Artic Blue Script
1 EXT. BOREAL FOREST - ALASKA - (AERIAL SHOT) - DAY
Flying. Not at the intangible height of a jet, but at
spitting distance from the treetops. We're in central
Alaska, the Big Lonely, just north of the Arctic Circle.
A thick forest follows the contours of mountain foothills
like a deep-pile carpet. Up at tree line the forest thins to
tundra, a grassy scruff turning red and yellow with the
coming of autumn.
On the horizon, the hills rise to meet the Endicott
Mountains, a great fortress wall of granite so sharp and
jagged that snow cannot stick to its face. This is how all
North America once looked -- raw, indomitable.
Then, abruptly coming into the SCENE is a colossal etching
across the landscape too deliberate to be of natural origin.
Bisecting this country like a metallic ribbon -- or a scar,
depending on your point of view -- is the 800-mile-long
Even the immensity of the pipeline is rendered insignificant
by the vastness of the land. It goes on, and on, and on...
A lone MAN walks along the Haul Road, a one-lane gravel
trail running parallel to the pipeline. The weather turns
sour -- rough wind and stinging snow cut across the man's
The man is ERIC DESMOND, twenty-four, clean-shaven,
determined. He's clearly out of place here, dressed in a
business suit and a light, camel-hair topcoat.
Eric is trying to follow some footprints in the snow -- a
predator's tracks, those of a wolf or coyote. But the
footprints ahead have faded, covered by the snow and wind.
The weather becomes more oppressive. Heavy snow, gale winds
and sub-zero temperatures make his progress tortuous. Eric
strives stubbornly forward.
Eric has gathered some branches. He tries to make a fire.
Moisture from his breath has frozen in the upturned collar
of his insufficient coat, and his skin is split raw from the
His hands are too numb to hold the matches. After several
attempts at striking one, he slumps down next to the pile of
wood, exhausted and frustrated.
The snow has covered the pile of branches. Eric still sits
next to it, partially covered in snow himself.
His face is a death mask: eyes half-open and dull, lips a
purplish blue, bloodless skin crystallizing as it ices over.
The wind HOWLS around him. The snow sticks to his eyelashes
and hair without melting.
2 INT. DARK BEDROOM - NIGHT
Eric bolts up in bed. Next to him, ANNE MARIE GAUVIN sits
up and hugs him. All that can be seen of her in the dark is
a lovely silhouette and a cascade of dark hair. After a
moment, Eric kisses her. He shakes off the dream and lies
3 EXT. HAUL ROAD AND PIPELINE - CLOSE - DAY
A metal sign, peppered with shotgun holes, is posted near a
pipeline support piling:
PIPELINE UTILITY CORRIDOR
Eric walks quietly past the sign, intent on something ahead
of him. Although still somewhat boyish in appearance, he's
confident and resolute in attitude. His clothes have a
distinctly western feel: Lucchese boots, Levis 501's, Mahan
cotton shirt. His down parka is unzipped in the sunny,
windless, forty-degree afternoon.
He pauses, then brings to his shoulder a rifle with a
four-power scope mounted atop it. He peers through the
HIS POV - THROUGH SCOPE
He puts the crosshairs on the shoulder flank of a big,
ivory-white timber wolf, fifty yards away.
BACK TO SCENE
Anne Marie stands beside Eric, a Nikon with a telephoto lens
in her hand, holding her breath in anticipation. She's
twenty-three, pretty, with soft features and piercing blue
eyes. She wears Eddie Bauer woman's gear like she was born
Eric expertly fixes his aim and slowly squeezes the trigger.
But instead of a loud retort, there is only the dull POP of
a CO2-powered dart gun.
The tranquilizer dart finds its mark in the wolf's fleshy
shoulder. The wolf takes off running, but almost
immediately slows, sits, then lies down.
Eric and Anne Marie hurry over to the wolf, who is breathing
deeply. Eric kneels next to him and strokes his thick fur.
What a beauty.
(to Anne Marie)
Hand me the transmitter.
Anne Marie passes to Eric a tiny, weatherproof homing device
attached to a steel collar band. Eric puts the collar
loosely around the wolf's neck and crimps it in place, all
the while TALKING soothingly to the semi-conscious animal.
Anne Marie smiles at Eric's tenderness and snaps some
With the collar in place and transmitter activated, Eric
backs away while the wolf tries to rouse itself from its
He's coming around fine.
Be right back. I left my
camcorder in the car.
3 CONTINUED: (2)
FOLLOW ANNE MARIE
as she hurries back to their International Scout. On the
door of the Scout is a stylized logo of an oil derrick,
under which are the words:
NORTHLAND PETROLEUM CORP.
Anne Marie opens the hatchback and grabs a video camera.
ANGLE ON ERIC AND THE WOLF
Eric smiles as the wolf wobbles tentatively to his feet and
trots unsteadily away. Near the tree line the wolf turns,
glances back at Eric and then disappears into the forest.
Anne Marie is taping the wolf's retreat. Looking through
the viewfinder, she crosses a gully between a pipeline
piling and a rock formation. Eric turns toward her and a
glint of light in the debris at her feet catches his eye.
Anne Marie! Stop!
She glances down. Something metal is half-buried in the
dead leaves and gravel.
Eric runs over. He pokes at the object with a stick. With
a SNAP, a steel leg trap chomps the stick in half. Anne
Marie jumps back. Eric brushes the dead leaves on the
ground behind her and she carefully backtracks out of the
He angrily rips the trap out of the ground, unearthing
several others attached to one another by a long chain.
Takes nerve, laying trap lines on
Eric slips the scope off the dart rifle and climbs up the
pipeline on foot pegs to the top of an anchoring point.
