March 26, 1999
MARTIN stands among the children, all of whom look to Martin with pleading eyes, waiting for him to do something.
Papa, look what they did to
Father, they're going to take
With stone-faced fury, Martin watches the Redcoats do their work.
With leveled muskets, Redcoats motion Joshua, Jonah, Mica and Abner off. As they turn to Abigale, she rises up protectively, putting herself in front of the family.
I'm not leaving these children...
you can shoot me, you damned
One coarse-looking Redcoat raises his musket to oblige. Martin intercedes with icy silence, motioning for Abigale to go. Reluctantly she moves away from the children at gunpoint.
From the barns, they hear the sounds of MUSKETS FIRING and the SQUEALS OF THE LIVESTOCK being killed.
Other REDCOATS TORCH THE HOUSE, BARN AND OUTBUILDINGS. The FLAMES RISE.
The Redcoats bring out Martin's wagons and carriages and begin loading the Redcoat wounded.
The Redcoat Lieutenant and several of his men walk among the Patriot wounded who start to struggle to their feet, begging for mercy. The Redcoats quickly OPEN FIRE, as if to get it over with.
The WOUNDED PATRIOTS CRY OUT. More SHOTS. Then SILENCE.
GABRIEL, his hands bound behind him, looks to his father with a combination of resoluteness and fear.
Father, you can't let them take
Martin and the children watch as a detachment of Redcoat infantry forms up and move out, leading Gabriel on a tether. Gabriel looks back but a hard jerk on the rope by one of the Redcoats turns him around.
The remaining Redcoats, cavalry, finish firing the buildings, mount up and head off, upriver, with the freedmen in the wagons.
THE INSTANT THE REDCOATS ARE OUT OF SIGHT, MARTIN speaks firmly to his weeping children.
MARTIN STRIDES to his front door and ENTERS THE BURNING HOUSE.
INSIDE, FIRE EVERYWHERE. Picking a route between the flames, Martin walks to his bedroom gun cabinet. He opens it and pulls out weapons -- a Pennsylvania rifle, two muskets, two pistols, a long-bladed knife.
Then he ducks into the closet, opens the trunk and takes out the TOMAHAWK...
Martin carries it, the guns, powder horns and ammunition pouches back toward the door.
Martin walks OUT OF THE BURNING HOUSE. Without breaking stride, he throws muskets to:
They catch the weapons.
Margaret, take William and Susan to
the river shed. Hide there. If
we're not back by dawn, go upriver
to the Richardson's house. They'll
take you to your Aunt Charlotte's.
Nathan, Samuel, and I are going to
But what about Thomas?
Leave him. Take care of William and
Martin runs off toward the woods, Nathan and Samuel follow. Margaret hesitates, then herds William and Susan toward the river. The house is enveloped in flames.
EXT. WOODED PATH - AFTERNOON
Martin runs, breathing hard, keeping a punishing, steady pace. Nathan and Samuel run behind, less winded than their father. Martin makes up with cold fury what he lacks in youth.
EXT. WOODED HILLSIDE - AFTERNOON
Martin runs up to the crest of a wooded hill. Slows. Crawls the last few feet. Nathan and Samuel just behind him. Looks over the hillside.
A path runs through a glen, about fifty feet below. Martin's eyes dart, absorbing the terrain, looking for advantage. He points.
Nathan, there. Samuel, there.
The boys go where they're told.
I'll fire first. Then, Nathan, kill
whoever is standing closest to
Gabriel. Samuel, kill the last man
in the line.
They stagger under the weight of the orders. Martin notices but continues.
After that, Samuel, load for Nathan.
If something happens to me, put down
your weapons and run as fast as you
can, that way, downhill. Hide in
the brush by the river, then make
your way home, get the others and go
to Aunt Charlotte's.
The boys hesitate. Martin looks at them firmly.
NATHAN & SAMUEL
Martin disappears into the underbrush.
DOWN THE PATH
The dozen Redcoats approach. Leading Gabriel on the rope.
