by Ross LaManna
1 EXT. BOREAL FOREST - ALASKA - (AERIAL SHOT) - DAY
Flying. Not at the intangible height of a jet, but at
spitting distance from the treetops. We're in central
Alaska, the Big Lonely, just north of the Arctic Circle.
A thick forest follows the contours of mountain foothills
like a deep-pile carpet. Up at treeline the forest thins to
tundra, a grassy scruff turning red and yellow with the
coming of autumn.
On the horizon, the hills rise to meet the Endicott
Mountains, a great fortress wall of granite so sharp and
jagged that snow cannot stick to its face. This is how all
North America once looked -- raw, indomitable.
Then, abruptly coming into the SCENE is a colossal etching
across the landscape too deliberate to be of natural origin.
Bisecting this country like a metallic ribbon -- or a scar,
depending on your point of view -- is the 800-mile-long
Even the immensity of the pipeline is rendered insignificant
by the vastness of the land. It goes on, and on, and on...
A lone MAN walks along the Haul Road, a one-lane gravel
trail running parallel to the pipeline. The weather turns
sour -- rough wind and stinging snow cut across the man's
The man is ERIC DESMOND, twenty-four, clean-shaven,
determined. He's clearly out of place here, dressed in a
business suit and a light, camel-hair topcoat.
Eric is trying to follow some footprints in the snow -- a
predator's tracks, those of a wolf or coyote. But the
footprints ahead have faded, covered by the snow and wind.
The weather becomes more oppressive. Heavy snow, gale winds
and sub-zero temperatures make his progress tortuous. Eric
strives stubbornly forward.
Eric has gathered some branches. He tries to make a fire.
Moisture from his breath has frozen in the upturned collar
of his insufficient coat, and his skin is split raw from the
His hands are too numb to hold the matches. After several
attempts at striking one, he slumps down next to the pile of
wood, exhausted and frustrated.
The snow has covered the pile of branches. Eric still sits
next to it, partially covered in snow himself.
His face is a death mask: eyes half-open and dull, lips a
purplish blue, bloodless skin crystallizing as it ices over.
The wind HOWLS around him. The snow sticks to his eyelashes
and hair without melting.
2 INT. DARK BEDROOM - NIGHT
Eric bolts up in bed. Next to him, ANNE MARIE GAUVIN sits
up and hugs him. All that can be seen of her in the dark is
a lovely silhouette and a cascade of dark hair. After a
moment, Eric kisses her. He shakes off the dream and lies
3 EXT. HAUL ROAD AND PIPELINE - CLOSE - DAY
A metal sign, peppered with shotgun holes, is posted near a
pipeline support piling:
PIPELINE UTILITY CORRIDOR
Eric walks quietly past the sign, intent on something ahead
of him. Although still somewhat boyish in appearance, he's
confident and resolute in attitude. His clothes have a
distinctly western feel: Lucchese boots, Levis 501's, Mahan
cotton shirt. His down parka is unzipped in the sunny,
windless, forty-degree afternoon.
He pauses, then brings to his shoulder a rifle with a
four-power scope mounted atop it. He peers through the
HIS POV - THROUGH SCOPE
He puts the crosshairs on the shoulder flank of a big,
ivory-white timber wolf, fifty yards away.
BACK TO SCENE
Anne Marie stands beside Eric, a Nikon with a telephoto lens
in her hand, holding her breath in anticipation. She's
twenty-three, pretty, with soft features and piercing blue
eyes. She wears Eddie Bauer woman's gear like she was born
Eric expertly fixes his aim and slowly squeezes the trigger.
But instead of a loud retort, there is only the dull POP of
a CO2-powered dart gun.
The tranquilizer dart finds its mark in the wolf's fleshy
shoulder. The wolf takes off running, but almost
immediately slows, sits, then lies down.
Eric and Anne Marie hurry over to the wolf, who is breathing
deeply. Eric kneels next to him and strokes his thick fur.
What a beauty.
(to Anne Marie)
Hand me the transmitter.
Anne Marie passes to Eric a tiny, weatherproof homing device
attached to a steel collar band. Eric puts the collar
loosely around the wolf's neck and crimps it in place, all
the while TALKING soothingly to the semi-conscious animal.
Anne Marie smiles at Eric's tenderness and snaps some
With the collar in place and transmitter activated, Eric
backs away while the wolf tries to rouse itself from its
He's coming around fine.
Be right back. I left my
camcorder in the car.
3 CONTINUED: (2)
FOLLOW ANNE MARIE
as she hurries back to their International Scout. On the
door of the Scout is a stylized logo of an oil derrick,
under which are the words:
NORTHLAND PETROLEUM CORP.
Anne Marie opens the hatchback and grabs a video camera.
ANGLE ON ERIC AND THE WOLF
Eric smiles as the wolf wobbles tentatively to his feet and
trots unsteadily away. Near the treeline the wolf turns,
glances back at Eric and then disappears into the forest.
Anne Marie is taping the wolf's retreat. Looking through
the viewfinder, she crosses a gully between a pipeline
piling and a rock formation. Eric turns toward her and a
glint of light in the debris at her feet catches his eye.
Anne Marie! Stop!
She glances down. Something metal is half-buried in the
dead leaves and gravel.
Eric runs over. He pokes at the object with a stick. With
a SNAP, a steel leg trap chomps the stick in half. Anne
Marie jumps back. Eric brushes the dead leaves on the
ground behind her and she carefully backtracks out of the
He angrily rips the trap out of the ground, unearthing
several others attached to one another by a long chain.
Takes nerve, laying traplines on
Eric slips the scope off the dart rifle and climbs up the
pipeline on foot pegs to the top of an anchoring poINT.
3 CONTINUED: (3)
Using the scope as a telescope, he scans up and down the
What are you doing?
He still might be around. I saw
fresh tire tracks coming in.
HIS POV - THROUGH SCOPE
The road and the pipeline stretch toward either horizon,
north and south. In the distance, a jeep is parked on the
Haul Road. Near it, a Man climbs down into another shallow
BACK TO SCENE
Eric hurries down the footpegs.
Man and a jeep, about a mile and
a half down.
He jumps into the Scout. Anne Marie stuffs her cameras into
the hatchback. As soon as she climbs in, Eric tears out.
4 INT. SCOUT - (MOVING SHOT)
It races along the dusty gravel road at 60 MPH.
5 EXT. HAUL ROAD
Startled at the APPROACH of the Scout, the Trapper uproots
his traps and runs out of the ravine. He WHISTLES and
another Trapper appears nearby.
6 INT. TRAPPERS' JEEP
They pile into their dilapidated, all-terrain jeep. It's
oddly well-equipped, however. Bolted to the dashboard is an
expensive tape player and a beat-up radio beacon receiver
with a round locating screen. They zoom off.
7 INT. SCOUT - (MOVING SHOT)
Eric stomps on the gas. The dust from the jeep obscures his
view but he's gaining on them anyway. Anne Marie hangs on
and squints her eyes against the choking dust.
8 INT. TRAPPERS' JEEP - (MOVING SHOT)
The driver is LEMALLE (35), a tall, ugly, rawboned Canadian.
His entire outfit is made of animal hide. He has long red
hair, and a reptilian face usually twisted into a sadistic
sneer. While driving, he scans along the pipeline.
Where the fuck did you drop
In the passenger seat, MITCHELL (38), chews tobacco and
looks grim. He's a squat, flat-faced Okie, with curly
matted hair and tired grey eyes. He's dressed in a brown
long coat and has a Colt .45 Peacemaker in a quick-draw
holster strapped to his leg. Despite his intimidating air,
confrontation is not his style.
He spots a figure up ahead, where the road crosses a muddy
He's over there.
9 EXT. HAUL ROAD
Turning sharply, the trappers' jeep splashes through the
creek bed without slowing. Bouncing, it comes down hard
against the axle-deep bank at the creek's high water mark.
LeMalle tries to back out, but can't find traction in the
Eric stops the Scout thirty yards behind them.
10 INT. SCOUT
Eric opens his door. To Anne Marie:
Be careful -- there're two of
Eric reaches in the back seat and hands something to Anne
If I unzip my parka, stick this
out the window.
11 EXT. HAUL ROAD
Eric confidently approaches the jeep.
Then, a third trapper climbs from the creek. He's got a
line of traps slung around his neck and a world of
experience on his face. He's BEN CORBETT, a life-long
huntsman, somewhere past forty, weathered beyond his years.
He has a feral nose, thick beard and dark, smart, hunter's
eyes. He wears a hooded cotton sweat shirt, cotton
coveralls and vapor-barrier mountain boots. On his belt is
a holster rig cradling a .44 magnum revolver.
Eric slows down. He didn't expect to face anyone as
formidable as Corbett.
12 INT. / EXT. JEEP
Emboldened by Corbett's presence, LeMalle reaches into the
back seat and grabs his 6.5 by 55 Swedish military carbine.
No shooting. Let's see who's so
interested in us.
Corbett has an incongruously affable voice. He throws his
traps into the jeep, then strides closer toward Eric.
Ain't worth it, Ben...
13 EXT. HAUL ROAD - CREEK CROSSING - LONG SHOT
As Corbett comes closer, Eric realizes this might not've
been a great idea. Corbett squints his eyes and sniffs the
air, as if by this he can gauge his opponent's mettle.
You got two counts against you --
trapping out of season and
poaching on restricted land.
Can't be much of a crime, if all
they got minding the area is a
I got your plate number, asshole.
Maybe you feel like spending a
few months in jail.
Corbett just smiles.
But LeMalle, rankled, sticks the carbine out the jeep
Seeing the rifle pointed at him, Eric freezes, then slowly
unzips his parka.
Ben? Sure you don't want me to
drop the fucker?
Corbett doesn't answer. Then, his eyes narrow and he looks
past Eric at the Scout.
The passenger in the Scout sticks what looks like another
rifle out the window.
BACK TO SCENE
Eric quickly glances over his shoulder to make sure Anne
Marie's backing him up.
You leave and don't come back,
that's the end of it.
After a long moment, Corbett smiles again, then turns away
from Eric. He motions LeMalle to the front of the jeep.
Frustrated, LeMalle slams back the safety on the carbine and
throws it in the back seat.
ANGLE ON TRAPPERS
Mitchell climbs into the jeep and starts the engine.
LeMalle and Corbett rock the jeep back and forth in the rut.
While pushing, Corbett rips the sole of his boot on a sharp
piece of granite. He cusses and pushes harder.
14 EXT. HAUL ROAD - CREEK CROSSING
Eric walks back to the Scout. He feels the trappers' eyes
on his back, but forces himself not to hurry.
The trappers free their vehicle. Corbett gets in the
driver's seat, and they take off.
15 INT. SCOUT
Anne Marie's hands are shaking as she pulls the plastic
tranquilizer rifle back in the window.
Great idea -- pointing a lousy
dart gun at some nut with a
high-powered hunting rifle.
Bastards took off, though, didn't
16 EXT. BOREAL FOREST - LATER THAT DAY
The trappers have left the flatlands of the Haul Road area.
Now their jeep climbs a pathway over the rolling foothills.
17 INT. TRAPPERS' JEEP - (MOVING SHOT)
Corbett broods while driving. Mitchell looks out the
window. The silence makes LeMalle uncomfortable.
All this fuckin' land, and we're
locked out. Makes me puke.
Jawing about it won't change it.
Three hundred seventy-five
million acres in this state. I'm
real tired of runnin' into
Then don't look to your left.
18 EXT. SPORTSMEN'S CAMP
A brand-new Land Rover is parked on an alluvial fan in a
bend in a small river. Scattered about is an assortment of
expensive camping gear, beer cans, spent shells and other
Three toy-macho, vacationing SPORTSMEN are guzzling beer and
BLASTING fish in the shallow river with 12-gauge shotguns.
They look up and glower suspiciously as the jeep slows and
19 INT. TRAPPERS' JEEP
LeMalle grabs his carbine.
Leave it here.
Let's keep going. We're only an
hour from Devil's Cauldron.
(pats Mitchell's shoulder)
Relax. I just want to ask them
how the hunting is.
20 EXT. SPORTSMEN'S CAMP
Corbett gets out of the jeep. He regards the Sportsmen,
their shotguns and their mess with ill-concealed contempt.
The Sportsmen clutch their weapons and watch Corbett. He
walks around the camp, spotting a rubber-lined rucksack
stuffed with dead ermine. After a long, tense moment,
Looks like you've had some luck.
Where's your guide?
We're on our own, if it's any of
your damn business.
You did real good.
He crouches next to the dead animals and strokes the fur.
No swinging shit. They're over
their goddamned limit.
My friend is right. Supposed to
have a licensed guide when you're
on this land, too.
Hey, we paid our fuckin' permit
LeMalle amuses himself by pissing in their campfire. No one
notices that in the b.g., quiet Sportsman #3 unzips his
parka, exposing a .45 Peacemaker in a belt holster.
I were you, I'd drive right on
outta here again. Now.
This was my roaming land, 'til
the government took it over.
Only Innuit can hunt here now,
and tourists, like you.
Corbett swings the rucksack of carcasses onto the hood of
the Land Rover. Pissed, Sportsmen #1 and #2 step closer to
According to tribal law, hunters
passing through the land of
another tribe can only take game
to survive. They can eat the
meat, but have to surrender the
LeMalle pulls a hunting knife and holds up one of the
Want the meat?
Fuck you, dirtball.
Corbett chuckles and Mitchell spits.
LeMalle digs through the camping goodies in the back of the
Land Rover, many still in their packages. He helps himself
to some sandwiches and a 12-pack of beer.
I say shoot 'em, bury 'em with
their shiny new car.
If you're gonna take something,
take it and let's go.
Corbett looks down to fasten the top of the rucksack.
20 CONTINUED: (2)
Suddenly, Sportsman #3 reaches inside his parka and pulls
the pistol. He swings it toward LeMalle.
LeMalle looks up when he hears the HAMMER cock.
There is a deafeningly loud SHOT.
Sportsman #3 falls down dead at LeMalle's feet.
Off to one side, Corbett holds a huge, smoking .44 magnum
six-shooter in his hand.
Shotgun in hand, Sportsman #1 gauges his chances of blasting
Corbett. Nil. When Corbett turns to him, he lies the
weapon down. Sportsman #2 rushes to his friend.
Looking bleak, Mitchell spits again. Corbett crosses to
LeMalle and knocks from his hands the things he wanted to
steal. Chastised, LeMalle smolders. After a moment:
Put him in your truck. Smell of
blood will attract the bears.
As Corbett walks to the jeep, he's too angry to notice that
he's stepped in a patch of mud under the Land Rover.
Near the jeep, LeMalle stops and pulls them into a huddle.
I don't believe in leavin'
witnesses behind, Ben.
It was self defense. Leave it at
You think those fucks will tell
it that way?
(ending the argument)
We'll get a head start before
they go crying to the law.
Corbett turns and FIRES two rounds from his .44 into the
engine of the Land Rover. The Sportsmen stare and sputter.
20 CONTINUED: (3)
(continuing; to Sportsmen)
You can pack out of here -- two,
three days' hike along this river
at most. Weather should hold
this early in the season.
Corbett and Mitchell get in their jeep.
isn't yet satisfied. He walks back over to the Sportsmen,
kneeling beside their fallen friend, and crouches right
beside them. Intimidated, Sportsman #2 looks away, but
LeMalle grabs his chin and turns his face back toward him.
Think I'm pretty? You better
forget how we look, 'cause next
time they won't keep me from
killing you. This land ain't
quite civilized, you know...
He unsheathes his buck knife. BELOW FRAME, he slices across
the forehead of the dead Sportsman, peels back his scalp and
cuts it loose, Indian-style. The Sportsmen are stunned and
ANGLE ON TRAPPERS' JEEP
Corbett looks at Mitchell and wearily shakes his head.
At least he scalped the dead one.
21 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - DUSK
Devil's Cauldron Hot Springs is a cluster of twenty tiny
dwellings connected by an unpainted boardwalk. The town
squats, ugly and temporary-looking, in a dirt clearing fifty
miles north of the Arctic Circle. Thirty miles east of the
Pipeline, it's almost dead center of interior Alaska.
At the edge of town is a gravel airstrip. Mixed with the
prospector-era sod-roof cabins are a few prefabricated
houses. The boon brought by men building the pipeline is
long gone. Now only a few itinerant loggers, natives and
bush dwellers remain to fight boredom, each other and the
depression of the oncoming winter.
Enough steam escapes from the hot springs to perpetually
blanket the valley with fog. The spa is log-walled and
horseshoe- shaped, with partitioned baths inside. Facing it
are a mud-walled fire bath, a wooden steam bath called a
Maqi, six one-room cabins for let, and an unused dance hall.
LEO MEYERLING opens the tailgate of a Dodge truck with the
Northland Petroleum logo and "District Supervisor" on the
door. Meyerling is short and bald with a completely
disreputable face. He staples a poster on a wall. It has a
picture of him on it, and:
VOTE FOR THE PEOPLE'S FRIEND!
22 EXT. KENAI'S GENERAL STORE
Corbett and the other trappers drive past Meyerling and park
their jeep as the sun disappears behind the foothills.
