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            screenplay by

     Brian Helgeland and Eric Roth

        based on the novel by

              David Brin

           November 4, 1996

        Early Production Draft


    FADE IN:

1   EXT. DESERT LANDSCAPE (UTAH) - DAY                            1

    Jagged mountains defy a dark, foreboding sky. We hear
    appears. Wearing a long coat and a battered hat, he
    carries a bolt-action carbine. His name forgotten,
    history remembers him simply as THE POSTMAN.

    His laden pack mule, BILL, BRAYS, as they pass a battered
    sign: "The Great Salt Lake Marina." They start down a
    slope and begin to cross a...


    A bizarre, wind-swept sight. Dozens of boats resting lee-
    to on the dry, cracked earth. It's like God pulled the
    plug. Rusty mooring chains snake their way around house
    boats, ski boats and a cabin cruiser or two.

                             WOMAN (V.O.)
               The last of the great cities died
               when my father was a child.
               Another victim of yet another war.
               The plagues followed. And the
               terrors. The living hid
               themselves away in tiny hamlets in
               hopes of surviving whatever new
               madness conspired to rob them of
               the little that remained. The
               Earth itself had fallen prey to
               chaos. For three years a dirty
               snow fell that even summer could
               not erase. The ocean was barren.
               Poisoned. Near death.

    As The Postman continues to cross, the CAMERA PULLS BACK.
    He's soon lost in the massive vista.

                             WOMAN (V.O.)
               Sixteen long years passed before
               the great lungs started working
               again. My father said it was as
               if the ocean breathed a great sigh
               of relief...

    A RUMBLE of THUNDER. RAIN begins to fall. The earth just
    sucks it up at first, but it's coming hard. Rivulets run.
    Puddles form. We begin to get the feeling that soon these
    boats will be tugging at the mooring chains once again.



1   CONTINUED:                                                   1

    TRACK a rivulet as it runs, filling up a depression in the
    sand. And then, running to fill another in a series of
    depressions. They make a pattern we recognize as --


    These tracks may already be days old as they fill with
    rain water. Then, the sound of light, padded FOOTFALLS.
    A LION ENTERS FRAME. Lean, hungry and dangerous, the big
    cat has been tracking this man. He lets out a low,
    disappointed GROWL. The rain has foiled his dinner
    plans -- for now.

2   EXT. HIGHWAY ON-RAMP (UTAH) - DAY                            2

    A bullet-ridden sign reads: "U.S. 84 North." The Postman
    leads Bill down a barren 4-lane. Weeds poke up through
    the asphalt. The rusting hulk of a car rests in the
    median, covered in a tangle of purple wisteria. The
    Postman plucks a flower. He sticks it into a buttonhole
    and continues.

    BILL BRAYS woefully.    In answer:

                               THE POSTMAN
                 I don't know. And if you ask me
                 again, I'm going to slug you.

    They near a sign: "Thank You For Visiting Utah." The
    Postman waves, shouts to the sign as he passes it.

                               THE POSTMAN
                 It's been fun, hasn't it, kids?
                        (to the sign)
                 You're welcome!

3   EXT. 4-LANE (IDAHO) - BILLBOARD - DAY                        3

    Bill tugs up weeds as The Postman is climbing up a ladder
    on a highway that razor cuts the plains to the horizon.

    Above, The Postman sands atop a billboard catwalk. He
    references a tattered road atlas, scans the horizon
    through binoculars with one broken lens. He pauses at a
    Union 76 ball just visible above the tree line.


4   EXT. HIGHWAY TRAVEL STOP (IDAHO) - DAY                        4

    A 76 Station and the remains of a Howard Johnson's.
    Alert, carbine in hand, The Postman leads in the mule.
    Rusting cars sag on flattened tires. There's a stripped
    fire engine, its cracked hoses leading to the HoJo
    foundation which bristles with burned timbers.

    Bill stops to drink out of a stream.   The Postman swats at
    him with his hat.

                            THE POSTMAN
              Damnit, Bill, you know I need to
              check it first!

    Bill hangs his head. The Postman digs through his pack.
    He removes an old Tupperware container and replaces its
    contents -- a tiny sheaf of litmus papers and several
    small bottles -- with stream water. He adds a few drops
    from each bottle. Swirls it around. Then dips a tiny
    strip of paper into the water. The paper turns a vivid
    purple. The Postman is dubious.

                            THE POSTMAN
              Better than turpentine.
                     (touches some
                      to his lips)
              Tastes about the same. Your call,

    Bill drinks.

                            THE POSTMAN
              You ain't picky, Bill. I like
              that about you.

    The Postman takes his carbine and a burlap sack and
    crosses to the 76 Station. An old extension ladder on the
    ground. The pole holding up the 76 ball has a 30-degree
    bend in it, like someone once tried to pull it over.
    Beyond the 76 ball, the sun sets -- but we here in the
    20th Century have never seen such a wild riot of color

    The Postman tries the station door. Locked. Smiling
    ironically, he steps in through the blown-out window.

5   INT. 76 STATION - OFFICE - DAY                                5

    A shambles. The Postman kicks around the table. He finds
    a few beat-up CDs, flips through them. Reads the label.



5   CONTINUED:                                                      5

                               THE POSTMAN
                 'Running on Empty'? Tell me about

    Tossing it, he turns, stops. There, resting on a pile of
    trash is a bashed-in portable TV. The Postman smiles.

                                THE POSTMAN
                 Hey, Bill! We got TV! 147
                 channels. Everything from Jesus
                 to 'Jeopardy'.

    He steps over, switches on the set.      Nothing happens, but
    The Postman pretends just the same.      He mimics static,

                               THE POSTMAN
                 'Like sands through the hour-
                 glass, so are the days of our
                        (switching channels)
                 'Michael Shields, come on down,
                 you're the next contestant
                 on...'The Price is Right'.'
                        (switching again)
                 I'll take Domestic Nuclear
                 Disasters for two hundred
                 thousand, Alex...

    The Postman stops suddenly.    Click.

                               THE POSTMAN
                 We interrupt our regularly
                 scheduled program to bring you the
                 Second Civil War... Well, shit.

    The Postman stares at the blank screen a moment. There's
    a sudden, panicked RUSTLING from behind the service
    manager's desk. The Postman wheels around, raises the

                               THE POSTMAN
                 I don't want any trouble... I bet
                 you don't either... Let's just
                 call it a draw, okay?

    Sudden MOVEMENT. The Postman shouts in surprise as a Doe
    dashes out from behind the desk. Scared, it bounds back
    and forth between the walls. Then freezes in the corner.
    The Postman sighs in relief, lowers the carbine.

                               THE POSTMAN
                 Look out, Bill!



5   CONTINUED:    (2)                                               5

    The doe bolts for the window and runs right into Bill.
    Bill has a conniption fit.

    Investigating further, The Postman spots a cigarette
    machine. The front glass is smashed and all the slots are
    empty. But he looks down to the lock at the bottom. It's
    intact. He pulls a crowbar from the sack, crouches by the
    machine and digs the pry into a seam and pulls.

    The panel bursts open to reveal four half-open cartons of
    cigarettes. He doesn't believe it for a second. Then:

                               THE POSTMAN
                 I'm rich.

6   EXT. 76 STATION - NIGHT                                         6

    Embers of a campfire glow.    The Postman is asleep, the
    carbine in reach.

    BILL BRAYS and nervously stamps his hooves. The Postman
    reaches for the carbine only to find the barrel of a
    shotgun pointed in his face.

    Three BANDITS! Hard-eyed and ugly. One, barely 20, is
    mostly just ugly. The Postman looks down the barrels of a
    shotgun, a rifle and a revolver. The LEAD BANDIT kicks
    the carbine out of reach.

                               THE POSTMAN
                 I'm just passing through. I don't
                 mean anyone any harm.
                        (re: stream)
                 Water's good.

    The Lead Bandit pokes at The Postman's shoulder with the
    muzzle of his rifle. The Postman knows why.

                               THE POSTMAN
                 I'm not a Holnist.

    The Lead Bandit pokes again. Harder. The Postman opens
    his shirt, reveals his bare left shoulder.

                               THE POSTMAN

    They just stare at him, none saying a word.      Creepy.

                               THE POSTMAN
                 I'm headed for a town called St.
                 Rose. Somewhere west of Portland.



6   CONTINUED:                                                     6

                               LEAD BANDIT
                 Portland's under twenty feet of

                               THE POSTMAN
                 Well, I heard different.

                               LEAD BANDIT
                 You mouthin' me?

                               THE POSTMAN
                 No, it's just that it's hard to
                 get good information.

    The third BANDIT, a HULKING brute, has been quiet.

                               HULKING BANDIT
                 He is mouthin' you; I say we kill

                               LEAD BANDIT
                 Don't be in such a rush, Martin.
                        (back to
                         The Postman)
                 Now I see a pack mule over there,
                 but I don't see no packs.

                               THE POSTMAN
                 This is all I got.

                               LEAD BANDIT
                 Oh... Kill him, Martin.

    The Hulking Bandit, raises his shotgun. The butt end.
    He's going to bludgeon The Postman to death.

                                THE POSTMAN
                 Okay!   My stuff's up there!

    The 76 ball is twenty feet above the ground. In the gloom
    you can just see a hole has been punched through the side.

                               BANDIT #20
                 What do you got in there?

    The Lead Bandit swats Bandit #20 upside the head.

                               LEAD BANDIT
                 Shut up.
                        (to Postman)
                 What do you got in there?



6   CONTINUED:    (2)                                               6

                                THE POSTMAN
                 Dried peas.   Beef jerky.

                                ALL THREE BANDITS

                                THE POSTMAN
                 Sure.   There's the ladder.

                               BANDIT #20
                 Maybe he's got it booby-trapped.

    The Lead Bandit is about to smack Bandit #20 again -- then
    he sees the logic out of it. The Postman shakes his head,
    but isn't that convincing.

                               LEAD BANDIT
                 You go up and get it.

                                                     CUT TO:

7   EXT. 76 BALL - DAWN                                             7

    The ladder set against the bent pole. Prodded by a
    shotgun, The Postman climbs, disappears through the hole
    and into the tilting 76 ball.

8   INT. 76 BALL - DAWN                                             8

    Full of The Postman's earthly possessions. Trick is, how
    to save them and his life at the same time. He spies an
    old wrench: remnant of an attempt to remove the rusty
    bolts holding the ball in place. An idea begins to take

                               LEAD BANDIT (O.S.)
                 Just you start tossing those
                 cigarettes down!


    There's no answer.     The Bandits eye each other nervously.

                               BANDIT #20
                 Maybe he fell asleep.



8   CONTINUED:                                                     8

    76 BALL

    The Postman grabs the wrench, starts working one of the
    last two rusted bolts. As it starts to give...

                               THE POSTMAN
                 It's going to take a second.    I
                 got my stuff bolted in.


    The Lead Bandit takes a cautious step back.

                               LEAD BANDIT
                 Put some buckshot through it,
                 Martin. Just to hurry him up.

                               HULKING BANDIT
                 I only got three shells left.

                               LEAD BANDIT
                 So use his gun.

    The Hulking Bandit picks up the carbine and aims. CLICK.
    It isn't loaded. The Hulking Bandit tosses the gun aside,
    pulls a knife from his boot. Grimly, he begins to climb.

    76 BALL

    Cramped, The Postman's busy at the base of the ball,
    trying to unscrew the last remaining bolt. It won't


    The Hulking Bandit has only a few more rungs to go.

    76 BALL

    No good.   Time's up.   The Postman starts rocking the pole.


    The Hulking Bandit has reached the opening -- feels the
    rocking motion. Hangs on.



8   CONTINUED:    (2)                                            8

    76 BALL

    Knife in hand, the Hulking Bandit looks inside. At that
    instant, The Postman rocks the pole one more time. The
    rusty bolt is not enough to keep the ball's full weight in
    place. It pops. The ball is frozen for an instant before
    going with the pole's tilt.


    The 76 ball drops off the pole, rolling over the Hulking
    Bandit's back and down the ladder's incline. The other
    Bandits dive clear as the 76 ball hurtles past.


    whips head over heels as the ball speeds away.


    The 76 ball launches off a dirt berm, but soon comes to a
    stop as it slams into an old utility pole and bursts
    apart. Fighting the vertigo, The Postman staggers to his

                               THE POSTMAN

    Bill bolts from the station as the Lead Bandit raises the
    RIFLE and FIRES at The Postman.

    Losing balance, The Postman lands on his butt just before
    a bullet splinters the utility pole above his head.
    Wobbly, he tries to gather his packs. The Bandits charge,
    quickly closing the ground, but Bill is there first.

    Holding as much as he can, The Postman heaves himself over
    Bill's back. As the mule gallops away, the Lead Bandit
    aims the rifle. He's got The Postman in his sights.

    He's about to fire when -- Bandit #20 stands up INTO the
    SHOT. He's got a fistful of cigarettes in each hand and
    he's laughing like a hyena!

                               BANDIT #20
                 We're rich!


9    EXT. OVERLOOK HILL (IDAHO) - DAY                             9

     The Postman sits on a rock, holding Bill's halter so the
     mule must face him. They are in the midst of an argument.

                             THE POSTMAN
               It's true, we haven't done this in
               a while, but it's like riding a
               bicycle. Now, open your mouth.

     The Postman pries his mouth open. Taking a toothbrush, he
     tends to Bill's teeth, then gives him an appraising look.

                             THE POSTMAN
               I know the rule. It's my rule!
               Avoid civilization at all costs.
               But we gotta eat, don't we?
                      (as BILL BRAYS again)
               What are you so worried about,
               Bill? All you gotta do is stand
               there. I'm the one with all the

     The Postman leads the mule down the hill toward the town
     far below. Making his case all the while -- even as BILL
     BRAYS in protest.

10   EXT. VILLAGE SQUARE (IDAHO) - DAY                            10

     A patch of mud. In the center of the square fifty
     townspeople stand before a plank stage where The Postman
     wraps up a performance of MacBeth. He plays it with a
     mis-remembered gusto the people enjoy. Children
     especially are enamored. A heavily-muscled man, WOODY,
     lingers on the fringe of the crowd -- watching The Postman
     with inscrutable intensity.

                             THE POSTMAN
               They said, 'Fear not, MacBeth,
               'til Birnam Wood comes to

     He looks off stage for someone, but no one appears.

                             THE POSTMAN
               I said, Birnam Wood comes to

     Bill trots on-stage. Covered with twigs, BILL is Birnam
     Wood. He BRAYS lustily. The audience laughs in delight.
     The children clap. Only Woody seems unaffected.



10   CONTINUED:                                                     10

     The Postman grabs two wooden swords -- he knows it's going

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Arm, arm yourselves! If the
                  witch's words are true, there'll
                  be no running or hiding here!

     Shaking off the twigs, Bill takes one of the swords in his
     mouth. The two of them dash back and forth pretending to
     fight off an imaginary attack. Finally, The Postman looks
     out at the audience, remembers the words the best he can.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and the
                  day after that. Out brief candle!
                  Life's but a walking shadow, a
                  poor player that struts his hour
                  upon the stage and is heard no
                  more. It's a tale told by a
                  moron. Full of sound and fury,
                  signifying nothing.
                         (waves sword)
                  But blow, wind! Come wrack! At
                  least we'll die with the harness
                  off our back!

     The audience erupts in applause. But Woody stands still
     as stone. The Postman takes a bow. Even Bill does a
     cross-legged dip. Knowing when to quit, he steps off the
     stage to many hearty handshakes.

     Woody watches his every move. MRS. THOMPSON, one of the
     town's leaders, steps up. She's accompanied by crotchety

                                MRS. THOMPSON
                  The children have never heard
                  Shakespeare before.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  They still haven't.

     The Curmudgeon is still clapping.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                  Thanks.   You're very nice.

                                CURMUDGEON LARRY
                  I'm clapping because you stink.



10   CONTINUED:    (2)                                               10

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I don't think you understand how
                  it works.

                                CURMUDGEON LARRY
                  When I was young, I tried to be an
                  actor. I was awful. But now I
                  won't die thinking I was the worst

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I'm glad I could help.

                                MRS. THOMPSON
                  Larry, stop it.
                         (to The Postman)
                  You were very good.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Good enough to get something to

     Before she can answer, a SENTRY cries...

                  Holnists!   Holnists are coming!

     All eyes look down the road leading into town. A raiding
     party of Holnist Cavalry are on their way in. Mrs.
     Thompson sees The Postman's concern.

                               MRS. THOMPSON
                  It's okay. We give them food and
                  supplies. All the towns do.

                                MAN #1
                  They hardly kill anyone lately.
                  Just take a woman sometimes.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Well, I'd just as soon not give
                  them anything of mine. Let's find
                  the back door, Bill.

     The Postman gathers his stuff, slings packs onto Bill.

     The forty Holnists in orange and black uniforms ride in.
     They're armed with mostly pistols and rifles. Some carry
     bows, knives, spear guns and swords. On their bare
     shoulders, branded into the flesh -- the number "8."



10   CONTINUED:    (3)                                              10

     Out front, always leading by example is, GENERAL
     BETHLEHEM. Tough, smart, merciless with style. Commander
     of the United Clans of Holn. Nothing escapes his eye.

     A little behind him is the mysteriously silent Colonel
     Getty, second in command.

     The Postman, finished packing, begins to move from
     building to building -- careful not to attract any

                                BETHLEHEM (O.S.)
                  What are you doing there?

     The Postman freezes, turns, is relieved to find
     Bethlehem's not talking to him at all. The General looks
     down from his horse at children playing an impromptu game
     of "Birnam Wood."

     The children stop, stare at their feet. Bethlehem affects
     a "kindly" smile to accompany his gentler tone.

                  I said, what are you doing?

     Meantime, The Postman continues his surreptitious escape.
     The MAYOR hurries forward to greet Bethlehem.

                  It's just a game, General
                  Bethlehem. Something they saw in
                  a play. No harm in it.

                  A play?
                         (to kids)
                  Show me. It's all right,
                  children, show me.

     One BRAVE BOY finds his voice, barely.

                                BRAVE BOY
                  Arm, arm yourselves! No running
                  from the witches!

                  Shakespeare, is it? Well, I'm
                  sorry I missed it.



10   CONTINUED:    (4)                                               10

                  You should know, sir, we haven't
                  nearly stocked the game we thought
                  we would.

                  Really?   But you had time for a

     Head down, The Postman makes for "the back way." But it's
     guarded by three daunting Holnist soldiers. No getting by
     them. The Postman does a quick 180, goes back the way he

     Bethlehem looks at the frightened townsfolk.

                  I'm taking three conscripts from
                  each town. They will have the
                  honor of serving in the Holnist
                  Army until such time as I see fit.
                         (to Mayor)
                  Three men. You suppose you could
                  do that?

     The Mayor nods in acquiescence. Bethlehem looks to a
     Holnist officer. The officer, IDAHO, steps up and
     addresses the town.

                  All men between 15 and 50 and of
                  suitable ethnic foundation are
                  required to show themselves now.

     The Holnist soldiers fan out, prodding any likely or
     unwilling candidates forward.

     The Postman is now walking behind Bethlehem. Some of the
     Townspeople cast him a furtive glance as he makes his way
     toward the open courtyard and, ultimately, the gate out of

     Three conscripts are hustled before Bethlehem. He looks
     over the first -- Woody. Smells him. Not much of a
     decision here.



                  Acceptable, Captain!



10   CONTINUED:    (5)                                                10

     The second -- a thin teenager. Bethlehem feels his arm,
     turns his head from side to side.

                  You'll need to put some meat on,
                  but I like an impressionable mind.

     The third -- an innocuous man. Or so we think. Bethlehem
     stares hard at his olive skin, traces a finger over the
     bump on the man's nose.

                  Mongoloid.   Unacceptable.

     Soldiers shove the man back into the crowd. The Brave Boy
     that was playing Birnam Wood allows himself a tiny smile
     when he sees that The Postman might make it.

                  I want pure blood. Someone

     Bethlehem notes the Boy, turns to see the object of his
     attention, and spots The Postman leaving out the front

                  That man.

     Idaho and another soldier are on it. The Postman tries to
     back away as the two dismount and come toward him.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  You don't understand...

     But Idaho and the soldier aren't programmed for
     explanations -- they grab him.

                  You were required to show

                                THE POSTMAN
                  But, I'm not with these people.
                  I'm just passing through. I --

     Idaho silences him with a rifle butt to the head.
     Everything falls OUT OF FOCUS

                                   IDAHO (O.S.)
                  Take the mule.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:



     Spread out in the valley is General Bethlehem's Holnist
     Expeditionary Force. A five hundred-man army enjoying all
     the comforts a bivouac can offer.

