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.
We got ocotillo, devil's walking
stick--what's this stuff--it's that
Mikey bends to scoop something out of the sand, putting it
in a canvas bag slung on his hip.
This place is a gold mine.
MIKEY sees that Cliff is talking, pulls his headset off.
It's a lead mine.
I don't know why I'm talking to you,
you've got that thing on your head.
You finding lots of cactus and shit?
It's not just cactus. There's the
nopals, the yuccas--
(Puts headset on)
Looks like a lot of cactus to me.
Man knows a hundred-fifty varieties
of beer, he can't tell a poinsettia
from a prickly pear.
You live in a place, you should know
something about it. Explore--
MIKEY in the f.g. now, looking down at something as he pulls
his headset off again--
Cliff, you gotta look at this--
Cliff wearily turns and approaches from the b.g.
Don't tell me--Spanish treasure,
right? Pieces of eight from the
He stops by Mikey and looks down, his expression changing
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.
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.
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
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.
I was driving back from Apache Wells
when they got me on the radio.
This was a rifle range way back when.
But we figured it isn't Army land
anymore, it's your jurisdiction.
I've got the forensics fella coming
down from the Rangers. No way to
know how old the body is without
some lab work.
Masons been around a long while.
Mikey has come up to them, still sweeping with the metal
Old bullets. He uhm-- makes art
Sam just nods. Mikey frowns, goes down on one knee and
scratches something out of the dirt at their feet--
The Sheriff says we shouldn't touch
He can't hear with that rig on--
Mikey comes up with something, holds it before them. An
encrusted piece of metal--
What've we got here?
Sam takes the thing, lays it back down where Mikey found it.
S'posed to leave everything right
where we found it. They're real
particular about that.
The scene of the crime.
No telling yet if there's been a
Sam frowns down at the piece of metal as he rubs the face of
Sam's thumb wipes across the face of the encrusted metal. It
is roughly star-shaped.
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.
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
--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
He went to school on base when we
were in Okinawa. It's all--you know--
kids in the same boat--Army brats.
His record shows that he's a good
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.
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--
So Blacks are--
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
She steps back to see if the poster, an old photo of Geronimo,
looks straight. Another teacher, MOLLY sticks her head in
Pilar, is uhm--is Amado okay?
Okay? He's not here?
No. Is he sick?
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--
Luis! Give me that Phillips-head
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.
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.
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.
Somebody hand me the CD player--
He looks up and we TILT to see Travis leaning in the window,
examining the new radio
They come a long way from those old
8-track jobs, haven't they?
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--
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--
"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!"
Buddy Deeds. He had a way.
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
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
We WIDEN to see Sam standing by their booth. No telling how
long he's been listening, Fenton is embarrassed.
Sam! I was just telling a few about
your old man.
He was a unique individual.
Yeah, he was that.
We sense a little strain when Sam has to talk about his father--
Big day coming up--I wish we'd have
thought of it while he was still
living. But he went so unexpected.
Better late than never. Korean War
hero, Sheriff for near thirty years--
Buddy Deeds Memorial P--
I heard there was a bit of a fuss.
Oh, you know, the usual troublemakers.
Danny Padilla from the Sentinel,
Every other damn thing in the country
is called after Martin Luther King,
they can't let our side have one
King wasn't Mexican, Fenton--
Bad enough all the street names are
They were here first.
Then name it after Big Chief
Shitinabucket! Whoever that Tonkawa
fella was. He had the Mexes beat by
There was a faction pulling for that
boy who was killed in the Gulf War--
Right. But nobody here ever noticed
him till they read his name on the
They just wanted it to be one of
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
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.
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
Tell that one, Hollis--
Hell, everybody heard that story a
I'd like to hear it. Your version of
Something about the way Sam says it puts Hollis on guard.
Go ahead, Hollis.
Hollis is hooked into it now--
The two of us were the only deputies
back then me and Buddy--it's what--
'57, 1 believe--
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
He looks down at the table--
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--
This beaner fare doesn't agree with
me, but the price sure is right.
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
What's that for?
Jimmy got a kitchen full of wetbacks,
most of 'em relatives. People breed
I roust some muchacho on the street,
doesn't have his papers, all he got
to say is "Yo trabajo para Jimmy
Wade folds the money and stuffs if in his pocket--
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.
I'm not doing it.
Hollis stops a few feet away, shocked. Wade just stares down
Buddy looks Wade in the eye, seemingly unafraid.
It's your deal. You sweated it out
of him, you pick it up.
There's gonna be some left over for
you, Buddy. I take care of my boys.
That's not the point.
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--
I'm not picking it up.
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.
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.
You ever shoot anybody was looking
you in the eye?
Who said anything about shootin'
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.
Whole different story; isn't it?
You're fired. You're outta the
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.
You little pissant--
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.
You're a dead man.
He turns and nearly bumps into Hollis. He gives the Deputy a
Get the goddamn car. We're going to
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--
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--
"Mas cerveza por favor."
That Buddy was a cool breeze.
We PULL BACK to see Hollis and his buddies at the table,
eating their lunches as they listen.
Charley Wade were known to have put
a good number of people in the ground,
and your daddy gets eyeball to eyeball
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.
Never heard from him again?
Not a peep. Buddy run the man out of
Buddy Deeds said a thing, he damn
well backed it up. Won't be another
So he arrested all of Jimmy Herrera's
people and sent 'em back to the other
Hollis sees what Sam is getting at, grins--
Oh--he come to an accommodation.
Money doesn't always need to change
hands to keep the wheels turning.
Look, I know you had some problems
with your father, and he and Muriel--
Your mother was a saint.
--but Buddy Deeds was my salvation.
Sam nods, speaks softly--
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--
--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--
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,
We look over the shoulders of assembled OFFICERS and NCOs
--that we've been sent here to mark
time until we are absorbed by another
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.
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--
Tell him I'll catch him later.
An old photo of the 1957 Sheriff's Department officers on
the courthouse steps. Wade, Hollis, Buddy, a few others, all
He says he needs to talk to you before
the ceremony, Sam.
Sam puts a magnifying glass over the photo and bends close
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.
He thinks you're trying to duck
Looking at the photo, troubled--
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
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.
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--
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
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
You weren't in here tonight, were
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--
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,
We WHIP PAN to see another standing parent--
We fought the U.S. Army, the Texas
ANGLO FATHER (O.S.)
Yeah, but you lost, buddy!
We WHIP PAN to a man in the rear--
Winners get the bragging rights,
that's how it goes.