23 INT. KENAI'S GENERAL STORE
A handwritten public notice next to a schedule of church
meetings reads: "Live each day so you can look every damn
man in the eye and tell him to go to hell." There is a post
office in the corner with some combination boxes and a
The trappers come in. Corbett sits in a chair and pulls his
boots off. One of his wool socks is wet. He nods to the
man sitting in the other chair, SAM WILDER. Wilder is short
and tough, with a full head of crewcut grey hair and
weather- ravaged face that makes him look older than his
Hullo, Sam. Slow day?
Ben...boys. Yeah, real slow, and
I'd like to keep it that way.
Just passing through.
A chubby Inupiat (interior Eskimo), wearing thick glasses,
several heavy sweaters and battery-heated socks, fusses
behind the counter. He's EARL KENAI, owner of the hot
springs spa and the general store.
LeMalle chews on a handful of bear jerky. Kenai stares at
LeMalle until he begrudgingly pays for the jerky. Corbett
pulls on some sneakers and hands his boots to Kenai.
(continuing; re boot)
Sure have learned to worship the
white man's god.
Kenai nods agreeably and holds his hand out. Corbett pays
him. Meyerling comes in and posts some fliers on the
I hope I can count on you
gentlemen to vote for The
People's Friend this November.
Share some of that oil company
money in your pocket and you can.
Meyerling smiles like a toad, then slaps another poster on
the wall. LeMalle throws his knife and it STICKS in the
poster between Meyerling's spread fingers. Meyerling jumps
back and the trappers laugh. Meyerling looks to Wilder for
One flier comes loose and I shoot
you for littering.
Have your fun... just remember
The People's Friend come election
(shakes his head)
Oil Company candidate running on
that slogan makes about as much
sense as a rat fucking a
Hard to work up an interest in
politics, way we live. You're
the first people we've seen in
23 CONTINUED: (2)
How about a quart of Jack
How about it is right. Back in
the primary this town was voted
Aw, shit. Let's go. Leave a
note for Viking Bob, tell him to
meet us in Cache.
Relax. One more day without
drink won't kill you. Right,
I'm living proof of that sad
Can we buy the Marshal some
No, I better stay at my post.
Even without the hootch riling
'em up, you know how
mean-spirited folks get when they
smell winter coming.
24 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON VALLEY - LONG SHOT - NIGHT
An early STORM has blown in from the north, bringing
whipping winds and freezing rain.
25 INT. RENTAL CABIN
Corbett peers out the tiny window, frowning. LeMalle cleans
his carbine while eating beans and bacon. Mitchell hunches
over a table. He's making a scrimshaw -- delicately
engraving, using homemade tools, on a palm-sized piece of
whale bone. He rubs his eyes and looks up at Corbett.
So much for the walking weather
Had no choice...
(pointedly, at LeMalle)
...Given the situation.
I know. Least you didn't shoot
all of them.
Fuck you, Mitchell. Woulda been
my ass if Ben didn't waste that
(after a beat)
Mitchell, look, it don't take
three of us to wait for Viking
Mitchell glances at LeMalle, then at Corbett.
Go ahead. Take the jeep. I'll
come to Cache with Bob when he
Okay by me. You're the one likes
these hot springs so much.
Leave my traps. We'll tag up,
26 EXT. HAUL ROAD - "THE TURTLE" - DAY
The winds have died down. The rain has turned to a light
A mobile arctic dwelling sits on a rise next to the Haul
Road. It's a double-unit weathertight cocoon of fiberglass
and aluminum, pulled by a diesel rig on oversized tires.
The front module is 12 by 24, the rear 12 by 18.
An extended-cab pickup pulls up and Sam Wilder gets out.
The gravel-and-dirt Haul Road, paralleling the pipeline for
400 miles, is closed to the public. An arriving vehicle,
therefore, is news. The front door of the dwelling opens.
Eric and Anne Marie come outside, delighted to see Wilder.
I was making my rounds, saw your
hangar wide open, plane getting
rained on, so I closed it up.
I bet you haven't had lunch.
Bet you're right. But I didn't
come by to wangle a meal --
-- We appreciate the company.
Anne Marie's getting cabin fever
Anne Marie shoots a look at Eric but doesn't disagree --
this is obviously an issue with them. Wilder looks with
amusement at the mobile dwelling.
What'd you say they call these
Mobile Arctic Dwelling -- MAD.
I call it 'the Turtle,' as in
carrying your home on your back.
Best thing is, Meyerling has to
chase around to find us.
The little creep hates it that
Eric actually does what the
company hired him to do.
Watch it with Meyerling. Man's
as mean and corrupt as they get.
Cut his mother's throat if it'd
get him a couple votes.
26 CONTINUED: (2)
Looking past Wilder, Eric points out some smoke on the
Hey, Sam, look over there. Black
and white smoke.
Damn. Likely that's an SOS.
Have to pass on that lunch.
We'll go with you.
27 EXT. SPORTSMEN'S CAMP - LATER THAT DAY
Everything seems peaceful enough. The SOS fire (made from
burning green branches for white smoke and rubber for black
smoke) has burnt down to embers.
Eric, Anne Marie and Wilder pull up in Wilder's pickup.
The two Sportsmen sit in the front seat of the Land Rover,
but they don't react to the arrival of the rescuers. In the
back seat, a reflective camping blanket covers a large mass.
Something is amiss. Eric shoots a look of trepidation at
Anne Marie as they get out of the pickup. Wilder pulls the
door of the Land Rover open.
A Sportsman slumps out onto the ground. His eyes are open
and his tongue pokes out between his lips. His skin is
blue-white. (He looks, in fact, much like Eric's nightmare.)
Startled, Eric steps back. Anne Marie gasps with horror.
Wilder unzips the Sportsman's light windbreaker and listens
for a heartbeat. Nothing.
Stupid goddamn greenhorns! Froze
It's not even winter!
They got wet in the rain. Core
body temperature dropped, got
drowsy, probably didn't even know
what was happening.
Eric stares at the dead Sportsmen.
Question is why they sat here
when the storm moved in. Check
their stuff while I sniff around.
Wilder tries the ignition. The starter TURNS OVER, but the
engine makes a horrendous GRINDING. He walks to the front
of the vehicle. Noticing the bullet holes in the grille, he
bends down for a closer look.
Eric opens the rear hatchback and digs through the plentiful
supplies. Still in their packages are some matchbox-sized
ELT locating beacons.
They had Emergency Locater
Transmitters, but didn't use
(opens one up; shakes his
Maybe because they didn't bring
Anne Marie opens the back door of the Land Rover. She pulls
back the camping blanket... and uncovers the third
Sportsman. The torn red flesh on his head and his
bugged-out eyes are a hideous sight.
Anne Marie SCREAMS and stumbles away.
28 EXT. SPORTSMEN'S CAMP - LAND ROVER
Eric runs over to her as she tries to catch her breath.
Wilder looks at the third Sportsman and angrily kicks the
side of the Land Rover.
I'm too old for this shit.
Any idea who could've done it?
Sourly, Wilder points to a patch of frozen mud under the
A certain sonofabitch bastard
wearing a damaged mountain boot.
Left a footprint clear as an
Wilder examines the Sportsman, finding the bullet hole in
Even for Ben Corbett, this is
nasty. Man's got balls. He was
sitting in Devil's Cauldron when
I left, calm as can be.
Thank God. You can arrest him.
Not necessarily. Corbett's awful
hardbitten these days.
Wilder leans against the Land Rover, feeling tired.
His old roaming area's all
private reserve now. Normally,
long as he stays civil in my
jurisdiction, I let him be.
Won't be able to take him by my
lonesome, though. Nobody in
town'll lift a finger on this.
Eric looks hard at the dead Sportsmen.
I'll go into town with you.
Eric, leave it alone. It's not
(shakes his head)
No way can he get away with this.
I'll be back by tonight.
29 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - AFTERNOON
The town is quiet.
30 INT. HOT SPRINGS SPA
Corbett soaks in one of the huge wooden tubs with a pudgy
Inupiat hooker, DIXIE.
He looks up as Eric comes into the spa. Eric holds
Corbett's boots, which have been repaired. Eric pauses when
he sees Corbett. There is a flash of recognition between
Yep. Afraid you have me at a
Kenai at the general store asked
me to bring these. Didn't expect
we'd already met.
No big deal. We just got off on
the wrong foot. What's your
Eric glances down at Corbett's duffel bag, which sits on the
floor next to Corbett's tub. Corbett's magnum rests on top
of it, well within reach. Corbett notices Eric's interest
in it. He leans back and smiles.
New to the country, kid?
Six months. Ecological study for
Ecology. Folks use that term for
everything but what it means:
who's eating who.
Putting his hand on Dixie's shoulder, Corbett stands and
gets out of the tub. His sinewy body, resembling a
scarecrow made of steel cable, is covered with scars. He
wraps a towel around his waist and crosses to Eric.
Now, why don't you get around to
saying what you want.
Corbett grabs his boots from Eric and finds himself facing a
revolver, which Eric has been hiding inside one of the
You wouldn't shoot anyone...
But I would.
Wilder has come in the back way and stands behind Corbett
with a 12-gauge shotgun. He kicks Corbett's magnum out of
All this for laying traps on
You left a footprint at the
Sportsmen's camp. Only pretty
sight there, Ben, 'cause the two
men you didn't shoot and mutilate
died of exposure.
Corbett shakes his head but remains implacable.
Christ if I shouldn't know better
than to step in soft earth. I've
seen footprints in the tundra a
hundred years old.
I got it from here. Thanks.
Sam, give Dixie here fifty bucks
out of my kit, will you?
31 EXT. HOT SPRINGS SPA
Eric comes outside. Earl Kenai, overdressed for the weather
in gloves, mukluks and a full-length sealskin coat, stands
shivering by a woodshed near the hot springs, hacksawing a
piece of meat from a frozen moose carcass.
Before white men came, my people
lived in sod houses underground
and laid our dead on the tundra.
Now we live above ground and bury
our dead, and we haven't been
Wilder comes out of the spa with his shotgun and Corbett's
duffel bag cradled in his arm. Handcuffed, Corbett walks in
front of him.
Kenai looks down to avoid eye contact with Corbett as he
goes by. Corbett stops next to Eric and smiles.
Nice bluff the other day with the
tranquilizer gun out your jeep
window. See you again, maybe.
Yeah. Maybe so.
32 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - FOLLOW WILDER
as he leads Corbett along the boardwalk to the other end of
town. They approach a prefab house perched on skids under a
tall antenna tower. Mounted above the shack, a DC wind
charger turbine spins lazily in the faint breeze. From
within the cabin comes an anomalous SOUND -- MTV. Wilder
KNOCKS on the door.
ARTHUR NEFF, a pasty-white, 45-year-old ex-Texan, pulls the
door open. His customary grin fades when he sees Corbett.
33 INT. NEFF'S HOUSE
Wilder pushes Corbett inside past Neff.
I need to call Fairbanks.
Neff just stares at Corbett.
Neff! Dial it up. State police.
With a "what can I do but oblige?" look to Corbett, Neff
sits in front of the RCA Alascom radio telephone and dials.
Fairbanks Alascom? Patch me
through to the State Police.
After a moment, he hands the receiver to Wilder. Wilder
takes it, keeping one eye and the shotgun on Corbett.
This is Sam Wilder, Marshal in
Devil's Cauldron. Had some
killings here. I got a suspect;
be real nice if someone came and
took him off my hands.
STATE POLICEMAN (VO)
On a good day I couldn't spare a
crosswalk guard. But now, no
way. Folks're batshit with the
weather turning sour. Bring him
Next plane's not coming 'til next
STATE POLICEMAN (VO)
Sit your suspect out in the cold.
This man's friends ain't gonna
look favorably on his
STATE POLICEMAN (VO)
(thru phone; Mr. Glib)
So shoot him. Won't have to feed
him that way --
Angry, Wilder slams the receiver down.
34 INT. WILDER'S CABIN
In one room, there is a wood-burning cookstove and an Ashley
heat stove, a table, a bunk and a small window. Behind a
cloth partition is an eight by six holding cell. The frame
of an iron-bar door is securely cemented to the log walls.
Wilder comes in with Corbett and locks him in the cell.
Mind if I get some stuff from my
Wilder does mind. He locks the duffel bag and Corbett's .44
in his desk drawer.
Sam, listen -- I shot to defend
my man. Other guy drew first.
If that was all, fine. But
carving him up, stranding the
others, that's too fucking much.
Is everything that walks, crawls,
flies or swims fair game to you?
I'll get loose before that plane
Don't try me. I'll kill you if
it comes to it.
35 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - AFTERNOON
As Eric walks into Kenai's general store, Neff hurries over.
(grins; sticks his hand
Arthur Neff. Area rep for the
Federal Assistance Plan. Tell
the boys in DC to keep those
Snowplow, generator, TV dish...
hell, we get the goddamn Playboy
Channel! Here, this is for you.
He hands Eric a piece of styrofoam shaped like a commode
Warm to forty below. Remember,
anything you want, you ask Arthur
36 EXT. HAUL ROAD - THE TURTLE - NIGHT
The storm has passed. A faint CHUGGING emanates from the
small orange generator trailer behind the Turtle. Eric
pulls up and parks the Scout.
37 INT. THE TURTLE
Nylon storage netting along the ceiling holds Eric's
research equipment and Anne Marie's photographic supplies.
In one corner of the Turtle are several of her black and
white prints. All are of man-made objects whose presence is
juxtaposed with the natural surroundings.
Relieved he's home in one piece, Anne Marie meets Eric at
the door and kisses him. Carrying a brown-paper-wrapped
package, Eric follows her into the kitchen, where she's
Did you catch Corbett?
Sure did. He was one of the
trappers we rousted from the Haul
Was there any trouble?
He was sitting in a hot tub with
Going after killers isn't the
same as chasing poachers, Eric.
Can't help myself. Corbett's
type always pisses me off.
(hands her the package)
Oh, I found this at the post
office. Had your name on it.
Perplexed, she looks at the return address --
Bloomingdale's. Delighted, she tears it open. Inside is a
pretty, elegant dress. Anne Marie kisses him.
Oh, sweetheart. It's beautiful!
You were looking at it in the
catalog. Don't know where you
can wear it...
I'll wear it for you. And I can
wear it when we go home. We
won't be here forever.
You make it sound like a prison
That's not what I meant.
It's exactly what you meant.
Look, why get into this again.
As long as it's working, let's
leave it alone. It's been nice
so far. We're together --
Do I want to be with you
permanently? Yes, I think I do.
But be with what you do and the
way you live? That I don't know.
C'mon, Eric, until I met you,
coming back to Alaska was totally
out of the question for me. But
I'm here. I'm getting great
pictures, and I'm having fun.
(slips her arms around him)
I love you.
So shut up and let's eat.
38 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - NIGHT
An old primer-grey station wagon rattles into town and
parks. With an unlit cheroot stuck in his mouth, "VIKING"
BOB CORBETT gets out and stretches. He's 38, six-foot-six,
with sandy hair, beard, ruddy skin, and his brother's dark
He looks around for some sign of life. He spots Neff
tending one of the windmills and walks over to him.
I'm looking for some trappers.
Ben Corbett, Mitchell, LeMalle.
Yesterday. Said they were going
to Cache. They were thirsty, but
we were voted dry.
As Viking Bob walks back to his station wagon, he notices
Kenai poking around in front of Wilder's cabin.
VIKING BOB'S POV
Illuminated by a bare bulb is Wilder's typical bush-country
front yard. Piled are five cords of wood, boxes, tarps,
stove parts, saw horses, 55-gallon drums, dismantled snow
machines, wash tubs, tires, etc.
Bunching his collar around his neck, Kenai shivers and sorts
through Corbett's traps.
Viking Bob ambles over to Kenai.
Gonna make an offer. Man who
owns them won't need them where
39 INT. WILDER'S CABIN
Wilder peers out the window and sees Viking Bob, then turns
Back against the bars. Now.
Wilder handcuffs Corbett's hands to the cell door bars, then
quickly wraps a piece of duct tape across Corbett's face,
covering his mouth.
Stuffing a .357 magnum in his belt, Wilder, coatless, slips
As soon as he's out the door, Corbett cranes his neck and
painfully tries to pry the tape off his face with the corner
of the door hinge.
40 EXT. WILDER'S CABIN
The look on Wilder's face tells Kenai to shut up. Viking
Bob realizes something's up.
Your brother and the boys left me
some traps to sell for them.
They're gone --
-- To Cache. So I heard. Ben
never said nothing to me about
selling his gear.
41 INT. WILDER'S CABIN
Corbett gets the tape partially off his mouth. He pries one
of his boots off and kicks it through a window.
Bob! They got me on a murder
42 EXT. WILDER'S CABIN
Wilder pulls his .357 out.
Sorry, Bob. I'll have to keep
you here 'til I ship him south.
Viking Bob responds by flinging a heavy trap at Wilder, then
punching him in the gut. Wilder sprawls among the junk,
dropping his revolver. Kenai freezes, not about to take
Before Viking Bob can come at him again, Wilder grabs for
his .357. Viking Bob jumps back and bolts for his car.
He dives into his station wagon and starts it up. As he
drives past, Wilder POPS off a few rounds, but Viking Bob
Kenai helps Wilder up. Pissed, Wilder shoves him against
You stupid, greedy, loudmouth
sonofabitch! He'll have the
others here in a few hours. You
fucked me up, now you're gonna
help me move him.