     19 head-shaved CONSCRIPTS, including Woody and The
     Postman, are held in a cramped, barbed wired pen. They
     watch as three more are shoved inside. One of them is
     Bandit #20. He and The Postman come face to face,
     recognize each other.

                              BANDIT #20

                             THE POSTMAN

     The Postman steps toward him, Bandit #20 backs off

                             BANDIT #20
               Well... I mean, we know each
               other, kind of...

                              THE POSTMAN
               Kind of.

                             BANDIT #20
                      (looking around)

                             THE POSTMAN
               So what did you guys do with my

                             BANDIT #20
               We traded them for a woman.

                              THE POSTMAN
               Wonderful.   What happened to your

                             BANDIT #20
               They traded me to the Holnists.

                              GUARD (O.S.)
               Ten hut!

     General Bethlehem approaches on horseback. Colonel Getty
     follows behind. Bethlehem looks his new recruits over.
     Dismounting, he enters the pen and walks among them.



11   CONTINUED:                                                      11

                  Welcome, gentlemen, to your new
                  life. You have been born again as
                  soldiers in the army of the United
                  Clans of Holn. The strong have
                  been sapped by the whimpering
                  propaganda of the weak. Men,
                  strong men, have been denied their
                  destiny. You men have been saved
                  from that fate. Redemption is
                  within your grasp.

     He starts down the line, looking the men over. He stops
     in front of a GANGLY RECRUIT. The Postman is alongside.

                  You. What did you do before you
                  were given this opportunity?

                                GANGLY RECRUIT
                  I had a shovel. I digged holes.

     Bethlehem regards him benevolently.

                  You digged holes... Well, now
                  you're going to fill them.
                         (turns to Postman)
                  And you?

                                 THE POSTMAN

                  Is there any question in anyone's
                  mind that I was talking to you?
                  Yes, you. You look like a
                  dangerous man. Are you?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I'm just a performer.
                  Shakespeare. Stuff like that.


                                THE POSTMAN
                  He was a writer. He --

                  I know who Shakespeare was... 'Cry
                  "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of



11   CONTINUED:    (2)                                               11

     Bethlehem says the lines boldly, encourages his men to
     clap for him. He looks at The Postman expectantly.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I, um, you want a line?

     Bethlehem nods.     The Postman thinks a moment...

                                THE POSTMAN
                  'To be or not to be: That is the

     Bethlehem looks at his men as if to say, "Is this all this
     guy's got?" Bethlehem eyes The Postman; he wants a

                  'We few, we happy few, we band of

     The Holnists clap, they know their General can best this

                                THE POSTMAN
                         (gaining confidence)
                  'Now is the winter of our
                  discontent made glorious summer by
                  this son of York.'

     Bethlehem claps The Postman on the back.

                  You're pretty good. You're also a
                  fighter. I see it in your eyes.

     The Postman doesn't answer. Hesitant, he doesn't want to
     get into any more trouble than he's already in.

                  Don't you agree? Come on, a man's
                  got to speak his mind.

     Bethlehem sounds sincere.    He seems like a good guy.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I don't mean any disrespect, sir,
                  but you'd be better off just
                  letting me go. A fighter is about
                  the last thing I am.



11   CONTINUED:    (3)                                                11

     The Postman doubles over as Bethlehem hooks a fist into
     his gut. Bethlehem clubs him in the head, dropping him to
     his knees, then digs a boot into his side. The Postman
     goes down.

                  Don't you think I should be the
                  judge of that, soldier?

     The Postman gasps to catch his breath.

                  Get up.   I said, get up.

     The Postman staggers to his feet. Blood trickles from his
     nose as he stares across at Bethlehem.

                  Put up your fists.

                                   THE POSTMAN
                  You'd win.

     Bethlehem looks to Getty. CLICK. Getty shoves a PISTOL
     is into The Postman's ear. The Postman reluctantly raises
     his fists. Bethlehem gives him a satisfied nod.

                  Now fight.

     The Postman takes a tentative step forward. Bethlehem
     drives him back with a flurry of blows. The Postman is
     dazed, nearly out on his feet. Bethlehem holds him up.

                  You're right. You're not a
                  fighter. But you will be. I'm
                  giving you a chance at a life that
                  means something. A life worth

     That said, Bethlehem delivers one last blow to The
     Postman's face. Everything goes BLACK...


     A brutal REVEILLE BLASTS the sleeping conscripts awake.

                                   IDAHO (O.S.)
                  Let's move it.     Everybody up and
                  at 'em.



12   CONTINUED:                                                     12

     The Postman comes to. He licks his dry, blood-caked lips.
     A sudden movement startles him -- it's Woody, shoving him
     a battered cup of water. It's like he's been keeping
     watch. The Postman is surprised, a little suspicious, and
     very grateful as he gulps the water down.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                  Thanks.   Did I win?

     Woody shakes his head "no."

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I tried to tell him...

                  Say it again.

                                  THE POSTMAN
                  Say what?

                  The words you said in town. About
                  the wind blowing. And the rest...
                  Say it again.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                  'Blow, wind. Come wrack. At
                  least we'll die with the harness
                  off our back.'

                  What's it mean?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Live free or die.

     Woody and The Postman scramble to fall-to with the other
     conscripts. Idaho surveys the ranks.

                  All right, girls. We're gonna
                  run. Twenty miles. With packs.
                  You got three hours. Everybody
                  makes it. Or nobody eats.


     A COOK dumps a scoop of gristly, gray meat into each mess
     pail as the conscripts wait in line. They fall to
     ravenously, too hungry to taste how bad it is. Idaho



13   CONTINUED:                                                       13

                  Eat up!    You got meat tonight.

     The line has almost passed. Just The Postman left and
     Bandit #20 bringing up the rear. Idaho looks at The
     Postman, addresses the COOK.

                  Why don't you tell Shakespeare
                  what kind of meat that is.


     Probably Bill -- and The Postman knows it. He stares in
     revulsion at the putrid meat ladled into his pail.

                  A godawful animal. The sterile
                  offspring of a horse and a donkey.
                  Can you imagine that?! There's no
                  room in this new world for a
                  bastard like that.

     Bandit #20 holds out his pail.       But the cook won't fill

                  Uh uh.
                         (loudly; for all)
                  Any man last in line ain't hungry
                  enough. You show up last, you
                  don't eat!

     Bandit #20 steps away in disbelief. Not knowing what else
     to do, he sits down beside The Postman, the only man with
     food who isn't eating.

                                BANDIT #20
                  I'll die before I'm last in line

                                THE POSTMAN
                  That's what they're hoping for.

     He holds his pail out to Bandit #20.

                                 BANDIT #20
                  Serious?   This isn't bad.

     Lost in despair, The Postman stares out at the skewed

                                THE POSTMAN
                  These were supposed to be the best
                  years of my life.


14   EXT. TRAINING GROUNDS - DAY                                  14

     The conscripts stand at attention under the guard of Idaho
     and two other soldiers. To their right is a dead oak
     tree. Behind them, three rows of folding chairs.

     Two figures approach. Bethlehem and Getty. Getty carries
     a sheathed sword. Bethlehem surveys the troops -- taking
     no more notice of The Postman than anyone else.

               The laws of eight, gentlemen.
               That is the legacy handed down to
               us by Nathan Holn.

     At the mention of this name, the RECRUITS shout as one.

               God rest his soul!

                             THE POSTMAN
               May he burn in hell.

     Getty looks over at him. He heard him. The Postman
     swallows hard. Getty stares hard. Then he turns away.
     He's not going to bust him on it.

               These are the laws that we live
               by. The eight is our symbol.
               Each man will bear it with pride.

     Bethlehem nods at Idaho who pushes up his own sleeve to
     reveal the branded 8.

               Only then will you be part of the
               clan. Sit down, gentlemen.

     The men move to sit in one of the three rows. Only then
     does it become apparent that there are 18 men and only 17
     chairs. One SLOW RECRUIT is left standing. It doesn't
     take him long to realize that he's in trouble.

               Law One. You will obey orders
               without question.
                      (to Slow Recruit)
               I told you to sit.

                             SLOW RECRUIT
               There weren't enough chairs.



14   CONTINUED:                                                        14

                  I didn't specify chairs. You
                  could've sat down on the ground.

     The Slow Recruit moves to do so.

                  You disobeyed a direct order.    You
                  broke Law One.

     Idaho and another soldier step up beside the Slow Recruit.

                  Law Two.   Punishment shall be

     They hustle the Recruit to the tree. Idaho unslings a
     coil of rope, throws it over a tree limb. They quickly
     slip a loop over the Slow Recruit's ankles and haul him
     upside down into the air.

                  Law Three: Mercy is for the weak.
                  Four: Terror will defeat reason.
                  Five: Your allegiance is to the
                  clan. Six: Justice can be
                  dictated. Law Seven. Any
                  clansman may challenge for
                  leadership of the clan. Does any
                  man here wish to challenge me?

     There are no takers.

                  On your feet!

     The conscripts stand like jackknives snapping open.

     Without a word, without a look -- Bethlehem reaches out
     and draws a sword from a sheath that Getty holds.
     Bethlehem steps to the Slow Recruit -- who slowly twists

                  Law Eight: There is only one
                  penalty: Death.

     Bethlehem raises the sword.

                                SLOW RECRUIT
                  Please, I'm begging you.



14   CONTINUED:    (2)                                                 14


     As the sword finds its mark.     Bethlehem looks at him, but
     addresses all.

                  You will get out of this army what
                  you put into it. Work and you'll
                  be fed. Fight and you'll be
                  respected. Die and you'll be
                  remembered. It's up to you.

     Bethlehem turns and walks away.     Getty following behind.
     The Postman watches as they go.     Idaho steps up to him.

                  You thinking of challenging for
                  leadership of the clan?

                                 THE POSTMAN
                  No, sir.   I'm a follower not a

                  You see Colonel Getty? Always
                  following the General? He's the
                  only man who ever challenged.
                  Fight lasted six seconds, but the
                  General didn't kill him. He cut
                  off his tongue and he cut off his
                  balls and old Getty's been
                  following him like a dog ever

     The Postman looks back to see Bethlehem and Getty
     disappear into the gloom. Idaho grins, likes how this
     affects a new man.

     The Postman moves on.     Idaho stops Woody as he passes.

                  The General don't see it, but I
                  say you got some nigger in you.

     Woody clenches his jaw, but wisely doesn't answer.

15   EXT. PLAINS - DAY                                                 15

     Rain as the army moves. Boots suck at the mud. War
     wagons heave out of ruts. A monster gun is mounted on an
     old John Deere semi, pulled by a team of ten horses. The
     conscripts fill the middle ranks, each bearing a heavy



15   CONTINUED:                                                      15

     Marching beside Woody, The Postman stares blankly ahead.
     The cry to halt. The conscripts unsling their packs,
     catch their breath. Idaho pulls The Postman out of line.

                  The General would like a word with
                  you, Shakespeare.

16   INT. GENERAL BETHLEHEM'S TENT - DAY                             16

     Bethlehem stands before a painter's easel, palette in
     hand. He's got a mirror set up so he can see his
     reflection. He's doing a self-portrait in the tradition
     of the great Dutch Masters -- but it's a dismal failure.

     He continues painting even as Idaho leads The Postman in.
     Idaho salutes, steps back. For a moment, The Postman
     doesn't quite know what to do.

                         (re: the book and
                          binoculars on the
                  They're yours. A solitary man,
                  aren't you? Binoculars. To watch
                  life from a distance. And
                  Shakespeare. To read about it
                  instead of living it.

     Bethlehem wants an answer.    The Postman clears his throat.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  No offense, General, but you seem
                  to have read some Shakespeare

                  If he wishes to rise above mere
                  thuggery, a military commandeer
                  must be classically educated.
                  Philosophy, history. Even a sense
                  of the dramatic.
                         (a beat)
                  Do you know what I did before the
                  war? Do you think I was in the
                  army? I sold copying machines. I
                  was a salesman. The talent to
                  lead men and devise and execute a
                  battle plan were locked away
                  inside me.



16   CONTINUED:                                                     16

     He picks up Finding A Way to Win by Nathan Holn.     A 20-
     year-old self-help book.

                  If Nathan Holn hadn't come along,
                  I'd still be selling copying
                  machines. Can you imagine the
                  wasted life? Can you imagine the
                  magnitude of it? But war... War
                  gives men like me a chance.

     He turns to a dog-eared page in the book.

                  Here... 'The prize is often left
                  unclaimed. Have the courage to
                  grasp it. For fortune always
                  favors the bold.'
                  It always inspires me.
                  I have a design for the future. A
                  master plan. I'll need able
                  officers to carry it out. You
                  have the intelligence. If your
                  heart matches, you'll go far.
                         (a beat)
                  We'll talk more in the weeks to
                  come. Dismissed.

     The Postman leaves.     Idaho stands at the ready.

                  Issue the binoculars to a scout.

                  And the book, sir?

                  Burn it.

     Idaho leaves. Bethlehem goes back to his painting. He
     considers himself in the mirror. After a long stare-down,
     he shouts:

                  Quit moving.

17   EXT. CAMP - DAY                                                17

     The Postman rejoins the conscripts. Bandit #20 slides



17   CONTINUED:                                                   17

                                   BANDIT #20
                  What happened?

     Troubled, The Postman doesn't answer. He heads for a
     corner where Woody stands alone. Relentless, Bandit #20

                                BANDIT #20
                  What did he say?

                                   THE POSTMAN

                                BANDIT #20
                  Did he say anything about me?

                                   THE POSTMAN

     They reach the quiet corner; it's just the three of them.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  We got to get out of here.

                                BANDIT #20
                  What are you talking about?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  You ever hear of St. Rose? It's
                  on the coast. They say it's a
                  paradise. They've even got
                  electric lights.

     Bandit #20 looks scared, Woody unreadable.

                                   BANDIT #20
                  We can't.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Between the three of us, we
                  could --

                                BANDIT #20
                  No, no. I can't. I like it here.
                  I like being a part of something.

     The Postman can't believe what Bandit #20 just said.
     Bandit #20 turns, hurries away.

     The Postman looks to Woody who doesn't tip his hand either
     way. He moves away as well.


18   EXT. CAMP - DAY                                                  18

     The conscripts break camp. Hot work. Glistening with
     sweat, The Postman stops to stretch. Across the way, he
     sees Bandit #20 talking to Getty. Getty glances at The
     Postman who returns to work, watches under his eyebrows as
     Idaho joins the group. There's trouble brewing here.

     Worried, The Postman looks to Woody, who watches the
     exchange as well. He is, as usual, inscrutable.

19   EXT. CLEARING - RIVER - DAY                                      19

     The river is swollen and swift from the spring thaw.
     Marching along the east ridge above it, the army is given
     the order to halt.

     The Postman looks ahead to where Idaho confers with
     Bethlehem. Something's wrong. They look to where:

     Two carbine-toting soldiers stand alertly at guard by a
     thicket across the river. A rotten wood and rope bridge
     spans the space between the ridges.

     Idaho rides to the conscripts:

               One of you dogs has earned himself
               a treat. Over there.

     Idaho points to the thicket as he proceeds down the line.

               Those men hunted themselves a lion
               this morning. Must've been a zoo
               around here before the war.
               Anyhow, they shot him and he
               crawled into that thicket. A
               third man went in after him. We
               don't know if he's dead or alive.
               I need a volunteer. Someone's
               gotta go in and get our boy out.

     No volunteers, except the zealot Bandit #20.

                               BANDIT #20
               I'll go.

     Idaho ignores him, stops in front of Woody.

               I guess size ain't a measure of
               courage, is it? Shakespeare!

     The fix is in.    The Postman steps out of line.



19   CONTINUED:                                                     19

     Idaho's about to hand The Postman a carbine when --

                                BETHLEHEM (O.S.)
                  I don't think so, Captain.

     Bethlehem nods to Getty. Getty takes a hunting knife from
     a belt-sheath and tosses it, blade first, into the ground
     between The Postman's feet.

                  Come out alive and you got
                  yourself a lion steak.

     Hefting the knife, The Postman stares at the west ridge.

                  Maybe you'll find your St. Rose up

     The Postman looks to Bandit #20 who stares back defiantly.

                  What are you waiting for,

     Bandit #20 can't contain his giggling, so Idaho backhands
     the sound out of him -- then looks back to The Postman.

     Grim The Postman starts forward, looks from the rotten
     bridge to the water and back again as he moves.

     All eyes on him as he starts across...

20   EXT. BRIDGE - DAY                                              20

     The Postman steps lightly. Far below, the river rages. A
     knotty plank starts to crack underfoot. Scooting off it,
     he takes a last look around. Continues across to...

21   EXT. WEST RIDGE - DAY                                          21

     The soldiers greet him -- unholy smiles on their ugly
     mugs. They point him ahead, prod him forward toward a
     trail of wet blood which leads deeper into the thicket.

     Stooping, The Postman enters. The soldiers split off and
     track along with him on either side of the thicket.


22   EXT. THICKET - DAY                                              22

     Thorns catch and tear at his clothes as The Postman pushes
     his way through. He freezes. Ahead, sprawled and
     twisted, the mauled, bloody corpse of a Holnist soldier.

                               SOLDIER (O.S.)
                 Why are you stopping?

                                  THE POSTMAN
                 I found him.

                                  SOLDIER (O.S.)
                 He alive?

     Clearly he is not.

                                  THE POSTMAN

                                  SOLDIER (O.S.)
                 Bring him out.

     The Postman heaves the corpse onto his back. Rising,
     steadying himself, he looks back over his shoulders at a
     GUTTURAL GROWL. He hurries forward.


     Everyone stares across the river, straining to see as The
     Postman emerges with the corpse on his back.


     The Postman starts across, hampered by his burden.   He
     pauses, at his feet, the cracked, knotty plank.

                        (across river)
                 Hurry up! You still got a lion to

     The Postman decides, deliberately steps on the PLANK.
     CRACK. The Postman and the corpse drop thirty feet down,
     disappear in the river below.

     The corpse surfaces first, floats in the water.

     Then The Postman. Farther down the river. Swimming
     downstream with powerful strokes. Between his efforts and
     the current, he's being quickly swept away from the

     As Bethlehem's eyes narrow in fury.



22   CONTINUED:                                                     22

     A RIFLE BARKS a SHELL BACK after The Postman, but he
     disappears around a bend in the river.

     Bethlehem signals to two soldiers. They start running
     along the east ridge toward the riverbend.

     Two more start across the bridge to the west -- moving
     with military precision.

     Bethlehem wheels toward the conscripts, points out Woody.

                  In the water. Come back without
                  him and you and another man will
                  die in his place.

     Woody dives in the water. Bethlehem looks to Idaho who
     dives in as well. Conscripts buzz with nervous

                  Go!   Go!

                                BANDIT #20
                         (caught up)
                  I'll get him, sir.

     He takes off running across the bridge.

23   EXT. RIVER - DAY                                               23

     A fallen tree spans the river. As The Postman is swept
     beneath, he reaches up and catches hold. Pulling himself
     out of the water, he scrambles for the west shore. He
     disappears into the woods as two soldiers appear.

     They catch hold of the tree, look to the west banking, see
     footprints in the mud where The Postman pulled himself
     out. They start after him.

24   EXT. CLEARING - WOODS - DAY                                    24

     Clothes in tatters, his lungs ready to burst, The Postman
     stops. He takes cover as the two soldiers run past.

     Breathing hard, The Postman steps out, starts across the
     clearing. He's halfway when Bandit #20 steps out from the
     trees. They look at each other for a moment.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Just let me go. I don't want to
                  be part of your army.



24   CONTINUED:                                                    24

     Bandit #20 hesitates for a moment, then breaks into a

                                 BANDIT #20
                  My army.   I like the sound of

     The Postman gestures with his knife.

                                  THE POSTMAN
                  Don't --

                                 BANDIT #20
                  I got him!   Over --

     The Postman lunges, digs into Bandit #20's gut.   He blinks
     in surprise, then sags to the ground.

     The Postman takes a step back. A shadow falls over him.
     It's Woody. Staring down at The Postman. They can hear
     others approaching from the river.

                  They sent me to kill you.

                                  THE POSTMAN
                  Come with me.

     At that moment, Idaho and the second soldier come into the
     clearing. Idaho grins, relaxes his grip on his gun when
     he sees the mismatch between Woody and The Postman.

                  Good, boy.   Get him.

                  It's you or me.

                                  THE POSTMAN
                  I know.

                  Finish it.

     Woody circles The Postman, until he's facing Idaho and the
     soldier. Woody takes a long look at The Postman, smiles.

                  No harness on my back.

     As The Postman realizes what he's doing, Woody flips his
     knife through the air and into the soldier's throat.



