October 9, 1998
EXT. PEMBROKE - NIGHT
Marion scans the night as Gabriel and Anne mount up. The three of them ride off, pulling a line of horses, some heavily loaded packhorses and some saddled but empty mounts.
EXT. SHACK - SHANTY TOWN - NIGHT
Dark. Quiet. Gabriel and Anne wait in the shadows while Marion cocks his musket, checks his pistols and walks slowly toward the shack.
He warily checks every shadow. No one anywhere. Then a SOUND -- A SQUEAL OF LAUGHTER, immediately followed by:
It's him! I told you it was him!
MARION'S CHILDREN RACE OUT OF THE SHADOWS to Marion. He's practically bowled over as Margaret, Nathan, Samuel and William fling themselves into his arms.
CHARLOTTE STEPS OUT OF THE SHADOWS, watching the reunion as Marion covers the children with kisses, trying to hug all of them at once as they cling to him as if they'll never let go. MARION AND CHARLOTTE LOCK EYES over the heads of the children.
Charlotte smiles. Then Marion notices SUSAN peeking out from behind Charlotte's patched and mended skirt. He kneels down and opens his arms to her but she doesn't move.
He smiles to her and speaks softly:
She looks coldly at Marion, tightens her grip on Charlotte's skirt and retreats further behind her. Marion looks to Charlotte who nods with guarded reassurance. Then his attention is drawn away by the demanding embraces of his other children.
EXT. CHERAW FALLS PATH - NIGHT
Marion rides, leading his children, Charlotte and Anne up a steep, narrow path that cuts through a heavily wooded hillside.
EXT. CHERAW FALLS - NIGHT
The remains of a tiny abandoned backcountry farm. The house is gone, leaving only an overgrown cellar hole.
Nearby is a barely-standing tobacco shed, one end of which has fallen to the ground. A SOFT WIND WHISTLES AND WHISPERS through the gaps in the rough-hewn boards of the structure.
Marion rides up to the edge of the clearing. A MOCKINGBIRD SCREECHES nearby, startling him. He looks back at the children, worried, anticipating a negative reaction. Margaret smiles and turns to the other children, speaking for Marion's benefit.
I told you, things would get better.
The children smile and dismount.
INT. TOBACCO SHED - NIGHT
POURING RAIN. The ceiling drips. Marion lies, awake, with his children huddled against him, sleeping in one of the few dry spots. They're covered with tattered quilts.
On the other side of the children, Charlotte is also awake. She and Marion exchange a long, silent look in the darkness, over the heads of the sleeping children.
EXT. WATERFALL OVERLOOK - DAY
Marion walks the perimeter of their encampment with Nathan and Samuel. They listen carefully.
The overlook, up there should be
where you post the watch. Work out
a schedule. Short watches,
especially at night.
If you can catch some of those
mockingbirds you can make cages and
put them along there for alarms.
(motioning for them
Now let's find someplace to cache
They follow Marion like soldiers.
EXT. CHERAW FALLS - DAY
Marion sits on a rock while Margaret cuts his hair. She takes her time, touching him on the head and shoulders, extending the process. Marion, sits back, enjoying it. He notices Susan, nearby, watching silently. He smiles. She turns away.
EXT. TOBACCO SHED - CHERAW FALLS - DAY
Dark. Shafts of light shine in through the holes in the roof. Marion, standing in the shadows, senses someone coming. He freezes.
A figure rounds the corner. It's... William. MARION YELLS William SQUEALS IN DELIGHT, then chases his father around the corner, tagging him. They laugh. Marion covers his eyes and William dashes off to hide.
EXT. CHERAW FALLS - RIVERSIDE - DAY
Marion sits on the side of the river with Susan who avoids looking at him. Using the knife we've seen him use in battle he cuts slices off an apple and eats them.
Very good. Sweet.
He cuts a slice and offers it to her. She doesn't take it. He puts the slice between them. After a long moment she picks it up but as she's about to eat it, she stops, seeing something on it. She puts it back.
Marion looks at the apple slice and sees a dark red splotch on it. He looks at his knife and realizes that it's dried blood.
Off-balance, he turns to Susan who stares straight ahead, a thousand miles from Marion.