Forget it, Sam. I never work for
43 INT. THE TURTLE - NIGHT
Anne Marie sits on the floor, editing one of her VIDEOTAPES.
On the monitor, it SHOWS footage of the traps under the
pipeline piling. Eric comes out of the back module holding
two ELT pendants. He glances over at the monitor and nods
I still can't believe I'm being
financed by an oil company.
Especially when they get a look
at these pictures. Technology in
the wilderness; not too pretty.
I thought I should check our
Eric activates the ELT's. They emit an SOS pattern of radio
waves -- three short, three long and three short. This is
visible as rhythmic INTERFERENCE on Anne Marie's video
Avalanche season is coming.
Winter. Two straight months of
night -- we may never get out of
Which would suit me fine.
Prolonged darkness makes people
Not me. I'm equipped.
She turns on a small S-VHS video camera and snaps off the
Allow me to give you a practical
demonstration of low-light
She does so by seductively undressing for the camera. She's
SEEN on the MONITOR, illuminated by the "light" from the hot
stove. Eric appreciates the show. He crawls toward her.
High-tech in the wilderness.
Gets me excited, too.
Laughing, he wrestles her to the rug.
44 EXT. HILLS ABOVE DEVIL'S CAULDRON - NIGHT
There is a full moon and a clear night sky. Viking Bob's
station wagon is parked out of sight. He sits inside,
He hears an ENGINE starting in the distance. Sitting up, he
grabs some binoculars.
Wilder's extended cab truck pulls out, heading west.
45 EXT. FOOTHILLS - NIGHT
In the bright moonlight, two people are seen in Wilder's
truck as it speeds along a dirt road.
Viking Bob follows at a discreet distance, headlights off.
Viking Bob turns and takes the literal high road -- a narrow
trail above the roadway that Wilder's truck is on.
He zooms ahead and gets in front of his quarry, then drops
back down onto the road and waits in ambush.
As Wilder's truck approaches, Viking Bob turns on his bright
lights and crouches behind his car door with a shotgun.
Wilder's truck screeches to a stop.
Kenai gets out with his hands up.
Viking Bob slowly approaches Wilder's truck.
No answer. Viking Bob looks in the cab. Kenai's passenger
is Dixie, the Inupiat hooker. Viking Bob grabs Kenai and
pushes the barrel of the shotgun hard against his cheek.
Where's Ben Corbett?
I have no argument with you, Bob.
Wilder said I could keep his
truck if I drove it ten miles
away from town.
Where did they go?
He didn't say, but I would guess
the opposite way from here.
Viking Bob shoves Kenai against the truck, then punches him
for good measure. Cussing, he runs back to his station
wagon and drives off.
46 INT. THE TURTLE - REAR MODULE - NIGHT
Eric and Anne Marie are asleep. Eric starts awake at the OS
sound of a high-pitched vehicle HORN and an approaching
47 EXT. HAUL ROAD - THE TURTLE
Eric pulls the door open. Wilder is untying Corbett from
I got an emergency on my hands.
Corbett smiles at Eric as he walks inside.
48 INT. THE TURTLE
Eric, Wilder and Corbett sit in the front module. Anne
Marie, nervous, wearing a down robe, serves coffee. She
stares at Corbett, trying to reconcile his quiet demeanor
with what she saw that afternoon. Corbett smiles at Eric.
...You give us a ride in the
Cessna you got hangared at the
pumping station, we'll be in
Fairbanks in a few hours.
That's what we should've done in
the first place.
I could've sat tight for the
transport, 'til Bob came poking
(to Wilder; re Anne Marie)
A lot to ask, dragging him away
from such a good-looking girl --
-- To take you to jail? It'll be
You better get some sleep.
Good idea. Flying over mountains
can give you some nasty
surprises. Go too low, one of
the clouds might have a big rock
I'll get you there all right.
Eric takes Anne Marie to the rear module, leaving Wilder
with his prisoner.
49 INT. THE TURTLE - LATER THAT NIGHT
A bottle of Eric's Scotch sits almost empty on the table
beside Wilder. Wilder dozes in a chair facing Corbett.
Corbett is awake. He contorts his body to bring his
handcuff chain under his feet and get his hands in front of
him. He eyes Wilder's .357. It's in a lefty Sam Browne
holster. No way to take it without waking Wilder.
Corbett stands and inches toward the door. As he pulls it
open, the insulation makes enough NOISE to stir Wilder.
Wilder gets up and pushes Corbett back into his chair.
Goddammit, I don't need this
aggravation. I'll shoot you,
Ben. Bank on it.
I don't want to hurt you, Sam.
I'm not too old to knock the snot
out of you!
Wilder's mind clears enough to realize that Corbett's hands
are in front of him. He reaches for his .357. Corbett
butts into Wilder's midsection with his head. Amazingly,
Wilder stays on his feet.
Corbett hurries back to the door. Wilder lunges,
bull-determined to hold onto him. Corbett smashes Wilder
across the face with his clenched hands. Wilder goes down
hard, hitting his head on the table, and stays there.
Corbett instinctively kneels to see if Wilder is still
breathing. But then, hearing MOVEMENT in the rear module,
50 INT. THE TURTLE - REAR MODULE
Eric is pulling on his pants.
51 INT. THE TURTLE - FRONT MODULE
Eric rushes in. The outside door is open and Wilder lies on
the floor. His holster is empty. Anne Marie comes in and
crosses to Wilder.
Eric pulls a floor trap door open and digs through the
company-issue equipment, coming up with a huge Remington
bolt-action bear rifle. Unfamiliar with weapons, Eric tears
open a box of shells and fumbles to load the rifle.
52 EXT. THE TURTLE
Corbett is trying to start Eric's Scout.
Eric fires a loud warning SHOT from the Turtle doorway.
You want to try that handgun
against this rifle, go ahead.
Corbett sits in the Scout for a long moment, weighing his
odds. He takes his hands off the steering wheel...
Eric SHOOTS again, this time SMASHING the side-view mirror
and window next to Corbett's head.
Still handcuffed, Corbett gets out of the Scout. Holding
the .357 gingerly by the butt, he puts it on the hood of the
Some day you might have to face
me without a gun.
53 INT. THE TURTLE
Eric leads Corbett in. Anne Marie is cradling Wilder's
head. She's crying. Eric looks at Wilder. There is blood
coming from his ear and he's fading fast.
Fetch him back?
Don't let him walk...
Eric nods again. Wilder holds his gaze on Eric, then simply
Eric is stunned. Quietly, Corbett sits down. Clutching the
rifle, Eric sits on the floor and glares at Corbett.
Does he have people?
(after a beat)
A daughter in Oregon.
Send him down to her. There's
money in my duffel bag, back at
Corbett's benign attitude is chilling.
I better call in.
He turns the shortwave radio on. It SPARKS and burns out.
The remainder of the liquor has been poured inside it.
Thought of everything, huh?
Surviving is what I know --
-- Killing is what you know.
(to Anne Marie)
Pack some food while I prep for
(off her look)
I'm sure not gonna let him go.
Covering Corbett with the rifle, Eric handcuffs him to the
sturdy metal bracket of a wall unit.
54 EXT. CACHE, ALASKA - (MOVING SHOT) - NIGHT
Viking Bob approaches in his station wagon on a narrow dirt
road. The huge night sky all but smothers the weak light
from the town up ahead.
Cache seems a mistake -- a jumble of unpainted buildings in
the middle of a big nothing, twenty miles north of the
Arctic Circle. Still, it's more animated than Devil's
Cauldron. There are a hundred permanent residents, several
taverns and a three-store, fly-in shopping center.
Even though it's the middle of the night, people roam the
streets, drinking and socializing. With only a couple feet
of snow on the ground, this is still summertime. Under
storefront awnings, drunken INDIANS sleep on the concrete.
Viking Bob cruises the main drag, looking for the other
trappers. He spots their jeep in front of a
dangerous-looking saloon called the "Bear Sign Inn."
ANGLE WITH VIKING BOB
as he parks and gets out of his station wagon. He hears a
familiar VOICE around the side of the building.
C'mon, girl, talk to me,
negotiate with me...
55 EXT. CACHE - ALLEY
Drunk, LeMalle stands in an alley with a bored, acne-scarred
Oriental PROSTITUTE. He weaves and leers, his hand stuck
inside her blouse.
LeMalle. We got a problem.
Goddamn! Viking Bob! Mitchell's
inside, boring bastard...
Grumbling, Viking Bob separates LeMalle from the Prostitute
and drags him by the collar out of the alley.
56 INT. BEAR SIGN INN - NIGHT
Meyerling's campaign posters cover the walls. Many have
been pulled down and muddied underfoot by the drunken crowd.
In a booth covered with grafitti, Mitchell squints and works
on his scrimshaw. LeMalle, somewhat sober, eats a plate of
muktuk -- whale blubber. Viking Bob pours him more coffee.
(to Viking Bob)
...Ben never sent a signal.
Musta never got a chance to
VIKING BOB (Cont'd)
activate. Wilder's aiming to
take him to Fairbanks, we can
count on that much.
Meaning he'll need a plane.
Closest planes for hire are here
Remember that Cessna we saw at
the pumping station on the Haul
Road? Belongs to the guy they
got patrolling the pipeline.
There you go. Wilder's always
chummy with the fuckin'
It's a long shot.
You got a better idea?
57 EXT. HAUL ROAD - THE TURTLE - DAWN
Wisps of light cut across the cold blue sky.
Eric comes out of the Turtle, leaving the front door ajar.
He throws a knapsack of supplies into the back of the Scout.
58 INT. THE TURTLE
Corbett's right hand is still handcuffed to the wall unit.
Terrified about being alone with Corbett, Anne Marie
cautiously puts a cup of coffee in front of him.
How long have you been up north?
(after a beat)
Can't be. Too keen a sense of
this place in your pictures.
Six months this time. I was born
in the Aleutians.
Your people Alaskan?
Anne Marie doesn't want to talk to a killer, but Corbett is
so soft-spoken and charming that she answers despite
My dad was a Navy doctor.
Knew you had no native blood,
even with your dark hair. Blue
eyes give you away. My wife had
Had some good years. Met her in
'66. She showed up one day in
Coldfoot. No one knew her. One
Sunday morning, she marched into
a bar and announced she was
available as a wife to the
highest bidder. Didn't work out
in three months, she'd return the
money and leave, no hard
(off Anne Marie's amazed
My bid was eight thousand
dollars. Beautiful girl.
How did she..?
I was gone, in September, laying
traplines. She went to our cache
for some meat. Got mauled by a
bear. Tore open her skull.
58 CONTINUED: (2)
Might've lived if she got help,
but the exposed part of her brain
Anne Marie shudders. Smiling good-naturedly, Corbett looks
around, spotting the package Anne Marie's new dress came in.
What about you -- why come back?
Classy girl like you seems more
suited to the finer things.
That's why I left, moved to
Washington. When I met Eric I
was doing day shoots -- products
and fashion, mostly. Pretty
dull. Eric was teaching college,
and then he got the job with
Northland Oil. We wanted to stay
together, so we talked them into
funding some wilderness
photography... and here I am.
As she's talking, the Turtle ROCKS slightly. She looks out
the tiny window.
HER POV - THROUGH WINDOW
Eric is putting Wilder's body inside an enclosed storage
compartment built flush into the side of the Turtle.
BACK TO SCENE
Horrified, Anne Marie turns away.
You should know something.
I don't want to talk any more.
Wasn't my intention to hurt
Wilder. I'm telling you the
truth. I liked the man. I only
meant to get loose... to survive.
Your cheechako boyfriend better
Listen, I've got some money put
58 CONTINUED: (3)
-- Don't ever think you can buy
Eric off, Mr. Corbett --
Eric comes in, none too thrilled about Anne Marie chatting
He carefully stuffs Wilder's magnum in his belt and ignores
Anne Marie's disparaging look as he does.
Wait a second.
59 INT. THE TURTLE - REAR MODULE
Anne Marie leads Eric out of earshot from Corbett. Eric
keeps a cautious eye on him.
Maybe you should drive him into
Devil's Cauldron, let them decide
what to do with him.
Fairbanks is a three-hour flight.
I'll be back by dinnertime.
Realizing he's determined, she sighs and kisses him.
Be careful, okay?
That's my line.
60 EXT. HAUL ROAD & FELDSPAR CREEK - DAWN
Eric and Corbett drive toward the deserted pumping station.
They cross over a prefabricated steel portal bridge spanning
a fast-running creek.
61 INT. SCOUT - (MOVING SHOT)
The wind whips through the shot-out wing window. Corbett's
handcuffs are lashed to the seat frame with sturdy nylon
62 EXT. PUMPING STATION
The pumping station consists of three corrugated steel
buildings. The largest is an airplane hangar.
Just beyond the hangar is a narrow blacktop landing strip
running parallel to the Haul Road.
63 INT. SCOUT - ANGLE THROUGH WINDOW - (MOVING SHOT)
Eric pulls up to the hangar. Suddenly, LeMalle steps out
from behind the building.
64 EXT. PUMPING STATION
LeMalle recognizes the International Scout. He swings his
rifle up to stop it.
Eric slams it in reverse and SCREECHES back around the
Aim for the tires!
LeMalle FIRES as the Scout rounds the corner. He hits a
fender, doing no damage. Angry, he runs after the vehicle.
65 INT. SCOUT - (MOVING SHOT)
Eric slams on the brakes and turns the Scout around.
Let me out and keep going. They
catch us, they'll kill you.
Eric doesn't need any convincing of that. He tears out.
66 EXT. PUMPING STATION
Mitchell runs out in front of them and BLASTS the front of
the Scout with his .45 Peacemaker. Steam HISSES out of the
radiator. Eric floors it and races past Mitchell, almost
Mitchell and LeMalle SHOOT at the retreating vehicle. One
of the Scout's back tires gets blown out.
67 INT. SCOUT - (MOVING SHOT)
Eric slows, shifts into four-wheel drive and continues,
driving on the rim.
68 EXT. PUMPING STATION
Chewing an unlit cheroot, Viking Bob pulls up next to
Mitchell and LeMalle in the trappers' jeep. They pile in.
69 EXT. HAUL ROAD
Eric backtracks as fast as possible in the crippled vehicle.
70 INT. TRAPPERS' JEEP - THROUGH WINDSHIELD - (MOVING SHOT)
As the Scout heads for the Feldspar Creek bridge, it
disappears from sight over a hill.
71 EXT. HAUL ROAD & FELDSPAR CREEK
Viking Bob zooms over Feldspar Creek. They come over the
rise, but the Scout still can't be seen ahead of them.
The Scout sits idling in a depression near the creek bed,
below the Haul Road. Above, the trappers speed past without
After giving the trappers time to get around the next bend,
Eric drives the Scout up the embankment and crosses back
over the bridge.
72 INT. SCOUT
Eric stops the vehicle. He grabs a five-gallon gas can and
a piece of cloth from the back.
73 EXT. HAUL ROAD & FELDSPAR CREEK
The prefab bridge is the transportable type used by the Army
Corps of Engineers, left over from the building of the
pipeline. Eric stuffs the gas can between the abutment and
the honeycombed underside of the bridge. He puts the rag
inside the spout of the can, lights it with a match and runs
like hell back to the Scout.
74 EXT. HAUL ROAD
The trappers realize their quarry is missing. Viking Bob
slams on the brakes and looks around.
75 INT. SCOUT - (MOVING SHOT)
Eric speeds away.
They'll still catch us. All
you're doing is pissing them off.
76 EXT. HAUL ROAD & FELDSPAR CREEK
The gasoline can EXPLODES, tearing the bridge couplings away
from the concrete abutment.
77 EXT. HAUL ROAD
The trappers see the explosion behind them. They turn
around and head toward it.
78 EXT. PUMPING STATION - HANGAR
Eric parks the Scout sideways to block the way to the
With the magnum at the ready, Eric cuts Corbett's handcuffs
loose from the seat and hurries him toward the hangar.
The leeward side of the structure is a huge metal door on
rollers. Eric unlocks it and rolls it back. Inside is a
Cessna 182, dusted with snow and ice blown through the
cracks by crosswinds. Eric brushes the windshield with his
79 EXT. HAUL ROAD & FELDSPAR CREEK
The trappers pull up and find the far side of the bridge
burning and disconnected from the creek bank.
80 INT. HANGAR - CESSNA
Eric helps Corbett into the cockpit, then secures his
handcuffs to the frame of the seat with more nylon rope.
81 EXT. HAUL ROAD & FELDSPAR CREEK
Viking Bob assesses the damage to the bridge. Loose from
the abutments, it wobbles like a diving board. Below, the
water is too deep and fast-moving to be traversable.
82 INT. HANGAR - CESSNA
Eric tries to turn the ENGINE over. The starter is sluggish
from cold and lack of use.
83 EXT. HAUL ROAD & FELDSPAR CREEK
Viking Bob looks at the others, bursting with frustration.
He climbs into the driver's seat.
Get in. We can jump it.
They hop in. He SCREECHES backwards to get a running start,
REVS the engine, pops the clutch, and tears toward the
As they reach the midpoint of the bridge it begins to buckle
under them. With a sickening WRENCHING, the crossbar
The jeep flies through the still-burning gasoline, becomes
airborne, and SCRAPES to a rude stop on the edge of the
pavement on the other side, the back wheels dangling in
LeMalle and Mitchell gingerly get out and push the ass end
of the jeep onto solid earth.