AHEAD OF THEM
Martin waits in the thick undergrowth.
On the hillside, Nathan and Samuel grip their muskets and exchange a frightened, troubled look.
The REDCOATS enter the glen.
MARTIN waits and waits. Then, picking his moment, he FIRES, killing the Redcoat Lieutenant with a shot to the chest.
NATHAN AND SAMUEL INSTANTLY FIRE, dropping the last Redcoat in the line and the one holding Gabriel's rope.
THE REDCOATS STOP in confusion...
GABRIEL kneels, out of the line of fire.
The REDCOAT SERGEANT takes command...
FORM BY TWOS! BACK-TO-BACK LINES...
MARTIN KILLS the Sergeant with a shot to the throat...
Samuel finishes reloading, swaps muskets with Nathan who FIRES, DROPPING ANOTHER REDCOAT.
Martin FIRES, killing the Corporal, the last man of rank...
Martin ducks to the side as a VOLLEY OF REDCOAT MUSKET FIRE tears into the spot marked by Martin's rifle smoke...
FROM THIS MOMENT ON, MARTIN NEVER STOPS MOVING. He strides rather than runs, staying just inside the brush, offering only glimpses of himself. He changes his pace and direction repeatedly, ducking and weaving, firing and loading while moving. He never gives the Redcoats a stationary target, especially one marked by billowing smoke from his flintlock. It's an Indian tactic and it works.
The Redcoats TRACK HIM WITH THEIR BARRELS, about to fire... Martin suddenly STOPS DEAD, REVERSES DIRECTION, several REDCOATS FIRE AND MISS.
Six Redcoats left. Some primed, some reloading. A REDCOAT draws a bead on Martin who drops to the ground and FIRES, killing him.
Another REDCOAT aims at Martin. GABRIEL BULLS INTO HIM, causing his shot to go awry...
As the Redcoat turns on Gabriel, Martin kills him with another shot...
Samuel, WEEPING as he loads, hands a primed musket to Nathan who FIRES...
The Redcoats turn their attention to THE SPOT MARKED BY NATHAN'S SMOKE...
Martin SEES THE REDCOATS AIMING TOWARD THE BOYS. He instantly STRIDES OUT INTO THE OPEN, drawing the Redcoats' attention from his sons...
Martin FIRES BOTH HIS PISTOLS, killing two Redcoats...
One Redcoat finishes reloading... Martin rushes him, shoves aside the barrel and SLAMS him in the face with the butt of the musket...
This is a VICIOUS, SAVAGE MARTIN, killing with the same stunning brutality seen in the opening sequence...
Martin drops his own expended rifle and CATCHES THE REDCOAT'S LOADED MUSKET before it hits the ground shoves that musket into another Redcoat's belly and FIRES...
Two Redcoats left, neither finished loading...
MARTIN CHARGES, drawing his TOMAHAWK, ignores a GLANCING BAYONET WOUND to the neck, HACKS a Redcoat open...
Splattering himself with BLOOD...
The final Redcoat, an athletic but cherubic-face young man, tries to duck into the woods but Martin leaps in front of him, blocking his path.
Martin's sons, all with spent weapons, watch as the Redcoat grabs a dropped SWORD and squares off with Martin who is armed only with the TOMAHAWK.
The Redcoat SLASHES... Martin dodges the blow, ducks under another SLASH and in an unusual but practiced motion, STRIKES UPWARD WITH THE TOMAHAWK, nearly severing the Redcoat's arm...
Then, without pausing to offer quarter, Martin raises the tomahawk and butchers the Redcoat with a quick series of hacking blows...
Martin's sons are stunned at their father's savagery...
Samuel weeps. Martin, battle-focused, checks the Redcoats bodies, unaware of his sons' eyes on him.
EXT. FRESH WATER PLANTATION - DAY
CAMERA TRACKS past the smoldering remains of Martin's house to a CLOSE SHOT of several of THOMAS' LEAD SOLDIERS lying in the dirt. Martin's hand reaches INTO FRAME and picks up the soldiers. WIDEN TO REVEAL Martin, picking up Thomas' body. Martin's children watch as he carries Thomas off.
