October 9, 1998
EXT. SNOW'S ISLAND - NIGHT
Marion sits at Cornwallis' ornate, folding campaign desk, reading Cornwallis' journal, surrounded by Cornwallis' field gear which includes furniture, music boxes, oil paintings and an elaborate folding commode. The TWO GREAT DANES sit nearby, eyeing Marion warily.
The men have divided themselves into two groups, one coarse, the other civilized, each clustered around a separate fire.
The coarse men, including Dalton, Brother Joseph and RANDOLPH, a grizzled, black-toothed mountain man, drink and laugh loudly, wearing Cornwallis' wigs askew.
The civilized men, including Rev. Oliver, Gabriel, Scott, Fielding and Abner, talk quietly.
Marion puts down the journal and walks over to the campfire where the rougher men are gathered. He stands just inside the firelight and speaks loudly, so that all can hear:
Today was hard earned but a good
Marion looks at Dalton, then turns to the other men as
In the future wounded British
soldiers will be given quarters.
Like they gave quarter to my family?
My wife and three children were
hiding in our root cellar when they
came. The Redcoats locked the door
and torched the house.
You have my sympathy... but the
And who are you to give an order
like that? We all know what you did
after Fort Wilderness.
That hits home but Marion remains calm.
I'm your commanding officer. This
is militia, not regular army. I
can't hold you here, but as long as
you stay, you'll follow my orders.
Marion looks from face to face. Most begrudgingly nod. That's enough for Marion.
As he heads back to his own campfire he's intercepted by Rev. Oliver who speaks to him out of earshot of the other men, except for Gabriel and Billings who overhear.
For trying to impose some decency on
Don't depend on my decency. I'm one
of that sort.
Marion walks on. Rev. Oliver exchanges a look with Gabriel, then heads off. As Marion joins Gabriel and Billings at his campfire, Billings grips his bottle.
Am I one of that sort?
You're the worst of that sort.
You're the sort that gives that sort
a bad name.
Billings considers that, then shrugs and takes a long drink. He hands the bottle to Marion who takes an equally long drink. Marion picks up his Pennsylvania rifle.
I'm going to check the watch.
He disappears into the darkness leaving Gabriel and Billings at the campfire.
He shouldn't make light. That
Redcoat should not have been killed.
He's not making light.
Gabriel shoots Billings a dubious look.
You don't know him very well, do
He's my father.
Billings looks closely at Gabriel.
I know him well enough?
Don't fault him for having grown up
on the frontier. It was a harder
time and a harder place than you
Gabriel looks at Billings, then turns back to the fire.
EXT. SNOW'S ISLAND - DAWN
The men are beginning to stir, gathering around the campfires, cooking, using pots, pans and other gear from the stolen British wagons.
Marion reads Cornwallis' journal. He looks up, stretches and walks over to a campfire where Gabriel, Billings and Rev. Oliver cook. The dogs follow at a distance.
I've just been inside the mind of a
genius. Lord Cornwallis knows more
about war than I could in a dozen
Cheerful news to greet the morn.
His victories at Charleston and
Camden were perfect, strategically,
tactically, logistically. But he
has a weakness.
They all turn to Marion.
Lord Cornwallis is brilliant. His
weakness is that he knows it.
Pride is his weakness.
The men consider that.
Personally, I'd prefer stupidity.
Pride will do.
BEGIN MONTAGE: Series of shots as follows:
-- A VOLLEY OF MUSKET FIRE erupts from some thick underbrush, cutting down half of a squadron of Redcoats on the march. The surviving Redcoats FIRE BACK into the trees at unseen targets to little effect.
-- Marion rides with about fifty men.
-- A British supply convoy makes its way through the woods. Suddenly, Marion's men appear, rising up from the ground as if by magic, having been camouflaged by leaves and brush. They OPEN FIRE on the convoy escort, which holds for a moment, then flees.
-- Marion rides with about seventy-five men.
-- Cornwallis finishes reading a dispatch and furiously flings it across the room.
