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The Patriot Resource - The Patriot

THE PATRIOT
by
Robert Rodat
March 26, 1999
Con't


EXT. CORNWALLIS' FIELD HEADQUARTERS - CAMDEN - DAY

Tavington and Wilkins walk out.

WILKINS
Hmmm, that was unpleasant.

TAVINGTON
Did you know that Lord Cornwallis'
father was a tenant on the estate of
my grandfather?

Wilkins laughs uneasily. Tavington rides off. Wilkins follows.

INT. CHURCH - PEMBROKE - DAY

REV. OLIVER, a stern and sturdy man of the cloth, addresses his flock, among whom are Mr. and Mrs. Howard; Anne; and DAN SCOTT and ROB FIELDING, decent craftsmen. Gabriel slips in and sits in the rear pew.

REV. OLIVER
... and so those of us who call
ourselves Patriots must ask
ourselves first, how best we might
serve the Lord, knowing that service
to Him is rendered here on earth.
Ask yourself if it is possible to
forsake righteousness in the pursuit
of justice and freedom...

Gabriel stands.

GABRIEL
And end up like those men outside?

All eyes turn to Gabriel.

GABRIEL
Your liberty is in jeopardy, more
dire than that which threatens your
righteousness.

HARDWICK skeptically shakes his head and jerks his head out toward the hanging bodies.

HARDWICK
If King George can hang those men
out there, he can hang any of us.

GABRIEL
If enough of you come with me and
serve in the Patriot militia, you
won't have to be afraid of King
George.

HARDWICK
I do fear King George and know of no
reason why I should test him.

A light, female voice speaks out:

ANNE (O.S.)
Liberty, that's the reason.

They all turn to see Anne. A few of the men roll their eyes at her earnestness. Gabriel looks at her appreciatively. Her father is surprised but guardedly proud as she continues.

ANNE
If we let the Redcoats take away our
God-given rights, then we serve
neither God, nor ourselves, we serve
only King George.

Silence. Rev. Oliver locks his eyes on Anne who withers a bit.

REV. OLIVER
Anne...

ANNE
I'm sorry, Reverend...

REV. OLIVER
Don't be. I couldn't have said it
better myself.

Rev. Oliver takes off his clerical robe, revealing a South Carolina militia uniform.

REV. OLIVER
As I was saying, we must ask
ourselves how best we might serve
here on earth.

A moment. Dan Scott stands. Another moment. Rob Fielding stands. Another moment. Hardwick stands. Gabriel nods, pleased, then steals a quick, appreciative glance at Anne.

EXT. BRADFORD CROSSROADS - NIGHT

Martin and DeLancey ride slowly into town which is little more than a crossroads -- an inn, a trading post, a livery stable and a few shacks and tents. The people they pass shoot suspicious glares at them. As they stop in front of the Boar's Head Inn and Tavern, DeLancey looks around.

DELANCEY
What sort of recruits will you find
here?

INT. BOAR'S HEAD TAVERN - NIGHT

Dark. Smoke-filled. Ominous. A dozen coarse, heavily armed, grizzled men drink at rough-hewn tables in the filthy tavern. Among them are BROTHER RANDOLPH, a Native- American; DANVERS, a one-armed hard-looking man; and OCCAM, a strong-looking, gently-eyed African.

Martin and DeLancey walk in and stop at the door, met by cold, hard glares from every man in the place. DeLancey speaks quietly to Martin, unheard by the patrons:

DELANCEY
You are sure this is the right place
to recruit?

Martin steps forward and calls out loudly:

MARTIN
GOD SAVE KING GEORGE!

Every man in the place rises, glaring viciously at Martin and DeLancey. Martin turns to DeLancey.

MARTIN
We're in the right place.

INT. BOAR'S HEAD TAVERN - LATER

Martin sits at a table, writing out enlistment scripts. The rough men are gathered around, drinking, smoking, watching.

BROTHER JOSEPH
Any bounty?