3 CONTINUED: (3)
Using the scope as a telescope, he scans up and down the
What are you doing?
He still might be around. I saw
fresh tire tracks coming in.
HIS POV - THROUGH SCOPE
The road and the pipeline stretch toward either horizon,
north and south. In the distance, a jeep is parked on the
Haul Road. Near it, a Man climbs down into another shallow
BACK TO SCENE
Eric hurries down the foot pegs.
Man and a jeep, about a mile and
a half down.
He jumps into the Scout. Anne Marie stuffs her cameras into
the hatchback. As soon as she climbs in, Eric tears out.
4 INT. SCOUT - (MOVING SHOT)
It races along the dusty gravel road at 60 MPH.
5 EXT. HAUL ROAD
Startled at the APPROACH of the Scout, the Trapper uproots
his traps and runs out of the ravine. He WHISTLES and
another Trapper appears nearby.
6 INT. TRAPPERS' JEEP
They pile into their dilapidated, all-terrain jeep. It's
oddly well-equipped, however. Bolted to the dashboard is an
expensive tape player and a beat-up radio beacon receiver
with a round locating screen. They zoom off.
7 INT. SCOUT - (MOVING SHOT)
Eric stomps on the gas. The dust from the jeep obscures his
view but he's gaining on them anyway. Anne Marie hangs on
and squints her eyes against the choking dust.
8 INT. TRAPPERS' JEEP - (MOVING SHOT)
The driver is LEMALLE (35), a tall, ugly, raw-boned Canadian.
His entire outfit is made of animal hide. He has long red
hair, and a reptilian face usually twisted into a sadistic
sneer. While driving, he scans along the pipeline.
Where the fuck did you drop
In the passenger seat, MITCHELL (38), chews tobacco and
looks grim. He's a squat, flat-faced Okie, with curly
matted hair and tired grey eyes. He's dressed in a brown
long coat and has a Colt .45 Peacemaker in a quick-draw
holster strapped to his leg. Despite his intimidating air,
confrontation is not his style.
He spots a figure up ahead, where the road crosses a muddy
He's over there.
9 EXT. HAUL ROAD
Turning sharply, the trappers' jeep splashes through the
creek bed without slowing. Bouncing, it comes down hard
against the axle-deep bank at the creek's high water mark.
LeMalle tries to back out, but can't find traction in the
Eric stops the Scout thirty yards behind them.
10 INT. SCOUT
Eric opens his door. To Anne Marie:
Be careful -- there're two of
Eric reaches in the back seat and hands something to Anne
If I unzip my parka, stick this
out the window.
11 EXT. HAUL ROAD
Eric confidently approaches the jeep.
Then, a third trapper climbs from the creek. He's got a
line of traps slung around his neck and a world of
experience on his face. He's BEN CORBETT, a life-long
huntsman, somewhere past forty, weathered beyond his years.
He has a feral nose, thick beard and dark, smart, hunter's
eyes. He wears a hooded cotton sweat shirt, cotton
coveralls and vapour-barrier mountain boots. On his belt is
a holster rig cradling a .44 magnum revolver.
Eric slows down. He didn't expect to face anyone as
formidable as Corbett.
12 INT. / EXT. JEEP
Emboldened by Corbett's presence, LeMalle reaches into the
back seat and grabs his 6.5 by 55 Swedish military carbine.
No shooting. Let's see who's so
interested in us.
Corbett has an incongruously affable voice. He throws his
traps into the jeep, then strides closer toward Eric.
Ain't worth it, Ben...
13 EXT. HAUL ROAD - CREEK CROSSING - LONG SHOT
As Corbett comes closer, Eric realizes this might not've
been a great idea. Corbett squints his eyes and sniffs the
air, as if by this he can gauge his opponent's mettle.
You got two counts against you --
trapping out of season and
poaching on restricted land.
Can't be much of a crime, if all
they got minding the area is a
I got your plate number, asshole.
Maybe you feel like spending a
few months in jail.
Corbett just smiles.
But LeMalle, rankled, sticks the carbine out the jeep
Seeing the rifle pointed at him, Eric freezes, then slowly
unzips his parka.
Ben? Sure you don't want me to
drop the fucker?
Corbett doesn't answer. Then, his eyes narrow and he looks
past Eric at the Scout.
The passenger in the Scout sticks what looks like another
rifle out the window.
BACK TO SCENE
Eric quickly glances over his shoulder to make sure Anne
Marie's backing him up.
You leave and don't come back,
that's the end of it.
After a long moment, Corbett smiles again, then turns away
from Eric. He motions LeMalle to the front of the jeep.
Frustrated, LeMalle slams back the safety on the carbine and
throws it in the back seat.
ANGLE ON TRAPPERS
Mitchell climbs into the jeep and starts the engine.
LeMalle and Corbett rock the jeep back and forth in the rut.
While pushing, Corbett rips the sole of his boot on a sharp
piece of granite. He cusses and pushes harder.
14 EXT. HAUL ROAD - CREEK CROSSING
Eric walks back to the Scout. He feels the trappers' eyes
on his back, but forces himself not to hurry.
The trappers free their vehicle. Corbett gets in the
driver's seat, and they take off.
15 INT. SCOUT
Anne Marie's hands are shaking as she pulls the plastic
tranquilizer rifle back in the window.
Great idea -- pointing a lousy
dart gun at some nut with a
high-powered hunting rifle.
Bastards took off, though, didn't
16 EXT. BOREAL FOREST - LATER THAT DAY
The trappers have left the flatlands of the Haul Road area.
Now their jeep climbs a pathway over the rolling foothills.