-- Marion rides with about one hundred men.
-- Snow's Island. Marion and his men do an inventory of a large haul of stolen British supply wagons. The booty includes dozens of BRASS MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS, some of which Marion's men BLARE in celebration.
-- Marion rides with about one-hundred-fifty men.
-- Marion, Gabriel, and some of the other men watch as the flaming supports of a BURNING WOODEN BRIDGE collapse into a river.
-- A seething Cornwallis stands at the same spot, looking at the charred, now cooled, remains of the bridge. Cornwallis angrily mounts up and rides off. His contrite staff officers mount up and follow.
-- Snow's Island. Marion sits with his muddy feet on Cornwallis' campaign desk, reading Cornwallis' journal, with Cornwallis' Great Danes at his side.
EXT. CAMDEN - NIGHT
Glittering lights shine from the Camden Inn, a grand structure in the center of town.
A line of OPULENT CARRIAGES discharges well-dressed passengers, arriving for a ball. Ladies in their finery. Patrician husbands. Redcoat and Green Dragoon officers in magnificent dress uniforms.
INT. CORNWALLIS' PERSONAL QUARTERS - EVENING
Cornwallis, standing in front of a full-length mirror, is dressed by his VALET while Major Halbert, Colonel Huntington and Tarleton look on.
Why am I here, Colonel Halbert?
For the ball, sir?
Cornwallis holds his temper.
Why, after six weeks, are we still
here to attend a ball. By now, we
should be attending balls in North
Carolina, not South Carolina.
Our supply line, sir?
Excellent guess, Major.
The valet puts a dress coat on Cornwallis who looks at the garment with deepest disdain.
And what, praytell, is this?
Uh... I borrowed it from Colonel
North. I took it in at the back,
added wider epaulets, a court sash
and looped gold braiding on the
It's a horse blanket.
(to Major Halbert)
First my personal baggage, then half
the bridges and ferries between here
and Charleston burned, a dozen
convoys attacked. Colonel, if you
can't secure our supply line against
militia, how do you expect to do so
against Colonial regulars or the
French when they come?
Sir, they're not like regulars, we
can't find them and we don't know
when or where they're going to
How impolite. And who leads these
clever, secretive fellows?
We don't know, sir. He's called,
the Commander by some, the Swamp Fox
Colonel, I'm a civilized man but I'm
finding to difficult to remain
civil. Secure my supply line.
Cornwallis looks at his reflection with dismay, sighs and strides out. Tarleton, amused, follows.
EXT. CAMDEN STREET - NIGHT
At the far end of town Marion, Gabriel, Billings, Dalton, Scott and several other men slip through the shadows into an alley. The lights from the ball shine from down the street and the MUSICAL STRAINS of a MINUET drift to them through the night.
EXT. ARMORY - NIGHT
A block-like building on the far edge of town. A pair of REDCOATS stand guard. A PAIR OF DRUNKEN REDCOATS stagger out of a side-street, SINGING A MUMBLING SONG. The Redcoat guards look at the drunk Redcoats enviously.
Hey, what you got there?
The drunken Redcoats look up, bringing their faces into the light -- THE DRUNKEN REDCOATS ARE BILLINGS AND DALTON.
We got our own little party...
To hell with the officers and their
fancy dress ball...
Give us a nip, here.
Billings and Dalton walk over to the Redcoats guards. As the guards reach for the bottles, Billings SLAMS one of the guards back against the building...
Dalton DRAWS A KNIFE and PLUNGES IT into the second guard's belly and HACKS HIM OPEN...
Dalton shoves Billings out of the way, SLITS THE OTHER GUARD'S THROAT. Billings is taken aback by the speed and ferocity of Dalton's attack...
Marion and Scott duck into the shadows of the doorway, pull out hammer-less carving chisels and quickly and silently start gouging out the wood around the hinges of the heavy door.
Billings and Dalton take the posts of the guards while the other men drag the bodies of the real guards out of sight. Everything appears as it should.
