"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 ]

"LONE STAR"

By

John Sayles



EXT. TEXAS SCRUB -- DAY

Two men in shorts and Hawaiian shirts are poking around a
sandy section in the middle of scrub flats. SERGEANT CLIFF
POTTS is in the f.g., a plant-and-tree guidebook in hand, as
SERGEANT "MIKEY" HOGAN works a metal detector over a large,
sandy bank in the b.g. Both are Army career men with a
morning off to pursue their hobbies.

CLIFF
We got ocotillo, devil's walking
stick--what's this stuff--it's that
whattayoucallit--horse-crippler.

Mikey bends to scoop something out of the sand, putting it
in a canvas bag slung on his hip.

MIKEY
This place is a gold mine.

CLIFF
Lead mine.

MIKEY sees that Cliff is talking, pulls his headset off.

MIKEY
What?

CLIFF
It's a lead mine.

MIKEY
Right.

CLIFF
I don't know why I'm talking to you,
you've got that thing on your head.

MIKEY
You finding lots of cactus and shit?

CLIFF
It's not just cactus. There's the
nopals, the yuccas--

MIKEY
(Puts headset on)
Looks like a lot of cactus to me.

CLIFF
(Grumbles)
Man knows a hundred-fifty varieties
of beer, he can't tell a poinsettia
from a prickly pear.

MIKEY
(Troubled)
Cliff--

CLIFF
You live in a place, you should know
something about it. Explore--

MIKEY
Cliff--

CU MIKEY

MIKEY in the f.g. now, looking down at something as he pulls
his headset off again--

MIKEY
Cliff, you gotta look at this--

Cliff wearily turns and approaches from the b.g.

CLIFF
Don't tell me--Spanish treasure,
right? Pieces of eight from the
Coronado expedition--

He stops by Mikey and looks down, his expression changing

CLIFF
Jesus--

GROUND -- CU BONES

Sticking out from the sand bank are the SKELETAL BONES of a
MAN'S HAND. There is a ring on one finger.

MIKEY (O.S.)
Was Coronado in the Masons?

EXT. ROAD -- DAY

A distant cloud of DUST appears on the horizon MUSIC
underscores that we are in Texas, and we SUPERIMPOSE the
OPENING CREDITS as the dust takes form around an APPROACHING
CAR. The car comes close enough to see it has a County
Sheriff's insignia on the side.

INT. CAR

We see SAM DEEDS, the Sheriff, driving. Sam is 40, quietly
competent to the point of seeming a bit moody. He sees
something up ahead.

MUSIC, CREDITS END as Sam pulls off the road and we see the
sergeants standing in the scrub.

EXT. SCRUB -- DAY -- BONES

The hand and forearm down to the elbow of the skeleton are
visible now.

WIDER

Cliff stands looking at the arm with Sam. MIKEY is a few
yards behind them, playing with his metal detector. Beyond
him we see the Sheriff's car parked.

SAM
I was driving back from Apache Wells
when they got me on the radio.

CLIFF
This was a rifle range way back when.
But we figured it isn't Army land
anymore, it's your jurisdiction.

SAM
(Nods)
I've got the forensics fella coming
down from the Rangers. No way to
know how old the body is without
some lab work.

CLIFF
That ring--

SAM
Masons been around a long while.

Mikey has come up to them, still sweeping with the metal
detector.

SAM
Treasure hunter?

CLIFF
(Apologetic)
Old bullets. He uhm-- makes art
with them.

Sam just nods. Mikey frowns, goes down on one knee and
scratches something out of the dirt at their feet--

CLIFF
The Sheriff says we shouldn't touch
anything,

MIKEY
(To Sam)
He can't hear with that rig on--
Mikey!

Mikey comes up with something, holds it before them. An
encrusted piece of metal--

MIKEY
What've we got here?

Sam takes the thing, lays it back down where Mikey found it.

SAM
S'posed to leave everything right
where we found it. They're real
particular about that.

MIKEY
The scene of the crime.

SAM
No telling yet if there's been a
crime.

Sam frowns down at the piece of metal as he rubs the face of
it.

CU METAL

Sam's thumb wipes across the face of the encrusted metal. It
is roughly star-shaped.

SAM (O.S.)
But this country's seen a good number
of disagreements over the years.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL CLASSROOM -- DAY -- TEXAS MAP

We look at a beautiful old pull-down map of Texas.

PILAR (O.S.)
We do the best we can here--

A teacher in her late 30s, PILAR CRUZ, steps in front of the
map and we FOLLOW her across the room, carrying a poster

PILAR
--but hey, public education these
days is a bit of a battleground.

Posters hung on the walls beyond her show luminaries from
Texas history-- Sam Houston, Stephen Austin, Juan Seguin. A
new parent, CELIE PAYNE, stands in the middle of the otherwise
empty classroom.

CELIE
He went to school on base when we
were in Okinawa. It's all--you know--
kids in the same boat--Army brats.

PILAR
His record shows that he's a good
student.

CELIE
I'm more worried about the social
thing. Are therelike--gangs, or...?

PILAR starts to put the poster up. CELIE moves to hold it in
place for her.

PILAR
We haven't had any serious violence,
if that's what you mean. We've got a
pretty lively mix though--you walk
into the cafeteria and the Anglo
kids are in one section, the Mexican
kids in another and the Black kids
have a table in the back--thanks--

CELIE
So Blacks are--

PILAR
They're the smallest group except
for a couple Kickapoo kids. Look,
you're obviously a concerned parent.
Chet has no history of getting into
trouble--I'm happy to have him in my
class.

She steps back to see if the poster, an old photo of Geronimo,
looks straight. Another teacher, MOLLY sticks her head in
the door--

MOLLY
(Uncomfortable)
Pilar, is uhm--is Amado okay?

PILAR
Okay? He's not here?

MOLLY
No. Is he sick?

PILAR
(Mutters)
He's going to wish he was dead.

EXT. STREET -- DAY -- CU VAQUERO PICTURE

On the door of a deluxe pickup truck is an airbrushed picture
of a Pancho Villa-looking vaquero with bandoliers crossing
his chest and a gun blazing in each hand. We hear LOUD MUSIC--

AMADO (O.S.)
Luis! Give me that Phillips-head
back--

WIDER

A small group of teenage Chicano BOYS hang around the truck
in the bed, on the hood, leaning against it. A BOOMBOX placed
on top of the cab blasts RANCHA MUSIC out at the neighborhood.
Somebody's legs are hanging out the open passenger-side door.
The kids suddenly look as a Sheriff's Department car slides
into the f.g. A Deputy Sheriff, TRAVIS, gets out.

KIDS

Trying to look tough and unworried as we TRACK across the
street toward them. Travis's hand reaches out from behind
the camera to flick the MUSIC OFF.

INT. PICKUP

AMADO CRUZ, Pilar's 15-year-old son, lies on the front seat
installing a compact disc player into the dash slot. He
reaches up to the dash, can't find what he wants.

AMADO
Somebody hand me the CD player--
damelo pendejos--

He looks up and we TILT to see Travis leaning in the window,
examining the new radio

TRAVIS
They come a long way from those old
8-track jobs, haven't they?

AMADO
Something wrong?

TRAVIS
(Waves radio)
This is stolen property. Alla you
fellas are coming down to the station.

INT. CAFE SANTA BARBARA -- AFTERNOON -- ENRIQUE

Sweat beads the forehead of a thin, tired-looking recent
immigrant, ENRIQUE, as he delivers platters of chile rellenos
to a booth. MEXICAN MUSIC plays on a jukebox in the b.g. We
HOLD on the booth, where HOLLIS POGUE, in his 60s entertains
two GOOD OLD BOYS--

HOLLIS
So Buddy walks up to the porch and
there's old Fishbait McHenry, cleanin'
the dirt out his toenails with a
pocketknife--he was the most hygienic
of all the McHenrys--

The breakfast companions are laughing already--

HOLLIS
"Fishbait," says Buddy, in that quiet
way of his, "What you know about
them tires that went missing from
markets?" Fishbait thinks for a
minute, then he lifts up a loose
board from the porch floor and calls
down into it, "C'mon out, Pooter,
they caught us!"

FENTON
(Laughing)
Buddy Deeds. He had a way.

HOLLIS
He known who it was onnacouna the
tire tracks in the dirt from the
back of the garage to where they
loaded up. "Old Fishbait," he says,
"never lifted a thing in this world
if there was a way he could roll
it."

More laughter--

FENTON
Won't be another like him. That boy
of his doesn't come near it. You ask
me, he's all hat and no cattle

SAM (O.S.)
Fellas--

We WIDEN to see Sam standing by their booth. No telling how
long he's been listening, Fenton is embarrassed.

HOLLIS
Sam! I was just telling a few about
your old man.

FENTON
He was a unique individual.

SAM
Yeah, he was that.

We sense a little strain when Sam has to talk about his father--

HOLLIS
Big day coming up--I wish we'd have
thought of it while he was still
living. But he went so unexpected.

FENTON
Better late than never. Korean War
hero, Sheriff for near thirty years--
Buddy Deeds Memorial P--

SAM
I heard there was a bit of a fuss.

HOLLIS
Oh, you know, the usual troublemakers.
Danny Padilla from the Sentinel,
that crowd.

FENTON
Every other damn thing in the country
is called after Martin Luther King,
they can't let our side have one
measly park?

HOLLIS
King wasn't Mexican, Fenton--

FENTON
Bad enough all the street names are
in Spanish--

SAM
They were here first.

FENTON
Then name it after Big Chief
Shitinabucket! Whoever that Tonkawa
fella was. He had the Mexes beat by
centuries.

HOLLIS
There was a faction pulling for that
boy who was killed in the Gulf War--
Ruben--

SAM
--Santiago.

HOLLIS
Right. But nobody here ever noticed
him till they read his name on the
national news--

FENTON
They just wanted it to be one of
theirs--

HOLLIS
That's not the whole story. The
Mexicans that know, that remember,
understand what Buddy was for their
people. Hell, it was Mercedes over
there who swung the deciding vote
for him.

Sam looks to the register where Pilar's mother, MERCEDES
CRUZ, whacks rolls of change apart on the counter. She seems
to be avoiding looking toward him.

SAM
That so?

HOLLIS
She put it even at three to three,
so as the Mayor I get to cast the
tiebreaker. The older generation
won't have any problem with it. They
remember how Buddy come to be Sheriff,
that it was all 'cause he took their
part.

FENTON
Tell that one, Hollis--

HOLLIS
Hell, everybody heard that story a
million times.

SAM
I'd like to hear it. Your version of
it.

Something about the way Sam says it puts Hollis on guard.

FENTON
Go ahead, Hollis.

CU HOLLIS

Hollis is hooked into it now--

HOLLIS
The two of us were the only deputies
back then me and Buddy--it's what--
'58--

FENTON (O.S.)
'57, 1 believe--

HOLLIS
And the Sheriff at the time was Big
Charley Wade. Charley was one of
your old-fashioned bribe-or-bullets
kind of Sheriffs, he took a healthy
bite out of whatever moved through
this county.

He looks down at the table--

HOLLIS
It was in here one night, back when
Jimmy Herrera run the place. Started
right here in this booth.

We PAN down to the table, The food has changed. The tortillas
are in a straw basket instead of plastic. The jukebox changes
to ANOTHER SONG and the LIGHT DIMS slightly. A hand with a
big Masonic ring on one finger appears to lift a tortilla--
underneath it lie three ten-dollar bills. The hand lifts
them up and we TILT to see the face of SHERIFF CHARLEY WADE,
a big, mean redneck with shrewd eyes. It is 1957--

WADE
(Grins)
This beaner fare doesn't agree with
me, but the price sure is right.

WIDER

Wade sits across from his young deputies, YOUNG HOLLIS (30s)
and BUDDY DEEDS (20s). A chicken-fried steak sits untouched
in front of Buddy. Hollis has the anxious look of an errand
boy, while Buddy is self-contained and quietly forceful for
his age.

BUDDY
What's that for?

WADE
Jimmy got a kitchen full of wetbacks,
most of 'em relatives. People breed
like chickens.

BUDDY
So?

WADE
I roust some muchacho on the street,
doesn't have his papers, all he got
to say is "Yo trabajo para Jimmy
Herrera."

Wade folds the money and stuffs if in his pocket--

WADE
You got to keep the wheels greased,
son. Sheriff does his job right,
everybody makes out. Now this is
gonna be one of your pickups, Buddy.
First of the month, just like the
rent. Get the car, Hollis.

Wade and Hollis slide out of the booth to stand.

BUDDY
I'm not doing it.

Hollis stops a few feet away, shocked. Wade just stares down
at Buddy.

WADE
Come again?

Buddy looks Wade in the eye, seemingly unafraid.

BUDDY
It's your deal. You sweated it out
of him, you pick it up.

WADE
There's gonna be some left over for
you, Buddy. I take care of my boys.

BUDDY
That's not the point.

WADE
You feeling bad for Jimmy? Have him
tell you the size of the mordida
they took out of his hide when he
run a place on the other side. Those
old boys in Ciudad Leon--

BUDDY
I'm not picking it up.

WADE
You do whatever I say you do or else
you put it on the trail, son.

The CUSTOMERS are all watching now, nervous. Buddy thinks
for a moment, not taking his eyes off Wade.

BUDDY
How 'bout this--how 'bout you put
that shield on this table and vanish
before you end up dead or in jail?

Wade rests his hand on his pistol. It is dead silent but
for the MUSIC on the box.

BUDDY
You ever shoot anybody was looking
you in the eye?

WADE
Who said anything about shootin'
anybody?

Buddy has his gun out under the table. He slowly brings it
up and lays it flat on the table, not taking his hand off it
or his eyes off Wade.

BUDDY
Whole different story; isn't it?

WADE
You're fired. You're outta the
department.

BUDDY
There's not a soul in this county
isn't sick to death of your bullshit,
Charley. You made yourself scarce,
you could make a lot of people happy.

WADE
You little pissant--

BUDDY
Now or later, Charley. You won't
have any trouble finding me.

Wade feels the people around him waiting for a reaction. He
leans close to Buddy to croak in a hoarse whisper.

WADE
You're a dead man.

He turns and nearly bumps into Hollis. He gives the Deputy a
shove.

WADE
Get the goddamn car. We're going to
Roderick's.

CU BUDDY

He watches till the screen door shuts behind them, then
holsters his gun and begins to saw at the steak as if nothing
had happened. He calls softly--

BUDDY
Muchacho--mas cerveza por favor.

He looks up at somebody and we PAN till we see Sam, still
standing over the booth, listening. We are back in 1995--

HOLLIS (O.S.)
"Mas cerveza por favor."

FENTON (O.S.)
That Buddy was a cool breeze.

We PULL BACK to see Hollis and his buddies at the table,
eating their lunches as they listen.

FENTON
Charley Wade were known to have put
a good number of people in the ground,
and your daddy gets eyeball to eyeball
with him.

HOLLIS
We made our collection at Roderick's
place and that was the last anybody
seen hide nor hair of him. He went
missing the next day, along with ten
thousand dollars in county funds
from the safe at the jail.

SAM
Never heard from him again?

HOLLIS
Not a peep. Buddy run the man out of
town.

FENTON
Buddy Deeds said a thing, he damn
well backed it up. Won't be another
like him.

SAM
So he arrested all of Jimmy Herrera's
people and sent 'em back to the other
side?

Hollis sees what Sam is getting at, grins--

HOLLIS
Oh--he come to an accommodation.
Money doesn't always need to change
hands to keep the wheels turning.

SAM
Right.

HOLLIS
Look, I know you had some problems
with your father, and he and Muriel--
well--

FENTON
Your mother was a saint.

HOLLIS
--but Buddy Deeds was my salvation.

Sam nods, speaks softly--

SAM
Won't be another like him.

EXT. ARMY INSTALLATION -- DAY -- CU DEL PAYNE

COLONEL DELMORE PAYNE (DEL), a very direct, by-the-book Black
officer, addresses them. Artillery pieces angle toward the
sky behind him--

DEL
--it's an honor for me to assume
command of this unit, and I look
forward to working with all of you.

OFFICERS Cliff and Mikey, in uniform now, flank SERGEANT
PRISCILLA WORTH, a Black woman in her early 40s, as they
stand in formation--

DEL (O.S.)
I'm sure you're all aware of the
Army's decision to close this
installation under the Reduction in
Force plan. That does not mean,
however--

REVERSE

We look over the shoulders of assembled OFFICERS and NCOs
toward Del.

DEL
--that we've been sent here to mark
time until we are absorbed by another
unit.

CU DEL

DEL
You may have heard rumors that I run
a very tight operation. These rumors
are not exaggerated.

INT. SHERIFF'S OFFICE -- AFTERNOON -- BUDDY PHOTO

We are looking through a magnifying glass at an old photo.
Buddy's face is slightly distorted by the glass.

SECRETARY (O.S.)
Sam? I got Danny Padilla from the
paper for you--

Sam sits at his desk in the Sheriff's office, looking down
at the photo--

SAM
Tell him I'll catch him later.