24   CONTINUED:    (2)                                             24

     As Woody rushes him, Idaho raises his GUN.

     Idaho pumps TWO ROUNDS into Woody, but the big man keeps
     coming. The THIRD ROUND finds his heart, puts Woody down.
     Dead. But not before he lands on top of Idaho.

     As Idaho struggles to get out from under Woody's massive
     frame, The Postman heads for the trees.

     Covered in Woody's blood, Idaho FIRES a ROUND as The
     Postman disappears into the woods. Idaho starts after


     Tracking. He sees a dribble of fresh blood.   He touches
     it with his fingers and smiles.

     He cocks his head at MOVEMENT to his left. Smiling,
     hefting his pistol, Idaho moves in. More SHUFFLING.   Just
     ahead. He's got him now.

                  You want your St. Rose?

     There's a RUSTLE of BRUSH just before a ROAR splits the
     air. Idaho doesn't even have time to scream as the LION
     pounces down on top of him.

25   EXT. CLIFF - DAY                                              25

     The Postman, lungs heaving, stops his climb long enough to
     take stock of the Army waiting on the distant river edge.

     Strength ebbing, he heaves himself up and continues

                                                   DISSOLVE TO:

26   EXT. WOODS (EASTERN OREGON) - NIGHT                           26

     A chilling RAIN drills down, washing across an old forest
     road. Covered with undergrowth and dotted with saplings,
     nothing's been down here in years.

     Blue-lipped and shivering, his clothes torn and soaked,
     The Postman trudges along. He tries to rub some warmth
     back into his numbed limbs, but a coughing spell wracks
     his body.



26   CONTINUED:                                                      26

     He trudges forward, shoes heavy with freezing mud. He's
     made his escape, but he won't last the night if he doesn't
     find some shelter.

     An unnatural shape ahead, just off the road.    Square.   He
     cautiously pulls back a few branches.

     An old, rusted Jeep with faded    U.S. government markings.
     Its hood buried under the dirt    of an old mud slide. The
     Postman stoops to look through    the passenger side window,
     comes face-to-face with death.     A skeleton sits inside,
     the skull grinning against the    glass facing The Postman.

     But The Postman doesn't jump back. He just stares. The
     two heads meet halfway as The Postman's face is reflected
     on the glass, superimposed over the skull.

     A hypothermic shiver wracks his body. The Postman tries
     the door, but it won't budge. The other side of the Jeep
     is buried. But seeing that the windshield is partly
     smashed, he clears away the debris, peels back the spider-
     webbed safety glass and climbs inside.


     Pulling the glass back down, he looks almost shyly at the
     skeleton, like two kids about to "park" for the first

                                 THE POSTMAN
                  Hey.   How ya doin'?

     The back of the Jeep is filled with bags marked U.S. Mail.
     The Postman picks up a hat off the console. Oddly
     respectful, he runs a finger along the band over the
     "Horse & Rider" emblem.

     The Postman reaches, touches the embroidered American flag
     patch on the skeleton's jacket shoulder. Another shiver.
     A moment later, The Postman is pulling the nice dry jacket
     off the skeleton and shoving his own arms inside.

     A sloshing sound. He pats down the jacket. Finds a
     liquor. He gives the skeleton a "you shouldn't have"
     look. But the cap won't budge. He twists, pries, bangs
     the neck of the steering wheel. At last it gives. He
     takes a long, hard swallow. The warming fire streams down
     his throat.

     The Postman grabs a random letter, reads it aloud.



26   CONTINUED:    (2)                                            26

                                THE POSTMAN
                  'Jerry Ball, Pine View.'

     He starts to open it, looks at the skeleton and shrugs.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                  So, arrest me.
                  Here's a piece of good news.
                  Jerry's decided to go to school to
                  get his contractor's license.

     Tossing it aside, he takes a drink, opens another.   The
     words are in crayon -- a child's scrawl.

                                THE POSTMAN
                         (smiles to skeleton)
                  Little Jimmy wants his grandpa to
                  know he lost a tooth.

     The Postman turns the envelope over in his palm. A tiny
     tooth falls out. The Postman considers it. This suddenly
     isn't so amusing. He puts it back in the envelope.

     Shoving mail sacks aside, he climbs in the back.
     Burrowing in, he pulls the sacks back, covering himself
     with a blanket of mail. Getting warmer already, he
     regards the skeleton a beat as the RAIN DRUMS ON the ROOF.

27   EXT. JEEP - DAY                                              27

     Wearing the blue uniform, The Postman looks down at the
     fresh grave, realizes a eulogy is in order. He takes off
     the hat, holds it over his chest for a heartfelt moment of

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Thanks for being there for me.
                         (raising the flask)
                  Here's to you. I consider my
                  taxes very well spent.

     He swallows the last few drops, then sets the flask down
     as a headstone. What now?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  All dressed up. Nowhere to go.


28   EXT. RURAL HIGHWAY (SOMEWHERE IN OREGON) - DAY                  28

     His hair growing back nicely, The Postman has reached the
     proverbial fork in the road. He considers his two
     options: "Pine View -- 32 miles." Or "Ridgemont -- 220
     miles." He looks the two roads over, thinks.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Well, that's easy.

29   EXT. GATES (PINE VIEW, OREGON) - DUSK                           29

     The town is protected by a tall, long palisade.     Like Ft.
     Apache. All is dark as The Postman approaches.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Greetings, Pine View, Oregon!

     TWO SENTRIES appears from the gate house.    They aim

                                SENTRY #1
                  Just head back the way you came.
                  Pine View ain't buying, ain't
                  listening and don't give charity.

     A moment of truth is here.    Finally, with authority:

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Civilian, I'm on official
                  business. I demand entry into the
                  town of Pine View.

                                SENTRY #2
                  What the hell are you talking

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I'm through talking to you, buddy
                  boy! Now get somebody with
                  authority to open this gate!

     More silhouettes appear on the palisade.     One is SHERIFF
     BRISCOE, a big, no-nonsense man.

                  I'm Sheriff Briscoe. Who the hell
                  are you?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I'm a representative of the United
                  States Government --

     An uproar.    He makes himself heard above it.



29   CONTINUED:                                                      29

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Authorized by order 417 of the
                  restored Congress to reestablish a
                  communication route to Idaho and
                  lower Oregon. Now open that damn

                  What does that mean in English?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I'm your postman!

     There's a silent hush.

                         (to someone on wall)
                  Hand me your gun.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Understand that tampering with or
                  obstructing the mail is a federal
                  offense. Furthermore, the Bolin
                  Act requires you to provide all
                  mail carriers with sanctuary and
                         (starting forward)
                  Now open that damn gate!

                  You got three seconds to get your
                  ass outta here.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Is Jerry the contractor here?

     Briscoe pumps his shotgun, aims it at The Postman.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                  Wait! I'm going to get something
                  out of my bag.

     The Postman dumps the pack over, frantically shuffles
     through the letters.


                                 THE POSTMAN
                  Paul Davis!   124 Vernon Street!

                  Never heard of him. Two!



29   CONTINUED:    (2)                                                29

                                 THE POSTMAN
                  Lois Kent!   14 Weymoth Lane!


     He fumbles for the last letter.       Briscoe takes aim.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                  Irene March!   478 River Road!

     There's an absolute stunned silence.      Like a switch was

30   EXT. INSIDE GATES - DAY                                          30

     The crowd parts as everyone turns to look back at IRENE
     MARCH. Mrs. March, in her late 50s, is blind, her eyes
     clouded by cataracts. In disbelief...

                                MRS. MARCH
                  Did he say my name?

     The sense of hope is palpable as the gates are swung back.
     Two TOWNIES hurry Mrs. March out to meet The Postman.
     They're followed by a throng. As he sees she's blind...

                                 THE POSTMAN
                  Oh, no...

     Too late now. They stop Mrs. March in front of him.        She
     stares off just to his left, a little afraid.

                                MRS. MARCH
                  I'm Irene March.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I have a letter for you.

     He presses it into her hands, but she won't take it.

                                MRS. MARCH
                  Would you read it?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I'm sure it's personal.

                                 MRS. MARCH
                  Please.   Someone has to.



30   CONTINUED:                                                         30

     The Postman has little choice.     As he opens the

                                THE POSTMAN
                  We're delivering the old stock
                  piles, but I'll accept all new
                  correspondence as well.

                  Just read it, will ya?

     Excited, the people move closer.      Someone holds up a torch
     and The Postman starts.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  'Dear Irene. Sorry I haven't
                  written. Everything's so crazy.
                  The strange weather. The food
                  shortages. That farmer Nathan
                  Holn causing all that trouble.
                  It's hard to understand. David's
                  home from the Army. The war was
                  over before he even got there.
                  Thank God for that. He's still my
                  baby no matter how big he gets.
                  We're going to miss you for
                  Christmas, but maybe next year.
                  All our love. Donna.'

     Mrs. March reaches out a trembling hand to take the

                                MRS. MARCH
                  My sister in Denver. Fifteen
                  years ago. Thank you.

     The populace erupts with excitement.        Mrs. March takes The
     Postman's hand, clasps it tightly.

                                MRS. MARCH
                  You're a Godsend. A savior.

     The Postman pulls his hand back, rejects the title.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                  No.   I'm just... a postman.

     An almost awesome silence.     Too much for The Postman.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I've been on the road a while. I
                  could use a little something to
                  eat --



30   CONTINUED:    (2)                                             30

                                 MRS. MARCH
                  Oh, yes, absolutely... Is there
                  anything else?

     The townspeople welcome him with cheers. The Postman
     raises a silencing hand. As they quiet...

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Yes, there is! If there are dogs
                  in this town, you have to leash
                  them while I'm here!

     Only The Postman laughs. No one else reacts. Briscoe
     watches dubiously from the wall as the people surround The
     Postman and sweep him through the gates and into town.

     One couple watches The Postman closely as he makes his way
     into town. She is ABBY -- a sweet-faced, pretty woman.
     Her husband, MICHAEL, is a decent-looking sort, tall and

31   INT. ABANDONED HOTEL - ROOM 7 - NIGHT                         31

     A freestanding tub has been set up, water "bucketed" in.
     The Postman luxuriates in his first hot bath in years and
     sings a familiar tune to himself.

                               THE POSTMAN
                  'Stop. Oh, yes, wait a minute,
                  Mr. Postman. Waaa-ait, Mr.

32   EXT. PARKING LOT (PINE VIEW) - NIGHT                          32

     FORD crosses the parking lot of an abandoned motel. He's
     a black kid, maybe 16, too young to remember any other
     life but this. He carries The Postman's uniform on a

33   INT. ABANDONED HOTEL - ROOM 7 - NIGHT                         33

     The Postman looks up at a KNOCK. Ford steps in. Like
     most kids, he needs a hero. Holding up the uniform, he
     just found one.

                  Cleaned and pressed, sir.



33   CONTINUED:                                                      33

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Thanks. Didn't somebody say
                  something about dinner?

                  Yeah, I'm supposed to take you to
                         (extending a hand)
                  My name's Ford. Ford Lincoln

     The Postman just nods, hoisting himself out of the tub and
     hurriedly wrapping a towel around himself.

                  Used to be John Stevens, but I
                  changed it on account of I want to
                  drive cars.

     Hoping to impress, Ford reaches into a pocket, pulls out a
     worn, creased flyer for a "Ford Lincoln Mercury"
     dealership. Ford finds The Postman just staring at him,
     waiting for the uniform he's still got in his hand.
     Embarrassed, Ford quickly hands it over.

34   EXT. STREET (PINE VIEW) - NIGHT                                 34

     Ford leads the way as they leave the motel behind. The
     Postman looks good in his uniform. They cross a parking
     lot where five partly-stripped cars have been sitting for
     years. There's a potted plant outside the driver's door
     of one.

                  I live in that car. A 2003
                  Pontiac Sinatra. With a nine-
                  banger and a Q-eight.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  V-eight. Eight cylinders.   That
                  means an eight-banger.

                         (in awe of him)
                  Were they fast?

                  A buck seventy-five on a strip.



34   CONTINUED:                                                         34

                  A buck seventy-five? I thought
                  maybe I could fix some of them up.
                  It's nothing compared to what you

     This is the last thing he expected to hear out of this
     kid's mouth. A moment, then...

                                THE POSTMAN
                  The important thing to remember
                  about cars is, you can't eat 'em.

     Ahead, people are gathered inside an old Foster's Freeze.

35   INT. FOSTER'S FREEZE (PINE VIEW) - NIGHT                           35

     The townspeople fill the booths, line the walls. They
     talk excitedly amongst themselves, break into spontaneous
     applause as Ford and The Postman enter.

     The Postman is surprised, uncomfortable at this display.
     But then he sees that a banquet has been laid out on the
     counter. The centerpiece is a huge vat of steaming stew.

     The PEOPLE clear a path for him.

                                MAN #1
                  Tell us about the government!

                                WOMAN #1
                  Yes, tell us everything!

     Startled, The Postman doesn't quite know what to say.
     They seat him at a table -- but the food looks miles away.

                                MAN #2
                  Is there a President?

                                THE POSTMAN

                                WOMAN #2
                  What's his name?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  You know, I'm pretty hungry.

     But these people won't be denied.       Finally...



35   CONTINUED:                                                       35

                                THE POSTMAN
                  His name is, uh... Richard
                  Starkey. From Maine. He has a
                  saying. 'Things are getting
                  better, getting better all the

     There's warm applause at that.    Several people try the
     expression out on each other.

                                MAN #3
                  He a Democrat or a Republican?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Parties are over with. The
                  individual is what counts. You
                  vote for the best man.

     Ellen sets a steaming bowl of stew in front of The
     Postman. Famished, he digs in.

                                MAN #4
                  What about Europe? Any word?

     The Postman tries to speak through a mouthful of food.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Lady Di's in charge. Sixty years
                  old and she still kicks ass.

                                WOMAN #3
                  Is Nathan Holn still alive?

                                THE POSTMAN
                         (smiles at irony)
                  He died. Skin cancer.

     That's sure good news to everyone.       But...

                                WOMAN #4
                  And the Holnists? They're still
                  out there. What's the government
                  going to do about them?

     The Postman looks at the desperate faces -- he'd rather
     get back to his meal -- but this may be the most important
     question of all. He doesn't want to lie.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  The government's just getting
                  started. You're on your own for
                  at least eighteen months.



35   CONTINUED:    (2)                                              35

                                MAN #5
                  What about the Marines Corp?

     A clamor of Holnist questions.

                  Be quiet, everyone! Can't we just
                  let this man eat?

     The people nod and The Postman finally gets to eat. He
     catches sight of Briscoe watching him from the door.
     After a moment, Briscoe leaves.

36   INT. FOSTER'S FREEZE - LATER                                   36

     A band plays an odd array of instruments. There's
     dancing. The Postman sits behind four empty bowls.
     People watch him eat like it was a religious experience.
     He pushes back the fifth bowl.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Never thought I'd hear myself say
                  this, but I can't eat anymore.

     He's cut off by the sight of a silent, little boy.    The
     kid's looking up, staring intently at something.

                                  THE POSTMAN

     The boy just stares.

                                  THE POSTMAN
                          (re:   the cap)

     The boy nods. The Postman shakes his head and smiles to
     himself. He takes off the cap, sets it on the kid's head.

                                  THE POSTMAN
                  Almost fits.

     The boy's eyes go wide with wonder. His stock's gone up
     1000%. Before he can rush off to impress his friends,
     ELLEN -- his mother -- steps over and gently chides him.

                  That's not a toy, honey. That's
                  very important. Give it back.



36   CONTINUED:                                                          36

     The boy carefully removes the cap, hands it back to The
     Postman. Ellen smiles gratefully and gently guides her
     son away.

     The Postman shrugs, turns to find Abby, the pretty woman
     we saw at the Pine View gates. She smiles at The Postman.

                  Would you like to dance?

                                 THE POSTMAN
                  I don't know if I can, I think I'm
                  still on duty.

     He laughs.    Abby says nothing.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  It's been a long time.

     Abby holds out her hand like a promise.

                  All you got to do is hold on.


     Abby and The Postman dance.          She keeps looking him over.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Is something wrong?

                  How tall are you?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  About six feet.

                  Are you smart?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Smarter than some I guess.       Why?

                  Just wondering. Did you ever have
                  the bad mumps?

     The Postman smiles.    She's odd, but beautiful.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Never had the bad mumps.



36   CONTINUED:    (2)                                                36

                  Have you ever had herpes or
                  syphilis or anything like that?

     He shakes his head "no."    They continue to dance.

                  So as far as you know, you have
                  good semen?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Is that a trick question?

                  I don't mean to be nosy. I'm only
                  asking because I want you to make
                  me pregnant.

     Stunned, The Postman stops dancing.      Abby takes this
     moment to grab Michael.

                                THE POSTMAN
                         (to himself)
                  It's got to be the uniform.

     Abby takes Michael's arm, introduces him proudly.

                  This is my husband.    Michael.

     Michael smiles, shakes hands with a grave-digger's grip.
     The Postman doesn't know what to think.

                  We've been trying to have a baby
                  for three years. We can't on
                  account of Michael had the bad
                  mumps when he was twelve. So we
                  need a body father. We could ask
                  a man here, but it could cause
                  trouble. I've seen it happen.
                  Things go okay until the woman
                  starts to show. Then it can be
                  bad. But you'll only be around
                  once in awhile with the mail.

     The Postman just stares at them.      Abby looks to Michael.

                  He hasn't said 'no'.



36   CONTINUED:    (3)                                              36

                  What do you say, mister?     You'd be
                  doing us a favor.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I'll have to think about it.

     The Postman excuses himself with a nod and turns away,
     shaking his head at the strangeness of this new world.

     But no rest for the wicked, as soon as he's free from Abby
     and Michael, he's running smack into another group of
     well-wishing TOWNIES. Mrs. March is among them. She's
     holding an envelope.

                                TOWNIE #1
                  Mrs. March wants to give you
                         (to Mrs. March)
                  He's right here, Irene.

                                MRS. MARCH
                         (re: letter)
                  It's to my daughter Annie. She
                  left five years ago. She was only
                  fifteen. The last I heard, she
                  was living up north...

     The Postman swallows hard, looks from the envelope to the
     faces around him, to Mrs. March. She looks blindly back.
     How can he lie to her?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Look, Mrs. March, you should know

                                 MRS. MARCH
                  Know what?

                                 THE POSTMAN
                  Know that...

     But she stops him, grabs for his hand.

                                MRS. MARCH
                  I have a feeling about you. I
                  know you'll do what's right.

     Her hand leaves his and she disappears into the crowd.
     She's left him with her letter and no choice at all.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I got to get out of here.


37   EXT. PINE VIEW - NIGHT                                         37

     The Postman moves through town. The streets are deserted.
     He's got his pack on, his mailbag. He passes a 7-11
     converted to a blacksmith shop. There's a horse tethered
     to the railing in front of it. He grins; maybe he's going
     to make it out of here after all. As he starts to move
     toward the horse...

                                OLD MAN (O.S.)
                  It's right around the corner.

     An OLD MAN sits on his porch across the street.

                                THE POSTMAN
                         (freezes, startled)
                  What is?

                                OLD MAN
                  What you're looking for.

     The Old Man winks knowingly, then heads inside. As The
     Postman turns the corner, he finds himself in front of the
     post office. An old brick building. Chiseled in the
     granite facing: "UNITED STATES POST OFFICE. EST. 1884."

38   INT. POST OFFICE (PINE VIEW) - NIGHT                           38

     Long ago stripped, it still has a proud, official, almost
     holy feel. The Postman wanders in, stops to read the
     credo calligraphied on the wall. "Neither snow, nor
     rain..." He turns at a SOUND. Ford is here, leaning
     against a wall.

                  I knew you'd come here.

                                  THE POSTMAN
                  You did, huh?

     Ford nods.    A sage sixteen-year-old.

                  How do you get to be a postman,

                                THE POSTMAN
                  You have to be in the right place
                  at the right time.

                  How could I do it?



38   CONTINUED:                                                     38

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I thought you wanted to drive

                  Not anymore. That was kid's
                  stuff. This is real. So, where's
                  the right place?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Could be anywhere. Anytime. Only
                  another postman can make you a

                  Kinda like vampires, right?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Something like that. You have to
                  be sworn in.

     Ford raises his right hand, palm out, ready to take the
     oath. It takes The Postman a moment to realize.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  The organization's kinda shaky.
                  It might not last.

                  What does?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  You'd meet a lot of people who
                  don't believe in you.

                  I'll set them straight.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  It's a lonely job.

                  I've been lonely all my life.

     This response strikes a chord. The Postman sees how badly
     Ford wants something to hold onto. He sees himself.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  So have I, Ford. So have I.

     The Postman looks up at the creed on the wall.    Finally...