INT. BALLROOM - NIGHT
Grand. Opulent. Cornwallis speaks with a small gathering of loyalist civilians, among whom is the spectacular MRS. TALBOT, who wears a daring dress that reveals an enormous expanse of bosom. At her side stands her toady of a husband, MR. TALBOT.
No! The beasts took your dogs, as
Fine animals, a gift from His
Majesty. Dead now, for all I know.
Is there no decency?
Among the rebels? We know the
answer to that.
Yes, we have learned.
INT./ EXT. CAMDEN ARMORY - NIGHT
Marion and Scott shove their chisels through the door which falls away from the hinges. They all duck inside finding barrels and casks of gunpowder, boxes of weapons and hundreds of muskets.
Gabriel and the others load themselves up with the best of the weapons as Marion opens a cask and pours a trail of gunpowder across the floor.
EXT. BALCONY - CAMDEN INN - NIGHT
Cornwallis, taking the night air with Mrs. Talbot, gazes at the moon, achieving the calculated effect.
You seem far away.
It's the weight of command and the
lot of a widower -- memories,
(with a self-
... and long gazes at the moon.
Mrs. Talbot sympathetically sighs and touches her fingertips to her heart which is conveniently located inches above her stunning cleavage.
Oh, you poor man...
A MASSIVE EXPLOSION LIGHTS UP THE NIGHT as a FIREBALL erupts from the armory. British officers, including Major Halbert and Tarleton, RUSH OUT along with Mr. Talbot and other Loyalist civilians.
Mr. Talbot tears his eyes from the flames and looks at his wife, clinging to Cornwallis' arm.
These rebels seem to lack fear as
well as decency, eh, General?
Cornwallis registers the insult, glances at the hapless Major Halbert, then turns to Tarleton.
Colonel Tarleton, you deal with
these damned rebels.
Tarleton smiles grimly and strides off the balcony.
EXT. VIEW OF PEMBROKE VILLAGE - DAY
The village of Pembroke lies nestled in a valley, surrounded by tilled fields and small farms.
EXT. PEMBROKE VILLAGE - DAY
Forty of Marion's men water their horses. Marion, with the two Great Danes at his side, speaks with PETER GREEN, a middle-aged storekeeper with a marked limp.
... four baskets of apples, salt
pork, sweet potatoes, jerky, hard
tack, salt and powder. It's not
much, but I'll get you more.
We can't pay for this...
I'll give you what I can, when I
can. You pay me what you can.
Green's daughter, ANNE, very attractive, around sixteen, joins them. Gabriel sees her and sidles over.
Francis, you remember my daughter,
Nice to see you again, Anne.
Gabriel clears his throat. Anne looks at him coolly.
I know who you are, Gabriel Marion.
The last time I saw you, I was nine
and you put ink in my tea.
I... uh... that wasn't me, it was
Samuel... I mean Nathan...
It was you and it turned my teeth
black for a month.
Uh... uh... I...
He's sorry. Come.
Green heads across the square where some townspeople are giving Marion's men provisions. Anne and Gabriel follow. Marion turns to some waiting men, new recruits.
Billings, nearby, reads A POSTED BROADSHEET that announces: "Reward Offered: For the capture or death of the rebel known as 'The Swamp Fox'".
He tears it down and walks over to Marion.
... and your terms of enlistment
will be month-to-month. Every
thirty days you can re-enlist or
return to your families.
REED, the sturdiest of the lot offers his hand to Marion.
The others nod in agreement.
Talk to Abner and Scott about
provisions, powder and mounts.
The recruits head off. Billings hands Marion the wanted poster which Marion glances at and crumbles up.
Twenty men here, seventeen in New
Brighton, a dozen along the Black
River. We'll pass three hundred by
week's end if this keeps up.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SQUARE
Gabriel and several of Marion's men take supplies from Green, Anne, and some other townspeople. Gabriel looks at Anne.
If I'd known you were going to look
like this, I never would have put
ink in your tea.
