"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 ]

"COLD MOUNTAIN"

by

Anthony Minghella

Based On The Novel "Cold Mountain"

by

Charles Frazier



EXT. COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN, NORTH CAROLINA. DAY

ON A BLACK SCREEN: Credits.

A RAUCOUS VOICE (SWIMMER’S) CHANTING IN THE CHEROKEE LANGUAGE.

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

Their opponents, also swinging sticks, attach the pack.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EXT. COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. NIGHT

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

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

INMAN
And that works?

SWIMMER
You have to say it in Cherokee.

INMAN
You said it to me in Cherokee.

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

SWIMMER
So keep your head still.

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

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

END OF CREDITS AND FADE TO:

EXT. CONFEDERATE LINES. PREDAWN

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

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

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

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

INT. TUNNEL. PREDAWN.

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

EXT. CONFEDERATE LINES. PREDAWN.

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

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

INT. TUNNEL. PREDAWN

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

EXT. CONFEDERATE LINES. PREDAWN

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

BUTCHER
That's fresh breakfast. Shoot him!

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

Butcher chases after the rabbit, Rourke in raucous support.

INT. TUNNEL. PREDAWN

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

EXT. CONFEDERATE LINES. DAWN

Rourke weaves through the gun emplacements, laughing.

ROURKE
That's my rabbit!

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

INT. TUNNEL. DAWN

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

EXT. CONFEDERATE LINES. DAWN

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

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

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

INMAN DISAPPEARS UNDER DIRT AND DEBRIS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

No escape.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A WOUNDED BLACK SOLDIER sits up as Butcher celebrates.

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

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

BUTCHER
You got a charge?

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

EXT. CONFEDERATE LINES. DUSK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OAKLEY
I got a few. You saw?

INMAN
I saw.

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

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

INT. FIELD HOSPITAL. NIGHT

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

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

EXT. CONFEDERATE LINES. NIGHT

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

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

INT. FIELD HOSPITAL. NIGHT

Stobrod stands over Oakley. Consults with Inman.

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

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

Stobrod looks at Inman, confused.

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

INMAN
(to Stobrod)
You heard him.

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

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

Inman glares at Stobrod. And Stobrod starts to play.

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

OAKLEY
I'm reaching Cold Mountain before
you.

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

INT. CONFEDERATE TENT. NIGHT

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

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

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

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

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

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

EXT. CONFEDERATE LINES. NIGHT

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

He slithers over them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADA
Very much. It's beautiful country.

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

ADA
Anyone? Like a forfeit?

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADA
Hello.

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

ADA
I'm Ada Monroe.

INMAN
I'm Inman.

ADA
Inman?

INMAN
W. P. Inman.

ADA
W. P. Inman.

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

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

INMAN
They're not my friends.

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

INMAN
Thank you.

ADA
And what do you do?

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

ADA
Clear fields?

INMAN
(uncomfortable)
I can clear a field.

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

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

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

ROURKE
Esco loves the Yankees.

ESCO
I prefer a Yankee to a halfwit.

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

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

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

ROURKE
The South.

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

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

ACTON
Pop, you causing trouble?

ESCO
No.

ELLIS
That means yes.

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

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

The others are desperate to tease Inman.

BUTCHER
How's the lemonade? Sweet?

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

EXT. CONFEDERATE LINES. NIGHT

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

Throughout, A STRANGE MUSIC PLAYS, discordant notes jangling:

EXT. SWANGER FARM. COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

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

SALLY
That's a fine looking thing.

ADA
I've been missing it.

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

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

SALLY
He was happy.

ADA
Really?

SALLY
Are men so different in Charleston?

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

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

EXT. BOTTOM FIELD, SWANGER FARM. DAY

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

EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. NIGHT

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

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

INT. PARLOUR, BLACK COVE FARM. NIGHT

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

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

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

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

And Teague raises his glass across the room.

EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. NIGHT

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

ADA
Were you planning to come inside?

INMAN
I'm wetter than a fish.

ADA
There's a good fire going.

INMAN
I'm all right.

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

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

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

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

ADA
Did you get a picture made?

INMAN
Say again.

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

INMAN
You're laughing at me.

ADA
I don't know you.

INMAN
You're always carrying a tray.

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

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

He goes into the night rain. She watches him.

EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

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

MONROE
Mr. Inman.

INMAN
Reverend.

MONROE
What can I do for you?

Inman hovers, awkward. Ada appears, awkward.

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

Ada comes forward, takes the package.

MONROE
You must come in.

INMAN
I should probably get along.

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

MONROE
A splendid idea.

EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

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

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

INMAN
I think so.

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

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

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

Inman looks at Ada. No word.

INT. PARLOUR, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

From the window Ada watches the Cabriolet head towards town.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EXT. CHAPEL, COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

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

ADA
Well, you have your war.

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

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

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

INMAN
Are you the law all of a sudden?

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

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

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

INMAN
You might be safer back in Charleston.

ADA
But then who'll be waiting for you?

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

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

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

INT. CHAPEL, COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

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

MONROE
Did you want a quiet word?

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

INMAN
Just some quiet.

MONROE
Of course Ada.

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

EXT. COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inman takes it.

She has something else. Wrapped in paper.

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

INMAN
Ada...

ADA
What?

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

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

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

ROURKE
Let's go!

EXT. COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

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

EXT. BEHIND CONFEDERATE LINES, VIRGINIA. DAY

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

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

INT. BOX CAR. DAY

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

INMAN
I'm not dying.

STOBROD
(to Pangle)
What'd he say?

PANGLE
Says he ain't about to die.

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

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

EXT. CHAPEL, COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

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

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

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

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

EXT. APPROACH TO BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

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

ADA
What?

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

ADA
Every time you see the doctor you
get melancholy.

MONROE
He listens to my heart and I get
emotional.

ADA
He gives you alcohol and you get
emotional.

She squeezes his arm.

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

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

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

ADA
What's going on?

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

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

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

MONROE
Dear God.

ADA
No, Daddy, it's not real.

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

MONROE
(appalled)
What is wrong with us all?

Ada turns and runs off.

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

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

INT. HOSPITAL, CHARLESTON. DAY

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

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

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

The women try to process this, the attitude.

DOCTOR
So, any kind word will be a blessing.

One woman is overpowered by the stench, gags.

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

The women begin to approach the beds.

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

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

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

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

INMAN
Pigeon River. Little East Fork.

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

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

DOCTOR
They ramble. Names of loved ones.

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

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

DOCTOR
This man is dead.

EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. LATE AFTERNOON

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

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

ADA
Amen. That was the last of the ham.

MONROE
It was delicious.

ADA
I have to learn how to cook.

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

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

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

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

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

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

INT. PARLOUR, BLACK COVE FARM. DUSK

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

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

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

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

ADA
Daddy, come inside before you drown!

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

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

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

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

INT. HOSPITAL, CHARLESTON. NIGHT

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

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

There are various dates, which she decodes.

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

INT. BLACK COVE FARM. NIGHT

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

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

INT. HOSPITAL, CHARLESTON. NIGHT

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

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

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

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

EXT. COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

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

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

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

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

INT. GENERAL STORE, COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

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

ADA
Is there a letter for me?

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

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

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

ADA
I know. Thank you so much.

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

ADA
What do you hear?

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

EXT. GENERAL STORE, COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

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

EXT. APPROACH TO BLACK COVE FARM - DAY

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

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

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

Ada opens the door, pinning her hair.

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

ADA
Thank you.

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

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

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

ADA
Didn't somebody try?

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

ADA
No.

TEAGUE
I'm happy to volunteer.

ADA
But not to volunteer for the war?

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

ADA
You've got no spleen.

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

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

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

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

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

ADA
I'm sleeping fine.

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

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

INT. BLACK COVE FARM. NIGHT

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

EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. NIGHT

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

INT. BLACK COVE FARM. NIGHT

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

INT. BLACK COVE FARM. NIGHT

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

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

EXT. THE OCEAN BY THE HOSPITAL, CHARLESTON. DAY

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

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

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

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

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

EXT. HOSPITAL, CHARLESTON. DUSK

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

EXT. CHAPEL, COLD MOUNTAIN TOWN. DAY

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

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

EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. SPRING. DAY

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

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

SALLY
Ada! Ada, It's Sally.

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

ESCO
Will you look at the state of this
place!

