"In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story." - Ben Bova [ more quotes ]

"THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER"

screenplay by

James Agee

and

Charles Laughton

Based on a novel by

Davis Grubb

SHOOTING DRAFT

1955



FULL SHOT -- THE STARLIT SKY

VOICE
And He opened His mouth and taught
them, saying...

FADE sky to day.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

LONG SHOT -- HELICOPTER -- OHIO RIVER COUNTRY

High over the country, CENTERING the winding river.

VOICE
Beware of false prophets...

LOWER LONG SHOT -- HELICOPTER -- RIVER COUNTRY

We approach a riverside village.

VOICE
...which come to you in sheep's
clothing...

A CLOSER, LOWER HELICOPTER SHOT

We descend low over a deserted house; CHILDREN in yard run
and hide; we hear "IT" counting "five, ten, fifteen,
twenty..."

VOICE
...but inwardly they are ravening
wolves.

MEDIUM SHOT -- "IT"

He finishes his count with a loud "Hundred" and turns, then:

"IT"
What's wrong?

We PAN as he comes towards a little boy, beside an open cellar
door, who gestures towards the open door. "IT" looks down.

"IT"
(a low gasp)
Heyy!
(then he shouts to
all and to us)
Heyy!

We DOLLY IN fast to, and TILT DOWN into open cellar, into:

CLOSE SHOT -- A LEG

A skeletal leg in a rotted fume of stocking and a high-heeled
shoe. We HOLD a moment, then PULL UP and AWAY over the
converging heads of several CHILDREN. A CHILD whimpers softly.

HELICOPTER SHOT

The yard and the CHILDREN, same angle and height as the last
descending helicopter shot. We PULL BACK and AWAY.

VOICE
Ye shall know them by their fruits.

DISSOLVE TO:

HIGH LONG SHOT -- HELICOPTER

CENTERING the river.

VOICE
A good tree cannot bring forth evil
fruit...

LOWER LONG SHOT (HELICOPTER)

CENTERING on open touring car, as it drives along a river
road.

VOICE
Neither can a corrupt tree bring
forth good fruit.

We STOOP LOW towards the car.

VOICE
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall
know them.

CUT TO:

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

He is the driver of the car. Pleasant river landscapes
(PROCESS) flow behind him. He is dressed in dark clothes, a
paper collar, a string tie. As he drives he talks to himself.

PREACHER
What's it to be, Lord, another widow?
Has it been six? Twelve?... I
disremember.

He nods, smiles, and touches his hat. We see a farm couple
in a poor wagon.

PREACHER
You say the word, and I'm on my way.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER DRIVING

He brakes his car in a small riverside town; then proceeds.

PREACHER
You always send me money to go forth
and preach your Word.

A widow with a little wad of bills hidden away in the sugar-
bowl.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER DRIVING

He shifts into second gear, climbing a steep little hill.

PREACHER
I am tired. Sometimes I wonder if
you really understand.
(pause)
Not that you mind the killin's...

The stones of a country graveyard gleam in the last daylight.

PREACHER
Yore Book is full of killin's.

He starts fast and noisily down a steep hill.

PREACHER
But there are things you do hate,
Lord: perfume-smellin' things --
lacy things -- things with curly
hair --

CUT TO:

INT. A BURLESQUE HOUSE -- MEDIUM CLOSE SHOT -- A DANCER

She is hard at work, to music o.s.

FULL SHOT -- AUDIENCE -- CENTERING ON PREACHER, IN AISLE
SEAT

Among the members of the sad burlesque audience, he is in
strong contrast: a sour and aggressive expression. Music
o.s. We MOVE IN fast to a HEAD CLOSE-UP.

MEDIUM CLOSE SHOT -- THE DANCER INSERT -- PREACHER'S LEFT
HAND

Labeled H-A-T-E in tattoo across four knuckles, it grips and
flexes.

INSERT -- HIS RIGHT HAND

Before we see the lettering he slides it into his pocket.

EXTREME CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

His head slants; a cold smile; one eyelid flutters.

INSERT -- RIGHT HAND AND POCKET

We hear the snapping open of a switch-blade knife and the
point of the knife cuts through his clothes.

LESS EXTREME CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

He seems to "listen" for something.

PREACHER
No, there are too many of them; you
can't kill a world.

A hand descends firmly onto his shoulder. He glances up behind
him as we

TILT TO:

CLOSE SHOT -- A STATE TROOPER

He bends down and speaks quietly next PREACHER'S ear.

TROOPER
You driving an Essex tourin'-car
with a Moundsville license?

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

INT. COURTROOM -- CLOSE THREE-SHOT -- JUDGE AND CLERK, OVER
PREACHER

JUDGE
Harry Powell, for the theft of that
touring car you will spend thirty
days in the Moundsville Penitentiary.

PREACHER
(correcting Clerk)
Preacher Harry Powell.

JUDGE
A car thief! Picked up where you
were! A man of God?
(to Clerk)
Harry Powell.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

FULL SHOT -- MOUNDSVILLE PENITENTIARY -- DAY (HELICOPTER)

A grim stone turretted fašade; an American flag idles at top
center.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

CLOSE DOWNWARD TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND PEARL HARPER

They sit in the grass, a sentimental picture. JOHN is nine;
PEARL is five. They are working together on PEARL'S doll;
PEARL is dressing her, while JOHN gets on a difficult shoe.

PEARL HARPER
Stand still, Miss Jenny!

JOHN HARPER
(across her)
There! What's so hard about that!

He proudly exhibits the shod foot.

They hear the sound of an auto engine o.s. They look o.s.
and get up, PEARL dangling the doll.

LONG SHOT -- OVER THE CHILDREN -- BEN HARPER'S FORD

A Model-T Ford approaches at maximal speed on uneven dirt
road.

PEARL HARPER
(to John, happily)
Daddy!

The car careens towards us; then swings into the sideyard as
we PAN, and stops.

They run towards their father fast; then JOHN looks puzzled
and they stop short.

BEN HARPER half-falls out of the far door, his shoulder blood-
stained, his eyes wild. A hefty, simple man of thirty. He
looks at them, dazed, across the car.

MEDIUM SHOT -- BEN HARPER

BEN HARPER
Where's your Mom?

JOHN HARPER
Out shopping -- you're bleeding, Dad --

BEN HARPER
Listen to me John.

On this he comes around clear of the car with a revolver in
one hand and a bloody roll of banknotes in the other.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

He screams. BEN slaps him with the back of the money hand,
leaving blood on JOHN'S cheek.

CLOSE GROUP SHOT -- JOHN, BEN, PEARL

PEARL, and the house, are in BACKGROUND. PEARL just clutches
her doll. During BEN'S next lines, JOHN touches his cheek
and looks at the blood on his fingers and at the bloody money --
of which we FLASH-CUT an INSERT.

BEN HARPER
(rushing)
Listen! This money here! We got to
hide it before they get me! There's
close to ten thousand dollars.
(his eyes dart wildly)
Under a rock in the smokehouse? Ah
no. Under the bricks in the grape
arbor? No, they'd dig for it.

CLOSE SHOT -- BEN

BEN HARPER
(sudden triumph)
Why sure! That's the place!

He moves forward and OUT and in his place we see two police
cars, small in distance, coming fast. We hear sirens.

INT. FRONT POLICE CAR -- THROUGH WINDSHIELD

...and OVER two STATE TROOPERS. They move at high speed,
with sirens. BEN and his CHILDREN, tiny in the distance,
dilate.

TROOPER
(driving)
That's him.

2ND TROOPER
(over his shoulder,
as if to us)
He prob'ly still has that gun.

CLOSE GROUP SHOT -- BEN AND CHILDREN

...police cars approaching in BACKGROUND. PEARL hugs her
doll. JOHN is dazed. BEN stands, pistol in hand.

BEN HARPER
Here they come.

JOHN HARPER
Dad, you're bleeding...

He grabs JOHN'S shoulder and stoops as we TIGHTEN IN.

BEN HARPER
Listen to me son. You got to swear.
Swear means promise. First swear
you'll take care of little Pearl.
Guard her with your life, boy. Then
swear you won't never tell where
that money's hid. Not even your Mom.

JOHN HARPER
Yes, Dad.

BEN HARPER
You understand?

JOHN HARPER
Not even her?

In b.g. the TROOPERS get out of their cars and fan out
cautiously to surround BEN: guns in hand.

BEN HARPER
You got common sense. She ain't.
When you grow up that money'll be
yours. Now swear. "I will guard Pearl
with my life..."

JOHN HARPER
(fumbling)
I will guard Pearl with my life...

BEN HARPER
..."and I won't never tell about the
money."

JOHN HARPER
And I won't never tell about the
money.

PEARL HARPER
You, Pearl. You swear too.

CLOSE SHOT -- PEARL

PEARL HARPER
(giggling)
Who's them Blue Men yonder?

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- JOHN

JOHN HARPER
(under breath)
Blue men.

GROUP SHOT -- TROOPERS IN BACKGROUND

A TROOPER
Ben Harper!

BEN HARPER
I'm goin' now children. Goodbye.

BEN backs away from his CHILDREN, raising his hands, gun in
one hand. We PULL BACK a little, enlarging the GROUP SHOT
and the role of the TROOPERS in it.

TROOPER
Drop that gun, Harper. We don't want
them kids hurt.

TWO TROOPERS approach BEN from behind.

BEN HARPER
Just mind what you swore, son. Mind,
boy!

GROUP SHOT -- JOHN

He runs forward and clasps his stomach, with his mouth open.

MEDIUM SHOT -- BEN AND TROOPERS -- JOHN'S VIEWPOINT

One TROOPER smacks the back of BEN'S head with a pistol
barrel.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

JOHN HARPER
(shouting; a sickly
smile)
Don't!

MEDIUM SHOT -- BEN AND TROOPERS -- AS BEFORE

Another TROOPER, with a pistol barrel, knocks the pistol
from BEN'S lifted hand.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

JOHN HARPER
(shouting)
Don't!

BEN sinks to his knees as both men, and two others from the
front, close in on him.

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- JOHN

JOHN HARPER
Dad!

He takes in the GROUP with his mouth open. o.s. we hear the
slamming of car doors, and car starting away.

FULL SHOT -- JOHN'S VIEWPOINT -- THE CARS

They drive away fast in road dust.

THREE-SHOT -- THE CHILDREN AND WILLA HARPER

Carrying a shopping bag, their mother, WILLA, runs up from
BACKGROUND between the CHILDREN, looking always to cars o.s.

CLOSE SHOT -- WILLA

She has a rich body.

RESUME THREE-SHOT

PEARL comes to her and she picks up PEARL and the doll; JOHN,
laden with his oath, walks quickly into the house. WILLA
does a bewildered take, then looks again towards the cars
o.s.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

INT. COURTROOM -- CLOSE THREE-SHOT -- JUDGE AND CLERK, OVER
BEN

JUDGE
Ben Harper, it is the sentence of
this Court that for the murder of Ed
Smiley and Corey South, you be hanged
by the neck until you are dead, and
may God have mercy on your soul.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

FULL SHOT -- THE MOUNDSVILLE PENITENTIARY SAME VIEW AS
BEFORE; BUT NOW IT IS NIGHT

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

INT. BEN'S CELL -- NIGHT -- CLOSE DOWN-SHOT -- BEN

He lies on his back, chuckling and murmuring indistinctly in
his sleep.

BEN HARPER
I got you all buffaloed! You ain't
never gonna git it outen me; not
none o' you!

PREACHER'S VOICE
(o.s., very low)
Where, Ben? Where? Where?

BEN HARPER
(distinctly)
And a little child shall lead them.

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- NEW ANGLE -- BEN, THEN PREACHER

BEN lies in profile. From the bunk above, the face of PREACHER
stretches down into the SHOT, upside down, snake-like.

PREACHER
(softly)
Come on, boy: tell me.

BEN wakes, sees PREACHER, and hits him so hard in the face
that he falls from bunk to floor. PREACHER collects himself
into a squat, nursing his face. BEN sits up in bed.

PREACHER
(with wholesome dignity)
Ben, I'm a Man of God.

BEN HARPER
Tryin' to make me talk about it in
my sleep!

PREACHER
No, Ben.

BEN HARPER
What'd I say?
(he grabs Preacher's
throat and shakes
him)
What? What? What? What?

PREACHER
(choking)
You was quotin' Scripture. You said --
you said, "And a little child shall
lead them."

BEN HARPER
Hm!

He lies back, amused. PREACHER sits on the bedside; manner
of a parson visiting the sick.

PREACHER
(gravely)
You killed two men, Ben Harper.

BEN HARPER
That's right, Preacher. I robbed
that bank because I got tired of
seein' children roamin' the woodlands
without food, children roamin' the
highways in this year of Depression;
children sleepin' in old abandoned
car bodies on junk-heaps; and I
promised myself I'd never see the
day when my youngins'd want.

PREACHER
With that ten thousand dollars I
could build a Tabernacle that'd make
the Wheeling Island Tabernacle look
like a chicken-house!

BEN HARPER
Would you have free candy for the
kids, Preacher?

He picks up and wads a sock.

PREACHER
Think of it, Ben! With that cursed,
bloodied gold!

BEN HARPER
How come you got that stickknife hid
in your bed-blankets, Preacher?

PREACHER
I come not with Peace but with a
Sword.

BEN HARPER
You, Preacher?

PREACHER gets and pockets the knife.

PREACHER
That Sword has served me through
many an evil time, Ben Harper.

BEN HARPER
What religion do you profess,
Preacher?

PREACHER
The religion the Almighty and me
worked out betwixt us.

BEN HARPER
(contemptuously)
I'll bet.

PREACHER
Salvation is a last-minute business,
boy.

BEN HARPER
(sock near mouth)
Keep talkin', Preacher.

PREACHER
If you was to let that money serve
the Lord's purposes, He might feel
kindly turned towards you.

BEN HARPER
Keep talkin', Preacher.

He wads the sock into his mouth and lies back, sardonic.

PREACHER
(his voice fading
into Dissolve)
You reckon the Lord wouldn't change
his mind about you if...

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. PENITENTIARY COURTYARD -- NIGHT

DISSOLVE TO:

INSERT -- PREACHER'S HANDS

They rest on sill of cell window, the lettered fingers
legible. The right hand is lettered L-O-V-E. The hands open,
disclosing his open knife. They close over it.

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER, AT CELL WINDOW

His eyes lift from his hands, heavenward. Moonlight on his
face. He prays, quietly.

PREACHER
Lord You sure knowed what You was
doin' when You brung me to this very
cell at this very time. A man with
ten thousand dollars hid somewheres,
and a widder in the makin'.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. PENITENTIARY COURTYARD -- NIGHT

Same SHOT as before, but now, prison lights are on; and a
man, a prison GUARD, waits close inside door. BART the HANGMAN
joins him with a silent salute. BART wears a hard derby.

EXT. PENITENTIARY -- THE DOOR -- (REVERSE)

They walk in silence into MEDIUM, MOVING SHOT, the GUARD
talkative, BART reluctant to talk.

The Penitentiary recedes in b.g.

GUARD
Any trouble?

BART
No.

GUARD
He was a cool one, that Harper. Never
broke.

BART
He carried on some; kicked.

EXT. BART'S HOUSE -- MEDIUM SHOT -- BART AND GUARD

On porch, by door, is a doll's perambulator. BART and GUARD
walk into the SHOT.

GUARD stops, BART starts up his front steps.

GUARD
He never told about the money.

BART
(walking up steps)
No.

GUARD
What do you figure he done with it?

BART
(turning, at door)
He took the secret with him when I
dropped him.

The GUARD leaves the SHOT; BART goes in.

INT. BART'S HALLWAY -- CLOSE SHOT -- BART

He hangs up his coat and hat. Across this his wife speaks
o.s.; a lighted door is ajar at rear of hall. A clatter of
dishes and pans o.s.

BART'S WIFE
(o.s.)
That you, Bart? Supper's waitin'.

BART just nods, and, tiptoeing, walks into a door next the
kitchen and snaps on a light and turns on water o.s. His
wife comes out of the kitchen and goes in.

INT. BART'S BATHROOM -- CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- BART AND WIFE

He is washing his hands in thick lather. Passing, she pecks
his cheek and, as we PAN, looks into the next room. He looks
past her, and we see two small CHILDREN asleep in a big brass
bed. BART registers, turns again to the basin, and we PAN
them back into the original TWO-SHOT.

BART
(low)
Mother: sometimes I think it might
be better if I was to quit my job as
guard.

His WIFE'S eyes go sharp and quiet.

WIFE
(low)
You're always this way when there's
a hangin'. You never have to be there.

BART rinses his hands. A sigh; he takes up the towel.

BART
Sometimes I wish I was back at the
mine.

WIFE
And leave me a widow after another
blast like the one in '24? Not on
your life, old mister!

He looks at her a moment. She goes out. He looks o.s. towards
his CHILDREN. He goes into their room on tiptoe.

MEDIUM SHOT -- BART

He approaches his children, across whose bed WE SHOOT without
yet seeing them. He comes into MEDIUM CLOSE-UP. As he leans
and we TILT DOWN, he extends his large hands.

CLOSE DOWNWARD TWO-SHOT -- HIS CHILDREN

Two rose-and-gold little GIRLS lie in sleep; BART'S hands
enter the SHOT and gently rearrange the covers so that their
mouths and throats are free. We watch, for a moment more,
the two sleeping faces.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- BART, HOVERING HIS CHILDREN

CHILDREN'S VOICES
(o.s. chanting)
Hing, hang, hung. See what the Hangman
done!

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. CRESAP'S LANDING -- DAY

We are in Peacock Alley. The tree-shaded dirt street of a
small, one-street river town; a picturesque, mid-19th-century
remnant of the old river civilization, which general progress
has left behind. Chiefly we see, in this order: A schoolhouse
(on far side of street); Miz Cunningham's second-hand shop;
a Grange House sporting a poster for a Western movie; Spoon's
Ice Cream Parlor. At the end of this street, down the river-
bank, is a brick wharf and UNCLE BIRDIE'S wharf-boat. In
b.g. and in passing, suggestions of sleepy small-town life.

From the HEAD CLOSE-UP of BART the Hangman o.s. chanting, we

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- JOHN HARPER

Chanting VOICES o.s. complete "see what the Hangman done!"

PULL BACK TO:

CLOSE PULLING TWO-SHOT -- PEARL AND JOHN

They stroll barefoot down the empty dirt sidewalk. They look
towards the voices, PEARL friendly, JOHN hostile.

MEDIUM SHOT -- THE CHILDREN, OVER JOHN AND PEARL

Several, within the door of the Schoolhouse, stick their
heads around the edge. They chant at the HARPER CHILDREN.
Another, next the door, is drawing something on the wall.

CHILDREN
(chanting)
Hung, hang, hing! See the Robber
swing!

OVER these lines we CUT briefly to --

CLOSER SHOT -- THE CHILDREN

...chanting, drawing. The ARTIST completes in chalk, a large
simple sketch of a man hanging from gallows. As the verse
ends we CUT TO:

MEDIUM SHOT -- THE CHILDREN, OVER JOHN AND PEARL

They look towards OUR CHILDREN; JOHN pays them no attention.
The drawing is revealed. JOHN takes PEARL'S hand. The other
CHILDREN giggle.

CHILDREN
(chanting)
Hing, hang, hung! Now my song is
done!