38   CONTINUED:    (2)                                                38

                                   THE POSTMAN
                  What the hell?     Repeat after me.

                  Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat
                  nor gloom of night stays these
                  couriers from the swift completion
                  of their appointed rounds.

                                   THE POSTMAN
                  Okay then.

                  Okay, then.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  No, no, no, I'm saying that. You
                  just listen... By my authority you
                  are now empowered to carry the
                         (extends a hand)
                  Congratulations, you're a postman.

     They shake hands. The Postman doesn't realize, but this
     is the most important moment in Ford's life.

                  I want you to know I'd die to get
                  a letter through.

     Ford's intensity takes The Postman back.       But the moment
     is broken when...

                                BRISCOE (O.S.)
                  Johnny, why don't you run along.
                  I need to speak to this man.

     Ford bristles at "Johnny," looks to The Postman.

                  I'll see you around.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Sure thing, Ford.

     Ford exits.

                  Johnny's real impressed with you.
                  Whole town's real impressed with



38   CONTINUED:    (3)                                              38

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I take it you're not.

                  Smarter than you look.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  What can I do for you, Sheriff?

                  You can clear out. Or I can throw
                  you out. Either way suits me

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I'm afraid you don't understand,
                  Sheriff. I'm a government
                  employee. Authorized by --

                  You're not authorized by shit.
                  You're nothing but a drifter who
                  found a bag of mail. And I want
                  you out of my town.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  This is going in my report.

                  These people don't need dreams,
                  Mr. Postman. They need something
                  real. They need help with the
                  goddamn Holnists. Are you going
                  to bring them that?
                         (as The Postman
                          doesn't answer)
                  Didn't think so. All you cost us
                  so far is a few bowls of soup and
                  maybe later a few broken hearts.
                  I aim to keep it that way. You
                  can stay till morning. Then I
                  don't ever want to see you again.

     Briscoe exits, leaves The Postman alone in the post

39   INT. ABANDONED HOTEL - ROOM 7 - NIGHT                          39

     The Postman arrives home. He pushes open the door,
     knocking over a stack of letters that have been shoved
     under the door. He gathers them up, flips through them.
     They're written on scraps, the backs of pictures, on
     handkerchiefs and homemade paper. They aren't old.



39   CONTINUED:                                                       39

     They're brand new.      Shaking his head, he closes the door.

     The Postman has no sooner done so when there's a KNOCK on
     the window. He looks over at a woman. She shrugs,
     smiles, holds up a letter. The Postman sighs; he's
     trapped in here.

40   EXT. FOSTER'S FREEZE - NIGHT                                     40

     CAMERA STARTS ON a man with a string-tied package crossing
     the streets and DRIFTS TO the abandoned car where Ford
     lives. He's home.

     ON FORD

     Concentrating, Ford holds a needle and thread and a piece
     of cloth on which he's drawn an approximation of the post
     office shoulder patch. By moonlight he embroiders it in.
     Not exactly work you'd pay money for, but not bad either.


     ~from the previous scene.       It's on the table with a
     growing stack of mail.

     The Postman is in bed, trying to sleep. But it's hard-
     coming. He laces his fingers behind his head, stares up
     at the moon through a hole in the wall. A KNOCK at the

                                   THE POSTMAN
                  Just leave it.

     There's a pause.    And then, ANOTHER KNOCK.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I said leave it.

     The door opens. Surprise. Abby stands in the doorway,
     her hair held up by an old red ribbon. He sits up.

                                   THE POSTMAN
                  Hello, Abby.

                  You'll be leaving tomorrow?

                                   THE POSTMAN
                  I guess.



41   CONTINUED:                                                          41

                         (enters; closes door)
                  Everybody's up late writing
                  letters for you to take. We're
                  not supposed to waste candles like
                  that, but they're so excited.

                                   THE POSTMAN
                  How about you?     Do you have a

                  I don't have anybody to write to.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I'll find you a pen pal. Someone
                  with interests similar to your
                  own. Dancing, checking for mumps.

     Abby laughs.    The Postman is charmed.

                  You're funny. Hardly anyone's
                  funny around here.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I guess no one feels much like

     The two of them just look at each other a moment.         Abby
     fingers the ribbon in her hair.

                  Have you decided yet?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Oh, well, I've been thinking about

     A beat. Abby lets her shift drop to the floor, then
     slides under the sheets alongside him.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                  Sure.   Why not?

     They lie there awkwardly for a moment.          He looks at her.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  God, you're beautiful. Sorry, I
                  know you'd probably like to keep
                  things more clinical.
                  You don't even know my name.



41   CONTINUED:    (2)                                                 41

     She shushes him, covers his mouth with her hand.

                  I don't want to.

     He nods he understands.     She stares into his eyes.

                  It would be easier for me if you
                  closed your eyes.

     The Postman closes his eyes. Abby slides her hand away
     from his mouth. And as they start to make love...

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

42   INT. ABANDONED HOTEL - ROOM 7 - DAY                               42

     The Postman wakes, reaches for the warm body that was
     there last night. But Abby is gone. All that's left
     behind is her red ribbon. Wistful, he picks it up.

43   EXT. ABANDONED HOTEL - DAY                                        43

     The Postman exits. In uniform, his bag slung over his
     shoulder. He starts then stops short. Only now do we see
     most of the townspeople have silently assembled here.
     They've been waiting for him, starving for him.

     Ford steps up, hands him another fresh packet of letters.
     The Postman sees that Ford hangs on to four or five.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  What about those?

                  These are going to Blue Jay.
                  About twenty miles east. I
                  thought I could take them.

     The Postman scans the crowd.      Looking for Abby maybe?

                                 THE POSTMAN
                  Okay.   They're yours.

     Briscoe rides up, regards The Postman sternly.

                  I'm your escort out of town.

     Some of the town's CITIZENS lead up a saddled mare.



43   CONTINUED:                                                    43

                                CITIZEN #1
                  We took a vote, Mr. Postman.   We
                  want you to have this horse.

                                CITIZEN #2
                  Now don't say no. A man on
                  horseback can cover ten times the
                  territory of a man on foot.

                                THE POSTMAN
                         (smiles at Briscoe)
                  I'll take it.

     He ties his mailbag to the saddle, swings himself up.

                                CITIZEN #3
                  There's a bedroll, some oats and a
                  week's rations.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Thank you.

                                CITIZEN #1
                  Where do you figure you'll go from

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Go?... Oh yeah... I'll head west,
                  then work my way back here in a
                  sort of figure eight.

     "8." Everyone's quiet a moment. They shift
     uncomfortably. The Postman looks out at the crowd. They
     crave hope. He should probably just keep his mouth shut.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Times seem hard right now. But
                  you have to believe it's getting
                  better. Birds are migrating
                  again. The rains are back.

     The people consider him and then each other. By God, they
     do feel hopeful. Suddenly, Ellen, her little boy by her
     side, begins to sing. It's weak at first, but one-by-one
     the others join in. Soon the whole town is singing:

                                ELLEN & TOWN
                  'Oh beautiful for spacious skies,
                  for amber waves of grain. For
                  purple mountain's majesty, above
                  the fruited plain. America...'

     The Postman looks around. They sing their hearts out.
     The guilt is overwhelming. He digs his heels into the
     horse's flanks and rides out of town.


44   EXT. PALISADE GATES (PINE VIEW) - DAY                        44

     People line the top as The Postman and Briscoe ride out.
     The strains of "AMERICA" still in the background.

               You got a helluva nerve, whoever
               you are.

     The Postman doesn't rise to the bait.

                             THE POSTMAN
               Is Abby around?

               She and Michael are working the
               north meadow this morning.

     Briscoe reins up -- he's gone as far as his duty commands.

               Well, you're on your own.

     The Postman tips his cap and continues riding by "Pine
     View - Population 132." Briscoe watches a moment, then
     calls after him:

               Hey! Are you really who you say
               you are?

                             THE POSTMAN
               If I come back with some mail,
               you'll know!

     The Postman continues. Caught in an inner turmoil,
     Briscoe reaches into his pocket, and pulls out a letter.
     He turns it over in his hands, looks off at The Postman.

               God damn it!

     Briscoe urges his horse forward, catches up. He hands The
     Postman the letter, then rides back for town. The Postman
     watches Briscoe. The people lining the wall. And he
     realizes just what effect he's had. There's nothing to
     do, but shrug his shoulders and ride. Strains of
     "AMERICA" still ECHO hauntingly OVER:

45   EXT. ON ROAD - SUN                                           45

     A green and lavender sunset. In the middle of nowhere,
     The Postman rides, chewing a piece of jerked beef. He
     flips through some of the letters entrusted to him.



45   CONTINUED:                                                     45

                                   THE POSTMAN
                  Eugene.     Benning. Portland.
                            (stops short)
                  Seattle. Boise... St. Rose,
                  Paradise on the Pacific...

     He considers the letter, looks around as if someone may be
     watching. He just begins to tear the corner, then stops.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                  Maybe one thing can still be
                          (to horse)
                  All in all, not a bad gig, huh?

     The HORSE SNORTS. Smiling, The Postman shoves the
     envelope into his bag. As he does, he finds something
     else. The red ribbon. He runs it through his fingers,
     thinks wistfully of Abby. Then, like a knight of old
     representing a lady's honor, he ties it to his mailbag and
     rides on.

46   EXT. WELL (PINE VIEW) - DAY                                    46

     Abby's washing clothes with a tub and washboard. Waging
     war on dirt. Michael leans against a tree, watches Abby
     at work until she notices him. She wipes the sweat from
     her brow, tries not to smile.

                  What are you looking at?


     He steps over and they're in each other's arms. This is
     love. But as Michael kisses her, we hear a familiar

                  Holnists!    Holnists are coming!

47   EXT. PALISADE GATES (PINE VIEW) - DAY                          47

     Led by Bethlehem and Getty, the soldiers ride in.
     Something about the citizens disturbs Bethlehem.

                  They don't usually look at me.



47   CONTINUED:                                                       47

     Bethlehem reins in across from the post office.     Someone
     has hung a tattered old American flag.

                  Who's responsible for that?!

     No one answers.     All heads are down now.

48   INT. POST OFFICE - DAY                                           48

     Ford is sweeping up. The place looks almost presentable.
     He stops when he hears Bethlehem calling once more for the
     responsible party.

     Ford starts forward.    Suddenly Briscoe is blocking his

                  Holnists, Johnny. You gotta stay
                  out of sight.

                  I'm a postman. And I'm not hiding
                  from anyone. I --

     Briscoe grabs him by the shirt, hauls him out the back

                  You stay out of this, or I'll lock
                  you up myself damnit.

49   EXT. PINE VIEW - DAY                                             49

     Bethlehem picks Michael out of the crowd.

                  You.  You'll be responsible.
                         (to soldiers)
                  Get him a torch.

     Michael walks out into the square. One of the soldiers
     returns with a burning torch, gives it to Michael.

     Bethlehem looks at the town, then at Michael.

                  Set that flag on fire.



49   CONTINUED:                                                       49


     It's killing him, but Michael sets the torch to the flag.
               Now throw it through the window of
               your 'post office.'

     CRASH!    The TORCH goes through the post office WINDOW.

     ON FORD

     Struggling to get out, but Briscoe blocks his way.


     As flames grow, he takes one last look around.

                  The United States doesn't exist.
                  That flag is an abomination.

     Briscoe steps forward, attempts to diffuse the situation.

                  General Bethlehem.
                         (as Bethlehem turns)
                  We're gathering the tribute, sir.
                  Can I take your wagons?

     Bethlehem decides not to kill anyone, looks to Getty.

                  Make sure that fire doesn't go

     The General joins Briscoe.

     Tears on his cheeks, Ford watches the post office burn.

50   EXT. PARKING LOT (PINE VIEW) - EARLY EVENING                     50

     Bethlehem relaxes with his officers as wagons are loaded.
     Michael is just passing with a sack of grain on his
     shoulder, when Bethlehem looks across the street -- spies
     Abby and some of the other women sewing grain sacks shut.

                  Good Lord. That, gentlemen, is a
                  first-rate piece of ass.



50   CONTINUED:                                                      50

     Michael overhears. He looks over as Bethlehem's men nod
     in agreement. Michael sees that they're talking about

                  Tell the Sheriff I want to be
                  introduced. She does not belong
                  in a mudhole like this.

     One of the men hurries off. It's concern for Abby, not
     for his manhood that makes him step forward.

                  Excuse me.

                         (looks over)
                  You again?

                  That's my wife, General.   She's a
                  married woman.

                  Do you know what system of
                  government we have here, son?
                         (as Michael shrugs)
                  A feudal system. Like the Middle
                  Ages. With lords and vassals.
                  That's you and me. Those lords,
                  they had some ideas. If a vassal
                  got married, it was the lord's
                  right, his right, to sleep with
                  the bride on the wedding night.

                  Me and Abby have been married for
                  three years.

                  Sorry, but I wasn't invited to the
                  wedding. Now, you've already done
                  me one favor, son. Don't let this
                  be a black mark on an otherwise
                  perfect record.


     Another woman has pointed out to her what's going on. She
     can't hear what's being said, but she watches, concerned.



50   CONTINUED:    (2)                                                 50


                  We'll be civilized about this. I
                  want you to give me your blessing.

                  Sir, I can't.     You can't.

                  Can't? I'm tired of can't. We
                  had a great nation once. Do you
                  know what made it that way? I
                  can! Till the weak came along.
                  The 'I can'ts' destroyed us. But
                  I'm going to make us strong again.
                  I'm going to be the father of a
                  new nation.
                         (draws his sword)
                  Do you know why it will be me?

     Michael looks to Abby as she starts across the street.

                  Because I can!

     The SWORD WHISTLES down.       Accompanied by an anguished cry:


     Abby rushes forward, but she's blocked by Getty and
     another man. She cries out again and again.

     Filled with impotent fury, Briscoe squeezes out the words.

                  You didn't have to --

                  Didn't have to what, Sheriff?

     Three Holnist soldiers draw down on Briscoe.      Bethlehem
     circles, menacing on his horse.

                  Your people seem seditious.    You
                  seem seditious.

     Briscoe stares down at Michael's crumpled form.      Abby



50   CONTINUED:    (3)                                            50

                  Aw, Michael...

     Briscoe might go after Bethlehem despite the odds.

                  What am I seeing here? I'm

                         (burying his anger)
                  Man came through here. With mail.
                  Said he was a postman. Said the
                  government had been restored back

                  What government?

     From out of the crowd -- a voice.         Ford.

                  The United States government.

     Bethlehem whirls his horse at the noise.

                  Who said that?

     Not waiting for an answer, Getty charges the crowd, knocks
     one of the onlookers down. A dead silence.

     Bethlehem frowns, thinks it over a minute.

                  Which way did he go?
                         (a beat)
                  Do not make me ask again.


                         (to Getty)
                  Send a patrol east. Send three
                  more south, north and west.
                         (to Briscoe)
                  They'd better find him east.

51   EXT. PALISADE GATES (PINE VIEW) - NIGHT                      51

     The Holnist army rides out. Overcome by grief, tied at
     the wrists, Abby stumbles behind one of the wagons.


52   EXT. BURNT-OUT POST OFFICE - NIGHT                            52

     Before the smoking ruins, Ford pulls on a blue shirt, his
     homemade postal flag on the shoulder. As Briscoe steps
     up, Ford shows him a bundle of singed, but intact letters.

               I managed to save these.

                      (re: shirt)
               Take that thing off, Johnny.    You
               want to die, too?

     Ford shoves the letters in a makeshift bag, then climbs
     onto his waiting pony.

               I'm headed south. With the mail.

                      (grabs harness)
               Don't be a damn fool.

               What kind should I be?... Haw!

     Ford digs his heels into the pony and is off in a flash
     doing damn near a buck seventy-five.

53   INT. MOVIE THEATER (BENNING, OREGON) - DAY                    53

     Mail call. The Postman stands in front of the torn
     screen. Hoping for glory by association, the smiling
     Mayor stands beside him. The ragged people of Benning
     clamor in front. Kids smile up at him as he calls out

                              THE POSTMAN
               Rachel Clark!
                      (as she's there)
               Charlie Sykes!
                      (as he's there)
               Graham Druitt!

               G.D. died last winter of flu.

     The Postman nods, sticks the letter back in his bag.

                             THE POSTMAN
               That's it for now, folks.
               There'll be more once a real
               system is in place.



53   CONTINUED:                                                      53

     As usual, The Postman is assaulted with questions.

                  Tell us about President Starkey!

                  What about New York City?   Did
                  they survive the plague?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Survive? They got Broadway up and
                  running again. There's a kid
                  doing Andrew Lloyd Webber like you
                  wouldn't believe.

     An older woman sheds a happy tear -- this is wonderful

                                MAN #3
                  How much is it to mail a letter?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  A buck seventy-five.

                                MAN #3
                  That sounds awful cheap.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  The catch is the only currency
                  recognized are silver American
                  coins minted before 1964 and two
                  dollar bills. Look for Thomas
                  Jefferson. Of course, food is
                  always acceptable as barter.

     The moment is split by a SIREN.

54   EXT. BENNING, OREGON - DAY                                      54

     A long double-line of Holnist Cavalry stand in formation
     in front of the city walls made from stacks of crushed
     cars. On top, a SKINNY SENTRY CRANKS the SIREN while a
     CHUBBY SENTRY watches.

     Bethlehem rides through them with Abby in tow -- her
     wrists tied by a rope which is looped around the pommel of
     Bethlehem's saddle. Her face is bruised, her bottom lip
     split. Bethlehem reins up, puzzled by the apparent stall.



54   CONTINUED:                                                  54

                         (rides up; salutes)
                  They won't open the gates, sir.


                  They say they got a representative
                  of the restored United States in
                  there. They say this army is
                  illegal. They say --

     The Chubby Sentry answers from the top of the palisade.

                                CHUBBY SENTRY
                  Drop dead and go to hell!

     The Chubby Sentry disappears back behind cover. Bethlehem
     remains controlled, but his manner becomes deadly.

                  The Romans had an expression they
                  used to scare their children.
                  'Hannibal ad portas!' -- Hannibal
                  is at the gates. Do you know who
                  Hannibal was?
                         (as she doesn't answer)
                  Of course not. A pretty girl like
                  you wouldn't know a thing.
                         (to Getty)
                  Colonel Getty, get some men up
                  there and open that gate.

55   EXT. INSIDE GATES - DAY                                     55

     The Mayor hurries over, The Postman following reluctantly
     behind. The Mayor spots the Sentries up on the parapet.

                  What the hell are you doing?!
                  Open the gates!

                                SKINNY SENTRY
                  Government's restored! We don't
                  have to take their crap anymore!

56   EXT. PALISADE GATES (BENNING) - DAY                         56

     Two Holnists scale the gates. They're near the top when
     the Skinny Sentry appears. He FIRES an ARROW. Hit
     through the shoulder, one Holnist falls. The other jumps.


57   EXT. PARAPET - INSIDE WALLS - DAY                               57

     Chubby and Skinny duck down behind the safety of the
     walls, trading high-fives.

58   EXT. PALISADE GATES (BENNING) - DAY                             58

     Bethlehem orders his men to pull back. He shakes his
     head, a quiet rage building. But he knows there's no
     military threat here. It's going to be a massacre.

59   EXT. PARAPET - INSIDE WALLS - DAY                               59

     Climbing an inside ladder, the Mayor slams the Chubby
     Sentry against the wall.


                             CITIZEN #1
                      (realizing; scared)
               They're gonna kill us all.

     The Mayor peers out through an observation hole.   The
     Postman and several others join him.

                              CHUBBY SENTRY
               No!   Let's fight them!

               With what? We got five guns maybe
               20 rounds of ammo in the whole
               town! How do we fight them with

     The Postman watches the Holnists prepare for attack.

                            THE POSTMAN
               You don't. Negotiate a
               settlement. Give them extra

     The men look at each other.   Sounds reasonable enough.

               Okay. You're a government rep.
               You go tell them.

     The look on The Postman's face says it all.


60   EXT. GATES (BENNING, OREGON) - DAY                              60

     They open enough to let the Postman ride out, then close
     behind him. He sits nervously on his horse waving a white
     flag. He's met, dismounts and is led to a command post
     where Bethlehem is studying a rough map of the town.

               Make it quick.     I've got an attack
               to coordinate.

                             THE POSTMAN
               General, um, they've asked me to
               negotiate a peace treaty.

     The last time he and Bethlehem were face-to-face, the
     Postman had a shaved head, was dressed in rags, and was
     covered with cuts and bruises. Bethlehem can't place him,
     but there's something familiar all the same.

               Do I know you?