CU PHOTOGRAPH

An old photo of the 1957 Sheriff's Department officers on
the courthouse steps. Wade, Hollis, Buddy, a few others, all
in uniform.

SECRETARY (O.S.)
He says he needs to talk to you before
the ceremony, Sam.

Sam puts a magnifying glass over the photo and bends close
to look.

SAM
Tell him to try me tomorrow.

EXTREME CU PHOTO -- BADGE

MAGNIFIED POV of the badge on Wade's chest swims into view.
A metal star. We hear the secretary getting rid of the caller.

SECRETARY (O.S.)
He thinks you're trying to duck
him.

CU SAM

Looking at the photo, troubled--

SAM
(Mutters)
He's right.

EXT. BIG O'S ROADHOUSE -- NIGHT -- NEON SIGN

We start on a BLINKING SIGN--BIG O'S, then PAN to see a full
parking lot outside the low, neon-lit roadhouse. R&B MUSIC
blasts from inside.

EXT. DOORWAY -- CHET

CHET, a Black kid around 15, stands nervously at the door
building up his courage. He takes a deep breath, plunges
in.

INT. BIG O'S

We TRACK with Chet, very nervous, as he makes his way through
the crowded roadhouse. The customers are all Black, many
from the nearby Army post, SHOUTING and LAUGHING over the
loud MUSIC. Chet, edgy, is looking for somebody. He sees...

CHET'S POV -- OTIS

Seen through the crush is OTIS "BIG O" PAYNE, a large man in
his early 60s, laughing as he stands behind the bar.

CHET

He nervously puts his hand under his jacket. A gun? He pushes
forward to get a better view.

CHET'S POV -- OTIS

Moving in on him. Otis looks over, sees the boy, frowns--

CHET

Reaching under his jacket, he pulls out--a photograph. He
looks at it--suddenly there is a SCREAM from behind, then
GUNSHOTS, patrons diving for the floor.

Chet whirls around and we WHIP PAN to see a young man, SHADOW,
emptying his pistol into RICHIE, a young soldier, as a young
woman, ATHENA, screams and tries to pull the gun away. With
the last shot, Shadow turns and heads for the door, but is
tackled and swarmed by angry men, SHOUTING.

We PAN to Athena, kneeling over the bleeding, twitching body
of Richie--

CHET

Chet backs up, horrified. A large hand grasps him on the
shoulder from behind. He turns to see Otis standing over
him, strangely calm amid the chaos

OTIS
You weren't in here tonight, were
you?

CHET
No sir.

OTIS
(Points)
Go out through the back.

Chet hurries away. Otis watches him for a moment, then turns
to the mess in his club.

INT. AUDITORIUM -- NIGHT -- CU ANGLO MOTHER

An angry woman stands from her auditorium chair--

ANGLO MOTHER
You're just tearin' everything down!
Tearin' down our heritage, tearin'
down the memory of people that fought
and died for this land.

CHICANO FATHER (O.S.)
We fought and died for this land,
too!

We WHIP PAN to see another standing parent--

CHICANO FATHER
We fought the U.S. Army, the Texas
Rangers--

ANGLO FATHER (O.S.)
Yeah, but you lost, buddy!

We WHIP PAN to a man in the rear--

ANGLO FATHER
Winners get the bragging rights,
that's how it goes.

PRINCIPAL (O.S.)
People--people--

WIDER

We are in the High School auditorium, a hot-and-heavy teachers-
and-parents meeting in progress. Pilar sits at the end of a
long table facing the agitated parents, taking some heat.
DANNY PADILLA, a young, long-haired reporter, sits in the
front taking notes, enjoying the show.

PRINCIPAL
I think it would be best not to put
things in terms of winners and losers--

ANGLO MOTHER
(Points at Pilar)
Well, the way she's teachin' it has
got everything switched around. I
was on the textbook committee, and
her version is not--

PRINCIPAL
We think of the textbook as kind of
a guide, not an absolute--

ANGLO MOTHER
--it is not what we set as the
standard! Now you people can believe
what you want, but when it comes to
teaching our children--

CHICANO MOTHER
They're our children, too!

ANGLO FATHER
The men who founded this state have
a right to have their story--

DANNY
The men who founded this state broke
from Mexico because they needed
slavery to be legal to make a fortune
in the cotton business!

PILAR
I think that's a bit of an
oversimplification--

ANGLO FATHER
Are you reporting this meeting or
runnin' it, Danny?

DANNY
Just adding a little historical
perspective--

REAR OF AUDITORIUM

PALOMA CRUZ, Pilar's teenage daughter, peeks into the room,
then moves down the side toward the stage.

ANGLO FATHER
You may call it history, but I call
it propaganda. I'm sure they got
their own account of the Alamo on
the other side, but we're not on the
other side, so we're not about to
have it taught in our schools!

PILAR
There's no reason to be so threatened
by this--

Pilar is trying to stay calm despite her anger.

PILAR
I've only been trying to get across
some of the complexity of our
situation down here--cultures coming
together in both negative and positive
ways.

ANGLO MOTHER (O.S.)
If you mean like music and food and
all, I have no problem with that.

REVERSE

We shoot past Pilar toward the parents in their seats. PALOMA
steps up to whisper to her.

ANGLO MOTHER
--but when you start changing who
did what to who.

TEACHER
We're not changing anything, we're
presenting a more complete picture.

ANGLO MOTHER
And that's what's got to stop!

Pilar looks troubled by what she's heard. She shoots a look
toward the others at the table, then slips away with Paloma--

TEACHER
There's enough ignorance in the world
without us encouraging it in the
classroom--

ANGLO MOTHER
Now who are you calling ignorant?

PRINCIPAL
Folks, I know this is a very emotional
issue for some of you, but we do
have other business to attend to--

CHICANO FATHER
We're not going to get some resolution
on this?

CU PRINCIPAL

Weary--

PRINCIPAL
Would you people like to form another
committee?

GROANS from the parents--

INT. SHERIFF'S OFFICE -- NIGHT -- SHADOW

Shadow, face bruised, hands cuffed behind him, is pushed in
through the door to be booked.

SHADOW
I hope the sucker does die, man!
Mess with me, that's what you get!

Sam steps in behind him and meets his Chief Deputy RAY
HERNANDEZ, coming from the other direction.

RAY
Hospital says the other kid is in
bad shape--

SAM
(Glances ahead)
The shooter local?

RAY
(Shakes his bead)
Down from Houston. I think he knew
the girl before.

SAM
Okay--we'll take a statement from
all the GIs before they go back to
post. You can get the story from
Otis over at the club.

RAY
Any poop on the John Doe you found
out there today?

SAM
Nothin' much. The Rangers put Ben
Wetzel on it. Catch you later.

As Ray steps out, Pilar looking distraught, walks into the
station, passing right by Sam without seeing him.

CU SAM

Wonders what she's doing there--

SAM'S POV -- PILAR

She stands by an unoccupied reception desk, very upset, unable
to attract anyone's attention because of the activity around
the shooting. She looks tired and a bit scared under the
harsh overhead light.

SAM (O.S.)
Pilar.

PILAR AND SAM

Pilar looks around. Sam is standing by her. We can tell there
is some history between these two.

SAM
Something wrong?

PILAR
They've got my Amado.

SAM
Got him here?

PILAR
Somebody called--something about an
electronics store.

SAM
I'll see what's going on.

He starts away, stops, comes back--

SAM
I was--I was real sorry about Nando.
He was a good fella. We haven't talked
since.

PILAR
We haven't talked since high school.

SAM
Yeah. I'll go check on your boy.

Pilar watches Sam go--

REAR OF OFFICE

Travis sits typing away at a word processor as Athena, in
tears, gives testimony.

ATHENA
--so Richie just didn't say nothin'
'cause he didn't want to get into
it, see, and the next thing I know
there's shots and Richie is down. It
happened so fast--

SAM (O.S.)
Excuse me--

We WIDEN to see Sam standing over the desk--

SAM
We got some boys you run in earlier
today?

TRAVIS
Yeah. I pulled the bunch that hangs
at Pico Bernal's place. We finally
caught them with something.

SAM
You got a juvenile with 'ern--Amado
Cruz?

Travis looks at his booking sheets--

TRAVIS
Yeah--let's see--the other ones say
he wasn't in on the theft, he just
knows how to hook things up. We've
been trying to contact a parent.

INT. JAIL HALLWAY

Sam walks with Amado, who is trying to look defiant--

SAM
They tell me you're good at fixing
things.

Nothin--

SAM
Your father was a hell of a mechanic.

Still nothing--

SAM
You know, if you figure minimum wage
on the time most thieves spend in
jail, they could have bought most
everything they stole.

AMADO
I didn't steal anything.

SAM
I didn't say you did. My name is
Sam, by the way.

Amado just gives him a look--

INT. SHERIFF'S OFFICE

Sam and AMADO step out into the office, where Pilar stands
waiting.

SAM
He's all yours.

PILAR
Are you okay?

AMADO
I don't know what the big deal is.

PILAR
You'll find out when I get you home.
Thanks, Sam.

SAM
No problem.

Pilar yanks AMADO outside by his arm. She turns to shoot a
look back at Sam, then steps out through the glass door.

CU SAM

Watching her go--

SAM
Any time.

FADE OUT:

EXT. OBSTACLE COURSE -- MORNING -- PIT

We shoot up from a pit in the ground. WHUMP! WHUMP! WHUMP!
Three men leap over, landing on the far side and running
away from us.

MEN

Del Payne runs with Cliff and Mikey on a pathway along a
security fence, the two sergeants struggling to keep up,
occasionally vaulting or scaling some mild obstacle.

MIKEY
There's not that much down here,
Colonel. Big O's is the only place
in the county that our African
American soldiers are uhm--that they
feel comfortable in.

DEL
Have we had trouble there before?

CLIFF
Since I've been stationed here? A
fistfight now and then--

MIKEY
We had a kid pass out in the men's
room. The town isn't much.

DEL
They didn't come for a vacation.

CLIFF
Yes sir.

MIKEY
You know how it is, Colonel--first
time away from home, dealing with
new people--I remember my first hitch--

DEL
Substance abuse?

MIKEY
Well, yeah, but I went through the
Program. I haven't had a drink since--

DEL
I meant on the post. In general. How
are you dealing with it?

CLIFF
We throw a urine test at them once a
month. Random numbers, maybe a hundred
people at a time

DEL
Why don't we make it once a week for
a while?

CLIFF
No problem, sir.

Del notices bow hard they are breathing--

DEL
I sprint the last quarter mile. You
gentlemen don't have to keep up if
you don't care to.

MIKEY
Appreciate it, sir.

Del accelerates and we HOLD with the sergeants, slowing to a
near-walk.

MIKEY
Guy cracks walnuts with his asshole.

CLIFF
(Grins)
You get the feeling he doesn't want
to be here?

INT. FORENSICS LAB -- VARIOUS SHOTS

We hear Hank Williams' gospel song "I'll Have a New Body
(I'll Have a New Life)" as we see the gathered bones of the
skeleton tagged and photographed and measured, impressions
made of the dental work in the skull, photographs of the
excavation of the body at various stages marked with red
grease pencil, the piece of metal laid in a de-tarnishing
dish, the ring put under a microscope.

CU METAL

MUSIC CONTINUES as we TIGHTEN on the piece of metal, a pair
of tongs pulling it from the de-tarnishing solution. It is a
star-shaped badge, bearing the words "SHERIFF--RIO COUNTY."

INT. COUNTRY AND WESTERN BAR -- AFTERNOON

C&W MUSIC playing, the regulars starting to show up. Sam
makes his way to a table where BEN WETZEL, a Texas Ranger,
sits with a file of forensic reports.

BEN
Sam the Man.

SAM
Hey, Ben. Thanks for coming down.

They shake, Sam sits.

BEN
How's business?

SAM
Business is booming. Got your drugs,
got your illegals--had a shooting
the other night at Big O's--Soldier
got ventilated.

BEN
I hear they're closing that post
down.

SAM
September '97, that's all she wrote.

BEN
Gonna pull a lot of jobs out of this
county.

SAM
Yeah, we'll have folks swimming over
to Mexico to work in the sweatshops.

Sam looks at the folder of reports.

SAM
That the word on our boy?

BEN
Yeah, this is Skinny.

SAM
Skinny?

BEN
We find a body, it's either Skinny
or Stinky, depending on how much
meat there is on the bones.

SAM
Nice job.

BEN
(Opens folder)
Male, 40 to 50 years old, five-foot-
eleven, chewed tobacco--then we get
into the dental records--

SAM
Charley Wade.

BEN
(Nods)
That badge--

SAM
--it didn't come out of a cereal
box.

BEN
Yeah.

SAM
You know the popular version of how
he left town.

BEN
Everybody on the border knows that
story.

SAM
You got a cause of death?

BEN
Skull was intact, no soft tissue
left--not much to go on.

SAM
So he could have gone out to the
base, hopped the fence, dug down
into the dirt on the old rifle range
and had a heart attack.

Ben smiles, closes the folder--

BEN
You uhm--you remember what old Buddy
carried for a side arm?

SAM
Colt Peacemaker.

BEN
A .45--

SAM
He swore by it.
(Ben frowns)
What?

BEN
Just wondering.

SAM
So is Buddy on your short list?

BEN
If it was some poor mojado, swam
across at night, got lost in the
scrub and starved out there, we
wouldn't go any further. But this is
a formerly prominent citizen.

SAM
You got to investigate. No question
about it.

BEN
What I will do is keep names out of
it till we got some answers or hit a
dead end. You know how the press is
with a murder story--even if it's
forty years old.

SAM
Yeah, it's a pretty cold trail.

They sit in awkward silence for a moment. Ben feels bad about
it.

BEN
I remember Charley Wade come to my
father's hardware store once when I
was a little boy. I'd heard stories
how he shot this one, how he shot
that one--man winked at me and I
peed in my pants.
(Shakes his head)
Winked at me.

INT. CLASSROOM -- DAY

Pilar stands at the blackboard by her outline of 19th century
Texas history.

PILAR
Okay, we have the fight against the
Spanish with bloody conflict for
dozens of years till they're finally
defeated in 1821 and Mexican
independence is declared. Anglo
settlers are invited--

CU DRAWING

Somebody making a skillful pencil drawing on the corner of a
sheet of lined notebook paper. A bald, muscular shotputter
after releasing the shot, his hand large in the f.g.

PILAR (O.S.)
--to colonize the area and by the
time they begin the movement against
Santa Anna they outnumber the Mexicans
here by four to one. The war between
Mexico--

CHET

Drawing intently. He takes the notebook and lays his thumb
over the corner.

PILAR (O.S.)
and the Anglo forces ends in 1836
with the formation of the Texas
Republic. Texas joins the United
States as a state where slavery is
legal in 1845--

NOTEBOOK

Chet "flips" the corner of the notebook and the series of
drawings he's made form a brief cartoon of the shot-putter
blowing his cheeks out and heaving the shot right past us.
Extremely well-drawn--

PILAR (O.S.)
after the so-called Mexican war and
then secedes to join the Confederacy
in 1861. The Confederacy is beaten,
and the Reformation period here is
marked by range wars and race wars--

PILAR

Looking out at the class--

PILAR
--and all this paralleled by constant
battles between both the Mexican and
Anglo settlers and the various Indian
nations in the area. What are we
seeing here? Chet?

CHET

Startled, he hides the notebook under his hands --

CHET
Uhm--everybody is killing everybody
else?

EXT. LAKE -- DAY -- CU FISHING LURE

A nasty-looking thing. Only a bass would want to eat this.
Hollis leans in to peer at the thing dangling before his
face.

WIDER

Hollis sits in the swivel chair of a bass boat tied to a
dock at the lake, going through his box of lures. Sam appears
on the dock and steps down.

SAM
I always wondered what you Mayors do
when you're not cutting ribbons.

HOLLIS
Sam! Hey podner! You caught me playing
hooky--

SAM
(Looks across lake)
Floating around out here, playin'
hell with them bass--play a little
cards, play a little golf, drink
some beer--

HOLLIS
Sounds great. Where do I sign up?

SAM
I haven't been out here for a while.

HOLLIS
You go by your old house?

SAM
No.

HOLLIS
Just as well. The new people just
painted it some God-awful color--

SAM
We found a body out by the Army base
yesterday. Been there for a long
time.

Hollis squints at a rubber lure, rejects it--

HOLLIS
Was it Davy Crockett or Jim Bowie?

SAM
(Smiles)
You recall if Charley Wade was a
Mason?

HOLLIS
Charley? I believe he was. Used to
go for lodge meetings over to Laredo.
What's he got to do with your body?

SAM
All it was wearing was a big old
Masonic ring and a Rio County Sheriffs
badge.

Hollis reacts. Sam puts a foot on the gunwale of the boat.

SAM
You don't remember anything else
from that last night you saw him, do
you?

HOLLIS
I told the story enough times--hell,
we were just in the car, he was
stewing about the fight with Buddy
while we drove over to Roderick
Bledsoe's--

SAM
Bledso

HOLLIS
He owned the colored roadhouse before
Big O--

SAM
He still living?