Between lines one and two JOHN turns away from them into --

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND PEARL -- THROUGH WINDOW

We SHOOT them through the window of MIZ CUNNINGHAM'S second-
hand store. The back of a watch is silhouetted large in
FOREGROUND; JOHN'S eyes instantly fix on it; in b.g. the
SCHOOL-CHILDREN finish their song and vanish, giggling, into
the schoolhouse. We hear the ticking of the watch.

INSERT -- THE WATCH

A watch with a moving sweep-hand, ticking.

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND PEARL

PEARL HARPER
Are you goin' to buy it, John?

No answer. JOHN'S eyes are fixed on the watch. OVER a shop-
doorbell we hear:

MIZ CUNNINGHAM'S VOICE
(o.s.)
Uh-Hawwww!
(They glance toward
her.)

MEDIUM SHOT -- MIZ CUNNINGHAM

Fantastically dirty and fantastically dressed, she hustles
to them and we PAN her into a THREE-SHOT. She talks like a
Tidewater Cockatoo.

MIZ CUNNINGHAM
(continuing)
So your Mommy's keepin' you out of
school! Poor little lambs!

PEARL watches her; JOHN, the watch.

MIZ CUNNINGHAM
And how is your poor, poor mother?

JOHN HARPER
She's at Spoon's Ice Cream Parlor.

MIZ CUNNINGHAM
(she snuffles)
The Lord tends you both these days!

JOHN doesn't take his eyes off the watch.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

His eyes are fixed on the watch o.s.

MIZ CUNNINGHAM'S VOICE
(o.s.)
Didn't they never find out what your
father done with all that money he
stole?

Eyes as before till "money," then he looks up towards her.

MEDIUM SHOT -- MIZ CUNNINGHAM

MIZ CUNNINGHAM
When they caught him, there wasn't
so much as a penny of it to be seen!
Now what do you make of that! Eh,
boy?

She grins horribly.

TWO-SHOT -- OVER JOHN AND PEARL

JOHN HARPER
Pearl and me, we have to go.

He walks off fast as we DOLLY BEHIND THEM; he leads PEARL,
who hugs her doll.

PEARL HARPER
(chanting)
Hing, hang, hung.

JOHN HARPER
You better not sing that song.

PEARL HARPER
Why?

JOHN HARPER
'Cause you're too little.

A few paces in silence; now they come to the big window of
Spoon's Ice Cream Parlor.

PEARL HARPER
Can we get some candy?

WILLA'S face is seen within; serving a customer, she sees
them and waves them away.

JOHN HARPER
No.

He keeps her strolling. WALT SPOON, comes out, proffering
two lollypops.

WALT
Howdy, youngins.

PEARL drags at JOHN'S hand but JOHN, pretending not to see
or hear, drags her out of the SHOT, shaking his head. We
DOLLY IN on WALT, who looks after them, surprised and touched,
then goes inside.

INT. SPOON'S PARLOR -- GROUP SHOT -- WALT, WILLA, ICEY SPOON

We PAN WALT across a little of his Parlor; he plants the
lollypops back in a jar on the counter and leaves the SHOT
as we TIGHTEN IN on WILLA and ICEY. WILLA slides used dishes
into wash-water; ICEY jaws down her back, from first moment
of shot.

ICEY SPOON
Willa Harper there is certain plain
facts of life that adds up just like
two plus two makes four and one of
them is this: No woman is good enough
to raise growin' youngsters alone!
The Lord meant that job for two!

WILLA HARPER
Icey, I don't want a husband.

CLOSE SHOT -- ICEY

ICEY SPOON
(fiercely)
Fiddlesticks!

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

FULL SHOT -- EXT. STREET -- NIGHT

The weekly movie audience is letting out, next door to
SPOON'S. Some start cars or wagons, others stroll to SPOON'S.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

INT. SPOON'S PARLOR -- EVENING -- TWO-SHOT -- ICEY AND WILLA

We start with a CLOSE SHOT as ICEY'S hands slap together a
gooey banana split; TILT UP to TWO-SHOT, favoring ICEY; finish
on WILLA, on "it's a man you need," etc.

Murmur of CUSTOMERS o.s.

WALT'S VOICE
(calling o.s.)
One solid brown sody, one Lovers'
Delight.

ICEY SPOON
'Tain't a matter of wantin' or not
wantin'! You're no spring chicken,
you're a grown woman with two little
youngins; it's a man you need in the
house, Willa Harper!

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

LONG SHOT -- NIGHT -- A TRAIN

A short, lighted, toy-like train departs the town along the
river-bank, whistling. The whistle TIES OVER the previous
DISSOLVE. STARLIT SKY.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

FRAMING SHOT -- EXT. HARPER HOUSE -- NIGHT

A square, HEAD-ON SHOT, river water below and vibrant
starlight above; featuring a gas-lamp by the road; a tree;
and pretty tree-shadows which work across a window.

INT. HARPER CHILDREN'S BEDROOM -- NIGHT -- TWO-SHOT -- JOHN,
PEARL, SHADOWS

PEARL lies in their bed, her doll snug on her shoulder. JOHN
sits on the edge of the bed, in his underwear.

PEARL HARPER
Tell me a story, John.

JOHN HARPER
Once upon a time there was a rich
king...
(he sees the shadows
on the wall and gets
up and looks at them)
...and he had him a son and a daughter
and they all lived in a castle over
in Africa. Well, one day this King
got taken away by bad men and before
he got took off he told his son to
kill anyone that tried to steal their
gold, and before long these bad men
come back and --

PEARL HARPER
The Blue Men?

He moves, and as his shadow moves away we see the shadow of
PREACHER, motionless. PEARL sits up and points at it. JOHN
notices her and sees it. We PAN JOHN to the window. He looks
out.

FULL SHOT -- PREACHER -- THROUGH WINDOW, JOHN'S VIEWPOINT.

He stands motionless.

RESUME PREVIOUS SHOT -- JOHN AT WINDOW

He turns and we PAN him to bed.

JOHN HARPER
(casually)
Just a man.
(he climbs into bed
and pulls up the
covers)
Goodnight Pearl, sleep tight; and
don't let the bedbugs bite.

PEARL HARPER
(to doll)
'Night Miss Jenny; don't let the
bedbugs bite.

As they settle down we hear PREACHER'S singing, sweet and
quiet o.s.: "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms."

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. RIVER AND TOWN -- MORNING -- FULL SHOT -- A GINGERBREAD
SIDE-WHEELER

She steams around a bend towards a toy-like small town.
PREACHER'S song, o.s., ties over. People are waving from
shore and boat.

FULL PANNING SHOT -- THE BOAT, FROM SHORE

We PAN her into frame UNCLE BIRDIE STEPTOE'S toy-like little
wharf-boat. As she passes broadside we CUT TO:

MEDIUM SHOT -- BIRDIE, THEN JOHN

...as boat passes. BIRDIE'S head sticks through a porthole.
He is a wiry old river character. The boat whistles. As BIRDIE
speaks we PAN JOHN, and foundered skiff, into TWO-SHOT with
BIRDIE.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
She don't put in at Cresap's Landing
no more, but she still blows as she
passes. Come on in and have a cup of
coffee.

JOHN HARPER
(starting towards him)
Ain't nobody stole Dad's skiff.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
Ain't nobody goin' to neither, long
as Uncle Birdie's around.

He vanishes from the porthole. We PAN JOHN from skiff to
wharf and Birdie's door.

BIRDIE'S VOICE
(calling o.s.)
First day my jints is limber enough
I'll haul her up and give her a good
caulkin'.

INT. BIRDIE'S BOAT -- TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND BIRDIE

JOHN enters and sits on a box. BIRDIE, in a ramshackle rocking
chair, pours coffee. BESS'S photograph on chest near BIRDIE.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
Ain't seen you in a coon's age,
Johnny.

JOHN HARPER
I been mindin' Pearl.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
Pshaw now! Ain't it a caution what
women'll load onto a feller's back
when he ain't lookin'?

He gives JOHN a cup of coffee.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
'Scuse me, Cap, while I sweeten up
my coffee.

He fetches a liquor bottle from beneath the rocking chair;
about to pour he does a take at BESS'S PHOTOGRAPH.

INSERT -- THE PHOTOGRAPH

It stands in a cabinet frame: A fine-looking young woman in
archaic dress, with sharp, accusing black eyes.

BIRDIE'S VOICE
(o.s.)
Dead and gone these twenty-five years
and never takes her eyes off me.

CUT OVER his line to --

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND BIRDIE

He turns the picture away and splashes liquor into his coffee.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
(pouring)
Man o' my years needs a little snort
to get his boiler heated of a morning.

They drink. BIRDIE, satisfied, sighs and rocks.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
This mornin' I was talkin' to this
stranger up at the boarding-house.
He knowed your Dad!

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

JOHN looks cautious.

JOHN HARPER
Where did he know Dad?

CLOSE SHOT -- BIRDIE

BIRDIE'S face falls; he takes another drink.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
Well, boy, I'll not hide the truth;
it was up at Moundsville Penitentiary.

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- NEW ANGLE

JOHN puts his cup down and gets up.

JOHN HARPER
I got to go now, Uncle Birdie.

He heads for the door.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
Why shucks boy, you just got here.

He follows JOHN to the door. JOHN runs up the bank, not
looking back.

JOHN HARPER
(running)
I told Mom I'd be back to Spoon's
for Pearl.

EXT. STREET -- MEDIUM SHOT -- JOHN

He runs up the street close to Spoon's and stops dead.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

He is horrified by what he sees.

INT. SPOON'S ICE CREAM PARLOR

GROUP SHOT through door-glass, from JOHN'S VIEW POINT
PREACHER, WILLA and PEARL surround a little table. WALT stands
by, puffing his pipe. ICEY in BACKGROUND, stirs fudge at a
little soda-fountain stove. WILLA looks both moved and
pleased. PEARL, shyly flirting with PREACHER, all but hides
in WILLA'S skirts. PREACHER dandles PEARL'S doll on his knee
as he talks. All the grownups are avid for his words, which
we don't hear through the glass.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

We SHOOT THROUGH the DOOR; he quietly enters.

GROUP SHOT

They look casually to JOHN, and continue talking.

ICEY SPOON
(stirring; with a
meaningful glance at
Willa)
God works in a mysterious way, His
wonders to perform.

OVER this JOHN ENTERS the SHOT and stands at the fringe of
the GROUP, staring at PREACHER'S hands and at the doll.

PREACHER
I was with Brother Harper almost to
the end;...

GROUP SHOT -- NEW ANGLE -- FAVORING JOHN AND PREACHER

PREACHER
(continuing)
...and now that I'm no longer employed
by the Penitentiary it is my joy to
bring this small comfort to his loved
ones.

FLASH-CUT CLOSE-UP -- JOHN

On "Penitentiary" he glances quickly at PREACHER'S face;
then back to his hands.

GROUP SHOT -- ICEY

ICEY SPOON
(sniffing)
It's a mighty good man would come
out of his way to bring a word of
cheer to a grieving widow!

CLOSE SHOT -- WALT

WALT
So you ain't with the State no more?

GROUP SHOT -- FAVORING PREACHER AND JOHN

PREACHER
No, Brother; I resigned only
yesterday. The heart-renderin'
spectacle of them poor men was too
much for me.

He becomes aware of JOHN'S staring.

PREACHER
Ah, little lad, you're staring at my
fingers.

He hands the doll to PEARL. JOHN'S eyes follow the doll.
PREACHER holds up both hands to JOHN. JOHN looks back at his
hands.

PREACHER
Shall I tell you the little story of
Right-Hand-Left-Hand -- the tale of
Good and Evil?

JOHN stands still. PEARL, with her doll, crosses to PREACHER
and twines about his knee.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

He looks on, in dumb alarm.

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

PREACHER
H-A-T-E!
(he thrusts up his
left hand)
It was with this left hand that old
brother Cain struck the blow that
laid his brother low! L-O-V-E!
(he thrusts up his
right hand)
See these here fingers, dear friends!
These fingers has veins that lead
straight to the soul of man! The
right hand, friends! The hand of
Love!

GROUP SHOT -- ICEY, WALT, WILLA -- OVER PREACHER'S HANDS

They are impressed in their different ways.

PREACHER
(o.s.)
Now watch and I'll show you the Story
of Life. The fingers of these hands,
dear hearts! -- They're always a-
tuggin' and a-warrin' one hand agin'
t'other.
(he locks his fingers
and writhes them,
crackling the joints)
Look at 'em, dear hearts!

MEDIUM SHOT -- JOHN -- OVER PREACHER'S HANDS

He looks on with unseeing eyes.

PREACHER
(o.s.)
Old Left Hand Hate's a-fightin' and
it looks like Old Right Hand Love's
a goner!

GROUP SHOT -- WALT, ICEY, WILLA, OVER HANDS

PREACHER
(o.s.)
But wait now! Hot dog! Love's a-
winnin! Yessirree!

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

PREACHER
It's Love that won! Old Left Hand
Hate's gone down for the count!
(he crashes both hands
onto the table)

FULL SHOT -- THE WHOLE GROUP

Slight applause from the ADULTS. PREACHER takes PEARL, with
her doll, onto his lap.

ICEY SPOON
I never heard it better told. I wish
every soul in this community could
git the benefit. You jest got to
stay for our church pick-nick Sunday!

PEARL offers PREACHER the DOLL to kiss. PREACHER complies.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN'S REACTION

RESUME GROUP SHOT

PREACHER
(finessing it)
I must wend my way down River on the
Lord's work.

ICEY SPOON
You ain't leavin' in no hurry if we
can help it!

WILLA HARPER
John: take that look offen your face
and act nice.

PREACHER
He don't mean no impudence; do you,
boy?
(no answer)
Do you, boy? Ah, many's the time
poor Brother Ben told me about these
youngins.

JOHN HARPER
What did he tell you?

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

He does a little take. His eyes twinkle palely.

PREACHER
Why, he told me what fine little
lambs you and your sister both was.

GROUP SHOT

JOHN HARPER
Is that all?

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

Something new enters his eyes; a game has begun between them.

PREACHER
Why, no, boy; he told me lots and
lots of things. Nice things, boy.

A tight silence. ICEY pours fudge into a buttered pan.

PREACHER
My, that fudge smells yummy!

CLOSE SHOT -- ICEY

ICEY SPOON
(with horrid archness)
It's for the pick-nick. And you won't
get a smidgen of my fudge unless you
stay for the pick-nick!

Over her line, o.s., hymn-singing begins and now, OVER her
"the case rests" smile we bring up the singing and

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. THE RIVER BANK -- CHURCH IN BACKGROUND -- FULL SHOT --
THE SINGING PICKNICKERS

A pleasant, grassy river-bank. Few men in proportion to women
and children. We CENTER PREACHER. They are singing "Brighten
the Corner;" PREACHER sings conspicuously well. The women
watch him and admire him. He gives WILLA the eye as we PAN
to CENTER WILLA, who looks wooed and self-conscious. ICEY
enters the SHOT and whispers and beckons WILLA and, as the
singing continues, they leave the group and start towards a
shade tree in MEDIUM GROUND, which we PAN TO CENTER.

FULL SHOT -- WILLA AND ICEY

They walk; singers in BACKGROUND.

ICEY SPOON
Don't he have the grandest singin'
voice?

WILLA nods. ICEY, looking ahead, is displeased.

MEDIUM SHOT -- THE TREE, JOHN AND PEARL

They sit on the bench, their backs to us, partly concealed
by the tree trunk.

ICEY'S VOICE
(sharp)
John! Pearl!

They look around. ICEY and WILLA enter the SHOT, their backs
to us.

ICEY SPOON
Run along and play, you two.

JOHN HARPER
Where?

ICEY SPOON
Down by the river. My goodness!

Docile, they leave the shot as WILLA and ICEY approach the
bench.

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- WILLA AND ICEY

They sit on the bench, their back to us. The CHILDREN recede
towards the river in BACKGROUND. WILLA meekly keeps her head
down. Singing continues o.s.

ICEY SPOON
That feller's just achin' to settle
down with some nice woman and make a
home for himself.

WILLA HARPER
It's awful soon after Ben's passing.

ICEY SPOON
If ever I saw a Sign from Heaven!

WILLA HARPER
John don't like him much.

ICEY SPOON
Pearl dotes on him.

WILLA HARPER
The boy worries me. It's silly, but
it's like there was something still
between him and his Dad.

ICEY SPOON
What he needs is a dose o' salts!

WILLA HARPER
There's something else.

ICEY SPOON
What?

WILLA HARPER
The money, Icey.

ICEY SPOON
I declare, you'll let that money
haunt you to your grave, Willa Harper!

WILLA HARPER
I would love to be satisfied Harry
Powell don't think I've got that
money somewhere.

ICEY SPOON
You'll come right out and ask that
Man of God!
(turning and yelling)
Mr. Paow-well!
(to Willa)
Clear that evil mud out of your soul!

PREACHER starts towards her. ICEY pivots and we PAN OVER her
to CHILDREN by river.

ICEY SPOON
(yelling)
John! Pearl!

CLOSE SHOT -- PEARL AND JOHN

JOHN looks up from pebble-skimming and loosens his tie.

ICEY SPOON
(yelling o.s.)
Come along hee-ere and get some fuu-
udge!

JOHN HARPER
(calling)
I don't want no fudge.

His brow is furrowed. He skims another pebble.

ICEY SPOON
(shouting o.s.)
You'll do what you're told!

They unwillingly get moving.

RESUME TWO-SHOT -- ICEY AND WILLA

ICEY SPOON
You go set down by the River.

WILLA HARPER
(getting up)
Oh, Icey, I'm a sight!

ICEY SPOON
Get along with you.

Both women set off, WILLA to River, ICEY towards GROUP. We
TRACK after ICEY. PREACHER approaches. ICEY, crossing him,
gives him a little shove towards WILLA and a coy --

ICEY SPOON
You!!!

We FOLLOW her to the women who are busying themselves with
the fudge.

CLOSE GROUP SHOT -- ICEY AND WOMEN, FAVORING ICEY

...a few men in BACKGROUND, and, beyond them, PREACHER sits
down by WILLA at water's edge. JOHN and PEARL approach. As
ICEY starts yammering the men, WALT among them, shyly
withdraw.

ICEY SPOON
That young lady'd better look sharp
or some smart sister between here
and Captina's a-gonna snap him up
right from under her nose!
(they nod and agree,
ad lib)
She's not the only fish in the river!
(more agreement. John
and Pearl join Icey.
Icey speaks to John)
Now you two stay put!

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

He looks hard towards WILLA and PREACHER o.s.

ICEY SPOON
(o.s., to women)
Shilly-shallying around...

LONG SHOT -- WILLA AND PREACHER

...from JOHN'S VIEWPOINT in tableau of decorous courtship,
framed by heavy domestic bodies.

ICEY SPOON
(o.s.)
A husband's one piece of store goods
ye never know till you get it home
and take the paper off.

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- WILLA AND PREACHER

They sit by the water; drooling willows; almost in travesty
of a romantic scene. WILLA dabbles one hand in the water.

WILLA HARPER
(very shy)
Did Ben Harper ever tell you what he
done with that money he stole?

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- PREACHER

His head goes slantwise and he smiles oddly.

PREACHER
My dear child, don't you know?

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

He watches intently towards his mother; PEARL holds his hand.
ICEY'S voice o.s.

