EXT. DEEP IN THE CALIFORNIA WOODS - AFTERNOON
A boot CRUNCHES DOWN on a pine cone.
WAYNE MAYNARD bites his lip, holding his stallion's bridle fast. He’s 19 with boyish
good looks and an air of bravado.
O.S. A FAINT RUSTLE. Something large disturbs the trees forty years away.
Wayne grins, saddling up.
ELSEWHERE IN THE WOODS
Hooves TRAMPLE NOISILY through the underbrush.
ALAN MAYNARD, 20, rides an appaloosa. He holds a Sturges rifle in hand and wears a no-nonsense expression.
The forest is still.
Alan spurs his horse on, letting it navigate the maze of bristlecone pines for him.
DEEPER IN THE WOODS
WAYNE 'S POV: Following the RUSTLING TREES. Between the branches a giant brown blur TRUNDLES through.
Wayne coaxes his horse on, following carefully.
Alan comes to the edge. Fifty feet below, Wayne tracking something...
Wayne rides out of view behind a tree.
Here we God damn go again.
Alan takes a steep trail down from the outcropping.
Wayne ZIGS and ZAGS, riding fast with minimal noise coming to...
A SMALL CLEARING
He TUGS at the reigns, bringing the horse to a sudden halt. A large grizzly picks at a bush thirty feet away.
Wayne urges his horse forward while remaining downwind of the bear. In his fist -- a sturdy lasso.
Alan rides into the clearing in time to see...
Wayne WHIRLING his lasso, ten yards from the grizzly.
The bear swings its head around.
WAYNE 'S POV: His reflection stares back from the grizzly's cold black eyes.
He lets the lasso fly, sliding over the bear's neck.
You stupid son of a --
The grizzly ROARS.
The horse REARS UP as Wayne wraps his lasso around the saddle horn, using the animal's massive strength for leverage. The rope SINGS, STRETCHING TAUT.
Caught off guard, the bear CRASHES to the ground... but it's not staying down.
The grizzly rises on two legs, standing ten feet tall. It gives a mighty TUG, JERKING Wayne from the horse...
The lasso breaks as Wayne HITS THE GROUND, hard.
Wayne scrambles to his feet, trying to outrun the bear.
Alan gets off a shot with his rifle. The bullet skims the bear's shoulder. Now it's mad!
Wayne grabs a tree trunk, climbing...
The bear's head meets the trunk with EARTH SHATTERING IMPACT.
Bark FLAKES as the tree VIBRATES violently, knocking Wayne to the ground. The grizzly approaches...
Its massive jaws SNAP OPEN, letting out another DEVASTATING ROAR.
Wayne looks the bear in the eyes, ROARING back -- fearless.
Alan's rifle finds its target. Wayne scuttles back as the huge bear falls with a THUD, mortally wounded...
Guess that works too.
Alan shakes his head.
You ever gonna learn, Wayne?
Yeah. Next time bring a stronger rope.
The bear shudders, letting out a guttural GROWL. There's still some life left in it.
Alan takes aim for the head...
That's not really sporting.
Get your horse, we're headin' out.
Alan pulls the trigger...
EXT. NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDERNESS - SUNSET
SUPER: CALIFORNIA -- 1847
The tree-lined mountains of northern California give off an amber glow as they're silhouetted by the setting sun.
EXT. VALLEY - EVENING
Alan and Wayne ride from the forest, cantering across the lush green valley towards the family ranch.
BILL MAYNARD walks out from the barn. He's forty-five and looks well traveled. Bill wasn't always a rancher.
What kept you?
Alan gestures over towards Wayne's horse, a grizzly hide draped over its back.
Boy's lassoing grizzlies now. Don't
know where he gets it.
Bill looks at Wayne, bloody, his clothes in tatters...
Just takes after his pa is all. You
Right as apple pie, sir.
Go on and get yourselves cleaned up.
Alan leads his horse to the barn, a bit ticked. Bill catches Wayne's shoulder as he goes to follow...
And take it a little easier on your
Wayne smiles... maybe.
INT. MAYNARD RANCH HOUSE - NIGHT
A humble home, just the essentials. Wayne and Alan eat in silence until...
