The Straight Story
1 EXT.--NIGHT SKY
Autumn evening FULL of STARS. Music plays over
as credits roll.
2 EXT.--DAY LAURENS, IOWA
It is a hot day in early September in Laurens, a small
rural community in north central Iowa. The main
drag, all of four blocks, is bookended by a giant
grain elevator and a John Deere dealership. No cars
on the road.
3 EXT.--DAY SMALL HOUSE & NEIGHBORING HOUSE
At the neighboring house, DOROTHY, a rather
large woman, 50ish, with bleached blond, cropped
hair is sunbathing in a chaise lounge. She is wearing
bermuda shorts, a tank top and eye protectors over
her eyes. Next to her is a small table with a plate on
it. Out of the other house, which has chipped siding
and faded, peeling window frames, comes ROSE
(late 30s, brown hair in a pixie cut, stocky, in jeans
and a cotton shirt). The door slams and Rose heads
down the walk. Dorothy doesn't move a muscle or
remove her eye protectors.
Rose doesn't break stride but yells over...
Rose exits and we remain on the two houses and
Dorothy sunbathing. After a moment, Dorothy
reaches over and feels the plate next to her. She lifts
the protectors and checks out the table...sees she's
out of treats, gets up, grabs the plate and heads into
her house. As the screen door slams shut behind her
we slowly move in on the house Rose came from.
We might be hearing footsteps as we move closer.
The sound leads us slowly toward the rear of the
house. As we continue moving closer we hear a short
peel of rubber followed by a thudding sound and a
sound like a stick dropping. We hold on the house
4 EXT.--DAY HOUSE AND NEIGHBORING HOUSE
As before. Dorothy comes back out carrying the
plate now filled with treats. Munching all the while
she settles back into the chaise lounge and resumes
5 EXT.--DAY LATER--SMALL TOWN BAR IN LAURENS
A small brick storefront bar. Two windows with
neon beer signs are on either side of a red door with
a window in the shape of a tilted martini glass. The
door opens and BUD, a stocky 70ish man in jeans,
a cotton shirt and construction boots emerges. He
looks down the street. Not seeing anyone he turns
and sticks his head back in the door of the bar and
I'm goin' over there.
He lets the door close and heads off down the street.
Another man, SIG, late 60's, 6'0", 265 lbs., in bib
overalls and a seed cap, comes out the bar door
holding a long-neck beer bottle and watches Bud
6 EXT.--DAY LAURENS RESIDENTIAL STREET
Bud is striding down the street past small and
weatherbeaten houses. The yards are mowed and
dotted with lawn chairs and picnic tables. He
approaches the house we saw earlier. He turns up
the walkway, reaches the front door and starts
knocking somewhat angrily.
Alvin! Alvin Straight!
7 EXT.--DAY THE NEIGHBOR'S YARD
Dorothy doesn't move a muscle when she hears the
knocking. She yells across the yard to Bud.
Rose left a couple of hours ago.
8 EXT.--DAY SMALL HOUSE
Bud jumps. He hadn't seen Dorothy until she spoke.
Did you hear me hollerin' for Rose? I'm
not lookin' for Rose.
I ain't seen Alvin today.
Did I ask....
Bud stops for a look at Dorothy who still has the eye
protectors on. He shakes his head in exasperation.
He resumes knocking on the door.
Straight. ......you're late!!
Not getting any response he heads around to the
backyard and finds no one. He goes up to the back
door and starts knocking.
9 INT.--DAY KITCHEN
From inside the darkened kitchen we see Bud
through the door window, knocking.
What the hell Alvin!
At a break in his knocking on the door we hear an
Come on in Bud.
Bud, startled, reaches down, opens the door and
enters. He stands blinking and flustered, letting his
eyes adjust to the darkened room.
Where the hell are you Alvin? I can't
see a damn thing.
I'm right here Bud...watch your step.
Bud's eyes adjust and he follows the sound of Alvin's
voice to the kitchen floor right at his feet. ALVIN
STRAIGHT is stretched out on the floor. He is in
his 70s, a lean man, weathered face, bald with a full,
scruffy white beard. He is wearing a plaid cotton
shirt, worn jeans and black cowboy boots. There is a
wooden cane lying on the floor next to him.
What the hell's goin' on? What in god-
damn hell are you doin' on the floor
Alvin? What'r ye nuts? You're supposed
to be down at Davmar's one hour ago.
At this point a shadow falls on them and Dorothy
fills the door frame.
What's going on....
She sees Alvin on the floor.
Oh my god Alvin!
Hey there Dorothy.
Dorothy makes a beeline for the phone, and picks it
What the hell are you doin'?
What's the number for 911?
Bud rolls his eyes.
Dorothy, put that phone down.
She doesn't move. Her face flushed, bosom heaving,
she looks back and forth between Alvin, Bud and
the phone. Bud strides over to her and yanks the
phone out of her hand.
I gotta call the bar and tell them we're
Dorothy grabs the phone back, wild-eyed.
Bud Heimstra are you crazy? We have a
stricken man here.
Bud hesitates and looks over at Alvin, assessing his
You stricken Alvin?
Dorothy starts dialing.
Dorothy, PUT THAT PHONE DOWN!
Dorothy hesitates. Bud tries to wrestle the phone
from her. We hear the front door slam and Dorothy
and Bud freeze. Rose enters the kitchen from the
front of the house.
Dad? What's all the.......yelling?
She stops short. She takes in the scene...Bud and
Dorothy at the phone and her dad on the floor.
What have you...........done to my dad?
Oh for cry aye.
Rose starts to cry.
(exasperated but forcefully)
I just need some help gettin' up.
10 EXT.--DAY PARKING LOT
We see Rose helping Alvin get out of the passenger
side of their car. Once standing, Alvin won't move.
Rose is tugging on his arm. He is not budging and
he's shaking his head.
I'm not goin'.
I'm not goin'.
Dad....you promised me.
After a pause Alvin nods.
They slowly make their way across the hot parking
lot to the Doctor's office.
OMIT SCENES 11, 12, & 13.
14 INT.--DAY EXAMINING ROOM
The nurse and Alvin enter the examining room. She
turns to him and hands him a robe.
O.K. Mr. Straight, you need to take off
all your clothes except your underwear
and put this robe on.
Just bring me the doctor.
15 INT.--DAY DOCTOR'S RECEPTION, LATER
Rose is standing in front of a series of bird paintings.
I see you like birds. I build.......bird-
Oh, that's nice.
Yah.....Pete sells my birdhouses........at
Oh...I'll look for them next time I'm
16 INT.--DAY EXAMINING ROOM
Alvin leans against the examining table as he pulls
his pants to a close and fastens his belt. He is shirt-
less. His skin hangs loosely off his rib cage. He has a
serious farmer's tan: lily white chest and shoulders
and arms with nut brown face, neck and hands. A
middle-aged DOCTOR GIBBONS is standing
looking over some notes.
So you're not sure just how long you
were on the floor?
(shaking his head)
I remember my cane slippin'...and
losing my balance....
(he pauses, concentrating)
...next thing I knew Bud Heimstra was
banging on my kitchen door.
The doctor nods at this account and writes something
in his notes. Alvin sits on the examining table
and looks around. He takes in the foreign room:
bright fluorescent lights, slick pastel Formica
surfaces, matching pastel framed art, bio-hazard
warnings and medical equipment. He looks back to the
Doctor and catches the man watching him with a
look of concern on his face.
Somethin' the matter Doc?
The Doctor switches to an attempt at a smile.
Listen Alvin, sometimes it's my job to
tell people things they don't want to
hear. I'm concerned about you. I think
you need an operation on those hips.
Well...this morning you fall and can't
get off the floor...that's your hips Alvin.
You'll have to use a walker to get
Fine...a second cane then. You say
you're not seeing too well. That could
be a diabetes-related problem. I would
like to run some...
The doctor looks back down at his notes and up at
I can see and hear that you smoke. I
would guess you're in the early stages of
emphysema. And Alvin you have
circulation problems. I worry about your
diet and unless you change some things
quick, there will be some serious
Alvin doesn't say anything. He just stares at the
17 INT.--DAY KITCHEN
ALVIN sits at the kitchen table and takes a deep
drag off of a Swisher Sweet. Two canes are propped
up against the table. Rose looks on. She stands in
the middle of the kitchen holding a birdhouse, fret-
fully watching Alvin. She holds the birdhouse out to
It has a.........red roof.
Alvin looks at the birdhouse and smiles at Rose.
That's another pretty one Rose.
He continues smoking. Rose, pleased at his
response, turns smiling to do a few dishes. She sets
the birdhouse down.
I want to paint the.......next roof...
Alvin smiles again.
That's a good idea.
Rose turns to the window and thinks for a while
with a smile on her face. As she reflects, her smile
begins to fade.
What did the.......Doctor say?
Alvin puts out the Swisher Sweet.
Said I'm goin' to live to be a hundred.
Rose smiles at this. Alvin stands, puts on a cream-
colored Stetson and heads to the back door.
Time to cut the lawn.
I can......cut it for......you...Dad.
Alvin is navigating the door with his two canes in
hand. Says gently back over his shoulder.
I got it sweetheart.
Rose turns, clears the table and takes dishes over to
the kitchen sink. Out the window over her shoulder
we see Alvin cross the backyard and mount a Rehds
riding mower. She sets the dishes in the sink, then
gets distracted by the birdhouse.
18 EXT.--DAY ALVIN'S BACKYARD
Alvin tries to start the mower. No luck. He performs
a slow, painful, laborious dismount. Then in a quick
move he turns and bangs the mower with his cane.
19 INT.--DAY LAURENS ACE HARDWARE
A group of locals are in the store. SIG, BUD, PETE,
mid-60s, 6'0", lean, gray and wearing slacks and a
red Ace vest, and APPLE, early 60s, short, bald and
talkative. He is wearing a short-sleeve shirt and a tie.
He's concentrating on his right boot. He frowns as
he works it up and down with his toes. His attention
is split between working the shoe and watching
the Weather Channel which is on the television over
(all the while
stomping his foot)
Looks like another low comin' out of
the panhandle of Texas. That's where
they all come from. You know in the
winter that's where we get all our big
Apple I doubt very much if we'll be
getting snow this week.
And here comes Alvin Straight. He's
not movin' too well.
Well he took that bad fall.
An hour late! I found the darn fool on
the kitchen floor.
He looks like he ain't gonna make it to
the door. If he was a horse they'd shoot
How old are you now Sig?
Apple has his shoe off and is digging inside of it
with his hand. He looks up at Pete's remark.
He's 70 in September..."Oh the days
dwindle down to a precious few..."
You can shut up any time Apple.
Alvin enters. They turn their heads, nod hello. Bud
Mornin' Alvin. What can I do for you?
Alvin approaches the counter and opens his mouth
to speak but is interrupted by...
20 INT.--DAY HARDWARE STORE TELEVISION
The Weather Channel. The local forecast runs with
the accompanying music. Conversation stops
abruptly and they all turn to watch the local forecast
together. There is the potential for thunderstorms
later in the day with a possible tornado watch.
And what can I do you for Alvin?
Plugs for the Rehds. Won't start.
21 EXT.--LATE DAY ALVIN'S BACKYARD
Alvin is changing the plugs, smoking Swisher
Sweets. Rose is sitting on aluminum lawn chair
painting the roof of her birdhouse blue. A storm is
moving in. Alvin looks up to the sky.
Storm comin'...not mowin' today.
22 INT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S LIVING ROOM
Alvin and Rose are watching Storm Watch on the
23 INT.--NIGHT THE TELEVISION IN ALVIN'S LIVING ROOM
Severe thunderstorm warning and tornado
watch continue until 9 PM for all
of west central Iowa. The National
Weather Service advises seeking shelter
in basement rooms. Avoid all windows...
24 INT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S LIVING ROOM
Rose and Alvin sit by the window watching the
lightning. A big bolt cuts through the sky to the
I love a lightning storm.
The phone rings. Rose is reluctant to leave the show
at the window and lets it ring 3 or 4 times. Finally
she gets up and leaves the room to answer the phone
in the kitchen.
Alvin's expression changes to a frown as the light of
the TV plays off his face. He does not turn his head
or speak but he is listening and reacting to Rose's
Oh.......no. When? O.K. Ah..ah...I'll
tell him. Yah. O.K. bye.
Rose comes back in and sits down. She doesn't say
anything and neither does Alvin for a bit. We see
another big crack of lightning out the window. The
Storm Watch continues off screen.
A tornado has been sited in Ida
County. Sac, Calhoun and Pocahontas
Counties are all under tornado watch...
That was Bobby...Uncle Lyle had a....a
On the word "stroke," a bolt of lightning brilliantly
illuminates Alvin's face. Then he sits stonefaced in
darkness looking out the window. He doesn't respond.
25 EXT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S HOUSE
Alvin's house is being buffeted by a fierce
midwestern electrical storm.
26 EXT.--DAY ALVIN'S YARD
Alvin is mowing the lawn.
27 INT.--DAY ALVIN'S HOUSE, KITCHEN
Rose is standing at the kitchen window talking on
the phone. Over Rose's shoulder Alvin crosses back
and forth through the window frame riding the
mower. Rose is talking to one of her brothers.
No Bobby he....didn't say much......They
both been so......stubborn. No......no it
was longer. I remember...It was July 7,
1988. Bobby, I always remember.....the
Through the window we see Alvin stop the mower.
He sits and stares. He lights up a Swisher Sweet.
I....don't know...what......he'll do.
Rose hangs up and looks back out at Alvin sitting
28 INT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S LIVING ROOM
Rose is sitting in the dark looking out the window at
the freshly mown lawn. She hears a noise and turns.
There is Alvin, with two canes, silhouetted in the
doorway to the kitchen.
