
               wrapped around him, has regained consciousness. He coughs, 
               can't breathe properly, tries to work himself some air, 
               spitting out dirt. He makes a noise to distract the goat, 
               rattling the chains. Inman rears up, the bodies slithering 
               off him, but even then the animal only retreats a yard or 
               two. VEASEY SLIDES FACE UP, A BULLET IN HIS FOREHEAD LIKE A 
               MYSTICAL THIRD EYE. Inman feels a surprising loss and 
               tenderness. He heaves again, groaning with the pain of new 
               and old wounds.

               EXT. OLD MILL, COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

               Ruby rides back from town along the river. An ugly looking 
               trap tied over the horses and three or four bulging sacks. 
               By an abandoned mill she sees the Home Guard under the trees.

               She slows up.

                                     TEAGUE
                         What you looking to catch?

                                     RUBY
                         What?

                                     TEAGUE
                         With that trap.

                                     RUBY
                         We got some critter stealing our 
                         corn.

                                     TEAGUE
                         Still but the two of you up there, 
                         is it?

                                     RUBY
                         You know it.

                                     TEAGUE
                         When we get a cold night, camped 
                         out, trying to keep the rule of law, 
                         protecting girls like you from 
                         Federals and deserters, that's a 
                         thought warms us
                              (to his men)
                         ain't it? -- the two of you up there 
                         on my Grand-daddy's farm, dressed in 
                         men's clothes. Warms us right up. 
                         What you got in the sacks?
                              (to the men)
                         Looks like human heads! Eh? Looks 
                         like a bunch of heads. We got 
                         competition!

               Ruby rides on. She rides around the bend -- she's not far 
               from the Swanger farm.

               EXT. RAILROAD TRACK. DAY

               Goats, their bells tinkling, munch around the tracks. One of 
               them turns at a noise -- a GROTESQUE VISION -- A MOVING, 
               SEETHING MOUND OF DIRT. It's Inman, inching along the 
               embankment, the chain of dead bodies in tow, a macabre tug 
               of war. He considers the goats, they consider him. He rears 
               up and finds himself STARING DOWN THE BARREL OF A SHOTGUN.

               EXT. SWANGER FARM. DAY

               Sally is pinning out white sheets, they're filling out like 
               sails in the afternoon wind. Ruby rides up. Sally seems a 
               little vexed to see her. She walks down to the gate.

                                     SALLY
                         Ruby...

                                     RUBY
                         I'm not stopping, Sally. I'm not 
                         snooping neither. Just you should 
                         know Teague and his boys are lurking 
                         down by Pigeon River, the old mill.

                                     SALLY
                              (after a beat)
                         You tell Ada that was a good pie.

               Ruby rides off. Sally watches, then goes inside the house, 
               her energy changing immediately, as if she might faint.

               EXT. MADDY'S CARAVAN. AFTERNOON

               HARSH WHISTLES. A secret place, in the heart of a forest. 
               There's the answering sound of SMALL BELLS, a chorus of them. 
               Inman is dragged into view on a makeshift litter. Goats 
               appear, they herd around the figure dragging the litter. 
               IT'S AN OLD WOMAN, silver haired, her face a leather map, 
               her clothes leather, everything about her like old leather. 
               HER NAME IS MADDY.

               She and Inman round a bend and there's Maddy's house -- AN 
               OLD CARAVAN, long grown into the ground and plaited with 
               vines and creepers. Inman tries to sit up. An old whiskered 
               BILLYGOAT butts up against Inman, knocks him down. Maddy 
               pays no attention to the struggle, heads inside her caravan.

                                     MADDY
                         Mind that Billy, he's the jealous 
                         kind.

               She emerges, with a bowl of water, rags, washes his face, 
               pushing back his hair to look at his wound, puts a finger to 
               the gash on his neck professional in her appraisal. Inman is 
               barely conscious, he groans, trying to defend himself.

                                     MADDY
                         Pay no attention to me. What happened 
                         to your head?

                                     INMAN
                         Fighting.

                                     MADDY
                         And your neck?

                                     INMAN
                         Different fighting.

                                     MADDY
                         You're the color of a cadaver. I'll 
                         fix you. I can fix you up.

                                     INMAN
                              (speaking of his spirit)
                         Mister -- you could fix me I'd be in 
                         your everlasting debt.

                                     MADDY
                         Debts, fighting -- them words don't 
                         mean much round here. For the record, 
                         I'm a female of the species.

               EXT. BOTTOM FIELD, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               Ruby rides up to the farm. She rides past the winter garden, 
               admires THE SCARECROW -- WHICH NOW PARODIES ADA, the same 
               outfit she once wore to visit Inman, the same dress, same 
               hat. Ruby grins as Ada comes over from the field.

                                     RUBY
                         The hat's a nice touch.

               Ruby gets off the horse, and they start unloading sacks.

                                     RUBY
                         You're quiet.

                                     ADA
                         I cried for my Daddy. I dressed up 
                         the scarecrow in his suit and he 
                         came back, his arms out, said you 
                         never cried enough, you never cried 
                         enough.

                                     RUBY
                         Well now you did.

                                     ADA
                         Then I thought, it's not my Daddy, 
                         it's my sweetheart. I saw him once 
                         that way, when I looked down Sally's 
                         well. So I dressed the scarecrow in 
                         the dress I wore the day he left. In 
                         case his spirit flies over looking 
                         out for me.
                              (of the vicious looking 
                              trap)
                         That looks terrible.

               Ruby opens the sacks.

                                     ADA
                         Cabbages.

                                     RUBY
                         I bargained like Lucifer. We can 
                         make all kinds of good eating.

                                     ADA
                         Such as?

                                     RUBY
                         Cabbage. Slaw, sauerkraut, cabbage 
                         soup, fried cabbage, stuffed 
                         cabbage...

               EXT. SWANGER FARM. DAY

               TEAGUE'S MEN RIDE UP TO THE FARM. Esco's out in the field, 
               labouring away, but with his shotgun by him. Teague stops 
               alongside the field, the rail between him and Esco. Esco 
               stops working, picks up his shotgun and goes over. Teague 
               has four men with him. MO and JO, the twins, huge, and with 
               the appearance of having less than one brain between the two 
               of them, GRAYLING, a reluctant-looking man, funereal in his 
               bearing, and BOSIE.

                                     TEAGUE
                         Afternoon.

               The riders slowly fan out, almost as if choreographed.

                                     ESCO
                         Don't spread out. Why they spreading 
                         out?

                                     TEAGUE
                         I'm not spreading out. I'm sitting 
                         here.

               Esco comes over the rail fence, his gun loose in his hands.

                                     TEAGUE
                         Never knew a man worked in his field 
                         with a shotgun.

                                     ESCO
                         There's a war on.

                                     TEAGUE
                         Got to watch out for the Bogey Man.

               He starts to fish out a tobacco pouch. Esco's gun swings up.

               Teague shows him the leather pouch, shrugs, starts to make a 
               cigarette.

               INT. SWANGER FARM. DAY

               From inside the house, Sally watches everything. Her view 
               impaired by the sheets.

               EXT. SWANGER FARM. DAY

               Mo dismounts. Ambles past Esco, looks behind the sheets. 
               ESCO KICKS OUT AT HIM, the shotgun rigid and pointing.

                                     ESCO
                         Get off my land.

               Mo examines his breeches for a dust mark, wipes it off, 
               retreating in a turkey walk of examining and dusting.

                                     TEAGUE
                         Your boys come back.

                                     ESCO
                         Ain't seen my boys in four years. 
                         They're fighting other boys, not old 
                         men and women.

                                     TEAGUE
                              (to his men)
                         He means us. He's referring there to 
                         us.
                              (to Esco)
                         So you won't care if we take a look 
                         around?

                                     ESCO
                         What I gotta give you? A chicken? A 
                         lamb?

                                     TEAGUE
                              (shrugs)
                         Sure.

                                     ESCO
                         Right then.

                                     TEAGUE
                         Thing is -- you got one barrel and 
                         there's five of us. Not a fair fight.

               BOSIE SUDDENLY DROPS OFF HIS HORSE, ROLLS ON THE GROUND.

                                     BOSIE
                         Bogey Man! Bogey Man!

               Esco is momentarily distracted and, in that instant, Mo kicks 
               out at him, knocking the gun from his hands, which fires 
               into the air, a shocking sound.

               EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               Ruby and Ada digging a trench by the smokehouse, laying in 
               the pale heads of cabbage. They hear the distant shot.

                                     RUBY
                         What's that?

               They stop. Listen. Look at each other, start running.

               EXT. SWANGER FARM. DAY

               Jo sets on Esco, knocking him-backwards into a sheet, where 
               it gets twisted, while Jo kicks and punches, little spots of 
               blood staining the sheet with each blow. MO PULLS OUT HIS 
               SABRE AND RUNS ESCO THROUGH, LEAVES THE SABRE IN DEEP, PINNING 
               ESCO TO THE SHEET, THEN SPINNING HIM ROUND IN THE SHEET SO 
               THAT IT TIGHTENS. A stain grows out from the blade, huge and 
               spreading. Teague walks to Esco.

                                     TEAGUE
                         You're harbouring deserters. I can 
                         confiscate every animal on this farm, 
                         every plate, every sheet, every little 
                         pellet of chicken shit -- I can 
                         confiscate your old lady's asshole, 
                         so don't offer me a bird.

               Sally runs out, screaming. She tries to pull out the sabre.

               MO REVERSES HIS RIFLE AND CLUBS HER TO THE GROUND.

                                     TEAGUE
                              (sharply)
                         Hey!

               Mo backs away. Sally is screaming. She watches, helpless, as 
               Esco dies in front of her, the sheet growing a darker red.

                                     TEAGUE
                         You got your bait. Set it on the 
                         hook.

               BOSIE, SMILING, FETCHES A ROPE FROM HIS HORSE, ALREADY NOOSED 
               AT ONE END. HE FLIPS THE LOOP OVER SALLY'S HEAD.

               INT. BARN, SWANGER FARM. DAY

               ELLIS AND ACTON SWANGER emerge from their hiding places, 
               unable to bear the sound of their mother's screams. They're 
               carrying an axe, a pitchfork, mad for revenge.

               EXT. SWANGER FARM. DAY

               BOSIE IS DOING SOME SORT OF DANCE ALONG THE FENCE RAIL. He's 
               very graceful, his hair flying, his hands out, one finger 
               nail extremely long, his boots stamping down on the fence.

               UNDER HIS STOMPING FEET, THE RAIL POST IS PRESSED ON SALLY 
               SWANGER'S THUMBS. She can't scream any longer, because the 
               noose has practically strangled her. The rope's tied off to 
               Bosie's horse, which yanks on the noose with every slight 
               movement. Sally is prostrate in the dirt.

