"In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story." - Ben Bova [ more quotes ]

"BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK"

Screenplay by

Don McGuire and Millard Kaufman

Based on the story

"Bad Day At Hondo"

by Howard Breslin

SHOOTING DRAFT



FADE IN BEFORE MAIN TITLE

BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK

ESTABLISHING SHOT - BLACK ROCK - PART OF TOWN: FOCAL POINT:
RAILROAD STATION

abandoned, in an extreme state of dilapidation. The structure
is blistered by the resolute sun, the roof is weather-warped.
Dry rot and mildew wage a relentless battle against the
foundation. Between the building and the tracks is a long,
somewhat narrow platform, its floorboards twisted by time,
termites and the elements. The match-board overhang of the
building, throwing some little shade to a portion of the
platform, sags and bellies. From the overhang is appended a
rectangular panel on which, in flaky paint, the town is
identified:

BLACK ROCK

One of the broken wires holding the panel is longer than the
other, cocking the sign irregularly.

The railroad tracks reach endlessly into the horizon. Past
the town on each side stretches the ocean-like prairie, with
sand dunes rising and falling monotonously, shouldering each
other toward infinity. The morning sun lays over this
wasteland of the American Southwest, a gigantic yellow bruise
from which heat waves like bloodshot arteries spread
themselves over the poisoned sky.

A small shack stands next to the station, separated from it
by a narrow alleyway and leaning toward the larger building,
as if for support. The words POSTAL TELEGRAPH are arced across
its dusty vitrine. An old straight-backed chair, reinforced
with twisted wire, is tilted against the north-west corner
of the shack. In it is Mr. Hastings, the postal telegraph
agent, a man of middle years and exorbitant mediocrity. He
sits there spinelessly, fingering a wart on his receding
chin and, once in a while, for variety, rubbing a knuckle
under his watery nose.

FULL SHOT - BLACK ROCK

The town is minute, dismal and forgotten, crouching in
isolation where the single line of railroad track intersects
a secondary dirt road. The twin strips of steel glisten in
the fierce sunlight, fencing the dreary plain from the false
fronts of the town. In b.g. is the bluff of a black stony
mountain. Against this ancient mass the houses of Black Rock's
single street*** (See map, P.2A) are scanty in number and
insignificant in architecture, a conglomerate paint-peeled
modern trussed together with rusty nails and battered tin
strips torn from signs.

The town and the terrain surrounding it have, if nothing
else, the quality of inertia and immutibility -- nothing
moves, not even an insect; nothing breathes, not even the
wind. Town and terrain seem to be trapped, caught and held
forever in the sullen, abrasive earth.

OUT

Sequence omitted from original script.

STRAIGHT SHOT - STREAMLINER

jarring in its power as it ramrods across the desert, its
diesel engines pounding. Its horn "WONKS" twice, blasting
the shatterable air.

FULL SHOT - BLACK ROCK - ANOTHER ANGLE

Nothing is changed, nothing is altered. But look close and
you will see a small shallow current of wind sweeping lazily
across the dirt and dust of the single street. HOLD for a
beat, then MAIN TITLE appears. Between the ensuing credits
INTERCUT a series of sharp LONG SHOTS. The composition of
each shot has that hard, sun-beaten texture of American
primitive painting -- pressurized in its simplicity -- best
exemplified, perhaps, by the work of Grant Wood.

EXT. SAM'S SANITARY BAR AND GRILL - ANGLE ON DOC VELIE

assayer and notary public, mortician to the citizens of Black
Rock who have departed to a better place, and veterinarian
to its lesser animals. An elderly, somewhat untidy gentleman,
he sits nonchalantly on a chair outside the Bar & Grill.
Idling with him are three or four other loafers, among them
Sam, the middle-aged proprietor of the restaurant. Doc glances
casually at his watch; no one else moves. The hot wind
continues listlessly down the empty street.

OUT

Sequence omitted from original script.

EXT. GARAGE - LIZ BROOKS

A tall, attractive girl of twenty in dungarees and cotton
shirt. She stands just outside the open barn-like door of
the garage, staring, from the compulsive force of habit, at
the endlessly receding tracks. The sultry wind, its gustiness
slightly increased, blows through her fine dark hair.

OUT

Sequence omitted from original script.

EXT. PORCH OF HOTEL - COLEY TRIMBLE AND HECTOR DAVID

two enormous men. HECTOR is tall, and there is about him a
nasty, raw-boned tautness; COLEY is more the anthropoid type --
long thick arms and a round, iron casing of a belly. They
glance down the street, watching incuriously a dust devil
swirling in the wind.

Now the CAMERA has completed its probe of the town and its
denizens. MAIN TITLE and CREDITS are completed...

CLOSE SHOT - MR. HASTINGS

still spineless in his chair, the chair still tilted against
the shack. From o.s. and far away, we hear the horn of the
streamliner -- two long "WONKS", a short and a long (engine
whistle signal for approach to bridge crossing). Hastings
straightens up ever so slightly as he reacts to the oncoming
train.

STRAIGHT SHOT - STREAMLINER

moving at tremendous speed.

BRIDGE

with train barrelling toward it. The horn BLASTS -- three
short WONKS (engine whistle signal for stopping at next
station).

CLOSE SHOT - HASTINGS

getting jerkily to his feet, as though charged by a galvanic
current. The uncharacteristic speed of his movements throws
the tilted chair to the station platform. He raises an arm
to shield his watery eyes from the sun...

HASTINGS
(almost inaudible, as
if to himself)
Stopping...?

SHOT - TRAIN

heading toward CAMERA, churning across the desert like a
juggernaut. It PANS past CAMERA in a blur of speed. CAMERA
SWINGS UP on a level with the great iron wheels as the brakes
are applied. The wheels shriek agonizingly against the rails,
kicking up cinders and a wild flurry of dust. She cuts speed,
brakes hissing, and starts to slow down.

LONG SHOT MAIN STREET - BLACK ROCK

SHOOTING from rear of town, toward the railroad tracks. The
townspeople step out, frowning, cautious, disturbed. The
secure ritual of the train passing through, never stopping,
has somehow, for some unknown reason, been violated.

CLOSE SHOT - DOC VELIE

as his mouth tightens. His air of placidity vanishes, leaving
his features disturbed.

CLOSE SHOT - LIZ BROOKS

Her fine young face stiffens almost imperceptibly. Her eyes
are coated with a vague emptiness. She seems confused as she
halfturns toward the hotel.

REVERSE SHOT - WHAT SHE SEES

Coley Trimble and Hector David, standing on the porch of the
hotel. They seem tense, responding variously to what might
be fear. Coley's nostrils flare, his flat ugly mouth
compresses. He looks profoundly serious. Hector wipes a glob
of dusty sweat from the socket of an eye and blinks rapidly.

CLOSE SHOT - HASTINGS

as he stands in surprise, nervously alert, watching the train
as it comes to a complete stop. His jaw droops with the
slackness of fear.

OUT

Sequence omitted from original script.

EXT. STATION PLATFORM

with the train stationary before it. A sleek steel door of a
pullman clangs open. A colored porter carrying a suitcase
walks down the wrought-iron steps. He is stately, gray-haired
and lean, with the almost finical tidiness travelers associate
with trainmen. The man behind him is big-shouldered, a granite-
like wedge of a man with calm, piercing eyes. There is about
him an air of monumental dependability and quiet humor, but
his eyes are those of a man who has lately lived in somber
familiarity with pain. His left arm hangs from his shoulder
with that lifeless rigidity of paralysis, while the hand is
hidden in his pocket.

ANOTHER ANGLE - MACREEDY AND PORTER

The porter puts the suitcase on the platform. In the distance
the town and its people are seen staring silently,
motionlessly. The big man glances toward them. He smiles a
sad, distasteful greeting to the town, its wretched dust.
its mean, modest buildings. The porter disappears into the
train as the conductor enters scene. He turns slowly,
following Macreedy's gaze...

CONDUCTOR
(softly, staring at
the towns people)
Man. They look woebegone and far
away.

MACREEDY
(looking around)
I'll only be here twenty-four hours.

CONDUCTOR
In a place like this, it could be a
lifetime.
(turning to face
Macreedy)
Good luck, Mr. Macreedy.

Macreedy nods his thanks. The conductor signals the engineer
(o.s.) and steps on the train. The diesel's claxon blasts
the torrid air ominously. The train slowly, smoothly, begins
to move, picking up speed. The cars slip past until, quite
suddenly, the Streamliner is gone. For a moment Macreedy
watches it. Then, quite unconsciously, he takes a package of
cigarettes from his left hand pocket, taps the last one free
of the pack, sticks it between his lips and, crumpling the
empty pack, drops it beside the tracks. He takes a cardboard
book of matches, flicks it open, bends a match in half with
agile fingers, and with a sure frictional motion scrapes the
head against the sandpaper guard. The match flares, the
cigarette is lit. Macreedy inhales, exhales deeply, and turns
to pick up his suitcase. Then he sees Hastings, who walks
slowly, almost painfully, to him. His Adam's apple grapples
protestingly with his collar. After a moment he controls it
sufficiently to talk...

HASTINGS
You for Black Rock?

MACREEDY
(easily)
That's right.

HASTINGS
(uneasily)
There must be some mistake. I'm
Hastings, the telegraph agent. Nobody
told me the train was stopping.

MACREEDY
(with a ghost of a
grin)
They didn't?

HASTINGS
(upset)
I just said they didn't, and they
ought to. What I -- want to know,
why didn't they?

MACREEDY
(shrugging)
Probably didn't think it was
important.

HASTINGS
Important?! It's the first time the
streamliner stopped here in four
years.
(swallowing nervously)
You being met? You visiting folks or
something? I mean, whatd'ya want?

MACREEDY
I want to go to Adobe Flat. Any cabs
available?

HASTINGS
(as if he hadn't heard
right; as if he wanted
everyone in town to
know)
Adobe Flat?!
(he gulps, recovers
slightly)
No cabs.

MACREEDY
Where's the hotel?

Hastings looks at him blankly. The thousand-yard stare of a
hypnotic glazes his features.

MACREEDY
(patiently)
I asked where's the hotel?

Hastings points.

MACREEDY
Thanks.

With his suitcase, he cuts across a weedy path, running into
Black Rock's single street. For a moment, Hastings stares
after him; then he breaks hurriedly, entering telegraph
agent's shack.

INT. POSTAL TELEGRAPH OFFICE

as Hastings, fumbling, picks up the phone...

HASTINGS
(into mouthpiece)
Hello, Pete? Now, listen...

REVERSE SHOT - MAIN STREET - BLACK ROCK

SHOOTING down the street as Macreedy slowly walks toward the
hotel. Not a person has moved, each eye is glued on the
stranger.

The hollow rasp of Macreedy's tread on the wooden platform
of the "pavement" seems shatteringly loud in the enveloping
silence...

CLOSE SHOT - LIZ

as she follows the man's movement.

OUT

Sequence omitted from original script.

CLOSE ANGLE - ON MACREEDY

as he walks along. He feels the eyes of everyone following
him, glaring at him. He halts, looks around. The townspeople
continue to eye him brazenly, yet with an almost animal
incuriosity. He grins and walks on past a cluster of five or
six RFD mail boxes and a road sign [1], its paint peeling,
its face punctured by three or four bullets from a drunk's
pistol long ago.

SHOT - MACREEDY

heading toward the hotel. In b.g. is a relatively small farm
equipment yard compressed between a general store (which
Macreedy has just passed) and the hotel just ahead. In the
yard are a few tractors, and among them huddles a tiny office.
It is empty; the front window is thick with dust. On it,
etched by an anonymous, childish finger, is a skull and
crossbones. Running diagonally across is the printed legend:

T.J. HATES J.S.

Macreedy notes the inscription with a sort of wry bemusement.
He walks on, reaching the facade of the weather-beaten hotel.
A gust of wind swirls down the street, momentarily engulfing
Macreedy and the entire area in a sudden eddying whirlpool.
As it subsides...

ANOTHER ANGLE - MACREEDY

As he peers through the dust toward the dingy hotel. It has
a narrow stoop and outsize bay windows on each side. Macreedy
mounts the hotel steps. At the top of the steps Coley Trimble
and Hector David watch him silently. Hector is large and
leanly muscular, yet Coley looms over him like a battleship.
He is a gross behemoth of a man, with sharp flinty eyes the
size of glistening pinpoints and a slack, oversized jaw.
Both men wear modern Western work clothes, but there is one
incongruous accessory which Hector affects. Around his thick
wrist is a watch with a large flat face and an elaborately
tooled leather strap -- a cheap reproduction of one of those
expensive Swiss timepieces which, among many distinguished
accomplishments, tells the day of the week, the month of the
year, the phase of the moon, etc., etc.

MACREEDY
(slowing up)
'Afternoon.

No reaction from Hector.

COLEY
(blocking doorway)
Anything I can do for you?

MACREEDY
You run this hotel?

COLEY
No.

MACREEDY
(pleasantly)
Then there's nothing you can do for
me.

He brushes past Coley and enters.

HECTOR
(turning to Coley)
Find Smith!

Coley nods and heads down the street. Hector enters the hotel.

OUT

Sequence omitted from original script.

INT. HOTEL

It is a typical small town hotel, but crummier, with a tiny
lobby. Macreedy is waiting at the empty desk as Hector strolls
in, flopping his enormous bulk into a nicked and mothy chair.
He picks up a newspaper, but his eyes remain on Macreedy.
Macreedy waits patiently for the absent clerk. For a moment,
he studies the open registration ledger; his eyes rove from
the ink-splotched blotter up over the desk to one of those
World War II banners, the imitation silk now stained and
faded. It depicts a shrieking eagle rampant, clutching The
Flag in a claw. Under it, the legend:

"GOD BLESS AMERICA"

Near it, a tacky placard proclaims:

DO ALL THE GOOD YOU CAN,
BY ALL THE MEANS YOU CAN,
IN ALL THE WAYS YOU CAN,
AT ALL THE TIMES YOU CAN,
TO ALL THE PEOPLE YOU CAN,
AS LONG AS EVER YOU CAN.

Feeling the eyes of Hector on him, Macreedy turns. Hector
meets his gaze with bland, insolent interest. Now a young
man (his name is PETE) comes out of a small room behind the
registration desk and walks up to it. There is a softness
about his regular features, a certain indefinable sugariness
about his mouth. He seems tight-lipped, for lorn and uneasy
as he faces Macreedy across the counter.

MACREEDY
(pleasantly)
I'd like a room.

PETE
All filled up.

MACREEDY
(a beat)
Got any idea where I might --

PETE
(stiffly, shaking his
head)
This is 1945, mister. There's been a
war on.

Macreedy looks at the young man with impeccable tolerance.
Without shifting his gaze, he slowly lets fall his small
suitcase. It thuds softly on the frayed carpet.

MACREEDY
I thought it ended a couple of months
ago.

PETE
Yeah, but the O.P.A. lingers on.

Macreedy looks down at the open ledger on the desk before
him. The clerk reaches out to close it. Gently, yet firmly,
Macreedy stops him, reopening the big book. He studies it, a
finger straying unconsciously inside his collar. He [...] on
it to relieve the starchy stiffness.

Pete begins to fidget...

PETE
You don't know about the O.P.A...

MACREEDY
(without looking up)
Tell me.

PETE
Well, for establishments with less'n
fifty rooms hotel keepers got to
report regularly about...

His voice fades desperately.

PETE
...about tenants and... and...
registration...
(drawing himself up)
There are penalties imposed...

Again his voice trails off.

MACREEDY
(eyes still on the
ledger)
You seem to have lots of vacancies.

PETE
(uncomfortable)
Well... as I said...

Macreedy leans over the counter to a rack of keys. He runs
his splayed fingers over the key rack as...

MACREEDY
Lots of vacancies.

PETE
They're everyone of 'em locked up.
Some are show rooms...

MACREEDY
Yes...?