EXT. CHERAW FALLS RIVER - DAY
Marion washes the knife carefully, almost obsessively. Anne steps up behind him.
May I ask you a question?
Marion finishes with the knife and puts it away without explanation.
Yes, of course.
She speaks with a sly, withheld smile.
Do you think Frances with an "e" is
too manly a name for a girl?
Do you think Francis with an "i" is
too womanly a name for a boy?
Anne smiles and walks away. Marion figures out what she just told him.
Marion laughs at the thought.
EXT. CHERAW FALLS - DAY
Marion's children swim and play with the two Great Danes in the pond at the base of the falls, along with Gabriel and Anne. Marion and Charlotte sit on the bank, watching them.
Charlotte turns and looks at Marion for a long moment. He's unaware. As Charlotte looks at him, her smile disappears, replaced by anger. She snaps at Marion.
I'm not my sister.
Startled, Marion turns to Charlotte.
I said, I'm not my sister.
I know that.
Of course, I do.
Very well, then.
She turns from him. Marion, tries to figure out what just happened. After a long moment he gets it. Stunned at first, his gears turn. After a very thoughtful moment he turns to Charlotte and offers a tentative smile. She rolls her eyes.
EXT. CHERAW FALLS - NIGHT
Dark. A full moon shines.
INT. TOBACCO SHED - NIGHT
Marion wakes. He looks across his sleeping children and sees that Charlotte isn't in her place on the other side< of them. He rises and walks out into the night.
EXT. GLEN - CHERAW FALLS - NIGHT
Marion walks into the glen. He tenses, sensing someone in front of him. Then he sees CHARLOTTE AT THE EDGE OF THE WOODS. Neither one speaks...
They walk silently to each other. They stop, looking at each other closely, as if seeing one another for the first time...
Only then do they kiss. The kiss grows more passionate... then much more passionate...
EXT. CHERAW FALLS - DAY
Marion finishes tying his gear onto his horse. The children are silent. He stands beside his horse. One after another, the children walk to him and embrace him -- Nathan, Samuel, Margaret, William.
He sees Susan, standing next to Charlotte. He motions to her but she doesn't move. Then he kneels down and gently hugs her.
Just a little goodbye? One word?
That's all I want to hear.
Susan remains silent, standing with her arms at her sides, not responding to the embrace.
Finally, Marion lets go of her. She just stares at him.
Marion stands and turns to Charlotte.
They embrace. Though the hug is chaste, their eyes tell a different story. Only Anne and Margaret notice, but to them it's as clear as a bell. They exchange a knowing look.
Marion and Charlotte break apart, self-consciously.
Marion and Gabriel mount up and start to ride away. As they're about to round a curve and disappear, SUSAN CRIES
With halting steps, then faster and faster, she runs down the path toward Marion.
Papa, don't go, I'll say anything.
Marion stops, turning in his saddle to see Susan running after him, her eyes filled with tears.
Please, Papa, I'll say anything you
Marion yanks his reins, turning his horse.
Just tell me what to say! Tell me
what to say!
Marion spurs his horse straight toward her, GALLOPING toward the running, crying child.
Please, Papa, please don't go.
MARION RIDES TOWARD HER...
Charlotte, Anne and Marion's children watch as:
MARION LEANS OVER IN THE SADDLE without slowing down...
SWOOPING HER INTO HIS LAP...
She sits astride the saddle, facing him, her arms wrapped around him, pleading, the words tumbling from her, as fast as she can get them out...
... I'll talk to you, I'll say
anything you want, just tell me what
you want me to say, I'll say
anything, I promise, please, Papa,
Marion envelopes the sobbing wisp of a girl, holding her, letting her cry, fighting his own tears...
He reins back the horse, stopping in front of the others...
He pleadingly looks to Charlotte who steps up to the horse... to take Susan...
Marion gives Susan a final embrace, and covers her face with kisses...
I'll come back... I promise...
Marion hands the still crying Susan down to Charlotte...
Marion, in agony, averts his eyes, yanks his reins, and spurs his horse...
As he rides away the children take off after him, running.
Susan seeing the others running after Marion, struggles out of Charlotte's arms, and runs after them as well...