               Her two boys come running from the barn. TEAGUE CASUALLY, 
               SHOOTS ELLIS WITH HIS RIFLE. BOSIE LETS ACTON GET ALL THE 
               WAY TOWARDS HIM AND THEN SHOOTS HIM FROM A YARD AWAY, THE 
               GUN SUDDENLY SPRINGING INTO HIS HAND. AS ACTON FALLS, BOSIE 
               DOES A FLIP TO DIVE OFF THE POST AND LAND ON HIS FEET NEXT 
               TO ACTON'S BODY.

               EXT. SWANGER FARM. DUSK

               Ada and Ruby, riding together on the horse, arrive at the 
               Swangers.

               SALLY IS STILL PINNED UNDER THE FENCE POST. The noose around 
               her neck has been tied off to the post so that she can't 
               move. There's a bloody sheet draped over the edge of the 
               well. Blood on the ground. Ruby heaves at the fence.

                                     RUBY
                         I can't get this damn thing off her.

                                     ADA
                              (at the well, looking 
                              down)
                         Dear Lord in heaven.

                                     RUBY
                         Ada, I can't get this off her!

               Ada runs over. They struggle, can't lift it. Sally's lips 
               are moving.

                                     RUBY
                         What darling? What?

               She bends down, listens to her. Looks up at Ada.

                                     RUBY
                         She's saying don't bother.

                                     ADA
                         Wait!

               She grabs a thick log off the stack, staggers back and in a 
               second they've inserted it into the fence and levered it up 
               and away from Sally's hands. They fall back onto the dirt.

               Ruby cradles Sally. Ada nods towards the well.

                                     ADA
                         There's someone down there. I think 
                         it's Esco.

               Ruby looks over at the well, then at Ada.

                                     RUBY
                         This world won't stand long. God 
                         won't let it stand this way long.

               INT. MADDY'S CARAVAN. DAY

               An exotic interior, many crocks and jars, bunches of herbs, 
               wrapped papers of dried things, like a woodland apothecary 
               store. Inman wakes up. He finds himself in a small cot, 
               wrapped in blankets, a poultice at his neck. He doesn't know 
               where he is or how long he's been there.

               EXT. MADDY'S CARAVAN. DAY

               Maddy's sitting on a stool. There's a circle of stones where 
               her fire lives and she sets the tinder to it. Inman emerges 
               from the caravan. He's pale and unsteady.

                                     INMAN
                         How long have I been sleeping?

                                     MADDY
                         Not long enough.

                                     INMAN
                         I can't stop here. I'm a deserter. 
                         They find me here things could be 
                         bad for you.

                                     MADDY
                         What they going to do? Cut short my 
                         young life? Sit down before you fall 
                         down.

               She calls over a little goat. It ambles over affectionately 
               and nuzzles into her hand. She strokes it and scratches under 
               the chin. The creature gets increasingly tranquil.

                                     INMAN
                         How long you been up here?

                                     MADDY
                         What year are we? '63?

                                     INMAN
                         Last time I checked it was '64.

                                     MADDY
                         I'd say twenty six years.

                                     INMAN
                         Twenty six years!

                                     MADDY
                         I could move on anytime. I've seen 
                         most of the world anyway, Richmond 
                         in the North, south almost to 
                         Charleston. You're going somewhere 
                         or you are somewhere, what's the 
                         difference?

               She's still stroking the goat. It looks as if it's asleep.

                                     MADDY
                         I've learned a person can survive 
                         off pretty much of a goat. I can't 
                         abide a chicken, but a goat gives 
                         you company and milk and cheese and 
                         then, when you need it, good meat.

               In a single motion she has a knife in her hand and has SLIT 
               THE THROAT OF THE GOAT, putting the bowl underneath its neck 
               to catch the blood, still stroking the goat, which blinks as 
               if it were only surprised and not dying.

                                     MADDY
                         So you've been fighting?

                                     INMAN
                              (as if he might break)
                         I could be at killing for days 
                         sometimes, in the hand to hand, my 
                         feet against the feet of my enemy 
                         and I always killed him and he never 
                         killed me.

                                     MADDY
                         He gave it a try, to look at you.

                                     INMAN
                         I guess he did.

                                     MADDY
                         See I think there's a plan. There's 
                         a design. For each and every one of 
                         us.

               During this she's shucked the skin off the goat with the 
               authority of someone who's done this a thousand times.

                                     MADDY
                         You look at nature, a bird flies 
                         somewhere, picks up a seed, shits 
                         the seed out, a plant grows. Bird's 
                         got a job, seed's got a job.

               And the goat is now thin and pink, eyes bulging, a piece of 
               meat.

               INT. MADDY'S CARAVAN. EVENING

               A woodburning stove with a single cooking plate -- on which 
               pieces of the goat meat, sprinkled with herbs, are sizzling 
               in a pan.

               INMAN IS EATING LIKE A MAN POSSESSED, WRAPPING THE MEAT IN 
               CORN FRITTERS AND PUSHING THEM INTO HIS MOUTH. Maddy watches 
               him, adds another mound of meat to his plate. Inman nods in 
               thanks, but -- doesn't look up.

               She opens a jar and takes out a handful of dried poppy heads, 
               puts them near the stove, then dips into another jar and 
               pulls out what look like old cheroot stubs.

                                     MADDY
                         Take one of these now with your food.

               Inman is circumspect, views the stub lozenge with suspicion.

                                     MADDY
                         Swallow it. If you die I'll give you 
                         your money back.

               Inman puts it in his mouth, gags at the taste of it. She 
               hands him a beaker with milk to wash it down.

                                     MADDY
                         Our minds aren't made to hold on to 
                         the particulars of pain, the way we 
                         do bliss.

               She starts steaming the poppies.

                                     INMAN
                         It's true...

                                     MADDY
                         What is?

                                     INMAN
                         What you remember.

                                     MADDY
                         What's her name?

                                     INMAN
                         Ada.
                              (At the food)
                         -- Sometimes I think I'm crazy when 
                         I'm just hungry --
                              (another mouthful)
                         Ada Monroe.

                                     MADDY
                         And is she waiting for you?

                                     INMAN
                         She was. I don't know. Or if she'd 
                         know me. I'm like the boy who goes 
                         out in winter for firewood comes 
                         back in the spring with a whistle.

               Maddy pricks open the poppies and collects their opium, then 
               hands Inman the liquid.

                                     MADDY
                         Now drink this. It visits the pain. 
                         And you'll sleep.

               He drinks the laudanum she's made.

                                     INMAN
                         I've had to put myself in the way of 
                         people's kindness.

                                     MADDY
                         I hope you found it.

               She dips a cloth in the steaming water, unbuttons his shirt. 
               She has a crock of what looks like treacle and vaseline. She 
               smears this salve over the neck wound and into his scalp. 
               Inman surrenders to the drug.

                                     INMAN
                         The passenger pigeons fly south, the 
                         berries ripen. Whether I see them or 
                         not, whether a man dies, or a war is 
                         won.

                                     MADDY
                         That's the laudanum getting to you. 
                         That's good. Say something more.
                              (she kneels to his 
                              leg)
                         Raise that up for me.

               He obliges. She grimaces at the state of it, where the chain 
               has chewed into the flesh. Gets to work.

                                     INMAN
                         She gave me a book. Ada Monroe. Man 
                         by the name of Bartram. Wrote about 
                         his travels. I carried that book 
                         through every battle. I left it 
                         someplace, got to get it back. 
                         Sometimes just reading the name of a 
                         place near home -- Sorell Cove, Fire 
                         Scale Ridge -- was enough to bring 
                         me to tears. Thing is I've been 
                         thinking -- those places belonged to 
                         people before us, to the Indian -- 
                         and he had a different name. What 
                         did he call Sorell Cove? How can a 
                         name not even the real name break 
                         your heart? It's her, she's the place 
                         I'm heading. And I hardly know her. 
                         So how can a person who's maybe not 
                         even a real person -- I don't know 
                         what I'm talking about -- I have to 
                         close my eyes...

               He slides off the stool and lays on the floor. Maddy goes 
               over to her cot and pulls off a blanket which she drapes 
               over him.

               EXT. YARD, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               Ada in the henhouse, collecting eggs, is confident now among 
               the birds. She emerges to find Ruby walking out of the 
               backdoor with the shotgun and a determined look.

                                     RUBY
                         It's a man.

                                     ADA
                         What is?

                                     RUBY
                         Raiding our corn. Got him in the 
                         trap. That's him yelping.

                                     ADA
                         You're not going to shoot him!

                                     RUBY
                         I don't want him to shoot me.
                              (of the gun)
                         Can you fire this thing?

                                     ADA
                              (making it clear she 
                              can't)
                         Yes.

               They head towards the corn crib, bundled up against the cold.

               A MAN IS KNEELING AT THE CORN CRIB, perfectly caught in the 
               art of stealing, his head forced away from view. Ruby hands 
               Ada the gun and approaches, warily.

                                     RUBY
                         Listen up -- you got a barrel trained 
                         on your rear-end.

                                     STOBROD
                         Get me out of this dang thing. My 
                         fist's about to drop off.

                                     RUBY
                         You got a weapon?

                                     STOBROD
                         No ma'am. I'm begging you. I'm already 
                         on my knees, otherwise I'd get down 
                         on them.

                                     RUBY
                              (suddenly recognises 
                              the voice)
                         Unbelievable! Stobrod Thewes.

                                     STOBROD
                         Ruby? God damn!

                                     ADA
                         What?

                                     RUBY
                              (to Ada, disgusted)
                         That's my daddy...

               She walks up to him and KICKS HIM HARD AS SHE CAN ON HIS 
               BACKSIDE.

               INT. KITCHEN, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               A strip of fabric, homemade bandage, being wrapped around 
               Stobrod's badly gashed hand. Ada is tending to him. Ruby is 
               cooking at the range, not remotely warm towards her prodigal 
               father, who looks rather comfortable. Stobrod looks at her.

                                     STOBROD
                         Just so's you know -- I can eat while 
                         she's doing this -- in case you're 
                         holding off.

                                     RUBY
                         Just so's you know -- you're not 
                         eating inside. Number One -- they 
                         hang people round here for taking in 
                         deserters. Number two -- even if 
                         they gave out prizes -- you'd still 
                         eat outside.

                                     STOBROD
                         You're scarred.

                                     RUBY
                         I'm what?

                                     STOBROD
                         Your heart. Scarred. I did wrong to 
                         you.

                                     RUBY
                         You'd be scarred. You'd be really 
                         scarred if I hadn't wrapped them 
                         trap teeth in sacking. Which was her 
                         idea.

                                     STOBROD
                         I hurt you.

                                     RUBY
                         Good God!

                                     STOBROD
                         I wrote fifty tunes with you in mind. 
                         Ruby this, Ruby that, Ruby with the 
                         eyes that sparkle.

                                     RUBY
                         Hey! Let's agree: you beat me, you 
                         abandoned me, you ignored me, you 
                         beat me some more -- all of that is 
                         better than Ruby with the eyes that 
                         sparkle!

                                     STOBROD
                         I'm changed. People change. War 
                         changes people something terrible.
                              (to Ada)
                         Ruby's told you -- I've no doubt -- 
                         I wasn't always the best...

