Sounder


FADE IN

Before titles. 

EXT. HUNTING WOODS - LANDSDOWN COUNTY - NIGHT 

It is a clear but cold Autumn night at some time in the nineteen thirties. The 
Landsdown Woods are an assortment of various elements of nature: quiet water 
streams, rushing rivers, heavy brushland, small trees, and the more dominant, 
great tall pines. NATHAN LEE MORGAN, a Black man in his late thirties or 
early forties, treks deep into the woods with his eleven year old son, DAVID 
LEE, and his hound dog, SOUNDER. NATHAN LEE is a well built, strong manner of 
a man with a deliberate and quiet manner - DAVID LEE, like his father is tall 
and strong with big, bright active eyes. SOUNDER, their hound dog, is a 
mixture of red-bone hound and bulldog, with great square jaws.
 
TITLES BEGIN
 
NATHAN LEE carries an old rifle, and a burlap sack thrown across his shoulder 
-- DAVID LEE walks with a lantern as SOUNDER tracks ahead of them. They keep 
moving until they come upon a quiet river stream --
 
EXT. RIVER STREAM - NIGHT

They walk along the edges of the river, with deliberation. It is obvious that 
they have walked this route many times. They reach a cut-off point and circle 
back into the woods, and pick up a pathway --
 
EXT. PATHWAY - NIGHT 

They pick up speed in close approach to a weeded area and stop. DAVID looks 
about in disappointment. SOUNDER scratches the earth -- NATHAN looks out into 
the darkness with a nagging expression on his face --
 
TITLES INTERRUPTED
 
				DAVID LEE
		There ain't no possums in this woods tonight, 
		Daddy.

				NATHAN LEE
		Looks that way, son. Guess the cold done drove 
		most of 'em down to the big water country -- 
		but if there's one left out here -- we gotta 
		find him. 

				DAVID LEE
		It's cold, Daddy!

				NATHAN LEE
		Here, put my jacket over you.
 
NATHAN takes his jacket off and drapes it over the boy's frame as SOUNDER 
begins to scratch and whine with intensity. He moves to stand over the dog.
 
				NATHAN LEE
		You all right, boy?
 
Suddenly SOUNDER's voice lets out and he breaks away in a burst of speed. 
NATHAN and DAVID react quickly and take up the chase behind him.
 
TITLES BEGIN AGAIN
 
As SOUNDER makes his way through the woods -- NATHAN and DAVID rush behind 
him, following the great unique sound of the dog's voice. It is a sound that 
bounces -- soulful, louder and clearer than any purebred redbone. It is 
spaced with precision, bouncing from slope to slope like a rubber ball, 
filling up the night with music as though the branches of all the trees were 
being pulled across silver strings.
 
EXT. THE BASE OF THE TREE WHERE THE POSSUM HAS TAKEN REFUGE - NIGHT 

SOUNDER arrives and makes a leap to climb the tree as NATHAN and DAVID rush 
on to the scene. NATHAN looks up and points to the spot where the possum is. 
He puts his rifle down near him, and DAVID assists him in the shaking of the 
tree as SOUNDER makes his leaps upward to the rhythm of the sound coming from 
his voice. The possum gives way to the force and falls to the ground. SOUNDER 
charges for the animal -- NATHAN quickly picks up his rifle and aims for the 
animal. He fires into blank darkness and misses. The possum recovers from the 
fall and scampers into thick brushland, with SOUNDER in close pursuit.
 
EXT. THE AREA OF THE THICK BRUSHLAND - NIGHT 

SOUNDER cannot overcome the briar thickness of the brushland -- but the 
possum with his smaller size manages to elude the dog.
 
EXT. THE EDGES OF THE BRUSHLAND AREA - NIGHT 

SOUNDER comes out of the brush area, whining in frustration as NATHAN and 
DAVID approach him. NATHAN immediately realizes that the possum has gotten 
away.
 
END OF TITLES
 
				NATHAN LEE 
			(slams his rifle to the ground)
		Dammit! And I remember the time when a bull 
		couldn't a stopped him from gettin' that 
		possum!
 
DAVID LEE kneels down and caresses SOUNDER's frame. NATHAN realizes that 
DAVID is disturbed over his harshness.
 
				NATHAN LEE
		Come here, son--
 
DAVID LEE goes to his father, who kneels to him, and puts both of his huge 
hands on the boy's shoulders.