17 INT. TRAPPERS' JEEP - (MOVING SHOT)
Corbett broods while driving. Mitchell looks out the
window. The silence makes LeMalle uncomfortable.
All this fuckin' land, and we're
locked out. Makes me puke.
Jawing about it won't change it.
Three hundred seventy-five
million acres in this state. I'm
real tired of runnin' into
Then don't look to your left.
18 EXT. SPORTSMEN'S CAMP
A brand-new Land Rover is parked on an alluvial fan in a
bend in a small river. Scattered about is an assortment of
expensive camping gear, beer cans, spent shells and other
Three toy-macho, vacationing SPORTSMEN are guzzling beer and
BLASTING fish in the shallow river with 12-gauge shotguns.
They look up and glower suspiciously as the jeep slows and
19 INT. TRAPPERS' JEEP
LeMalle grabs his carbine.
Leave it here.
Let's keep going. We're only an
hour from Devil's Cauldron.
(pats Mitchell's shoulder)
Relax. I just want to ask them
how the hunting is.
20 EXT. SPORTSMEN'S CAMP
Corbett gets out of the jeep. He regards the Sportsmen,
their shotguns and their mess with ill-concealed contempt.
The Sportsmen clutch their weapons and watch Corbett. He
walks around the camp, spotting a rubber-lined rucksack
stuffed with dead ermine. After a long, tense moment,
Looks like you've had some luck.
Where's your guide?
We're on our own, if it's any of
your damn business.
You did real good.
He crouches next to the dead animals and strokes the fur.
No swinging shit. They're over
their goddamned limit.
My friend is right. Supposed to
have a licensed guide when you're
on this land, too.
Hey, we paid our fuckin' permit
LeMalle amuses himself by pissing in their campfire. No one
notices that in the b.g., quiet Sportsman #3 unzips his
parka, exposing a .45 Peacemaker in a belt holster.
I were you, I'd drive right on
outta here again. Now.
This was my roaming land, 'til
the government took it over.
Only Innuit can hunt here now,
and tourists, like you.
Corbett swings the rucksack of carcasses onto the hood of
the Land Rover. Pissed, Sportsmen #1 and #2 step closer to
According to tribal law, hunters
passing through the land of
another tribe can only take game
to survive. They can eat the
meat, but have to surrender the
LeMalle pulls a hunting knife and holds up one of the
Want the meat?
Fuck you, dirt ball.
Corbett chuckles and Mitchell spits.
LeMalle digs through the camping goodies in the back of the
Land Rover, many still in their packages. He helps himself
to some sandwiches and a 12-pack of beer.
I say shoot 'em, bury 'em with
their shiny new car.
If you're gonna take something,
take it and let's go.
Corbett looks down to fasten the top of the rucksack.
20 CONTINUED: (2)
Suddenly, Sportsman #3 reaches inside his parka and pulls
the pistol. He swings it toward LeMalle.
LeMalle looks up when he hears the HAMMER cock.
There is a deafeningly loud SHOT.
Sportsman #3 falls down dead at LeMalle's feet.
Off to one side, Corbett holds a huge, smoking .44 magnum
six-shooter in his hand.
Shotgun in hand, Sportsman #1 gauges his chances of blasting
Corbett. Nil. When Corbett turns to him, he lies the
weapon down. Sportsman #2 rushes to his friend.
Looking bleak, Mitchell spits again. Corbett crosses to
LeMalle and knocks from his hands the things he wanted to
steal. Chastised, LeMalle smolders. After a moment:
Put him in your truck. Smell of
blood will attract the bears.
As Corbett walks to the jeep, he's too angry to notice that
he's stepped in a patch of mud under the Land Rover.
Near the jeep, LeMalle stops and pulls them into a huddle.
I don't believe in leavin'
witnesses behind, Ben.
It was self defence. Leave it at
You think those fucks will tell
it that way?
(ending the argument)
We'll get a head start before
they go crying to the law.
Corbett turns and FIRES two rounds from his .44 into the
engine of the Land Rover. The Sportsmen stare and sputter.
20 CONTINUED: (3)
(continuing; to Sportsmen)
You can pack out of here -- two,
three days' hike along this river
at most. Weather should hold
this early in the season.
Corbett and Mitchell get in their jeep.
isn't yet satisfied. He walks back over to the Sportsmen,
kneeling beside their fallen friend, and crouches right
beside them. Intimidated, Sportsman #2 looks away, but
LeMalle grabs his chin and turns his face back toward him.
Think I'm pretty? You better
forget how we look, 'cause next
time they won't keep me from
killing you. This land ain't
quite civilized, you know...
He unsheathes his buck knife. BELOW FRAME, he slices across
the forehead of the dead Sportsman, peels back his scalp and
cuts it loose, Indian-style. The Sportsmen are stunned and
ANGLE ON TRAPPERS' JEEP
Corbett looks at Mitchell and wearily shakes his head.
At least he scalped the dead one.
21 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - DUSK
Devil's Cauldron Hot Springs is a cluster of twenty tiny
dwellings connected by an unpainted boardwalk. The town
squats, ugly and temporary-looking, in a dirt clearing fifty
miles north of the Arctic Circle. Thirty miles east of the
Pipeline, it's almost dead centre of interior Alaska.
At the edge of town is a gravel airstrip. Mixed with the
prospector-era sod-roof cabins are a few prefabricated
houses. The boon brought by men building the pipeline is
long gone. Now only a few itinerant loggers, natives and
bush dwellers remain to fight boredom, each other and the
depression of the oncoming winter.
Enough steam escapes from the hot springs to perpetually
blanket the valley with fog. The spa is log-walled and
horseshoe- shaped, with partitioned baths inside. Facing it
are a mud-walled fire bath, a wooden steam bath called a
Maqi, six one-room cabins for let, and an unused dance hall.