                                     RUBY
                         You were an asshole.

                                     STOBROD
                         I can't disagree with that. I was.

                                     RUBY
                         Get him out of here!

                                     STOBROD
                         Music's changed me. I'm full of music, 
                         darling. I wish I'd brung my fiddle 
                         Hey Ruby! Got a new fiddle -- it's 
                         got a little snake's rattle in the 
                         body -- took it off a dead federal 
                         in Virginia. That's a beautiful 
                         fiddle. It's full of tunes, Ruby. 
                         Don't know if it's from that little 
                         rattle locked up in it, or from 
                         something untied my heart.

               Ruby walks over with a crock, wrapped in a cloth.

                                     RUBY
                         You're all set.

                                     STOBROD
                              (sincerely)
                         Bless you both.

               He goes to the door.

                                     RUBY
                         Ain't you got a proper coat?

                                     STOBROD
                         Darling, I'm fine. And you just say 
                         the word, I won't come back neither. 
                         I don't want to put either you or 
                         your mistress here in any bother.

                                     ADA
                         I'm not Ruby's employer.

                                     STOBROD
                         Oh, okay, who is?

                                     RUBY
                         Nobody.
                              (Stobrod digests this)
                         I'll make up food for you, you come 
                         Sundays before it's light, I'll leave 
                         it behind the Old Frazier Mill.

                                     STOBROD
                         Do you know who really needs a coat, 
                         darling, is my partner, fat boy name 
                         of Pangle. We're hiding up in the 
                         caves and he feels the cold like a 
                         thin man, but ain't no coat'll fit 
                         him.
                              (leaving)
                         I love you, Ruby. In case the sky 
                         falls on our head. You're a good 
                         girl.

               And he's gone. Ruby scowls. FIDDLE MUSIC BEGINS.

                                     RUBY
                         He is so full of manure, that man, 
                         we could lay him on the dirt and 
                         grow another one just like him.

                                     ADA
                         So that's Stobrod Thewes.

                                     RUBY
                         It is and that's the last you'll see 
                         of him.

               EXT. MADDY'S CARAVAN. DUSK

               THE FIDDLE CONTINUES, A BANJO JOINS IN.

               Maddy is loading up Inman for his journey. She hands him a 
               bulging goatskin satchel.

                                     MADDY
                         That's medicine and goatmeat. You're 
                         sick of both.

                                     INMAN
                         I have a deal to thank you for.

               She hands him an ancient flintlock pistol.

                                     MADDY
                         And that's just for show, or -- if 
                         you can get close enough -- a wild 
                         turkey.

               She turns, abruptly, mingles in with her goats. Inman nods, 
               knows that she doesn't want a fuss, although he wants to 
               make one, and turns himself, heads away from the caravan.

               EXT. WOODS. DAY

               THE MUSIC CONTINUES. A TURKEY calls. And again.

               JUNIOR is hunting. He creeps through this clearing, eyes 
               peeled for the turkey, gun at the ready. His dog growls, and 
               he puts a hand over its mouth. He listens. Another call.

               Junior moves, without sound, in its direction, stops for 
               several seconds under a tree, listening. He looks up. INMAN 
               IS PERCHED IN THE TREE. THE PISTOL FLASHES IN HIS HAND.

               EXT. JUNIOR'S CABIN. DAY

               THE MUSIC CONTINUES. Inman drags Junior's corpse in to the 
               yard. The dogs whine and slobber over the body. Inman goes 
               straight into the Smoke House.

               INT. SMOKE HOUSE AT JUNIOR'S CABIN. DAY

               THE MUSIC CONTINUES. Inman reaches behind the stove and 
               retrieves his bag. He checks for the LeMats, for the Bartram, 
               opens it, locating the tintype of Ada, which he considers, 
               as the dogs howl outside, joined with another wailing.

               EXT. JUNIOR'S CABIN. DAY

               THE MUSIC CONTINUES. Inman emerges with his bag, LeMats at 
               the ready. The women are all keening over the corpse, as it 
               a saint had passed away. Dogs, women all howling. A chicken 
               bobs in, investigates the glob of blood on Junior's skull.

               Inman walks away, doesn't look at the women, who don't look 
               at him.

               INT. RUBY'S ROOM, BLACK COVE FARM. DAWN

               THE MUSIC CONTINUES. Ruby wakes up. Looks out of the window.

               Ada, also woken, comes into Ruby's room. STOBROD IS OUTSIDE 
               WITH PANGLE, VIOLIN AND BANJO. Ruby opens the window, 
               scowling. Stobrod beams, stops playing, holds up the food, 
               points at Pangle in his new coat. Pangle waves.

                                     RUBY
                         Get on back where you came from!

               Stobrod and Pangle smile and hurry away.

               EXT. PATH IN HILL COUNTRY. DAY

               WINTER SETTING IN. Inman, increasingly a stick figure in the 
               landscape, wasted and fragile, trudges along through fallen 
               leaves. He still limps from the leg irons. No shelter 
               anywhere. He unwraps a paper containing some scraps of goat 
               meat and corn bread. He walks and eats, fishes out a lozenge, 
               tries to swallow it, washes it down with a drink from his 
               flask. Opens the crock of salve and rubs the treacly grease 
               into his neck and ankle. The path splits. He doesn't know 
               which way to go, A CROW repeatedly caws off to the left and, 
               taking it as a sign, Inman goes in that direction.

                                     ADA (V.O.)
                         My love for Heathcliff resembles the 
                         eternal rocks beneath

               INT. ADA'S BEDROOM, BLACK COVE FARM. NIGHT

               Ada in the bed, reading to Ruby from Wuthering Heights.

                                     ADA
                         -- a source of little visible delight, 
                         But necessary.

                                     RUBY
                         She ain't gonna marry Linton, is 
                         she? She said -- whatever our souls 
                         are made of his and mine are the 
                         same. You can't say that and then 
                         marry Linton.

                                     ADA
                         We'll find out.

                                     RUBY
                         Okay.

                                     ADA
                         Tomorrow.

                                     RUBY
                         I'm not waiting until tomorrow.

                                     ADA
                         Ruby, I'm falling asleep.

               She lies back in her bed. Ruby takes the book, lies across 
               the bottom of the bed, as Ada goes to sleep.

                                     RUBY
                         Little visible delight, but necessary. 
                         I like that...

               EXT. SMALL WOOD. NIGHT

               DRIVING RAIN. Inman shelters under a huge tree, whose split 
               trunk provides a mean shelter. He inserts himself into the 
               cleft of it, a black thing in a black tree, like a troll. He 
               stands, shivers, sodden, desolate.

               EXT. SARA'S CABIN. NIGHT

               A LITTLE CABIN. Its lights coming through square windows 
               like a chinese lantern. Inman considers it, the risk versus 
               the shelter.

               The sleet still pelts down on him and he decides to approach.

               Closer he can hear a sound coming from the house. IT'S A 
               BABY'S INCESSANT CRY. HE SEES A YOUNG WOMAN WALKING ROUND 
               AND ROUND IN THE ROOM, CLUTCHING THE BABY WRAPPED UP IN A 
               QUILT.

               Inman knocks hard on the door. The light from the lamp goes 
               out, although the fire still gives the room a clear glow.

                                     INMAN
                         I'm one man alone. I'm a Confederate 
                         soldier on furlough. I have no bad 
                         intention. I need shelter and food.

               THE TINY SOUND OF THE DOOR BEING BOLTED.

                                     INMAN
                         Can I at least sleep in the corn 
                         crib -- just for some shelter? I'll 
                         be on my way come morning.

               No answer. Inman accepts this as a rebuttal, and trudges 
               back towards the road.

                                     SARA (V.O.)
                         I've got a rifle.

               Inman turns. A gap in the door appears, the figure barely 
               seen.

                                     INMAN
                         Fair enough.

               The baby's crying behind her.

                                     SARA
                         There's some beans and corn pone, 
                         all I got. You better come in.

               INT. SARA'S CABIN. NIGHT

               Inman enters the cabin. It's a single room. A big fire. The 
               baby on the bed, a rudimentary crib unoccupied next to it. 
               The woman is already at the little stove. She turns to him. 
               She's painfully beautiful. But sad and fragile. Inman, despite 
               himself, is mesmerized.

                                     INMAN
                         Thank you.

                                     SARA
                         I'm alone here, as you can see, with 
                         my baby. I need to believe you mean 
                         no harm.

               Inman takes out his gun. She starts, terrified.

                                     INMAN
                         No, I mean to give it to you.

               He turns it handle forwards and offers it to her.

                                     SARA
                         I don't want it. I had my way they'd 
                         take metal altogether out of this 
                         world. Every blade, every gun.

                                     INMAN
                         Is your baby sick?

                                     SARA
                         He cries. I don't know. He cries a 
                         lot. My man is dead. He took his 
                         wound at Fredericksburg. Never saw 
                         his boy.

               She never once looks at him. Her eyes on the floor or the 
               food or the baby.

                                     INMAN
                         I'm sorry.

                                     SARA
                         It's pretty much what you'll get if 
                         you knock on any door of this war. 
                         Man dead, woman left.

               She hands him a plate of steaming beans. An onion perched on 
               top.

                                     SARA
                         It's mean food but it's hot.

               She goes over to the bed and picks up her baby and starts 
               the same business of walking him, singing the while, an odd 
               lament. Inman eats, looks at her, at the child and the fire.

               He picks up the onion, bites into it. Sara looks across.

                                     INMAN
                              (ashamed of his hunger)
                         There's no hunting on the road, just 
                         cress and --

               He takes another bite. Sara picks up the baby.

                                     SARA
                         I need to feed this man, if you could 
                         look away.

               Inman, embarrassed, turns his back to her. He sits finishing 
               the food while she puts the baby to her breast, slipping the 
               shoulder from her dress. While the baby feeds.

                                     SARA
                         Used to have a cow, few goats. Raiders 
                         took them. Made me kill our own dog 
                         on the porch. That poor creature 
                         watched over me. Nothing left now 
                         save a hog and couple of chickens to 
                         live off till spring. I'll have to 
                         kill that hog and make sense of the 
                         flesh and divisions which is something 
                         I never did.

                                     INMAN
                         I could do that for you in the 
                         morning.

                                     SARA
                         I'm not asking.

                                     INMAN
                         It's what I'd gladly do for you for 
                         what you're gladly doing for me. I'm 
                         Inman by the way. That's my name.

                                     SARA
                         I'm Sara. My baby's Ethan.

                                     INMAN
                         Glad to know you both.

               EXT. SARA'S CABIN. NIGHT

               Sara walks ahead of Inman. She carries a pile of clothing, a 
               pair of boots. It's still wretched outside, she hugs the 
               house, the porch barely offering shelter. INMAN FOLLOWS, 
               with a bowl of steaming water and a small towel over his 
               arm. She hands him the clothes.

                                     SARA
                         You look about his size. He was 
                         another man straight up and down.

               There's a palpable attraction between them, so that every 
               exchange seems to contain a promise, a sexual charge.

                                     SARA
                         I don't even have a blanket.