PETE
(with touching
sincerity)
...for cattle buyers, feed salesmen.
The others -- they're spoken for,
rented to cowboys, ranch hands...
(Macreedy listens
respectfully)
They pay by the month. For when they
come into town. We provide for their
every wish and comfort.
(weakly)
You understand...?

MACREEDY
Not really. But while I'm pondering
it, get a room ready. Just for
tonight.
(picking key from
rack at random)
This one.

Pete opens his mouth but no sound comes out. [...] at Hector.

CLOSE SHOT - HECTOR

glowering at Pete.

TWO SHOT - MACREEDY AND PETE

as Macreedy signs the ledger.

MACREEDY
(signing)
Sure could use a bath. Where is it?

He picks up the key.

PETE
Head of the stairs.

Macreedy nods, reaches for the bag at his feet. Then he
hesitates, looks at Hector.

MACREEDY
I don't know just why you're
interested -- but the name's Macreedy.
I'm...
(grins)
It's all in the ledger.

HECTOR
(slowly, his eyes
glued to Macreedy's
stiff arm)
You look like you need a hand.

Macreedy says nothing. The wales along his face harden. He
picks up his bag and climbs the stairs. As he disappears,
Hector lumbers to the desk and grabs the ledger.

HECTOR
(reading aloud)
John J. Macreedy. From Los Angeles.
(looking up)
I wanna know everything he does,
Pete. Check every call -- any mail.

PETE
(nodding)
And in the meantime...?

HECTOR
(grinning harshly)
In the meantime, I'll crowd him a
little...
(looking up the stairs)
...see if he's got any iron in his
blood...

As Pete bites his lower lip thoughtfully,

DISSOLVE:

OUT

Sequence omitted from original script.

INT. BATHROOM - DAY - MACREEDY

in a new bathrobe, before a cracked, discolored mirror. He
draws a safety razor down his face, completing his shave;
then he wipes a hand over the mirror, which clouds with steam
almost as fast as he can clear it. o.s., the SOUND of bath
water gurgling down the tub drain. He runs a tentative finger
inside the collar of his robe, pulling loose a price tag. He
drops it carefully into a wastebasket. He turns on the faucet
at the sink to rinse his shaving brush. The rusty pipes cough
and rumble, roaring as a trickle of water arrives while the
drain sucks loudly at its departure. He dries the razor,
turns off the faucet and exits.

INT. HOTEL CORRIDOR - ANGLE ON MACREEDY

As he walks down the dark, narrow hall. He wears the bathrobe
and slippers; a large towel is draped over his head, like a
prize fighter. He stops outside a door, pushes the towel
from his head to his neck and puts his hand on the knob. He
is about to insert the key when he tenses. Slowly, silently,
he turns the knob and throws open the door.

INT. HOTEL ROOM

Next to the door, in the corner of the small, sparsely
furnished room is Macreedy's suitcase, open, its contents
askew and scattered over the dusty floor. On the bed sprawls
Hector David, his gigantic body straining the springs. He
lies on his back, hands clasped easily under his head, thick
legs crossed, his Stetson tilted over his low forehead. He
is completely unconcerned by Macreedy's entrance. For a moment
Macreedy stares at him. Then...

MACREEDY
(slightly amused)
I think you have the wrong room.

HECTOR
(not budging)
You think so?

Slowly, his eyes still on Macreedy, Hector takes off his
elaborate wrist watch and slides it gently into his pants
pocket.

HECTOR
What else you got on your mind?

Macreedy pauses and takes in the situation. He refuses to be
baited.

MACREEDY
Nothing, I guess.

HECTOR
If you had a mind, boy, you'd of
heard what Pete downstairs said. He
said these here rooms are for us
cowboys. For our every wish and
comfort.

MACREEDY
And this, I guess, is yours?

HECTOR
When I'm in town. And I'm in town,
as any fool can see. You see that,
don't you, boy?

MACREEDY
I guess I do. Would you mind very
much if I sort of...
(he gestures toward
his suitcase and
clothing)
...clean up this mess and get another
room?

HECTOR
Not at all. But if you want this
room real bad...
(he raises his enormous
bulk to a sitting
position, rubbing
the knuckles of one
big fist with the
palm of his other
hand)
...we could maybe settle your claim
without all this talk.
(no answer from
Macreedy)
If a man don't claim what's rightfully
his'n, he's nuthin'. What do you
think?

MACREEDY
I guess so.

HECTOR
You guess so. But still you ain't
claimin' this room?

MACREEDY
I guess not.

HECTOR
You're all the time guessin', boy.
Don't you ever know anything?

MACREEDY
One thing I know. Since I got off
the train, I've been needled. Why?

HECTOR
(after a beat, slowly)
I guess I don't rightly know.

For a moment their eyes lock. Then Macreedy goes to his
suitcase and throws his clothes in it. As he goes out the
door...

DISSOLVE TO:

OUT

Sequence omitted from original script.

INT. HOTEL LOBBY - DAY - FULL SHOT - SAM AND THE LOAFERS

They sit around, each with his own thoughts. They are
generally stolid; only Sam seems nervous. He looks up eagerly
as Doc Velie enters the lobby. As he joins Sam...

Sam walks light for a big man, Doc.

DOC
(straight)
Who?

SAM
(irritated)
You know who!
(Doc grins impishly;
Sam's anger subsides)
What do you think, Doc?

DOC
Why ask me? He's no salesman, that's
sure.
(again the impish
grin)
Unless he's peddling dynamite.

SAM
(squirming visibly)
Maybe he's a cop, or something...

DOC
Ever see a cop with a stiff arm?

SAM
(squinting thoughtfully)
Maybe his arm's all right. Maybe
he's just holding tight to something
in his pocket...

DOC
(scoffing)
Like what? A pistol? A stick of T-N-
T?
(gleefully)
To blow up this whole mangy, miserable
town!
(with sudden, almost
naive, seriousness)
Why are you so interested, Sam?

SAM
Who, me?

DOC
I mean, if I was that interested...
(his eyes look up
toward the hotel
stairs o.s.)
...I'd ask him.

Sam follows Doc's gaze...

REVERSE SHOT - WHAT THEY SEE 35X1

Macreedy walks down the stairs. Pete looks up from the desk.
He is about to dart behind the partition when...

MACREEDY
Hey! Hold it!

He walks to the desk, smiling at Pete. In b.g., Doc, Sam and
the loafers watch.

MACREEDY
Got any cigarettes?

Pete studies him, then bends under the counter, coming up
with a pack. Doc leaves Sam and is slowly walking toward the
stranger, eyeing him curiously.

PETE
This is all.

Macreedy throws the money on the desk and opens the pack,
dexterously using the fingers of his left hand.

PETE
How long you staying?

MACREEDY
In my new room, you mean?
(flatly)
I'm staying.

PETE
I mean, in the hotel.

MACREEDY
Just about twenty-four hours.
(sharply)
Why?

PETE
(flustered)
I... I was just askin'.

MACREEDY
(evenly)
Why? You expecting a convention?

PETE
(doggedly)
I was just askin'.

Macreedy looks at him, inhales deeply on his cigarette then,
as he slowly lets the smoke out, removes the cigarette and
looks at it.

MACREEDY
Stale.

Now Doc is at the desk not far from Macreedy. Macreedy starts
out, then turns to Pete.

MACREEDY
Where can I rent a car?

PETE
I don't know.

Macreedy smiles and sighs tiredly. Then...

MACREEDY
(as to a child)
Let's put it this way -- if I had a
car and if I wanted to put gas in
it, where would I go?

PETE
(refusing to cooperate)
But you don't have a car.

DOC
(to Macreedy)
You might try the garage at the end
of the street.

Macreedy pauses, looking at Doc, who blandly returns his
stare.

MACREEDY
Thanks.

Doc nods. Macreedy smiles and walks toward the door; Pete,
Doc et al watching him. He goes out.

EXT. STREET

As Macreedy walks down hotel steps, a station wagon pulls up
just before him. Tied with a rope to the right front fender
is a magnificent eight-point buck. A stain of dry blood weaves
an uneven course down his glossy flank from an unmistakable
bullet hole in his shoulder. Two men get out of the car; one
of them is Coley Trimble. He sees Macreedy coming toward
him. He stands motionless in the center of the narrow
pavement, picking at his nose with the detachment of a child.
The other man is broad and excessively masculine as he swings
out from behind the wheel. He walks around the car, joining
Coley at the curb. Macreedy comes on. The man with Coley
looks at the stranger with colossal indifference, as
expressionless as the soil of Black Rock. His handsome face,
under a dusty hunting cap, is taut and hard and wind-shaven.
Next to Coley he stands motionless, except for the wisp of
smoke from a black Cuban cigarette between his thin lips. In
b.g., the loafers who had been ensconced in the hotel lobby
move out the door and stand on the porch. They watch Macreedy,
Coley and Reno Smith, the handsome, taut-faced man. Silence
soems to settle over everything. It is Macreedy who breaks
it...

MACREEDY
(grinning wearily at
Coley)
Here we go again.

Gently he walks around Coley and Reno Smith and continues
down the street. Coley's eyes follow him. Smith goes up the
steps of the hotel and enters the lobby. Coley quickly follows
him. The loafers on the porch go back inside.

INT. HOTEL LOBBY

The loafers resume their familiar places as Smith walks
briskly to the clerk's desk. Pete, in anticipation, opens
the hotel register, places it before Smith

PETE
(deferentially,
gesturing toward the
open register)
That's all I know about him, Mr.
Smith.

Smith doesn't answer; he looks up thoughtfully. His eyes
harden almost imperceptibly as he sees Coley, across the
narrow room, looking out the window after Macreedy.

SMITH
(to Coley's back)
Sit down.

COLEY
(spinning to face him)
I was only...

SMITH
(interrupting)
Sit down.

Coley sits in the nearest chair. Beyond Smith, still resting
easily against the high counter of Pete's desk, the gigantic
figure of Hector appears at the top of the stairs. He comes
down and joins Smith.

HECTOR
(after a pause)
Pretty cool guy.

SMITH
Doesn't push easy?

HECTOR
(frowning)
That's it -- that's just it. He pushes
too easy. Maybe we oughtta...

He hesitates as Doc Velie sidles amiably into earshot.

SMITH
What do you want, Doc?

DOC
Nothing.
(archly)
I was just wondering what all you
people were worrying about.
(Smith looks at him
coldly)
Not that I have the slightest idea.

SMITH
You wonder too much, and you talk
too much.
(pauses)
It's a bad parlay, Doc.

DOC
I hold no truck with silence.
(impishly)
I got nothing to hide.

HECTOR
(suddenly towering
over Doc)
What're you tryin' to say?

DOC
Nothing, man. It's just, you worry
about the stranger only if you look
at him...
(slowly)
...from a certain aspect.

SMITH
How do you look at him, Doc?

DOC
(firmly)
With the innocence of a fresh-laid
egg.

SMITH
(after a pause)
Keep it up, Doc. Be funny. Make bad
jokes.
(he starts to walk
toward the window,
Doc and Hector
following him)
And some day I'll have Coley wash
out your mouth with lye.

Smith looks thoughtfully out the window.

REVERSE SHOT - WHAT HE SEES

Macreedy, down the end of the block, saunters easily up to
Liz's garage.

EXT. LIZ'S GARAGE - FULL SHOT

The garage, without a door, opens on the street. Against the
front of the building is parked a battered bicycle. On one
of the barnlike walls a boy of nine is drawing laboriously
with a piece of chalk. He puts the last flourish to a skull
and crossbones identical with that seen earlier on the window
of the equipment yard office. Macreedy stops a few feet from
him, waiting until the boy prints "T.J.". As he steps back
to admire his handiwork...

MACREEDY
Hi, T.J.

T.J. nods. He approaches the wall, raising his chalk.

MACREEDY
This your garage?

T.J.
Nope.

MACREEDY
(a beat)
Where's the man it belongs to?

T.J.
Ain't a man.

He pauses. As Macreedy opens his mouth to interrogate
further...

T.J.
Lady runs this garage.

Again a pause. T.J. has just completed the final letter of
the word "HATES". And again as Macreedy opens his mouth...

T.J.
She's not here.

MACREEDY
Where'd she go?

T.J.
(shrugging)
I dunno. Somewhere.

MACREEDY
When will she be back?

T.J.
I dunno. Sometime.

Again the pause. T.J. steps back, having completed his work,
which, of course, broadcasts the fact that "T.J. HATES J.S.".
And again as Macreedy begins to speak...

T.J.
In about ten minutes.

MACREEDY
(with a grin)
Thanks.

T.J. turns, pulls the bike away from the building, completes
a fastidious "pony express" and peddles furiously out of
scene.

EXT. STREET - FULL SHOT

as Macreedy, after a moment's hesitation, starts down it.
From the far end, at the telegraph agent's shack, a figure
starts running toward Macreedy. It is Hastings. INTERCUT
between the two men. Hastings, in his concentration, doesn't
see the stranger until he is almost upon him. He slows down,
suddenly, awkwardly, to a self-conscious walk. Macreedy grins
at him, passes on, shaking his head speculatively. Hastings,
with a parting glance, gallops up the hotel steps.

INT. HOTEL LOBBY - FULL SHOT

Smith, Coley, Hector, Pete, Doc, Sam et al are still in
evidence. Smith is in a tight little group at the desk with
Coley, Hector and Pete. Doc has taken a position at the
window, looking out. Hastings bursts in and half-runs to
Smith...

ANGLE FAVORING SMITH AND HASTINGS

as the excited telegraph agent speaks.

HASTINGS
I called the Circle T. He ain't got
business there -- not if they don't
know him. Right, Mr. Smith?

Smith ignores him, thinking. Hastings breathes heavily.
Finally...

SMITH
(to Hastings)
Send a wire to Nick Gandi in Los
Angeles. Tell him to find out all he
can about John J. Macreedy. Tell him
I want to know fast. Sign my name.

Hastings nods, scribbling on a pad.

HASTINGS
What was that?

SMITH
Nick Gandi. G-A-N-D-I. Care of the
Blake Hotel.

Hastings nods and hurriedly exits.

COLEY
(after a beat)
Who's Gandi?

Smith looks at Coley, trying to decide if the question in
any way challenges his authority. He concludes not...

SMITH
He's a private detective.
(beat)
I drive to L.A. now and then.

HECTOR
(slightly worried)
He'll get us the dope?

SMITH
He'll get us anything, for twenty
bucks a day and expenses.
(Hector frowns)
Hector, you worry too fast and too
easy.

HECTOR
It's just, I don't like it.

COLEY
Maybe he's just passing through.

HECTOR
Don't bet on it. He can only mean
trouble.

SMITH
(smiles faintly)
Hector, you're jumpy as a stall horse.

HECTOR
(doggedly)
We oughtta see him... talk to him.

SMITH
(quietly)
About what?
(Hector doesn't answer)
What'll we talk to him about? The
birds, the bees? The weather? The
crops?
(pauses)
You tried -- where'd it get you?

HECTOR
(uncomfortably)
I only thought...

SMITH
Sure. You only thought.

COLEY
(after a beat)
What do we do?

SMITH
What do you do? You wait. Like Pete
here. Right, Pete?

Pete nods, his brow furrowed uncomfortably in a frown.

SMITH
That's all you do. But while you
wait... I talk to him.

At this point the brittle silence is cracked by...

DOC
(o.s.)
Hey!

Smith and those around him look off in the direction of Doc.

DOC VELIE - AT THE WINDOW

peering out. He turns in the direction of Smith and the
others.

DOC
Now what do you know?
(beaming)
Mr. Macreedy seems to be heading for
the jail.
(impishly)
Now what do you suppose he'd want to
see the Sheriff about?

Smith goes to the window, edging Doc to one side with a
shoulder. He looks out grimly.

REVERSE SHOT - WHAT HE SEES

Macreedy, down the street, cuts up the steps of the jail.

BACK TO SCENE

Smith staring out the window with a frown. Doc watching him
out of the corner of his eye, a bemused expression crossing
his puckish features.

OUT

Sequence omitted from original script.

