"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 ]

FARGO

a screenplay by

ETHAN COEN

and

JOEL COEN

The following text fades in over black:

This is a true story. The events depicted in this film took
place in Minnesota in 1987. At the request of the survivors,
the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead,
the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.

FLARE TO WHITE

FADE IN FROM WHITE

Slowly the white becomes a barely perceptible image: white
particles wave over a white background. A snowfall.

A car bursts through the curtain of snow.

The car is equipped with a hitch and is towing another car,
a brand-new light brown Cutlass Ciera with the pink sales
sticker showing in its rear window.

As the car roars past, leaving snow swirling in their drift,
the title of the film fades in.

FARGO

Green highway signs point the way to MOOREHEAD,
MINNESOTA/FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA. The roads for the two cities
diverge. A sign says WELCOME TO NORTH DAKOTA and another
just after says NOW ENTERING FARGO, ND, POP. 44,412.

The car pulls into a Rodeway Inn.

HOTEL LOBBY

A man in his early forties, balding and starting to paunch,
goes to the reception desk. The clerk is an older woman.

CLERK
And how are you today, sir?

MAN
Real good now. I'm checking in - Mr.
Anderson.

The man prints "Jerry Lundega" onto a registration card,
then hastily crosses out the last name and starts to print
"Anderson."

As she types into a computer:

CLERK
Okay, Mr. Anderson, and you're still
planning on staying with us just the
night, then?

ANDERSON
You bet.

HOTEL ROOM

The man turns on the TV, which shows the local evening news.

NEWS ANCHOR
- whether they will go to summer
camp at all. Katie Jensen has more.

KATIE
It was supposed to be a project funded
by the city council; it was supposed
to benefit those Fargo-Moorehead
children who would otherwise not be
able to afford to attend a lakeshore
summer camp. But nobody consulted
city controller Stu Jacobson...

CHAIN RESTAURANT

Anderson sits alone at a table finishing dinner. Muzak plays.
A middle-aged waitress approaches holding a pot of regular
coffee in one hand and decaf in the other.

WAITRESS
Can I warm that up for ya there?

ANDERSON
You bet. The man looks at his watch.

THROUGH A WINDSHIELD

We are pulling into the snowswept parking lot of a one-story
brick building. Broken neon at the top of the building
identifies it as the Jolly Troll Tavern. A troll, also in
neon, holds a champagne glass aloft.

INSIDE

The bar is downscale even for this town. Country music plays
on the jukebox.

Two men are seated in a booth at the back. One is short,
slight, youngish. The other man is somewhat older, and dour.
The table in front of them is littered with empty long-neck
beer bottles. The ashtray is full.

Anderson approaches.

ANDERSON
I'm, uh, Jerry Lundegaard -

YOUNGER MAN
You're Jerry Lundegaard?

JERRY
Yah, Shep Proudfoot said -

YOUNGER MAN
Shep said you'd be here at 7:30.
What gives, man?

JERRY
Shep said 8:30.

YOUNGER MAN
We been sitting here an hour. I've
peed three times already.

JERRY
I'm sure sorry. I - Shep told me
8:30. It was a mix-up, I guess.

YOUNGER MAN
Ya got the car?

JERRY
Yah, you bet. It's in the lot there.
Brand-new burnt umber Ciera.

YOUNGER MAN
Yeah, okay. Well, siddown then. I'm
Carl Showalter and this is my
associate Gaear Grimsrud.

JERRY
Yah, how ya doin'. So, uh, we all
set on this thing, then?

YOUNGER MAN
Sure, Jerry, we're all set. Why
wouldn't we be?

JERRY
Yah, no, I'm sure you are. Shep
vouched for you and all. I got every
confidence in you fellas.

They stare at him. An awkward beat.

JERRY
...So I guess that's it, then. Here's
the keys -

CARL
No, that's not it, Jerry.

JERRY
Huh?

CARL
The new vehicle, plus forty thousand
dollars.

JERRY
Yah, but the deal was, the car first,
see, then the forty thousand, like
as if it was the ransom. I thought
Shep told you -

CARL
Shep didn't tell us much, Jerry.

JERRY
Well, okay, it's -

CARL
Except that you were gonna be here
at 7:30.

JERRY
Yah, well, that was a mix-up, then.

CARL
Yeah, you already said that.

JERRY
Yah. But it's not a whole pay-in-
advance deal. I give you a brand-new
vehicle in advance and -

CARL
I'm not gonna debate you, Jerry.

JERRY
Okay.

CARL
I'm not gonna sit here and debate.
I will say this though: what Shep
told us didn't make a whole lot of
sense.

JERRY
Oh, no, it's real sound. It's all
worked out.

CARL
You want your own wife kidnapped?

JERRY
Yah.

Carl Stares. Jerry looks blankly back.

CARL
...You-my point is, you pay the ransom-
what eighty thousand bucks? - I
mean, you give us half the ransom,
forty thousand, you keep half. It's
like robbing Peter to play Paul, it
doesn't make any -

JERRY
Okay, it's - see, it's not me payin'
the ransom. The thing is, my wife,
she's wealthy - her dad, he's real
well off. Now, I'm in a bit of trouble -

CARL
What kind of trouble are you in,
Jerry?

JERRY
Well, that's, that's, I'm not go
inta, inta - see, I just need money.
Now, her dad's real wealthy -

CARL
So why don't you just ask him for
the money?

Grimsrud, the dour man who has not yet spoken, now softly
puts in with a Swedish-accented voice:

GRIMSRUD
Or your fucking wife, you know.

CARL
Or your fucking wife, Jerry.

JERRY
Well, it's all just part of this -
they don't know I need it, see.
Okay, so there's that. And even if
they did, I wouldn't get it. So
there's that on top, then. See,
these're personal matters.

CARL
Personal matters.

JERRY
Yah. Personal matters that needn't,
uh -

CARL
Okay, Jerry. You're tasking us to
perform this mission, but you, you
won't, uh, you won't - aw, fuck it,
let's take a look at that Ciera.

MINNEAPOLIS SUBURBAN HOUSE

Jerry enters through the kitchen door, in a parka and a red
plaid Elmer Fudd hat. He stamps snow off his feet. He is
carrying a bag of groceries which he deposits on the kitchen
counter.

JERRY
Hon? Got the growshries.

VOICE
Thank you, hon. How's Fargo?

JERRY
Yah, real good.

VOICE
Dad's here.

DEN

Jerry enters, pulling off his plaid cap.

JERRY
How ya doin', Wade?

Wade Gustafson is mid-sixtyish, vigorous, with a full head
of gray hair. His eyes remain fixed on the TV.

WADE
Yah, pretty good.

JERRY
Whatcha watchin' there?

WADE
Norstars.

JERRY
...Who they playin'?

WADE
OOOoooh! His reaction synchronizes
with a reaction from the crowd.

KITCHEN

Jerry walks back in, taking off his coat. His wife is putting
on an apron. Jerry nods toward the living room.

JERRY
Is he stayin' for supper, then?

WIFE
Yah, I think so... Dad, are you
stayin' for supper?

WADE
(off)
Yah.

DINING ROOM

Jerry, his wife, Wade and Scotty, twelve years old, sit
eating.

SCOTTY
May I be excused?

JERRY
Sure, ya done there?

SCOTTY
Uh-huh. Goin' out.

WIFE
Where are you going?

SCOTTY
Just out. Just McDonald's.

JERRY
Back at 9:30.

SCOTTY
Okay.

WADE
He just ate. And he didn't finish.
He's going to McDonald's instead of
finishing here?

WIFE
He sees his friends there. It's okay.

WADE
It's okay? McDonald's? What do you
think they do there? They don't drink
milkshakes, I assure you!

WIFE
It's okay, Dad.

JERRY
Wade, have ya had a chance to think
about, uh, that deal I was talkin'
about, those forty acres there on
Wayzata?

WADE
You told me about it.

JERRY
Yah, you said you'd have a think
about it. I understand it's a lot of
money -

WADE
A heck of a lot. What'd you say you
were gonna put there?

JERRY
lot. It's a limited -

WADE
I know it's a lot.

JERRY
I mean a parking lot.

WADE
Yah, well, seven hundred and fifty
thousand dollars is a lot - ha ha
ha!

JERRY
Yah, well, it's a chunk, but -

WADE
I thought you were gonna show it to
Stan Grossman. He passes on this
stuff before it gets kicked up to
me.

JERRY
Well, you know Stan'll say no dice.
That's why you pay him. I'm asking
you here, Wade. This could work out
real good for me and Jean and Scotty -

WADE
Jean and Scotty never have to worry.

WHITE

A black like curls through the white. Twisting perspective
shows that it is an aerial shot of a two-lane highway,
bordered by snowfields. The highway carries one moving car.

INT. CAR

Carl Showalter is driving. Gaear Grimsrud stares blankly
out.

After a long beat:

GRIMSRUD
Where is Pancakes Hause?

CARL
What?

GRIMSRUD
We stop at Pancakes Hause.

CARL
What're you, nuts? We had pancakes
for breakfast. I gotta go somewhere
I can get a shot and a beer - and a
steak maybe. Not more fuckin'
pancakes. Come on.

Grimsrud gives him a sour look.

CARL
...Come on, man. Okay, here's an
idea. We'll stop outside of Brainerd.
I know a place there we can get laid.
Wuddya think?

GRIMSRUD
I'm fuckin' hungry now, you know.

CARL
Yeah, yeah, Jesus - I'm sayin', we'll
stop for pancakes, then we'll get
laid. Wuddya think?

GUSTAFSON OLDS GARAGE

Jerry is sitting in his glassed-in salesman's cubicle just
off the showroom floor. On the other side of his desk sit an
irate customer and his wife.

CUSTOMER
We sat here right in this room and
went over this and over this!

JERRY
Yah, but that TruCoat -

CUSTOMER
I sat right here and said I didn't
want no TruCoat!

JERRY
Yah, but I'm sayin', that TruCoat,
you don't get it and you get
oxidization problems. It'll cost you
a heck of lot more'n five hunnert -

CUSTOMER
You're sittin' here, you're talkin'
in circles! You're talkin' like we
didn't go over this already!

JERRY
Yah, but this TruCoat -

CUSTOMER
We had us a deal here for nineteen-
five. You sat there and darned if
you didn't tell me you'd get this
car, these options, WITHOUT THE
SEALANT, for nineteen-five!

JERRY
Okay, I'm not sayin' I didn't -

CUSTOMER
You called me twenty minutes ago and
said you had it! Ready to make
delivery, ya says! Come on down and
get it! And here ya are and you're
wastin' my time and you're wastin'
my wife's time and I'm payin' nineteen-
five for this vehicle here!

JERRY
Well, okay, I'll talk to my boss...

He rises, and, as he leaves:

JERRY
...See, they install that TruCoat at
the factory, there's nothin' we can
do, but I'll talk to my boss.

The couple watch him go to a nearby cubicle.

CUSTOMER
These guys here - these guys! It's
always the same! It's always more!
He's a liar!

WIFE
Please, dear.

CUSTOMER
We went over this and over this -

NEARBY CUBICLE

Jerry sits perched on the desk of another salesman who is
eating lunch as he watches a hockey game on a small portable
TV.

JERRY
So you're goin' to the Gophers on
Sunday?

SALESMAN
You bet.

JERRY
You wouldn't have an extra ticket
there?

SALESMAN
They're playin' the Buckeyes!

JERRY
Yah.

SALESMAN
Ya kiddin'!

JERRY'S CUBICLE

Jerry re-enters.

JERRY
Well, he never done this before, but
seein' as it's special circumstances
and all, he says I can knock one
hunnert off that TruCoat.

CUSTOMER
One hundred! You lied to me, Mr.
Lundegaard. You're a bald-faced liar!

Jerry sits staring at his lap.

CUSTOMER
fucking liar -

WIFE
Bucky, please!

Jerry mumbles into his lap:

JERRY
One hunnert's the best we can do
here.

CUSTOMER
Oh, for Christ's sake, where's my
goddamn checkbook. Let's get this
over with.

WIDE EXTERIOR: TRUCK STOP

There is a restaurant with many big rigs parked nearby, and
a motel with an outsize Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox
flanking its sign: BLUE OX MOTEL.

MOTEL ROOM

Carl Showalter and Gaear Grimsrud are in the twin beds having
sex with two truck-stop hookers.

CARL
Oh, Jesus, yeah.

HIS HOOKER
There ya go, sugar.

GRIMSRUD
Nnph.

HIS HOOKER
Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah.