MARTIN
No scalp money, but you can keep or
sell back to me the muskets and gear
of any Redcoat you kill. Twenty
shillings a kit.

Brother Joseph nods, takes a script. JOHN BILLINGS, a big, grizzled man about Martin's age steps up to the table.

BILLINGS
You expect to hold Cornwallis with
militia?

Martin looks up with a thin, familiar smile.

MARTIN
John Billings... been some time.

BILLINGS
Trust you and Harry Lee. Remember
that damned overland you two thought
up in '62 to hit Fort Louis?

MARTIN
It worked.

Billings nods and takes a drink. He trades bottle for script with Martin who drinks as Billings signs. ROLLINS, a huge, beast of a man sits with his feral, red-haired, freckle-faced, six-year-old son at his side. Rollins spits a huge hocker of tobacco juice onto the floor.

ROLLINS
Twenty shillings kit bounty...
that's like to get me near rich.
I'm in.

Danvers steps up, takes the bottle from Martin and drinks.

DANVERS
My brother got hanged down to
Acworth. A pissant Redcoat
lieutenant said he'll kill me if I
cut him down... he's all swelled up.
(holds up his stump)
I ain't no good to you, but you can
have my negro, here, fight in my
'stead.

Occam is startled to hear that.

DANVERS
Bring him back if you can, if not,
so long's you make them pay.

Martin nods and drinks, as do the others, including DeLancey.

EXT. SNOW'S ISLAND - SANTEE SWAMPS - NIGHT

A CACOPHONY OF BIRDS AND INSECTS. Swamp maples and willows form a canopy over moss-covered mounds and pools of plant-choked water. Gabriel leads several men, riding along a dry path that snakes through the swamp. They cross a narrow land bridge onto a wooded island where Martin and a dozen-and-a-half coarse-looking men are encamped.

CLOSE SHOT: Several of Thomas' brightly painted LEAD SOLDIERS MELT in a cast-iron pan.

Gabriel steps up behind Martin and watches as he pours the lead into a bullet mold.

GABRIEL
This war is about more than Thomas.

MARTIN
How many did you get?

GABRIEL
Twelve.

Martin glances at the new arrivals as Gabriel looks over at the knot of coarse men Martin got. Occam sits apart from the coarse men, gripping a Bible. Gabriel doesn't notice him.

GABRIEL
That's not the sort we need.

MARTIN
That's just the sort we need.

Martin closes the lid of the bullet mold and dips it into a bucket of water which HISSES and STEAMS. Billings and DeLancey listen.

GABRIEL
If you're here only for revenge,
you're doing a disservice to Thomas
as well as yourself.

MARTIN
How old are you?

GABRIEL
You know how old I am.

MARTIN
God help us all when you're forty.

Martin takes the still hot bullets from the mold and puts them in a pouch attached to his weapons' belt. Gabriel shakes his head and heads off to tend his horse.

BILLINGS
What about me? Am I one of that
sort?

MARTIN
You're the sort that gives that sort
a bad name.

Billings considers that and takes a drink.

MARTIN
Put away the bottle. We move out in
two hours.

EXT. SWAMP ROAD - DAY

A raised road through the dark swamp. Only mottled sunlight pierces the canopy. INSECTS BUZZ.

A British supply train of several dozen wagons, a herd of horses and accompanying Redcoats makes its way down the road.

In the darkness of the swamps on either side of the road, shadowed figures, obscured by the mud, water and foliage, track them...

All is still... a BIRD SCREECHES...

BOTH SIDES OF THE ROAD ERUPTS IN MUSKET FIRE...

Perfectly aimed SHOTS... fired by unseen men hidden deep within the swamp...

First the REDCOAT MEN OF RANK FALL, a captain, a lieutenant, two sergeants... then the corporals...

Then, the SLAUGHTER of the privates begins...

They try to gather themselves for a volley but the WITHERING CROSSFIRE is relentless...

A few Redcoats get off SHOTS to no effect and those who fire are immediately targeted and KILLED...

It's a battle with ghosts, that cannot be won by the exposed Redcoats...