				NATHAN LEE
		It's all right. He did his job -- I just got 
		foolish for a minute.
 
He gives the boy a quick embrace and rises to his feet --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		If anybody's to blame, it's me -- I oughta 
		nailed him when I took that shot.

				DAVID LEE 
		It was too dark, Daddy.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Yeah. We better git back to house now.

NATHAN puts his hand on SOUNDER's neck, gives him an affectionate rub. They 
gather their equipment and head for home. They move out of the brush area on 
to a pathway.
 
EXT. ROAD AND CABIN - NIGHT 

This area of the road is about ten hundred feet from the front yard of the 
cabin. The yard is wide, and stretches out to the very edges of the road 
which comes to a horseshoe deadend about two hundred feet at the far end of 
their cabin.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		In all the years me and Sounder been tracking 
		down possums and coons in these woods -- he 
		ain't tore one of 'em up yet... He always 
		brought 'em back whole and healthy... And 
		that's the difference between a hound dog 
		that's dirty and mean, to one that's great 
		like ol' Sounder here.

EXT. THE CABIN'S FRONT YARD - NIGHT

They move through the yard, up the steps, on to the porch, and open the door 
to the house.
 
INT. THE KITCHEN-SITTING ROOM - NIGHT 

NATHAN, DAVID, and SOUNDER step into the cabin. It is an old house but it is 
the home of the Morgan family so it is kept neat and clean at all times. To 
one side of the area is a kitchen table, a wood stove, and an old beat-up 
cabinet. To the other side are two old rockers, an old dresser, and one or 
two pieces of other old living room furniture -- there are three portals in 
this area: the backdoor in the kitchen section which leads to the backyard, 
and two in the sitting room which leads to the childrens' and NATHAN and 
REBECCA's rooms.
 
REBECCA MORGAN, an attractive brown-skin woman in her thirties, sits in a 
rocker by the stove alone, picking kernels out of walnut shells with a bent 
hairpin. She looks up to NATHAN as he stands just inside the door, and looks 
down at her.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		We cornered one, but he got away.

He does not wait for a response from her -- he, DAVID and SOUNDER keep moving 
across the floor, and on out the back door. REBECCA's eyes slowly trail their 
backs out the door. Her eyes just hang there after they have moved out of 
sight.
 
INT. THE SHED - NIGHT 

The shed is medium in size and old like the house. There is a long wide table 
running along side the right wall. There are hanging nails on all of the 
walls and alongside the table. The various pieces of archaic farm equipment 
are all neatly put in organized places. NATHAN, DAVID and SOUNDER enter the 
shed. NATHAN hangs the burlap sack on one of the wall nails, and places the 
rifle down on the table -- DAVID does likewise with the lantern.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Bet you're a tired little fellow, David Lee.

NATHAN takes the lantern apart and begins to clean it -- and DAVID LEE picks 
up a small can of oil and puts it on top of the table.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Yes, sir...

				NATHAN LEE 
		You oughta be tired, too, Sounder. That possum 
		shore whipped the hell outta you tonight!
 
He laughs behind his own remark as he finishes the business with the lantern 
and picks up his rifle.

				DAVID LEE 
		He beat you, too, Daddy, and you had a big ol' 
		shootin' rifle.

				NATHAN LEE
			(serious) 
		Boy, you don't make funny with your daddy like 
		that.
 
His father has caught him off guard -- he was only joking -- he doesn't 
understand the attitude -- he doesn't know what to say -- he turns and walks 
away.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		David Lee...

				DAVID LEE 
			(stops and turns)
		Yes, sir... 

				NATHAN LEE 
		You had a rough time out there tonight -- so 
		you stay home from that school tomorrow.

				DAVID LEE 
		I wanna go -- the trip don't bother me none.

				NATHAN LEE 
		You learnin' anything at that school?

				DAVID LEE 
		Yes, sir -- I learn to write a little bit, and 
		I can read a lot--
 
NATHAN LEE looks on him for a moment, and then softly nods his head--
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Readin' must be somethin' powerful, huh, son? 

				DAVID LEE 
		Yes, sir...
 
