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CANOES


[EXTERIOR LAKE GEORGE - WATER & SWIRLING SMOKE - DAY

The bottom of the frame is water like glass. Smoke obscures the background. Fingers tendril towards us. Out of the mist we HEAR small splashing and then the high bow of a war canoe defines itself. It's paddled towards us.

HAWKEYE, CHINGACHGOOK & UNCAS

Cora's behind Hawkeye. Alice and the wounded Ranger are near Uncas.

CLOSER: HAWKEYE & CORA

Cora looks left. Her eyes go wide.]

CORA: No!

[HAWKEYE

spins.

HEYWARD & TWO TROOPERS OF THE 33RD IN A SECOND CANOE

have emerged from the smoke ten feet from them. Heyward's aiming a horse pistol at Hawkeye.

HAWKEYE

is non-plussed. He doesn't stop paddling.]

HAWKEYE: You got nothin' better to do today on Lake George than shoot me, Major, then go ahead ...

[Heyward's a hair's breadth from firing. Suddenly they hear the boom of muskets and rounds come in.

WIDE

They're being pursued by three boatloads - and then a fourth and fifth - of Huron.

HEYWARD

is indifferent to Huron musket balls. Hawkeye hasn't stopped paddling and pays Heyward no heed.]

CORA: Stop it!!

[Heyward comes to his senses. His head is gashed. A scarf, as a tourniquet, is tied around his leg. He lowers the gun.]

HEYWARD: When you fall into British hands again, Nathaniel Poe, I will have you hanged.

[HURON CANOES

paddle hard and deep and the canoes power across the lake.

HAWKEYE & HEYWARD'S CANOES

with less paddlers, plus wounded, are slower and will be overtaken.

HAWKEYE

looks to Uncas. They both realize the same thing. Hawkeye nods and he, Uncas & Chingachgook begin to paddle furiously. The others match the doubled pace. They're sprinting ahead but the effort is exhausting.

HURON CANOES

maintain their steady pace. Three or four Hurons fire.

HAWKEYE'S CANOE

Musket balls ricochet on the water's surface. One rips a hole through the bow. Hawkeye sees one of the Redcoats in Uncas' canoe is giving out ...] (Note: Something is amiss here. The script must mean to say, "Heyward's canoe".

REDCOAT #1: Can't ... keep it up ...

HAWKEYE: Pull!

[He renews the attack on the water with the paddle.]

HEYWARD: [shouts] How long?

HAWKEYE: [shouts] Only chance we got is ... [breathless] ... to get more distance on 'em and go to ground!

[Heyward digs in. Like firecrackers in the distance, Huron muskets sound. A new hail of musket balls cut the fabric of the canoes. One Redcoat is shot in the back. He falls overboard.]

HAWKEYE: [shouts] Pull!!

[HAWKEYE CANOE

sprints forward.

CLOSE: HAWKEYE

looks over his shoulder.

THE HURON CANOES

They're pulling away from them.]

HAWKEYE: Pull ...!

[More Huron musket balls hit water nearby.

REDCOAT

in Heyward's boat is shot. BUT ... the .65 caliber ball didn't penetrate his skin. The Redcoat - amazed - picks it off the floor of the canoe.]

REDCOAT #2: Spent.

[Distance caught up with eighteenth century ballistics. They're out of smoothbore musket range.

HAWKEYE CANOE]

HAWKEYE: [to Heyward] Head for ... for the white water.

HEYWARD: Do you hear me, sir! [exhausted] If you ever fall ... into British hands ... [breathes] What white water?

[HEYWARD & REDCOAT'S POV: LAKE

divided by a spit of land. The right fork becomes a river with white water rapids.

HAWKEYE CANOE - HAWKEYE

paddling now, too, as they furiously jam for the white water that will shoot them way ahead of the Hurons.

UNCAS

leaps off the stern of Hawkeye's canoe and climbs up the stern of Heyward's and takes control. He roughly gestures to the Redcoat and the Major to stop paddling. He and Hawkeye will pilot the two canoes.

EXTERIOR WHITE WATER - WIDE - DAY

The canoes enter the white water and they're so light, they're jet-propelled.

CANOE POV: EIGHT FOOT WAVE

racing in the same direction they are. They hit it straight on and it shoots over them and they're drenched by two waves coming from the sides.

HAWKEYE & CHINGACHGOOK

paddle like fiends to get momentum and control.

UNCAS' CANOE

Same thing. When they crested the wave Uncas hollers at them to "pull" and they do. As soon as they're through it, Uncas slams the paddle in the water and makes the canoe revolve a hundred and eighty degrees in a vortex so that now it's going through stern-first or the stern becomes the bow, so that Uncas could pilot it a different way through a hazard of ...

EXPOSED ROCKS

jutting out of the water.

WIDE - BOTH CANOES

Hawkeye didn't have to turn because Chingachgook, at the bow, uses his paddle to shove the canoe away from jutting rocks. Uncas does the same. Past the jutting rocks, Uncas swings it back around while ...

WHITE WATER

smashes into the camera.

ALICE & CORA

as the canoe roller-coasters and water bursts the bow. Then suddenly it's through and the water is miraculously smooth.

CANOES

The Ranger, the Redcoats and even Heyward feel the exhilaration of the ride. That's because they think they're home free.]

HAWKEYE: Here's where it gets tricky ...

[Heyward turns to look in front of him. He doesn't know what the hell Hawkeye's talking about.

HEYWARD'S POV: THE RIVER AHEAD

looks glass-smoth. Although there is a distant ROAR of sorts. Then Heyward realizes: something's wrong with this picture.

CLOSER: HEYWARD

The look on his face starts to change.

HEYWARD'S POV: TIGHTER

The glass surface of the river continues to a line then falls off the end of the world. The river just ends ...

BOTH CANOES: HEYWARD, REDCOATS, THE RANGER

realize they're heading for the lip of a waterfall. There's a couple of outcroppings of rock in the center at the very edge. We are at Glen Falls.]

HAWKEYE: Don't move ...

[AERIAL SHOT

from the other side of the falls. It's a two hundred foot high, death-defying cataract. The canoes - slightly above us - will go right over.

TWO CANOES

At the last moment, Hawkeye & Uncas land both on either side of the larger rock outcropping. It is literally at the lip of the falls.

HEYWARD

grabs a rock to anchor the bow of the canoe. He loses his grip. The canoe rockets for the edge.

UNCAS

lurches sideways, grabs a tree root. He is the only link of the canoe to earth. The bow, with Heyward, is literally hanging over the edge. Uncas strains and pulls the canoe to the rock. He gestures to Heyward.

HEYWARD

crawls forward and makes the island. Then the two Redcoats. Finally Uncas. The canoe rockets over the falls. Meanwhile ...

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ISLAND

Hawkeye has beached his canoe and is camouflaging it with driftwood and brush. As they clamber over the high pieces of broken limestone, we see Hawkeye is slipping into a crevice. He motions to Cora. Uncas carries the wounded Ranger. Heyward helps Alice ...

CUT TO ...

UNDER THE FALLS


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