INT. JAIL

ANGLE on Macreedy as he enters the jail. It is small and
dirty, with only a tired desk, two chairs and the usual police
posters on the wall. One side leads to the cell block and
Macreedy heads for it.

ANGLE from interior of cell block comprising two cells, both
of which are open. A man is asleep in the lower bunk of the
front cell. The keys are in the lock. Macreedy shakes his
head and starts to close the creaking cell door. Sheriff TIM
HORN, the man in the bunk, lifts his head, blinking his bleary
eyes. He is in terrible shape.

TIM
Hold it, friend.

He manages to crawl off the bunk and out toward Macreedy.

TIM
(grinning)
I ain't hankerin' to get locked in
my own jail.

MACREEDY
Sorry. I thought you were a guest.

TIM
As it happens, I'm the host.

He walks out of the cell, Macreedy following him into the
office.

SHOT - OF THE TWO

Tim breaks out a bottle of booze, starts to take a snort,
then stops, offers it to Macreedy.

TIM
Snort?

MACREEDY
No, thanks.

TIM
Don't blame you. It's awful.

He takes a belt that would incapacitate half the county. He
finishes, smacks his lips, lays the bottle down, and falls
into a chair. He looks up at Macreedy.

TIM
(suddenly mean)
What're you lookin' at?

MACREEDY
(easy)
You tell me.

TIM
(after a beat, relaxing)
I ain't always this bad -- just that
last night me and my pal Doc Velie,
we did a little celebratin'. At least
I did.

MACREEDY
What were you celebrating?

TIM
(shrugs)
You name it.
(studies Macreedy)
What do you want?

MACREEDY
My name's Macreedy. I came in on the
Streamliner.

Tim studies him, trying to focus.

TIM
You what?

MACREEDY
I said I came in...

TIM
(interrupting)
You ain't from around here. Up Tucson
way -- Phoenix? Mesa? You ain't
sellin' cattle nor seed nor nothin'
like that?

MACREEDY
No.
(sighs, then distinctly
as to a child)
All I want from you is a little
information. I've got to get to a
place called Adobe Flat.

TIM
(reacts; then, tight-
lipped)
This ain't no information bureau.

Macreedy starts to say something, then stops. Reconsidering...

MACREEDY
One thing about Black Rock --
everybody's polite. Makes for gracious
living.

TIM
Nobody asked you here.

MACREEDY
How do you know?
(he moves toward the
door, with a rueful
grin)

TIM
(starting after him)
What about Adobe Flat?

MACREEDY
I'm looking for a man named Komako.

The Sheriff reaches for his bottle. In his haste he drops
it. Macreedy's hand moves quickly, catching the bottle before
it hits the floor.

MACREEDY
Almost a disaster.

TIM
(sinking back in his
chair)
A fate worse'n death.
(he takes the bottle
from Macreedy)
You move fast for a crip... for a
big man.

For a moment heavy silence. Finally...

MACREEDY
What about Komako?

TIM
(slowly)
If there's no further questions...

Macreedy grins harshly and exits. Tim watches him go, then
slowly reaches for the bottle. He pauses, looks at his shaking
hand. Then he withdraws it and just sits in the chair staring
blindly ahead, seeing nothing.

EXT. STREET

Frowning, deep in thought, Macreedy walks down the dusty
street. As he reaches the hotel...

SMITH
(o.s.)
Mr. Macreedy.

Macreedy stops, looks toward Smith as he walks out to meet
him.

MACREEDY
That's the friendliest word I've
heard since I got here.

As Smith joins him, he walks on. Smith falls in step beside
him. GO WITH THEM.

SMITH
(grins boyishly)
My name is Smith. I own the Triple-
Bar ranch.
(holds out his hand;
Macreedy shakes it)
I want to apologize for some of the
folks in town.

MACREEDY
They act like they're sitting on a
keg.

SMITH
A keg...? Of what?

MACREEDY
I don't know. Maybe diamonds. Maybe
gunpowder.

SMITH
(disarmingly)
No. Nothing like that. We're a little
suspicious of strangers is all.
Hangover from the old days. The old
West.

MACREEDY
I thought the tradition of the old
West was hospitality.

SMITH
(with a sincere smile)
I'm trying to be hospitable, Mr.
Macreedy.
(boyishly pushes his
dusty cap back on
his head)
Going to be around for a while?

MACREEDY
Could be.

SMITH
How would you like to go hunting
tomorrow? I'd be proud to have you
as my guest.

MACREEDY
Thanks, but I'm afraid not.

SMITH
(with admirable candor)
You mean, because of your arm?
(slaps Macreedy's
shoulder in a
friendly,
understanding gesture)
I knew a man once, lost an arm in a
threshing accident. Used to hunt all
the time.
(almost too blandly)
But he was quite a man. He...
(pauses; then, with
discreet and charming
gravity)
I'm sorry. I... What I mean is -- if
there's anything I can do while you're
around...

MACREEDY
I'm looking for...
(sighs)
Never mind. Thanks, anyway.

SMITH
(quietly)
You're looking for what, Mr. Macreedy?

MACREEDY
(eyeing him)
A man named Komako.

SMITH
(no hesitation)
Komako -- Sure, I remember him --
Japanese farmer. Never had a chance.

MACREEDY
No?

SMITH
He got here in '41 -- just before
Pearl Harbor. Three months later he
was shipped to one of those relocation
centers.
(shaking his head)
Tough.

MACREEDY
Which one did he go to?

SMITH
Who knows?

MACREEDY
You think maybe if I wrote him, the
letter would be forwarded?

SMITH
I'm sure it would. Write your letter.
I'll see it gets out tonight.

MACREEDY
It wouldn't be too much trouble?

SMITH
No trouble at all.

MACREEDY
Funny. Because I think it would be a
great deal of trouble for you. It's
been a great deal of trouble for me.

At this point they are in front of...

EXT. LIZ'S GARAGE

Macreedy stops, as does Smith. He looks keenly at Smith as
he takes from his inner jacket pocket a half-dozen letters...

MACREEDY
I wrote these letters to Komako.
They weren't forwarded. They were
returned -- address unknown.
(he smiles grimly at
Smith)
So I guess there's nothing you can
do for me, after all.

Smith opens his mouth to reply when the NOISE of a jeep o.s.
interrupts him. The jeep comes INTO SHOT. Liz Brooks, at the
wheel, cuts the engine and jumps out. Smith ambles silently
to a wall and leans against it. Liz reaches behind the
driver's seat and hoists, with both hands and some effort, a
five-gallon drum of axle grease from the floor of the jeep.
As she rests it on the rear fender...

MACREEDY
(going to her)
Need a little help?

The girl looks at Smith, who has made no attempt to help
her.

LIZ
I can manage.

She lifts the drum to the ground.

MACREEDY
Well, I need a little help.
(she looks at him
questioningly)
I'd like to rent your jeep.

LIZ
It'll be two dollars an hour, gas
extra, and ten dollars for my time.

SMITH
(to Liz)
Aren't you going to ask him where he
wants to go?

Liz looks from Smith to Macreedy, puzzled.

SMITH
He wants to go to Adobe Flat.

Liz hesitates. Macreedy notes her confusion as her eyes seek
Smith's for instructions. Quickly he moves in...

MACREEDY
The road's marked?

LIZ
(nodding)
Yeah. It's about six -- seven miles
down...

MACREEDY
Then I won't need your time.

Macreedy hands her a bill. She fumbles with it, not knowing
what else to do. Her eyes drift to Macreedy's stiff arm...

LIZ
(uneasily)
I thought you might... need a little
help.

MACREEDY
I can manage.

He steps toward the jeep as...

SMITH
Liz. Do you have a license to rent
cars? You could get into trouble.

MACREEDY
It's all right. I won't mention it
to the Sheriff.

He steps into jeep and, with one hand expertly manipulating
the controls, drives off.

MED. SHOT - SMITH AND LIZ

Smith turns his attention to the girl...

SMITH
(slowly)
You shouldn't have done that.

LIZ
I thought it would be better if he
went out there and got done with it.
(Smith looks at her
sharply)
I mean, what could he find out?

For a moment Smith doesn't answer. Instead, with a half frown,
he lifts the bill Macreedy had given her from Liz's hand.

SMITH
(as he studies it)
This is liable to be the hardest ten
dollars you ever earned in your life.

He crumples it, pokes the wad in her hand and walks off down
the street as...

QUICK DISSOLVE:

OUT

Sequence omitted from original script.

INT. JAIL - FULL SHOT - DAY

Tim sits in his chair, still staring sightlessly at the
whiskey bottle. Smith enters. He looks from Tim to the bottle
on the table, then back to Tim.

SMITH
(after a beat,
disinterestedly)
What did he want -- the stranger?

TIM
(abstractedly)
He asked about Komako.
(looking up at Smith)
You think he'll kick up a storm?

SMITH
(easily)
A storm? About what?

TIM
I don't know. All I know, I don't
want trouble around here.
(pauses awkwardly,
then)
Never again.

SMITH
Trouble? You don't know anything
about Komako, now do you, Tim?

TIM
I do not. That's the point.

SMITH
The point is, what you don't know
can't hurt you.

TIM
Maybe there's something I ought to
know. Maybe I ought to ask you...
before the stranger comes back and
starts breathing down my neck.

SMITH
(a faint smile)
Tim, you're a lost ball in the high
weeds. I told you a long time ago,
nothing happened for you to worry
about.

TIM
(stands up, facing
Smith)
Thing is, I do worry. Maybe I ain't
much else, but I'm sure a worrier.
(beat, then with soft
emphasis)
And I'm still the law.

SMITH
Then do your job, Tim.

TIM
What is my job, Mr. Smith? Maybe I'd
better find out before Macreedy does
it for me.

SMITH
(evenly)
Macreedy'll do nothing, Tim. And
neither will you.

TIM
Suppose I decide to try?

SMITH
That would be dangerous. You got the
body of a hippo, Tim, but the brain
of a rabbit. Don't overtax it.

He stares harshly at the Sheriff. Tim tries unsuccessfully
to meet his gaze. Then, slowly, he sits down.

TIM
(lowering his eyes,
mumbling)
Yes, Mr. Smith.

Smith slowly walks behind Tim's chair and silently,
patronizingly pats the Sheriff's slack shoulder...

INT. TELEGRAPH AGENT'S OFFICE - FULL SHOT

Hastings is sitting at his desk. The telegraph ticker starts
to splutter. Hastings rushes to it. He listens, and starts
to scribble. Then he gulps nervously, a confused expression
on his face. As the telegraph key stops as suddenly as it
had begun, Hastings jumps up frantically and, holding the
sheet of paper, runs out of the shack.

EXT. STREET

as he runs toward hotel.

EXT. HOTEL - LONG SHOT

with Doc, Sam, Coley, Hector and Pete on the porch. Hastings
runs up the steps, pausing momentarily. His jaws move, but
CAMERA is too far away to pick up his obvious question. Coley
gestures toward the jail; then Hastings turns and runs down
the steps followed by Doc et al.

EXT. STREET - FULL SHOT

Hastings runs down the street toward the jail followed by
Doc et al.

EXT. JAIL

as Hastings runs up the steps with a hobnailed clatter. Smith
comes out to investigate, followed by Tim. Doc, et al are
congregated at the foot of the steps. Hastings slaps the
sheet of paper in front of Smith. Utter quiet. Everyone stares
at Smith, waiting for a reaction -- everyone except Tim, who
stares straight ahead, seeing nothing, and Doc, whose eyes
are locked sympathetically on Tim. Smith finishes reading
the wire. His face is expressionless. After a moment...

HECTOR
(to Smith)
From L.A.?

Smith doesn't answer but...

HASTINGS
Yeah! From that private detective!

HECTOR
(to Smith)
What does he say? Who is this guy?

HASTINGS
Never heard of him, that's what he
says! He checked and there's no John
J. Macreedy. No listing -- no record --
no information. Nothing.

PETE
(quietly, after a
beat, to Smith)
Where does that leave us?

COLEY
I'll tell you where...

SMITH
Shut up!

He folds the message carefully, puts it in his pocket.
Abruptly Tim turns and disappears inside his office. Smith,
with some restraint, walks down the steps to the street.

MOVING SHOT - SMITH

as he takes Coley's arm, and Pete's. The trio moves away,
taking a position perhaps 15 feet from Doc. Hector, Sam and
Hastings move toward them.

OUT

Sequence omitted from original script.

EXT. RAILROAD TRACKS - SMITH, COLEY AND PETE

In b.g. at a respectful distance are Hector, Sam and Hastings.
SHOOT parallel to tracks, which disappear far into the
horizon.

The following dialogue is delivered in an undertone...

SMITH
(turning to Coley)
Now, Coley...?

COLEY
(takes a breath, then)
I think Macreedy's a nothing. A
nobody.

SMITH
Is he?

COLEY
So there's nothing to worry about.

SMITH
Isn't there?
(a beat)
You got brains, you have.

COLEY
(squirming)
But what can he find out? That Komako
was...?
(Smith glares at him)
Suppose he finds out?

SMITH
A nobody like Macreedy can raise a
pretty big stink. The point is...
who would miss a nobody like Macreedy
if he just, say, disappeared? Who,
Coley?

Coley is terribly preoccupied, balances himself, like a child,
on a steel rail.

SMITH
(exasperated)
Coley!

COLEY
(galvanized from the
rail)
Huh?

PETE
Why don't we wait...

SMITH
Wait for what?

PETE
I mean, maybe he won't find anything.
Maybe he'll just go away.

SMITH
Not Macreedy. I know those maimed
guys. Their minds get twisted. They
put on hair shirts and act like
martyrs. They're all of 'em do-
gooders, trouble makers, freaks.

PETE
But there's no danger yet. Let's
wait and see.

SMITH
(interrupting,
appealing to Coley
as an equal)
No danger, he says. This guy's like
a carrier of small pox. Since he
arrives, there's been a fever in
this town, an infection. And it's
spreading.
(he glances from Coley
to Pete)
Hastings has been in a sick sweat,
running around, shooting off his
face. Doc, for the first time in
four years, gets snotty with me.
Liz...
(to Pete)
...your own sister -- acts like a
fool.

PETE
(hotly)
She's just a kid.

SMITH
(scoffing)
Kid! She must have strained every
muscle in her head to get so stupid!
Renting him a jeep! And Tim -- Tim,
the rum-dum. Tim suddenly decides
he's gotta act like a Sheriff.
(to Coley, gesturing
at Pete)
And he says what's the danger.

Brittle silence for a moment. Then...

SMITH
(easily)
Of course, if you want to take the
chance...

Pete doesn't answer.

COLEY
(grimly)
Not me.

SMITH
All right, then...

PETE
It's not all right! You're so mighty
quick to kill -- he's not an animal!

SMITH
(to Coley, with mock
surprise)
Well, listen to little spitfire...
(turning slowly on
Pete)
You sniveling toad! I'm saving your
neck! If I don't, who will?

PETE
(squirming)
All I said...

SMITH
Who will?! Doc? Tim? Your sister,
with the rocks in her head?

Pete is silent.

SMITH
One thing about your sister -- she's
got twice the guts you have. You're
only fit for running away.

COLEY
It's too late for that.
(belligerently, slowly,
at Pete)
He's in this, and he ain't running
no place.

There is a long, electric silence. Pete is defeated.

SMITH
(finally)
All right, then...

He pauses for emphasis. Then, as he starts to talk again...

INT. JAIL

Tim stands facing the wall, shoulders hunched, suffering.
Doc comes in and watches him silently, Tim turns, facing
Doc, turns again to concentrate on a faded newspaper
photograph framed and hanging on the wall.

ANOTHER ANGLE - TIM

SHOOTING over his shoulder. Focal point: the "photograph".
It shows a widly grinning, moderately alert and healthy Tim
of perhaps five years ago. He is wearing, proudly, his badge
of office, and behind him, mildly interested in the
proceedings, is Reno Smith, his erstwhile sponsor. The heading
on the photo reads: DEPUTY SHERIFF NAMED FOR BLACK ROCK.

