a screenplay by
The following text fades in over black:
This is a true story. The events depicted in this film took
place in Minnesota in 1987. At the request of the survivors,
the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead,
the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.
FLARE TO WHITE
FADE IN FROM WHITE
Slowly the white becomes a barely perceptible image: white
particles wave over a white background. A snowfall.
A car bursts through the curtain of snow.
The car is equipped with a hitch and is towing another car,
a brand-new light brown Cutlass Ciera with the pink sales
sticker showing in its rear window.
As the car roars past, leaving snow swirling in their drift,
the title of the film fades in.
Green highway signs point the way to MOOREHEAD,
MINNESOTA/FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA. The roads for the two cities
diverge. A sign says WELCOME TO NORTH DAKOTA and another
just after says NOW ENTERING FARGO, ND, POP. 44,412.
The car pulls into a Rodeway Inn.
A man in his early forties, balding and starting to paunch,
goes to the reception desk. The clerk is an older woman.
And how are you today, sir?
Real good now. I'm checking in - Mr.
The man prints "Jerry Lundega" onto a registration card,
then hastily crosses out the last name and starts to print
As she types into a computer:
Okay, Mr. Anderson, and you're still
planning on staying with us just the
The man turns on the TV, which shows the local evening news.
- whether they will go to summer
camp at all. Katie Jensen has more.
It was supposed to be a project funded
by the city council; it was supposed
to benefit those Fargo-Moorehead
children who would otherwise not be
able to afford to attend a lakeshore
summer camp. But nobody consulted
city controller Stu Jacobson...
Anderson sits alone at a table finishing dinner. Muzak plays.
A middle-aged waitress approaches holding a pot of regular
coffee in one hand and decaf in the other.
Can I warm that up for ya there?
You bet. The man looks at his watch.
THROUGH A WINDSHIELD
We are pulling into the snowswept parking lot of a one-story
brick building. Broken neon at the top of the building
identifies it as the Jolly Troll Tavern. A troll, also in
neon, holds a champagne glass aloft.
The bar is downscale even for this town. Country music plays
on the jukebox.
Two men are seated in a booth at the back. One is short,
slight, youngish. The other man is somewhat older, and dour.
The table in front of them is littered with empty long-neck
beer bottles. The ashtray is full.
I'm, uh, Jerry Lundegaard -
You're Jerry Lundegaard?
Yah, Shep Proudfoot said -
Shep said you'd be here at 7:30.
What gives, man?
Shep said 8:30.
We been sitting here an hour. I've
peed three times already.
I'm sure sorry. I - Shep told me
8:30. It was a mix-up, I guess.
Ya got the car?
Yah, you bet. It's in the lot there.
Brand-new burnt umber Ciera.
Yeah, okay. Well, siddown then. I'm
Carl Showalter and this is my
associate Gaear Grimsrud.
Yah, how ya doin'. So, uh, we all
set on this thing, then?
Sure, Jerry, we're all set. Why
wouldn't we be?
Yah, no, I'm sure you are. Shep
vouched for you and all. I got every
confidence in you fellas.
They stare at him. An awkward beat.
...So I guess that's it, then. Here's
the keys -
No, that's not it, Jerry.
The new vehicle, plus forty thousand
Yah, but the deal was, the car first,
see, then the forty thousand, like
as if it was the ransom. I thought
Shep told you -
Shep didn't tell us much, Jerry.
Well, okay, it's -
Except that you were gonna be here
Yah, well, that was a mix-up, then.
Yeah, you already said that.
Yah. But it's not a whole pay-in-
advance deal. I give you a brand-new
vehicle in advance and -
I'm not gonna debate you, Jerry.
I'm not gonna sit here and debate.
I will say this though: what Shep
told us didn't make a whole lot of
Oh, no, it's real sound. It's all
You want your own wife kidnapped?
Carl Stares. Jerry looks blankly back.
...You-my point is, you pay the ransom-
what eighty thousand bucks? - I
mean, you give us half the ransom,
forty thousand, you keep half. It's
like robbing Peter to play Paul, it
doesn't make any -
Okay, it's - see, it's not me payin'
the ransom. The thing is, my wife,
she's wealthy - her dad, he's real
well off. Now, I'm in a bit of trouble -
What kind of trouble are you in,
Well, that's, that's, I'm not go
inta, inta - see, I just need money.
Now, her dad's real wealthy -
So why don't you just ask him for
Grimsrud, the dour man who has not yet spoken, now softly
puts in with a Swedish-accented voice:
Or your fucking wife, you know.
Or your fucking wife, Jerry.
Well, it's all just part of this -
they don't know I need it, see.
Okay, so there's that. And even if
they did, I wouldn't get it. So
there's that on top, then. See,
these're personal matters.
Yah. Personal matters that needn't,
Okay, Jerry. You're tasking us to
perform this mission, but you, you
won't, uh, you won't - aw, fuck it,
let's take a look at that Ciera.
MINNEAPOLIS SUBURBAN HOUSE
Jerry enters through the kitchen door, in a parka and a red
plaid Elmer Fudd hat. He stamps snow off his feet. He is
carrying a bag of groceries which he deposits on the kitchen
Hon? Got the growshries.
Thank you, hon. How's Fargo?
Yah, real good.
Jerry enters, pulling off his plaid cap.
How ya doin', Wade?
Wade Gustafson is mid-sixtyish, vigorous, with a full head
of gray hair. His eyes remain fixed on the TV.
Yah, pretty good.
Whatcha watchin' there?
...Who they playin'?
OOOoooh! His reaction synchronizes
with a reaction from the crowd.
Jerry walks back in, taking off his coat. His wife is putting
on an apron. Jerry nods toward the living room.
Is he stayin' for supper, then?
Yah, I think so... Dad, are you
stayin' for supper?
Jerry, his wife, Wade and Scotty, twelve years old, sit
May I be excused?
Sure, ya done there?
Uh-huh. Goin' out.
Where are you going?
Just out. Just McDonald's.
Back at 9:30.
He just ate. And he didn't finish.
He's going to McDonald's instead of
He sees his friends there. It's okay.
It's okay? McDonald's? What do you
think they do there? They don't drink
milkshakes, I assure you!
It's okay, Dad.
Wade, have ya had a chance to think
about, uh, that deal I was talkin'
about, those forty acres there on
You told me about it.
Yah, you said you'd have a think
about it. I understand it's a lot of
A heck of a lot. What'd you say you
were gonna put there?
lot. It's a limited -
I know it's a lot.
I mean a parking lot.
Yah, well, seven hundred and fifty
thousand dollars is a lot - ha ha
Yah, well, it's a chunk, but -
I thought you were gonna show it to
Stan Grossman. He passes on this
stuff before it gets kicked up to
Well, you know Stan'll say no dice.
That's why you pay him. I'm asking
you here, Wade. This could work out
real good for me and Jean and Scotty -
Jean and Scotty never have to worry.
A black like curls through the white. Twisting perspective
shows that it is an aerial shot of a two-lane highway,
bordered by snowfields. The highway carries one moving car.
Carl Showalter is driving. Gaear Grimsrud stares blankly
After a long beat:
Where is Pancakes Hause?
We stop at Pancakes Hause.
What're you, nuts? We had pancakes
for breakfast. I gotta go somewhere
I can get a shot and a beer - and a
steak maybe. Not more fuckin'
pancakes. Come on.
Grimsrud gives him a sour look.
...Come on, man. Okay, here's an
idea. We'll stop outside of Brainerd.
I know a place there we can get laid.
I'm fuckin' hungry now, you know.
Yeah, yeah, Jesus - I'm sayin', we'll
stop for pancakes, then we'll get
laid. Wuddya think?
GUSTAFSON OLDS GARAGE
Jerry is sitting in his glassed-in salesman's cubicle just
off the showroom floor. On the other side of his desk sit an
irate customer and his wife.
We sat here right in this room and
went over this and over this!
Yah, but that TruCoat -
I sat right here and said I didn't
want no TruCoat!
Yah, but I'm sayin', that TruCoat,
you don't get it and you get
oxidization problems. It'll cost you
a heck of lot more'n five hunnert -
You're sittin' here, you're talkin'
in circles! You're talkin' like we
didn't go over this already!
Yah, but this TruCoat -
We had us a deal here for nineteen-
five. You sat there and darned if
you didn't tell me you'd get this
car, these options, WITHOUT THE
SEALANT, for nineteen-five!
Okay, I'm not sayin' I didn't -
You called me twenty minutes ago and
said you had it! Ready to make
delivery, ya says! Come on down and
get it! And here ya are and you're
wastin' my time and you're wastin'
my wife's time and I'm payin' nineteen-
five for this vehicle here!
Well, okay, I'll talk to my boss...
He rises, and, as he leaves:
...See, they install that TruCoat at
the factory, there's nothin' we can
do, but I'll talk to my boss.
The couple watch him go to a nearby cubicle.
These guys here - these guys! It's
always the same! It's always more!
He's a liar!
We went over this and over this -
Jerry sits perched on the desk of another salesman who is
eating lunch as he watches a hockey game on a small portable
So you're goin' to the Gophers on
You wouldn't have an extra ticket
They're playin' the Buckeyes!
Well, he never done this before, but
seein' as it's special circumstances
and all, he says I can knock one
hunnert off that TruCoat.
One hundred! You lied to me, Mr.
Lundegaard. You're a bald-faced liar!
Jerry sits staring at his lap.
fucking liar -
Jerry mumbles into his lap:
One hunnert's the best we can do
Oh, for Christ's sake, where's my
goddamn checkbook. Let's get this
WIDE EXTERIOR: TRUCK STOP
There is a restaurant with many big rigs parked nearby, and
a motel with an outsize Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox
flanking its sign: BLUE OX MOTEL.
Carl Showalter and Gaear Grimsrud are in the twin beds having
sex with two truck-stop hookers.
Oh, Jesus, yeah.
There ya go, sugar.
Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah.
The couples lie in their respective beds, gazing at the
- Johnny's guests tonight will be
Lee Majors, George Wendt, and Steve
Boutsikaros from the San Diego Zoo,
so keep that dial -
We hear a morning show on television. Jean Lundegaard is
making coffee in the kitchen as Scott eats cereal at the
I'm talkin' about your potential.