LATER

The couples lie in their respective beds, gazing at the
offscreen TV.

ED MCMAHON
- Johnny's guests tonight will be
Lee Majors, George Wendt, and Steve
Boutsikaros from the San Diego Zoo,
so keep that dial -

LUNDEGAARD KITCHEN

We hear a morning show on television. Jean Lundegaard is
making coffee in the kitchen as Scott eats cereal at the
table.

JEAN
I'm talkin' about your potential.

SCOTT
(absently)
Uh-huh.

JEAN
You're not a C student.

SCOTT
Uhn.

JEAN
And yet you're gettin' C grades.
It's this disparity there that
concerns your dad and me.

SCOTT
Uh-huh.

JEAN
You know what a disparity is?

SCOTT
(testily)
Yeah!

JEAN
Okay. Well, that's why we don't want
ya goin' out fer hockey.

SCOTT
Oh, man!

The phone rings.

SCOTT
...What's the big deal? It's an hour -

JEAN
Hold on.

She picks up the phone.

JEAN
...Hello?

PHONE VOICE
Yah, hiya, hon.

JEAN
Oh, hiya, Dad.

WADE
Jerry around?

JEAN
Yah, he's still here - I'll catch
him for ya.

She holds the phone away and calls:

JEAN
...Hon?

VOICE
Yah.

JEAN
It's Dad.

VOICE
Yah...

Jerry enters in shirtsleeves and tie.

JERRY
...Yah, okay...

SCOTT
Look, Dad, there is no fucking way -

JEAN
Scott!

JERRY
Say, let's watch the language -

He takes the phone.

JERRY
How ya doin', Wade?

WADE
What's goin' on there?

JERRY
Oh, nothing, Wade. How ya doin' there?

WADE
Stan Grossman looked at your proposal.
Says it's pretty sweet.

JERRY
No kiddin'?

WADE
We might be innarested.

JERRY
No kiddin'! I'd need the cash pretty
quick there. In order to close the
deal.

WADE
Come by at 2:30 and we'll talk about
it. If your numbers are right, Stan
says its pretty sweet. Stan Grossman.

JERRY
Yah.

WADE
2:30.

Click. Dial tone.

JERRY
Yah, okay.

GUSTAFSON OLD GARAGE

Jerry wanders through the service area where cars are being
worked on. He stops by an Indian in blue jeans who is looking
at the underside of a car that sits on a hydraulic lift with
a cage light hanging off its innards.

JERRY
Say, Shep, how ya doin' there?

SHEP
Mm.

JERRY
Say, ya know those two fellas ya put
me in touch with, up there in Fargo?

SHEP
Put you in touch with Grimsrud.

JERRY
Well, yah, but he had a buddy there.
He, uh -

SHEP
Well, I don't vouch for him.

JERRY
Well, that's okay, I just -

SHEP
I vouch for Grimsrud. Who's his buddy?

JERRY
Carl somethin'?

SHEP
Never heard of him. Don't vouch for
him.

JERRY
Well, that's okay, he's a buddy of
the guy ya vouched for, so I'm not
worryin'. I just, I was wonderin',
see, I gotta get in touch with 'em
for, I might not need it anymore,
sumpn's happenin', see -

SHEP
Call 'em up.

JERRY
Yah, well, see, I did that, and I
haven't been able to get 'em, so I
thought you maybe'd know an alternate
number or what have ya.

SHEP
Nope.

Jerry slaps his fist into his open palm and snaps his fingers.

JERRY
Okay, well, real good, then.

CAR

Carl is driving. Grimsrud stares out front.

After a beat:

CARL
...Look at that. Twin Cities. IDS
Building, the big glass one. Tallest
skyscraper in the Midwest. After
the Sears, uh, Chicago... You never
been to Minneapolis?

GRIMSRUD
No.

CARL
...Would it kill you to say something?

GRIMSRUD
I did.

CARL
"No." First thing you've said in the
last four hours. That's a, that's a
fountain of conversation, man. That's
a geyser. I mean, whoa, daddy, stand
back, man. Shit, I'm sittin' here
driving, man, doin' all the driving,
whole fuckin' way from Brainerd,
drivin', tryin' to, you know, tryin'
to chat, keep our spirits up, fight
the boredom of the road, and you
can't say one fucking thing just in
the way of conversation.

Grimsrud smokes, gazing out the window.

CARL
...Well, fuck it, I don't have to
talk either, man. See how you like
it...

He drives.

CARL
...Total silence...

JERRY'S CUBICLE

He is on the phone.

JERRY
Yah, real good. How you doin'?

VOICE
Pretty good, Mr. Lundegaard. You're
damned hard to get on the phone.

JERRY
Yah, it's pretty darned busy here,
but that's the way we like it.

VOICE
That's for sure. Now, I just need,
on these last, these financing
documents you sent us, I can't read
the serial numbers of the vehicles
on here, so I -

JERRY
But I already got the, it's okay,
the loans are in place, I already
got the, the what, the -

VOICE
Yeah, the three hundred and twenty
thousand dollars, you got the money
last month.

JERRY
Yah, so we're all set.

VOICE
Yeah, but the vehicles you were
borrowing on, I just can't read the
serial numbers on your application.
Maybe if you could just read them to
me -

JERRY
But the deal's already done, I already
got the money -

VOICE
Yeah, but we have an audit here, I
just have to know that these vehicles
you're financing with this money,
that they really exist.

JERRY
Yah, well, they exist all right.

VOICE
I'm sure they do - ha ha! But I can't
read their serial numbers here. So
if you could read me -

JERRY
Well, but see, I don't have 'em in
front a me - why don't I just fax
you over a copy -

VOICE
No, fax is no good, that's what I
have and I can't read the darn thing -

JERRY
Yah, okay, I'll have my girl send
you over a copy, then.

VOICE
Okay, because if I can't correlate
this note with the specific vehicles,
then I gotta call back that money -

JERRY
Yah, how much money was that?

VOICE
Three hundred and twenty thousand
dollars. See, I gotta correlate that
money with the cars it's being lent
on.

JERRY
Yah, no problem, I'll just fax that
over to ya, then.

VOICE
No, no, fax is -

JERRY
I mean send it over. I'll shoot it
right over to ya.

VOICE
Okay.

JERRY
Okay, real good, then.

CLOSE ON TELEVISION

A morning-show host in an apron stands behind a counter on a
kitchen set.

HOST
So I seperate the - how the heck do
I get the egg out of the shell without
breaking it?

Jean Lundegaard is curled up on the couch with a cup of
coffee, watching the television.

HOSTESS
You just prick a little hole in the
end and blow!

Jean smiles as we hear laughter and applause from the studio
audience. She hears something else - a faint scraping sound -
and looks up.

HOST
Okay, here goes nothing.

The scraping sound persists. Jean sets down her coffee cup
and rises.

From the studio audience:

AUDIENCE
Awoooo!

KITCHEN

We track toward the back door. A curtain is stretched tight
across its window.

Jean pulls the curtain back. Bright sunlight amplified by
snow floods in.

A man in an orange ski mask looks up from the lock.

Jean gasps, drops the curtain, runs and runs into -

- a taller man, also in a ski mask, already in the house.
We hear the crack of the back-door window being smashed.
The tall man - Gaear Grimsrud - grabs Jean's wrist.

She screams, staring at her own imprisoned wrist, then wraps
her gaping mouth around Grimsrud's gloved thumb and bites
down hard.

He drops her wrist. As Carl enters, she races up the stairs.

GRIMSRUD
Unguent.

CARL
Huh? Grimsurd looks at his thumb.

GRIMSRUD
I need ...unguent.

UPSTAIRS BEDROOM

As the two men enter, a door at the far side is slamming
shut. A cord snakes in under the door.

MASTER BATHROOM

Jean, sobbing, frantically pushes at buttons on the princess
phone.

The phone pops out of her hands, jangles across the tile
floor, smashes against the door and then bounces away, its
cord ripped free.

With a groaning sound, the door shifts in its frame.

BEDROOM

Grimsrud has a crowbar jammed in between the bathroom door
and frame, and is working it.

BATHROOM

Jean crosses to a high window above the toilet and throws it
open. Snow that had drifted against the window sifts lightly
in. Jean steps up onto the toilet.

The door creaks, moving as one piece in its frame.

Jean glances back as she steps up from the toilet seat to
the tank.

The groaning of the door ends with the wood around its knob
splintering and the knob itself falling out onto the floor.

The door swings open.

Grimsrud and Carl enter.

THEIR POV

Room empty, window open.

Carl strides to the window and hoists himself out.

Grimsrud opens the medicine cabinet and delicately taps aside
various bottles and tubes, seeking the proper unguent.

He finds a salve but after a moment sets it down, noticing
something in the mirror.

The shower curtain is drawn around the tub.

He steps toward it.

As he reaches for the curtain, it explodes outward, animated
by thrashing limbs.

Jean, screaming, tangled in the curtain, rips it off its
rings and stumbles out into the bedroom. Grimsrud follows.

BEDROOM

Jean rushes toward the door, cloaked by the shower curtain
but awkwardly trying to push it off.

UPSTAIRS LANDING

Still thrashing, Jean crashes against the upstairs railing,
trips on the curtain and falls, thumping crazily down the
stairs.

Grimsrud trots down after her.

A PLAQUE: WADE GUSTAFSON INCORPORTATED

INT. WADE'S OFFICE

Wade sits behind his desk; another man rises as Jerry enters.

JERRY
How ya doin' there, Stan? How are
ya, Wade?

Stan Grossman shakes his hand.

STAN
Good to see ya again, Jerry. If these
numbers are right, this looks pretty
sweet.

JERRY
Oh, those numbers are all right,
bleemee.

WADE
This is do-able.

STAN
Congratulations, Jerry.

JERRY
Yah, thanks, Stan, it's a pretty -

WADE
What kind of finder's fee were you
looking for?

JERRY
...Huh?

STAN
The financials are pretty thorough,
so the only thing we don't know is
your fee.

JERRY
...My fee? Wade, what the heck're
you talkin' about?

WADE
Stan and I're okay.

JERRY
Yah.

WADE
We're good to loan in.

JERRY
Yah.

WADE
But we never talked about your fee
for bringin' it to us.

JERRY
No, but, Wade, see, I was bringin'
you this deal for you to loan me the
money to put in. It's my deal here,
see?

Wade scowls, looks at Stan.

STAN
Jerry - we thought you were bringin'
us an investment.

JERRY
Yah, right -

STAN
You're sayin' - what're you sayin'?

WADE
You're sayin' that we put in all the
money and you collect when it pays
off?

JERRY
No, no. I - I'd, I'd - pay you back
the principal, and interest heck,
I'd go - one over prime -

STAN
We're not a bank, Jerry.

Wade is angry.

WADE
What the heck, Jerry, if I wanted
bank interest on seven hunnert'n
fifty thousand I'd go to Midwest
Federal. Talk to Bill Diehl.

STAN
He's at Norstar.

WADE
He's at -

JERRY
No, see, I don't need a finder's
fee, I need - finder's fee's, what,
ten percent, heck that's not gonna
do it for me. I need the principal.

STAN
Jerry, we're not just going to give
you seven hundred and fifty thousand
dollars.

WADE
What the heck were you thinkin'?
Heck, if I'm only gettin' bank
interest, I'd look for complete
security. Heck, FDIC. I don't see
nothin' like that here.

JERRY
Yah, but I - okay, I would, I'd
guarantee ya your money back.

WADE
I'm not talkin' about your damn word,
Jerry. Geez, what the heck're you?...
Well, look, I don't want to cut you
out of the loop, but his here's a
good deal. I assume, if you're not
innarested, you won't mind if we
move on it independently.

PARKING LOT

We are high and wide on the office building's parking lot.
Jerry emerges wrapped in a parka, his arms sticking stiffly
out at his sides, his breath vaporizing. He goes to his car,
opens its front door, pulls out a red plastic scraper and
starts methodically scraping off the thin crust of ice that
has developed on his windshield.

The scrape-scrape-scrape sound carries in the frigid air.

Jerry goes into a frenzy, banging the scraper against the
windshield and the hood of his car.

The tantrum passes. Jerry stands panting, staring at nothing
in particular.

Scrape-scrape-scrape - he goes back to work on the windshield.

FRONT DOOR

A beat, silent but for a key scraping at the lock.

The door swings open and Jerry edges in, looking about,
holding a sack of groceries.

JERRY
Hon?

He shuts the door.

JERRY
...Got the growshries...

He has already seen the shower curtain on the floor. He
frowns, pokes at it with his foot.