MED. SHOT - TIM AND DOC

Tim takes the photo off the wall and, holding it, turns to
face Doc...

TIM
Let Smith find himself a new boy. I
can't take it another day.
(pauses, looks at Doc)
If you're a sheriff, they gotta
respect you, otherwise you can't do
your job.
(shakes his head)
They just laugh.

DOC
I don't laugh, Tim.

TIM
Why don't you?

DOC
Cut it out, Tim.

TIM
You should!

DOC
In the name of well-adjusted manhood,
snap out of it. You're going to get
a complex or something.

TIM
Four years ago if I'd of done my
job... if I'd of checked up and found
out what happened. But I didn't!
Just like Smith figured.

DOC
What could you have found out? They
told you a story. You had to believe
it.

TIM
Do you believe it?

Doc squirms but doesn't answer.

TIM
Do you know what happened?

DOC
I don't know.
(ironically)
I lead a quiet, contemplative life.

TIM
Me, I didn't even try to find out.
(a beat)
Don't you understand?
(he taps the badge on
his chest)
When you wear that badge, you're the
Law. And when something happens,
against the Law, you're supposed to
do something about it. It's your
job.
(simply)
Me... I did nothin'. And that's what's
eatin' me. What kind of prescription
you got for that?

DOC
I don't know. I've never been able
to find one for myself.

Tim takes off his badge and throws it on the desk.

DOC
Only one thing -- don't quit, Tim.

TIM
Why not?

DOC
Maybe this feller Macreedy has the
prescription.

They look at each other. Slowly Tim picks up his badge and
pins it back on.

OUT

Sequence omitted from original script.

EXT. DESERT ROAD

An old marker, jutting on an angle at the side of the road,
reads: ADOBE FLAT. Beneath it an arrow points ahead. Macreedy
steers the jeep up the narrow, rutted trail between a serious
of enormous boulders.

ANOTHER ANGLE

as he drives to the far end of the boulders, reaching a flat
piece of land completely surrounded by rocks. Beyond the
rocks is what remains of a burned-out ranch house, and an
abandoned well.

OUT

Sequence omitted from original script.

MED. SHOT - MACREEDY

in the wreckage. The remains of an iron bed. The burned-out
shell of a pick-up truck. Part of a stove. A morass of
bottles, all sizes and shapes, some of them broken. Macreedy
halts momentarily beside the well. Reaching out he touches
the warped sun-beaten boards that cover the mouth. He removes
one, and, picking up a pebble, drops it through the opening.
There is a long beat and then, from far, far below we HEAR a
faint PLUNK (o.s.). He replaces the board and walks to a
broken wall. He touches the burned out frame of a picture.
The frame falls to the ground, leaving an un-scorched square
on the surface of the wall. He goes past a solitary standing
stone chimney. Suddenly he halts, arrested by something among
the rubble, the rottenness and the ashes.

REVERSE ANGLE - WHAT HE SEES

Surrounded by the seared and blackened earth is a rectangular
patch of lovely wild flowers.

BACK TO MACREEDY

studying the brightly colored flowers. His face is lined in
thought. He stoops, gathers a few buds in his hand. He
examines them, his brow furrowed. As he slowly twirls a flower
between thumb and forefinger, CAMERA PANS from Macreedy in a
long slow arc, taking in miles and miles of barren wasteland.
CAMERA RISES, TILTING UPWARD to a cliff far away and shielded
from Macreedy's view by the intervening rocks and ridges.

EXTREME LONG SHOT - CLIFF

and on it the outline of an automobile.

MED. SHOT - THE CAR

empty. It is parked on a narrow dirt road. On one side of
the road the cliff falls abruptly to the valley far below;
on the other, the steep, shaly outcropping continues to rise.
For a moment CAMERA HOLDS on the car. Then it PANS SLOWLY
upward about fifty feet, HOLDING this time on...

PINNACLE OF CLIFF

where a man is looking off toward Adobe Flat through a pair
of high-powered glasses. The man is Coley Trimble.

ADOBE WELLS - MACREEDY

Grimly he walks toward the jeep, still holding the wild
flowers. Now he pockets them, jumps into the vehicle and
drives off.

THE CLIFF - COLEY

continues to train his glasses on Macreedy far below in the
moving jeep.

THE JEEP - MACREEDY

driving steadily over rough, rocky terrain.

COLEY

climbs down from the pinnacle of the cliff and enters a big,
powerful '36 Packard sedan.

MACREEDY

shifts to low gear as the jeep presses into hilly country.

COLEY - IN HIS CAR

turns on the ignition.

MACREEDY - IN THE JEEP

as it winds along a road with the cliff rising on one side
and falling off steeply on the other. He rounds a curve,
passes an insignificant side road, drives on.

THE SIDE ROAD

The car with Coley at the wheel pulls out, follows Macreedy.

INTERCUT between the two cars, with the distance between
them constantly diminishing.

OUT

Sequence omitted from original script.

EXT. - FLAT ROAD

a straightaway, cutting through rocky outcroppings on both
sides. Macreedy's jeep roars by, pursued by the gaining
Packard.

CLOSE SHOT - MACREEDY IN JEEP - (PROCESS)

For the first time he is aware that he is being followed,
and that the man at the wheel of the big Packard is Coley.

SHOT - PACKARD

picking up tremendous speed.

EXT. - ROAD BED

proceeding over a series of turns, inclines, declivities
(according to location terrain). Engines roar, brakes whinny,
tires scream, skidding on the turns.

ANOTHER ANGLE - ROAD BED

as Coley overtakes Macreedy. He steers the big car within a
foot or two of the jeep. The terrain has steepened; on the
right there is nothing between the road and the valley floor
far below but a few inches of soft shoulder.

As Macreedy pulls wide on a razor turn, Coley tries to come
inside him. Macreedy, fighting for control of the veering
jeep, succeeds in cutting him off.

CURVE IN ROAD

In the approach, Coley cuts sharp into the jeep. The jeep
seems to roll with the blow, then leaps ahead, maneuvering
the turn.

CLOSE SHOT COLEY IN CAR (PROCESS)

Coley is flustered, his face blood-shot with fury. He seems
to generate an atmosphere of vicious, cruel craziness; the
wild smile across his mouth is almost sensual, obscene. He
floorboards the Packard. Like some monstrous battering ram,
the heavy car smashes into the jeep's rear bumper, kicking
the smaller vehicle jerkily ahead. Coley floorboards the gas
pedal, again. Each time he slams into the jeep with sickening
force, with the brutal abrasion of metal pounding metal.

CLOSE SHOT - MACREEDY - (PROCESS)

With one arm he works frantically to keep his under-sized
car on the twisty road. He sees ahead a precipitous cliff
falling off on an impossibly sharp curve. He makes a
decision...

Just ahead the gradient is comparatively gradual, however
steep by normal standards. He swings the jeep off the road,
onto the declivity. The car plunges downward, miraculously
upright. Macreedy jockeys it to a whirring, shuddering halt
in the soft sand at the bottom of a draw.

Macreedy turns slightly and looks up the mountain-side with
the road at its summit...

WHAT HE SEES: EXTREME LONG SHOT - COLEY

standing at the edge of the road, peering down at him. In
b.g., the Packard. Coley turns emphatically, gets into car,
drives off.

BACK TO MACREEDY

His face is caked with the sweat of his exertions and dust
kicked up by the grinding wheels. He exhales heavily and
runs a shaky hand across the side of his head. He becomes
aware suddenly of a NOISE, a trickling, an unmistakable tinkle
as of running water. He frowns, opens the jeep door...

MEDIUM SHOT - JEEP

as Macreedy unlatches the hood and throws it open. The NOISE
continues. Macreedy examines the engine and finds the
difficulty...

INSERT - ENGINE

focal point: the nut joining the gas line with the carburetor
has worked loose in the jouncing the car has taken. With his
hand Macreedy screws it tight.

MEDIUM SHOT - JEEP

as Macreedy lowers the hood, re-enters jeep. He turns on
ignition. The engine fires. As he drives slowly out of the
ravine...

DISSOLVE:

EXT. BLACK ROCK - MAIN STREET CLOSE SHOT - HECTOR

his long face even more horsey than usual, with half an apple
in his mouth. He stands in front of the grocery store, with
the baskets of fruit on the sidewalk. He looks up, stops
crunching.

CLOSE SHOT - SAM

at the window of the Bar & Grill, cleaning an ear with a
toothpick. He looks out. The toothpick is motionless.

CLOSE SHOT - HASTINGS

fidgeting outside his shack. He looks up. His Adam's apple
turns completely over.

OUT

Sequence omitted from original script.

REVERSE SHOT - WHAT THEY SEE

Macreedy slowly driving the jeep toward Liz's garage. He
looks neither to the right nor left.

GROUP SHOT - FAVORING SMITH AND COLEY

Standing on the porch of the hotel, watching. Smith's face
compresses, and his eyes swivel to rest on Coley's with cold,
contemptuous anger. Coley licks his lips uneasily. Smith
turns and enters the hotel. Coley meekly follows.

FULL SHOT - MACREEDY

He brakes the jeep before the garage. No one is there. He
parks the vehicle, gets out and heads down the street.

EXT. HOTEL

Macreedy is about to go up the steps when he sees Coley's
car at the curb. Both right fenders are creased. An ugly,
jagged break has split the front bumper almost in half, one
part angling crazily toward the sky, the other drooping in
the dust of the road. Smith and Coley come out of the hotel.
They stand on the porch, watching Macreedy as he in turn
watches the car. They exchange a glance. Smith nods, so...

COLEY
Well, if it's not Macreedy - the
world's champion road hog.

He walks down the steps to the street, joining Macreedy.
Smith remains on the porch.

MACREEDY
Yeah. It's a small world.

COLEY
But such an unfriendly one. Now why
did you want to crowd me off the
road?

MACREEDY
(with a slow grin)
I'm kind of sorry if I've incurred
your displeasure.

COLEY
Look what you did to my car.

MACREEDY
If there's anything I can do to make
up for it...

COLEY
You ought to be careful, man -- all
that one-arm driving.

MACREEDY
I'd be glad to pay the damages.

COLEY
It's a threat to life and limb.

MACREEDY
Fortunately no one was hurt.

COLEY
You could get yourself killed that
way -- nosin' all over the
countryside.

MACREEDY
That's the real danger, I can see
that.

COLEY
Why that's pretty smart of you. How
long you intend to keep it up?

MACREEDY
I'm getting out of here, right now.

He walks up the steps, past Smith, and into the hotel. Coley
glances up at Smith, grinning with self-satisfaction, like a
small boy who has carried out perfectly the instructions of
his teacher.

INT. HOTEL

The lobby empty except for Pete behind the desk. Macreedy
goes to him. Pete seems elaborately occupied arranging and
re-arranging a few file cards. Smith enters the lobby. He
stands in b.g. watching Macreedy and the desk clerk.

MACREEDY
(to Pete)
Still expecting that convention?

PETE
(looking up)
What...?

MACREEDY
If you're expecting any extra cowboys,
my room is available.

PETE
You're checking out?

MACREEDY
(nodding)
Is there a train through here tonight?

PETE
Nothing till tomorrow morning. The
streamliner.

MACREEDY
I know that. How about freights?
(Pete shakes his head)
Milk train?

PETE
Tomorrow. After the streamliner.

MACREEDY
Busses?

PETE
Closest stop is Sand City -- thirty-
two miles away.
(a beat)
You're in such a hurry, you should
have never got off here.

MACREEDY
I'm inclined to agree with you.

He turns, walks toward porch. Pete looks at Smith. Smith's
eyes follow Macreedy.

OUT

Sequence omitted from original script.

INT. LIZ'S GARAGE - FULL SHOT

In the gloom of the lube pit, Liz's mechanic, a dirty old
man, is draining the oil out of the crankcase of the car on
the rack. The girl stands beside the pit, silently watching
the old man. Now she pauses, looks o.s. toward the open garage
doors...

WHAT SHE SEES - MACREEDY

entering the scene, stopping to look at Liz's jeep parked in
front of the wide doors. He turns his eyes vaguely in the
direction of Liz, but he doesn't see her in the shadows behind
the car on the rack, He advances a step, pausing...

MACREEDY
Anybody home?

OUT

Sequence omitted from original script.

EXT. LUBE PIT - LIZ

She does not answer. Instead, she silently twists the
crankcase petcock, stopping the flow of oil. She watches
Macreedy closely.

INT. GARAGE

Macreedy again shifts his eyes to the jeep, then, with
decision, he goes to a work bench, opening the drawers and
rummaging among the contents.

LIZ
(o.s.)
If you're looking for the jeep key...

Macreedy turns as Liz comes toward him. She gestures toward
the open drawers.

LIZ
...it's not there...

Macreedy waits for her to go on. She doesn't. She stands
there, staring at him.

MACREEDY
(after a beat)
In that case, where do you suggest I
look?

She turns, walks back toward the lube pit.

LIZ
(over her shoulders)
The jeep's not for rent.

MACREEDY
It was, just a few hours ago.

LIZ
(flatly)
Things change.

MACREEDY
(with grim amusement)
Sure. And Smith is the kid who changes
'em.

She doesn't answer. Macreedy goes to her.

MACREEDY
Miss Brooks.
(softly)
What's the matter with this town of
yours?

LIZ
Nothing. It's none of your concern.

MACREEDY
Then why are they all so concerned
about me?

LIZ
Am I concerned?

MACREEDY
No, you're not. But...

LIZ
But what?

MACREEDY
(easily)
But it strikes me you're a little
too unconcerned. So unconcerned you
won't even rent me a jeep.

LIZ
(flaring)
I don't run a taxi service. I don't
have a license.

MACREEDY
I wish others in this town were as
scrupulously devoted to law and order
as you are.

LIZ
(hotly)
Why don't you lay off! If you don't
like it here, go back where you came
from!

MACREEDY
Funny thing. They try to kill me,
and you feel persecuted.

LIZ
I don't want to get involved.

MACREEDY
Involved in what?

LIZ
(retreating)
Whatever you're up to. Whatever
happens, I've got to go on living
here. These people are my neighbors,
my friends.

MACREEDY
All of them?

LIZ
(slowly)
This is my town, Mr. Macreedy, like
it or not. Whatever happened here,
it was long ago, now it's... it's...

MACREEDY
(evenly)
Dead and buried?
(a beat)
Whatever did happen, you don't seem
to like it. Why do you stick around?

LIZ
(after a beat)
Because of my brother. Pete. He'd
never leave.

MACREEDY
Didn't you ever think of going without
him. You're sort of independent and
he's... he's...

LIZ
Weak. I know. That's why I couldn't
leave him.

MACREEDY
(softly)
What did your brother do?

LIZ
He... I...
(flaring again)
What do you care? What do you care
about Black Rock?

MACREEDY
Nothing much. Only, there're not
many places like this in America --
but even one is too many. Because I
think something sort of bad happened
here.
(frowning)
Something I can't find the handle
to...

LIZ
You just think so. You don't know.

MACREEDY
This much I know -- the rule of law
has been suspended in this town. The
gorillas have taken over.

LIZ
You're a fine one to talk! You come
in here, sneaking around, trying to
steal the key to my jeep.

MACREEDY
I kind of had a notion that was the
only way I could get it.

She opens her mouth to answer, but she doesn't know what to
say.

MACREEDY
(simply)
Was I wrong, Miss Brooks?

He waits as she tries to answer, and again she can't. For a
moment he watches her struggle in anguished silence with
herself. Then he turns and goes out.

EXT. MAIN STREET - MACREEDY

walks thoughtfully down street. He comes abreast of hotel.

EXT. PORCH OF HOTEL

where Smith is still sitting. For a moment he watches Macreedy
speculatively, then...

SMITH
(calling)
Mr. Macreedy.
(reasonably, as
Macreedy turns toward
him)
I'd like to ask you a few questions...
as long as you're around...

MACREEDY
(walking up steps)
I'm around all right.