You're not a C student.
And yet you're gettin' C grades.
It's this disparity there that
concerns your dad and me.
You know what a disparity is?
Okay. Well, that's why we don't want
ya goin' out fer hockey.
The phone rings.
...What's the big deal? It's an hour -
She picks up the phone.
Yah, hiya, hon.
Oh, hiya, Dad.
Yah, he's still here - I'll catch
him for ya.
She holds the phone away and calls:
Jerry enters in shirtsleeves and tie.
Look, Dad, there is no fucking way -
Say, let's watch the language -
He takes the phone.
How ya doin', Wade?
What's goin' on there?
Oh, nothing, Wade. How ya doin' there?
Stan Grossman looked at your proposal.
Says it's pretty sweet.
We might be innarested.
No kiddin'! I'd need the cash pretty
quick there. In order to close the
Come by at 2:30 and we'll talk about
it. If your numbers are right, Stan
says its pretty sweet. Stan Grossman.
Click. Dial tone.
GUSTAFSON OLD GARAGE
Jerry wanders through the service area where cars are being
worked on. He stops by an Indian in blue jeans who is looking
at the underside of a car that sits on a hydraulic lift with
a cage light hanging off its innards.
Say, Shep, how ya doin' there?
Say, ya know those two fellas ya put
me in touch with, up there in Fargo?
Put you in touch with Grimsrud.
Well, yah, but he had a buddy there.
He, uh -
Well, I don't vouch for him.
Well, that's okay, I just -
I vouch for Grimsrud. Who's his buddy?
Never heard of him. Don't vouch for
Well, that's okay, he's a buddy of
the guy ya vouched for, so I'm not
worryin'. I just, I was wonderin',
see, I gotta get in touch with 'em
for, I might not need it anymore,
sumpn's happenin', see -
Call 'em up.
Yah, well, see, I did that, and I
haven't been able to get 'em, so I
thought you maybe'd know an alternate
number or what have ya.
Jerry slaps his fist into his open palm and snaps his fingers.
Okay, well, real good, then.
Carl is driving. Grimsrud stares out front.
After a beat:
...Look at that. Twin Cities. IDS
Building, the big glass one. Tallest
skyscraper in the Midwest. After
the Sears, uh, Chicago... You never
been to Minneapolis?
...Would it kill you to say something?
"No." First thing you've said in the
last four hours. That's a, that's a
fountain of conversation, man. That's
a geyser. I mean, whoa, daddy, stand
back, man. Shit, I'm sittin' here
driving, man, doin' all the driving,
whole fuckin' way from Brainerd,
drivin', tryin' to, you know, tryin'
to chat, keep our spirits up, fight
the boredom of the road, and you
can't say one fucking thing just in
the way of conversation.
Grimsrud smokes, gazing out the window.
...Well, fuck it, I don't have to
talk either, man. See how you like
He is on the phone.
Yah, real good. How you doin'?
Pretty good, Mr. Lundegaard. You're
damned hard to get on the phone.
Yah, it's pretty darned busy here,
but that's the way we like it.
That's for sure. Now, I just need,
on these last, these financing
documents you sent us, I can't read
the serial numbers of the vehicles
on here, so I -
But I already got the, it's okay,
the loans are in place, I already
got the, the what, the -
Yeah, the three hundred and twenty
thousand dollars, you got the money
Yah, so we're all set.
Yeah, but the vehicles you were
borrowing on, I just can't read the
serial numbers on your application.
Maybe if you could just read them to
But the deal's already done, I already
got the money -
Yeah, but we have an audit here, I
just have to know that these vehicles
you're financing with this money,
that they really exist.
Yah, well, they exist all right.
I'm sure they do - ha ha! But I can't
read their serial numbers here. So
if you could read me -
Well, but see, I don't have 'em in
front a me - why don't I just fax
you over a copy -
No, fax is no good, that's what I
have and I can't read the darn thing -
Yah, okay, I'll have my girl send
you over a copy, then.
Okay, because if I can't correlate
this note with the specific vehicles,
then I gotta call back that money -
Yah, how much money was that?
Three hundred and twenty thousand
dollars. See, I gotta correlate that
money with the cars it's being lent
Yah, no problem, I'll just fax that
over to ya, then.
No, no, fax is -
I mean send it over. I'll shoot it
right over to ya.
Okay, real good, then.
CLOSE ON TELEVISION
A morning-show host in an apron stands behind a counter on a
So I seperate the - how the heck do
I get the egg out of the shell without
Jean Lundegaard is curled up on the couch with a cup of
coffee, watching the television.
You just prick a little hole in the
end and blow!
Jean smiles as we hear laughter and applause from the studio
audience. She hears something else - a faint scraping sound -
and looks up.
Okay, here goes nothing.
The scraping sound persists. Jean sets down her coffee cup
From the studio audience:
We track toward the back door. A curtain is stretched tight
across its window.
Jean pulls the curtain back. Bright sunlight amplified by
snow floods in.
A man in an orange ski mask looks up from the lock.
Jean gasps, drops the curtain, runs and runs into -
- a taller man, also in a ski mask, already in the house.
We hear the crack of the back-door window being smashed.
The tall man - Gaear Grimsrud - grabs Jean's wrist.
She screams, staring at her own imprisoned wrist, then wraps
her gaping mouth around Grimsrud's gloved thumb and bites
He drops her wrist. As Carl enters, she races up the stairs.
Huh? Grimsurd looks at his thumb.
I need ...unguent.
As the two men enter, a door at the far side is slamming
shut. A cord snakes in under the door.
Jean, sobbing, frantically pushes at buttons on the princess
The phone pops out of her hands, jangles across the tile
floor, smashes against the door and then bounces away, its
cord ripped free.
With a groaning sound, the door shifts in its frame.
Grimsrud has a crowbar jammed in between the bathroom door
and frame, and is working it.
Jean crosses to a high window above the toilet and throws it
open. Snow that had drifted against the window sifts lightly
in. Jean steps up onto the toilet.
The door creaks, moving as one piece in its frame.
Jean glances back as she steps up from the toilet seat to
The groaning of the door ends with the wood around its knob
splintering and the knob itself falling out onto the floor.
The door swings open.
Grimsrud and Carl enter.
Room empty, window open.
Carl strides to the window and hoists himself out.
Grimsrud opens the medicine cabinet and delicately taps aside
various bottles and tubes, seeking the proper unguent.
He finds a salve but after a moment sets it down, noticing
something in the mirror.
The shower curtain is drawn around the tub.
He steps toward it.
As he reaches for the curtain, it explodes outward, animated
by thrashing limbs.
Jean, screaming, tangled in the curtain, rips it off its
rings and stumbles out into the bedroom. Grimsrud follows.
Jean rushes toward the door, cloaked by the shower curtain
but awkwardly trying to push it off.
Still thrashing, Jean crashes against the upstairs railing,
trips on the curtain and falls, thumping crazily down the
Grimsrud trots down after her.
A PLAQUE: WADE GUSTAFSON INCORPORTATED
INT. WADE'S OFFICE
Wade sits behind his desk; another man rises as Jerry enters.
How ya doin' there, Stan? How are
Stan Grossman shakes his hand.
Good to see ya again, Jerry. If these
numbers are right, this looks pretty
Oh, those numbers are all right,
This is do-able.
Yah, thanks, Stan, it's a pretty -
What kind of finder's fee were you
The financials are pretty thorough,
so the only thing we don't know is
...My fee? Wade, what the heck're
you talkin' about?
Stan and I're okay.
We're good to loan in.
But we never talked about your fee
for bringin' it to us.
No, but, Wade, see, I was bringin'
you this deal for you to loan me the
money to put in. It's my deal here,
Wade scowls, looks at Stan.
Jerry - we thought you were bringin'
us an investment.
Yah, right -
You're sayin' - what're you sayin'?
You're sayin' that we put in all the
money and you collect when it pays
No, no. I - I'd, I'd - pay you back
the principal, and interest heck,
I'd go - one over prime -
We're not a bank, Jerry.
Wade is angry.
What the heck, Jerry, if I wanted
bank interest on seven hunnert'n
fifty thousand I'd go to Midwest
Federal. Talk to Bill Diehl.
He's at Norstar.
He's at -
No, see, I don't need a finder's
fee, I need - finder's fee's, what,
ten percent, heck that's not gonna
do it for me. I need the principal.
Jerry, we're not just going to give
you seven hundred and fifty thousand
What the heck were you thinkin'?
Heck, if I'm only gettin' bank
interest, I'd look for complete
security. Heck, FDIC. I don't see
nothin' like that here.
Yah, but I - okay, I would, I'd
guarantee ya your money back.
I'm not talkin' about your damn word,
Jerry. Geez, what the heck're you?...
Well, look, I don't want to cut you
out of the loop, but his here's a
good deal. I assume, if you're not
innarested, you won't mind if we
move on it independently.
We are high and wide on the office building's parking lot.
Jerry emerges wrapped in a parka, his arms sticking stiffly
out at his sides, his breath vaporizing. He goes to his car,
opens its front door, pulls out a red plastic scraper and
starts methodically scraping off the thin crust of ice that
has developed on his windshield.
The scrape-scrape-scrape sound carries in the frigid air.
Jerry goes into a frenzy, banging the scraper against the
windshield and the hood of his car.
The tantrum passes. Jerry stands panting, staring at nothing
Scrape-scrape-scrape - he goes back to work on the windshield.
A beat, silent but for a key scraping at the lock.
The door swings open and Jerry edges in, looking about,
holding a sack of groceries.
He shuts the door.
...Got the growshries...
He has already seen the shower curtain on the floor. He
frowns, pokes at it with his foot.
Jerry walks in. He sets the groceries down on the toilet
He looks at the open window, through which snow still sifts
in. He shuts it.
He picks up the small tube of unguent that sits on the sink,
frowns at it, puts it back in the medicine chest.
He looks at the shower curtain rod holding empty rings.
Once again we are looking at the rumpled shower curtain.