EXT. HILLTOP - FRESH WATER PLANTATION - DAY
Martin puts the last shovelfuls of dirt on Thomas' grave. Near tears and unsure of what to do next, he turns to Elizabeth's gravestone. The soft wind blows.
He turns and sees his children looking up at him. With an extreme effort of will, he holds in his own tears, gathers the children around him, allowing them to cry.
EXT. BENNINGTON OVERLOOK - DAY
Martin and his children, walking from their home, stop at the overlook, seeing the Santee River valley spread out before them. The SMOKE from two dozen farms rises.
The Morgans, the Halseys, Williams,
The smoke from the separate fires joins together high in the sky, forming what looks like stormclouds. They walk on.
EXT. CHARLOTTE'S FARM - NIGHT
Martin and his children wait in the cover of the woods. They see a pair of shadowed figures coming toward them from the house, Gabriel and Charlotte.
Father, it's safe.
Martin hustles the children out of the woods.
INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT
Charlotte sits, holding a sleeping Susan. The other children lie awake on pallets. Martin, still streaked with dried blood and sweat, tucks William and Margaret into bed.
Martin moves on to Nathan.
Father... I killed those men...
You did what I told you to do. Do
not blame yourself.
I'm glad I killed them... I'm
Martin isn't. He turns to Samuel who's cried-out. Martin reaches out to touch him but Samuel recoils from Martin's blood-streaked hand. Martin sighs and tucks him in.
INT. CHARLOTTE'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
CLOSE SHOT: A drink is poured. PULL BACK to reveal Martin downing the drink, pouring and drinking another. Behind him, Charlotte prepares water and bandages at a washbasin.
THE SOUND OF HORSEMEN. Gabriel walks in, tired. He fights tears.
I never should have come. It's why
he's dead... it's my fault...
Gabriel turns to Martin, as if waiting for reassurance. Martin, lost in his own grief and guilt, says nothing. They stand in silence for a long moment, then Gabriel speaks softly.
Gates is at Hillsboro with the
Continental Army. I'll leave in the
morning to join him.
Martin nods. Gabriel leaves Martin alone with Charlotte. She pours water into the washbowl and motions for Martin to sit. She begins cleaning away the blood and tending his wounds. She looks after Gabriel.
That poor boy...
How did I let this happen?
Neither you, nor Gabriel could have
I should have known... once I would
have... I used to be wary... and
today I watched my son killed before
my eyes... your sister civilized me
and I damn myself for having let
You have done nothing for which you
should be ashamed.
INT. CHARLOTTE'S BARN - MORNING
A drained Gabriel finishes saddling his horse. He leads the horse out to:
EXT. BARN YARD - CHARLOTTE'S PLANTATION - MORNING
A surprised Gabriel sees Martin, standing next to a saddled horse, with Charlotte and the other children nearby.
Where are you going?
We have some dispatches to deliver.
Gabriel simply nods, already carrying too much weight to respond strongly. Martin turns for goodbyes. He embraces Nathan and Samuel, then Margaret, William and Susan.
When will you be back?
I don't know, William.
Martin winces. Margaret puts her arm around William.
No, not tomorrow.
Martin kisses them both, then moves on to Susan, trying to coax a word out of the silent four-year-old:
She just looks at him.
Just one word? Goodbye? That's all
Susan shakes her head. He sighs, rises and turns to Charlotte. They embrace. Martin mounts up and heads off with Gabriel. Susan, unnoticed and unheard, whispers:
Martin and Gabriel ride away.
EXT. CAMDEN ROAD - DAY
Martin and Gabriel ride past the signs of a small skirmish. Bodies. Abandoned wagons. Dead horses. A burning farm.