He stands facing Smith on the porch, then...

MACREEDY
(with just a touch of
wryness)
You probably know that Miss Brooks
is no longer in the car rental
business?

SMITH
(solemnly)
Good. I wouldn't want to see that
girl get into trouble...

MACREEDY
You wouldn't?

SMITH
...what with rental permits, gas
rationing... you know what I mean.

MACREEDY
Sure. I admire your sturdy sense of
responsibility.

SMITH
(dismissively)
It's just, a girl like that has a
future.

MACREEDY
Let's talk about my future.

SMITH
(almost slyly)
Do you have the time?

MACREEDY
I don't seem to be going any place.

He takes the other chair.

SMITH
(after a pause)
I hear you handle a jeep real well.

MACREEDY
I have a way with jeeps. A certain
familiarity.

SMITH
I think I understand. You're an Army
man.
(looking at Macreedy's
stiff arm)
Where'd you get it?

MACREEDY
Italy.

SMITH
(sincerely)
Tough. I tried to get in myself, the
day after those rats bombed Pearl
Harbor.

MACREEDY
What stopped you?

SMITH
The physical. They wouldn't take me.
The morning after Pearl, I was the
first man in line at Marine recruiting
in Sand City. And they wouldn't take
me.

MACREEDY
(flatly)
Tough.

SMITH
What do you do in Los Angeles, Mr.
Macreedy?

MACREEDY
I'm retired.

SMITH
You're a pretty young man...

MACREEDY
You might say I was forced into
retirement.

SMITH
What were you looking for in Adobe
Flat?

MACREEDY
Komako, like I told you. Like you
told me, he wasn't there.

Smith laughs quietly.

MACREEDY
What's so funny?

SMITH
Nothing. It's just -- I don't believe
you. I believe a man is as big as
what he seeks. I believe you're a
big man, Mr. Macreedy.

MACREEDY
Flattery will get you nowhere.

SMITH
Why would a man like you be looking
for a lousy Jap farmer?

MACREEDY
Maybe I'm not so big.

SMITH
Yes, you are.
(a beat; looking hard
at Macreedy)
I believe that a man is as big as
the things that make him mad. Nobody
around here has been big enough to
make you mad.

MACREEDY
What makes you mad, Mr. Smith?

SMITH
Me...? Nothing in particular.

MACREEDY
(bemused)
I see. You're a big man, too. Only...
(calmly)
...the Japanese make you mad...

SMITH
That's different. After the sneak
attack on Pearl Harbor... after
Bataan...

MACREEDY
...and Komako made you mad.

SMITH
It's the same thing.
(scoffing)
Loyal Japanese-Americans -- that's a
laugh. They're mad dogs. Look at
Corregidor, the death march.

MACREEDY
What did Komako have to do with
Corregidor?

SMITH
Wasn't he a Jap? Look, Macreedy,
there's a law in this county against
shooting dogs. But if I see a mad
dog loose, I don't wait for him to
bite me.
(exhales sharply,
shaking his head
with irritation)
I swear, you're beginning to make me
mad.

MACREEDY
(calmly)
All strangers do.

SMITH
Not all. Some of 'em. When they come
here snooping.

MACREEDY
Snooping for what?

SMITH
I mean, outsiders coming around,
looking for something.

MACREEDY
(pressing)
For what?

SMITH
I don't know. People are always
looking for something in this part
of the West. To the historian, it's
the "Old West." To the book writers,
it's the "Wild West." To the
businessmen, it's the "Undeveloped
West." They all say we're backward
and poor, and I guess we are.
(snorts)
We don't even have enough water.
(a beat)
But this place, to us, is our West.
(heatedly)
I just wish they'd leave us alone.

MACREEDY
Leave you alone to do what?

SMITH
(coldly)
I don't know what you mean.

MACREEDY
What happened to Komako?

SMITH
He went away, I told you. Shortly
after he left, a bunch of kids got
fooling around out his place. They
burned it down. It was one of those
things -- you know how kids are.

Macreedy laughs quietly.

SMITH
What's funny?

MACREEDY
Nothing. Only -- I don't believe
you. Any more than I believed you
about the letters.

SMITH
(smiling)
You don't seem to believe anything I
say.

MACREEDY
(vaguely)
Yes, I do -- about businessmen, for
instance. I think a businessman would
be interested in Adobe Flat.

SMITH
Why?

MACREEDY
All that land lying fallow. Could be
put to some use. Like a graveyard.
(Smith opens his mouth
to speak but Macreedy
goes on)
A historian might be interested,
too. Because of the strange customs
around here, such as burying cattle...

SMITH
Burying cattle...?

MACREEDY
(calmly)
Something's buried out there.

He takes the wild flowers from his pocket, holding them in
front of Smith.

MACREEDY
See these wild flowers? That means a
grave. I've seen it overseas. I figure
it isn't a man's grave or someone
would have marked it. Sort of a
mystery, isn't it?

SMITH
Sort of. Maybe you can figure it
out.

Macreedy gets up, half turns to Smith.

MACREEDY
Maybe.

He starts down the steps.

SMITH
Why not give it a whirl?
(Macreedy turns)
It'll help you pass the time...
(continued;
meaningfully)
...for a while.

MACREEDY
Not interested. I got other things
to do.

He turns and walks down the street.

EXT. MAIN STREET - MACREEDY

headed towards Doc's establishment. The building, which serves
Doc as home, office and laboratory, has centered on a pane
of glass:

T.R. VELIE, JR. UNDERTAKER AND VETERINARY

And in the lower right hand corner:

ASSAYER NOTARY PUBLIC

A few of the peeled gold and black letters are completely
missing.

The building is separated from the structure next to it by
an alleyway. Filling the narrow passage is Hector David, his
long massive body wedged against the wall like an unkempt
monument. His little pig eyes meet Macreedy's. Hector spits
in the dust with bland insolence.

EXT. DOC'S OFFICE - MACREEDY

walks up the steps and enters.

INT. DOC'S OFFICE

Dark and shadowy. At the far end of a hallway an insipid
light bulb burns. Macreedy goes toward it, entering...

INT. DOC'S LAB

devoted to the care and preservation of the Dear Departed.
In the center of the room is a long rectangular slab stained
with the juices of those unfortunates who have had occasion
to rest thereon. The walls are lined with rickety bookcases
jammed, not with volumes, but with the jugs and jars, the
chemicals and unguents of Doc's multiple callings. In a corner
three or four neat pine boxes are stacked one on the other.

Doc sits at a cluttered desk feeding a large bowl of goldfish
and sipping a glass of milk. He looks up as Macreedy enters.

DOC
Hi. Pull up a chair.

MACREEDY
(nodding)
Can I use your phone?

DOC
Help yourself.
(chuckles)
You know, you're one of the few people
who's ever been back here I can say
that to.

Macreedy reaches for the phone book.

DOC
It's 4-2-4.

MACREEDY
(pausing)
What's 4-2-4?

DOC
If I've got you pegged -- and I think
I have -- you're calling the State
Police. But if I was you -- and I'm
purely glad I'm not -- I'd look it
up myself.
(emphatically)
I wouldn't trust anybody around here,
including me.

Macreedy thinks it over and comes to a swift decision. He
checks the phone book. Then, picking up phone...

MACREEDY
(to Doc)
Thanks.
(into receiver)
4-2-4.

INT. TELEPHONE OPERATOR'S OFFICE

a cubbyhole behind the hotel clerk's desk in the lobby. At
the switchboard is Pete, and above him tacked on the wall is
the sign:

SMILE

PETE
(into phone)
4-2-4...?
(he looks up)

CAMERA PULLS BACK revealing Smith standing beside him. The
two men exchange a nod.

PETE
(into phone)
Lines 're busy.
(he clicks off the
instrument)

INT. DOC'S LAB

Macreedy slowly puts down the phone. Doc sips his milk, all
the while staring queasily over the glass at Macreedy. He
puts it down, his gaze still fixed on the stranger...

DOC
(sing-song)
I know -- don't tell me -- lines all
busy. They'll be busy all day.

MACREEDY
(after a beat,
grimacing)
Don't look at me like that.

DOC
Like what?

MACREEDY
Like I'm a potential customer.

DOC
Everybody is -- and I get 'em coming
and going.

He goes to a topographic map hanging on the wall -- a large,
impressive map -- faded, fly-blown and divided into sections.

DOC
(gesturing toward it)
First I sell 'em a piece of land.
Think they farm it? Nope. They dig
for gold.

He moves to photograph beside the map on the wall -- a large,
impressive photograph of a placer mine in operation.

DOC
They rip off the top soil of ten
winding hills. They sprint in here,
fog-heaved with excitement, lugging
nuggets, big and bright and shiny.

He moves to his desk, picks up a glistening blob of stone,
resting next to an assayer's scales, and examines it...

DOC
(rhetorically)
Is it gold?

He bangs the rock down next to the scales.

DOC
It is not! Do they quit? They do
not!

He moves to a third illustration -- a colored reproduction,
large and impressive -- of acres upon green acres of produce
in bloom; the kind of picture Southern Pacific places above
its calendars.

DOC
(with theatrical
gesture toward
reproduction)
Then they decide to farm. Farm! In
country so dry you have to prime a
man before he can spit, and before
you can say "Fat Sam" they're stalled,
stranded and starving. They get weevil-
brained and buttsprung...

He moves to the coffins piled in a corner and runs his hand
down the smooth pine sides with loving tenderness.

DOC
(simply)
So I bury 'em.
(a beat, as he rejoins
Macreedy in the center
of the room)
But why should I bore you with my
triumphs?

MACREEDY
Yeah. I've got a problem of my own.

Doc nods; he points vaguely toward the street...

DOC
(like an old testament
prophet)
They're going to kill you with no
hard feelings.

MACREEDY
(nastily)
And you'll just sit on your hands
and let them.

DOC
Don't get waspish with me, young
feller.

MACREEDY
Sorry.

DOC
I feel for you, but I'm consumed
with apathy. Why should I mix in?

MACREEDY
To save a life.

DOC
I got enough trouble saving my own.
(he refills his glass
from a milk bottle
on the desk)
I try to live right and drink my
orange juice every day. But mostly I
try to mind my own business. Which
is something I'd advise you to do.

MACREEDY
It's a little late for that...

DOC
You can still get out of town. And
you'd better get out like a whisper.

MACREEDY
How can I?

DOC
(taking a key ring
from his pocket)
I got sort of a limousine at your
disposal.

MACREEDY
Where is it?

DOC
(tossing him the key)
Out back.

Macreedy snares the key and walks out. Doc gets up to follow
him.

EXT. REAR OF DOC'S OFFICE

An old-fashioned hearse, with plate glass sides and elaborate
lead candelabra -- Doc's "limousine" -- is parked a few steps
from the door. Macreedy climbs in behind the wheel as Doc
comes out and stands on the small back porch.

Macreedy turns on the ignition switch. His foot kicks over
the starter, but the spark doesn't catch. He tries again,
then again. He pauses, frowns, as Doc comes down from the
porch and joins him.

MACREEDY
(concentrating on the
dashboard)
Won't start.

DOC
(nervously, to Macreedy)
Something wrong?

MACREEDY
Just won't start...

Again he presses the ignition switch. Nothing. And suddenly,
in b.g., the great bulk of Hector David looms up, leaning
against the porch pillar at the corner of the alleyway. His
expression is almost dreamy. For a moment he stands there
while Macreedy toys with the ignition and the sick engine
wheezes and grinds. Then he ambles up to the hearse...

HECTOR
(gratuitously)
Could be the wirin'. Why don't you
look under the hood?

MACREEDY
For that I thank you.
(pause)
How much time you think I've got
before...?

DOC
They'll wait at least till dark.
(angrily)
They'd be afraid to see each other's
faces.

MACREEDY
(slapping Doc's
shoulder lightly)
Well, so long, Doc. I can't say it's
been charming but...

DOC
Where are you going?

MACREEDY
I don't know. But I'm going on foot.

DOC
That's no good. You stray ten yards
off Main Street, and you'll be stone,
cold dead.
(offers Macreedy a
cigarette)
That's the situation, in a nut.

Macreedy takes the cigarette, lighting a match with one hand.
He puts the fire to Doc's smoke and then lights his own. He
inhales, exhales, thinking. Finally...

Macreedy gets out of the car. Hector has already opened the
hood. Doc peers nervously over his shoulder. As they study
the engine, Hector's horsey face appears behind them. He
gestures toward the engine.

INSERT - THE ENGINE

Focal point: a hopeless snarl of ignition wires.

BACK TO SCENE

HECTOR
It's the wirin', like I said. Now
wasn't that a good guess?

Slowly he takes off his wrist watch and puts it in his pants
pocket.

MACREEDY
(quietly)
It can be fixed.

Ignoring Hector, he bends over the engine, controlling his
obvious awareness that Hector has fouled up the ignition.

HECTOR
Easy. Unless, of course, this here
wire...
(reaching inside the
hood, pointing)
...got broke or something.

DOC
(suddenly, heatedly,
turning on Hector)
Do the nice little things, like keep
your big fat nose out of my business.

Hector's eyes go hard. He reaches out suddenly, one great
hand closing over the distributor cap. He yanks, ripping the
feed wires out of their sockets.

HECTOR
(triumphantly, holding
up the wires)
Yep. It's the wirin'.

Still gripping the wires, he walks off. Doc simmers down. He
turns to face Macreedy, who hasn't moved. Now Macreedy slowly
lowers the hood of the car.

DOC
(softly, after a beat)
I'm sorry, son. You got to admit, I
tried.

MACREEDY
(as if to himself)
Maybe...

DOC
Maybe what?

MACREEDY
If I can't get out of town, maybe I
can get the state cops in.

DOC
(irritably)
You tried the phone, didn't you? You
know what happened, don't you?

MACREEDY
There's another way. I'll be seeing
you, Doc.

He walks off. Doc looks after him grimly.

DOC
(calling)
I hope you'll be seeing me.

QUICK DISSOLVE:

INT. TELEGRAPH AGENT'S OFFICE

Macreedy stands at the high counter, writing on a Postal
Telegraph blank. Behind the counter, watching him nervously,
is Hastings. At the agent's elbow is a big pitcher with dew
on the glass. It holds a pale liquid and a chunk of ice. His
eyes on Macreedy, Hastings refills a glass tumbler. He takes
a gulp as Macreedy puts down the pencil and pushes the message
toward him. Now Hastings puts down his glass, picks up the
form and scans it hurriedly. He looks at Macreedy, eyes glazed
with anxiety...

HASTINGS
You notifyin' the state po-lice?

MACREEDY
(putting a bill on
the counter)
That's what it says.

Hastings again refills his glass, slopping the liquid over
on the counter. He picks up the glass, hesitates, offers it
awkwardly to Macreedy.

HASTINGS
(plaintively)
Lemonade?

Macreedy shakes his head. No.

HASTINGS
(mopping his forehead)
It's hot as Billy-be-durned.

He drinks, puts down the glass. Macreedy pushes the bill
across the counter toward him. Hastings picks it up gingerly
then pauses...

HASTINGS
Don't you like lemonade?

MACREEDY
I never thought much about it.

HASTINGS
It don't have the muzzle velocity of
some other drinks drunk around here,
but it's good for what ails you.

MACREEDY
(after a beat)
What ails you, Mr. Hastings?

HASTINGS
Me...?

MACREEDY
Why are you so upset about...
(points)
...this wire?

HASTINGS
Me...?

MACREEDY
Are you afraid, Mr. Hastings?

HASTINGS
Me...?
(a beat, then softly)
I guess I am.
(awkwardly he puts
Macreedy's bill back
on the counter)
But what's the use talkin'...?
(with grudging respect)
You don't know what it's like, being
scared.

MACREEDY
(not unsympathetically)
You want me to describe the symptoms?
Right this minute I'm scared half to
death.

HASTINGS
(simply)
You should be.

MACREEDY
Yeah. But not of the state police.

HASTINGS
(stonily)
Neither am I.