From another room:
Yah, Wade, I - it's Jerry, I.
Then, slightly more agitated.
...Yah, Wade, it's, I, it's Jerry...
...Wade, it's Jerry, I - we gotta
talk, Wade, it's terrible...
Jerry stands in wide shot, hands on hips, looking down at a
After a motionless beat he picks up the phone and punches in
...Yah, Wade Gustafson, please.
Hold in black.
A slow tilt down from night sky brings the head of a large
paper-mâché figure into frame. It is a flannel-shirt woodsman
carrying a double-edged ax over one shoulder. As we hear the
rumble of an approaching car, the continuing tilt and boom
down brings us down the woodsman's body to a pedestal.
A sweep of headlights illuminates a sign on the pedestal:
WELCOME TO BRAINDERD - HOME OF PAUL BUNYAN.
The headlights sweep off and a car hums past and on into the
background. The two-lane highway is otherwise empty.
Carl drives. Grimsrud smokes and gazes out the window. From
the back seat we hear whimpering.
Grimsrud turns to look.
Jean lies bound and curled on the back seat underneath a
Shut the fuck up or I'll throw you
back in the trunk, you know.
Geez. That's more'n I've heard you
say all week.
Grimsrud stares at him, then turns back to the window.
At a loud WHOOP Carl starts and looks back out the rear
window. Fifty yards behind a state trooper has turned on his
Carl eases the car onto the shoulder.
Ah, shit, the tags...
Grimsrud looks at him.
...It's just the tags. I never put
my tags on the car. Don't worry,
I'll take care of this.
He looks into the back seat as the car bounces and slows on
the gravel shoulder
...Let's keep still back there, lady,
or we're gonna have to, ya know, to
Grimsrud stares at Carl.
...Hey! I'll take care of this!
Both cars have stopped. Carl looks up at the rear-view mirror.
The trooper is stopped on the shoulder just behind them,
writing in his citation book.
We hear the trooper's door open.
The trooper walks up the shoulder, one hand resting lightly
on top of his holster, his breath steaming in the cold night
Carl opens his window as the trooper draws up.
How can I help you, officer?
The trooper scans the inside of the car, taking his time.
Grimsrud smokes and gazes calmly out his window.
This is a new car, then, sir?
It certainly is, officer. Still got
You're required to display temporary
tags, either in the plate area or
taped inside the back window.
Can I see your license and
He reaches for his wallet.
...I was gonna tape up the temporary
tag, ya know, to be in full
compliance, but it, uh, it, uh...
must a slipped my mind...
He extends his wallet toward the trooper, a folded fifty
dollar bill protruding from it.
...So maybe the best thing would be
to take care of that, right here in
What's this, sir?
That's my license and registration.
I wanna be in compliance.
He forces a laugh.
...I was just thinking I could take
care of it right here. In Brainerd.
The policeman thoughtfully pats the fifty into the billfold
and hands the billfold back into the car.
Put that back in your pocket, please.
Carl's nervous smile fades
...And step out of the car, please,
Grimsrud, smiling thinly, shakes his head.
There is a whimpering sound.
The policeman hesitates.
The policeman leans forward into the car, listening.
Grimsrud reaches across Carl, grabs the trooper by the hair
and slams his head down onto the car door.
The policeman grunts, digs awkwardly for footing outside and
throws an arm for balance against the outside of the car.
With his free hand, Grimsrud pops the glove compartment. He
brings a gun out and reaches across Carl and shoots - BANG -
into the back of the trooper's head.
He releases the policeman.
The policeman's head slides out the window and his body flops
back onto the street.
Carl looks out at the cop in the road.
Whoa... Whoa, Daddy.
Grimsrud takes the trooper's hat off of Carl's lap and sails
it out the open window.
You'll take care of it. Boy, you are
smooth smooth, you know.
Jean, for some reason, screams again. Then stops.
Clear him off the road.
He gets out.
Carl leans down to hoist up the body.
Headlights appear: an oncoming car.
The car approaches, slowing.
Carl, with the trooper's body hoisted halfway up, is frozen
in the headlights.
The car accelerates and roars past and away. We just make
out the silhouettes of two occupants in front.
Grimsrud slides into the driver's seat. He squeals into a
Uturn, the driver's door slamming shut with his spin.
Small red tail lights fishtail up ahead. The pursued car
churns up fine snow.
Grimsrud takes the cigarette from his mouth and stubs it in
his ashtray. We hear the churning of the car wheels and the
pinging of snow clods and salt on the car's underside.
In the back seat, Jean starts screaming.
Grimsrud is not gaining on the tail lights.
He fights with the wheel as his car swims on the road face.
The red tail lights ahead start to turn. With a distant
crunching sound, they disappear.
The headlights now show only empty road, starting to turn.
Grimsrud frowns and slows.
His headlights show the car up ahead off the road, crumpled
around a telephone pole, having failed to hold a turn.
Jean slides off the back seat and thumps into the legwell.
Grimsrud sweeps his gun off the front seat, throws open his
door and gets out.
The wrecked car's headlights shine off into a snowfield
abutting the highway. A young man in a down parka is limping
across the snowfield, away from the wrecked car.
Grimsrud strides calmly out after the injured boy. He raises
his gun and fires.
With a poof of feathers, a hole opens up in the boy's back
and he pitches into the snow.
Grimsrud walks up to the wreck and peers in its half-open
A young woman is trapped inside the twisted wreckage, injured.
Snow swirls in the headlights of the wreck.
Grimsrud raises his gun and fires.
AN OIL PAINTING
A blue-winged teal in flight over a swampy marshland. The
room in which it hangs is dark. We hear off-screen snoring.
We track off to reveal an easel upon which we see a half
completed oil of a grey mallard.
The continuing track reveals a couple in bed, sleeping. The
man, fortyish, pajama-clad, is big, and big-bellied. His
mouth is agape. He snores. His arms are flung over a woman
in her thirties, wearing a nightie, mouth also open, not
We hold for a long beat on their regular breathing and
The phone rings.
The woman stirs.
She reaches for the phone.
...Hi, it's Marge...
The man stirs and clears his throat with a long deep rumble.
...Oh, my. Where?... Yah... Oh,
The man sits up, gazes stupidly about.
...Okay. There in a jif... Real
She hangs up.
...You can sleep, hon. It's early
The man swings his legs out.
I'll fix ya some eggs.
That's okay, hon. I gotta run.
Gotta eat a breakfast, Marge. I'll
fix ya some eggs.
Aw, you can sleep, hon.
Ya gotta eat a breakfast...
He clears his throat with another deep rumble.
...I'll fix ya some eggs.
Leavings of a huge plate of eggs, ham, toast.
Wider, we see Marge now wearing a beige police uniform. A
patch on one arm says BRAINERD POLICE DEPARTMENT. She wears
a heavy belt holding a revolver, walkie-talkie and various
other jangling police impedimenta. Norm is in a dressing
Thanks, hon. Time to shove off.
Love ya, Margie.
As she struggles into a parka:
Love ya, hon.
He is exiting back to the bedroom; she exits out the front
EXT. GUNDERSON HOUSE
Dawn. Marge is making her way down the icy front stoop to
INT. GUNDERSON HOUSE
Norm sits back onto the bed, shrugging off his robe. Offscreen
we hear the front door open.
Marge stamps the snow off her shoes.
Prowler needs a jump.
Two police cars and an ambulance sit idling at the side of
the road, a pair of men inside each car.
The first car's driver door opens and a figure in a parka
emerges, holding two styrofoam cups. His partner leans across
the seat to close the door after him.
The reverse shows Marge approaching from her own squad car.
Margie. Thought you might need a
He hands her one of the cups of coffee.
Yah, thanks a bunch. So what's the
deal, now? Gary says triple homicide?
Yah, looks pretty bad. Two of'm're
Marge looks around as they start walking.
Where is everybody?
Well - it's cold, Margie.
BY THE WRECK
Laid out in the early morning light is the wrecked car, a
pair of footprints leading out to a man in a bright orange
parka face down in the bloodstained snow, and one pair of
footsteps leading back to the road.
Marge is peering into the car.
Ah, geez. So... Aw, geez. Here's
the second one... It's in the head
and the... hand there, I guess that's
a defensive wound. Okay.
Marge looks up from the car.
... Where's the state trooper?
Lou, up on the shoulder, jerks his thumb.
Back there a good piece. In the ditch
next to his prowler.
Marge looks around at the road.
Okay, so we got a state trooper pulls
someone over, we got a shooting, and
these folks drive by, and we got a
high-speed pursuit, ends here, and
this execution-type deal.
I'd be very surprised if our suspect
was from Brainerd.
Marge is studying the ground.
Yah. And I'll tell you what, from
his footprints he looks like a big
Marge suddenly doubles over, putting her head between her
knees down near the snow.
Ya see something down there, Chief?
Uh - I just, I think I'm gonna barf.
Geez, you okay, Margie?
I'm fine - it's just morning sickness.
She gets up, sweeping snow from her knees.
...Well, that passed.
Yah. Now I'm hungry again.
You had breakfast yet, Margie?
Oh, yah. Norm made some eggs.
Yah? Well, what now, d'ya think?
Let's go take a look at that trooper.
BY THE STATE TROOPER'S CAR
Marge's prowler is parked nearby.
Marge is on her hands and knees by a body down in the ditch,
again looking at footprints in the snow. She calls up to the
There's two of 'em, Lou!
Yah, this guy's smaller than his
DOWN IN THE DITCH
In the foreground is the head of the state trooper, facing
us. Peering at it from behind, still on her hands and knees,
For Pete's sake.
She gets up, clapping the snow off her hands, and climbs out
of the ditch.
How's it look, Marge?
Well, he's got his gun on his hip
there, and he looks like a nice enough
guy. It's a real shame.
You haven't monkeyed with his car
there, have ya?
She is looking at the prowler, which still idles on the
Somebody shut his lights. I guess
the little guy sat in there, waitin'
for his buddy t'come back.
Yah, woulda been cold out here.
Heck, yah. Ya think, is Dave open
You don't think he's mixed up in -
No, no, I just wanna get Norm some
Marge is driving; Lou sits next to her.