HOLLIS
No. I think his widow's still in
their place in Darktown, though.
(Shakes his bead)
You think it's Charley Wade, huh?

SAM
Forensics people are sure of it. You
have any idea who might have put him
there?

Hollis makes a great show of considering--

SAM
Besides my father, I mean.

HOLLIS
There's no call for that, Sam. Fella
made himself a pile of enemies over
the years.

SAM
And Buddy was one of them.

HOLLIS
We got that dedication tomorrow.
This is a hell of a time to be
draggin' up old business.

SAM
People have worked this whole big
thing up around my father. If it's
built on a crime, they deserve to
know. Now I understand why you might
want to believe he couldn't do it.

HOLLIS
And I understand why you might want
to think he could.

This is a low blow, but accurate enough to shake Sam.

SAM
Thanks for your time, Hollis.

Hollis holds up a double handful of lures--dozens of rubber
and plastic worms and shiners and frogs and spinners--

HOLLIS
Look at all this, would you? My
tackle, the boat, all to catch a
little old fish just minding its
business on the bottom of the lake.

He gives Sam a look--

HOLLIS
Hardly seems worth the effort--does
it, Sam? Sam walks away--

INT. CLASSROOM -- ARMY BASE -- DAY -- CU ATHENA

Athena stands at attention, trying to keep her composure--

CLIFF (O.S.)
So you knew this young man before?

ATHENA
From back in Houston. We both come
up on Fifth Street.

PRISCILLA (O.S.)
Did you know he was going to be there
last night?

ATHENA
If I had I wouldn't have gone in.

PRISCILLA (O.S.)
And you and Private Graves--

ATHENA
We were just dancing--

WIDER

Cliff leans against a desk, a blackboard covered with radar
diagrams behind him. Priscilla sits nearby, both of them
focused on Athena.

PRISCILLA
We're not running a dating service
here.

ATHENA
I know that, Sergeant. We were just
dancing. There was a bunch of us
there. Shadow just come down looking
for trouble.

CLIFF
It's not our job to get involved in
your personal life, but when it
interferes with the training here--

ATHENA
I'm sorry, Sergeant Major. There
wasn't anything I could do. Shadow
gets crazy--

A silence as the sergeant lets her stew for a moment. She
works up her courage--

ATHENA
Sergeant Major? How is Richie doing?
Private Graves?

CLIFF
He'll live.

PRISCILLA
He'll be transferred to a military
hospital as soon as he's stabilized--

CLIFF
He'll probably be getting a medical
discharge--

ATHENA
Out of the Army?

CLIFF
He's going to lose a lung. This is
not good news for Athena--

ATHENA
Will this go on my record?

Cliff considers for a long moment--

CLIFF
If the incident happened the way you
say it did, there hasn't been an
infraction.

ATHENA
Thank you, Sergeant Major.

CLIFF
You're dismissed.

ATHENA
Thank you, Sergeant Major.

Athena steps out of the room. Cliff sits on the desk--

PRISCILLA
You spoil 'em, Cliff.

CLIFF
Hey--she's in a tough situation. I
cut her some slack--

PRISCILLA
But I'm the one in charge of her
sorry ass.

CLIFF
She's pulled herself out of a pretty
rough neighborhood.

Crossing to the door--

PRISCILLA
And if she isn't careful she's gonna
slide right back into it.

EXT. BLEDSOE HOUSE -- DAY -- ROCKER

We start on a CU of a rocker creaking back and forth on an
old wooden porch. A WOMAN HUMS.

MINNIE

MINNIE BLEDSOE, in her 60s, sits on her porch in the old
Black section of town, playing with a Gameboy. She has very
thick glasses on. Sam walks up to her from his car--

SAM
Mrs. Bledsoe?

MINNIE
That's me.

SAM
I'm Sheriff Deeds--

MINNIE
Sheriff Deeds' dead, honey--you just
Sheriff junior.

SAM
(Smiles)
Yeah, that's the story of my life.

MINNIE
You ever play one of these?

SAM
I've seen 'em.

MINNIE
Well, don't ever start up on 'em,
cause once you do you can't stop. I
tell myself I'm gonna play just three
little games after breakfast, and
here I sit with half the day gone.

SAM
You mind if I ask a few questions
about your husband? Roderick?

MINNIE
I won't say nothing bad about the
man, but you can ask away.

SAM
He had the club out on the old trail
road--

MINNIE
We run that twenty-odd years. Give
it over to Otis Payne in 1967. April.

SAM
So you must remember Sheriff Wade.

MINNIE
Not if I can help it.

SAM
You had to deal with him in running
the club.

MINNIE
Them days, you deal with Sheriff
Wade or you didn't deal at all. First
of the month, every month, he remind
you of who you really workin' for.

SAM
He squeezed money out of you?

MINNIE
Wasn't legal to sell liquor in a
glass back then unless you was a
club, see. Roderick used to say,
"Buy yourself a drink, you get a
free membership." But Sheriff Wade,
he could shut you down anytime.

SAM
And my father?

MINNIE
Sheriff Buddy was a different story.
Long as Roderick throw his weight
the right way on election day, make
sure all the colored get out to vote-
we was called colored back then, if
you was polite--maybe throw a barbecue
for the right people now and then,
things was peaceful. That Sheriff
Wade, though, he took an awful big
bite.

SAM
People didn't complain?

MINNIE
Not if they was colored or Meskin.
Not if they wanted to keep breathin'.

SAM
Do you remember the last time you
saw him?

Minnie thinks, puts down the Gameboy--

MINNIE
I seen him in our place the last
week before he gone missin'.

We TRACK in to a close-up of her. R&B MUSIC FADES UP slowly--

MINNIE
He used to come in whilst we was in
full swing, make people nervous. Had
him a smile like the Grim Reaper--

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. ROADHOUSE --

The joint is crowded, people drinking, talking, laughing, a
few dancing, all trying to avoid locking eyes with Sheriff
Wade, who sits with his legs stretched out at a table.

Young Hollis sits by him, smiling uncomfortably. Sax-wailing
R&B blasts from the jukebox. YOUNG OTIS, a slick, confident
character with straightened hair and a silk shirt on, in his
early 20s, stops to talk with a MAN on his way to bring a
tray with a couple beers and glasses over.

MINNIE (V.O.)
--just sit back with his hand on
that big ol' gun and act the kingfish
with everybody. Otis Payne had come
to work for us by then, and that boy
had him some attitude--

CU WADE

Watching Young Otis with narrowed eyes--

CU WADE'S POV -- OTIS

A man puts a slip of paper in Otis's pocket, pats his back.
Otis winks to acknowledge the bet, turns, makes eyes at a
PRETTY WOMAN sitting at the bar, who is eyeing him back. He
lays the beers and glasses on the table, starts away.

WADE
Pour it.

OTIS TURNS, CUPS HIS HAND AROUND HIS EAR-

WADE
Pour it.

Expressionless, he starts to pour the beer into Wade's glass.
The Sheriff looks up into his face--

WADE
I know you?

YOUNG OTIS
Name's Otis.

WADE
Otis what?

YOUNG OTIS
Payne.

WADE
One of Cleroe Payne's boys?

YOUNG OTIS
Uh-huh.

WADE
I sent your Daddy to the farm once.

YOUNG OTIS
I know that.

WADE
Why you think that was?

Otis feels people watching. He doesn't want to lose face--

YOUNG OTIS
Some crop needed pickin' and the man
was shorthanded.

A very insolent answer for the time and place--

WADE
As I remember it was because he had
a sassy mouth on him. Must run in
the family--You wouldn't be runnin'
numbers out of this club, now, would
you, son?

YOUNG OTIS
Runnin' numbers illegal.

WADE
Runnin' numbers without I know about
it is both illegal and unhealthy.
You remember that.

The beer is poured. Otis starts away--

WADE
Whoah, son. You're not finished.
Pour his.

YOUNG HOLLIS
I prefer it in the bottle--

WADE
Shut up, Hollis. Pour.

Otis meets Wade's look now, pours the other beer--

WADE
How come you don't took familiar?

YOUNG OTIS
Been away. Up to Houston.

WADE
Houston, huh? I hear they let you
boys run wild up there.

No response. Wade deliberately pushes the glass away so beer
splashes on the table and drips into Hollis's lap--

WADE
Aw--look what you done now. Better
get something to wipe it up, son.

Half the people in the room are watching now, the other half
moving away to relative safety. Otis tries to keep a lid on
his temper, looks around the room--

YOUNG OTIS
You spilt it, you wipe it up.

Wade stands, steely-eyed, and looks at Otis nose to nose--

WADE
I told you to do something. Are you
gonna hop to it, or are we gonna
have a problem?

Otis is starting to shake, but holds his ground--

WADE
Don't want to turn tail in front of
your people. I understand.

He starts to turn away then WHAP! brings the butt of his
pistol up under Otis's chin, knocking him to the floor. A
woman SCREAMS and Otis, enraged, grabs the chair he has fallen
over, starts to get up--but Wade has the pistol levelled at
his face--

WADE
Come on, Houston, give it a try!
Come to Poppa--

RODERICK is out on the floor now, hands held out in a gesture
of peace, as YOUNG MINNIE watches from behind the bar,
petrified--

RODERICK
Don't mind him, Sheriff. Boy's just
a bit slow, is all. He don't mean
nothin' by it--

WADE
That the problem, son? You Slow?

RODERICK
Otis, apologize to the Sheriff--

Otis eases the chair down but doesn't say anything--

RODERICK
You got him too scared to peep,
Sheriff. Maybe if you put that gun
up--

WADE
You telling me what to do, Roderick?

RODERICK
No, Sheriff, I'm just--

Wade looks around, widens his eyes in mock surprise--

WADE
What's this I see? Is that whiskey
in them glasses on the Bar? Roderick,
I'm gonna have to cite you for a
violation of state law--

RODERICK
This is a club, Sheriff--you been in
here--

WADE
And people better clear out of here!
Now!

A few people start for the exit. Wade swivels and BLAM sends
a bullet past Minnie that shatters a crystal decanter behind
the bar. People run for the door. Wade squats down to look
Otis in the face--

CU WADE

WADE
You learn how to act your place,
son. This idn't Houston.

He stands and we FOLLOW him toward the bar--

OTIS (V.O.)
'Course I was young and full of beans
then--

The camera passes Wade and instead of Minnie there stands
Otis, PRESENT DAY, reminiscing. We are back in '95--

OTIS
I didn't understand the spot I was
putting Roderick in.

SAM
And that was the last time you saw
him?

We SHIFT to see Sam sitting where Wade was headed--

OTIS
Oh--I think he came in one more time
with Hollis and--naw, your Daddy
wasn't with them. Made their monthly
pickup. Roderick wasn't in so I just
kept my mouth good and shut and handed
over that envelope.

SAM
That was the night he disappeared?

OTIS
(Shakes his head)
Could of been. That was white people's
business.

SAM
And when my father was Sheriff?

OTIS
What about it?

SAM
What was your deal with him?

Otis smiles, chooses his words carefully--

OTIS
Buddy was more a part of the big
picture--county political machine,
chamber of commerce, zoning board if
I kept those people happy, he was
pretty much on my side.
(Smiles)
Whenever somebody thought--they start
up another bar for the black folks,
they'd be--how should I put this?
They'd be officially discouraged.

SAM
He ever accept cash for a favor?

Otis smiles, looks away to ponder his response--

OTIS
I don't recall a prisoner ever died
in your father's custody. I don't
recall a man in this town--Black,
White, Mexican--who'd hesitate a
minute before they'd call on Buddy
Deeds to solve a problem. More than
that I wouldn't like to say.

INT. CAR -- LATE AFTERNOON

Pilar drives Amado and her daughter Paloma home--

AMADO
If you had your way I wouldn't have
any friends.

PILAR
Oh, come on, Amado--

AMADO
Just 'cause I'm not like Little Miss
Honor Roll here--

PILAR
Leave your sister out of it.

AMADO
You and all of the teachers in this
dump--your story's over, so you don't
want anybody else to have fun.

We see on PILAR's face that he has scored--

PALOMA
You jerk--

AMADO
I'm not talking to you. You don't
have any friends.

PILAR eases the car down San Jacinto street, seeing something
on the street and she's tuning her kids' conversation out--

PALOMA
Who'd want to be friends with that
bunch of pachuco wannabes?

AMADO
I don't pretend I came over on the
Mayflower--

PALOMA
And those stupid girls who hang out
with them--

AMADO
Just shut up.

PILAR'S POV -- SAM

Sam walks on the sidewalk parallel to them, talking with
three other MEN--

PALOMA (O.S.)
Joanie Orozco's telling the whole
school she's like desperately in
love with Santo Guerra.

AMADO (O.S.)
So?

PALOMA (O.S.)
It's pathetic. You can't be
desperately in love when you're 14
years old.

INT. PILAR'S CAR

Pilar is still looking fixedly out the window--

PALOMA
Not if you have half a brain in your
head.

PILAR
Of course you can.

PALOMA
What?

PILAR
It doesn't have anything to do with
being smart.

EXT. SAN JACINTO STREET -- LATE AFTERNOON

Danny Padilla is arguing with H.L. BRIGGS, a construction
company big shot, and JORGE GUERRA, a Council member in his
40s and Sam, as they walk down the sidewalk of the main street--

JORGE
What I'm saying is, I don't see the
point. You had your chance when the
dedication committee was meeting--

DANNY
I've got new information--

H.L.
It's ancient goddarn history, Danny--

DANNY
1963, they dam up the north branch
to make Lake Pescadero. A whole little
town disappears--

H.L.
Squatter town--

DANNY
People had been living in Perdido
for over a hundred years. Mexicans
and Chicanos are deported, evicted,
moved forcibly out of their houses
by our local hero, Buddy Deeds, and
his department--

JORGE
There was a bill from the state
legislature--

DANNY
Families were split apart, a whole
community was destroyed--

H.L.
They were trespassing, Danny--

DANNY
--and who ends up with lakefront
property bought for a fraction of
the market price? Buddy Deeds, Sheriff
of Rio County, and his Chief Deputy,
Hollis Pogue.

They all look at Sam, who has been listening patiently the
whole while. They've reached his office.

SAM
You finished?

DANNY
Look, I'm not after you, Sam. I
just think people in town ought to
know the full story on Buddy Deeds.

SAM
(Nods)
That makes two of us.

Sam steps into his office, leaving H.L. shaking his head--

H.L.
You best be thankful that's the son
and not the father. Buddy woulda
kicked your ass from here to sundown.

INT. HALLWAY -- DEL'S HOUSE -- LATE AFTERNOON

We TRACK down a hallway as Celie walks toward us, calling
ahead. Chet stands in the middle of the hall behind her.

CELIE (O.S.)
I don't see what the big deal is. Go
back over, talk to the man, and bury
the hatchet, Del--

CELIE passes us and Del crosses back in the other direction
from behind the camera, carrying boxes of their belongings.
We continue our SLOW TRACK forward--

DEL
Otis Payne was never embarrassed
about a thing in his life.

CHET
Dad--

CELIE (O.S.)
You were 8 years old when he left--

DEL
He didn't leave, he moved three houses
down with one of my mother's best
friends.

CHET
Dad--?

DEL
"Hey, Delmore, where's your Daddy?"

Del disappears into the bedroom at the end of the hall--

DEL (O.S.)
Everybody else's business. And
everybody loved Big O--

DEL comes back out, empty-handed--

DEL
Big O was always there with a smile
or a loan or a free drink.

CHET
Dad, can I talk to you about track?

CELIE (O.S.)
People change.

DEL
Not that much.

CHET
Dad, I talked to the track coach--

DEL
I thought we already had this out?
Next year, if your grades are high
enough--

CHET
I have a B average.

DEL
How many B-average students do you
think they take at West Point?

CELIE (O.S.)
We're going to have to see him.

DEL
No, we don't.

Del steps away past us, leaving Chet, defeated--

INT. CAFE -- NIGHT -- ENRIQUE

We start on Enrique, talking surreptitiously on the pay phone
on the way to the kitchen.

ENRIQUE
Sabado por la noche--Is, es el mas
seguero--a cruzar por la manana y
pues tendremos que esperar--[Friday
night--Yes, that's the safest--I'll
cross in the morning and then we'll
have to wait--]

Mercedes bustles by, snapping her fingers--

MERCEDES
Off the phone, by we've got people
waiting. Andale!

We FOLLOW Mercedes back into the kitchen, where she moves
through, kibbitzing the operation--

WAITRESS

Mercedes stops by a young girl prepping a pork loin to be
cooked. She isn't wearing gloves.

MERCEDES
Donde estan sus guantes? Tonta! Quiere
matar a mis clientes? [Where are
your gloves? Stupid! You want to
kill my customers?]

She continues past, shaking her bead, bringing us to Pilar,
who is trying to stay out of the way--

MERCEDES
These ones coming up are getting
stupider every year.

PILAR
Maybe you're just getting less
patient.

MERCEDES
If they're going to survive here,
they have to know how to work, Elalco!
Adelante! Los clientes esperan!

