March 26, 1999
INT. ANNE'S BEDROOM - HOWARD HOUSE - NIGHT
Gabriel lies stiffly on one side of Anne's bed while her mother carefully sews him into a body-sized "bundling bag," a courtship ritual of the period.
With Anne looking on, embarrassed, her mother finishes the last few stitches, completely enclosing Gabriel, with only his head sticking out of the heavy, canvas bag.
Anne's mother gathers up her sewing kit and joins her husband who looks on sternly from the doorway.
You needn't worry, father.
Anne's parents leave them alone, taking their candle, plunging the room into near darkness.
Gabriel stiffly lies back on the bed. Anne stiffly lies next to him. Silence. They look at the ceiling. They both choke back titters of laughter. Then the dam breaks. They laugh together at the craziness of the ritual.
INT. ANNE'S PARENT'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
Dark. Anne's parents lie in bed listening. Through the wall they can her the MURMURED JABBERING of Gabriel and Anne talking and laughing a mile a minute in the adjacent bedroom. They exchange a look. Mr. Howard is worried.
Don't worry. I sew better than my
Less than reassured, Mr. Howard eases down into his bed with his wife.
EXT. PEMBROKE VILLAGE SQUARE - DAY
Martin's men water their horses and take supplies from the townspeople while Martin, with the two Great Danes at his side, talks with Mr. Howard.
... four baskets of apples, salt
pork, sweet potatoes, jerky, hard
tack, salt and powder, gun and
We can't pay for this...
You pay me what you can, when you
Martin thanks him with a handshake. They see, on the other side of the square, Gabriel and Anne talking intimately, apart from everyone. Howard smiles and gives a little rough laugh.
He reminds me of you before you got
old and ugly.
No, he takes after his mother...
Howard is taken aback by the gentleness of Martin'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
... Gabriel's already a better man
than I could ever hope to be...
You ever told him that?
Martin looks at Howard as if he were crazy. Then he shakes himself out of it and adopts a coarse, joking tone.
What do you mean, old and ugly?
You got me beat on both accounts.
The hell I do.
Martin mount up, grateful to leave the sincerity behind. Gabriel and Anne sees Martin and his men starting to ride off. He grabs Anne by the arm, pulls her behind a tree and gives her a goodbye kiss... a real kiss.
Then, leaving Anne breathless, he RUNS TO HIS HORSE, MOUNTS WITH A DRAMATIC LEAP and GALLOPS OFF, taking his place at his father's side.
Martin looks over. Gabriel smiles, revealing his blackened teeth. Martin looks at the teeth curiously as they ride away.
ANNE and the other townspeople watch them go. Anne smiles, revealing her own teeth, blackened from Gabriel's kiss.
EXT. CHARLESTON ROAD - DAY
Martin his men sit on their motionless horses in the middle of the road. 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!
Martin'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.
Martin sighs and lets loose with a PIERCING WHISTLE. The underbrush parts and more of Martin'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.
Martin exchanges a look with Rev. Oliver who, like Martin, doesn't want to kill these men. Seeing no other option, Martin 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...
Martin'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 Martin's men...
Martin'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, TAVINGTON among them...
MARTIN SEES THE DRAGOONS BUT NOT TAVINGTON HIMSELF...
MARTIN 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
Martin and his men GALLOP down the road. The much larger body of Green Dragoons THUNDER after them.
EXT. BLACK SWAMP ROAD - DAY
Martin 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 Martin's men, WOUNDING others...
Martin's men FIRE BACK as best they can, caught in the CHAOS OF BUCKING AND FALLING HORSES and WOUNDED AND DISMOUNTED MEN...
Martin and his men head off both sides of the road INTO THE SWAMP...
ON THE ROAD a dozen-and-a-half of Martin's men are surrounded by Green Dragoons... they surrender...
The rest of the Green Dragoons, including Tavington, spur their horses into the swamps, racing after Martin...