LEO MEYERLING opens the tailgate of a Dodge truck with the
Northland Petroleum logo and "District Supervisor" on the
door. Meyerling is short and bald with a completely
disreputable face. He staples a poster on a wall. It has a
picture of him on it, and:
VOTE FOR THE PEOPLE'S FRIEND!
22 EXT. KENAI'S GENERAL STORE
Corbett and the other trappers drive past Meyerling and park
their jeep as the sun disappears behind the foothills.
23 INT. KENAI'S GENERAL STORE
A handwritten public notice next to a schedule of church
meetings reads: "Live each day so you can look every damn
man in the eye and tell him to go to hell." There is a post
office in the corner with some combination boxes and a
wicket less window.
The trappers come in. Corbett sits in a chair and pulls his
boots off. One of his wool socks is wet. He nods to the
man sitting in the other chair, SAM WILDER. Wilder is short
and tough, with a full head of crew cut grey hair and
weather- ravaged face that makes him look older than his
Hullo, Sam. Slow day?
Ben...boys. Yeah, real slow, and
I'd like to keep it that way.
Just passing through.
A chubby Inupiat (interior Eskimo), wearing thick glasses,
several heavy sweaters and battery-heated socks, fusses
behind the counter. He's EARL KENAI, owner of the hot
springs spa and the general store.
LeMalle chews on a handful of bear jerky. Kenai stares at
LeMalle until he begrudgingly pays for the jerky. Corbett
pulls on some sneakers and hands his boots to Kenai.
(continuing; re boot)
Sure have learned to worship the
white man's god.
Kenai nods agreeably and holds his hand out. Corbett pays
him. Meyerling comes in and posts some fliers on the
I hope I can count on you
gentlemen to vote for The
People's Friend this November.
Share some of that oil company
money in your pocket and you can.
Meyerling smiles like a toad, then slaps another poster on
the wall. LeMalle throws his knife and it STICKS in the
poster between Meyerling's spread fingers. Meyerling jumps
back and the trappers laugh. Meyerling looks to Wilder for
One flier comes loose and I shoot
you for littering.
Have your fun... just remember
The People's Friend come election
(shakes his head)
Oil Company candidate running on
that slogan makes about as much
sense as a rat fucking a
Hard to work up an interest in
politics, way we live. You're
the first people we've seen in
23 CONTINUED: (2)
How about a quart of Jack
How about it is right. Back in
the primary this town was voted
Aw, shit. Let's go. Leave a
note for Viking Bob, tell him to
meet us in Cache.
Relax. One more day without
drink won't kill you. Right,
I'm living proof of that sad
Can we buy the Marshal some
No, I better stay at my post.
Even without the hooch riling
'em up, you know how
mean-spirited folks get when they
smell winter coming.
24 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON VALLEY - LONG SHOT - NIGHT
An early STORM has blown in from the north, bringing
whipping winds and freezing rain.
25 INT. RENTAL CABIN
Corbett peers out the tiny window, frowning. LeMalle cleans
his carbine while eating beans and bacon. Mitchell hunches
over a table. He's making a scrimshaw -- delicately
engraving, using homemade tools, on a palm-sized piece of
whale bone. He rubs his eyes and looks up at Corbett.
So much for the walking weather
Had no choice...
(pointedly, at LeMalle)
...Given the situation.
I know. Least you didn't shoot
all of them.
Fuck you, Mitchell. Woulda been
my ass if Ben didn't waste that
(after a beat)
Mitchell, look, it don't take
three of us to wait for Viking
Mitchell glances at LeMalle, then at Corbett.
Go ahead. Take the jeep. I'll
come to Cache with Bob when he
Okay by me. You're the one likes
these hot springs so much.
Leave my traps. We'll tag up,
26 EXT. HAUL ROAD - "THE TURTLE" - DAY
The winds have died down. The rain has turned to a light
A mobile arctic dwelling sits on a rise next to the Haul
Road. It's a double-unit weather tight cocoon of fibreglass
and aluminium, pulled by a diesel rig on oversized tires.
The front module is 12 by 24, the rear 12 by 18.
An extended-cab pickup pulls up and Sam Wilder gets out.
The gravel-and-dirt Haul Road, paralleling the pipeline for
400 miles, is closed to the public. An arriving vehicle,
therefore, is news. The front door of the dwelling opens.
Eric and Anne Marie come outside, delighted to see Wilder.
I was making my rounds, saw your
hangar wide open, plane getting
rained on, so I closed it up.
I bet you haven't had lunch.
Bet you're right. But I didn't
come by to wangle a meal --
-- We appreciate the company.
Anne Marie's getting cabin fever
Anne Marie shoots a look at Eric but doesn't disagree --
this is obviously an issue with them. Wilder looks with
amusement at the mobile dwelling.
What'd you say they call these
Mobile Arctic Dwelling -- MAD.
I call it 'the Turtle,' as in
carrying your home on your back.
Best thing is, Meyerling has to
chase around to find us.
The little creep hates it that
Eric actually does what the
company hired him to do.
Watch it with Meyerling. Man's
as mean and corrupt as they get.
Cut his mother's throat if it'd
get him a couple votes.
26 CONTINUED: (2)
Looking past Wilder, Eric points out some smoke on the
Hey, Sam, look over there. Black
and white smoke.
Damn. Likely that's an SOS.
Have to pass on that lunch.
We'll go with you.
27 EXT. SPORTSMEN'S CAMP - LATER THAT DAY
Everything seems peaceful enough. The SOS fire (made from
burning green branches for white smoke and rubber for black
smoke) has burnt down to embers.