GROUP SHOT -- WOMEN, JOHN AND PEARL

ICEY SPOON
She's moonin' about Ben Harper. That
wasn't love, it was just flapdoodle.
(agreeing nods and
murmurs)
Have some fudge, lambs.
(she hands some down
to John and Pearl.
Pearl smears her
mouth with it; John,
watching always
towards his mother,
takes one nibble and
throws the rest away)
When you're married forty years, you
know all that don't amount to a hill
o'beans! I been married to my Walt
that long, and I'll swear in all
that time I'd just lie there thinking
about my canning.

In BACKGROUND WALT looks sheepish.

WILLA'S VOICE
(calling o.s.)
John! John?

All look towards her.

LONG SHOT -- OVER GROUP

WILLA is standing, beckoning JOHN

MEDIUM TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND PEARL

They start towards their mother.

GROUP SHOT -- ICEY AND WOMEN -- NEW ANGLE

ICEY SPOON
A woman's a fool to marry for that.
It's something for a man. The good
Lord never meant for a decent woman
to want that -- not really want it!
It's all just a fake and a pipe-dream.

The others agree with her. She puts a piece of fudge in her
mouth.

CLOSE GROUP SHOT -- PREACHER, WILLA, CHILDREN

...as JOHN and PEARL (with DOLL) come shyly up. WILLA is
seated again. She is radiant.

WILLA HARPER
John, Mr. Powell has got something
to tell you.

PREACHER
Well, John, the night before your
father died, he told me what he did
with that money.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

He desperately conceals his reaction; he thinks BEN has
betrayed him.

RESUME GROUP SHOT

PREACHER
That money's at the bottom of the
river wrapped around a 12-pound
cobblestone.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN AND PEARL

He now conceals his new reaction.

RESUME GROUP SHOT

WILLA touches PREACHER'S hand, warmly.

WILLA HARPER
Thank you, Harry.

She looks all around her, glowing, and stands up, hands to
hair.

PEARL HARPER
John...

JOHN HARPER
Sshhh...

WILLA HARPER
I feel clean now! My whole body's
just a quiverin' with cleanness!

She walks away towards ICEY and the WOMEN.

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

PREACHER
John: here.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN AND PEARL

JOHN moves to stand in front of him; PEARL, to stand beside
PREACHER, with the DOLL.

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER AND CHILDREN

From JOHN'S eye-level; as JOHN steps in front of him and
PEARL beside him.

PREACHER
Your tie's crooked.

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- JOHN

The hand named LOVE and the hand named HATE come in to
straighten the necktie. JOHN looks down. He looks up and
sees:

GROUP SHOT -- JOHN'S VIEWPOINT

PREACHER, in close-up, hands busy o.s.; PEARL, with doll;
and between them, in BACKGROUND, WILLA. She is now running
fast towards ICEY, who walks towards her with arms
outstretched. Behind them, the group of WOMEN. BIRDIE'S guitar
music begins o.s.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. BIRDIE'S BOAT -- EVENING -- MEDIUM SHOT -- BIRDIE, JOHN
AND SKIFF

Birdie sits beside his open door, strumming a guitar and
singing. The scene is lamplighted from within. Ben's skiff
is inverted on trestles in FOREGROUND. At start of scene we
see only JOHN's feet; he's under the skiff, examining it.
After three lines of song he comes out from under, and lounges
against the skiff, tracing a tarry seam with his forefinger.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
(singing)
'Twas down at Cresap's Landing, Along
the River Shore, Birdie Steptoe was
a Pilot in the good old days of yore.
Now he sets in his old wharf-boat...

JOHN HARPER
(across him)
When'll Dad's skiff be ready?

BIRDIE STEPTOE
Can't hear ye, boy.
(singing)
...So the big boats heave a sigh,
They blow for Uncle Birdie...

JOHN HARPER
(across him)
When'll the skiff be ready?

BIRDIE STEPTOE
(singing)
And the times that are gone by. I'll
have her ready inside of a week; and
then we'll go fishin'. How's your
Maw?

Through rest of scene, Birdie picks lazily at his guitar.

JOHN HARPER
O, she's all right.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
How's your sister Pearl?

JOHN HARPER
Just fine.

He gets up.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
Leavin', boy?

JOHN HARPER
Yep; gotta watch out for Pearl, Uncle
Birdie.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
Well goodnight, boy. Come again --
any time.

JOHN leaves the SHOT.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
And mind now -- I'll have your Paw's
skiff in ship-shape, 'side of a week.

MOVING SHOT -- JOHN

As he runs past SPOON'S, looking in, he is curious.

MOVING SHOT -- SPOON'S, HIS VIEWPOINT

ICEY embraces WILLA or waltzes her around; WALT looks on,
pleased.

FULL SHOT -- JOHN

He hurries away from us towards home.

FRAMING SHOT -- THE HARPER HOUSE

In the otherwise dark house, one window is lighted. JOHN
enters the SHOT, his back to us. Seeing the lighted window,
he hesitates.

JOHN HARPER
(softly)
Is somebody there?

Silent pause, listening; then he walks cautiously towards
us.

FULL SHOT -- JOHN

A tall, narrow shooting-frame; right and left thirds of screen
are black.

We SHOOT from inside the screen door. JOHN crosses the porch
and softly opens the door and enters on tiptoe and pauses,
close to us, in the dark hallway, listening sharp.

JOHN HARPER
(softly)
Is anybody here?

Silence. Relieved, but puzzled, he tiptoes along towards the
rear of the hallway in CLOSE-UP as we PULL AWAY. We bring in
the bottom of the stairs.

PREACHER'S VOICE
(o.s.)
Good evening, John.

JOHN gasps, peering, and looks up.

TWO SHOT -- JOHN AND PREACHER -- NARROW SCREEN

PREACHER looks at JOHN; JOHN sinks onto the edge of a chair.
PREACHER sits opposite. A bar of light from door falls across
PREACHER'S face.

PREACHER
I had a little talk with your mother
tonight, John; and your mother decided
it might be best for me to -- let
you know the news.

From JOHN, just a questioning helpless reaction.

PREACHER
Your mother told me tonight she wanted
me to be a daddy to you and your
sister. We're going to get married,
son.

JOHN is still.

PREACHER
Did you hear what I said, son?

JOHN HARPER
Huh?

PREACHER
Married! We have decided to go to
Sistersville tomorrow, and when we
come back --

JOHN HARPER
(just breathing it)
You ain't my Dad! You won't never be
my Dad!

PREACHER
(obsessed, disregarding
him)
-- and when we come back, we'll all
be friends -- and share our fortunes
together, John!

JOHN HARPER
(screaming)
You think you can make me tell! But
I won't! I won't! I won't!

He gawks at his own folly, covers his mouth with his hand
and looks up at PREACHER.

PREACHER
(softly)
Tell me what, boy?

JOHN HARPER
Nothin'!

PREACHER
Are we keeping secrets from each
other, little lad?

JOHN HARPER
No. No.

PREACHER

stiffens, relaxes, and chuckles softly.

PREACHER
No matter, boy, we've got a long
time together.

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND PREACHER

JOHN starts for the stairs.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. HARPER YARD -- MORNING -- CLOSE SHOT -- BEN'S FORD

It stands vibrating, then moves out of shot with receding
engine sound o.s., disclosing:

TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND PEARL

ICEY'S skirts in BACKGROUND. They are awfully spic-and-span;
they even wear shoes.

ICEY SPOON
(o.s.)
Wave yer hands! Great sakes!

They wave after the car, bewilderedly.

ICEY SPOON
(o.s.)
You wait here while I get your night-
things.

She hustles out of shot.

PEARL HARPER
Now can I tell?

JOHN HARPER
Hm?

PEARL HARPER
When Mr. Powell's our Daddy then I
can tell him about --

His hand clamps over her mouth. She struggles and whimpers.

JOHN HARPER
You swore, Pearl!

PEARL HARPER
(across him)
John! Don't!

JOHN HARPER
You promised Dad you wouldn't never
tell!

He takes his hand away but holds it ready.

PEARL HARPER
I love Mr. Powell lots and lots,
John.

JOHN grabs her by the shoulders and glares.

JOHN HARPER
Don't you tell! Don't you NEVER DARE
tell!

Over them we

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

SHOULDER CLOSE-UP -- WILLA

She is caressing her shoulders.

FULL SHOT -- WILLA

Her back is to us. She is in a pathetic night dress; she
stands before a mirror in a hotel bedroom in Sistersville.
She walks to the door.

INSERT WILLA'S HAND

It hesitates on the doorknob.

CLOSE SHOT -- WILLA

Shooting OVER her as she opens the door, we see PREACHER in
bed, his back to us. Beyond him, a window. The drawn shade
rustles quietly.

CLOSE SHOT -- THE DOOR

...from within the room. WILLA closes the door, on which
PREACHER'S coat hangs. The closing brings a knocking sound.
WILLA feels the outside of the coat; feels something hard;
takes out the knife and looks at it.

INSERT -- THE KNIFE IN HER HAND -- CLOSE SHOT -- WILLA

A moment of perplexity; then a little smile.

WILLA HARPER
(whispering)
Oh! It's... uh...

She puts it back in the pocket and gives the pocket a pat.
She starts towards the bed.

TWO-SHOT -- WILLA AND PREACHER

We SHOOT OVER PREACHER as she approaches modestly and stands
by the bed.

WILLA HARPER
(softly)
Harry...

His hand comes up; she puts out her own, expecting a loving
hand-clasp; but PREACHER points to the window.

PREACHER
Fix that window shade.

Startled, then again tender, she moves to:

CLOSE SHOT -- WILLA AT WINDOW

She adjusts the shade, looking always towards the bed. She
smiles maternally. As we PULL BACK and PAN into FULL SHOT OF
BED she comes to the bed and sits on the edge and slips off
her mules. PREACHER'S back is to her.

WILLA HARPER
(softly)
Harry!

PREACHER
(cool and clear)
I was praying.

WILLA HARPER
Oh, I'm sorry, Harry! I didn't know!
I thought maybe --

With a sounding of bedsprings PREACHER turns. His voice is
quiet and cold.

PREACHER
You thought, Willa, that the moment
you walked in that door I'd start in
to pawing you in the abominable way
men are supposed to do on their
wedding night. Ain't that right,
now?

WILLA HARPER
No, Harry! I thought --

PREACHER
I think it's time we got one thing
perfectly clear, Willa. Marriage to
me represents a blending of two
spirits in the sight of Heaven.

He gets out of bed. WILLA puts her face down to the pillow
and moans.

PREACHER snaps on a harsh bare bulb at center of room.

PREACHER
(quietly)
Get up, Willa.

WILLA HARPER
Harry, what --

PREACHER
Get up.

She obeys.

PREACHER
Now go and look at yourself yonder
in that mirror.

WILLA hesitates.

FULL SHOT -- OVER PREACHER -- CENTERING A STAINED BUREAU
MIRROR

PREACHER
Do as I say.

WILLA walks to meet her image in the mirror; her eyes on
PREACHER.

PREACHER
LOOK at yourself.

Her head drops, facing the mirror.

CLOSE SHOT -- WILLA, PREACHER, BULB

WILLA is in HEAD CLOSE-UP; bulb hangs at center; PREACHER,
in his nightshirt, is beyond it.

PREACHER
What do you see, girl?

Her mouth trembles; she can't talk.

PREACHER
You see the body of a woman! The
temple of creation and motherhood.
You see the flesh of Eve that Man
since Adam has profaned. That body
was meant for begetting children. It
was not meant for the lust of men.

WILLA just opens her mouth.

PREACHER
Do you want more children, Willa?

WILLA HARPER
I -- no, I --

PREACHER
It's the business of our marriage to
mind those two you have now -- not
to beget more.

WILLA HARPER
Yes.

He stands watching her for a moment; then he snaps off the
light and gets into bed.

PREACHER
You can get back into bed now and
stop shivering.

WILLA, in the darkness, does not move. She folds her hands
in prayer and lifts her eyes.

WILLA HARPER
(whispering)
Help me to get clean so I can be
what Harry wants me to be.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

INSERT -- A TORCH OR RAILROAD FLARE

VOICES
(o.s.)
AAA-MEN!

GROUP SHOT -- CONGREGATION

A dozen country men and women in religious ecstasy.

(NOTE: No set necessary for this scene. Flare, or flares, in
every SHOT. Faces lighted by flares.)

CONGREGATION
AAA-MENN!

WILLA HARPER
(o.s., very loud)
You have all sinned!

CONGREGATION
Yes! Yes!

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- WILLA

WILLA HARPER
But which one of you can say as I
can say: I drove a good man to murder
because I kept a-houndin' him for
clothes and per-fumes and face paint!

GROUP SHOT -- CONGREGATION

WILLA HARPER
(o.s.)
And he slew two human beings and he
come to me and he said: Take this
money and buy your per-fumes and
paint!

FULL FIGURE SHOT -- WILLA, STANDING; PREACHER STANDING IN
B.G.

WILLA HARPER
But Brethren, that's where the Lord
stepped in! That's where the LORD
stepped in!

PREACHER
Yes!

CONGREGATION
(o. s.)
Yes! Yes!

GROUP SHOT -- CONGREGATION

WILLA HARPER
(o.s. screaming)
And the Lord told that man --

CONGREGATION
Yes! Yes!

CLOSE SHOT -- WILLA

WILLA HARPER
The Lord said, Take that money and
throw it in the River!

CONGREGATION
(o.s.)
Yes! Yes! Hallelujah!

WILLA HARPER
Throw that money in the River! In
THE RIVER!

CONGREGATION
(o.s.)
IN THE RIIV-ER!

CUT TO:

EXTREME CLOSE DOWN-SHOT -- PEARL'S DOLL

It lies face down on arbor bricks, its back wide open; money
spilling out. A little breeze toys with the money. HOLD, a
moment, in silence. Then we hear a snipping sound o.s. TILT
UPWARD into --

CLOSE SHOT -- PEARL

She sits at the end of the grape-arbor. She finishes cutting
a skirted paperdoll out of a hundred dollar bill and lays it
down beside a male hundred-dollar paper-doll. She pats the
dolls.

PEARL HARPER
Now! You're John -- and you're Pearl.

JOHN'S VOICE
(o.s. calling)
Pearl?... Pearl?

PEARL starts guiltily and looks towards him, scrambling money
together. JOHN'S footsteps o.s.

PEARL HARPER
You'll get awful mad, John. I done a
Sin!

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN -- PEARL'S ANGLE

JOHN HARPER
You what?

He hears the frantic rustling of paper --

JOHN HARPER
(aghast)
Pearl! You ain't --

CLOSE SHOT -- PEARL, OVER JOHN

PEARL HARPER
John, don't be mad! Don't be mad! I
was just playing with it! I didn't
tell no one!

FLASH CUT CLOSE-UP -- JOHN

...as he stoops toward her, dumb with horror.

CLOSE SHOT -- PEARL

She continues to gather the money together.

PEARL HARPER
(pleading)
It's all here.

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND PEARL

JOHN HARPER
Pearl! Oh, Pearl!

She's stuffing bills back into the torn doll. They slide
through her fingers. He helps.

FLASH INSERT -- PREACHER'S FOOT

...as he plants it, with sound, in damp grass.

CLOSE SHOT -- THE CHILDREN

JOHN freezes.

PREACHER'S VOICE
(o.s.)
John?

JOHN HARPER
Oh -- yes?

LONG SHOT -- PREACHER -- CHILDREN'S VIEWPOINT

He stands at far end of arbor.

PREACHER
What are you doing, boy?

LONG SHOT -- CHILDREN -- PREACHER'S VIEWPOINT

JOHN HARPER
Getting Pearl to bed. I --

PREACHER
What's taking you so long about it?

FLASH INSERT -- THEIR FRANTIC HANDS, MONEY, THE DOLL

JOHN HARPER
(o.s.)
It -- she --

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER -- PEERING TOWARDS THEM

PREACHER
What's that you're playing with,
boy?

LONG SHOT -- CHILDREN -- PREACHER'S VIEWPOINT

JOHN HARPER
Pearl's junk. Mom gets mad when she
plays out here and don't clean up
afterward.

PREACHER
Come on, children!

INSERT -- JOHN'S HANDS PIN THE DOLL TOGETHER

FULL SHOT -- CHILDREN STAND UP, LOOK TOWARDS PREACHER, AND
SLOWLY START TOWARDS HIM. THE TWO FORGOTTEN PAPER-DOLLS ARE
BLOWN TOWARDS HIM TOO.

MOVING SHOT -- PREACHER -- JOHN'S VIEWPOINT

PREACHER'S watch-chain gleams. The shot SLOWLY CLOSES DOWN
on it and becomes still. We see the paper-dolls blow past
him.

PREACHER'S VOICE
Now, up to bed with the both of you.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN AND PEARL

JOHN starts to laugh uncontrollably. We PAN them past
PREACHER'S stomach into FULL SHOT.

PREACHER'S VOICE
Come here, John. Run along, Pearl.

PEARL goes, JOHN comes towards PREACHER.

PREACHER -- JOHN'S VIEWPOINT

PREACHER
Your mother says you tattled on me,
boy. She says you told her that I
asked you where that money was hid.

JOHN HARPER
(o.s.)
Yes. Yes.

PREACHER
That wasn't very nice of you, John.
Have a heart, boy.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

His helpless reaction. Pause.

PREACHER'S VOICE
Run along to bed.

As JOHN turns away we

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

CLOSE SHOT -- WILLA IN PROFILE

...and PULL AWAY showing JOHN as he turns to her. (PEARL'S
head is turned away; she's asleep.)

WILLA HARPER
Were you impudent to Mr. Powell,
John?

JOHN HARPER
Mom, I didn't mean --

WILLA HARPER
What were you impudent about?

JOHN HARPER
He asked me about the money again,
Mom.

WILLA HARPER
You always make up that lie, John!
There is no money, John. Can't you
get that through your head?

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

CLOSE SHOT -- A GAR, UNDERWATER CLOSE UPWARD TWO-SHOT --
JOHN AND BIRDIE

They look down into the water.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
Meanest, orneriest, sneakinest critter
in the whole river, boy! A gar!

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND BIRDIE

They sit up into it.

JOHN HARPER
Here's your can o' hooks, Uncle
Birdie.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
There hain't nary hook in the land
smart enough to hook Mister Gar.
What a feller needs is mother-wit --
and a horse-hair.

Over this, he pulls horse-hair out of his hatband. He sets
to work rigging his noose.

JOHN HARPER
Won't he bust it, Uncle Birdie?

BIRDIE STEPTOE
Shoot, a horse-hair'll hold a lumpin'
whale.

He puts over his line. Pause.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
Do you mind me cussin', boy?

JOHN HARPER
No.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
Tell you why I ask -- your step-pa
being' a Preacher an' all...

JOHN's lips go like string. BIRDIE sees it.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
Never was much of a one for preachers
myself. I dunno what's wrong up at
your place, but just remember one
thing, Cap -- if ever you need help
you just holler out and come a-
runnin'. Old Uncle Birdie's your
friend.

A powerful strike. BIRDIE lands the gar. The air is full of
sparkling water.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
There! You slimy, snag-toothed, egg-
suckin', bait-stealin' so-and-so!

QUICK INSERT -- THE THUMPING FISH IN BOTTOM OF BOAT

FULL SHOT

He beats the fish with the heel of an old shoe.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
(beating)
Mind what I told you. If ever you
get in a crack, I just come a-runnin'.