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

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

INT. ADA'S BEDROOM BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

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

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

Ada enters her father's room, wearing undergarments.

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

EXT. GATES OF HOSPITAL, CHARLESTON. DAY

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

BLIND MAN
Getting better all the time.

INMAN
Seems that way.

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

INMAN
Where'd you take your wound?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BLIND MAN
Someplace or someone.

INMAN
Same difference.

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

EXT. TREE PROMENADE, CHARLESTON. DAY

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

INT. COURTHOUSE, CHARLESTON. DAY

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

EXT. TEMPORARY BARBERSHOP, CHARLESTON. DAY

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

BARBER
Next.

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

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

INT. HOSPITAL, CHARLESTON. PREDAWN

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

EXT. THE OCEAN BY THE HOSPITAL, CHARLESTON. DAWN

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

EXT. SWANGER FARM. DAY

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

SALLY (V.O.)
Ada...

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

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

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

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

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

INT. SWANGER FARM. AFTERNOON

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

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

ESCO
That your daddy's coat?

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

ESCO
Don't suit you.

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

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

ADA
I don't expect -

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

SALLY
What about your people in Charleston?

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

ESCO
And waiting on a feller.

A look from Sally.

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

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

ADA
What kind of mirror?

EXT. YARD, SWANGER FARM. LATE DAY

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

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

ESCO
See anything?

ADA
I don't know.

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

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

SALLY
You all right?

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

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

EXT. PLANTATION. DAY

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

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

EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. LATE AFTERNOON

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

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

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

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

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

ADA
I don't know you.

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

Ada is instantly defensive, intimidated.

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

RUBY
What's the rake for?

ADA
The rake?

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

ADA
My plight?

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

ADA
You're not a servant.

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

ADA
Right.

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

ADA
Right.

RUBY
Is that a yes or a no?

ADA
(looks at Ruby)
Yes.

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

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

RUBY
I despise a flogging rooster. Where
is he?

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

The Rooster gathers himself up for a new opponent.

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

RUBY
Let's put him in a pot.

EXT. CORNFIELDS. DAWN

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

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

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

They look at him, then continue on their way.

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

Ada wakes up to persistent knocking.

RUBY
Ada? Ada? You up?

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

RUBY
Tell the cows that. It's late.

INT. KITCHEN, BLACK COVE FARM. PREDAWN

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

ADA
I have to eat something.

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

ADA
A novel.

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

EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. DAWN

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

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

She looks back at Ada for a reaction.

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

They're heading for the stable.

INT. STABLE, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

Ruby's already pitching hay. Turns to Ada.

RUBY
You mucking out?

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

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

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

Ruby dictates a list to Ada as they bustle along.

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

Ada scribbles, walks, scribbles.

EXT. BARN, BLACK COVE FARM

Ruby up a ladder, inspecting the roof.

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

ADA
(writing, holding the
ladder)
Maul?

RUBY
M-a-u-l.

ADA
I have no idea.

INT. COLD HOUSE, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

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

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

EXT. BOTTOM FIELD, BLACK COVE FARM. DUSK

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

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

EXT. OUTBUILDINGS, BLACK COVE FARM. AFTERNOON

Ruby looks up. Ada catches up with her.

RUBY
Number fifteen

ADA
Sixteen.

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

ADA
What's a Gourd House?

EXT. APPLE ORCHARD, BLACK COVE FARM. DUSK

Ruby, delighted, contemplates the bounty of apples.

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

ADA
Actually, yes, I think we do.

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

EXT. A BLUFF. NIGHT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INMAN
I've killed several of them.

VEASEY
I mean I am God's minister.

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

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

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

INMAN
Is she dead?

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

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

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

EXT. VEASEY TOWN. NIGHT

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

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

INMAN
Where does she live?

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

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

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

INMAN
This your place?

VEASEY
Dear God of misery.

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

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

INMAN
So you reckoned to kill her.

Disgusted, Inman approaches the front door of the house.

VEASEY
There's a back door. Have pity.

And he leads Inman down a side path.

INT. VEASEY HOUSE. NIGHT

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

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

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

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

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

INMAN
You find me some paper and a pen.

EXT. CHAPEL, VEASEY TOWN. DAWN

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

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

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

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

Ada asleep. Ruby enters, shattering the calm.

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

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

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

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

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

EXT. BOTTOM FIELD. BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

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

RUBY
What's this wood?

ADA
I don't know. Locust?

RUBY
Where's North?

ADA
North is, North is --

RUBY
Name me three herbs growing wild on
this farm.

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

RUBY
Why?

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

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

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

RUBY
So you never wrapped your legs around
this Inman?

An old-fashioned look from Ada...

EXT. SUNKEN FOREST. DAY

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

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

EXT. CAPE FEAR RIVER. DUSK

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

A sign: Ferry $5. Yell Loud.

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

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

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

INMAN
Sign says ferry, five dollars.

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

INMAN
What's the name of this thing?

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

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

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

INMAN
I can give you thirty dollars script.

FERRYGIRL
Let's go.

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

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

VEASEY
Keep going. We're both in trouble.

He gets straight into the canoe.

INMAN
No. Get out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VEASEY
What's that?

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

VEASEY
(excited)
Have we got thirty dollars?

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

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

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

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

EXT. ANOTHER PART OF THE CAPE FEAR. NIGHT

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

VEASEY
You okay?

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

INMAN
Jesus, god!

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

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

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

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

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

ADA
Agricola poetis viam non monstrat.

RUBY
Which means?

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

RUBY
Which means? Should be the other way
round

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

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

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

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

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

RUBY
Well that's surely true even in
English.

ADA
You can keep those earrings.

RUBY
We can't keep anything.

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

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

ADA
(of her hair)
You're done.

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

RUBY
Good God! Okay.

She takes the mirror and shows Ada her simple plait.

ADA
I like it.

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

She puts the earrings back in the pile.

RUBY
How much do you love that piano?

EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. DUSK

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

INT. KITCHEN, BLACK COVE FARM. DUSK

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

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

ADA
My father always wanted sheep on
this land.

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

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

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

ADA
Oh Ruby.

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

ADA
And your mother?

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

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

RUBY
There's cows to milk.

EXT. RIVER, EN ROUTE TO SALISBURY. DAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EXT. NEAR A FORD. DAY

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

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

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

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

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

VEASEY
Good day to you!

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

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

Veasey is immediately an authority on bull removal.

VEASEY
This is a tricky one.

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

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

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

JUNIOR
Reckon I need a train of mules.

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

INMAN
Then what?

VEASEY
Lever him out. This'll work!

He walks into the wood.

JUNIOR
Where you two sports heading?

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

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

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

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

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

INMAN
Let's do this in chapters.

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

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

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

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

EXT. TRACK APPROACHING JUNIOR'S CABIN. EVENING

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

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

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

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

VEASEY
-- Roll me over!

JUNIOR
-- In the clover

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

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

VEASEY
Oh God of my God! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah!

JUNIOR
What's up?

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

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

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

INMAN
Like a Christian.

JUNIOR
Good God.

EXT. JUNIOR'S CABIN. DUSK

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

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

The women consider the men, then disappear back inside.

VEASEY
Atonement is not a place.

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

VEASEY
Those are fine examples of the female.

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

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

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

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

INT. SMOKEHOUSE AT JUNIOR'S CABIN. DUSK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHYLA
I want to poke my thumb in his holes.

A second woman comes to the door. Dolly.

DOLLY
Lila says supper's up.

INT. JUNIOR'S CABIN, NIGHT

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

LILA
Hey!

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

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

INMAN
(vaguely, drunk)
What?

VEASEY
Dolly?

DOLLY
S'me.

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

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

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

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

VEASEY
Really. Goodbye.

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

VEASEY
That's my fervent prayer.

JUNIOR
My house is your house.

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

VEASEY
Say again?

INMAN
Dolly, Lila, Shyla and Mae.

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

Inman gets up suddenly, sways.

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

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

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

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

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

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

DOLLY
Come on you -- get!

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

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

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

Then she bends over the prostrate Inman.

LILA
Hey!

Inman stirs, glazed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INT. SMOKEHOUSE AT JUNIOR'S CABIN. NIGHT

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

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

THREE MEN BURST IN BEHIND HER, RIFLES RAISED.

EXT. JUNIOR'S CABIN. NIGHT

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

EXT. SWANGER FARM. DAY

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

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

RUBY
Look at us both what?