                             THE POSTMAN
               I don't think so, sir. I --

                      (scans uniform)
               You're the Postman, aren't you?


     watches from the flap of Bethlehem's tent.    The guard sees
     and shoves her back inside.


     Bethlehem flicks at the uniform flag shoulder patch.

               The restored United States. Do
               these people really believe that
               shit? Who are you really?

     Although he wants to confess everything, something tells
     The Postman he has to try to brass it out.

                             THE POSTMAN
               I am a United States Postman.
               Authorized by order 417 of the
               restored Congress to --



60   CONTINUED:                                                         60

                  I was at the Battle of Georgetown.
                  I watched the White House burn to
                  the ground. Don't try to sell me
                  on any restored U.S...

                                THE POSTMAN
                  The new capital is based in
                  Minneapolis. Inside the Hubert
                  Humphrey Metrodome. You know,
                  where the Vikings used to play?

                  You're funny.    Now, what are the

                                THE POSTMAN
                  They'll open the gate and give you
                  double what they usually give.
                  Just don't hurt anybody. This was
                  all a misunderstanding.

     Bethlehem thinks this over.

61   INT. ABBY'S TENT - DAY                                             61

     Abby tracks the guard's silhouette through the canvas.
     Her eyes search the tent -- land on the cot in the corner
     and focus on its heavy, wooden legs.

62   EXT. GATES - DAY                                                   62

     Bethlehem has decided.

                  Appreciate your offer, Postman.
                  Problem is, you're in no position
                  to negotiate. These people made
                  it through the bugs and the riots
                  and the three year winter. But
                  they're not going to survive you.

     Bethlehem looks to Getty and nods.      Getty motions to a
     gunner. The MONSTER GUN is FIRED.       Just as a SHELL
     EXPLODES against the gates --

63   INT. ABBY'S TENT - DAY                                             63

     Abby brings the heavy wooden cot leg down on the
     unsuspecting guard's head.


64   EXT. CITY GATES - DAY                                          64

     The cavalry ride through roiling smoke into the open town.

     Horrified, The Postman steps forward, but rifles are on
     him. All he can do is watch. The Mayor is the first to
     go down.

                Law six, justice can be dictated.
                       (to soldiers)
                Kill him. And kill the restored
                United States with him.

     Bethlehem turns his attention to the battle.   A CAPTAIN
     steps forward with gun raised.

                       (by rote)
                In accordance with law eight and
                by the authority of Emergency
                Order 46, you are hereby --

     A CRACK of RIFLE FIRE. The Captain's forehead explodes
     and he falls to the ground.

     Shocked, Bethlehem whirls for the source of the GUNFIRE.

     Abby!   FIRING from a position behind a supply wagon.

     But even as Bethlehem turns, an ARROW SINGS in and lodges
     in his arm. Fired from a pocket of sentries up on the
     palisade. Bethlehem bellows in outrage and pain.

     The Postman takes advantage of the moment of chaos to grab
     the fallen Captain's gun.

     He pulls a Holnist rider from his horse and swings into
     the saddle. The unhorsed rider goes for his gun. But
     once more SHOTS RING OUT and he goes down.

     Bethlehem ducks as another BULLET ZINGS close.    Too close.

                Get her.

     Two soldiers move forward.

     Suddenly The Postman's HORSE comes THUNDERING -- trampling
     the Holnist nearest him.

     The other Holnist hears, looks back, sees The Postman
     coming and takes aim just as The Postman brings his gun to



64   CONTINUED:                                                         64

     The Holnist FIRES first. We don't see the hit. Just
     watch as The Postman FIRES an answering ROUND. The
     Holnist goes down.

     The Postman reins up alongside the wagon. Grunting with
     pain, he reaches down, takes Abby's arm and swings her up
     behind him. Then digs his heels in for all he's worth.

     More Holnists come on the run. They FIRE. The HORSE
     SNORTS in pain. He's hit. But The Postman urges him on,
     heading into the woods.

     Bethlehem snaps off the arrow shaft and shouts:

                  Colonel Getty!

65   EXT. WOODLAND ROAD - DAY                                           65

     Abby is concerned as the horse slows to a trot.

                  We can't stop now. They'll be
                  coming after us.

     The Postman's head lolls forward. She feels something on
     her hand, pulls it back smeared with blood. The Postman's
     shot in the belly.

     The horse is failing.       Near death.

     We hear the sound of PURSUING CAVALRY. Abby urges the
     horse off the road. When the thicket grows too dense,
     Abby jumps down. She catches The Postman as he slides
     off, easing him to the ground.

                                   THE POSTMAN

     Abby shushes him. She pulls on the horse's bridle to
     force him farther along. But it's no good, the wounded
     horse goes down on its knees.

     And five RIDERS THUNDER past.       Fooled.   All but the SIXTH,
     who pulls up to listen.

     In the deep b.g., flames lick at the billowing black
     smoke. The town is burning.

     The HORSE WHINNIES: in its death throes.        Abby panics,
     tries to quiet the horse.



65   CONTINUED:                                                    65

     The Sixth Soldier has heard the suffering horse. He draws
     his rifle from the saddle boot and starts into the


     The Postman lies unconscious on the ground. Abby sits
     beside him, rifle in hand. The Sixth Soldier appears.

                  Don't move.

     He hesitates at first. Then dismounts and moves toward
     her. Abby cocks the rifle.

                                SIXTH SOLDIER
                  If you'd had a bullet, you'd a
                  used it by now.

     Moving closer still, he doesn't see the BRANCH pulled back
     in The Postman's hand until it SNAPS hard into his face.

     He stumbles back.

                  You're right.

     Abby dashes out, rifle in hand. She swings for the
     bleachers. The butt catches the side of the Sixth
     Soldier's head. He falls hard.

     The Postman's eyes flutter. Dazed, he watches as Abby
     pilfers through the Soldier's gear. She takes everything
     of value: a knife, bullets, a canteen. His eyes flutter

66   EXT. WOODS - DAY                                              66

     Snowflakes swirl. Abby lays a sapling travois beside The
     Postman. He groans as she rolls him onto it, tucks a
     blanket around him. Using all the strength God gave her,
     Abby lifts one end, gets it high enough to hitch it to the
     Sixth Soldier's horse. As Abby leads the horse away...

67   EXT. WOOD ROAD - DAY                                          67

     The snow has increased. A Holnist patrol moves down the
     road, disappears around a bend. A beat.



67   CONTINUED:                                                       67

     Abby appears, leading the horse and travois.   She crosses
     the road and disappears into the woods.

     A moment later, she reappears with a pine branch which she
     uses to brush at the snow, obscuring their tracks.

68   EXT. CASCADE MOUNTAINS (OREGON) - DAY                            68

     Riding into a blizzard, Abby leads the way up a zigzag
     path. A valley opens up below. The unconscious Postman
     lies bundled on the travois.

69   EXT. HUNTING SHACK - DUSK                                        69

     A little square shape just visible beyond a creek.     Abby
     leads the horse and travois-bound Postman to it.

70   INT. HUNTING SHACK - DUSK                                        70

     One room. Dirt floor. The WINDOWS RATTLE in the WIND.
     Snow falls through a hole in the roof. The wooden DOOR
     BURSTS back and Abby enters. Half-frozen, she leads the
     horse and the travois right inside.

71   INT. HUNTING SHACK - NIGHT                                       71

     A fire has been lit.

     The Postman lies unconscious, his shirt open as Abby
     washes around his wound. She pulls the shirt back to
     clean his chest. The material falls away and Abby stops
     short. There -- high on his biceps -- a branded "8." She
     stares in disbelief.

                                                     DISSOLVE TO:

72   INT. HUNTING SHACK - DAY                                         72

     The Postman lies on a cot below the window.    He's
     conscious, but pale as a ghost.

     Abby brings him a bowl of soup. Very thin soup.       Stirring
     it with a spoon, The Postman smiles at Abby.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Thank you.

     She turns her back on him without a word.   The Postman
     tries an exchange just the same.



72   CONTINUED:                                                      72

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I don't think I ever had water
                  soup before. Maybe next time we
                  could try it with a little sand?
                         (as she doesn't respond)
                  Dirt? Wood?
                         (as she doesn't smile)
                  A twig garnish?

     She goes about her business in silence.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  You used to think I was funny.

                  They killed Michael.

                                   THE POSTMAN
                  I'm sorry.

     He takes a spoonful of soup and she comes to him.

                  How sorry are you?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  What's that supposed to mean?

     Her right hand flashes out, holds a knife up under his

                                THE POSTMAN
                  What's with you?

                  You got the mark of eight on you.

     A long beat. Finally, he swallows the soup in his mouth.
     The action presses his Adam's apple against the blade.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  A mark doesn't mean I'm a --

                  You're a liar.     I should've let
                  you die.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Then, why didn't you?

     If she knows, she's not ready to say yet.



72   CONTINUED:    (2)                                                 72

                                THE POSTMAN
                  You were with Bethlehem. Does
                  that make you one of them?

     Abby considers this, The Postman's gaze flickers down to
     the spoon he still holds in his hand. Taking one last
     stab at a joke.

                                THE POSTMAN
                         (re: the spoon)
                  Don't make me use this.

     Abby doesn't laugh.      But she does relent.   She steps away.

73   EXT. HUNTING SHACK/VALLEY PASS - SUNSET                           73

     The hunting shack huddled against the south side of a low
     rise. Beyond the rise, a pass. But there's no
     negotiating it now. It's completely snowed in. And
     another storm is on the way.

74   INT. HUNTING SHACK - DAY                                          74

     WIND HOWLING in the b.g. The Postman lies back on his
     cot. The little shack has been scoured clean. Abby
     stares listlessly at the fire. The silence is torture.
     The Postman tries to strike up a conversation.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Wind's come up.
                         (no response from
                  Getting colder too. Must be
                  another storm --

     Abby gets up and throws a log on the fire.

                  Anything else?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I didn't mean for you to --

                  Your legs are going to rot off if
                  you don't try to walk.

                                   THE POSTMAN
                  I'm hurt.



74   CONTINUED:                                                      74

                  You're lazy.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Lazy?! I got a hole in my
                  stomach. I'm weak. The two big
                  meals around here are grass and
                  snow. And we're running out of

     As the two of them glare at each other for a moment.     Abby
     starts to put on her coat.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Where are you going?

     Abby doesn't answer. She picks up the rifle and starts to
     lead the horse outside.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  You're not leaving me here, are

     Abby is out the door without a word.

75   EXT. HUNTING SHACK - DAY                                        75

     HOLD ON The Postman in the window as she continues past.
     He watches a moment, suddenly grimaces. A GUNSHOT. The
     THUD of a BODY SLAMMING to the GROUND. Abby has shot the

                                                    CUT TO:

76   EXT. HUNTING SHACK/PASS - SUNRISE                               76

     Tiny tracks in the snow, leading away from the shack.
     Abby struggles to make the monumental climb from the shack
     to the top of the rise where she can get a clear view of
     the pass.

     PAN PAST her UP TO the top of the rise. It's a clear day
     -- but the pass is still snowed-in. No sign of winter

                                                    DISSOLVE TO:

77   INT. HUNTING SHACK - DAY                                        77

     Abby ladles a meager portion of horse meat stew into a



77   CONTINUED:                                                       77

                  This is the last of it.

     She walks with the bowl past The Postman -- who sits on
     his cot with arms outstretched -- and pointedly sets the
     bowl on the table.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Give me a break...

     Abby starts putting on layer after layer of clothing.

                  I'm going to check the pass.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Why are you in such a hurry to get
                  out of here? I can think of worse
                  places. And worse company to --

     And with the SLAM of the DOOR she is gone.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

78   INT. HUNTING SHACK - DAY                                         78

     A few flakes of snow have begun to drift down. The
     Postman sits at the window -- starts to play tic-tac-toe
     in the frost. But then it dawns on him:

                                THE POSTMAN
                  You can't play tic-tac-toe with

79   EXT. WOODS - DAY                                                 79

     Disoriented, Abby stops to take stock of her surround-
     ings. But she can't make anything out -- the snowfall is
     too thick.

80   INT. HUNTING SHACK - DAY                                         80

     The fire is dying. The food untouched. The Postman sits
     in bed staring anxiously out the window. The snow has
     turned into a blizzard. He runs Abby's red ribbon through
     his hands.


81   EXT. WOODS - DAY                                             81

     Abby trudges along heavily. She stumbles as the ice
     covering the stream breaks beneath her feet.


82   INT. HUNTING SHACK - DAY                                     82

     The Postman hears her call.

83   EXT. HUNTING SHACK - DAY                                     83

     The door opens and out steps The Postman. In pain, he
     staggers around the back of the cabin -- in search of her.

84   EXT. STREAM - DAY                                            84

     Abby looks up, sees him coming. The Postman collapses
     across from her. Both prone, they're also nearly nose-to-

                             THE POSTMAN
               I can't help you.

     Finally, he pulls himself to his knees. She does the
     same. They climb each other to a standing position. Arm-
     in-arm, they start for the cabin.

85   INT. HUNTING SHACK - DUSK                                    85

     Abby sits huddled in blankets. The fire is blazing. The
     Postman steps over, sets the once-again-hot bowl of stew
     before her.

     She considers the food a moment.

               I told you that's all there was.

                             THE POSTMAN
               That's why you should have it.

               I knew you could walk.

                             THE POSTMAN
               You're weird, you know that?


86   INT. HUNTING SHACK - NIGHT                                    86

     The Postman lies in bed, stares through the hole in the
     roof. A full moon is on the rise. Abby lies in her own
     makeshift bed, also awake. After a long silence:

                             THE POSTMAN
               We walked on the moon once, Abby.

               So?    What good is that now?

                             THE POSTMAN
               Obviously you've forgotten Tang
               and microwave ovens.
                      (a beat)
               Your face looks pretty.

     Abby looks up.

                             THE POSTMAN
               Not so bruised.

               Look, there's something you'd
               better know. You're going to find
               out soon enough. I'm pregnant.
                      (a long beat)
               It's Michael's baby. You're just
               the body father.

                             THE POSTMAN
               How do you know it's mine and not

               He tried with me almost every
               night. He couldn't do it. So he
               beat me. Said it was my fault.

                                                   DISSOLVE TO:

87   EXT. HUNTING SHACK/PASS - DAY                                 87

     Abby stands atop the low rise -- looking out to the pass.
     Spring has come to the mountains. At long last the snow
     is starting to recede.

                                                   DISSOLVE TO:

88   EXT. FISHING POOL - DAY                                       88

     The Postman kneels by the bank, sharpening a knife to
     clean the fish he's caught.



88   CONTINUED:                                                          88

     Then, he catches his reflection in the water.       Tangled
     beard. Matted hair. Is that him?

     He suddenly starts sharpening the knife with renewed
     vigor. We get a sense he's not going to use it on the


     plunge into the water, pull splashfuls up. We START ON
     The Postman's back, then ARC AROUND as he washes his face.
     He's just finished shaving off his beard with the hunting
     knife. He's nicked-up, but it's a definite improvement
     and he smiles in satisfaction -- until he sees --

     Abby, reflected in the water.

                                   THE POSTMAN

     The Postman whips around to see her standing there.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                  What is it?   What's wrong?    Is it
                  the baby?

                  The pass is clear. It's time to

     Behind her, he sees the cabin is on fire.       Takes off

89   EXT. HUNTING SHACK - DAY                                            89

     The fire is blazing. The hunting shack is too far gone to
     save. The Postman turns around.

                                   THE POSTMAN
                  What happened?

     He's nonplused to find Abby standing beside a pile of
     their neatly-packed gear.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  You got our stuff out.

                  Of course.



89   CONTINUED:                                                      89

                                 THE POSTMAN
                  Of course?   I don't understand.

                  I set the fire.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Am I missing the point here?

                  You didn't think we'd stay here
                  forever, did you?
                         (The Postman has
                          no response)
                  I'd appreciate if you'd walk with
                  me long enough to find someplace
                  safe for the baby. Then we can
                  split up.
                         (a beat)
                  You shaved.

     The Postman has all but forgotten.

                                   THE POSTMAN

                  It looks nice.

     Before he can respond, she's heading off toward the pass,
     leaving The Postman to shake his head at the absurdity of
     it all. He shouts after her.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  You're really weird, you know

                                                      DISSOLVE TO:

90   EXT. VALLEY - BELOW CASCADE MOUNTAINS - DAY                     90

     Carrying their gear, Abby and The Postman walk across a
     meadow of wild flowers, headed for an old road.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Have you ever heard of St. Rose,

                  I've heard people talk. I've
                  heard lots of names. Bliss.
                  Hesperia. New Eden. Sheriff
                  Briscoe says it's a fantasy.



90   CONTINUED:                                                    90

                               THE POSTMAN
                  He's wrong. St. Rose is out
                  there. And I'm going to find it.

                  But you're The Postman.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Look, I'm nobody, Abby. I'm

     Before he can come clean -- they see a distant RIDER
     coming hard. The Postman unslings the rifle, slides a
     round into the chamber.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  This is what I hate. Strangers.
                  Do you say 'hi' or do you blow
                  their head off? Do they want to
                  share what they got or take what
                  you have? And if they want to
                  take, how far are you willing to
                  go to stop them? Damn it.
                         (to the Rider)
                  All right. That's far enough.

     The Rider pulls up short, wearing a blue home-made

                                THE POSTMAN
                  We don't want any trouble.

                  Me neither, mister.

     The Postman is taken aback. The Rider, a girl, pulls off
     her cap, mops it across her brow. Maybe 14, we'll always
     know her by her Ponytail. Abby registers the uniform

                  What are you?

                                PONYTAIL (RIDER)
                  Carrier 18. U.S. Postal Service.
                  Got any mail?

     Lowering the rifle, The Postman looks over at Abby, back
     to Ponytail.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  That's impossible.



90   CONTINUED:    (2)                                              90

                  Ain't you heard of The Postman?

                  No, tell us.

                  He's only the greatest man who
                  ever lived. He crossed the
                  wasteland, shook his fist at the
                  enemy and spit in the eye of
                  General Bethlehem himself. He's
                  back east with President Starkey
                  right now.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Who told you all this?

                  Postmaster Ford Lincoln Mercury.
                  He's in direct contact with the
                  restored congress.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Direct contact... I don't believe

                         (growing irritated)
                  Do you have mail, or don't you?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  You said Carrier Eighteen. That
                  mean there's eighteen of you?

                  Thirty-two.    As of midnight.

91   EXT. R.V. PARK - DAY                                           91

     Oregon's main post office. A silver Airstream, fifty
     mobile homes and rusty Winnebagos resting on flat tires.
     Flying from a pole: the flag of the restored United
     States. A young recruit is ringing a bell on the top of a

     Ford walks along an RV boulevard. He's joined by two
     young carriers, RED and Chubby (the sentry from Benning).
     All wear hip, personalized variations of the official

                  You got another letter?



91   CONTINUED:                                                     91

     They come around the corner to where seven young recruits
     wait. They're joined by another twenty carriers.

                  More recruits?

                  Seven of them. They're coming
                  from everywhere.

     Ford looks them over in satisfaction.

                  Did you get a letter or didn't

     Ford smiles, reaches into his pocket. He pulls out a
     creased sheet of paper. Chubby grins.

                  Gather 'round, everybody. Got
                  another letter here. Came in last

     Buzzing with excitement, the carriers gather around Ford.


     Ponytail leads Abby and The Postman. They come up in the
     back of the crowd. Flanked by Red and Chubby, Ford stands
     on the hood of a car, letter in hand. The Postman taps a
     clueless YOUNG CARRIER on the back.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  What's all this?

                                YOUNG CARRIER
                  Postman sent Ford another letter.
                  He's gonna read it.

                  'Hello, all postal carriers.'

                           (a ritual)



91   CONTINUED:    (2)                                                 91

                  I'm here in Minneapolis with
                  President Starkey, but my thoughts
                  are with you. Remember, nothing
                  worth doing can be done overnight.
                  Keep your chins up and do your
                  best not to get shot. Signed, The

     A buzz goes through the crowd.       Ponytail looks over.

                  His letters are always kind of

     Abby and The Postman exchange a look.

                         (looks up)
                  Hold on now. There's a P.S...
                  Anybody know what P.S. stands for?

     The Postman raises his hand. Ford looks his way. His
     mouth drops as he realizes. In silence, he walks over to
     The Postman. They embrace and all the weight Ford's been
     carrying on his young shoulders suddenly falls to The
     Postman. The kid nearly collapses.

                  Holy shit...

                  That would be H.S., Chubby.

                  I seen him once when I lived in
                  Benning. It's The Postman!

     Word goes through the crowd like a wave.

     The Postman takes the letter, reads.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                  P.S.   Ford knows what to do.

     Ford shrugs sheepishly.