Rose honey, why don't you come in here
and join your dad for a cup of coffee.
Rose looks puzzled. This is not a common invitation
Dad..........we're not going to move
again are we? You always set me down
for a coffee when you tell me we are
going to move again.
Alvin laughs a little. Rose is clearly wary.
No honey...we're not breaking camp.
Rose sighs in relief and smiles. Alvin pauses, clearly
Unless you make so many bluebird
houses we run outa room.
Dad..oh jeez..I can stop making them...
Easy honey. Your pa was just makin' a
Rose is relieved. Alvin pauses and draws a breath.
Rose. I'm goin' to get back out on the
road. I'm goin' to go see Lyle.
But Dad....how are you.......?
Alvin turns and starts to hobble toward the kitchen.
I haven't quite figured that out yet.
He moves off into the kitchen.
29 EXT.--DAY ALVIN'S BACKYARD
From around the side of the house comes Rose hauling
a large piece of aged plywood. She talks as she
wrestles with the large board. She is speaking to
Alvin who is on the back stoop with a wrench and a
ball joint. She is also reasoning aloud with herself.
One...Your eyes are bad....That is why
you don't drive your car because you
cannot see the signs anymore.
Rose turns and looks directly at Alvin. He is letting
One...Your eyes are bad.
Rose walks back around the corner of the house and
returns with another large piece of old plywood. As
Rose enunciates her reasons she ticks them off on
Two...Lyle is in Wisconsin which is 317
miles away. You can't take any bus
straight to Mt. Zion. You'd have to stay
overnight in Des Moines....and.....then
there's no bus to Zion.
Rose eyes Alvin again. She vanishes around the
corner one more time. Alvin continues working on
the ball joint, adding oil to loosen the bolt. Rose
comes around the corner again.
Three....Your hips. You can't hardly
stand for two minutes and when you
do stand up after you are sitting down
this is the sound you make when you
stand... "aaaaaraaaaarrrrhhgggg. " That is
your arthritis sound.
Alvin chuckles at her impersonation of him. She is
almost finished with her tasks. Her talking slows as
she gets to the last of her rant.
Four....You are 73 years old. You were
born when Calvin Coolidge was
President of America.
Rose sits down next to Alvin on the stoop. She is
hot, tired, worried and upset. Her voice almost
breaks as she finishes her speech.
You are 73 years old......And I can't
drive you there.
Rosie....darlin'....I'm not dead yet.
This subdues Rose. Alvin looks at her for a beat,
turns and moves to a stool with the wrench and ball
joint. He begins screwing the ball joint to a beam.
(tired and exasperated)
What are we building?
30 INT.--NEXT DAY GROCERY STORE
Rose is pushing a grocery cart down the aisle. She
checks a list in her hand.
Rose places eight large cans of Folgers into the cart.
She counts as she deposits them.
She checks list again.
Rose places several large packs of wieners in the cart.
She reaches back into the cold meat case.
Rose makes faces in incremental disgust as she
She hates braunschweiger. She checks her list again.
She moves down the aisle and into the next one. She
pauses before a display.
Rose throws insect repellent into the cart.
She checks her list and nods in satisfaction, heading
to the checkout counter.
31 INT.--DAY GROCERY STORE CHECKOUT COUNTER
Rose is loading her purchases onto the counter.
BRENDA the checkout girl looks on with a curious
expression. Brenda is 20ish, cute, a little hefty.
Havin' a party.
Rose looks at her blankly.
Oh......Jeez I love parties.
Yah, me too.
So where's it at?
Brenda is confused.
Where's what at?
I'm not havin' a party. I thought you're
havin' a party.
Well yah...look at all that braunsweiger.
Yah it's a lot of braunschweiger.
Brenda starts to ring up the braunschweiger.
It's for my dad.....for his.....trip. My
dad.......He...is going to.......Wisconsin.
Oh Wisconsin! A real party state.
Rose is keeping an eye on her items. She makes a
I hate braunschweiger.
Brenda, still checking, nods in assent and makes a
32 EXT.--DAY ALVIN'S BACKYARD
Rose comes walking out of the house with groceries.
She sets them on the picnic table and heads back
into the house. Alvin loads the groceries into the
now finished trailer. The back door of the house
opens and a big sheet of foam rubber flies out the
door followed by Rose. She hauls it over to the trailer
and sets it in. She fusses over its arrangement.
33 INT.--DAY ACE HARDWARE
Pete, Sig, Apple, & Bud are in the store. They are
watching the Weather Channel. Sig has a toothpick
in his mouth. Apple is sitting on a stool. Alvin and
Morning Alvin. How are you today
Alvin nods. Rose smiles.
My.....dad....is going to see.....his
.....brother. I keep askin' him how....he's
goin' to get there.....but he doesn't
Alvin throws a look at Rose. She smiles.
Your bluebird houses are selling well
Rose. I'm gonna need some more from
Taking a trip Alvin eh?
Apple is sitting on a stool with one shoe off. His
hand is inside the shoe.
Well if you're traveling by car you
know my wife'll get those AAA trip tix.
Those babies'll tell you where every
piece of construction is all along the
I don't suspect Alvin'll be takin' your
wife along with him Apple.
You can take my wife.
Alvin chuckles and then sets one cane against the
counter. With his other cane he makes his way down
the store aisle to the gas cans. He grabs one 5-gallon
container and heads back to the counter.
Where's your brother at Alvin?
Alvin sets the can on the counter. He turns to walk
back down the aisle.
Mt. Zion. Sixty-three miles east of the
Sixty-three miles, eh Rose?
Did you know that the Mississippi..the
old mighty Mississipp..is the single
most profitable waterway in the world?
Did you know that the Japanese harvest
pearls outta the river down to
Prairie du Chien....pearls!
And walleye...need help there Alvin?
No thanks, Pete.
Pete and Sig exchange a glance and look at Rose.
She smiles. Alvin picks up another 5-gallon gas can.
What's doin' at your brother's Alvin?
The Straight family reunion?
Alvin gives Sig a look.
You could say that.
Alvin puts the other gas can on the counter.
Alvin you got three 5-gallon cans.
Fifteen gallons of gas there. Just what
you gonna do with that much gas?
Rose is getting nervous with Sig's prying ways. She
knows that this is a sensitive area for Alvin. She
looks to the TV.
The whole gang stops and watches as the Weather
Channel gives the local forecast.
34 INT.--DAY THE TV SCREEN
The local forecast runs and the radar is looking
As soon as it is over they look at each other to
remember where they were in conversation.
Ahh....so what you need so much gas
Alvin returns to the counter. This time he has two
medium-sized Styrofoam coolers. Alvin stops and
looks long at Sig.
Sig, you are one nosy sonofagun.
You got that right.
Sig clamps his jaw. Alvin turns back to Pete.
Pete, I'd like to buy that from you.
Alvin points to a contraption used in hardware
stores to grab things on high shelves. Pete sees what
he's pointing to and gets a possessive jolt. He turns
Pete eyes the grabber. He looks down the aisle to the
other end of the store where he's got another grabber
I do have two of them...I guess I could
sell you that one.
Five bucks would seem about right.
Those things are hard to come by Alvin.
It would take me two months to get
another one on order. That's a damn
good grabber. Jeez...I can't let that grabber
go for less than.....jeez.....$10.00.
OK. Ring her up.
Pete pulls down the grabber and longingly works it a
few times and sets it reluctantly down on the
counter. Alvin smiles. Pete starts ringing up Alvin's
Three 5-gallon gas cans at $9.89. Two
The beautiful bells and clicks and hammers of the
old cash register are the only sounds in the room.
Two coolers, 99 cents and
Ring it up Pete.
With tax that's $44.25.
Alvin fishes out a large black wallet held to his belt
by a chain. He pulls out two twenties and a five and
hands them to Pete.
What you need that grabber for Alvin?
Alvin turns to him.
Apple has his arm up to his elbow digging in his
boot. Suddenly he feels something.
Hah! It's a nail!
35 EXT.--DAY ALVIN'S BACKYARD
Alvin and Rose are in the backyard. Alvin takes a can
of W-2 lubricant. He sprays the hitch holder on the
trailer. Then he laboriously makes his way across the
lawn to the riding mower. He sprays the hitch ball on
the mower. Rose is confused. Alvin then mounts the
lawn mower. He begins backing it up to the trailer.
Awareness finally crosses Rose's face. Her jaw drops.
Oh.....jeeez Dad. Oh jeez......Dad.
36 EXT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S BACKYARD
Alvin is seated on a chaise lounge smoking a Swisher
Sweet. He is looking at his mower/trailer rig. A
mosquito coil burns beside him, casting a warm glow on
the scene. Rose is lying on the ground on a blanket
looking up at the stars. It is a beautiful autumn
...that trailer is too heavy for that...it's a
lawnmower. You are going to....drive....a
lawnmower to...another state.
Now Rose you gotta cease with your
worryin'. You get that from your
Rose...."can't" doesn't live here.
Alvin takes a puff of cigar.
It's gonna be fine Rose.
Dad....please. I will find someone to
drive you to Wisconsin. Pete........you
like Pete.....Pete...he is a good driver.
Now, Rose, sweetheart......
Rose is starting to tear up. She is so worried about
what he is doing. He reaches down and takes her
I been on the road plenty. Didn't your
mom and I haul you kids all around
Rose nods, close to tears. She counts.
One, Wisconsin...Two, Minnesota...
Three, Wyoming but not long...Four
was Oregon. We had goats. Five.....New
Mexico and......six.....good old....Iowa.
Remember when we traveled...you and
your sister and brothers...
Rose nods and the reminiscence makes her happy.
We sure saw a lot. We all liked travelin'.
(smiling at first but
then the worry returns)
But this is different Dad.
It is Rose...it's easier..I'm not luggin'
seven kids in the back.
Rose nods. Her emotions are confused.
But Dad.....you will be all alone. Won't
you be lonely?
Rosie...sometimes a man likes bein' a
Rose ponders this notion. A new anxiety creeps in.
I will be alone......here...
This stops Alvin. He realizes he hadn't really thought
about that and it makes him feel both bad and a little
worried. He hides his concern.
And you're going to be just fine.
Dorothy is next door and she can't keep
her nose out of our business. She'll be
over here seven times a day.
Wait 'til she hears about.........this Dad.
They both share a laugh.
Rose I got to go see Lyle. I got to make
this trip on my own. I know you
I guess so....
Look at that sky Rose...full of stars
37 EXT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S BACKYARD
POV a sky full of stars.
38 INT.--DAY GROCERY STORE
Dorothy is at the checkout counter. Brenda is
checking her out.
One bag of potato chips, two boxes of
powdered donuts, one bag of corn
nuts, six pack of Coca-Cola, two
Snickers, three Hostess Sno-Balls...
Give me a couple packs of Salem lights
will ya hon?
Dorothy glances out the window of the store just in
time to see Alvin passing on his mower hauling the
Well....I don't believe my eyes.
Brenda looks up and glances out the window. She
sees Alvin passing on the mower. She doesn't miss a
beat in her checking.
Oh yah. He's goin' to visit his brother
On a lawnmower?!?!
Great party place, Wisconsin.
39 INT.--DAY HARDWARE STORE
The Weather Channel is STILL on. Pete, Sig and
Apple are watching. As they watch they hear a noisy
engine approach out front. They turn to the store-
front window. Alvin pulls into frame hauling the
trailer behind his riding lawn mower.
All three exit the hardware store after Alvin.
40 EXT.--DAY LAURENS MAIN STREET
The three hardware regulars trot alongside Alvin as
he passes out of town.
Alvin just what are you settin' out to do
Oh for da cry eye Alvin.
Alvin you are gonna get blown right off
the road is what I'm afraid.
(running out of breath
and stopping, bending over,
hands on knees, wheezing)
... jeez Alvin.
All three stop and watch as Alvin moves slowly out
(to no one
He'll never make it past the Grotto.
41 EXT.--DAY IOWA COUNTY HIGHWAY 314
Tight shot of very, very slow yellow center line
moving through frame to the tune of Steppenwolf's
"Born to Be Wild" a la Easy Rider.
42 EXT.--DAY IOWA COUNTY HIGHWAY 314
Wide shot from behind and then beside Alvin which
takes in expansive landscape. A beautiful sunny day.
America at five miles an hour.
43 EXT.--DAY IOWA COUNTY HIGHWAY 314
Close shot Alvin happy to be on the road. Diggin'
the pig farms. Music plays over.
44 EXT.--DAY SAME HIGHWAY
Alvin passes a farmhouse. A farm wife is hanging
clothes on a clothesline. She gawks. A boy gawks. A
dog chases after Alvin. Alvin holds out his hand
with a wiener in it. The dog sticks with him for
awhile. We ride along with the two of them for a
bit. Alvin turns to dog.
Go on home now.
The dog looks a little crestfallen but realizes Alvin is
right. He wheels and heads back home.
45 EXT.--DAY SAME HIGHWAY
A farmer in the field on a John Deere tractor cutting
third crop hay. The mower and tractor are on in parallel
tracks heading in the same direction. The field
tractor passes him and he and the farmer exchange waves.
46 EXT.--DAY SAME HIGHWAY
Alvin sees a sign that says, "Only Five More Miles to
The Grotto of West Bend Iowa."
47 EXT.--DAY SAME HIGHWAY
Alvin is approaching the outskirts of the town of
West Bend. His reverie is interrupted by a distant,
building sound. A huge truck approaches and flies
by Alvin with a deafening roar. It completely rattles
lawn mower, trailer, and Alvin. Alvin's hat is blown
off. He has to stop the mower, get out his canes, do
the slow dismount. He struggles down through a
ditch into a field. He retrieves the hat, goes back
down through the ditch. He climbs back up out of
the ditch onto the road and mounts the mower. Real
time. Just as he sits down, the tractor dies. Alvin
hauls himself off the mower again and pops the
hood. Shaking his head he gets back on the mower.