You call that a compliment?
It's a start.
She gives him a bit of a smile. He checks out her teeth.
They look nice. As white as can be.
She tries to glare but she can't help but laugh.
MARION AND BILLINGS watch as Anne gives Gabriel some apples which he tosses into the air, one-by-one, catching them behind his back, a cocky move, executed with a disarming smile that makes Anne laugh again. Marion smiles at his son's flirtation. Billings smiles as well.
He reminds me of you before you got
old and ugly.
No, he takes after his mother...
Billings is taken aback by the gentleness of Marion's words.
... the younger ones barely remember
her but Gabriel spent more time with
Elizabeth... she taught him well,
guided him, she was his North Star
and mine... her father was a
minister, in Boston, did you know
... Gabriel's already a better man
than I could ever hope to be...
Marion hears himself and pulls his eyes from Gabriel, adopting a coarse, joking tone.
What do you mean, old and ugly?
You got me beat on both accounts.
The hell I do.
They mount up, grateful to leave the sincerity behind.
Gabriel sees Marion and his men starting to ride off. He says goodbye to Anne, then RUNS TO HIS HORSE, MOUNTING WITH A DRAMATIC LEAP. He GALLOPS up, taking his place at his father's side. Marion doesn't turn to look at him, but he knows he's there.
EXT. CAROLINA ROAD - DAY
A patchwork of fields with a village visible in the distance. The ROLLINS BOYS, 10 and 12, work a field, harvesting grain. Hearing the SOUND OF HORSES' HOOVES, they stop and listen.
Then they see a CLOUD OF DUST rising over the ridge line. Growing excited, they throw down their scythes and race down the hillside, madly stumbling and falling, trying to intersect the approaching sound.
At the bottom of the hill they pass their father, BEN ROLLINS, who watches his sons plant themselves on the side of the road, gazing in awe at:
MARION AND HIS MEN, THUNDERING BY. They're an impressive sight, a hundred-and-fifty heavily armed men, on powerful mounts, raising a cloud of dust as they gallop down the road.
EXT. CHARLESTON ROAD - DAY
Marion and forty of his men, including Gabriel, sit on their motionless horses in the middle of the road. There are a number of new faces among Marion's men, among them Ben Rollins. Gabriel is lost in thought.
Gabriel? Are you asleep?
We're low on salt. I should go to
Pembroke and get some.
You got salt last week.
Baking powder, we need baking
We've got plenty of baking powder.
You went to Pembroke and got five
pounds two weeks ago.
Gabriel sighs. They hear a SOUND APPROACHING, then see two British wagons round a curve with a guard of only SIX REDCOATS, commanded by a REDCOAT SERGEANT. The Redcoat Sergeant signals stop.
Halt. Look alive, boys.
The young Redcoat privates nervously UNSHOULDER THEIR MUSKETS.
Sergeant, this road is closed.
Those wagons now belong to the
Ready arms! By twos!
Marion's surprised by the Sergeant's order.
Sergeant, there's no reason for you
and your men to die. Just leave the
wagons and go.
Marion sighs and lets loose with a PIERCING WHISTLE. The underbrush parts and more of Marion's men show themselves, MUSKETS LEVELED at the outnumbered Redcoats.
This is the King's highway and I
advise you and your men to make way.
(to his men)
Prepare to fire.
Marion exchanges a look with Rev. Oliver who, like Marion, doesn't want to kill these men. Seeing no other option, Marion turns to give the order, then stops, hearing a FAINT BARELY DETECTABLE, RUMBLING SOUND...
A moment later Brother Joseph hears it as well... HORSES HOOVES, LOTS OF THEM, growing louder by the second, THUNDERING toward them from the road behind the British wagons...
Then, the SOUND OF MORE HORSES, coming in fast on both flanks.
It's a trap...
The canvas sides of the British wagons are THROWN UP and DOZENS OF REDCOATS, armed with muskets, spill out...
Marion's unmounted men run to their horses, LEAPING into their saddles...