Now there is no sound of thumping or beating.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

Admiring BIRDIE, he squares his shoulders, full of confidence.

JOHN HARPER
Can we eat him, Uncle Birdie?

BIRDIE STEPTOE
If you got an appetite for bones and
bitterness.

On this, he flings the dead gar in a wide arc out into the
river.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

INT. CHILDREN'S BEDROOM -- NIGHT

The children are ready for bed.

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

Smiling, quiet, awaiting an answer.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

JOHN HARPER
I don't know.

TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND PREACHER

PEARL plays unconcernedly in background.

PREACHER
(intimately)
She thinks that money's in the river,
but you and me, we know better, don't
we, boy?

JOHN HARPER
I don't know nothin'!

PREACHER
The summer is young yet, little lad.
(he turns away from
John)
Pearl?

He holds out his hands to her; she comes to his lap, dropping
her doll at his feet. JOHN turns his back and looks out the
window beside bureau.

PREACHER
John's a feller who likes to keep
secrets.

PEARL HARPER
Mm-hm.

PREACHER
I'll tell you a secret.

PEARL HARPER
Yes?

PREACHER
I knowed your Daddy.
(PEARL frowns)
And do you know what your Daddy said
to me? He said, "Tell my little girl
Pearl there's to be no secrets between
her and you."

INSERT -- JOHN'S HAND COMES TO REST BESIDE A HAIRBRUSH

RESUME TWO-SHOT -- PREACHER AND PEARL, JOHN IN B.G.

PEARL HARPER
Yes?

PREACHER
Now it's your turn.

PEARL HARPER
What secret shall I tell?

PREACHER
How old are you?

PEARL HARPER
That's no secret. I'm five.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN -- PREACHER AND PEARL IN B.G.

A look of impotent hatred.

PREACHER
Sure, that's no secret.

RESUME TWO-SHOT

PREACHER
(continuing)
What's your name?

PEARL HARPER
(giggling)
You're just foolin'! My name's Pearl.

PREACHER
Tst-tst! Then I reckon I'll have to
try again! Where's the money hid?

JOHN throws the hairbrush, striking PREACHER's head.

JOHN HARPER
(screaming as he throws)
You swore you wouldn't tell!
(he beats the air
with his fists)
You swore! You swore! You swore!

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

He is sure now PEARL knows.

THREE-SHOT -- PEARL, PREACHER, JOHN

PEARL HARPER
(awed)
You hit Daddy with the hairbrush!

Another silence.

PREACHER
(cheerfully)
You see? We can't have anything to
do with John.
(light off)
You and me will go down to the parlor.

PEARL HARPER
Miz Jenny! Miz Jenny!

She gets the doll. We PAN them through the door.

TWO-SHOT -- PREACHER AND PEARL

Outside door as he closes it.

PREACHER
John's just plumb bad through and
through --

CLOSE SHOT -- PEARL

As PREACHER's hand locks the door.

PEARL HARPER
(at door)
Yes, John's just plumb bad.

CUT TO:

INT. SPOON'S ICE CREAM PARLOR -- THREE-SHOT -- WILLA, ICEY,
WALT

We shoot over ICEY as WILLA opens the door to leave. WILLA
is in outdoor clothes and is not dressed for work in the
parlor.

WILLA HARPER
That boy's as stubborn and mulish as
a sheep!

ICEY SPOON
It's a shame!

WILLA's face shines like one possessed.

WILLA HARPER
Goodnight.

WALT enters shot, his back to us.

ICEY SPOON
Goodnight, honey.

As WILLA starts away we DOLLY THROUGH DOOR and PAN her to
deserted street. There is a river mist.

TWO-SHOT -- WALT AND ICEY

WALT is ill at ease.

RESUME SHOT ON WILLA

ICEY SPOON
(o.s. calling)
Plan on a longer visit next time.

WALT
(o.s.)
You don't hardly get settled till
you're frettin' to git home again.

Again WILLA pauses and turns.

WILLA HARPER
(with sweet radiance.
To Walt)
I'm needed to keep peace and harmony
between them.
(to Icey)
It's my burden and I'm proud of it,
Icey!

She walks off into the mist.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. HARPER HOME -- NIGHT -- MEDIUM SHOT -- LIGHTED PARLOR
WINDOW; REST OF HOUSE DARK

Distant muffled sound of river-boat whistle.

PEARL HARPER
(o.s.)
John's bad.

WILLA enters, her back to us; she stops.

PREACHER
(o.s.)
Yes; John's bad.

PEARL HARPER
Tell me another secret about my Dad.

CLOSE SHOT -- WILLA

She smiles benignly.

PREACHER
(o.s.)
O no! Your turn!

PEARL HARPER
All right.

PREACHER
Where's the money hid.

WILLA keeps smiling.

PEARL HARPER
John's bad.

PREACHER
Where's the money hid? Tell me, you
little wretch, or I'll tear your arm
off!

Still smiling, shaking her head as in disbelief, WILLA makes
for house as PEARL screams.

INT. HARPER HALLWAY -- TWO-SHOT -- WILLA AND PREACHER

Narrow screen, same set-up as in earlier corridor scene,
PREACHER and WILLA. Their eyes meet. Pause.

PREACHER
(stunned)
I didn't expect you home so soon.

CLOSE SHOT -- WILLA

She still smiles; her eyes turn to sound of PEARL's sobbing.

TWO SHOT -- AS BEFORE

PREACHER stands still; WILLA in BACKGROUND opens closet door
where PEARL sobs.

CUT TO:

TWO-SHOT -- WALT AND ICEY

...washing and drying glasses. ICEY is washing briskly, WALT
is drying slowly.

WALT
Icey, I'm worried about Willa.

ICEY SPOON
How do you mean?

WALT
I'm figurin' how I can say it so's
you won't get mad.

ICEY SPOON
Say what, Walt Spoon!

WALT
There's somethin' wrong about it,
Mother.

ICEY SPOON
About what!

WALT
About Mr. Powell. All of it!

ICEY SPOON
Walt!

WALT
Now, Mother, a body can't help their
feelin's.

ICEY SPOON
May the Lord have mercy on you, Walt
Spoon!

WALT
Mother, I only --

CUT TO:

INT. WILLA'S AND PREACHER'S BEDROOM -- FULL SHOT -- WILLA ON
BED -- PREACHER IN BACKGROUND

WILLA lies in profile on the bed along the bottom of the
frame. A prim, old woman's nightdress makes her look like a
child. Her hands are clasped.

PREACHER, fully dressed, stands at the window, which is in
BACKGROUND towards foot of bed. His coat, hung over a chair,
is in silhouette. River mist outside window halated by
exterior gas-lamp. The window shade is up. She is mumbling
in prayer. She stops.

PREACHER
(his back still turned)
Are you through praying?

WILLA HARPER
I'm through, Harry.

He turns. WILLA is calm and immobile with the ecstasy of a
martyr.

PREACHER
You were listening outside the parlor
window.

WILLA HARPER
It's not in the river, is it Harry?

PREACHER
Answer me!

WILLA HARPER
Ben never told you he throwed it in
the river? Did he?

PREACHER hits her across the mouth. A pause.

WILLA HARPER
(continues, unruffled)
Then the children know where it is
hid? John knows? Is that it?
(a pause)
Then it's still here, somewhere
amongst us, tainting us?

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER, LISTENING FOR A VOICE

RESUME TWO-SHOT

WILLA HARPER
So you must have known it all along,
Harry.

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER, LISTENING

After a moment, the river boat whistle blows, nearer. HOLD
CLOSE-UP a moment after whistle.

CLOSE DOWN-SHOT -- WILLA, SAINT-LIKE

WILLA HARPER
But that ain't why you married me,
Harry. I know that much. It couldn't
be that because the Lord just wouldn't
let it.

RESUME TWO-SHOT -- WILLA

WILLA HARPER
He made you marry me so's you could
show me the Way and the Life and the
Salvation of my soul! Ain't that so,
Harry?

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

He has heard the VOICE and starts to move out of CLOSE SHOT.

RESUME TWO-SHOT

He has moved over to the coat on back of chair.

CLOSE SHOT -- COAT

His hand goes into the pocket and brings the knife out. (It
is the same coat, and pocket, as in the wedding-night scene.)

RESUME TWO-SHOT

WILLA HARPER
So you might say it was the money
that brung us together.

He pulls down the blind. He moves toward the bed.

WILLA HARPER
The rest of it don't matter, Harry.

INSERT -- PREACHER's HAND AND KNIFE It clicks open.

RESUME TWO-SHOT

As he raises his arm to strike:

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- WILLA

WILLA HARPER
Bless us all!

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. CHILDREN'S BEDROOM -- FULL SHOT -- THE SHADOWS ON THE
WALL

They are shaped as in earlier scene, but altered by mist.
Set-up as in earlier scene. Over them we hear the whinny-and-
catch and the failure of the Ford being cranked; once; then
again: the JOHN's shadow moves on the wall and on a third
cranking which engages the engine, we PAN TO WINDOW, shooting
over JOHN, who peers out, into blind mist. The gears of the
car shift; the car moves away, unseen; its sounds diminish
slowly, and die. A moment of silence; then JOHN turns and we
PAN him to the bed. He gets in beside PEARL, who is asleep,
and, as we TIGHTEN IN CLOSE, puts his hand across the face
of the doll.

DISSOLVE TO:

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- ICEY

An ominous expression. She looks sharp to WALT, beckoning
secretly; through rear screen door of kitchen, onto porch.

ICEY SPOON
(loud whisper)
Walt! Come quick!

FULL FIGURE SHOT -- WALT

He is scrubbing out an ice cream container on the back porch.
He looks up and moves towards her.

WALT
(natural voice)
What's wrong, Mother?

MEDIUM CLOSE -- ICEY, THEN WALT

ICEY SPOON
(whisper)
Sshhh! He's in there.

WALT ENTERS SHOT with pipe.

WALT
Who?

ICEY SPOON
(whisper)
Mr. Powell!
(Walt looks enquiry)
Willa has run away!

WALT
I'll be switched!...

They enter the kitchen. We hear muffled sounds of sobbing
o.s.

MEDIUM CLOSE TWO-SHOT

WALT
Just went?

ICEY SPOON
She took out some time durin' the
night, -- in that old Model-T --

WALT clucks his tongue.

WALT
Is he hit pretty bad?

ICEY SPOON
All to pieces!

WALT moves towards kitchen cabinet.

WALT
There's a little peach brandy --
maybe a sip?

ICEY SPOON
A man of the Cloth?

MEDIUM CLOSE SHOT -- WALT

He pours, snaps it down; weak-defiance.

MEDIUM CLOSE SHOT -- ICEY

ICEY SPOON
Walt Spoon, that's for sickness in
the house!

MEDIUM CLOSE SHOT -- WALT

He looks towards o.s. sobbing.

WALT
What can we do, Mother?

TWO-SHOT

ICEY SPOON
I thought if you went and talked to
him -- another man --

MEDIUM SHOT -- PREACHER

He sits at a table, his back towards us, mumbling over his
Bible.

TWO-SHOT -- WALT, ICEY BEHIND HIM, ENTERING THROUGH DOOR

WALT
Mister Powell?

PREACHER
(suddenly loud)
A strange woman is a narrow pit!

ICEY SPOON
(a reverent whisper)
Amen! Amen!

PREACHER
She lieth in wait as for a prey. And
increaseth the transgressors among
men.

He closes his Bible and turns to them with weepy eyes and a
brave little smile.

PREACHER
My dear, dear friends! Whatever would
I do without you!

CLOSE SHOT -- ICEY

ICEY SPOON
(wailing)
Mister Powell!

THREE-SHOT -- NEW ANGLE

WALT
Is there anythin' -- anythin'...?

PREACHER
It is my shame -- my crown of thorns.
And I must wear it bravely.

ICEY SPOON
What could have possessed that girl!

PREACHER
(simply)
Satan.

ICEY SPOON
Ah.

WALT sits across from PREACHER. ICEY is at PREACHER's elbow.

WALT
Didn't you have no inkling?

PREACHER
Yes; from the first night.

WALT
The first night?

PREACHER
Our honeymoon.

CLOSE SHOT -- WALT

WALT
How's that?

TWO-SHOT -- PREACHER AND ICEY

PREACHER
She turned me out of the bed.

ICEY SPOON
(with pleasure)
Nnnoooo!!

CLOSE SHOT -- WALT

Filling his pipe.

WALT
What do you figure to do?

TWO-SHOT -- PREACHER AND ICEY

PREACHER
Do? Why stay and take care of them
little kids. Maybe it was never meant
for a woman like Willa to taint their
young lives.

ICEY SPOON
(hands clasped; with
approval)
Mmmmm!

CLOSE SHOT -- WALT

Dabbing at moisture in the corner of his eye.

WALT
That's mighty brave of you, Reverend.

TWO-SHOT -- PREACHER AND ICEY

PREACHER
I reckon it's been ordained this
way, Brother Spoon.

CLOSE SHOT -- WALT

WALT
Didn't -- didn't she leave no word?

TWO-SHOT -- PREACHER AND ICEY

PREACHER
A scrawl. On a piece of notepaper on
the bureau.

ICEY smiles sideways.

PREACHER
I burned it.
(Preacher holds out
his hand, stares in
disgust, and wipes
his palm dramatically
on his coatsleeve)
I tore it up and burned it -- it
stank so strong of hellfire.

ICEY SPOON
Amen.

PREACHER
The pitcher has went to the well
once too often, my friends.

CLOSE SHOT -- WALT

WALT
She'll come draggin' her tail back
home.

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

PREACHER
She'll not be back. I reckon I'd be
safe in promisin' you that.

CLOSE SHOT -- WALT

WALT
Maybe she's just run off on a spree.

PREACHER'S VOICE
(o.s.)
No!

WALT
Well, there's no harm in hopin'.

TWO-SHOT -- PREACHER AND ICEY

PREACHER
Ain't no sense in it, neither. I
figured somethin' like this was
brewin' when she went to bed last
night.

ICEY SPOON
(all woman)
How?

PREACHER
She tarried around the kitchen after
I'd gone up, and when I went
downstairs to see what was wrong...

ICEY SPOON
(eagerly)
What!

PREACHER
She'd found this fruit jar of
dandelion wine
(Icey touches him)
that the husband -- Harper -- had
hid somewheres in the cellar.
(playing his ace)
She was drinking.

CLOSE SHOT -- ICEY

ICEY is happy to let her mouth fall open and let out a gasp.

CLOSE SHOT -- WALT

Sniffling.

THREE-SHOT -- PREACHER, ICEY, WALT

PREACHER
I tried to save her.

ICEY SPOON
I know you did, Reverend. Oh, I know
how you tried!

PREACHER
The devil wins sometimes!

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

PREACHER
(eyes upturned)
Can't nobody say I didn't do my best
to save her!

DISSOLVE TO:

CLOSE UNDERWATER SHOT (TANK)

We PAN, with slowly streaming weeds, and bring in WILLA in
close profile; the current, coming from behind her, drifts
her long hair across her throat.

MEDIUM SHOT -- WILLA AND CAR

She is in profile as before --

CLOSE SHOT -- A BAITED HOOK

It descends, and catches on the windshield, and the line
tautens; then tugs. We start to follow the line up.

CLOSE SHOT -- ABOVE WATER -- THE LINE

We continue to follow the line up, and bring in, close, the
stern of BEN HARPER's skiff.

MEDIUM SHOT -- UNCLE BIRDIE

He sits back, tugging unconcernedly at the line. Then he
leans over to see what's wrong.

CLOSE SHOT -- BIRDIE

...as he peers over side.

DOWNSHOT -- FULL SHOT OF CAR AND WILLA; BIRDIE'S VIEWPOINT

CLOSE SHOT -- BIRDIE, HORROR-STRICKEN MOVING UNDERWATER SHOT --
WILLA

We hear PREACHER's voice o.s., singing:

PREACHER
(o.s.)
Leaning! Leaning! Safe and secure
from all alarms!

Meanwhile we move vertically DOWNWARD TOWARDS HER FACE, serene
in death. We may or may not glimpse the gashed throat, through
drifting hair.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. HARPER HOME -- FULL SHOT -- THE HOUSE AND TREE

PREACHER leans against the tree; he continues singing:

PREACHER
Leaning! Leaning! Leaning on the
Everlasting Arms!
(seductively)
Children!

CLOSE MOVING SHOT -- PREACHER

We start moving before he does. LOW CAMERA; full figure. We
TILT to frame him from the waist downward and follow close
behind him. As he leaves the tree and walks along the side
of the house; we TILT DOWNWARD and CLOSE IN, to follow only
his feet; he steps past a tiny cellar window and we PAN and
TIGHTEN IN CLOSE ON IT, into --

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND PEARL

Their noses are flat against the glass; their cheeks touch;
their window isn't quite big enough to hold both their heads.
It is on the ground; we don't see their chins. They look
towards the departed PREACHER.

PREACHER'S VOICE
(o.s.)
Chill-dren?

PEARL, who is on the side PREACHER has left by, turns her
head towards JOHN.

INT. CELLAR -- MEDIUM CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND PEARL

They are standing on a coal heap, faces at window.

PEARL HARPER
John, why do we have to hide?

JOHN has taken charge. He speaks very quietly, but calmly
and cheerfully, as to an invalid. He starts down the rustling
coal-heap, helping PEARL down.

JOHN HARPER
Careful...

The following dialogue as they climb down, making as little
noise as possible.

We PULL slowly away.

PEARL HARPER
Where's Mom?

JOHN HARPER
She's gone to Moundsville.

PEARL HARPER
To see Dad?

JOHN HARPER
Yes, I reckon that's it.

They have achieved the cellar floor.

PREACHER'S VOICE
(more peremptorily
outside)
Children!

During the following dialogue we hear, o.s., the opening of
a door, and PREACHER'S footsteps indoors as he crosses floor,
climbs stairs, and opens another door.

JOHN HARPER
Someone is after us, Pearl.

PEARL HARPER
I want to go upstairs. It's cold and
spidery down here. I'm hungry.

JOHN HARPER
Now listen to me, Pearl. You and me
is runnin' off tonight.

PEARL HARPER
Why?

JOHN HARPER
If we stay here somethin' awful will
happen to us.

PEARL HARPER
Won't Daddy Powell take care of us?

JOHN HARPER
No, that's just it. No.

FULL SHOT -- A ROOM UPSTAIRS

PREACHER looks under the bed.

RESUME CELLAR TWO-SHOT -- THE CHILDREN

PEARL HARPER
Where are we goin', John?

JOHN HARPER
Somewheres. I don't know yet.

o.s., PREACHER'S footsteps come down stairs; JOHN leads PEARL
carefully past a rake, a hoe, and a shelf-prop and they crouch
down into --

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND PEARL

...beside an apple barrel. PREACHER'S footsteps cross kitchen
o.s.

PEARL HARPER
I'm hungry, John.

JOHN HARPER
We'll steal somethin' to eat.

PEARL HARPER
It'll spoil our supper.

PREACHER'S VOICE
(o.s.)
Pearl?

Both look sharp towards cellar door o.s.

THE CELLAR DOOR -- CHILDREN'S VIEWPOINT

The door opens; PREACHER'S head, carrying a candle in holder;
a white-washed wall and stairs are lighted.

PREACHER'S VOICE
I hear you whisperin', children, so
I know you're down there. I can feel
myself gettin' awful mad, children.