SALLY
Like a coupla scarecrows after a
thunderstorm.

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

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

RUBY
We got something for you.

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

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

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

RUBY
(grinning at Ada)
She made it.

ADA
I made it.

SALLY
Good God in Heaven.

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

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

RUBY
We'll be getting along.

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

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

RUBY
That strike you as odd?

ADA
What?

RUBY
Stood at her front door?

ADA
Sally?

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

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

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

ADA
What about them?

She contemplated the stubble fields they're passing.

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

EXT. A PATH. DRIVING RAIN. NIGHT

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

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

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

INMAN
He's dead.

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

INMAN
This man's dead!

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

EXT. VEASEY TOWN. DAY

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

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

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

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

Somebody walks by with a young child.

Veasey looks at Inman.

VEASEY
I christened that child.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

REBECCA
Mas?

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

REBECCA
Your curls is all gone.

THE GUARD KICKS HIM.

GUARD
Hey!

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

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

He turns away from Inman, towards Sheffield.

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

EXT. RAILROAD TRACK. DAY

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

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

INMAN
No!

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

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

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

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

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

BROWN
Get these sacks of shit under the
ground.

INT. BARN, BLACK COVE FARM. DAWN

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

RUBY
Someone's been in the corncrib.

ADA
You sure?

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

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

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

EXT. THE WINTER GARDEN, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

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

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

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

INT. KITCHEN, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

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

EXT. RAILROAD TRACK. MORNING

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

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

EXT. OLD MILL, COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

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

She slows up.

TEAGUE
What you looking to catch?

RUBY
What?

TEAGUE
With that trap.

RUBY
We got some critter stealing our
corn.

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

RUBY
You know it.

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

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

EXT. RAILROAD TRACK. DAY

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

EXT. SWANGER FARM. DAY

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

SALLY
Ruby...

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

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

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

EXT. MADDY'S CARAVAN. AFTERNOON

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

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

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

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

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

INMAN
Fighting.

MADDY
And your neck?

INMAN
Different fighting.

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

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

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

EXT. BOTTOM FIELD, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

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

RUBY
The hat's a nice touch.

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

RUBY
You're quiet.

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

RUBY
Well now you did.

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

Ruby opens the sacks.

ADA
Cabbages.

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

ADA
Such as?

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

EXT. SWANGER FARM. DAY

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

TEAGUE
Afternoon.

The riders slowly fan out, almost as if choreographed.

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

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

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

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

ESCO
There's a war on.

TEAGUE
Got to watch out for the Bogey Man.

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

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

INT. SWANGER FARM. DAY

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

EXT. SWANGER FARM. DAY

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

ESCO
Get off my land.

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

TEAGUE
Your boys come back.

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

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

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

TEAGUE
(shrugs)
Sure.

ESCO
Right then.

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

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

BOSIE
Bogey Man! Bogey Man!

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

EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

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

RUBY
What's that?

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

EXT. SWANGER FARM. DAY

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

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

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

MO REVERSES HIS RIFLE AND CLUBS HER TO THE GROUND.

TEAGUE
(sharply)
Hey!

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

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

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

INT. BARN, SWANGER FARM. DAY

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

EXT. SWANGER FARM. DAY

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

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

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

EXT. SWANGER FARM. DUSK

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

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

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

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

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

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

RUBY
What darling? What?

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

RUBY
She's saying don't bother.

ADA
Wait!

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

Ruby cradles Sally. Ada nods towards the well.

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

Ruby looks over at the well, then at Ada.

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

INT. MADDY'S CARAVAN. DAY

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

EXT. MADDY'S CARAVAN. DAY

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

INMAN
How long have I been sleeping?

MADDY
Not long enough.

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

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

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

INMAN
How long you been up here?

MADDY
What year are we? '63?

INMAN
Last time I checked it was '64.

MADDY
I'd say twenty six years.

INMAN
Twenty six years!

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

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

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

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

MADDY
So you've been fighting?

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

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

INMAN
I guess he did.

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

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

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

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

INT. MADDY'S CARAVAN. EVENING

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

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

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

MADDY
Take one of these now with your food.

Inman is circumspect, views the stub lozenge with suspicion.

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

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

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

She starts steaming the poppies.

INMAN
It's true...

MADDY
What is?

INMAN
What you remember.

MADDY
What's her name?

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

MADDY
And is she waiting for you?

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

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

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

He drinks the laudanum she's made.

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

MADDY
I hope you found it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

EXT. YARD, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

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

RUBY
It's a man.

ADA
What is?

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

ADA
You're not going to shoot him!

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

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

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

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

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

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

RUBY
You got a weapon?

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

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

STOBROD
Ruby? God damn!

ADA
What?

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

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

INT. KITCHEN, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

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

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

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

STOBROD
You're scarred.

RUBY
I'm what?

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

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

STOBROD
I hurt you.

RUBY
Good God!

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

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

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

RUBY
You were an asshole.

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

RUBY
Get him out of here!

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

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

RUBY
You're all set.

STOBROD
(sincerely)
Bless you both.

He goes to the door.

RUBY
Ain't you got a proper coat?

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

ADA
I'm not Ruby's employer.

STOBROD
Oh, okay, who is?

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

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

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

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

ADA
So that's Stobrod Thewes.

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

EXT. MADDY'S CARAVAN. DUSK

THE FIDDLE CONTINUES, A BANJO JOINS IN.

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

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

INMAN
I have a deal to thank you for.

She hands him an ancient flintlock pistol.

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

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

EXT. WOODS. DAY

THE MUSIC CONTINUES. A TURKEY calls. And again.

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

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

EXT. JUNIOR'S CABIN. DAY

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

INT. SMOKE HOUSE AT JUNIOR'S CABIN. DAY

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

EXT. JUNIOR'S CABIN. DAY

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

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

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

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

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

RUBY
Get on back where you came from!

Stobrod and Pangle smile and hurry away.

EXT. PATH IN HILL COUNTRY. DAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADA
We'll find out.

RUBY
Okay.

ADA
Tomorrow.

RUBY
I'm not waiting until tomorrow.

ADA
Ruby, I'm falling asleep.

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

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

EXT. SMALL WOOD. NIGHT

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

EXT. SARA'S CABIN. NIGHT

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

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

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

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

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

THE TINY SOUND OF THE DOOR BEING BOLTED.

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

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

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

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

INMAN
Fair enough.

The baby's crying behind her.

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

INT. SARA'S CABIN. NIGHT

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

INMAN
Thank you.

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

Inman takes out his gun. She starts, terrified.

INMAN
No, I mean to give it to you.

He turns it handle forwards and offers it to her.

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

INMAN
Is your baby sick?

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

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

INMAN
I'm sorry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

He takes another bite. Sara picks up the baby.

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

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

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

INMAN
I could do that for you in the
morning.

SARA
I'm not asking.

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

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

INMAN
Glad to know you both.

EXT. SARA'S CABIN. NIGHT

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

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

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

SARA
I don't even have a blanket.

INMAN
I got a blanket.

SARA
I'll leave you the lamp.

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

INT. SARA'S CABIN. NIGHT

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

SARA
They fit?

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

SARA
I'll say good night.

INMAN (O.S.)
Good night.

EXT. SARA'S CABIN. NIGHT

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

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

SARA
Will you come inside?

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

INT. SARA'S CABIN. NIGHT

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

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

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

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

SHE SOBS, SHUDDERING IN THE BED.

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

SARA
I don't want you to.

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

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

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

PANGLE
(of Sally)
She don't speak.

STOBROD
She can't speak. I told you.

PANGLE
(smiles at Sally)
Is she feeble then?

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

He starts the tune of Wayfaring Stranger. Ruby groans.

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

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

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

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

EXT. OLD MILL, COLD MOUNTAIN. EVENING

They're all outside now, shaking hands.

GEORGIA
There's snow in the air.

RUBY
Don't sleep here.

STOBROD
We won't.

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

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

PANGLE
This coat's warm.

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

RUBY
Maybe.

GEORGIA
The war's over in a month.

RUBY
He said that a month ago.

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

STOBROD
Miss Ada. Merry Christmas.

ADA
Merry Christmas. Pangle. Georgia.

GEORGIA
'Night.

PANGLE
'Night now.

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

STOBROD
That's my Ruby.

GEORGIA
She's an original.

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

EXT. SWANGER FARM. NIGHT

The three women head towards Sally's house.