MACREEDY
Then what are you afraid of? The
grave at Adobe Flat? A grave nobody
marked, nobody knows anything about.

HASTINGS
That ain't it, either.

MACREEDY
Is it Smith?
(no answer)
Is it?!

HASTINGS
(squirming)
Look, Mr. Macreedy. I'm just a good
neighbor...

MACREEDY
To Smith you are. How about to Komako?

HASTINGS
(meeting Macreedy's
eyes)
I never seen Komako in my life.
Honest.

MACREEDY
(again pushes the
bill toward Hastings)
Then send that wire, and bring me
the answer. You'll do that, won't
you?

HASTINGS
(pauses, then worriedly
picking up the bill)
Yes, sir.

Macreedy turns and walks out. Hastings stands sweating,
staring hard at the message in his hand as...

QUICK DISSOLVE:

OUT

Sequence omitted from original script.

INT. SAM'S BAR & GRILL

A few loafers are at the bar, draped bonelessly on high
stools. There is the usual array of bottles and glasses
aligned before a cracked, discolored mirror. In the corner
is a jukebox. Along the opposite wall is a line of low stools
facing a counter covered with oil-cloth thumb-tacked in place.
Behind it is a greasy hot plate and a couple of soiled
displays -- breakfast food, soft drinks, etc. At the grill
counter is Sam, cleaning his finger-nails with a toothpick.
At the bar, engaged in a worrisome conversation, are four
loafers, FRANKLIN KROOL, WALT MURTRY, RON BENTHAM and STERLING
LENARD.

KROOL
I tell you, I won't have anything to
do with it.

MURTRY
(nodding emphatically)
Live and let live, that's what I
say.

BENTHAM
(frowning)
I don't know. I just don't know.

LENARD
(to Bentham)
You gonna brood about it? Or you
want another beer?

BENTHAM
A beer, I guess. Only...

He looks up, and something makes him hesitate...

WHAT HE SEES -- EXT. BAR & GRILL - MACREEDY

stopping in front of the restaurant. On the window large,
rough capital letters in water paint proclaim:

SAM'S SANITARY BAR & GRILL

Macreedy pauses, shrugs and then enters.

INT. BAR & GRILL

Sam is still working on his finger nails. He evidences little
interest in the stranger, but at the bar in b.g. the loafers
stiffen. Macreedy takes a stool in front of Sam.

SAM
What'll you have?

MACREEDY
What have you got?

SAM
Chili wit' beans.

MACREEDY
Anything else?

SAM
Chili wit'out beans.

Macreedy winces.

SAM
You don't like the taste, that's
what they make ketchup for.

MACREEDY
In that case, I'll have it. And a
cup of coffee.

The door of the Bar & Grill opens. Smith and Coley enter.
They walk to Macreedy, stopping just a few feet behind him.

COLEY
(to Macreedy, with
menacing friendliness)
You still around? I thought you didn't
like this place.

MACREEDY
(pleasantly)
Going to, or coming from?

COLEY
Staying put.

MACREEDY
No comment.

He turns again as Sam plops an unseasonable mess of chili in
front of him.

COLEY
(to Smith, gesturing
a thumb toward
Macreedy)
No comment, he says. No comment, and
all the time he's got my chair.

Macreedy smiles tiredly. He half turns toward Coley.

MACREEDY
I always seem to be taking somebody's
place around here.

He gets up, with his chili, and sits down three stools away.
Coley straddles the stool Macreedy has vacated. He squirms
on it, his movements exaggerated. Now he spins to face Smith.

COLEY
This seat ain't comfortable.

MACREEDY
I was afraid of that.

COLEY
I think I'd like the seat you're on.

SMITH
(to Macreedy, mildly)
He's as changeable as a prairie fire.

MACREEDY
(to Coley)
Suppose you tell me where to sit.

Coley opens his mouth but, realizing he has been
outmaneuvered, closes it again. The loafers in b.g. are
silent, watching. Sam, seemingly oblivious to Coley's pressure
on Macreedy, places a bottle of ketchup in front of the
stranger. Coley gets up slowly and walks stiff-legged to
Macreedy. He takes the bottle of ketchup and, without removing
the cap, upends it over Macreedy's plate. The cap is drowned
in a deluge of ketchup which overflows the plate and runs
onto the counter.

COLEY
(to Macreedy)
I hope that ain't too much.

MACREEDY
(to Smith, gesturing
toward Coley)
Your friend's a very [...] fellow.

SMITH
(nodding)
Sort of unpredictable, too. Got a
temper like a rattlesnake.

COLEY
That's me all over. I'm half hoss,
half alligator. Mess with me, I'll
kick a lung outta you. What do you
think of that?

MACREEDY
No comment.

COLEY
Talking to you is like pulling teeth.
You wear me out.
(loudly, after a beat)
You're a yellow-bellied Jap lover.
Am I right or wrong?

MACREEDY
You're not only wrong -- you're wrong
at the top of your voice.

COLEY
You don't like my voice?

MACREEDY
(again turning to
Smith)
I think your friend's trying to start
something.

SMITH
Now why-ever would he want to do
that?

MACREEDY
I don't know. Maybe he figures, needle
me enough and I'll crack. Maybe I'll
even fight back. Then he or Hector --
your other ape -- would beat me to
death and cop a plea of self-defense.

SMITH
I don't think that'll be necessary.
You're so scared now you'll probably
drown in your own sweat.

COLEY
Before that happens, couldn't I pick
a fight with you if I tied one hand
behind me...?

Macreedy rises to go out. As he passes Coley, Coley takes
his limp left arm and spins him slowly but firmly around.
The two men face each other.

COLEY
If I tied both hands...?

Macreedy shakes free of Coley's grasp. Coley lunges. His big
right fist streaks toward Macreedy's face. Macreedy ducks,
weaving with the punch. He grabs Coley's belt, twisting
Coley's body. The momentum of the swing throws Coley off
balance. As he goes past Macreedy, the stranger tugs at his
belt, twisting him to one side. He plants his left foot firmly
on the toes of Coley's left boot, for a split second anchoring
Coley in place. He chops the under side of his open hand in
a short, vicious arc that lands solidly under Coley's ear.
With the same motion, he brings the heel of his hand hard
against and slightly under the tip of Coley's nose. The
cartilage shatters. Blood spills down his face. Following
through, Macreedy's elbow smashes beneath Coley's cheekbone.
Macreedy's arm goes past the astonished, wind-burned face,
finding Coley's right wrist. He jerks the wrist out and
backward. It snaps. Coley whimpers, his face twisted in pain
and perplexity. His body lolls forward. Macreedy steps back.
He raises his right shoulder a few inches. His bent right
arm drives up like a piston attached to the shoulder's lift.
Fist and arm seem all one rigid piece with only the limber
shoulder giving them motion. The fist strikes Coley's face,
covering for a moment one side of his chin and a corner of
his mouth between cheekbone and jawbone. Coley shuts his
eyes and falls unconscious.

Smith, a puzzled expression on his face, watches Coley fall.
He takes half a step toward him. Macreedy looks at Smith.
Smith stops. Macreedy's face is wooden, with a trace of
sullenness around the hard lines of his mouth. Working
methodically, Macreedy frisks Coley. He takes from a pocket
a long, ugly knife. He snaps the spring and the four-inch
blade leaps into place. He looks at the knife in his hand
and then at Smith. He smiles gently, even dreamily.

MACREEDY
(to Smith)
Wouldn't it be easier if you just
waited till I turned my back?
(looking toward the
loafers at the bar,
then back at Smith)
Or are there too many witnesses
present?

Macreedy walks slowly toward him, holding the knife. The are
only three feet apart. Smith's hand goes to a pocket, closes
inside over the outline of a pistol. Sam glances from Macreedy
to Smith to the unconscious Coley. He sidles toward the door
and runs out fast. (NOTE: From this point to end of scene
INTERCUT from Macreedy and Smith to exploit the reactions of
the loafers at the bar.)

SMITH
(with effortless
ferocity)
You're still in trouble.

MACREEDY
So are you.
(Smith snorts)
Whatever happens -- you're lost.

SMITH
You got things a bit twisted...

MACREEDY
You killed Komako. Sooner or later
you'll go up for it. Not because you
killed him -- in this town you
probably could have gotten away with
it -- but because you didn't even
have the guts to do it alone. You
put your trust in guys like him...
(gesturing toward the
unconscious Coley)
...and Hector -- they're not the
most dependable of God's creatures.
Sooner or later they'll get the idea
you're playing them for saps. What'll
you do then -- peel them off, one by
one? And in the meantime if any one
of them breaks, you'll go down hard.
Because they got something on you.
Something to use when things get
tough.

With a quick motion, he tosses the knife to Smith. Smith
catches it.

MACREEDY
And they're getting tougher every
minute.

He walks past Smith and goes out the door. Self-consciously
holding the knife, Smith turns to face the loafers at the
bar. They say nothing; they stare at him, through him, like
a panel of ghouls. The door opens, admitting Sam and Doc,
who carries his little black medical bag. Doc looks at Coley.

DOC
(softly, full of awe)
Man... man-oh-man.

He goes to Coley, bending down over him. Smith has remained
motionless as a monument. Now he doubles shut the knife in
his hand. He pockets it, and without even glancing at Coley,
turns quickly and goes out.

QUICK DISSOLVE:

INT. HOTEL LOBBY

Doc sits deep in the battered upholstery of one of the chairs.
He stares fiercely across the room at Smith who is on the
couch, reading a neatly folded newspaper. Behind him at the
clerk's desk, Pete is fitfully involved in a game of
solitaire. At the foot of the stairs Hector is pouring change
into a slot machine. It whines, grinds, and clicks with
rhythmic monotony, but it never seems to pay off. In the
chair nearest Doc is Tim, with one of his boots off. He works
hard and with some concentration, removing the other. Then
he places them neatly at the foot of his chair. He wiggles
his toes -- watching them with some interest.

The wheeze and whir of the slot machine stops. The sudden
silence turns the eyes of the men toward Hector and the one-
arm bandit. They follow his gaze up the steps.

STAIRWAY - MACREEDY

walks down, carrying his suitcase. He goes to Pete at the
clerk's desk.

MACREEDY
Anything for me?

PETE
Nothing.

MACREEDY
Any message -- a telegram?

PETE
(returning to his
cards)
Nothing.

As Macreedy turns from the desk, Doc joins him.

DOC
(to Macreedy, shrilly,
gruffly)
In case you're interested, Coley'll
live.
(glaring at Smith and
Hector)
I'm truly sorry to say.

Smith coolly continues to read his paper. It is Hector who
turns toward Doc...

HECTOR
(to Doc, jerking a
fat hand toward
Macreedy)
Your friend's pretty tough.

DOC
Yeah. He's wicked. He defends himself
when he's attacked.

Macreedy ignores the exchange of words. He walks across the
frayed carpet to the nearest chair and drops into it. Doc,
who has followed him, stands looking down at Macreedy for a
long moment. Then...

DOC
(with some irritation)
Well...? You going to just sit here
and let time run out?

MACREEDY
I'm waiting for a wire. From the
state cops.

DOC
You sent it through Hastings?
(an audible sigh)
Just don't expect an answer, if that's
the way you sent it.

MACREEDY
(looking toward the
door)
No?
(he rises)

Doc follows his gaze as Hastings enters the lobby and looks
around. He sees Macreedy coming toward him. He walks rigidly
in an arc past Macreedy to Smith. He holds out a Postal
Telegraph form. Smith puts down his paper and takes it.
Macreedy, followed by Doc, goes over to Smith. Tim in his
stockinged feet joins them.

Smith scans the message. He looks up to meet Macreedy's gaze.
Smith rises. Hector swaggers over from the slot machine.
Hastings slips around the back of the couch, protected by
the barricade of Hector's great body.

MACREEDY
(evenly, to Smith)
I think that's for me.
(he takes the message
from Smith's hand
and quickly glances
at it. Looking up at
Hastings)
Where's the answer?

Hastings is silent. A brittle expression of bemusement crosses
Smith's features.

SMITH
You expect an answer -- to a wire
that's never sent?

Macreedy's mouth compresses in a harsh grin.

SMITH
What's so funny?

MACREEDY
Nothing. Just a thought --
(his eyes turn to
Hastings. Hastings
wilts)
-- a thought dazzling in its purity...

Macreedy takes a step toward Hastings. The telegraph agent
bounces away.

MACREEDY
(slowly)
You're in a jam, Hastings. You gave
my telegram to Smith.

DOC
(excitedly)
You warty wretch! That's a federal
offense!

MACREEDY
(to Smith)
You're in deep, too.
(grins hard)
Like I said, it's getting tougher
and tougher.
(to Tim)
Sheriff, you'd better do something
about this.

Tim hesitates, blinking his eyes worriedly, shifting from
one stockinged foot to the other. Smith watches him insolently
as he takes the message from Macreedy and gestures with it
vaguely...

TIM
(to Smith)
I reckon that's right, Mr. Smith...

HECTOR
Don't be a jerk, Tim.

TIM
(to Smith, seriously)
Divulging information -- there's a
law...

SMITH
Tim, you're pathetic.

TIM
(doggedly)
Could be. But I'm still Sheriff.

SMITH
That's the point. You're not Sheriff
any more. You just lost a job, you're
so pathetic.

He reaches out, clawing the badge from Tim's chest. He jabs
it on Hector's vest.

SMITH
(to Hector)
All right, Sheriff. Take over.

DOC
You can't do that!

SMITH
Can't I? I put him in office. Now I
take him out.

Hector moves his elephantine bulk within inches of Macreedy...

HECTOR
Now. You want to register a complaint?

Macreedy doesn't answer. Hector takes the message from Tim's
limp hand and tears it into little pieces.

HECTOR
To register a complaint, boy, you've
got to have evidence. You got
evidence?

Macreedy doesn't answer.

HECTOR
You got a big mouth, boy, makin'
accusations, disturbin' the peace.
There's laws in this county protectin'
innocent folks from big mouths. Why,
I'd just hate to...

SMITH
(interrupting)
Hector...
(wearily)
Come on, Hector.

He walks out, the new Sheriff strutting beside him, with
Hastings in their wake. For a moment Macreedy, Doc and Tim
stand in the center of the lobby. Pete eyes them non-
committally and goes back to his solitaire. He glances up
now and then, moving the cards with a purposeful sort of
slowness, as of a more natural swiftness restrained by his
preoccupation with the three men in the lobby.

Macreedy is deep in thought. Abstractedly he tugs at his
collar and then repeats the ritual of lighting a cigarette.
Tim's shoulders are slumped. Humiliation has corroded him,
flesh and soul. Even Doc is momentarily subdued; he too,
feels degraded, unclean. Macreedy looks from one to the other
of the good, ineffectual companions that circumstance has so
haphazardly tossed his way. He takes a few steps to his
suitcase, Doc and Tim trailing him; Doc, for want of something
better to do; Tim, out of his deep, inexpressible need for
support. Macreedy takes an untapped bottle of whiskey from
his bag. He thumbs the cork loose and holds the bottle out
to Tim. Tim takes a drink.

The light on the clerk's desk goes on, and we are aware that
day has gone and that night is falling. The pressing, fierce
light has drained from the lobby, leaving a shadowy, silvery
dreariness. The shadows have lengthened and the silver has
tarnished with the darkness.

DOC
(hopefully)
It's all right, Tim. We're not licked
yet.

TIM
(numbly)
Ain't we? I am.

DOC
There comes a time, Tim, when a man's
just got to do something.

TIM
Not me. I'm useless, and I know it.

DOC
(imploring)
No man is useless, if he's got a
friend...

Pete comes out from behind the desk, walking from one lamp
in the lobby to another, turning them on.

DOC
I'm your friend, Tim.

TIM
Then let me alone.

He hands Doc the whiskey bottle.

DOC
(jabbing at Macreedy
with a thumb)
He's going to need you before the
night is over.

He downs a snort, then looks at Pete, who approaches them.

DOC
(contemptuously)
And all the useful men are on the
other side.