84 INT. HANGAR
Eric finally STARTS the plane and taxis out onto the landing
85 EXT. PUMPING STATION
The trappers drive up to where the Scout blocks their path.
They pile out of their jeep and run toward the landing
86 INT. CESSNA - (AERIAL SHOT)
It picks up speed and takes off.
ANGLE THROUGH WINDOW - (AERIAL SHOT)
Below, the trappers watch the plane zoom over their heads.
LeMalle points his carbine at it, but Viking Bob pushes the
87 INT. CESSNA - (AERIAL SHOT)
Corbett scowls as he sees the trappers helpless below him.
88 EXT. PUMPING STATION
Viking Bob watches, wide-eyed with fury. Mitchell spits.
LeMalle punches the wall. Then he turns and repeatedly
BLASTS the Scout, parked nearby, with his carbine.
89 INT. CESSNA - (AERIAL SHOT)
Eric's knapsack, an emergency kit and several five-gallon
cans of aviation fuel are tucked behind the seats.
How the hell were they smart
enough to find us?
Smart? Sure. That's why I'm
sitting in this plane and they're
down there blowing me kisses.
Eric retracts the landing gear and banks toward the
southwest. Corbett notices that Eric seems a little unsure
of the controls.
Been driving long?
I needed a pilot's license to
take the job here, so I got one
in six weeks.
That makes the flight more
Eric ignores the jibe. He stays at 2,000 feet, making the
landscape all the more immediate.
Corbett stares out the window and broods. He spots an open,
snow-covered area where some dark blotches mar the
See the blood? Pack of wolves
took down a moose. Greedy,
gut-ripping sons of bitches. I'd
kill the last wolf on earth,
right in front of the President
of the U.S. Stinking, cowardly
predator, the wolf.
Sounds like professional
Hunting and trapping was a damn
Me and Mitchell, Bob and LeMalle,
we were teams. I'd always go
with Mitchell. Good man,
Mitchell. I'd let Bob worry
about goddamn LeMalle. We'd hire
a plane in October. On the way
to a dirt airstrip somewhere,
we'd drop supplies. We'd land,
tell the pilot to come back for
us a few days before Christmas.
ANOTHER ANGLE - (AERIAL SHOT)
While talking in an even tone, Corbett intently studies the
instrument panel and scans the landscape below.
The idea was to get to the
supplies before the bears did.
Along the route we'd set our
traps. Made our year's living in
Corbett spots a flat plateau farther in the mountains, above
the tree line.
Lot of times we didn't even have
a landing strip. We'd set down
on a plateau, like that one
there. Yeah, that one's easy;
you could glide right in...
Suddenly, he turns in the seat and pins Eric against the
door with his left foot.
The plane flies erratically. With his right foot, Corbett
kicks the fuel jettison lever on the instrument panel,
jamming it on.
90 EXT. CESSNA - (AERIAL SHOT)
The lever, used to empty the fuel tanks in case of
emergency, does so with great expediency. All the gas is
91 INT. CESSNA - (AERIAL SHOT)
Corbett releases Eric and calmly sits back up in his seat.
Eric rubs his neck, incredulous. Corbett's move was too
fast and too outrageous. In a moment, the engine SPUTTERS
to a stop. Eric struggles to hold the stick steady and
glide the plane down to the plateau Corbett pointed out.
Hope you got your money's worth
on those lessons.
92 EXT. CESSNA - (AERIAL SHOT)
There's an even chance of hitting a mountain instead of the
plateau. Eric pushes the Cessna's nose down. The plateau
comes up fast.
The plane drops lower and lower, pitching and yawing in the
It CRASH LANDS, its metal underbelly SCREECHING as it hits
the jagged granite under the snow. It stops suddenly,
flipping tail over nose.
93 INT. CESSNA
It rests upside down in the snow. The men are dazed.
Behind Eric, one of the extra fuel cans, now hanging upside
down, leaks gas. In front of him, the engine is ON FIRE.
Eric undoes his seat belt and rights himself, but his leg
gets caught in the tangled belt. He pulls out a Swiss Army
knife and cuts the rope binding Corbett's handcuffs to the
seat. Corbett pushes the passenger door open. Panicking,
Eric tries to pull loose of his seat belt, painfully
wrenching his ankle.
94 EXT. CESSNA
Corbett rolls out into the snow. With no time to grab his
supplies, Eric clambers from the wreckage. He and Corbett
crawl/roll down the incline of the plateau, away from the
A moment later the leaking gas reaches the burning engine
and the Cessna EXPLODES.
Eric tries to stand. He cries out and falls into the
powdery snow, clutching at his ankle.
Corbett realizes Eric is at a disadvantage. But before he
can bolt, Eric grabs for the .357 magnum under his coat. He
lies on the snow, gasping, pointing the gun at Corbett's
You got the belly to look me in
the eye and pull the trigger?
Eric cocks the gun's hammer with his thumb.
Be no different than shooting a
The men face off for a tense moment.
Corbett smiles and zips up his jacket, dispelling the
tension. Letting the hammer down, Eric looks back at the
Next time you want to kill
yourself, don't include me.
I took the odds on getting down
in one piece, and I made it. Now
we're in my territory.
With light clothing and no
supplies, this is nobody's
You sound like the tourists.
Know-it-alls who read about
survival in a magazine. Fuck
you. You won't make it off this
Corbett drops his facade of conviviality. Eric is too angry
to be intimidated. He takes the scarf from around his neck
and wraps his ankle with it.
94 CONTINUED: (2)
(re Eric's ankle)
I'm not gonna carry you out of
That's right. You're not.
Look, take these cuffs off. We
need to work together.
Eric holds his wristwatch up, points the hour hand at the
sun, counts forward to noon, and, accordingly, makes an
approximation of their direction.
Last time I checked the flight
plan, we were forty miles
northeast of Devil's Cauldron.
Southwest is that way. No sense
waiting for a goddamn taxi.
Grimacing with pain, he gets up. Clutching the magnum, he
shoves Corbett in front of him and starts walking. Corbett
frowns -- it's tough to trudge through the snow with his
arms cuffed tightly behind his back.
Eric looks around and tries not to let his emotions register
on his face. They wouldn't be farther from the rest of
humanity on another planet. Smelling fear on Eric, Corbett
enjoys the view. And waits.
95 EXT. ENDICOTT MOUNTAINS - LATER THAT DAY
The Endicott range is full of jagged peaks, icy streams and
gnarled tundra valleys. Squinting in the glare of the snow,
Eric and Corbett trek through the grandiose Gates of the
Arctic area. The smoldering plane wreckage is a hard-won,
snow-covered mile behind them.
Intricate patterns of fragmented rock, strips of scruffy
tundra and bedrock outcrops produce lonely, foreboding
mosaics upon the landscape. The air is still. The silence
is itself a disconcerting presence. Ten miles ahead and two
thousand feet lower, the forest begins. But here, on the
rock face of the mountains, Eric and Corbett might as well
be in a desert.
It'll be interesting, trying to
build a fire without any wood.
Welcome to the environment, Mr.
Ecology. Out here, one mistake
is all you get.
Determined and dour, Eric pushes on.
Why in hell you care enough about
me to die taking me in?
I don't plan on dying.
It's all academic. The sheer magnitude of the surroundings
makes them feel they're the only people in the world.
96 EXT. ENDICOTT MOUNTAINS - DUSK
The sun drops behind the mountains. A wind whips up,
chilling the men through their clothing. Eric tries not to
shiver. He spies a small rock formation with a granite
elbow protruding from it, making an enclosed triangle of
We'll stop here, dig out a snow
Snow shelter. Okay. You dig.
I'll have a little sit-down.
Corbett sits on his haunches and smiles while Eric digs near
the rocks. Although he knows Corbett is testing his every
move, Eric refuses to let his patronizing air get to him.
Even in the drifts, this snow's
too powdery to make a shelter.
When you're done jerking around,
reach down the back of my coat.
Eric approaches him suspiciously. He puts his hand down
through Corbett's collar. Something is stowed inside a
homemade flap in the lining of his coat. Eric pulls out a
folded nylon tarp with twine threaded through corner
eyeholes. He shakes the eight by eight orange tarp open...
97 EXT. NYLON SHELTER - EVENING
Eric and Corbett have stretched the tarp out tent-style next
to the granite rock formation, making a minimal but
functional refuge from the cold night.
98 INT. NYLON SHELTER
The men huddle inside the tarp. Eric keeps a wary eye on
Corbett -- at all times he treats him like a rattlesnake.
Eric unwraps his ankle and rubs it. It's swollen to the
size of a softball.
Still quite a hike to Devil's
Days. A long stretch to go
without sleep, my friend. You
can hide behind that pistol for
now, but take your eyes off me
long enough to sneeze --
-- Turn around.
While poking the .357 in Corbett's ribs, Eric one-handedly
unlocks Corbett's right manacle, pulls his arm through the
granite elbow, then locks it back up again. He's learning.
99 EXT. HAUL ROAD - DREAM - (AS IN SCENE 3)
Eric is hurrying along the pipeline in his business suit,
following the predator's paw prints in the snow. He peers
ahead and his prey becomes visible. But it isn't a wolf,
it's Corbett. His hands and face are covered in blood.
100 EXT. ENDICOTT MOUNTAINS - DAWN
The sun peeks over the mountain tops, drenching them with
light and color.
101 INT. NYLON SHELTER
The light hits Eric's eyes. He bolts awake from a fitful
sleep. Corbett sits, already awake, looking like he'd
uproot the rock to which he's chained if he could. He waits
for an opportunity -- any opportunity -- with the patience
of a vulture.
102 EXT. ENDICOTT MOUNTAINS - SMALL VALLEY - DAY
Eric and Corbett trudge up to the bank of a frozen stream
bisecting their path. It's simple -- to continue, they have
to cross it. Corbett takes in the scenery, in no particular
hurry. Frustrated, but making dead sure he's always got the
drop on Corbett, Eric puts a tentative foot on the ice.
Ice is too thin -- you can see
the water moving underneath.
We're not sitting here 'til
November. There's a cargo plane
coming to Devil's Cauldron in
four days, and I'm putting you on
We get wet, we freeze to death in
a couple hours.
I've been on ice like this when I
was a kid, skating. Spread your
weight, keep moving. Go on.
Corbett is not about to be outdone in the guts department by
someone with a Master's Degree.
(gestures 'you first')
Be my guest.
I'm right behind you.
Frowning, Corbett tentatively steps onto the ice and inches
across the fifteen feet to the other bank.
He turns and, indeed, Eric is right behind him.
Wait 'til I'm across!
Eric doesn't want to be too far from his prisoner. He keeps
coming. The ice GROANS and HISSES under their weight.
Corbett is three feet from solid ground. He drops to his
knees, then stomach, and rolls like a log the rest of the
Eric splays out on the ice and crabwalks across. The ice
makes an ominous CRACKING and water begins to seep through
Standing, Corbett weighs his chances of bolting from Eric.
Eric crawls doubletime. He makes it onto solid ground just
as the ice under him breaks off in a big, thin, clear plate.
Eric sits on some rocks. Corbett glares it him.
Most dangerous thing in the
world: A regular Joe, in over his
head. You trying to prove how
tough you are for me, or for
It wasn't my idea to crash the
Let's camp. There's grayling
under this ice. I'll snare some
We've got another two hours of
Pushing it is flat wrong. All
you prove is your ignorance about
Eric is not convinced. Grumbling, Corbett gets up and
takes the lead as they continue southward.
103 INT. THE TURTLE - DARKROOM - DAY
Trying to keep busy, Anne Marie develops some prints in the
darkroom she's made from the front bathroom. She glances at
her watch and sighs, her mind on Eric's overdue return.
104 INT. THE TURTLE - FRONT MODULE
Anne Marie comes out of the darkroom and hangs the prints up
to dry. Outside, (OS), a car HORN blares a couple of times.
Grinning, she runs to the door.
105 EXT. / INT. THE TURTLE
Meyerling's Dodge truck pulls up. Anne Marie comes outside.
Her smile wilts when she sees it's not Eric. As Meyerling
climbs the embankment to the Turtle, he glances at Wilder's
snowmobile parked alongside the Turtle.
I've been trying to raise you on
the shortwave for two days.
He pushes past Anne Marie and goes into the Turtle.
Have you talked to Eric?
I have not, but I very much want
to. What do you know about the
trouble in Devil's Cauldron?
I was hoping you had some news --
-- Get this straight: I'm the
District Supervisor. Whatever
you do reflects on me. It wasn't
my idea to bring you people up
here, but I'm stuck with you.
You are absolutely not to involve
yourself in any local disputes.
Whichever side you take, you
alienate the other. Mr. Corbett
is quite well-known in this
region. People admire him --
-- Corbett's a killer.
I don't care if Ben Corbett makes
meatloaf out of nuns and babies,
he's not your concern.
Anne Marie just glares at him. Meyerling examines the
What happened here?
The radio's on the fritz.
Where'd you say Eric is?
Somewhere along the pipeline.
What about that hotheaded
marshal, Sam Wilder? I heard he
was in the middle of this mess.
Sam? We haven't seen him.
Really. I thought maybe that was
his snowmobile outside.
By the way -- your truck also 'on
It's out by the pumping station,
shot full of holes.
Noting Anne Marie's distressed reaction to this news, he
crosses to the door.
Still nothing to tell me?
106 EXT. ENDICOTT MOUNTAINS - DAY
Eric limps further down from the mountains. Corbett keeps
pace in front of him and his magnum. As their altitude
decreases, there is ever thicker vegetation.
Their tracks in the snow stretch up behind them into the
distance. The magnificence and grandeur of the surroundings
cannot be overstated. Picture the most rustic, overwhelming
wilderness imaginable, and then make it ten times larger.
NEW ANGLE - LATER
The men's way is once again interrupted, this time by a
sheer granite drop. The steep decline would be tough to
negotiate with mountaineering equipment and proper footwear.
Corbett peers over the edge and shakes his head.
Have to backtrack, find another
Forget it. It would take days.
(assessing the drop)
Going to be a bit of a challenge
with handcuffs on.
Eric realizes he's right. After some deliberation, Eric
cautiously approaches him. With the .357 cocked and ready,
he undoes one of the cuffs, leaving them hanging from
Corbett's wrist. He then unthreads the nylon twine from
ANGLE - GRANITE SHEER
Eric and Corbett are tied, belt to belt, with the nylon
rope. Corbett inches down first, feet spread for maximum
footing, gloveless hands grasping at anything.
Eric mimics Corbett's moves and follows the same path.
Unable to grasp the rocks effectively, he stops and takes
his gloves off. Continuing, he winces -- the rock is cold
and sharp. His hands are soon numb and bloody. Even in the
dry, below-freezing air, Eric is sweating.
He looks down and hangs on more tightly. Sliding to level
ground two hundred feet below would pummel him to hamburger.
Corbett pauses and rests his cheek against the rocks. Eric
is right above him.
Suddenly, Corbett's foot slips. His right hand
instinctively goes for a hold. The dangling handcuffs snare
on a protuberance, knocking him off balance.
The fulcrum of Corbett's body leans out into the empty air.
Eric moves down a little, braces himself and extends his
leg, giving Corbett something to grab. Corbett takes hold
of Eric's shoe and tries to teeter back against the rock
wall. Adrenaline screams through Eric's system.
Corbett looks up at Eric. A careless move will send them
both tumbling. Eric clutches harder at the rocks and waits
for the worst.
After a long moment, Corbett regains his balance and lets go
of Eric's foot. He continues his descent. Eric lets out
his breath and tries to swallow. His mouth is as dry as the
107 EXT. TREELINE - LATER THAT DAY
Handcuffed again, Corbett hikes in front of Eric along the
top of some foothills. Now and again he glances behind,
gauging Eric's weariness, waiting for a moment's
carelessness. Around them there is heavy vegetation now --
snow-covered sedge tussocks, knee-deep muskeg and twisted
thickets that are treacherous and slow to tramp through.
Above them, ominous clouds and sharp, cold winds are coming
down from the north.
But below, a mile ahead, the edge of the forest is like the
hem of a great green garment stretching endlessly southward.
The combination of altitude and latitude creates an
amazingly sharp topographical dividing line. Within a few
thousand yards, the landscape abruptly changes from scrub
brush to thick coniferous forest.
Better get into those trees
before that squall blows down.
Then, Corbett pauses as a walloping sound ECHOES across the
Just ahead, two enormous bull moose are fighting. They ram
each other with six-foot-wide antlers.
Corbett stares, transfixed, admiring.
You talk about ecology -- there
Eric turns, surprised at Corbett's unabashed awe.
Catching the men's smell the moose bound away, and the spell
108 EXT. MINING SETTLEMENT - EVENING
Viking Bob, Mitchell and LeMalle head somberly back to
Cache. They drive along a hydraulic gold mining sluice on a
nearby river and come into town.
As the trappers park their jeep, some MINERS greet them,
shouting over the ROAR of the water.
Where's Ben at?
You'll want to hear about it with
a drink in your mitt.