EXT. BLACK SWAMP - LATE AFTERNOON
MARTIN AND HIS MEN RIDE HARD along a circuitous, barely visible trail that is covered with shallow water. Several of the men are badly wounded, barely clinging to their saddles. Other men share mounts.
They 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, Tavington and the vanguard of Dragoons ride up. Tavington signals stop at the fork...
Looks... nothing. Listens... nothing. Chooses a path, the one Martin took. Rides off, the Dragoons following...
EXT. SWAMP MORASS - EVENING
Tavington and fifteen of his 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...
Tavington struggles harder than any, but finally even he has had enough. He reins back his horse.
Tavington glares into the impenetrable darkness of plant- choked water and swamp...
Enough of this. There are other
ways to run down a fox.
Tavington 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, Martin and about ten of his men, calm their horses. Several of the wounded men are on the ground, being tended by Gabriel and others.
They can hear, but not see the Dragoons. Then, through the thick undergrowth, MARTIN CATCHES A GLIMPSE OF TAVINGTON...
Gabriel sees his father lock his eyes on Tavington...
Martin quickly opens his weapons pouch and pulls out one of the bullets he made from Thomas' lead soldiers. Walking to his horse, Martin loads...
Martin mounts, scanning the terrain, planning a route...
As Martin spurs his horse to ride after Tavington, Gabriel grabs the bridle. He YANKS HARD, stopping Martin's horse dead. THE HORSE BUCKS, nearly throwing Martin...
That's him. Tavington.
MARTIN SPURS THE HORSE which tries to respond but is JERKED BACK AGAIN by Gabriel. Martin 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:
Martin looks down at Gabriel, then over at Rev. Oliver and the wounded men... one bleeds from an ugly neck wound, another is unconscious... their shared mounts are nearly spent...
Martin takes a last look in the direction of the departing Tavington. He drops the reins, giving control of the horse to Gabriel, and sighs with more anger than resignation.
You should have let me kill him.
At the expense of your men? Or when
he killed Thomas at the expense of
Or perhaps tomorrow at the expense
of our cause.
Martin is silent. Then he dismounts and heads over to help the wounded. Gabriel watches his father for a moment, then joins him with the wounded.
EXT. FORT CAROLINA - DAY
A REDCOAT SENTRY sees a lone figure on horseback ride out of distant woods. It's Martin, carrying a white flag and a dispatch case, trailed by the two Great Danes. The sentry calls to the Commander of the Watch.
INT. CORNWALLIS' HEADQUARTERS - FORT CAROLINA - DAY
A temporary HQ has been set up in a grand commandeered plantation house. Cornwallis stands uncomfortably while a incompetent-looking, provincial tailor measures him and marks alterations on a partially completed uniform. Major Halbert enters and hands Cornwallis Martin's dispatch case.
General, a rider is outside. He
claims to be the commander of the
rebel militia. He has a pair of
Great Danes with him.
A surprised Cornwallis takes the message and reads it.
It seems our Swamp Fox wants to have
a formal parley.
Cornwallis smiles confidently.
EXT. FORT CAROLINA - DAY
The gates are opened and Martin rides in, trailed by the Great Danes, flanked by half-a-dozen Redcoat cavalry. Redcoats and Green Dragoons stop in their tracks. All yes are on Martin as he is escorted to the plantation house.
From the far side of the assembly yard, Tavington watches Martin curiously, not recognizing him.
INT. CORNWALLIS' HEADQUARTERS - DAY
Major Halbert ushers Martin in. The Great Danes follow sniffing, sensing something or someone.
Lord Cornwallis will be with you
Major Halbert gives Martin a derisive glance and leaves. MARTIN ALONE, EXCEPT FOR THE DOGS, allows himself a fleeting smile. Then he looks around the room. He notes a rocking chair. Curious, he hefts it. Too heavy. He puts it down, sits and rocks.
The dogs walk over to him. One of the dogs lays its head in Martin's lap. He scratches it behind the ears. The other dog wants to play. Martin stands. The dog jumps up, putting its front legs on Martin's shoulders and licks his face just as Cornwallis walks in. Cornwallis is taken aback by the display of affection, but overjoyed to see his dogs.