Down to a dozen Redcoats, most with spent muskets...

No chance... they ABANDON THE WAGONS AND FLEE, back down the road...

Only to find their way suddenly BLOCKED by...

MARTIN AND A PHALANX of the roughest of his men, standing directly in their path in the middle of the road...

Martin raises his tomahawk and CHARGES, followed closely by Billings, DeLancey, Brother Randolph and others...

They wade into the terrified Redcoats, FIRING at POINT BLANK range, HACKING at them with tomahawk and sword and knife...

At the wagons, Gabriel, Rev. Oliver, Scott and others scramble up onto the road...

Watch, stunned, at the viciousness with which Martin and his cohort SLAUGHTER the Redcoats...

Two Redcoats left... about to throw down their weapons... DeLancey and Billings race up to them and HACK THEM TO DEATH, DeLancey using his sword, Billings his massive hunting knife...

Gabriel and Rev. Oliver are appalled.

REV. OLIVER
Stop...!

Too late... the REDCOATS FALL... ALL DEAD...

SILENCE... everyone stops where they stand, catching their breath... surveying the scene through a hovering cloud of musket smoke...

GABRIEL
Father! Those men were about to
surrender.

Billings laughs. DeLancey shrugs.

DELANCEY
Perhaps. We shall never know, shall
we?

That angers Gabriel, Rev. Oliver and the civilized men near them.

REV. OLIVER
That was murder!

Martin looks around at the carnage.

MARTIN
A delicate distinction...

He sees that his brigade has divided into two hostile groups.

MARTIN
... but in the future wounded and
surrendering British soldiers will
be given quarter.

DELANCEY
I piss on your delicate
distinction...

The men all stop.

DELANCEY
A British man-of-war made no such
"distinction," when it fired on a
packet carrying my wife and
daughters...

All eyes turn to DeLancey.

DELANCEY
I stood on a bark, two hundred yards
off, watching as they were burned
alive.

Silence.

MARTIN
You have my sympathy, but the order
stands.

DELANCEY
Piss on your sympathy. Who are you
to give such an order? I know what
you and your men did at Fort Charles
to my countrymen.

Gabriel notes the comment.

MARTIN
I'm the commanding officer of this
brigade. This is militia, not
regular army. Every man here comes
and goes as he pleases, but while
he's here, he follows my orders.

DeLancey calmly leans down and uses the coat of the man he just killed to wipe the blood from the blade of his sword. He stands.

DELANCEY
I serve at my pleasure. I do not
serve under you.

He grips his sword. All eyes shift to Martin for his response. Martin, holding his bloody tomahawk, locks eyes with DeLancey. A tense moment.

A COMMOTION OF BARKING DOGS AND YELLING MEN draws their attention. The stand-off breaks. DeLancey nods.

DELANCEY
And it is my pleasure to give
quarter to wounded and surrendering
British soldiers... for the time
being.

That's good enough for Martin. He strides over toward the wagons where he finds Billings cowering before TWO HUGE GREAT DANES, standing guard at one of the wagons.

BILLINGS
Shoot them! Shoot the damn things!

Rollins prepares to do so.

MARTIN
Put that pistol down!

SCOTT
They followed us from the bridge.
They won't let anyone near the
wagon.

Martin steps forward, speaking softly but firmly to the dogs.

MARTIN
Stay... stay... stay...

The dogs waver between obeying Martin and ripping out his throat.

MARTIN
Don't you growl at me!

The dogs decide to obey. Martin lets them sniff his hand, then firmly pats them.

MARTIN
Now let's see what's in this wagon.

Several of the men check out the wagons. Billings eases past the dogs. Scott opens a large case and finds it filled with bottles.

SCOTT
Rum, French Champagne, Madeira,
Port...

BILLINGS
No wonder they were guarding it.

Gabriel opens a trunk and finds it filled with powdered wigs, all perfectly coifed and stored on head-shaped wig- stands. Rev. Oliver opens one of several identical cases and finds it filled with papers.