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.
I think it would be best not to put
things in terms of winners and losers--
(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--
We think of the textbook as kind of
a guide, not an absolute--
--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--
They're our children, too!
The men who founded this state have
a right to have their story--
The men who founded this state broke
from Mexico because they needed
slavery to be legal to make a fortune
in the cotton business!
I think that's a bit of an
Are you reporting this meeting or
runnin' it, Danny?
Just adding a little historical
REAR OF AUDITORIUM
PALOMA CRUZ, Pilar's teenage daughter, peeks into the room,
then moves down the side toward the stage.
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!
There's no reason to be so threatened
Pilar is trying to stay calm despite her anger.
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
ANGLO MOTHER (O.S.)
If you mean like music and food and
all, I have no problem with that.
We shoot past Pilar toward the parents in their seats. PALOMA
steps up to whisper to her.
--but when you start changing who
did what to who.
We're not changing anything, we're
presenting a more complete picture.
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--
There's enough ignorance in the world
without us encouraging it in the
Now who are you calling ignorant?
Folks, I know this is a very emotional
issue for some of you, but we do
have other business to attend to--
We're not going to get some resolution
Would you people like to form another
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.
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.
Hospital says the other kid is in
The shooter local?
(Shakes his bead)
Down from Houston. I think he knew
the girl before.
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.
Any poop on the John Doe you found
out there today?
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.
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.
PILAR AND SAM
Pilar looks around. Sam is standing by her. We can tell there
is some history between these two.
They've got my Amado.
Got him here?
Somebody called--something about an
I'll see what's going on.
He starts away, stops, comes back--
I was--I was real sorry about Nando.
He was a good fella. We haven't talked
We haven't talked since high school.
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.
--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--
We WIDEN to see Sam standing over the desk--
We got some boys you run in earlier
Yeah. I pulled the bunch that hangs
at Pico Bernal's place. We finally
caught them with something.
You got a juvenile with 'ern--Amado
Travis looks at his booking sheets--
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--
They tell me you're good at fixing
Your father was a hell of a mechanic.
You know, if you figure minimum wage
on the time most thieves spend in
jail, they could have bought most
everything they stole.
I didn't steal anything.
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
He's all yours.
Are you okay?
I don't know what the big deal is.
You'll find out when I get you home.
Pilar yanks AMADO outside by his arm. She turns to shoot a
look back at Sam, then steps out through the glass door.
Watching her go--
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.
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.
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.
Have we had trouble there before?
Since I've been stationed here? A
fistfight now and then--
We had a kid pass out in the men's
room. The town isn't much.
They didn't come for a vacation.
You know how it is, Colonel--first
time away from home, dealing with
new people--I remember my first hitch--
Well, yeah, but I went through the
Program. I haven't had a drink since--
I meant on the post. In general. How
are you dealing with it?
We throw a urine test at them once a
month. Random numbers, maybe a hundred
people at a time
Why don't we make it once a week for
No problem, sir.
Del notices bow hard they are breathing--
I sprint the last quarter mile. You
gentlemen don't have to keep up if
you don't care to.
Appreciate it, sir.
Del accelerates and we HOLD with the sergeants, slowing to a
Guy cracks walnuts with his asshole.
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.
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.
Sam the Man.
Hey, Ben. Thanks for coming down.
They shake, Sam sits.
Business is booming. Got your drugs,
got your illegals--had a shooting
the other night at Big O's--Soldier
I hear they're closing that post
September '97, that's all she wrote.
Gonna pull a lot of jobs out of this
Yeah, we'll have folks swimming over
to Mexico to work in the sweatshops.
Sam looks at the folder of reports.
That the word on our boy?
Yeah, this is Skinny.
We find a body, it's either Skinny
or Stinky, depending on how much
meat there is on the bones.
Male, 40 to 50 years old, five-foot-
eleven, chewed tobacco--then we get
into the dental records--
--it didn't come out of a cereal
You know the popular version of how
he left town.
Everybody on the border knows that
You got a cause of death?
Skull was intact, no soft tissue
left--not much to go on.
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--
You uhm--you remember what old Buddy
carried for a side arm?
He swore by it.
So is Buddy on your short list?
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.
You got to investigate. No question
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.
Yeah, it's a pretty cold trail.
They sit in awkward silence for a moment. Ben feels bad about
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
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--
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.
--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
Drawing intently. He takes the notebook and lays his thumb
over the corner.
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--
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.
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--
Looking out at the class--
--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?
Startled, he hides the notebook under his hands --
Uhm--everybody is killing everybody
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
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.
I always wondered what you Mayors do
when you're not cutting ribbons.
Sam! Hey podner! You caught me playing
(Looks across lake)
Floating around out here, playin'
hell with them bass--play a little
cards, play a little golf, drink
Sounds great. Where do I sign up?
I haven't been out here for a while.
You go by your old house?
Just as well. The new people just
painted it some God-awful color--
We found a body out by the Army base
yesterday. Been there for a long
Hollis squints at a rubber lure, rejects it--
Was it Davy Crockett or Jim Bowie?
You recall if Charley Wade was a
Charley? I believe he was. Used to
go for lodge meetings over to Laredo.
What's he got to do with your body?
All it was wearing was a big old
Masonic ring and a Rio County Sheriffs
Hollis reacts. Sam puts a foot on the gunwale of the boat.
You don't remember anything else
from that last night you saw him, do
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
He owned the colored roadhouse before
He still living?
No. I think his widow's still in
their place in Darktown, though.
(Shakes his bead)
You think it's Charley Wade, huh?
Forensics people are sure of it. You
have any idea who might have put him
Hollis makes a great show of considering--
Besides my father, I mean.
There's no call for that, Sam. Fella
made himself a pile of enemies over
And Buddy was one of them.
We got that dedication tomorrow.
This is a hell of a time to be
draggin' up old business.
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.
And I understand why you might want
to think he could.
This is a low blow, but accurate enough to shake 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--
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--
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--
So you knew this young man before?
From back in Houston. We both come
up on Fifth Street.
Did you know he was going to be there
If I had I wouldn't have gone in.
And you and Private Graves--
We were just dancing--
Cliff leans against a desk, a blackboard covered with radar
diagrams behind him. Priscilla sits nearby, both of them
focused on Athena.
We're not running a dating service
I know that, Sergeant. We were just
dancing. There was a bunch of us
there. Shadow just come down looking
It's not our job to get involved in
your personal life, but when it
interferes with the training here--
I'm sorry, Sergeant Major. There
wasn't anything I could do. Shadow
A silence as the sergeant lets her stew for a moment. She
works up her courage--
Sergeant Major? How is Richie doing?