JERRY
...Hon?

UPSTAIRS BATHROOM

Jerry walks in. He sets the groceries down on the toilet
tank.

He looks at the open window, through which snow still sifts
in. He shuts it.

He picks up the small tube of unguent that sits on the sink,
frowns at it, puts it back in the medicine chest.

He looks at the shower curtain rod holding empty rings.

FOYER

Once again we are looking at the rumpled shower curtain.

From another room:

JERRY
Yah, Wade, I - it's Jerry, I.

Then, slightly more agitated.

JERRY
...Yah, Wade, it's, I, it's Jerry...

Beat.

JERRY
...Wade, it's Jerry, I - we gotta
talk, Wade, it's terrible...

Beat.

LIVING ROOM

Jerry stands in wide shot, hands on hips, looking down at a
telephone.

After a motionless beat he picks up the phone and punches in
a number.

JERRY
...Yah, Wade Gustafson, please.

BLACK

Hold in black.

A slow tilt down from night sky brings the head of a large
paper-mâché figure into frame. It is a flannel-shirt woodsman
carrying a double-edged ax over one shoulder. As we hear the
rumble of an approaching car, the continuing tilt and boom
down brings us down the woodsman's body to a pedestal.

A sweep of headlights illuminates a sign on the pedestal:
WELCOME TO BRAINDERD - HOME OF PAUL BUNYAN.

The headlights sweep off and a car hums past and on into the
background. The two-lane highway is otherwise empty.

INT. CAR

Carl drives. Grimsrud smokes and gazes out the window. From
the back seat we hear whimpering.

Grimsrud turns to look.

Jean lies bound and curled on the back seat underneath a
tarpaulin.

GRIMSRUD
Shut the fuck up or I'll throw you
back in the trunk, you know.

CARL
Geez. That's more'n I've heard you
say all week.

Grimsrud stares at him, then turns back to the window.

At a loud WHOOP Carl starts and looks back out the rear
window. Fifty yards behind a state trooper has turned on his
gumballs.

Carl eases the car onto the shoulder.

CARL
Ah, shit, the tags...

Grimsrud looks at him.

CARL
...It's just the tags. I never put
my tags on the car. Don't worry,
I'll take care of this.

He looks into the back seat as the car bounces and slows on
the gravel shoulder

CARL
...Let's keep still back there, lady,
or we're gonna have to, ya know, to
shoot ya.

Grimsrud stares at Carl.

CARL
...Hey! I'll take care of this!

Both cars have stopped. Carl looks up at the rear-view mirror.

The trooper is stopped on the shoulder just behind them,
writing in his citation book.

Carl watches.

We hear the trooper's door open.

The trooper walks up the shoulder, one hand resting lightly
on top of his holster, his breath steaming in the cold night
air.

Carl opens his window as the trooper draws up.

CARL
How can I help you, officer?

The trooper scans the inside of the car, taking his time.
Grimsrud smokes and gazes calmly out his window.

Finally:

TROOPER
This is a new car, then, sir?

CARL
It certainly is, officer. Still got
that smell!

TROOPER
You're required to display temporary
tags, either in the plate area or
taped inside the back window.

CARL
Certainly -

TROOPER
Can I see your license and
registration please?

CARL
Certainly.

He reaches for his wallet.

CARL
...I was gonna tape up the temporary
tag, ya know, to be in full
compliance, but it, uh, it, uh...
must a slipped my mind...

He extends his wallet toward the trooper, a folded fifty
dollar bill protruding from it.

CARL
...So maybe the best thing would be
to take care of that, right here in
Brainerd.

TROOPER
What's this, sir?

CARL
That's my license and registration.
I wanna be in compliance.

He forces a laugh.

CARL
...I was just thinking I could take
care of it right here. In Brainerd.

The policeman thoughtfully pats the fifty into the billfold
and hands the billfold back into the car.

TROOPER
Put that back in your pocket, please.

Carl's nervous smile fades

TROOPER
...And step out of the car, please,
sir.

Grimsrud, smiling thinly, shakes his head.

There is a whimpering sound.

The policeman hesitates.

Another sound.

The policeman leans forward into the car, listening.

Grimsrud reaches across Carl, grabs the trooper by the hair
and slams his head down onto the car door.

The policeman grunts, digs awkwardly for footing outside and
throws an arm for balance against the outside of the car.

With his free hand, Grimsrud pops the glove compartment. He
brings a gun out and reaches across Carl and shoots - BANG -
into the back of the trooper's head.

Jean screams.

GRIMSRUD
Shut up.

He releases the policeman.

The policeman's head slides out the window and his body flops
back onto the street.

Carl looks out at the cop in the road.

CARL
(softly)
Whoa... Whoa, Daddy.

Grimsrud takes the trooper's hat off of Carl's lap and sails
it out the open window.

GRIMSRUD
You'll take care of it. Boy, you are
smooth smooth, you know.

CARL
Whoa, Daddy.

Jean, for some reason, screams again. Then stops.

GRIMSRUD
Clear him off the road.

CARL
Yeah.

He gets out.

EXT. ROAD

Carl leans down to hoist up the body.

Headlights appear: an oncoming car.

INT. CIERA

Grimsrud notices.

EXT. ROAD

The car approaches, slowing.

Carl, with the trooper's body hoisted halfway up, is frozen
in the headlights.

The car accelerates and roars past and away. We just make
out the silhouettes of two occupants in front.

INT. CIERA

Grimsrud slides into the driver's seat. He squeals into a
Uturn, the driver's door slamming shut with his spin.

Small red tail lights fishtail up ahead. The pursued car
churns up fine snow.

Grimsrud takes the cigarette from his mouth and stubs it in
his ashtray. We hear the churning of the car wheels and the
pinging of snow clods and salt on the car's underside.

In the back seat, Jean starts screaming.

Grimsrud is not gaining on the tail lights.

He fights with the wheel as his car swims on the road face.

The red tail lights ahead start to turn. With a distant
crunching sound, they disappear.

The headlights now show only empty road, starting to turn.

Grimsrud frowns and slows.

His headlights show the car up ahead off the road, crumpled
around a telephone pole, having failed to hold a turn.

Grimsrud brakes.

Jean slides off the back seat and thumps into the legwell.

Grimsrud sweeps his gun off the front seat, throws open his
door and gets out.

EXT. ROAD

The wrecked car's headlights shine off into a snowfield
abutting the highway. A young man in a down parka is limping
across the snowfield, away from the wrecked car.

Grimsrud strides calmly out after the injured boy. He raises
his gun and fires.

With a poof of feathers, a hole opens up in the boy's back
and he pitches into the snow.

Grimsrud walks up to the wreck and peers in its half-open
door.

A young woman is trapped inside the twisted wreckage, injured.

Snow swirls in the headlights of the wreck.

Grimsrud raises his gun and fires.

AN OIL PAINTING

A blue-winged teal in flight over a swampy marshland. The
room in which it hangs is dark. We hear off-screen snoring.

We track off to reveal an easel upon which we see a half
completed oil of a grey mallard.

The continuing track reveals a couple in bed, sleeping. The
man, fortyish, pajama-clad, is big, and big-bellied. His
mouth is agape. He snores. His arms are flung over a woman
in her thirties, wearing a nightie, mouth also open, not
snoring.

We hold for a long beat on their regular breathing and
snoring.

The phone rings.

The woman stirs.

WOMAN
Oh, geez...

She reaches for the phone.

WOMAN
...Hi, it's Marge...

The man stirs and clears his throat with a long deep rumble.

MARGE
...Oh, my. Where?... Yah... Oh,
geez...

The man sits up, gazes stupidly about.

MARGE
...Okay. There in a jif... Real
good, then.

She hangs up.

MARGE
...You can sleep, hon. It's early
yet.

MAN
Gotta go?

MARGE
Yah.

The man swings his legs out.

MAN
I'll fix ya some eggs.

MARGE
That's okay, hon. I gotta run.

MAN
Gotta eat a breakfast, Marge. I'll
fix ya some eggs.

MARGE
Aw, you can sleep, hon.

MAN
Ya gotta eat a breakfast...

He clears his throat with another deep rumble.

MAN
...I'll fix ya some eggs.

MARGE
Aw, Norm.

PLATE

Leavings of a huge plate of eggs, ham, toast.

Wider, we see Marge now wearing a beige police uniform. A
patch on one arm says BRAINERD POLICE DEPARTMENT. She wears
a heavy belt holding a revolver, walkie-talkie and various
other jangling police impedimenta. Norm is in a dressing
gown.

MARGE
Thanks, hon. Time to shove off.

NORM
Love ya, Margie.

As she struggles into a parka:

MARGE
Love ya, hon.

He is exiting back to the bedroom; she exits out the front
door.

EXT. GUNDERSON HOUSE

Dawn. Marge is making her way down the icy front stoop to
her prowler.

INT. GUNDERSON HOUSE

Norm sits back onto the bed, shrugging off his robe. Offscreen
we hear the front door open.

FRONT DOOR

Marge stamps the snow off her shoes.

MARGE
Hon?

NORM
(off)
Yah?

MARGE
Prowler needs a jump.

HIGHWAY

Two police cars and an ambulance sit idling at the side of
the road, a pair of men inside each car.

The first car's driver door opens and a figure in a parka
emerges, holding two styrofoam cups. His partner leans across
the seat to close the door after him.

The reverse shows Marge approaching from her own squad car.

MARGE
Hiya, Lou.

LOU
Margie. Thought you might need a
little warm-up.

He hands her one of the cups of coffee.

MARGE
Yah, thanks a bunch. So what's the
deal, now? Gary says triple homicide?

LOU
Yah, looks pretty bad. Two of'm're
over here.

Marge looks around as they start walking.

MARGE
Where is everybody?

LOU
Well - it's cold, Margie.

BY THE WRECK

Laid out in the early morning light is the wrecked car, a
pair of footprints leading out to a man in a bright orange
parka face down in the bloodstained snow, and one pair of
footsteps leading back to the road.

Marge is peering into the car.

MARGE
Ah, geez. So... Aw, geez. Here's
the second one... It's in the head
and the... hand there, I guess that's
a defensive wound. Okay.

Marge looks up from the car.

MARGE
... Where's the state trooper?

Lou, up on the shoulder, jerks his thumb.

LOU
Back there a good piece. In the ditch
next to his prowler.

Marge looks around at the road.

MARGE
Okay, so we got a state trooper pulls
someone over, we got a shooting, and
these folks drive by, and we got a
high-speed pursuit, ends here, and
this execution-type deal.

LOU
Yah.

MARGE
I'd be very surprised if our suspect
was from Brainerd.

LOU
Yah.

Marge is studying the ground.

MARGE
Yah. And I'll tell you what, from
his footprints he looks like a big
fella -

Marge suddenly doubles over, putting her head between her
knees down near the snow.

LOU
Ya see something down there, Chief?

MARGE
Uh - I just, I think I'm gonna barf.

LOU
Geez, you okay, Margie?

MARGE
I'm fine - it's just morning sickness.

She gets up, sweeping snow from her knees.

MARGE
...Well, that passed.

LOU
Yah?

MARGE
Yah. Now I'm hungry again.

LOU
You had breakfast yet, Margie?

MARGE
Oh, yah. Norm made some eggs.

LOU
Yah? Well, what now, d'ya think?

MARGE
Let's go take a look at that trooper.

BY THE STATE TROOPER'S CAR

Marge's prowler is parked nearby.

Marge is on her hands and knees by a body down in the ditch,
again looking at footprints in the snow. She calls up to the
road:

MARGE
There's two of 'em, Lou!

LOU
Yah?

MARGE
Yah, this guy's smaller than his
buddy.

LOU
Oh, yah?

DOWN IN THE DITCH

In the foreground is the head of the state trooper, facing
us. Peering at it from behind, still on her hands and knees,
is Marge.

MARGE
For Pete's sake.

She gets up, clapping the snow off her hands, and climbs out
of the ditch.

LOU
How's it look, Marge?

MARGE
Well, he's got his gun on his hip
there, and he looks like a nice enough
guy. It's a real shame.

LOU
Yah.

MARGE
You haven't monkeyed with his car
there, have ya?

LOU
No way.

She is looking at the prowler, which still idles on the
shoulder.

MARGE
Somebody shut his lights. I guess
the little guy sat in there, waitin'
for his buddy t'come back.

LOU
Yah, woulda been cold out here.

MARGE
Heck, yah. Ya think, is Dave open
yet?

LOU
You don't think he's mixed up in -

MARGE
No, no, I just wanna get Norm some
night crawlers.