Marion rides, now joined by Gabriel, faster and faster, leaving a trail of dust...
The children slow, then stop, one after another, watching as they ride away.
EXT. PATRIOT ENCAMPMENT - ACWORTH - EVENING
Grim. The most rudimentary of the encampments we've seen. Rain pours. Some of Marion's men huddle under lean-to's and quickly rigged tents that offer only partial protection from the cold rain.
Abner and Scott do their best to keep a wet-wood fire going. Rev. Oliver tries to cook.
Marion and Gabriel ride up and dismount. Marion joins Rev. Oliver.
How many came back?
About a hundred and twenty. Less
than a third.
Marion nods. He and Gabriel join some of the men under one of the lean-to's.
EXT. RIVERSIDE - DAY
The rain has stopped. The ground is still wet. It's spring. The first buds are on the maple trees. A fox tentatively comes out of its winter den, followed by a pair of pups.
Marion stands on the side of a river, looking up at a chevron of Canadian geese flying north.
EXT. PEMBROKE - DAY
The Canadian Geese fly over Anne who is behind her father's store, tying food and provisions to a couple of packhorses. A mare and a foal cavort in a nearby paddock.
Suddenly Anne senses someone behind her and turns to see HALF-A DOZEN REDCOATS. She's initially frightened but the REDCOAT SERGEANT, speaks politely.
Excuse me, Ma'am, everyone has been
requested to gather at the church.
Colonel Tarleton wants to address,
the whole village.
The Redcoat Sergeant deferentially motions for Anne to follow him and his men. She sees several other townspeople, with Redcoat escorts, already heading down the street. She follows along.
EXT. PEMBROKE VILLAGE SQUARE - DAY
Tarleton and Wilkins, on horseback, watch as a large, mixed detachment of Green Dragoons and Redcoat Infantry directs the villagers into the church.
One of the Redcoats walks out of the general store with a bowl of gumdrops. As he starts giving them to a few of the children their parents waver, unsure of the gesture,
but they reluctantly allow the children to take the candy.
The townspeople are uneasy but they follow the orders of the Redcoats who, though carry muskets, are polite and unthreatening.
Into the church, please.
Colonel Tarleton wishes to address
all of you.
Tarleton sees the last of the townspeople enter the church. He nods to the Redcoats near the door.
The Redcoats CLOSE THE DOORS, chaining them shut. The DOOR IS POUNDED ON from the inside.
Open this door!
By what right are we made prisoners?
TARLETON NODS TO GASKINS who, along with several rough- looking LOYALIST MILITIAMEN, disappear into the blacksmith shop. They reappear a moment later with FLAMING TORCHES and approach the church.
Several Redcoats see what's about to happen and are appalled. Even some of the Green Dragoons, including Wilkins, are troubled. Wilkins rides over to Tarleton.
Gaskins and the Loyalist Militia stop around the church, torches ready, waiting for the final go-ahead from Tarleton. The POUNDING AND CALLING from inside the church grows louder.
Sir, there is no honor in this.
The honor is found in the end, not
the means. This will be forgotten.
The Redcoats turn to the Redcoat Officers. The Redcoat officers turn to Wilkins, who struggles with himself. Tarleton calmly watches Wilkins' distress.
Finally, Wilkins accepts it. Weakly steadying his horse, he takes his place next to Tarleton.
The Redcoats and Dragoons follow his lead and watch as Gaskins and the Loyalist Militiamen light the church on fire, heaving their torches onto the roof, through the windows and under the raised foundation.
SCREAMS are heard from inside. The DOOR THUDS with the shoulders of men trying to escape. The CHAINS HOLD.
As the FLAMES RISE, another group of Loyalist Militiamen and some Redcoats drag half-a-dozen young women out of a side-street...
Among the women, desperately pleading, kicking and screaming, is ANNE...
The men drag her and the other women into the livery stable...
Tarleton watches them carried off, stone-faced...
Then he turns and watches the church go up in FLAMES...
A WINDOW SHATTERS, with a chair heaved from inside...
SOME MEN TRY TO CLIMB OUT, but waiting Redcoats FIRE THEIR MUSKETS POINT BLANK...