He'll be transferred to a military
hospital as soon as he's stabilized--
He'll probably be getting a medical
Out of the Army?
He's going to lose a lung. This is
not good news for Athena--
Will this go on my record?
Cliff considers for a long moment--
If the incident happened the way you
say it did, there hasn't been an
Thank you, Sergeant Major.
Thank you, Sergeant Major.
Athena steps out of the room. Cliff sits on the desk--
You spoil 'em, Cliff.
Hey--she's in a tough situation. I
cut her some slack--
But I'm the one in charge of her
She's pulled herself out of a pretty
Crossing to the door--
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 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--
I'm Sheriff Deeds--
Sheriff Deeds' dead, honey--you just
Yeah, that's the story of my life.
You ever play one of these?
I've seen 'em.
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.
You mind if I ask a few questions
about your husband? Roderick?
I won't say nothing bad about the
man, but you can ask away.
He had the club out on the old trail
We run that twenty-odd years. Give
it over to Otis Payne in 1967. April.
So you must remember Sheriff Wade.
Not if I can help it.
You had to deal with him in running
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.
He squeezed money out of you?
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.
And my father?
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
People didn't complain?
Not if they was colored or Meskin.
Not if they wanted to keep breathin'.
Do you remember the last time you
Minnie thinks, puts down the Gameboy--
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--
He used to come in whilst we was in
full swing, make people nervous. Had
him a smile like the Grim Reaper--
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.
--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--
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.
OTIS TURNS, CUPS HIS HAND AROUND HIS EAR-
Expressionless, he starts to pour the beer into Wade's glass.
The Sheriff looks up into his face--
I know you?
One of Cleroe Payne's boys?
I sent your Daddy to the farm once.
I know that.
Why you think that was?
Otis feels people watching. He doesn't want to lose face--
Some crop needed pickin' and the man
A very insolent answer for the time and place--
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
Runnin' numbers illegal.
Runnin' numbers without I know about
it is both illegal and unhealthy.
You remember that.
The beer is poured. Otis starts away--
Whoah, son. You're not finished.
I prefer it in the bottle--
Shut up, Hollis. Pour.
Otis meets Wade's look now, pours the other beer--
How come you don't took familiar?
Been away. Up to Houston.
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--
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--
You spilt it, you wipe it up.
Wade stands, steely-eyed, and looks at Otis nose to nose--
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--
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
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,
Don't mind him, Sheriff. Boy's just
a bit slow, is all. He don't mean
nothin' by it--
That the problem, son? You Slow?
Otis, apologize to the Sheriff--
Otis eases the chair down but doesn't say anything--
You got him too scared to peep,
Sheriff. Maybe if you put that gun
You telling me what to do, Roderick?
No, Sheriff, I'm just--
Wade looks around, widens his eyes in mock surprise--
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--
This is a club, Sheriff--you been in
And people better clear out of here!
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--
You learn how to act your place,
son. This idn't Houston.
He stands and we FOLLOW him toward the bar--
'Course I was young and full of beans
The camera passes Wade and instead of Minnie there stands
Otis, PRESENT DAY, reminiscing. We are back in '95--
I didn't understand the spot I was
putting Roderick in.
And that was the last time you saw
We SHIFT to see Sam sitting where Wade was headed--
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.
That was the night he disappeared?
(Shakes his head)
Could of been. That was white people's
And when my father was Sheriff?
What about it?
What was your deal with him?
Otis smiles, chooses his words carefully--
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.
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.
He ever accept cash for a favor?
Otis smiles, looks away to ponder his response--
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--
If you had your way I wouldn't have
Oh, come on, Amado--
Just 'cause I'm not like Little Miss
Honor Roll here--
Leave your sister out of it.
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--
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--
Who'd want to be friends with that
bunch of pachuco wannabes?
I don't pretend I came over on the
And those stupid girls who hang out
Just shut up.
PILAR'S POV -- SAM
Sam walks on the sidewalk parallel to them, talking with
three other MEN--
Joanie Orozco's telling the whole
school she's like desperately in
love with Santo Guerra.
It's pathetic. You can't be
desperately in love when you're 14
INT. PILAR'S CAR
Pilar is still looking fixedly out the window--
Not if you have half a brain in your
Of course you can.
It doesn't have anything to do with
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--
What I'm saying is, I don't see the
point. You had your chance when the
dedication committee was meeting--
I've got new information--
It's ancient goddarn history, Danny--
1963, they dam up the north branch
to make Lake Pescadero. A whole little
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
There was a bill from the state
Families were split apart, a whole
community was destroyed--
They were trespassing, 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,
They all look at Sam, who has been listening patiently the
whole while. They've reached his office.
Look, I'm not after you, Sam. I
just think people in town ought to
know the full story on Buddy Deeds.
That makes two of us.
Sam steps into his office, leaving H.L. shaking his head--
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.
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--
Otis Payne was never embarrassed
about a thing in his life.
You were 8 years old when he left--
He didn't leave, he moved three houses
down with one of my mother's best
"Hey, Delmore, where's your Daddy?"
Del disappears into the bedroom at the end of the hall--
Everybody else's business. And
everybody loved Big O--
DEL comes back out, empty-handed--
Big O was always there with a smile
or a loan or a free drink.
Dad, can I talk to you about track?
Not that much.
Dad, I talked to the track coach--
I thought we already had this out?
Next year, if your grades are high
I have a B average.
How many B-average students do you
think they take at West Point?
We're going to have to see him.
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.
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--
Off the phone, by we've got people
We FOLLOW Mercedes back into the kitchen, where she moves
through, kibbitzing the operation--
Mercedes stops by a young girl prepping a pork loin to be
cooked. She isn't wearing gloves.
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--
These ones coming up are getting
stupider every year.
Maybe you're just getting less
If they're going to survive here,
they have to know how to work, Elalco!
Adelante! Los clientes esperan!
Well, you hire illegals--
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
If you spent a little more time
Did you come here to tell me how to
run my business?
No. I was wondering if you'd like to
take a trip down south with us. Maybe
see where you grew up--
Why would I want to go there?
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--
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--
Mami, how old were you when my father--
He was killed.
Right. When he was killed.
A little older than Paloma is now.
How come you never got married again?
Mercedes just glares at her--
There must have been somebody.
I was too busy.
Nobody's too busy.