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- THE CHILDREN

PEARL HARPER
(whispering)
John...

JOHN claps his hand over her mouth.

CELLAR DOOR

PREACHER'S VOICE
My patience has run out, children.
I'm comin' to find you now.

He clop-clops nearly to the bottom of the stairs. ICEY'S
voice cuts cheerfully across his descent.

ICEY SPOON
(calling o.s.)
Yoo-Hooooo! Mis-ter Paow-welll!

He goes up the stairs and vanishes. Light on wall through
open door to kitchen.

ICEY'S VOICE
Just a little hot supper I fixed for
you and the children.

PREACHER'S VOICE
Bless you, bless you!

ICEY'S VOICE
And how are the children?

PREACHER'S VOICE
They're down there playin' games in
the cellar and they won't mind me
when I call 'em. I'm at my wit's
end, Miz Spoon.

ICEY clucks her tongue o.s.

ICEY'S VOICE
(yelling)
John: Pearl:

She appears at head of stairs. Her voice crackles with
authority.

ICEY SPOON
John! Pearl! Shake a leg!
(she claps her hands
sharply)

FULL SHOT -- THE KITCHEN -- OVER ICEY

ICEY SPOON
(continuing)
I won't have you worryin' poor Mister
Powell another minute!

A short pause; then the children, covered with coal-dust,
emerge into the light and climb the stairs. JOHN'S head is
hung in defeat. As they enter the kitchen we PULL BACK.

ICEY SPOON
Just look at you! Dust and filth
from top to toe!

GROUP SHOT -- THE CHILDREN, OVER PREACHER AND ICEY

ICEY SPOON
Want me to take 'em up and wash 'em
good?

PREACHER
Thank you, no. Thank you, dear Icey.
I'll tend to them. Thank you.

ICEY pats JOHN'S head.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

ICEY'S VOICE
Don't be too hard on 'em, Reverend.
Poor motherless children.

JOHN looks to PEARL and we PAN HER IN as PREACHER'S hand
named LOVE moves through her locks. We PAN with PREACHER and
ICEY as they move towards the door.

ICEY SPOON
Remember now Mister Powell, don't be
afraid to call on us. Good night.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

He watches ICEY leave, o.s.

PREACHER
(o.s.)
Good night Miz Spoon, and thank you
again.

FULL SHOT -- PREACHER AND ICEY

ICEY goes away along path outside. PREACHER, his back to us,
watches her a moment, then turns.

PREACHER
Weren't you afraid, my little lambs,
down there in all that dark?

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- JOHN

Wondering what to do next.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

CLOSE SHOT -- BIRDIE, OVER BESS'S PICTURE

We begin with HEAD CLOSE-UP of BIRDIE as he rocks, and PULL
BACK He is rocking; and drunk. A bottle stands beside the
picture. He turns and speaks to the picture.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
They'll think it was me! They'll
think it was old Uncle Birdie!

CLOSE SHOT -- BIRDIE -- NEW ANGLE

His hands grip the edge of the chest on either side of the
picture, which we now see.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
If you'd o' seen it, Bess! I'm drunk
as a lord and I know it, but...

INSERT -- BESS'S PICTURE

BIRDIE'S VOICE
(o.s. continuing)
Sweet Heaven, if you'd o' seen it!

RESUME PREVIOUS SHOT

BIRDIE picks up the bottle. His hand and the liquor tremble.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
(continuing)
Down there in the deep place... her
hair wavin' lazy and soft like meadow
grass under flood waters and that
slit in her throat just like she had
an extry mouth.

INSERT BESS'S PICTURE

BIRDIE'S VOICE
(o.s.)
And there ain't mortal human I can
tell but you...

RESUME PREVIOUS SHOT

BIRDIE STEPTOE
(continuing)
...Bess, for if I go to the Law
they'll hang it on to me.

The bottle falls from his hand onto its side on the edge of
the chest.

CLOSE SHOT -- BIRDIE -- NEW ANGLE

The reverse angle of the opening shot. BIRDIE rocks heavily;
liquor gurgles from bottle to floor.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
Sweet Heaven save poor old Uncle
Birdie!

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

MEDIUM THREE-SHOT -- PREACHER, JOHN, PEARL

PREACHER sits at head of table. JOHN stands to PREACHER'S
right, around corner of table; he remains expressionless and
immobile, until he speaks. PEARL stands to JOHN'S right,
hugging the DOLL. The table is loaded with good food.

PREACHER, well-fed and at leisure, dabs his mouth delicately
with his napkin, folds it, puts it in a ring, and folds his
hands. He waits.

PEARL HARPER
(at last)
I'm hungry.

PREACHER
Why, sure. And there's fried chicken
and candied sweets and cornsticks
and apple cobbler!

PEARL HARPER
Can I have my supper please?

PREACHER
Naturally.

PEARL HARPER
Can I have milk too?

PREACHER
Yes. But first of all we'll have a
little talk.

PEARL frowns and puts her finger in her mouth; she remembers
he twisted her arm.

PREACHER
(softly)
About our secrets.

PEARL HARPER
No.

PREACHER
Why, pray tell?

PEARL HARPER
Because John said I mustn't.

THREE-SHOT REVERSE -- PREACHER, OVER NECKS OF CHILDREN

He slaps the table; his eyes crackle.

PREACHER
NEVER -- MIND -- WHAT -- JOHN --
SAID!

PEARL starts to snivel.

PREACHER
John is a meddler. Stop sniveling.
Looky here a minute!

He brings out the knife.

PREACHER
Know what this is?

PEARL shakes her head for no.

PREACHER
Want to see something cute? Looky
now!

He touches the spring; the blade flicks open.

PREACHER
How about that! This is what I use
on meddlers.

He lays the open knife on the table.

PREACHER
John might be a meddler.

THREE-SHOT -- THE CHILDREN, OVER PREACHER

PEARL thinks the knife is a toy and crosses behind JOHN to
pick it up.

PREACHER
NO -- no, my lamb. Don't touch it!
Now don't touch my knife! That makes
me mad. Very, very mad.

She hugs the DOLL and he puts the hand named LOVE on her
curls.

PREACHER
Just tell me now; where's the money
hid?

PEARL HARPER
(affectionately)
But I swore. I promised John I
wouldn't tell.

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

PREACHER
JOHN -- DOESN'T -- MATTER! Can't I
get that through your head, you poor,
silly, disgusting little wretch!

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- PEARL

Her mouth quivers; a large tear brims in her eyes.

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

PREACHER
There now! You made me lose my temper!

THREE-SHOT -- CHILDREN, OVER PREACHER

PREACHER
I'm sorry! I'm real sorry!

PEARL sniffles and wipes her eyes with her free fist.

PREACHER
(in a caressing tone)
Now! Where's it hid, honey?

JOHN HARPER
(suddenly and lightly)
I'll tell.

THREE-SHOT -- PREACHER, OVER NAPES OF CHILDREN

PREACHER
(lightly)
I thought I told you to keep your
mouth shut --

JOHN HARPER
(light and quick)
NO, -- it ain't fair to make Pearl
tell when she swore she wouldn't.
I'll tell.

PREACHER'S EYES CRINKLE and he turns to PEARL, smiling
brightly.

PREACHER
(chuckling)
Well I declare! Sometimes I think
poor John will make it to heaven
yet!

His eyes snap back to JOHN and his voice is like a whip.

PREACHER
All right boy: where's the money?

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- JOHN

JOHN HARPER
In the cellar. Buried under a stone
in the floor.

THREE-SHOT -- PREACHER OVER CHILDREN

He closes and pockets the knife. His eyes never leave JOHN'S.

PREACHER
It'll go hard, boy, if I find you're
lyin'.

THREE-SHOT -- PREACHER OVER CHILDREN

PEARL gapes up at JOHN as he speaks.

JOHN HARPER
I ain't lyin'. Go look for yourself.

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

...as he gets up, cellar door in BACKGROUND.

PREACHER
All right...
(he turns towards the
door; then glances
around)
Come along.

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- JOHN

JOHN HARPER
What?

THREE-SHOT -- PREACHER, OVER CHILDREN

PREACHER
Go ahead of me -- the both of you.

They cross him, towards the door.

FULL SHOT -- THE CELLAR STEPS -- FROM THE BOTTOM

The CHILDREN precede PREACHER, who carries a candle in holder.
PEARL is gaping at JOHN'S lie. JOHN is looking left and right,
casing the joint.

PREACHER
(continuing)
You don't reckon I'd leave you.

JOHN HARPER
(with forced lightness)
Don't you believe me?

PREACHER
(sardonically)
Why sure, boy, sure.

Now they are at bottom of stairs. JOHN sees PEARL'S expression
and takes her hand.

PREACHER
Now where, boy? Mind; no tricks. I
can't abide liars.

JOHN HARPER
Yonder.

He squeezes PEARL'S hand harder, and points.

FULL SHOT -- NEW ANGLE -- OVER THE THREE

JOHN points out a place beneath a shelf laden with Mason
jars; it is at the most distant part of the cellar from the
stairs.

PREACHER starts toward it, leaving them at foot of stairs,
then turns, catching JOHN'S ruse.

PREACHER
(sardonic)
O no you don't!

He shepherds them ahead of him.

THREE-SHOT -- NEW ANGLE

They arrive beneath the shelf.

PREACHER
Now: Where?

JOHN HARPER
(lying magnificently,
meeting Preacher's
eyes)
Under the stone in the floor.

PREACHER sets the candle on a barrel near the shelf-prop and
sinks to his knees below shot as PEARL gapes at JOHN and
JOHN looks stony. She seems about to speak.

FLASH INSERT -- JOHN SQUEEZES PEARL'S HAND HARD CLOSE SHOT --
PREACHER, FEATURING FLOOR

His hands sweep dust and expose concrete. He straightens on
his knees and turns to the children in close BACKGROUND.

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- PREACHER

...as he turns.

PREACHER
This is concrete.

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- THE CHILDREN

A moment's silence.

PEARL HARPER
John made a Sin. John told a lie.

THREE-SHOT -- FAVORING PREACHER

PREACHER gets slowly to his feet and puts on his "listening"
look. His sincerity is beyond doubt.

PREACHER
The Lord's a-talkin' to me now. He's
a-sayin', "a liar is an abomination
before mine eyes."

He takes his knife out, and springs it open.

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- FAVORING JOHN

PREACHER
Speak, boy: Where's it hid?
(the knife pricks the
flesh under John's
ear)
Speak; before I cut your throat and
leave you to drip like a hog hung up
in butcherin' time!

CLOSE SHOT -- PEARL

She starts to sob.

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND PREACHER

JOHN HARPER
Pearl, shut up! Pearl, you swore!

PREACHER
You could save him, little bird.

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- PEARL

PEARL HARPER
(crying)
Inside my doll! Inside my doll!

TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND PREACHER, FAVORING PREACHER

PREACHER is astounded. His hands fall away from JOHN. He
leans back against the wall and talks through laughter.

PREACHER
In the doll! Why sure! Sure!

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- JOHN

His eyes are all over the place.

PREACHER'S VOICE
(o.s.)
The last place anyone would look!

THREE-SHOT -- PREACHER, JOHN, PEARL

PREACHER makes a lunge across JOHN for the doll; JOHN ducking
under his arm, pulls PEARL forward with his left hand; he
turns backwards and with his free hand, in one movement,
knocks over the candle and pulls out the support on the shelf.

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

Jars shower over him; one crowns him and breaks, shedding
guck, which he wipes from his eyes.

TWO-SHOT -- THE CHILDREN

They start up the stairs.

FULL SHOT -- PREACHER

He makes one step forward, steps on a rolling jar, and falls.

TWO-SHOT -- THE CHILDREN

They are near the top of the stairs. We hear PREACHER below
them. JOHN slips and they nearly fall backward. As JOHN
recovers, PREACHER enters the shot, his back to us. The
children get through the open door as PREACHER reaches top.
JOHN slams the door, catching PREACHER'S hand. PREACHER
screams. JOHN'S astonished eyes peer through the crack in
the door; the door loosens; PREACHER yanks his hand loose
and sucks it, groaning; the door slams to; the bolt is shot
home.

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- PREACHER

...over sound of slamming bolt. He snarls like the Big Bad
Wolf.

All the above happens at once.

INT. KITCHEN -- CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND PEARL, BY DOOR

PEARL, dangling her doll, cries. JOHN panting, leans against
wall by door. JOHN is wondering what to do now. Pause.

PREACHER'S VOICE
(o.s., sweetly)
Chilll-dren?
(continuing)
The only reason I wanted that money
is so's you could have it.

JOHN HARPER
(to himself; panting)
The river. That's the only where!
Uncle Birdie Steptoe!

PREACHER'S VOICE
(cooing)
Puhr-urrl? Want your Mommy back?
(Pearl hugs her doll)
Want me to get her right now?

PEARL HARPER
(sharply)
John?

JOHN HARPER
Hush, Pearl. Come on.

They fly out of the house.

PREACHER'S VOICE
(bellowing, as they
go)
OPEN THAT DOOR, YOU SPAWN OF THE
DEVIL'S OWN STRUMPET!

FRAMING SHOT -- EXT. THE HARPER HOUSE

A pretty, pastoral shot of the house in light mist, as they
run across and leave the shot. Before they disappear, we
hear PREACHER'S fists hammering against the door. We stay on
the house at leisure; we hear him lunging, shoulder to door;
we begin to hear squeaking of hinges and splintering of wood.

FULL CIRCLE SHOT -- FRAMING BIRDIE'S WHARF-BOAT

An ultra romantic image of shelter and peace. Frogs or river
noises o.s., then the rattle of running footsteps. The
children center, their backs to us, sprinting towards the
boat. Light mist as in previous shot.

JOHN HARPER
(calling)
Uncle Birdie! Uncle Birdie!

INT. BIRDIE'S BOAT -- GROUP SHOT -- BIRDIE AND CHILDREN

We shoot over BESS'S turned photograph and over BIRDIE, close,
passed out in his rocker. The children run through open door
in BACKGROUND and JOHN runs up to BIRDIE.

JOHN HARPER
Uncle Birdie!

CLOSE SHOT -- BIRDIE

BIRDIE STEPTOE
(gesturing feebly)
Don't!

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- NEW ANGLE -- BIRDIE, OVER JOHN

JOHN HARPER
Hide us Uncle Birdie! He's a-comin'
with his knife!

He grabs BIRDIE'S shoulder; BIRDIE half-rises, and falls
face down on floor.

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- BIRDIE ON FLOOR, OVER JOHN

JOHN HARPER
It's me! John Harper and Pearl! You
said to come a-runnin' if we needed
you!

BIRDIE rears on one elbow and looks up at him.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
(in friendly
recognition)
Johnny!

He falls face down again.

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- NEW ANGLE -- FAVORING JOHN

JOHN grabs BIRDIE by one ear, turning his face up.

JOHN HARPER
Uncle -- Birdie! Oh -- please! Please
wake up!

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- FAVORING BIRDIE

He looks up earnestly at JOHN.

BIRDIE STEPTOE
I never done it, boy. Sweet Heaven I
never done such a terrible thing!
I'll swear on the Book to it, boy! I
never done it! I never!

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

He is lost; and he becomes a man.

BIRDIE'S VOICE
(o.s.)
Lord save poor old Uncle Birdie
Steptoe that never hurt a fly!
(he snores, softly)

JOHN HARPER
(quiet)
There's still the river. -- The skiff
is down by the willows.

He masterfully takes PEARL by the hand and leads her into
the night.

LONG SHOT -- THE CHILDREN

We shoot from the river. They struggle through the sumac and
pokeberry weeds at edge of river, towards skiff, whose prow,
tethered to willow, we see throughout this un-moving shot,
at our extreme right. When they come opposite skiff -- which
is a few yards out from shore --

WE CUT TO:

TWO-SHOT -- THE CHILDREN

PEARL, frankly bored, dangling her doll, is yawning. JOHN,
as he finishes undoing rope from a willow root, looks up and
around, checking on pursuit. His eyes fix.

FULL SHOT -- PREACHER'S SHADOW

On the bank above, it is huge in the mist. Same camera
position as foregoing; new angle.

TWO-SHOT -- THE CHILDREN

BACK view: skiff in BACKGROUND. Same camera position; new
angle.

JOHN HARPER
(whispering)
Please be quiet -- Oh please, Pearl!

PEARL HARPER
(natural voice)
John, where are we g --

JOHN HARPER
Hush.

FULL SHOT -- SHADOW, THEN PREACHER

Same position and angle as before.

PREACHER'S own figure advances to supplant his shadow. He
peers downward, his open knife catching the light.

PREACHER
(businesslike)
Children?

He starts slashing his way down through the brush-filth.

FULL SHOT -- THE CHILDREN

Same camera position as before. They are floundering through
mud, half-way to the skiff.

FULL SHOT -- PREACHER

Same position and angle as in previous shot of him. He is
half-way down the bank. With his knife, he hacks at an
entangling vine.

FULL SHOT -- THE CHILDREN

Position and angle as before. They reach the skiff. Hacking
sounds o.s.

JOHN HARPER
Get in the skiff, Pearl, goodness,
goodness, hurry!

PEARL HARPER
(hesitant)
That's Daddy!

He picks her up and throws her into the skiff.

CLOSE SHOT -- PEARL AND DOLL

...as they land, sprawling, in bottom of skiff among fish-
heads and bait cans. JOHN gets in after them.

FULL SHOT -- PREACHER -- CHILDREN'S VIEWPOINT

He tears free of brush to edge of river, knife glittering.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

With his oar, he tries to push the boat free of mud.

FULL SHOT -- PREACHER -- CHILDREN'S VIEWPOINT

He wades towards them, knee-deep in mud.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

He is shoving at the oar even more desperately.

INSERT -- JOHN'S HANDS

Straining.

FULL SHOT -- PREACHER -- CHILDREN'S VIEWPOINT

He flounders deeper and more heavily through the mud; much
closer.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

He pushes the boat free of mud.

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER -- CHILDREN'S VIEWPOINT

He hurries much closer through shallow water. Prow of boat
in FOREGROUND.

PREACHER
Wait, you little whelps! Wait!

Another step forward and he does a pratt-fall and makes a
splash.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN -- PEARL IN BACKGROUND

He is trying to feather the boat out to where the current
will catch it. In panic and haste he is clumsy.

JOHN HARPER
Why can't I do it when I know how to
do it!

FULL SHOT -- PREACHER

...as he gets up, at edge of mud.

PREACHER
Wait! Wait! I'll slit your guts!

FULL DOWN-SHOT -- THE SKIFF, THEN PREACHER

The current catches it and spins it round like a leaf. JOHN'S
efforts with the oars are useless. PREACHER enters, wading
fast. His hands are within an inch of reaching the helpless
skiff; capriciously the current takes it downstream.

TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND PEARL

The skiff is taken steadily by the current. PEARL sits up,
doll in arms. JOHN is almost asleep with exhaustion.

FULL SHOT -- THE SKIFF, OVER PREACHER

It is well away from him and getting smaller. Waist-deep, he
wades a couple of steps after it, then just looks.

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- PREACHER

He begins a steady, rhythmical, animal scream of outrage and
loss.

LONG SHOT -- THE RIVER AND LANDSCAPE, FEATURING STARLIGHT;
AND THE DRIFTING BOAT -- PEARL IN STERN TWO-SHOT -- THE
CHILDREN -- FRONT ON

JOHN is asleep. PEARL sits sleepily whispering to her doll.