PILAR
Well, you hire illegals--

MERCEDES
(Indignant)
Nobody is illegal in my cafe! They've
got green cards, they've got relatives
who were born here--if they only had
a little common sense I'd be very
happy.

PILAR
If you spent a little more time
training them--

MERCEDES
Did you come here to tell me how to
run my business?

PILAR
No. I was wondering if you'd like to
take a trip down south with us. Maybe
see where you grew up--

MERCEDES
Why would I want to go there?

PILAR
Oh, come on--you must be curious how
it's changed. Amado is into this big
Tejano roots thing and I've never
been further than Ciudad Leon--

MERCEDES
You want to see Mexicans, open your
eyes and look around you. We're up
to our ears in them.

Pilar gives up on the trip. She watches her mother poking at
the plates of chips and salsa ready to go out--

PILAR
Mami, how old were you when my father--

MERCEDES
He was killed.

PILAR
Right. When he was killed.

MERCEDES
A little older than Paloma is now.

PILAR
How come you never got married again?

Mercedes just glares at her--

PILAR
There must have been somebody.

MERCEDES
(Mutters)
I was too busy.

PILAR
Nobody's too busy.

MERCEDES
Maybe now. It was different back
then. I had this place, I was doing
all the shopping, all the cooking.
What do I need some chulo with grease
under his nails to drink up the
profit?

PILAR
(Pissed off)
Thank you.

MERCEDES
I don't mean Fernando.

PILAR
Mami, the first time I brought him
home, those were your exact words--
"some chulo with grease under his
nails."

MERCEDES
I never said that.

PILAR
You made it pretty damn clear you
thought he was nobody.

MERCEDES
I felt that you could do better for
yourself--

PILAR
What? Become a nun? You didn't want
me going out with Anglos--

MERCEDES
I never said that. It was just that
boy--

PILAR
"That boy"--Mami, say his name for
chrissakes!

The employees are staring. Mercedes won't look at her daughter
as she steps out of the kitchen, banging into Enrique on his
way back in--

MERCEDES
You people are stealing my money--
Entiende? Robandome?

Mercedes is gone. The young girl, pulling plastic gloves on,
looks to Pilar.

GIRL
Su madre? [Your mother?]

PILAR
Si.

The girl puts her hand on her heart in sympathy--

GIRL
Lo siento [My condolences.]

INT. COUNTRY AND WESTERN BAR -- NIGHT

A crowded room, C&W MUSIC plays on the box. Sam sits behind
a bottle of beer as the bartender, CODY, in his early 50s
philosophizes.

CODY
Now I'm just as liberal as the next
guy--

SAM
If the next guy's a redneck.

CODY
--but I gotta say I think there's
something to this cold climate
business. I mean, you go to the beach-
what do you do? Drink a few beers,
wait for a fish to flop up on the
sand. Can't build no civilization
that way. You got a hard winter
coming, though, you got to plan ahead,
and that gives your cerebral cortex
a workout.

SAM
Good deal you were born down here,
then.

CODY
You joke about it, Sam, but we are
in a state of crisis. The lines of
demarcation has gotten fuzzy--to run
a sucessfull civilization you got to
have lines of demarcation between
right and wrong, between this one
and that one--your Daddy understood
that. He was like the whatchacallit--
the referee for this damn menudo we
got down here. He understood how
most people don't want their sugar
and salt in the same jar.

SAM
You mixed drinks bad as you mix
metaphors, you be out of a job.

CODY
Take that pair over in the corner--

Sam swivels to look where Cody points--

CODY
Place like this, twenty years ago,
Buddy woulda been, on them two--

SAM'S POV -- CORNER BOOTH

Cliff and Priscilla talk across a table--

CODY (O.S.)
--warning. Not 'cause he had it in
for the colored

SAM AND CODY

CODY
--but just as a kind of safety tip.

SAM
Yeah. I bet he would.

CODY
Old Sam stood for somethin', you
know? The day that man died they
broke the goddamn mold.

BOOTH -- CLIFF AND PRISCILLA

Things are obviously more than professional between these
two--

PRISCILLA
So where does that put us?

CLIFF
Well--I don't see what's changed. No -
PDA's, no necking on the obstacle
course.

PRISCILLA
Seriously.

CLIFF
Seriously, I think we should get
married.

PRISCILLA
We been through this before--

CLIFF
We should just do it.

PRISCILLA
And if I get a shot at a promotion
somewhere--

CLIFF
You could take it--

PRISCILLA
It's up or out these days, Cliff.
Say I get transferred to a different
post--

CLIFF
I'd quit the Army for you, if it
came to that.

PRISCILLA
(Grins)
Man's gonna retire in two years and
he offer to quit. Big goddamn deal.

SAM (O.S.)
Excuse me--

They look up to see Sam standing over them--

CLIFF
Sheriff--hi--this is Sergeant--this
is Priscilla Worth.

SAM
Pleased to meet you.

CLIFF
Sheriff Deeds was in on our
archeological find yesterday.

PRISCILLA
It true they gonna build a shopping
mall out there?

SAM
If certain people have their way,
it's going to be a new jail.

PRISCILLA
Damn. Maybe we got in the wrong
business. They closin' down military
bases left and right, puttin' up
jails like 7-11 stores.

SAM
Do either of you have any idea when
they stopped using that site as a
rifle range?

CLIFF
They stopped training infantry there
in the late '50s. It was just a
playground for the jackrabbits till
they gave it to the county last year.

PRISCILLA
You know who it was they dug up?

SAM
Not for sure yet. But I kind of wish
they hadn't.

EXT. CAFE -- NIGHT

Enrique steps out of the darkened cafe, followed by Mercedes,
who locks up. Mercedes steps over to an expensive-looking
car--

ENRIQUE
Es muy lindo, su coche--

MERCEDES
En ingles Enrique. This is the United
States. We speak English.

ENRIQUE
Is very beautiful, your car.

MERCEDES
Good night, Enrique. She slides into
the car--

ENRIQUE
Buenas noches, Senora Cruz. Enrique
walks in the opposite direction--

FADE OUT

EXT. BIG O'S ROADHOUSE -- DAY -- CU DEL

Del, in uniform, approaches the front door of Big O's, not
open for business yet. We TIGHTEN as he stops to read a
handlettered sign next to it: "BLACK SEMINOLE EXHIBIT REAR
ENTRANCE." He steps in--

INT. ROADHOUSE

Late-50s R&B plays on the JUKEBOX. Otis stands behind the
counter hooking the beer taps up. Del steps in and sits on a
stool at the far end of the bar, tense, looking around the
place. When Otis sees him, he stops dead. They lock eyes for
a moment, then Otis turns to call.

OTIS
Carolyn--knock that off for a minute.

CAROLYN

CAROLYN SYKES, an attractive woman maybe ten years younger
than Otis, pulls the plug from the jukebox near where she's
scrubbing bloodstains off the floor. She turns to look at
the newcomer--

BAR

Del doesn't move to come closer--

DEL
Black Seminoles?

OTIS
(Shrugs)
Hobby of mine. Got some artifacts,
couple pieces one of your men out at
the base made. Free admission.

Del nods toward where Carolyn is mopping--

DEL
That where he was shot?

OTIS
That's where he fell.

DEL
You get much of that in here?

OTIS
It's a bar. People come together,
drink, fall in love, fall out of
love, air their grudges out--

DEL
Deal drugs in the bathroom--

OTIS
If I thought it would help I'd put
up a sign telling them not to. Right
under the one about the employees
washing their hands.

Carolyn has come over by Otis, lugging the bucket and mop--

OTIS
This here's Carolyn. Honey, this is
my son, Delmore.

DEL
Nice to meet you, Ma'am.

Carolyn nods, shoots a look to Otis--

CAROLYN
I'll be in back waiting for that
delivery.

They wail till she is gone to start again--

OTIS
So.

DEL
So tell me why I shouldn't make this
place off-limits.

OTIS
This is an official visit, then--

DEL
I assume a lot of your business is
from our people.

Otis pulls a tap back and it coughs before squirting beer.

OTIS
Your boys out there cooped up
together, need somewhere they can
let the steam out. If they're Black,
there's not but one place in this
town they feel welcome. Been that
way since before you were born.

DEL
We have an enlisted man's club at
the post.

OTIS
Well, you're the Man out there now,
aren't you? It's your call.

DEL
That's right.

OTIS
(Smiles)
I been hearing rumors about this new
commander coming for a couple weeks
now. Boys say they heard he's a real
hard case. Spit-and-polish man. Full-
bird colonel name of Payne, they say--
Bet you never figured you end up
back here.

DEL
The Army hands you a command, you go
wherever it is.

OTIS
Right.

DEL
I hear things, too. People call
you the Mayor of Darktown.

OTIS
(Shrugs)
Over the years, this is the one place
that's always been there. I loan a
little money out, settle some
arguments. Got a cot in the back-
people get afraid to go home they
can spend the night. There's not
enough of us to run anything in this
town- the white people are mostly
out on the lake now and the Mexicans
hire each other. There's the Holiness
Church and there's Big O's place.

DEL
And people make their choice--

OTIS
(Smiles)
A lot of 'em choose both. There's
not like a borderline between the
good people and the bad people--you're
not either on one side or the other--

Del looks away, not wanting to believe this--

OTIS
(Softly)
I gonna meet that family of yours?

DEL
Why would you want to do that?

OTIS
Because I'm your father.

Del gives him a dark look and lets the statement hang between
them. He gets up and heads for the door--

DEL
You'll get official notification
when I make my decision. He is out
the door--Otis pulls himself a beer
as Carolyn steps back out--

CAROLYN
So that's him--

OTIS
Yeah--that's him. Got two, three
thousand people under him out there,
you count the civilians.

CAROLYN
That must be a laugh a minute.

EXT. SAN JACINTO STREET -- DAY

Sam walks down the main street of town. A CROWD is gathering
at the other end for the ceremony--

H.L. (O.S.)
Sheriff!

We WIDEN as H.L. and Jorge catch up to him. H.L. slaps Sam
on the back--

H.L.
Historic occasion, isn't it?

SAM
Seems like we have another one every
week.

H.L.
Jorge and his Chamber of Commerce
boys got to keep things hummin'--

JORGE
We're building up tourism, Sam--

SAM
People come here to catch bass and
to get laid at the Boy's Town in
Cuidad Leon--

JORGE
Sam--

SAM
You ought to put up a banner--
"Frontera, Texas: Gateway to Cut-
Rate Pussy"--

H.L.
That kind of talk doesn't help, Sam.

SAM
Rather have that than the ten-foot-
high catfish statue--

JORGE
I got Eddie Richter at the Sentinel
to kill that story.

SAM
The Perdido thing?

JORGE
He agreed it wasn't exactly news--

SAM
Danny's gonna be out for blood the
next time.

H.L.
Which is why we need to talk to you
about the new jail--just so we're
all on the same page.

SAM
We don't need a new jail.

H.L.
That's a matter of interpretation--

SAM
We're already renting cells to the
Feds for their overflow--

JORGE
There was a mandate in the last
election--

SAM
It wouldn't happen to be your
construction company gonna get the
bid on building this thing, would
it, H.L. And Jorge, you wouldn't be
thinking about a couple dozen new
jobs to dangle in front of the voters--

H.L.
Dammit, Sam, the people are concerned
about crime--

SAM
We need a drug rehab program, we
need a new elementary school--

JORGE
There isn't money allocated for that.
But a jail--

SAM
Look, I'm not gonna campaign against
your deal here, but if anybody asks
me, I got to tell them the truth. We--
don't--need--a new jail.

H.L.
When we backed you--

SAM
When you backed me you needed
somebody named Deeds to bump the
other fella out of office. Hey,
folks--

Sam and the others smile as they reach the CROWD of
townspeople, mostly small business owners and retired people.
Photographers from the paper and a local TV news crew wait
by a veiled Statue roped off in a little traffic island.
Mercedes, dressed to kill, stands waiting next to Hollis
with a huge pair of scissors in her hand.

CU MERCEDES

Slowly working the blades of the scissors, she looks coldly
at Sam--

CU SAM

He nods to her as the crowd opens a path for him.

SAM
Let's get this thing over with.

INT. MIKEY'S WORKSHOP -- MORNING

We start on a two-foot-high statue of a cowboy made from old
bullets and shell casings. We PAN past a few others, the
poses lifted from Frederic Remington paintings, till we see
Mikey, gluing together a work in progress, a Remington book
propped open in front of him. Cliff sits at the worktable
playing absently with the old bullets spilled out from MIKEY'S
bag

MIKEY
Never thought I'd see the day a buddy
of mine was dating a woman with three
up and three down on her shoulder.

CLIFF
I think it's beyond what you'd call
dating.

MIKEY
You going to get married?

CLIFF
(Shrugs)
Maybe.

MIKEY
You met her family? They gonna be
cool about you being a white guy?

CLIFF
Priscilla says they think any woman
over 30 who isn't married must be a
lesbian. She figures they'll be so
relieved I'm a man--

MIKEY
Always heartwarming to see a prejudice
defeated by a deeper prejudice. But
marriage, man--I did two tours in
Southeast Asia and I was married for
five years--I couldn't tell you which
experience was worse.

Cliff picks up a slug--

CLIFF
Hey, Mikey--

MIKEY
I knew she was Japanese going into
it, but she didn't tell me the ninja
assassin part--

CLIFF
Mikey--

MIKEY
Her parents acted like I was gonna
blow my nose on their curtains--

CLIFF
Mikey--

MIKEY
If I stayed out past ten with the
guys she'd go into her Madame
Butterfly routine--

CLIFF
Mikey look at this--

MIKEY
What--it's a bullet. I'm lousy with
bullets here.

CLIFF
It's a .45.

MIKEY
Yeah?

CLIFF
This is the stuff we picked up the
other day, right? The rest of this
is all .30 caliber--

MIKEY
They were using M-1's, yeah--

CLIFF
What's it doing on a rifle range?

MIKEY holds the slug in front of his face--

MIKEY
We better call that Sheriff.

EXT. SAN JACINTO STREET -- DAY

Hollis is finishing his oration, having put the crowd in a
good mood.

HOLLIS
Sometime in the early '70s a reporter
from a national magazine was talking
to the governor of our Lone Star
state, and he asked him, "Governor,
what's your ideal of what a real
Texan ought to be?" Governor said,
"That's easy, son- you just go down
to Rio County and get a look at
Sheriff Buddy Deeds."

Applause--

SAM

Watching the crowd--

SAM'S POV

We PAN with his gaze across smiling faces, till he comes to
Danny and a couple of Chicano friends, looking grim. We RACK
FOCUS beyond them to see Pilar, watching the ceremony from a
few yards back--

HOLLIS (O.S.)
Thank you. We've got one more person
to hear from--

HOLLIS

HOLLIS
--and he's somebody who probably
knew Buddy better than any of us,
Sam--would you say a few words?

SAM

Not thrilled to be called on. He steps forward reluctantly
to APPLAUSE--

SAM
You folks who remember my father
knew him as Sheriff. But at home he
was also judge, jury

He looks to Hollis--

SAM
--and executioner.

LAUGHTER. Sam holds Hollis's eyes for a moment before
continuing--

SAM
This is a real honor you're doing
him today, and if Buddy was around
I'm sure his hat size would be gettin'
bigger every minute.

PILAR

Watching--

SAM (O.S.)
I used to come to this park to hide
from him. Now that you're putting
his name on it--

SAM

SAM
I'll have to find someplace new to
duck out.

More LAUGHTER--

SAM
I do appreciate it, and wherever he
is, Buddy's puttin' the beer on ice
for the bunch of you. Thank you.

APPLAUSE--

Sam steps back and Mercedes steps forward with her scissors
without looking at him--

HOLLIS
And now my fellow Council member and
one of Frontera's most respected
businesswomen, Mrs. Mercedes Cruz,
will do the honors for us.

MERCEDES

She freezes, smiling, till the still photographers have gotten
their shots, then snips the cord to a pulley system that
lets the cloth drop--

STATUE

The cloth drops to reveal a bas-relief in brass set in a
block of smooth limestone. A decent likeness of Buddy in
uniform, his hand on the shoulder of a small Chicano-looking
boy who stands beside him, eyes raised worshipfully.

APPLAUSE from the gathering--

SAM

Watching, a bit removed, as Mercedes shakes hands with Jorge
and H.L. and Hollis for the cameras. He overhears a pair of
BYSTANDERS who are checking out the statue--

BYSTANDER 1 (O.S.)
It does look like old Buddy.

BYSTANDER 2 (O.S.)
Runnin that kid in for loiterin'--

The bystanders LAUGH--Sam steps away, intercepting Mercedes
as she steps away--

SAM
Nice to see you, Mrs. Cruz.

Mercedes just looks at him, keeps going. His gaze brings him
to Pilar, standing on the sidewalk, watching.

SAM

Steps over from the dispersing crowd--

SAM
Field trip?

PILAR
Lunch hour. My next class isn't till
nine-thirty.

SAM
Want to take a walk?

EXT. RIVERSIDE -- DAY

Sam and PILAR walk together alongside the Rio--

SAM
Your mother still doesn't like me.