KILLING THREE MEN, driving the others back...
The SCREAMS FROM INSIDE THE CHURCH grow louder...
The FLAMES AND SMOKE RISE...
EXT. WOODS - PEMBROKE OUTSKIRTS - DAY
SILENCE. A dark forest of old growth trees. No underbrush. Marion and a couple dozen of his men, including Gabriel, Rev. Oliver, and Dalton ride warily on a carpet of pine needles toward a thin column of smoke, visible over the treetops in the distance.
With hand signals, Marion directs his men to fan out. They do so, weaving through the dark forest, weapons ready.
EXT. PEMBROKE - DAY
Marion and his men slowly ride into Pembroke. The remains of the church smolder only slightly. The town is deserted, no one, dead or alive, is visible.
Unsure what they have found, Marion and his men spread out and dismount, warily checking out the buildings, looking for some sign of life.
Rev. Oliver and a few other men head for the charred remains of the church.
Side-stepping some still-hot, charred beams, Rev. Oliver looks through the rubble...
Then he sees the bodies...
THE CAMERA CATCHES ONLY A FLEETING GLIMPSE of...
Dozens of charred, blackened bodies, intertwined with the remains of the church...
Rev. Oliver staggers from the rubble...
The other men see what he has seen...
One-by-one Marion and his men walk over and look into the remains of the church...
Marion see several charred hands extended through a shattered window, as if grasping for escape... one of the hands is tiny, A CHILD'S HAND...
Marion is stunned...
No one says a word...
Dalton and a few of the other men continue the search, weapons ready...
They step into the livery stable, then walk out a moment later, ashen faced...
Dalton speaks quietly to Marion, motioning toward an< increasingly frantic Gabriel who has just found Anne's packhorses...
Gabriel notices the gesture, he watches Marion walk into the livery stable... Growing more nervous by the second, Gabriel hurries after his father...
As Gabriel gets to the entrance of the livery stable, Marion walks out and intercepts him.
Don't go in there.
Is it her? Is Anne in there?
She is. Don't go in there.
Gabriel understands... he reels... growing faint... Marion grabs him... keeping him from falling...
Marion holds Gabriel who begins to weep...
EXT. PEMBROKE - DAY
Marion's men, led by Rev. Oliver, tend to the dead. Some dig in the small graveyard adjacent to the remains of the church. Others carry out the grim task of pulling the charred bodies out of the rubble.
ON THE EDGE OF TOWN
Marion sits alone. Gabriel walks up behind him.
Father, tell me what happened at
You know what happened.
No, I don't.
Everyone knows. It's what made me a
hero. Me, Harry Lee, all of us. I
got a medal. Men bought me drinks.
They still do sometimes. Everyone
knows what happened.
Tell me what everyone doesn't know.
And what do they know?
That the French and Cherokees
captured the fort and when you
retook it, you took revenge on them
for what they did during the
That's not enough. Tell me.
Your mother asked me the same
question around the time you were
born. I was drunk and I was foolish
enough to answer her.
Marion shakes his head to himself.
That's why it was four years between
you and Thomas. It took me that
long to regain her respect.
I'm not my mother. I can't have the
respect without the knowing.
Marion's quiet for a moment. Then he speaks:
It was in '63. It was a bad time.
The French and the Cherokee had
raided along the Blue Ridge. All
the English settlers took refuge at
Fort Wilderness but the French
captured it. We were sent in
relief. Harry Lee, Billings, sixty
of us. We already had something of
a reputation for being... harsh.
When we got there the fort was
abandoned. Not a French soldier or
Cherokee anywhere. They had left a
week earlier. What we found was...
Marion grows quieter with the memory of how bad.
They had left the settlers there.
The men had been burned alive, the
women were in pieces and the
children were on stakes.
Marion's silent for a moment.
We buried them, then we went to
track. It was a cold trail and they
were moving fast. We went faster.
We caught up to them at Kentucky
We took our time with them and gave
every one of them worse than they
had given at the fort. It was two
weeks before they were all dead, all
except two. We put the heads on a
pallet and had the two we let live
take it to the French at Fort
The eyes, fingers and tongues we put
in a basket and sent that down the
Asheulot to the Cherokee.