The dogs just look at Cornwallis. He holds out his arms, waiting for them to rush to him. They look up at Martin who nods to them.
The dogs run to Cornwallis and nuzzle him in a friendly but not enthusiastic manner. Cornwallis pats them vigorously, too vigorously for the moderate level of joy the dogs are showing at their reunion.
My boys... my boys... you seem to
have been well fed. Thank you for
My pleasure, sir.
Please forgive me for keeping you
Thank you, Colonel... I'm afraid I
don't know your name.
Colonel will do.
As you wish.
TAVINGTON ENTERS with four Dragoons, all armed...
Martin and Tavington lock eyes. Martin searches for some sign that Tavington recognizes him. There's none.
Colonel... Colonel William
Martin, like ice, looks Tavington up and down. Then he slowly turns and looks at the four Dragoons, two on either side of Tavington. Martin measures the odds and finds them wanting.
With a supreme effort of will, Martin forces himself to turn from Tavington to Cornwallis and the matter at hand.
Shall we proceed?
Let us. Unless you object, I would
like to deem this meeting a formal
negotiation and, as such, there are
certain customary practices.
Perhaps I could explain them to
I'm familiar with how a formal
negotiation is handled.
I served in His Majesty's army in
the French and Indian War.
Oh. Very well, then. Would you, as
the initiating party, like to begin?
Unless you would like to claim
Cornwallis is surprised. He exchanges a look with Tavington.
You are familiar with how these
things are done. In fact, I would
like to claim aggrieved status.
Very well, proceed, sir.
First, you have in your possession
certain belongings of mine,
including clothing, private papers,
furniture and personal effects of a
non-military nature which I would
like to have returned to me.
I will do so as soon as possible.
Cornwallis is surprised.
Please accept my apology for not
having done so sooner.
Apology accepted. Now, on the
matter of the specific targeting of
officers during engagements, this is
That one is a bit more difficult.
Certainly you must know that in
civilized warfare, officers in the
field must not be accorded
inappropriate levels of hostile
And what are inappropriate levels of
Colonel, imagine the utter chaos
that would result from un-led armies
having at each other. There must be
gentlemen in command to lead and,
when appropriate, restrain their
Restrain them from the targeting of
civilians, including women and
That is a separate issue.
I consider them linked.
I beg to differ. One is a command
decision on your part. The other
represents nothing more than the
occasional over-exuberance of field
officers attempting to carry out
their duty in difficult
As long as your soldiers attack
civilians, I will order the shooting
of your officers at the outset of
And my men are excellent marksmen.
Very well, let us move on to...
You have eighteen of my men. I want
I do have eighteen criminals under
sentence of death, but I hold no
If that's your position, then
eighteen of your officers will die.
Nineteen, if you hang me with my
Martin steps to the window, checks the view. A wooded hillside is visible in the distance. Martin reaches into his jacket...
The Dragoons move on him...
Martin extracts not a weapon, but a spyglass, which he hands to Cornwallis.
In the clearing, just down from the
crest, to the left of the dark
Cornwallis looks through the spyglass.
VIEW THROUGH THE SPYGLASS
Though difficult to see clearly through the shimmering haze, Cornwallis can just make out a row of bound Redcoat officers, with Patriot soldiers holding muskets at their heads.
CORNWALLIS turns coldly to Martin.
Their names, ranks and posts?
They refused to give me their names.
Their ranks are nine lieutenants,
five captains, three majors and one
fat colonel who called me a cheeky
fellow. Their posts? We picked
them up here-and-there last night.
Cornwallis glares at Martin.
You are not a gentleman.
Martin can't help but laugh at the insult.
If your conduct is the measure of a
gentleman, I take that as a
Get my men.
Cornwallis turns to Colonel Huntington.
Arrange the exchange.
Colonel Huntington leaves to do so.