INT. PROWLER

Marge is driving; Lou sits next to her.

MARGE
You look in his citation book?

LOU
Yah...

He looks at his notebook.

LOU
...Last vehicle he wrote in was a
tan Ciera at 2:18 a.m. Under the
plate number he put DLR - I figure
they stopped him or shot him before
he could finish fillin' out the tag
number.

MARGE
Uh-huh.

LOU
So I got the state lookin' for a
Ciera with a tag startin' DLR. They
don't got no match yet.

MARGE
I'm not sure I agree with you a
hunnert percent on your policework,
there, Lou.

LOU
Yah?

MARGE
Yah, I think that vehicle there probly
had dealer plates. DLR?

LOU
Oh...

Lou gazes out the window, thinking.

LOU
...Geez.

MARGE
Yah. Say, Lou, ya hear the one about
the guy who couldn't afford
personalized plates, so he went and
changed his name to J2L 4685?

LOU
Yah, that's a good one.

MARGE
Yah.

THE ROAD

The police car enters with a whoosh and hums down a
straightruled empty highway, cutting a landscape of flat and
perfect white.

EMBERS FAMILY RESTAURANT

Jerry, Wade, and Stan Grossman sit in a booth, sipping coffee.
Outside the window, snow falls from a gunmetal sky.

WADE
- All's I know is, ya got a problem,
ya call a professional!

JERRY
No! They said no cops! They were
darned clear on that, Wade! They
said you call the cops and we -

WADE
Well, a course they're gonna say
that! But where's my protection?
They got Jean here! I give these
sons a bitches a million dollars,
where's my guarantee they're gonna
let her go.

JERRY
Well, they -

WADE
A million dollars is a lot a damn
money! And there they are, they got
my daughter!

JERRY
Yah, but think this thing through
here, Wade. Ya give 'em what they
want, why wont' they let her go?
You gotta listen to me on this one,
Wade.

WADE
Heck, you don't know! You're just
whistlin' Dixie here! I'm sayin',
the cops, they can advise us on this!
I'm sayin' call a professional!

JERRY
No! No cops! That's final! This is
my deal here, Wade! Jean is my wife
here!

STAN
I gotta tell ya, Wade, I'm leanin'
to Jerry's viewpoint here.

WADE
Well -

STAN
We gotta protect Jean. These -
we're not holdin' any cards here,
Wade, they got all of 'em. So they
call the shots.

JERRY
You're darned tootin'!

WADE
Ah, dammit!

STAN
I'm tellin' ya.

WADE
Well... Why don't we...

He saws a finger under his nose.

WADE
... Stan, I'm thinkin' we should
offer 'em half a million.

JERRY
Now come on here, no way, Wade! No
way!

STAN
We're not horse-trading here, Wade,
we just gotta bite the bullet on
this thing.

JERRY
Yah!

STAN
What's the next step here, Jerry?

JERRY
They're gonna call, give me
instructions for a drop. I'm supposed
to have the money ready tomorrow.

WADE
Dammit!

THE CASHIER

She rings up two dollars forty.

CASHIER
How was everything today?

JERRY
Yah, real good now.

PARKING LOT

Snow continues to fall. Jerry and Stan stand bundled in their
parkas and galoshes near a row of beached vehicles. Wade
sits behind the wheel of an idling Lincoln, waiting for Stan.

STAN
Okay. We'll get the money together.
Don't worry about it, Jerry. Now,
d'you want anyone at home, with you,
until they call?

JERRY
No, I - they don't want - they're
just s'posed to be dealin' with me,
they were real clear.

STAN
Yah.

Jerry pounds his mittened hands together against the cold.

JERRY
Ya know, they said no one listenin'
in, they'll be watchin', ya know.
Maybe it's all bull, but like you
said, Stan, they're callin' the shots.

STAN
Okay. And Scotty, is he gonna be all
right?

JERRY
Yah, geez, Scotty. I'll go talk to
him.

There is a tap at the horn from Wade, and Stan gets into the
Lincoln.

STAN
We'll call.

The Lincoln spits snow as it grinds out of the lot and
fishtails out onto the boulevard.

SCOTTY'S BEDROOM

Scotty lies on the bed, weeping. Jerry enters and perches
uncomfortably on the edge of his bed.

JERRY
...How ya doin' there, Scotty?

SCOTT
Dad! What're they doing? Wuddya think
they're doin' with Mom?

JERRY
It's okay, Scotty. They're not gonna
want to hurt her any. These men,
they just want money, see.

SCOTT
What if - what if sumpn goes wrong?

JERRY
No, no, nothin's goin' wrong here.
Grandad and I, we're - we're makin'
sure this gets handled right.

Scott snorfles and sits up.

SCOTT
Dad, I really think we should call
the cops.

JERRY
No! We can't let anyone know about
this thing! We gotta play ball with
these guys - you ask Stan Grossman,
he'll tell ya the same thing!

SCOTT
Yeah, but -

JERRY
We're gonna get Mom back for ya, but
we gotta play ball. Ya know, that's
the deal. Now if Lorraine calls, or
Sylvia, you just say that Mom is in
Florida with Pearl and Marty...

Scotty starts to weep again. Jerry stares down at his lap.

JERRY
...That's the best we can do here.

EXT. CABIN

It is a lakeside cabin surrounded by white. A brown Ciera
with dealer plates is pulling into the drive.

Grimsrud climbs out of the passenger seat as Carl climbs out
of the driver's. Grimsrud opens the back door and, with an
arm on her elbow, helps Jean out. She has her hands tied
behind her and a black hood over her head.

With a cry, she swings her elbow out of Grimsrud's grasp and
lurches away across the front lawn. Grimsrud moves to retrieve
her but Carl, grinning, lays a hand on his shoulder.

CARL
Hold it.

They both look out at the front lawn, Grimsrud expressionless,
Carl smiling.

With muffled cries, the hooded woman lurches across the
unbroken snow, staggering this way and that, stumbling on
the uneven terrain.

She stops, stands still, her hooded head swaying.

She lurches out in an arbitrary direction. Going downhill,
she reels, staggers, and falls face-first into the snow,
weeping.

CARL
Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Jesus!

Grimsrud, still expressionless, breaks away from Carl's
restraining hand to retrieve her.

BRAINERD POLICE HEADQUARTERS

We track behind Marge as she makes her way across the floor,
greeting various officers. She holds a small half-full paper
sack.

Beyond her we see a small glassed-in cublcle. Norm sits at
the desk inside with a box lunch spread out in front of him.
There is lettering on the cubicle's glass door: BRAINERD PD.
CHIEF GUNDERSON.

Marge enters and sits behind the desk, detaching her
walkietalkie from her utility belt to accomodate the seat.

MARGE
Hiya, hon.

She slides the paper sack toward him.

NORM
Brought ya some lunch, Margie.
What're those, night crawlers?

He looks inside.

The bottom of the sack is full of fat, crawling earthworms.

MARGE
Yah.

NORM
Thanks, hon.

MARGE
You bet. Thanks for lunch. What do
we got here, Arbie's?

NORM
Uh-huh.

She starts eating.

MARGE
...How's the paintin' goin'?

NORM
Pretty good. Found out the Hautmans
are entering a painting this year.

MARGE
Aw, hon, you're better'n them.

NORM
They're real good.

MARGE
They're good, Norm, but you're
better'n them.

NORM
Yah, ya think?

He leans over and kisses her.

MARGE
Ah, ya got Arbie's all o'er me.

Lou enters.

LOU
Hiya, Norm, how's the paintin' goin'?

NORM
Not too bad. You know.

MARGE
How we doin' on that vehicle?

LOU
No motels registered any tan Ciera
last night. But the night before,
two men checked into the Blue Ox
registering a Ciera and leavin' the
tag space blank.

MARGE
Geez, that's a good lead. The Blue
Ox, that's that trucker's joint out
there on I-35?

LOU
Yah. Owner was on the desk then,
said these two guys had company.

MARGE
Oh, yah?

EXT. STRIPPER CLUB

Marge's prowler is parked in an otherwise empty lot. Snow
drifts down.

INT. STRIPPER CLUB

Marge sits talking with two young women at one end of an
elevated dance platform. The club, not yet open for business,
is deserted.

MARGE
Where you girls from?

HOOKER ONE
Chaska.

HOOKER TWO
LeSeure. But I went to high school
in White Bear Lake.

MARGE
Okay, I want you to tell me what
these fellas looked like.

HOOKER ONE
Well, the little guy, he was kinda
funny-looking.

MARGE
In what way?

HOOKER ONE
I dunno. Just funny-looking.

MARGE
Can you be any more specific?

HOOKER ONE
I couldn't really say. He wasn't
circumcised.

MARGE
Was he funny-looking apart from that?

HOOKER ONE
Yah.

MARGE
So you were having sex with the little
fella, then?

HOOKER ONE
Uh-huh.

MARGE
Is there anything else you can tell
me about him?

HOOKER ONE
No. Like I say, he was funny-looking.
More'n most people even.

MARGE
And what about the other fella?

HOOKER TWO
He was a little older. Looked like
the Marlboro man.

MARGE
Yah?

HOOKER TWO
Yah. Maybe I'm sayin' that cause he
smoked Marlboros.

MARGE
Uh-huh.

HOOKER TWO
A subconscious-type thing.

MARGE
Yah, that can happen.

HOOKER TWO
Yah.

HOOKER ONE
They said they were goin' to the
Twin Cities?

MARGE
Oh, yah?

HOOKER TWO
Yah.

HOOKER ONE
Yah. Is that useful to ya?

MARGE
Oh, you bet, yah.

EXT. LAKESIDE CABIN

It is now dusk. The brown Ciera with dealer plates still
sits in the drive.

INT. CABIN

We track in on Jean Lundegaard, who sits tied in a chair
with the black hood still over her head. As we track in, we
hear inarticulate cursing, intermittent banging and loud
static.

We track in on Gaear Grimsrud, who sits smoking a cigarette
and expressionlessly gazing offscreen.

We track in on Carl Showalter, who stands over an old black-
and-white television. It plays nothing but snow. Carl is
banging on it as he mutters:

CARL
...days ...be here for days with a -
DAMMIT! - a goddamn mute... nothin'
to do... and the fucking - DAMMIT!...

Each "dammit" brings a pound of his fist on the TV.

CARL
...TV doesn't even ...plug me in,
man... Gimmee a - DAMMIT! - signal...
Plug me into the ozone, baby... Plug
me into the ozone - FUCK!...

With one last bang we cut:

BACK TO THE TELEVISION SET

In extreme close-up an insect is lugging a worm.

TV VOICE-OVER
The bark beetle carries the worm to
the nest... where it will feed its
young for up to six weeks...

A pull back from the screen reveals that we are in Marge's
house.

Marge and Norm are watching television in bed. From the TV
we hear insects chirring.

After a long beat, silence except for the TV, Marge murmurs,
still looking at the set:

MARGE
...Well, I'm turnin' in, Norm.

Also looking at the TV:

NORM
...Oh, yah?

Marge rolls over and Norm continues to watch.

We hold.

BLACK

Hold.

A snowflake drops through the black.

Another flake.

It starts snowing.

BRAINERD MAIN STREET

The lone traffic light blinks slowly, steadily, red. Snow
sifts down. There is no other movement.

PAUL BUNYAN

We are looking up at the bottom-lit statue. Snow falls.

HIGH SHOT OF MARGE'S HOUSE

Snow drops away.

HIGH SHOT IN MARGE'S BEDROOM

The bedroom is dark. Norm is snoring.

The phone rings.

Marge gropes in the dark.

MARGE
Hello?

VOICE
Yah, is this Marge?

MARGE
Yah?

VOICE
Margie Olmstead?

MARGE
...Well, yah. Who's this?

VOICE
This is Mike Yanagita. Ya know -
Mike Yanagita. Remember me?

MARGE
...Mike Yanagita!

MIKE
Yah!

Marge props herself up next to the still-sleeping Norm.

MARGE
Yah, yah, course I remember. How
are ya? What time is it?

MIKE
Oh, geez. It's quarter to eleven. I
hope I dint wake you.

MARGE
No, that's okay.

MIKE
Yah, I'm down in the Twin Cities and
I was just watching on TV about these
shootings up in Brainerd, and I saw
you on the news there.

MARGE
Yah.

MIKE
I thought, geez, is that Margie
Olmstead? I can't believe it!

MARGE
Yah, that's me.

MIKE
Well, how the heck are ya?

MARGE
Okay, ya know. Okay.

MIKE
Yah?