Alvin is sitting on the mower in the same spot. He
reaches back into food locker, grabs a cold wiener.
He sits and eats.
Alvin is sitting on the open back door of the trailer
looking back down the road. He sees a bus
approaching. He waves it down and the bus stops.
The side of the bus has written large "SUN-RAY
50 INT.--DAY INSIDE TOUR BUS
The doors of the bus pop open to reveal Alvin
standing there with his two canes, wearing his
I'm having some engine trouble.
The busdriver cranes his neck to look beyond Alvin
and spies the lawn mower and trailer.
What the heck are you driving there.
The busdriver is puzzled by this answer.
Can you give me a lift into town?
I can get you as far as the Grotto. This
is the SUN-RAY Tour.
I'd appreciate that.
Alvin climbs on board.
51 INT.--DAY ALVIN'S POV OF PASSENGERS
The bus is filled with senior citizens, mostly women.
Each occupant is wearing a name tag bearing "SUN-
RAY TOURS" and their name.
52 INT.--DAY BUS
Alvin just gazes at the passengers.
53 INT.--DAY BUS, ALVIN'S POV
A sea of white, blue and pink hair and wrinkled
faces. One lady pops up and snaps his photo. She
then turns and snaps a photo of the lawn mower
54 INT.--DAY BUS
Alvin moves down the aisle toward a seat. His canes
are hanging one from each arm as he grips one seat
back after another. Some of the women cringe slightly
as he passes. One old lady leans over to another.
OLD LADY #1
My Edward loved his riding mower.
55 EXT.--DAY WEST BEND GROTTO
The bus pulls up to the Grotto, a fantastic, magical
tourist attraction. The old people begin to get out of
56 INT.--DAY BUS
Alvin sits patiently waiting for everyone else to leave
the bus. People give a variety of looks as they file
out. Alvin watches them as they walk into the
Grotto. As the last person disappears through the
entrance, he stands and slowly exits the bus.
57 I/E.--DAY GROTTO
Pan of the interior wall of the Grotto. It is a beauti-
fully detailed structure of pieces of rock and crystal.
The stations of the Cross are represented on the two
sides of the interior walls. Alvin sits on a bench in a
courtyard inside the Grotto looking at what he sees.
The bench is situated under a spreading oak tree. In
the background we see the group from the bus with
the tour guide talking through a megaphone.
...The Pastor of this Catholic Parish
began his work on the Grotto in 1912
and continued it until his death in
1954. All this work you see before you
was done by hand...
An old gentleman (WENDELL) breaks from the
group and approaches Alvin. Wendell is wearing a
seersucker suit with a bow tie. He is walking with
one cane. He walks up to Alvin sitting on the bench.
May I share the bench? As you can see
I have a little arthritis myself.
Be my guest.
Wendell sits, gets himself situated and leans forward
on his cane.
This was one fellow who had quite a
bit of time on his hands.
A lot of work.
The tour guide in the background has made some
comment which causes all the women to start
giggling. Alvin and Wendell turn at this.
So how's it traveling with a hen house?
Well I'll tell you. My wife passed away
in '87. After she was gone I spent a lot
of time alone. Oh there were women
who came out of the woodwork trying
to cook and clean for me. I managed to
keep myself unattached and they finally
stopped coming around. Then things
got pretty quiet. I got to missing
My wife passed in 1981.
Wendell nods and they sit quiet for a moment.
My daughter tricked me into one of
these bus trips a couple of years ago. It
was The House on the Rock if I'm not
mistaken. A very interesting structure
that. I was the only man on that bus. It
was a singular experience.
They share a chuckle.
I was pleasantly surprised at how much
I enjoyed all that femininity. I discovered
how much I missed it. Since then
I make one of these bus trips every
other month. I rather enjoy the
I live with my daughter Rose. Of
course, it's different from being with
my wife, but it's a comfort to have a
There's not a man born who doesn't
enjoy being fussed over.
You wouldn't a had your way with any
of these fillies now wouldja?
Wendell pauses and chuckles.
It is a wonder how invigorating a
tumble with a maiden can be.
If there's a maiden on that bus I'll dance a
See those three over there? They're
Alvin begins laughing and Wendell joins in.
Without rising from the bench Alvin moves his
feet in a jig. The two fellas laugh again. They hear
an outburst of giggles from the gaggle of gals and
look their way. One of the women waves to
Wendell. He waves back. The two men sit in
silence for a while.
That's an interesting attachment to
your lawn mower.
You mean my trailer.
Is that what that is? Why would you
attach a trailer to a lawnmower?
I'm takin' a trip. That's where I bunk.
A trip on a lawnmower? That's an
interesting means of conveyance. A bit
hard on the hips isn't it?
No worse than a tumble with a maiden.
The two laugh again.
It's not too bad. A little rough on the
They laugh some more. It subsides.
And what's your destination?
I admire your gumption.
Two women have broken away from the crowd and
approach the bench.
Oh Wendell. The tour guide has so
much to say. We hate to see you miss
Wendell turns to Alvin and winks. Woman number
two reaches down and flicks some lint off of Alvin's
shoulder. Alvin smiles at her.
The woman blushes. Wendell stands and turns to
Bon voyage my friend.
Wendell and the two women walk away.
58 EXT.--DAY HIGHWAY 314
Alvin tight as he rolls along the highway at a surpris-
ingly fast speed. He is holding on to his hat. Pull
back slowly to reveal Alvin on the bed of a pickup
sitting on his lawn mower as it rolls back into
59 INT.--DAY LAURENS ACE HARDWARE
The Weather Channel is on. The locals all turn their
heads as Alvin passes through their view out of the
Told ya that mower wouldn't make it
mor'n a few miles. Alvin (shakes his
head), he's got more brass than
(almost to himself)
Hardly out a full day.
Least he's not hurt. Old timer like that
on the road. There's no tellin'.
Pete, Apple and Sig stand looking as Alvin passes.
Alvin looks straight ahead.
...and now for your local forecast.
Contrary to their previous actions when the local
forecast is announced, Pete, Sig and Apple do not
take their eyes off of Alvin. They walk to the
window as he passes out of frame. They peer down the
street after him.
60 INT.--DAY ALVIN'S KITCHEN
Rose is sitting at the kitchen table with Dorothy.
Between them is a large bowl of potato chips and
they are each drinking a large glass of milk.
Dorothy's hair is now bright red.
...so the man in a pick up...he brought
my...my dad back.
Oh...I must've been at the beauty
parlor. What kinda pickup?
Alvin enters kitchen from inside the house, passes
by them and on out the back door. He is carrying a
pump action shotgun under his arm. He has a
little trouble with the canes, the gun and the back
door. The gals stop talking until he goes out the
Dorothy's eyes are glued to Alvin as she watches him
through the kitchen window crossing the lawn.
What's your dad doin' with that gun?
I.....don't know. My dad...he got
medals in the war for sharpshootin'....
But his eyes ain't so good now.
All through this we see Alvin out in the yard. He
begins to put his canes down and prop himself up
against a picnic table.
Once he shot....a cougar....right
out....of a tree....it was up above me
and my......brother Bobby.
Through the window we see Alvin pick up the shot-
gun and raise it to his shoulder. The two women
unconsciously rise up out of their seats and move
toward the window to see what is going on. Alvin
pumps the shotgun and fires. The women can now
see the target -- the Rehds lawnmower explodes.
Alvin pumps once more and finishes it off.
61 INT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S LIVING ROOM
Alvin and Rose are watching the TV news. Alvin is
gluing coins onto the hatband of his Stetson.
What.....are those Dad?
My Mexican coins.
Remember...I was born in New
Mexican coin is a........peso........Why
are you gluing pesos on your hat?
62 EXT.--DAY JOHN DEERE DEALER IN LAURENS IOWA
Pan across flat Iowa landscape to huge John Deere
sign. The camera moves down to find a herd of
the huge, green titans of farm machinery; the John
Deere tractors. We first see the biggest farm tractors
John Deere makes, some more than a story tall
with air-conditioned cabs, CD players and onboard
global positioning computers. As the camera
moves the vehicles get smaller, until the shot
comes to rest on the spanking new John Deere
Riding Mower, sparkling in the summer sun. As
the camera rests on the riding mower we see Alvin,
leaning on his two canes, gazing longingly at the
63 INT.--DAY JOHN DEERE DEALERSHIP
Two salesmen stand sipping coffee from official John
Deere mugs. The older man is Tom. He is late 50s,
greying and stocky and short. A seasoned tractor
salesman who has seen it all. He is wearing a John
Deere sports shirt, yellow with green JD logo over
his breast. With Tom is his young, energetic sales
rookie, Andy. Andy is a big kid, just off the family
farm, a little soft but full of sales gumption. He
works on straight commission. He too is wearing a
John Deere shirt and hat, which is a bit small for his
great melon of a head.
That's the LD 155 right Mr. Hillenbrandt.
As I told ya'...Andy I'd rather ya didn't
call me "Mister Hillenbrandt." Tom is
fine. People hear you call me Mister
and they'll think I've actually become a
real businessman. Pretty soon they'll all
be calling me Mr. Hillenbrandt and I'd
have to sell my implement business and
move to someplace where folks call me
Sorry...T...T...Tom...it's just that I've
been calling you Mister Hillenbrandt
all my life...
Well you're out of school and a workin'
fool like the rest of us now Andy and
you can start usin' first names. And one
other thing...that's not the LD 155,
that's the LT 155.
Alvin enters the showroom, where there are more
Would you like to me to handle this
Sure. It's Alvin Straight. I'm sure you'll
do just fine Andy.
Andy walks over to meet Alvin as he enters the door.
As he leaves Tom ducks his head and leaves the
showroom. He turns and looks at ALICE, the gray
haired woman who is his bookkeeper. She crosses
herself and raises her eyes to the heavens. Alvin is
looking at another model of riding mower as Andy
Good morning. I'm Andy Laufenberg.
Anything I can help you with today
Well Andy Laufenberg...I'm looking to
get a riding mower. I want good
power -- comfortable ride.
Well sir this is the one to look at. It's
the John Deere LT 155....
Andy nervously reaches for a pamphlet.
It's got a 15 horsepower Kawasaki
engine. Cast iron cylin...
No ah sir...no I'm not. I'm mostly
The engine. Kawasaki. A Japanese
They...the Japanese make a very fine
engine. The LD 155...
Beg your pardon?
LT...LT 155...says here right on the
Andy is flustered and begins fumbling with the
And you're right sir...similar models. By
Gish that is the LT 155. Same engine
looks like and...it's...got....air
cooling...electronic ignition...right here
with that key....It's got a hydrostatic
And what would that be?
Good question and I'm sure I can get
that answer for you...
Andy looks over his shoulder to search for Tom.
Tom and the bookkeeper wave and turn back to
64 INT.--DAY JOHN DEERE DEALERSHIP / BOOKKEEPER'S OFFICE
How's he doin'?
Young salesmen are a painful thing to
witness. You add Alvin to the mix and
we may have to call the paramedics.
Alice giggles. They continue to watch Andy and Alvin.
Shouldn't you rescue him now?
65 INT.--DAY JOHN DEERE DEALERSHIP
Andy is still struggling.
It's also got disc breaks...Mr...ah...Mr...
Straight. Mr. Alvin Straight.
Well Alvin. Disc brakes on a lawn
mower. Isn't that something?
You're young enough to be my grand-
son. Proper thing would be to call me
Mr. Straight. If a buck private called
me Alvin I made him shovel slop.
Right Mr. Straight. I'm a bit new at
Tom crosses the showroom to them. Alvin nods.
Andy looks relieved.
Just talking to Mr. Straight here, Mr.
Hillenbrandt... ah...well...he's interested
here in a LT 155.
Alvin the LT 155 runs about $2500
dollars. What ya lookin' to spend today?
Not that much.
Follow me Alvin. Andy, Alice has some
paperwork you need to fill out.
OK Mr. Hillenbrandt.
You did fine Andy. Didn't he Alvin?
Pleasure doing business with you Mr.
Andy walks away dazed and confused.
Can you follow me around back Alvin? I
got something that might fit your needs.
66 EXT.--DAY REAR OF JOHN DEERE DEALERSHIP
The back lot of the dealership is an elephants'
graveyard of tractors and implements and parts. If
the front of the dealership is the color of John Deere
green, the back is the color of rust. Tom and Alvin
wind their way through the backlot talking as they
I set you up with that old Rehds that
we had the last time didn't I, Alvin?
That you did.
That ran about $325. Same price
You tradin' in the Rehds today?
I don't think so Tom.
Tom nods. He decides not to ask more on the
Pete tells me that you tried usin' the
rider in an interesting way. Still
planning to do that?
Still planning to Tom.
I know better than to talk Alvin
Straight out of anything he sets his
mind to. But I have to tell you Alvin
that you have always struck me as a
Alvin chuckles. They come around a large John
Deere field tractor and there sitting amongst the
heaps is an old John Deere riding mower. Strong,
simple and still green with a golden-yellow, tractor-
style seat. Alvin looks at it.
'66. Has the Kohler engine. We've used
it for parts but I always order and
replace them when they arrive. The
guts are good.
How fast will it go?
'Bout five miles an hour...more down-
hill. It's got the old transmission.
What are you askin' Tom?
Tom pauses and sighs. Looks around the lot.
Alvin, we've done business before. I
know you're an old horse trader from
way back and I don't much feel like
sparring with you today. Hard to find a
price on a riding mower that's near 30
years old. Your guess is as good as
mine....I guess I'd just like to ask you
what you're willing to pay.
