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The ESCORT & TRACKING The WAR PARTY


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To Read JAMES FENIMORE COOPER'S TALE ... The Escort and Tracking the War Party

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[EXTERIOR BRITISH ARMY HQ - TWENTY BRITISH REGULARS - DAY

jolt upright as if electrified.]

AMBROSE: [entering] Shoulder arms!

[AMBROSE

a sergeant major of forty-one is wide and deep and built like a fullback. You do not [mess] with Sgt. Major Ambrose.]

AMBROSE: [barks] Form two companies of nine ... MARCH!!

[THE MEN

march in perfect drill into two groups, each three across and three deep.

MILITARY HQ, ENTRANCE - MAJOR DUNCAN HEYWARD

steps out. Rigid salutes.

HEYWARD

climbs onto his white military charger. It's spirited. Cora & Alice are in riding dresses and veils. The veil doesn't completely cover Alice's golden hair and blue eyes and the flush of her complexion. They're riding two sidesaddled Narragansetts. The tight traveling dress reveals that Cora, two or three years older than Alice, is fuller and more mature. All three ride to the front of the column. The baggage horses and mule are in the gap between the two companies.

MAGUA

cradling his musket.

REAR SHOT: THE COLUMN

down the path that leads into the wall of forest looks impressive.

WIDER: THE COLUMN

marching. Now they look brave but smaller. The forest - with all its mysteries and dangers - now impresses us as a towering dark, sinister, and it's immensity swallows up the living mass which slowly enters its bosom.

CUT TO ...

INTERIOR FOREST

TRACKING the Redcoats, their faces now filmed with dust, cut with lines of perspiration. They march in perfect formation.

We TRACK PAST the pack horses, the first company, Sgt. Major Ambrose and on to Cora & Alice. Alice seems fatigued. Cora's turned, looking up into the forest canopy, astonished at the deep beauty of the place.

CORA'S POV: FOREST CANOPY

of trees is dark, except for spots where leaves are sparse, and there the light is golden. It's the forest of childhood.

In a ravine a buck disappears into a deeper stand of trees.]

CORA: [O.S.] Alice, did you see that ...?

[CORA'S

reverie's broken by Heyward entering the frame.]

CORA: Alice?

[Alice rouses from fatigue.]

HEYWARD: Are you alright?

ALICE: Can we rest soon?

HEYWARD: Absolutely.

[Heyward rides to the front of the column to Magua, who's twenty to thirty yards ahead of everybody else.]

HEYWARD: You there, Scout!

[Magua slowly turns towards Heyward.]

HEYWARD: [overly articulated] We must ... stop ... soon. Women are ... tired. You ... understand?

MAGUA: [perfect English] I understand. This is not good place to stop. Two leagues from here. No water 'til then. That where we stop. Better place.

HEYWARD: No. Stop in the glade just ahead! When the ladies are rested, we will proceed. Do you understand?

MAGUA: [in Huron: English subtitle] "Magua understand paleface is a dog to his women. When his women want to eat, he lay aside his tomahawk to feed their laziness."

HEYWARD: Excuse me. What did you say?

MAGUA: Magua say: "Yes. Good idea."

[As they begin to stop ...

CUT TO ...

EXTERIOR MOUNTAINS & FOREST - WIDE - DAY

Silently entering on either side of us come Chingachgook, followed by Hawkeye and Uncas. Even relaxed, they carry themselves with a degree of alertness. They're eighteenth century Viet Cong moving through the rain forest. The Maxfield Parrish/Hudson Valley of tall trees, ravines and streams is idyllic in front of them. All three cradle their long guns and move silently on moccasined feet.

FRONTAL: CHINGACHGOOK

- in a stream - relaxed but attentive, abruptly stops. The others freeze in their tracks. Chingachgook sees and then stoops to examine ...

ROCK

under the water in the stream. It's been turned from its bed. Chingachgook finds another. Uncas, moving up on his flank, climbs the bank and moves off into the trees, searches and then he gestures ... he's found another sign of something.

CHINGACHGOOK

has headed off further down the stream and discovers nothing. Rapidly he rejoins Uncas and Hawkeye who've become extremely alert. They move up the bank into the forest ninety degrees from their previous path.

TRACKING: HAWKEYE, UNCAS & CHINGACHGOOK

moving. Fast. Nearly soundless. They hardly disturb a blade of grass. The impression: expertise, deadliness and an impression something's wrong.

CUT TO ...]

The AMBUSH

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To Read JAMES FENIMORE COOPER'S TALE ... The Escort and Tracking the War Party

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