Early Fall, 1823.
Near what will become the border between the Dakotas.
EXT PRAIRIE - EARLY MORNING
The High Plains. The sky crushes down: few clouds, fewer trees.
A small river gouges the plains. Dense brush conceals the rivers' edges. The
thicket rustles. Someone walks through it slowly.
AN OLD RIFLE is the first thing we make out through the tall bush: short (4'
long), sturdy burnished hardwoods, and hand-carved iron well-polished.
is advanced middle age - the roughness of the times add years to
his age. Glass wears LEATHER from head to foot, a KNIFE and PISTOL holstered
in a belt, and a buffalo HORN on a leather strip draped about his neck.
Glass stops, listens intently, then sniffs the air.
A young man comes up behind Glass. Dressed mostly in COTTON,
carries a pistol. JAMIE
BRIDGER's GRIMEY baby-face belies his older age.
The fruit in these parts is delicious, Hugh.
Glass ignores him, keeps moving.
Bridger stumbles along behind Glass. Bridger, hands fidgeting with
something, drops his pistol. THUMP.
Bridger picks the pistol up.
Glass glowers at him.
Treat that little iron like your one true friend, Jamie Bridger.
Huh? My only --
POV STRAIGHT AHEAD
A deer runs through a clearing far ahead and stops behind a tall bush. The
deer can be made through the bush.
Glass aims and - Bridger SNEEZES. Glass fires.
A close shot errs. The deer runs off.
Glass glares severely at the kid.
These berries aren't that good.
Bridger grimaces and holds up purple berries; his face is smeared with berry.
Looks like another day without meat. Makes 4 days. Jamie, it's best if you'd
I'm sorry, but I'm bored. I want to learn to hunt.
Glass lightens up - laughs.
You'll wanted you stayed behind too. The first thing not to hunt is the
Bridger, his mouth grimey-purple, glances at his purple covered hands
holding purple berries. Drops his pistol again.
They give you the shits.
Bridger tosses the berries. Spits out purple remnants.
Glass laughs - plucks a red berry from a bush.
The wild raspberries are tasty.
Bridger grabs his pistol, points ahead.
BRIDGER'S POV - OF A LOW RIDGE
The closest thing to high ground: a rainy season highbank.
Bridger moves ahead.
I'll shoot for game up there.
Glass stops the kid.
Not with your little pea shooter.
Glass uncorks the buffalo horn lid and pours powder into his rifle. He pulls
a lead ball from a pouch, puts it in his mouth, swishes it around, and spits
it into the rifle barrel.
You've got no range. No knock down
Bridger stares at his pistol.
Glass laughs, stamps his rifle butt into the ground (thereby packing the
shot hard against the powder). Glass cautiously moves ahead.
Game abounds here, kid. But it expects experience to kill it.
Glass stops to inspect ground signs.
EXT CLOSE ON GROUND
Fresh TRACKS: TWO SETS. HUGE PAW prints and a SMALLER pair.
Glass respectfully runs his hand over the paw print; it dwarfs Glass's hand.
(under his breath)
Glass sniffs at the air - gets an odd look.
BRIDGER steps up.
What made that?
Bear. A mother with young. Let's back out of here, boy. They like berries
too - and can have'em.
How's bear taste?
Glass gives him a look.
You don't want to know.
Bridger shrugs, turns around and FREEZES.
A LARGE BEAR CUB ambles around a thicket of brush.
Bridger panics, stutter-steps backward into Glass.
Bridger falls, his pistol FIRES, and hits sky.
The frightened bear cub ROARS and runs off.
Jamie, next time you want to help me, stay back with the group.
Glass puts a hand out and helps a sheepish Bridger up.
Sorry, Hugh. It's not my day.
Never is, Jamie, never is. Let's move out. And with expedition.
Nature's to be respected. A tough school yard this.
A RUSTLING BUSH distracts them.
They look up. Bridger is visibly shaking.
A FLOCK of birds FLY out of the bush.
Bridger looks at Glass - and laughs nervously.
Bridger leans down for his pistol.
A HUGE BEAR ROARS, dives from the bush - right for Bridger.
Glass pushes Bridger out of the Bear's way and brings his rifle around.
Its too late.
The Bear claw-slashes Glass's face and throat, sends him off his feet. Glass
lands on his back. His rifle thrown clear.
Glass crawls backward, his face, neck, and jaw shredded and bleeding.
Run, Jamie. Get away.
Bridger gets up and runs away.
The Bear pounces on Glass, bites into Glass's face and chest. Glass CRIES
out in agony.
Bear claws-slashes Glass again - and again. His upper body is a bloody mess.
Glass works his knife loose. He slashes and stabs.