Eric, Anne Marie and Wilder pull up in Wilder's pickup.
The two Sportsmen sit in the front seat of the Land Rover,
but they don't react to the arrival of the rescuers. In the
back seat, a reflective camping blanket covers a large mass.
Something is amiss. Eric shoots a look of trepidation at
Anne Marie as they get out of the pickup. Wilder pulls the
door of the Land Rover open.
A Sportsman slumps out onto the ground. His eyes are open
and his tongue pokes out between his lips. His skin is
blue-white. (He looks, in fact, much like Eric's nightmare.)
Startled, Eric steps back. Anne Marie gasps with horror.
Wilder unzips the Sportsman's light windbreaker and listens
for a heartbeat. Nothing.
Stupid goddamn greenhorns! Froze
It's not even winter!
They got wet in the rain. Core
body temperature dropped, got
drowsy, probably didn't even know
what was happening.
Eric stares at the dead Sportsmen.
Question is why they sat here
when the storm moved in. Check
their stuff while I sniff around.
Wilder tries the ignition. The starter TURNS OVER, but the
engine makes a horrendous GRINDING. He walks to the front
of the vehicle. Noticing the bullet holes in the grille, he
bends down for a closer look.
Eric opens the rear hatchback and digs through the plentiful
supplies. Still in their packages are some matchbox-sized
ELT locating beacons.
They had Emergency Locater
Transmitters, but didn't use
(opens one up; shakes his
Maybe because they didn't bring
Anne Marie opens the back door of the Land Rover. She pulls
back the camping blanket... and uncovers the third
Sportsman. The torn red flesh on his head and his
bugged-out eyes are a hideous sight.
Anne Marie SCREAMS and stumbles away.
28 EXT. SPORTSMEN'S CAMP - LAND ROVER
Eric runs over to her as she tries to catch her breath.
Wilder looks at the third Sportsman and angrily kicks the
side of the Land Rover.
I'm too old for this shit.
Any idea who could've done it?
Sourly, Wilder points to a patch of frozen mud under the
A certain sonofabitch bastard
wearing a damaged mountain boot.
Left a footprint clear as an
Wilder examines the Sportsman, finding the bullet hole in
Even for Ben Corbett, this is
nasty. Man's got balls. He was
sitting in Devil's Cauldron when
I left, calm as can be.
Thank God. You can arrest him.
Not necessarily. Corbett's awful
hard bitten these days.
Wilder leans against the Land Rover, feeling tired.
His old roaming area's all
private reserve now. Normally,
long as he stays civil in my
jurisdiction, I let him be.
Won't be able to take him by my
lonesome, though. Nobody in
town'll lift a finger on this.
Eric looks hard at the dead Sportsmen.
I'll go into town with you.
Eric, leave it alone. It's not
(shakes his head)
No way can he get away with this.
I'll be back by tonight.
29 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - AFTERNOON
The town is quiet.
30 INT. HOT SPRINGS SPA
Corbett soaks in one of the huge wooden tubs with a podgy
Inupiat hooker, DIXIE.
He looks up as Eric comes into the spa. Eric holds
Corbett's boots, which have been repaired. Eric pauses when
he sees Corbett. There is a flash of recognition between
Yep. Afraid you have me at a
Kenai at the general store asked
me to bring these. Didn't expect
we'd already met.
No big deal. We just got off on
the wrong foot. What's your
Eric glances down at Corbett's duffel bag, which sits on the
floor next to Corbett's tub. Corbett's magnum rests on top
of it, well within reach. Corbett notices Eric's interest
in it. He leans back and smiles.
New to the country, kid?
Six months. Ecological study for
Ecology. Folks use that term for
everything but what it means:
who's eating who.
Putting his hand on Dixie's shoulder, Corbett stands and
gets out of the tub. His sinewy body, resembling a
scarecrow made of steel cable, is covered with scars. He
wraps a towel around his waist and crosses to Eric.
Now, why don't you get around to
saying what you want.
Corbett grabs his boots from Eric and finds himself facing a
revolver, which Eric has been hiding inside one of the
You wouldn't shoot anyone...
But I would.
Wilder has come in the back way and stands behind Corbett
with a 12-gauge shotgun. He kicks Corbett's magnum out of
All this for laying traps on
You left a footprint at the
Sportsmen's camp. Only pretty
sight there, Ben, 'cause the two
men you didn't shoot and mutilate
died of exposure.
Corbett shakes his head but remains implacable.
Christ if I shouldn't know better
than to step in soft earth. I've
seen footprints in the tundra a
hundred years old.
I got it from here. Thanks.
Sam, give Dixie here fifty bucks
out of my kit, will you?
31 EXT. HOT SPRINGS SPA
Eric comes outside. Earl Kenai, overdressed for the weather
in gloves, mukluks and a full-length sealskin coat, stands
shivering by a woodshed near the hot springs, hack sawing a
piece of meat from a frozen moose carcass.
Before white men came, my people
lived in sod houses underground
and laid our dead on the tundra.
Now we live above ground and bury
our dead, and we haven't been
Wilder comes out of the spa with his shotgun and Corbett's
duffel bag cradled in his arm. Handcuffed, Corbett walks in
front of him.
Kenai looks down to avoid eye contact with Corbett as he
goes by. Corbett stops next to Eric and smiles.
Nice bluff the other day with the
tranquilizer gun out your jeep
window. See you again, maybe.
Yeah. Maybe so.
32 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - FOLLOW WILDER
as he leads Corbett along the boardwalk to the other end of
town. They approach a prefab house perched on skids under a
tall antenna tower. Mounted above the shack, a DC wind
charger turbine spins lazily in the faint breeze. From
within the cabin comes an anomalous SOUND -- MTV. Wilder
KNOCKS on the door.