PEARL HARPER
Once upon a time there was a pretty
fly, and he had a wife, this pretty
fly...

MEDIUM LONG SHOT -- THE DRIFTING BOAT THROUGH FIREFLIES

PEARL'S VOICE
(o.s.)
...and one day she flew away, and
then one night his two pretty fly
children...

SPECIAL SHOT -- THE MOVING SKIFF, THROUGH DEW-JEWELED SPIDER-
WEB

PEARL'S VOICE
(o.s., continuing)
...flew away too, into the sky, into
the moon...

SPECIAL SHOT -- A FROG, AND SKIFF

A big frog is profiled; the skiff drifts by in distance; the
frog twangs out a bass-note.

DISSOLVE TO:

INSERT -- A PICTURE POSTCARD -- A COUNTY COURTHOUSE

As the card is turned to the handwritten side we

CUT TO:

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- WALT AND ICEY

WALT
(reading aloud)
Dear Walt and Icey: I bet you been
worried and gave us up for lost.
Took the kids down here with me for
a visit to my sister Elsie's farm.
Thot a little change of scenery would
do us all a world of good after so
much trubble and heartache. At least
the kids will git a plenty of good
home cooking. Your devoted Harry
Powell

ICEY SPOON
Now ain't you relieved, Walt?

WALT
Sure, but you was worried too, Mother;
takin' off with never a word of
goodbye. I even got to figurin' them
gypsies busted in and done off with
all three of 'em.

ICEY SPOON
You and your gypsies! They been gone
a week!

WALT
Not before one of 'em knifed a farmer
and stole his horse. Never caught
the gypsies nor the horse.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

DESCENDING HELICOPTER SHOT -- THE RIVER -- DAY

A man is going along a river lane on horseback.

It is PREACHER; he walks the horse away from us.

DISSOLVE TO:

DESCENDING HELICOPTER SHOT -- ANOTHER BEND OF THE RIVER

We descend to a poor riverside farmhouse; JOHN and PEARL
tether a boat in front of it.

GROUP SHOT (FROM GROUND) THREE HOMELESS CHILDREN, OVER JOHN
AND PEARL

They are eating hot boiled potatoes. A glance at JOHN and
PEARL, and they turn away towards lane in BACKGROUND. JOHN
and PEARL proceed towards the house.

MEDIUM SHOT -- JOHN, PEARL, WOMAN, THROUGH DOOR

We shoot from within open door of kitchen. JOHN and PEARL
advance to edge of porch. A TIRED FARM WOMAN stands by door,
within. We shoot OVER her.

TIRED FARM WOMAN
Hungry, I s'pose. Well, I'll see if
there's any more potatoes to spare.
Where's your folks?

JOHN HARPER
Ain't got none.

Woman leaves shot briefly (we HOLD on CHILDREN) She re-enters
and goes to them with a bowl of steaming potatoes. They take
hands-ful, and make to eat.

TIRED FARM WOMAN
Go 'way; go 'way.

They turn away and walk towards boat. She looks after them.

TIRED FARM WOMAN
Such times, when youngins run the
roads!

She leaves the SHOT. We frame them briefly, walking away,
then;

DISSOLVE TO:

CLOSE SHOT -- A PLACARD -- NIGHT

It is lit by firelight. It reads:

PEACH-PICKERS WANTED WEEKLY HIRE

PREACHER'S VOICE
(o.s.)
An ungrateful child is an
abomination...

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

GROUP SHOT -- PREACHER AND MEN

PREACHER stands behind the flames; in FOREGROUND an OLD MAN
sits profiled on a box. Other workers, all men, sit around
fire.

PREACHER
(continuing)
...before the eyes of God. The world
is fast going to damnation because
of impudent youngins a-flyin' in the
face of Age.

Short silence, as the other men look at PREACHER without
liking. Then the old man spits into the fire.

CLOSE SHOT -- THE FLAMES

A spurt of steam as spit strikes.

CLOSE SHOT -- A HOOT OWL

...hooting.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

CLOSE SHOT -- A TURTLE -- NOONDAY

He comes down to water.

JOHN'S VOICE
(o.s.)
They make soup out of them...

LONG SHOT -- THE CHILDREN IN PASSING SKIFF

Full landscape in BACKGROUND.

JOHN HARPER
(continuing)
...but I wouldn't know how to go
about gettin' him open.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

LONG SHOT -- CHILDREN AND SKIFF, OVER RABBITS IN GRASS

We shoot OVER two sitting rabbits as they watch, their ears
up. The skiff passes. PEARL plays with doll JOHN unsnarls
line.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

FULL SHOT -- THE CHILDREN AND SKIFF, FRAMED BY WILLOWS --
TWILIGHT

The skiff passes. Baa-ing of sheep o.s.

MOVING SHOT -- FROM RIVER -- A SHEEP

The sheep bleats. We PAN in a big barn near the river, then
a lighted house; willows along shore.

FULL SHOT -- THE SKIFF -- FROM THE BANK

JOHN re-sets his oar. They angle towards us for the shore.

JOHN HARPER
We're gonna spend a night on land.

UP-SHOT -- THE CHILDREN, OVER THE MOORED SKIFF

...they reach top of the bank. Corner of barn and lighted
window in BACKGROUND. Sounds of mouth-organ and girl singing
o.s.

FULL SHOT -- A LIGHTED WINDOW, THE SHADE DRAWN

A wire bird-cage hangs close to the shade, silhouetted. On
the perch, a canary. Lullaby and mouth-organ continue o. s.
After a moment the CHILDREN enter, backs to us, and stop,
looking.

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- THE CHILDREN

Window-light on faces, song over. A moment.

PEARL HARPER
Are we goin' home, John?

JOHN HARPER
Ssh...

He turns, her hand in his. We PAN as they tiptoe towards the
big, open door of barn; big open hayloft window above.

INT. ROOM -- LOW TRACKING SHOT -- THE CHILDREN

As they walk down aisle of barn we shoot them past bellies
and legs of row of cows. Sounds of munching and soft lowing
o.s. JOHN helps PEARL up a little ladder to the hayloft.

MEDIUM SHOT -- THE CHILDREN, WINDOW -- TWILIGHT

...as the CHILDREN bed down in hay, only legs visible,
protruding into frame of window, which frames a middle-distant
white lane beyond house, and a landscape. Whippoorwill o.s.
A DARKENING OF LIGHT.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

SAME SET-UP

The full moon is half-risen. Whippoorwill o.s.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

SAME SET-UP

The moon is well above the horizon. Whippoorwill o.s.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

SAME SET-UP

The moon is still higher. A pause; the whippoorwill stops in
mid-phrase. Brief pause; then John sits up into silhouette.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

He listens intently. We hear nothing. His eyes alter. We
hear, distantly

PREACHER'S VOICE
(o.s., singing)
Leaning, Leaning...

At various distances o.s., we hear dogs barking at the sound
of the singing.

PREACHER'S VOICE
(continuing; louder)
...safe and secure from all alarms;

The dog from the farm rushes braying to his gate. Other dogs
continue o.s. PREACHER appears, astride his walking horse,
singing.

PREACHER
Leaning...

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

Watching; dread and despair. Sounds go.

PREACHER
(o.s.)
Leaning; Leaning on the Everlasting
Arms.

FULL SHOT -- PREACHER

He approaches and crosses center screen, continuing the hymn.
(We do not PAN with him; he crosses the frame of the great
window.)

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

Eyes following PREACHER. PREACHER and dogs continue o.s.

JOHN HARPER
(to himself)
Don't you never sleep?

FULL SHOT -- PREACHER

He vanishes beyond trees, his singing more distant. Dogs
continue.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN AND PEARL -- NEW ANGLE

He wakes her. PREACHER'S singing o.s.

JOHN HARPER
(scared whisper)
Pearl, wake up! Come on, Pearl!

FULL SHOT -- PREACHER

He vanishes; scuttling of children in hay, o.s.; dogs quiet;
his song dies. Brief silence. The whippoorwill resumes.

MEDIUM LONG SHOT -- THE CHILDREN, NEAR BARN

Hand in hand, they hurry out of barn and, as we PAN, along
its side, towards River, o.s. Whippoorwill o.s.

FULL SHOT -- A BRIGHT FULL MOON

The whippoorwill's singing continues o.s.

FULL SHOT -- CHILDREN AND SKIFF

JOHN steers through turbulent, moonlit water. Whippoorwill
continues. Low moon.

CLOSE SHOT -- A FOX, BARKING CLOSE DOWN-SHOT -- CHILDREN
ASLEEP IN SKIFF (TANK)

Blank, calm water; the skiff enters and passes full length
below us, the CHILDREN asleep in it; blank water again; again
the fox barks.

MEDIUM SHOT -- THE SKIFF, DRIFTING SHOT THROUGH RIVERSIDE
GRASS

Crickets o.s. The skiff nears a sand-bar.

INSERT -- THE PROW, GROUNDING

The prow softly grates against sand.

MEDIUM SHOT -- THE GROUNDED SKIFF, AGAIN THROUGH GRASS

Crickets fainter. TILTING UPWARD.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

FULL SHOT -- THE STARLIT SKY

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

FULL SHOT -- RIVER LANDSCAPE -- SUNRISE

Distant; medium; the near; roosters crow o.s.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN WAKING

He looks to PEARL o.s.

FULL SHOT -- PEARL, THEN RACHEL, OVER JOHN

PEARL is picking daisies. A fence up beyond her. Beyond the
fence, a woman, RACHEL COOPER, appears. She carries a berry-
basket on her arm. JOHN scrambles up, grabs an oar, and holds
it defensively. PEARL freezes.

RACHEL COOPER
(loud)
You two youngsters get up here to me
this instant!

TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND PEARL -- RACHEL'S ANGLE

RACHEL COOPER
(o.s.)
Mind me now!

JOHN lowers the oar at the female authority in her voice.

RACHEL COOPER
(o.s.)
Now git on up to my house.

They hesitate.

THREE-SHOT -- OVER JOHN

RACHEL COOPER
I'll git me a willow switch.

They still hesitate. She breaks off a switch and comes for
them, squishing through the mud. She surrounds them and drives
them like geese up the bank.

LOW FULL SHOT -- THE THREE, FROM SIDE

They move across the meadow like a nursery frieze. She tweaks
with her switch. As she goes near PEARL'S calves, JOHN turns.

JOHN HARPER
Don't you hurt her!

RACHEL COOPER
Hurt her nothin'! Wash her's more
like it!
(hand to mouth, yelling)
Ruby!

FULL SHOT -- A TOMATO PATCH

Three crouching figures pick tomatoes beyond a low white
fence; Rachel's house in background. RUBY, thirteen, pops
her head up like a rifle-target.

RACHEL COOPER
(o.s.)
Clary!

Clary, eleven, pops up.

RACHEL COOPER
(o.s.)
Mary!

Mary, four, pops up.

THE GIRLS
(in chorus)
Yes Miz Cooper!

GROUP SHOT -- RACHEL AND HARPERS, MOVING TOWARDS FENCE

She has JOHN and PEARL by their napes.

RACHEL COOPER
Bring yer baskets.

The three girls enter, their backs to us, carrying baskets
of tomatoes.

GROUP SHOT -- THE GIRLS, OVER RACHEL AND HARPER CHILDREN

She holds JOHN and PEARL very firmly, inspecting baskets,
across gate of fence.

RACHEL COOPER
Nicely picked, Clary. Mary; put the
big ones on top. Ruby, most o' them
ain't fit to go to market. Put them
baskets down. Ruby, fetch the washtub
and put it by the pump. Mary, Clary,
fetch me a bar o' laundry soap and
the scrub brush.

GIRLS
(in chorus)
Yes Miz Cooper!

They hurry off.

RACHEL COOPER
Come on, now; up to the house.

She opens the gate, pushes the Harper children through, shuts
the gate, and walks between them, her back to us. The children
hesitate. She turns to them and stops.

THREE-SHOT -- THE CHILDREN, OVER RACHEL

She looks them up and down. If we saw her face, her lips
would be pursed and working with anger.

RACHEL COOPER
Gracious! If you hain't a sight to
beat all! Where you from?

No answer; their eyes are wide with curiosity.

RACHEL COOPER
Where's your folks?

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

RACHEL COOPER
(o.s.)
Speak up now!

His eyes go down to her feet. He, and we, start to examine
her from foot to head; for this is our heroine at last.

CLOSE TILTING SHOT -- RACHEL

...from JOHN'S eye-level. We TILT SLOWLY UP her height. She
wears man's shoes, heavy with mud; a rough skirt; a shapeless
sweater hangs over her shoulders; she is in her middle sixties
and wears a man's old hat. Her face says:

RACHEL COOPER
(sort of roughly)
Gracious! So I've got two more mouths
to feed!

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

For no reason at all he feels he has come home.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

GROUP SHOT -- JOHN, PEARL, RACHEL, RUBY, DURING WASHING

RACHEL mercilessly scrubs JOHN; JOHN doesn't like it; RUBY
washes PEARL with a cloth.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

Hating the scrubbing. He breaks away.

FULL SHOT -- JOHN AND RACHEL

JOHN dodges behind a bush, RACHEL in hot pursuit.

CLOSE SHOT -- THE BUSH; RACHEL

RACHEL'S head bobs up and down above the bush; we hear the
unmistakable sound of a female hand on a child's bottom.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

FULL SHOT -- A SHELF, FULL OF MARKET BASKETS, NEATLY COVERED
WITH DAMP MUSLIN

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

FULL SHOT -- THE CARRIED BASKETS, IN MOTION

EXT. MOUNDSVILLE STREET -- TRACKING SHOT -- RACHEL AND HER
BROOD

All carry baskets. RACHEL charges along at the head of the
procession. A CATTLE DEALER strolls the other way.

CATTLE DEALER
Howdy Miz Cooper -- you goin' to
sell me yer hog this year?

RACHEL doesn't stop walking.

RACHEL COOPER
With the price o' pork what it is?

CLOSE TRACKING SHOT -- RACHEL

She keeps walking.

RACHEL COOPER
(talking to herself)
I'm butcherin' my hog myself, smokin'
the hams, and cannin' the sausage.
(she calls to children
over her shoulder)
You-all have your work cut out!

CLOSE TRACKING TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND CLARY IN MID-PROCESSION

JOHN HARPER
She talks to herself.

CLARY
All the time.

JOHN HARPER
Your Maw's funny.

CLARY
She ain't our Maw. We just live at
her house.

They walk in silence.

JOHN HARPER
Where's your folks?

CLARY
Some place.

MARY
My Daddy's in Dee-troit.

JOHN HARPER
(to Ruby)
Who's your folks?

RUBY
I dunno.

FULL SHOT -- THE STREET

A WAITRESS, wearing an apron labeled EMPIRE EATS, hurries
across the street towards the GROUP. We PAN her in to MARY.
The procession halts briefly. She embraces MARY.

WAITRESS
Mary! Honey! Mornin' Miz Cooper.
(to Mary)
Guess what! I'm savin' up to buy ye
a charm bracelet!

CLOSE SHOT -- RACHEL

RACHEL COOPER
Never mind the gewgaws; don't you
miss your visit this Sunday; and
come to Church with us.

FULL STREET SHOT

The WAITRESS hurries away. She dodges past a car.

WAITRESS
See ye Sunday, love!

CLOSE SHOT -- RACHEL

she follows WAITRESS, then LOVERS in car, with her eyes.

FULL STREET SHOT

The car CENTERS, held up in traffic; two lovers in it, sitting
close.

CLOSE SHOT -- RACHEL

She takes in the LOVERS.

RACHEL COOPER
Women is durn fools! All of 'em!

She sighs, angry at all women, herself included, and turns
away. We are at the door of a GROCERY STORE. The GROCER is
on his doorstep.

FULL SHOT -- GROUP AND GROCERY

RACHEL COOPER
(to children)
Take yer baskets in.

The CHILDREN file in past her and GROCER.

RACHEL COOPER
(to Grocer)
Looky there.
(she indicates the
lovers)
She'll be losin' her mind to a tricky
mouth and a full moon, and like as
not I'll be saddled with the
consequences.

She starts into store with the GROCER.

INT. STORE -- GROUP SHOT -- RACHEL, GROCER, CHILDREN

RACHEL and GROCER come up to counter.

RACHEL COOPER
(continuing; she takes
a list from her bosom
and gives it to Grocer)
Here's what you owe me.
(she counts baskets)
One, two, three, four, five... where's
the other basket? Where's Ruby?

CLARY
She went.

RACHEL COOPER
John: you go fetch Ruby.
(John goes. As Grocer
empties baskets and
tots up, Rachel
continues:)
Big Ruby's my problem girl. She can't
gather eggs without bustin' 'em; but
Ruby's got mother hands with a
youngin, so what're you to say?

EXT. DRUG STORE -- FULL SHOT -- RUBY

She stands with her market-basket, reacting to wolf whistles
o.s.; she is seeking the world.

THREE-SHOT -- RUBY, OVER TWO YOUNG LOAFERS

1ST LOAFER
How 'bout tonight, Ruby?

RUBY gestures RACHEL'S nearness.

2ND LOAFER
(to 1st)
What gives?

1ST LOAFER
The Old Lady's around.
(to Ruby)
How 'bout Thursday?

RUBY nods.

1ST LOAFER
(to 2nd)
The old gal thinks she comes in fer
sewin' lessons o'-Thursday.

FULL SHOT -- RUBY; JOHN IN BACKGROUND

JOHN HARPER
(calling)
Miz Cooper wants you.

He turns and goes; RUBY, with an eye to 1ST LOAFER, turns
and follows.

INT. GROCERY STORE -- GROUP SHOT -- CENTERING RACHEL

GROCER
(to Pearl)
And will you show me your dolly,
little lady?

JOHN has entered in BACKGROUND. PEARL holds the doll to her,
and JOHN moves in quietly to her side. They stand together,
as so often before.

GROCER
See ye got two more peeps to your
brood.

RACHEL COOPER
Yeah, and ornerier than the rest.

GROCER
How's your own boy, Miz Cooper?

RACHEL COOPER
Ain't heard from Ralph since last
Christmas. Don't matter -- I've got
a new crop.
(she laughs. Loudly)
I'm a strong tree with branches for
many birds. I'm good for something
in this old world and I know it,
too! We know that she will rout the
Devil.

GROCER
(a good tradesman)
Got a good buy in soap, Miz Cooper.

RACHEL COOPER
(triumphant)
Don't need no soap. I'm boilin' down
the fat from my hog.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. RACHEL'S SCREENED PORCH -- EVENING -- GROUP SHOT --
RACHEL, GIRLS, JOHN ASIDE

CENTERING RACHEL as she takes a book from table, and the
GIRLS MOVE to set at her seat, and JOHN stands to one side.
RACHEL glances at him.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

He looks suspiciously to the Book in her hands, for to him
it has come to mean only Preacher.

INSERT -- THE BIBLE

...as she opens it on her lap o.s. we hear a screen door
open.

GROUP SHOT -- RACHEL, CHILDREN, JOHN IN BACKGROUND

We see the door closing as JOHN goes out. The girls sit on
low stools in semi-circle at RACHEL'S feet. We CENTER RACHEL.
RACHEL, keenly aware of JOHN, pretends to ignore him. JOHN
crosses behind her and stands with his back to us. We see
the back of his head through the screen. RACHEL, changing
her mind about what story to tell, finds the new page she's
after, and spreads her hands flat on the pages. She never
glances at the text. She is fishing for JOHN.