109 INT. BEAR SIGN INN - CACHE - EVENING
Outside, a STORM rages. LeMalle is drunk, but still able to
stuff himself with a thick steak. Mitchell drums his
fingers and listens to everyone talk. With them at the bar
are the Miners, LOGGERS, CAT SKINNERS (bulldozer drivers)
and some leathery WOMEN.
...Figures, Corbett getting
hauled off by a Federal marshal.
God almighty, how I hate the U.S.
We should pass a hat. Send
Corbett a few bucks. We owe him.
Someone's hat comes off. It quickly gets filled with bills.
Government and business. They
ruined this state.
(re Meyerling poster)
Like that little weasel, for
WOMAN CAT DRIVER
'People's Friend,' my lily-white
WOMAN CAT DRIVER (Cont'd)
butt. I heard Northland got a
conservation program, up along
Hold it. Meyerling told me that
stuff's nothing but P.R. for the
TV and papers down in Juneau.
He's full of shit. We got run
out of there by some fuckhead
driving a Northland truck.
Viking Bob hurries in and whispers something in Mitchell's
ear. Mitchell shoots LeMalle a look and gets up. The
threesome hastily exit, leaving behind the hat full of
110 INT. BEAR SIGN INN
Viking Bob, Mitchell and LeMalle stand in a quiet corner
near the front door.
I called the cops in Fairbanks,
see when Ben is standing trial.
They don't know shit about Ben or
Get the fuck out of here.
It's a three-hour flight. They
shoulda got there yesterday.
Maybe they went back to Devil's
Naah, Wilder knows we got friends
That plane might've been to throw
us off the track. Remember the
bait-and-switch Wilder pulled
with the Eskimo and his truck?
Wilder still woulda made
Fairbanks by now. Fuck a duck!
Ben musta got loose.
Okay, let's backtrack, try to
pick up his trail. You know the
kid out on the pipeline that
Wilder's buddies with?
We were just talking about him.
111 EXT. FOREST - CAMPSITE PREPARATION MONTAGE - EVENING
The STORM brings gusting winds and below-zero temperatures.
Eric and Corbett move through the storm in slow motion.
Both recognize the need for a truce in the face of a common
enemy. The snow and wind cut through their clothing like
razors. They poke around for dead wood with which to make a
fire. The trees are small and healthy; little is found.
(shouts over WIND)
Just gather birch. It'll smoke
like hell, but it'll burn green.
Awestruck by the intensity of the storm, Eric tears branches
from birch trees and piles them in Corbett's handcuffed
They hurry back to the nylon tarp, strung between two tree
trunks, FLAPPING violently in the storm. Hunching against
the wind, Eric pulls off his gloves and reaches in his
pocket for some precious matches. His fingers are so cold
he can't hold them, and he drops several in the wet snow.
Angry, he shoots a look at Corbett. Corbett is holding his
hands inside his coat. He pulls them out and quickly takes
the remaining matches from Eric.
Crouching down, back to the wind, Corbett grasps a match
between his numb fingers and awkwardly strikes it. He holds
the flame next to the kindling. It doesn't catch fire
immediately. Corbett lets the match burn out against his
fingers. He tries another match. This time, a flame takes
hold but could succumb to the wind at any moment.
On his knees and elbows, Corbett nurses along the tiny fire.
Eric can't control his shivering. He gets on his knees next
to Corbett and holds his coat open to further baffle the
wind. Corbett keeps his hands cupped around the flame, not
caring that it's burning his skin. Finally the fire begins
to grow. Relieved, Eric and Corbett look at each other with
a glimmer of a grudging mutual respect.
The fire, now unattended, is smoky as Corbett predicted, but
burns along nicely.
112 EXT. / INT. NYLON SHELTER - NIGHT
Corbett and Eric sit under the nylon shelter. The STORM
rages outside. Eric empties his pockets of Eskimo potato,
reindeer lichens, bistsort sorrel and other plants for his
Corbett has fashioned a snare from his boot laces and a tree
branch, and placed some crushed roots as aromatic bait next
to a small animal burrow outside the shelter. A squirrel
sticks his nose out of the burrow to investigate.
Corbett sits catlike, ready to pounce. Eric grimaces as
Corbett yanks on the snare and the squirrel's SQUEALS (OS)
113 INT. NYLON SHELTER
Corbett pulls his dead dinner inside.
I need your pocket knife.
I have to eat, too.
After a beat, Eric pulls open the small blade on his Swiss
Army knife and pushes it with his foot to Corbett. Smiling,
Corbett admires the fancy knife. Then, BELOW FRAME, he
skins and guts his catch.
Damn lucky this storm didn't blow
down when we were on those
baldheaded mountains. It
continues, we better stay put.
It could blow over tomorrow, too.
I'm still figuring: You're either
real brave or real dumb.
I just want this over with.
Where in hell Meyerling dig you
You know Meyerling?
Sure. The People's Friend. Kiss
your ass with precision if
there's a vote in it.
Corbett eats the squirrel Eskimo-style. Raw. He uses the
knife like a native, too, holding the meat in his teeth,
then expertly cutting off a mouthful with a quick slice.
Eric stares, disgusted. Off his look:
Always eat your meat raw when the
weather's cold. Does you more
good, long as the entrails look
Corbett uses snow and the squirrel's fur to wipe the blood
from his face, then wipes the knife off and lays it, open,
next to his leg.
I'll hold onto that.
With a wry smile, Corbett pushes it back over to Eric.
While Eric eats his dinner, Corbett listens to the STORM and
watches him eat.
Sure love to know where you fit
in up here.
I'm here to do my job.
You want to fool yourself about
that bullshit job, fine. Damn
shame you have to drag your
girlfriend along. You think a
woman like that will be happy
making moose stew for a man
113 CONTINUED: (2)
making your salary? Look, I'll
give you five grand. Take the
money and go home where you both
Don't fucking insult me.
Corbett smiles -- maybe he's beginning to understand Eric.
Folks come to Alaska for a real
short list of reasons: Money.
Adventure. Solitude. Those
cover most everyone. But
frontiers also draw another type
of man. One with a demon in his
gut. He comes to the edge of the
world to face that demon, and lay
it to rest.
Yep. Sometimes they do, but
usually they end up crazy or
Eric ponders Corbett's words as he eats.
114 INT. THE TURTLE - NIGHT
Anne Marie is frantic with worry. She has the AM/FM RADIO
on for company.
...This is "Tundra Topics" on
KFAR. Remember, as the nights
get longer, be sure to stay on a
regular sleep schedule. The
depression from the coming of
winter that doctors call
'Seasonal Affective Disorder' --
or 'Arctic Blue' to us lay folk
-- is preventable.
Anne Marie tunes the radio to "Pipeline of the North" on
...John Byers was hospitalized in
Fairbanks today for an infection
in an abscessed tooth. Mr. Byers
had a toothache and attempted to
remove the tooth himself with a
pair of pliers...
Suddenly, a BUMP rocks the Turtle. Someone is outside.
Startled, Anne Marie turns the lights off and looks out the
No sign of a vehicle or a person. As she pulls on her
parka, she glances at the big rifle leaning against the
wall, but doesn't touch it.
115 EXT. THE TURTLE
Her visitor, whoever it is, is behind the Turtle. Anne
Marie cautiously rounds the corner and stops dead.
A foraging GRIZZLY sniffs around, attracted by the smell of
fresh carrion -- Wilder. Eight feet tall and eleven-hundred
pounds, it's used to having its way. Right now, it's
With a casual swipe of its paw, its massive claws puncture
the Turtle's aluminum skin, popping open the door of the
utility compartment. The bear pokes its head inside, and
Wilder's body slumps out into the snow. The bear pushes at
the corpse with its snout. Salivating, it prepares to dig
Anne Marie looks around, wondering what the hell to do nEXT.
Wilder's snowmobile is a few yards behind her, parked
against the side of the Turtle. She inches toward it.
Testily, the bear looks up, SNIFFING loudly.
Keeping her eyes on the bear, Anne Marie feels for the
snowmobile ignition keys. They're not there. She feels
around inside the saddlebags and finds three emergency road
Anne Marie IGNITES the flares. They illuminate the area
with an eerie reddish glow. She YELLS at the bear, wields
the flares like Excalibur and moves forward.
The bear, reluctant to leave so hearty a pre-hibernation
meal, GROWLS and cocks its head back and forth to assess the
threat. As Anne Marie inches ahead, the bear stands on hind
legs to its full height to meet the challenge.
Anne Marie tosses a flare toward the bear. It grunts when
the flare hits it, and shuffles backwards. Anne Marie
throws another flare. With a ROAR from hell, the bear
charges. Anne Marie falls back. Still holding the last
flare, she's forced into a crawl space under the Turtle.
ANGLE - UNDER THE TURTLE
Anne Marie tries to squeeze out the other side, but she's
pinned in by the unevenness of the hard ground. The bear
swipes at her, its huge paw inches away. Anne Marie jabs at
the paw with the flare, but that only makes the bear more
She twists around, looking for a defense. Above her is the
cabling from the generator to the circuit box for the
Turtle's electrical system. She tugs at it, but it won't
budge. The bear SNIFFS at Anne Marie with its big wet
snout. Anne Marie notices warning a sign on a control
? BLACK WATER
? UNTREATED SEWAGE
Grimacing, she tries to turn the valve. After much effort,
it SNAPS and opens, releasing a stream of fetid sewage.
The bear gets a muzzle full of the stuff. HOWLING
unhappily, it backs away, GRUNTING and SNEEZING. Greatly
offended, its appetite gone, it lopes into the forest.
Anne Marie squirms out from under the Turtle and, gagging
from the horrible smell, pulls off her wet parka.
116 EXT. WOODS NEAR THE TURTLE - SERIES OF SHOTS - NIGHT
Wearing one of Eric's coats, Anne Marie stands in the center
of three similarly-sized trees. A FLARE supplies the light.
The big Remington rifle leans against the tree closest to
She tosses one end of a hundred feet of nylon rope over a
sturdy tree branch twenty-five feet from the ground. Then
she throws the other end over an opposing branch and
stretches the rope like a clothesline.
She attaches a second length of rope perpendicular to the
first and throws it over a third tree branch, midway between
the other two. She kneels and ties something BELOW FRAME to
the cross-length rope.
Pulling mightily on the perpendicular rope, she hoists
something heavy to the level of the branches. The flare
burns out, plunging the area into darkness.
Anne Marie wraps the rope around the tree trunk and
nervously tries to LIGHT another flare. As she does, the
forest seems closer, sinister, filled with lurking ogres.
Seized with an instinctual fear, she grabs the rifle and
runs back to the Turtle.
117 EXT. ENDICOTT FOOTHILLS - DAY
The storm has passed, leaving a fresh covering of powdery
snow in drifts like sand dunes. Eric and Corbett trek
toward Devil's Cauldron through the ever-thickening forest.
Corbett has made them snow goggles by cutting slits in
strips of tree bark worn like sunglasses. Eric, using a
tree branch as a walking stick, still limps on his sore
ankle. For the first time, he keeps the magnum stuck in his
There's a cabin, maybe twenty
miles south of here.
(kneels to adjust his ankle
Too bad we're heading west.
There's a snowmobile. Inside a
day we could be on the Yukon. I
got money there. Remember that
five thousand? Make it ten. Be
smart. Take it and walk away.
You don't get it, do you?
Corbett takes advantage of Eric's poor peripheral vision
from the visor by kneeing Eric in the face. Eric falls
backwards into the snow. Corbett takes off like a
jackrabbit. Eric spits out some blood, shakes the stars out
of his eyes and yanks the .357 from under his coat.
Corbett bounds through the snow, dodging trees and
Eric squeezes off a SHOT, and is startled by the recoil and
the blast. He scrambles to his feet and SHOOTS again.
Corbett zigzags and disappears from sight over a snowbank.
NEW ANGLE - FOLLOW CORBETT
Corbett runs over a frozen stream, invisible under a cover
of snow. Suddenly, the ice SHATTERS under him. Corbett is
immersed in frigid, waist-deep water. He gasps from the
sudden temperature drop.
hobbles after him, CUSSING bitterly to himself.
crawls to solid ground. Disoriented from the shock to his
system, he rolls over to catch his breath.
Eric appears over a snowbank.
Corbett tries to run, but his frozen, waterlogged legs feel
like pig iron. Stumbling and panting, he looks for a safe
place to cross the stream. Eric easily catches up to him.
Corbett sits in the snow, shivering. He looks up as Eric
Eric glares at Corbett and rubs the bruise on his cheek.
Nothing personal. Just wanted to
see what you'd do.
Noticing Corbett's sopping legs, Eric becomes furious.
Have to get these wet things off.
You're not going to slow us down!
117 CONTINUED: (2)
Inside of three hours you'd be
dragging my dead carcass.
Fuming, Eric helps Corbett up.
118 EXT. ENDICOTT FOOTHILLS - EVENING
The sun sinks below the horizon, creating across the
mountains a spectacular show of color and shadows. The wind
119 INT. NYLON SHELTER
Eric stokes a fire at the mouth of the shelter. Corbett's
pants and boots hang to dry from branches next to it. He
huddles under the tarp, covered by his coat, drowsy and
Stay awake! You want to go
If that means freeze my balls
off, no thanks.
I'll be okay.
Eric examines him. Corbett's skin is white and rigid, his
lips are pale blue. He scowls at Eric.
Told you I'm fine!
(holds up three fingers)
How many do you see?
What?! Fuck off. Save yourself.
You don't feel cold?
It's a spring day...
He starts to doze off. The shivering he's been repressing
now racks his body. Eric sits him up, closer to the fire,
and puts his own parka over Corbett's shoulders. With his
foot, Eric rolls some hot rocks bordering the fire closer to
Corbett's legs. Eric rubs his arms and hands, but it isn't
enough. Eric loathes the specter of death, even Corbett's.
He shakes him, trying to keep him awake.
Wake up, goddammit! You've got
classic hypothermia --
crankiness, fatigue, can't feel
your coldness. Worst thing you
can do is fade out.
Corbett is headed someplace far away. Sighing, Eric turns
him so his back faces the fire. He unbuttons Corbett's
shirt, then unbuttons his own shirt and lies across Corbett.
Eric gasps -- Corbett feels like a slab of ice. Corbett's
teeth chatter. He's completely unconscious.
One more thing -- this doesn't
mean we're going steady.
Later, Corbett rests fitfully. It could go either way.
Eric chews on some roots and pokes at the fire to keep it
It's night. Some color has returned to Corbett's skin.
Eric turns as Corbett mumbles and clutches at the front of
his shirt. His eyes open. He tries to sit up, but he's too
Where's my ELT?
Emergency transmitter? All your
gear is back at Wilder's.
You got one?
It was blown up with the plane.
Too bad. We'd be out of here in
a few hours.
119 CONTINUED: (2)
How? Nobody this far north
monitors that frequency until
Besides, I'm surprised a tough
guy like you uses fancy
I'm surprised a flat-ender like
you knows cold-weather remedies.
Read a lot of adventure stories
when I was a kid...
I'm hungry. Go kill me some
An appetite. Maybe you won't die
Hate to disappoint you.
120 EXT. HAUL ROAD - THE TURTLE - NIGHT
The AURORA makes a dazzling display in the cold clear sky.
Below, the only light on the endless expanse of dark earth
comes from the Turtle.
Flashlight in hand, wearing one of Eric's coats, Anne Marie
refuels the generator. Something catches her eye --
ANNE MARIE'S POV
In the distance, headlight beams jostle along the Haul Road.
BACK TO SCENE
Anne Marie caps the diesel fuel can and stows it away.
It's about time...
She hurries back into the Turtle.
121 INT. THE TURTLE
Anne Marie brushes her hair and makes herself presentable.
122 EXT. THE TURTLE
The vehicle gets closer. It's the trappers' jeep. It slows
and parks on the Haul Road next to the Turtle.
123 INT. THE TURTLE
Anne Marie peers out the window. She gasps as she
recognizes the jeep. Ducking from sight below the window,
she grabs Eric's coat and hurries into the rear module.
124 EXT. THE TURTLE
Mitchell stays in the jeep. Viking Bob and LeMalle get out
and walk cautiously toward the Turtle.
LeMalle stands midway between the jeep and the Turtle,
cradling his carbine. Viking Bob goes up the steps.
125 INT. THE TURTLE - REAR MODULE
Anne Marie remembers something she should've taken with her:
the rifle. Too late. She hears Viking Bob's FOOTSTEPS (OS)
come up the wooden stairs outside.
126 EXT. THE TURTLE
Viking Bob knocks on the front door. He peers through the
sheer curtain on the window, into the front module.
He shrugs to the others, then tries the door. It's
Mitchell gets out of the jeep, spits and follows the others
in, his hand close to the Colt Peacemaker strapped to his
127 INT. THE TURTLE
Anne Marie climbs out a window in the back. She closes it
behind her just as Viking Bob pokes his head in the rear
The trappers snoop around, noticing that the coffee pot is
still warm, etc. The emptiness is ominous. LeMalle picks
up the big Remington bear rifle. He opens the breech to
determine if it's loaded, and sniffs the barrel to see if
it's recently been fired. Viking Bob notices the damaged
Somebody left in a big hurry.
128 EXT. THE TURTLE
LeMalle goes outside and shines his flashlight around.
In the back, Anne Marie drags an evergreen tree branch
behind her to cover her tracks in the snow, then climbs into
the utility compartment where Wilder's body was stored.