MARGE
Yah - how are you doon?

MIKE
Oh, pretty good.

MARGE
Heck, it's been such a long time,
Mike. It's great to hear from ya.

MIKE
Yah... Yah, yah. Geeze, Margie!

GUSTAFSON OLDS GARAGE

Jerry is on the sales floor, showing a customer a vehicle.

JERRY
Yah, ya got yer, this loaded here,
this has yer independent, uh, yer
slipped differential, uh, yer rack-
and-pinion steering, yer alarm and
radar, and I can give it to ya with
a heck of a sealant, this TruCoat
stuff, it'll keep the salt off -

CUSTOMER
Yah, I don't need no sealant though.

JERRY
Yah, you don't need that. Now were
you thinking of financing here? You
oughta be aware a this GMAC plan
they have now, it's really super -

ANOTHER SALESMAN
Jerry, ya got a call here.

JERRY
Yah, okay.

JERRY'S CUBICLE

He sits in and picks up his phone.

JERRY
Jerry Lundegaard.

VOICE
All right, Jerry, you got this phone
to yourself?

JERRY
Well... yah.

VOICE
Know who this is?

JERRY
Well, yah, I got an idea. How's that
Ciera workin' out for ya?

VOICE
Circumstances have changed, Jerry.

JERRY
Well, what do ya mean?

VOICE
Things have changed. Circumstances,
Jerry. Beyond the, uh... acts of
God, force majeure..

JERRY
What the - how's Jean?

A beat.

CARL
...Who's Jean?

JERRY
My wife! What the - how's -

CARL
Oh, Jean's okay. But there's three
people up in Brainerd who aren't so
okay, I'll tell ya that.

JERRY
What the heck're you talkin' about?
Let's just finish up this deal here -

CARL
Blood has been shed, Jerry.

Jerry sits dumbly. The voice solemnly repeats:

CARL
...Blood has been shed.

JERRY
What the heck d'ya mean?

CARL
Three people. In Brainerd.

JERRY
Oh, geez.

CARL
That's right. And we need more money.

JERRY
The heck d'ya mean? What a you guys
got yourself mixed up in?

CARL
We need more -

JERRY
This was s'posed to be a no-rough
stuff-type deal -

CARL
DON'T EVER INTERRUPT ME, JERRY!
JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP!

JERRY
Well, I'm sorry, but I just - I -

CARL
Look. I'm not gonna debate you, Jerry.
The price is now the whole amount.
We want the entire eighty thousand.

JERRY
Oh, for Chrissakes here -

CARL
Blood has been shed. We've incurred
risks, Jerry. I'm coming into town
tomorrow. Have the money ready.

JERRY
Now we had a deal here! A deal's a
deal!

CARL
IS IT, JERRY? You ask those three
pour souls up in Brainerd if a deal's
a deal! Go ahead, ask 'em!

JERRY
...The heck d'ya mean?

CARL
I'll see you tomorrow.

Click.

Jerry slams down the phone, which immediately rings. He
angrily snatches it up.

JERRY
Yah!

VOICE
Jerome Lundegaard?

JERRY
Yah!

VOICE
This is Reilly Deifenbach at GMAC.
Sir, I have not yet received those
vehicle IDs you promised me.

JERRY
Yah! I... those are in the mail.

VOICE
Mr. Lundegaard, that very well may
be. I must inform you, however, that
absent the receipt of those numbers
by tomorrow afternoon, I will have
to refer this matter to our legal
department.

JERRY
Yah.

VOICE
My patience is at an end.

JERRY
Yah.

VOICE
Good day, sir.

JERRY
...Yah.

WIDE ON THE CUBICLE

We are looking at Jerry's cubicle from across the showroom.
Noise muted by distance, we watch Jerry slam down the
receiver, rise to his feet, fling the phone to the floor,
raise his desk blotter high over his head with pens and
pencils rolling off it and slam it onto his desktop.

He stands for a moment, hands on hips, glaring. He stoops
and picks up the phone, places it back on the desktop, starts
picking up the pens and pencils.

TRACK

On steam-table bins of food, each identified by a plaque:
BEEF STROGANOFF, SWEDISH MEATBALLS, BROILED TORSK, CHICKEN
FLORENTINE.

A complementary track shows two rays being pushed along a
buffet line, piled high with many foods.

MARGE AND NORM AT A TABLE

They sit next to each other at a long cafeteria-style Formica
table, silently eating.

A hip with a hissing walkie-talkie enters frame.

GARY
Hiya, Norm. How ya doin', Margie?
How's the fricassee?

MARGE
Pretty darn good, ya want some?

GARY
No, I gotta - hey, Norm, I thought
you were goin' fishin' up at Mile
Lacs?

NORM
Yah, after lunch.

He goes back to his food.

MARGE
Whatcha got there?

Gary hands her a flimsy. Marge takes it with one hand and
looks, her other hand frozen with a forkful of food.

GARY
The numbers y'asked for, calls made
from the lobby pay phone at the Blue
Ox. Two to Minneapolis that night.

MARGE
Mm.

GARY
First one's a trucking company, second
one's a private residence. A Shep
Proudfoot.

MARGE
Uh-huh... A what?

GARY
Shep Proudfoot. That's a name.

MARGE
Uh-huh.

GARY
Yah.

MARGE
...Yah, okay, I think I'll drive
down there, then.

GARY
Oh, yah? Twin Cities?

Norm, who has been eating steadily throughout, looks over at
Marge with mild interest. He stares for a beat as he finishes
chewing, and them swallows and says:

NORM
...Oh, yah?

KITCHEN OF LUNDEGAARD HOUSE

Jerry, Wade, and Stan Grossman sit around the kitchen table.
It is night. The scene is harshly toplit by a hanging fixture.
On the table are the remains of coffee and a cinnamon filbert
ring.

WADE
Dammit! I wanna be a part a this
thing!

JERRY
No, Wade! They were real clear!
They said they'd call tomorrow, with
instructions, and it's gonna be
delivered by me alone!

WADE
It's my money, I'll deliver it -
what do they care?

STAN
Wade's got a point there. I'll handle
the call if you want, Jerry.

JERRY
No, no. See - they, no, see, they
only deal with me. Ya feel this,
this nervousness on the phone there,
they're very - these guys're dangerous -

WADE
All the more reason! I don't want
you - with all due respect, Jerry -
I don't want you mucking this up.

JERRY
The heck d'ya mean?

WADE
They want my money, they can deal
with me. Otherwise I'm goin' to a
professional. He points at a
briefcase.

WADE
...There's a million dollars here!

JERRY
No, see -

WADE
Look, Jerry, you're not sellin' me a
damn car. It's my show here. That's
that.

STAN
It's the way we prefer to handle it,
Jerry.

THE DOWNTOWN RADISSON HOTEL

Marge is at the reception desk.

MARGE
How ya doin'?

CLERK
Real good. How're you today, ma'am?

MARGE
Real good. I'm Mrs. Gunderson, I
have a reservation.

The clerk types into a computer console.

CLERK
You sure do, Mrs. Gunderson.

MARGE
Is there a phone down here, ya think?

LOBBY CORNER

Marge is on a public phone.

MARGE
...Detective Sibert? Yah, this is
Marge Gunderson from up Brainerd, we
spoke - Yah. Well, actually I'm in
town here. I had to do a few things
in the Twin Cities, so I thought I'd
check in with ya about that USIF
search on Shep Proudfoot... Oh,
yah?... Well, maybe I'll go visit
with him if I have the... No, I can
find that... Well, thanks a bunch.
Say, d'ya happen to know a good place
for lunch in the downtown area?...
Yah, the Radisson... Oh, yah? Is it
reasonable?

GREEN FREEWAY SIGN

Through a windshield we see a sign for the MINNEAPOLIS
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.

ROOFTOP PARKING LOT

The brown Ciera enters and drives lazy S-curves around the
few snow-covered cars parked on the roof of the lot.

It stops by one car and Carl emerges. He quickly scans the
lot, then kneels in the snow at the back of the parked car
and starts unscrewing its license plate.

EXIT BOOTH

Carl pulls up and hands the attendant his ticket.

CARL
Yeah, I decided not to park here.

The attendant frowns uncomprehendingly at the ticket.

ATTENDANT
...What do you mean, you decided not
to park here?

CARL
Yeah, I just came in. I decided not
to park here.

The attendant is still puzzled.

ATTENDANT
You, uh... I'm sorry, sir, but -

CARL
I decided not to - I'm, uh, not taking
the trip as it turns out.

ATTENDANT
I'm sorry, sir, we do have to charge
you the four dollars.

CARL
I just pulled in here. I just fucking
pulled in here!

ATTENDANT
Well, see, there's a minimum charge
of four dollars. Long-term parking
charges by the day.

A car behind beeps. Carl glances back, starts digging for
money.

CARL
I guess you think, ya know, you're
an authority figure. With that stupid
fucking uniform. Huh, buddy?

The attendant doesn't say anything.

CARL
...King Clip-on Tie here. Big fucking
man.

He is peeling off one dollar bills.

CARL
...You know, these are the limits of
your life, man. Ruler of your little
fucking gate here. There's your four
dollars. You pathetic piece of shit.

GUSTAFSON OLDS GARAGE

Jerry is staring up, mouth agape, at the underside of a car
on a hydraulic lift. Bewildered, he looks about, then asks a
mechanic passing by, his voice raised over the din of the
shop.

JERRY
Where's Shep?

The mechanic points.

MECHANIC
Talkin' to a cop.

Jerry looks.

JERRY
...Cop?

Marge and Shep face each other at the other end of the floor
in a grimy and cluttered glassed-in cubicle.

MECHANIC
Said she was a policewoman.

Marge and Shep silently talk. Jerry stares, swallows.

INSIDE THE CUBICLE

MARGE
- Wednesday night?

Shep is shaking his head.

SHEP
Nope.

MARGE
Well, you do reside their at 1425
Fremont Terrace?

SHEP
Yep.

MARGE
Anyone else residing there?

SHEP
Nope.

MARGE
Well, Mr. Proudfoot, this call came
in past three in the morning. It's
just hard for me to believe you can't
remember anyone calling.

Shep says nothing.

MARGE
...Now, I know you've had some
problems, struggling with the
narcotics, some other entanglements,
currently on parole -

SHEP
So?

MARGE
Well, associating with criminals, if
you're the one they talked to, that
right there would be a violation of
your parole and would end with you
back in Stillwater.

SHEP
Uh-huh.

MARGE
Now, I saw some rough stuff on your
priors, but nothing in the nature of
a homicide...

Shep stares at her.

MARGE
...I know you don't want to be an
accessory to something like that.

SHEP
Nope.

MARGE
So you think you might remember who
those folks were who called ya?

JERRY'S OFFICE

Jerry is worriedly pacing behind his desk. At a noise he
looks up.

Marge has stuck her head in the door.

MARGE
Mr. Lundegaard?

JERRY
Huh? Yah?

MARGE
I wonder if I could take just a minute
of your time here -

JERRY
What... What is it all about?

MARGE
Huh? Do you mind if I sit down - I'm
carrying quite a load here.

Marge plops into the chair opposite him.

MARGE
...You're the owner here, Mr.
Lundegaard?

JERRY
Naw, I... Executive Sales Manager.

MARGE
Well, you can help me. My name's
Marge Gunderson -

JERRY
My father-in-law, he's the owner.

MARGE
Uh-huh. Well, I'm a police officer
from up Brainerd investigating some
malfeasance and I was just wondering
if you've had any new vehicles stolen
off the lot in the past couple of
weeks - specifically a tan Cutlass
Ciera?

Jerry stares at her, his mouth open.

MARGE
...Mr. Lundegaard?

JERRY
...Brainerd?

MARGE
Yah. Yah. Home a Paul Bunyan and
Babe the Blue Ox.

JERRY
...Babe the Blue Ox?

MARGE
Yah, ya know we've got the big statue
there. So you haven't had any vehicles
go missing, then?

JERRY
No. No, ma'am.

MARGE
Okey-dokey, thanks a bunch. I'll let
you get back to your paperwork, then.

As Marge rises, Jerry looks blankly down at the papers on
the desk in front of him.

JERRY
...Yah, okay.

He looks up at Marge's retreating back. He looks back down
at the papers. He looks over at the phone.

He picks up the phone and dials four digits.

JERRY
...Yah, gimmee Shep... The heck d'ya
mean?... Well, where'd he go? It's
only... No, I don't need a mechanic -
oh, geez - I gotta talk to a friend
of his, so, uh... have him, uh...
oh, geez...