RUBY
What kind of name's Georgia?

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

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

ADA
Why do you care what his name is?

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

ADA
Orion.

RUBY
What about them shaped like a
wishbone?

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

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

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

They all three have linked arms. Ada imitates Stobrod.

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

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

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

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

EXT. OLD MILL, COLD MOUNTAIN. MORNING

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

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

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

INT. SARA'S CABIN. EARLY

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

SARA
Get out of here, quick!

Inman surfaces from deep sleep.

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

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

INMAN
I can try and fight them.

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

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

EXT. SARA'S CABIN. EARLY

Inman picks up his stuff and, at a crouch, runs for cover to
the wood which borders the property. He can hear horses and
a commotion at the front of Sara's cabin, but doesn't look
round until he's sheltered by the trees.

FEDERAL SOLDIERS, a raiding party, have dismounted and are
already wrangling with Sara. Inman watches, pulling on his
shirt, shivering, then his boots.

Sara is standing in front of the hogpen, as if to protect
the animal, but one of the soldiers, PISTOL, barges her to
one side, toppling her, and opens the gate, starts herding
the hog out into the yard. A second soldier, NYM, emerges
from the cabin, carrying Ethan. Sara starts up, struggles
with him, is again knocked down.

INMAN HAS TO WATCH AS THEY DRAG HER OVER TO A FENCE POST AND
ROPE HER TO IT THEN SLIP THE BLANKET OFF THE BABY AND LAY IT
ON THE GROUND IN THE MIDDLE OF THE YARD.

Then Sara starts to scream.

Inman is dressed. Boots on. He looks back at the yard. The
men sitting, smoking, prepared to wait, their breath coming
out in gusts in the freezing air. Flakes of snow fall.

PISTOL
We got all day.

SARA
My baby's sick! Cover him up! He's
shaking! Have some pity.

A third Federal, BARDOLPH, chases after the chickens, gathers
them up.

SARA
I got nothing. I swear.

Nym gets close to her, putting his rifle to her chest.

NYM
That ain't necessarily so.

SARA
Yes! Take me inside! Let's all go
inside! Take my baby inside and then
we'll do whatever you want.

Nym unties her. Pistol has a rope around the hog and now
leads it towards the horses.

SARA
(screaming)
There's nothing! You take that hog
I'm as good as dead. Cover up my
boy!

She's wailing, an unbearable ululation. NYM SLAPS HER, TWICE,
HARD.

INT. SARA'S CABIN. DAY

The door is kicked open. Nym pushes Sara inside, kicks the
door shut, REVEALING INMAN STANDING BEHIND IT.

EXT. SARA'S CABIN. DAY

Bardolph, a chicken in his arms, goes over to the baby.

BARDOLPH
This is ready to get a fit going.
It's shuddering. It's gone blue.

PISTOL
(to Nym)
How long does he want? Hey! Leave
some for the rest of us.

Pistol heads towards the cabin. As he approaches the door,
Bardolph rearranges the blankets to, cover the baby. Pistol
opens the door. Nym is on top of Sara. Pistol laughs, enters,
and is clubbed down by Inman, who steps out onto the porch,
while SARA SHRUGS OFF THE BODY OF NYM, HIS THROAT CUT.

Bardolph looks up to see Inman walking towards him. Bardolph
has left his weapon by the fence.

INMAN
Move away from the baby.

Bardolph obeys, terrified. Sara runs out, collects Ethan,
gives a little moan of anguish, runs back inside the cabin.

BARDOLPH
Don't shoot.

INMAN
Take off your boots.
(Bardolph does so)
Take off your pants, and your shirt.

BARDOLPH
Don't shoot me, please. We're
starving. We haven't eaten.

INMAN
You'd better get running before you
catch your death of cold.

BARDOLPH
(nods, terrified)
Thanks, thank you. I will.

AND THEN A SHOT RINGS OUT AND HE CRASHES TO THE GROUND, DEAD.

Behind Inman, Sara stands with a rifle.

EXT. SARA'S CABIN. LATE DAY

THERE'S A HUGE FIRE GOING, WITH A CAULDRON HUNG OVER IT. THE
HOG HANGS UPSIDE DOWN FROM A TREE, BLOOD DRIPPING INTO A
BOWL.

There's a sense of ritual and order: the chapters of
transforming the hog into food.

Sara is inside the cabin, the door open onto the yard. She
holds the baby by the fireplace, swaddled up tight.

She tries to put him to her breast, but he won't feed. She
puts Ethan back in his crib, comes outside.

Now Inman is butchering the hog, chopping down either side
of the spine to make two sides of meat. Now Sara is holding
up a sheet of hog fat, as if it were a lace shawl. Now she's
rendering the fat into lard. Now Inman's salting the two
hams. Now Sara's washing the intestine. She sings all the
while -- I dreamed that my bower was full of red swine and
my bride bed full of blood -- they don't really converse.
Inman continues to work.

Sara goes back inside to Ethan's crib. Inman glances back,
but can hardly bear to, her anxiety so palpable. THE BABY IS
DEAD. She looks at it. She takes it up in her arms. Kisses
its forehead.

Makes a strange stifling noise. Inman doesn't look at her.

She comes out again, shovels some of the food into a plate,
serves it up to Inman, gently touching him as she does so.
Then serves out food for herself. Inman starts to eat.

SARA
Good?

Inman nods. She collects up the knapsacks, including Inman's,
and goes back inside the house with them. Inman squats,
eating, glancing back towards the cabin. There's the sudden
shocking report of a revolver.

Inman, knowing what it is, goes slowly towards the house and
its two dead bodies. His own face is a rictus, the eyes thin
slits. If he gave into his grief it would never cease.

INT. SARA'S CABIN. DUSK

From the house, the silhouette of Inman working outside in
the day's dying light, snow falling around him. He's digging
a grave.

Inside the house, TWO BUNDLES, the small body wrapped in a
blanket, the other wrapped in the bed's patchwork quilt.

EXT. CABBAGE PATCH, BLACK COVE FARM. DUSK

Still snowing. Ruby trudges past Ada who is digging out a
couple of heads of the buried cabbages.

ADA
Do you think he's dead?

RUBY
Who?

ADA
(shrugs)
This snow. Isn't it supposed to fall
with bad news?

RUBY
Bad news is girls get working. I'm
going to round up the animals.
(squints up at the
snow)
This'll settle.

She walks past. Ada stares into the distance where

EXT. WILD COUNTRY. LAST LIGHT

-- the snow falls down on Inman. He's hardly visible in its
gusting waves. Just a thin black question mark, hunched over
the elements, moving slowly forwards...

EXT. OLD MILL, COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

THE SNOW HAS STOPPED. It's left a carpet on the ground.

Stobrod, Pangle and Georgia emerge from the Old Mill. THEY
MAKE HEAVY FOOTPRINTS as they set off up the hill towards
the mountain.

EXT. PATH IN THE MOUNTAINS. DAY

Inman comes sliding down a crumbling slate hill and onto the
path. He cornea to a place where the path suddenly drops
away to reveal a view of the geography. And there, finally,
in the distance, Inman can see the blue ridge. Somewhere in
there is home, is Ada. He goes on.

EXT. SLOPES OF COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

Pangle walks too close to Stobrod and steps on the back of
his boot which promptly detaches itself from Stobrod's foot.

Stobrod turns -- and with a raised finger -- pushes Pangle.

PANGLE FALLS IN THE SNOW, ARMS SPREADEAGLED, AND SMILES.

EXT. PIGEON RIVER BEHIND THE OLD MILL. DAY

SOME HORSES CLUSTER around the Stobrod party's footprints.

Bosie swings acrobatically over his horse, to hang over the
tracks, then up again into his saddle, looks at Teague. The
Home Guard plod slowly forward in the direction of the tracks.

EXT. THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. EVENING

A CLEARING, fringed by poplars. Stobrod is making a fire.

Pangle appears with an armful of firewood, his big grin a
fixture. Then Georgia appears. He's carrying A SMALL BUCK,
frozen and covered with snow.

GEORGIA
What d'you reckon? Think we could
eat this?

STOBROD
You cook something long enough you
can eat anything.

PANGLE
(prodding it)
It's frozen. How long it been there
for?

STOBROD
You hungry?

PANGLE
Yeah.

STOBROD
Not very long.

EXT. SLOPES OF COLD MOUNTAIN. EVENING

Teague examines the snow's imprinted silhouette of Pangle.