PILAR
I can't name anybody she does like
these days.

SAM
I see she built a place up here by
the river.

PILAR
A real palace. She rattles around
alone in that thing--

SAM
She's done well for herself--on her
own and all--

PILAR
So she tells me three times a week.

She looks at him--

PILAR
I thought you got through that pretty
well.

SAM
They cooked the whole thing up without
asking me.

PILAR
People liked him.

SAM
Most people did, yeah.

PILAR
I remember him watching me once.
When I was little--before you and I--

She shrugs.

PILAR
I was on the playground with all the
other kids, but I thought he was
only looking at me. I was afraid he
was going to arrest me--he had those
eyes, you know--

SAM
Yeah.

PILAR
Weird what you remember.

They walk in silence a moment--

SAM
Your boy, there--

PILAR
Amado.

SAM
Nice-looking kid.

PILAR
He hates me.

SAM
No--

PILAR
With Paloma, it's more like she pities
and tolerates me- totally age-
appropriate. But Amado--he's--he's
never been book-smart. Had a hard
time learning to read. Me being a
teacher and caring about those things
is like an embarrassment--like a
betrayal.

SAM
Fernando did okay, and he dropped
out--

PILAR
Fernando wasn't pissed off at
everybody. He just wanted to fix
their cars.

SAM
It might just be the age. I spent my
first fifteen years trying to be
just like Buddy and the next fifteen
trying to give him a heart attack.

She looks at him--

PILAR
So why did you come back here, Sam?

SAM
Got divorced, I wasn't gonna work
for my father-in-law anymore. The
fellas down here said they'd back me--

PILAR
You don't want to be Sheriff.

SAM
I got to admit it's not what I thought
it'd be. Back When Buddy had it--
hell, I'm just a jailer. Run a 60-
room hotel with bars on the windows.

PILAR
It can happen so sudden, can't it?
Being left out on your own.

SAM
You've got your mother, your kids--

PILAR
They've got me. Different thing.

They stop at a spot where you can climb down the bank--

SAM
Remember this?

Pilar looks at the spot. She isn't ready to deal with whatever
memory it brings back--

PILAR
I should get back.

SAM
Pilar--

PILAR
Looks real bad if the teacher's late
for class. It's really nice to talk
with you, Sam.

She waves and walks away, feeling awkward. Sam watches for a
minute, then turns and steps down to the bank, He looks at
the water.

RIVER SURFACE

A little piece of tree bark is tossed onto the water and
drifts away with the current. We TILT UP to see YOUNG PILAR
tossing bark into the river as YOUNG SAM sits on the bank
beside her. They are 14 and 15 years old--It is 1972--

YOUNG SAM
You going to tell her?

YOUNG PILAR
You going to tell him?

YOUNG SAM
He doesn't need to know all my
business.

YOUNG PILAR
He's gonna find out.

YOUNG SAM
So? What's he gonna do, arrest us?

Young Pilar frowns, tosses more bark--

YOUNG PILAR
It's supposed to be some big sin,
even if you love each other.

YOUNG SAM
You believe that?

CU YOUNG PILAR

She turns to look at him--

YOUNG PILAR
No.

We PAN with her gaze to see Sam, PRESENT DAY, sitting on the
bank, lost in thought--

SAM
Me neither.

EXT. ARMY POST -- DAY

Athena walking between buildings, looking a bit out of it.
Sergeant Worth cuts into her--

PRISCILLA
Private Johnson!

ATHENA
Sergeant?

PRISCILLA
Report to Dr. Innis at the clinic.

ATHENA
I'm feeling okay--

PRISCILLA
I'm very happy to hear that, Private.
Now you go put some pee-pee in a cup
for Dr. Innis and I'll be feeling
okay, too.

ATHENA
(Reacts)
You're testing me?

PRISCILLA
You and one hundred nineteen other
fortunate individuals. Put it in
gear.

ATHENA
Yes, Sergeant.

Sergeant Worth watches Athena go, suspicious--

INT. SHERIFF'S OFFICE -- AFTERNOON

Ray Hernandez and another DEPUTY guide Shadow back in from
the courthouse in handcuffs--

RAY
Excellent performance, my friend.
The judge was very impressed.

SHADOW
You don't need to cuff me.

RAY
You been talking so much trash today,
you made us think you're a dangerous
criminal. Be a good boy, now--

They guide him past Sam's desk--

SHADOW
You're the one who's a good boy. Man
say "fetch" and you fetch--

RAY
Just doing my job.

SHADOW
White man just using you to keep the
Black man down.

RAY
This isn't Houston, my friend. We
pretty much running things now. Our
good day has come.

SHADOW
You suckers haven't had a good day
since the Alamo.

Ray smiles, pushes him out--

RAY
Andale, amigo,

We HOLD on Sam at his desk, TIGHTENING as he holds the .45
slug from the sergeants in front of his eyes--

SAM
Lupe? Get me the rangers up in Austin--

INT. MERCEDES' KITCHEN -- NIGHT -- CU GLASS

We hear old MEXICAN MUSIC. Ice cubes plunk into a glass.

WIDER, MERCEDES

Mercedes, exhausted from a day at the cafe, pours herself a
Scotch and soda--

EXT. BACK PATIO -- NIGHT

The back LIGHT is flicked on and Mercedes steps out with her
drink in hand, the MUSIC audible from inside. She sinks into
a recliner. We TIGHTEN as she closes her eyes. Something
RUSTLES out In the dark. Mercedes opens her eyes. There is
WHISPERING. Mercedes sits up and suddenly two MEN run past
the edge of the patio toward the front of the house. Mercedes
sighs--

MERCEDES
Otra vez los mojados--[Wetbacks
again--]

Mercedes searches to find a portable phone on the patio table,
punches a number in--

MERCEDES
Hello? Border Patrol?

EXT. SAM'S HOUSE -- NIGHT

Sam, out of uniform, stands behind his little house chucking
fallen pecans out into the dark, thinking, listening to the
night sounds.

CU SAM

Working something out in his head. He looks off into the
dark and we PAN with his gaze--A MAN steps toward us, barely
visible in the darkness. It is Charley Wade--We're in Sam's
REVERIE, in 1957--

WADE
Who is that? Come out here where I
can see you!

BLAM! A GUNSHOT, and Wade falls to his knees--

WADE
You sonofabitch--

Wade falls on his face. A FLASHLIGHT BEAM flicks ON and plays
over his body. We PAN back along the be to see Buddy,
holstering his Pistol. He hears something, swings the
flashlight up.

SAM

We are back in 1995. Sam is blasted in the face with a
FLASHLIGHT BEAM--

PATROLMAN (O.S.)
Hold it right there! Brazos arriba!
Sam, squinting toward the light to
see who it is, raises his hands over
his head--

ZACK (O.S.)
Get that thing off 'im! He's one of
ours--

SAM
Zack?

The FLASHLIGHT BEAM PANS AWAY and ZACK POLLARD, a Border
Patrol agent, steps out of the dark to Sam--

ZACK
Hey Sam. Sorry 'bout that.

SAM
What's up?

ZACK
We had about a dozen wets come over
just upriver. They ran into one of
our posts--it was like a breakshot
on a pool table, illegals runnin'
every which way.

SAM
I haven't seen anybody come by.

ZACK
We'll get 'em--
(Looks around)
So you livin' out here now?

SAM
Yeah. It's quiet--

ZACK
I heard about that deal for your
father--You must be real proud.

SAM
Sure.

ZACK
The stories people tell, he was a
real colorful fella--

PATROLMAN (O.S.)
Zack! We got one!

ZACK
Well--back on the clock. You see any
of our neighbors from the south, let
'em know I'm lookin' for 'em.

SAM
'Night--

Zack steps away. Sam shakes the pecans still in his band,
goes back to chucking them--

EXT. COURTYARD -- DANCERS

Older CHICANO COUPLES dance to Mexican Music playing from
speakers set up in the apartment complex courtyard. We TILT
UP to see Enrique watching from his window--

INT. APARTMENT -- NIGHT

MUSIC still blasting. Enrique steps away from the window,
and sits on the bed of his drab furnished apartment. He goes
back to tying knots in a length of clothesline splicing it
to another. On the bed beside him are new flashlights and
the batteries, still in their packaging. He begins to coil
the rope--it is hundreds of feet long.

EXT. FRONT PORCH, PILAR'S HOUSE -- NIGHT

Pilar sits on her front Porch, listening to the MUSIC in the
distance. A woman singing a MEXICAN LOVE BALLAD. After a
while we hear Paloma open the screen door behind her--

PALOMA (O.S.)
Mom?

PILAR
Yeah?

PALOMA (O.S.)
You gonna stay out here?

PILAR
For a while.

A silence. They listen to the RECORD--

PALOMA (O.S.)
What's she singing about?

PILAR
(Smiles)
What do you think?

FADE OUT

INT. SHERIFF'S OFFICE -- EARLY MORNING

Sam has been up since dawn, searching through piles of old
department records. Papers cover his desk and the chairs
he's dragged over next to it. He reads out loud himself from
a report in front of him--

SAM
First bullet entered beneath the
left eye, severing the optical nerve
and exiting from top rear of skull
causing tissue damage

DOCUMENTS -- VARIOUS SHOTS

As Sam reads, we see quick pops of various records--
Certificates of death. An old Sheriff's Department payroll.
An autopsy report. Eviction notices.

SAM (O.S.)
--and severe cerebral hemorrhaging.
Second bullet entered left cheek
driving fragment of upper and lower
molars into base of skull. Third
bullet--

Real estate transfers. A map of the Proposed Lake Pescadero.
Another autopsy report. A FAX COPY of the forensics dental
report on Charley Wade. Another autopsy report--

CU SAM

Intent as he pores over the paperwork--

LEGAL PAD

We TILT DOWN to read various notes Sam has written--Reynaldo
Garcia killed by Shf Wade--3/49 Hollis Kinney hired by Shf
Dep.--9/51 Lucas Johnson k. by Shf Wade--7/53 Horace Gaines
k. by Shf Wade--1/54 Santiago Huerta k. by Shf Wade--4/54
Rifle range closed--9/56 Eladio Cruz k. by Shf Wade--12/56
Buddy Deeds hired by Shf Dep.--2/57 Shf Wade disappears--
3/57 $10,000 cnty funds missing Buddy Deeds new Shf

We come to Sam's hand, writing, when it clears we can read
the last entry--

Mercedes Cruz hired as cook, Rio Co. jail--4/57 ?????

CU SAM

Trying to put it all together.

PETE ZAYAS, a skinny, older man in trustee's coveralls,
wanders in, emptying the trash baskets in the front office--

PETE
Morning, Sheriff.

SAM
Hey, Pete. How's it going?

PETE
Time marches on.

SAM
How much you got left?

PETE
Three months.

SAM
You stop growing that loco weed at
your place, you'd see a lot more
daylight.

PETE
It was for personal consumption.

SAM
You're going to smoke an acre and a
half of marijuana?

PETE
I got a bad stomach. It helps me
digest.

Pete dumps out the basket by Sam--

PETE
Your father never bothered me about
it. Leastways not till the drug people
got on his back in the late '60s.

SAM
I thought he busted you a couple
times.

PETE
Different charge. I had a still.
Made my own mescal.

Sam looks up at him.

PETE
That's how I ruined my stomach.

SAM
(Smiles)
I'm surprised he bothered with it.

PETE
He was afraid I was going to poison
somebody. Your father tried to do
good for people--

SAM
So I've heard--

PETE
And your mother was a saint. That
summer I built the patio at your
house? She made me lunch every day.

SAM
Well, you were working there--

PETE
It could have just been a box lunch
from the jail.

Sam looks up again, troubled.

SAM
You built our patio while you were
on the county?

PETE
Out in the fresh air, nice gringo
lady making you pies--who's gonna
sit back in a little jail cell all
day? Sheriff Buddy, man. Como el no
hay dos. And after that cabron Charley
Wade--

SAM
I've heard Wade was a bit tough on
the Mexicans--

PETE
He murdered Eladio Cruz. That tough
enough for you?

SAM
Murdered him?

PETE
Chucho Montoya saw it with his own
eyes. Shot him in cold blood.

EXT. SAN JACINTO STREET -- MORNING

Ray Hernandez, heading in to work, comes upon Sam getting
into his car--

RAY
You're out early.

SAM
Yeah.

RAY
Haven't seen much of you at the jail
lately.

SAM
I been working on a few things.

RAY
Uh-huh.

SAM
I'm going over to the other side.

RAY
(Concerned)
The Republicans?

SAM
No--to Mexico. I've got to talk to
somebody.

RAY
They got telephones.

SAM
Gotta be in person.

RAY
Oh.

An awkward silence. Sam sits into the driver's seal and Ray
leans down to talk--

RAY
Sam? I--the Committee--you know Jorge
and H.L. and all--they asked me--

SAM
They want you to stand for Sheriff
next election.

RAY
Yeah.

SAM
You'd do a good job.

RAY
How 'bout you?

SAM
Don't know if I'll still want it.

RAY
I didn't want to be going around
your back.

SAM
I appreciate you telling me.

Sam looks at his Chief Deputy--

SAM
You think we need a new jail?

RAY
Well, it's a complicated issue--

Sam smiles, turns the engine on--

SAM
Yeah, Ray, you'd be a hell of a
Sheriff.

EXT. SCHOOL -- MORNING

Pilar sits with Amado on the football field bleachers before
school starts--

PILAR
I'm only going to have you for two
more years. If you decide not to go
on to college--

AMADO
I can't take any more school.

PILAR
--you're going to be on your own.

AMADO
So?

PILAR
So I'm worried about you. I don't
want you to end up in jail like your
friends.

AMADO
They're not going to jail.

PILAR
Don't try to con me, Amado. You knew
how they got all those things.

AMADO
Just some rich Anglo out on the lake.
Don't even live here all year.

PILAR
That makes it okay?

AMADO
They stole our land--

PILAR
Save your breath. That line doesn't
cut it with me.

A silence. Amado sulks.

PILAR
How do you think you're going to
make a living?

AMADO
I can fix cars.

PILAR
You can fix old cars. Mr. Washburn
told me that the cars they're making
now are all computerized--

AMADO
You think I can't learn that?

PILAR
I think you can learn whatever you
want to. I just don't see you doing
it. If you want to settle for--

AMADO
I'm not settling for anything. I
like cars, it's just not a move up
the ladder to you, so you think it's
a waste.

PILAR
That isn't true.

AMADO
Oh, come on--you and Grandma think
anybody who works with their hands
is a peasant. When Dad--

PILAR
If you grew up to he anywhere near
as good a man as your father was, I
would be happy! I would be thrilled.

They look, at each other for a long moment.

AMADO
It's my life. If I want to fuck it
up, that's my business.

PILAR
(Nods)
I said pretty much the same thing to
my mother when I was your age.

AMADO
And what did she do?

PILAR
Two years at hard labor, Our Lady of
Perpetual Help.

AMADO
Catholic school, nasty.

Pilar is nearly in tears.

PILAR
Honey, I think you're smart and you're
good and I love you. So don't act
like an idiot, all right?

EXT. BORDER CROSSING -- DAY

We see Sam's car roll through the "express lane" as other
cars in both directions stop by the inspection booths. Sam
drives across the bridge over the Rio--

EXT. STREETS -- CIUDAD LEON -- VARIOUS SHOTS

Sam drives slowly through the sprawling, more populous town
on the other side. Lots of the streets are unpaved. We PAN
with the car till we HOLD on ANSELMA, a country girl of 15,
aimlessly walking the streets--

EXT. LLANTERIA (TIRE REPAIR SHOP) -- DAY

We watch a KID about Amado's age pulling a tire off its rim
to put a patch on it--

CHUCHO (O.S.)
Over here we don't throw everything
away like you gringos do.

CHUCHO AND SAM

CHUCHO MONTOYA, in his mid-50s, stands by Sam drinking a
Coke as they watch the kid work.

CHUCHO
Recycling, right? We invented that.
The government doesn't have to tell
people to do it.

SAM
You own this place?

CHUCHO
This place, the one across the street,
four other ones around Ciudad Leon--
soy el Rey de las Llantas. King of
the Tires. Lots of your people rollin'
back over that bridge on my rubber.

SAM
(Nods)
You lived in the States for a while?

CHUCHO
Fifteen years in El Paso.

SAM
Made some money, came back here--

CHUCHO
Something like that.

SAM
You ever know a fella named Eladio
Cruz?

CHUCHO smiles, draws a line in the dirt with his heel--

CHUCHO
You the sheriff of Rio County, right?
Un jefe muy respetado. Step over
this line.

Sam obliges--

CHUCHO
Ay, que milagro! You're not the
Sheriff of nothing anymore- just
some tejano with a lot of questions
I don't have to answer.

Sam smiles, plays with the line with his toe--

CHUCHO
Bird flying south-you think he sees
that line? Rattlesnake, javelina--
whatever you got--halfway across
that line they don't start thinking
different. So why should a man?