EXT. CAMDEN HILLSIDE - DAY
Martin and Gabriel ride to the crest of a hill. A vista spreads out before them. They see an awesome sight -- A MASSIVE SLASH OF RED approaches a MASSIVE SLASH OF BLUE.
A battle is taking place about five miles away. Gabriel starts to spur his horse but Martin GRABS GABRIEL'S REINS and YANKS, restraining him.
No, it's too late.
Gabriel struggles with his mount, but Martin holds fast. Gabriel stops, turning to the scene unfolding before them.
At this distance, the moving slashes of color are beautiful. The slash of red stops. Martin and Gabriel hear only a GENTLE WIND and some nearby SONGBIRDS. Then, from a black mass on the side of the red slash, a silent eruption of white smoke.
EXT. CAMDEN BATTLEFIELD - DAY
The NOISE OF CANNONFIRE AND SCREAMS IS DEAFENING as DOZENS OF CANNONBALLS hurtle through the Continental lines...
Each eighteen pound steel ball cuts it own insane path through the walls of blue-uniformed men, leaving a trail of SCREAMING MEN, severed limbs, torn flesh and blood...
One cannonball -- crushes a skull, cuts three men nearly in half, smashes straight through a wagon, slams into a tree, killing four more men with a shower of splinters...
Another cannonball, fired low, bounces along the ground, shattering leg, after leg, after leg, after, leg...
Another cannonball, careens madly, changing direction with each bounce, passing harmlessly past scores of terrified men, miraculously touching none...
Then, something hideous: A CANNON FIRES CHAIN SHOT, a pair of cannonballs linked by chain... cutting a six-foot- wide path of bloody and mutilated men through the ranks...
A bank of CANNONS FIRE... the roar of the cannons is drowned out by the SCREAMS...
EXT. CAMDEN HILLSIDE - DAY
Martin and Gabriel see the blue slash silently quiver. A moment later the SOUND OF THE CANNONS, RUMBLES UP THE HILL...
The RED SLASH STOPS moving. It darkens as thousands of Redcoats raise their muskets and the front rank kneels into firing position.
Martin's eyes dart. He knows what's coming.
Break for the trees... break for the
A MASSIVE ERUPTION OF WHITE SMOKE billows from the red slash.
EXT. CAMDEN BATTLEFIELD - DAY
Every single man in the Patriot front rank takes a massive musket ball into or through his body...
Those in the second rank who are not killed by the balls passing through the men in front, are blinded by a shower of blood, flesh and shards of shattered bone...
Chaos... no advance... no retreat... nothing to do but die...
EXT. CAMDEN HILLSIDE - DAY
Martin and Gabriel see the blue line start to break up. The SOUND OF THE BRITISH MUSKETS reaches them like the pattering of rain. The SMOKE OF INEFFECTIVE, SCATTERED VOLLEYS erupts from the Patriot lines. The red line holds firm.
Send them to cover! Goddamn you!
But the blue line stays in the open field.
EXT. REDCOAT COMMAND POSITION - DAY
Cornwallis, his eyes scanning, taking in every detail of the battle, sits on horseback with his staff officers, including Tavington. With speed, efficiency and surprising calmness, he gives orders to waiting riders.
Second Foot, wheel right, advance
Cornwallis points. The riders gallop off to deliver the order.
Second Brigade, Horse, charge at
(another rider goes)
Colonel Tavington, have at their
With pleasure, sir.
Tavington smiles grimly and gallops off to join his men.
EXT. CAMDEN HILLSIDE - DAY
Martin and Gabriel watch as fast moving green and red masses move quickly onto the battlefield. Cavalry.
Father, we have to do something...
Martin shakes his head, still holding Gabriel's reins tightly.
EXT. CAMDEN BATTLEFIELD - DAY
The British cavalry THUNDERS into what's left of the Patriot lines. Redcoats and Green Dragoons, armed with sabers, hack and slash at the wounded, disoriented Continentals...
One Patriot dismounts a Redcoat only to have another Redcoat cut him open from behind...
Behind the cavalry, Redcoat infantry, including a BRIGADE OF AFRICAN REDCOATS, advancing at a run, bayonets leveled...