The Bear GROWLS in anger and pain. Claws slash at Glass's hand - rips his
flesh and sends the knife flying.
The Bear mashes its teeth, and bites into Glass's shoulder. Bear RIPS a
piece of flesh from the shoulder.
Glass SCREAMS in pain.
Bear eats the shoulder flesh.
Bridger, runs through bushes, hears Glass's AGONY and the bear HOWLS.
Bridger stops, looks for his pistol - he doesn't have it. Bridger freezes.
Bear GROWLING, MAULING in distance. Bridger runs cautiously
back towards Glass.
EXT BEAR /
Bridger runs up - sees Glass and the bear - and the RIFLE.
The bear towers over Glass.
Glass crawls backwards - twists his body to aim his holstered pistol. BLAM.
The bear HOWLS in pain. It pants heavily.
Bear growls and lumbers after him. Pounces on him.
The Bear bites into Glass's left leg. Eats a mouthful.
BLAM - a shot rings out.
The BEAR GRUNTS and collapses on Glass's lower legs.
Bridger drops the RIFLE and runs to Glass.
Hugh! Hugh? Oh God. Oh God.
- LOWER BODY
A huge fur blob across his feet and calves.
Left thigh mauled, the flesh mangled to the bone.
He's never seen ABJECT HORROR like this.
Bridger bursts into tears, and collapses near Glass.
Left hand and arm are bloody, shredded.
Right hand and arm slashed.
Left shoulder splayed open.
Chest partially mauled, snapped ribs exposed.
Bridger controls himself. Steadies.
Reaches to apply aid - stops. Stares.
Tears well up in his eyes. He starts to shake - forces himself to maintain.
Face has long gashes from the bear claws.
A rectangular flap of skin, folded open, bares his skull.
Throat gashed open.
Blood pours from every wound.
Glass is still. Eyes closed.
EXT RIVER'S EDGE -
BRIDGER IN BACKGROUND
A small, meandering line of men rush along on foot.
MAJOR WILLIAM HENRY in front, blonde, blue-eyed, stately.
JEDEDIAH SMITH, ramrod-built, beside the Major.
"FITZ" FITZGERALD, reddish hair, tall and lean.
MIKE "BULL" FINK whose squat build displays his nickname.
"CARP" CARPENTER, tall, lean-muscular.
"SHORTY" TALBOT, a smallish erudite man.
Behind them several other men, who lead pack horses and mules packed with
supplies, eventually arrive.
EXT HENRY / SMITH POV
Henry and Smith see Bridger sit beside a LARGE FURRY BLOB.
Finally, there's the kid.
What the --
JAMIE - JAMIE?!
Bridger sees them.
HELP. Major Henry. Jedediah.
Smith runs ahead to Bridger.
Jamie! Killed yourself a bear!
Smith makes out Glass under the Bear carcass.
Lord Jesus. Bull, Carp get up here.
Bridger, his hands bloody, sits beside Glass. Bridger has done a schoolboy
job of dressing the wounds, but the bleeding is mostly stopped.
Glass is still.
Smith comes up.
Jamie, what --
Smith gets a better look at Glass.
Smith kneels to Glass - checks for a pulse.
Bridger begins to sob; tears well up.
Jedediah, I'm sorry. He saved my life.
I didn't mean --
Smith makes a cross symbol across his chest, mumbles a quick, inaudible
prayer, and turns to comfort Bridger.
Jamie, Jamie, settle down. It's OK
now. We're here.
Bull and Carp arrive. Together, Bull, Carp, and Smith roll the bear carcass
Bull and Carp regard Glass.
Major Henry steps up.
Damn it. Damn it, Glass.
What we gonna do 'bout meat? Glass was our best hunter.
Glass was our only hunter besides Jed.
Bull gives Carp a sharp look.
It came out of nowhere. He never set his triggers.
Bull glowers to Bridger.
What about your triggers, boy?
Hugh told me to run.
So you ran.
Leave the kid alone.
No. No. I came back, I shot--
Henry separates Bull and Carp from Bridger.
Leave him alone. Somebody get a shovel.
Exit, pursued by a bear.
Wrong. Winter's Tale. Shakes --
Bull gives a look to Shorty.
A MOAN fills the silence. Like a DEATH GASP.
The bickering ceases momentarily.
Breathing. Tortured, gurgled breathing.
The blood trickling from his throat has air bubbles.
EXT BACK TO SCENE
Bridger, in shock, leans in beside Glass. The men step around Glass.
What the --
Jesus he'll be meeting soon.
There's our best hunter. Dead.
Prairie dog soup from here out.
God be damned if I'll eat more snake or boiled thistle roots.
We got the mules and pack horses.
I'll not eat pack animal.
Unless you have too. For now, we have bear.