SAM
Your government always been pretty
happy to have that line. The
question's just been where to draw
it

CU CHUCHO

CHUCHO
My government can go fuck itself,
and so can yours. I'm talking about
people here--men. Mi amigo Eladio
Cruz is giving some friends of his a
lift in his camion one day--

We PAN from CHUCHO to the FLAT TIRE on a battered old pickup
truck--

CHUCHO (V.O.)
--but because he's on one side of
this invisible line and not the other,
they got to hide in the back like
criminals--

Eladio CRUZ, young and good-looking, squats into the shot to
examine the tire, jack in hand. It Is 1956--

CHUCHO (V.O.)
And because over there he's just
another Mex bracero, any man with a
badge is his jefe--

CONJUNTO MUSIC comes from the truck RADIO. YOUNG CHUCHO steps
past Eladio--

ELADIO
Donde vas, Chucho, Tienes que quedar
escondido! [Shit, CHUCHO you got to
stay hidden!]

YOUNG CHUCHO
Voy a romper las rinones si no hago
pipi--[I'm gonna bust my kidneys if
I don't pee--]

We TRACK back with Young CHUCHO to see we are at the side of
a dirt road on the scrubby flatland near the border. Eladio's
battered pickup truck has wood-slat sides and a canvas top.
Eladio begins to undo the nuts on the flat tire as Young
CHUCHO climbs down into a dry creek bed to relieve himself--

YOUNG CHUCHO
Los demas son tan espantados que
prefieran mojar sus pantalones. [The
other guys are so scared they'd rather
wet their pants.]

CHUCHO tightens as he sees something, ducks down--

YOUNG CHUCHO
Mira, Eladio [Look!]

We PAN to see the Sheriff's car approaching in a cloud of
DUST--

ELADIO
(Calling from where
he lies changing the
tire)
Muchachos! Escondases! [Boys! Hide
yourselves!]

INT. REAR OF TRUCK

Eight illegal WORKERS hear this and lie down, pulling a canvas
tarp over themselves. We hear the CAR STOP behind them--

EXT. ARROYO -- CU CHUCHO

He makes the sign of the cross as he presses his back against
the dirt of the arroyo--

ROAD

Sheriff Wade and Deputy Hollis get out of their car and start
toward Eladio--

ELADIO

He stands, takes a deep breath--Wade steps up to him with
his hard-eyed smile--

WADE
Hola, amgio. Problemas de llanta?
[Hey, friend. Tire problems?]

ELADIO
No hay de que. Tengo otra. [No
problem, I've got another.]

WADE
What's in the back?

EXT. TRUCK

Young Hollis strolls around the truck as if he's considering
buying it. He reaches in and flicks the RADIO OFF--

ELADIO
Not much, jefe. Some watermelons.

WADE
I heard somebody been haulin' wets
on this road.

ELADIO
I haven't seen anybody doing that.

WADE
This same person been bragging all
over the county how he don't have to
cut that big gringo Sheriff in on it--
he can run his own operation 'thout
any help. Como se llama, amigo?

ELADIO
Eladio Cruz.

WADE
You know this road got a bad
reputation, Eladio--

ARROYO -- CHUCHO

Young CHUCHO pecks over the edge to see what's happening.

ELADIO
Reputation?

WADE
Bandidos, Injuns--

CLOSER -- MEN

Hollis wanders over to stand by Wade--

WADE
There's many an unfortunate soul
been ambushed out on this stretch.
Hope you're carrying some protection.

ELADIO
Protection?

WADE
You carryin' a firearm, son? Don't
lie to me now.

ELADIO
Si--tengo escopeto--just a shotgun--

WADE
Just a shotgun, huh? Better let me
take a look at that.

ELADIO opens the truck door and digs under the seat. Wade
winks to Hollis, then turns and BLAM! shoots ELADIO through
the head. Hollis jumps back startled and horrified--

YOUNG HOLLIS
Oh no--oh Jesus--oh my Lord--

WADE
Little greaser sonofabitch been
running a goddarn bus service. Think
he can make a fool out of Charley
Wade! Get them wets outta the back,
Hollis, see what we've got--

CU CHUCHO

Squatting in a ball to make himself as small as possible,
eyes covered with his hands.

YOUNG HOLLIS (O.S.)
You killed him--

WADE (O.S.)
You got a talent for statin' the
obvious, son Muchachos! Venga
afuera!Brazos arribas! [Come on out!
Hands up!]

Young CHUCHO hears FOOTSTEPS approaching. We PAN as he looks--
a man's BOOTS appear at the top of the arroyo. We TILT UP to
see a Sheriff, BACKLIT, then CRANE to see it is Sam, back in
the PRESENT looking over the site, troubled. His car sits on
the empty road behind him. He frowns, turns to go--

EXT. PARK -- DAY -- PLAQUE

Somebody has spray-painted "PERDIDO!" over the plaque of
Buddy and the little boy--

HOLLIS (O.S.)
Hooligans--

WIDER

Hollis and a couple of MEN from the Public Work Department
look at the damage.

HOLLIS
It happens again, we build a fence
around it.

INT. CAFE -- DAY

Enrique steels himself, trying to cover his nerves. We CROSS
with him to a booth.

ZACK
Podemos ganar muchas batallas pero
la guerra ya es perdido--[We can win
a lot of battles but the war's already
been lost--]

Zack and another BORDER PATROLMAN look up at him--

CU ENRIQUE

Eyes glued to his notepad--

ENRIQUE
You wan' something to drink?

EXT. ROADSIDE STAND -- DAY -- CU CATTLE SKULL

A Georgia O'Keefe-looking cattle skull sits on a pedestal
against the Western sky--

WESLEY (O.S.)
The longhorns go for ten times the
price--

We WIDEN as the skull is lifted by WESLEY BIRDSONG, a Native
American man in his 70s who wears extremely thick glasses.
Sam tags along as the old man rearranges the display of Texas
curios laid out in front of his trailer. Empty scrubland
surrounds them.

WESLEY
--but longhorns are hard to come by
these days.

SAM
You sell much out here?

WESLEY
How am I gonna sell things if nobody
comes by? This stretch of road runs
between Nowheres and Nothin' Much.

SAM
Hell of a spot to put a business.

WESLEY
But you don't see much competition,
do you?

He winks at Sam, picks up a wooden radio carved to resemble
the Alamo--

WESLEY
These things used to sell like
hotcakes. Now, if it can't play those
discs, they won't look at it.

He puts the radio on, looks out at the emptiness around--

WESLEY
I like it here. Once I tried going
onto that reservation to live.
Couldn't take the politics. Damn
Indian'll drive you crazy with that,
Now your father--this wasn't what he
had in mind at all. He come out of
Korea, he had this Chevy with too
much engine in it. He'd come roarin'
up and down this road all hours of
the day and night,looking for somebody
to race.

He lifts a jar with a leathery brown thing in it--

WESLEY
Buffalo chips. Fella in Santa Fe
told me he sells these as fast as
the buffalo can squeeze 'em out.

SAM
So when did Buddy leave?

WESLEY
For Frontera? Hell, I can't remember
dates no more. I do recall it was
after an affair of the heart had
gone sour on him. He almost took
some poor fella's head off at the
Legion in Arroyo Grande, and figured
it was time to move on.

SAM
You think he killed anybody in Korea?

WESLEY
They don't hand those medals out for
hidin'in your foxhole. Would you buy
this?

SAM
No--

WESLEY
Me neither.

He searches for something among the curios--

WESLEY
If he hadn't found that Deputy job,
I believe Buddy might've gone down
the other path, got into some serious
trouble. Settled him right down.
That and your mother. 'Course he had
that other one later.

SAM
Another woman?

WESLEY
Your mother wasn't one to get chased
off her patch. Half the damn county
knew and nobody thought the worse of
her for seein' it through.

SAM
You know who it was?

WESLEY
The other one? Hell, at my age, every
time you learn a new name you got to
forget an old one. Your head's all
crowded up--here it is--

Wesley stretches out a four-foot rattlesnake skin, rattles
still attached--

WESLEY
This big fella was sleepin' in a
crate at Cisco's junkyard right when
I looked to see what was in it. Jumped
up at my face--scared me so bad I
killed him without thinkin'.

He shakes the rattles at Sam--

WESLEY
Gotta be careful where you're pokin'--
who knows what you'll find.

INT. SCHOOL HALLWAY -- DAY

PILAR talks with Molly as they near the administration office--

PILAR
I don't think you can take it
personally--

MOLLY
I'd like to see them spend a day
pulling 14-year-olds off of each
other--I should get combat pay--

PILAR
I have new respect for some of my
kids, meeting the parents they've
been dealt--

Molly keeps going as Pilar ducks into the office--

PILAR
See you, Molly.

INT. OFFICE

PILAR crosses past the principal's secretary, MARISOL--

MARISOL
Steve called for you.

PILAR
Steve?

MARISOL
Steve. Board of Education Steve who
likes you? He goes for us hot-blooded
Mexican girls, I can tell.

PILAR
Spanish, please. My mother would
have a heart attack.

MARISOL
Your mother's family is Spanish?

PILAR
Sure, they go back to Cortez. When
he rode by, they were squatting in a
hut cooking hamsters for dinner.

MARISOL
You got to be interested in somebody.
All you do is work.

PILAR
All my mother does is work. That's
how you get to be Spanish.

MARISOL
How 'bout the Sheriff?

PILAR
The Sheriff.

MARISOL
The old-high-school-heartthrob
Sheriff. I thought you were crazy
about each other. He's available,
you're available--

PILAR
I'm unmarried. I'm not available.

MARISOL
You told me one time it was true
love.

PILAR takes the pile of mimeos and mail from her slot and
turns to go--

PILAR
(Mutters)
Nobody stays in love for twenty-three
years.

EXT. DRIVE-IN MOVIE -- NIGHT

It is 1972. An early-'70s cheezy action picture (Filipino
women-in-chains or biker flick is playing. We TILT DOWN to a
man's BOOTS crunching across the gravel of the parking area.
Now and then, the man turns a FLASHLIGHT BEAM on a license
plate. The cars are all pre-'72, lots of pickups, and the
patrons are almost all TEENAGERS. Some have turned their
pickups around to sit on the tailgate and watch, while others
have set lawn furniture out to sit on. We TILT UP slightly
to see the glint of a Rio County Sheriff's badge pinned on
the man's shirt. He meets a DEPUTY coming in the other
direction. Both train their FLASHLIGHTS on the license of
the car we see in the b.g. between them. We TILT and RACK
to see that nobody is visible through the window--

BUDDY (O.S.)
Let's go.

We FOLLOW Buddy up to the driver's side of the car as the
Deputy goes to the passenger side. We PAN with Buddy's hand
down to the door handle--he grabs it, flings it open--the
overhead LIGHT flicks ON and there lie YOUNG SAM and PILAR,
teenagers, half their clothes off and just about to close
the deal. PILAR SCREAMS and the Deputy throws the door open
by their heads--

BUDDY
Goddammit!

Buddy grabs Sam's ankles and yanks him out of the car onto
the ground as the Deputy awkwardly pulls PILAR, out the other
side--

YOUNG SAM
What the hell are you doing? You
fucking asshole!

BUDDY
How old is that girl? Goddammit,
where's your goddam sense?

YOUNG PILAR (O.S.)
Let me go! Pendejo!

YOUNG HOLLIS (O.S.)
Come on now, Missy, get your clothes
in order--

Sam is trying to kick and punch at his father, pausing in
between to pull his pants up. People are BOOING and HONKING
their HORNS all around--

YOUNG SAM
You got no fuckin' right! You stay
out of my fuckin' life!

BUDDY
Gimme the keys--gimme the goddamn
car keys, son--

YOUNG HOLLIS (O.S.)
What am I s'posed to do with her,
Buddy?

BUDDY
You drive her home and tell her mother
where we found her--

YOUNG PILAR (O.S.)
Sam!

The kids are dragged forward into the HEADLIGHTS that are
being turned on to see what the ruckus is. Both are crying,
struggling--

YOUNG SAM
You leave her the fuck alone!

BUDDY
You just shut that filthy mouth,
son. I'll deal with you when we get
home--

YOUNG PILAR
Please, don't tell my mother! She's
gonna kill me!

They step closer into the glaring HEADLIGHTS which WHITE OUT
the scene, then FADE.

EXT. RUINED DRIVE-IN -- DUSK

It is DUSK, PRESENT DAY. Our eyes readjust to see Sam,
standing by his car in the lot of the long-abandoned drive-
in. The ruined screen rises in the b.g.

CU SAM

Remembering. MUSIC BEGINS as he gets back into the car, pulls
away.

MARQUEE -- DUSK

MUSIC CONTINUES as the car cruises out past the old marquee,
a few letters still jumbled on it, several bullet holes around
them.

INT. CAR

MUSIC CONTINUES as Sam drives, thinking--

EXT. ROADS -- VARIOUS SHOTS -- DUSK/NIGHT

MUSIC CONTINUES as the car crosses the scrubland back toward
town. DUSK turns to NIGHT--

EXT. PILAR'S HOUSE -- NIGHT

MUSIC CONTINUES as Sam cruises past Pilar's house. The car
is not in the driveway: Paloma hangs out with a couple FRIENDS
under the porch light, laughing--

EXT. HIGH SCHOOL -- NIGHT

MUSIC CONTINUES as Sam's car pulls into the high school lot.
He looks up toward the school--

EXT. WINDOW, PILAR, -- SAM'S POV

MUSIC CONTINUES. We can see PILAR, through the lighted window
of her classroom, preparing something on the blackboard--

INT. CAR

MUSIC ENDS as Sam leans back to wait--

EXT. PARKING LOT

PILAR digs in her bag for her car keys as she makes her way
across the lot. She sees something, slows, reacting, then
brings us to Sam in his car. He has parked head-to-foot next
to hers. They look at each other for a long moment

PILAR
(Softly)
Follow me.

EXT. MAIN STREET -- NIGHT

Nothing stirring. Pilar's car appears, closely followed by
Sam's. The cafe has closed for the night.

INT. CAFE -- NIGHT

Sam and Pilar sit on chairs next to each other, facing the
window, talking softly. The STREETLIGHT shining through the
letters in the front window makes patterns on their faces

PILAR
We thought we were something, didn't
we?

SAM
Yeah.

PILAR
I look at my kids in school--tenth,
eleventh graders. That's who we were.
Children.

SAM
Yeah.

PILAR
I mean what did we know about
anything?

SAM
Nothing.

Pilar looks at him--

PILAR
When Nando died--it was so sudden--I
was kind of in shock for awhile.
Then I woke up and there was the
whole rest of my life and I didn't
have any idea what to do with it.

SAM
You know the other day, you asked
why I came back?

PILAR
Yeah?

SAM
I came back 'cause you were here.

PILAR nods. She gets up and we FOLLOW her across the dark
room to the jukebox. She looks at the selections--

PILAR
My mother hasn't changed the songs
since I was 10.

She puts in a quarter, punches some numbers. A Mexican BALLAD
comes on. She crosses back to Sam, holds her hand out. He
stands to greet her. They slow-dance in the empty cafe--

INT. SAM'S APARTMENT -- BEDROOM

Sam and Pilar finish making love. They lie beside each other,
shaking a little--

PILAR
Wow.

SAM
Yeah.

PILAR
How come it feels the same?

SAM
I don't know. It just feels good.
Always did.

PILAR
So what are we gonna do about this?

SAM
More, I hope.

PILAR smiles, looks around the room--

PILAR
How long have you lived here?

SAM
Two years.

PILAR
There's nothing on the walls. No
pictures--

SAM
Don't have kids. Other pictures--I
don't know--it's nothing I want to
look back on.

PILAR
Like your story is over.

SAM
I've felt that way, yeah.

Sbe puts her head on his cbest--

PILAR
It isn't. Not by a long shot. He
holds her and they lie silently for
a moment--

SAM
Pilar--

PILAR
Yeah?

SAM
What was your father's name?

PILAR
Eladio. Eladio. Cruz.

FADE OUT:

EXT. PILAR'S HOUSE -- MORNING

Paloma sits on the top step of the porch, reading teen
magazines. PILAR steps out behind her, dressed casually, and
squints at the day--

PALOMA
She finally got in--

PILAR
It's Saturday.

PALOMA
You got in late last night.

PILAR
Yeah. I had uhm--school business.

Paloma gives her a look, then holds a fashion page up for
her to see--

PALOMA
Can I get this?

PILAR
Nobody really wears that stuff,
Paloma.

PALOMA
I could name five girls at school
who have one just like it--

PILAR
Enough with the clothes--

PALOMA
Just 'cause you went to Catholic
school and wore a uniform.

PILAR
I only went for my last two years.

PALOMA
How come?

PILAR
Oh, my mother wanted to keep me away
from away from boys.

PILAR steps out into the sun--

PALOMA
Did it work?

INT. CAFE -- MORNING

Hollis is sitting alone in a booth, working on some heuvos
rancheros. Sam slides in across from him--

SAM
Morning, Hollis.

HOLLIS
Sam! Quite a do the other day. It
meant a lot to folks that you said
something.

SAM
You thought any more about our murder?

HOLLIS
We have a murder?

SAM
Charley Wade.