I appreciate what you did earlier, not
sure I told you right.
Don't know how much longer I'll be
around to do it. May have to start
keepin' yourself out of trouble.
Been saying that since before...
probably before you can even remember.
Been sayin' it for too long...
Alan pushes his food around his plate.
That's 'cause you wouldn't know what to
do if you left. Got it too perfect
Sittin' around, watching the days go
by? I got better ways to spend my
That's how pa thought. He went out to
see the world and you know how well
Alan clears away his plates.
Not his world I'm aimin' to see.
'Course aimin' doesn't seem to do you
a lick of good.
Alan's face lightens.
Took you three shots to put that
grizzly down -- and one was from a foot
All I can say is you're damn lucky I
Wayne slaps Alan's shoulder, walking out.
And that I packed the extra bullets.
Alan leaps up, chasing Wayne into the kitchen.
EXT. VALLEY PLAIN - MORNING
Several miles of sparse, tree laden plains stretch out past the house and barn.
Wayne and Alan ride towards a hundred head of cattle.
The FLASH of cowhide and the RUMBLE of hooves reach a CRESCENDO as they herd the cattle across the plains.
Bill watches the proceedings beside SAMUEL STURGES. Sam's in his mid-fifties, a dapper gentlemen.
If I was younger I'd be jealous...
Hell, I am jealous.
You got some time to stop by this
What's on your mind?
Just received the latest models from
San Francisco -- could use an expert's
I'm not an expert in that anymore, Sam.
How 'bout as a favor then?
Bill watches as Wayne smoothly navigates the herd into a holding pen, SLAMMING the corral door shut.
OUTSIDE THE CORRAL
Alan shades his eyes as the dust cloud settles. All one hundred cattle now roam inside the pen.
Can't tell me you wouldn't miss this.
Won't know that 'til I'm gone.
Wayne rides up to Bill and Sam.
Sam invited me up for the afternoon.
Think you boys can entertain
Just remember what I told you earlier,
Wayne grins, digging in his spurs, setting the horse into a swift gallop.
I'll have 'im back by supper.
Alan tugs on the reigns, riding after Wayne.
You know where we're going?
We'll find out when we get there.
Bill watches his boys ride off across the open plains.
EXT. STURGES RANCH - PORCH - AFTERNOON
Offering a picturesque view of the outstretched valley and the surrounding forest.
BILL'S POV: Storm clouds gather in the distance.
Sam enters, carrying a shotgun wrapped in cloth.
It's our latest model... got a feelin'
this one's gonna be a hot seller.
Double barrelled -- even breaks open to
load in the breech.
Sam twists the stock, the gun's gold lettering glints in the afternoon light -- The Maynard Special.
Named after the man that made 'em
Bill nods politely.
So shit Bill, you don't like it?
Figure I'll always be remembered for
killin' people... wasn't lookin' to
keep it up once I was dead.
Say what you will, but every two-bit
bank robber this side of the
Mississipi's heard of Buckshot Bill.
Sam offers Bill the shotgun. It quickly finds a familiar fit in experienced hands.
Let's see Colt compete with that.
EXT. FOREST - DAY
Wayne and Alan stare out over a steep hill. Rain pelts their hats and splashes the surrounding trees.
Sonuvabitch! We're lost, aren't we?
Bet we're still in California.
Alan looks up... LIGHTNING STREAKS across the sky.
I'm turning back.
That gonna get us back to the ranch?
It's the way we came.
Thought we were headin' the way we
Shit, we are lost.
It isn't funny.
Last one to the bottom mucks out the
Wayne TEARS down the steep hill.
Alan has no choice but to follow, taking the hill much slower.
The trail winds blindly through the trees...
WAYNE 'S POV: DUCKING and DODGING as tree branches WHIZ by his face. Up ahead through the branches...
A ROCKY OUTCROPPING
Wayne slows his horse's gait, dismounting. He TRUDGES through the mud to the outcropping.
Alan rides up, stopping beside Wayne's horse.
Shielding his eyes from the rain, Alan watches Wayne feel his way along the rock face.
What are you doing?
Wayne pulls away a mass of vines, uncovering...