                                     INMAN
                         I got a blanket.

                                     SARA
                         I'll leave you the lamp.

               By the dim light, Inman peels off his clothes, sets to work 
               with the bar of soap and the cloth to scrub himself clean. 
               He can be seen from the window and finds himself turning 
               away to pull off his pants.

               INT. SARA'S CABIN. NIGHT

               Sara sits at the cot, still singing to the baby, then gets 
               up, goes to the window, sees Inman dressing, walks to the 
               door, lets it open a little, but not so as she can be seen.

                                     SARA
                         They fit?

                                     INMAN (O.S.)
                         Pretty much. These boots are good 
                         boots.

                                     SARA
                         I'll say good night.

                                     INMAN (O.S.)
                         Good night.

               EXT. SARA'S CABIN. NIGHT

               Inman settles down into the corncrib. He's cold and everything 
               is damp and lumpy and uncomfortable. He pulls his thin blanket 
               around him. The wind is howling. He levers himself up, looks 
               at the house with its warm invitation, can almost feel Sara 
               in there. He reluctantly settles down again.

               HE HEARS A NOISE, STEPS APPROACHING. HE REACHES FOR THE LEMATS 
               UNDER THE BLANKETS.

                                     SARA
                         Will you come inside?

               She stands in a shift, a blanket over her shoulders. Her 
               body under the cotton very clear to him. She turns and goes 
               back inside.

               INT. SARA'S CABIN. NIGHT

               Inman comes in. Sara is sitting on her bed. Long silence.

                                     SARA
                         Could you do something for me? Do 
                         you think you could lie here, next 
                         to me, and not need to go further?

                                     INMAN
                         I don't know. I'll try.

               He sits on the bed as she slips under the covers, and then 
               removes the boots, his shirt, gets under the covers. There's 
               an electric space between them. Then Sara begins to cry, 
               pulls his arm to open up so that she can be folded into him.

               SHE SOBS, SHUDDERING IN THE BED.

                                     INMAN
                         I'll go. I'll go, shall I?

                                     SARA
                         I don't want you to.

               They lie, staring up at the ceiling, her tears falling. A 
               FIDDLE PLAYS HEAVY WITH YEARNING...

               INT. OLD MILL, COLD MOUNTAIN. CHRISTMAS DAY. NIGHT

               THE MUSIC CONTINUES. Stobrod is playing the fiddle, his bowing 
               hand still lightly taped and a fingerless mitten covering 
               it. They're in the abandoned Mill, a derelict space, which 
               has been cheered up with some rudimentary Christmas 
               decorations. Ada, Ruby and Sally Swanger, her hair now almost 
               completely white. Some token presents. Pangle is picking at 
               a banjo, his grin infectious, and a third player, GEORGIA, 
               with a harmonica. As they play:

                                     PANGLE
                              (of Sally)
                         She don't speak.

                                     STOBROD
                         She can't speak. I told you.

                                     PANGLE
                              (smiles at Sally)
                         Is she feeble then?

                                     STOBROD
                         No.
                              (to Sally)
                         Don't mind him.
                              (to Ruby)
                         Hey Ruby: what about this?

               He starts the tune of Wayfaring Stranger. Ruby groans.

                                     STOBROD
                         Don't make that face -- you listen: 
                         c'mon Georgia...

               And he starts up again, but this time GEORGIA BEGINS TO SING.

               He's like a pale angel and sings with a soft, true voice.

               Ruby finds herself taken by this boy's voice and by Stobrod's 
               extraordinary invention as he takes the tune off on a wild 
               journey. Ruby sits next to Ada, fiddles with her bracelets, 
               slips one from Ada's wrist and slides it over her own.

               EXT. OLD MILL, COLD MOUNTAIN. EVENING

               They're all outside now, shaking hands.

                                     GEORGIA
                         There's snow in the air.

                                     RUBY
                         Don't sleep here.

                                     STOBROD
                         We won't.

                                     ADA
                         It's bitter, they could stop one 
                         night.

                                     RUBY
                         They stop one night, they'll want to 
                         stop two.

                                     PANGLE
                         This coat's warm.

                                     STOBROD
                         What about next Sunday? That'll be 
                         the New Year. It's gonna be a better 
                         one.

                                     RUBY
                         Maybe.

                                     GEORGIA
                         The war's over in a month.

                                     RUBY
                         He said that a month ago.

                                     ADA
                              (shaking Stobrod's 
                              hand in goodnight)
                         It started off being over in a month.

                                     STOBROD
                         Miss Ada. Merry Christmas.

                                     ADA
                         Merry Christmas. Pangle. Georgia.

                                     GEORGIA
                         'Night.

                                     PANGLE
                         'Night now.

               The three women walk down the lane, the three men watch.

                                     STOBROD
                         That's my Ruby.

                                     GEORGIA
                         She's an original.

                                     STOBROD
                         You think the Good Lord would forgive 
                         an old cold fool if he changed his 
                         mind? Ada said it herself it was 
                         bitter...

               EXT. SWANGER FARM. NIGHT

               The three women head towards Sally's house.

                                     RUBY
                         What kind of name's Georgia?

                                     ADA
                         It's where he comes from, it's not 
                         his name.

                                     RUBY
                         I know that's meant to be the ugliest 
                         state under the heavens.

                                     ADA
                         Why do you care what his name is?

                                     RUBY
                              (a funny look, then)
                         What's that cluster of Stars?

                                     ADA
                         Orion.

                                     RUBY
                         What about them shaped like a 
                         wishbone?

                                     ADA
                         That's Taurus the bull, and that's 
                         Gemini and that's Orion's big dog, 
                         Canis Major.

                                     RUBY
                         Listen to her, Sal. She's turned 
                         into a highland girl.

                                     ADA
                         I could always name the stars, Ruby, 
                         that was never my problem.

               They all three have linked arms. Ada imitates Stobrod.

                                     ADA
                         I love you darling. In case that big 
                         old sky falls on our heads. And I 
                         love you, too. Sal.

                                     RUBY
                         It's sad, Sal. It's a c-a-t-a-s-t-r-
                         o-p-h-e.

               INT. ADA'S BEDROOM, BLACK COVE FARM. MORNING

               Ada at the window as, outside, SNOW FLAKES BEGIN TO FALL.

               EXT. OLD MILL, COLD MOUNTAIN. MORNING

               Stobrod opens the door of the Mill. The SNOW FLAKES dissuade 
               him from venturing further. He goes back inside.

                                     STOBROD (O.S.)
                         No sense setting off in snow.

               THE DOOR SHUTS, FIDDLE MUSIC LEAKS THROUGH THE DOOR, FOLLOWED 
               BY BANJO AND HARMONICA.

               INT. SARA'S CABIN. EARLY

               Sara, dressed, agitated -- the baby already complaining -- 
               is urgently shaking Inman. Hissing at him:

                                     SARA
                         Get out of here, quick!

               Inman surfaces from deep sleep.

                                     SARA
                         Federals are coming. They find you 
                         here it'll go bad on all of us.

               Inman is up, grabbing clothes, boots, his gun.

                                     INMAN
                         I can try and fight them.

                                     SARA
                         No, my baby. Please no! Just get.

               She pulls up the window in back of the cabin. Inman throws 
               things out into the freezing morning. He has his pants on, 
               but is otherwise naked. He swings over the window and down 
               onto the frosty ground.

               EXT. SARA'S CABIN. EARLY

               Inman picks up his stuff and, at a crouch, runs for cover to 
               the wood which borders the property. He can hear horses and 
               a commotion at the front of Sara's cabin, but doesn't look 
               round until he's sheltered by the trees.

               FEDERAL SOLDIERS, a raiding party, have dismounted and are 
               already wrangling with Sara. Inman watches, pulling on his 
               shirt, shivering, then his boots.

               Sara is standing in front of the hogpen, as if to protect 
               the animal, but one of the soldiers, PISTOL, barges her to 
               one side, toppling her, and opens the gate, starts herding 
               the hog out into the yard. A second soldier, NYM, emerges 
               from the cabin, carrying Ethan. Sara starts up, struggles 
               with him, is again knocked down.

               INMAN HAS TO WATCH AS THEY DRAG HER OVER TO A FENCE POST AND 
               ROPE HER TO IT THEN SLIP THE BLANKET OFF THE BABY AND LAY IT 
               ON THE GROUND IN THE MIDDLE OF THE YARD.

               Then Sara starts to scream.

               Inman is dressed. Boots on. He looks back at the yard. The 
               men sitting, smoking, prepared to wait, their breath coming 
               out in gusts in the freezing air. Flakes of snow fall.

                                     PISTOL
                         We got all day.

                                     SARA
                         My baby's sick! Cover him up! He's 
                         shaking! Have some pity.

               A third Federal, BARDOLPH, chases after the chickens, gathers 
               them up.

                                     SARA
                         I got nothing. I swear.

               Nym gets close to her, putting his rifle to her chest.

                                     NYM
                         That ain't necessarily so.

                                     SARA
                         Yes! Take me inside! Let's all go 
                         inside! Take my baby inside and then 
                         we'll do whatever you want.

               Nym unties her. Pistol has a rope around the hog and now 
               leads it towards the horses.

                                     SARA
                              (screaming)
                         There's nothing! You take that hog 
                         I'm as good as dead. Cover up my 
                         boy!

               She's wailing, an unbearable ululation. NYM SLAPS HER, TWICE, 
               HARD.

               INT. SARA'S CABIN. DAY

               The door is kicked open. Nym pushes Sara inside, kicks the 
               door shut, REVEALING INMAN STANDING BEHIND IT.

               EXT. SARA'S CABIN. DAY

               Bardolph, a chicken in his arms, goes over to the baby.

                                     BARDOLPH
                         This is ready to get a fit going. 
                         It's shuddering. It's gone blue.

                                     PISTOL
                              (to Nym)
                         How long does he want? Hey! Leave 
                         some for the rest of us.

               Pistol heads towards the cabin. As he approaches the door, 
               Bardolph rearranges the blankets to, cover the baby. Pistol 
               opens the door. Nym is on top of Sara. Pistol laughs, enters, 
               and is clubbed down by Inman, who steps out onto the porch, 
               while SARA SHRUGS OFF THE BODY OF NYM, HIS THROAT CUT.

               Bardolph looks up to see Inman walking towards him. Bardolph 
               has left his weapon by the fence.

                                     INMAN
                         Move away from the baby.

               Bardolph obeys, terrified. Sara runs out, collects Ethan, 
               gives a little moan of anguish, runs back inside the cabin.

                                     BARDOLPH
                         Don't shoot.

                                     INMAN
                         Take off your boots.
                              (Bardolph does so)
                         Take off your pants, and your shirt.

                                     BARDOLPH
                         Don't shoot me, please. We're 
                         starving. We haven't eaten.

                                     INMAN
                         You'd better get running before you 
                         catch your death of cold.

                                     BARDOLPH
                              (nods, terrified)
                         Thanks, thank you. I will.