You look in his citation book?
He looks at his notebook.
...Last vehicle he wrote in was a
tan Ciera at 2:18 a.m. Under the
plate number he put DLR - I figure
they stopped him or shot him before
he could finish fillin' out the tag
So I got the state lookin' for a
Ciera with a tag startin' DLR. They
don't got no match yet.
I'm not sure I agree with you a
hunnert percent on your policework,
Yah, I think that vehicle there probly
had dealer plates. DLR?
Lou gazes out the window, thinking.
Yah. Say, Lou, ya hear the one about
the guy who couldn't afford
personalized plates, so he went and
changed his name to J2L 4685?
Yah, that's a good one.
The police car enters with a whoosh and hums down a
straightruled empty highway, cutting a landscape of flat and
EMBERS FAMILY RESTAURANT
Jerry, Wade, and Stan Grossman sit in a booth, sipping coffee.
Outside the window, snow falls from a gunmetal sky.
- All's I know is, ya got a problem,
ya call a professional!
No! They said no cops! They were
darned clear on that, Wade! They
said you call the cops and we -
Well, a course they're gonna say
that! But where's my protection?
They got Jean here! I give these
sons a bitches a million dollars,
where's my guarantee they're gonna
let her go.
Well, they -
A million dollars is a lot a damn
money! And there they are, they got
Yah, but think this thing through
here, Wade. Ya give 'em what they
want, why wont' they let her go?
You gotta listen to me on this one,
Heck, you don't know! You're just
whistlin' Dixie here! I'm sayin',
the cops, they can advise us on this!
I'm sayin' call a professional!
No! No cops! That's final! This is
my deal here, Wade! Jean is my wife
I gotta tell ya, Wade, I'm leanin'
to Jerry's viewpoint here.
We gotta protect Jean. These -
we're not holdin' any cards here,
Wade, they got all of 'em. So they
call the shots.
You're darned tootin'!
I'm tellin' ya.
Well... Why don't we...
He saws a finger under his nose.
... Stan, I'm thinkin' we should
offer 'em half a million.
Now come on here, no way, Wade! No
We're not horse-trading here, Wade,
we just gotta bite the bullet on
What's the next step here, Jerry?
They're gonna call, give me
instructions for a drop. I'm supposed
to have the money ready tomorrow.
She rings up two dollars forty.
How was everything today?
Yah, real good now.
Snow continues to fall. Jerry and Stan stand bundled in their
parkas and galoshes near a row of beached vehicles. Wade
sits behind the wheel of an idling Lincoln, waiting for Stan.
Okay. We'll get the money together.
Don't worry about it, Jerry. Now,
d'you want anyone at home, with you,
until they call?
No, I - they don't want - they're
just s'posed to be dealin' with me,
they were real clear.
Jerry pounds his mittened hands together against the cold.
Ya know, they said no one listenin'
in, they'll be watchin', ya know.
Maybe it's all bull, but like you
said, Stan, they're callin' the shots.
Okay. And Scotty, is he gonna be all
Yah, geez, Scotty. I'll go talk to
There is a tap at the horn from Wade, and Stan gets into the
The Lincoln spits snow as it grinds out of the lot and
fishtails out onto the boulevard.
Scotty lies on the bed, weeping. Jerry enters and perches
uncomfortably on the edge of his bed.
...How ya doin' there, Scotty?
Dad! What're they doing? Wuddya think
they're doin' with Mom?
It's okay, Scotty. They're not gonna
want to hurt her any. These men,
they just want money, see.
What if - what if sumpn goes wrong?
No, no, nothin's goin' wrong here.
Grandad and I, we're - we're makin'
sure this gets handled right.
Scott snorfles and sits up.
Dad, I really think we should call
No! We can't let anyone know about
this thing! We gotta play ball with
these guys - you ask Stan Grossman,
he'll tell ya the same thing!
Yeah, but -
We're gonna get Mom back for ya, but
we gotta play ball. Ya know, that's
the deal. Now if Lorraine calls, or
Sylvia, you just say that Mom is in
Florida with Pearl and Marty...
Scotty starts to weep again. Jerry stares down at his lap.
...That's the best we can do here.
It is a lakeside cabin surrounded by white. A brown Ciera
with dealer plates is pulling into the drive.
Grimsrud climbs out of the passenger seat as Carl climbs out
of the driver's. Grimsrud opens the back door and, with an
arm on her elbow, helps Jean out. She has her hands tied
behind her and a black hood over her head.
With a cry, she swings her elbow out of Grimsrud's grasp and
lurches away across the front lawn. Grimsrud moves to retrieve
her but Carl, grinning, lays a hand on his shoulder.
They both look out at the front lawn, Grimsrud expressionless,
With muffled cries, the hooded woman lurches across the
unbroken snow, staggering this way and that, stumbling on
the uneven terrain.
She stops, stands still, her hooded head swaying.
She lurches out in an arbitrary direction. Going downhill,
she reels, staggers, and falls face-first into the snow,
Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Jesus!
Grimsrud, still expressionless, breaks away from Carl's
restraining hand to retrieve her.
BRAINERD POLICE HEADQUARTERS
We track behind Marge as she makes her way across the floor,
greeting various officers. She holds a small half-full paper
Beyond her we see a small glassed-in cublcle. Norm sits at
the desk inside with a box lunch spread out in front of him.
There is lettering on the cubicle's glass door: BRAINERD PD.
Marge enters and sits behind the desk, detaching her
walkietalkie from her utility belt to accomodate the seat.
She slides the paper sack toward him.
Brought ya some lunch, Margie.
What're those, night crawlers?
He looks inside.
The bottom of the sack is full of fat, crawling earthworms.
You bet. Thanks for lunch. What do
we got here, Arbie's?
She starts eating.
...How's the paintin' goin'?
Pretty good. Found out the Hautmans
are entering a painting this year.
Aw, hon, you're better'n them.
They're real good.
They're good, Norm, but you're
Yah, ya think?
He leans over and kisses her.
Ah, ya got Arbie's all o'er me.
Hiya, Norm, how's the paintin' goin'?
Not too bad. You know.
How we doin' on that vehicle?
No motels registered any tan Ciera
last night. But the night before,
two men checked into the Blue Ox
registering a Ciera and leavin' the
tag space blank.
Geez, that's a good lead. The Blue
Ox, that's that trucker's joint out
there on I-35?
Yah. Owner was on the desk then,
said these two guys had company.
EXT. STRIPPER CLUB
Marge's prowler is parked in an otherwise empty lot. Snow
INT. STRIPPER CLUB
Marge sits talking with two young women at one end of an
elevated dance platform. The club, not yet open for business,
Where you girls from?
LeSeure. But I went to high school
in White Bear Lake.
Okay, I want you to tell me what
these fellas looked like.
Well, the little guy, he was kinda
In what way?
I dunno. Just funny-looking.
Can you be any more specific?
I couldn't really say. He wasn't
Was he funny-looking apart from that?
So you were having sex with the little
Is there anything else you can tell
me about him?
No. Like I say, he was funny-looking.
More'n most people even.
And what about the other fella?
He was a little older. Looked like
the Marlboro man.
Yah. Maybe I'm sayin' that cause he
A subconscious-type thing.
Yah, that can happen.
They said they were goin' to the
Yah. Is that useful to ya?
Oh, you bet, yah.
EXT. LAKESIDE CABIN
It is now dusk. The brown Ciera with dealer plates still
sits in the drive.
We track in on Jean Lundegaard, who sits tied in a chair
with the black hood still over her head. As we track in, we
hear inarticulate cursing, intermittent banging and loud
We track in on Gaear Grimsrud, who sits smoking a cigarette
and expressionlessly gazing offscreen.
We track in on Carl Showalter, who stands over an old black-
and-white television. It plays nothing but snow. Carl is
banging on it as he mutters:
...days ...be here for days with a -
DAMMIT! - a goddamn mute... nothin'
to do... and the fucking - DAMMIT!...
Each "dammit" brings a pound of his fist on the TV.
...TV doesn't even ...plug me in,
man... Gimmee a - DAMMIT! - signal...
Plug me into the ozone, baby... Plug
me into the ozone - FUCK!...
With one last bang we cut:
BACK TO THE TELEVISION SET
In extreme close-up an insect is lugging a worm.
The bark beetle carries the worm to
the nest... where it will feed its
young for up to six weeks...
A pull back from the screen reveals that we are in Marge's
Marge and Norm are watching television in bed. From the TV
we hear insects chirring.
After a long beat, silence except for the TV, Marge murmurs,
still looking at the set:
...Well, I'm turnin' in, Norm.
Also looking at the TV:
Marge rolls over and Norm continues to watch.
A snowflake drops through the black.
It starts snowing.
BRAINERD MAIN STREET
The lone traffic light blinks slowly, steadily, red. Snow
sifts down. There is no other movement.
We are looking up at the bottom-lit statue. Snow falls.
HIGH SHOT OF MARGE'S HOUSE
Snow drops away.
HIGH SHOT IN MARGE'S BEDROOM
The bedroom is dark. Norm is snoring.
The phone rings.
Marge gropes in the dark.
Yah, is this Marge?
...Well, yah. Who's this?
This is Mike Yanagita. Ya know -
Mike Yanagita. Remember me?
Marge props herself up next to the still-sleeping Norm.
Yah, yah, course I remember. How
are ya? What time is it?
Oh, geez. It's quarter to eleven. I
hope I dint wake you.
No, that's okay.
Yah, I'm down in the Twin Cities and
I was just watching on TV about these
shootings up in Brainerd, and I saw
you on the news there.
I thought, geez, is that Margie
Olmstead? I can't believe it!
Yah, that's me.
Well, how the heck are ya?
Okay, ya know. Okay.
Yah - how are you doon?
Oh, pretty good.
Heck, it's been such a long time,
Mike. It's great to hear from ya.
Yah... Yah, yah. Geeze, Margie!
GUSTAFSON OLDS GARAGE
Jerry is on the sales floor, showing a customer a vehicle.
