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The HURON VILLAGE

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To Read JAMES FENIMORE COOPER'S TALE ... The Huron Village

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[EXT. HURON VILLAGE - ORNATE CHAIR - DAY

on a rude platform. The entire village is crowded in a large circle. They all wait for someone. They've been waiting a long time. In the perimeter warriors keep Huron at bay for some reason. We see Magua. He stands apart. They wait. Then ...

ANCIENT SACHEM

is led to the dais by three women down the main street between the neat rows of birch bark lodges. Many scalps and trophies from the massacre are in evidence. He sits on the raised platform. He looks to be in his nineties. His dark wrinkled face is contrasted by his long white hair. His robe is painted in hieroglyphical representation of combat. He wears numerous silver & gold medals, gifts of French, English and Dutch governors. Most startling is his face. His dark & lined skin is enhanced by delicate lines of tatooing. He looks up to Magua.]

SACHEM: [in Huron; subtitled] The tomahawks of your young men have been very red.

MAGUA: [in Huron; subtitled] Many of the Yengeese are dead, great Sachem. [sound dissolve to English] I have brought three of my prisoners, to honor you. Two are the children of Munro. Whose scalp hangs on my lodge pole. And whose heart I cut from his chest.

[Now we see Cora on the ground. Defeat & fear are held in place by her determination. Alice looks around, in another place. Heyward's hands are bound between his back with a piece of wood wedged through his elbows. Cut to ...

EXTERIOR DIFFERENT FOREST - WIDE FRONTAL: UNCAS, HAWKEYE & CHINGACHGOOK - DAY

running. Then Uncas drops and the other two follow.

WIDE OVER THEIR SHOULDERS: THE HURON "CASTLE"

seen in the distance through the sparse trees. They have dropped at the very periphery of the forest where the woods end. (The lay of the land is important for action that follows: the village is built in a meadow. To the left is a cliff face that rises to a rocky promontory. On the right is a path that winds up to the promontory and beyond, across the mountains.) Hawkeye sees ...

HAWKEYE'S POV: THE VILLAGE, CAPTIVES & HURON CROWD

in the center, outside the largest lodge.

HAWKEYE

slams the earth with his fists. They didn't intercept them in time. Difficult odds just became impossible. Cut to ...

EXTERIOR HURON VILLGE - MAGUA - DAY]

MAGUA: ... the earth was pale. Our tomahawks were bright. Now they are dull from war. And the Huron rich with the trophies of honor ... Magua will sell the English officer to Les Francais and the reward is my gift to you, wise one ... The women - children of the white war chief - will burn in our fires so all can share in this.

[The sachem considers this. Then he looks up and sees something beyond Magua.

MAGUA

senses the sachem's eye line ...

HAWKEYE

unarmed, walking through the Hurons. A young boy rushes at him. Hawkeye, at the last possible second, dodges. Others catch and restrain the boy. The Hurons are astounded a European would simply walk into their camp.

CORA

sees him enter, doesn't believe he's there.]

CORA: Nathaniel!

[Hawkeye glances at her, doesn't respond. The situation is a stick of dynamite ready to go off.]

HAWKEYE: [to Heyward; low] Translate for me, Major. Into French. Every word ... as I say it.

[Magua starts towards Hawkeye, his tomahawk slipping into his hand.]

HAWKEYE: [to Sachem] I come to you unarmed and in peace to unstop your ears, wise one. Because the Hurons are mislead by the words of the wolf who's never spoken the truth.

[Sachem gestures with his hand to Magua. Magua reluctantly stops advancing on Hawkeye. Heyward's French translation has faded to a murmur. We hear Hawkeye's English.]

HAWKEYE: Let the children of the dead Colonel Munro go free and take the fire out of the English anger over the murder of their helpless ones.

MAGUA: [to Sachem] Our father, Montcalm, is greater than the Yengeese in the arts of war. The Huron do not fear English anger.

HAWKEYE: [to Sachem] Wise one, the French fathers made peace and swore to their honor not to break the friendship. Magua broke it. It is false that the French would not be friends, still, to the Huron.

[Sachem reacts.]

MAGUA: [laughs] It made our French father happy to never have to fight the same Yengeese again. He told me this without telling me this.

[Hawkeye realizes this is true.]

HAWKEYE: So the Huron are the servants of the French? To do what the French are shamed to do?

MAGUA: No. [to Sachem] Huron serve no one. The French father believes he fooled Magua because he is so proud of his cleverness, he is blind. But it is the Huron path that Magua walks down, not the French one ... Now, Les Francais, also, fear Huron. That is good. When the Huron is strong from their fear, we will make the terms of trade with Les Francais. And we will trade as the white man trades. Take land from the Abnakes; fur from the Osage, Sauk & Fox. And make the Huron great. Over other tribes. No less than the whites, as strong as the whites.

[Hawkeye appears to be losing his debate with Magua.]

HAWKEYE: [to Sachem] Magua would use the ways of Les Francais and the Yengeese ...

MAGUA: [to Sachem] The red man put down the bow, picked up the fire stick and became the best warrior in the forest. Yes. It is the only way.