NATHAN LEE slams the rifle closed, moves towards the exit and steps hastily 
out into the backyard -- DAVID LEE and SOUNDER follow him --

EXT. THE BACKYARD - NIGHT 

The backyard spreads out in the form of a jagged horseshoe, surrounded by low 
levels of grass -- at the far end is a pathway, running about three hundred 
feet away to where the tall grass grows. The shed sits to the far left edge 
and more to the right edge is a water well. To the right of the water well is 
a woodpile. Up against the house, to the right of the steps to the back door 
are two wash tubs with homemade scrubbing boards. NATHAN keeps walking 
directly to the water well, reaches it and lowers the bucket down into the 
well, brings the bucket of water up, scoops up with a dipper, drinks, and 
tries to look out over the plains and hills from the back of his house.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		When the fall comes in these parts, the Night 
		moon runs away like a rabbit -- you could stay 
		out here lookin' all night, and not see a thing 
		out yonder.

				DAVID LEE  
		We goin' huntin' again tomorrow ?

				NATHAN LEE 
		Yep. I guess you must wonder why though, what 
		with the luck we havin', but like I always 
		say--

				DAVID LEE
		"You lose some of the time, what you always go 
		afta, but you lose all the time what you don't
		go afta!" 

				NATHAN LEE 
		Now who says I didn't lay my mark on you, boy!
 
They both laugh as REBECCA steps out into the backyard from the house, and 
moves swiftly towards them.
 
				REBECCA 
		David Lee, it's time for you to get to bed!

				DAVID LEE 
		Goodnight. 

He starts moving away towards the house.
 
				NATHAN LEE
		Night, son!

				REBECCA
		And don't wake up Josie Mae and Earl!
 
They watch DAVID LEE enter the house -- then NATHAN LEE looks to SOUNDER as 
they begin to move for the house.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Your bedtime too, hound dog.
 
SOUNDER hops up on him -- he strokes the dog's back and then pushes him away.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Off you go, boy!
 
SOUNDER scampers away around the side of the house.
 
				REBECCA
		I bet you could use a hot cup of coffee, Nathan 
		Lee.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		I shore could, Miss Rebecca.
 
They start back into the house.
 
EXT. FRONT OF THE HOUSE - NIGHT 

SOUNDER crawls just under the front porch and lies down on a burlap sack for 
his night's sleep.

INT. THE CHILDREN's ROOM - NIGHT
 
DAVID LEE has taken some of the walnuts and is sitting up in the bed. EARL 
and JOSIE MAE, their sister, are fast asleep across from them. EARL is a 
sprightly little boy about eight years of age who has the kind of round face 
that gives one the impression that he is forever smiling. DAVID LEE grabs his 
book and starts to read.
 
INT. KITCHEN-SITTING ROOM - NIGHT

NATHAN and REBECCA enter the house through the back door -- NATHAN stops at 
the table in the kitchen area as REBECCA moves directly to the door of the 
children's room -- just before she gets to the door, she notices that the 
bowl of walnuts on the floor by the rocker has been disturbed -- she snatches 
the bowl up from the floor and looks to NATHAN --
 
				REBECCA 
		The boy done went into my walnuts! I skin my 
		fingers to the bone to pick two pounds that's 
		worth almost nothing at the commissary and he 
		done took almost half of what I pick!

				NATHAN LEE 
		The boy is hungry, Rebecca.
 
His words cut through her frustration -- she puts down the bowl on an old 
dresser next to the door that leads to the children's room and just stands 
there for a moment -- she and NATHAN, looking directly on each other -- after 
a moment she moves across the floor and nestles into the embrace of his arms 
-- he holds her close to him for a moment and then they break the embrace --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Dammit!
 
He moves halfway across the floor and stops as REBECCA goes to the stove to 
prepare his coffee --
 
				REBECCA 
		We been through these off-seasons before -- we 
		made it.

				NATHAN LEE 
		What we make it to? The next season to work 
		ourselves to death, share croppin' for ol' man 
		Howard, so he can get richer and we can't even 
		eat when the croppin' time is done?
 
His coffee is ready -- she puts it on the table -- he moves to it and sits 
and takes a sip with the frustration still nagging him. She stands over him 
from behind and puts her hand on his strong neck for a moment and then she 
moves for the children's room and enters -- he drinks his coffee --
 
INT. REBECCA and NATHAN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT 

REBECCA enters, unrobes and crawls into bed -- she lies there for awhile in 
thought, rolls over to position herself and then she hears the back door 
SLAM. She raises her head for a moment and then she decides to get up. She 
puts her clothes back on hurriedly and moves out of the room.
 