Yah, ya got yer, this loaded here,
this has yer independent, uh, yer
slipped differential, uh, yer rack-
and-pinion steering, yer alarm and
radar, and I can give it to ya with
a heck of a sealant, this TruCoat
stuff, it'll keep the salt off -
Yah, I don't need no sealant though.
Yah, you don't need that. Now were
you thinking of financing here? You
oughta be aware a this GMAC plan
they have now, it's really super -
Jerry, ya got a call here.
He sits in and picks up his phone.
All right, Jerry, you got this phone
Know who this is?
Well, yah, I got an idea. How's that
Ciera workin' out for ya?
Circumstances have changed, Jerry.
Well, what do ya mean?
Things have changed. Circumstances,
Jerry. Beyond the, uh... acts of
God, force majeure..
What the - how's Jean?
My wife! What the - how's -
Oh, Jean's okay. But there's three
people up in Brainerd who aren't so
okay, I'll tell ya that.
What the heck're you talkin' about?
Let's just finish up this deal here -
Blood has been shed, Jerry.
Jerry sits dumbly. The voice solemnly repeats:
...Blood has been shed.
What the heck d'ya mean?
Three people. In Brainerd.
That's right. And we need more money.
The heck d'ya mean? What a you guys
got yourself mixed up in?
We need more -
This was s'posed to be a no-rough
stuff-type deal -
DON'T EVER INTERRUPT ME, JERRY!
JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP!
Well, I'm sorry, but I just - I -
Look. I'm not gonna debate you, Jerry.
The price is now the whole amount.
We want the entire eighty thousand.
Oh, for Chrissakes here -
Blood has been shed. We've incurred
risks, Jerry. I'm coming into town
tomorrow. Have the money ready.
Now we had a deal here! A deal's a
IS IT, JERRY? You ask those three
pour souls up in Brainerd if a deal's
a deal! Go ahead, ask 'em!
...The heck d'ya mean?
I'll see you tomorrow.
Jerry slams down the phone, which immediately rings. He
angrily snatches it up.
This is Reilly Deifenbach at GMAC.
Sir, I have not yet received those
vehicle IDs you promised me.
Yah! I... those are in the mail.
Mr. Lundegaard, that very well may
be. I must inform you, however, that
absent the receipt of those numbers
by tomorrow afternoon, I will have
to refer this matter to our legal
My patience is at an end.
Good day, sir.
WIDE ON THE CUBICLE
We are looking at Jerry's cubicle from across the showroom.
Noise muted by distance, we watch Jerry slam down the
receiver, rise to his feet, fling the phone to the floor,
raise his desk blotter high over his head with pens and
pencils rolling off it and slam it onto his desktop.
He stands for a moment, hands on hips, glaring. He stoops
and picks up the phone, places it back on the desktop, starts
picking up the pens and pencils.
On steam-table bins of food, each identified by a plaque:
BEEF STROGANOFF, SWEDISH MEATBALLS, BROILED TORSK, CHICKEN
A complementary track shows two rays being pushed along a
buffet line, piled high with many foods.
MARGE AND NORM AT A TABLE
They sit next to each other at a long cafeteria-style Formica
table, silently eating.
A hip with a hissing walkie-talkie enters frame.
Hiya, Norm. How ya doin', Margie?
How's the fricassee?
Pretty darn good, ya want some?
No, I gotta - hey, Norm, I thought
you were goin' fishin' up at Mile
Yah, after lunch.
He goes back to his food.
Whatcha got there?
Gary hands her a flimsy. Marge takes it with one hand and
looks, her other hand frozen with a forkful of food.
The numbers y'asked for, calls made
from the lobby pay phone at the Blue
Ox. Two to Minneapolis that night.
First one's a trucking company, second
one's a private residence. A Shep
Uh-huh... A what?
Shep Proudfoot. That's a name.
...Yah, okay, I think I'll drive
down there, then.
Oh, yah? Twin Cities?
Norm, who has been eating steadily throughout, looks over at
Marge with mild interest. He stares for a beat as he finishes
chewing, and them swallows and says:
KITCHEN OF LUNDEGAARD HOUSE
Jerry, Wade, and Stan Grossman sit around the kitchen table.
It is night. The scene is harshly toplit by a hanging fixture.
On the table are the remains of coffee and a cinnamon filbert
Dammit! I wanna be a part a this
No, Wade! They were real clear!
They said they'd call tomorrow, with
instructions, and it's gonna be
delivered by me alone!
It's my money, I'll deliver it -
what do they care?
Wade's got a point there. I'll handle
the call if you want, Jerry.
No, no. See - they, no, see, they
only deal with me. Ya feel this,
this nervousness on the phone there,
they're very - these guys're dangerous -
All the more reason! I don't want
you - with all due respect, Jerry -
I don't want you mucking this up.
The heck d'ya mean?
They want my money, they can deal
with me. Otherwise I'm goin' to a
professional. He points at a
...There's a million dollars here!
No, see -
Look, Jerry, you're not sellin' me a
damn car. It's my show here. That's
It's the way we prefer to handle it,
THE DOWNTOWN RADISSON HOTEL
Marge is at the reception desk.
How ya doin'?
Real good. How're you today, ma'am?
Real good. I'm Mrs. Gunderson, I
have a reservation.
The clerk types into a computer console.
You sure do, Mrs. Gunderson.
Is there a phone down here, ya think?
Marge is on a public phone.
...Detective Sibert? Yah, this is
Marge Gunderson from up Brainerd, we
spoke - Yah. Well, actually I'm in
town here. I had to do a few things
in the Twin Cities, so I thought I'd
check in with ya about that USIF
search on Shep Proudfoot... Oh,
yah?... Well, maybe I'll go visit
with him if I have the... No, I can
find that... Well, thanks a bunch.
Say, d'ya happen to know a good place
for lunch in the downtown area?...
Yah, the Radisson... Oh, yah? Is it
GREEN FREEWAY SIGN
Through a windshield we see a sign for the MINNEAPOLIS
ROOFTOP PARKING LOT
The brown Ciera enters and drives lazy S-curves around the
few snow-covered cars parked on the roof of the lot.
It stops by one car and Carl emerges. He quickly scans the
lot, then kneels in the snow at the back of the parked car
and starts unscrewing its license plate.
Carl pulls up and hands the attendant his ticket.
Yeah, I decided not to park here.
The attendant frowns uncomprehendingly at the ticket.
...What do you mean, you decided not
to park here?
Yeah, I just came in. I decided not
to park here.
The attendant is still puzzled.
You, uh... I'm sorry, sir, but -
I decided not to - I'm, uh, not taking
the trip as it turns out.
I'm sorry, sir, we do have to charge
you the four dollars.
I just pulled in here. I just fucking
pulled in here!
Well, see, there's a minimum charge
of four dollars. Long-term parking
charges by the day.
A car behind beeps. Carl glances back, starts digging for
I guess you think, ya know, you're
an authority figure. With that stupid
fucking uniform. Huh, buddy?
The attendant doesn't say anything.
...King Clip-on Tie here. Big fucking
He is peeling off one dollar bills.
...You know, these are the limits of
your life, man. Ruler of your little
fucking gate here. There's your four
dollars. You pathetic piece of shit.
GUSTAFSON OLDS GARAGE
Jerry is staring up, mouth agape, at the underside of a car
on a hydraulic lift. Bewildered, he looks about, then asks a
mechanic passing by, his voice raised over the din of the
The mechanic points.
Talkin' to a cop.
Marge and Shep face each other at the other end of the floor
in a grimy and cluttered glassed-in cubicle.
Said she was a policewoman.
Marge and Shep silently talk. Jerry stares, swallows.
INSIDE THE CUBICLE
- Wednesday night?
Shep is shaking his head.
Well, you do reside their at 1425
Anyone else residing there?
Well, Mr. Proudfoot, this call came
in past three in the morning. It's
just hard for me to believe you can't
remember anyone calling.
Shep says nothing.
...Now, I know you've had some
problems, struggling with the
narcotics, some other entanglements,
currently on parole -
Well, associating with criminals, if
you're the one they talked to, that
right there would be a violation of
your parole and would end with you
back in Stillwater.
Now, I saw some rough stuff on your
priors, but nothing in the nature of
Shep stares at her.
...I know you don't want to be an
accessory to something like that.
So you think you might remember who
those folks were who called ya?
Jerry is worriedly pacing behind his desk. At a noise he
Marge has stuck her head in the door.
I wonder if I could take just a minute
of your time here -
What... What is it all about?
Huh? Do you mind if I sit down - I'm
carrying quite a load here.
Marge plops into the chair opposite him.
...You're the owner here, Mr.
Naw, I... Executive Sales Manager.
Well, you can help me. My name's
Marge Gunderson -
My father-in-law, he's the owner.
Uh-huh. Well, I'm a police officer
from up Brainerd investigating some
malfeasance and I was just wondering
if you've had any new vehicles stolen
off the lot in the past couple of
weeks - specifically a tan Cutlass
Jerry stares at her, his mouth open.
Yah. Yah. Home a Paul Bunyan and
Babe the Blue Ox.
...Babe the Blue Ox?
Yah, ya know we've got the big statue
there. So you haven't had any vehicles
go missing, then?
No. No, ma'am.
Okey-dokey, thanks a bunch. I'll let
you get back to your paperwork, then.
As Marge rises, Jerry looks blankly down at the papers on
the desk in front of him.
He looks up at Marge's retreating back. He looks back down
at the papers. He looks over at the phone.
He picks up the phone and dials four digits.
...Yah, gimmee Shep... The heck d'ya
mean?... Well, where'd he go? It's
only... No, I don't need a mechanic -
oh, geez - I gotta talk to a friend
of his, so, uh... have him, uh...
Marge enters. She looks around the bar, a rather
characterless, lowlit meeting place for business people.
It is a bald, paunching man of about Marge's age, rising
from a booth halfway back. His features are broad, friendly,
He approaches somewhat carefully, as if on his second drink.
They hug and head back toward the booth.
Geez! You look great!
Yah - easy there - you do too! I'm
expecting, ya know.
I see that! That's great!
A waitress meets them at the table.