HOLLIS
I wish I could tell you I remembered
something new, but I can't.

SAM
I got an idea what happened.

HOLLIS
Do you?

SAM
I think somewhere between Roderick
Bledsoe's club and his house, Wade
ran into Buddy Deeds. I think Buddy
put a bullet in him, waited for him
to die, threw him in the trunk of
the Sheriff's car and drove him out
by the Army post, I think he buried
him under four feet of sand and never
looked back.

Hollis sits back to look Sam in the eye--

HOLLIS
You lived in the man's house what--
seventeen, eighteen years? And you
didn't get to know him any better
than that?

SAM
I got to go see somebody in San
Antonio today. Your memory gets any
better, I'll be back tonight.

Sam stands and walks away. We HOLD on Hollis, his appetite
gone--

EXT. BIG O'S -- MORNING

Chet steps around to the side entrance--

INT. BLACK SEMINOLE EXHIBIT -- DAY -- CU STATUE

We start on a statue of a BUFFALO SOLDIER made from spent
bullets and shell casings, then PAN to another, then WIDEN
to see Chet as he pokes his head in, the BELL of the door
ringing. He steps in cautiously, looking around the room.
On the walls there are photo-blowups, some artifacts,
handlettered information on cardboard. Chet stops to look up
at a picture of a barechested Black man with a couple of
feathers stuck in his headband

OTIS (O.S.)
That's John Horse.

Chet turns to see Otis standing back by, the door from the
bar--

OTIS
Spanish in Florida called him Juan
Caballo. John Horse.

CHET
(Looks at picture)
He a Black man or an Indian?

OTIS
(Steps in)
Both.

Otis crosses to the poker table, begins to clean up--

OTIS
He was part of the Seminole Nation,
got pushed down into the Everglades
in pioneer days. African people who
run off from the slaveholders hooked
up with them, married up, had
children. When the Spanish give up
Florida, the U.S.Army come down to
move all them Indian peoples off to
Oklahoma--

CHET
The Trail of Tears.

OTIS
(Smiles)
They teaching that now? Good. Only
a couple of 'em held out--this man,
John Horse, and his friend Wild Cat,
and a fella name of Osceola. Army
put all of them in prison and Osceola
died, but them other two escaped and
put together a fighting band and
held out another ten, fifteen years.
Beat Zach Taylor and a thousand troops
at Lake Okeechobee.

CHET
So they stayed in Florida?

OTIS
They got tired of fighting, went to
the Indian Territories for a while.
But the slave-raiders were on 'em
even there, and one night they packed
up and nearly the whole band rode
down to Mexico. Crossed at Eagle
Pass.

They move on to some photos of very African-looking people
dressed in beautiful Seminole clothing--

OTIS
Men worked for Santa Anna down there,
waited out the Civil War. The land
wasn't much to feed people on, so in
1870 they come north and put up at
Fort Duncan and the men joined up
what was called the Seminole Negro
Indian Scouts. Best trackers either
side of the border. Bandits, rustlers,
Texas rednecks, Kiowa, Comanche--

CHET
They fought against the Indians?

OTIS
Same as they done in Mexico.

CHET
But they were Indians themselves.

OTIS
They were in the Army. Like your
father.

CHET
(Surprised)
You know who I am?

OTIS
I got a pretty good guess.

CHET
That guy who got shot--

OTIS
You didn't go telling your father
you were here?

CHET
Are you kidding? And face a court-
martial?

OTIS
(Smiles)
He's a pretty tough old man, huh?

CHET
No sports if I don't keep a B average,
no TV on school nights, no PDA's--

OTIS
PDA?

CHET
Public Display of Affection. Every
time he moves up a rank, it's like
he's got to tighten the screws a
little more--

OTIS
Well--

CHET
I mean, just 'cause he didn't--you
know--

OTIS
Didn't have a father?

CHET
(Shrugs)
He's still pissed off about it.

OTIS
When you're his age you'll still be
pissed off about him.

Chet nods, looks around--

CHET
So how come you got into all this?

OTIS
These are our people. There were
Paynes in Florida, Oklahoma, Piedras
Negras--couple of 'em won the whatsit--
Congressional Medal Of Honor--

CHET
So I'm part-Indian?

OTIS
By blood you are. But blood only
means what you let it.

CHET
My father says the day you're born
you start from scratch, no breaks
and no excuses, and you got to pull
yourself up on your own.

OTIS
(Sad)
Well, he's living proof of that,
son. Living proof.

INT. DEL'S OFFICE -- DAY

Athena stands at attention as Del sits at his desk, reviewing
her record. He lets her stand for a long time before speaking--

DEL
Private Johnson, are you unhappy in
the Army?

ATHENA
No, sir--

DEL
Then how would you explain the fact
that out of one hundred twenty people
we tested, you're the only one who
came up positive for drugs?

ATHENA
I'm sorry, sir.

DEL
When you were given the opportunity
to enlist, a kind of contract was
agreed upon. I think the Army has
honored its part of that agreement.

ATHENA
Yes, sir--

DEL
Do you believe in what we're doing
here, Private Johnson?

ATHENA
I-I can do the job, sir.

DEL
You don't sound too enthusiastic.

ATHENA
I am, sir.

DEL
What exactly do you think your job
is, Private?

ATHENA
Follow orders. Do whatever they say.

DEL
Who's "they"?

ATHENA
The--the officers.

DEL
And that's the job? Nothing about
serving your country?

Athena is confused, hesitates to speak--

DEL
These aren't trick questions, Private.
You'll be given an Article 15 and be
going into the ADCAP Program one way
or the other. What happens after
that is up to you. I'm just trying
to understand how somebody like you
thinks.

Silence--

DEL
Well?

ATHENA
(Hesitant)
You really want to know, sir?

DEL
Please.

ATHENA
It's their country. This is one of
the best deals they offer.

Del knows he asked for it, but doesn't like the answer--

DEL
How do you think I got to be a
colonel?

ATHENA
Work hard, be good at your job. Sir.
Do whatever they tell you.

DEL
Do whatever they tell you--

ATHENA
I mean, follow orders, sir.

DEL
With your attitude, Private, I'm
surprised you want to stay in the
service.

ATHENA
I do, sir.

DEL
Because it's a job?

ATHENA
(Struggling)
Outside it's--it's such a mess--it's--

DEL
Chaos.

Athena is sure she's overstepped her rank--

DEL
Why do you think they let us in on
the "deal"?

ATHENA
They got people to fight. Arabs,
yellow people, whatever. Might as
well use us.

DEL
Do you think you've been discriminated
against on this post?

ATHENA
No, sir. Not at all.

DEL
Any serious problems with your
sergeant or your fellow soldiers?

ATHENA
No, sir. They all been real straight
with me.

Del stands, thinking, trying not to bullshit her--

DEL
It works like this, Private--every
soldier in a war doesn't have to
believe in what he's fighting for.
Most of them fight just to back up
the soldiers in their squad--you try
not to get them killed, try not to
get them extra duty, try not to
embarrass yourself in front of them.

He is right in her face now--

DEL
Why don't you start with that?

ATHENA
Yes, sir.

DEL
You're dismissed, Private.

ATHENA
Thank you, sir.

Athena salutes, steps out. Del looks out the window, troubled
by the encounter.

EXT. BORDER CONTROL

A battered car full of Mexican DAY WORKERS rolls toward the
Mexican side checkpoint--

INT. CAR

Enrique sits squeezed between workers in the back. The driver
never stops talking as the officer waves them through.

DRIVER (O.S.)
--Julia es demasiado flaca para mime
gusto mas mujeres con algo en frente--
o muy altas como Cindy Crofor.
Quisiera montar esa caballa--[Julia's
too skinny for me--I like women with
something up front--or really tall
like Cindy Crawford. I'd like to
ride that horse--]

EXT. KINCAID HOUSE -- DAY

Sam's car is parked on the street in front of an expensive-
looking house in a tree-lined neighborhood--

INT. LIVING ROOM

Sam's ex-wife, BUNNY KINCAID, shuffles across her living
room in slippers, crossing to turn off a big-screen TV playing
football highlights. Bunny wears shorts, a Houston Oilers
sweatshirt and a Dallas Cowboys cap. The living room is like
a sports museum-- signed footballs, team posters, a bookcase
filled with tapes of Texas pro and college football games--

BUNNY
The Longhorns gonna kick some serious
butt this Saturday, you just watch.
We got a kid at tailback from down
your way--outta El Indio--

SAM (O.S.)
That's in Maverick County.

She brings us to Sam, sitting uncomfortably, beneath a full-
sized blowup of Tony Dorsett hurdling a tackler--

BUNNY
Oh. Right. And you're in--?

SAM
Rio. BUNNY Right. This kid, Hosea
Brown? Does tire 40 in 3.4, soft
hands, lateral movement--the whole
package. Only a sophomore--

SAM
You still going to all the home games?

BUNNY
Well, Daddy's got his box at the
stadium, of course, and I'll fly to
the Cowboy away games when they're
in the Conference. Then there's the
high school on Friday' nights. West
Side got a boy 6'6", 310, moves like
a cat. High school, we're talkin'.
Guess how much he can bench-press?

SAM
Bunny, you--uhm--you on that same
medication?

BUNNY
Do I seem jumpy?

SAM
No, you look good. I was just
wondering.

BUNNY
Last year was awful rough--Mama
passing on and the whole business
with O.J.--I mean it's not like it
was Don Meredith or Roger Staubach
or one of our own boys, but it really
knocked me for a loop--

SAM
You look good--

BUNNY
--and that squeaker the Aggies dropped
to Oklahoma-sonofabitch stepped in
some lucky shit before he kicked
that goal--

SAM
Yeah, well--

BUNNY
--they hadn't pulled me off that
woman I would have jerked a knot in
her.

SAM
You were in a fight--

BUNNY
Daddy calls it an "altercation." How
you doing, Sam? You look skinny.

SAM
Same weight I always was.

BUNNY
You look awful good in that uniform,
though.

SAM
Best part of the job.

BUNNY
Daddy hired a pinhead to take your
job. He says so himself. Says "Even
my son-in-law was better than this
pinhead I got now".

SAM
Bunny, is that stuff I left in the
garage still there?

BUNNY
Least he never called me that. With
me, it was always "high-strung." "My
Bunny might have done something with
her life, she wasn't so high-strung."
Or "tightly wound," that was another
one. You seeing anyone?

SAM
No. You?

BUNNY
Yeah. Sort of. Daddy rounds 'em up.
You aren't talking about money, their
beady little eyes go dead.

SAM
You didn't--uhm--you didn't have one
of your fires, did you? The stuff I
left in the garage--some of it was
my father's--

BUNNY
You watch the draft this year? 'Course
you didn't, idiot question. They try
to make it dramatic, like there's
some big surprise who picks who in
the first round? Only they been
working it over with their experts
and their computers for months.
Doctor's reports, highlight reels,
coaches' evaluations, psychological
profiles--hell, I wouldn't be
surprised if they collected stool
samples on these boys, have 'em
analyzed. All this stuff to pick a
football player for your squad.
Compared to that, what you know about
the person you get married to don't
amount to diddly, does it?

SAM
Suppose not.

BUNNY
You kind of bought yourself a pig in
a poke, didn't you, Sam? All that
time we were first seeing each other
you didn't know I was tightly wound--

SAM
It wasn't just you, Bunny.

BUNNY
No, it wasn't, was it? You didn't
exactly throw yourself into it heart
and soul, did you?

She looks at him for an uncomfortably long moment--

BUNNY
Your shit's still in the garage if
that's what you came for.

Sam nods, stands. Bunny is in tears--

BUNNY
350 pounds.

SAM
What?

BUNNY
This boy from West Side, plays tackle
both ways. Bench-presses 350 pounds.
You imagine having that much weight
on top of you? Pushing down? Be hard
to breathe. Hard to swallow.

SAM
I think they have another fella there
to keep it off your chest. A spotter.

BUNNY
"I only got my little girl now," he
says, "she's my lifeline." Then he
tells me I can't be in the box anymore
if I can't control myself. Sonofabitch
don't even watch the damn game, just
sits there drinking with his bidness
friends, look up at the TV now and
then. I do better to sit in the cheap
seats with some real football people.

SAM
(Edging out)
You look good, Bunny. It's nice to
see you.

BUNNY
(Smiles)
Thanks. I like it when you say that,
Sam.

EXT. STREET -- CIUDAD LEON

Enrique looks nervously over his shoulder before stepping
into a funky apartment building. We TILT up to the second
floor balcony, where a LITTLE BOY is watching the street--

INT. APARTMENT

There are eight PEOPLE not including the little boy on the
balcony. All are securing their possessions--rolling things
in blankets, filling shopping bags and grain sacks. Enrique
steps in--

ENRIQUE
Todos estamos? [Everybody here?]

Anselma reaches up from the floor to take his hand--

ANSELMA
Van a disparar a nosotros? [Are they
going to shoot at us?]

ENRIQUE
Nadie nos veran. Seramos invisibles.
Nobody's going to see us. We'll be
invisible.]

INT. GARAGE -- KINCAID HOUSE -- DAY

A mess. We start on a campaign poster with Sam's face on it
and the legend--"ONE GOOD DEEDS DESERVES ANOTHER--VOTE SAM
DEEDS FOR COUNTY SHERIFF". We PAN to see Sam, who has been
digging through piles of old junk, set down the box he was
looking for--

CLOSER

Sam pulls out an old holster, a sheaf of real estate and
insurance forms, a couple of old paperback Zane Grey westerns.
He pulls out a cracked leather pouch, turns it over--letters
fall out. He examines an envelope--no stamp or postmark--
pulls a letter out, reads--

SAM
"Dearest Buddy--"

He puts the letter down for a moment, thinks. He needs to
know. He picks the letter up again, reads.

INT. OTIS'S HOUSE -- EVENING

Carolyn crosses the living room to answer the RING at the
front door. Del stands there--

CAROLYN
Hey, it's the General.

DEL
Colonel. Is uhm--is Otis in?

CAROLYN
Come on in--

DEL
If it's too late--

CAROLYN
Come on in.

Del enters the house as if walking into an AMBUSH--

INT. OTIS'S LIVING ROOM -- EVENING

Carolyn sits back in the couch, drink in hand, checking Del
out--

CAROLYN
Otis sittin' up with some people at
the club. I don't think he'll be
long.

CU DEL

Uncomfortable, sitting at the edge of an easy chair. He looks
at a mounted magazine photo of Otis smiling as he pours hot
sauce on a rack of ribs--

CAROLYN
His hot sauce recipe won a contest
last year. They sellin' it far away
as San Antonio. He got a lot of
talent, your father.

Del squirm a bit at the word "father"--

DEL
You've been in this house for a while?

CAROLYN
I been here with him eight years
now. He built it when he was with
Leora.

DEL
I never met her.

CAROLYN
There was a bunch of 'em You never
met. Me neither.

Del looks around the living room--

CAROLYN
Let me show you around--

INT. DEN -- PHOTOGRAPH

A blowup of a photo of a squad of Buffalo Soldiers is mounted
on the wall--

CAROLYN (O.S.)
He got into all this cowboys and
Indians stuff awhile back. Spend
half his time pokin' around in the
library way up to Austin.

CU DEL

He looks at something below --

DEL'S POV -- CLIPPINGS

We PAN slowly over laminated newspaper clippings mounted
behind a picture of young Del in a track uniform, holding a
vaulting pole. The clippings are about Del making honor rolls,
winning a Silver Star in Vietnam, graduating from Officer
Candidate School, being named head of this and that in the
Army--

CAROLYN (O.S.)
Kind of like a shrine, isn't it?

DEL, CAROLYN

Carolyn stands behind, watching Del's face as he looks at
the stuff--

DEL
Where'd he get all this?

CAROLYN
Your mother got a brother--Alphonse--

DEL
Uncle Al--

CAROLYN
Otis stood on good terms with the
man. Whenever you do something makes
the news, he sends it on. When they
made you General, Otis just about
drove away all our customers going
on about it.

DEL
I'm a colonel.

CAROLYN
Yeah, I know--Man made me memorize
the whole damn Army chain of command
before he'd marry me. So this is a
big deal, commander and all?

DEL
It's a small post and they're phasing
it out in two years, but I moved up
in rank and--well, a command is a
command.

CAROLYN
Otis went on like you were that guy
who won the Gulf War. Colin whatsit.

DEL
My mother said he never asked about--

CAROLYN
He never asked her.

It's a bit too much for Del--

DEL
Listen, I uh--tell him I came by.
Thanks--

We HOLD on Carolyn as he hurries out. She salutes--

CAROLYN
Catch you later, Colonel.

EXT. RIVER -- NIGHT

PEOPLE, crouching low, wade across the river toward us. When
he gets close enough to us, we recognize Enrique, nervously
leading a group of Mexican men, women and children to the
U.S. side. They are spaced out in the dark, loosely holding
the line Enrique made in one hand and holding their bundles
high away from the water with the other. Enrique turns as he
hears a WOMAN'S CRY. The line goes slack, then NESTOR steps
out of the darkness to join him--

ENRIQUE
Que Paso? [What happened?]