RACHEL COOPER
Now old Pharoah, he was the King of
Egyptland! And he had a daughter,
and once upon a time
(louder)
she was walkin' along the river bank
and she seen somethin' bumpin' and
scrapin' along down on a sandbar
under the willows.

CLOSE SHOT -- THE BACK OF JOHN'S HEAD, IMMOBILE

RACHEL COOPER
(o.s.)
And do you know what it was, children?

RESUME GROUP SHOT

RUBY, CLARY, MARY
(excited)
No!

PEARL HARPER
No!

RACHEL COOPER
(still loud)
Well, now, it was a skiff, washed up
on the bar. And who do you reckon
was in it?

RUBY
(confidently)
Pearl and John!

RACHEL COOPER
(still loud)
Not this time! It was just one youngin --
a little boy babe. And do you know
who he was, children?

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN'S HEAD

...as he turns around.

RUBY, MARY, CLARY, PEARL
(o.s. in unison)
No!

RESUME GROUP SHOT

RACHEL closes the Bible; she knows the Lord's battle is won.
As she continues, she puts aside the book and takes up her
mending.

RACHEL COOPER
(very quietly)
It was Moses! -- A King of men, Moses,
children. Now. Off to bed. Hurry.

On "off to bed," JOHN turns his back again.

CLOSE SHOT -- RACHEL; JOHN IN BACKGROUND

She mends for a few moments.

RACHEL COOPER
(commandingly)
John, git me an apple.

JOHN crosses behind her and off, towards door. We hear it
open and close.

RACHEL COOPER
Git one for yourself, too.

MEDIUM SHOT -- JOHN

He approaches with two apples. We PAN him into a:

TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND RACHEL

He gives her an apple. She immediately takes a bite. He
doesn't bite his. She looks up at him from her apple.

RACHEL COOPER
(suddenly)
John, where's your folks?

JOHN HARPER
(plainly)
Dead.

RACHEL COOPER
Dead.
(she nods with finality)

JOHN starts to eat his apple.

RACHEL COOPER
Where ye from?

JOHN HARPER
Up river.

RACHEL COOPER
I didn't figger ye rowed that skiff
from Parkersburg!

JOHN makes a move; he slowly and tenderly reaches out his
hand and lays his fingers on her knuckles.

JOHN HARPER
Tell me that story again.

Our heroine would like to thank the Lord openly, but she
knows she must not show her feelings; she speaks gruffly --

RACHEL COOPER
Story, honey? Why, what story?

JOHN HARPER
About them Kings. That the Queen
found down on the sandbar in the
skiff that time.

RACHEL COOPER
Kings! Why, honey, there was only
one.

JOHN HARPER
I mind you said there was two.

RACHEL COOPER
Well, shoot! Maybe there was!

CLOSE SHOT -- RACHEL

Maybe we see -- though JOHN does not -- the thanksgiving in
her eyes.

RACHEL COOPER
Yes, come to think of it, there was
two, John.

o.s., in distance, we hear the whistle of a river boat.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. MOUNDSVILLE STREET -- EVENING -- MOVING SHOT -- RUBY

Her head and shoulders from behind as she walks down the
neon-lighted street; drugstore and loafers in b.g.; jazz
music o.s.

FULL SHOT -- RUBY, OVER DRUGSTORE LOAFERS

Our two loafers lounge on a bench. RUBY approaches.

2ND LOAFER
(to 1st)
Hey. Must be Thursday.

1ST LOAFER
Here we go.

He gets up and starts towards RUBY, who catches his eye.

RUBY, FROM BEHIND

She turns to a magazine stand and fingers a magazine, awaiting
LOAFER, who approaches in BACKGROUND.

INSERT -- RUBY'S HAND; MAGAZINES

They are lurid, tawdry fan and pin-up magazines.

PREACHER enters, between RUBY and LOAFER, and turns to RUBY
into CLOSE TWO-SHOT. LOAFER pauses in BACKGROUND.

PREACHER
You're Ruby, ain't you, my child?

RUBY
Can I have this?

PREACHER
Surely. I'd like to talk to you, my
dear.

RUBY
Will you buy me a choclit sody?

PREACHER
O' course.

LOAFERS
Watch out Preacher! Why, Preacher!

PREACHER
(sternly)
Shet yer dirty mouths!

CLOSE SHOT -- RUBY

She looks up at him admiringly; then to LOAFERS; back to
PREACHER.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

INT. DRUGSTORE -- CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- PREACHER AND RUBY

RUBY is finishing her soda.

RUBY
Ain't I purty?

This is a familiar clue to PREACHER.

PREACHER
Why, you're the purtiest girl I've
seen in all my wandering. Didn't
nobody never tell you that, Ruby?

RUBY
(hoarsely)
No. No one never did.

PREACHER
(moving in)
There's two new ones over at your
place, ain't there Ruby?

She nods.

PREACHER
What's their names?

RUBY
Pearl and John.

PREACHER
Ahhh.
(whispering)
And is there -- a doll?

RUBY
(nods)
Only she won't never let me play
with it.

PREACHER
Ahh!

He gets up and heads for door. RUBY, dismayed, hurries after
him.

PREACHER
(firmly)
Yes!

He strides through door, RUBY following.

THREE-SHOT -- PREACHER AND RUBY ON SIDEWALK, 2ND LOAFER IN
B.G. 1ST LOAFER HAS GONE

PREACHER comes out fast, RUBY touches his arm, he turns on
her. They are in CLOSE TWO-SHOT. RUBY goes on tiptoe. PREACHER
inclines his ear.

CLOSE SHOT -- RUBY

RUBY
Did you ever see such purty eyes in
all your born days?

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER INSERT -- PREACHER'S HAND

It slides into his knife pocket. We hear a click.

2ND LOAFER
(o.s.)
Don't let him git away, Sugar!

THREE-SHOT -- PREACHER AND RUBY, LOAFER IN B.G.

RUBY
He ain't like you-all! Next time I
won't even ask him to buy me a sody!

She turns to PREACHER, but PREACHER, on "next time," has
left the SHOT.

CLOSE SHOT -- RUBY

She looks after him, clasping the magazine under her chin.

FULL SHOT -- PREACHER

Her hero strides away into darkness.

CLOSE SHOT -- RUBY

Gazing after him.

RUBY
I been bad!

DISSOLVE TO:

CLOSE DOWN-SHOT -- THE MAGAZINE, OPEN, IN RACHEL'S LAP

WE PULL UP AND AWAY INTO:

TWO-SHOT -- RACHEL, SEATED; RUBY STANDING BESIDE HER

RACHEL COOPER
Ruby, you didn't have no money to
buy this.

RUBY
You'll whip me!

RACHEL COOPER
When did I ever?

RUBY
This man down at the Drugstore...

RACHEL COOPER
The Drugstore?

RUBY
Miz Cooper. I never went to sewin'
lessons all them times.

RACHEL COOPER
What you been up to?

RUBY
I been out with men.

RUBY collapses face down over RACHEL'S lap and sobs, as we
TRACK IN CLOSE.

RACHEL COOPER
Dear God, child!

Now RACHEL also weeps. She bends low over RUBY, stroking her
hair.

RACHEL COOPER
You was lookin' for love, Ruby, the
only foolish way you knowed how.
(she lifts Ruby's
face cheek to cheek
beside her own)
We all need love. Ruby, I lost the
love of my son -- I've found it with
you-all.

They weep together.

RACHEL COOPER
You must grow up to be a fine, full
woman; and I'm goin' to see to it
you do.

She starts making up RUBY'S hair like that of a young woman.

RUBY
This gentleman warn't like them! He
just give me a sody and the book.

RACHEL COOPER
Now who was this?

RUBY
He never asked me for nothin'.

RACHEL COOPER
He must have wanted somethin', Ruby.
A man don't waste time on a girl
unless he gets something.

RUBY shakes her head.

RACHEL COOPER
What'd you all talk about?

RUBY
Pearl and John.

RACHEL COOPER
John and Pearl!

RUBY nods.

RACHEL COOPER
Is he their Pap?

RUBY shrugs.

RACHEL COOPER
Why hasn't he been to the house?

DISSOLVE TO:

FULL SHOT -- PREACHER ON HORSE ON ROAD

FULL FIGURE SHOT -- RUBY

Seeing PREACHER, she drops two eggs.

RUBY
(shouting)
Miz Cooper!

RACHEL COOPER
(o.s. from within
house)
What?

RUBY
The man! The man!

TRACKING SHOT -- PREACHER

He tethers his horse and, as we PAN and TRACK on behind him,
walks to the bottom of the steps; RUBY moves into side of
SHOT: beyond PREACHER, RACHEL stands behind her screen door,
hands folded under apron.

PREACHER
Mornin', ladies.

FULL FIGURE SHOT -- RACHEL, BEHIND SCREEN

RACHEL COOPER
How'do.

FULL FIGURE SHOT -- PREACHER

RACHEL'S VIEWPOINT, through screen.

FULL FIGURE SHOT -- RACHEL, BEHIND SCREEN

PREACHER
You're Miz Cooper, I take it.

RACHEL COOPER
(coming through door)
It's about that John and that Pearl?

THREE-SHOT -- PREACHER, RACHEL, RUBY IN BACKGROUND

PREACHER'S face twitches with emotion. He breaks out into
great thankful sobs. He falls to his knees.

PREACHER
My little lambs! To think I never
hoped to see them again in this world!
Oh, dear Madam, if you was to know
what a thorny crown I have borne in
my search for these strayed chicks!

CLOSE SHOT -- RACHEL

She takes him in. He doesn't take her in.

THREE-SHOT -- AS BEFORE

RACHEL COOPER
Ruby, go fetch them kids.

RUBY minces off around the side of the house.

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER -- RACHEL'S ANGLE

He wipes off tears with the heel of his left hand, watching
her.

PREACHER
Ah, dear Madam, I see you're looking
at my hands!

CLOSE SHOT -- RACHEL

She is.

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER -- AS BEFORE

He holds up the right hand.

PREACHER
Shall I tell ye the little story of
Right-Hand-Left-Hand -- the tale of
Good and Evil?

CLOSE SHOT -- RACHEL

PREACHER
(o.s.)
It was with this left hand that old
brother Cain struck the blow that
laid his brother low --

RACHEL COOPER
(wanting to know)
Them kids is yours?

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

PREACHER
(recovering from the
interruption)
My flesh and blood!

CLOSE SHOT -- RACHEL

RACHEL COOPER
Where's your Missus?

TWO-SHOT -- PROFILING RACHEL AND PREACHER

PREACHER gets to his feet.

PREACHER
She run off with a drummer one night.
Durin' prayer-meetin'.

RACHEL COOPER
Where's she at?

PREACHER
Somewheres down river! Parkersburg,
mebbe! -- Cincinnati! -- One of them
Sodoms on the Ohio River.

RACHEL COOPER
She took them kids with her?

PREACHER
Heaven only knows what unholy sights
and sounds those innocent little
babes has heard in the dens of
perdition where she dragged them!

CLOSE SHOT -- RACHEL

RACHEL COOPER
Right funny, hain't it, how they
rowed all the way up river in a ten-
foot john-boat!

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

...recovering, and by-passing it.

PREACHER
Are they well?

He turns his head.

FULL SHOT -- RACHEL AND PREACHER, FROM SIDE

All the CHILDREN enter, around corner of house. As they move
in, RACHEL replies:

RACHEL COOPER
A sight better than they was.

By now JOHN is on the top step beside RACHEL. One of his
hands holds on to her skirt, as if he were pulling her towards
him. His eyes never leave hers. All the CHILDREN freeze,
PEARL is on ground, just beyond JOHN. Others in BACKGROUND;
RUBY as near PREACHER as she can get.

PREACHER
Gracious, gracious! You are a good
woman, Miz Cooper!

RACHEL COOPER
How you figgerin' to raise them two
without a woman?

PREACHER
The Lord will provide.

PEARL, with a wail of happiness, drops the DOLL on the step
and runs to PREACHER, who picks her up. JOHN instantly picks
up the DOLL and holds it to him. He looks up at RACHEL.

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND RACHEL

JOHN looks deep into RACHEL'S eyes.

PREACHER
(o.s.)
The Lord is merciful! What a day is
this! -- And there's little John!

RACHEL COOPER
What's wrong, John?

JOHN HARPER
Nothin'.
(he smiles)

PREACHER
(o.s.)
Come to me, boy!

RACHEL COOPER
What's wrong, John?

TWO-SHOT -- PREACHER AND PEARL

PREACHER
Didn't you hear me, boy?

TWO-SHOT -- JOHN AND RACHEL

RACHEL bends a little over him. She wants the situation
clarified.

RACHEL COOPER
John, when your Dad says 'come', you
should mind him.

JOHN HARPER
He ain't my Dad.

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- RACHEL

She takes this in; JOHN has sold her. She looks to PREACHER
o.s.

RACHEL COOPER
He ain't no Preacher neither. I've
seen Preachers in my time, an' some
of 'em was saints on earth. A few
was crookeder'n a dog's hind leg,
but this 'un's got 'em all beat for
badness.

She starts to turn.

GROUP SHOT

She walks purposefully into the house. PREACHER lunges for
JOHN and the DOLL.

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- PREACHER AND JOHN

JOHN ducks under the porch and PREACHER tries to follow him.
He can't get under. o.s. we hear the slam of the screen door.
PREACHER'S head comes up to see and we TILT UP, shooting
OVER the back of his head. RACHEL stands there, full figure,
with a pump-gun.

RACHEL COOPER
Just march yourself yonder to your
horse, Mister.

Back of PREACHER'S head is still immobile.

RACHEL COOPER
March, Mister! I'm not foolin'.

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER, OVER GUN-BARREL

PREACHER gets to his feet. The open knife is in his hand. As
we see it, the gun-barrel twitches. PREACHER backs away
towards his horse, bouncing the knife lightly in his hand.

PREACHER
(screaming)
You ain't done with Harry Powell
yet! The Lord God Jehovah will guide
my hand in vengeance! You devils!
You Whores of Babylon! I'll come
back when it's dark!

As he mounts his horse we

DISSOLVE TO:

FULL SHOT -- RACHEL'S HOUSE -- NIGHT

It is dark. o.s. we hear PREACHER singing Leaning.

FULL FIGURE SHOT -- RACHEL

She sits in profile, her gun across her knees. Song continues
o.s.

FULL SHOT -- THE CHILDREN, ASLEEP

...in a big bed. RUBY sits up, listening to song o.s.

FULL FIGURE SHOT -- RACHEL, AS BEFORE

Song continues o.s. We PAN to PREACHER outside. We see him
through window. He sits hunched on a stump.

FULL SHOT -- THE HOUSE, OVER PREACHER

He continues singing.

HEAD PROFILE -- RACHEL

After a moment we see her mouth open; and either to comfort
herself or to drown out PREACHER'S voice, she joins in the
hymn.

FULL SHOT -- THE HOUSE -- AS IN OPENING SHOT

A descending candle moves past a window; RACHEL and PREACHER
sing o.s.

FULL SHOT -- PREACHER ON STUMP

...over back of RACHEL'S head. The song ends. RUBY enters
SHOT carrying a candle. Its light blacks out the window-glass.
RACHEL looks up.

RACHEL COOPER
Moonin' around the house over that
mad dog of a Preacher! Shame, Ruby!

She blows out the candle. We see through the window. PREACHER
has gone.

CLOSE SHOT -- RACHEL

RACHEL COOPER
Merciful Heaven!

She stands up.

CLOSE TWO-SHOT -- RACHEL AND RUBY

RACHEL COOPER
Ruby, get the children out of bed.
Bring them all down here to the
kitchen.

RUBY leaves the SHOT. RACHEL moves towards window. She puts
her hand over her eyes.

RACHEL COOPER
Women is such fools!

The soft hoot of an owl o.s. RACHEL looks up.

CLOSE SHOT -- AN OWL ON A BRANCH, LOOKING DOWN CLOSE SHOT --
A BABY RABBIT CLOSE SHOT -- THE OWL SPREADS HIS WINGS AND
SWOOPS CLOSE SHOT -- RACHEL

Still for a second; then o.s., the scream of a rabbit.

RACHEL COOPER
It's a hard world for little things.

OVER this line we have heard the patter of feet down
staircase. She turns.

GROUP SHOT -- THE CHILDREN

They look at her with complete trust.

GROUP SHOT -- RACHEL, OVER CHILDREN

RACHEL COOPER
(snapping)
Children, I got lonesome. I figgered
we might play games.

PEARL and MARY jump up and down, patting their palms. RACHEL
extends her hands and they gather close to her.

PEARL HARPER
Won't you tell us a story?

CLOSE SHOT -- RACHEL

RACHEL COOPER
I might
(a swift furious glance
into the moonlight)
I might tell a story.

She sits down, the gun across her knees.

GROUP SHOT -- RACHEL AND CHILDREN

...as MARY and PEARL sit at her feet. RUBY stands beside
RACHEL. JOHN stands near RACHEL.

CLARY
I'll light the lamp.

RACHEL COOPER
It's more fun hearin' stories in the
dark.

CLARY sits at RACHEL'S feet.

CLOSE PANNING SHOT -- JOHN

He is alert now. He moves in close beside RACHEL, whom we
PAN into CLOSE TWO-SHOT with him, and presses the whole of
his right arm against her arm. RACHEL registers quietly.

CLOSE GROUP SHOT -- RACHEL AND CHILDREN

RACHEL COOPER
Well... mind what I told you about
little Jesus and his Ma and Pa and
how there was No Room at the Inn?

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- RACHEL

Her eyes, sharp and glittering, look outside.

FULL SHOT -- THE OUTSIDE, FEATURING EMPTY STUMP, RACHEL'S
VIEWPOINT

GROUP SHOT -- RACHEL AND CHILDREN

She gets up with gun; we PULL AWAY; in BACKGROUND, CHILDREN
turn faces to keep watching her. She comes close to window,
gun ready, CHILDREN in BACKGROUND

RACHEL COOPER
Well now, there was this sneakin',
no-'count, ornery King Herod!

She turns round and walks back to her chair; CHILDREN'S eyes
always on her.

RACHEL COOPER
And he heard tell of this little
King Jesus growin' up and old Herod
figgered: Well, shoot! There sure
won't be no room for the both of us!
(she sits down)
I'll just nip this in the bud.

GROUP SHOT -- RACHEL AND CHILDREN, FROM SIDE

RACHEL COOPER
(continuing)
Well, he never knowed for sure which
one of all them babies of the land
was King Jesus.

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- RACHEL

Her eyes glittering as she turns to look towards us.

RESUME SIDE GROUP SHOT

RACHEL gets up, with gun. Again we PULL AWAY, as faces of
all CHILDREN in b.g. turn to watch her.

RACHEL COOPER
And so that cursed old King Herod
figgered if he was to kill all the
babies in the land, he'd be sure to
get little Jesus.

Without speaking, she goes back to her chair.

FRONT GROUP SHOT

RACHEL COOPER
(more relaxed)
And when little King Jesus' Ma and
Pa heard about that plan, what do
you reckon they went and done?

CLARY
They hid in a broom closet!

MARY
They hid under the porch!

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- JOHN

JOHN HARPER
No; they went a-runnin'.