Then GREEN DRAGOONS appear, galloping down the wooded slopes on both flanks, astonishing horsemen, weaving through the trees without slacking their pace, SWORDS DRAWN, PISTOLS PRIMED...
A THUNDEROUS VOLLEY ERUPTS from the Redcoat infantry, KILLING several of Marion's men...
Marion's men FIRE BACK from their BUCKING MOUNTS, most of their shots going awry...
Behind the British wagons, a huge detachment of GREEN DRAGOONS appears, TARLETON among them...
MARION SEES THE DRAGOONS BUT NOT TARLETON HIMSELF...
MARION AND HIS MEN spur their mounts, taking off down the road in the opposite direction...
The FLANKING BODIES OF DRAGOONS gallop out of the woods, JOINING THE MAIN BODY, riding in hard pursuit...
EXT. WOODED ROAD - DAY
Marion and his men GALLOP down the road. The much larger body of Green Dragoons THUNDER after them.
EXT. BLACK SWAMP ROAD - DAY
Marion and his men ride along a raised road that drops off into Black Swamp on either side...
They ROUND A CURVE AND STOP, reining back their horses in confusion as they see:
FIFTY GREEN DRAGOONS heading straight toward them...
THE DRAGOONS OPEN FIRE from both directions, KILLING several more of Marion's men, WOUNDING others...
Marion's men FIRE BACK as best they can, caught in the CHAOS OF BUCKING AND FALLING HORSES and WOUNDED AND DISMOUNTED MEN...
They remount, doubling-up with the wounded...
MARION sees an unaided wounded man. LEAPS FROM HIS HORSE, heaves him onto his horse, slaps it...
Marion's men head off both sides of the road into the swamp, struggling with their mounts as they hit the knee- deep water...
Marion on foot with four men, only three horses... A DRAGOON, aiming his pistol, THUNDERS down on Marion... MARION FIRES, killing the Dragoon...
Marion's men mount, one motions to Marion...
Marion's men ride off, leaving him ALONE... a Dragoon is almost on him, SWORD RAISED. Marion, his weapon spent, sees a thick branch on the ground, two feet long... grabs it...
The sword flashes and SINKS DEEPLY INTO THE WOOD... Marion YANKS, brings the rider off his horse, grabs the reins and SWINGS HIMSELF UP INTO THE EMPTY SADDLE. Marion rides down the embankment...
The Dragoons rein back, slowed by the dead horses and men. They spur their reluctant mounts over the bodies and follow Marion and his men into the swamp...
EXT. BLACK SWAMP - DAY
MARION RIDES HARD, galloping along a circuitous, barely visible dry trail... A MOMENT LATER, Tarleton and Green Dragoons follow...
EXT. DEEP IN THE SWAMPS - EVENING
MARION CATCHES UP to a dozen of his men, including Gabriel and Billings. Several of the men are badly wounded, barely clinging to their saddles...
They ride through the shallow water, get to a fork, SPLIT UP. As they disappear into the swamp, the sounds of their horses are swallowed up in the LOUD BUZZING OF SWAMP INSECTS and the CRIES OF THE SWAMP BIRDS...
A moment later, Tarleton and the vanguard of Dragoons ride up. Tarleton signals stop at the fork...
Looks... nothing. Listens... nothing. Chooses a path, the one Marion took. Rides off, the Dragoons following...
EXT. DEEPER IN THE SWAMPS - NIGHT
Darker still. Tarleton and his men come to a dead end, blocked by a heavy tangle of huge swamp ferns and thorn bushes.
They rein back their horses, stopping in a confused mess. Tarleton calls to Gaskins and the Loyalist scouts.
This way... no this... I think...
Tarleton makes his own choice... rides off... the Green Dragoons follow, the Loyalists bring up the rear.
EXT. SWAMP MORASS - NIGHT
Tarleton and his mounted Dragoons struggle through a nearly impassable morass of swamp-grass, reeds and swarming mosquitoes...