INT. KITCHEN-SITTING ROOM - NIGHT 

REBECCA moves with directness through the room, on out door to the backyard.
 
EXT. THE BACKYARD - NIGHT 

REBECCA stands in middle of the backyard, looking about in the area.
 
				REBECCA
			(softly). 
		Nathan?
 
There is not a sound -- then she moves hastily around the side of the house 
to the front yard.
 
EXT. THE FRONT YARD - NIGHT 

She looks down under the edge of the porch to see SOUNDER fast asleep. She 
turns and tries to see through the darkness down the road -- she slowly moves 
up on the porch and stands in the doorway looking out into the night. She 
begins to hum -- the kind of hum to relax the nerves -- to move the thoughts 
away from the mind -- thoughts that were plaguing her.
 
								DISSOLVE TO:

INT. THE MORGANS' KITCHEN - DAY 

It is about six a.m. the following morning and hot food is piping on the 
stove.
 
INT. THE CHILDREN'S ROOM - DAY 

DAVID LEE awakes first and catches the aroma of the food floating into their 
room. He jumps out of bed and arouses JOSIE MAE and EARL.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Come on y'all, git up, somethin's cookin' in 
		the kitchen! Come on, Earl!
 
They all jump into their clothes and rush for the kitchen.
 
INT. THE KITCHEN - DAY 

They head straight for the stove where DAVID takes the lid off one of the 
pots and then the other.
 
				EARL
		What's in there, David!? 

				DAVID LEE 
		Sausage and hambones! 

EARL tries to put his hand in one of the pots but DAVID slaps it away.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Don't do that!

				JOSIE MAE
		Where did it come from?
 
JOSIE MAE is a tall, pretty girl for her nine years -- with a sort of 
brooding air about her. 

				DAVID LEE 
		Come on!
 
DAVID sees SOUNDER through the front-door screen, scratching to get in -- he 
hurriedly lets the dog in, and they all dash out the back door.
 
EXT. THE BACKYARD - DAY 

REBECCA is hanging out wash on the clothes line as the children rush toward 
her.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Mama, there's hot meat on the stove!
 
				REBECCA 
		That's right!
 
				DAVID LEE  
		Where did it come from, Mama?

				REBECCA
		Where all meat come from -- now git yourself 
		washed up and be snappy about it -- you got six 
		miles ahead of you to that school.

She heads for the kitchen while the children proceed to wash up at the well.
 
INT. THE KITCHEN - DAY 

REBECCA enters the kitchen and immediately starts preparing breakfast as 
NATHAN is awakened and is standing in the doorway to the kitchen from their 
room. She notices him and stops her work for a moment.
 
				REBECCA 
		Good mornin', Nathan. 

				NATHAN LEE 
		Mornin'... 

				REBECCA 
		You ready to eat?

				NATHAN LEE 
		I'll wait till after the children.
 
She goes back to preparing the food as she moves into the kitchen to put 
together some scraps of food for SOUNDER.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		How's the weather out there? 

				REBECCA 
		Little chilly.

				NATHAN LEE 
		Hope it don't freeze out our baseball game 
		today!
 
EXT. THE BACKYARD - DAY 

The children meet NATHAN as he is coming out of the house and they are about 
to enter.
 
				CHILDREN
		Mornin', Daddy! 

				NATHAN LEE 
		Mornin' back atcha!
 
They rush on past him into the house as he smiles.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Don't forget to save me some!
 
He stops in the center of the yard and looks about.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Sounder!
 
SOUNDER comes running toward him from the field in back of the shed. NATHAN 
bends to a pan on the ground and puts the scraps of food in it as SOUNDER 
arrives and begins to eat. NATHAN rises and looks on, pleasingly.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		That oughta put you in good shape for tonight!
 
INT. THE KITCHEN - DAY

The children are at the table eating as REBECCA is about to return to her 
laundry work in the backyard.
 
				REBECCA 
		Don't take all day at that table, David Lee.
 
				JOSIE MAE
		Mama, when kin me and Earl go to school with 
		David Lee? 

				REBECCA 
		Maybe soon--
 
She moves out of the door --
 
EXT. THE BACKYARD - DAY 

Out in the backyard, NATHAN is chopping wood with SOUNDER nearby him as 
REBECCA returns to hanging out the wash. She starts that nervous hum of hers, 
and occasionally glances over to him at the woodpile. He lifts his head for a 
moment and calls out to her.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		The one thing we got plenty of is wood!
 