HAWKEYE: Would the Huron make his Algonquin brothers foolish with brandy and steal his lands to sell them for gold to the white man? Would the Huron have greed for more land than a man can use? Like Francais Black Robes do? Would Huron kill tribes with disease? Would the Huron fool Seneca into taking all the animals in the forest for beads & brandy? But sell the fur to the white man for gold? ... [to Sachem] Those are the ways of Yengeese and Les Francais masters. Are they the ways of Huron men who hunt & work the land? Or of dogs? ... Magua's heart is twisted. He would make himself into what twisted him. A Dog, become Master of Dogs. But are Hurons dogs? ... Magua's way is false. It is like the white sickness. Magua's way will bring only sadness and shame. Is there another way? I don't know. [pauses] I am Nathaniel of the Yengeese; Hawkeye, adopted son of Chingachgook, of the Mohican people ... Let the children of the dead Munro go free ... I speak the truth.

[Magua starts to rebut. Sachem holds up his hand and stops him. Nobody talks. Sachem whispers to the older men on either side of him.

MAGUA

waits for the decision.

CORA

looks to Alice, then to Hawkeye.

HAWKEYE

exchanges a desperate look with Cora and then senses the Sachem is staring at him from the perspective of nearly a century of laws & judgments. Then ... to every word.]

SACHEM: The white man comes like a day that has passed. And night enters our future with him ... [pause] Our council talks since I was a boy: what is the Huron to do? [pause] But Magua would lead Huron down paths that make us not Hurons. [the judgment] Dark girl burn in fire to heal the twisted heart of Magua.

[Cora, hearing the sentence ... Hawkeye's losing her.]

SACHEM: [continuing] Munro daughter with moon in her hair must be Magua's wife so Munro's seed doesn't die.

[Alice is gone, living in some dark recess of her mind.]

SACHEM: [continuing; dissolves back to French] ... and Yengeese officer not go to Les Francais, but back to Yengeese so their hatred burns less bright. La Longue Carabine, go in peace.

[People move, start to implement the sentence. Hawkeye's panicked. Cora is jerked upright. She looks at Hawkeye in terror: Sachem is starting to depart.]

HAWKEYE: No! listen. [to Heyward] Tell him I'll trade him! Me for her! Tell him!!

[Heyward translates into rapid-fire French.]

HAWKEYE: [shouts] I am La Longue Carabine! My death is a great honor to the Huron. Take me!

[Cora is jerked forward by three Hurons. Magua grabs Alice. Cora strikes at Magua. He knocks her aside. Chaos & confusion. Meanwhile:]

MAGUA: [French; subtitled] This is not the voice of wisdom. I go to the Hurons of the Lakes! You are women. Send your arrows and guns to the Seneca; beg from them venison to eat, corn to grind. Slaves, dogs, rabbits, thieves ... I spit on you!

[Those Hurons who hear, do so in deadly, boding silence. Magua and his fourteen hard-core braves start out as ...

SACHEM

heard Heyward's translation. He looks at Heyward, then looks at Hawkeye and he nods his head.

HAWKEYE

sees this. His eyes go to Cora. They've stopped dragging her towards the fire pit. Hawkeye steps forward to surrender. Cora is thrown at him. Cora looks around wildly. Instead of taking Hawkeye, two warriors grab Heyward.

HEYWARD

is immediately hamstrung and his legs collapse. He gasps. He's caught under the arms and dragged forward.]

HAWKEYE: I said to trade me!

[Hawkeye's holding Cora. Heyward struggles to be seen.]

HEYWARD: ... compliments, Mr. Poe. [pause] Take her and get out.

CORA: [standing] What are they doing to Duncan? Duncan!

[He's gone. They start to ease away from the mass of Hurons.]

HAWKEYE: [low to himself] And my compliments to you ...

CORA: Alice?

[Hawkeye's concentration is on backing out of the Huron mob. Will the Sachem's judgment be honored? Will some warriors hack down Hawkeye & Cora? As they go ...

CORA

moves towards her sister. But Hawkeye holds her tightly as they retreat.

CORA'S POV: ALICE

with Magua's group crosses the path. He drags Alice behind him like baggage. She regains her feet. Magua is oblivious to her. He's heading towards the plateau. Cut to ...

EXTERIOR FOREST, TREE LINE - CHINGACHGOOK & UNCAS - DAY

Uncas sees Magua's direction. Uncas touches his father, grabs his musket and races off. Chingachgook reaches to stop him, but he's too late. Chingachgook's hand in the air ...

TWO-SHOT: HAWKEYE & CORA

near the tree line. Hawkeye has eyes only for ...

HAWKEYE'S POV: HURONS

moving towards fire pit. One turns to watch Hawkeye & Cora depart. Will he arouse others to attack? Behind him, others are doing something to Heyward and flames leap up.

CORA'S EYES

are on Alice, off to the right in the meadow.

HAWKEYE

tense. They're almost there.

CHINGACHGOOK

holding Killdeer.

CHINGACHGOOK'S POV: MASSED HURON

Sky & flames. Suddenly, Heyward's stood upright into the fire, bound to a bracket by his arms. As the flames start devouring him ...

HAWKEYE & CORA

close to Chingachgook and the tree line ...

CHINGACHGOOK

tosses Hawkeye Killdeer. As fast as he jams it into his shoulder he FIRES.

HEYWARD

among the hollering Hurons, is shot dead. It goes unnoticed.

CUT TO ...]

The CLIFFS

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To Read JAMES FENIMORE COOPER'S TALE ... The Huron Village

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