...What can I get ya?
Just a Diet Coke.
Again she glances about.
...This is a nice place.
Yah, ya know it's the Radisson, so
it's pretty good.
You're livin' in Edina, then?
Oh, yah, couple years now. It's
actually Eden Prarie - that school
district. So Chief Gunderson, then!
So ya went and married Norm Son-of-
Oh, yah, a long time ago.
Great. What brings ya down - are
ya down here on that homicide - if
you're allowed, ya know, to discuss
Oh, yah, but there's not a heckuva
lot to discuss. What about you, Mike?
Are you married - you have kids?
Well, yah, I was married. I was
married to - You mind if I sit over
He is sliding out of his side of the booth and easing in
next to Marge.
...I was married to Linda Cooksey -
No, I - Mike - wyncha sit over there,
I'd prefer that.
Huh? Oh, okay, I'm sorry.
No, just so I can see ya, ya know.
Don't have to turn my neck.
Oh, sure, I unnerstand, I didn't
mean to -
No, no, that's fine.
Yah, sorry, so I was married to Linda
Cooksey - ya remember Linda? She
was a year behind us.
I think I remember Linda, yah. She
was - yah. So things didn't work
And then I, and then I been workin'
for Honeywell for a few years now.
Well, they're a good outfit.
Yah, if you're an engineer, yah, you
could do a lot worse. Of course,
it's not, uh, it's nothin' like your
It sounds like you're doin' really
Yah, well, I, uh... it's not that it
didn't work out - Linda passed away.
Yah, I, uh... She had leukemia, you
No, I didn't...
It was a tough, uh... it was a long -
She fought real hard, Marge...
I'm sorry, Mike.
Oh, ya know, that's, uh - what can I
He holds up his drink.
...Better times, huh?
Marge clinks it.
I was so... I been so... and then I
saw you on TV, and I remembered, ya
know... I always liked you...
Well, I always liked you, Mike.
I always liked ya so much...
It's okay, Mike - Should we get
together another time, ya think?
No - I'm sorry! It's just - I been
so lonely - then I saw you, and...
He is weeping.
...I'm sorry... I shouldn't a done
this... I thought we'd have a really
terrific time, and now I've...
You were such a super lady... and
then I... I been so lonely...
It's okay, Mike...
CARLTON CELEBRITY ROOM
Carl Showalter is sitting at a small table with a tartylooking
blonde in a low-cut gown. Each holds a drink.
Just in town on business. Just in
and out. Ha ha! A little of the old
Wuddya do? Carl looks around.
Have ya been to the Celebrity Room
before? With other, uh, clients?
I don't think so. It's nice.
Yeah, well, it depends on the artist.
You know, Jose Feliciano, ya got no
The reverse shows a disappearing waiter and the backs of
many, many people sitting at tables between us and the very
distant stage. Jose Feliciano, very small, performs on a
spotlit stool. The acoustics are poor.
... What is he, deaf?... So, uh, how
long have you been with the escort
I don't know. Few munce.
Ya find the work interesting, do ya?
...What're you talking about?
A DIRTY BEDROOM
Carl is humping the escort. We hear the door burst open.
The escort is grabbed and flung out of bed.
Shep! What the hell are you doing?
I'm banging that girl! Shep! Jesus
Shep slaps him hard, forehand, backhand.
Fuck out of my house!
He hauls him up -
Shep! Don't you dare fucking hit me,
man! Don't you -
- punches him and flings him away.
Carl hits a sofa and we see his bare legs disappear as he
flips back over it.
Shep enters frame to circle the sofa and kick at Carl behind
Fuck outta here. Put me back in
Stillwater. Little fucking shit.
There is a knock at the door.
Hey! Come on in there!
Shep strides to the door, flings it open.
A man in boxer shorts stands in the doorway.
C'mon, brother, it's late - Unghh!
Shep hits him twice, then grabs both of his ears and starts
banging his head against the wall.
The hooker runs by, clutching her clothes, and Shep kicks
her in the ass as she passes.
He spins and goes back into the apartment.
Carl is hopping desperately into his pants.
Stay away from me, man! Hey! Smoke
a fuckin' peace pipe, man! Don't
you dare fuckin' - Unghh!
After hitting him several times, Shep yanks Carl's belt out
of his dangling pants and strangles him with it. Carl gurgles.
Shep knees Carl repeatedly, then dumps him onto the floor
and starts whipping him with the buckle end of the belt.
CHAIN RESTAURANT PHONE BOOTH
Carl listens to the phone ring at the other end. His face is
deeply bruised and cut.
Finally, through the phone...
All right, Jerry, I'm through fucking
around. You got the fucking money?
Jerry is at the kitchen phone. Through the door to the dining
room we see Wade picking up an extension.
Yah, I got the money, but, uh -
Don't you fucking but me, Jerry. I
want you with this money on the Dayton-
Radisson parking ramp, top level,
thirty minutes, and we'll wrap this
Yah, okay, but, uh -
You're there in thirty minutes or I
find you, Jerry, and I shoot you,
and I shoot your fucking wife, and I
shoot all your little fucking
children, and I shoot 'em all in the
back of their little fucking heads.
...Yah, well, you stay away from
Scotty now -
Okay, real good, then.
The line goes dead. A door slams offscreen.
Wade, briefcase in hand, gets into his Cadillac, slams the
door and peels out.
Wade's jaw works as he glares out at traffic. He mumbles to
himself as he drives.
Okay... here's your damn money, now
where's my daughter?... Goddamn
punk... where's my damn daughter...
He pulls out a gun, cracks the barrel, peers in.
...You little punk.
Jerry sits in the foyer, trying to pull on pair of galoshes.
Scotty's voice comes from upstairs:
It's okay, Scotty.
Where're you going?
Be back in a minute. If Stan calls
you, just tell him I went to Embers.
Oh, geez -
Thunk! - his first boot goes on.
Marge sits on the bed in her hotel room, shoes off, massaging
her feet. The phone is pressed to her ear, and through it,
we hear ringing.
MILLE LACS LAKE
It is late evening, blowing storm. A leisurely pan across
the bleak gray expanse finds a little hut in the middle of
the frozen lake with a pickup truck parked next to it.
Norm has a cellular phone to his ear. His feet are stretched
out to an electric heater. The interior is bathed in soft
Yah, okay. How's the hotel?
Oh, pretty good. They bitin'?
Yeah, couple a muskies. No pike yet.
How d'you feel?
Not on your feet too much?
You shouldn't be on your feet too
much, you got weight you're not used
too. How's the food down there?
Had dinner at a place called the
King's Table. Buffet style. It was
pretty darn good.
Was it reasonable?
Yah, not too bad. So it's nice up
Yah, it's good. No pike yet, but
The top, open, level. Snow blows. A car sits idling.
Another car pulls onto the roof. It creeps over to the parked
car and stops. It continues to idle as its door opens and
Wade steps out, carrying the briefcase.
The door of the other car bangs open and Carl bounces out.
Who the fuck are you? Who the fuck
I got your goddamn money, you little
punk. Now where's my daughter?
I am through fucking around! Drop
that fucking briefcase!
Where's my daughter?
Fuck you, man! Where's Jerry? I gave
SIMPLE FUCKING INSTRUCTIONS -
Where's my damn daughter? No Jean,
Drop that fucking money!
No Jean, no money!
Is this a fucking joke here?
He pulls out a gun and fires into Wade's gut.
...Is this a fucking joke?
Unghh... oh, geez...
He is on the pavement, clutching at his gut. Snow swirls.
You fucking imbeciles!
He bends down next to Wade to pick up the briefcase.
Oh, for Christ... oh, geez...
Wade brings out his gun and fires at Carl's head, close by.
Carl stumbles and falls back, and then stands up again. His
jaw is spouting blood.
One hand pressed to his jaw, he fires down at Wade several
times. Blood streams through the hand pressed to his jaw.
...Mmmmmphnck! He fnkem shop me...
He pockets the gun, picks up the briefcase one-handed, flings
it into his car, gets in, peels out.
Carl screams down the ramp. He takes a corner at high speed
and swerves, just missing Jerry in his Olds on his way to
INT. JERRY'S CAR
Jerry recovers from the near miss and continues up.
Carl squeals to a halt at the gate, still pressing his hand
to his bleeding jaw.
Ophhem ma fuchem gaphe!
May I have your ticket, please?
Jerry pulls to a halt next to Wade's idling Cadillac. He
gets out and walks slowly to Wade's body, prostrate in the
Oh! Oh, geez!
He bends down, picks Wade up by the armpits and drags him
over to the back of the Cadillac. He drops Wade's body, walks
to the driver's side of the car, pulls the keys and walks
back to pop the trunk. He wrestles Wade's body into the trunk,
slams it shut and walks back to the scene of the shooting.
He kicks at the snow with his galoshed feet, trying to hide
the fresh bloodstains.
Jerry approaches in the Cadillac.
The wooden gate barring the exit has been broken away. The
booth is empty.
Jerry eases toward the street, looking over at the booth as
Inside the booth we see the awkwardly angled leg of a
EXT. JERRY'S HOUSE
The car pulls into the driveway.
Jerry enters and sits on the foyer chair to take off his
Stan Grossman called.
...Is everything okay?
Thoonk - the first boot comes off.
Are you calling Stan?
Well... I'm goin' ta bed now.
Carl mumbles as he drives, underlit by the dim dash lights,
one hand now holding a piece of rag to his shredded jaw.
...Fnnkn ashlzh... Fnk...
Carl's car roars into frame, violently swirling the snow.
Its red tail lights fishtail away.
HOLD IN BLACK
HARD CUT TO: BRIGHT - LOOKING THROUGH A WINDSHIELD
It is a starkly sunny day. We are cruising down a street of
humble lookalike houses.
We pan right as we draw toward one house in particular. In
its driveway a man in a hooded parka shovels snow. He notices
the approaching car and gives its driver a wave.
The driver is Gary, the Brainerd police officer. He gives a
finger-to-the-head salute and pulls over.
Gary slams his door shut and the other man plants his shovel
in the snow.
How ya doin'?