TWO-SHOT -- RACHEL AND JOHN

RACHEL COOPER
Well now, John, that's just what
they done! They went a-runnin!

The clock starts striking three. RACHEL looks to sound o.s.

FULL SHOT -- CLOCK AND HALL MIRROR, BEYOND DARK KITCHEN

In the mirror, a shadow ducks.

FULL GROUP SHOT -- RACHEL AND CHILDREN

RACHEL gets up, gun at port, and faces into the darkness.

PREACHER
(o.s.)
Figured I was gone, eh?

Eyes on the darkness, she bends low to the CHILDREN.

RACHEL COOPER
(whispering)
Run hide in the staircase! Run quick!

They scatter out of shot; RUBY lingers.

RACHEL COOPER
(without turning to
her)
Ruby, git.

RUBY obeys in a trance. RACHEL, gun at ready, looks into the
darkness.

FULL SCREEN -- DARKNESS

Pause.

RACHEL COOPER
(o.s.; in a high,
steady voice)
What do you want?

PREACHER
(o.s.)
Them kids!

RACHEL COOPER
(o.s.)
What are you after them for?

PREACHER
(o.s.)
None of your business, Madam.

RACHEL COOPER
I'm givin' you to the count of three
to get out that screen door; then
I'm a-comin' across this kitchen
shootin'!

A stepped-on cat screams o.s. and PREACHER'S satanic face,
and his hand lifting the open knife, rise swiftly from floor.

FULL FIGURE SHOT -- RACHEL -- SAME SHOT AS BEFORE

She fires off her gun.

FULL SHOT -- SCREEN DOOR

PREACHER staggers out and runs yelping with pain into the
barn. o.s. we hear the zing-zing of a country phone being
cranked.

GROUP SHOT -- RACHEL, OVER BACKS OF CHILDREN'S HEADS

They huddle on the stairs in reverent silence. RACHEL, her
gun slung sportily under one arm, talks into wall phone which
hangs just within the box stairway.

RACHEL COOPER
Miz Booher? Rachel Cooper. Git them
State Troopers out to my place. I
done treed somep'n up in my barn.

DISSOLVE TO:

FULL SHOT -- RACHEL AND JOHN

RACHEL sits on the screened porch, awake, gun on knees. JOHN
sits on floor, asleep, his head leaning against her. Barn in
BACKGROUND. Sunrise.

CLOSE SHOT -- RACHEL AND JOHN

Same position. JOHN awakes.

JOHN HARPER
I'll see to Pearl.

RACHEL COOPER
I'll make coffee.

They get up and start into kitchen.

GROUP SHOT -- THE CHILDREN, OVER RACHEL AND JOHN

They lie huddled in calm sleep. JOHN and RACHEL watch a
moment.

JOHN HARPER
She's all right.

They start for the stove.

TWO-SHOT -- RACHEL AND JOHN, AROUND STOVE

RACHEL puts her gun beside the stove, ready to hand, and
picks up a coffee-pot; JOHN puts kindling in stove.

RACHEL COOPER
John, you know? When you're little
you have more endurance than God is
ever to grant you again? Children
are Man at his strongest. They abide.

JOHN looks at her a moment. o.s. we hear police car sirens.
They look towards the sound.

FULL SHOT -- THROUGH POLICE CAR WINDSHIELD

We SHOOT OVER two TROOPERS. Sirens loud, they rapidly approach
RACHEL'S house as RACHEL, without gun, holding JOHN'S hand,
comes down to fence. Presently, the other CHILDREN hurry out
of house behind. The car brakes.

FULL SHOT -- RACHEL AND CHILDREN OVER TWO POLICE CARS --
BARN IN BACKGROUND

The TROOPERS, fanning wide, advance towards barn. RACHEL and
the CHILDREN are grouped a short distance behind them. The
barn door gapes black. Short pause; then PREACHER appears.

A TROOPER
(shouting)
Is that him, Ma'am?

RACHEL COOPER
(shouting)
Yes! Mind where you shoot, boys!
There's children here!

TROOPER
Whyn't you call us up before?

RACHEL COOPER
Didn't want yer big feet trackin' up
my clean floors.

CLOSE SHOT -- PREACHER

He stands, swaying; his left arm is bloody and helpless. In
his right hand the open knife hangs apathetic. His eyes are
glazed. He does not seem to care whether they come or not.

TROOPER'S VOICE
(o.s.)
Harry Powell, you're under arrest
for the murder of Willa Harper!

MEDIUM SHOT -- PREACHER AND TROOPERS -- JOHN'S VIEWPOINT

TROOPERS close in on PREACHER, from before and behind, exactly
as for BEN'S arrest.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

The same sickly look, as at BEN'S arrest.

MEDIUM SHOT -- PREACHER AND TROOPERS -- JOHN'S VIEWPOINT

One TROOPER smacks the back of PREACHER'S head with a pistol-
barrel.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

JOHN HARPER
(shouting)
Don't!

RESUME VIEWPOINT SHOT

Another TROOPER, with a pistol barrel, knocks the knife from
PREACHER'S lifted hand.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

JOHN HARPER
(shouting)
Don't!

RESUME VIEWPOINT SHOT

PREACHER sinks to his knees as both men, and two others from
the front, close in on him. The tableau is the same as in
BEN'S arrest.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

JOHN HARPER
(shouting)
Dad!

FRONT GROUP SHOT -- RACHEL AND CHILDREN

JOHN grabs the DOLL from PEARL and starts to run.

RACHEL COOPER
John! John!

She starts after him.

FULL SHOT -- TROOPERS, JOHN, RACHEL, OVER PREACHER

PREACHER prostrate along bottom of screen. TROOPERS are
beating him. JOHN runs up from BACKGROUND followed by RACHEL.
JOHN rushes among the TROOPERS, flogging PREACHER over the
head with the DOLL. The TROOPERS, astounded, lay off. RACHEL
is stopped in her tracks.

JOHN HARPER
Here! Here! Take it back! I can't
stand it, Dad! It's too much, Dad! I
don't want it! I can't do it! Here!
Here!

The DOLL has burst open and the money has spilled over
PREACHER. Now two TROOPERS gently lift JOHN away. RACHEL
lifts him in her arms; she turns towards house.

FULL FIGURE PULL SHOT -- RACHEL AND JOHN -- GROUP IN
BACKGROUND

She carries JOHN towards the house. His head hangs back over
her arm. We hear his dry, exhausted sobs.

INT. COURTROOM -- DAY -- CLOSE SHOT -- ICEY

ICEY SPOON
(yelling)
Lynch him! Lynch him!

TWO-SHOT -- WALT AND ICEY

ICEY SPOON
(yelling)
Bluebeard!

WALT
(yelling at all the
men around him)
Twenty-five wives!

ICEY SPOON
And he killed every last one of 'em!

GROUP SHOT -- WALT, ICEY, MEMBERS OF COURTROOM AUDIENCE

Perhaps ten faces. Most are frenetic. Our two LOAFERS are
having fun. General hubbub o.s. A gavel o.s.

ICEY SPOON
(yelling)
If the People of Marshall County...

LOAFERS
(cynically, across
her)
Bluebeard! Bluebeard!

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

He looks to sound of gavel. The hubbub and the gaveling stop.

LAWYER
(o.s.)
Will you identify the prisoner?

JOHN looks over his shoulder in same direction as the gavel.

LAWYER
(o.s.)
Please, little lad. Won't you look
yonder...
(his pointing finger
enters the shot.
John shakes as if he
had a cold)
...and tell the Court if that is the
man who killed your mother?

JOHN looks at the finger. Short pause.

LAWYER
(o.s.)
It's all right, Mrs. Cooper. You can
take the little fellow away.

The LAWYER'S hands gently help him from chair.

GROUP SHOT -- RACHEL AND CHILDREN

...as LAWYER'S hands consign JOHN to RACHEL.

LAWYER
Merry Christmas to you and yours,
Mrs. Cooper.

The CHILDREN bob and reply, ad lib, "Merry Christmas to you."
RACHEL sniffs.

LAWYER
(o.s.)
And what's Santy Claus going to bring
you, little man?

Above JOHN'S head, by winding and holding to ear, RACHEL
pantomimes a watch.

LAWYER
(o.s.)
O-ho-oo-o!

ICEY SPOON
(o.s.)
Them is the ones he sinned against,
my friends!

Gaveling starts.

LOAFER
(o.s.)
Bluebeard! Bluebeard!

CROWD
(o.s.)
Bluebeard! Bluebeard!

As RACHEL and CHILDREN turn to go, gaveling and hubbub fade
and we

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

INT. A CAFE -- NIGHT

RACHEL and her CHILDREN sit in two booths, in a corner, next
to a big front window. Christmas parcels on bench at RACHEL'S
right.

FULL SHOT -- RACHEL AND HER GROUP, THEN CAFE AND WINDOW

Sound o.s. of approaching crowd. As we PULL BACK we bring in
a few other customers and the big window. There are Christmas
decorations in the cafe and the street outside is hung with
them. Thirty feverish people, some of whom carry torches,
enter the scene; ICEY stares in the window and screams.

ICEY SPOON
(high-pitched)
Them's hers!

Everyone in the cafe stands up. RACHEL gathers her parcels.
ICEY rushes to door and opens it.

ICEY SPOON
Them's her orphans!

She turns to crowd.

RACHEL COOPER
Where's Ruby?

CLARY
She went.

ICEY shouts into the cafe.

ICEY SPOON
Them poor little lambs!

ICEY turns to the street mob. RACHEL hurries her CHILDREN to
door.

ICEY leaves door to yell at mob.

ICEY SPOON
Them's the ones he sinned against,
my friends!

CASHIER
(across Icey)
Go out the back way, Miz Cooper.

As RACHEL leaves SHOT, the CASHIER shuts and locks the door.

EXT. BACK ALLEY -- NIGHT -- PANNING SHOT -- RACHEL AND
COMPANY EMERGING FROM DOOR

MARY and CLARY come out first and start walking to our left.
RACHEL comes out and hurries off to our right, followed by
JOHN, holding PEARL'S hand.

We PAN to MARY and CLARY.

CLARY
Ain't we goin' to the Bus Depot?

No answer. They turn and we PAN with them as they hurry after
RACHEL, and we bring in RACHEL, charging away from us with
her brood hustling to keep up.

GROUP SHOT -- FEATURING WALT AND ICEY

ICEY carries a torch. She is flanked by rabid faces and by
smiling LOAFERS, one of whom carries an axe. As she speaks,
a MAN rushes up to WALT and gives him a rope.

ICEY SPOON
(shouting; high-pitched)
Draggin' the name of the Lord through
the evil mud of his soul!

WALT
(bellowing)
Come on!

They all start marching, in step.

PANNING SHOT -- RACHEL AND CHILDREN

Marching and voices o.s. and in BACKGROUND.

Carrying Christmas parcels, they hurry alongside a building
and, at CENTER of PAN, cross the end of a street.

The MOB marches down the street TOWARDS CAMERA; Men run to
join it.

ICEY SPOON
(high-pitched)
He lied!

WALT
Tricked us!

ICEY SPOON
He taken the Lord's name in vain and
he trampled on His Holy Book!

WALT
String that Bluebeard up to a pole!

ICEY SPOON
He's Satan hiding behind the Cross!

OTHERS
(ad lib)
Lynch him! String him up!

We PAN RACHEL and CHILDREN past this street and they hurry
towards RUBY, who stands alone in BACKGROUND, facing the
jail.

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- RUBY'S ECSTATIC FACE

In BACKGROUND, RACHEL and CHILDREN hurry towards her. MOB
noise o.s. Hearing the approach of RACHEL'S GROUP, RUBY turns
the back of her head towards us. Now there are no mob voices;
only the ominous sound of fifty-odd people marching in step.

RUBY
I love him!

TRACKING SHOT -- RUBY

Ominous silence.

RUBY
He loves me because I'm so purty!
You think he's like them others!

SIDE TRACKING SHOT -- RUBY, RACHEL AND GROUP

Marching sound o.s.

RACHEL firmly takes RUBY'S arm and drags her off in our
direction. RACHEL shoos MARY and CLARY ahead of her. JOHN
and PEARL flank RACHEL, clinging to her wide skirts. RUBY,
nearest us, keeps looking back over her shoulder. We TRACK
them along side of JAIL to rear of JAIL.

RUBY
(continuing)
You took on something awful about
him buying me that there movie book.
You was so mad you shot him and the
blue men took him.

On "blue men," we stop TRACKING and, as GROUP leaves SHOT,
CENTER a POLICE CAR, waiting at rear door of JAIL. POLICEMEN
start out of door.

MEDIUM GROUP SHOT -- POLICEMEN AND PREACHER

They roughly hustle PREACHER into the car. Marching sound
o.s.

SHOT -- FROM WITHIN CAR -- BART

PREACHER and POLICE are in b.g. Through car window we see
BART the HANGMAN come out of his door. He wears his derby. A
POLICEMAN puts head out of window. Marching sound o.s.

MEDIUM SHOT -- BART THE HANGMAN

On porch, by door, is a doll's perambulator, but this time
there is a Christmas wreath on the door. Marching o.s.

POLICEMAN
(o.s.)
Hey Bart!

Auto engine starts up o.s.

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- BART

BART
Yeah?

MEDIUM SHOT -- BART

Marching o.s.

POLICEMAN
(o.s.)
We're savin' this bird up fer you!

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- BART

Marching o.s.

BART
This time it'll be a privilege.

FULL PANNING SHOT -- POLICE CAR, THEN RACHEL AND GROUP

The car jumps fast out of SHOT and we PAN PAST BART and CENTER
RACHEL and GROUP, walking fast away from us. Mob voices o.s.

A VOICE
(o.s., over departing
car)
Bust the door down!

CLOSE GROUP SHOT -- RACHEL AND CHILDREN

Clutching Christmas parcels they hurry away from us into
darkness. RUBY, hanging back, dragged by RACHEL, babbles
over her shoulder.

RUBY
(happily)
They'll git him out. I'll git my
things ready -- my shawl and my Mickey
Mouse wristwatch that don't run and
the straw hat with the flower, and
we'll be married and live happily
ever after!

VOICES
(o.s. ad lib, cutting
across Ruby)
Bust the door down! Set fahr to it!
Where's that axe! Climb up on the
balcony! You six git 'round to the
back!

ICEY SPOON
(o.s., screaming)
People of Marshall County!

DISSOLVE TO:

FULL SHOT -- NIGHT LANDSCAPE -- PINE TREES, AND SOFTLY FALLING
SNOW

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. RACHEL'S HOUSE -- EVENING; SNOWING -- CLOSE SHOT --
RACHEL AT MAILBOX

She peers into empty mailbox.

RACHEL COOPER
Nothing!

She slams the box shut and, as we TILT and PAN, walks away
from us through snow towards her lighted house.

RACHEL COOPER
I'm glad they didn't send me nothing!
Whenever they do it's never nothing
I want but something to show me how
fancy and smart they've come up in
the world.

She goes into the house.

INT. RACHEL'S KITCHEN

It is decorated for Christmas.

GROUP SHOT -- RACHEL AND CHILDREN

Rachel enters; the four girls stand in line, packages ready;
JOHN stands in b.g., in doorway to next room.

MARY
Can we give you your presents now?

CLOSE SHOT -- RACHEL

RACHEL COOPER
Shoot! You don't mean to say you got
me a present!

Their hands hold packages up to her.

RACHEL COOPER
Shoot now!

She takes a package.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

RACHEL COOPER
(o.s.)
Why, Ruby!

Embarrassed, JOHN leaves the shot.

RACHEL COOPER
(o.s.)
A POT-HOLDER!

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN -- NEW ANGLE

From a fruit bowl, he selects the biggest apple, shines it
on his shirt, wraps it in the doily under his bowl, opens a
drawer and gets out a clip clothespin, clips his package,
and leaves shot.

RACHEL COOPER
(o.s., continuing)
And much neater than last year's,
Ruby!
(Sound of tearing
gift-paper o.s.)
(o.s.)
And Clary! ANOTHER POT-HOLDER! Ain't
that thoughtful. I'm always burnin'
my hands.

FULL SHOT -- RACHEL, AND CHILDREN, OVER JOHN

...as he enters with present. RUBY and CLARY are standing
aside; MARY and PEARL hold up a third pot-holder.

RACHEL COOPER
And did you two make this together?

Both nod.

MARY
You hop us, some.

CLOSE SHOT -- RACHEL, ACCEPTING JOHN'S GIFT

She opens it.

RACHEL COOPER
(quietly)
John, that's the richest gift a body
could have.
(continued, briskly)
You'll find your presents in the
cupboard under the china-closet.

GROUP SHOT -- RACHEL AND CHILDREN

RACHEL COOPER
You know where, Ruby.

All turn and run through door except Ruby, whom RACHEL
detains.

RACHEL COOPER
Ruby:
(she takes a box from
her apron pocket)
This is yours.

RUBY opens it quickly; it is a cheap costume-jewelry flower-
spray. RUBY and RACHEL kiss like grown women and RUBY goes
to join the others.

FULL SHOT -- RACHEL

She turns to her stove and is framed by Christmas garland in
b.g.; banging pots about and stirring; praying as she works,
which is the best way to pray.

Appropriate noise, o.s., of opening presents.

RACHEL COOPER
Lord save little children!
(bang)
You'd think the world would be ashamed
to name such a day as Christmas for
one of them...
(bang)
...and go on the same old way.
(she starts stirring)
My soul is humble when I see the way
little ones accept their lot.
(she pauses in stirring)
Lord save little children! The wind
blows and the rain is cold. Yet,
they abide.

In BACKGROUND, the girls run upstairs, their new dresses
over their arms. RACHEL glances over her shoulder.

MEDIUM SHOT -- JOHN -- RACHEL'S VIEWPOINT

JOHN stands in next room, looking at something in his hand.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN -- IN OTHER ROOM

We see he holds a watch. He looks like any boy, rich or poor,
with his first watch.

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- RACHEL

RACHEL COOPER
(whispering, so that
he does not hear)
For every child, rich or poor there's
a time of running through a dark
place; and there's no word for a
child's fear. A child sees a shadow
on the wall, and sees a Tiger. And
the old ones say, "There's no tiger;
go to sleep." And when that child
sleeps, it's a Tiger's sleep, and a
Tiger's night, and a Tiger's breathing
on the windowpane. Lord save little
children!

JOHN enters boldly behind her and, with a scrape, masterfully
swings a chair around close to her and straddles it. RACHEL
turns her back to us. She expects him to speak, he doesn't,
so she fills in:

RACHEL COOPER
That watch sure is a fine, loud
ticker!

JOHN gives her a burning, proud smile.

RACHEL COOPER
It'll be nice to have someone around
the house who can give me the right
time of day.

JOHN finds his tongue.

JOHN HARPER
This watch is the nicest watch I
ever had.

RACHEL COOPER
A feller can't just go around with
run-down, busted watches.

She turns back, face to us, and goes on with her stirring.
JOHN goes off towards the staircase to join the girls; then
turns back.

CLOSE SHOT -- JOHN

JOHN HARPER
I ain't afraid no more! I got a watch
that ticks! I got a watch that shines
in the dark!

He turns and hurries to the stairs.

HEAD CLOSE-UP -- RACHEL

Over the sound of his running upstairs:

RACHEL COOPER
(telling us)
They abide and they endure.

LAP DISSOLVE TO:

FULL SHOT -- STARRY SKY

FADE IN TITLE:

THE END

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