The French stayed east of the Blue
Ridge after that and the Cherokee
broke their treaty with the French
and stayed out of the fight.
That seemed to make a difference.
The war went another year, things
went better... and men bought us
Gabriel is silent. Marion looks at him closely.
It was a different time, son. And
you're a better man than that.
I see, do as I say, not as I do.
They hear HORSES HOOVES. Abner rides in from the opposite side of the village from the church, not having seen the results of the massacre. Excited, he dismounts.
THEY'RE HERE! CONTINENTALS, THEY'RE
Marion and Gabriel just look at him. Abner is confused by their reaction. Then he sees the remains of the church and the laid out, charred bodies.
EXT. PATRIOT ENCAMPMENT - NIGHT
Mixed gatherings of Marion's militia and Continentals are clustered around the campfires, with more Continentals arriving all the time.
Some of the militiamen and regulars regale each other with tales of their exploits but most are grim and tired, talking quietly.
A couple of Patriots play a MELANCHOLY TUNE ON FIFE AND VIOLIN.
Marion's tent is set up but he's nowhere to be seen. Gabriel walks to Marion's gear. Finding Marion's weapon's belt he opens one of the bullet pouches and finds the paint-flecked MUSKET BALLS MADE FROM THOMAS' LEAD SOLDIERS. As Gabriel takes one, Marion steps up behind
If this war is about more than
Thomas, it's about more than Anne,
as well. Stay the course.
As you did at Fort Wilderness?
Before Marion can answer they see HARRY LEE RIDE UP TO THEM. He dismounts, excited, voluble. He strides over, pleased to see Marion, oblivious to his and Gabriel's mood.
Look at you! I knew you could do
Lee laughs, picks up a bottle and takes a big pull.
We have a chance! Better than a
chance! Cornwallis is running to
the Chesapeake, probably to meet his
fleet at Yorktown. I wish I could
see his face when he sees a dozen
French ships floating there. And
Washington should be a day or two
And on top of everything, I have a
son! Born last month in Alexandria.
Gabriel rises and walks away. Lee finally tunes into the pall hanging over Marion and the just departed Gabriel. He turns to Marion.
His wife was killed yesterday. She
was with child.
I'm sorry, I didn't know.
Marion nods. They stand in silence. Lee hands Marion the bottle. He takes a drink.
EXT. ENCAMPMENT - NIGHT
Dark. Quiet. Sentries are on duty. Marion's tent glows from a single candle. He blows the candle out, then steps out of the tent into the night.
He begins his nightly walk of the perimeter.
Almost immediately, Marion notices something amiss. Dalton has discovered it at the same time and hurries over to Marion.
AT ONE OF THE CAMPSITES
Marion and Dalton and several of the other men look down at some empty bedrolls.
Gabriel and at least a dozen others.
They must have left right after the
That means they have two hours on
Marion strides to his horse. The other men follow him.
EXT. WOODED ROAD - NIGHT
Marion, Dalton and Rev. Oliver and two dozen other men ride.
EXT. WOODED ROAD - NIGHT
Dark. Very quiet. A moonless night. Marion and his men, on foot, make their way along the side of the river. Brother Joseph hurries out of the darkness and speaks to arion.
Fifty Green Dragoons, camped about a
quarter mile from here. Sentries at
Suddenly they hear the SOUNDS OF MUSKETS FIRE ahead of them in the darkness. Marion takes off at a full run with his men right behind.
EXT. OUTSKIRTS OF GREEN DRAGOON ENCAMPMENT - NIGHT
Marion and his men BLAST THROUGH THE BRUSH. Running toward the SOUNDS OF THE BATTLE, which grows louder with every step...
Marion cocks his pistol and extracts his tomahawk on the run...
The LIGHTS OF THE BATTLE: The STROBES OF THE MUSKET SHOTS illuminate the woods ahead of them...
Moving fast, they PASS TWO DEAD BRITISH SENTRIES, without slowing down...
THEY BLAST OUT OF THE WOODS into...