ARTHUR NEFF, a pasty-white, 45-year-old ex-Texan, pulls the
door open. His customary grin fades when he sees Corbett.
33 INT. NEFF'S HOUSE
Wilder pushes Corbett inside past Neff.
I need to call Fairbanks.
Neff just stares at Corbett.
Neff! Dial it up. State police.
With a "what can I do but oblige?" look to Corbett, Neff
sits in front of the RCA Alascom radio telephone and dials.
Fairbanks Alascom? Patch me
through to the State Police.
After a moment, he hands the receiver to Wilder. Wilder
takes it, keeping one eye and the shotgun on Corbett.
This is Sam Wilder, Marshal in
Devil's Cauldron. Had some
killings here. I got a suspect;
be real nice if someone came and
took him off my hands.
STATE POLICEMAN (VO)
On a good day I couldn't spare a
crosswalk guard. But now, no
way. Folks're batshit with the
weather turning sour. Bring him
Next plane's not coming 'til next
STATE POLICEMAN (VO)
Sit your suspect out in the cold.
This man's friends ain't gonna
look favourably on his
STATE POLICEMAN (VO)
(thru phone; Mr. Glib)
So shoot him. Won't have to feed
him that way --
Angry, Wilder slams the receiver down.
34 INT. WILDER'S CABIN
In one room, there is a wood-burning cook stove and an Ashley
heat stove, a table, a bunk and a small window. Behind a
cloth partition is an eight by six holding cell. The frame
of an iron-bar door is securely cemented to the log walls.
Wilder comes in with Corbett and locks him in the cell.
Mind if I get some stuff from my
Wilder does mind. He locks the duffel bag and Corbett's .44
in his desk drawer.
Sam, listen -- I shot to defend
my man. Other guy drew first.
If that was all, fine. But
carving him up, stranding the
others, that's too fucking much.
Is everything that walks, crawls,
flies or swims fair game to you?
I'll get loose before that plane
Don't try me. I'll kill you if
it comes to it.
35 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - AFTERNOON
As Eric walks into Kenai's general store, Neff hurries over.
(grins; sticks his hand
Arthur Neff. Area rep for the
Federal Assistance Plan. Tell
the boys in DC to keep those
Snowplough, generator, TV dish...
hell, we get the goddamn Playboy
Channel! Here, this is for you.
He hands Eric a piece of styrofoam shaped like a commode
Warm to forty below. Remember,
anything you want, you ask Arthur
36 EXT. HAUL ROAD - THE TURTLE - NIGHT
The storm has passed. A faint CHUGGING emanates from the
small orange generator trailer behind the Turtle. Eric
pulls up and parks the Scout.
37 INT. THE TURTLE
Nylon storage netting along the ceiling holds Eric's
research equipment and Anne Marie's photographic supplies.
In one corner of the Turtle are several of her black and
white prints. All are of man-made objects whose presence is
juxtaposed with the natural surroundings.
Relieved he's home in one piece, Anne Marie meets Eric at
the door and kisses him. Carrying a brown-paper-wrapped
package, Eric follows her into the kitchen, where she's
Did you catch Corbett?
Sure did. He was one of the
trappers we rousted from the Haul
Was there any trouble?
He was sitting in a hot tub with
Going after killers isn't the
same as chasing poachers, Eric.
Can't help myself. Corbett's
type always pisses me off.
(hands her the package)
Oh, I found this at the post
office. Had your name on it.
Perplexed, she looks at the return address --
Bloomingdale's. Delighted, she tears it open. Inside is a
pretty, elegant dress. Anne Marie kisses him.
Oh, sweetheart. It's beautiful!
You were looking at it in the
catalogue. Don't know where you
can wear it...
I'll wear it for you. And I can
wear it when we go home. We
won't be here forever.
You make it sound like a prison
That's not what I meant.
It's exactly what you meant.
Look, why get into this again.
As long as it's working, let's
leave it alone. It's been nice
so far. We're together --
Do I want to be with you
permanently? Yes, I think I do.
But be with what you do and the
way you live? That I don't know.
C'mon, Eric, until I met you,
coming back to Alaska was totally
out of the question for me. But
I'm here. I'm getting great
pictures, and I'm having fun.
(slips her arms around him)
I love you.
So shut up and let's eat.
38 EXT. DEVIL'S CAULDRON - NIGHT
An old primer-grey station wagon rattles into town and
parks. With an unlit cheroot stuck in his mouth, "VIKING"
BOB CORBETT gets out and stretches. He's 38, six-foot-six,
with sandy hair, beard, ruddy skin, and his brother's dark
He looks around for some sign of life. He spots Neff
tending one of the windmills and walks over to him.
I'm looking for some trappers.
Ben Corbett, Mitchell, LeMalle.
Yesterday. Said they were going
to Cache. They were thirsty, but
we were voted dry.
As Viking Bob walks back to his station wagon, he notices
Kenai poking around in front of Wilder's cabin.
VIKING BOB'S POV
Illuminated by a bare bulb is Wilder's typical bush-country
front yard. Piled are five cords of wood, boxes, tarps,
stove parts, saw horses, 55-gallon drums, dismantled snow
machines, wash tubs, tires, etc.
Bunching his collar around his neck, Kenai shivers and sorts
through Corbett's traps.
Viking Bob ambles over to Kenai.
Gonna make an offer. Man who
owns them won't need them where
39 INT. WILDER'S CABIN
Wilder peers out the window and sees Viking Bob, then turns
Back against the bars. Now.
Wilder handcuffs Corbett's hands to the cell door bars, then
quickly wraps a piece of duct tape across Corbett's face,
covering his mouth.