REV. OLIVER
My heavens, personal correspondence
of... Lord Cornwallis.

Martin grabs some papers, scans them, then finds matching cases on nearby wagons.

MARTIN
These four wagons must be his.

GABRIEL
And the dogs, too, I'll wager.

BILLINGS
I say we drink the wine, shoot the
dogs, and use the papers for musket
wadding.

MARTIN
His journals, letters, maps,
books...

Scott calls from another wagon.

SCOTT
Colonel, we got a wagon full of
officer's uniforms and more powder
and muskets here.

Ignoring Scott, Martin grabs another handful of the papers and starts to read.

EXT. SNOW'S ISLAND ENCAMPMENT - NIGHT

CAMERA MOVES through the encampment as Martin's men take inventory of the British wagons. The coarse men are drunkenly celebrating: drinking Cornwallis' champagne and fine wine; trying on his magnificent dress uniforms; wearing his wigs askew; sniffing his perfumes; playing catch with a crystal vase.

Gabriel sits at a different campfire, ham-handedly trying to repair the TATTERED OLD GLORY with a needle and thread. The civilized men and DeLancey take inventory, casting side-long glances at the coarse men. DeLancey is mostly interested in the weapons.

DELANCEY
... two-hundred-sixty-six Brown Bess
muskets, forty-one casks of powder,
balls, tamping...

Rev. Oliver writes it down.

BILLINGS
We have enough arms for an army.
Now all we need is an army.

Rollins, clutching a bottle of champagne, wearing a powdered wig askew, staggers over, jerking his head toward DeLancey.

ROLLINS
That's his job... French army,
sometime 'fore this is all over,
huh?

DELANCEY
In time, trust me, in time.

Martin sits apart from the men 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. Martin's old boots stand empty while he wears a new, distinctive pair, apparently from Cornwallis' baggage. The TWO GREAT DANES sit nearby, eyeing Martin warily.

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.

Martin hasn't moved. He still reads Cornwallis' journal. Finally, he looks up, sees that it's dawn, stretches and walks over to a campfire where Billings, DeLancey and Rev. Oliver cook. The dogs follow at a distance.

Gabriel sews, having made a bit, but only a bit, of progress with the badly damaged Old Glory.

BILLINGS
Well?

MARTIN
I've just been inside the mind of a
genius. Lord Cornwallis knows more
about war than I could in a dozen
lifetimes.

BILLINGS
Cheerful news to greet the morn.

MARTIN
His victories at Charleston and
Camden were perfect, strategically,
tactically, logistically. But he
has a weakness.

They all turn to Martin.

MARTIN
Lord Cornwallis is brilliant. His
weakness is that he knows it.

GABRIEL
Father?

MARTIN
Pride is his weakness.

The men consider that.

DELANCEY
Personally, I'd would prefer
stupidity.

MARTIN
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.

-- Martin rides with about fifty men.

-- A British supply convoy makes its way through the woods. Suddenly, Martin'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.

-- Martin rides with about seventy-five men.

-- Cornwallis finishes reading a dispatch and furiously flings it across the room.

-- Martin rides with about one hundred men.

-- A Redcoat nails a wanted poster to a post. It reads: "Reward Offered: For the capture or death of the rebel known as 'The Swamp Fox'".

-- Snow's Island. Martin 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 Martin's men BLARE in celebration.

-- A column of wounded Redcoats limps into a village, past the watchful eyes of some townsmen, among whom are DRAKE AND CHRISTOPHER. The two Americans exchange a look.

-- Martin rides with about one-hundred-fifty men. Among them, now, are Drake and Christopher.

-- The wanted poster is torn off the post. PULL BACK to reveal Martin, crumpling it up and throwing it onto the ground.

-- Martin, 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. Martin sits with his muddy feet on Cornwallis' campaign desk, reading Cornwallis' journal, with Cornwallis' Great Danes at his side.