As Pete turns on the lamp behind Doc, he reacts ever so
slightly to Doc's words. His almost imperceptible grimace is
not lost on Macreedy. Macreedy watches the young man as he
continues to light the lamps...

TIM
(angrily)
Lemme alone, I tell ya!

Doc slams the whiskey bottle down on a nearby table.

DOC
I can't let you alone! I can't let
myself alone! Don't you understand
that?
(he turns from Tim to
Pete, who is unable
to shake his gaze.
Then, sadly, fiercely)
Four years ago something terrible
happened here. We did nothing about
it. Nothing. The whole town fell
into a sort of settled melancholy,
and the people in it closed their
eyes and held their tongues and failed
the test with a whimper.

Self-consciously Pete has backed off until now he leans
against the outside of the clerk's desk. But he still can't
shut his ears to what Doc is saying...

DOC
Now something terrible is going to
happen again, and in a way we're
lucky because we've been given a
second chance. And this time I won't
close my eyes, I won't hold my tongue,
and if I'm needed I won't fail.
(almost harshly, again
facing Tim)
And neither will you!

Tim sighs, running a thick hand over his forehead...

TIM
I got such a headache, I'm bewildered.
I hurt all over.

MACREEDY
I know --
(unconsciously his
right arm strays to
massage the paralyzed
left)
-- pain is bewildering. I came here
bewildered, full of self-pity, afraid
to fight back.
(gesturing with his
hand to Pete)
And then your friend Smith tried to
kill me.
(the muscles around
Pete's mouth tighten)
Funny, how a man clings to the earth
when he feels there's a chance he
may never see it again.

DOC
There's a difference between clinging
to the earth...
(eyeing Tim almost
contemptuously)
...and crawling on it. You going to
stand by and watch forever?

TIM
(flatly)
I ain't gonna watch, and I ain't
gonna get into it, either.

There is a moment of crashing silence. Then...

TIM
I'm gettin' out. I'm sorry, Mr.
Macreedy.

Slowly he lumbers out of the lobby. Doc watches him go. Again
the benumbing silence, cut finally, unexpectedly by...

PETE
(to Doc)
You'd be smart to get out, too.

DOC
(angrily turning to
Pete)
There's too many smart guys around
here. I'm glad I'm a dummy.

PETE
You're a troublesome dummy. You're
liable to end up on your own slab...

DOC
(heatedly)
I expect to be in a lot more trouble
before I die...

PETE
Go home, Doc.
(he jerks his head
toward Macreedy, and
with mock bravado...)
He's all washed up.

MACREEDY
(grinning harshly at
him)
You think so?

His right hand closes over the neck of the whiskey bottle on
the end table. Abstractedly fingering it, he walks with tense,
deliberate steps toward Pete at the desk.

MACREEDY
I was washed up when I got off that
train...

He continues to advance inexorably toward Pete.

PETE
(flatly)
You shouldn' of got off.

MACREEDY
Had to. I had one last duty to perform
before I resigned from the human
race.

DOC
(quizzically)
I thought you were going to Los
Angeles, that hot-bed of pomp and
vanity. Is that resigning from the
human race?

MACREEDY
(shrugging)
L.A.'s a good jumping off place --
for the Islands, for Mexico, Central
America.

DOC
Why?

MACREEDY
(again shrugs)
I don't know. I was looking for a
place to get lost, I guess.

DOC
Why?

MACREEDY
(slapping his paralyzed
arm with the whisky
bottle)
Because of this. I thought I'd never
be able to function again.
(turning to Pete)
Thanks to your friend Smith, I found
I was wrong.

He is now within a couple of yards of Pete.

PETE
(drily)
Sure. You're a man of action.

MACREEDY
(slowly)
I know your problem.
(with mounting vigor)
You'd like me to die quickly, without
wasting too much of your time...
(Pete opens his mouth
to say something,
but Macreedy presses
on)
...or silently, without making you
feel too uncomfortable... or
thankfully, without making your
memories of the occasion too
unpleasant.

For a moment Pete stares at Macreedy, terribly disturbed by
the incisiveness of Macreedy's analysis. Then...

PETE
(bitterly)
My memories are so pleasant as it
is...

In sudden frustration, Pete grabs the deck of cards on the
clerk's desk and slams them down hard. They scatter. He turns,
stares blankly [...] between Doc and Macreedy.

MACREEDY
(quietly pressing his
advantage)
What happened, Pete?

Pete doesn't answer.

DOC
Are you going to tell him -- or you
want me to?
(beat)
Smith owns Adobe Flat. He leased it
to Komako -- thought he had cheated
him, thought Komako could never even
run stock without water. There was
never any water on Adobe Flat. Komako
dug a well, by hand. He must have
went down one hundred and fifty feet.

PETE
He got water, plenty. Smith was pretty
sore. He didn't like Japs anyway.

DOC
That's an understatement.

PETE
The day after Pearl Harbor, Smith
went to Sand City.

MACREEDY
(interrupting)
I know. To enlist. He was turned
down.

PETE
He was sore when he got back. About
ten o'clock he started drinking.

MACREEDY
Ten o'clock in the morning.

PETE
Yeah. Hector joined him, and Coley.
Then Sam, and about nine p.m. -- me.
We were all drunk -- patriotic drunk.
We went out to Komako's for a little
fun, I guess -- scare him a little.

MACREEDY
Did you know him?

PETE
We'd seen him around some, but none
of us knew him. When he heard us
coming, he locked the door. Smith
started a fire. The Jap came running
out. His clothes were burning. Smith
shot him. I didn't even know Smith
had a gun.

MACREEDY
Then you all got scared, buried him,
kept quiet.

Pete nods helplessly, bowing his head. Macreedy sighs, looks
down at the bottle in his hand, slowly puts it on the table...

MACREEDY
(softly)
Did Komako have any family besides
his son Joe?

DOC
(puzzled)
His son...? Nobody around here knew
he had a son.

MACREEDY
He had one. But he's dead, too. He's
buried in Italy.

DOC
What are you doing here, Mr. Macreedy?

MACREEDY
Joe Komako died in Italy, saving my
life. They gave him a medal. I came
here to give it to his father.

Silence. Doc, realizing the enormity of Macreedy's admission,
frowns, rubs a hand across his tired eyes. Pete looks at
Macreedy for a long, shocked moment. He shivers.

PETE
(awfully)
God forgive me...

He takes the bottle from the table and shakily pours a shot
glass of liquor. As he raises it to his mouth...

MACREEDY
(to Pete, harshly
guttural)
It'll take a lot of whiskey to wash
out your guts...

Pete is motionless, holding the glass inches from his lips,
hypnotized by Macreedy's voice, as hard and as cold as his
eyes...

MACREEDY
...And it will never help -- not
even a barrel full washes away murder!

Macreedy's hand shoots out, in a short, inexorable arc,
smashing his palm across the shot glass. The whiskey bursts
in a spray, the glass flies halfway across the room,
shattering as it lands against something solid. Pete is
stunned, Doc perplexed, at Macreedy's violence. They stare
at him...

Macreedy's eyes are murky. The creases between the brows
over his nose are deep. His nostrils move in and out with
his breathing. Pete and Doc regard him with growing
uneasiness. Rage comes into Macreedy's face, turning it a
painful red.

MACREEDY
But maybe I'm wrong. Go on -- drink.
(scornfully)
What else is left for you?!
(mounting anger)
You're as dead as Komako, only you
don't know it!
(roaring)
You also don't know that it's not
enough to feel guilty. It's not enough
to confess. It's not enough to say,
"Forgive me, I've done wrong."

DOC
Take it easy, Macreedy. Sit down.

MACREEDY
(turning on him)
Sit down?! Or would you rather have
me kneel, to beg his pardon for
raising a touchy subject?

Pete squirms under Macreedy's relentless attack.

PETE
(shaking his head)
You don't have to remind me. I've
never forgotten...

MACREEDY
Well, that's mighty noble of you.
You feel ashamed -- that's noble,
too.
(in mounting crescendo)
And four years from now you'll
probably be sitting here telling
somebody else you haven't forgotten
me. That's progress -- you'll still
be ashamed but I'll be dead.

Macreedy grabs the bottle, shoving it across the table toward
Pete.

MACREEDY
Go on, have your drink.
(with exorbitant scorn)
You need it.

Pete pushes the bottle aside, too ravaged by Macreedy's words
and his own thoughts to drink. He shakes his head grimly and
then, with sudden decision, goes to the switchboard and plugs
in a line.

DOC
(leaning over counter,
staring at him)
What are you doing?

PETE
(into phone, ignoring
Doc)
Hello, Liz. Now listen... I... 'm
getting Macreedy out of town...

ANOTHER ANGLE - MACREEDY AND DOC

as they exchange a glance. Doc takes a long, deep breath of
relief. Macreedy frowns thoughtfully. He strains to listen
to Liz, but all he (and we) can hear is the staccato jumble
of her words over the wire.

WIDER ANGLE - FAVORING PETE

he cuts Liz short...

PETE
(into phone)
I don't care about Smith! Let him
try to kill me -- I might as well be
dead as...

Again Liz's voice incoherent over the phone, and again...

PETE
(into phone,
interrupting)
Liz, Liz... There's not much of me
left any more, but however little it
is I won't waste it!
(again Liz's voice
briefly; then...)
I'm telling you because we need your
help.
(again Liz's voice)
...No matter about the past -- you've
got to do this! You'd be saving two
lives, Liz. Macreedy's, and mine.
(again Liz answers
and...)
All right. Yeah... I've told him
everything.

Slowly he replaces the phone on the switch-board. He comes
around from behind the desk, joining Macreedy and Doc.

PETE
(flatly)
She'll be here in five minutes.

MACREEDY
Thanks, Pete. Thanks very much.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. HOTEL LOBBY - PETE, HECTOR AND DOC - NIGHT

Pete and Doc are nervously alert, drained of energy, waiting.
Hector is downright bored. He toys with his pistol, squinting
at it, twirling the barrel. Finding neither interest nor
pleasure in the piece, he jams it back in his holster and
strolls with exaggerated surety out on the porch.

EXT. PORCH - NIGHT

The congregation of loafers look up as Hector emerges. Imbued
with his own bullying importance, he draws the pistol,
maneuvers an extravagant pinwheel and a few other gaudy
tricks. Then he sighs as boredom again takes over. He walks
down the steps to catch a bit of air.

INT. LOBBY - DOC AND PETE

The disappearance of Hector (o.s.) down the street galvanizes
them into action. They hurry out of the lobby toward the
back of the hotel.

EXT. ALLEY - BEHIND HOTEL - NIGHT

Vague in the pallid light escaping through a few back windows.
The hotel's rear door is tightly shut. Around the far corner
of the street (extreme b.g.) comes the gangling body of Hector
David. He walks toward CAMERA. Perhaps twenty-five yards
away he stops to rest against a fence like a leaning tower.

CLOSE SHOT - HECTOR

His hand goes to a pocket and comes out with a crumpled half
pack of cigarettes. Suddenly the movement is arrested;
something at the other end of the street captures his bleak
attention.

WHAT HE SEES

A jeep, headlights off, slowly turns the corner, pulls up to
the curb and parks.

BACK TO SCENE - HECTOR

pockets his cigarettes and starts slowly for the jeep, a
quizzical frown on his horsy face. He approaches the back
door of the hotel, oblivious to it as he continues toward
the jeep.

INT. REAR HALLWAY OF HOTEL - NIGHT

At the far end b.g., toward the lobby, a single unshaded
light bulb burns dully. A slight figure stands in f.g. To
one side is a narrow U-shaped alcove blanketed in heavy
shadows. The features of the man in the hall and the slim
lines of his body blend vaguely in the darkness. With enormous
care, he turns a knob and opens the door leading to the alley
behind the hotel. Light thrown by the back windows reveals
that the figure is Pete. The same pallid light from the alley,
glancing across the alcove, momentarily illuminates it. Glued
as close to the recessed wall as is humanly possible is Doc.
He is partially shielded by one of those hotel hose wheels
around which an old fire hose is wound. The heavy brass nozzle
of the hose hangs from the end.

Doc grips a twelve-inch length of lead pipe. Pete swallows
nervously and peers outside, first to the right, then to the
left. His eyes glaze with fear, and his jaw tightens with
tension.

EXT. ALLEY - ANOTHER ANGLE - FAVORING PETE

as he stares at Hector walking toward the jeep.

PETE
(controlling his
jangled nerves)
Hector!

Hector stops, turns to face Pete. He hesitates, then...

HECTOR
Hmmmm?

Then, with a final glance at the jeep, Hector lumbers to
Pete, who disappears inside the hallway.

INT. REAR HALLWAY

as Hector enters and stops. Pete quickly closes the door
behind him and walks toward the lobby, attempting to draw
Hector toward the black alcove center screen b.g. But Hector
is not to be sucked in. He glares at Pete, waiting. (NOTE:
The following dialogue is delivered sotto voce.)

HECTOR
What you want?

PETE
He's still in his room. Macreedy, I
mean.

HECTOR
So...? You want me to tuck him in?

PETE
I thought maybe you wanted to tell
Smith.

HECTOR
(explaining something
he feels Pete already
knows)
Smith said he'd be here at midnight.
He don't want to be disturbed.

He jams a cigarette in his mouth. Pete watches him frantically
as he searches his pockets for a match. He can't find one.

HECTOR
You got a match?

PETE
Come on. I got some in the lobby.

He starts to turn. Hector's pig eyes are slits of suspicion.
Before Pete can move, Hector reaches out, hooking two heavy
fingers inside a pocket of Pete's shirt. Slowly Hector's
expression changes to one of insidious cunning. His fingers
come out of Pete's pocket, and between them is a paper book
of matches.

HECTOR
I thought you didn't have a match.

Pete is unable to answer. He is scared to death.

INT. ALCOVE - DOC

sweating with frustration. Hector is six feet away, and armed --
too far away for Doc to risk an attack with his lead pipe.
Doc looks around vaguely, wildly, for another weapon. A
fraction of an inch from his nose is the hose wheel. For a
split second he hesitates. Then slowly, with infinite care,
he tightens the heavy brass nozzle and begins to unwind the
hose.

INT. REAR HALLWAY

Now Hector is alert. He studies Pete's twitching face.
Elaborately he tears a match from the pack and scratches it.
It takes fire, cupped in the rampart of his big hands. It
lights up the hall, and as Hector looks around he sees
something through a mirror -- over his shoulder and six feet
away Doc materializes out of the shadows of the alcove. As
Hector whirls, going for his gun, Doc swings the hose with
sudden deadly aim. It uncoils like a snake, and the brass
nozzle crashes with a mighty thud across Hector's skull.
Hector groans. He sinks unconscious to the floor. Doc stands
there, paralyzed by his action. Pete tears toward the lobby.

INT. LOBBY

as Pete rushes in. He moves directly to the desk, leans over
and presses the buzzer behind the desk three times. He turns
and runs back toward the rear of the building.

INT. REAR STAIRS

as Macreedy barrels down. He pauses briefly in the hall as
he sees Doc still standing with the hose and the nozzle
dangling like a pendulum from his hand. Their eyes lock
briefly in understanding...

MACREEDY
(with a half smile)
I'll never forgive you, Doc...
(he gestures toward
Hector, out cold)
...for depriving me of that pleasure.

He heads toward the alley.

EXT. ALLEY

as Macreedy rushes out. He pauses, looking quickly right,
then left. He sees a jeep parked at the curb far down the
street. He runs toward it. The jeep, its headlights off,
starts for him. He swings onto the moving vehicle, falling
heavily into the seat beside Liz Brooks. He slumps there,
breathing heavily as the jeep, with a grinding of gears,
cuts through the night, picking up speed.

INT. REAR HALLWAY

as Pete joins Doc. Silently, motionlessly, the two men stare
for a long moment at Hector -- particularly at the pistol
lying beside him. Then they look at each other, and the same
thought seems to flash in their minds...