               AND THEN A SHOT RINGS OUT AND HE CRASHES TO THE GROUND, DEAD.

               Behind Inman, Sara stands with a rifle.

               EXT. SARA'S CABIN. LATE DAY

               THERE'S A HUGE FIRE GOING, WITH A CAULDRON HUNG OVER IT. THE 
               HOG HANGS UPSIDE DOWN FROM A TREE, BLOOD DRIPPING INTO A 
               BOWL.

               There's a sense of ritual and order: the chapters of 
               transforming the hog into food.

               Sara is inside the cabin, the door open onto the yard. She 
               holds the baby by the fireplace, swaddled up tight.

               She tries to put him to her breast, but he won't feed. She 
               puts Ethan back in his crib, comes outside.

               Now Inman is butchering the hog, chopping down either side 
               of the spine to make two sides of meat. Now Sara is holding 
               up a sheet of hog fat, as if it were a lace shawl. Now she's 
               rendering the fat into lard. Now Inman's salting the two 
               hams. Now Sara's washing the intestine. She sings all the 
               while -- I dreamed that my bower was full of red swine and 
               my bride bed full of blood -- they don't really converse. 
               Inman continues to work.

               Sara goes back inside to Ethan's crib. Inman glances back, 
               but can hardly bear to, her anxiety so palpable. THE BABY IS 
               DEAD. She looks at it. She takes it up in her arms. Kisses 
               its forehead.

               Makes a strange stifling noise. Inman doesn't look at her.

               She comes out again, shovels some of the food into a plate, 
               serves it up to Inman, gently touching him as she does so. 
               Then serves out food for herself. Inman starts to eat.

                                     SARA
                         Good?

               Inman nods. She collects up the knapsacks, including Inman's, 
               and goes back inside the house with them. Inman squats, 
               eating, glancing back towards the cabin. There's the sudden 
               shocking report of a revolver.

               Inman, knowing what it is, goes slowly towards the house and 
               its two dead bodies. His own face is a rictus, the eyes thin 
               slits. If he gave into his grief it would never cease.

               INT. SARA'S CABIN. DUSK

               From the house, the silhouette of Inman working outside in 
               the day's dying light, snow falling around him. He's digging 
               a grave.

               Inside the house, TWO BUNDLES, the small body wrapped in a 
               blanket, the other wrapped in the bed's patchwork quilt.

               EXT. CABBAGE PATCH, BLACK COVE FARM. DUSK

               Still snowing. Ruby trudges past Ada who is digging out a 
               couple of heads of the buried cabbages.

                                     ADA
                         Do you think he's dead?

                                     RUBY
                         Who?

                                     ADA
                              (shrugs)
                         This snow. Isn't it supposed to fall 
                         with bad news?

                                     RUBY
                         Bad news is girls get working. I'm 
                         going to round up the animals.
                              (squints up at the 
                              snow)
                         This'll settle.

               She walks past. Ada stares into the distance where

               EXT. WILD COUNTRY. LAST LIGHT

               -- the snow falls down on Inman. He's hardly visible in its 
               gusting waves. Just a thin black question mark, hunched over 
               the elements, moving slowly forwards...

               EXT. OLD MILL, COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

               THE SNOW HAS STOPPED. It's left a carpet on the ground.

               Stobrod, Pangle and Georgia emerge from the Old Mill. THEY 
               MAKE HEAVY FOOTPRINTS as they set off up the hill towards 
               the mountain.

               EXT. PATH IN THE MOUNTAINS. DAY

               Inman comes sliding down a crumbling slate hill and onto the 
               path. He cornea to a place where the path suddenly drops 
               away to reveal a view of the geography. And there, finally, 
               in the distance, Inman can see the blue ridge. Somewhere in 
               there is home, is Ada. He goes on.

               EXT. SLOPES OF COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

               Pangle walks too close to Stobrod and steps on the back of 
               his boot which promptly detaches itself from Stobrod's foot.

               Stobrod turns -- and with a raised finger -- pushes Pangle.

               PANGLE FALLS IN THE SNOW, ARMS SPREADEAGLED, AND SMILES.

               EXT. PIGEON RIVER BEHIND THE OLD MILL. DAY

               SOME HORSES CLUSTER around the Stobrod party's footprints.

               Bosie swings acrobatically over his horse, to hang over the 
               tracks, then up again into his saddle, looks at Teague. The 
               Home Guard plod slowly forward in the direction of the tracks.

               EXT. THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. EVENING

               A CLEARING, fringed by poplars. Stobrod is making a fire.

               Pangle appears with an armful of firewood, his big grin a 
               fixture. Then Georgia appears. He's carrying A SMALL BUCK, 
               frozen and covered with snow.

                                     GEORGIA
                         What d'you reckon? Think we could 
                         eat this?

                                     STOBROD
                         You cook something long enough you 
                         can eat anything.

                                     PANGLE
                              (prodding it)
                         It's frozen. How long it been there 
                         for?

                                     STOBROD
                         You hungry?

                                     PANGLE
                         Yeah.

                                     STOBROD
                         Not very long.

               EXT. SLOPES OF COLD MOUNTAIN. EVENING

               Teague examines the snow's imprinted silhouette of Pangle.

               EXT. THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

               STOBROD SINGS AND COOKS. PANGLE ACCOMPANIES HIM ON BANJO, 
               Georgia joins in the chorus. Stobrod pulls one of the hickory 
               stick skewers out of the fire, blows on the, meat, smells, 
               smells again, looks at Georgia, takes a bite. Chews.

                                     STOBROD
                         Edible.

               Pangle takes another stick, burns his fingers.

                                     PANGLE
                         Ow!

                                     GEORGIA
                              (takes a bite from 
                              his skewer)
                         Don't taste much like venison.

                                     PANGLE
                         It's good. I think it's good.

               EXT. THE KILLING GROUND. COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

               The three men are asleep. The fire still burning. They're 
               lying like petals of a flower around it. Suddenly Georgia 
               sits bolt upright, grimaces, gets up stumbles away from the 
               fire, toward a stand of trees, from which come the vivid 
               sounds of violent nausea.

               EXT. TREES NEAR THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

               GEORGIA IS KNEELING IN THE SNOW, his head in the snow, when 
               he A HALF DOZEN RIDERS TROT PAST approaching the sleeping 
               Stobrod and Pangle. Georgia has to vomit again.

               EXT. THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

               Teague rides up to the fire, the other riders with him -- 
               Mo, Jo, Bosie, Grayling. Stobrod wakes, sits up, Pangle 
               sleeps.

                                     TEAGUE
                         Evening. Hope we didn't disturb you.

                                     STOBROD
                         You're all right.

                                     TEAGUE
                         Name's Teague. Do I know you?

                                     STOBROD
                         Thewes.

               Teague slides off his horse, approaches the fire.

                                     TEAGUE
                         You a deserter? -- don't mind if I 
                         just warm up at your fire.
                              (of the sleeping Pangle)
                         That your wife?

                                     STOBROD
                         Who? That's a he!

                                     TEAGUE
                         He your wife?

                                     STOBROD
                         We're musicians. He picks the banjo, 
                         I got a fiddle.

                                     TEAGUE
                              (to his men)
                         Look pretty romantic by the fire. 
                         Don't they?
                              (to Stobrod)
                         Your boyfriend's got a nice bit of 
                         flesh on him. Close your eyes slip 
                         inside that shirt get two good 
                         handfuls -- dark enough I'd be 
                         willing. I'm just kidding.
                              (to his men)
                         Tell him, I'm just kidding.

                                     BOSIE
                         He's just kidding.

               EXT. TREES NEAR KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

               Georgia squints through the trees. Doesn't know what to do.

               EXT. THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

                                     TEAGUE
                         Did you answer my question -- about 
                         your military status?

                                     STOBROD
                         Discharged. Took a wound at 
                         Petersburg.

                                     TEAGUE
                         Oh, so like a hero's discharge.

                                     STOBROD
                         I guess.

                                     TEAGUE
                         And your boyfriend?

                                     STOBROD
                         The military wouldn't take him. He 
                         can't fight. He's simple. He's got a 
                         mind no bigger'n a pickled walnut.

                                     TEAGUE
                         I'm sorry -- he's fat, he's simple 
                         and got titties -- but you're 
                         insisting he ain't a woman. God damn! 
                         Don't that sausage smell outstanding.

                                     STOBROD
                              (he's very nervous)
                         Miqhty outstanding.

                                     TEAGUE
                         Mighty outstanding! There's a new 
                         phrase. Mighty outstanding. Listen, 
                         don't tell me -- you left your papers 
                         somewhere.

                                     STOBROD
                         Which papers?

                                     TEAGUE
                         Your hero's discharge. For mighty 
                         outstanding valour.

                                     STOBROD
                         They're, they're, they're at my house.

                                     TEAGUE
                              (enjoying himself)
                         And where, where, where is your house?

                                     STOBROD
                         Down the mountain.

                                     TEAGUE
                         But you're up the mountain.

                                     STOBROD
                         Hunting. Drinking.

                                     TEAGUE
                         On honeymoon.
                              (to his men)
                         I'm pretty fucking funny tonight.

                                     BOSIE
                         Is he going to play?
                              (to Stobrod)
                         You gonna play that fiddle?

                                     STOBROD
                         Sure. Sure.
                              (kicks Pangle)
                         Hey, wake up!

               Pangle surfaces, blinks, grins at everybody.

                                     TEAGUE
                         Evening, Mrs.

                                     PANGLE
                              (looking around)
                         Where's Georgia?

                                     TEAGUE
                              (interested)
                         Where's Georgia?

               In the trees, Georgia ducks, retches.

                                     STOBROD
                         He don't know what he's saying. We 
                         were talking about Georgia early on -- 
                         maybe heading down there.

                                     TEAGUE
                         Georgia's like my armpit. Worse, 
                         it's like yours.
                              (to Pangle)
                         Want some sausage?

                                     PANGLE
                         Thanks. You is Home Guard?

                                     TEAGUE
                         Yes, ma'am.

                                     PANGLE
                         You is Teague?

                                     TEAGUE
                              (to the others)
                         I'm known!

                                     STOBROD
                         He don't know what he's saying.

                                     PANGLE
                              (quoting)
                         That bastard Teague.

                                     TEAGUE
                         Really.

                                     PANGLE
                         Bad words. Folk always put the curse 
                         words in front of your name.

                                     STOBROD
                         Mr. Teague wants us to play.

                                     PANGLE
                         Okay.

                                     TEAGUE
                         We heard there were deserters in 
                         these parts. Hiding out in a big 
                         cave.

                                     STOBROD
                         Not come to my ears.

                                     TEAGUE
                         You don't know where this cave is?

                                     STOBROD
                         No, sir.

                                     PANGLE
                         You do, Stobes! He means --

                                     STOBROD
                         Right, right! he means, there is a 
                         cave, right, it's up over the other 
                         side, big cave, we played some music 
                         up there, never occurred to me they 
                         were deserters. Near Bearpen Branch.