EXT. CAMDEN PLANTATION - NIGHT

A gorgeous plantation built on the edge of a river. A ball is beginning on the terraced lawn. Beyond, on the banks of the river, Cornwallis' army is encamped. Two ships are docked. One, the YORK, is being unloaded. The other, the BRISTOL, waits.

At the house, a line of OPULENT CARRIAGES discharges well- dressed passengers. Ladies in their finery. Patrician husbands. Redcoat and Green Dragoon officers in magnificent dress uniforms.

INT. CORNWALLIS' PERSONAL QUARTERS - EVENING

A valet scurries. A distressed, half-dressed Cornwallis looks at his reflection in a full-length mirror. Tavington watches, hiding his amusement. A SECOND VALET hurries in with an elaborate dress coat.

VALET #2
Finished, sir! I took it in at the
back... added wider epaulets... a
court sash here... cross braiding to
the waist... lion buttons... looped
gold braid on the cuffs...

Cornwallis examines the coat.

CORNWALLIS
A horse blanket.

TAVINGTON
It's really quite nice, sir.

CORNWALLIS
It's a nice horse blanket.
(sneering)
Where did you get that braiding?

The nervous Valet grips the coat and stumbles over his answer. The other valet begins powdering Cornwallis' wig.

CORNWALLIS
Colonel Tavington, why am I here?

TAVINGTON
For the ball, sir? I believe you
find them amusing.

CORNWALLIS
Why, after six weeks, am I still
here to attend a ball in South
Carolina. By now, I should be
attending balls in North Carolina.

TAVINGTON
Our supply line, sir?

CORNWALLIS
Excellent guess, Colonel.

Tavington bristles.

CORNWALLIS
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?

TAVINGTON
Sir, they're not like regulars, we
can't find them and we don't know
when or where they're going to
strike.

CORNWALLIS
How impolite. And who leads these
clever, secretive fellows?

TAVINGTON
We don't know, sir. He's called,
the Commander by some, the Swamp Fox
by others.

CORNWALLIS
Colonel, I'm a civilized man but I'm
finding to difficult to remain
civil. Secure my supply line.

TAVINGTON
Yes, sir.

Cornwallis gazes at his half-dressed reflection.

CORNWALLIS
Somewhere in the wilderness a well-
dressed Colonial stands, looking at
his magnificent reflection in the
still waters of a rustic pond,
thumbing his nose at me.
(sighs)
Give me that horse blanket.

EXT. CAMDEN PLANTATION HOUSE - NIGHT

CORNWALLIS steps to a CURTAIN-EDGED DOORWAY, attended by his staff officers. He looks out at the ball, lit by hundreds of candles, torches and lanterns which bath the scene in soft, golden light.

Among the guests is a patrician, his face unseen, standing casually within earshot, looking the other direction, wearing a distinctive pair of boots.

Two of Cornwallis' subordinate officers walk by with lovely Colonial women on their arms. Both of the officers wear dress uniforms that put Cornwallis' slap-dash creation to shame. Cornwallis deflates, then sees the ships being unloaded.

CORNWALLIS
Major Halbert, our supply ships are
docked. Why am I wearing these
rags?

Cornwallis shoots a glare to Halbert.

MAJOR HALBERT
I, uh, understand and it has the
loveliest creations for you from the
finest Charleston tailors.

CORNWALLIS
The finest Charleston tailors, how
encouraging.

Cornwallis notices the BRAIDING ON THE CURTAIN next to him. To his horror, it matches the braiding on his dress coat, and worse, a two-foot portion of the curtain's braiding is missing. Cornwallis grimaces and skitters away from the curtain in as dignified a manner as he can muster.

As he goes he comes face-to-face with the patrician who turns, revealing Martin. They have an instant of eye contact before Cornwallis moves on. Cornwallis senses something familiar about Martin's boots and looks back curiously, then continues off.

MARTIN steps over to a low balustrade and looks out at the docks, seeing the York tied up on the right side of the dock. He lifts a lantern and places it on the right side of column.