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
I don't mean Fernando.
Mami, the first time I brought him
home, those were your exact words--
"some chulo with grease under his
I never said that.
You made it pretty damn clear you
thought he was nobody.
I felt that you could do better for
What? Become a nun? You didn't want
me going out with Anglos--
I never said that. It was just that
"That boy"--Mami, say his name for
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--
You people are stealing my money--
Mercedes is gone. The young girl, pulling plastic gloves on,
looks to Pilar.
Su madre? [Your mother?]
The girl puts her hand on her heart in sympathy--
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
Now I'm just as liberal as the next
If the next guy's a redneck.
--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
Good deal you were born down here,
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.
You mixed drinks bad as you mix
metaphors, you be out of a job.
Take that pair over in the corner--
Sam swivels to look where Cody points--
Place like this, twenty years ago,
Buddy woulda been, on them two--
SAM'S POV -- CORNER BOOTH
Cliff and Priscilla talk across a table--
--warning. Not 'cause he had it in
for the colored
SAM AND CODY
--but just as a kind of safety tip.
Yeah. I bet he would.
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
So where does that put us?
Well--I don't see what's changed. No -
PDA's, no necking on the obstacle
Seriously, I think we should get
We been through this before--
We should just do it.
And if I get a shot at a promotion
You could take it--
It's up or out these days, Cliff.
Say I get transferred to a different
I'd quit the Army for you, if it
came to that.
Man's gonna retire in two years and
he offer to quit. Big goddamn deal.
They look up to see Sam standing over them--
Sheriff--hi--this is Sergeant--this
is Priscilla Worth.
Pleased to meet you.
Sheriff Deeds was in on our
archeological find yesterday.
It true they gonna build a shopping
mall out there?
If certain people have their way,
it's going to be a new jail.
Damn. Maybe we got in the wrong
business. They closin' down military
bases left and right, puttin' up
jails like 7-11 stores.
Do either of you have any idea when
they stopped using that site as a
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.
You know who it was they dug up?
Not for sure yet. But I kind of wish
EXT. CAFE -- NIGHT
Enrique steps out of the darkened cafe, followed by Mercedes,
who locks up. Mercedes steps over to an expensive-looking
Es muy lindo, su coche--
En ingles Enrique. This is the United
States. We speak English.
Is very beautiful, your car.
Good night, Enrique. She slides into
Buenas noches, Senora Cruz. Enrique
walks in the opposite direction--
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--
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.
Carolyn--knock that off for a minute.
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
Del doesn't move to come closer--
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--
That where he was shot?
That's where he fell.
You get much of that in here?
It's a bar. People come together,
drink, fall in love, fall out of
love, air their grudges out--
Deal drugs in the bathroom--
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--
This here's Carolyn. Honey, this is
my son, Delmore.
Nice to meet you, Ma'am.
Carolyn nods, shoots a look to Otis--
I'll be in back waiting for that
They wail till she is gone to start again--
So tell me why I shouldn't make this
This is an official visit, then--
I assume a lot of your business is
from our people.
Otis pulls a tap back and it coughs before squirting beer.
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.
We have an enlisted man's club at
Well, you're the Man out there now,
aren't you? It's your call.
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
The Army hands you a command, you go
wherever it is.
I hear things, too. People call
you the Mayor of Darktown.
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.
And people make their choice--
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--
I gonna meet that family of yours?
Why would you want to do that?
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--
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--
So that's him--
Yeah--that's him. Got two, three
thousand people under him out there,
you count the civilians.
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--
We WIDEN as H.L. and Jorge catch up to him. H.L. slaps Sam
on the back--
Historic occasion, isn't it?
Seems like we have another one every
Jorge and his Chamber of Commerce
boys got to keep things hummin'--
We're building up tourism, Sam--
People come here to catch bass and
to get laid at the Boy's Town in
You ought to put up a banner--
"Frontera, Texas: Gateway to Cut-
That kind of talk doesn't help, Sam.
Rather have that than the ten-foot-
high catfish statue--
I got Eddie Richter at the Sentinel
to kill that story.
The Perdido thing?
He agreed it wasn't exactly news--
Danny's gonna be out for blood the
Which is why we need to talk to you
about the new jail--just so we're
all on the same page.
We don't need a new jail.
That's a matter of interpretation--
We're already renting cells to the
Feds for their overflow--
There was a mandate in the last
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--
Dammit, Sam, the people are concerned
We need a drug rehab program, we
need a new elementary school--
There isn't money allocated for that.
But a jail--
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.
When we backed you--
When you backed me you needed
somebody named Deeds to bump the
other fella out of office. Hey,
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.
Slowly working the blades of the scissors, she looks coldly
He nods to her as the crowd opens a path for him.
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
Never thought I'd see the day a buddy
of mine was dating a woman with three
up and three down on her shoulder.
I think it's beyond what you'd call
You going to get married?
You met her family? They gonna be
cool about you being a white guy?
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--
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--
I knew she was Japanese going into
it, but she didn't tell me the ninja
Her parents acted like I was gonna
blow my nose on their curtains--
If I stayed out past ten with the
guys she'd go into her Madame
Mikey look at this--
What--it's a bullet. I'm lousy with
It's a .45.
This is the stuff we picked up the
other day, right? The rest of this
is all .30 caliber--
They were using M-1's, yeah--
What's it doing on a rifle range?
MIKEY holds the slug in front of his face--
We better call that Sheriff.
EXT. SAN JACINTO STREET -- DAY
Hollis is finishing his oration, having put the crowd in a
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."
Watching the crowd--
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--
Thank you. We've got one more person
to hear from--
--and he's somebody who probably
knew Buddy better than any of us,
Sam--would you say a few words?
Not thrilled to be called on. He steps forward reluctantly
You folks who remember my father
knew him as Sheriff. But at home he
was also judge, jury
He looks to Hollis--
LAUGHTER. Sam holds Hollis's eyes for a moment before
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.
I used to come to this park to hide
from him. Now that you're putting
his name on it--
I'll have to find someplace new to
I do appreciate it, and wherever he
is, Buddy's puttin' the beer on ice
for the bunch of you. Thank you.
Sam steps back and Mercedes steps forward with her scissors
without looking at him--
And now my fellow Council member and
one of Frontera's most respected
businesswomen, Mrs. Mercedes Cruz,
will do the honors for us.
She freezes, smiling, till the still photographers have gotten
their shots, then snips the cord to a pulley system that
lets the cloth drop--
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--
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--
Nice to see you, Mrs. Cruz.