                  Guess you want to talk about this?

     The Postman takes Ford by the elbow. They disappear into
     the tent. The carriers just staring after them,



91   CONTINUED:    (3)                                               91

                  I found him!   I found him!

     They clamor around her.

92   INT. TENT - DAY                                                 92

     The Postman and Ford.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  President Starkey? Minneapolis?
                  Ford knows what to do?

                  I thought you were dead.

                               THE POSTMAN
                  So? I'm not making the
                  connection. What's all this then?

                  I lied. I told people you were in
                  contact with me.

                                 THE POSTMAN

                  Because I didn't want it to end.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I don't know how long I can stay,
                  Ford. President Starkey will send
                  word one day and I'll have to move
                  on. Understand?

                  Sure. But you'll stay till he
                  sends word? Right?

     The Postman can't answer, just turns and walks out of the

93   EXT. TENT - DAY                                                 93

     As The Postman exits, Chubby leads the carriers in a
     salute. The Postman actually turns a moment to see if
     someone else is standing behind him.

     He looks back, sees the young, shining faces.



93   CONTINUED:                                                         93

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Aw, don't do that. Hands down.

     Their hands go down in one crisp military move. The
     Postman looks at Abby, to Ford as he exits the tent.         The
     kid is craving reassurance.

                  You'll stay 'til President Starkey
                  sends word, right? Right?

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Yeah, till he sends word, right.

     Ford smiles, gestures to the carriers.

                  Could you say a few words?

     The Postman looks over at the carriers.    They quiet under
     his gaze, immediately respectful.

     The problem is, he has no idea what to say.       Finally:

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Two plus two equals four.

     The cheering is tumultuous. The Postman picks Abby out of
     the cheering crowd -- the look on her face says it all.

94   EXT. RV PARK - WINNEBAGO ROW - DAY                                 94

     The guts of the operation. Several carriers are busy
     sorting and bagging letters. It goes out pinned to a
     clothesline which crisscrosses back and forth. Everyone
     follows as Ford takes The Postman on a tour. There are
     hushed whispers among those who are seeing him for the
     first time.

                  We bring all the mail here first.
                  We sort it, group it and then it
                  goes out. So far we got thirty

     Ford leads The Postman and Abby into another Winnebago.
     Chubby and Red and Ponytail follow. Those that can't fit
     just peer in through the windows.


95   INT. WINNEBAGO - DAY                                         95

     An old manual crank printing press is working away. Ford
     proudly removes a sheet, shows it to The Postman. A
     caricature of eight evil Holnists, forming a figure eight.
     Beneath: "Unite Against Holnist Tyrraney!"

                             THE POSTMAN
               You spelled tyranny wrong.

                      (low, to Red)
               Boy, he's smart.

96   EXT. RV CAMP - GREEN LAWN - DAY                              96

     The seven young Recruits seen earlier stand in a line.
     They're joined by OLD GEORGE, every day of 75 years old.

     Ponytail holds up her hand, swears them in.

               Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat,
               nor gloom of night...

     As they finish, The Postman and Ford pass by. The
     Recruits salute. Shaking his head, The Postman's about to
     salute back when he spots Old George. George has a faded
     purple "AIRBORNE" tattoo on his arm and a twinkle in his
     eye. There's an old crow on his shoulder.

                             THE POSTMAN
               How old are you?

                             OLD GEORGE
               Seventy-five, sir.

     The Postman looks over at Ford, who shrugs.

                               THE POSTMAN
               Can you ride?

                            OLD GEORGE
               Nope. Can't walk too good,

                             THE POSTMAN
               Why are you here?

                               OLD GEORGE
               I know stuff.

     The Postman looks at Ford again.   Then:



96   CONTINUED:                                                      96

                                THE POSTMAN
                         (re: tattoo)
                  When did you get that?

                                 OLD GEORGE
                  1970. A girl with eyes as big as
                  saucers did me in a little town
                  called Saigon.

97   EXT. RV CAMP - AIRSTREAM - SUNSET                               97

     Carriers move items out of the trailer. The camp is
     buzzing as usual. The Postman looks on -- sees Abby
     passing by.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Abby --


     He's got her attention, just doesn't know what to do with

                                THE POSTMAN
                  Ford wants me to have his trailer.
                  Said it's the best one.

                  I'm on the other side of town.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  I got plenty of room here.

     She shakes her head, and then walks away. The Postman
     watches her disappear into the bustle of the camp.

                                THE POSTMAN
                  So much for the uniform theory.


     The same sun sets on the Holnist camp.

99   INT. BETHLEHEM'S TENT - SUNSET                                  99

     Bethlehem once again at his easel with palette in hand.
     He's trying another style -- Impressionism -- and it's
     worse than the last. He looks over as Getty and Gibbs
     approach with a PRISONER.



99   CONTINUED:                                                     99

                  What do you think, Lieutenant?

                  Can't tell what it is if you stand
                  too close. The colors all kinda
                  run together, don't they?


     Bethlehem looks away from his painting to see Gibbs and
     Getty flanking a scared, blue-clad mail carrier. For an
     instant, mistakes him for:

                  Well, if it isn't our old friend
                  the U.P.S. man.

                  We captured him on the Oregon

     Realizing, Bethlehem turns the face from side-to-side.

                  Who the hell are you?

                                CARRIER (PRISONER)
                  Carrier Twelve. United States,
                  um, Postal Service.

     Getty sets some of the Carrier's anti-Holnist propaganda
     onto Bethlehem's field table. Bethlehem picks it up.

     It's hard to say what he's thinking.      Finally:

                  I want the camp struck at dawn.
                  We're moving north.

                  Yes, sir.

     Bethlehem looks back to Carrier Twelve.

                  You spelled tyranny wrong.


100   EXT. RV CAMP - DAWN                                           100

      Ten letter carriers are on horseback. Among them, Red and
      Ponytail. Ford and The Postman are also on horses. Each
      rider salutes The Postman, then gets a sheaf of anti-
      Holnist propaganda from Ford.

                              THE POSTMAN
                I wish they'd stop saluting.

      It's annoying him. As Chubby rides up. The Postman
      catches his right wrist as he attempts to salute. So
      Chubby salutes with the left hand instead. As they line

                              THE POSTMAN
                Just stay safe and remember. The
                mailman's more important than the

                Boy, he's smart.

      The sun just peeks up over the horizon. At that signal,
      the carriers thunder off, the ground trembling under them.
      The look on their faces. The glory of it all. They're
      alive! The Postman hesitates, watches after them a

                                 THE POSTMAN
                What the hell?

      Urging his horse forward, he rides after them. With them.
      And then, like an exploding firework, each postman shoots
      off in a separate direction. Headed for all points of the
      compass and some in between.

101   EXT. OREGON HAMLET - DAY                                      101

      The Postman looks down on the gathered crowd from his
      horse and smiles.

                              THE POSTMAN
                For President Starkey and the
                First Congress of the Restored
                United States, I officially
                declare Postal Station 10...
                What's the name of this town?

                              YOUNG LEADER
                We never named it.

                              THE POSTMAN
                       (thinks; smiles)
                I officially declare Postal
                Station 10 in Elvis, Oregon, open
                for business!


102   EXT. TOWN (SOMEWHERE IN OREGON) - DAY                         102

      An eye-blink of a town. Ponytail stands on a crate
      reading names and handing letters to the grateful people
      massed around her.

103   EXT. TOWN (IDAHO BORDER) - DAY                                103

      Red and Chubby finish mail call, exchange an amazed look
      as they're offered a platter of food.

104   EXT. HIGHWAY - NIGHT                                          104

      The moon hangs low over an interstate. A rider is
      silhouetted by the silvery orb, looking like some post-
      apocalyptic Don Quixote. It's The Postman.

105   EXT. FARMHOUSE/COUNTRY ROAD - DAY                             105

      Seen FROM the porch, a rider gallops hard on the road

      A LITTLE BOY comes rushing out, letter in hand. The boy
      pulls up short; realizes the rider is already too far
      gone. The boy's shoulders sag; he's crushed.

                                LITTLE BOY
                I missed him.

      It's an almost psychic moment as the rider reins up in the
      distance and turns back around. A frozen beat and he
      starts galloping back down the road.

      Fearless, the boy holds out the letter. The rider closes;
      it's The Postman. The boy stretches out as far as he can.
      Without breaking stride, The Postman leans out of the
      saddle, snatches the letter as he passes.

      The boy watches after him -- knows what he's going to be
      when he grows up.

106   EXT. PINE VIEW GATES - DAY                                    106

      Sheriff Briscoe huffs and puffs his big frame up the
      ladder and onto the top of the palisade.

                Phil, this better not be another
                of your U.F.O.'s.

      He looks where the sentry points. The Postman waits at
      the gate, behind him on horseback: Ford and Abby.



106   CONTINUED:                                                      106

                                  THE POSTMAN
                   I'm back!   And I got mail.

                   I'll be damned.

107   EXT. PINE VIEW STREETS - DAY                                    107

      The Postman rides with Briscoe, hurrying to stay alongside
      him. Half the town jogs along behind them.

                   Bethlehem is offering a 1000
                   pounds of gold to whoever brings
                   you in. Dead or alive.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Thank God it wasn't a carton of

                   I'd have shot you myself.

108   EXT. PINE VIEW STREETS - NIGHT                                  108

      Pine View is throwing a party. It's in full swing. A
      couple of guitars. A banjo and a trombone. Everyone

      The Postman walks with Briscoe, sees Mrs. March as her
      letter is read to her. Catches a glimpse of Abby dancing
      with Ford. He seems, for the first time, truly happy.
      For that matter, so does Briscoe.

                   Things are getting better.
                   Getting better all the time.
                          (a beat)
                   I don't know who you are, but I do
                   know I was wrong about you.

      The Postman smiles, reaches in his bag for an envelope.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Got a letter for you, Sheriff.

      Briscoe turns it over in his hands, looks up in wonder.

                   It's from my sister. I thought
                   she was dead.



108   CONTINUED:                                                     108

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   You thought wrong.

      Briscoe has tears in his eyes.    The Postman continues on,
      embarrassed but affected.


      The Postman taps Ford's shoulder, wants to cut in on him
      and Abby. Ford steps aside. A beat before Abby decides
      it's okay. They begin. Her eyes are on her feet, careful
      that she doesn't take a misstep. But his eyes are on her.
      And over it all, BLEEDING IN, the sound of HOOF BEATS.

109   EXT. LONELY ROAD (SOUTHERN OREGON) - NIGHT                     109

      A mail carrier, Red, rides like the devil himself was in
      pursuit. Almost. It's Getty and three Holnists.



      They whirl as the tempo picks up. The Postman pulls Abby
      in closer. Her eyes now move up to his.


      They're closing in on the terrified Red.


      Abby and The Postman.    The chemistry is undeniable.


      RIFLES CRACK. SHOT in the back, Red throws back his arms.
      Letters flutter from the mail bag over his shoulder; he
      seems to glide along that way forever.


      The Postman looks at Abby; she's so beautiful.    Like only
      a pregnant woman can be.



109   CONTINUED:    (2)                                                 109

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Tell me about the baby, Abby.   I
                   want to know.

      Abby snaps out of the dream she's in. This isn't right.
      Breaking away, she heads off. As he watches her go:


      Red falls from his horse.    One of the soldiers scoops up
      his mailbag.

                                                        CUT TO:

110   INT. COMMAND TENT (SOUTHERN OREGON) - NIGHT                       110

      By lantern, Bethlehem and Getty watch as Gibbs sorts
      through the contents of the confiscated mailbag.

                   Births and deaths, the weather,
                   gossip. There's nothing here.

                   Nothing? Everything is here.    Am
                   I the only one who sees that?
                          (to Gibbs)
                   Get out!

      Gibbs hurries away, leaving Bethlehem and Getty alone.

                   Give the people back their hope
                   and their dreams won't be far

      Bethlehem sees Getty waiting.

                   What is it, Getty?

      Getty hands Bethlehem a sheet of paper -- something Gibbs
      missed. It's a propaganda sheet featuring a caricature of
      The Postman leading a few carriers against Bethlehem and
      his army -- represented as Hitler and the Nazis. The
      caption underneath reads: "Ride Against the Holnist



110   CONTINUED:                                                      110

                          (crumpling the paper)
                   A military man, especially a
                   commander, should keep a journal.
                   After he's gone, it's the only
                   real defense against the slander
                   that arises.

111   INT. OLD GEORGE'S TRAILER - NIGHT                               111

      Old George sits hunched over a home-made shortwave radio
      with a joint in his mouth. The Postman sits beside him,
      listening as STATIC pours from an old car SPEAKER.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Who do you talk to?

                                 OLD GEORGE
                   Not a soul in seven years of
                   trying. But I will.

      The Postman steps to a telescope pointing up through a
      hole in the trailer ceiling.

                                 OLD GEORGE
                   Go ahead. Take a look.
                          (offering joint)
                   Want some?

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   No. No thanks. Hey, don't let
                   the kids see that.

      George nods and goes on playing with the dials --
      searching for a voice in the void.

      The Postman focuses on the moon.

                                 OLD GEORGE
                   I was an aerospace engineer. I
                   helped design the Galileo space
                          (scanning sky)
                   I dream it's orbiting Earth
                   forever. With a dozen human
                   skeletons all grinning at each
                   other. Laughing at us down here.

      There's an urgent KNOCKING on the trailer door.    Ford

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   What is it?



111   CONTINUED:                                                   111

                   It's Red.   He's overdue.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   That makes five. All on Southern

112   EXT. TRUCK STOP - DAY                                        112

      Five dead mail carriers have been laid out on the asphalt.
      Bethlehem walks the line, looking for his elusive arch-

                   No.  No. Not him. No.
                          (looks to soldiers)
                   Children. I want a man and you
                   bring me children!

113   EXT. OREGON ROAD - DAY                                       113

      A beautiful day. Ponytail rounds a bend at a lope -- and
      then -- her eyes widen in terror. She jerks the reins;
      the horse rears in protest.

      Ahead: the truck stop. The five mail carriers hang
      upside down from the roof's overhang. A macabre sight.


      SIGHTING ON Ponytail. A hand comes INTO FRAME and brings
      the rifle barrel down. It's --


                   Not yet. General wants the
                   message to get back.

114   EXT. RV. CAMP - NIGHT                                        114

      PAN UP FROM The Postman's dusty boots TO his grimly
      determined face as he strides through camp and stops at
      Old George's trailer.

      He moves OUT OF FRAME, revealing -- Abby and Ponytail in
      the b.g.


115   INT. OLD GEORGE'S TRAILER - NIGHT                               115

      As usual, Old George is hunkered down before his short
      wave. He looks as the door opens and The Postman enters.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Tell me about the other stuff you

      George crosses the trailer, opens a cabinet. Inside:
      twenty odd guns plus the parts for several more. The CROW

116   EXT. ELVIS, OREGON - DAY                                        116

      Quiet. An old flag ruffles outside the post office -- the
      only new structure in town. Old George sweeps the porch
      as a patrol of ten Holnist soldiers ride into town.
      George makes no move to flee as they near. As they rein
      up across from him he just smiles and continues sweeping.

      Sensing it, the Holnist officer looks up. There, on the
      roof, stands The Postman. Ford and Briscoe flank him --
      along with twenty mailmen and locals, armed with guns,
      bows and rocks.

      As the soldiers raise their rifles, the roofies OPEN FIRE.
      George whips up a sawed-off SHOTGUN. BOOM! Caught in the
      storm, the ten soldiers go down.

      Grim, The Postman looks to Ford as the locals cheer.
      George resumes sweeping. The mailmen climb down to strip
      the weapons off the dead.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Ford, I want you to get rid of the
                   bodies. I don't want these people
                   blamed for what we did.

      Ford nods.

117   EXT. HOLNIST ARMY CAMP - NIGHT                                  117

      Two sentries guard the east. They peer into the gloom at
      the sound of a WAGON APPROACHING. It sounds like it's
      coming fast.

                   Halt!   Identify yourself!



117   CONTINUED:                                                     117


      tearing along. Ford at the reins, urging the horses to
      all possible speed.  Then he stands, leaps to the ground.


      They raise their rifles as the riderless wagon looms out
      of the night. They each get off a SHOT before being
      forced to dive out of the way. The wagon continues on,
      down to...


      A soldier finally grabs hold of one of the halters and
      brings the wagon to a stop. Half-dressed, Bethlehem steps
      up. A tarp covers the back upon which is written...

                   Postage due...

      Bethlehem yanks away the tarp to reveal the 10 dead
      Holnist soldiers. The men around Bethlehem exchange
      looks, can't believe it. Bethlehem bellows in rage.

118   EXT. WOODS - NIGHT                                             118

      Ford, hidden in the woods, smiles at the sound.

119   EXT. HOLNIST CAMP - NIGHT                                      119

      Bethlehem steps forward and shouts his challenge into the

                   You want a war? I'll give you a
                   war. I was born for it!

120   EXT. WOODS - NIGHT                                             120

      Bethlehem's words reach Ford, his smile fades. He's just
      a scared boy. He kicks his horse into a gallop and rides

                                                     CUT TO:


121   EXT. SMALL AIRFIELD - DAY                                    121

      In the fog, the sound of hollow HOOF BEATS. The Postman
      rides past the shapes of airplanes. Standing silent.
      Forever grounded. The ghosts of the past.

122   EXT. RV CAMP - DAY                                           122

      Ford is swearing in four new recruits.


      As they repeat after him we realize they've changed the
      oath a bit.

                Neither snow, nor heat, nor gloom
                of night. Through bandit's hell,
                through fire fight. Through flood
                and plague we cannot fail. No
                Holnist trash will stop the mail.


      riding his weary mount into town, saddlebags bulging with
      mail. He pauses by the new recruits long enough to hear
      the words they're saying.

      As he dismounts, a fresh-faced carrier takes the bridle.
      The Postman's well past the point of fatigue. He's living
      on pure adrenaline.

                              THE POSTMAN
                Get this mail sorted. Bring me a
                fresh horse. Something to eat.

      As fresh-face starts away, The Postman calls after him.

                              THE POSTMAN
                And all the mail going South!

      The Postman watches as Ford shakes the hands of the new

      The Postman reaches for his canteen. Empty. Damn. A tin
      cup filled with water appears from nowhere. Abby. The
      Postman takes it, too tired to acknowledge the gesture.

                              THE POSTMAN
                They changed the oath.



122   CONTINUED:                                                       122

                   Ford's idea.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   They don't think to ask who
                   they're replacing. Or why.

      He drains the cup and hands it back to her.      Just then,
      one of the new recruits, LUKE, steps over.

                   Sir? It'd be an honor if I could
                   shake your hand.

      A farmboy-type, Luke looks like a younger version of
      Woody. The Postman sees this, is lost in reverie. Luke
      still holds his hand out.


                                 THE POSTMAN
                   You look like... Do I know you?

                   No, sir.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Well, good luck to you.

      Nodding in awe, Luke heads off.

                                  THE POSTMAN
                   Nice kid.   Probably be dead in a

                          (ignores it)
                   You're exhausted. You need rest.
                   There's food in the trailer --

      Ponytail rides by; two sacks of mail hang from her saddle
      pommel. The Postman grabs her horse's halter, stops her.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Where are you going?

                   Route twenty-two. I'm already an
                   hour late.



122   CONTINUED:    (2)                                               122

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   You're grounded. Get off the
                   horse. You know the rule.

                   What rule?

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Twenty-two's too far south.

                   But they're waiting on their mail
                   down there.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Get off the goddamn horse.

      Shocked, she does. At the same time, fresh-face comes up
      leading a second horse laden with mail.

                                  THE POSTMAN
                          (re: Ponytail's
                   Tie him off to this one.

      Fresh-face goes about tying the second horse to the first.

                   You can't keep doing this.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Doing what?

                   Riding all the routes.   You're not
                   saving anyone.

      The Postman climbs on Ponytail's horse, looks at Abby.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Did I ever tell you how I got to
                   be a postman, Abby?
                          (doesn't give
                           her time to answer)
                   I don't know if you'd laugh or

      The Postman digs in his heels. The horse gallops away,
      the second one following behind.



      A crowd of townsfolk are visible in deep b.g.   Beyond
      them, the town of Elvis burns to the ground.

      looking OVER his shoulder at a firing squad led by Colonel
      Getty and Lieutenant Gibbs. Bethlehem watches.


      The only building not on fire is the post office. A
      SOLDIER rides up, carrying a torch, meaning to burn it.

                The post office, General?

                No. Let it stand. All by itself.
                So it can remind them what it cost


      Rifles are aimed.


      Shock and dismay from the townsfolk as SHOTS RING OUT.


      as he realizes he's still standing.