HOTEL BAR

Marge enters. She looks around the bar, a rather
characterless, lowlit meeting place for business people.

VOICE
Marge?

It is a bald, paunching man of about Marge's age, rising
from a booth halfway back. His features are broad, friendly,
Asian-American.

MARGE
Mike!

He approaches somewhat carefully, as if on his second drink.
They hug and head back toward the booth.

MIKE
Geez! You look great!

MARGE
Yah - easy there - you do too! I'm
expecting, ya know.

MIKE
I see that! That's great!

A waitress meets them at the table.

MIKE
...What can I get ya?

MARGE
Just a Diet Coke.

Again she glances about.

MARGE
...This is a nice place.

MIKE
Yah, ya know it's the Radisson, so
it's pretty good.

MARGE
You're livin' in Edina, then?

MIKE
Oh, yah, couple years now. It's
actually Eden Prarie - that school
district. So Chief Gunderson, then!
So ya went and married Norm Son-of-
a-Gunderson!

MARGE
Oh, yah, a long time ago.

MIKE
Great. What brings ya down - are
ya down here on that homicide - if
you're allowed, ya know, to discuss
that?

MARGE
Oh, yah, but there's not a heckuva
lot to discuss. What about you, Mike?
Are you married - you have kids?

MIKE
Well, yah, I was married. I was
married to - You mind if I sit over
here?

He is sliding out of his side of the booth and easing in
next to Marge.

MIKE
...I was married to Linda Cooksey -

MARGE
No, I - Mike - wyncha sit over there,
I'd prefer that.

MIKE
Huh? Oh, okay, I'm sorry.

MARGE
No, just so I can see ya, ya know.
Don't have to turn my neck.

MIKE
Oh, sure, I unnerstand, I didn't
mean to -

MARGE
No, no, that's fine.

MIKE
Yah, sorry, so I was married to Linda
Cooksey - ya remember Linda? She
was a year behind us.

MARGE
I think I remember Linda, yah. She
was - yah. So things didn't work
out, huh?

MIKE
And then I, and then I been workin'
for Honeywell for a few years now.

MARGE
Well, they're a good outfit.

MIKE
Yah, if you're an engineer, yah, you
could do a lot worse. Of course,
it's not, uh, it's nothin' like your
achievement.

MARGE
It sounds like you're doin' really
super.

MIKE
Yah, well, I, uh... it's not that it
didn't work out - Linda passed away.
She, uh...

MARGE
I'm sorry.

MIKE
Yah, I, uh... She had leukemia, you
know...

MARGE
No, I didn't...

MIKE
It was a tough, uh... it was a long -
She fought real hard, Marge...

MARGE
I'm sorry, Mike.

MIKE
Oh, ya know, that's, uh - what can I
say?...

He holds up his drink.

MIKE
...Better times, huh?

Marge clinks it.

MARGE
Better times.

MIKE
I was so... I been so... and then I
saw you on TV, and I remembered, ya
know... I always liked you...

MARGE
Well, I always liked you, Mike.

MIKE
I always liked ya so much...

MARGE
It's okay, Mike - Should we get
together another time, ya think?

MIKE
No - I'm sorry! It's just - I been
so lonely - then I saw you, and...

He is weeping.

MIKE
...I'm sorry... I shouldn't a done
this... I thought we'd have a really
terrific time, and now I've...

MARGE
It's okay...

MIKE
You were such a super lady... and
then I... I been so lonely...

MARGE
It's okay, Mike...

CARLTON CELEBRITY ROOM

Carl Showalter is sitting at a small table with a tartylooking
blonde in a low-cut gown. Each holds a drink.

CARL
Just in town on business. Just in
and out. Ha ha! A little of the old
in-and-out!

WOMAN
Wuddya do? Carl looks around.

CARL
Have ya been to the Celebrity Room
before? With other, uh, clients?

WOMAN
I don't think so. It's nice.

CARL
Yeah, well, it depends on the artist.
You know, Jose Feliciano, ya got no
complaints. Waiter!

The reverse shows a disappearing waiter and the backs of
many, many people sitting at tables between us and the very
distant stage. Jose Feliciano, very small, performs on a
spotlit stool. The acoustics are poor.

Carl grimaces.

CARL
... What is he, deaf?... So, uh, how
long have you been with the escort
service?

WOMAN
I don't know. Few munce.

CARL
Ya find the work interesting, do ya?

WOMAN
...What're you talking about?

A DIRTY BEDROOM

Carl is humping the escort. We hear the door burst open.
The escort is grabbed and flung out of bed.

CARL
Shep! What the hell are you doing?
I'm banging that girl! Shep! Jesus
Ch-

Shep slaps him hard, forehand, backhand.

SHEP
Fuck out of my house!

He hauls him up -

CARL
Shep! Don't you dare fucking hit me,
man! Don't you -

- punches him and flings him away.

Carl hits a sofa and we see his bare legs disappear as he
flips back over it.

Shep enters frame to circle the sofa and kick at Carl behind
it.

SHEP
Fuck outta here. Put me back in
Stillwater. Little fucking shit.

There is a knock at the door.

VOICE
Hey! Come on in there!

Shep strides to the door, flings it open.

A man in boxer shorts stands in the doorway.

MAN
C'mon, brother, it's late - Unghh!

Shep hits him twice, then grabs both of his ears and starts
banging his head against the wall.

The hooker runs by, clutching her clothes, and Shep kicks
her in the ass as she passes.

He spins and goes back into the apartment.

Carl is hopping desperately into his pants.

CARL
Stay away from me, man! Hey! Smoke
a fuckin' peace pipe, man! Don't
you dare fuckin' - Unghh!

After hitting him several times, Shep yanks Carl's belt out
of his dangling pants and strangles him with it. Carl gurgles.
Shep knees Carl repeatedly, then dumps him onto the floor
and starts whipping him with the buckle end of the belt.

CHAIN RESTAURANT PHONE BOOTH

Carl listens to the phone ring at the other end. His face is
deeply bruised and cut.

Finally, through the phone...

VOICE
... Yah?

CARL
All right, Jerry, I'm through fucking
around. You got the fucking money?

JERRY'S KITCHEN

Jerry is at the kitchen phone. Through the door to the dining
room we see Wade picking up an extension.

JERRY
Yah, I got the money, but, uh -

CARL
Don't you fucking but me, Jerry. I
want you with this money on the Dayton-
Radisson parking ramp, top level,
thirty minutes, and we'll wrap this
up.

JERRY
Yah, okay, but, uh -

CARL
You're there in thirty minutes or I
find you, Jerry, and I shoot you,
and I shoot your fucking wife, and I
shoot all your little fucking
children, and I shoot 'em all in the
back of their little fucking heads.
Got it?

JERRY
...Yah, well, you stay away from
Scotty now -

CARL
GOT IT?

JERRY
Okay, real good, then.

The line goes dead. A door slams offscreen.

EXT. HOUSE

Wade, briefcase in hand, gets into his Cadillac, slams the
door and peels out.

INT. CAR

Wade's jaw works as he glares out at traffic. He mumbles to
himself as he drives.

WADE
Okay... here's your damn money, now
where's my daughter?... Goddamn
punk... where's my damn daughter...

He pulls out a gun, cracks the barrel, peers in.

WADE
...You little punk.

JERRY'S HOUSE

Jerry sits in the foyer, trying to pull on pair of galoshes.
Scotty's voice comes from upstairs:

VOICE
...Dad?

JERRY
It's okay, Scotty.

VOICE
Where're you going?

JERRY
Be back in a minute. If Stan calls
you, just tell him I went to Embers.
Oh, geez -

Thunk! - his first boot goes on.

RADISSON

Marge sits on the bed in her hotel room, shoes off, massaging
her feet. The phone is pressed to her ear, and through it,
we hear ringing.

VOICE
...Hello?

MARGE
Norm?

MILLE LACS LAKE

It is late evening, blowing storm. A leisurely pan across
the bleak gray expanse finds a little hut in the middle of
the frozen lake with a pickup truck parked next to it.

MARGE'S VOICE
They bitin'?

INT. HUT

Norm has a cellular phone to his ear. His feet are stretched
out to an electric heater. The interior is bathed in soft
orange light.

NORM
Yah, okay. How's the hotel?

MARGE
Oh, pretty good. They bitin'?

NORM
Yeah, couple a muskies. No pike yet.
How d'you feel?

MARGE
Oh, fine.

NORM
Not on your feet too much?

MARGE
No, no.

NORM
You shouldn't be on your feet too
much, you got weight you're not used
too. How's the food down there?

MARGE
Had dinner at a place called the
King's Table. Buffet style. It was
pretty darn good.

NORM
Was it reasonable?

MARGE
Yah, not too bad. So it's nice up
there?

NORM
Yah, it's good. No pike yet, but
it's good.

DAYTON-RADISSON RAMP

The top, open, level. Snow blows. A car sits idling.

Another car pulls onto the roof. It creeps over to the parked
car and stops. It continues to idle as its door opens and
Wade steps out, carrying the briefcase.

The door of the other car bangs open and Carl bounces out.

CARL
Who the fuck are you? Who the fuck
are you?

WADE
I got your goddamn money, you little
punk. Now where's my daughter?

CARL
I am through fucking around! Drop
that fucking briefcase!

WADE
Where's my daughter?

CARL
Fuck you, man! Where's Jerry? I gave
SIMPLE FUCKING INSTRUCTIONS -

WADE
Where's my damn daughter? No Jean,
no money!

CARL
Drop that fucking money!

WADE
No Jean, no money!

CARL
Is this a fucking joke here?

He pulls out a gun and fires into Wade's gut.

CARL
...Is this a fucking joke?

WADE
Unghh... oh, geez...

He is on the pavement, clutching at his gut. Snow swirls.

CARL
You fucking imbeciles!

He bends down next to Wade to pick up the briefcase.

WADE
Oh, for Christ... oh, geez...

Wade brings out his gun and fires at Carl's head, close by.

CARL
Oh!

Carl stumbles and falls back, and then stands up again. His
jaw is spouting blood.

CARL
...Owwmm...

One hand pressed to his jaw, he fires down at Wade several
times. Blood streams through the hand pressed to his jaw.

CARL
...Mmmmmphnck! He fnkem shop me...

He pockets the gun, picks up the briefcase one-handed, flings
it into his car, gets in, peels out.

DOWN RAMP

Carl screams down the ramp. He takes a corner at high speed
and swerves, just missing Jerry in his Olds on his way to
the top.

INT. JERRY'S CAR

Jerry recovers from the near miss and continues up.

JERRY
Oh, geez!

EXIT BOOTH

Carl squeals to a halt at the gate, still pressing his hand
to his bleeding jaw.

CARL
Ophhem ma fuchem gaphe!

ATTENDANT
May I have your ticket, please?

RAMP ROOF

Jerry pulls to a halt next to Wade's idling Cadillac. He
gets out and walks slowly to Wade's body, prostrate in the
swirling snow.

JERRY
Oh! Oh, geez!

He bends down, picks Wade up by the armpits and drags him
over to the back of the Cadillac. He drops Wade's body, walks
to the driver's side of the car, pulls the keys and walks
back to pop the trunk. He wrestles Wade's body into the trunk,
slams it shut and walks back to the scene of the shooting.

He kicks at the snow with his galoshed feet, trying to hide
the fresh bloodstains.

EXIT BOOTH

Jerry approaches in the Cadillac.

The wooden gate barring the exit has been broken away. The
booth is empty.

Jerry eases toward the street, looking over at the booth as
he passes.

Inside the booth we see the awkwardly angled leg of a
prostrate body.

EXT. JERRY'S HOUSE

The car pulls into the driveway.

FOYER

Jerry enters and sits on the foyer chair to take off his
galoshes.

SCOTT'S VOICE
...Dad?

JERRY
Yah.

SCOTT'S VOICE
Stan Grossman called.

JERRY
Yah, okay.

SCOTT'S VOICE
Twice.

JERRY
Okay.

SCOTT'S VOICE
...Is everything okay?

JERRY
Yah.

Thoonk - the first boot comes off.

SCOTT'S VOICE
Are you calling Stan?

JERRY
Well... I'm goin' ta bed now.

CARL'S CAR

Carl mumbles as he drives, underlit by the dim dash lights,
one hand now holding a piece of rag to his shredded jaw.

CARL
...Fnnkn ashlzh... Fnk...

ROAD

Carl's car roars into frame, violently swirling the snow.
Its red tail lights fishtail away.