Mercedes just looks at him, keeps going. His gaze brings him
to Pilar, standing on the sidewalk, watching.
Steps over from the dispersing crowd--
Lunch hour. My next class isn't till
Want to take a walk?
EXT. RIVERSIDE -- DAY
Sam and PILAR walk together alongside the Rio--
Your mother still doesn't like me.
I can't name anybody she does like
I see she built a place up here by
A real palace. She rattles around
alone in that thing--
She's done well for herself--on her
own and all--
So she tells me three times a week.
She looks at him--
I thought you got through that pretty
They cooked the whole thing up without
People liked him.
Most people did, yeah.
I remember him watching me once.
When I was little--before you and I--
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--
Weird what you remember.
They walk in silence a moment--
Your boy, there--
He hates me.
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
Fernando did okay, and he dropped
Fernando wasn't pissed off at
everybody. He just wanted to fix
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--
So why did you come back here, Sam?
Got divorced, I wasn't gonna work
for my father-in-law anymore. The
fellas down here said they'd back me--
You don't want to be Sheriff.
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.
It can happen so sudden, can't it?
Being left out on your own.
You've got your mother, your kids--
They've got me. Different thing.
They stop at a spot where you can climb down the bank--
Pilar looks at the spot. She isn't ready to deal with whatever
memory it brings back--
I should get back.
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
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--
You going to tell her?
You going to tell him?
He doesn't need to know all my
He's gonna find out.
So? What's he gonna do, arrest us?
Young Pilar frowns, tosses more bark--
It's supposed to be some big sin,
even if you love each other.
You believe that?
CU YOUNG PILAR
She turns to look at him--
We PAN with her gaze to see Sam, PRESENT DAY, sitting on the
bank, lost in thought--
EXT. ARMY POST -- DAY
Athena walking between buildings, looking a bit out of it.
Sergeant Worth cuts into her--
Report to Dr. Innis at the clinic.
I'm feeling okay--
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
You're testing me?
You and one hundred nineteen other
fortunate individuals. Put it in
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--
Excellent performance, my friend.
The judge was very impressed.
You don't need to cuff me.
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--
You're the one who's a good boy. Man
say "fetch" and you fetch--
Just doing my job.
White man just using you to keep the
Black man down.
This isn't Houston, my friend. We
pretty much running things now. Our
good day has come.
You suckers haven't had a good day
since the Alamo.
Ray smiles, pushes him out--
We HOLD on Sam at his desk, TIGHTENING as he holds the .45
slug from the sergeants in front of his eyes--
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.
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
Otra vez los mojados--[Wetbacks
Mercedes searches to find a portable phone on the patio table,
punches a number in--
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
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--
Who is that? Come out here where I
can see you!
BLAM! A GUNSHOT, and Wade falls to his knees--
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
We are back in 1995. Sam is blasted in the face with a
Hold it right there! Brazos arriba!
Sam, squinting toward the light to
see who it is, raises his hands over
Get that thing off 'im! He's one of
The FLASHLIGHT BEAM PANS AWAY and ZACK POLLARD, a Border
Patrol agent, steps out of the dark to Sam--
Hey Sam. Sorry 'bout that.
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.
I haven't seen anybody come by.
We'll get 'em--
So you livin' out here now?
Yeah. It's quiet--
I heard about that deal for your
father--You must be real proud.
The stories people tell, he was a
real colorful fella--
Zack! We got one!
Well--back on the clock. You see any
of our neighbors from the south, let
'em know I'm lookin' for 'em.
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--
You gonna stay out here?
For a while.
A silence. They listen to the RECORD--
What's she singing about?
What do you think?
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--
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.
--and severe cerebral hemorrhaging.
Second bullet entered left cheek
driving fragment of upper and lower
molars into base of skull. Third
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--
Intent as he pores over the paperwork--
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 ?????
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--
Hey, Pete. How's it going?
Time marches on.
How much you got left?
You stop growing that loco weed at
your place, you'd see a lot more
It was for personal consumption.
You're going to smoke an acre and a
half of marijuana?
I got a bad stomach. It helps me
Pete dumps out the basket by Sam--
Your father never bothered me about
it. Leastways not till the drug people
got on his back in the late '60s.
I thought he busted you a couple
Different charge. I had a still.
Made my own mescal.
Sam looks up at him.
That's how I ruined my stomach.
I'm surprised he bothered with it.
He was afraid I was going to poison
somebody. Your father tried to do
good for people--
So I've heard--
And your mother was a saint. That
summer I built the patio at your
house? She made me lunch every day.
Well, you were working there--
It could have just been a box lunch
from the jail.
Sam looks up again, troubled.
You built our patio while you were
on the county?
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
I've heard Wade was a bit tough on
He murdered Eladio Cruz. That tough
enough for you?
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--
You're out early.
Haven't seen much of you at the jail
I been working on a few things.
I'm going over to the other side.
No--to Mexico. I've got to talk to
They got telephones.
Gotta be in person.
An awkward silence. Sam sits into the driver's seal and Ray
leans down to talk--
Sam? I--the Committee--you know Jorge
and H.L. and all--they asked me--
They want you to stand for Sheriff
You'd do a good job.
How 'bout you?
Don't know if I'll still want it.
I didn't want to be going around
I appreciate you telling me.
Sam looks at his Chief Deputy--
You think we need a new jail?
Well, it's a complicated issue--
Sam smiles, turns the engine on--
Yeah, Ray, you'd be a hell of a
EXT. SCHOOL -- MORNING
Pilar sits with Amado on the football field bleachers before
I'm only going to have you for two
more years. If you decide not to go
on to college--
I can't take any more school.
--you're going to be on your own.
So I'm worried about you. I don't
want you to end up in jail like your
They're not going to jail.
Don't try to con me, Amado. You knew
how they got all those things.
Just some rich Anglo out on the lake.
Don't even live here all year.
That makes it okay?
They stole our land--
Save your breath. That line doesn't
cut it with me.
A silence. Amado sulks.
How do you think you're going to
make a living?
I can fix cars.
You can fix old cars. Mr. Washburn
told me that the cars they're making
now are all computerized--
You think I can't learn that?
I think you can learn whatever you
want to. I just don't see you doing
it. If you want to settle for--
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
That isn't true.
Oh, come on--you and Grandma think
anybody who works with their hands
is a peasant. When Dad--
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.
It's my life. If I want to fuck it
up, that's my business.
I said pretty much the same thing to
my mother when I was your age.