A moment later, LeMalle comes around the corner. He notices
bear tracks and scat from the prior night's visit.
(calls out to others)
Grizzly sign. Looks fresh.
Viking Bob and Mitchell converge with LeMalle. They point
their flashlights around, spotting footprints and marks
going off into the woods.
129 EXT. WOODS NEAR THE TURTLE
Tense and silent, the trappers follow the marks. A breeze
RUSTLES the needles of the evergreens around them. They
stop at the point the footprints end. A rhythmic CREAKING
above them makes LeMalle shine his light upward.
The light REVEALS Wilder's feet swinging back and forth
above their heads. His body is suspended in the manner of a
trail cache. Viking Bob lets out a startled grunt. He and
Mitchell shine their lights on Wilder's face.
It's Sam Wilder!
Musta wanted to keep him from the
bears. If Ben killed him, he
sure as hell wouldn't hang him up
Where's the kid?
Who gives a husky fuck? Where's
The trappers look glumly at one another.
130 INT. UTILITY COMPARTMENT - THE TURTLE
Anne Marie jams herself behind a pile of her photo
equipment. She stops as she hears the trappers' boots (OS)
CRUNCH in the snow past her and go inside the Turtle.
131 INT. THE TURTLE
The trappers peel off their overcoats. They look around at
the comfortable surroundings.
I should get me a job with an oil
He sits on the couch and lays his scrimshaw and engraving
tools out on the coffee table. LeMalle helps himself in the
I say we eat, torch this fuckin'
thing, and move on.
LeMalle digs through the cupboards and comes up with a fresh
bottle of Scotch.
Cool out. I ain't about to get
132 EXT. THE TURTLE - LATER THAT NIGHT
Flashlight in hand, gloriously drunk, LeMalle stumbles
outside. He crosses to the jeep to grab a box of Twinkies
and, as long as he's at it, take a leak in a snowbank.
Bleary-eyed, he notices the damage to the utility
compartment inflicted by the bear.
He walks to it, stepping over the bear scat. He marvels at
the size and depth of the clawmarks.
Big mother musta wanted something
real bad in here...
LeMalle tries the door, but it's jammed shut. He tucks his
flashlight under his arm and gives another tug. This time
the door cracks open.
CLOSER - HIS POV
He peers through the opening and shines his flashlight in.
A pair of eyes stare back at him.
LeMalle jumps back, startled, and pulls out his knife. He
tries the door again. It WRENCHES open...
...He's looking at his own face in one of Anne Marie's
mirrored photo reflector boards.
Letting his breath out, LeMalle pokes around the equipment
in the compartment. Ever larcenous, he pulls a few items
out, examines them, and, disinterested, leaves them in the
snow. Doing so, he comes close to uncovering Anne Marie,
who sits motionless and terrified in the back of the
Nothing in the compartment catches LeMalle's fancy. Leaving
the door hanging open, he wanders away.
133 INT. UTILITY COMPARTMENT - THE TURTLE
After he's gone, Anne Marie reaches over and closes the
door. She can hear the trappers' (OS) CONVERSATION inside:
VIKING BOB (OS)
I know in my gut he was here.
First light, we try to get scent
of his trail.
Sighing, Anne Marie stuffs her hands inside her parka and
tries to get comfortable. It's going to be a long night.
134 EXT. ENDICOTT FOOTHILLS - DAWN
Eric and Corbett wearily trudge through the woods. Corbett
has the tarp wrapped around him for extra warmth. As he
walks, he sniffs at one of Eric's Eskimo potato roots and
takes a tentative nibble.
Used to see the natives eating
roots when I was a kid in Nome.
Nome? I figure you'd be a
whaler, coming from there.
Told that's what our old man was.
Planned on going to sea, me and
Bob, 'til I read Jack London.
Started trapping when I was ten.
Mailed the furs to Sears. Eight
bucks for a skunk, three for a
(off Eric's look)
That was fine money.
Killing wildlife not good enough
anymore, so you go on to bigger
and better things.
You got a knack for seeing things
the way you want to see them.
They walk in silence. Corbett tightens the tarp against the
cold air and looks at Eric.
Don't judge me. You're a joke,
coming here from a fucked-up
culture, telling us what to do!
Yeah, it is fucked up -- but it's
not too late to keep that from
All you do is keep folks from
working the land, living like
they're meant to. You don't
understand shit! Trappers,
hunters -- we're part of the
environment. Who's protecting
I've seen plenty like you. So
134 CONTINUED: (2)
full of yourselves there's no
room for other people's way of
What do you know about people?
You live like an animal! A
savage goddamn throwback like you
belongs out here, as far away
from the rest of us as possible.
I'm real sad you don't approve of
He shoves Eric with his handcuffed hands.
Tell me what I should do,
Professor. You got all the
answers. I shouldn't hunt?
Fine, I'll just phone up and have
a salad delivered.
Livid, Eric backs away and knocks Corbett's hands away from
Don't push me..!
Cowardly bastard. I'm in
handcuffs and I still scare the
piss out of you.
Eric smashes his fist into Corbett's face. Corbett reels
back, more surprised than hurt. Eric moves in, furiously
throwing punches. Corbett plows his clenched fists into
Eric's midsection, doubling him over. Gasping, Eric rams
his head into Corbett and they fall into the snow.
Despite the handcuffs, Corbett gets a few blows in. They
wrestle fiercely, and Eric ends up on top of Corbett. He's
about to throw another punch when Corbett looks up at him.
First you save my ass, now you
want to kill me. Make up your
134 CONTINUED: (3)
Eric lowers his fist and climbs off of Corbett. Corbett
gets up and they continue on their way in sullen silence.
135 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - DAY
Sunday morning. Chimney smoke rises straight up in the
still morning air and mingles with the wisps of fog hanging
above the Devil's Cauldron valley.
A scratchy RECORDING of a HYMN ("We Will Gather at the
River") plays through a PA system, ECHOING forlornly off the
hills. The PEOPLE of Devil's Cauldron walk through the new
snow to the center of the settlement. Some, older Women
mostly, head for the dance hall, where the HYMN originates.
136 INT. DANCE HALL
The Women SING along with the HYMN. They face a shelf
holding the PA, a rusty TV and record player. And, in front
of the shelf, an unmanned pulpit.
137 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON
The Men, including Neff, split off from their mates and go
into the Maqi.
138 INT. MAQI
Neff joins some other Men sweating on benches in the
primitive steam bath. Kenai sits closest to the fire. His
thick glasses are steamed up, but he finally looks warm.
Wilder's missing church services;
you believe it?
I just as soon he stay gone.
Fool could've got us all killed,
arresting Ben Corbett here in
139 EXT. FOOTHILLS ABOVE DEVIL'S CAULDRON - DAY
Exhausted, Corbett and Eric climb across the last set of
foothills before the Devil's Cauldron valley. The town
comes into view below them; faintly the MUSIC carries from
below. Corbett looks at Eric and breaks the silence:
What makes you so sure my boys
won't be waiting for us?
They think you're in Fairbanks.
If not, they still won't find you
before the plane comes tomorrow.
Don't bet on it.
I already have.
You don't know how true that is.
Eric sweeps the snow from between two rocks and sits down.
We'll wait here until nightfall.
No fire, no tarp.
Corbett sits next to him. After a long moment:
Didn't mean it, you being a
coward. You're a lot of things,
but chickenshit isn't one of
Maybe...maybe not. I'll tell you
what scares me -- stumbling
through life, like an ordinary
jerk. That's why I want to work
on the front lines, where what I
do means something.
Soon as I got here, I realized my
job was bullshit. Oil company
propaganda. I was ready to
leave, then I thought screw it,
I'll outsmart them, do the work
I don't know anymore. Maybe I am
fooling myself. That's what I'm
afraid of most of all.
Hell, I still get a knot in my
gut every season, wondering how
much longer I can go on. No
'Home for Retired Trappers' that
139 CONTINUED: (2)
I ever saw. We're like Eskimos
-- get too old to be useful,
we're left on the ice to die.
The men listen to the faint MUSIC echoing through the silent
My wife used to go to chapel on
Sundays. See her friends, 'cause
I was away so much.
Should've been home that day.
She'd be getting dressed right
Eric glances over as a look of utter desolation crosses
140 EXT. HAUL ROAD - THE TURTLE - DAY
The trappers file out the front door.
My guess is he's loose and
heading for Chukfoktulik. He'll
need supplies; that's the closest
settlement without a lawman.
LeMalle carries his booty with him. Viking Bob looks at him
disapprovingly as he puts the big Remington rifle in the
I ain't gonna leave a seven-
hundred-dollar Remington behind.
What you gonna do with it? Large
bore's for shit on small game.
Not in the right hands it ain't.
To demonstrate, he rapid-fires several SHOTS from the hip,
taking the radio antenna off the roof of the Turtle,
shattering panes of glass in an accurate succession, and
blasting the door latch off the utility compartment.
Pleased, LeMalle slams back the bolt, ejecting a spent
shell. He glances curiously at the door of the utility
compartment and starts toward it.
Thought that door was open last
Quit fucking around. Get in.
LeMalle climbs into the back of the jeep. With Viking Bob
driving, they pull away.
141 EXT. TRAPPERS' JEEP - (MOVING SHOT)
Grinning maliciously, LeMalle hangs the Remington out the
window as they retreat. Taking careful aim, he SHOOTS.
142 EXT. THE TURTLE
LeMalle's bullet hits the metal fuel tank of the generator.
The kerosene fumes EXPLODE, splattering BURNING KEROSENE on
the rear module of the Turtle.
The trappers don't slow down to enjoy the show. Viking Bob
hurries on to more important business.
143 INT. UTILITY COMPARTMENT - THE TURTLE
As soon as the SOUND of the jeep fades away, Anne Marie
clambers out of the utility compartment. Haggard and numb
with cold, she helplessly watches as the fire ravenously
devours the rear module. Shielding her face from the
flames, Anne Marie reaches under the accordion cover between
the modules. With great effort, she unbolts the coupling
144 INT. DIESEL RIG - THE TURTLE
Anne Marie STARTS the engine, SLAMS it into gear, and
lurches the front module away from the burning rear module.
She shuts the motor off and, trying to hold back the tears,
watches the rear module BURNING.
145 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - NIGHT
Bone weary, Eric and Corbett walk toward town, staying on
the outskirts to avoid being seen. They look at one another
-- this moment seemed impossible not very long ago. No one
seems to notice as they limp into Wilder's cabin.
146 INT. WILDER'S CABIN
It's dark. Eric locks Corbett up in the holding cell, not
noticing that Corbett seems almost pleased to be there. He
blocks the windows, pumps up the pressure on the white gas
lantern and heads back outside again.
147 INT. NEFF'S HOUSE
Neff pries himself from his MTV to answer a KNOCK at the
door. Eric hobbles in. Neff notes Eric's weatherbeaten
You don't mind me saying, Mr.
Desmond, you look like hell.
Have you heard anything from the
girl staying with me, Anne Marie?
Not a damn thing. What's going
on? Mr. Meyerling was here, all
steamed up, looking for you.
Look, Neff, I've got Ben Corbett
with me --
-- Here?! Where's Wilder?
Back at my place... he, uh, broke
If Corbett's men find out --
-- I'm putting him on the plane
to Fairbanks, eleven tomorrow.
What do you want from me?
Corbett ruined my two-way. Go to
my place on the Haul Road, tell
Anne Marie I'm okay and to sit
I'll go at dawn.
Thanks. Don't tell anyone you
After Eric goes, Neff closes his door and bolts it.
148 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - VARIOUS ANGLES - NIGHT
The temperature dips as the winds shifts and blows down from
the north. Another storm approaches. The temperate days of
last week seem ages ago.
Kenai, Neff, and other TOWNSMEN batten Devil's Cauldron down
for the STORM. Kenai is bundled up in the cold. The men
tighten guy wires on the radio tower, windmills and caches;
bring firewood indoors; close off unused rooms in the
general store and spa. Then Neff and Kenai split off from
149 INT. HOT SPRINGS SPA
Via a catwalk, Neff and Kenai climb up into the ceiling
struts above the partitioned cubicles in the spa to caulk a
roof leak with pitch. Neff is sullen from his conversation
with Eric. Kenai, however, is smiling at Neff.
Why the smirk?
Bet I could make some money
turning Ben Corbett in. Maybe
more for lettin' him loose.
(off Neff's flustered look)
I was up in my cache. Saw the
Northland man come talk to you.
You're out of your greedy goddamn
Corbett coming here stinks of
trouble. We should make the best
of it before it turns around and
bites us in the ass.
Stay out of it.
150 INT. WILDER'S CABIN - NIGHT
Eric stirs a pot of beans on the cookstove. Corbett watches
from the cot in the cell.
Talk to that good-looking girl of
You broke the radio, remember?
I'm sure she's fine. Seemed like
a clever kid.
Corbett sits up as Eric hands him a plate of beans.
You were real resourceful out
there. Got me thinking of this
perimeter man, froze all his
fingers one winter. So he hacked
the tips off and sharpened the
exposed bones. Gets along better
than ever. Yeah, maybe I
I liked you better frozen. You
didn't talk so much.
You're damn lucky, glimpsing this
country before it's ruined, gone
for good. You saw wonders you'd
only dreamed of. That alone
makes you different than the
sorry bastards back where you
came from, because you have
Corbett sees he's hit a nerve with Eric.
Remember that demon in the gut?
Sometimes it's nothing more than
wondering if the so-called
civilized life has bred the balls
and brains out of you. That's
what you want out of this, isn't
All I want want is you in jail --
A KNOCK at the door interrupts. Eric lowers the flame on
the gas lantern and peers out through a corner of the
cardboard in the front window. Frowning, he cracks the door
open and slips outside.
151 EXT. WILDER'S CABIN
It's Neff and Kenai. Neff looks guiltily at Eric.
He saw you and Corbett come in...
Dixie's waiting at the infirmary.
She'll put a splint on that
Eric is skeptical of Kenai's concern.
Don't let him fool you. Real
reason he's here is to buy
Eric looks at Kenai, then at Neff. Neff nods that it's
okay. As extra precaution, Eric handcuffs Corbett's right
wrist to the frame of the cot inside the cell.
Okay. You can talk to him. But
I'll keep the keys with me.
152 INT. HOT SPRINGS SPA - NIGHT
Outside the wind HOWLS. Eric enters and walks into the
hallway connecting the bath partitions. A hand grabs his
arm. Startled, he turns around.
It's Dixie, wearing a threadbare flannel robe.
Earl says you get discount.
Eric shakes his head -- typical Kenai. He gives her three
tens. She smiles and leads Eric toward the "infirmary."
It's actually a bath partition outfitted with an examining
table and a first-aid kit.
153 INT. WILDER'S CABIN - NIGHT
Neff paces nervously. Corbett smiles at him and Kenai.
Look, Ben, we don't want any
trouble. The kid's got the key,
and besides, he looks edgy enough
to use that magnum he's carrying.
Relax. I'll get loose in time.
Any traps you don't want, I'll
pay cash money.
Guess someone should use them.
Open the bottom drawer in
Wilder's desk. My kit's in
there. Might as well unload
Kenai tugs on the drawer. It's locked. Undaunted, he
jimmies it open with a knife. Neff groans. Kenai goes to
throw Corbett the duffel bag, but Neff grabs it. He checks
for weapons, pulling out a hunting knife. Satisfied, he
hands Corbett the bag through the bars.
With his free hand, Corbett digs through his belongings:
clothing, freeze-dried provisions, jerky, paperback books.
He looks up and shrugs.
154 INT. HOT SPRINGS SPA - NIGHT
Eric's ankle is in a resin cast. His foot rests on a stool.
While waiting for the cast to set he soaks in the bathtub, a
hot towel draped over his face. Above him, on a wall
bracket, a closed circuit TV plays a war-surplus PORNO FILM.
The door CREAKS open and Dixie comes in. She impassively
checks his cast -- which is interesting, as she's now
wearing panties, clog shoes and nothing else. Eric takes
the towel off his face and sits up, astonished.
I wash your back for you. You
will like it.
Before Eric can protest, the door OPENS again. It's
Meyerling. He snaps his fingers at Dixie to shoo her and
she scurries away.
I hate to interrupt playtime, but
why the hell are you caught up in
a local matter when I gave you
express instructions to the
Cut the shit, Leo. I might need
155 EXT. CHUKFOKTULIK, ALASKA - NIGHT
Consisting of a handful of sod-roof cabins, mostly bars,
Chukfoktulik is a way station in the coniferous forest,
sixty miles southeast of Devil's Cauldron.
156 INT. TRAPPERS' JEEP
With the seats pushed back, LeMalle peels the town's lone
WHORE out of her parka. He's got the motor running for
warmth. Her gold tooth glints in the light from the
building next to them. The locating screen on the beat-up
radio beacon receiver bolted to the dash GLOWS
They got nice beds upstairs,
I'm standin' guard duty.
Besides, rather spend the room
money on sloppy seconds.
Over the sound of LeMalle's exertions there begins an
insistent succession of BEEPS. The Whore looks over
LeMalle's shoulder at the locating device.
Hey, Tiger --
LeMalle turns and immediately loses interest in the Whore.
Pushing her off of him, he blows the jeep's HORN three
157 INT. HOT SPRINGS SPA - NIGHT
Eric and Meyerling are in the middle of an argument.