QUICK DISSOLVE:

EXT. ROAD - MACREEDY AND LIZ

as they speed down the long empty ribbon of road. Liz drives
hard. Macreedy turns in the bucket seat, looking back toward
Black Rock.

LIZ
Sorry I can't get more out of this
heap.

Macreedy does not answer.

LIZ
(with a burst of
irritation)
We could make better time with a dog
team.

MACREEDY
(calmly)
You're doing the best you can.
(a beat)
Aren't you, Liz?

LIZ
Don't expect too much from me.

MACREEDY
(dryly)
Don't worry, I won't.

LIZ
(quickly)
I mean, people have always expected
things from me. You know why? Because
I'm pretty. Well, that's not enough.

MED. SHOT - JEEP

with Liz and Macreedy as she cuts sharply into a crossroad.
She drives skillfully over the knotty road which is little
more than a trail. Her lovely features are distorted with
her discontent and the ache for attention. After a moment
she gives voice to her fantasy...

LIZ
(softly)
Maybe I could have been something --
a model, or something.
(glancing at him)
You don't believe that.

MACREEDY
Yes I do.

LIZ
Well, I don't, really. I'm a dime a
dozen.

MACREEDY
That I don't believe.

LIZ
I'm too little and too late.

MACREEDY
It's never too late.

LIZ
I lack the muscle.

MACREEDY
(frowning)
Why is muscle so important?

LIZ
(cynically)
Oh, you're the brainy type.
(harshly)
Did it take brains to rough up Coley?
Whatever you did to Hector, you didn't
do it with brains. How'd you get
Pete to change his mind?

MACREEDY
Not with muscle.

LIZ
And not with brains, either. He's a
pushover for a muscle man.

MACREEDY
I'm beginning' to think it runs in
the family.
(looking at her hard)
You think strength is in the width
of a man's shoulders.

He does not catch the glance she darts him; his extreme
awareness is anchored not to the girl at his side but to the
terrain ahead.

LIZ
I'd sure have liked to see you tangle
with Reno Smith.

MACREEDY
He wasn't around when I left... Maybe
I will yet.

His eyes strain to sweep the country -- each boulder, each
outcropping, each stunted tree. But substance and shadow are
blurred and fuzzy in the dark night, black on black.

OUT

Sequence omitted from original script.

ANOTHER ANGLE - JEEP

with Macreedy and Liz as it winds to the far end of the
boulders on a trail that drops off into a flat basin. Solid
forms loom up in the darkness; they are unrecognizable, yet
Macreedy senses some tense familiarity with the terrain...
He frowns. Suddenly Liz brakes the jeep -- so sharply Macreedy
lurches forward in the seat.

MACREEDY
(alert, expectant)
What's this?

LIZ
(vamping nervously)
We need water...
(she turns off engine,
pulling ignition key
from its lock)
...radiator's overheating.

She moves away from Macreedy to get out of the jeep. He
reaches across quickly, gripping her arm. She turns to face
him, disturbed by his hardness of jaw and eye...

LIZ
Leggo! Leggo of me!

Suddenly they are hit by a blinding pair of headlights like
[...] The beams cut jaggedly through the night, throwing
into sharp immediate relief the lava rocks, the broken
windmill, the gutted house, the litter-strewn, unmarked grave
at Adobe Flat.

Liz throws away the ignition key. Macreedy bails out of the
jeep, still holding the girl.

CLOSE TWO SHOT - LIZ AND MACREEDY

as they fall to the earth. Macreedy pins her down. Then in
quick succession, four emphatically loud SHOTS from a rifle
squirt into the shale around them.

MACREEDY
(harshly, through his
teeth)
You're stupid, Liz. You're a fool.
If he finishes me, he's got to finish
you.

He looks up blindly into the headlights glaring from the
granitic high ground some 60 yards away. His grip on the
girl's shoulder is like a steel trap. He pushes her down
beside Komako's grave, hugging the side of the jeep as a
SHOT rips the gravel at their feet. Pulling the girl with
him, he takes cover in the slight concavity of the grave.
The jeep is between them and the headlights -- between them
and the source of the gunfire. Liz struggles to break away.
Suddenly bullets kick up a storm around him. A bullet smashes
into the flowers, exploding tiny cruel fragments of dirt
into Macreedy's face. He gasps in pain, releasing Liz. He
rubs his eyes as if to convince himself that he is not blind.
Liz breaks from the grave. Now, five yards from Macreedy...

LIZ
(calling toward the
headlights)
Smitty! Smitty!

SMITH'S VOICE
(o.s.)
I'm here, honey. Just head for the
car.

Liz half turns, facing Macreedy with a vicious smile...

LIZ
(an almost bantering
voice)
So long, Macreedy.

She starts toward the headlights.

GO WITH LIZ

She reaches the foot of the rocky ridge, with the two enormous
eyes on top. She begins to climb, up... up...

SMITH
(o.s.)
Just a few more steps, honey.

She is almost at the top; a vertically sheer rock about five
feet high separates her from it. She looks up at Smith,
towering over her at the edge of the precipice. He holds his
rifle almost languorously.

LIZ
(breathlessly)
Get him! Get him now!

SMITH
(easily)
First things first, honey.

The girl is frightened by the menace in Smith's voice.

LIZ
(unsure, reaching out
her hand)
Help me up, Smitty.

SMITH
You were going to help me, Liz.
(she looks at him
quizzically)
I still need your help.

LIZ
(confused)
I did what you said...

SMITH
You two started out in a car. That's
the way you'll end up. Over a cliff,
burning.
(she tries to interrupt
him, but he goes
on...)
You can blame that on Macreedy, too.
He said I had too many witnesses.

LIZ
(dry whisper)
But why me? Why start with me?

SMITH
I got to start with somebody.

He brings the rifle down, aiming almost casually at Liz. Her
eyes go wide. She steps back, spins around, running crazily
down the steep incline.

LIZ
(yelling wildly)
Macreedy! Macreedy!

A SHOT rings out. She falls forward, rolling slowly down the
embankment. She lies there. Blood trickles from the corner
of her pretty mouth. A rattling noise rises from deep in her
throat, and then subsides.

In the silence the outline of Reno Smith emerges. Holding
his rifle at the ready, his silhouette illuminated sharply
in the twin beams of light, he climbs down the side of the
cliff. He looks toward the jeep and Macreedy, not once at
the girl at his feet.

LIZ
(sadly, almost
reproachfully)
You shouldn't have done that...

Smith pays no attention to her. He advances inexorably with
rifle held at his hip. He fires at Macreedy.

EXT. GRAVE

Macreedy wipes the last of the fragments from his eyes. His
face is still streaked with dirt and shale. He turns,
searching for something, anything, to fight back with. Then
he remembers... Stiffening, his body set, his eyes narrow,
he moves purposefully toward the front of the jeep and crawls
under it. Again Smith opens up on him. Bullet after bullet
pours into the confined space, nicking the wall, ricocheting
off the jeep with a frightening, fluttery, wheezing sound.
The firing stops again and in the silence we HEAR a familiar
TRICKLE, as in running water...

EXT. RANCH - SMITH

re-loads his rifle. Stiffly, he starts slowly down over the
rocks toward his unarmed victim...

MACREEDY

He has unscrewed the nut and unconnected the gas line with
the carburator. A spurt of gasoline is running out. With a
quick motion he picks up an empty whisky bottle from the
litter-strewn earth. He fills it with gasoline, quickly screws
the nut back on. Now he sweeps his necktie free of his collar.
Holding it with his teeth, he tears the felt lining free
from its silk face. He twists half the lining inside the
bottle, knotting the other end securely around the bottle's
neck, leaving a long strand dangling.

EXT. RANCH - CLOSE SHOT - SMITH

moving rigidly toward the hole. He stops, levels his rifle,
fires.

EXT. GRAVE - MACREEDY

pinned down in the direct line of fire. The burst of the
rifle stops.

EXT. RANCH - SMITH

not more than twenty-five yards away, advancing carefully,
rifle at the ready.

EXT. GRAVE - MACREEDY

lights a match, placing the flame to the dangling end of the
tie. It catches. He flings himself to his feet and with the
same motion whips the fiery bottle like a football, hard and
straight toward Smith. Smith fires once, fast and wild. The
bottle crashes against the rocks at his feet and bursts with
a shattering explosion. Smith screams as the razor-sharp
slivers rip his flesh. In a puff of flame, his clothes ignite.
He drops the rifle and goes down, squirming frantically on
the black ashy ground.

EXT. RANCH - FULL SHOT

favoring Macreedy as he tears out of the hole. He hurls
himself at Smith. Wooden-faced, almost dreamy-eyed, he shovels
the ashy dirt over Smith's prone chest, putting out the fire.
Smith struggles halfway to his feet. Macreedy grabs his
shoulder, helping him up. Smith looks at Macreedy through
eyes bleary with fear and pain and shock.

SMITH
(through his teeth)
Go ahead -- kill me. Now.

MACREEDY
I'd like to kill you now, but you
caused too much pain to die quickly.
(a beat)
You'll be tried in a court of law.
You'll be convicted by a jury. Then
you'll die.

He drives his right fist against Smith's chin. Smith's head
snaps back as far as it can go and then wobbles to rest on
his chest. He collapses. Macreedy blows out his breath hard.
He staggers to Liz. As he bends over her...

DISSOLVE:

EXT. BLACK ROCK - DAY (DAWN)

Liz's jeep, driven by Macreedy, rolls slowly down the empty
main street of the sleeping town. Behind him, under a tarp,
the body of the girl lies lifeless across the seat. On the
seat beside him is Smith's rifle, the balance a few inches
from Macreedy's elbow. On the right front fender of the jeep
Smith sits precariously, his shirt scorched and ragged. He
wears a sullen expression of pained indifference.

In b.g., as the jeep passes, isolated lights go on, first in
Doc's house, then in two or three others. Macreedy is
oblivious to them.

EXT. JAIL - CLOSE SHOT - A MAN

almost completely hidden, looks out grimly from a corner of
the jail window. Protruding through the bars, swiveling to
follow the progress of the jeep down the street, is the long,
ugly muzzle of a rifle.

EXT. MAIN STREET - JEEP

as Macreedy pulls up to the curb in front of the jail and
cuts the ignition. He grabs the rifle, and steps around to
Smith.

MACREEDY
(tonelessly, prodding
Smith off the fender
with his rifle)
Hands behind your head.

Smith complies.

EXT. JAIL

as Macreedy marches Smith up the steps. The jail door opens.
A man emerges, wearing a Mackinaw over his vest and carrying
a rifle. It is Tim. For a moment Macreedy eyes him in silence.
His gun finger tightens on the rifle in his hand. Tim's rifle,
too, is at the ready...

MACREEDY
(after a beat)
Am I going to have trouble with you?

TIM
Nope. But I sure thought the situation
was going to be like reversed. I
thought I was going to have trouble...
(nodding sharply in
Smith's direction)
...with him. I'll take care of him.

MACREEDY
(still hesitating)
Just as you took care of his buddies?

TIM
Just as I took care of his buddies.
Me, an' Doc, and Pete...

The SOUND of running feet padding along the dirt road
increases on SOUND TRACK. Macreedy turns slightly, to see
Doc huffing toward him. The older man climbs the jail steps
and comes to an abrupt halt, his eyes going from one to the
other of the two men in the stand-off.

DOC
(to Macreedy)
It's all right, Macreedy...

He pulls Tim's Mackinaw to one side, revealing the silver-
plated star pinned at the breast.

DOC
Old Tim here's got his badge back.

Macreedy swings his rifle from Tim to Smith. Tim lowers his,
stepping to one side, allowing Smith, covered by Macreedy,
to enter the jail. He goes in, Doc following. Pete sits
silently at Tim's desk.

INT. JAIL

In one of the two cells are Coley and Hector. In the other,
Sam and Hastings.

MACREEDY
(looking around)
Well. The gang is all here.

TIM
I thought I'd take one last whack at
my job. Even if Smith killed me for
it.

MACREEDY
(jerking his head
toward Smith)
Put him in with Hastings.

Tim turns his key in the cell door. Macreedy tiredly goes to
Pete at the desk.

MACREEDY
Your sister's outside, Pete.

Pete rises. Macreedy halts him momentarily, gripping his
arm...

MACREEDY
(flatly)
She's dead.

Pete walks dazedly out the door. Tim grabs Smith's shoulder
and propels him roughly through the cell door. He slams it
hard. As the clatter of the iron door reverberates harshly...

DISSOLVE:

EXT. HOTEL - BLACK ROCK - DAY

The townspeople, with Doc f.g., are gathered silently in the
street, staring sadly, dumbly at the hotel before them. Doc
wears a dark business suit, neat and conservative. The door
opens (o.s.) and the people look up, their eyes lighting
with expectancy.

WHAT THEY SEE

Macreedy comes out of the door, carrying his suitcase. For a
moment he pauses, looking at the uplifted faces of the people
in the street. In the distance we HEAR the horn of a stream-
liner. Macreedy goes down the steps, skirts the watching
crowd and heads for the railroad station. Almost immediately
Doc falls in step with him. The townspeople, still silent,
trail after them

MOVING SHOT - MACREEDY AND DOC

in f.g., the townspeople behind them. In b.g., as we pass,
we see the main street just as we saw it when Macreedy entered
town a few short hours ago.

MACREEDY
(walking, after a
beat, to Doc)
Tim knows where to find me if I'm
needed.

Doc nods. He blinks and frowns...

MACREEDY
What's on your mind, Doc?

DOC
Nothing. Only... about that medal.
Can we have it?

MACREEDY
"We...?" Can who have it?

DOC
We.
(indicating the
townspeople, with a
vague wave of his
hand)
Us.

MACREEDY
Why?

DOC
Well, we need it, I guess. It's
something we can maybe build on.
This town is wrecked, just as bad as
if it was bombed out. Maybe it can
come back...

MACREEDY
Some towns come back. Some don't. It
depends on the people.

A NOISE o.s. attracts Macreedy's attention. He turns, as do
Doc and the townsmen.

WHAT THEY SEE

In front of the jail, each of them handcuffed, are Smith,
Coley, Hector, Sam and Hastings. Tim and four cops escort
them to two State Police cars which are parked beside Tim's
old sedan and another car (presumably belonging to a member
of the press). The newspaperman (WITHOUT A PRESS CARD IN HIS
HAT) stands to one side with Pete. Pete as well as Tim have
changed clothes; they look clean and trim. Coley has his arm
in a sling. Hector's hat hides the bandage on his head.

BACK TO SCENE

Macreedy resumes walking toward the abandoned station, with
Doc at his side and the people behind him. The train pulls
in.

DOC
(still pressing)
That medal would help.

Macreedy is silent. He walks on, to the platform. He pauses,
looking at the people silently in his wake and then at Doc.
He takes a black velvet-covered box from his pocket -- the
box containing the medal -- looks at it, and slowly hands it
to Doc.

DOC
Thanks, Macreedy. Thanks for
everything.

Macreedy turns and exits from SHOT. The people look after
him.

EXT. PLATFORM

as Macreedy boards the train.

EXT. STREET

The cars in front of the jail U-turn and start off with the
prisoners. The people move silently toward the train.

EXT. TRAIN

Macreedy is at the passageway. Slowly the train moves out.

INT. PASSAGEWAY OF TRAIN

Macreedy and a conductor stand at the doorway. The town is
seen behind them and the people standing there. In the
distance, Tim's car recedes.

CONDUCTOR
(curiously)
What's the excitement? What happened?

MACREEDY
A shooting.

CONDUCTOR
I knew it was something. First time
a streamliner stopped here in four
years.

MACREEDY
Second time.

He walks into the train.

LONG SHOT - TRAIN

gathering speed, diminishing, far, far into the horizon.

FADE OUT:

THE END

NOTES

Note from page [9]: (1) The sign should be of whatever type
is feasible and compatible to terrain, emphasizing the
remoteness of Black Rock. It should list three cities with
arrows pointing in the proper directions:

SAND CITY 32 MILES
PHOENIX 156 MILES

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