And what did she do?
Two years at hard labor, Our Lady of
Catholic school, nasty.
Pilar is nearly in tears.
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--
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.
Recycling, right? We invented that.
The government doesn't have to tell
people to do it.
You own this place?
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.
You lived in the States for a while?
Fifteen years in El Paso.
Made some money, came back here--
Something like that.
You ever know a fella named Eladio
CHUCHO smiles, draws a line in the dirt with his heel--
You the sheriff of Rio County, right?
Un jefe muy respetado. Step over
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--
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?
Your government always been pretty
happy to have that line. The
question's just been where to draw
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
--but because he's on one side of
this invisible line and not the other,
they got to hide in the back like
Eladio CRUZ, young and good-looking, squats into the shot to
examine the tire, jack in hand. It Is 1956--
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
Donde vas, Chucho, Tienes que quedar
escondido! [Shit, CHUCHO you got to
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--
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--
Mira, Eladio [Look!]
We PAN to see the Sheriff's car approaching in a cloud of
(Calling from where
he lies changing the
Muchachos! Escondases! [Boys! Hide
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--
Sheriff Wade and Deputy Hollis get out of their car and start
He stands, takes a deep breath--Wade steps up to him with
his hard-eyed smile--
Hola, amgio. Problemas de llanta?
[Hey, friend. Tire problems?]
No hay de que. Tengo otra. [No
problem, I've got another.]
What's in the back?
Young Hollis strolls around the truck as if he's considering
buying it. He reaches in and flicks the RADIO OFF--
Not much, jefe. Some watermelons.
I heard somebody been haulin' wets
on this road.
I haven't seen anybody doing that.
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?
You know this road got a bad
ARROYO -- CHUCHO
Young CHUCHO pecks over the edge to see what's happening.
CLOSER -- MEN
Hollis wanders over to stand by Wade--
There's many an unfortunate soul
been ambushed out on this stretch.
Hope you're carrying some protection.
You carryin' a firearm, son? Don't
lie to me now.
Si--tengo escopeto--just a shotgun--
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--
Oh no--oh Jesus--oh my Lord--
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--
Squatting in a ball to make himself as small as possible,
eyes covered with his hands.
YOUNG HOLLIS (O.S.)
You killed him--
You got a talent for statin' the
obvious, son Muchachos! Venga
afuera!Brazos arribas! [Come on out!
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 and a couple of MEN from the Public Work Department
look at the damage.
It happens again, we build a fence
INT. CAFE -- DAY
Enrique steels himself, trying to cover his nerves. We CROSS
with him to a booth.
Podemos ganar muchas batallas pero
la guerra ya es perdido--[We can win
a lot of battles but the war's already
Zack and another BORDER PATROLMAN look up at him--
Eyes glued to his notepad--
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--
The longhorns go for ten times the
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
--but longhorns are hard to come by
You sell much out here?
How am I gonna sell things if nobody
comes by? This stretch of road runs
between Nowheres and Nothin' Much.
Hell of a spot to put a business.
But you don't see much competition,
He winks at Sam, picks up a wooden radio carved to resemble
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--
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
He lifts a jar with a leathery brown thing in it--
Buffalo chips. Fella in Santa Fe
told me he sells these as fast as
the buffalo can squeeze 'em out.
So when did Buddy leave?
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.
You think he killed anybody in Korea?
They don't hand those medals out for
hidin'in your foxhole. Would you buy
He searches for something among the curios--
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.
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.
You know who it was?
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
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--
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--
I don't think you can take it
I'd like to see them spend a day
pulling 14-year-olds off of each
other--I should get combat pay--
I have new respect for some of my
kids, meeting the parents they've
Molly keeps going as Pilar ducks into the office--
See you, Molly.
PILAR crosses past the principal's secretary, MARISOL--
Steve called for you.
Steve. Board of Education Steve who
likes you? He goes for us hot-blooded
Mexican girls, I can tell.
Spanish, please. My mother would
have a heart attack.
Your mother's family is Spanish?
Sure, they go back to Cortez. When
he rode by, they were squatting in a
hut cooking hamsters for dinner.
You got to be interested in somebody.
All you do is work.
All my mother does is work. That's
how you get to be Spanish.
How 'bout the Sheriff?
Sheriff. I thought you were crazy
about each other. He's available,
I'm unmarried. I'm not available.
You told me one time it was true
PILAR takes the pile of mimeos and mail from her slot and
turns to go--
Nobody stays in love for twenty-three
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--
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 grabs Sam's ankles and yanks him out of the car onto
the ground as the Deputy awkwardly pulls PILAR, out the other
What the hell are you doing? You
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
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--
You got no fuckin' right! You stay
out of my fuckin' life!
Gimme the keys--gimme the goddamn
car keys, son--
YOUNG HOLLIS (O.S.)
What am I s'posed to do with her,
You drive her home and tell her mother
where we found her--
YOUNG PILAR (O.S.)
The kids are dragged forward into the HEADLIGHTS that are
being turned on to see what the ruckus is. Both are crying,
You leave her the fuck alone!
You just shut that filthy mouth,
son. I'll deal with you when we get
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.
Remembering. MUSIC BEGINS as he gets back into the car, pulls
MARQUEE -- DUSK
MUSIC CONTINUES as the car cruises out past the old marquee,
a few letters still jumbled on it, several bullet holes around
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--
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
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
We thought we were something, didn't
I look at my kids in school--tenth,
eleventh graders. That's who we were.
I mean what did we know about
Pilar looks at him--
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.
You know the other day, you asked
why I came back?
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--
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--
How come it feels the same?
I don't know. It just feels good.
So what are we gonna do about this?
More, I hope.
PILAR smiles, looks around the room--
How long have you lived here?
There's nothing on the walls. No
Don't have kids. Other pictures--I
don't know--it's nothing I want to
look back on.
Like your story is over.
I've felt that way, yeah.
Sbe puts her head on his cbest--
It isn't. Not by a long shot. He
holds her and they lie silently for
What was your father's name?
Eladio. Eladio. Cruz.
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--
She finally got in--
You got in late last night.
Yeah. I had uhm--school business.
Paloma gives her a look, then holds a fashion page up for
her to see--
Can I get this?
Nobody really wears that stuff,
I could name five girls at school
who have one just like it--
Enough with the clothes--
Just 'cause you went to Catholic
school and wore a uniform.
I only went for my last two years.
Oh, my mother wanted to keep me away
from away from boys.