Alvin takes a look at the mower.
It's a good machine?
It's a good machine, Alvin.
I've got three hunnert and 25 dollars
Tom. And there's no fiction there.
That sounds fine with me Alvin. Let's
go and you can settle up with Alice.
One last thing Tom. You can tell a little
something about a machine this old by
who's run it. Do you know who owned
Sure do Alvin. Me.
67 INT.--DAY JOHN DEERE SHOWROOM
Tom and Andy watch Alvin drive away on his
Well congratulations, Andy.
Thanks...Tom...but you sold it.
No sir...you spotted the customer and
brought him in...I just cleaned up. You
go on and see Alice. Three percent on
$325 dollars outta be enough for a
pitcher of beer tonight...but there'll be
more where that came from.
Andy walks away while Tom continues to watch
Alvin drive away down the road.
It's worth it to tell everyone you sold it
to Alvin Straight.
68 EXT.--DAY ALVIN'S BACKYARD
Alvin and Rose are in the backyard repeating the
good-bye. Alvin is perched on the John Deere
mower and Rose is standing next to him arguing.
But Dad I was.......right. You ran into
Alvin is determined but gentle.
The only mistake I made was my
equipment. I'm going to be fine now
Rose. Nothing runs like a.....
Alvin pats the mower...he looks expectantly to
Rose...She is puzzled....she looks back at him...what
is he talking about?
A Deere...Rose...Nothin' runs like a Deere.
Rose nods, still not quite sure what they're talking
about. Alvin motions his head in the direction
of Dorothy's house. Rose looks over.
69 EXT.--DAY DOROTHY'S HOUSE
Dorothy ducks out of the window where she has
been watching Alvin and Rose.
70 EXT.--DAY ALVIN'S BACKYARD
I gotta go just to give her something to
You know I gotta do this Rose.
Rose tries to smile through her anxiety, and nods.
71 EXT.--DAY LAURENS DINER
72 INT.--DAY ALVIN'S BACK PORCH
Rose is sitting at her workbench painting a bird-
house. She frowns and shakes her head.
God.....I am.....so worried....about.......
our dad. Please God....don't let nothin'
73 EXT.--DAY IOWA HWY 314 AT GROTTO SIGN
Alvin tools on by the point where he broke down
before, tips his hat at sign. Secures his hat nice and
snug. Here comes that ominous sound of an oncoming
truck. Alvin shows no fear. The truck booms by,
rocking trailer, mower and Alvin but THE HAT IS
ROCK SOLID. Alvin smiles.
74 EXT.--DAY THE GROTTO
Alvin drives past the Grotto and smiles.
75 EXT.--DAY IOWA HIGHWAY
Alvin is moving down the shoulder and slows to a
stop. He pulls out his box of Swisher Sweets and
lights up. He sits for a moment and considers the
landscape around him: a vast expanse of flat corn-
fields and the road stretching into the horizon ahead
of him. The mower is idling and there is no other
sound. He is content.
Alvin slows down as he is passing a small woods on
the side of the road. He comes to a stop and considers
the woods. He makes his laborious dismount and
stretches. He goes around back of the trailer, reaches
in and gets his grabber and a tarp. He heads into the
woods and begins grabbing some wood. This is no
simple task since he's walking with the two canes.
After grabbing a large piece of wood while placing it
on the tarp, his hand slips off one of his canes. He
tries to catch himself but falls face down on the
ground. He doesn't move.
77 EXT.--DAY CLOSE SHOT OF ALVIN
Cut close to Alvin's face. There is fear in his eyes and
his breathing is labored. After collecting himself he
looks around for his canes.
78 EXT.--DAY ALVIN ON THE GROUND
He reaches out and gets a hold of his canes. With all
his might he slowly struggles back to his feet. Still
shaking he uses one cane to retrieve the grabber.
With the grabber he gets the stick that had undone
him and loads it onto the tarp and drags it over to
the trailer. He puts the sticks into the back one by
one. He climbs aboard and pulls back onto the
shoulder and heads off down the highway.
79 EXT.--LATE AFTERNOON CAMPSITE IN A FARMER'S FIELD
Alvin pulls off the road onto a dirt track leading
into a field. He is in the wide open, no trees, no
farm buildings. He takes a look at the surroundings
and pulls off the track where the ground is slightly
higher. He does the slow dismount off the Deere
and stretches, rubbing his lower back. He goes about
setting up for the night. He opens the trailer and
pulls out an aluminum frame chaise lounge and
some of the firewood he had gathered. He slowly
gathers twigs & leaves for kindling for the fire. He
opens up the food locker at the front of the trailer
and pulls out a few items. He puts a few hot dogs
and some bread and cheese on a plate. He sits down
on the camping chair and proceeds to eat with little
ceremony. It is not quite magic hour.
80 EXT.--MAGIC HOUR FARMER'S FIELD
Alvin has built a fire. He sits in his lawn chair
drinking coffee and smoking a Swisher Sweet. His
canes are lying across his lap. The night is very quiet.
Alvin listens to the quiet and the occasional rustle of
small field animals. He looks to the horizon where
the sun had set.
81 EXT.--MAGIC HOUR
The sky is royal blue with a band of gold at the
horizon. Higher up the sky is navy blue and there
are a million stars as you can only see in a clear
country sky. Alvin sits back and enjoys his smoke.
82 EXT.--DAY HIGHWAY 18
Alvin going down the road. He sees a small figure
up ahead. A car whizzes past Alvin. The figure ahead
sticks out a thumb. The car passes by. Alvin
approaches the figure, sees it's a young, tough-
looking girl CRYSTAL. She has dark hair under a
baseball cap. Somewhere between 13 and 17 years
old. Heavy eye makeup, bad tattoo on her shoulder.
She is wearing a tank top, cut-offs, high-top sneakers
with tiger-striped laces, and a backpack. Alvin nods
in acknowledgment as he passes her. She coldly
returns his gaze.
83 EXT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S CAMPSITE
Alvin is eating a raw hot dog. He has built a campfire.
84 EXT.--NIGHT SAME HIGHWAY WIDE SHOT
Crystal is walking along.
85 EXT.--NIGHT SAME HIGHWAY CRYSTAL'S POV
Crystal spies Alvin's campfire in the field along the
road. The lawnmower and trailer are clearly visible
and she remembers him from the road.
86 EXT.--NIGHT SAME HIGHWAY
Crystal considers. Her face is unreadable...her inten-
tions are unclear. She cuts off the road into the field
and heads toward the campsite.
87 EXT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S CAMPSITE.
Alvin barely looks up as Crystal walks into range of
campfire light. Neither of them say anything for
I couldn't get a ride.
Alvin nods his head. Doesn't say anything for a bit.
Grab a stick and cook one.
He points to the fire. She hesitates...looks at Alvin for
a bit longer. Alvin just keeps looking at the fire. Finally
she looks around, finds a stick and leans toward Alvin
to take a hot dog. She hunkers down holding the stick
with the hot dog over the fire. She casts occasional
glances at Alvin. More silence. She looks over to the
mower and trailer. Her expression darkens.
What a hunk of junk.
Eat your dinner missy.
Startled a bit at his abruptness she falls silent. She
nibbles on her hot dog and then realizing how hungry
she is she begins to eat faster. She polishes off
the hot dog. Alvin notices this.
Get yourself another.
She's relieved at this offer and gets another hot dog,
puts it on the stick and holds it over the fire. They
sit, not speaking, listening to a chorus of crickets
How long you been out on the road?
I've traveled just about all my life.
I like being out on the road.
It's different for a girl alone.
It doesn't have to be different for a girl.
Alvin just nods his head. Doesn't speak or look at her.
Where you from?
She nods, and sits quietly.
You got a wife back there?
My wife Frances brought fourteen kids
into the world. Only seven made it....
My daughter Rose lives with me.
No comment for a while.
Frances died in '81.
Quiet for a time.
Where's your family?
Now she's not talking.
You runnin' away?
She still doesn't answer. Alvin leans back and draws
on his cigar. He looks at the girl.
How far along are you?
Crystal looks away from the fire into the darkness.
Alvin nods. More quiet. Alvin gets up, walks out of
firelight with his grabber and comes back with a log.
He throws it on the fire and works the embers for a
My daughter Rose that lives with
me...she's what some people would call
a little slow. But she's not. She's got a
mind like a bear trap for facts and
keeps everything organized around the
house. She was a real good mom....had
He pauses looking into the fire. Crystal watches him
One night.......someone else was
watchin' the kids...
88 INT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S KITCHEN
We see the shot of Rose sitting alone in the kitchen
that we saw before. She is at the kitchen table smoking
a cigarette and thinking.
There was a fire. Her second boy got
burned real bad. Rose didn't have nothin'
to do with it.
...but...because of the way Rose is... the
state said she wasn't comp'tant to care
for the kids and took them all away.
83 EXT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S CAMPSITE
Not a day passes she doesn't pine for
Crystal looks away from him into the fire. He looks
back to the fire, coughs.
Well, I'm headin' to see my brother Lyle.
I said I'm goin' to visit my brother Lyle
in Mt. Zion.
In Wisconsin. Just over the state line.
Alvin laughs at this and Crystal smiles, too.
Aren't those just about the dumbest
things you ever saw a person put on
She nods and laughs.
I hear that's a real party place,
Wisconsin. Guess I'll never get to find
They sit in silence. Alvin looks away from the fire.
I haven't seen my brother in ten years.
Alvin picks up the hot dogs and takes one out of the
pack. He proceeds to eat it raw.
You're eatin' a raw hot dog!
I like 'em straight up.
Crystal makes a face. Alvin munches slowly.
Ten years is a long time.
Crystal shivers with a chill. Alvin notices this.
There's a blanket in the trailer.
Crystal leaves firelight. She rustles about in the trailer.
What the hell kind of boom box is
Eight track stereo...watch your god-
Are these videotapes or what?
That's music girlie.
They're huge!.....I never seen anything like
We hear some rattling and the sound of the tape going
in. A sweet Patsy Cline ballad floats out of the trailer
and into the night air. Smiling, Crystal comes back
into the light with a blanket around her shoulders.
Figured it out.
They sit for a while and listen to the music.
Lyle and I had a falling out.
I can't say as I recall.
Well that's pretty stupid. You haven't
seen him in 10 years because of a fight
and you can't remember what the fight
You got some rude habits girl.
Crystal is taken aback. She is quiet, thinking.
Maybe I do recall.
Quiet for a while.
People do lots of stupid things,
knowing they're stupid.
He looks at her. She looks up.
They both stare into the fire for a while.
So why are you going to see him now?
Crystal is poking the fire with the stick. Alvin picks
up another stick and he starts poking the fire.
My family hates me. They'll really hate
me when they find out....
You didn't tell them?
No...no one knows...not even my
Well that doesn't strike me as fair
treatment of your people.
I can take care of my own problems.
There is a pause as they watch the fire. Then Alvin
Don't let pride make you dumb. I
They may not be happy. But not so
much that they want to lose you...or
your little problem.
I don't know about that.
Well a course neither do I but a warm
bed and a roof sounds a mite better than
this...eating hot dogs on a stick with an
old geezer traveling on a lawn mower.
She giggles a bit and then falls silent. After a
moment, Alvin stirs.
When my kids were young I played a
game with them. I'd give each of them
a stick. One for each of 'em, and I'd tell
them to break it. They'd do that easy.
Then I'd tell them to make one bundle
of all the sticks and try to break that. A
course they couldn't. I used to say that
was family, that bundle.
Crystal listens in silence.
Sleep in the trailer if you want. I'll be
just fine here in my chair.
No, I'll be fine sleeping out here.
Looking at the stars helps me think.
Alvin nods. He begins to struggle to his feet. Crystal
stands to help him. After a moment of hesitation
Alvin accepts her arm. He stands, nods, smiles and
moves slowly to the trailer. Crystal sits down alone
to watch the fire. We hear the sounds of Alvin settling
into the trailer. A bit of silence.
90 EXT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S TRAILER
Alvin's trailer door is open to the night air. We
slowly push into the dark rectangular opening of the
A wide establishing shot of the Iowa landscape at
92 EXT.--SUNRISE ALVIN'S CAMPSITE
Alvin crawls out of the trailer. Crystal's gone. Next
to the cold campfire is a bundle of sticks bound
with a tiger-striped shoelace.
93 EXT.--DAY HWY 18
A series of dissolves:
Alvin is tooling down the road.
94 EXT.--DAY HWY 18
He passes a pig farm.
95 EXT.--DAY HWY 18
He passes a sheep farm.
96 EXT.--DAY HWY 18
He passes a dairy farm.
97 EXT.--DAY HWY 18
He passes a buffalo farm.
98 EXT.--DAY HWY 18
He passes an ostrich farm.
99 EXT.--MAGIC HOUR HWY 18
Alvin comes upon a concrete animal (yard ornament)
manufacturer. He pulls off and sets up camp
100 EXT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S CAMPSITE
Alvin is eating, thinking, enjoying the evening in the
company of a menagerie of small concrete animals
surrounding him in the campfire. The light of the
fire plays off their faces.
FADE TO BLACK.
101 EXT.--DAY HWY 18
Cornfields on either side of the highway. The corn is
high in the field, topped by swaying golden tassels.
102 EXT.--AFTERNOON HWY 18 ON THE
APPROACH TO WEST UNION, IOWA
Alvin has had to pull into a busy four lane highway
on the outskirts of a medium-sized city. There is no
shoulder as there has been out in the country. The
traffic is heavy. Drivers pass, some angry, some
curious. A squad car pulls up behind and turns on its
lights. Alvin is oblivious. Frustrated, the POLICE
OFFICER (young but not a rookie) gets on the
WEST UNION POLICEMAN
Please pull your vehicle off the road.