FADE OUT

HOLD IN BLACK

HARD CUT TO: BRIGHT - LOOKING THROUGH A WINDSHIELD

It is a starkly sunny day. We are cruising down a street of
humble lookalike houses.

We pan right as we draw toward one house in particular. In
its driveway a man in a hooded parka shovels snow. He notices
the approaching car and gives its driver a wave.

The driver is Gary, the Brainerd police officer. He gives a
finger-to-the-head salute and pulls over.

OUTSIDE

Gary slams his door shut and the other man plants his shovel
in the snow.

MAN
How ya doin'?

GARY
Mr. Mohra?

MAN
Yah.

GARY
Officer Olson.

MAN
Yah, right-o.

The two men caucus the driveway without shaking hands and
without standing particularly close. They stand stiffly,
arms down at their sides and breath streaming out of their
parka hoods. Each has an awkward leaning-away posture, head
drawn slightly back and chin tucked in, to keep his face
from protruding into the cold.

MAN
...So, I'm tendin' bar there at
Ecklund & Swedlin's last Tuesday and
this little guy's drinkin' and he
says, 'So where can a guy find some
action - I'm goin' crazy down there
at the lake.' And I says, 'What
kinda action?' and he says, 'Woman
action, what do I look like,' And I
says 'Well, what do I look like, I
don't arrange that kinda thing,' and
he says, 'I'm goin' crazy out there
at the lake' and I says, 'Well, this
ain't that kinda place.'

GARY
Uh-huh.

MAN
So he says, 'So I get it, so you
think I'm some kinda jerk for askin','
only he doesn't use the word jerk.

GARY
I unnerstand.

MAN
And then he calls me a jerk and says
the last guy who thought he was a
jerk was dead now. So I don't say
nothin' and he says, 'What do ya
think about that?' So I says, 'Well,
that don't sound like too good a
deal for him then.'

GARY
Ya got that right.

MAN
And he says, 'Yah, that guy's dead
and I don't mean a old age.' And
then he says, 'Geez, I'm goin' crazy
out there at the lake.'

GARY
White Bear Lake?

MAN
Well, Ecklund & Swedlin's, that's
closer ta Moose Lake, so I made that
assumption.

GARY
Oh sure.

MAN
So, ya know, he's drinkin', so I
don't think a whole great deal of
it, but Mrs. Mohra heard about the
homicides out here and she thought I
should call it in, so I called it
in. End a story.

GARY
What'd this guy look like anyways?

MAN
Oh, he was a little guy, kinda funny-
lookin'.

GARY
Uh-huh - in what way?

MAN
Just a general way.

GARY
Okay, well, thanks a bunch, Mr.
Mohra. You're right, it's probably
nothin', but thanks for callin' her
in.

MAN
Oh sure. They say she's gonna turn
cold tomorrow.

GARY
Yah, got a front movin' in.

MAN
Ya got that right.

CLOSE ON CARL SHOWALTER

In his car, now parked, one hand holding the rag pressed to
his mangled jaw. He is staring down at something in the front
seat next to him.

His other hand holds open the briefcase. It has money inside -
a lot of money.

Carl unfreezes, takes out one of the bank-wrapped wads and
looks at it.

CARL
...Mmmnphh.

He paws through the money in the briefcase to get a feeling
for the amount.

CARL
... Jeshush Shrist... Jeshush fuchem
Shrist!

Excited, he counts out a bundle of bills and tosses it onto
the back seat.

He starts to take the rag away from his chin but the layer
pressed against his face sticks, its loose weave bound to
his skin by clotted blood.

He pulls very gently and winces as blood starts to flow again.

He carefully tears the rag in half so that only a bit of it
remains adhering to his jaw.

EXT. CAR

It is pulled over to the side of an untraveled road. THe
door opens and Carl emerges with the briefcase. He slogs
through the snow, down a gulley and up the embankment to a
barbed-wire fence. He kneels at one of the fence posts and
frantically digs into the snow with his bare hands, throws
in the briefcase and covers it back up.

He stands and tries to beat the circulation back into his
red, frozen hands.

He looks to the right.

A regular line of identical fence posts stretches away against
unblemished white.

He looks to the left.

A regular line of identical fence posts stretches away against
unblemished white.

He looks at the fence post in front of him.

CARL
Mmmphh...

He looks about the snowy vastness for a marker. Finding none,
he kicks the fence post a couple of times, failing to scar
or tilt it, then hurriedly plants a couple of sicks up against
the post.

He bends down, scoops up a handful of snow, presses it against
his wounded jaw, and lopes back to the idling car.

HOTEL ROOM

Marge has a packed overnight back sitting on the unmade bed.
She is ready to leave, already wearing her parka, but is on
the phone.

MARGE
No, I'm leavin' this mornin', back
up to Brainerd.

VOICE
Well, I'm sorry I won't see ya.

MARGE
Mm. But ya think he's all right?
saw him last night and he's -

VOICE
What'd he say?

MARGE
Well, it was nothin' specific he
said, it just seemd like it all hit
him really hard, his wife dyin' -

VOICE
His wife?

MARGE
Linda.

VOICE
No.

MARGE
Linda Cooksey?

VOICE
No. No. No. They weren't - he, uh,
he was bothering Linda for about,
oh, for a good year. Really pestering
her, wouldn't leave her alone.

MARGE
So... they didn't...

VOICE
No. No. They never married. Mike's
had psychiatric problems.

MARGE
Oh. Oh, my.

VOICE
Yah, he - he's been struggling.
He's living with his parents now.

MARGE
Oh. Geez.

VOICE
Yah, Linda's fine. You should call
her.

MARGE
Geez. Well - geez. That's a suprise.

MARGE'S CAR

Marge drives, gazing out at the road.

MARGE AT A DRIVE-THROUGH

She leans out of her open window and yells at the order panel:

MARGE
Hello?

MARGE AT THE GUSTAFSON OLDS GARAGE

She sits in the lot, eating a breakfast sandwich.

JERRY LUNDEGAARD'S OFFICE

Jerry is at his desk using a blunt pencil to enter numbers
onto a form. Beneath the form is a piece of carbon paper and
beneath that another form copy, which Jerry periodically
checks. The carbon-copy form shows thick smudgy, illegible
entries.

Jerry hums nervously.

Glass rattles as someone taps at his door.

Jerry looks up and freezes, mouth hanging open, brow knit
with worry. Marge sticks her head in the door.

MARGE
Mr. Lundegaard? Sorry to bother you
again. Can I come in?

She starts to enter.

JERRY
Yah, no, I'm kinda - I'm kinda
busy -

MARGE
I unnerstand. I'll keep it real short,
then. I'm on my way out of town, but
I was just - Do you mind if I sit
down? I'm carrying a bit of a load
here.

JERRY
No, I -

But she is already sitting into the chair opposite with a
sigh of relieved weight.

MARGE
Yah, it's this vehicle I asked you
about yesterday. I was just wondering -

JERRY
Yah, like I told ya, we haven't had
any vehicles go missing.

MARGE
Okay, are you sure, cause, I mean,
how do you know? Because, see, the
crime I'm investigating, the
perpetrators were driving a car with
dealer plates. And they called someone
who works here, so it'd be quite a
coincidence if they weren't, ya know,
connected.

JERRY
Yah, I see.

MARGE
So how do you - have you done any
kind of inventory recently?

JERRY
The car's not from our lot, ma'am.

MARGE
but do you know that for sure without -

JERRY
Well, I would know. I'm the Executive
Sales Manager.

MARGE
Yah, but -

JERRY
We run a pretty tight ship here.

MARGE
I know, but - well, how do you
establish that, sir? Are the cars,
uh, counted daily or what kind of -

JERRY
Ma'am, I answered your question.

There is a silent beat.

MARGE
... I'm sorry, sir?

JERRY
Ma'am, I answered your question. I
answered the darn - I'm cooperating
here, and I...

MARGE
Sir, you have no call to get snippy
with me. I'm just doin' my job here.

JERRY
I'm not, uh, I'm not arguin' here.
I'm cooperating... There's no, uh -
we're doin' all we can...

He trails off into silence.

MARGE
Sir, could I talk to Mr. Gustafson?

Jerry stares at her.

MARGE
... Mr. Lundegaard?

Jerry explodes:

JERRY
Well, heck, if you wanna, if you
wanna play games here! I'm workin'
with ya on this thing, but I...

He is getting angrily off his feet.

JERRY
Okay, I'll do a damned lot count!

MARGE
Sir? Right now?

JERRY
Sure right now! You're darned tootin'!

He is yanking his parka from a hook behind the opened door
and grabbing a pair of galoshes.

JERRY
...If it's so damned important to
ya!

MARGE
I'm sorry, sir, I -

Jerry has the parka slung over one arm and the galoshes
pinched in his hand.

JERRY
Aw, what the Christ!

He stamps out the door.

Marge stares.

After a long moment her stare breaks. She glances idly around
the office.

There is a framed picture facing away from her on the desktop.
She turns it to face her. It is Scotty, holding an accordion.
There is another picture of Jean.

Marge looks at it, looks around, for some reason, at the
ceiling.

She looks at a trophy shelf on the wall behind her.

She fiddles idly with a pencil. She pulls a clipboard toward
her. It holds a form from the General Motors Finance
Corporation.

She looks idly around. Her look abruptly locks.

MARGE
...Oh, for Pete's sake.

Jerry is easing his car around the near corner of the
building.

Marge's voice is flat with dismay:

MARGE
...Oh, for Pete's sake...

She grabs the phone and punches in a number.

MARGE
...For Pete's s- he's fleein' the
interview. He's feelin' the
interview...

Jerry makes a left turn into traffic.

MARGE
... Detective Sibert, please...

POLICE OFFICER

We are looking across a steam table at a man in blue. He
moves slowly to the right, pushing his tray along a cafeteria
line. Behind him, in the depth of the room, is an eating
area of long Formica tables at which sit a mix of uniformed
and civilian-clothed police and staff.

We are listening to an offscreen woman's voice.

WOMAN
Well, so far we're just saying he's
wanted for questioning in connection
with a triple homicide. Nobody at
the dealship there's been much help
guessing where he might go...

The woman is entering frame sliding a tray. Marge enters
behind her, sliding her own. We move laterally with them as
they slowly make their way along the line.

MARGE
Uh-huh.

WOMAN
We called his house; his little boy
said he hadn't been there.

MARGE
And his wife?

WOMAN
She's visiting relatives in Florida.
Now his boss, this guy Gustafson,
he's also disappeared. Nobody at his
office knows where he is.

MARGE
Geez. Looks like this thing goes
higher than we thought. You call his
home?

WOMAN
His wife's in the hospital, has been
for a couple months. The big C.

MARGE
Oh, my.

WOMAN
And this Shep Proudfoot character,
he's a little darling. He's now wanted
for assault and parole violation. He
clobbered a neighbor of his last
night and another person who could
be one of your perps, and he's at
large.

MARGE
Boy, this thing is really... geez.

WOMAN
Well, they're all out on the wire.
Well, you know...

MARGE
Yah. Well, I just can't thank you
enough, Detective Sibert, this
cooperation has been outstanding.

DETECTIVE SIBERT
Ah, well, we haven't had to run around
like you. When're you due?

MARGE
End a April.

DETECTIVE SIBERT
Any others?

MARGE
This'll be our first. We've been
waiting a long time.

DETECTIVE SIBERT
That's wonderful. Mm-mm. It'll change
your life, a course.

MARGE
Oh, yah, I know that!

DETECTIVE SIBERT
They can really take over, that's
for sure.

MARGE
You have children?

Detective Sibert pulls an accordion of plastic picture sleeves
from her purse to show Marge.

DETECTIVE SIBERT
I thought you'd never ask. The older
one is Janet, she's nine, and the
younger one is Morgan.

MARGE
Oh, now he's adorable.

DETECTIVE SIBERT
He's three now. Course, not in that
picture.

MARGE
Oh, he's adorable.

DETECTIVE SIBERT
Yah, he -

MARGE
Where'd you get him that parka?

They have reached the end of the cafeteria line. With a nod
to the cashier, Detective Sibert indicates hers and Marge's
trays.

DETECTIVE SIBERT
Both of these.

MARGE
Oh, no, I can't let you do that.

DETECTIVE SIBERT
Oh, don't be silly.

MARGE
Well, okay - thank you, Detective.

DETECTIVE SIBERT
Oh, don't be silly.

GAEAR GRIMSRUD

He sits eating a Swanson's TV dinner from a TV tray he has
set up in front of an easy chair. He watches the old black-
and-white TV set whose image - it might be a game show - is
still heavily ghosting and diffused by snow. The audio
crackles with interference.