                                     PANGLE
                         Ain't nowhere near Bearpen Branch! 
                         It's this side! He's always getting 
                         lost. That cave -- we live there! -- 
                         it's over on Big Stomp. Tell you how 
                         I always find it. There's a big old 
                         locust tree fell down across the 
                         path, that points straight at it, 
                         like a finger, always a dozen 
                         squirrels round that tree. You gets 
                         to the tree, sit on it, and there's 
                         your entrance, straight in front of 
                         you, tree points at it. Come right 
                         to your hand, them squirrels --
                              (makes a chirping 
                              sound)
                         -- Chrrrpppp! Chrrrrppp!

                                     TEAGUE
                         Sounds good. Okay, let's eat, let's 
                         hear some music.

               EXT. TREES NEAR KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

               Georgia watches as the music starts, Stobrod playing and 
               singing, Pangle joining in at the chorus. Their improvising 
               is wild, profound, Stobrod chording the fiddle, Pangle 
               following him, then, finishing with another verse and ending 
               with the title declaimed by Stobrod.

                                     STOBROD
                         I call this tune: Ruby's Lament.

               EXT. THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

               Something like compassion has flickered over Teague's face. 
               Mo and Jo nod to the music's secret rhythms. Only Bosie seems 
               detached, contemplating his long fingernail. The music 
               finishes. The Home Guard applaud.

                                     PANGLE
                         What'd you make of that?

                                     BOSIE
                         Heartbreaking.

                                     TEAGUE
                         Stand over by that tree.

                                     STOBROD
                         Me?

                                     TEAGUE
                         Over by that tree. Over there. Take 
                         your boyfriend.

               Stobrod gets up, carrying his fiddle, heads over to a big 
               old poplar. Nods at Pangle.

                                     STOBROD
                         Come on.

               Pangle gets up, banjo in his hand. Puts his arm around Stobrod 
               as if they were about to be photographed. The Home Guard 
               gather around them. From the trees Georgia watches, helpless. 
               Pangle grins at Teague.

                                     TEAGUE
                         Don't smile.

                                     PANGLE
                         What?

                                     TEAGUE
                         Quit smiling.

                                     STOBROD
                         He always smiles. He don't mean 
                         nothing by it. I told him this world's 
                         got nothing worth a smile.

                                     TEAGUE
                         Put your hat over your face.

                                     PANGLE
                         What do you mean?

                                     TEAGUE
                         Cover your face with your hat.

               PANGLE TALES OFF HIS HAT, HOLDS IT OVER HIS FACE. THE MOMENT 
               HE OBLIGIES, TEAGUE'S CARBINE SPRINGS UP IN HIS HAND AND 
               BLOWS THE HAT AWAY SEVERAL OTHER SHOTS FOLLOW. STOBROD FALLS 
               UNDER PANGLE, THE BULLETS FLYING.

               EXT. TREES NEAR THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

               Georgia lies prostrate in the snow, shuddering under the 
               report of each bullet.

               EXT. BOTTOM FIELD, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               Ruby working in the snow, in the field, clipping a sheep's 
               feet, the animal on its back between Ruby's knees. She looks 
               up to see GEORGIA RUNNING ACROSS THE FIELD TOWARDS HER, 
               calling out her name. From the kitchen window, Ada looks on 
               as he reaches Ruby, the story pouring from him. Ada emerges 
               from the house, walks towards the bad news.

               INT. STOREROOM, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               Ruby sorting out a kit of shovels, blankets. Ada comes in 
               doesn't know how to help her friend, who shows no emotion.

                                     ADA
                         I told Georgia he can stop here, 
                         sleep in the barn. He's got nothing 
                         inside him. He'd walk out of here 
                         and die in the snow.

                                     RUBY
                         He can milk the cows. I was worrying 
                         about that. It'll be dark in a couple 
                         of hours. I's ten hours climb from 
                         here. He's drawn a map.

                                     ADA
                         Okay.

                                     RUBY
                              (boiling)
                         You know these fools stayed the night 
                         in the Mill? That's Stobrod -- he 
                         can't do one good thing without adding 
                         the bad. Left tracks in the snow all 
                         the way up for them Home Guards to 
                         follow. That's a sign says shoot me!

                                     ADA
                         Ruby, I'm so sorry.

               Ada moves towards her, puts her arms around her. Ruby is 
               rigid. Ada stops embracing her.

                                     RUBY
                         We should get going.

               She's tying up the kit. She doesn't know how to grieve.

                                     RUBY
                         Every piece of this is a man's 
                         bullshit. They call this a war a 
                         cloud over the land, but they made 
                         the weather. Then they stand in the 
                         rain and say: shit! It's raining!
                              (tears welling)
                         If I cry one tear for my Daddy I 
                         stole it off a crocodile.

               EXT. COLD MOUNTAIN. EVENING

               THE SNOW IS FALLING HEAVILY. RUBY AND ADA TRUDGE UP THE

               MOUNTAIN, dressed in Monroe's clothes, hats pulled down, 
               leading the horse, which is loaded up with tools and supplies. 
               A choice of paths. They start up one, then Ruby decides 
               against it, consults the map, and they reverse, pulling the 
               horse back and then yanking it up the other path.

               EXT. PI STRUCTURE, COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

               Ruby and Ada have made a fire. They sleep under a stone 
               structure, which forms a natural pi shape, the fire in the 
               entrance, the snow caught in its light.

               EXT. THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. MORNING

               Ada and Ruby arrive at the scene of murder.

               Pangle is keeled over at the old Poplar, snow covering him. 
               Only his girth and a glimpse of coat identify him.

               Ada brushes some of the snow from his face, revealing the 
               death wound, then lays a hand in blessing on his head.

                                     ADA
                         I don't understand.

                                     RUBY
                         Maybe Teague's took him. They did 
                         that with the Swanger boys -- didn't, 
                         they? -- dragged them into town, 
                         then strung them up as warning... 
                         it's snowed since, so I can't read 
                         the story on the ground.

               Ada fishes out Pangle's banjo from the snow. It's broken and 
               the strings hang slack.

                                     RUBY
                         Let's dig.

               LATER -- and RUBY FINISHES OFF THE GRAVE, hammering in a 
               stone to mark the place. Ada walks away towards the creek, 
               to wash her hands. She bends and rinses her face.

               As she looks up SHE SEES STOBROD ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE 
               CREEK; half-in, half out of the water, slumped against a 
               tree, blood everywhere, staining the crust of snow which 
               covers him.

                                     ADA
                         Ruby! Ruby!

               Ruby arrives at Ada, looks to where she's looking, walks 
               straight into the creek, all her love contained in the urgency 
               with which she hurtles to her father, oblivious to the 
               freezing water. She puts a head to his chest, seeks out a 
               pulse at his wrist. Calls back to Ada.

                                     RUBY
                         He's still breathing!
                              (to Stobrod)
                         God damn! Daddy; Daddy -- it's Ruby. 
                         Don't you die on me again.
                              (to Ada)
                         He's still breathing!

               EXT. THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. AFTERNOON

               A mean fire burns by the creek. RUBY TURNS A KNIFE IN THE 
               FLAMES. Stobrod's back is exposed. Just by the shoulder blade 
               is an ugly grey and purple bulge the size of a crabapple. 
               Ruby turns to Ada, who is helping.

                                     RUBY
                         Pack a pan full of snow. I need good 
                         clean water, boiled up.

               She cuts the skin and prises out a slug which she drops in 
               the snow and rolls around to clean. Stobrod doesn't move. He 
               could be dead. Ada loads the pan with snow.

                                     ADA
                         Let's get him home. We have herbs 
                         there and it's warm.

                                     RUBY
                         He'll die first. He's got hardly no 
                         blood left in him.

                                     ADA
                         He'll die lying here.

                                     RUBY
                         There's a place further on up. Used 
                         to be. Old Cherokee place. There's 
                         good water right by it.

               Ada puts the snow-packed pan on the fire.

               EXT. BY THE OUTLIER'S CAVE, COLD MOUNTAIN. AFTERNOON

               Squirrels frolic. Teague sits on the trunk of a fallen tree.

               He feeds the squirrels, looking straight ahead where the 
               mouth of a cave winks back at him.

               EXT. TREE TUNNEL NEAR CHEROKEE VILLAGE. AFTERNOON

               THE TWO WOMEN EMERGE FROM A STEEP TUNNEL OF TREES IN A 
               CHESTNUT GROVE. There's a stream and, up on the bank, A 
               CLUSTER OF BLACK CONICAL HUTS, made up of chestnut logs, 
               abandoned and slightly sinister looking. They approach one 
               of the huts, its door long lost. The snow has drifted in. A 
               second hut has a door which they pry open. It's dark and 
               cold, but apparently still weatherproof. They get Stobrod 
               off the horse and carry him inside, then come out again to 
               unload the horse of its remaining load.

                                     ADA
                         This horse is weary. He's ready to 
                         give up the ghost.

               Ruby picks up the blankets and provisions and goes back inside 
               to her father. Ada takes the horse to another hut and, despite 
               his great reluctance, pushes him inside.

                                     ADA
                         Good boy.
                              (she blows into his 
                              nostrils, calming 
                              him)
                         That's warmer, isn't it.

               Ada wouldn't even recognize this practical, hardy woman she's 
               become. Stringy and of few words. She sets off towards the 
               tree tunnel, passing Stobrod's hut.

                                     ADA
                         I'm getting firewood.

               EXT. THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. DUSK

               Inman approaches the Killing Ground. He studies the ground, 
               finds Pangle's grave. Blood has left its black writing in 
               the snow and he finds first where Stobrod has been, where 
               the bullet had been removed, then the journey away, still 
               tiny, telltale spatters of blood, and the hoof prints and 
               boot prints of two walkers and one loaded horse. He puts his 
               hand into the ashes of Ruby's fire, can't feel any warmth. 
               It's getting dark. He takes a drink from the stream, shudders 
               at the cold.

               INT. STOBROD'S HUT, CHEROKEE VILLAGE. NIGHT

               The fire burns, a pall of smoke. Stobrod lies on the ground, 
               swathed in blankets. Coughs. Ruby sits next to him, wipes 
               the hair from his forehead. Ada opens her eyes, looks, closes 
               them, listens to the fire, a strange squeaking as it burns.

                                     ADA
                         That wood -- that sound when it burns 
                         that mean more snow?

                                     RUBY
                         Yes, it do, country girl.

               EXT. TRACK, COLD MOUNTAIN. DAWN

               First light. The sun creeps up, a red streak of dawn. Inman 
               walking, his head bent to the tracks. He walks quickly, even 
               as the terrain gets more steep. As he bends to the snow -- 
               where a spot of blood has fallen into a hoof print -- A FLAKE 
               OF SNOW LANDS ON HIS HAND. Then a second. He looks up. The 
               snow falls.

               He starts to move more quickly, racing the snow as it seeks 
               to erase the tracks. The snow thickens.

               EXT. TREE TUNNEL NEAR CHEROKEE VILLAGE. MORNING

               In the Chestnut Grovel A DOZEN WILD TURKEYS pick their way 
               across the snow. A shotgun lines up its sight at one of them.