The two men caucus the driveway without shaking hands and
without standing particularly close. They stand stiffly,
arms down at their sides and breath streaming out of their
parka hoods. Each has an awkward leaning-away posture, head
drawn slightly back and chin tucked in, to keep his face
from protruding into the cold.
...So, I'm tendin' bar there at
Ecklund & Swedlin's last Tuesday and
this little guy's drinkin' and he
says, 'So where can a guy find some
action - I'm goin' crazy down there
at the lake.' And I says, 'What
kinda action?' and he says, 'Woman
action, what do I look like,' And I
says 'Well, what do I look like, I
don't arrange that kinda thing,' and
he says, 'I'm goin' crazy out there
at the lake' and I says, 'Well, this
ain't that kinda place.'
So he says, 'So I get it, so you
think I'm some kinda jerk for askin','
only he doesn't use the word jerk.
And then he calls me a jerk and says
the last guy who thought he was a
jerk was dead now. So I don't say
nothin' and he says, 'What do ya
think about that?' So I says, 'Well,
that don't sound like too good a
deal for him then.'
Ya got that right.
And he says, 'Yah, that guy's dead
and I don't mean a old age.' And
then he says, 'Geez, I'm goin' crazy
out there at the lake.'
White Bear Lake?
Well, Ecklund & Swedlin's, that's
closer ta Moose Lake, so I made that
So, ya know, he's drinkin', so I
don't think a whole great deal of
it, but Mrs. Mohra heard about the
homicides out here and she thought I
should call it in, so I called it
in. End a story.
What'd this guy look like anyways?
Oh, he was a little guy, kinda funny-
Uh-huh - in what way?
Just a general way.
Okay, well, thanks a bunch, Mr.
Mohra. You're right, it's probably
nothin', but thanks for callin' her
Oh sure. They say she's gonna turn
Yah, got a front movin' in.
Ya got that right.
CLOSE ON CARL SHOWALTER
In his car, now parked, one hand holding the rag pressed to
his mangled jaw. He is staring down at something in the front
seat next to him.
His other hand holds open the briefcase. It has money inside -
a lot of money.
Carl unfreezes, takes out one of the bank-wrapped wads and
looks at it.
He paws through the money in the briefcase to get a feeling
for the amount.
... Jeshush Shrist... Jeshush fuchem
Excited, he counts out a bundle of bills and tosses it onto
the back seat.
He starts to take the rag away from his chin but the layer
pressed against his face sticks, its loose weave bound to
his skin by clotted blood.
He pulls very gently and winces as blood starts to flow again.
He carefully tears the rag in half so that only a bit of it
remains adhering to his jaw.
It is pulled over to the side of an untraveled road. THe
door opens and Carl emerges with the briefcase. He slogs
through the snow, down a gulley and up the embankment to a
barbed-wire fence. He kneels at one of the fence posts and
frantically digs into the snow with his bare hands, throws
in the briefcase and covers it back up.
He stands and tries to beat the circulation back into his
red, frozen hands.
He looks to the right.
A regular line of identical fence posts stretches away against
He looks to the left.
A regular line of identical fence posts stretches away against
He looks at the fence post in front of him.
He looks about the snowy vastness for a marker. Finding none,
he kicks the fence post a couple of times, failing to scar
or tilt it, then hurriedly plants a couple of sicks up against
He bends down, scoops up a handful of snow, presses it against
his wounded jaw, and lopes back to the idling car.
Marge has a packed overnight back sitting on the unmade bed.
She is ready to leave, already wearing her parka, but is on
No, I'm leavin' this mornin', back
up to Brainerd.
Well, I'm sorry I won't see ya.
Mm. But ya think he's all right?
saw him last night and he's -
What'd he say?
Well, it was nothin' specific he
said, it just seemd like it all hit
him really hard, his wife dyin' -
No. No. No. They weren't - he, uh,
he was bothering Linda for about,
oh, for a good year. Really pestering
her, wouldn't leave her alone.
So... they didn't...
No. No. They never married. Mike's
had psychiatric problems.
Oh. Oh, my.
Yah, he - he's been struggling.
He's living with his parents now.
Yah, Linda's fine. You should call
Geez. Well - geez. That's a suprise.
Marge drives, gazing out at the road.
MARGE AT A DRIVE-THROUGH
She leans out of her open window and yells at the order panel:
MARGE AT THE GUSTAFSON OLDS GARAGE
She sits in the lot, eating a breakfast sandwich.
JERRY LUNDEGAARD'S OFFICE
Jerry is at his desk using a blunt pencil to enter numbers
onto a form. Beneath the form is a piece of carbon paper and
beneath that another form copy, which Jerry periodically
checks. The carbon-copy form shows thick smudgy, illegible
Jerry hums nervously.
Glass rattles as someone taps at his door.
Jerry looks up and freezes, mouth hanging open, brow knit
with worry. Marge sticks her head in the door.
Mr. Lundegaard? Sorry to bother you
again. Can I come in?
She starts to enter.
Yah, no, I'm kinda - I'm kinda
I unnerstand. I'll keep it real short,
then. I'm on my way out of town, but
I was just - Do you mind if I sit
down? I'm carrying a bit of a load
No, I -
But she is already sitting into the chair opposite with a
sigh of relieved weight.
Yah, it's this vehicle I asked you
about yesterday. I was just wondering -
Yah, like I told ya, we haven't had
any vehicles go missing.
Okay, are you sure, cause, I mean,
how do you know? Because, see, the
crime I'm investigating, the
perpetrators were driving a car with
dealer plates. And they called someone
who works here, so it'd be quite a
coincidence if they weren't, ya know,
Yah, I see.
So how do you - have you done any
kind of inventory recently?
The car's not from our lot, ma'am.
but do you know that for sure without -
Well, I would know. I'm the Executive
Yah, but -
We run a pretty tight ship here.
I know, but - well, how do you
establish that, sir? Are the cars,
uh, counted daily or what kind of -
Ma'am, I answered your question.
There is a silent beat.
... I'm sorry, sir?
Ma'am, I answered your question. I
answered the darn - I'm cooperating
here, and I...
Sir, you have no call to get snippy
with me. I'm just doin' my job here.
I'm not, uh, I'm not arguin' here.
I'm cooperating... There's no, uh -
we're doin' all we can...
He trails off into silence.
Sir, could I talk to Mr. Gustafson?
Jerry stares at her.
... Mr. Lundegaard?
Well, heck, if you wanna, if you
wanna play games here! I'm workin'
with ya on this thing, but I...
He is getting angrily off his feet.
Okay, I'll do a damned lot count!
Sir? Right now?
Sure right now! You're darned tootin'!
He is yanking his parka from a hook behind the opened door
and grabbing a pair of galoshes.
...If it's so damned important to
I'm sorry, sir, I -
Jerry has the parka slung over one arm and the galoshes
pinched in his hand.
Aw, what the Christ!
He stamps out the door.
After a long moment her stare breaks. She glances idly around
There is a framed picture facing away from her on the desktop.
She turns it to face her. It is Scotty, holding an accordion.
There is another picture of Jean.
Marge looks at it, looks around, for some reason, at the
She looks at a trophy shelf on the wall behind her.
She fiddles idly with a pencil. She pulls a clipboard toward
her. It holds a form from the General Motors Finance
She looks idly around. Her look abruptly locks.
...Oh, for Pete's sake.
Jerry is easing his car around the near corner of the
Marge's voice is flat with dismay:
...Oh, for Pete's sake...
She grabs the phone and punches in a number.
...For Pete's s- he's fleein' the
interview. He's feelin' the
Jerry makes a left turn into traffic.
... Detective Sibert, please...
We are looking across a steam table at a man in blue. He
moves slowly to the right, pushing his tray along a cafeteria
line. Behind him, in the depth of the room, is an eating
area of long Formica tables at which sit a mix of uniformed
and civilian-clothed police and staff.
We are listening to an offscreen woman's voice.
Well, so far we're just saying he's
wanted for questioning in connection
with a triple homicide. Nobody at
the dealship there's been much help
guessing where he might go...
The woman is entering frame sliding a tray. Marge enters
behind her, sliding her own. We move laterally with them as
they slowly make their way along the line.
We called his house; his little boy
said he hadn't been there.
And his wife?
She's visiting relatives in Florida.
Now his boss, this guy Gustafson,
he's also disappeared. Nobody at his
office knows where he is.
Geez. Looks like this thing goes
higher than we thought. You call his
His wife's in the hospital, has been
for a couple months. The big C.
And this Shep Proudfoot character,
he's a little darling. He's now wanted
for assault and parole violation. He
clobbered a neighbor of his last
night and another person who could
be one of your perps, and he's at
Boy, this thing is really... geez.
Well, they're all out on the wire.
Well, you know...
Yah. Well, I just can't thank you
enough, Detective Sibert, this
cooperation has been outstanding.
Ah, well, we haven't had to run around
like you. When're you due?
End a April.
This'll be our first. We've been
waiting a long time.
That's wonderful. Mm-mm. It'll change
your life, a course.
Oh, yah, I know that!
They can really take over, that's
You have children?
Detective Sibert pulls an accordion of plastic picture sleeves
from her purse to show Marge.
I thought you'd never ask. The older
one is Janet, she's nine, and the
younger one is Morgan.
Oh, now he's adorable.
He's three now. Course, not in that
Oh, he's adorable.
Yah, he -
Where'd you get him that parka?
They have reached the end of the cafeteria line. With a nod
to the cashier, Detective Sibert indicates hers and Marge's
Both of these.
Oh, no, I can't let you do that.
Oh, don't be silly.
Well, okay - thank you, Detective.
Oh, don't be silly.
He sits eating a Swanson's TV dinner from a TV tray he has
set up in front of an easy chair. He watches the old black-
and-white TV set whose image - it might be a game show - is
still heavily ghosting and diffused by snow. The audio
crackles with interference.
Despite the impenetrability of its image, it holds Grimsrud's
At the sound of the front door opening, Grimsrud looks up.
Carl enters, his face suppurating and raw.
He reacts to Grimsrud's wordless look with a grotesque laugh.
You should she zhe uzher guy!