Thank you, General. I'm sure your
officers will thank you, as well.
Martin salutes Cornwallis who doesn't return the salute.
THEN MARTIN TURNS TO TAVINGTON. He walks up to him and looks him in the eye.
You don't remember me, do you?
Tavington examines Martin's face, finding him familiar, but unable to place him... then Tavington remembers...
Ah, yes, that boy.
Tavington calmly holds Martin's glare.
Ugly business, doing one's duty.
Yes, ugly business, doing one's
Martin takes a step closer to Tavington, then speaks very softly, very slowly, very clearly.
If you are alive when this war is
over, I'm going to kill you.
Martin locks his eyes on Tavington to make it perfectly clear that he means what he says. Tavington tries to cover his reaction but it's apparent that he's taken aback by Martin's icy words.
Martin turns and walks out. The two Great Danes start to follow, but Cornwallis SNAPS A COMMAND:
THE DOGS FREEZE, looking after Martin, who doesn't turn back. The dogs reluctantly sidle over to Cornwallis' side.
EXT. ASSEMBLY YARD - FORT CAROLINA - DAY
Redcoats glare at Martin who sits, mounted, waiting. His eighteen men are led out of the prison blockhouse and directed to waiting horses. Surprised to be freed, they mount up.
CORNWALLIS AND TAVINGTON step out onto the front porch of Cornwallis' headquarters and watch as Martin and his men ride toward the gate.
THE TWO GREAT DANES, watch Martin from Cornwallis' side.
Cornwallis motions to the Redcoat Sentries to OPEN THE GATES. They do so and Martin and his men, without hurrying, ride out.
Then, just as the gates are closing behind him, Martin, without turning around, lets loose with a PIERCING WHISTLE...
THE TWO GREAT DANES INSTANTLY RACE AFTER MARTIN, making it through the gates just as they're closing.
CORNWALLIS, seeing his dogs run after Martin, SPUTTERS, then turns and storms back into his quarters.
TAVINGTON, still off-balance from Martin's parting statement, watches Martin ride away. Then he turns to Major Wilkins who stands nearby.
Take a detachment and go get our
Wilkins hurries off.
EXT. HILLSIDE CLEARING - ABOVE FORT CAROLINA - DAY
Major Wilkins and a detachment of Green Dragoons ride up the wooded slope toward the bound Redcoat officers that Cornwallis saw through the spyglass. As the Dragoons ride out of the trees into the clearing they stop dead, seeing that:
THE "REDCOAT OFFICERS" are not real -- they're nothing more than SCARECROWS IN REDCOAT UNIFORMS. There's no sign of Martin or his men.
INT. CORNWALLIS' HEADQUARTERS - FORT CAROLINA - DAY
CLOSE SHOT: One of the "Redcoat Officers," stuffed with straw is thrown onto Cornwallis' desk by Tavington.
Cornwallis looks at the scarecrow, then turns to Tavington.
This fox believes himself clever.
Cornwallis grows eerily calm and turns to Tavington.
Colonel, how can we end this
Difficult, sir. This is, as you
pointed out, a civil war.
Cornwallis takes a moment, then speaks simply.
Civility is a secondary virtue. It
is superseded by duty.
I understand, sir.
Tavington smiles grimly and strides out.
EXT. FRESH WATER PLANTATION - DAY
Tavington and Wilkins wait while Green Dragoons and Loyalist militia search the remains of Martin's house and barn. Gaskins, filthy from the ashes, walks up to Tavington.
No one's been here for months.
But now we have a name for our
Colonel... Benjamin Martin. And with
a name will come a family.
EXT. CHARLOTTE'S PLANTATION HOUSE - NIGHT
A thick ground fog surrounds Charlotte's house. The soft lights of candles glow in the windows. All appears peaceful.
Then, the SHADOWED FIGURES of THREE DOZEN GREEN DRAGOONS appear out of the mist, silently approaching the house on foot.