...I won't let a killer walk!
What does this matter to you?
You can't see past your lousy
little assignment, sniffing
around the pipeline. The few
voters there are in this district
look up to Corbett, and I'm not
about to alienate them.
I should release Corbett because
you want some votes?
This miserable wilderness is a
state of the union. Policy's
made here the same way as in the
civilized world: at the ballot
box. That's the beauty of it --
these icebox cowboys are living a
century too late. Get them on
your side, it's like buying
Manhattan for beads. With a
handful of votes you control the
greatest frontier since white men
stumbled onto the New World.
Some day these people'll wake up,
and you'll be the first one
they'll run out of here.
Eric's attention turns to a rhythmic INTERFERENCE on the TV
screen. There are three short bursts, followed by three
long bursts. Something about it is very familiar.
Scowling, he sits up.
(to Meyerling; distracted)
Do what you have to. So will I.
Eric climbs out of the water and pulls his pants on.
158 INT. WILDER'S CABIN - NIGHT
Kenai sorts through the tangle of Corbett's traps. The
door bursts open and Eric hobbles in. Gun drawn, Eric
unlocks the cell door. He rips Corbett's shirt open.
Looking around, he sees Corbett's duffel bag sitting by the
cot. Digging through it, he finds at the bottom of the bag
an ELT with a small red LED flashing on it.
Furious, he flings it against the wall, smashing it.
159 INT. TRAPPERS' JEEP - CHUKFOKTULIK - NIGHT
The green dot on the screen and rhythmic BLEEP go suddenly
dead, just as Viking Bob and Mitchell run up to the jeep.
Northwest. Devil's Cauldron.
LeMalle dumps the half-naked Whore out onto the snow.
Viking Bob starts the jeep and they roar off.
160 INT. WILDER'S CABIN - NIGHT
Eric shoves Kenai and Neff out the door.
Just stay out of my face until
He slams the door. Corbett smiles his Cheshire smile.
(continuing; picks up ELT)
Emergency transmitter? What
happened to signal mirrors or
two-tone smoke fires?
Lets us watch each other's backs
over a wide area. Only thing
messed me up this time was
getting arrested in the baths.
ELT was in my duffel bag, not
around my neck where it should've
No way they'll find you on a
five-minute signal. And no way
they'll get here in eight hours
in this weather, unless they're
right around the corner.
They haven't disappointed me yet.
161 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - DAWN
Fat, dry snowflakes pour through the still air. Gloomy
clouds hang immediately overhead. Visibility is ten feet;
the temperature is below zero.
162 INT. WILDER'S CABIN
It's 5:30 AM. Sitting at Wilder's desk, Eric pries the tops
from some bullets and dumps the gunpowder into a styrofoam
cup. He rings the top of the cup with bluetip matches, then
seals it with masking tape. Watching him from the cell,
Eric doesn't answer. He pulls on a heavy overcoat of
Wilder's. Putting the unused bullets back in Wilder's desk,
Eric finds Corbett's .44 magnum. He puts it and some
speedloaders full of .357 hollowpoints in his pockets.
163 EXT. / INT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - MONTAGE
Eric hobbles across town to the hot springs under cover of
the early hour and heavy snowfall. He paces out several
circuitous routes from the rental cabins to the airstrip at
the edge of town, pausing now and again along the way.
He hears a door SQUEAK open and someone COUGH nearby, so he
stands motionless in the snow.
Bundled in wool blankets, Kenai trundles down to his
After Kenai passes by, Eric sneaks inside the spa. He
climbs up into the catwalk.
As Kenai goes back to his cabin, he notices that the antique
bear traps on display in front of the general store are
missing. Suddenly, Eric grabs him and pulls him into the
164 INT. HOT SPRINGS SPA
Eric's unexpected appearance startles Kenai.
I need to rent a cabin.
What's the problem with Sam
Will you rent me a cabin, or not?
Pretty clever: If the trappers
got that signal beacon and get
here in time, Sam's is the first
place they'll look. They may
figure you're waiting for an
airplane, so you can't stay in
the shack by the airstrip. Last
place they'd expect you is on the
far side of town.
(shakes his head)
I can't afford any trouble --
(takes out all his cash)
-- Here's a hundred dollars. And
if you or anyone else will back
me up on this --
-- Forget it. And try not to
bleed on my throw rugs.
(walks away, then turns
Why do this?
If you have to ask, you wouldn't
Outside, there is the high-pitched WHINE of a snowmobile
(OS) driving into town. Eric cautiously follows the SOUND.
165 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - CLOSE ON ERIC
He listens as the vehicle cuts across town toward Neff's
house. The snowfall is too thick to see who it is. Eric
moves in as close as he dares. The ENGINE stops (OS) and
FOOTSTEPS crunch up Neff's driveway.
WIDER ANGLE - NEFF'S HOUSE
A person in a hooded parka stands on Neff's stoop, about to
knock. Magnum drawn, Eric suddenly appears from the curtain
of falling snow. He shoves the person against the side of
It's Anne Marie. She gasps. Seeing Eric, she's more angry
than relieved. Eric puts the gun back in his waistband.
Eric! Why aren't you in
He pulls her away from Neff's doorstep. Her anger
dissolving, she wraps her arms around him.
Oh, Christ, sweetheart. Four
days! I thought you were dead,
You can't stay here. Go back to
the Turtle. I'll meet you back
there in a few hours.
(stung by his coolness)
What's going on?
I'll tell you everything later.
Here. A transport plane is due
at eleven. Once I put him on it,
it's all over.
So what's the problem?
165 CONTINUED: (2)
There isn't one, unless Corbett's
men get here before the plane
Anne Marie grasps the situation with a sickening clarity.
Let the people here handle it.
It's their marshal Corbett
CUTAWAY - NEFF
has been eavesdropping on the conversation through his
window. The news about Wilder stuns him.
BACK TO SCENE
Please, Anne Marie, you being
here only complicates things.
Eric knows she won't relent.
Take the snowmobile, park it
behind Wilder's cabin.
Sighing, she STARTS the snow machine. Most of her photo
gear is lashed to the saddlebags. As she pulls away, Eric
limps back to Neff's house and knocks on the door.
INT. NEFF'S HOUSE
Shaken, Neff opens the door and lets Eric in.
I was just on my way to your
ladyfriend's, but I guess she
Yeah. Sorry I barked at you last
I'm the one should be sorry...
Goddamn Kenai, always out for a
score. I never should've let him
go over there.
165 CONTINUED: (3)
I'd sure like that favor you
offered a while back.
Neff gets a seasick look on his face.
Look, Mr. Desmond, I didn't count
on it turning this ugly.
What are you talking about?
Bastards killed Sam, you think
they won't kill the rest of us?
There'll be three, four men at
the most. I have some backup,
nothing will happen.
I'm real sorry. In a while,
you're gone from this country.
But we live here. No one wants
to mix it up with those hombres.
Neff opens the door for Eric.
You don't care enough about Sam
-- Sam Wilder was my cousin.
He's why I came to Alaska. All
his letters, saying what a
paradise it is. But me ending up
dead won't do Sam a lick of good.
166 EXT. WILDER'S CABIN
Anne Marie waits in front as Eric hobbles up. She looks at
his bad ankle.
Nothing broken. C'mon, we have
He leads her inside.
167 INT. WILDER'S CABIN
Corbett is calmly reclining on the cot in the holding cell.
Could've told you no one would
Seeing Anne Marie, he smiles.
(continuing; to Anne Marie)
Maybe you can talk sense into
(to Anne Marie)
Either way, you better clear out.
I don't want anyone innocent
This comment has the intended effect on Anne Marie. Angry,
Eric throws Corbett a coat. Corbett puts it on. Reaching
through the bars, Eric cuffs Corbett's hands together.
We're moving. Let's go.
As they exit, Corbett's sardonic look makes Anne Marie
168 INT. RENTAL CABIN
The ten-by-ten cabin is furnished with two sagging cots, a
beat-up color TV set, a cookstove and a half-drum heat
stove. Built into the rear wall is a rustic dumb waiter
that once lowered perishables into the icy waters of a
Eric checks his watch. 6:15 AM. He bolts the door and
blocks the windows, opening one enough to let sound in from
outside. He extinguishes the Benman lantern and douses the
fire in the heat stove so no smoke will emit from the
chimney. Anne Marie slumps into the corner next to the dumb
You'll catch a chill by that dumb
waiter shaft. Sit on the cot.
(hands her the .44)
Keep this pointed at him if I get
Anne Marie reluctantly takes the huge gun. Trying to allay
her fears, Eric sits and brushes the hair from her face.
Corbett intently watches them. Before he can say anything,
Eric shoots him a cold look. Corbett stays quiet.
169 EXT. / INT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - VARIOUS ANGLES - DAY
A pall hangs over the town. People know to stay inside.
Time crawls by.
In his house, Neff, for once, has his TV turned off. He
tries to read and listens for sounds outside.
In the spa, water DRIPS somewhere. All the stalls are
In his sod house, Kenai looks out his one tiny window at the
curtain of snow. Dixie comes up behind him and puts her
hands on his shoulders. He looks up at her, glum.
In Wilder's empty cabin, his belongings are scattered about
as if expecting his imminent return.
In the rental cabin, Eric checks his watch. 10:45 AM.
170 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - NEAR WILDER'S CABIN - DAY
The sound of a MOTOR grows in volume, then abruptly ceases.
The trappers' jeep APPEARS in the snowfall on the road into
town. It coasts quietly in and stops behind the cover of a
woodpile across from Wilder's cabin.
The trappers get out of the jeep. LeMalle has Eric's
Remington, Mitchell has his Peacemaker, and Viking Bob
carries LeMalle's old carbine. Mitchell spits. It's so
cold outside that the spittle freezes and CRACKS before it
hits the ground.
They fan out and approach Wilder's cabin.
ANGLE WITH TRAPPERS
The cabin comes more clearly into view as the trappers move
closer. There is no sign of life. Viking Bob gestures for
the others, now positioned on either side of the cabin, to
crouch down for cover.
Ben? Ben Corbett?
No response. Carbine held at his hip, Viking Bob walks up
to the door and, with a mighty kick, BREAKS it in.
REVERSE ANGLE - THROUGH WILDER'S CABIN DOOR
Viking Bob points the carbine at an empty room. He notices,
however, Corbett's duffel bag on the floor of the cell.
171 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON
The trappers march through town like an advancing army,
looking for some sign of Corbett. LeMalle stops to dig
through his pockets for some food. All he comes up with is
the stump of a candy bar. Viking Bob looks at him
Look, we pull Ben's ass out of
the fire, I'll get you a whole
damn crate of Snickers bars.
I'm right fuckin' here with you.
To prove his point, LeMalle trots from dwelling to dwelling,
looking through windows and letting himself in through any
unlocked door. This proves fruitless, so he lets out a
frustrated YELL. Pointing the Remington skyward, he lets
off a couple thunderous SHOTS that ECHO back off the
172 INT. RENTAL CABIN
Hearing the shots, Eric pushes Anne Marie against the floor.
Cautioning her to stay put, he crawls to the window and
tries to see through the snowfall. After a moment of
silence, from outside, not too far away:
Ben! Speak out before I torch
every dump in town!
Eric points the magnum at Corbett.
Answer and I'll shoot!
You kill me, you sign your death
(re Anne Marie)
173 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - NEAR MAQI
Viking Bob and Mitchell come running over to LeMalle.
LeMalle fires another couple SHOTS for emphasis.
You hear me? Ben?
Ease off. We do this my way.
He and the others strain their ears for a clue.
(continuing; calls out)
Whoever's holding Ben Corbett,
listen to me: we just want to
know he's okay. He is, nobody
174 INT. RENTAL CABIN
His mind racing, Eric stares at Corbett. Despite the
freezing temperature of the room, he's sweating.
They know I'm here. I don't say
something, they'll plow this town
under. You willing to accept
Setting his resolve, Eric drags Corbett to the window. He
pushes the barrel of the magnum against Corbett's cheek.
Say you're okay. Tell them I'll
kill you if they rush us.
Anne Marie bites her lip and tries to maintain a brave
front. Despite the gun in his face, Corbett remains calm.
(shouts through window)
175 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - NEAR MAQI
Hearing Corbett's voice, the trappers spin around, trying to
ascertain its direction.
Relax. I got a nervous man here
with a magnum up my nose.
The trappers follow his VOICE toward the rental cabins.
You in one piece?
I'm fine. Look forward to seeing
Count on it.
176 INT. RENTAL CABIN
Eric pulls Corbett away from the window. He shoots a look
at Anne Marie. They're in a bind and she knows it.
177 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - NEAR MAQI
LeMalle grabs Viking Bob's arm.
(to Viking Bob)
Sweet-talk won't get shit.
Choose it, asswipe -- cut Corbett
loose, or soon as you come
outside, I put a fuckin' bullet
through your eye!
178 INT. RENTAL CABIN
Eric glances at Corbett, whose grim look certifies LeMalle's
Snow's to their advantage, kid.
You can't see them, but soon as
that plane comes, they'll sure as
hell know where we're going.
Wise up. Take me to the Yukon.
I'll give you that money and
guarantee you'll walk away.
Why offer a buyoff with your
gunmen waiting outside?
The time has passed for men like
them and me. I know it. But
they're still fighting for
survival, like cornered animals.
That's why they'll kill you.
Be rude to let that happen after
you kept me from freezing back
Anne Marie tries to hide how tempted she is by Corbett's
He's right about the snow. We're
Eric sighs -- is she against him, too? From outside:
VIKING BOB (OS)
The trappers are obviously much closer. Eric signals to
Corbett not to answer.
Eric and Corbett face the window. They don't notice as Anne
Marie quietly shimmies outside through the narrow dumb
waiter shaft to the back of the rental cabin. Eric turns,
gasping as he realizes she's gone. Corbett smiles
At least your girl had the sense
to jump ship. Too bad she's the
only one small enough to fit
through that dumb waiter.
179 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - FOLLOW ANNE MARIE
Using the cover of the snowfall, Anne Marie circles around
the outside edge of town toward Wilder's cabin. She takes
some of her photo gear from the snowmobile.
180 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - NEAR MAQI
Unaware of Anne Marie's maneuver, the trappers wait for a
response from Corbett. None comes. Viking Bob places a
calming hand on LeMalle's shoulder.
Just wait, we don't know what
this guy's up to. Ben'll let us
know what to do.
181 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - ANTENNA TOWER
With a camera bag slung over her shoulder, Anne Marie climbs
up the metal antenna tower behind Neff's house on the edge
of town. She grits her teeth and fights back a wave of
vertigo. The ground disappears from sight, hidden by the
snow and fog.
Fifty feet up, she attaches her infrared video camera to the
tower crossbars and, using a length of coaxial cable, hooks
its RF output to the feedline of the community TV antenna.
182 INT. RENTAL CABIN
Eric looks at his watch. 10:55 AM.
183 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - NEAR MAQI
A CRACKING twig behind the cabins gets the trappers'
attention. Clutching his rifle, LeMalle goes to
as he probes through the snow, listening. He reaches the
edge of the woods and, finding nothing, returns to the
Anne Marie crouches behind a tree, twenty feet behind
LeMalle. After a moment, she tiptoes back toward the rental
184 INT. RENTAL CABIN
Eric and Corbett turn as Anne Marie's camera bag suddenly
drops from the dumb waiter shaft. Anne Marie wriggles back
inside. Before Eric can say anything, she puts her fingers
over his mouth. She turns on the TV set and tunes it to
ANGLE ON TV
A fuzzy IMAGE comes into view. It's Devil's Cauldron from
the vantage of Anne Marie's infrared video camera. The
falling snow shows up as a translucent yellow wash over the
scene. Buildings are distinguishable as bluish silhouettes.
Heat-producing objects -- warm walls, chimney smoke, etc. --
are pink and red. And there are three clearly-definable
human figures standing near the Maqi. The trappers.
BACK TO SCENE
Corbett is amazed. Eric smiles at Anne Marie.
Your infrared camera?
Technology in the wilderness.
Only problem is talking to you on
your way to the landing strip.
I've got an idea. We'll have to
He digs through Anne Marie's bag of equipment and supplies,
then stops and looks up. Outside, there is an OS SOUND that
is felt before it is HEARD. The cargo PLANE approaches in
185 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - NEAR MAQI
The trappers look at each other as the SOUND of the plane
There's what they're waiting on!
They'll have to come right past
186 EXT. RENTAL CABIN
Eric quietly pulls the door open. Holding the pistol to
Corbett's head, he pushes Corbett out in front of him.
Anne Marie and Eric exchange a long look. Fighting back
tears, she reaches up and touches his face.
When you ran off, I thought you'd
keep going 'til you were back
home in Washington.
My home is here. With you.
He smiles. Then he and Corbett are gone, lost from sight in
the snowfall. After a beat, Anne Marie takes a deep breath
and slinks away in the other direction, toward the dance
ANGLE NEAR THE MAQI
The trappers wait, twenty-five feet from Eric and Corbett.
The DRONE of the plane grows louder.
ERIC AND CORBETT
start toward the airstrip. Corbett sees a patch of bare
dirt and SCUFFS his feet in it.