THE CLEARING, seeing a tableau of TOTAL CHAOS:
Half-dressed GREEN DRAGOONS in formation FIRE IN VOLLEYS...
Running men. Scattered MUSKET FIRE.
The strobes of the muskets illuminate RUNNING MEN and other men in HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT.
WILKINS IS IN COMMAND. Tarleton is nowhere to be seen.
Gabriel and Abner, both slightly wounded, fight a desperate holding action...
On the other side of the clearing, a square of Dragoons forms near Wilkins.
The DRAGOONS FIRE A MASSED VOLLEY, hitting Gabriel, Abner and several other Patriots.
GABRIEL, BADLY WOUNDED, falls to his knees...
The Dragoons pull their pistols about to fire again.
Marion and his men OPEN FIRE...
Marion sees Wilkins about to fire at Gabriel...
Sees another Redcoat about to fire at Gabriel...
MARION KILLS HIM with a pistol shot.
Wilkins cocks his flintlock pistol, aims at Gabriel...
MARION'S ABOUT TO THROW HIS TOMAHAWK... TOO LATE...
WILKINS FIRES... HITTING GABRIEL WHO FLIES BACKWARD...
Marion THROWS THE TOMAHAWK, sinking it into Wilkins' chest...
The rest of Marion's men thunder into the Dragoons...
Marion races to Gabriel...
Throws himself onto the ground next to him...
Gabriel is stunned, confused by the wounds.
I'm alright, I...
He tries to stand...
Let me help you...
Gabriel weakens in Marion's arms... falters... Marion watches the life drain from Gabriel... He tries to hold the blood in, to no avail...
Dalton plants himself next to Marion, defending him and Gabriel...
Marion caresses Gabriel and watches as...
The life drains from Marion. No anger. Only pain. He looks at Gabriel, lost in a dream, an incomprehensible nightmare of loss and overwhelming emptiness.
EXT. CLEARING - DAWN
Marion's men finish laying out the bodies of their dead. The Dragoons are still where they fell. The Patriots are laid out in a row, their faces covered by their coats.
Marion sits on the battlefield, next to Gabriel's body. Dalton gingerly approaches him.
Marion slowly stands and picks up Gabriel's body, cradling him like a child. They head off into the brush.
EXT. PATRIOT ENCAMPMENT - NIGHT
More Continentals have arrived, now outnumbering Marion's men three-to-one. The encampment is active. A few of the men drink and TALK LOUDLY. The two men playing the fife and violin PLAY A MORE VIBRANT TUNE.
INT. MARION'S TENT - NIGHT
Dark. Shadowed. The sounds of celebration can be heard outside the tent.
Marion sits on his camp chair. Gabriel lies on the ground carefully covered up to his chin with a blanket. A single candle burns.
Rev. Oliver enters the tent.
May I help you try to find solace
with the word of God?
Colonel, let us help his soul find
it's place with the Almighty and...
He looks as if he's sleeping,
Yes, he does.
Rev. Oliver pulls up a camp stool. He and Marion sit in silence.
EXT. MARION'S ENCAMPMENT - MORNING
The Patriots, Continentals and Militia, are moving out. Most of the tents have been taken down. Wagons are rolling out. Companies of Continentals march off in good order.
MARION'S TENT still stands. His men finish packing up, storing their heavy gear in wagons, tying their field gear onto their horses.
IN THE TENT
Marion still sits. A FLY BUZZES. Gabriel's face has taken on a deathly, ashen look.
Lee enters the tent. He's silent for a moment, then speaks softly to Marion.
You have to bury him.
I'll help you bury him.
Lee moves toward Gabriel's body.
Don't touch him.
How many men have we seen die?
Two. Gabriel and Thomas.
They're gone. And there is nothing
you or I can do to bring them back.
But there is something you can do to
help end all this.
It is ended.
No. It's not over yet. Two days
ride, Yorktown, Virginia.
Washington, the French, Cornwallis
and Tarleton. It will end, one way
Francis, nothing will replace your
sons but helping us will justify
Marion doesn't respond. Lee waits for a long moment, then he hears the SOUND OF THE DEPARTING TROOPS OUTSIDE THE TENT.
He looks at Marion, touches him on the shoulder and walks out.
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