PILAR steps out into the sun--
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! Quite a do the other day. It
meant a lot to folks that you said
You thought any more about our murder?
We have a murder?
I wish I could tell you I remembered
something new, but I can't.
I got an idea what happened.
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
Hollis sits back to look Sam in the eye--
You lived in the man's house what--
seventeen, eighteen years? And you
didn't get to know him any better
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
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
That's John Horse.
Chet turns to see Otis standing back by, the door from the
Spanish in Florida called him Juan
Caballo. John Horse.
(Looks at picture)
He a Black man or an Indian?
Otis crosses to the poker table, begins to clean up--
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
The Trail of Tears.
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.
So they stayed in Florida?
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
They move on to some photos of very African-looking people
dressed in beautiful Seminole clothing--
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--
They fought against the Indians?
Same as they done in Mexico.
But they were Indians themselves.
They were in the Army. Like your
You know who I am?
I got a pretty good guess.
That guy who got shot--
You didn't go telling your father
you were here?
Are you kidding? And face a court-
He's a pretty tough old man, huh?
No sports if I don't keep a B average,
no TV on school nights, no PDA's--
Public Display of Affection. Every
time he moves up a rank, it's like
he's got to tighten the screws a
I mean, just 'cause he didn't--you
Didn't have a father?
He's still pissed off about it.
When you're his age you'll still be
pissed off about him.
Chet nods, looks around--
So how come you got into all this?
These are our people. There were
Paynes in Florida, Oklahoma, Piedras
Negras--couple of 'em won the whatsit--
Congressional Medal Of Honor--
So I'm part-Indian?
By blood you are. But blood only
means what you let it.
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.
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--
Private Johnson, are you unhappy in
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?
I'm sorry, sir.
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.
Do you believe in what we're doing
here, Private Johnson?
I-I can do the job, sir.
You don't sound too enthusiastic.
I am, sir.
What exactly do you think your job
Follow orders. Do whatever they say.
And that's the job? Nothing about
serving your country?
Athena is confused, hesitates to speak--
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
You really want to know, sir?
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--
How do you think I got to be a
Work hard, be good at your job. Sir.
Do whatever they tell you.
Do whatever they tell you--
I mean, follow orders, sir.
With your attitude, Private, I'm
surprised you want to stay in the
I do, sir.
Because it's a job?
Outside it's--it's such a mess--it's--
Athena is sure she's overstepped her rank--
Why do you think they let us in on
They got people to fight. Arabs,
yellow people, whatever. Might as
well use us.
Do you think you've been discriminated
against on this post?
No, sir. Not at all.
Any serious problems with your
sergeant or your fellow soldiers?
No, sir. They all been real straight
Del stands, thinking, trying not to bullshit her--
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--
Why don't you start with that?
You're dismissed, Private.
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--
Enrique sits squeezed between workers in the back. The driver
never stops talking as the officer waves them through.
--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--
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--
That's in Maverick County.
She brings us to Sam, sitting uncomfortably, beneath a full-
sized blowup of Tony Dorsett hurdling a tackler--
Oh. Right. And you're in--?
Rio. BUNNY Right. This kid, Hosea
Brown? Does tire 40 in 3.4, soft
hands, lateral movement--the whole
package. Only a sophomore--
You still going to all the home games?
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?
Bunny, you--uhm--you on that same
Do I seem jumpy?
No, you look good. I was just
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--
You look good--
--and that squeaker the Aggies dropped
to Oklahoma-sonofabitch stepped in
some lucky shit before he kicked
--they hadn't pulled me off that
woman I would have jerked a knot in
You were in a fight--
Daddy calls it an "altercation." How
you doing, Sam? You look skinny.
Same weight I always was.
You look awful good in that uniform,
Best part of the job.
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".
Bunny, is that stuff I left in the
garage still there?
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?
Yeah. Sort of. Daddy rounds 'em up.
You aren't talking about money, their
beady little eyes go dead.
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
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?
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--
It wasn't just you, 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--
Your shit's still in the garage if
that's what you came for.
Sam nods, stands. Bunny is in tears--
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.
I think they have another fella there
to keep it off your chest. A spotter.
"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.
You look good, Bunny. It's nice to
Thanks. I like it when you say that,
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--
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
Todos estamos? [Everybody here?]
Anselma reaches up from the floor to take his hand--
Van a disparar a nosotros? [Are they
going to shoot at us?]
Nadie nos veran. Seramos invisibles.
Nobody's going to see us. We'll be
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
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--
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--
Hey, it's the General.
Colonel. Is uhm--is Otis in?
Come on in--
If it's too late--
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
Otis sittin' up with some people at
the club. I don't think he'll be
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--
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"--
You've been in this house for a while?
I been here with him eight years
now. He built it when he was with
I never met her.
There was a bunch of 'em You never
met. Me neither.
Del looks around the living room--
Let me show you around--
INT. DEN -- PHOTOGRAPH
A blowup of a photo of a squad of Buffalo Soldiers is mounted
on the wall--
He got into all this cowboys and
Indians stuff awhile back. Spend
half his time pokin' around in the
library way up to Austin.
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
Kind of like a shrine, isn't it?
Carolyn stands behind, watching Del's face as he looks at
Where'd he get all this?
Your mother got a brother--Alphonse--
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.
I'm a colonel.
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?
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
Otis went on like you were that guy
who won the Gulf War. Colin whatsit.
My mother said he never asked about--
He never asked her.
It's a bit too much for Del--
Listen, I uh--tell him I came by.
We HOLD on Carolyn as he hurries out. She salutes--
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--
Que Paso? [What happened?]
Anselma cayo en las rocas. Creo que
la pierna ha sido root--[Anselma
felt on the rocks. I think her leg's
Two men struggle forward supporting Anselma, trying to hold
her leg out straight in front of her. She is in a lot of
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
Enrique thinks, trying not to panic, as the others come up
Conozco solamente una persona con
casa--[I only know one person with a
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
Quien es? [Who is it?]
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
What are you doing out there? Are
Hay pasado un accidente muy grave--
[There's been a bad accident--]
In English, Enrique. We're in the
I have some friends who have had a
You have somebody else out there?
We was by the river? And I hear my
friend callin' for help, and I look
and she has falling in the water--
Don't tell me lies, Enrique. Que
We was crossin' the river--
Nestor appears in the light now, supporting Anselma, who
hops awkwardly to move forward--
Enrique! Quienes son estos? How could
you bring them here?
They need help. Jaime, Anselma--
esta es mi jefa--
I'll call the Border Patrol, they'll
get her to the hospital.