She stops her work and just looks on him with concern when DAVID, JOSIE and 
EARL dash out into the yard, breaking her trend of thought.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Ready to go, Mama! 

				REBECCA
		Tuck that shirt in, David Lee. 

He moves toward her, cramming the shirt down into his pants.
 
				REBECCA 
		You got two shirts on? 

				DAVID LEE 
		Yes mam...

				REBECCA 
		When you get outta that school, you come right 
		on back home, y'all gon' have to take this 
		laundry work I done for Miss Boatwright today.
 
She gives him a quick hug and kiss. He rushes over to his father.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		'Bye, Daddy... 

They shake hands...
 
				NATHAN LEE
		'Bye, son... 

He takes off with JOSIE MAE, EARL and SOUNDER.

REBECCA starts back toward the clothesline, and as if to make a decision, she 
stops and turns to NATHAN.
 
				REBECCA 
		Where was it you went last night, Nathan?
 
He rises from his chopping position and faces her directly.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		I went where I had to go, Rebecca. My children 
		was hungry.
 
As if to say the conversation is over, he immediately goes back to chopping 
wood. She gives him a long but soft look and then finally returns to her work.
 
EXT. THE ROAD - DAY 

DAVID LEE rides in the back of the wagon of a white farmer, who is giving him 
a lift part of the way.
 
DAVID LEE runs a distance of the road -- sits and rests on the side of the 
road for a few minutes -- walks at a slow pace for a while.
 
The boy climbs up into the wagon of a black farmer -- The wagon pulls away.
 
He makes the final dash up the road.
 
EXT. SCHOOLYARD - DAY 

He speeds around the side of the building, and enters through a back door.
 
INT. SCHOOL HALLWAY - DAY

He rushes down the short hallway until he comes to a door, and enters.

INT. CLASSROOM OF THE SCHOOL - DAY 

This is a Southern White school where they segregate off into a far corner 
one or two black children they allow to attend the school.
 
DAVID LEE enters the room in an exhausted state as he stops just inside the 
door.
 
All eyes are upon him, including a black boy and girl who are segregated off 
in the back corner of the room. The teacher picks up his clock from the desk 
and looks at it.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		I'm sorry, Mr Clay... 

				MR CLAY
		You are one hour late... 

				DAVID LEE 
		Yessir...

				MR CLAY
		Well, take your seat.
 
DAVID LEE, with all eyes still upon him, moves carefully to a chair in the 
far corner -- sits next to the black boy and girl. MR CLAY takes up his book 
from the desk, and looks out on the class --

				MR CLAY
		Now where were we before we were interrupted--
		Oh yeah, Huckleberry Finn, chapter thirty-four! 
		This chapter is called: WE CHEER UP JIM! Here 
		we go: "Tom says: What's the vittles for? 
		Going to feed the dogs? The colored boy kind of 
		smiled around gradually over his face, and 
		says: Yes, Mars Sid, a dog. Cur'us dog, too. 
		Does you want to go en look at 'im?"
 
CLOSE ANGLE - DAVID and other two children. The teacher's words can hardly be 
heard as he continues with the reading -- as the CHILDREN'S faces hold mixed 
expressions of confusion, pain, and mostly boredom. A head shaking, pathetic 
moment --
 
EXT. FRONT OF MRS. BOATWRIGHT'S HOUSE - DAY 

It is a medium size one-family house, painted gray -- trimmed in white around 
the edges of the frame -- the yard is surrounded by well-kept hedges -- the 
yard is mostly green grass and flower beds -- with walkways leading to the 
front and back of the house. The children and the dog move into the yard from 
the residential street -- 

EXT. SIDE OF THE HOUSE - DAY 

They walk around the side of the house to a back door. The boys put the 
basket down -- DAVID knocks on the door -- after a moment, MRS. BOATWRIGHT, a 
tall, attractive white woman in her early forties, opens the screen door.

				DAVID LEE 
		We brought your laundry, Miss Boatwright.

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT 
		Come in, children.
 
They enter the house, leaving SOUNDER in the backyard.

INT. MRS. BOATWRIGHT'S KITCHEN - DAY 

DAVID and EARL stop in the middle of the floor, holding the basket.
 
				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		Put it right up on this table, boys. 

The two boys lift the basket up on the table. She looks through the clothes 
for a moment.
 