EXT. THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

STOBROD SINGS AND COOKS. PANGLE ACCOMPANIES HIM ON BANJO,
Georgia joins in the chorus. Stobrod pulls one of the hickory
stick skewers out of the fire, blows on the, meat, smells,
smells again, looks at Georgia, takes a bite. Chews.

STOBROD
Edible.

Pangle takes another stick, burns his fingers.

PANGLE
Ow!

GEORGIA
(takes a bite from
his skewer)
Don't taste much like venison.

PANGLE
It's good. I think it's good.

EXT. THE KILLING GROUND. COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

The three men are asleep. The fire still burning. They're
lying like petals of a flower around it. Suddenly Georgia
sits bolt upright, grimaces, gets up stumbles away from the
fire, toward a stand of trees, from which come the vivid
sounds of violent nausea.

EXT. TREES NEAR THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

GEORGIA IS KNEELING IN THE SNOW, his head in the snow, when
he A HALF DOZEN RIDERS TROT PAST approaching the sleeping
Stobrod and Pangle. Georgia has to vomit again.

EXT. THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

Teague rides up to the fire, the other riders with him --
Mo, Jo, Bosie, Grayling. Stobrod wakes, sits up, Pangle
sleeps.

TEAGUE
Evening. Hope we didn't disturb you.

STOBROD
You're all right.

TEAGUE
Name's Teague. Do I know you?

STOBROD
Thewes.

Teague slides off his horse, approaches the fire.

TEAGUE
You a deserter? -- don't mind if I
just warm up at your fire.
(of the sleeping Pangle)
That your wife?

STOBROD
Who? That's a he!

TEAGUE
He your wife?

STOBROD
We're musicians. He picks the banjo,
I got a fiddle.

TEAGUE
(to his men)
Look pretty romantic by the fire.
Don't they?
(to Stobrod)
Your boyfriend's got a nice bit of
flesh on him. Close your eyes slip
inside that shirt get two good
handfuls -- dark enough I'd be
willing. I'm just kidding.
(to his men)
Tell him, I'm just kidding.

BOSIE
He's just kidding.

EXT. TREES NEAR KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

Georgia squints through the trees. Doesn't know what to do.

EXT. THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

TEAGUE
Did you answer my question -- about
your military status?

STOBROD
Discharged. Took a wound at
Petersburg.

TEAGUE
Oh, so like a hero's discharge.

STOBROD
I guess.

TEAGUE
And your boyfriend?

STOBROD
The military wouldn't take him. He
can't fight. He's simple. He's got a
mind no bigger'n a pickled walnut.

TEAGUE
I'm sorry -- he's fat, he's simple
and got titties -- but you're
insisting he ain't a woman. God damn!
Don't that sausage smell outstanding.

STOBROD
(he's very nervous)
Miqhty outstanding.

TEAGUE
Mighty outstanding! There's a new
phrase. Mighty outstanding. Listen,
don't tell me -- you left your papers
somewhere.

STOBROD
Which papers?

TEAGUE
Your hero's discharge. For mighty
outstanding valour.

STOBROD
They're, they're, they're at my house.

TEAGUE
(enjoying himself)
And where, where, where is your house?

STOBROD
Down the mountain.

TEAGUE
But you're up the mountain.

STOBROD
Hunting. Drinking.

TEAGUE
On honeymoon.
(to his men)
I'm pretty fucking funny tonight.

BOSIE
Is he going to play?
(to Stobrod)
You gonna play that fiddle?

STOBROD
Sure. Sure.
(kicks Pangle)
Hey, wake up!

Pangle surfaces, blinks, grins at everybody.

TEAGUE
Evening, Mrs.

PANGLE
(looking around)
Where's Georgia?

TEAGUE
(interested)
Where's Georgia?

In the trees, Georgia ducks, retches.

STOBROD
He don't know what he's saying. We
were talking about Georgia early on --
maybe heading down there.

TEAGUE
Georgia's like my armpit. Worse,
it's like yours.
(to Pangle)
Want some sausage?

PANGLE
Thanks. You is Home Guard?

TEAGUE
Yes, ma'am.

PANGLE
You is Teague?

TEAGUE
(to the others)
I'm known!

STOBROD
He don't know what he's saying.

PANGLE
(quoting)
That bastard Teague.

TEAGUE
Really.

PANGLE
Bad words. Folk always put the curse
words in front of your name.

STOBROD
Mr. Teague wants us to play.

PANGLE
Okay.

TEAGUE
We heard there were deserters in
these parts. Hiding out in a big
cave.

STOBROD
Not come to my ears.

TEAGUE
You don't know where this cave is?

STOBROD
No, sir.

PANGLE
You do, Stobes! He means --

STOBROD
Right, right! he means, there is a
cave, right, it's up over the other
side, big cave, we played some music
up there, never occurred to me they
were deserters. Near Bearpen Branch.

PANGLE
Ain't nowhere near Bearpen Branch!
It's this side! He's always getting
lost. That cave -- we live there! --
it's over on Big Stomp. Tell you how
I always find it. There's a big old
locust tree fell down across the
path, that points straight at it,
like a finger, always a dozen
squirrels round that tree. You gets
to the tree, sit on it, and there's
your entrance, straight in front of
you, tree points at it. Come right
to your hand, them squirrels --
(makes a chirping
sound)
-- Chrrrpppp! Chrrrrppp!

TEAGUE
Sounds good. Okay, let's eat, let's
hear some music.

EXT. TREES NEAR KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

Georgia watches as the music starts, Stobrod playing and
singing, Pangle joining in at the chorus. Their improvising
is wild, profound, Stobrod chording the fiddle, Pangle
following him, then, finishing with another verse and ending
with the title declaimed by Stobrod.

STOBROD
I call this tune: Ruby's Lament.

EXT. THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

Something like compassion has flickered over Teague's face.
Mo and Jo nod to the music's secret rhythms. Only Bosie seems
detached, contemplating his long fingernail. The music
finishes. The Home Guard applaud.

PANGLE
What'd you make of that?

BOSIE
Heartbreaking.

TEAGUE
Stand over by that tree.

STOBROD
Me?

TEAGUE
Over by that tree. Over there. Take
your boyfriend.

Stobrod gets up, carrying his fiddle, heads over to a big
old poplar. Nods at Pangle.

STOBROD
Come on.

Pangle gets up, banjo in his hand. Puts his arm around Stobrod
as if they were about to be photographed. The Home Guard
gather around them. From the trees Georgia watches, helpless.
Pangle grins at Teague.

TEAGUE
Don't smile.

PANGLE
What?

TEAGUE
Quit smiling.

STOBROD
He always smiles. He don't mean
nothing by it. I told him this world's
got nothing worth a smile.

TEAGUE
Put your hat over your face.

PANGLE
What do you mean?

TEAGUE
Cover your face with your hat.

PANGLE TALES OFF HIS HAT, HOLDS IT OVER HIS FACE. THE MOMENT
HE OBLIGIES, TEAGUE'S CARBINE SPRINGS UP IN HIS HAND AND
BLOWS THE HAT AWAY SEVERAL OTHER SHOTS FOLLOW. STOBROD FALLS
UNDER PANGLE, THE BULLETS FLYING.

EXT. TREES NEAR THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

Georgia lies prostrate in the snow, shuddering under the
report of each bullet.

EXT. BOTTOM FIELD, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

Ruby working in the snow, in the field, clipping a sheep's
feet, the animal on its back between Ruby's knees. She looks
up to see GEORGIA RUNNING ACROSS THE FIELD TOWARDS HER,
calling out her name. From the kitchen window, Ada looks on
as he reaches Ruby, the story pouring from him. Ada emerges
from the house, walks towards the bad news.

INT. STOREROOM, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

Ruby sorting out a kit of shovels, blankets. Ada comes in
doesn't know how to help her friend, who shows no emotion.

ADA
I told Georgia he can stop here,
sleep in the barn. He's got nothing
inside him. He'd walk out of here
and die in the snow.

RUBY
He can milk the cows. I was worrying
about that. It'll be dark in a couple
of hours. I's ten hours climb from
here. He's drawn a map.

ADA
Okay.

RUBY
(boiling)
You know these fools stayed the night
in the Mill? That's Stobrod -- he
can't do one good thing without adding
the bad. Left tracks in the snow all
the way up for them Home Guards to
follow. That's a sign says shoot me!