               The trigger is squeezed. An explosion of feathers.

               EXT. THREE WAY CROSSING, COLD MOUNTAIN. MORNING

               Inman hears the shot. Then a second, the sound ricocheting 
               around him. He can't quite identify its source but he runs 
               again, heading for the Chestnut trees he can see above him.

               EXT. TREE TUNNEL NEAR CHEROKEE VILLAGE. MORNING

               Ada collects the two turkeys, the first creatures she's ever 
               shot. Doesn't quite know how to hold them. She straightens 
               up and sees, at the other end of the tree tunnel, backlit by 
               the morning sun, THE SILHOUETTE OF A MAN. She drops the 
               turkeys tires to reload the shotgun.

               Inman comes down the tunnel, approaching the hunter he sees 
               through the snow at the other end of it.

                                     ADA
                         Turn round and go back where you 
                         came from.

               Inman is bewildered by this woman's voice in a man's outfit, 
               keeps walking, peering through the snow. Ada fires a warning 
               shot. Inman, still some distance, suddenly understands.

                                     INMAN
                         Ada? Ada Monroe?

                                     ADA
                         I do not know you.

               After all this time, all this way, Inman could give up the 
               ghost.

                                     INMAN
                         Then I believe I made a mistake.

               He turns, walks heavily away from her. Then he turns again, 
               completely lost, without compass.

                                     INMAN
                         If I knew where to go I'd go there.

                                     ADA
                              (finally recognising 
                              him)
                         Inman?

               He nods. They don't know how to speak to each other, just 
               stand awkwardly, some distance apart, the emotion stones in 
               their throats. Eventually --

                                     ADA
                         You'd better come with me.

               And with that, she starts to sob, and sob.

               VERY HIGH ANGLE: Inman walks towards Ada. They embrace.

               INT. STOBROD'S HUT, CHEROKEE VILLAGE. MORNING

               Ada enters, Inman behind her. Ruby looks up from Stobrod.

                                     ADA
                         Ruby, this is Inman.

               Ruby digests this. Considers this ghost of a man.

                                     RUBY
                         Congratulations, I should send you 
                         out with a shotgun more often. He 
                         looks as he needs sleep.

                                     INMAN
                         I may need to.

                                     RUBY
                         Be my guest. You shot or something?

                                     INMAN
                         Not lately.

                                     RUBY
                         Hungry?
                              (Inman nods, Ruby to 
                              Ada)
                         He woke up.

                                     ADA
                         Stobrod?

                                     RUBY
                         Said -- your mommy's name was Grace 
                         then closed his eyes again.

               EXT. CHEROKEE VILLAGE. DAY

               Ada comes out of Stobrod's hut, a glimpse of Inman sleeping 
               on the floor, heads for another hut which Ruby is sweeping 
               out. The snow has stopped. Ada stands in the door, watches 
               Ruby. Ruby's resistance to Inman is palpable.

                                     ADA
                         He's asleep. They both are.

                                     RUBY
                         I'm not surprised. Your man looks 
                         played out.

                                     ADA
                         I saw him. I realize now.

                                     RUBY
                         Saw him when?

                                     ADA
                         In Sally Swanger's well. A tunnel of 
                         trees. The man like a black smudge 
                         in the snow, the sun behind him.

                                     RUBY
                         Well there you are.

                                     ADA
                         Funny thing is it wasn't the same. 
                         The image. It wasn't snowing. And in 
                         the well, he was, as if he were 
                         falling.

                                     RUBY
                         You probably don't remember it right.

                                     ADA
                         I remember it exactly. There were 
                         crows, these black crows flying 
                         towards me. I thought I was seeing 
                         him fall. Instead I was seeing him 
                         come back to me. All this while I've 
                         been packing ice around my heart. 
                         How will I make it melt?

                                     RUBY
                         Better get a fire going.
                              (goes to the fireplace)
                         I've got big plans for that farm. 
                         Got a vision in my mind of how that 
                         Cove needs to be.

                                     ADA
                         I know you have.

                                     RUBY
                         There's not a thing we can't do 
                         ourselves.

               INT. ADA AND RUBY HUT, CHEROKEE VILLAGE. NIGHT

               THE FIRE BURNS. Ada lies awake. Ruby sleeping. Ada gets up, 
               steps out into the snow, her blanket around her.

               EXT. ADA AND RUBY HUT, CHEROKEE VILLAGE. NIGHT

               Inman is outside his cabin. Only the light escaping from the 
               cabin, fire lights them, almost silhouettes.

                                     INMAN
                         I'm sorry. I was trying to be quiet.

                                     ADA
                         I couldn't sleep.

                                     INMAN
                         -- I got no appetite left to be in a 
                         room with wounded men.

                                     ADA
                         I can't see your face.

                                     INMAN
                         It's not a face you recognised.

                                     ADA
                         Did you get my letters?

                                     INMAN
                         I got three letters. Carried them in 
                         that book you gave me. The Bertram.

                                     ADA
                         I must have sent 100. Did you write 
                         to me?

                                     INMAN
                         Whenever I could. If you never got 
                         them I can summarize.

                                     ADA
                         No, it's --

                                     INMAN
                         I pray you're well. I pray I'm in 
                         your thoughts. You are all that keeps 
                         me from sliding into some dark place.

                                     ADA
                         But how did I keep you? We barely 
                         knew each other. A few moments.

                                     INMAN
                         A thousand moments. They're like a 
                         bag of tiny diamonds glittering in a 
                         black heart. Don't matter if they're 
                         real or things I made up. The shape 
                         of your neck. The way you felt under 
                         my hands when I pulled you to me.

                                     ADA
                         Your boots, one polished, one not 
                         yet polished.

                                     INMAN
                         You're playing a piano and I'm 
                         standing outside.

                                     ADA
                         I'm playing a piano and you're 
                         standing outside.

                                     INMAN
                         That kiss -- which I've kissed again 
                         every day of my walking.

                                     ADA
                         Every day of my waiting.

                                     INMAN
                         Maybe you can't see my face, but if 
                         you could see my inside, my whatever 
                         you want to name it, my spirit, that's 
                         the fear I have deeper than any gash 
                         on my neck. I think I'm ruined. They 
                         kept trying to put me in the ground, 
                         but I wasn't ready, no ma'am, no 
                         more ready than that scoundrel in 
                         there's not ready to die on us. But 
                         if I had goodness, I lost it. If I 
                         had anything tender in me I shot it 
                         dead.

               Ruby stomps out of the hut.

                                     RUBY
                         Number one -- shut this door, it's 
                         freezing.
                              (goes over to Stobrod's 
                              hut)
                         Number two -- shut that door, it's 
                         freezing.
                              (turns to them)
                         I'm laying on my back, with my fingers 
                         poked in my ears trying to shut out 
                         who's got a bag of diamonds and who's 
                         got boots needs polishing, If you 
                         want to get three feet up a bull's 
                         ass listen to what sweethearts whisper 
                         to each other.

               She's at the door to Stobrod's hut. She contemplates them.

                                     RUBY
                         In fact, if you're going to wimble 
                         all night I'm going to sleep in with 
                         him.

               And with that she enters Stobrod's hut, slamming the door.

                                     ADA
                         Now I can't see anything.

               A long pause.

                                     INMAN
                         I'll say goodnight.

                                     ADA
                         I don't think Ruby's vacating my hut 
                         so that you can sleep in a different 
                         one.

               INT. ADA AND RUBY HUT, CHEROKEE VILLAGE. NIGHT

               Ada puts logs onto the fire. After a few moments a knock.

                                     ADA
                         Come in.

               Inman enters. They don't know the rules for this.

                                     ADA
                         Whatever comes to pass between you 
                         and me, I want Ruby to stay in Black 
                         Cove.

                                     INMAN
                         Right.

                                     ADA
                         As long as she wants. And if she 
                         never leaves I'll be glad.

                                     INMAN
                         More a question could she put up 
                         with me.

                                     ADA
                         And you understand she's my friend, 
                         she's not a hired hand and she doesn't 
                         empty a night jar unless it's her 
                         own.

                                     INMAN
                         Sure.

                                     ADA
                         This war's made some things pointless. 
                         It's hard to imagine a wedding. I 
                         think even my father would recognize 
                         that.

                                     INMAN
                         Ada, I want to marry you. If you'll 
                         have me.

                                     ADA
                         Isn't there's some religion where 
                         you just have to say I marry you, 
                         three times, and then you're man and 
                         wife.

                                     INMAN
                         I marry you. I marry you. I marry 
                         you.

               Ada laughs, unsettling Inman.

                                     INMAN
                         Why's that funny?

                                     ADA
                         No, I think it's I divorce you three 
                         times and then you're not married 
                         anymore.

                                     INMAN
                         I can wait for you.

                                     ADA
                         You waited enough. I certainly did. 
                         I marry you. I marry you. I marry 
                         you.

               And they kiss, tentative, then more urgent.

                                     ADA
                         I'm sorry about the way I look. In 
                         these clothes.
                              (Inman shakes his 
                              head)
                         And there are so many buttons.
                              (starts to undress)
                         Will you turn your back?

                                     INMAN
                         Not for all the gold dollars in the 
                         Federal Bank.

               She stands holding her clothes in front of her to cover 
               herself. He takes them from her, drops them to the floor.

               EXT. CHEROKEE VILLAGE. MORNING

               A crisp, cold beautiful morning. They're packing up, all 
               their clothes in layers. Inman prepares the horse. Ruby and 
               Ada carrying bundles out of the huts. Inman approaches Ruby.

                                     INMAN
                         You go ahead. I'll follow with the 
                         horse at a pace your daddy can 
                         tolerate.

                                     ADA
                         We can all go together.

                                     INMAN
                         It's safer this way. No one has 
                         quarrel with you.

                                     RUBY
                         He's right.

                                     INMAN
                              (to Ruby)
                         I gather I need permission if I reckon 
                         on living at Black Cove.

               Ruby gives a curt nod, goes over to Stobrod's hut. Inman 
               gets close to Ada.

                                     INMAN
                         We'll get to you by nightfall.

                                     ADA
                         You be safe.

               She puts her hand to his mouth which creases into a smile.

                                     INMAN
                         Your Mr. Bartram speaks about some 
                         category of fly born on the hide of 
                         a cow. It flies up into a tree and 
                         waits and waits until it smells cow. 
                         It can wait a year, two years, I 
                         don't know, maybe longer. Then a cow 
                         comes along and it wakes up, flies 
                         down, lays its eggs on the cow. 
                         There's purpose for you.

                                     ADA
                         And am I the fly in this story, or 
                         the cow?

               INT. STOBROD'S HUT, CHEROKEE VILLAGE. DAY

               Ruby is wrapping a fragile Stobrod for the journey.

                                     STOBROD
                         You come up the mountain for me, 
                         darling, I'd be dead otherwise, dead 
                         and gone.

                                     RUBY
                         You'd have found some other fool to 
                         rescue you.