The exhausted Dragoons are wet, covered with mud, and bleeding from swamp briars. The horses are spent and foaming...
Tarleton struggles harder than any, but finally even he has had enough. He reins back his horse.
Tarleton glares into the impenetrable darkness of plant- choked water and swamp...
Enough of this. There are other
ways to run down a fox.
Tarleton yanks on his reins, turns his horse and starts back the way they came. His grateful men turn their horses and follow.
IN THE UNDERGROWTH, Marion, Gabriel, Billings and three badly wounded men, with only four horses between them, calm their mounts...
They can hear, but not see the Dragoons. Then, through the thick undergrowth, MARION CATCHES A GLIMPSE OF TARLETON...
Gabriel, tending the wounded men, sees his father lock his eyes on Tarleton...
Marion quickly opens his weapons pouch and pulls out one of the bullets he made from Thomas' lead soldiers. Walking to his horse, Marion loads...
Marion mounts, scanning the terrain, planning a route...
As Marion spurs his horse to ride after Tarleton, Gabriel grabs the bridle. He YANKS HARD, stopping Marion's horse dead. THE HORSE BUCKS, nearly throwing Marion...
That's him. Tarleton.
MARION SPURS THE HORSE which tries to respond but is JERKED BACK AGAIN by Gabriel. Marion angrily turns on his son...
Damn you! Let go!
Gabriel looks up at his father, never loosening his iron grip on the bridles but speaking softly, almost pleadingly:
Marion looks down at Gabriel. Then Marion looks over at Billings and the three wounded men...
One bleeds from an ugly neck wound... their shared mounts are nearly spent...
Marion takes a last look in the direction of the departing Tarleton. Then he dismounts and hurries over to help the wounded. Gabriel watches his father for a moment, then joins him with the wounded.
EXT. WOODED GLEN - NIGHT
Dark. Marion and his battered men gather, taking stock. Men drift in, mounted and on foot in ones and twos, past wary sentries. GABRIEL RIDES UP, dismounts and reports to Marion, out of earshot of the other men.
Fourteen dead, eleven wounded,
I should have killed him when I had
When was that? In the swamp at the
expense of your men? Or when he
killed Thomas at the expense of your
Or perhaps tomorrow at the expense
of our cause.
Marion is silent.
There will be a time and a place for
revenge but killing Tarleton at the
expense of your duty serves no one
Stay the course.
The parental-sounding formality of Gabriel's words brings a thin smile to Marion's face.
Stay the course... your mother used
to say that to me when I'd get drunk
or lose my temper.
She'd say it to me when I picked on
Thomas or Nathan.
You learned her lessons better than
She got me at a more impressionable
Marion smiles, nods a silent thanks to his son and heads over to help with the wounded.
EXT. MARION'S ENCAMPMENT - NIGHT
A cold, winter rain falls. Most of Marion's grim men are huddled in lean-to's and around campfires. Green and several other Pembroke townspeople unload a wagon of supplies while Marion, Scott and Fielding stow the provisions.
Gabriel and Anne sit at a fire, under the cover of a lean- to, taking quietly. He's troubled. She tries to be hopeful.
Next time we'll bring more blankets.
That would be nice.
Maybe we'll be lucky this winter and
have just rain, no snow.
That would be nice, too.
She takes a pot off the campfire and pours him a cup of tea.
Just because the French didn't come
this fall, doesn't mean they're
never going to come.
He nods and takes a drink of the tea. She smiles. Gabriel smiles back to her, revealing a mouthful of ink- stained, black teeth. Before she has time to laugh...
ROLLINS RIDES HARD INTO CAMP. Marion hurries over, accompanied by the Great Danes. The other men gather around.
They're to be hung!
But they're prisoners-of-war!
Marion isn't as surprised as Gabriel. He is, however, taken aback by Gabriel's black teeth. Gabriel notices everyone looking at his mouth.
Anne is embarrassed and regretful, seeing her joke fly in the face of the troubling news.
Continue to 10/9/98 Draft Page 5
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