NESTOR
Anselma cayo en las rocas. Creo que
la pierna ha sido root--[Anselma
felt on the rocks. I think her leg's
broken--]

Two men struggle forward supporting Anselma, trying to hold
her leg out straight in front of her. She is in a lot of
pain--

NESTOR
No podemos alcanzar el camion llevando
a ella. Hay lugar para esconderla?
[We can't reach the truck if we're
carrying her. Is there somewhere to
hide her?]

Enrique thinks, trying not to panic, as the others come up
around him--

ENRIQUE
Conozco solamente una persona con
casa--[I only know one person with a
house--]

ANSELMA
(In pain)
Esta lejos? [Is it far?]

EXT. PATIO -- NIGHT

Mercedes sits on her recliner, drink in hand. An old RECORD
plays from inside. She is startled by the voice from the
dark--

ENRIQUE (O.S.)
Senora Cruz?

MERCEDES
(Standing)
Quien es? [Who is it?]

ENRIQUE
Soy yo, Enrique! No tiene miedo--
[It's me, Enrique. Don't be afraid]

Enrique steps out into the light. His pants are wet and he's
scared--

MERCEDES
What are you doing out there? Are
you crazy?

ENRIQUE
Hay pasado un accidente muy grave--
[There's been a bad accident--]

MERCEDES
In English, Enrique. We're in the
United States--

ENRIQUE
I have some friends who have had a
accident--

MERCEDES
You have somebody else out there?

ENRIQUE
We was by the river? And I hear my
friend callin' for help, and I look
and she has falling in the water--

MERCEDES
Don't tell me lies, Enrique. Que
paso?

ENRIQUE
We was crossin' the river--

Nestor appears in the light now, supporting Anselma, who
hops awkwardly to move forward--

MERCEDES
Enrique! Quienes son estos? How could
you bring them here?

ENRIQUE
They need help. Jaime, Anselma--
esta es mi jefa--

NESTOR
Senora--

MERCEDES
I'll call the Border Patrol, they'll
get her to the hospital.

ENRIQUE
No! No puede hacer esto--[You can't
do that--]

MERCEDES
You think you're doing these people
a favor? What are they going to do?
Either they get on welfare or they
become criminals--

ENRIQUE
No es la verdad--[That isn't true--]

NESTOR
Con permiso, Senora, la muchacha
tiene mucho dolor--[Please, Senora,
the girl is in a lot of pain--]

Mercedes grudgingly indicates the lounge chair--

MERCEDES
Sientase. [Sit.]

NESTOR
Es muy amable. [You're very kind.]

He and Enrique help Anselma into the chair. The Girl looks
up at Mercedes, frightened--

ANSELMA
Ayudanos, Senora, por favor no podemos
regresar--[Help us, Senora, please.
We can't go back]

Mercedes looks at ANSELMA disapprovingly. The girl can't be
more than 14--

MERCEDES
This girl is a friend of yours?

ENRIQUE
Es mi novia. [She's my girlfriend.]

MERCEDES
I thought you were married!

ENRIQUE
I am marry to the cousin of a friend--
but only to be able to live here.
This is the mother of my child--

MERCEDES
This girl has a child?

ENRIQUE
We have a daughter.

MERCEDES
(Scornful)
Tipico.

EXT. HOUSE -- NIGHT

Sam stands at the front door of a house on the lake, banging
on the door--

SAM
Hollis? You in there? Hollis?

EXT. RIVER -- NIGHT

Moonlight kicks off the surface of the water. We hear
SPLASHING, the frightened VOICE of a young woman--

YOUNG MERCEDES (O.S.)
Donde esta? Estoy perdido--[Where
are you? I'm lost--]

ELADIO (O.S., DISTANT)
Aqui! [Here!]

The girl flounders into the shot, wet and scared. Young
Mercedes, a teenager not unlike ANSELMA is wading thigh-deep
in the Rio, lost, scared--

YOUNG MERCEDES
No puedo ver la orilla! [I can't see
the bank!]

ELADIO (O.S.)
Aqui! Venga por aqui! [Over here!
Come this way!]

Mercedes struggles toward the voice and suddenly a young man
becomes visible, standing in the water, holding his band out
for her, ELADIO--

YOUNG MERCEDES
Vi a Rosaria arastrado para el
corriente--[I saw Rosaria taken away
by the current--]

ELADIO
No te molestas. Tenemos a ella. [Don't
worry. We've got her.]

He takes her arm, pulls her toward the far shore--

ELADIO
Como se llama? [What's your name?]

YOUNG MERCEDES
Mercedes Gonzales Ruiz.

ELADIO
(Smiles)
Me llama Eladio Cruz--Bienvenido a
Tejas. [Welcome to Texas.]

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. MERCEDES' HOUSE -- MERCEDES

Mercedes is lost in thought as she recalls. She steps into
the light by the carport. Enrique and Nestor are propping
Anselma's leg up on pillows in the back of Mercedes' old
station wagon--

MERCEDES
Rapidamente! Everybody in the world
is going to see!

ENRIQUE
Donde vamos? [Where are we going?]

MERCEDES
A casa de Porfirio Zayas. He used to
be a doctor on the other side.
Gunshot wounds, fixing babies--if
you can pay he can handle it.

ENRIQUE
Senora, anything it costs, I can
work--

MERCEDES
Don't worry about it. He owes me
some favors.

Enrique turns to ANSELMA still frightened in the rear of the
station wagon--

ENRIQUE
Seas tranquila, mija.
(Nods to Mercedes)
Estamos en las manos de Senora Cruz.
[Just relax, honey. We're in the
hands of Senora Cruz.]

Mercedes starts the car--

MERCEDES
In English, Enrique. In English--

INT. DEL'S HOUSE -- DINING ROOM

Del steps in. Chet sits at the table, drawing a cartoon in
panels. Del looks over his shoulder for a moment--

CARTOON

A tank rolling over barbed wire, cannon and machine gun
blasting away--

DEL (O.S.)
Homework?

DEL AND CHET

CHET
I finished that. I'm just messing
around.

DEL
Tanks, huh?

CHET
You got to be in the Army, you might
as well have something slick to drive.

DEL
So you're going into the Army?

Chet looks at him, not in a good mood, then goes back to his
drawing--

CHET
That's the general plan, isn't it?

Del watches for a long moment, thinking--

DEL
(Softly)
That's up to you.

Chet looks at his father again. All this is news to him--

DEL
The Army isn't for everybody.

Chet can't quite believe he is hearing this. Del crosses to
the refrigerator--

DEL
Not that I don't think you'd be good
at it, but--you know--I wouldn't be
disappointed if you decided to do
something else with your life.

CHET
You wouldn't?

DEL
No.

Chet nods, begins to play again, considering the
possibilities. Del is making an effort and he doesn't have
much practice--

DEL
How's your room shaping up?

CHET
Fine. I'm pretty much moved in.

DEL
Good.

An awkward silence--

CHET
(Tentative)
Are we going to ever see your father?

DEL
My father.

CHET
Yeah. He lives here, right?

DEL
He does.

Del pulls some food out, watching Chet as he draws--

DEL
Maybe we'll clean that thing out
back up, have a barbecue next weekend.
We could invite him and his wife
over.

CHET
Cool.

Chet flips the page of his sketchbook--

CHET
He makes his own sauce.

EXT. PARKING LOT, BIG O'S -- NIGHT

The neon's off, but there are a couple cars in the lot and a
light within. Sam pulls into the lot, steps out, approaches
the door--

INT. CLUB

The door opens. The place is empty now except for Otis,
standing behind the bar, deep in conversation with Hollis,
sitting on a stool. Both swivel to look around guiltily as
they hear Sam step in--

REVERSE

Sam walks in slowly, crossing the floor to bring us back to
the two men--

SAM
Fellas.

HOLLIS
Hey, Sam.

SAM
Open late.

OTIS
I'm not open. We were just talking.

SAM
Hollis probably told you we found
Charley Wade.

OTIS
Yeah. How about that? People start
digging holes in this county, there's
no telling what'll come up.

He sits a few stools away from Hollis--

SAM
You two saw it, didn't you? You two
saw it when Buddy killed him.

Hollis and 0tis look at each other--

SAM
Imonna find out one way or the other.

HOLLIS
Your father had the finest sense of
justice of any man I ever met--

SAM
Yeah, and my mother was a saint. For
fifteen years the whole damn town
knew he had another woman on the
side. Stole ten thousand dollars to
set her up in business. But hell,
what's that? You got a problem?
Buddy'll fix it. Facing some time in
jail? Buddy'll knock half of it off--
if you do what he says, when he says.
You got some business that's not
exactly legal? Talk to Buddy--

HOLLIS
Buddy Deeds--

SAM
Buddy Deeds was a murderer.

He looks at the two older men for a long moment--

SAM
That night in the cafe--he didn't
stay long after you left, did he,
Hollis? Maybe he decided he'd gone
too far with Wade, maybe he figured
he better not wait for the Sheriff
to get behind him. So he stepped out
to see if he could catch up--and you
were here at the club that night,
weren't you, O?

Otis sighs, begins to speak softly--

OTIS
I was here.

CU OTIS

He turns to look toward the door as he reminisces, and we
PAN away with his gaze--

OTIS (O.S.)
I'd been running a game on the side
after hours craps, draw poker on the
weekends. Roderick didn't know about
it. More important, Charley Wade
didn't know about it, 'cause I didn't
want to cut him in. I suppose I'd
been drinking some, and I was pretty
full of myself in those days--but
hell, I just didn't expect the man
so early--

Sheriff Wade and Young Hollis step in the door and we are
back in 1957. BLUES HARMONICA FADES UP, wailing from the
jukebox. They stop and look at the place--

THEIR POV -- CLUB

MUSIC CONTINUES. The club is empty, dark. A LIGHT shines
from the back room.

INT. BACK ROOM

MUSIC CONTINUES. Smoke fills the air and Young Otis sits
back laughing, a large pile of money on the table in front
of him. The other four BLACK MEN at the table aren't doing
so well. One by one they all look up past the camera to the
door--

CU OTIS

MUSIC CONTINUES. Young Otis doesn't see at first, engaged in
dealing the cards. Finally, he senses the presence, looks up--

WADE AND HOLLIS -- YOUNG O'S POV

MUSIC CONTINUES. Wade stands over the table in the f.g.,
Young Hollis hanging back in the doorway. Wade is smiling
his cold smile, cursing--

CU YOUNG OTIS

MUSIC CONTINUES. Trying to look unimpressed--

EXTREME CU WADE'S EYES

Cold and unblinking. MUSIC CONTINUES--

EXTREME CU WADE'S MOUTH

Twisted in a snarl as he curses. MUSIC CONTINUES--

MEN, TABLE

MUSIC CONTINUES. We shoot past Wade's body as the other men
step away from the table, grab their hats, and hurry out the
side door. Young Otis is left sitting at the table. Wade
starts walking toward him--

CU YOUNG OTIS

MUSIC CONTINUES. His eyes following as Wade comes to stand
over him--

WADE, YOUNG OTIS

MUSIC CONTINUES. Wade grabs the table and violently jerks it
over onto Young Otis, cards and money flying--

YOUNG HOLLIS

MUSIC CONTINUES. Watching squeamishly as Wade goes to work
on young Otis, the overhead light swinging wildly--

INT. BARROOM

MUSIC CONTINUES. Young Otis is hurled out of the back room,
face bruised and bleeding. Wade follows, then Young Hollis--

CLOSER

MUSIC CONTINUES.

CLOSER

Wade puts his gun next to Young Otis's ear, cursing at him.
Young Otis gets to his feet, goes behind the bar--

BAR COUNTER

MUSIC CONTINUES. Young Otis slaps an envelope full of cash
onto the counter--

WADE

MUSIC CONTINUES. He waves his pistol, indicating something
behind Otis--

INT. BAR

MUSIC CONTINUES. We shoot past Wade at the counter as Otis
turns and reaches for a cigar box on the shelf behind--

CIGAR BOX

MUSIC CONTINUES. Lying open, an old pistol inside of it.
Young Otis reaches--

CU YOUNG HOLLIS

MUSIC CONTINUES. Frowning as he senses something wrong--

WADE

MUSIC CONTINUES. Wade levels his gun at Young Otis's back,
then turns to wink at Hollis like he did before he shot Eladio--

WADE'S HAND

MUSIC CONTINUES. Finger closing around the trigger of the
.45--

HOLLIS

MUSIC CONTINUES. Mouth open in horror--

WADE

MUSIC CONTINUES. Eyes burning as he aims--

BUDDY

MUSIC CONTINUES. Stepping in the door, seeing, CALLS OUT--

YOUNG OTIS

MUSIC CONTINUES. Turning to see Buddy--

WADE

BLAM! THWAP! A bullet plows through his neck, knocking him
back against the bar.

MUSIC CONTINUES. His gun falls from his hand--

YOUNG OTIS

Horrified, splattered with the Sheriff's blood. MUSIC
CONTINUES--

BAR COUNTER

MUSIC CONTINUES. Twenty-dollar bills have spilled out of the
envelope and are soaking up blood--

CU BUDDY

Calm and hard-eyed. MUSIC CONTINUES. As he steps forward, we
see his pistol is still in its holster. He reaches out and
takes the .45 from Young Hollis's shaking hand, looks him in
the eye till Hollis looks back, then looks toward Young Otis--

We PAN with his gaze to a CLOSE-UP of Otis, back in the
PRESENT. The MUSIC FADES--

OTIS
Sheriff Charley had some real big
friends in politics then, and if the
truth come out it wasn't going to go
easy on Hollis.
(He shrugs)
I don't know why I trusted Buddy
with it--don't know why he trusted
me. The first time I ever talked
with him was right there, and then
with a dead white man leakin' blood
on the floor between us. He could
charm the scales off a rattler, Buddy
Deeds.

WIDER

This isn't what Sam was expecting. Hollis watches his face--

HOLLIS
The three of us cleaned up and took
him to the post and put him under.
Can't say I was much help.

SAM
And the ten thousand?

HOLLIS
Widow's benefits. He figured it would
make the disappearance look better,
and that Mexican gal was just scrapin'
by after Charley killed her man.
They didn't get hooked up till late--

OTIS
Time went on, people liked the story
that we told better than anything
the truth might have been.

Sam swivels around on his seat to took at the spot where
Charley fell. He has a lot of information to deal with--

HOLLIS
What's the call, Sam?

Sam rolls it over in his mind before answering--

SAM
Don't think the Rangers are likely
to find out any more than they
already have.

HOLLIS
Word gets out who that body was,
people are gonna think Buddy done
it.

Sam gets up--

SAM
Buddy's a goddamn legend. He can
handle it.

He heads for the door--

SAM
'Night, fellas.

Hollis and Otis watch him go--

FADE OUT:

EXT. DRIVE-IN, WIDE SHOT -- MORNING

We see Sam sitting on the hood of his car parked in the
deserted drive-in lot, staring up at the ruined screen.
Pilar's car rolls in, parks beside him--

CLOSER

Pilar gets out, kisses Sam, sits by him on the hood--

PILAR
When's the picture start?

Sam looks at her for a moment--

SAM
You gonna tell your mother we been
seeing each other?

PILAR
She'll figure it out sooner or later.
I don't have to ask permission
anymore, if that's what you mean.

SAM
You have any idea when your father
died? Eladio?

PILAR
(Shrugs)
Couple months before I was born--

SAM
Try a year and a half. He bands her
an old snapshot. PILAR looks at it--

CU PHOTO

Buddy and Young Mercedes on the lake. Buddy with his shirt
off on one end of a sailboat, Mercedes in a bathing suit,
both smiling for the camera--

SAM AND PILAR

Pilar hands the photo back to him, tries to be calm--

PILAR
I've never seen my mother in a
bathing suit before. Didn't know
she owned one.

SAM
Buddy bought the cafe for her with
money he took from the county.
Pilar looks away, struggling not to
cry--

PILAR
They can't pull this on me. It isn't
fair--I don't believe this--

SAM
He paid the hospital bill when you
were born. Your mom always calls you
"our beautiful daughter" in the
letters she wrote to him.

PILAR
From the first time I saw you at
school--all those years we were
married to other people I always
felt like we were connected.

SAM
I remember thinking you were the one
part of my life Buddy didn't have a
piece of--

A silence, both of them wondering what the next move should
be--

PILAR
So that's it? You're not going to
want to be with me anymore?

Sam knows what he feels but doesn't have the words--

PILAR
I'm not having any more children.
After Amado, I had some complications--
I can't get pregnant again, if that's
what the rule is about--

SAM
If I met you for the first time today,
I'd still want to be with you.

It is what Pilar needed to hear--

PILAR
We start from scratch--

SAM
Yeah--

PILAR
Everything that went before, all
that stuff, that history--the hell
with it, right?

PILAR takes Sam's hand, kisses him--

PILAR
Forget the Alamo.

WIDE SHOT, DRIVE-IN

Sam and Pilar sit by each other holding hands, looking at
the empty screen--

MUSIC, ROLL CREDITS

THE END

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