Stuffing a .357 magnum in his belt, Wilder, coatless, slips
As soon as he's out the door, Corbett cranes his neck and
painfully tries to pry the tape off his face with the corner
of the door hinge.
40 EXT. WILDER'S CABIN
The look on Wilder's face tells Kenai to shut up. Viking
Bob realizes something's up.
Your brother and the boys left me
some traps to sell for them.
They're gone --
-- To Cache. So I heard. Ben
never said nothing to me about
selling his gear.
41 INT. WILDER'S CABIN
Corbett gets the tape partially off his mouth. He pries one
of his boots off and kicks it through a window.
Bob! They got me on a murder
42 EXT. WILDER'S CABIN
Wilder pulls his .357 out.
Sorry, Bob. I'll have to keep
you here 'til I ship him south.
Viking Bob responds by flinging a heavy trap at Wilder, then
punching him in the gut. Wilder sprawls among the junk,
dropping his revolver. Kenai freezes, not about to take
Before Viking Bob can come at him again, Wilder grabs for
his .357. Viking Bob jumps back and bolts for his car.
He dives into his station wagon and starts it up. As he
drives past, Wilder POPS off a few rounds, but Viking Bob
Kenai helps Wilder up. Pissed, Wilder shoves him against
You stupid, greedy, loudmouth
sonofabitch! He'll have the
others here in a few hours. You
fucked me up, now you're gonna
help me move him.
Forget it, Sam. I never work for
43 INT. THE TURTLE - NIGHT
Anne Marie sits on the floor, editing one of her VIDEOTAPES.
On the monitor, it SHOWS footage of the traps under the
pipeline piling. Eric comes out of the back module holding
two ELT pendants. He glances over at the monitor and nods
I still can't believe I'm being
financed by an oil company.
Especially when they get a look
at these pictures. Technology in
the wilderness; not too pretty.
I thought I should check our
Eric activates the ELT's. They emit an SOS pattern of radio
waves -- three short, three long and three short. This is
visible as rhythmic INTERFERENCE on Anne Marie's video
Avalanche season is coming.
Winter. Two straight months of
night -- we may never get out of
Which would suit me fine.
Prolonged darkness makes people
Not me. I'm equipped.
She turns on a small S-VHS video camera and snaps off the
Allow me to give you a practical
demonstration of low-light
She does so by seductively undressing for the camera. She's
SEEN on the MONITOR, illuminated by the "light" from the hot
stove. Eric appreciates the show. He crawls toward her.
High-tech in the wilderness.
Gets me excited, too.
Laughing, he wrestles her to the rug.
44 EXT. HILLS ABOVE DEVIL'S CAULDRON - NIGHT
There is a full moon and a clear night sky. Viking Bob's
station wagon is parked out of sight. He sits inside,
He hears an ENGINE starting in the distance. Sitting up, he
grabs some binoculars.
Wilder's extended cab truck pulls out, heading west.
45 EXT. FOOTHILLS - NIGHT
In the bright moonlight, two people are seen in Wilder's
truck as it speeds along a dirt road.
Viking Bob follows at a discreet distance, headlights off.
Viking Bob turns and takes the literal high road -- a narrow
trail above the roadway that Wilder's truck is on.
He zooms ahead and gets in front of his quarry, then drops
back down onto the road and waits in ambush.
As Wilder's truck approaches, Viking Bob turns on his bright
lights and crouches behind his car door with a shotgun.
Wilder's truck screeches to a stop.
Kenai gets out with his hands up.
Viking Bob slowly approaches Wilder's truck.
No answer. Viking Bob looks in the cab. Kenai's passenger
is Dixie, the Inupiat hooker. Viking Bob grabs Kenai and
pushes the barrel of the shotgun hard against his cheek.
Where's Ben Corbett?
I have no argument with you, Bob.
Wilder said I could keep his
truck if I drove it ten miles
away from town.
Where did they go?
He didn't say, but I would guess
the opposite way from here.
Viking Bob shoves Kenai against the truck, then punches him
for good measure. Cussing, he runs back to his station
wagon and drives off.
46 INT. THE TURTLE - REAR MODULE - NIGHT
Eric and Anne Marie are asleep. Eric starts awake at the OS
sound of a high-pitched vehicle HORN and an approaching
47 EXT. HAUL ROAD - THE TURTLE
Eric pulls the door open. Wilder is untying Corbett from
I got an emergency on my hands.
Corbett smiles at Eric as he walks inside.
48 INT. THE TURTLE
Eric, Wilder and Corbett sit in the front module. Anne
Marie, nervous, wearing a down robe, serves coffee. She
stares at Corbett, trying to reconcile his quiet demeanour
with what she saw that afternoon. Corbett smiles at Eric.
...You give us a ride in the
Cessna you got hangared at the
pumping station, we'll be in
Fairbanks in a few hours.
That's what we should've done in
the first place.
I could've sat tight for the
transport, 'til Bob came poking
(to Wilder; re Anne Marie)
A lot to ask, dragging him away
from such a good-looking girl --
-- To take you to jail? It'll be
You better get some sleep.
Good idea. Flying over mountains
can give you some nasty
surprises. Go too low, one of
the clouds might have a big rock
I'll get you there all right.
Eric takes Anne Marie to the rear module, leaving Wilder
with his prisoner.
49 INT. THE TURTLE - LATER THAT NIGHT
A bottle of Eric's Scotch sits almost empty on the table
beside Wilder. Wilder dozes in a chair facing Corbett.
Corbett is awake. He contorts his body to bring his
handcuff chain under his feet and get his hands in front of
him. He eyes Wilder's .357. It's in a lefty Sam Browne
holster. No way to take it without waking Wilder.