One after another Patriot is knocked to the ground and trampled by the cavalry. The SCREAMS CONTINUE...
EXT. CAMDEN HILLSIDE - DAY
Martin and Gabriel see tiny bits of blue moving in every direction, away from the masses of red and green.
It's already over.
Martin turns his horse and heads down the hill, toward the rear of the Patriot lines. Behind them, the colors swirl and dance silently on the distant field.
EXT. AMERICAN ENCAMPMENT - NIGHT
A nightmare. SCREAMS OF AGONY. A few hundred battered, Patriot survivors treat their wounded and prepare to move out.
Martin and Gabriel ride into camp, passing nervous sentries. They dismount and walk past a field surgery which is surrounded by pools of blood and amputated legs and arms.
Gabriel notices something, stops and picks up a tattered flag, Old Glory, covered with blood and mud and nearly torn to bits. A battered, WOUNDED CONTINENTAL limps by, seeing Gabriel trying to piece the flag together.
Don't bother, it's a lost cause.
Gabriel considers the words, then sees Martin near HARRY LEE, who is at a make-shift command post, barking orders, trying to pull things together. Gabriel stuffs the flag into his haversack and hurries over.
Lieutenant, detail men for
outriders. We move out as soon as
the wounded are ready.
The Lieutenant rushes off. Lee notices Martin and Gabriel. He jerks his head for them to follow him into:
LEE'S COMMAND TENT
Dark. Once out of sight of the men, Lee loses his command bearing. Exhausted, he leans on his campaign table.
I'm sorry I wasn't here for this.
There's nothing you could have done,
Gates is a damned fool.
I begged him to stay in the cover of
the trees but he insisted the only
way to break Cornwallis was muzzle-
to-muzzle. Too many years in the
Where is he now?
Last anyone saw, riding hard,
northeast, his staff a hundred yards
behind, trying to catch up.
Who's in command?
I am, I think.
What are my orders?
Lee gives Martin a tired smile.
Why the change of heart?
Green Dragoons came to my home,
killed my son, Thomas. It was
Lee winces and looks at Martin with silent sympathy. then, taking his cue from Martin's hard expression, Lee steps over to his campaign table and ROLLS OUT A MAP.
We're a breath away from losing this
war. In the North, Washington is
reeling from Valley Forge, running
and hiding from Clinton and twelve
Here in the South, Cornwallis has
broken our back. He captured over
five thousand of our troops when he
took Charleston and today he
destroyed the only army that stood
between him and New York.
So now Cornwallis will head north,
link up with Clinton and finish off
Unless we can keep Cornwallis in the
South until the French arrive... a
fleet and ten thousand troops.
Fall, six months at the earliest.
And you're sure the French are
A VOICE speaks up out a dark corner of the tent.
JEAN DELANCEY steps out of the shadows. He's about Martin's age and wears a French major's uniform.
Benjamin Martin, Major Jean
DeLancey, French Seventh Light Foot.
DeLancey nods coolly to Martin.
I know him by reputation.
Gabriel notes the comment. Martin ignores it. DeLancey stabs the map with his finger.
The bigger problem is not if or when
my countrymen will arrive, but
where. Our Admiral de Grasse will
not sail north of your Chesapeake
Bay for fear of early storms.
So you're going to try to keep
Cornwallis in the South until then.
Not me, you and Major DeLancey. I'm
going north with every Continental
I can find to reinforce Washington
or he won't last six weeks.
Martin turns to DeLancey.
How many men do you have?
DeLancey motions to himself. Martin turns back to Lee.
You expect Cornwallis to be held
here by militia?
Held, slowed down...
They're not soldiers, they're
farmers. And you're asking them to
hold a tiger in their backyard.
They'd be better off letting it move
They'd be better off, but the cause
How many men does Cornwallis have
under his command?
Four thousand infantry and around
six hundred cavalry...