EXT. CAMDEN RIVER - NIGHT

SPYGLASS IMAGE of Martin placing the lantern. The spyglass is lowered and we see Billings in a small rowboat with several of Martin's men including Gabriel, DeLancey, Rev. Oliver, all dressed in Redcoat uniforms. Billings points to the ship on the right, the York. They row in that direction.

Some sentries on the ship glance at them, see their uniforms, then move on.

The rowboat pulls up alongside the ship, now unseen in the shadows below the curve of the hull. Gabriel takes a leg up from Rev. Oliver and pulls himself into an open cannon port. DeLancey hands him a gunpowder cask. Gabriel disappears inside the ship.

EXT. CAMDEN PLANTATION HOUSE - NIGHT

Cornwallis speaks with some staff officers and loyalist civilians, among whom are Simms and the spectacular MRS. TALBOT, and her toady of a husband, MR. TALBOT.

MRS. TALBOT
No! The beasts took your dogs, as
well?

CORNWALLIS
Fine animals, a gift from His
Majesty. Dead now, for all I know.

MRS. TALBOT
Is there no decency?

Cornwallis sadly shakes his head.

SIMMS
And the rebels still bedevil your
supply line?

Cornwallis puffs up a bit.

CORNWALLIS
A minor irritation... merely
militia. I have already...

A MASSIVE EXPLOSION LIGHTS UP THE NIGHT as the York erupts in a huge FIREBALL. British officers, including Tavington, RUSH OVER.

MAJOR HALBERT
Good God!

Simms turns to an astonished Cornwallis.

SIMMS
A minor irritation?

Cornwallis looks out at the fireball with silent fury.

EXT. CAMDEN RIVER - NIGHT

Martin's men row away from the burning ship. A SECONDARY EXPLOSION bursts from the York in the background.

EXT. CAMDEN PLANTATION HOUSE - NIGHT

More British officers and Loyalist civilians crowd the balustrade, watching the York. Yes ANOTHER EXPLOSION on the York sends up a FIREBALL which arches over the docks< and disappears into the open hatch of the Bristol. An instant later, the BRISTOL EXPLODES.

CORNWALLIS sees that and nearly explodes himself. He turns to Tavington and barks:

CORNWALLIS
Colonel Tavington, to horse. See if
you can run down these insolent
bastards!

TAVINGTON
Yes, sir.

Tavington hurries off the balcony, passing an oblivious Loyalist women who steps out from the house, sees the fireball and smiles gleefully.

LOYALIST WOMAN
Oh, fireworks! Lovely!

Martin, with a thin smile, walks unnoticed past a seething Cornwallis and disappears into the shadows.

EXT. PEMBROKE - DAY

Martin and his brigade ride into Pembroke. Townspeople greet them. Gabriel scans the crowd as he dismounts, looking for someone.

EXT. ANNE'S HOUSE - EVENING

CLOSE SHOT: A hand knocks on a door. PULL BACK as Mr. Howard, Anne's father, on his crutches, opens the door and finds Gabriel standing there with a bouquet. Anne, behind her father, looks up from cooking, embarrassed and pleased to see Gabriel.

MR. HOWARD
Gabriel.

GABRIEL
Mr. Howard. I've come to call on
Anne.

Mr. Howard looks Gabriel up and down, keeping him on the spit for a moment. Then he nods for Gabriel to enter.

INT. KITCHEN - HOWARD HOUSE - NIGHT

Gabriel holds his hands out for Anne's mother to wind her yarn while Anne sits nearby, searching for conversation under the watchful gazes of her parents.

ANNE
Is it getting warmer?

GABRIEL
Yes. I think it is. I think it
will be an early spring this year...
unless it's late.

Silence. Anne self-consciously pours tea for her parents and her guest. She serves her parents first, then Gabriel.

GABRIEL
Thank you, Anne.

He takes a sip. Savors it and nods appreciatively.

GABRIEL
It's very good.

ANNE
I'm pleased that you like it.

He smiles, revealing a mouth full of black teeth.

Film Scripts: 3/26/99 Draft Page 5





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