				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		You tell Rebecca ain't a Chinaman in all this 
		world can beat her ironing.

She reaches into her pocket and pulls out some change, picks out some and 
passes it on to DAVID.

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		This is for your mama's work, and here's 
		something for the three of you.

				DAVID LEE 
		Thank you, Miss Boatwright. 

				JOSIE MAE & EARL
		Thank you, Miss Boatwright.

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		Oh, by the way, David, I have the book I 
		promised you.

She moves for another room as the children all look to each other -- she 
returns immediately with the book, and hands it to DAVID LEE --
 
				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		It's about the Three Musketeers.

				DAVID LEE 
		Thank you, Miss Boatwright. 

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		When you read it we'll talk about it...

				DAVID LEE 
		Yes mam... We gotta go, Miss Boatwright.. .

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		Tell Rebecca I said 'hi', now...
 
The children turn and walk out of the back door --
 
EXT. OUTSIDE MRS. BOATWRIGHT'S BACK DOOR - DAY  

MRS. BOATWRIGHT is in the doorway as DAVID, EARL and SOUNDER move ahead of 
JOSIE MAE, who stops and turns to MRS. BOATWRIGHT --
 
				JOSIE MAE
		What's a Chinaman, Miss Boatwright?

Before MRS. BOATWRIGHT can struggle up a response -- 

				DAVID LEE 
		Come on, Josie Mae! We gotta hurry!

JOSIE MAE turns and catches up with them -- they all rush around and out of 
MRS. BOATWRIGHT'S yard.

EXT. THE COUNTRY - DAY 

They run up the road and into a field -- continue on across the field and 
over a slope until they can see crowds of people at a make-shift baseball 
diamond where two teams of black sharecroppers are engaged in a heated 
baseball contest. They keep moving on into the crowd --

EXT. THE BASEBALL DIAMOND AREA - DAY 

Men, women and children are standing around, loudly rooting for their team as 
the three children make their way through the crowd to find their mother. 
NATHAN LEE is pitching on the mound for his team. He throws a pitch -- the 
Batter misses it --

				DAVID LEE 
		Look at Daddy throw that ball!
 
They keep moving until they spot their mother, who is seated on a bench with 
another woman. They rush to her.

				WOMAN
		Rebecca, your children git bigger by the hour!

				REBECCA 
		It's the good livin' that do it, Harriet!

She smiles as the children approach her. DAVID LEE hands her the money.

				DAVID LEE 
		Miss Boatwright gave me this book and all of us 
		a nickel apiece!
 
REBECCA holds her hand out with palm up as if to say "hand it over" -- the 
three children pass the money on to her --

				DAVID LEE 
		Who's winning, Mama? 

				REBECCA 
		Nobody yet -- it's all tied up.
 
The ballgame goes on as they shout and roar for NATHAN's team. NATHAN is 
putting on quite a pitching performance in the close, exciting game.

NATHAN's team is at bat -- there are two out -- a man at second and a man at 
bat. The man at bat hits a ground ball to the second baseman, the ball 
trickles away from his glove into the outfield -- he quickly retrieves the 
ball and tries to make a play at First Base, but the Batter is called safe --
meanwhile the runner on Second has moved past Third Base and is attempting to 
score -- the first baseman throws the ball to the catcher at Home Plate as 
the runner slides into Home. It is a close play and the umpire makes the 
decision to call the runner safe. An uproar takes place as the other team 
shows its displeasure over the umpire's call -- but the people who are 
rooting for NATHAN's team shout and scream in ecstasy. After a short time, 
order is restored.
 
EXT. ON THE ROAD AWAY FROM THE BASEBALL DIAMOND - DAY 
 
NATHAN and his family are on their way home, accompanied by a guitar-playing 
friend named IKE. As he plays, he sings one of those basic black back-country 
blues. He finishes the song and gives out with a big laugh and boasts --
 
				IKE 
		If they heard me sing like this up North I'd be 
		richer than the man I sharecrop for. 

				NATHAN LEE 
		And if they saw me pitch the way I did today -- 
		they'd hire me just to strike out Babe Ruth!
 
NATHAN and IKE give out with a big laugh. REBECCA just smiles.
 
EXT. ROAD AND CHURCH - DAY 

They pass a white church on the road. A number of people are standing in the 
yard of the church and some are entering. DAVID watches with inquisitiveness.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		What do they do in the white churches, Mama?

				REBECCA 
		Same as we -- they pray. 