Alvin jumps and looks around. He sees the police
car and pulls into the parking lot of a Computer
Cosmos store. He sits patiently on the mower waiting
for the officer. The officer approaches.
WEST UNION POLICEMAN
May I see your driver's license sir?
Alvin looks at the guy and laughs. The officer looks
off, takes a deep breath.
WEST UNION POLICEMAN (cont'd)
Have you been drinking today sir?
The Cop thinks for a minute, looks at heavy traffic
passing by, looks at Alvin, his mower and trailer.
WEST UNION POLICEMAN
I'm going to have to ask you to step
out...uh...get off of the lawn mower, sir.
Alvin goes into the slow dismount. Officer regards
this and reaches to assist. Alvin jerks his arm away
from the officer.
WEST UNION POLICEMAN (cont'd)
Sir, would you just walk a straight line for
Alvin looks at his canes, looks at the officer and
proceeds to walk a straight line.
WEST UNION POLICEMAN (cont'd)
Sir, can you do that without the canes?
Nope, I'll tip over.
The Cop looks down.
WEST UNION POLICEMAN
OK Sir. I don't believe you have been
drinking but I'm gonna have to ask you
to stay here at Computer Cosmos for
another hour or so...just 'til traffic dies
down. That would be best for you and
the other cars. Alright?
Alvin nods and hobbles back to the mower. He
mounts and the cop watches this. The cop then gets
into his squad car and takes off.
103 EXT.--DUSK THE COMPUTER COSMOS PARKING LOT
Alvin sits and waits. Cars whizz by.
104 EXT.--DUSK RED ROAD ON HWY 18
Alvin is once again on a country road. A car passes
him. The woman driving gawks at him as she passes.
Moments later we hear off camera a screech of
brakes and a heavy thud. We see Alvin react to the
event up ahead.
105 EXT.--DUSK RED ROAD HWY 18 ALVIN'S POV
Up ahead a blue Japanese subcompact is parked at a
strange angle across the shoulder of the road. The
engine is still running. Smoke rises from the hood.
The driver car door opens and a hefty woman with a
bouffant hairdo, stretch pants and a tunic gets out.
Alvin's POV slow approach. He watches her as she
walks around to the front of the car, and looks down
to the ground. She looks up to the heavens and then
begins pounding her open hand on the top of the
106 EXT.--DUSK RED ROAD HWY 18
Alvin reacts to the scene as he approaches.
107 EXT.--DUSK RED ROAD HWY 18
Alvin drives up to the woman. Alvin executes his
slow dismount. The woman glances briefly at Alvin
but barely registers his presence because she is so
Can I help Miss?
No you can't help me. Jesus, Mary and
Joseph. No one can help me.
Alvin moves around to the front of the car. He notes
that the car has quite a few dents. We see that the
woman has struck a nice eight point buck. Alvin's
face shows relief. All the while the woman rants and
DEER WOMAN (cont'd)
I've tried driving with my lights on. I've
tried sounding my horn. I scream out
the window. I roll the window down
and bang on the side of the door and
play Public Enemy real loud...I have
prayed to St. Francis of Assisi...St.
Christopher too, what the hell! I have
tried everything a person can do and
still every week I plow into at least one
deer. What is it?
Alvin shakes his head. She now begins walking
around the car, the mower and Alvin. She flails her
DEER WOMAN (cont'd)
I have hit 13 deer in seven weeks driving
down this road mister and I have
to drive this road every day 40 miles
back and forth to work. I don't know
what to do...I have to drive to work
and I have to drive home...
She pauses. Takes a deep breath and looks out over
the flat landscape. She turns and pats the deer carcass.
DEER WOMAN (cont'd)
She starts to cry.
DEER WOMAN (cont'd)
And I love deer.
She turns and climbs back in her car. She backs up
and sprays gravel as she accelerates away. Her front
fender falls off and she runs over it. Alvin watches
her drive away, then looks down at the deer.
108 EXT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S CAMPFIRE
Alvin is eating a large piece of meat. Behind Alvin
we see a full set of antlers mounted on the front of
109 EXT.--MIDDAY HWY 18 IOWA FLATLANDS
Alvin is driving along a particularly desolate stretch
of road. His eye scans the horizon. He is wary. He
slows the mower and brings it to a stop, the engine
idling. We see Alvin's face tight. He sees something.
110 EXT.--DAY HWY 18 IOWA FLATLANDS ALVIN'S POV
The Iowa horizon is a large dark mass. An occasional
burst of light races through the black clouds. A
breeze blows dirt along the field. Alvin's gaze searches
for shelter. There are no farms near. He cannot
outrace the storm. He spots a small outbuilding
alone in the field. It is an old granary, used by
farmers to store corn.
Alvin turns off the highway onto a narrow rutted
field road used only by the farmer to get to his crops.
It is pot-holed and uneven. Alvin stops at the entry
to the road. Moving as quickly as he can, Alvin
secures everything that could blow away on the
mower and the trailer. Then he mounts the mower
and races for shelter. As he's heading to the granary
the sky darkens dramatically and the winds hit.
He puts his head down into the gust, holds onto his
hat and lets out a holler, carrying all the speed a
riding mower can. He bounces across the field and
closes on the granary. Just as a large crack of
lightning, rain and the full gust of wind sweep in, Alvin
makes it into the sanctuary of the granary. A smile
crosses his face as he revels in the race before the
storm and the pleasure of watching the thunderstorm
from beneath a strong roof. He shares the granary
with a flock of pigeons who have taken shelter
as well. Alvin sits looking out on the storm, relaxed
and content on his perch aboard the mower.
112 EXT.--DAY IOWA COUNTY HIGHWAY
A warm afternoon. Alvin is making his way down a
lonely stretch of Iowa highway. The perforated,
yellow center line passes slowly below him. Suddenly
Alvin hears a strange, whirring sound. A moment
later he is startled by a strangely helmeted, goggled,
bicyclist speeding by him.
On your left! Thank you.
Another whir and another cyclist passes.
On your left. Thank you.
And then a trio of cyclists. Another rider approaches
pedalling a recumbent bicycle.
Comin' by on your left. Thank you!
What in the hell....?
Alvin pulls his rig over to the side of the road and
watches as a large herd of cyclists, numbering more
than a hundred riders, engulfs Alvin and his rig.
One rider slows to gawk at Alvin and nearly causes
an accident. Other cyclists wave as they churn by...a
few yell greetings.
113 EXT.--DAY AERIAL VIEW OF IOWA ROAD
We see a swarm numbering hundreds of bike riders
passing Alvin parked on the road.
114 EXT.--DUSK IOWA ROADSIDE PARK
Alvin pulls over for the evening to make camp at a
county park. Also at the wayside are many of the
cyclists who passed Alvin earlier. Pup tents abound.
Riders, dressed in skin-tight, brightly colored spandex
cycle togs, are spread about the park eating,
drinking out of squirt bottles, stretching, hydrating,
swapping massages and just plain preening. Alvin
pulls into the park. Heads turn as Alvin passes
through the crowd. A few onlookers begin clapping.
Alvin, a bit of a showman, doffs his Stetson to even
more applause. He pulls over to an open patch of
campground and brings the John Deere to a halt.
He begins his arduous dismount. A cyclist looks on.
That's the same sound we make when
115 EXT.--NIGHT CAMPSITE
Some cyclists, mostly younger, are gathered around
Alvin's campfire and trailer. STEVE is in his early
30s, an earnest, likable fellow with a neatly trimmed
So you're averaging about twenty miles
'Bout that. She'll go five miles an hour
if I push 'er. I stop when my hips start
The other talkative cyclist is RAT. He is early 20s,
bleached cropped hair and he features a smattering
of tattoos. He talks like a skateboarder.
Wow man, five miles an hour.
Rat looks up to see a ball flying in his direction. He
snags it and tosses it back offscreen. He's not exactly
paying close attention to Alvin.
So you're thinking about five weeks to
get to your brother's place in
I haven't given it a schedule. That
would sound about right.
Oh man.....I could not handle five
weeks on a lawn mower.
And I couldn't handle sittin' on one of
them seats for more'n an hour....if that.
You all walk like you got a case of
baboon butt. Seems my ride is a bit
The cyclists laugh. Rat catches the ball again.
So why the lawnmower?
Rat tosses the ball.
Can't drive. My eyes. Don't like other
people drivin' me where I want to go.
I can totally dig that.
Alvin smiles and rises to get more firewood. Steve
notices the difficulty he has walking and gets up to
Can I ask how old you are Alvin?
Oh man. Seventy-three years old. Bad
eyes, bad hips.
Can't hardly believe it myself. I'm older
than I ever thought I'd be.
Two young spandex-clad women walk by. Alvin follows
them with his eyes.
You don't think about old age when
you're young. Shouldn't.
When d'ya know you're getting old?
Alvin stirs the fire.
The first time I felt old was when I saw
a buddy die in the war. I got old that
The group around the campfire is silent for a while.
There must be something good about
Alvin ponders a moment, stirring the fire.
Hard to imagine anything good about
goin' blind and lame at the same time.
But still...at my age...you've seen most
everything life has to dish out. You can
separate the wheat from the chaff. You
know to let the small stuff fall away.
Rat snags the ball one more time. Someone offscreen
Sally's in my tent.
Rat laughs and throws the ball back. Still smiling
and looking off...
What's the worst thing about being old
Alvin stirs the fire. The embers rise on the flames.
Alvin watches the embers float up into the night sky
The worst thing about being old is
remembering when you were young.
Again the group around the fire falls silent. They
listen to the night sounds.
116 EXT.--DAY HWY 18
Alvin is moving out of the prairie and approaching
the Mississippi Valley terrain. Corn is being harvested
in the fields and the leaves have begun to turn
colors. He begins to climb gently rolling hills. As he
does the mower begins to show signs of strain. He
pulls off the road half way up one of these gentle
hills to lash his shift lever into low gear.
117 EXT.--DAY CLERMONT, IOWA HOUSE ON FIRE
Close shot of an inferno. A house is burning down.
118 EXT.--DAY CLERMONT, DANNY RIORDAN'S FRONT PORCH
Five people are sitting in aluminum chairs sitting
watching the fire. They are drinking beer. They do
not seem alarmed by the house burning down across
119 EXT.--DAY CLERMONT IOWA
Wide shot reveals that volunteer firemen are burning
down the house as a firefighting exercise.
120 EXT.--DAY DANNY RIORDAN'S FRONT PORCH
Everyone is clearly enjoying watching the house
burn down and the firefighters scurry about.
DANNY RIORDAN is the owner of the house on
whose porch everyone is gathered. He is mid-50's
shortish and stocky, and wears khaki bermuda shorts
and a Hawaiian print shirt. His wife DARLA
RIORDAN is of similar build and age and has a full
head of blond, bouffant hair. She wears white capri
pants and a bright yellow shirt. Their friends
JOHNNY AND JANET JOHNSON and VERLYN
HELLER have joined them for the festivities.
Johnny and Janet are about the same age as Danny
and Darla and have known each other since high
school. They all have a strangely youthful air about
them. Johnny and Janet are both very quiet, small
and neat. Verlyn is quite a bit older and a farmer.
He is very tan and rugged looking. At the same time
he bears a certain air of refinement.
Criminy sakes alive. You can feel the
heat all the way over here.
Makes you appreciate what a volunteer
fireman has to do.
That Rumelthanger place was an eyesore.
Remember old man Rumelthanger?
What a dirty old cur...never bathed.
The smell that came off that man. I tell
you, it was enough to make a girl faint.
You always had an inclination to faint
Darla blushes at this.
You know. There really is something
about watching a fire that causes you to
sort of go off...like it's hypnotism.
Time was when all civilization did was
stare at the fire.
They are happy. It's like the fourth of July and they
are all feeling like kids watching a house burn down
on a warm autumn afternoon. Shouts of volunteer
firemen in the background.
121 EXT.--DAY BURNING HOUSE
Shots of firemen battling the blaze. A small crowd
has assembled next to the house to watch the show.
The firemen turn and wave to the assembly. A wife
is taking pictures. We hear a clattering sound
intrude upon the scene. It is not coming from the
122 EXT.--DAY RIORDAN'S FRONT PORCH
Darla's attention is drawn from the fire by the
rattling sound. She looks up the hill.
What's that noise?
One after another they turn their heads to the
direction of the hill.
Now what in the sam hill do you suppose...
Down the hill, barely under control comes Alvin on
What on earth....?
Honey bun...is that a lawnmower?
It's going too fast for a lawnmower.
Isn't it Danny?
And what on earth is drivin' that
123 EXT.--DAY CLERMONT HILL ALVIN ON MOWER
Alvin is barreling down the hill, foot stamping on
brake, no response. The steering becomes more difficult.
124 EXT.--DAY RIORDAN'S FRONT PORCH
That sure as hell is a lawnmower....
with an old Indian on top.
He doesn't look like he has that thing
(he begins heading over
to the scene and over
his shoulder he adds)
...nothing runs like a Deere.
125 EXT.--DAY CLERMONT HILL ALVIN ON THE MOWER
Wide shot of Alvin careening down the hill, picking
up even more speed.
126 EXT.--DAY ALVIN'S POV
The road moves back and forth. Burning house fast
approaching. Look to road bed flying by beneath the
mower. This is much faster than Alvin or the mower
has ever gone.
127 EXT.--DAY CLERMONT HILL ALVIN ON MOWER
Alvin picks up speed. His hat threatens to blow off.
Water is streaming from his eyes. Amazingly he
makes it to the bottom of the hill without rolling
the machine. As he comes to a stop the front porch
gang reaches him.