ADA
Ruby, I'm so sorry.

Ada moves towards her, puts her arms around her. Ruby is
rigid. Ada stops embracing her.

RUBY
We should get going.

She's tying up the kit. She doesn't know how to grieve.

RUBY
Every piece of this is a man's
bullshit. They call this a war a
cloud over the land, but they made
the weather. Then they stand in the
rain and say: shit! It's raining!
(tears welling)
If I cry one tear for my Daddy I
stole it off a crocodile.

EXT. COLD MOUNTAIN. EVENING

THE SNOW IS FALLING HEAVILY. RUBY AND ADA TRUDGE UP THE

MOUNTAIN, dressed in Monroe's clothes, hats pulled down,
leading the horse, which is loaded up with tools and supplies.
A choice of paths. They start up one, then Ruby decides
against it, consults the map, and they reverse, pulling the
horse back and then yanking it up the other path.

EXT. PI STRUCTURE, COLD MOUNTAIN. NIGHT

Ruby and Ada have made a fire. They sleep under a stone
structure, which forms a natural pi shape, the fire in the
entrance, the snow caught in its light.

EXT. THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. MORNING

Ada and Ruby arrive at the scene of murder.

Pangle is keeled over at the old Poplar, snow covering him.
Only his girth and a glimpse of coat identify him.

Ada brushes some of the snow from his face, revealing the
death wound, then lays a hand in blessing on his head.

ADA
I don't understand.

RUBY
Maybe Teague's took him. They did
that with the Swanger boys -- didn't,
they? -- dragged them into town,
then strung them up as warning...
it's snowed since, so I can't read
the story on the ground.

Ada fishes out Pangle's banjo from the snow. It's broken and
the strings hang slack.

RUBY
Let's dig.

LATER -- and RUBY FINISHES OFF THE GRAVE, hammering in a
stone to mark the place. Ada walks away towards the creek,
to wash her hands. She bends and rinses her face.

As she looks up SHE SEES STOBROD ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE
CREEK; half-in, half out of the water, slumped against a
tree, blood everywhere, staining the crust of snow which
covers him.

ADA
Ruby! Ruby!

Ruby arrives at Ada, looks to where she's looking, walks
straight into the creek, all her love contained in the urgency
with which she hurtles to her father, oblivious to the
freezing water. She puts a head to his chest, seeks out a
pulse at his wrist. Calls back to Ada.

RUBY
He's still breathing!
(to Stobrod)
God damn! Daddy; Daddy -- it's Ruby.
Don't you die on me again.
(to Ada)
He's still breathing!

EXT. THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. AFTERNOON

A mean fire burns by the creek. RUBY TURNS A KNIFE IN THE
FLAMES. Stobrod's back is exposed. Just by the shoulder blade
is an ugly grey and purple bulge the size of a crabapple.
Ruby turns to Ada, who is helping.

RUBY
Pack a pan full of snow. I need good
clean water, boiled up.

She cuts the skin and prises out a slug which she drops in
the snow and rolls around to clean. Stobrod doesn't move. He
could be dead. Ada loads the pan with snow.

ADA
Let's get him home. We have herbs
there and it's warm.

RUBY
He'll die first. He's got hardly no
blood left in him.

ADA
He'll die lying here.

RUBY
There's a place further on up. Used
to be. Old Cherokee place. There's
good water right by it.

Ada puts the snow-packed pan on the fire.

EXT. BY THE OUTLIER'S CAVE, COLD MOUNTAIN. AFTERNOON

Squirrels frolic. Teague sits on the trunk of a fallen tree.

He feeds the squirrels, looking straight ahead where the
mouth of a cave winks back at him.

EXT. TREE TUNNEL NEAR CHEROKEE VILLAGE. AFTERNOON

THE TWO WOMEN EMERGE FROM A STEEP TUNNEL OF TREES IN A
CHESTNUT GROVE. There's a stream and, up on the bank, A
CLUSTER OF BLACK CONICAL HUTS, made up of chestnut logs,
abandoned and slightly sinister looking. They approach one
of the huts, its door long lost. The snow has drifted in. A
second hut has a door which they pry open. It's dark and
cold, but apparently still weatherproof. They get Stobrod
off the horse and carry him inside, then come out again to
unload the horse of its remaining load.

ADA
This horse is weary. He's ready to
give up the ghost.

Ruby picks up the blankets and provisions and goes back inside
to her father. Ada takes the horse to another hut and, despite
his great reluctance, pushes him inside.

ADA
Good boy.
(she blows into his
nostrils, calming
him)
That's warmer, isn't it.

Ada wouldn't even recognize this practical, hardy woman she's
become. Stringy and of few words. She sets off towards the
tree tunnel, passing Stobrod's hut.

ADA
I'm getting firewood.

EXT. THE KILLING GROUND, COLD MOUNTAIN. DUSK

Inman approaches the Killing Ground. He studies the ground,
finds Pangle's grave. Blood has left its black writing in
the snow and he finds first where Stobrod has been, where
the bullet had been removed, then the journey away, still
tiny, telltale spatters of blood, and the hoof prints and
boot prints of two walkers and one loaded horse. He puts his
hand into the ashes of Ruby's fire, can't feel any warmth.
It's getting dark. He takes a drink from the stream, shudders
at the cold.

INT. STOBROD'S HUT, CHEROKEE VILLAGE. NIGHT

The fire burns, a pall of smoke. Stobrod lies on the ground,
swathed in blankets. Coughs. Ruby sits next to him, wipes
the hair from his forehead. Ada opens her eyes, looks, closes
them, listens to the fire, a strange squeaking as it burns.

ADA
That wood -- that sound when it burns
that mean more snow?

RUBY
Yes, it do, country girl.

EXT. TRACK, COLD MOUNTAIN. DAWN

First light. The sun creeps up, a red streak of dawn. Inman
walking, his head bent to the tracks. He walks quickly, even
as the terrain gets more steep. As he bends to the snow --
where a spot of blood has fallen into a hoof print -- A FLAKE
OF SNOW LANDS ON HIS HAND. Then a second. He looks up. The
snow falls.

He starts to move more quickly, racing the snow as it seeks
to erase the tracks. The snow thickens.

EXT. TREE TUNNEL NEAR CHEROKEE VILLAGE. MORNING

In the Chestnut Grovel A DOZEN WILD TURKEYS pick their way
across the snow. A shotgun lines up its sight at one of them.

The trigger is squeezed. An explosion of feathers.

EXT. THREE WAY CROSSING, COLD MOUNTAIN. MORNING

Inman hears the shot. Then a second, the sound ricocheting
around him. He can't quite identify its source but he runs
again, heading for the Chestnut trees he can see above him.

EXT. TREE TUNNEL NEAR CHEROKEE VILLAGE. MORNING

Ada collects the two turkeys, the first creatures she's ever
shot. Doesn't quite know how to hold them. She straightens
up and sees, at the other end of the tree tunnel, backlit by
the morning sun, THE SILHOUETTE OF A MAN. She drops the
turkeys tires to reload the shotgun.

Inman comes down the tunnel, approaching the hunter he sees
through the snow at the other end of it.

ADA
Turn round and go back where you
came from.

Inman is bewildered by this woman's voice in a man's outfit,
keeps walking, peering through the snow. Ada fires a warning
shot. Inman, still some distance, suddenly understands.

INMAN
Ada? Ada Monroe?

ADA
I do not know you.

After all this time, all this way, Inman could give up the
ghost.

INMAN
Then I believe I made a mistake.

He turns, walks heavily away from her. Then he turns again,
completely lost, without compass.

INMAN
If I knew where to go I'd go there.

ADA
(finally recognising
him)
Inman?

He nods. They don't know how to speak to each other, just
stand awkwardly, some distance apart, the emotion stones in
their throats. Eventually --

ADA
You'd better come with me.

And with that, she starts to sob, and sob.

VERY HIGH ANGLE: Inman walks towards Ada. They embrace.

INT. STOBROD'S HUT, CHEROKEE VILLAGE. MORNING

Ada enters, Inman behind her. Ruby looks up from Stobrod.

ADA
Ruby, this is Inman.

Ruby digests this. Considers this ghost of a man.

RUBY
Congratulations, I should send you
out with a shotgun more often. He
looks as he needs sleep.

INMAN
I may need to.

RUBY
Be my guest. You shot or something?