      PULL BACK to reveal nine bodies lying on the ground.     Only
      the Bloodied Carrier is still standing.

      Bethlehem points at the Bloodied Carrier, crooks a finger
      for him. He staggers up. Bethlehem smiles.

                You think you can ride?
                       (as the Carrier
                Then today's your lucky day.

124   INT. RV PARK - AIRSTREAM - DAY                                  124

      Abby tends to the Bloodied Carrier.   He tries to salute as
      The Postman enters the trailer.



124   CONTINUED:                                                       124

      Ford and Chubby watch and wait as The Postman goes to the
      boy's side.

                                 BLOODIED CARRIER
                   Bethlehem says...

      The Postman motions it's okay as the Carrier struggles.

                                 BLOODIED CARRIER
                   ... he's... headed north. He's
                   gonna kill ten people in every
                   town. Then burn it to the ground.
                   For what you did...

      The Postman is puzzled.    But Ford knows what and why.

                                 BLOODIED CARRIER
                   He said to tell you Pine View's on
                   his way. He said he'd wait there,
                   but not for long.
                          (breaking down)
                   I was so scared, sir... I thought
                   they were going to kill me, too...
                   I wish they would have...

125   EXT. RISE ABOVE PINE VIEW - DAY                                  125

      The Postman poised on a rise that affords a view of the
      gruesome spectacle below.


      Pine View in flames. The big John Deere gun has blown
      several gaps into the palisade. Bethlehem watches as his
      army sacks the town. The people have been rounded up.
      The selection of the ten has begun.

126   EXT. RISE ABOVE PINE VIEW - DAY                                  126

      The Postman wheels his horse around. But Ford, Ponytail,
      Chubby and Luke are standing in his way.

                   What are you going to do?

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   I'm going to stop this.

                   You can't.



126   CONTINUED:                                                        126

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Get out of my way, Ford. All of

                          (shaking his head)
                   They'll kill you.

      The Postman starts to ride through them.      Luke, Chubby and
      Ponytail move their horses to block.

      Ford maneuvers his horse in close and grabs The Postman's

                                  THE POSTMAN
                   Goddamnit --

      The Postman jumps off his horse. Ford tackles him. The
      Postman shoves him away, continues on. Luke and Chubby
      pounce on him. With Ford's help, they hold him down.

                   You can't help them!

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   There's still time, Ford!

      The Postman struggles.      They're genuinely having trouble
      holding him down.

                          (re: The Postman)
                   You're hurting him.

      But there's no let-up.

                   No, this is all my doing.    I went
                   against your orders.

      There's a moment of shocked surprise.

                   The Holnists we killed. You told
                   me to bury them. But I didn't. I
                   sent Bethlehem the bodies.

                                  THE POSTMAN

                   Because Bethlehem has to know that
                   we're not going to stop.



126   CONTINUED:    (2)                                                126

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   God damn you, Ford. Those people
                   down there are dying because of
                   us. Because of what we did.

                   Bullshit. They're dying because
                   of Bethlehem. They're dying
                   because this is a shitty world.
                   And if we're ever going to change
                   it, then somebody might have to
                   die. If I could make it be me
                   down there I would. But I can't.

      A terrible SCREAM gives them all pause.

127   EXT. PINE VIEW - DAY                                             127

      Down below -- Holnist soldiers hold back a screaming
      mother as her 10-year-old boy is pulled into the line.

      Sheriff Briscoe is among the ten, he puts his hand on the
      boy's shoulder -- the picture of grace under pressure.


                                 THE POSTMAN
                   My God, what have I done?
                   We don't even know their names...

129   EXT. PINE VIEW - CLOSE ON LITTLE BOY - DAY                       129

      His eyes wide and fearful.    Like a kitten's.

130   EXT. RISE ABOVE PINE VIEW - DAY                                  130

                          (holding back
                           the tears)
                   We know their names. The little
                   one's my brother. His name is

      A moment of stunned silence.

                   What Ford did was wrong. But it
                   doesn't change anything for any of
                   us. Does it?



130   CONTINUED:                                                        130

      She looks to the other carriers -- it's written all over
      their faces -- they stand with Ponytail and Ford.

131   EXT. PINE VIEW - DAY                                              131

      Bethlehem looks the line-up over. The firing squad stands
      at the ready. Bethlehem looks to the trees -- feeling

                          (to Getty)
                   He's out there somewhere.
                   Watching. I can feel it.

      Briscoe follows his gaze. He doesn't see anything, but
      maybe gets the same feeling. Bethlehem looks to Briscoe.

                   You feel it too, don't you?
                   Didn't have to end like this,
                   Sheriff. He knew where I'd be if
                   he wanted to face me like a man.
                   Instead, he's hiding like a
                   rabbit. So much for your Postman.

                   Ready!    Aim!

      Rifles are raised. Briscoe seems to grow as he throws his
      shoulders back and shouts...

                   Ride, Postman! Ride! You hear
                   me? I said ride!

132   EXT. RISE ABOVE PINE VIEW - DAY                                   132

      The WORDS ECHO.       Nothing The Postman can do, but watch.

133   EXT. PINE VIEW - DAY                                              133

      Bethlehem's eyes go wild --


      The RIFLES BARK.      Everyone falls dead.

134   EXT. RISE ABOVE PINE VIEW - DAY                                   134

      Something in The Postman breaks. He just lies there.       The
      witnesses move back, taking The Postman with them.


135   EXT. PINE VIEW - DAY                                             135

      Sheriff Briscoe lies dead.   The letter from his sister
      blows from his hand.

                                                     CUT TO:

136   INT. AIRSTREAM - NIGHT                                           136

      The Postman folds a letter, shoves it into an envelope.
      He writes "Bethlehem" across the front, starts to write a
      second letter. The door opens and Abby enters.

                Ford thinks you're going to do

                               THE POSTMAN
                I am.

      The Postman watches as, outside, the mail carriers begin
      to assemble.

                              THE POSTMAN
                If I don't, those kids are going
                to keep on getting themselves

                Ford doesn't know what it means to
                be a kid. He doesn't have your
                memories. None of them do. All
                they've got is the lousy world we
                gave them. And this is the only
                decent thing in it.

                               THE POSTMAN
                What? Being a postman? It's all
                bullshit, Abby. All of it.
                I took this uniform off a skeleton
                to stay warm. I made up the rest
                to stay fed. There is no restored
                United States.

                I knew it was something like that.

      The Postman fingers the brim of the cap, softens.



136   CONTINUED:                                                      136

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Weird thing is, being a Postman
                   was almost the best thing that
                   ever happened to me...
                          (re: red ribbon)
                   Remember this? You left it behind
                   that night.

                   I remember...

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   I always liked to think you left
                   it on purpose. But maybe you just
                   forgot it.

      Abby doesn't answer.    She leaves instead.

137   EXT. R.V. CAMP - NIGHT                                          137

      Twelve mail carriers, including Ford, Ponytail, Chubby,
      Luke and Old George, wait as The Postman steps up before
      them. Abby's off to the side.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Is this everybody?

                   The rest are on the overdue list.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   This is everybody.
                          (for all)
                   Got a letter from President

      An excited murmur among the carriers. Only Ford eyes The
      Postman suspiciously. The Postman reads:

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   'Greetings all carriers.'

                   Greetings, President Starkey!

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   'I've been in contact with The
                   Postman. I've received all the
                   reports. I'm proud of you all.'

      He looks at them, doesn't need to read what's in his



137   CONTINUED:                                                      137

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   In dark days, in a weary world,
                   you gave everything and asked for
                   nothing. You beat back despair
                   and replaced it with hope and for
                   that your country can never repay
                   you. But the price is too high.
                   I won't see anymore of my bravest
                   die. It is my duty to hereby
                   disband the Postal Service of the
                   restored United States. You are
                   to burn your uniforms and The
                   Postman is to return to
                   Minneapolis at once. Thank you
                   and that is all.

      A hushed silence. The Postman walks away. The carriers
      exchange tired, defeated looks. Abby just sighs, knows
      he's not necessarily wrong.

      Ford catches up with The Postman.    He stares at The
      Postman; The Postman stares back.

                           (low; fierce)
                   The President never wrote that

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   If he could've that's what he
                   would have said.

      Ford gestures to the second letter.

                   Who's the other letter to?

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Bethlehem. I'm taking it to him
                   in the morning.

                   What does it say?

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Mail's private. You know that.

                   What does it say?

                                 THE POSTMAN
                          (stops; turns)
                   It says it's over. It says we



137   CONTINUED:    (2)                                                137

                   It says you quit. What about the

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Tell me something, Ford. How much
                   mail can a dead postman deliver?
                   It's over.

      The Postman starts to walk away again.

                   Then I'll take it.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   I can't trust you.

      Ford gathers courage and confronts The Postman.

                   If this is the end. If this is
                   the last piece of mail that ever
                   gets delivered. I'll take it.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Whoever takes this letter probably
                   dies for it.

      Ford thrusts out his hand.

                   I'm still a postman. You owe it
                   to me... I owe it to me.

      The Postman hesitates, studies the intense young man.
      Gives him the letter.

138   EXT. R.V. CAMP - STABLE AREA - DAY                               138

      The Postman is packing bags onto a horse as Abby

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   I'm going to St. Rose, Abby. And
                   I'm taking you with me. I know
                   you don't want to hear it, but
                   that's my child inside you. I
                   want to see it born somewhere
                   safe. I have a right to that,
                   Abby. Whether you like it or not.

      Abby walks away. The Postman rests his head on his pack
      for a moment. Heavy.



138   CONTINUED:                                                       138

      The CLICK of a GUN causes The Postman to lift his head and
      see Luke standing there.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Thought I recognized you.

                   General Bethlehem said...
                          (raises the pistol)
                   ... You should be on your knees
                   when I do it.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   I don't give a damn what that
                   asshole said.

                   The general is a great man.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   The general is a fucking lunatic.

      The Postman steps forward. Stops when the barrel of the
      pistol is right against his own chest.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   You don't own a thought in that
                   goddamn head of yours, do you?
                          (a beat)
                   You want to see a man?

      The Postman turns to watch as Ford starts out of camp.

                                   THE POSTMAN
                   That's a man.

      The Postman turns, sees Luke's face fraught with confusion
      and emotion.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   You don't understand, do you? You
                   never will until you can think for
                   yourself and be willing to pay the
                   price for it.

      Luke stares back into The Postman's eyes.      A frozen beat.

                                   THE POSTMAN
                   You ready?

                                   ABBY (O.S.)



138   CONTINUED:    (2)                                               138

      Abby sits on her horse. She's witness to it all. Luke is
      confused and ashamed. The Postman mounts his horse and
      moves to Abby's side.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   You're a better man than
                   Bethlehem, Luke. I've seen it.

139   EXT. RIDGE - R.V. CAMP - DAY                                    139

      Some carriers drop their uniforms into a bonfire.

      The Postman and Abby ride up on the ridge above the RV
      camp. They pause to look back one last time. Across the
      way, on the other side, Ford is doing the same thing. As
      though he senses it, Ford stops and looks back.

      Ford raises his hand, salutes. Slowly, The Postman brings
      up his own hand. But he doesn't salute. He waves. Good-
      bye. As Ford turns away, so does The Postman.


      watching as The Postman and Abby disappear from sight.

                   Guess Minneapolis is that way.

140   EXT. INTERSTATE - DAY                                           140

      A sign prohibits pedestrians, horses and bicycles. The
      Postman and Abby ride by. The Postman no longer wears his
      uniform. Their gear is packed behind their saddles.

      As a family of transients begin to rise from where they're
      camped in the breakdown lane:

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   We can't help you. We're just as
                   lost as you are.

      The Postman rides on. Abby watches over her shoulder as
      they slowly begin to sit back down.

141   EXT. HOLNIST CAMP - BETHLEHEM'S TENT - DAWN                     141

      Bethlehem sits waiting at his camp table.     Behind him, a
      finished painting.



141   CONTINUED:                                                        141

      This time he's painted himself in the grand Rococo-style -
      - as part of the Holy Family with doves and flowers and
      glowing rays from Heaven. It's awful.

      Getty and Gibbs bring in a prisoner.       It's Ford!

                   Good lord, what do we have here?

                   I'm a representative of the
                   restored United States --

      Bethlehem backhands Ford.

                   He's got a letter. Says The
                   Postman sent it.

                   A letter?

      Bethlehem tears open the letter and starts to read:

                   'Bethlehem. This letter is my
                   testimony to the fact that there
                   is no restored United States and
                   there is no Postal Service.'
                          (laugh; grim)
                   Then who the hell have we been
                          (reads on)
                   'My carriers are returning home.
                   In exchange, I'm asking you to let
                   them be. The Postman.'

      Bethlehem eyes Ford with undisguised contempt.

                   He expects me to believe this?

                                 LUKE (O.S.)
                   It's true, sir. I was there. He
                   disbanded the carriers and rode

      Ford turns blazing eyes to Luke -- he's been standing
      there all along.


      It takes a moment for the news to sink in.      But it does.



141   CONTINUED:    (2)                                                  141

                   Then I've won.     I've won.

      As the assembled Holnists congratulate each other,
      Bethlehem looks at Luke.

                   You were supposed to kill him.

                   I couldn't get close enough.
                          (re: Ford)
                   This one's his second in command.

      Bethlehem looks Ford over.

                   Why doesn't that surprise me?

      Ford stares back.    Proud.     Bethlehem looks to Getty.

                   Bring out the one we found
                   yesterday. They can die together.

      A frightened CARRIER is brought up. He wears a purple
      uniform with CALI sewn on the shoulder. Neither we nor
      Ford have seen him before. As a firing squad assembles,
      Ford is shoved over with him.

                   Who are you?

                                 CAL CARRIER
                   Name's Clark. Postal Carrier of
                   the restored Republic of
                   California. Who are you?

      Ford looks at him a second, can't help but laugh.      From
      Gibbs; the shout of "ready!"

                   Postmaster Ford Lincoln Mercury.

                                    CALI CARRIER
                   It's an honor.

      Bethlehem watches as Clark holds out his hand.      Ford
      shakes it. "Aim!"

                   Wait a minute... wait a minute!



141   CONTINUED:    (3)                                            141


                   Hold your fire! You don't know
                   each other?
                          (to himself, quiet
                           anger building)
                   This will never be over. It'll go
                   on except I'll be fighting a
                   goddamn ghost.

                   Should we fire, sir?

                   No goddamnit.

      Bethlehem crumples the letter, tosses it.

                   No, I won't fight a ghost. Tabula
                   rasa, gentlemen. A clean slate.
                   I want all mail carriers hunted
                   down. I want The Postman found.
                   I want him dealt with.
                          (to Getty)
                   Colonel, organize the scouts.
                          (to Luke)
                   He rode west?

142   EXT. RIVER - DAY                                             142

      A pair of boots are walking through the water. It's The
      Postman. He turns over a body in the water. It wears a
      homemade postal uniform, a bag of mail twisted around his
      arm. It's a young face, one we haven't seen before. He
      looks up to Abby on a ridge.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   I don't know him. Do you?

                          (shakes her head)
                   Where do you think he came from?

      Puzzled, The Postman shakes his head. He gently releases
      the body. The current takes it and they watch as it
      continues on its way to Postal Valhalla.

143   EXT. INTERSTATE - DAY                                        143

      The family of transients are grilled by three Holnist
      scouts. One man points the way Abby and Bethlehem rode.


144   EXT. PLAIN - DAY                                                  144

      Littered with rubble. The wood, brick, steel and concrete
      of what was once a small town. Amazingly, one gray house
      still stands, miraculously untouched by whatever disaster
      visited this place.

      A wild-haired SQUATTER steps out on the porch as Abby and
      The Postman ride by. He waves hello with a .45.

                Howdy. Welcome to sunny

                              THE POSTMAN
                       (re: the town)
                What happened here?

                Little accident. The ground
                started to shake big time and the
                Hanford nuclear plant went...
                       (motions an explosion)
                ... 'Poof.' Destroyed everything
                for miles. But the sunsets are

                              THE POSTMAN
                You ever hear of a city called St.

                Friend, I've never heard of St.

      The Squatter laughs and laughs -- like it was the funniest
      thing in the world. The Postman and Abby exchange a look,
      continue on their way.

                Hey, don't go! I got Monopoly in
                the house! Boardwalk, Park Place
                and the Reading Railroad!

                                                       CUT TO:

145   EXT. EDGE OF RUBBLE - DAY                                         145

      Ponytail, Chubby, and Draw watching from afar.    Chubby has
      the telescope.

                You think that's President



145   CONTINUED:                                                        145

      Ponytail takes the telescope from Chubby for a look.


                   What makes you so sure?

                   President lives in a white house.
                   That guy's place is gray.

      Drew and Chubby exchange a look.       That makes sense.

146   EXT. SKY - DAY                                                    146

      A lightning bolt shreds the sky.       It's day, but the sky is
      black with rain.

147   EXT. HIGH TENSION TOWERS - DAY                                    147

      The useless towers cutting across a valley.      Rain beats
      down, as The Postman and Abby trudge along.

      Up ahead, a rail-road tunnel promises shelter from the

                                 THE POSTMAN
                          (re: the tunnel)
                   We can rest in there.

      Abby is quick to agree.

      Out of the corner of his eye, The Postman catches a blur
      of movement.

      He turns his head quickly, but he's barely in time to see
      a wooden basket, attached to one of the high wires, swing
      from a distant tower. There's a sentry inside it.

      The basketed sentry whistles away at 40 mph, heading
      straight for an adjacent tower. In a matter of seconds,
      he's lost from view.

      The Postman looks back at Abby.       She's shivering.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Did you see that?

                          (shaking her head)
                   I'm hungry, Postman.

      The Postman guides her toward the train tunnel.


148   INT. TRAIN TUNNEL - DAY                                        148

      Abby sleeps beside the fire. The Postman, silhouetted
      against the flames, heads toward the far tunnel exit.

149   EXT. FAR SIDE OF TUNNEL - DAY                                  149

      The Postman peers into the rain, taking in the view of a
      distant bridge. Abby comes to stand at his side.

150   EXT. COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE (BRIDGE CITY) - DAY                  150

      A town settled between spans of a steel truss bridge. The
      Columbia River rushes far below. A sentry spots Abby and
      The Postman approaching, blows a whistle.

                Set the rifle on the ground.

                              THE POSTMAN
                This old thing? It isn't even
                loaded. Where are we?

      The BRIDGE CITY MAYOR, a middle-aged retro-hippie, steps

                              B.C. MAYOR
                You're in Bridge City. Where we
                don't allow guns.

      The Postman sets down the carbine.    The Guard steps over
      to scoop it up.

                              B.C. MAYOR
                Sentry said you were coming.

      The Postman stares at the Mayor a beat.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                I know you.     You're famous.

                              B.C. MAYOR
                I was once. Not anymore.
                Are you looking to cross?

                              THE POSTMAN
                We will be. Right now, we'd just
                appreciate some food.
                       (as the Mayor
                        nods his assent)
                I got some kids behind me, too.



150   CONTINUED:                                                       150

                                   B.C. MAYOR
                   How many?

                                   THE POSTMAN
                          (as the Mayor
                           agrees once more)
                   Hey, guys, come on in! I know
                   you're out there!

                                 CHUBBY SENTRY
                   Boy, is he smart...

      As they stand, show themselves.

151   EXT. NORTH BOUND LANE (BRIDGE CITY) - DUSK                       151

      Fog rolls in.    Abby rests.

      Ponytail, Chubby and Drew look up gratefully as one of the
      citizens of Bridge City doles out bread.

      The Mayor steps over, hands The Postman two loaves.

                                 B.C. MAYOR
                   For you and your wife.

                                   THE POSTMAN
                   Thanks.    She's not my wife.

      The exchange cuts Abby like a knife. She gets up and
      leaves. The Mayor keeps his council -- not sure what to
      make of this arrangement.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Let me ask you something, have you
                   ever heard of a town with electric

                                   B.C. MAYOR
                   St. Rose?

                                   THE POSTMAN

                                 B.C. MAYOR
                   Never been. But they say it's a
                   ways down on the coast.

                                   THE POSTMAN
                   How far?



151   CONTINUED:                                                       151

                                 B.C. MAYOR
                   Couple hundred miles at least.   I
                   couldn't say for sure.

      It's the discovery of a lifetime. The Postman looks to
      the west end of the bridge, where Abby stands alone.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   You seem like a decent man. And
                   these seem like decent people.

                                   B.C. MAYOR
                   We try to be.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   And this seems like a safe place.

                                 B.C. MAYOR
                   You want to leave her?

      The Postman looks back to the Mayor, then slowly nods.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   All of them. I'll give you the
                   horses and my gear. Abby's
                   special. She's strong. Probably
                   end up running the place.