128 EXT.--DAY BOTTOM OF THE HILL
Alvin is sitting on the mower catching his breath
and composure. He wipes the tears from his cheeks.
Some of the volunteer fireman turn their attention
from the burning house to the activity at the bottom
of the hill.
Mister are you O.K.?
Alvin is a little shaky. Nods in answer to Danny's
Jeez Mister you're lucky she didn't roll
(a little short
I think the belt's shot.
I wouldn't be surprised. You don't have
brakes on that trailer do you?
Alvin shakes his head.
DANNY RIORDAN (cont'd)
Mister I worked for John Deere for
thirty years so I can tell ya you shouldn't
be hauling a rig like that behind a
riding mower. At least not down a hill
Alvin doesn't really respond. Danny softens a little.
Considers the situation.
DANNY RIORDAN (cont'd)
I'm Danny Riordan.
He extends his hand. Alvin reaches out.
Well Alvin...let's get you and this rig off
the road and see what the damage is.
Alvin goes through the slow dismount under the
watchful eyes of Darla and Janet. Danny and Verlyn
start to push the mower and trailer and are joined
by a couple of the volunteer fireman. Alvin brings
up the rear, moving slowly.
129 EXT.--DAY BEHIND RIORDAN'S HOUSE
Guys are pushing Alvin's rig into the backyard. They
roll to a stop alongside a small separate garage.
Well let's have a look at this mower.
This is what? '65 ...'66?
Danny is looking under the hood. He notices a
small pool of oil forming under the mower.
Well I can tell you right now Alvin you
won't be going anywhere tonight. Aside
from your drive belt being busted,
you've got transmission problems.
Where were you hoping to get to?
Mount Zion, Wisconsin? Past Prairie
That's 60 more miles of hills.
That's across the Mississippi. What's in
Mount Zion Alvin?
My brother lives there.
Why didn't you take your car?
Don't have a driver's license.
Couldn't your brother come to visit
He's had a bad stroke.
Where are you coming from?
Back a piece.
Alvin just shakes his head.
Not New Hampton. You didn't come
Alvin gets a small smile.
Janet jumps in thinking she's got it.
Alvin shakes his head again.
You've come a long way haven't you?
Alvin looks at Verlyn and nods.
Yes I have. From Laurens, Iowa.
That's west of the Grotto. How long
have you been on the road?
What's the date today?
Alvin thinks for a minute. Counts on his fingers.
5 weeks. I left Laurens on September
You been bunking in that?
Alvin points his thumb over his shoulder at the trailer.
That's my rolling home.
They all swing their heads and look again at the
trailer. Darla and Janet look at each other. They
share a "Holy Cow" look.
Where've you been settin' up camp?
In the fields. I'd just pull off the road
every evening. I don't travel at night.
Weren't you scared staying out there
alone at night? There's a lot of strange
people everywhere now.
Ma'am, I fought in the trenches in
World War II. Why should I be scared
in an Iowa cornfield?
Well why don't you bivouac right here
in our yard tonight? We got a bathroom
out here in this garage you can use.
I appreciate that. I believe this machine
is in agreement with you.
A130 EXT.--LATE AFTERNOON RIORDAN'S YARD
Alvin, Danny and Darla are rigging up a lean-to of
plastic tarp and tree limbs. The lean-to extends out
from the garage.
Sure is nice of you folks to help me with
Well...there's a lot of rain in the
forecast and you don't want to be stuck in
Darla is on a stepladder attaching a red wooden
fish to the top of the post.
I do a little woodwork art. I thought
you might like some fish on your tent.
My daughter Rose builds birdhouses.
DARLA AND DANNY
Oh that's nice.
130 EXT.--NIGHT RIORDAN'S BACKYARD
Alvin is perched in the doorway of his trailer
smoking a Swisher Sweet.
131 EXT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S POV: BURNT OUT HOUSE
Alvin is gazing out into the night. He looks over at
the smoldering house. A few orange embers in the
ashes and one fireman on watch. The fireman lights
132 EXT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S POV: RIORDAN'S HOUSE
Lights turn out one after another.
133 EXT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S POV: THE SKY
The stars and the moon in a beautiful clear autumn
(still dark blue) sky.
FADE TO BLACK.
134 EXT.--DAY RIORDAN'S BACKYARD
Four men are standing around looking at Alvin's
mower: Danny, Alvin and two guys from the local
John Deere dealer. HARALD AND THORVALD OLSEN
(they are both tall and skinny with big
adam's apples. They have bright blue eyes and very
ruddy red cheeks. They are prematurely bald). They
are twin brothers and bicker like an old married
couple. Can't agree on anything.
I tell you Thorvald it's a '65 John
It's a '66 Harald. I fixed one just like it
three years ago. That was a drive belt too.
They're twins. Siamese, separated at the
DANNY RIORDAN (cont'd)
It's a '66. Ask Mr. Straight.
They both look to Alvin. Each of them still sure
Harald kicks the ground. Thorvald smirks. Blows his
nails and shines them on his shirt.
So Olsens. How bad is it?
I can't be dawdlin' here. I gotta get
back on the road.
The twins look at the lawn mower and then at each
other. Thorvald turns back to Alvin who is waiting
Well you know about the transmission.
The belt is shot, you blew a head gasget,
you're in bad need of oil, and your
right side tires are bald.
Alvin takes this in.
Is that all?
Well it wouldn't be a bad idea to
remove the blade assembly...As best as I
can tell ...you're not mowin' any lawns.
135 INT.--DAY RIORDAN'S KITCHEN.
Darla is kneading bread. She is up to her elbows in
dough. Danny walks in, grabs a beer from the fridge
and sits down at the kitchen table. He lights a
cigarette. There is a small TV on the kitchen counter.
The Weather Channel is on.
Storm rollin' in.
Danny sits lost in thought. He doesn't react to her.
It's going to cost him a bundle to fix
that mower. I don't think he's got that
I wouldn't drive that old thing to
Excelsior. It's a lawn mower for god's
He was damn lucky he made it to the
bottom of that hill. He could've been
killed. Easily coulda' been killed.
Yah. Ah huh.
He's none too strong. Did you see how
he can't walk without those canes?
The hills just get worse the closer you
get to the Mississippi.
Darla stops kneading her bread and smiles. With
dough up to her elbows she walks over to Danny
and kisses him on the forehead.
Go ahead and drive him honey. Mt.
Zion can't be a half day. That's fine.
Darla goes back to her dough as Danny keeps
DARLA RIORDAN (cont'd)
....You're a good man Danny Riordan
....That's why I married you despite
what my mother said.
Danny smiles, gets up from the chair and stands
DARLA RIORDAN (cont'd)
136 EXT.--DAY RIORDAN'S BACKYARD
Alvin is sitting in the open door of his trailer. He
looks around to make sure he is alone. He pulls out
his wallet and looks inside.
137 EXT.--DAY RIORDAN'S BACKYARD
Alvin's POV of inside of wallet. A couple of twenties
and a ten and a few singles.
138 EXT.--AFTERNOON RIORDAN'S BACKYARD 138
Alvin closes up wallet, puts it in his pocket. He
lights up a Swisher Sweet and gets pensive.
139 EXT.--DAY BACK DOOR RIORDAN'S HOUSE
Alvin knocks on door. Danny comes to the door.
I'm in need of a phone.
Why sure...come on in.
I'd like to call my daughter and give
her an account of my recent travels.
Sure, sure. Come on in.
He opens the door wide to allow Alvin past.
If it's all the same to you I was
wondering if you have one of those phones
without a cord.
The door's wide open...come on in.
I can talk from out here.
Danny smiles, goes back in and returns with a
Here you go. You're more than welcome
to sit down at the kitchen table.
Darla and I can leave the room if you're
lookin' for a little privacy.
Thank you. Out here's just fine.
Alvin turns and starts to hobble away. Danny is
starting to shut the door. Alvin turns back to him.
What area code am I in? I don't think
this is 712 anymore.
No it isn't Alvin, that hill rolled you
into 319. You'll need to dial a one and
your area code to get her.
I thank you.
140 EXT.--DAY ALVIN'S LAURENS HOME KITCHEN
The phone is ringing. Rose enters kitchen carrying a
birdhouse. She picks up the phone.
Dad? Oh dad...I'm...(she starts to tear
up)...so glad to hear you.
I been so worried. I know....you
can....O.K. I won't.
Clermont? Is that......in Iowa?....Oh.
Yah. Oh...your social security
O.K....the check......I send it to
Yes....I will....take it down....hold
She puts the phone down, puts down the birdhouse
which she has been holding through the
conversation. She rummages through a drawer in the
kitchen. No luck. She moves stuff around the
countertops. No luck. She moves out of the kitchen and
we hear her rummaging in the other room.
141 EXT.--DAY RIORDAN'S BACKYARD
Alvin is patiently sitting at a picnic table. A little
smile comes across his face.
142 INT.--DAY THE STRAIGHT KITCHEN
Rose comes back into the kitchen with a big smile
on her face holding a fat carpenter's pencil. She
picks the phone back up.
O.K. Dad...I have a .......pencil. It's one
of those ones you use when you're
She concentrates and writes for what seems a long
I'm going to read.....it back.
143 EXT.--DAY RIORDAN'S BACKYARD
Alvin, phone to his ear, nods several times as Rose
haltingly reads back the address.
That's right. I know I can count on you
sweetheart...........I'm fine. I'm hobbled
here but as soon as I get that check I
can head out to Lyle's..........Are you
O.K. there alone?...... Good, we can't
have too many bluebirds in the yard.
144 EXT.--DAY RIORDAN'S BACK PORCH
Close up Alvin sets the phone down on a few dollars
on the porch.
145 EXT.--DAY RIORDAN'S BACKYARD
Danny's POV. He comes out the door and watches
Alvin hobbling back to his trailer.
146 EXT.--DAY RIORDAN'S BACK PORCH
Danny stoops and picks up the phone and money.
He takes a look at Alvin and goes back in the house.
147 EXT.--DAY RIORDAN'S BACKYARD.
Alvin settles into the doorway of his trailer. Lights
up a Swisher Sweet.
148 EXT.--DAY RIORDAN'S BACKYARD
A Coleman cookstove is fired up and has a large pot
of water boiling on top of it.
149 EXT.--DAY RIORDAN'S BACKYARD
Alvin is stretched out on his chaise lounge. He is
watching the water boil. Danny approaches.
What are ya cookin' Alvin?
I'm making my Mexican coffee.
Mind if I join you?
You'd be a guest in your own yard.
Danny goes off, comes back with an aluminum
folding chair and sets it up next to Alvin's chaise
I talked to the Olsen twins and they
estimate it will cost you around
$250.00 to get this mower running
That's twice what it oughta be. Must be
because they're twins.
Danny smiles at this.
You know I'd be happy to drive you the
rest of the way to Mount Zion.
Alvin starts shaking his head.
DANNY RIORDAN (cont'd)
It'd be a nice Sunday drive for me and
Darla. We enjoy crossing the river.
Especially with the trees in color.
I appreciate the offer friend. I'd like to
finish this my own way.
Even if you fix your mower there are
hills bigger than Clermont's between
here and Zion. There's no guarantee
that your machine won't break down
again. In fact I'll guarantee it will.
Alvin, this machine was meant to go
across a lawn, not the state of Iowa.
You're a kind man talkin' to a stubborn
man. This is a trip I'd like to finish.
Danny resigns to Alvin's decision. Lights up a
Well then let me give you a loan for the
Well that is generous. And if I needed
that help I'd take it. But I phoned to
have money sent to me. I gave my
daughter your address. I hope that's
Danny knows better than to argue with the proud
man about money.
Well then Alvin you'll stay right here in
our yard until you're ready to go. We
enjoy your company.
I'm thankful for that.
Danny is satisfied with this arrangement and sits
back to enjoy the fine afternoon. They both sit and
smoke contentedly listening to the honking of a
passing flock of Canadian geese.
150 INT.--DAY THE RIORDAN'S YARD ALVIN'S TRAILER
Alvin is sitting in his trailer with the door open.
Suddenly Darla and Janet pop their heads into either
side of the door opening and quickly pull back.
DARLA RIORDAN (v.o.)
Oh excuse us Alvin. We were just
looking for you.
Well you found me. It's alright ladies,
The two heads pop back into either side of the
frame of the door.
Well we had some brownies we thought
you might enjoy.
Janet extends a plate of brownies.
DARLA RIORDAN (cont'd)
Janet makes the best brownies in
Fayette county. She wins a prize for
them every year at the county fair.
Janet is very embarrassed by this.
My mother's recipe.
She won't tell anyone what the secret
Janet shakes her head. No way.
151 INT.--DAY ALVIN'S TRAILER
Alvin graciously accepts the plate.
Thank you Janet. Very much. I'll let
'em cool down a little...can't eat hot
food. But I sure have a sweet tooth. I
love brownies. Haven't had any since I
went on the road. My daughter Rose
makes a pretty good brownie.
152 EXT.--DAY ALVIN'S TRAILER
Does she live in Laurens?
Yes. She lives with me. Just the two of
Everyone is quiet for a bit. Alvin is holding the plate
and the two women's heads are just hanging there.
Darla shakes herself.
Well we'll be moving along. We just
wanted to make sure you're doing O.K.
Anything you need?
No, thank you kindly.
Well don't you be afraid to ask now.
153 INT.--DAY ALVIN'S TRAILER
I'm doing just fine. Thanks again.
154 EXT.--DAY ALVIN'S TRAILER
The ladies disappear from view. Alvin moves out of
the trailer and perches in the open door. Just then a
pickup truck pulls into the yard and Verlyn emerges
from the cab. As he approaches Alvin, both men
watch the women walk into the rear of the Riordan
house. Verlyn reaches the trailer with a smile on his
Janet give you a plate of her brownies?