INMAN
Not lately.

RUBY
Hungry?
(Inman nods, Ruby to
Ada)
He woke up.

ADA
Stobrod?

RUBY
Said -- your mommy's name was Grace
then closed his eyes again.

EXT. CHEROKEE VILLAGE. DAY

Ada comes out of Stobrod's hut, a glimpse of Inman sleeping
on the floor, heads for another hut which Ruby is sweeping
out. The snow has stopped. Ada stands in the door, watches
Ruby. Ruby's resistance to Inman is palpable.

ADA
He's asleep. They both are.

RUBY
I'm not surprised. Your man looks
played out.

ADA
I saw him. I realize now.

RUBY
Saw him when?

ADA
In Sally Swanger's well. A tunnel of
trees. The man like a black smudge
in the snow, the sun behind him.

RUBY
Well there you are.

ADA
Funny thing is it wasn't the same.
The image. It wasn't snowing. And in
the well, he was, as if he were
falling.

RUBY
You probably don't remember it right.

ADA
I remember it exactly. There were
crows, these black crows flying
towards me. I thought I was seeing
him fall. Instead I was seeing him
come back to me. All this while I've
been packing ice around my heart.
How will I make it melt?

RUBY
Better get a fire going.
(goes to the fireplace)
I've got big plans for that farm.
Got a vision in my mind of how that
Cove needs to be.

ADA
I know you have.

RUBY
There's not a thing we can't do
ourselves.

INT. ADA AND RUBY HUT, CHEROKEE VILLAGE. NIGHT

THE FIRE BURNS. Ada lies awake. Ruby sleeping. Ada gets up,
steps out into the snow, her blanket around her.

EXT. ADA AND RUBY HUT, CHEROKEE VILLAGE. NIGHT

Inman is outside his cabin. Only the light escaping from the
cabin, fire lights them, almost silhouettes.

INMAN
I'm sorry. I was trying to be quiet.

ADA
I couldn't sleep.

INMAN
-- I got no appetite left to be in a
room with wounded men.

ADA
I can't see your face.

INMAN
It's not a face you recognised.

ADA
Did you get my letters?

INMAN
I got three letters. Carried them in
that book you gave me. The Bertram.

ADA
I must have sent 100. Did you write
to me?

INMAN
Whenever I could. If you never got
them I can summarize.

ADA
No, it's --

INMAN
I pray you're well. I pray I'm in
your thoughts. You are all that keeps
me from sliding into some dark place.

ADA
But how did I keep you? We barely
knew each other. A few moments.

INMAN
A thousand moments. They're like a
bag of tiny diamonds glittering in a
black heart. Don't matter if they're
real or things I made up. The shape
of your neck. The way you felt under
my hands when I pulled you to me.

ADA
Your boots, one polished, one not
yet polished.

INMAN
You're playing a piano and I'm
standing outside.

ADA
I'm playing a piano and you're
standing outside.

INMAN
That kiss -- which I've kissed again
every day of my walking.

ADA
Every day of my waiting.

INMAN
Maybe you can't see my face, but if
you could see my inside, my whatever
you want to name it, my spirit, that's
the fear I have deeper than any gash
on my neck. I think I'm ruined. They
kept trying to put me in the ground,
but I wasn't ready, no ma'am, no
more ready than that scoundrel in
there's not ready to die on us. But
if I had goodness, I lost it. If I
had anything tender in me I shot it
dead.

Ruby stomps out of the hut.

RUBY
Number one -- shut this door, it's
freezing.
(goes over to Stobrod's
hut)
Number two -- shut that door, it's
freezing.
(turns to them)
I'm laying on my back, with my fingers
poked in my ears trying to shut out
who's got a bag of diamonds and who's
got boots needs polishing, If you
want to get three feet up a bull's
ass listen to what sweethearts whisper
to each other.

She's at the door to Stobrod's hut. She contemplates them.

RUBY
In fact, if you're going to wimble
all night I'm going to sleep in with
him.

And with that she enters Stobrod's hut, slamming the door.

ADA
Now I can't see anything.

A long pause.

INMAN
I'll say goodnight.

ADA
I don't think Ruby's vacating my hut
so that you can sleep in a different
one.

INT. ADA AND RUBY HUT, CHEROKEE VILLAGE. NIGHT

Ada puts logs onto the fire. After a few moments a knock.

ADA
Come in.

Inman enters. They don't know the rules for this.

ADA
Whatever comes to pass between you
and me, I want Ruby to stay in Black
Cove.

INMAN
Right.

ADA
As long as she wants. And if she
never leaves I'll be glad.

INMAN
More a question could she put up
with me.

ADA
And you understand she's my friend,
she's not a hired hand and she doesn't
empty a night jar unless it's her
own.

INMAN
Sure.

ADA
This war's made some things pointless.
It's hard to imagine a wedding. I
think even my father would recognize
that.

INMAN
Ada, I want to marry you. If you'll
have me.

ADA
Isn't there's some religion where
you just have to say I marry you,
three times, and then you're man and
wife.

INMAN
I marry you. I marry you. I marry
you.

Ada laughs, unsettling Inman.

INMAN
Why's that funny?

ADA
No, I think it's I divorce you three
times and then you're not married
anymore.

INMAN
I can wait for you.

ADA
You waited enough. I certainly did.
I marry you. I marry you. I marry
you.

And they kiss, tentative, then more urgent.

ADA
I'm sorry about the way I look. In
these clothes.
(Inman shakes his
head)
And there are so many buttons.
(starts to undress)
Will you turn your back?

INMAN
Not for all the gold dollars in the
Federal Bank.

She stands holding her clothes in front of her to cover
herself. He takes them from her, drops them to the floor.

EXT. CHEROKEE VILLAGE. MORNING

A crisp, cold beautiful morning. They're packing up, all
their clothes in layers. Inman prepares the horse. Ruby and
Ada carrying bundles out of the huts. Inman approaches Ruby.

INMAN
You go ahead. I'll follow with the
horse at a pace your daddy can
tolerate.

ADA
We can all go together.

INMAN
It's safer this way. No one has
quarrel with you.

RUBY
He's right.

INMAN
(to Ruby)
I gather I need permission if I reckon
on living at Black Cove.

Ruby gives a curt nod, goes over to Stobrod's hut. Inman
gets close to Ada.

INMAN
We'll get to you by nightfall.

ADA
You be safe.

She puts her hand to his mouth which creases into a smile.

INMAN
Your Mr. Bartram speaks about some
category of fly born on the hide of
a cow. It flies up into a tree and
waits and waits until it smells cow.
It can wait a year, two years, I
don't know, maybe longer. Then a cow
comes along and it wakes up, flies
down, lays its eggs on the cow.
There's purpose for you.

ADA
And am I the fly in this story, or
the cow?

INT. STOBROD'S HUT, CHEROKEE VILLAGE. DAY

Ruby is wrapping a fragile Stobrod for the journey.

STOBROD
You come up the mountain for me,
darling, I'd be dead otherwise, dead
and gone.

RUBY
You'd have found some other fool to
rescue you.

STOBROD
He's sweet on you, that Georgia boy.

He coughs for a long time.

RUBY
If you say a thing and then cough
it's a lie. Daddy, stay on that horse,
and don't lose him or sell him. We'll
need him on the farm.

EXT. CHEROKEE VILLAGE. MORNING

And then the two women are off, little men in their outfits,
tramping off in the snow. Inman watches.

EXT. TRACK NEAR THREE WAY CROSSING, COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

Ruby and Ada walk.

RUBY
I hope that Georgia boy's been seeing
to the animals.

ADA
I thought you were thinking on him!

RUBY
I was not. I was thinking on swollen
udders -- and before you say same
difference...

ADA
I'm saying nothing.

Ruby elbows her.

RUBY
Miss lovey-dovey!

Ada elbows her back.

EXT. THREE WAY CROSSING, COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

Inman has roped Stobrod to the horse which he pulls down a
steep slope. Behind him, their hooves muffled by the snow, A
GROUP OF RIDERS JOIN THE TRAIL, IN SLOW BUT STEADY PURSUIT.

Inman walks on, apparently oblivious to who's behind him. He
and Stobrod are some distance from broken ground, a fringe
of trees.

INMAN
(quietly to Stobrod)
Don't look round.

STOBROD
Got it.

INMAN
How many men does he have?

STOBROD
There were five. You can't reason
with that man.