                                 B.C. MAYOR
                   Why don't you take the night to
                   think. Decide if that's what you
                   really want.

152   EXT. BRIDGE - NIGHT                                              152

      Fog obscures the east end. A sentry squints at the
      MUFFLED CLOP of HOOVES. The mist parts to reveal, seventy
      yards away: three Holnist scouts on horseback.
      Emissaries from hell.

      As the sentry blows a whistle...


      As word spreads, folks move down the bridge for a look.
      Eating their bread, The Postman, Abby and the carriers
      join them.



152   CONTINUED:                                                     152

      EAST END

      The Mayor stands across from the lead scout -- conferring.
      Finally, the Mayor points him back the way he came. The
      lead scout doesn't budge, spots The Postman in the crowd.

      He and The Postman seem to stare at each other forever.
      Then, with a flick of the reins, he's gone. The other two
      follow. Swallowed up by the misty evening gloom. The
      Postman's head swims dizzily. It's not over.

      The Mayor returns to dozens of nervous questions.

                                 B.C. MAYOR
                   They're looking for The Postman.

                                 B.C. MAN
                   No such thing anymore.

                                 B.C. MAYOR
                   Man on the horse says there is.
                   Says he thinks he's here. Says
                   he's coming back with friends.

      A little BOY steps forward, sings out.

                                 B.C. BOY
                   What's a postman?

      A silent moment. It's been so long, no one's sure how to
      answer. The Postman looks down at the ground. The
      carriers exchange deflated looks. Then...

                          (stepping forward)
                   You never heard of a postman?

      He shakes his head "no." Seems a shame. As The Postman
      looks over at Abby, she takes a page from his book.

                   There used to be a postman for
                   every street in America. They
                   wore uniforms. And hats. Like
                   this one...

      She goes to The Postman's gear, returns with his postal
      cap. Sets it on the boy's head.

                                 B.C. BOY



152   CONTINUED:    (2)                                                152

                   My postman knew the name of every
                   kid on my street. He knew our
                   birthdays. He'd even find the
                   baseballs you'd hit down the
                   street. I can still see the smile
                   on his face. The tip of his cap
                   -- when he had a letter in his bag
                   with my name on it. Mine always
                   came just after school. You could
                   set your watch by him. Unless you
                   were waiting on something special
                   -- like a present from somewhere
                   far away or a letter from your
                   sweetheart. Then it seemed like
                   he'd never come. I used to think
                   they could make time stand still.

      Several other listeners nod -- they're completely with

                   I don't think we ever really
                   understood what they meant to us
                   until they were gone. Getting a
                   letter made you feel like you were
                   part of something bigger than
                   yourself. No place was ever too
                   far away for the postman. So
                   nobody ever had to be alone. The
                   postman was someone you could
                   count on. Things just made more
                   sense when they were around.
                   That's the kind of world we used
                   to have. A world a lot of us took
                   for granted. And now we've got
                   this one. And it makes me
                   wonder -- what kind of world do I
                   want my child to live in? I want
                   my child to live in a world where
                   hopes and dreams aren't just lies
                   you tell yourself to get through
                   another day. I want my child, and
                   I want my friends -- I want all of
                   us to live in a world where you
                   still get your mail.

      It's a   moment before anyone speaks.

                                 B.C. MAYOR
                          (to The Postman)
                   Are you The Postman?



152   CONTINUED:    (3)                                               152

      The Postman takes the cap off the little boy's head,
      touches the emblem, and answers.

                                 THE POSTMAN

                                 B.C. MAYOR
                   I've heard of you, man. You're

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Yeah, I guess I am. And all of a
                   sudden, I'm not wearing the right

      And as he puts on his cap, he accepts the mantle as well.

153   EXT. BRIDGE - CLOSE ON PINE BOX - MORNING                       153

      lowered from the top of the bridge. Hands reach up to
      steady it and bring it gently to the ground. It's one of

      The Postman and Abby gasp as the Mayor opens the lid to
      reveal: 20 well-oiled rifles and 15 pistols with ammo.
      The Postman blinks over at the Mayor.

                                 B.C. MAYOR
                   Fact that we don't allow 'em
                   doesn't mean we don't have 'em.
                   We're not stupid, after all.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   I'm sorry I've brought this on

                                 B.C. MAYOR
                   No need to be sorry. Long as we
                   get our mail on time.

                                 PONYTAIL (O.S.)
                   Ready for duty, sir.

      The Postman looks over to see Ponytail, Drew and Chubby
      ride up. Like him, they are back in uniform.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   The order was to burn all

      The carriers look away -- sheepish.



153   CONTINUED:                                                         153

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   You know what to do then?

                   Talk to the people. Gather who's
                   willing. Tell them it's
                   important. Tell them we can make
                   a difference.

                                 CHUBBY SENTRY
                   And tell 'em we're going to kick

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Yeah, tell them that, too.

154   EXT. NEAR BRIDGE - DAY                                             154

      At the edge of the Gorge. The three carriers, and the
      mounted locals thunder off the bridge and down the road.
      High above...

155   EXT. HIGH TENSION TOWER - POSTMAN AND ABBY                         155

      The Mayor is in the b.g. helping one of the sentries
      prepare the basket for travel.

                   This is hard for me.
                   Michael was the best man I ever
                   knew. I never thought there'd be
                   another man I could love the way I
                   loved him.
                          (searching for
                           the words)
                   I don't know why I've been so
                   blessed. And I've tried to find a
                   way to be thankful, but I swear,
                   if I lose you...

      Her eyes start to tear and he takes her in his arms.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Abby, do you think a lie can
                   become the truth?

                   I don't know, but I believe in
                   you. You have a gift, Postman.     I
                   saw it back in Pine View.



155   CONTINUED:                                                       155

                                 ABBY (CONT'D)
                   You made Mrs. March feel like she
                   could see again. You made Ford
                   feel like he was part of the
                   world. You give out hope like it
                   was candy in your pocket.

      He starts to speak.    She stops him, taking his hand.

                   When you come back, we'll be
                   waiting here for you. So you can
                   take us to St. Rose.

      The Postman lets go of her hand and starts for the basket.

      The Mayor gestures to the line of towers extending into
      the distance.

                                 B.C. MAYOR
                   There's three good-sized towns up
                   that way. Enough folks to be a
                   big help to you. If you can
                   convince them to come.

      As The Postman steps into the basket, he makes the mistake
      of looking over the edge. It's a long, long way down.

                                 B.C. MAYOR
                   A lot higher than it looks, huh?

      The Postman looks at the contraption with more than a
      little trepidation. The Mayor grins.

                                  B.C. MAYOR
                   Don't tell anybody, but I like to
                   ride the damn thing just for the
                   hell of it. Being a city official
                   has its perks.

      He winks and as he reaches for the release pin.     The
      Postman's hand meets his there.

                                 B.C. MAYOR
                   Trust me, man. This'll get you
                   there a lot faster.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   How do I stop --

      But it's too late.    The Mayor releases the pin.



155   CONTINUED:    (2)                                                155

                                 B.C. MAYOR
                   Don't worry about it. Good luck
                   and Godspeed.


      Plummeting into the Columbia River Gorge.      The Mayor lets
      out a rebel yell.


      The Postman is whipped along, past the riders below.     The
      speed exhilarating.

156   EXT. PINE VIEW, OREGON - DAY                                     156

      The town's gone, but the palisade remains. Chubby rides
      along it, exhorting the people who watch from above. But
      it's The Postman we hear, all the magic back in his voice.

                                 THE POSTMAN (V.O.)
                   Once more into the breach, dear
                   friends, once more. Or close the
                   wall with our dead. In peace
                   nothing so becomes a man as
                   modesty and humility. But when
                   the blast of war blows in our
                   ears, then imitate the action of
                   the tiger.

157   EXT. ELVIS, OREGON - NIGHT                                       157

      A few makeshift structures are back up. Carrying a torch,
      Ponytail gallops hard into town. People wake, including
      Mrs. March's daughter. As Ponytail speaks to them...

                                 THE POSTMAN (V.O.)
                   Summon up the blood. Disguise
                   fair nature with rage and lend the
                   eye a terrible aspect.

158   EXT. FIELD - DAY                                                 158

      Captured by a Holnist cavalry patrol, Old George and four
      other carriers are lined up, hands bound before them.
      Holnist soldiers force them to their knees as Gibbs
      organizes an impromptu firing squad.



158   CONTINUED:                                                       158

      Old George looks down the line.    The carriers are about to
      break down.

                                 OLD GEORGE
                   Steady, boys, steady.

      And as Gibbs steps up, all hope is gone.

                   In accordance with Law Eight...

                                 OLD GEORGE
                   Get on with it, you floppy-eared

      We see the faces of the young carriers. Defeated, bitter.
      But there's a sudden spark in Old George's eyes. He
      starts to rise.

      The soldiers pick up their guns and that's when they see
      The Postman.


      Riding over the crest. Galloping toward them. Behind
      him, forty new mail carriers. All riding like mad. One
      of them carries the flag of the restored United States.

      Gibbs and his men run for their horses. SHOTS are FIRED.
      Four Holnists go down. The rest gallop away.

      The Postman and his carriers meet.

159   EXT. CROSSROADS - DAY                                            159

      Converging. The Postman with his forty-five coming from
      the west. Drew, Chubby, and a ragtag thirty coming from
      the north. And from the south, Ponytail leading a
      contingent of fifty!

      The forces converge and continue east.

160   EXT. HOLNIST CAMP - DAY                                          160

      The army has gathered.    Three hundred strong.

      Bethlehem and Getty stand outside the command tent,
      listening to a winded, frightened Gibbs. We FOLLOW
      Bethlehem's eyes OVER Gibbs' SHOULDERS TO the horizon,
      where he sees: The Postman and his army of two hundred
      carriers cresting a distant rise.



160   CONTINUED:                                                     160

                                 GIBBS (O.S.)
                   ... We were outnumbered, sir.

                   How many?

                   A least a hundred. With guns.

                          (feigning shock)
                   With guns? Are you sure?

                   Yes, sir...

                   Looks more like two hundred to

      He steps away to get a better vantage point of the
      approaching army. He reaches out -- Getty hands him a
      pair of binoculars.

                          (donning a pair of
                           leather gloves)
                   Only thing worse than a coward is
                   one who can't count. Lieutenant,
                   do yourself a favor. Die well in
                   this battle. In my army a
                   deserter's life is a brief and
                   unpleasant one.

      Bethlehem watches The Postman through the binoculars -- a
      hint of a smile on his face.

                          (to himself)
                   At last, someone with courage
                   enough to bring the fight to me.

      A Holnist soldier stands by with Bethlehem's horse.   The
      General mounts -- the model of military calm and
      precision. Getty reins up beside him.

                   Reckoning, gentlemen. This is the
                   day I've dreamed of.

161   EXT. BATTLEFIELD - DAY                                         161

      A sea of wildflowers separates the carriers from the
      Holnists. The monster John Deere gun is ready for battle.


162   EXT. HOLNIST LINE - DAY                                        162

      Bethlehem stands with Getty, scanning the postal line with
      his binoculars. The carriers look, just spoiling for a
      fight. Bethlehem lowers his binoculars, smiles grimly.

                They're an eager-looking bunch.
                Morale's a dangerous thing.
                       (to Getty)
                Bring him up. I want this postman
                to see how the game is played.

163   EXT. CARRIERS' LINE - DAY                                      163

      The Postman, Chubby, Ponytail and Old George and all the
      carriers have taken positions.

      The Postman sights through a telescope.

      He scans further down the line -- then stops when he sees
      Ford. Bloody, beaten within inches of his life. He's
      shackled -- surrounded by Holnist guards.

      The Postman's eyes turn to stone.

                              THE POSTMAN
                       (to carriers)
                Stay here. No one moves until I
                give the orders.

      He clicks his horse forward, toward the Holnist line.

164   EXT. HOLNIST LINE - DAY                                        164

      Bethlehem, flanked by Getty and the Holnist Sergeant,
      watches as The Postman makes his approach. He reaches
      into his pocket, withdraws a white kerchief and holds it
      in the air.

                Are they surrendering?

                God, I hope not.

      He watches for a moment as The Postman crosses the field -
      - moving well within range of Holnist fire. Then, he
      coaxes his horse forward.


165   EXT. MEADOW - DAY                                              165

      Bethlehem and The Postman riding toward each other. They
      meet when The Postman is almost three-quarters of the way
      over to the Holnists' side.


      As they come face-to-face.

                My little shipping clerk.

                              THE POSTMAN
                We're both a couple of frauds.
                You know it; I know it.

      Bethlehem sneers.

                Great men are made by other great
                men. Patton had Rommel. Grant
                had Lee. But I get you.

                              THE   POSTMAN
                You're no fucking   general. You're
                a copying machine   salesman.
                You're not even a   good painter.

                Are you trying to goad me into a

                              THE POSTMAN
                Wouldn't it be great if wars could
                be fought just by the assholes who
                started them? We could settle
                this thing right here. You and

                Unfortunately, it doesn't work
                that way.

                              THE POSTMAN
                It does in your army.

      The Postman kicks his horse up into a gallop, and rides up
      the Holnist line. No one, least of all Bethlehem, is sure
      what's going on.

                              THE POSTMAN
                I invoke law seven of the Laws of
                Eight! Any man may challenge for
                leadership of the clan!



165   CONTINUED:                                                      165


      The Postman wheels his horse around.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   I challenge you.

      Bethlehem is caught completely by surprise, but recovers.

                   You're not a Holnist. You're not
                   a member of the clan. You don't
                   have the right.

      The Postman rolls up his sleeve. He rides the Holnist
      lines displaying his brand for all to see. The Holnists
      murmur amongst themselves.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   I have every right. I invoke law

      Bethlehem can't believe his eyes.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   I challenge for leadership of the

      The seed of doubt is planted. Is Bethlehem violating one
      of the Laws of Eight? The men look at one another. Gibbs
      looks to Getty. Bethlehem looks from The Postman's tattoo
      to his face.

                   Where do I know you from?

                                THE POSTMAN
                   'Cry Havoc! And let slip the dogs
                   of war.' Remember that?

                   Shakespeare. The one who didn't
                   want to fight.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   I should've found a way to kill
                   you then. But you seemed so

                   Law seven it is.
                          (to all)
                   This war is settled here!



165   CONTINUED:    (2)                                                 165

      As The Postman nods in agreement.

      They take their positions -- and without a word -- they
      kick their horses into a charge. Coming straight for each
      other like medieval jousters.

      Bethlehem reaches for his sword.    But before it clears the
      scabbard, The Postman lunges.

      The horses collide.    Bethlehem and The Postman hit the
      ground hard.

      Holnists and Carriers alike begin to move forward for a
      better look.

      The fight is fierce. Bloody. The Postman and Bethlehem
      are at each other like coiled snakes.

      It's more of a fight than any of the Holnists --
      especially Getty -- expected. The spectators pull in

      Both combatants have taken a beating -- and still, they
      fight on -- trading bloody, raw-knuckled punches.

      One of Bethlehem's connects. The Postman loses his
      footing, hits the ground -- knocking his head on a rock
      with a resounding CRACK. Dazed, he's slow to rise.

      It's just the moment Bethlehem needs, he straddles the
      fallen Postman, reaches for his knife with one hand --
      grabs The Postman's throat with the other.

                   I study people. I know your
                   problem. Do you know why you
                   can't fight?

      The Postman can't answer.

                   You have nothing to fight for.
                   You don't care about anything.
                   You don't value anything. You
                   don't believe in anything. That's
                   what makes me better.

      The Postman grabs Bethlehem's knife-hand -- using all his
      remaining strength to keep him at bay.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                          (barely audible)
                   I believe in the United States
                   Postal Service.



165   CONTINUED:    (3)                                                 165

      The Postman lets go of Bethlehem's hands, grabs his belt
      and pulls him over. As they roll to their feet, The
      Postman club-fists Bethlehem on the side of the head.

                                  THE POSTMAN
                   Neither snow...
                   Nor rain...
                   Nor heat...
                   Nor gloom of night...
                   Will stay this courier from the
                   swift completion of his appointed

      Bethlehem reels, stumbling back. The Postman pounces on
      top of him, begins to strangle him. Bethlehem tries to
      pry the fingers from his throat, but can't. He's going to

      The Postman is urged on. By both sides. Holnists.
      Carriers. Ford. Even Holnist Luke. He looks up at the
      faces -- and finally lets Bethlehem go. The General gasps
      for breath.

      As Ponytail and Chubby move forward to untie Ford, The
      Postman looks to both sides.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   It doesn't have to be this way.
                   We don't have to kill each other.
                   We can live together. We can --

      Ford takes Chubby's pistol, sets it against the side of
      Bethlehem's head.

                   Law three.   Mercy is for the weak.

                                    THE POSTMAN
                   Ford, don't...

      Bethlehem shakes his head -- doesn't want him to, either.

                   Law eight. There is only one
                   penalty and that penalty is death.

      Ford's going to shoot.



165   CONTINUED:    (4)                                                165

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   He isn't worth it. I'm the head
                   of the clan now! There are going
                   to be new laws!
                          (to all)
                   Law one! No more killing!
                   There's going to be peace!

      The Postman looks at carriers and Holnists alike.

                                  THE POSTMAN
                   Who else?   Who else has a law?

                   Everyone has to learn how to read.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   That's law two. Who else?!

                                   CARRIER #1
                   Three.    Liberty and justice for

                   Four.    No more tattoos.

                                  CARRIER #2
                   Law five.   Give peace a chance!

                                HOLNIST SOLDIER #2
                   Law six. Mercy is, it's okay

                                   CARRIER #3
                   Seven!    Bring back vacations!

      The Postman nods solemnly, looks to Ford.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   How about it, Ford Lincoln
                   Mercury? You give us law eight.

      Ford grits his teeth.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                          (close -- for Ford)
                   Be a leader, Ford.

                   Law eight...

      Ford FIRES! Bethlehem flinches, then sags as he realizes
      Ford has fired into the ground.



165   CONTINUED:    (5)                                                165

                   ... Live and let live.

      The Postman smiles in relief as Ford lowers the revolver
      and starts to hand the weapon over.

      Forgotten for an instant, Bethlehem makes a last, wild
      lunge, grabs Ford's gun.

      As Bethlehem aims at The Postman, a SHOT rings out. Hit
      in the chest, Bethlehem blinks in amazement before he
      falls to the ground, dying. Getty has shot him.

                   Would I had bestowed that time in
                   the tongues that I have in
                   fencing, dancing and bear-baiting.
                   Oh, had I but followed the arts...

      He dies.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Grow like savages -- as soldiers
                   will -- that nothing do but
                   mediate on blood.

      Getty throws his rifle on the ground. Other weapons are
      laid down. The war, at long last, is over.

                                 THE POSTMAN
                   Somebody take a letter.


                                 THE POSTMAN
                   A letter...

                                                        DISSOLVE TO:

166   INT. ABBY'S PLACE (BRIDGE CITY) - DAY                            166

      Abby, in bed, holding her new baby in her arms. She's
      reading a letter. What she reads makes her smile. She
      puts the letter down and cuddles her baby.

                   Your daddy wrote to tell you that
                   he'll be here as soon as he can.
                   And that he loves you very much.

      Abby looks up to see The Postman standing at her door.
      She looks at him, smiling with tears in her eyes.



166   CONTINUED:                                                         166

                                  THE POSTMAN
                   Mail's slow.   I'll have to see
                   about that.

      Abby smiles down at the child in her arms.

                   Your daughter.     Her name is Hope.

      The Postman takes the tiny child in his arms.

                                 WOMAN (V.O.)
                   And so my father returned home
                   after the Holnists were

167   EXT. ST. ROSE - DAY                                                167

      A beach town. No wall, no sentries, just cottages lining
      a dozen sand-swept streets. A crowd has gathered to hear
      The Postman's daughter, HOPE, mid-thirties, speak. Beside
      her, a bearded, 52-year-old Ford in his postmaster's
      uniform. They stand before a large, tarp-draped statue.

                   But he never did see St. Rose.
                   There was too much to be done.
                   He'd made a promise and in keeping
                   it -- he traded one dream for
                   another. With no regrets. And
                   so, in honor of my father...

      She unveils the statue: we've seen this before. It's The
      Postman on his horse, low-slung in the saddle, leaning
      down to pluck the letter from the Little Boy's hand.

      There's an OLDER MAN in the audience who seems especially
      moved by the statue. There's a younger man beside him.

                                    OLDER MAN
                   That was me.

      As St. Rose applauds...

                                                          FADE OUT.

                                    THE END

Postman, The

Writers :   Brian Helgeland  Eric Roth
Genres :   Action  Adventure  Drama  Sci-Fi

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