Corbett stands and inches toward the door. As he pulls it
open, the insulation makes enough NOISE to stir Wilder.
Wilder gets up and pushes Corbett back into his chair.
Goddammit, I don't need this
aggravation. I'll shoot you,
Ben. Bank on it.
I don't want to hurt you, Sam.
I'm not too old to knock the snot
out of you!
Wilder's mind clears enough to realize that Corbett's hands
are in front of him. He reaches for his .357. Corbett
butts into Wilder's midsection with his head. Amazingly,
Wilder stays on his feet.
Corbett hurries back to the door. Wilder lunges,
bull-determined to hold onto him. Corbett smashes Wilder
across the face with his clenched hands. Wilder goes down
hard, hitting his head on the table, and stays there.
Corbett instinctively kneels to see if Wilder is still
breathing. But then, hearing MOVEMENT in the rear module,
50 INT. THE TURTLE - REAR MODULE
Eric is pulling on his pants.
51 INT. THE TURTLE - FRONT MODULE
Eric rushes in. The outside door is open and Wilder lies on
the floor. His holster is empty. Anne Marie comes in and
crosses to Wilder.
Eric pulls a floor trap door open and digs through the
company-issue equipment, coming up with a huge Remington
bolt-action bear rifle. Unfamiliar with weapons, Eric tears
open a box of shells and fumbles to load the rifle.
52 EXT. THE TURTLE
Corbett is trying to start Eric's Scout.
Eric fires a loud warning SHOT from the Turtle doorway.
You want to try that handgun
against this rifle, go ahead.
Corbett sits in the Scout for a long moment, weighing his
odds. He takes his hands off the steering wheel...
Eric SHOOTS again, this time SMASHING the side-view mirror
and window next to Corbett's head.
Still handcuffed, Corbett gets out of the Scout. Holding
the .357 gingerly by the butt, he puts it on the hood of the
Some day you might have to face
me without a gun.
53 INT. THE TURTLE
Eric leads Corbett in. Anne Marie is cradling Wilder's
head. She's crying. Eric looks at Wilder. There is blood
coming from his ear and he's fading fast.
Fetch him back?
Don't let him walk...
Eric nods again. Wilder holds his gaze on Eric, then simply
Eric is stunned. Quietly, Corbett sits down. Clutching the
rifle, Eric sits on the floor and glares at Corbett.
Does he have people?
(after a beat)
A daughter in Oregon.
Send him down to her. There's
money in my duffel bag, back at
Corbett's benign attitude is chilling.
I better call in.
He turns the shortwave radio on. It SPARKS and burns out.
The remainder of the liquor has been poured inside it.
Thought of everything, huh?
Surviving is what I know --
-- Killing is what you know.
(to Anne Marie)
Pack some food while I prep for
(off her look)
I'm sure not gonna let him go.
Covering Corbett with the rifle, Eric handcuffs him to the
sturdy metal bracket of a wall unit.
54 EXT. CACHE, ALASKA - (MOVING SHOT) - NIGHT
Viking Bob approaches in his station wagon on a narrow dirt
road. The huge night sky all but smothers the weak light
from the town up ahead.
Cache seems a mistake -- a jumble of unpainted buildings in
the middle of a big nothing, twenty miles north of the
Arctic Circle. Still, it's more animated than Devil's
Cauldron. There are a hundred permanent residents, several
taverns and a three-store, fly-in shopping center.
Even though it's the middle of the night, people roam the
streets, drinking and socializing. With only a couple feet
of snow on the ground, this is still summertime. Under
storefront awnings, drunken INDIANS sleep on the concrete.
Viking Bob cruises the main drag, looking for the other
trappers. He spots their jeep in front of a
dangerous-looking saloon called the "Bear Sign Inn."
ANGLE WITH VIKING BOB
as he parks and gets out of his station wagon. He hears a
familiar VOICE around the side of the building.
C'mon, girl, talk to me,
negotiate with me...
55 EXT. CACHE - ALLEY
Drunk, LeMalle stands in an alley with a bored, acne-scarred
Oriental PROSTITUTE. He weaves and leers, his hand stuck
inside her blouse.
LeMalle. We got a problem.
Goddamn! Viking Bob! Mitchell's
inside, boring bastard...
Grumbling, Viking Bob separates LeMalle from the Prostitute
and drags him by the collar out of the alley.
56 INT. BEAR SIGN INN - NIGHT
Meyerling's campaign posters cover the walls. Many have
been pulled down and muddied underfoot by the drunken crowd.
In a booth covered with grafitti, Mitchell squints and works
on his scrimshaw. LeMalle, somewhat sober, eats a plate of
muktuk -- whale blubber. Viking Bob pours him more coffee.
(to Viking Bob)
...Ben never sent a signal.
Musta never got a chance to
VIKING BOB (Cont'd)
activate. Wilder's aiming to
take him to Fairbanks, we can
count on that much.
Meaning he'll need a plane.
Closest planes for hire are here
Remember that Cessna we saw at
the pumping station on the Haul
Road? Belongs to the guy they
got patrolling the pipeline.
There you go. Wilder's always
chummy with the fuckin'
It's a long shot.
You got a better idea?
57 EXT. HAUL ROAD - THE TURTLE - DAWN
Wisps of light cut across the cold blue sky.
Eric comes out of the Turtle, leaving the front door ajar.
He throws a knapsack of supplies into the back of the Scout.
58 INT. THE TURTLE
Corbett's right hand is still handcuffed to the wall unit.
Terrified about being alone with Corbett, Anne Marie
cautiously puts a cup of coffee in front of him.
How long have you been up north?
(after a beat)