INT. CHARLOTTE'S PLANTATION HOUSE - NIGHT
A fire crackles in the fireplace. A curtain blows in the open window. THE DOOR BURSTS OPEN. WINDOWS BREAK. Green Dragoons pour into the house, muskets brandished. No sign of occupants. Tavington and Wilkins stride in.
The Dragoons THUNDER UP THE STAIRS... Tavington watches the search... the parlor... nothing... The kitchen... food is cooking...
The dining room... the table is set, half-eaten food is on the plates, abandoned in mid-meal. TAVINGTON WALKS INTO THE DINING ROOM, touches some of the food, gauging its warmth.
They can't be far. Check the
outbuildings and the woods.
The Dragoons race outside.
EXT. CHARLOTTE'S PLANTATION HOUSE - NIGHT
A TORCH BURNS. A dozen Dragoons light torches off of it and fan out to search. The thick fog turns the torches into diffused, floating balls of light, turning the Dragoons into ghost-like apparitions.
CAMERA FOLLOWS ONE OF THE TORCHES, carried by a particularly rough-looking Dragoon who skirts the edge of the underbrush closest to the house. As the torch moves, its flame sends long shadows and shafts of light into the underbrush...
In the brush, TWO FACES, GABRIEL AND CHARLOTTE, dark, motionless, watching the search. Behind them, MARTIN'S OTHER CHILDREN, Nathan, Samuel, Margaret, William and Susan...
Around them, SEVERAL MORE OF MARTIN'S MEN, weapons ready.
Gabriel, where is father?
AT THE FRONT OF THE HOUSE, the torches converge, illuminating Tavington who gives the unheard order. The torches fan out and begin SETTING FIRE TO THE HOUSE, BARNS AND OUTBUILDINGS.
MARGARET grips Charlotte's arm. The rough-looking Dragoon gets closer, about to discover them... Nathan, looking the other way, doesn't notice, being more concerned with:
Gabriel, where is father...?
SUSAN'S EYES GROW WIDER... the others notice, turning their heads to see what she sees, which is:
A hundred yards away, on his rearing horse, lit by the flickering light of the burning house, surrounded by a dozen of his men. Martin FIRES HIS PISTOL into the air, drawing the attention of the Green Dragoons.
Several Dragoons FIRE, missing their marks. The others, including Tavington, race to their horses and mount up, giving chase as Martin and his men, turn their mounts and GALLOP OFF.
IN THE UNDERBRUSH, Charlotte, Gabriel, the children and the handful of Martin's men watch as Martin draws off the Green Dragoons. Then, Gabriel motions and they all ease back, disappearing into the brush.
EXT. SHANTY TOWN - NIGHT
A compound of rude shacks, built of scraps of lumber and rough-hewn logs, stands on the side of the Magpie River.
Martin's men wait with the children while Charlotte and Gabriel, flanked by Aaron and Abigail talk with several stern-looking, middle-aged, black FREEDMEN.
Joshua looks on, a shattered man, now with one arm and a terrible facial scar. He wears the remnants of a British army field jacket.
The conversation, which is out of the children's earshot, is testy, with one of the middle-aged freedmen particularly troubled.
Martin's stone-faced children look around, appraising their surroundings, registering the poverty of the shanty town.
THE DISCUSSION BETWEEN THE GROWN-UPS ends with a guarded exchange of handshakes. Gabriel, Charlotte, Aaron and Abigail rejoin the children and Martin's men.
It's all set.
They follow Aaron, down an alley to A SHACK. Small. Barely standing. The children stop in their tracks, knowing this is to be their new home.
Charlotte sees their hesitation. She walks up to the little structure, examining it with a critical eye. She looks in the doorway, seeing a single room, a dirt floor, wax-paper instead of glass in the windows, a rude, chimney-less fire-pit against the back wall. She smiles.
This will do very well.
She turns to Aaron and Abigail.
Charlotte walks inside without looking back. The children hesitate, then follow her inside.
Film Scripts: 3/26/99 Draft Page 6
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