No! No puede hacer esto--[You can't
You think you're doing these people
a favor? What are they going to do?
Either they get on welfare or they
No es la verdad--[That isn't true--]
Con permiso, Senora, la muchacha
tiene mucho dolor--[Please, Senora,
the girl is in a lot of pain--]
Mercedes grudgingly indicates the lounge chair--
Es muy amable. [You're very kind.]
He and Enrique help Anselma into the chair. The Girl looks
up at Mercedes, frightened--
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--
This girl is a friend of yours?
Es mi novia. [She's my girlfriend.]
I thought you were married!
I am marry to the cousin of a friend--
but only to be able to live here.
This is the mother of my child--
This girl has a child?
We have a daughter.
EXT. HOUSE -- NIGHT
Sam stands at the front door of a house on the lake, banging
on the door--
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)
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--
No puedo ver la orilla! [I can't see
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--
Vi a Rosaria arastrado para el
corriente--[I saw Rosaria taken away
by the current--]
No te molestas. Tenemos a ella. [Don't
worry. We've got her.]
He takes her arm, pulls her toward the far shore--
Como se llama? [What's your name?]
Mercedes Gonzales Ruiz.
Me llama Eladio Cruz--Bienvenido a
Tejas. [Welcome to Texas.]
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
Rapidamente! Everybody in the world
is going to see!
Donde vamos? [Where are we going?]
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.
Senora, anything it costs, I can
Don't worry about it. He owes me
Enrique turns to ANSELMA still frightened in the rear of the
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--
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--
A tank rolling over barbed wire, cannon and machine gun
DEL AND CHET
I finished that. I'm just messing
You got to be in the Army, you might
as well have something slick to drive.
So you're going into the Army?
Chet looks at him, not in a good mood, then goes back to his
That's the general plan, isn't it?
Del watches for a long moment, thinking--
That's up to you.
Chet looks at his father again. All this is news to him--
The Army isn't for everybody.
Chet can't quite believe he is hearing this. Del crosses to
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 nods, begins to play again, considering the
possibilities. Del is making an effort and he doesn't have
How's your room shaping up?
Fine. I'm pretty much moved in.
An awkward silence--
Are we going to ever see your father?
Yeah. He lives here, right?
Del pulls some food out, watching Chet as he draws--
Maybe we'll clean that thing out
back up, have a barbecue next weekend.
We could invite him and his wife
Chet flips the page of his sketchbook--
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 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--
Sam walks in slowly, crossing the floor to bring us back to
the two men--
I'm not open. We were just talking.
Hollis probably told you we found
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--
You two saw it, didn't you? You two
saw it when Buddy killed him.
Hollis and 0tis look at each other--
Imonna find out one way or the other.
Your father had the finest sense of
justice of any man I ever met--
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--
Buddy Deeds was a murderer.
He looks at the two older men for a long moment--
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--
I was here.
He turns to look toward the door as he reminisces, and we
PAN away with his gaze--
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
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
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--
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
WADE, YOUNG OTIS
MUSIC CONTINUES. Wade grabs the table and violently jerks it
over onto Young Otis, cards and money flying--
MUSIC CONTINUES. Watching squeamishly as Wade goes to work
on young Otis, the overhead light swinging wildly--
MUSIC CONTINUES. Young Otis is hurled out of the back room,
face bruised and bleeding. Wade follows, then Young Hollis--
Wade puts his gun next to Young Otis's ear, cursing at him.
Young Otis gets to his feet, goes behind the bar--
MUSIC CONTINUES. Young Otis slaps an envelope full of cash
onto the counter--
MUSIC CONTINUES. He waves his pistol, indicating something
MUSIC CONTINUES. We shoot past Wade at the counter as Otis
turns and reaches for a cigar box on the shelf behind--
MUSIC CONTINUES. Lying open, an old pistol inside of it.
Young Otis reaches--
CU YOUNG HOLLIS
MUSIC CONTINUES. Frowning as he senses something wrong--
MUSIC CONTINUES. Wade levels his gun at Young Otis's back,
then turns to wink at Hollis like he did before he shot Eladio--
MUSIC CONTINUES. Finger closing around the trigger of the
MUSIC CONTINUES. Mouth open in horror--
MUSIC CONTINUES. Eyes burning as he aims--
MUSIC CONTINUES. Stepping in the door, seeing, CALLS OUT--
MUSIC CONTINUES. Turning to see Buddy--
BLAM! THWAP! A bullet plows through his neck, knocking him
back against the bar.
MUSIC CONTINUES. His gun falls from his hand--
Horrified, splattered with the Sheriff's blood. MUSIC
MUSIC CONTINUES. Twenty-dollar bills have spilled out of the
envelope and are soaking up blood--
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--
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.
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
This isn't what Sam was expecting. Hollis watches his face--
The three of us cleaned up and took
him to the post and put him under.
Can't say I was much help.
And the ten thousand?
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--
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--
What's the call, Sam?
Sam rolls it over in his mind before answering--
Don't think the Rangers are likely
to find out any more than they
Word gets out who that body was,
people are gonna think Buddy done
Sam gets up--
Buddy's a goddamn legend. He can
He heads for the door--
Hollis and Otis watch him go--
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--
Pilar gets out, kisses Sam, sits by him on the hood--
When's the picture start?
Sam looks at her for a moment--
You gonna tell your mother we been
seeing each other?
She'll figure it out sooner or later.
I don't have to ask permission
anymore, if that's what you mean.
You have any idea when your father
Couple months before I was born--
Try a year and a half. He bands her
an old snapshot. PILAR looks at it--
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--
I've never seen my mother in a
bathing suit before. Didn't know
she owned one.
Buddy bought the cafe for her with
money he took from the county.
Pilar looks away, struggling not to
They can't pull this on me. It isn't
fair--I don't believe this--
He paid the hospital bill when you
were born. Your mom always calls you
"our beautiful daughter" in the
letters she wrote to him.
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.
I remember thinking you were the one
part of my life Buddy didn't have a
A silence, both of them wondering what the next move should
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--
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--
If I met you for the first time today,
I'd still want to be with you.
It is what Pilar needed to hear--
We start from scratch--
Everything that went before, all
that stuff, that history--the hell
with it, right?
PILAR takes Sam's hand, kisses him--
Forget the Alamo.
WIDE SHOT, DRIVE-IN
Sam and Pilar sit by each other holding hands, looking at
the empty screen--
MUSIC, ROLL CREDITS
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