INMAN
(takes off his gloves)
I got a conversation stopper.
(they're getting closer)
Closer we get to that broken ground
the better.

Inman opens his coat. Stobrod looks at the Lemats. They're
at the edge of the trees.

INMAN
You hold on tight, do you hear? When
I say three, look round, nice and
slow.

STOBROD
Okay.

INMAN
One, two, three.

Stobrod looks round. Inman doesn't. Teague has some new bodies
in his entourage but they're all dead. A SPARE HORSE HAS
THREE CORPSES HUNG OVER IT, ANOTHER HORSE DRAGS A MAKESHIFT
LITTER WITH A COUPLE MORE, SOUVENIRS OF THEIR CAVE VISIT.
Teague waves.

TEAGUE
God damn! You're a hard fucker to
put down.
(they approach)
Good directions to that cave from
the fat boy -- saw the squirrels,
sat on the tree made some friends,
brought some back with me.

His riders begin, quite casually, to fan out.

IN ONE MOVEMENT, INMAN SLAPS THE FLANK OF THE HORSE. WHICH
CAREERS DOWN THE TRACK, THEN TURNS AND FIRES, TWICE, BEFORE
PITCHING HIMSELF INTO A ROLL TOWARDS THE TREES. HIS FIRST
SHOT KNOCKS JO FROM HIS HORSE, THE SECOND MO, WHO FALLS INTO
THE SNOW, BLEEDING FROM THE GROIN AND SCREAMING. The riderless
horse gets tangled up with the others.

Inman is in the trees, shots around him. He doesn't move
away from, but towards the riders inside the line of trees.
Grayling charges him, riding into the trees. INMAN SHOOTS
HIM, THEN RUSHES FROM THE TREES, FIRING, MISSING BOSIE, WHO
RIDES AWAY, EVIDENTLY NOT RELISHING THE FIGHT, AND THROWS
HIMSELF AT TEAGUE, WHOSE HORSE IS BUCKING WILDLY. Teague's
carbine fires an involuntary shot into the air. Inman yanks
the gun from his hand with his own left hand and lets go the
shotgun barrel of the Lemats with the other, the big pistol
almost leaping from his hand with the recoil. TEAGUE'S CHEST
OPENS OUT AS HE'S THROWN OFF THE HORSE. Mo is still screaming.

Inman walks over and shoots him in the head, then walks to
Teague, who is saying something, the blood blotting the snow
under him.

Inman studies him, picks up the Spencer carbine, turns to
look where Bosie has gone, steps up onto Teague's horse,
reins the horse in, and trots it over to the prostrate Teague,
LEANS OVER AND SHOOTS HIM DEAD. He turns the horse in the
direction Bosie had headed. He can't see horse or rider, but
in the stand of Hickory Trees ahead, THE GUSTS OF STEAMING
BREATH betray them both. He rides slowly towards the stand
of trees.

EXT. COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

Ada and Ruby walking. They hear the shots. Ada turns and
starts to run through the snow, her hat flying from her head.

EXT. STAND OF HICKORY TREES, COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

Inman's horse is parallel to Bosie, who is deep inside the
trees but also riding, slowly. It's like a dance.

INMAN
Come out of there.

BOSIE
No, sir. Here's fine.

INMAN
I just have to shoot the horse from
under you.

BOSIE
Shoot her. She's not mine. You riding
Mr Teague's mare?

INMAN
I am.

BOSIE
He dead?

INMAN
I hope so.
(wearily, as he brings
his horse inside the
trees)
Look, how old are you? Give me your
gun and ride home, I'm done fighting.
I'm sick of it.

BOSIE
I give you my gun you'll shoot me
dead.

INMAN
I will not shoot you, but nor am I
walking down that mountain looking
over my shoulder for you.

BOSIE
That's what they call a conundrum. I
tell you what I've got on my side.

INMAN
What have you got on your side?

BOSIE
The confidence of youth.

And in that second HE PRODUCES HIS GUN AND FIRES. INMAN HAS
ALREADY FIRED THE LEMATS AND THE BOY, SHOT IN THE HEAD, FALLS.
CAUGHT BY ONE STIRRUP THE HORSE BOLTING. INMAN WATCHES, STOCK
STILL, THEN MAKES A COUGH, AS IF CLEARING HIS THROAT, AND A
THIN MIST OF BLOOD SPRAYS FROM HIS MOUTH.

EXT. RIDGE, COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

Ada and Ruby running. THEY REACH STOBROD, HIS HORSE STOPPED,
DRINKING FROM THE CREEK. Stobrod, barely conscious, hanging
halfway down its flank, held on by the ropes.

Ada hurries on, taking the shotgun from Ruby, who tends to
her father.

EXT. A GROVE OF TREES, COLD MOUNTAIN. DAY

Ada runs past the horse dragging the cave corpses. She hardly
stops to look at the bodies, just rushes on.

THE GROUND SIMPLIFIES AND SHE'S AT THE BOTTOM OF A GROVE. A
STEEP INCLINE, THE SUN LOW AND IN FRONT OF HER. SHE SEES A
BRILLIANT FRAME OF BLACK TREES, AND THEN A SUDDEN FLURRY OF
ANGRY CROWS FLYING TOWARDS HER. AT THE TOP OF THE HILL IS A
SMALL HIEROGLYPH OF A MAN.

FINALLY, THE IMAGE FROM THE SWANGER WELL EXACTLY AS SHE FIRST
SAW IT.

THE FIGURE RAISES A HAND, BRIEFLY, THEN PITCHES FORWARD INTO
THE SNOW.

She runs, her heart broken, towards the body of Inman. He's
dead, the red flag of his life ebbed, away in the snow. Ada
falls to her knees and pulls him over, the snow crusted on
his face, which she wipes away with great tenderness, then
sits, his head in her lap, as Ruby slowly comes up the hill
towards them.

A VIOLIN PLAYS, quite raucous.

INT. KITCHEN, BLACK COVE FARM, EASTER. DAY

A GIRL, about five or six, with Ada's curls, sits at the
table cradling a tiny lamb, which won't feed from the nippled
bottle she offers it. She tries again. Ada comes in suddenly,
takes a knife from the kitchen, and hurries out.

ADA
You bring that lamb outside.

The girl gets up, carries the lamb out into the field.

EXT. FIELD, BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

THE SOUND OF THE FIDDLE CONTINUING, JOINED BY A BANJO, It's
a glorious spring morning, Black Cove Farm at its most
luxuriant, the path edged with brilliant flowers. There are
more animals in evidence. The girl emerges from the house
and sees Ada in the field, surrounded by sheep. She hurries
over.

ADA IS EXPERTLY SKINNING A STILLBORN LAMB. The little girl
is horrified.

GRACE
What are you doing!

ADA
He came out dead, love.

She has the skin off the lamb, which lies like a little pink
cat on the ground. She approaches Grace, takes the live lamb
from her arms, the girl resistant, frightened.

GRACE
Don't kill him!

ADA
I'm not going to kill him. But we
have to try something or else he's
going to die.

She takes the skin and wraps it round Grace's lamb. Then
puts the covered lamb into the pen with the dead lamb's
mother.

It goes to the sheep and, after a few false starts, starts
to feed, accepted as a surrogate.

ADA
Isn't that a small mercy.

And A VOICE joins in with the fiddle and banjo.

EXT. BLACK COVE FARM. DAY

STOBROD is playing, on his repaired fiddle. His hair is now
completely grey. GEORGIA is playing the banjo and singing,
although. A SMALL CHILD with Georgia's reddish coloring keeps
invading his picking hand trying to join in. RUBY HAS ANOTHER
GEORGIA CHILD IN HER ARMS, but is also trying to serve food.

She passes Georgia and touches the top of his head. SALLY
SWANGER is pouring water from a jug, Ada emerges from the
kitchen, with a big pie, racing to the table.

ADA
(laughing)
Hot hot hot hot hot!!!

From behind her, Grace appears, carrying a jug of milk, puts
it on the groaning board of the table. Grace has a full plate
in front of her, picks up a fork to spear some meat.

ADA
Grace Inman, nobody said eat.
(then to Stobrod)
Mr. Thewes...

The music stops. And there's quiet except for the sound of
animals: lowing, barking, braying, bleating.

ADA
For good friends, good food, good
family: for all our blessings -- Oh
Lord we thank thee. Amen.

ALL
Amen !

And they eat.

THE END

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