ANGLE NEAR MAQI
The trappers turn to the SOUND, heard under the RUMBLE of
the still-distant plane. Converging, they head in that
direction. Suddenly, Anne Marie's VOICE booms through the
ANNE MARIE (OS)
They're moving toward you!
Eric SHOOTS a couple times, then backtracks and pulls
Corbett behind one of the rental cabins.
Ducking the bullets, the trappers sprawl onto the ground.
187 INT. DANCE HALL
Anne Marie has turned on the rusty TV near the pulpit.
While watching the infrared IMAGE of the action outside, she
holds the microphone wired to the old PA.
ANGLE - THE TRAPPERS
Viking Bob gestures to Mitchell and LeMalle to separate.
ANNE MARIE (OS)
They're fanning out.
Angry, LeMalle BLASTS his rifle in direction of her VOICE.
(to Viking Bob)
Kenai's PA -- but how the fuck
she seein' us?
Doesn't matter. We know where
they're going. C'mon.
Stalking, anxious, LeMalle follows Viking Bob.
splits off from them and looks for footprints in the snow.
188 EXT. ALLEY
Eric pushes Corbett through a narrow pass between two
buildings in the center of town. He walks in Corbett's
footprints. Almost through to the other side, he suddenly
stops. Pulling Corbett with him, Eric walks backwards,
still carefully placing each foot in an existing footprINT.
Corbett can't help but smile.
189 INT. DANCE HALL
Watching the TV screen, Anne Marie sees one of the red blips
change direction and head toward her.
One is moving back toward the
190 EXT. DANCE HALL
It's LeMalle. He crosses to Kenai's generator. With a
well-placed rifle SHOT to its innards, he GRINDS it to a
191 INT. DANCE HALL
The TV PICTURE disappears as the power dies. Anne Marie
keys the PA microphone; it's dead, too.
192 EXT. ALLEY
Eric and Corbett emerge from between the buildings. Eric
backtracks toward the hot springs spa, now leaving an
193 EXT. HOT SPRINGS SPA
Eric and Corbett go inside. Eric pulls the door closed
behind them, but leaves it ajar.
194 INT. KENAI'S HOUSE
The DRONE of the approaching plane is ever louder. Kenai
stands and pulls on a succession of sweaters. Dixie looks
Earl, it's crazy to go out there.
I hear someone in the spa.
He straps on a holster under his sealskin coat.
195 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - AIRSTRIP - LONG SHOT
The big 4-prop plane is about to touch down on the far side
of the snow-covered airstrip.
196 INT. DANCE HALL
Anne Marie zips up her parka and cautiously goes outside.
197 EXT. HOT SPRINGS SPA
LeMalle follows the footprints to the door Eric left ajar.
He peers inside.
198 INT. HOT SPRINGS SPA
It's tomb-quiet except for water DRIPPING and pipes
CREAKING. LeMalle looks around. The sound of a small DING
against metal above him gets his attention.
He sees a fleeting shadow cut across the catwalk above him.
He finds a metal ladder, slings his rifle over his shoulder
and climbs up. Hearing another SOUND on the far side of the
catwalk, he hurries across, holding onto the pipes for
LeMalle is directly above the huge central pool. He ducks
to go under a long piece of twine running from the ceiling
to a dark corner below. Suddenly, the twine snaps tight,
pulling open a heavy trap door on the ceiling. The door
swings down and knocks LeMalle off the catwalk. With a
yelp, he splashes into the water below.
Hidden in the shadows, Eric drops the end of the twine and
rushes toward the front door with Corbett in tow.
That'll keep him out of the cold.
climbs out of the central pool, soaked. He pulls his wet
jacket off and furiously throws it down.
199 EXT. HOT SPRINGS SPA
Eric leads Corbett around the back of the spa. A GUNSHOT
rings out nearby and a BULLET hits the wall above Eric's
has seen their faint silhouettes through the snow. He
purposely SHOOTS over their heads so he doesn't hit Corbett.
ANGLE BEHIND HOT SPRINGS SPA
Eric and Corbett crouch down and double back. They are
once again swallowed up by the snowfall.
200 EXT. ALLEY
Viking Bob follows their footprints in between the
buildings. He continues to a point where they converge to
one set, then stop. He smiles at the naivete of Eric's
ploy. Looking at the boardwalk railing above, he assumes
Eric and Corbett have swung over it onto the iced-over
boardwalk. Pleased with his deduction, Viking Bob continues
along the alley.
SNAP! Viking Bob lets out a horrible HOWL and falls on his
back in the snow. Biting into his right calf is a huge
conibear leg trap. In extreme pain, he struggles to lever
it open with the barrel of his rifle.
201 EXT. KENAI'S GENERAL STORE
Corbett shoots Eric a dangerous look as Viking Bob's CRIES
carry though the town.
202 EXT. ALLEY
Hearing Viking Bob's cries, Mitchell backtracks and rushes
to Viking Bob's aid. Between them, they manage to yawn open
the jaws of the trap and free Viking Bob's leg. Viking Bob
tries to walk but the leg won't support him -- the bone is
broken. Bitterly frustrated, he waves Mitchell on. In
agony, Viking Bob eases down in the snow. He tears a strip
of lining from his coat and wraps his leg to stop the
203 EXT. HOT SPRINGS SPA
Anne Marie scurries by on her way to the airstrip.
Suddenly, the hot springs door bursts open and LeMalle
lunges at her. Stripped of his wet clothes, he's wrapped
in blankets and furs, his feet protected by sacks lashed to
them. His wet body and hair steams in the frigid air.
Anne Marie lets out a startled cry and springs away from
him. She falls hard on her back, knocking her wind out.
Scrambling for footing in the snow, LeMalle drops his rifle.
He comes at her again. Anne Marie moves away and pulls the
.44 magnum out. LeMalle stops and glares at her.
Don't make me shoot.
She gets up, keeping the magnum pointed shakily toward him.
LeMalle glowers menacingly.
We're going to Sam's cabin. You
can stay in the jail until this
LeMalle slowly crouches down for his rifle. Anne Marie
wields the handgun at him, but he doesn't stop.
Want to chance it with that
hog-leg? You can't even hold it
up. Better drop me first shot,
bitch, or I'll rip your fuckin'
Taunting, sneering, LeMalle stares her down. Anne Marie is
paralyzed. Feeling that he's won, LeMalle wraps his bony
fingers around the stock of the Remington.
Anne Marie closes her eyes and FIRES. Pulling the rifle
close, LeMalle tucks and rolls and jumps to his feet. Anne
Marie FIRES again, and AGAIN. Shot, LeMalle hobbles away,
leaving a trail of blood in the snow. Numb, Anne Marie lets
her arm fall.
204 EXT. BOARDWALK NEAR WILDER'S CABIN
Eric looks around at the sound of the shooting, fearing the
worst. He pulls Corbett off the boardwalk and they cut
across open ground toward the airstrip depot.
205 INT. HOT SPRINGS SPA
Kenai looks around at the messy RESULTS of LeMalle's
ransacking for things to wear. Kenai turns, startled, when
he hears footsteps. It's Neff and Meyerling.
Lookit this damn mess. Where in
(after a beat)
Dead. Trappers killed him.
Aw, Jesus. Told you this was
What about you, big shot? Do
something. Who's side are you
Hey, I thought you people loved
Corbett and his wild men!
This shoot-'em-up shit is bad for
business. I'm sick of it.
What about you, Neff?
Well... two of the trappers are
down already --
(suddenly on the bandwagon)
-- One left; three of us. Let's
What about Eric Desmond?
I'll handle him.
206 EXT. YARDS BEHIND AIRSTRIP DEPOT
Through the snow, Eric can see the faint outline of the
plane on the runway. He and Corbett hurry toward the back
of the airstrip depot.
As they wend their way through the junk-filled yards, Eric
catches a glimpse of movement around a corner, REFLECTED in
a pane of glass leaning against a roll of tar paper.
ERIC'S POV - REFLECTION
Peacemaker in hand, Mitchell is behind the depot, coming
right for them.
Eric takes out the homemade flashbomb. He lights it, tosses
it toward Mitchell and covers his eyes. It EXPLODES with a
muffled pop and a bright flash of white light.
Mitchell stumbles backwards and blinks his eyes. The flash
has temporarily clouded his vision.
Eric moves Corbett to another approach to the depot and
waits for Mitchell to move on.
207 EXT. REAR WALL OF AIRSTRIP DEPOT
Mitchell is about to do just that when a hand on his
shoulder stops him. It's LeMalle, oblivious to the profuse
bleeding from his right shoulder. Mitchell blinks, still
having trouble seeing. LeMalle gestures for him to be quiet
and points in Eric and Corbett's direction.
He hoists his Remington.
Hold it. You might hit Ben.
Bullshit. I hit what I'm aiming
Let 'em come closer first...
But LeMalle is too anxious. He swings the rifle up,
left-handed, and SHOOTS.
The bullet just misses Eric. He panics and wildly returns
FIRE with the .357.
208 EXT. REAR WALL OF AIRSTRIP DEPOT
Mitchell and LeMalle scatter under the hail of bullets.
ANGLE ON ERIC AND CORBETT
as they HEAR LeMalle's labored footsteps run past them,
nearby. Eric peers cautiously around the corner toward the
depot. There is no further movement.
Eric waits a moment, then leads Corbett cautiously toward
209 EXT. REAR WALL OF AIRSTRIP DEPOT
Reaching the rear wall, they practically stumble over
something. It's Mitchell, lying on the ground near the
wall, badly wounded by Eric's barrage. Eric gasps.
Anguished, Corbett kneels next to Mitchell. Mitchell pulls
Glad to see you're okay. I told
LeMalle not to shoot.
(tries to smile)
Had some fine seasons, didn't
Mitchell's grasp on Corbett's coat relaxes as he dies.
Horrified, Eric stares at the man he killed. Noticing the
scrimshaw lying on the snow where it slipped from Mitchell's
pocket, Corbett picks it up.
Fifteen years on the trail with
this man, I never saw him rise to
Glaring at Eric, Corbett dips his hand in Mitchell's blood,
and suddenly smears it across Eric's mouth. Repelled, Eric
Your first kill. How does it
Wiping his face, sickened and desolate, Eric has no reply.
Then, from somewhere close by, LeMalle FIRES at them. Eric
stuffs the .357 in his belt and uses a brick to knock the
padlock off the back door of the depot. He pushes Corbett
210 INT. CARGO PLANE - COCKPIT
The pony-tailed, ex-hippie PILOT shuts his engines off and
removes his Walkman headphones. Hearing LeMalle's
continuing GUNSHOTS, the Pilot pulls his door closed and
turns on his two-way radio.
(into radio mic)
Circle, this is BMY-955. I just
touched down in Devil's Cauldron.
Nobody's here to greet me like
usual, and there's gunfire. I'm
With that, he STARTS his engines up again.
CUT TO ERIC IN DEPOT
who turns, startled, when he hears the ENGINES coughing to
211 INT. CARGO PLANE - COCKPIT
The Pilot fiddles with his controls and prepares to take
off. He looks up, surprised, as the passenger door suddenly
Anne Marie slides onto the seat.
You can't leave yet.
It's my responsibility to get
this aircraft out of here safely.
Anne Marie points the .44 at him.
You got to be kidding.
Leave the engines idling. Go
back and open the side door.
Shaking his head and muttering, the Pilot unfastens his seat
belt, climbs between the two seats to the cargo compartment,
and obliges the little lady with the big gun.
212 INT. AIRSTRIP DEPOT
The depot, as temporary-looking as the rest of Devil's
Cauldron, is a boxcar-shaped loading dock and warehouse with
a corrugated steel roof. Boxes, wood palettes and hand
dollies are piled haphazardly about.
Eric and Corbett navigate through the piles of boxes,
inching toward the front door -- the door leading to the
Suddenly, a string of overhead lights come on. Eric goes
for the .357, then stops when he sees Meyerling, Kenai and
Neff have come in the front door. Kenai stomps his feet and
shivers. Grandstanding for the others, Meyerling steps
Nobody wants any more killings;
we all agree to that, correct?
(no one argues)
That's good. Now, Eric, you're
gonna hand your prisoner over to
This isn't your concern. It's
over, here and now.
Sure, when you put a bullet in my
back on the way out. Easier for
Not a bad idea. Face it, Ben.
There's no room in Alaska for you
Meyerling pokes with his foot at a tipped-over rack of
Eskimo paraphernalia -- masks, furs, big skin drums, fish-
You're as antiquated as this
Meyerling moves toward Corbett, but Eric stands in his way.
You're quite a piece of work,
Meyerling. The tide changes, you
ride right along with it.
Eric looks at Neff.
Neff, you know better than
You're an outsider, Mr. Desmond.
Step aside; stay out of it.
Kenai and Neff move in with Meyerling. Eric stands his
ground and reaches for the .357 in his belt.
Suddenly, LeMalle stumbles into the depot, the blankets and
furs dragging at his feet. His right side is bathed in
blood. Half-frozen, bled dry, he looks ready to drop down
dead. In his left hand, impossibly, he still clutches the
He hoists it to his hip and grits his teeth as he BOLTS a
round into the chamber with his injured right arm. Bracing
himself, he levels the rifle at Eric.
Hearing the ACTION of the rifle, Eric turns.
Corbett reaches down, grabs a rusty Eskimo spear in both his
handcuffed hands, and hurls it.
There is a deafening ROAR as LeMalle's rifle discharges.
LeMalle flies back from the recoil -- and from the spear
stuck clear through his chest.
Some packing material above Eric's head smolders, ignited by
the muzzle blast.
There is a moment of silence. Corbett looks at the other
weapons near him, and then at Meyerling. Threatened,
Meyerling pulls out a .380 automatic. Before Eric can do
anything, Meyerling FIRES.
The IMPACT of the bullet throws Corbett against some boxes.
212 CONTINUED: (2)
With a YELL, Eric jumps Meyerling and rips the gun from his
grasp. Enraged, he pummels Meyerling with it until Kenai
and Neff pull them apart. Eric wrenches away from them and
scrambles to his feet with Meyerling's gun in his hand.
Anybody moves and I'll shoot!
Holding the .380 on them, Eric crosses to Corbett. Bleeding
from the abdomen, he's trying to stand up.
Can you walk?
Wound's a through-and-through.
Missed my liver, I think.
Let's get out of here.
Cautiously backing away from the others, Eric helps Corbett
get up and shuffle toward the OS SOUND of the cargo plane.
213 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - AIRSTRIP
Anne Marie jumps down from the cockpit. She and Eric lift
Corbett into the plane.
214 EXT. CARGO PLANE
as it taxis and lifts off.
215 INT. CARGO PLANE - (AERIAL SHOT)
While Eric takes Corbett's handcuffs off, Anne Marie looks
at his wound. He waves her away.
How come you didn't let him shoot
Like I said, I'd still be up on
that mountain, frozen solid, it
wasn't for you.
We'll get you to a hospital, soon
as we get to Fairbanks.
So they can patch me up and put
me in a cage? Forget it.
Meyerling's right -- I'm a
dinosaur. Greedy bastards like
him, it's their turn with this
land. Put me in the woods, let
me live or die on my own.
He painfully pulls himself into a sitting position.
(continuing; peers out
Look down there, tell me what any
of this matters. Struggles of
men get swallowed by the bigness.
Soon there won't be a trace of
our troubles... or us.
You're wrong. Everything we do
leaves its mark. You said it
yourself -- there are hundred-
year-old footprints in the
Too tired to argue, Corbett leans back against the window.
He takes Mitchell's scrimshaw out of his pocket and looks at
EXTREME CLOSE UP - THE SCRIMSHAW
The exquisitely beautiful and detailed engraving depicts a
grizzly beside a wilderness creek, with trees and mountains
in the background.
clutches the scrimshaw in his hand and closes his eyes.
NEW ANGLE - (AERIAL SHOT)
Eric sighs as he looks at the blood -- Mitchell's blood --
on the back of his hand. He stares at Corbett for a long
moment. Then, resolved, he climbs up front and says
something to the Pilot. Grumbling, the Pilot adjusts his
216 EXT. HAUL ROAD - PUMPING STATION - DAY
The snow clouds are dissipating. The cargo plane comes down
through them and lands on the airstrip behind the pumping
217 INT. CARGO PLANE
As it rolls to a stop, Eric throws open the cargo door.
Corbett sits up, surprised. He and Eric exchange a long
look, then Corbett crosses to the open door and gingerly
steps down onto the snow-covered runway.
218 EXT. CARGO PLANE
Eric and Anne Marie watch from the door of the plane as
Corbett limps across the runway toward the treeline. As he
goes, his footprints are dusted over by the snow and wind.
Corbett stops, turns and looks back at Eric, then continues
onward, disappearing into the forest.
ANGLE ON CARGO PLANE
Eric closes the cargo door as the Pilot turns the plane
around and taxis back down the runway.
219 INT. CARGO PLANE - (AERIAL SHOT)
Eric wearily sits next to Anne Marie. She kisses him.
The Pilot glances over his shoulder and frowns.
Too damn crazy in this state
anymore. I'm moving back to L.A.
220 INT. CARGO PLANE - ANGLE THROUGH WINDOW - (AERIAL SHOT)
The plane climbs above the fog and snow clouds into a sunny,
ice blue sky. It banks and turns south. Behind it, the
mountains roll on toward the Arctic wasteland, forever.