Alvin chuckles at this and reaches behind him into
the trailer. He pulls out the plate of brownies. He
holds it out to Verlyn.
Well how about that timing. Janet
Alvin joins in and they say in unison:
VERLYN & ALVIN
...the best brownies in Fayette county.
She wins a prize every year at the
He reaches and takes a brownie off the plate.
Her mother's recipe.
The secret ingredient...no one's
supposed to know.....chocolate chips.
Alvin takes a brownie too and the two men enjoy
the delicious experience together. There is a brief,
comfortable silence between them.
You've had enough rain this summer,
Put up third crop hay last week.
Beef. I got too old for milking and
both my sons moved to Dubuque.
I worked cattle in Montana. Back when
it was all by horse. Before the war.
Infantry. Third Corps.
Under Bradley. I was Second Corps.
Another silence. Alvin offers Verlyn a Swisher Sweet.
I been out on errands and I'm headin'
for a beer. I thought you might like to
Alvin ponders the offer briefly.
I don't drink no more but I'm always
up for a change of scenery. Thanks.
The two older men, both with troubled hips, head
for Verlyn's truck.
155 I/E.--DAY VERLYN'S TRUCK CLERMONT
Alvin enjoying the ride. Alvin leans out the window
to look at the road flying by.
156 EXT.--DAY ALVIN'S POV.
The road is flying by.
157 I/E.--DAY VERLYN'S TRUCK
Sittin' a little higher and goin' a little
Wait'll I get 'er over thirty.
They both chuckle.
158 INT.--DAY CLERMONT BAR
Alvin and Verlyn at the bar. The Weather Channel is
on the television over the bar. There are some local
farmers in the place. There is a cribbage board at a
table. Old timers are slapping cards on the table.
Verlyn is drinking beer. Alvin is having a glass of
I can still have my beer but I can't
drink the brown stuff anymore.
Alvin nods with understanding at this comment.
I picked up a mournful taste for liquor
(shaking his head)
When I came back I couldn't drink
enough of it. I wasn't worth a stick of
stove wood. Mean. A preacher helped
put some distance between me and the
bottle. He helped me see that I was
drinkin' because some of the sights I
was still seein' from over there.
Verlyn nods. Takes a sip of beer. Looks straight
ahead at the back bar.
Lot of men came back drinking hard.
My brother Dewey did that. Spent
most of his adult life drinking from
noon on. He was an awful sweet drunk
Alvin takes this in. Nods quietly.
Everyone trying to forget. I can see it
still in a man right away.
Verlyn looks quickly at Alvin.
It was one hard day after another hard
day all strung together.
The bartender comes over. Verlyn orders another.
The bartender looks to Alvin who is nursing his
glass of milk.
No, I'm good thanks.
The bartender moves down the bar. Alvin and
Verlyn sit in silence. Verlyn is peeling the label off
of his long neck bottle. He is really concentrating on
There was this one time...We were just
...waiting on our first warm meal in ten
Verlyn looks up quickly at Alvin in the mirror on
the back bar to see how he's reacting. Alvin just
looks into his milk glass but doesn't stop him.
...We thought we'd seen the worst.
They hadn't given us much trouble
from the air.
Verlyn takes another drink of beer. He stops working
on the label. He looks straight ahead at the back bar.
I was on a rise with the quartermaster
working on more coffee for me and my
buddies. A stray Focke-Wolf comes
over the treetops and drops an incendiary
right on the mess tent...all my
The Kraut banks right in front of me
on that hill and......I can (he pauses and
the memory becomes the present) see
the Iron Cross...(suddenly unable to
speak...he tries in a choked
voice)....right in front of me (composes
himself, shaking his head)....
There is silence. Alvin gives Verlyn time to set
Then I look...I couldn't tell which of
my buddies it was burnin' up down
Verlyn can barely finish his story. Alvin is very still
and quiet. Verlyn has collected himself and looks
quietly to the mirror of the back bar.
"...Swept with confused alarms of
struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night."
Verlyn looks down, slightly embarrassed at his
speech. Alvin thinks about what he's heard. He starts
with his own story.
There is a thing I can't let loose..... All
my buddies faces are still young...
The spirit of the thing is that the more
years I have... the more they lost.
And... it's not always a buddy's face I'm
seein'. Sometimes it's a German face. By
the end we were shooting moon-faced
Alvin takes a sip of milk and draws a deep breath.
I was a sniper. The way I grew up...you
learn how to shoot huntin' for food.
Alvin stops. He's not sure if he's going to continue.
They'd post me up front, damn near
ahead of the line. I'd sit still
Amazin' thing what you can see just sittin'.
I'd look for the officers...or their
radio guy or artillery spotter...
Sometimes I'd sight a gun nest by the
smoke and fire into that. Sometimes it
was just movement in the woods.
We had a scout. Small guy. Name of
Kotz. He was a Polish fella from
Milwaukee. He would always take
recon and he was good. We went by his
word and he saved our skins more'n
once. A short fella.
Alvin sets both hands palm down on the bar. He
looks hard at his hands.
We had broken out of the
hedgerows...made a run across the open
when we come upon a woods an' started
drawin' fire. I took my usual spot. I
saw some movement real slow like. I
waited for ten minutes and it moved
again. I fired. The movement stopped.
We found Kotz the next day. Head
shot. He had been movin' back toward
our lines. Everyone in the unit thought
he was taken by a German
sniper...everyone all these years.
Everyone but me.
Alvin and Verlyn sit real quiet for a while. Verlyn
shifts on his stool...shakes his head.
159 EXT.--NIGHT RIORDAN'S HOUSE
Alvin is sitting in his chaise lounge having a smoke.
It is night time and he is sitting without a fire in the
160 EXT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S POV OF THE SKY
A crisp, star-filled sky.
161 EXT.--NIGHT RIORDAN'S HOUSE
Alvin looking up at the stars...pain in his face.
162 EXT.--DAY DANNY RIORDAN'S BACKYARD
Danny and the two Olsen brothers are fixing the
mower. Alvin looks on.
You can work all day and you won't get
that piece off with that wrench.
(from beneath the mower)
Danny, did you hear me ask
Wisenheimer there for his advice on
how to fix a riding mower?
Fine. Then we'll all just stand here and
wait for Mr. Wizard to finish...Anyone
got a deck a cards?
Very funny Harald. If it was you
underneath here we could all go home
and wait for winter. Then we could just
put the snowplow on this rig.
Jeez you two can bitch. I heard you
about killed each other last week over
horseshoes at the Dew Drop.
Harald gets a mad look on his face.
(up from beneath)
See Harald...brainiac...I got the mower
assembly free with this little old wrench
here you said wouldn't work...Well I'd
say it worked pretty good, wouldn't
you? Help me slide'er out here and we
can settle up.
They slide out the mower assembly. Thorvald steps
back, wiping the oil off his hands. Harald is pulling
out the bill. He reads off of it.
I got the labor and parts coming to
He hands the bill to Alvin. Alvin scans it. He looks
up at them.
That's a little heavy for light work.
The Olsen brothers are a little taken aback by this.
Alvin moves over to the mower and starts a slow circle
Now I got old man's eyes...
He reaches down and runs his hand along the treads
of the tires.
...but I was noticin' these new tires......
Danny is starting to enjoy himself. He crosses his
arms and smiles at the Olsens.
Well, now we did take them off of a
resell, but the treads are good.
Alvin, still caressing the treads gives him a long look
from under the brim of his Stetson.
Friend, are you chargin' me good or are
you chargin' me new?
Uh, (turns to his brother) Thorvald?
Well I guess we can make an adjustment
Danny pulls up a lawn chair and lights a cigarette.
Hunkers down for the entertainment.
I figure that adjustment to be about
$30.00? Is that what your pencil's
Sounds right to me.
The twins give Danny a dirty look.
Now about that labor. I'm agreeable
that you boys have put some real time
in on this job. But a man's gotta ask
when he workin with twins, especially a
bickerin' pair, how much workin' was
You got that right.
THORVALD AND HARALD
Shut up Danny.
If I were to judge from the joyous affair
I've seen today I would calculate a 20%
discount on the labor charge.
Thorvald and Harald exchange a look
Anything else mister.
Now I'm not from these parts exactly
but where I come from this is a mighty
rich charge on a can of Iowa oil.
Thorvald and Harald can not believe this old fart.
Take the oil. No charge.
Well that's a splendid offer that I very
much appreciate. Now what's your tally?
Danny turns grinning to the twins. They are slightly
Looking at Thorvald who shrugs.
Sticks out his hand which each of the twins takes
in confusion. Alvin brings out the money, and pays
the twins. They see that he has 4 c-notes in his
Now it's thanks to you boys that I can
get back on the road.
Alvin stuffs the change in his wallet and puts the
wallet back in his pocket.
I drove this rig across Iowa. I'm hopin'
it'll hold into Wisconsin...
Alvin looks up at them.
...that's where my brother lives. Haven't
seen him in ten years.
Alvin looks at the Olsen brothers. They squirm
under his gaze.
No man knows your life better than a
brother near your age. He can know
who, and what you are best than most
anyone on the earth.
He stops for a moment. Looks hard at the Olsens.
My brother and I said some unforgivable
things last time we were together. I
want to put those times behind us.
This trip is just one hard swallow of
pride. I'm only hopin' I'm not too late.
They make to gather their tools and leave.
A brother's a brother.
Danny smiles at this. The Olsens move to get out of
there as fast as they can.
163 EXT.--NIGHT DANNY RIORDAN'S BACK YARD.
Alvin is cooking up a large jug of water for coffee.
Danny is sitting in the chair watching Alvin and
smoking a cigarette. He has come to enjoy his time
out in the backyard with Alvin.
I've gotta tell you Alvin that I'm
worried about you. About you...about your
trip on that mower.
Not to worry. Me and my machine are
in splendid form after our stay here.
You're sure are you Alvin?
Alvin just nods. A somewhat awkward silence settles
on the scene.
DANNY RIORDAN (cont'd)
Little more silence. Danny puts out his cigarette.
DANNY RIORDAN (cont'd)
I guess I'll be turning in. See you in the
morning then before you go.
I'll be traveling plenty early.
Alvin takes off his hat and stands directly in front of
I want to thank you for your kindness
to a stranger.
Danny stands up from his chair and puts out his
It has been a genuine pleasure having
you here Alvin. Write to us sometime.
Alvin takes his hand in a firm shake.
164 EXT.--EARLY MORNING DANNY RIORDAN'S BACKYARD
Tight on door of trailer closing. Alvin comes
around and gets on the mower and starts her up.
165 EXT.--SUNRISE DANNY RIORDAN'S HOUSE
Danny is standing at a window unseen by Alvin. He
has been watching Alvin's preparations from inside
the house, sensing Alvin's reluctance for goodbyes.
Alvin pulls out onto the road.
166 EXT.--SUNRISE RIORDAN'S FRONT PORCH
Danny steps out onto the porch, holding a coffee
mug. He watches Alvin in the distance heading
down the main drag of Clermont.
167 EXT.--SUNRISE MAIN DRAG CLERMONT
Traveling shot of Alvin going through a sleeping
Clermont. The only vehicle on the road is another
John Deere tractor. Alvin and the farmer exchange
the farmer wave.
168 EXT.--DAY A HILL JUST WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI
Shot of empty road, top of the hill. The trees on
either side of the road are in full fall color. Alvin
and the mower rise into view. Then he stops and
eyes the steep downhill grade. He sets his hat and
169 EXT.--DAY ANOTHER HILL JUST WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI
Alvin again crests a hill. This one a bit bigger. Again
he takes a deep breath. He lashes down the gear shift
and heads down the hill.
170 EXT.--DAY THE LAST HILL LEADING DOWN TO THE MISSISSIPPI
Alvin pulls up to the top of a big hill and comes to a
171 EXT.--DAY HILL TOP ABOVE THE MISSISSIPPI
Close up of Alvin looking and taking off his hat.
172 EXT.--DAY SAME HILL TOP ALVIN'S POV.
The beautiful, broad Mississippi stretches out before
him. The hills are in full autumn foliage. There is
river as far as the eye can see. It is dotted with boats
and barges. Directly across from Alvin, the
Wisconsin River flows into the Mississippi... the sun
glints off their surface where they join. Alvin secures
his hat and gets back out on the road.
173 EXT.--DAY TOP OF LAST HILL WEST OF MISSISSIPPI
174 EXT.--DAY SAME HILL
175 EXT.--DAY MACGREGOR IOWA
176 EXT.--DAY HIGHWAY LEADING TO THE BRIDGE.
As he approaches the bridge over the river, Alvin has
to pull more off the shoulder and into the slow lane
of traffic. He begins his crossing.
177 EXT.--DAY HIGH ANGLE SHOT OF ALVIN ON BRIDGE
Alvin is tooling along in the slow lane. The landscape
around the bridge is breathtaking. Cars and
trucks pass him. A car tailgates him. Traffic behind
him begins to build.
178 EXT.--DAY MISSISSIPPI BRIDGE
Alvin riding on his mower, enjoying the view at his
nice, slow pace. The mower's pace allows him to
enjoy the scene. People in cars and trucks pass and
gawk in disbelief. A few are irritated. Some kids take
his picture. One child motions for him to blow his
179 EXT.--DAY HIGH ANGLE SHOT OF ALVIN ON BRIDGE
Alvin at mid-point of the span. The number of cars
backed up behind him has increased. The flow of
cars in adjacent lane become affected by the gawkers.
Alvin has no idea that he is now a one man traffic
180 EXT.--DAY MISSISSIPPI
Alvin on his mower. He is oblivious to the traffic
behind him. He is really enjoying the view of the
181 EXT.--DAY HIGH ANGLE OF ALVIN ON BRIDGE
Now there is a serious back up behind Alvin. He is
3/4 of the way across the bridge and cars are backed
up 1/2 way back.