We won't starve, but we're weeks behind getting to the Fort - and winter's
We been snake-bit since St. Louis.
Henry, you're a born loser.
A couple of you, get busy. Butcher that carcass before it goes bad.
Henry stands over Glass. Looks down on him sadly.
Bull slams into Henry, knocks him down. Shorty and Carp jump in and restrain
Smith leaps between Bull and Henry.
Bull, not the Major.
Now what's your plan? That's the third man since we left the Missouri River
to get killed.
The Arikara took 13 before that.
Bull glares at Shorty. Shorty shrinks from Bull's intimidation.
Hugh's not dead yet, Bull Fink.
He is to us.
Henry gets up, dusts himself off.
I'll take only that one, Mr. Fink. You knew the risks when you signed with
the Company to trap beaver.
Henry turns to everyone, and points in the direction they came from, down
the river. (Note: Kiowa rhymes with Iowa).
You all did. Fort Kiowa is 200 miles back that way as the eagle flies.
You're free to go - if the Arikara, Sioux, and coyotes don't find you.
Smith, with a pack, kneels down beside Glass and Bridger. Smith pulls shreds
of bark from the pack; gives some to Bridger. Smith applies the bark to
These clot blood. Aid healing. He won't bleed to death now.
The bark saturates with blood.
Smith covers up exposed bones. Around the shoulder and at the thigh, Smith
"packs" the flesh back into place. Glass squirms.
We can still make the fall trapping season - and you'll all be richly
rewarded at the Spring Rendezvous.
Bridger drops the bark, turns away, and wretches.
It's OK, Jamie.
Smith pulls strips of leather from the pack. Bridger helps wrap the strips
around Glass's thigh. They lay patches of leather across the wounds and tie
Meantime, we have hundreds of miles to go to reach your Fort.
Now cover and tie the wounds.
You done this before?
Not to a man ripped like this. It's tough to see a man of Hugh's experience
torn apart like this.
Fitz approaches Henry.
How do we split up his possibles?
Fitz reaches down for the rifle.
This rifle is mighty -
Henry kicks Fitz's hand from the rifle.
The man isn't dead yet, Fitz.
Carp smiles, and puts an arm around Henry.
Only a matter of time, Major. Only
a matter of time.
Glass: his head moves. His face frozen and twisted. Through a delirium his
eyes focus and, for an instant, it seems he could get up and take a piece
off his "buddies."
EXT NEW ORLEANS - BOURBON STREET
People party and frolic.
EXT NEW ORLEANS PORT - YEARS EARLIER
carries the RIFLE and walks with an OLDER MAN. Glass even
now is not youthful. He carries an undefinable weight in his bearing and in
The older man, dusting off a hat, is Glass' OLDER BROTHER, and bigger
SAM puts the hat on - the hat of a SEA CAPTAIN.
They approach a schooner, the ORLEANS, as it fills with a cargo of cotton
Glass hands the rifle over to Captain Glass.
You'd better take this back - at least for now.
Why? You're better suited to Dad's Long Rifle than I'll ever be.
I'll be up to my elbows in paint pitch for the next couple weeks.
Don't want to stain that wood.
Sorry I couldn't get you any job better. I'm looking forward to finishing
this trip. Pay off some bills. Start working for myself for a change.
You'd never settle down anyway. I've never fallen prey to seafaring like you
The Captain laughs and puts his big arm around Glass.
Takes time, Hugh. Did for me.
EXT ORLEANS AT SEA
Gale force winds knock the boat about. The Captain and Glass are on the
decks with all hands.
Loosen up those riggings men. Give her slack.
Glass, his hands and arms stained red, drops a pail of thick, gooey red
paste: VERMILLION. Glass pitches in to help loosen ropes as best he can -
which isn't very good.
Don't be a hero, Hugh. These men know their jobs. Know yours as well - and
Glass backs off.
This is a team effort, Hugh - we entrust our lives to one another.
You're better at that than me.
EXT ORLEANS AT SEA - NIGHT
SAMe seas. The men are ragged from wear, but hanging in. Everyone is drenched.
Glass - and
SAM - pitch in with rope and tackles.
EXT ORLEANS AT SEA - LATER
Calm seas. The deck is silent. The ship appears fine - having weathered
EXT CROW'S NEST
High above the deck, a lookout scans the horizon.
EXT HORIZON - LOOKOUT'S POV
Endless seas. The storm clouds recede.
EXT CROW'S NEST - LATER
The lookout slumps forward - SOMETHING slips from his hand.
A bottle SMASHES on the deck below.
EXT HORIZON - LOOKOUT'S POV
Endless seas. The sky lightens - and ANOTHER SHIP bears down on the ORLEANS.