                                     STOBROD
                         He's sweet on you, that Georgia boy.

               He coughs for a long time.

                                     RUBY
                         If you say a thing and then cough 
                         it's a lie. Daddy, stay on that horse, 
                         and don't lose him or sell him. We'll 
                         need him on the farm.

               EXT. CHEROKEE VILLAGE. MORNING

               And then the two women are off, little men in their outfits, 
               tramping off in the snow. Inman watches.

               EXT. TRACK NEAR THREE WAY CROSSING, COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

               Ruby and Ada walk.

                                     RUBY
                         I hope that Georgia boy's been seeing 
                         to the animals.

                                     ADA
                         I thought you were thinking on him!

                                     RUBY
                         I was not. I was thinking on swollen 
                         udders -- and before you say same 
                         difference...

                                     ADA
                         I'm saying nothing.

               Ruby elbows her.

                                     RUBY
                         Miss lovey-dovey!

               Ada elbows her back.

               EXT. THREE WAY CROSSING, COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

               Inman has roped Stobrod to the horse which he pulls down a 
               steep slope. Behind him, their hooves muffled by the snow, A 
               GROUP OF RIDERS JOIN THE TRAIL, IN SLOW BUT STEADY PURSUIT.

               Inman walks on, apparently oblivious to who's behind him. He 
               and Stobrod are some distance from broken ground, a fringe 
               of trees.

                                     INMAN
                              (quietly to Stobrod)
                         Don't look round.

                                     STOBROD
                         Got it.

                                     INMAN
                         How many men does he have?

                                     STOBROD
                         There were five. You can't reason 
                         with that man.

                                     INMAN
                              (takes off his gloves)
                         I got a conversation stopper.
                              (they're getting closer)
                         Closer we get to that broken ground 
                         the better.

               Inman opens his coat. Stobrod looks at the Lemats. They're 
               at the edge of the trees.

                                     INMAN
                         You hold on tight, do you hear? When 
                         I say three, look round, nice and 
                         slow.

                                     STOBROD
                         Okay.

                                     INMAN
                         One, two, three.

               Stobrod looks round. Inman doesn't. Teague has some new bodies 
               in his entourage but they're all dead. A SPARE HORSE HAS 
               THREE CORPSES HUNG OVER IT, ANOTHER HORSE DRAGS A MAKESHIFT 
               LITTER WITH A COUPLE MORE, SOUVENIRS OF THEIR CAVE VISIT. 
               Teague waves.

                                     TEAGUE
                         God damn! You're a hard fucker to 
                         put down.
                              (they approach)
                         Good directions to that cave from 
                         the fat boy -- saw the squirrels, 
                         sat on the tree made some friends, 
                         brought some back with me.

               His riders begin, quite casually, to fan out.

               IN ONE MOVEMENT, INMAN SLAPS THE FLANK OF THE HORSE. WHICH 
               CAREERS DOWN THE TRACK, THEN TURNS AND FIRES, TWICE, BEFORE 
               PITCHING HIMSELF INTO A ROLL TOWARDS THE TREES. HIS FIRST 
               SHOT KNOCKS JO FROM HIS HORSE, THE SECOND MO, WHO FALLS INTO 
               THE SNOW, BLEEDING FROM THE GROIN AND SCREAMING. The riderless 
               horse gets tangled up with the others.

               Inman is in the trees, shots around him. He doesn't move 
               away from, but towards the riders inside the line of trees. 
               Grayling charges him, riding into the trees. INMAN SHOOTS 
               HIM, THEN RUSHES FROM THE TREES, FIRING, MISSING BOSIE, WHO 
               RIDES AWAY, EVIDENTLY NOT RELISHING THE FIGHT, AND THROWS 
               HIMSELF AT TEAGUE, WHOSE HORSE IS BUCKING WILDLY. Teague's 
               carbine fires an involuntary shot into the air. Inman yanks 
               the gun from his hand with his own left hand and lets go the 
               shotgun barrel of the Lemats with the other, the big pistol 
               almost leaping from his hand with the recoil. TEAGUE'S CHEST 
               OPENS OUT AS HE'S THROWN OFF THE HORSE. Mo is still screaming.

               Inman walks over and shoots him in the head, then walks to 
               Teague, who is saying something, the blood blotting the snow 
               under him.

               Inman studies him, picks up the Spencer carbine, turns to 
               look where Bosie has gone, steps up onto Teague's horse, 
               reins the horse in, and trots it over to the prostrate Teague, 
               LEANS OVER AND SHOOTS HIM DEAD. He turns the horse in the 
               direction Bosie had headed. He can't see horse or rider, but 
               in the stand of Hickory Trees ahead, THE GUSTS OF STEAMING 
               BREATH betray them both. He rides slowly towards the stand 
               of trees.

               EXT. COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

               Ada and Ruby walking. They hear the shots. Ada turns and 
               starts to run through the snow, her hat flying from her head.

               EXT. STAND OF HICKORY TREES, COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

               Inman's horse is parallel to Bosie, who is deep inside the 
               trees but also riding, slowly. It's like a dance.

                                     INMAN
                         Come out of there.

                                     BOSIE
                         No, sir. Here's fine.

                                     INMAN
                         I just have to shoot the horse from 
                         under you.

                                     BOSIE
                         Shoot her. She's not mine. You riding 
                         Mr Teague's mare?

                                     INMAN
                         I am.

                                     BOSIE
                         He dead?

                                     INMAN
                         I hope so.
                              (wearily, as he brings 
                              his horse inside the 
                              trees)
                         Look, how old are you? Give me your 
                         gun and ride home, I'm done fighting. 
                         I'm sick of it.

                                     BOSIE
                         I give you my gun you'll shoot me 
                         dead.

                                     INMAN
                         I will not shoot you, but nor am I 
                         walking down that mountain looking 
                         over my shoulder for you.

                                     BOSIE
                         That's what they call a conundrum. I 
                         tell you what I've got on my side.

                                     INMAN
                         What have you got on your side?

                                     BOSIE
                         The confidence of youth.

               And in that second HE PRODUCES HIS GUN AND FIRES. INMAN HAS 
               ALREADY FIRED THE LEMATS AND THE BOY, SHOT IN THE HEAD, FALLS. 
               CAUGHT BY ONE STIRRUP THE HORSE BOLTING. INMAN WATCHES, STOCK 
               STILL, THEN MAKES A COUGH, AS IF CLEARING HIS THROAT, AND A 
               THIN MIST OF BLOOD SPRAYS FROM HIS MOUTH.

               EXT. RIDGE, COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

               Ada and Ruby running. THEY REACH STOBROD, HIS HORSE STOPPED, 
               DRINKING FROM THE CREEK. Stobrod, barely conscious, hanging 
               halfway down its flank, held on by the ropes.

               Ada hurries on, taking the shotgun from Ruby, who tends to 
               her father.

               EXT. A GROVE OF TREES, COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

               Ada runs past the horse dragging the cave corpses. She hardly 
               stops to look at the bodies, just rushes on.

               THE GROUND SIMPLIFIES AND SHE'S AT THE BOTTOM OF A GROVE. A 
               STEEP INCLINE, THE SUN LOW AND IN FRONT OF HER. SHE SEES A 
               BRILLIANT FRAME OF BLACK TREES, AND THEN A SUDDEN FLURRY OF 
               ANGRY CROWS FLYING TOWARDS HER. AT THE TOP OF THE HILL IS A 
               SMALL HIEROGLYPH OF A MAN.

               FINALLY, THE IMAGE FROM THE SWANGER WELL EXACTLY AS SHE FIRST 
               SAW IT.

               THE FIGURE RAISES A HAND, BRIEFLY, THEN PITCHES FORWARD INTO 
               THE SNOW.

               She runs, her heart broken, towards the body of Inman. He's 
               dead, the red flag of his life ebbed, away in the snow. Ada 
               falls to her knees and pulls him over, the snow crusted on 
               his face, which she wipes away with great tenderness, then 
               sits, his head in her lap, as Ruby slowly comes up the hill 
               towards them.

               A VIOLIN PLAYS, quite raucous.

               INT. KITCHEN, BLACK COVE FARM, EASTER. DAY

               A GIRL, about five or six, with Ada's curls, sits at the 
               table cradling a tiny lamb, which won't feed from the nippled 
               bottle she offers it. She tries again. Ada comes in suddenly, 
               takes a knife from the kitchen, and hurries out.

                                     ADA
                         You bring that lamb outside.

               The girl gets up, carries the lamb out into the field.

               EXT. FIELD, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               THE SOUND OF THE FIDDLE CONTINUING, JOINED BY A BANJO, It's 
               a glorious spring morning, Black Cove Farm at its most 
               luxuriant, the path edged with brilliant flowers. There are 
               more animals in evidence. The girl emerges from the house 
               and sees Ada in the field, surrounded by sheep. She hurries 
               over.

               ADA IS EXPERTLY SKINNING A STILLBORN LAMB. The little girl 
               is horrified.

                                     GRACE
                         What are you doing!

                                     ADA
                         He came out dead, love.

               She has the skin off the lamb, which lies like a little pink 
               cat on the ground. She approaches Grace, takes the live lamb 
               from her arms, the girl resistant, frightened.

                                     GRACE
                         Don't kill him!

                                     ADA
                         I'm not going to kill him. But we 
                         have to try something or else he's 
                         going to die.

               She takes the skin and wraps it round Grace's lamb. Then 
               puts the covered lamb into the pen with the dead lamb's 
               mother.

               It goes to the sheep and, after a few false starts, starts 
               to feed, accepted as a surrogate.

                                     ADA
                         Isn't that a small mercy.

               And A VOICE joins in with the fiddle and banjo.

               EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

               STOBROD is playing, on his repaired fiddle. His hair is now 
               completely grey. GEORGIA is playing the banjo and singing, 
               although. A SMALL CHILD with Georgia's reddish coloring keeps 
               invading his picking hand trying to join in. RUBY HAS ANOTHER 
               GEORGIA CHILD IN HER ARMS, but is also trying to serve food.

               She passes Georgia and touches the top of his head. SALLY 
               SWANGER is pouring water from a jug, Ada emerges from the 
               kitchen, with a big pie, racing to the table.

                                     ADA
                              (laughing)
                         Hot hot hot hot hot!!!

               From behind her, Grace appears, carrying a jug of milk, puts 
               it on the groaning board of the table. Grace has a full plate 
               in front of her, picks up a fork to spear some meat.

                                     ADA
                         Grace Inman, nobody said eat.
                              (then to Stobrod)
                         Mr. Thewes...

               The music stops. And there's quiet except for the sound of 
               animals: lowing, barking, braying, bleating.

                                     ADA
                         For good friends, good food, good 
                         family: for all our blessings -- Oh 
                         Lord we thank thee. Amen.

                                     ALL
                         Amen !

               And they eat.

                                         THE END
TitleCold Mountain (2003)
TypeText
Size294.52 kB
Date Added2008-09-10
Views2317
CategoryMovie Scripts
Placement