182 EXT.--DAY ALVIN'S POV
Alvin scans the river but as his view moves past the
"WELCOME TO WISCONSIN" sign...
183 EXT.--DAY ALVIN'S FACE TIGHT
...his expression changes from blissful tourist to
184 EXT.--DAY ALVIN POV
Next to the welcome sign Alvin's sees a Prairie du
Chien police officer leaning against his squad, lights
185 EXT.--DAY PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, WISCONSIN
As Alvin approaches, the officer waves him to the side
of the road. Alvin slows to a stop along the shoulder.
The police officer begins to direct the cars past
around Alvin, moving the gawkers along. He begins
to converse with Alvin over his shoulder as he waves.
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN COP
Sir, are you aware of the congestion you
caused on the bridge just now?
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN COP
I am assuming sir that you have the
appropriate registration to operate a
Slow Moving Vehicle. Am I correct?
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN COP
And where are you headed today?
At this the police officer stops directing traffic and
walks over to Alvin with an incredulous look on his
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN COP
You are going to drive that to Mt.
Zion? The Mt. Zion by Boscobel?
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN COP
The Mt. Zion by Blue River?
That Mt. Zion?
That Mt. Zion ...yes.
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN COP
May I see some identification please?
Alvin extracts his wallet and chain and hands over
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN COP (cont'd)
It says here you're from Laurens. That
A bit west of the Grotto.
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN COP
And you've made it to Wisconsin with
The cop stands back and takes in the whole rig:
lawnmower, plywood trailer, antlers.
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN COP
It says here Mr. Straight that you are 73
years old. How long have you been on
the road from Laurens?
Goin' on six weeks.
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN COP
And what's your business in Mt. Zion?
My brother is sick.
The cop considers this for a moment.
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN COP
Well Mr. Straight, we've got a problem
here. All of this traffic that you've
managed to stop runs right on through
downtown Prairie du Chien. I'd like
you to take the side streets.
Well I'd like to accommodate you
but...I'm afraid I'm not familiar with
the streets in this town.
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN COP
You stay right here Mr. Straight. Don't
Alvin nods. The officer walks back to his squad and
begins talking in the radio. Alvin sits and watches
the river and the traffic. A car goes by and a dog
barks at him from a window. Little children stare at
him as they pass. The officer returns. He notices
again the deer antlers mounted on the trailer.
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN COP (cont'd)
Do you have a hunting license?
Alvin turns and sees he's looking at the antlers.
That was a road kill.
Another Prairie du Chien squad car pulls up lights
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN COP
Mr. Straight, I'd like you to follow me.
Are you arresting me?
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN COP
No sir....we're escorting you.
The two squads bracket Alvin and move out into
traffic. The caravan drives through the side streets of
town. The squad cars have their red lights flashing.
A state patrol car joins the procession. Locals look
on in confusion and amusement. They wave and
Alvin, a regular parade marshall, waves back.
186 EXT.--DAY EASTERN EDGE OF PRAIRIE DU CHIEN
The lead police car stops. The other cars wave and
peel away. The officer from the bridge walks over to
Alvin on the mower.
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN COP
You take this up as far as 61, head
north and it'll take you straight into
Mt. Zion. Have a safe journey, Mr.
Thank you for the grand parade.
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN COP
Our privilege sir.
He turns to walk away, then looks back.
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN COP (cont'd)
Must've been one slow buck.
Alvin sits grinning on his rig, his head framed by the
Alvin traveling along the Wisconsin country road.
Alvin pulls off the road to set up camp alongside a
small country church and cemetery.
187 EXT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S CAMPSITE
Alvin sits in his chaise by the campfire. A train whistle
sounds in the distance. Alvin looks up, and looks
into the sky.
188 EXT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S POV
Stars in the cool autumn sky with a crescent moon.
The train whistle blows again.
Alvin looks off in the direction of the sound. His
trip is nearing an end. He looks around at his
190 EXT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S POV
He is camped alongside a small country church and
cemetery. A simple iron archway guards the cemetery.
The back door of the church opens and a swath
of light cuts into the cemetery. A PRIEST in layman's
clothes comes out carrying a plate and
I noticed your campfire. I brought you
some dinner...meat loaf and potatoes.
He holds the plate out to Alvin. Alvin hesitates and
then reaches out and takes the plate.
I thank you kindly. Hope you don't
mind my trespassin'.
Not at all. You've made a fine choice.
You're camped next to one of the oldest
cemeteries in the midwest. French
Two of his men.
Alvin reflects on this. He motions for the priest to
sit down by the fire. The priest does so.
I couldn't help but notice your rather
unusual mode of transport.
(shakes his head
Well you wouldn't be the first person to
say so Padre.
The priest doesn't say anything...he waits on Alvin.
(he's ready to stop
I can't see good enough to drive a car, I
don't like someone else drivin' my bus
and I got to get to my brother's place.
Fair enough. How far have you traveled?
Well now this vehicle doesn't sport an
odometer so I couldn't exactly say...but
I been on the road since September
But we're October 15th. Where in
heaven's name did you start out?
Back in north central Iowa. Laurens,
That must be over 300 miles from
I reckon that's not a bad guess.
The priest gets up and walks over to Alvin's mower
and trailer. He walks around it real slow...one full
circle. He comes back and sits down by the fire. He
looks at Alvin for a bit.
Well I would guess that you are on a
This sets Alvin to thinking. He nods to himself.
You know I wouldna ever thought of it
that way but I guess you could say
that's exactly what I'm doin'.
You say you've got to see your brother.
Where is he?
So close I can practically feel him...
What's his name?
That the fellow had a stroke some weeks
That's right. You know him?
Well I do some work over at the hospital
in Boscobel and I remember him
coming in. He caught my attention
because he lives in my parish.
I believe he told me that. He told me a
few things as a matter of fact. Didn't
mention having a brother though.
Alvin looks up to the sky.
Don't think we've either of us had a
brother for some time now. I'm hopin'
to fix that...
Alvin pauses for a moment.
So you saw him? ...He's O.K. then?
I only saw him that once...never heard
There is a pause in the talk. Alvin takes in the scene.
191 EXT.--NIGHT SKY
Alvin's POV of the crescent moon, the stars and
down to the church and the cemetery. The priest
waits for him to go on. Night sounds, train whistles.
Lyle and I grew up close as brothers
could be. We were raised on a farm up
in Moorhead, Minnesota. Worked so
hard...my ma and pa pretty much
killed themselves trying to make that
Alvin shakes his head at the sorrow of this memory.
He takes out a cigar and lights it. The priest patiently
waits on him to continue.
Me and Lyle...we made games out of
our chores. A day's work'd go quicker
when it was just the two of us. We'd
make up different races and wagers just
to get our mind off the cold...Christ it
He looks quickly to the priest.
'Scuse me Padre.
The priest nods tolerantly. He waits for Alvin to
He and I used to sleep out in the yard
every summer night it wasn't pouring.
After nine months of winter we couldn't
get enough of summer. We'd bunk
down as soon as the sun went down
and lie there talkin' ourselves to sleep.
Talk about the stars...and other planets,
whether there might be other people
like us out there, 'bout all the places we
wanted to go...made our trials seem
smaller. We pretty much talked each
other through growin' up.
Alvin looks up to the sky.
192 EXT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S POV OF THE NIGHT
Funny but lookin' up at these stars
tonight and feelin' him so close...makes
me feel I'm right back there again. All
those years ago.
They are both quiet for a bit...we stay on the night
What happened between you two?
193 EXT.--NIGHT CAMPSITE
Alvin looks back down to the fire.
Well that's a story old as the
bible...Cain and Abel. Anger...vanity
...mix those things up with liquor and
you get two brothers not talkin' for ten
Alvin shakes his head.
It doesn't really matter anymore.
He's quiet for a while.
I've lived on this earth for 73 years. I'm
a humble man in the world but my life
is so full that from where I sit now I'll
be damned if I know how I did it
all...growin' up on a hardscrabble
farm...then went to war...
(he shakes his head
at these painful
...God help us.
(he pauses and
takes a breath)
I had seven children. We lived in every
part of this beautiful country...I loved a
woman for 40 years...and then she
He has to stop for a while.
The priest is looking into the fire. He gives Alvin all
the time he needs.
(he takes a breath)
I've got two daughters...one we lost
track of back in '74...don't even know
if she's alive. Got in with a mean fella.
(another painful pause.)
So...whatever it was made me and Lyle
so mad doesn't matter to me now...I
want to make peace...I want to sit with
him again and look up at all the stars.
The priest looks over at Alvin. Alvin looks up and
Well sir, I say amen to that.
194 EXT.--NIGHT ALVIN'S CAMPSITE
The hilltop wide under the stars. The fire glows
small in the frame. The firelight's flickering
illumination of Alvin, the priest, the Church and the
SLOW FADE TO BLACK.
195 EXT.--DAY WESTERN WISCONSIN
Alvin is driving through rolling Wisconsin farmland
dotted with dairy farms and red barns. He sees a
sign: "Mt. Zion. Unincorporated"
196 INT.--DAY MT. ZION BAR / GAS STATION
The bartender sits behind the bar watching the
197 INT.--TV SCREEN
The weather person is giving the national five day
First frost of the season is expected for
the midwest and great lakes region...
198 INT.--DAY MT. ZION BAR
Something out the window catches the bartender's
eye. He glances out and his expression changes to
one of disbelief.
MT. ZION BARTENDER
He gets up off his stool and walks over to the window
for a closer look.
MT. ZION BARTENDER (cont'd)
199 INT.--DAY MT. ZION BAR/GAS STATION
Through the window we see Alvin hauling up the
hill approaching the bar.
200 EXT.--DAY MT. ZION BAR GAS PUMP
Alvin arrives at the top of the hill and stops at the
gas pumps. Alvin executes his usual laborious dismount
and enters the bar.
201 INT.--DAY THE MT. ZION BAR
Alvin crosses the bar and perches atop a bar stool.
He sets his canes against the bar rail and addresses
I haven't had a drink in years but I
believe I'll have a cold beer right now.
MT. ZION BARTENDER
What does a Miller Lite taste like?
The bartender places a bottle in front of Alvin.
MT. ZION BARTENDER
Interesting rig you got out there. Make
it up the hill OK?
That one and about 200 others.
MT. ZION BARTENDER
How far'd you come?
Iowa. Headin' to Lyle Straight's place.
MT. ZION BARTENDER
Iowa?...by God you must be thirsty.
One'll do thank you. Can you point
me to Lyle's place? I don't quite recall
the way...it's been an awful long time
since I seen him.
Alvin starts drinking the beer in short order.
MT. ZION BARTENDER
Cross 61 there on W. Take W to Weed
Road and then take Weed on down to
Remington. Remington drops down
onto S...that's the county trunk by
Frankie Schwartz's farm. On your right
would be Lyle's place...if he's even
there. I heard he's had a bad stroke...if
you see him, tell him Micky O'Connor
tells him to get better quick.
Alvin finishes off the beer, gets up and heads out of
bar. MARTHA, the bartender's wife arrives after
Alvin's exit. She peers out the window. Then turns
to the bartender.
I believe that would be a '66.
202 EXT.--DAY MT. ZION BAR
Alvin exits and does his departure ritual. Proceeds
down the road.
203 EXT.--DAY EXTERIOR VALLEY HWY W
Alvin drives through a beautiful valley.
204 EXT.--DAY WEED ROAD ALVIN TIGHT
Alvin knows that he is near the end of his journey.
Then a look crosses his face. We hear the engine
cough. Then with a puff of black smoke, the mower
dies. Alvin sits alone on the dirt road.
205 EXT.--DAY WEED ROAD LATER THAT DAY
Alvin is still sitting alone on the dirt road.
206 EXT.--DAY WEED ROAD EVEN LATER THAT SAME DAY
Alvin still sitting. We hear the off camera sound of a
tractor. Around the bend of the dirt road comes a
big John Deere farm tractor.
207 EXT.--DAY DIRT ROAD WIDE
The farmer stops and converses with Alvin. He is
offering to haul Alvin. Alvin tries the mower again
and to his surprise it starts. The farmer climbs on his
tractor and proceeds down the road in front of
Alvin. They continue like this approaching Lyle's
place. Alvin turns off into Lyle's yard and the tractor
keeps moving off. Alvin cuts his engine and the
sound of the tractor fades off.
208 EXT.--MAGIC HOUR LYLE'S FRONT YARD
Alvin dismounts and slowly walks toward the front
door of the house. He stops in the yard and calls out.
209 EXT.--MAGIC HOUR LYLE'S HOUSE
Close on the screen door. A pause...then we hear
Lyle's voice from inside.
Is that you Alvin?
We hear a rhythmic bumping noise from inside.
210 EXT.--MAGIC HOUR LYLE'S YARD
Alvin starts moving toward the front porch. Lyle
comes out the front door using a walker. It makes
the bumping noise. As Alvin climbs the few steps he
and Lyle stand very close and take a good look at
each other...at the old men they have become.
Sit yourself down Alvin.
They move slowly to the two chairs set up on the
porch. They are situated about five feet apart on
either side of the screen door. Lyle is on the right
and Alvin on the left.
Lyle looking out at the lawnmower and trailer in the
Did you ride that thing all the way here
to see me?
Alvin nodding his head.
I did Lyle.
We stay on Alvin's face for a while.
Close shot of Lyle. He is crying.
Alvin...tears are running down his cheeks. He turns
with a crying smile to Lyle.
PAN UP TO:
211 EXT.--NIGHT SKY
A sky full of stars. Music plays.
Screenplay by Mary Sweeney and John Roach