... including the Green Dragoons
Martin and Lee lock eyes. Martin nods. Lee quickly writes.
I'm giving you a field commission as
He hands the order to Martin.
I'd like you to transfer my son,
here, into my command...
Sir, no I...
Colonel Lee, I believe I can do more
good detailed to you...
Martin and Lee simultaneously turn to Gabriel with a double-barreled glare. Gabriel backs down.
EXT. AMERICAN ENCAMPMENT - EVENING
Martin, Gabriel and DeLancey stand watching Lee and his Continental regulars move out. Gabriel turns to Martin.
I've been doing this for two years.
I'm the best scout in the
Continental Army, the best horseman,
the best shot, the best scavenger.
Is that so?
Yes, sir. I could be of better
service with the regulars.
Martin looks at Gabriel closely. DeLancey listens.
Where'd you learn all those things,
My father taught me.
He teach you humility?
He tried. It didn't take.
Well, he did teach you every deer
path and swamp trail between here
and Charleston, which is why he
asked for your transfer.
Not to keep an eye on me?
Martin mounts up, having lost patience with Gabriel's personal concerns. He turns to DeLancey.
Can you ride?
DeLancey looks at Martin with a tolerant expression that says, with perfect clarity, "What the fuck do you think?" DeLancey mounts up. Martin shrugs.
We put out the word. We'll start
along the south side of the
We'd cover more ground if we split
Martin holds his temper.
It's safer if we stay together.
So I was right?
Martin sighs, his anger dissipating. He rolls his eyes.
Alright, Corporal, you take
Bennington, Harrisville, Acworth and
the farms along Black Swamp. Major
DeLancey and I will take the north
side of the river. We'll meet at
They mount up.
... be careful.
Martin shakes his head at Gabriel's pigheadedness and they ride off. As they go, Martin turns to DeLancey.
You have children?
DeLancey, stone-faced, pointedly does not answer. Martin notes that and shuts up. They ride on.
EXT. BRITISH FIELD HEADQUARTERS - CAMDEN - DAY
A massive British army field encampment. Large detachments of Redcoats march through endless rows of tents. Some are battle-worn, others are fresh troops moving out.
TAVINGTON and his GREEN DRAGOONS, covered with dirt and sweat, ride in. Tavington and Wilkins peel off, dismounting in front of an elegant mansion that has been commandeered for British headquarters. They stride in.
INT. CORNWALLIS' HEADQUARTERS - CAMDEN MANSION - DAY
British officers, clerks and aides work. They're in good spirits. Tavington and Wilkins enter. LORD CORNWALLIS, a proud man, comfortable with command, coldly notes one of his officers slapping Tavington on the back.
Tavington rolls out a map for Cornwallis. The officers gather around.
Colonel Tavington, this is not an
We have better coming on the
trailing supply convoy from
A useful place for our maps.
Tavington swallows his anger.
I'm sorry, sir. It won't happen
See that it doesn't. Gentlemen,
celebration is premature. We have a
difficult campaign ahead of us. We
are in predominately hostile country
and we cannot rely on forage. As we
move north, the bulk of our supplies
will reach us by sea, through
Charleston, which will give us a
long and vulnerable supply line, one
that can only be secured if the
locals are loyal to the crown.
Nonetheless, and I speak
specifically to you, Colonel
Tavington, we must remember that
this is a civil war...
Tavington proudly holds Cornwallis' look.
These colonials are our brethren and
when this conflict is over, we will
be reestablishing commerce with
them. Surrendering troops will be
given quarter and unwarranted
assaults on civilians will cease.
Wilkins shifts uneasily. Tavington isn't cowed.
I expect this war to be fought in a
vigorous but civilized manner.
Cornwallis looks at his other officers.
Have I made myself clear, gentlemen?
Cornwallis shifts his eyes back to Tavington who was not among those who spoke. Tavington pointedly pauses a moment, then says:
Cornwallis turns his attention back to the map. His men gather around. Tavington seethes.
Film Scripts: 3/26/99 Draft Page 4
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