He glances around.
...The fuck happen a her?
Jean sits slumped in a straight-backed chair facing the wall.
Her hooded head, resting on her chin, is motionless.
There is blood on the facing wall.
She started shrieking, you know.
He shakes his head.
...Well, I gotta muddy.
He is plunking down eight bank-wrapped bundles on the table.
...All of it. All eighty gran. Forty
He makes one pile, pockets the rest.
... Forty for me. Sho thishuzh it.
He slaps keys down on the table.
...You c'n'ave my truck. I'm takin'
We split that.
Carl looks at him.
HOW THE FUCK DO WE SHPLITTA FUCKIN'
CAR? Ya dummy! Widda fuckin'
Grimsrud looks sourly up. There is a beat. Finally:
One of us pays the other for half.
HOLD ON! NO FUCKIN' WAY! YOU FUCKIN'
NOTISH ISH? I GOT FUCKIN' SHOT INNA
FAISH! I WENT'N GOTTA FUCKIN' MONEY!
I GET SHOT FUCKIN' PICKIN' IT UP! I
BEEN UP FOR THIRTY-SHIKSH FUCKIN'
HOURZH! I'M TAKIN' THAT FUCKIN' CAR!
THAT FUCKERZH MINE!
Carl waits for an argument, but only gets the steady sour
Carl pulls out a gun.
... YOU FUCKIN' ASH-HOLE! I LISHEN A
YOUR BULLSHIT FOR A WHOLE FUCKIN'
A beat. Carl returns Grimsrud's stare.
...Are we shquare?
Grimsrud says nothing.
...ARE WE SHQUARE?
A beat. Disgusted, Carl pockets the gun and heads for the
...Fuckin' ash-hole. And if you shee
your friend Shep Proudpfut, tell him
I'm gonna NAIL hizh fuckin' ash.
We are pulling Carl as he walks toward the car. Behind him
we see the cabin door opening. Carl turns, reacting to the
Grimsrud is bounding out wearing mittens and a red hunter's
cap, but no overcoat. He is holding an ax. Carl fumbles in
his pocket for his gun.
Grimsrud swings overhand, burying the ax in Carl's neck.
In her cruiser, on her two-way. Through it we hear Lou's
voice, heavily filtered:
His wife. This guy says she was
kidnapped last Wednesday.
The day of our homicides.
Marge is peering to one side as she drives, looking through
the bare trees that border the road on a declivity that runs
down to a large frozen lake.
And this guy is...
But we still haven't found Gustafson.
Sorry - didn't copy.
Still missing. We're looking.
Copy. And Lundegaard too.
Yah. Where are ya, Margie?
We hear, distant but growing louder, harsh engine noise, as
of a chainsaw or lawnmower.
Oh, I'm almost back - I'm driving
around Moose Lake.
Oh. Gary's loudmouth.
Yah, the loudmouth. So the whole
state has it, Lundegaard and
Yah, it's over the wire, it's
everywhere, they'll find 'em.
We've got a -
There's the car! There's the car!
We are slowing as we approach a short driveway leading down
to a cabin. Parked in front is the brown Cutlass Ciera.
My car! My car! Tan Ciera!
Don't go in! Wait for back-up!
Marge is straining to look. The power-tool noise is louder
here but still muffled, its source not yet visible.
Copy. Yah, send me back-up!
Yes, ma'am. Are we the closest PD?
Yah, Menominie only has Chief Perpich
and he takes February off to go to
Marge pulls her prowler over some distance past the cabin.
She gets out, zips up her khaki parka and pulls up its
For a moment, she stands listening to the muffled roar of
the power tool. Then, with one curved arm half pressing
against, half supporting her belly, she takes slow, gingerly
steps down the slope, through the deep snow, through the
trees angling toward the cabin and the source of the grinding
She slogs from tree to tree, letting each one support her
downhill-leaning weight for a moment before slogging to the
The roar grows louder. Marge stands panting by one tree, her
breath vaporizing out of her snorkel hood. She squints down
toward the cabin's back lot.
A tall man with his back to us, wearing a red plaid quilted
jacket and a hunting cap with earflaps, is laboring over a
large power tool which his body blocks from view.
The man is forcing downward something which engages the
roaring power tool and makes harsh spluttering noises.
The man is Grimsrud, his nose red and eyes watering from the
cold, hatflaps pulled down over his ears. His breath steams
as he sourly goes about his work, both hands pressing down a
shod foot, as it if were the shaft of a butter churn.
The roar is very loud.
Marge slogs down to the next tree, panting, looking.
Grimsrud forces more of the leg into the machine, which we
can now see sprays small wet chunks out the bottom.
Marge's eyes shift.
A large dark form lies in the snow next to Grimsrud.
Grimsrud works on, eyes watering. With a grunt he bends down
out of frame and then re-enters holding a thick log.
He uses it to force the leg deeper into the machine.
Marge is advancing. She holds a gun extended toward Grimsrud,
who is still turned away.
Grimsrud rubs his nose with the back of his hand.
Marge closes in, grimacing.
Grimsrud's back strains as he puts his weight into the log
that pushes down into the machine.
The dark shape in the snow next to his side is the rest of
Carl Showalter's body.
Marge has drawn to within twenty yards. When she bellows it
sounds hollow and distant, her voice all but eaten up by the
roar of the power tool.
Stop! Police! Turn around and hands
Startled, Grimsrud scowls. He turns to face her.
Marge bellows again:
Conscious of the noise, she shows with a twist of her shoulder
the armpatch insignia.
With a quick twist, he reaches back for the log, hurls it at
Marge and then starts running away.
Marge twists her body sideways, shielding herself.
No need - the heavy log travels perhaps ten yards and lands
in the snow several feet short of her.
Grimsrud pants up the hill - slow going through the deep
She fires in the air.
She lowers the gun and carefully sighs.
Grimsrud still slogs up the hill - a miss.
Marge sights again.
She fires again.
Grimsrud pitches forward. He mutters in Swedish as he reaches
down to clutch at his wounded leg.
Marge walks toward him, gun trained on him as her other hand
reaches under her parka and gropes around her waist.
It comes out with a pair of handcuffs, which she opens with
a snap of the wrist.
...All right, buddy. On your belly
and your hands clasped behind you.
Marge drives. Grimsrud sits in the back seat, hands cuffed
For a long moment there, he is quiet - only engine hum and
the periodic clomp of wheels on pavement seams - as Marge
grimly shakes her head.
...So that was Mrs. Lundegaard in
She glances up in the rear-view mirror.
Grimsrud, cheeks sunk, eyes hollow, looks sourly out at the
Marge shakes her head.
...I guess that was your accomplice
in the wood chipper.
Grimsrud's head bobs with bumps on the road; otherwise he is
motionless, reactionless, scowling and gazing out.
...And those three people in Brainerd.
Marge, gazing forward, seems to be talking to herself.
...And for what? For a little bit of
We hear distant sirens.
...There's more to life than money,
She glances up in the rear-view mirror.
...Don't you know that?... And here
ya are, and it's a beautiful day...
Grimsrud's hollow eyes stare out.
The sirens are getting louder. Marge pulls over.
She leans forward to the dash to give two short signaling
WHOOPS on her siren.
She turns on her flashers.
She leans back with a creak and jangle of utilities.
She stares forward, shakes her head. We hear the dull click
of her flashers.
...I just don't unnerstand it.
Outside it is snowing. The sky, the earth, the road - all
A squad car, gumballs spinning, punches through the white.
It approaches in slow motion.
An ambulance punches through after it.
Another squad car.
HIGH AND WIDE ON A SHABBY MOTEL
It stands next to a highway on a snowy, windswept plain.
One or two cars dot the parking lot along with an idling
MOTEL ROOM DOORWAY
We are looking over the shoulders of two uniformed policemen
who stand on either side of the door, their hands resting
lightly on their holstered sidearms. One of them raps at the
A title fades in: OUTSIDE OF BISMARK, NORTH DAKOTA After a
pause, muffled through the door:
Mr. Anderson, is this your burgundy
88 out here?
...Just a sec.
Could you open the door, please?
...Yah. Yah, just a sec.
We hear a clatter from inside.
...Just a sec...
One of the policemen unholsters his gun and nods to someone
whose back enters - a superintendent holding a ring of keys.
This man turns a key in the door and then stands away.
The two policemen, guns at the ready, bang into the motel
The rough hand-held camera rushes in behind them as the two
men give the room a two-handed sweep with their guns.
The room is empty.
Cop one indicates the open bathroom door.
The two men charge the bathroom, belts jingling, guns at the
ready, jittery camera behind them rushing to keep pace.
A man in boxer shorts is halfway out the bathroom window.
The policemen holster their guns and charge the window, and
drag Jerry Lundegaard back into the room.
His flesh quivers as he thrashes and keens in short, piercing
The cops wrestle him to the floor but his palsied thrashing
continues. The policemen struggle to restrain him.
Call an ambulance!
You got him okay?
Cop One pinions Jerry's arms to the floor and Jerry bursts
into uncontrolled sobbing.
Yah, yah, call an ambulance.
Jerry sobs and screams.
We are square on Norm, who sits in bed watching television.
After a long beat, Marge enters frame in a nightie and climbs
into bed, with some effort.
Norm reaches for her hand as both watch the television.
At length Norm speaks, but keeps his eyes on the TV.
They announced it.
Marge looks at him.
They announced it?
Marge looks at him, waiting for more, but Norm's eyes stay
fixed on the television.
Norm, that's terrific!
Norm tries to suppress a smile of pleasure.
It's just the three cent.
Hautman's blue-winged teal got the
twenty-nine cent. People don't much
use the three-cent.
Oh, for Pete's - a course they do!
Every time they raise the darned
postage, people need the little
When they're stuck with a bunch a
the old ones!
Yah, I guess.
Her eyes go back to the TV.
...I'm so proud a you, Norm.
I love you, Margie.
I love you, Norm.
Both of them are watching the TV as Norm reaches out to rest
a hand on top of her stomach.
...Two more months.
Marge absently rests her own hand on top of his.
Two more months.
Hold; fade out.
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