Despite the impenetrability of its image, it holds Grimsrud's
complete attention.

At the sound of the front door opening, Grimsrud looks up.

Carl enters, his face suppurating and raw.

He reacts to Grimsrud's wordless look with a grotesque laugh.

CARL
You should she zhe uzher guy!

He glances around.

CARL
...The fuck happen a her?

Jean sits slumped in a straight-backed chair facing the wall.
Her hooded head, resting on her chin, is motionless.

There is blood on the facing wall.

GRIMSRUD
She started shrieking, you know.

CARL
Jezhush.

He shakes his head.

CARL
...Well, I gotta muddy.

He is plunking down eight bank-wrapped bundles on the table.

CARL
...All of it. All eighty gran. Forty
for you...

He makes one pile, pockets the rest.

CARL
... Forty for me. Sho thishuzh it.
Adiosh.

He slaps keys down on the table.

CARL
...You c'n'ave my truck. I'm takin'
a Shiera.

GRIMSRUD
We split that.

Carl looks at him.

CARL
HOW THE FUCK DO WE SHPLITTA FUCKIN'
CAR? Ya dummy! Widda fuckin'
chainshaw?

Grimsrud looks sourly up. There is a beat. Finally:

GRIMSRUD
One of us pays the other for half.

CARL
HOLD ON! NO FUCKIN' WAY! YOU FUCKIN'
NOTISH ISH? I GOT FUCKIN' SHOT INNA
FAISH! I WENT'N GOTTA FUCKIN' MONEY!
I GET SHOT FUCKIN' PICKIN' IT UP! I
BEEN UP FOR THIRTY-SHIKSH FUCKIN'
HOURZH! I'M TAKIN' THAT FUCKIN' CAR!
THAT FUCKERZH MINE!

Carl waits for an argument, but only gets the steady sour
look.

Carl pulls out a gun.

CARL
... YOU FUCKIN' ASH-HOLE! I LISHEN A
YOUR BULLSHIT FOR A WHOLE FUCKIN'
WEEK!

A beat. Carl returns Grimsrud's stare.

CARL
...Are we shquare?

Grimsrud says nothing.

CARL
...ARE WE SHQUARE?

A beat. Disgusted, Carl pockets the gun and heads for the
door.

CARL
...Fuckin' ash-hole. And if you shee
your friend Shep Proudpfut, tell him
I'm gonna NAIL hizh fuckin' ash.

OUTSIDE

We are pulling Carl as he walks toward the car. Behind him
we see the cabin door opening. Carl turns, reacting to the
sound.

Grimsrud is bounding out wearing mittens and a red hunter's
cap, but no overcoat. He is holding an ax. Carl fumbles in
his pocket for his gun.

Grimsrud swings overhand, burying the ax in Carl's neck.

MARGE

In her cruiser, on her two-way. Through it we hear Lou's
voice, heavily filtered:

VOICE
His wife. This guy says she was
kidnapped last Wednesday.

MARGE
The day of our homicides.

VOICE
Yah.

Marge is peering to one side as she drives, looking through
the bare trees that border the road on a declivity that runs
down to a large frozen lake.

MARGE
And this guy is...

VOICE
Lundegaard's father-in-law's
accountant.

MARGE
Gustafson's accountant.

VOICE
Yah.

MARGE
But we still haven't found Gustafson.

VOICE
(crackle)
- looking.

MARGE
Sorry - didn't copy.

VOICE
Still missing. We're looking.

MARGE
Copy. And Lundegaard too.

VOICE
Yah. Where are ya, Margie?

We hear, distant but growing louder, harsh engine noise, as
of a chainsaw or lawnmower.

MARGE
Oh, I'm almost back - I'm driving
around Moose Lake.

VOICE
Oh. Gary's loudmouth.

MARGE
Yah, the loudmouth. So the whole
state has it, Lundegaard and
Gustafson?

VOICE
Yah, it's over the wire, it's
everywhere, they'll find 'em.

MARGE
Copy.

VOICE
We've got a -

MARGE
There's the car! There's the car!

We are slowing as we approach a short driveway leading down
to a cabin. Parked in front is the brown Cutlass Ciera.

VOICE
Whose car?

MARGE
My car! My car! Tan Ciera!

VOICE
Don't go in! Wait for back-up!

Marge is straining to look. The power-tool noise is louder
here but still muffled, its source not yet visible.

VOICE
...Chief Gunderson?

MARGE
Copy. Yah, send me back-up!

VOICE
Yes, ma'am. Are we the closest PD?

MARGE
Yah, Menominie only has Chief Perpich
and he takes February off to go to
Boundary Waters.

ROAD EXTERIOR

Marge pulls her prowler over some distance past the cabin.
She gets out, zips up her khaki parka and pulls up its
furlined hood.

For a moment, she stands listening to the muffled roar of
the power tool. Then, with one curved arm half pressing
against, half supporting her belly, she takes slow, gingerly
steps down the slope, through the deep snow, through the
trees angling toward the cabin and the source of the grinding
noise.

She slogs from tree to tree, letting each one support her
downhill-leaning weight for a moment before slogging to the
next.

The roar grows louder. Marge stands panting by one tree, her
breath vaporizing out of her snorkel hood. She squints down
toward the cabin's back lot.

A tall man with his back to us, wearing a red plaid quilted
jacket and a hunting cap with earflaps, is laboring over a
large power tool which his body blocks from view.

Marge advances.

The man is forcing downward something which engages the
roaring power tool and makes harsh spluttering noises.

The man is Grimsrud, his nose red and eyes watering from the
cold, hatflaps pulled down over his ears. His breath steams
as he sourly goes about his work, both hands pressing down a
shod foot, as it if were the shaft of a butter churn.

The roar is very loud.

Marge slogs down to the next tree, panting, looking.

Grimsrud forces more of the leg into the machine, which we
can now see sprays small wet chunks out the bottom.

Marge's eyes shift.

A large dark form lies in the snow next to Grimsrud.

Grimsrud works on, eyes watering. With a grunt he bends down
out of frame and then re-enters holding a thick log.

He uses it to force the leg deeper into the machine.

Marge is advancing. She holds a gun extended toward Grimsrud,
who is still turned away.

Grimsrud rubs his nose with the back of his hand.

Marge closes in, grimacing.

Grimsrud's back strains as he puts his weight into the log
that pushes down into the machine.

The dark shape in the snow next to his side is the rest of
Carl Showalter's body.

Marge has drawn to within twenty yards. When she bellows it
sounds hollow and distant, her voice all but eaten up by the
roar of the power tool.

MARGE
Stop! Police! Turn around and hands
up!

Startled, Grimsrud scowls. He turns to face her.

He stares.

Marge bellows again:

MARGE
...Hands up!

Conscious of the noise, she shows with a twist of her shoulder
the armpatch insignia.

MARGE
...Police!

Grimsrud stares.

With a quick twist, he reaches back for the log, hurls it at
Marge and then starts running away.

Marge twists her body sideways, shielding herself.

No need - the heavy log travels perhaps ten yards and lands
in the snow several feet short of her.

Grimsrud pants up the hill - slow going through the deep
snow.

Behind him:

MARGE
...Halt!

She fires in the air.

She lowers the gun and carefully sighs.

MARGE
... Halt!

She fires.

Grimsrud still slogs up the hill - a miss.

Marge sights again.

MARGE
... Halt!

She fires again.

Grimsrud pitches forward. He mutters in Swedish as he reaches
down to clutch at his wounded leg.

Marge walks toward him, gun trained on him as her other hand
reaches under her parka and gropes around her waist.

It comes out with a pair of handcuffs, which she opens with
a snap of the wrist.

MARGE
...All right, buddy. On your belly
and your hands clasped behind you.

THE CRUISER

Marge drives. Grimsrud sits in the back seat, hands cuffed
behind him.

For a long moment there, he is quiet - only engine hum and
the periodic clomp of wheels on pavement seams - as Marge
grimly shakes her head.

MARGE
...So that was Mrs. Lundegaard in
there?

She glances up in the rear-view mirror.

Grimsrud, cheeks sunk, eyes hollow, looks sourly out at the
road.

Marge shakes her head.

At length:

MARGE
...I guess that was your accomplice
in the wood chipper.

Grimsrud's head bobs with bumps on the road; otherwise he is
motionless, reactionless, scowling and gazing out.

MARGE
...And those three people in Brainerd.

No response.

Marge, gazing forward, seems to be talking to herself.

MARGE
...And for what? For a little bit of
money.

We hear distant sirens.

MARGE
...There's more to life than money,
you know.

She glances up in the rear-view mirror.

MARGE
...Don't you know that?... And here
ya are, and it's a beautiful day...

Grimsrud's hollow eyes stare out.

The sirens are getting louder. Marge pulls over.

MARGE
...Well...

She leans forward to the dash to give two short signaling
WHOOPS on her siren.

She turns on her flashers.

She leans back with a creak and jangle of utilities.

She stares forward, shakes her head. We hear the dull click
of her flashers.

MARGE
...I just don't unnerstand it.

Outside it is snowing. The sky, the earth, the road - all
white.

A squad car, gumballs spinning, punches through the white.
It approaches in slow motion.

An ambulance punches through after it.

Another squad car.

FADE OUT:

FADE IN:

HIGH AND WIDE ON A SHABBY MOTEL

It stands next to a highway on a snowy, windswept plain.
One or two cars dot the parking lot along with an idling
police cruiser.

MOTEL ROOM DOORWAY

We are looking over the shoulders of two uniformed policemen
who stand on either side of the door, their hands resting
lightly on their holstered sidearms. One of them raps at the
door.

COP ONE
Mr. Anderson...

A title fades in: OUTSIDE OF BISMARK, NORTH DAKOTA After a
pause, muffled through the door:

VOICE
...Who?...

COP ONE
Mr. Anderson, is this your burgundy
88 out here?

VOICE
...Just a sec.

COP ONE
Could you open the door, please?

VOICE
...Yah. Yah, just a sec.

We hear a clatter from inside.

VOICE
...Just a sec...

One of the policemen unholsters his gun and nods to someone
whose back enters - a superintendent holding a ring of keys.
This man turns a key in the door and then stands away.

The two policemen, guns at the ready, bang into the motel
room.

The rough hand-held camera rushes in behind them as the two
men give the room a two-handed sweep with their guns.

The room is empty.

Cop one indicates the open bathroom door.

COP ONE
Dale!

The two men charge the bathroom, belts jingling, guns at the
ready, jittery camera behind them rushing to keep pace.

A man in boxer shorts is halfway out the bathroom window.

The policemen holster their guns and charge the window, and
drag Jerry Lundegaard back into the room.

His flesh quivers as he thrashes and keens in short, piercing
screams.

The cops wrestle him to the floor but his palsied thrashing
continues. The policemen struggle to restrain him.

COP ONE
Call an ambulance!

COP TWO
You got him okay?

Cop One pinions Jerry's arms to the floor and Jerry bursts
into uncontrolled sobbing.

COP ONE
Yah, yah, call an ambulance.

Jerry sobs and screams.

A BEDROOM

We are square on Norm, who sits in bed watching television.
After a long beat, Marge enters frame in a nightie and climbs
into bed, with some effort.

MARGE
Oooph!

Norm reaches for her hand as both watch the television.

At length Norm speaks, but keeps his eyes on the TV.

NORM
They announced it.

Marge looks at him.

MARGE
They announced it?

NORM
Yah.

Marge looks at him, waiting for more, but Norm's eyes stay
fixed on the television.

MARGE
...So?

NORM
Three-cent stamp.

MARGE
Your mallard?

NORM
Yah.

MARGE
Norm, that's terrific!

Norm tries to suppress a smile of pleasure.

NORM
It's just the three cent.

MARGE
It's terrific!

NORM
Hautman's blue-winged teal got the
twenty-nine cent. People don't much
use the three-cent.

MARGE
Oh, for Pete's - a course they do!
Every time they raise the darned
postage, people need the little
stamps!

NORM
Yah.

MARGE
When they're stuck with a bunch a
the old ones!

NORM
Yah, I guess.

MARGE
That's terrific.

Her eyes go back to the TV.

MARGE
...I'm so proud a you, Norm.

Norm murmurs:

NORM
I love you, Margie.

MARGE
I love you, Norm.

Both of them are watching the TV as Norm reaches out to rest
a hand on top of her stomach.

NORM
...Two more months.

Marge absently rests her own hand on top of his.

MARGE
Two more months.

Hold; fade out.

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