				IKE
		You know, one time by mistake I went into a 
		white church down in Row County and to this day 
		I don't know how'n the devil I got outta that 
		church alive.

				NATHAN LEE 
		They probly thought you was crazy.

				IKE 
		I guess so -- but I went home and did me some 
		praying to the Lord. I said, Lord, I went into 
		this white church down in Row and all I want 
		you to tell me is how I ever got outta there 
		in one piece.

				NATHAN LEE 
		What did the Lord tell you, Ike?

				IKE 
		He said, I don't know, Ike -- you doin' 
		better'n me, I been tryin' to git in there for 
		200 years and ain't make it yet!
 
Ike bursts out in loud laughter, joined by NATHAN, REBECCA and the children -- 
       
				REBECCA  
		If there ever was a devil in this county, Ike, 
		you is it!
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Ike, you could make a song outta that!

				IKE 
		I believe I'll do just what you say, speed ball!
 
They keep moving and come to a stop at crossroad.
 
				IKE 
		Well, this is where I havta say good night to 
		y'all -- it's been fun, Miss Rebecca. 

				REBECCA 
		Us too, Ike.

				IKE 
		It's a good, warm night comin' up, Nathan -- 
		you goin' to the woods?

				NATHAN LEE 
		Oh, yeh -- possums and coons better hide deep 
		from us tonight!
 
IKE moves away from them -- As they continue on home they can hear him 
singing to himself --
 
EXT. ABOUT THREE HUNDRED FEET AWAY FROM THE MORGANS' CABIN - DAY

The dark has set well as the family approach the house. SOUNDER starts to 
growl -- the children stop, and DAVID LEE turns his head to NATHAN and 
REBECCA --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		There's two men in front of our house, Daddy.
 
They all stop -- and can see the shadowy figures of two men, standing in 
their yard, and a Pick-Up Truck parked off the road toward the other side of 
the cabin.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Who is they? 

				REBECCA 
		Children, come here...
 
The children move back -- NATHAN LEE looks behind himself and across the 
fields as if he would like to make a dash for it -- but REBECCA's eyes follow 
every physical and mental motion he makes.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		We better see who they is...
 
They begin to move slowly toward the house with deliberate caution, with the 
two men becoming more visible identifiable with their shotguns dropped to 
their sides. They move into the yard and stop about twelve feet from the two 
men.
 
EXT. THE FRONT YARD - DAY

SHERIFF YOUNG steps out of the front door of their house. The two groups do 
not speak for a moment -- they merely stare at each other -- the MORGAN 
family with inquiring and fretful eyes.
 
				SHERIFF YOUNG 
		We been in your house, Nathan--
 
NATHAN and REBECCA look to each other with knowing glances.
  
				SHERIFF YOUNG 
		We found what we was lookin' for.
 
He moves away from the door and stops at the edge of the porch --
 
				SHERIFF YOUNG 
		You took some food and stuff from the James' 
		Smoke House last night so me and my deputies 
		here gon' hafta take you to the County Court 
		House.
 
SHERIFF YOUNG nor the DEPUTIES make a physical move toward NATHAN. There is a 
long moment of tense silence. For a second, NATHAN seems to want to make a 
desperate break and run, but REBECCA holds him by the arm with all the 
strength her hand can afford.
 
				SHERIFF YOUNG 
		Okay, boys...
 
The DEPUTIES move in and take NATHAN by the arms from both sides and put 
handcuffs on him.

				EARL
		What they doin', Mama? 

				REBECCA 
		Be quiet, son...
 
EARL falls into his mother's embrace - suddenly, SOUNDER's voice rips into 
the atmosphere, and for the first time the DEPUTIES draw their shotguns to 
waist level --
 
				SHERIFF YOUNG 
		Shut that mongrel up!
 
DAVID runs to SOUNDER and tempers him as the sound fades to a growl -- the 
dog frantically scratches the earth as DAVID holds on to him --
 
				SHERIFF YOUNG 
		Git that truck up close here, and quick!
 
One of the DEPUTIES moves out in a hurry to fetch the vehicle as SHERIFF 
YOUNG moves down the steps into the yard and looks to DAVID, holding SOUNDER.
 
				SHERIFF YOUNG 
		Now boy, if you love that dog, you better keep 
		a good, strong hold on him.
 
The sound of the truck is heard moving up close to the house, and stopping. 
REBECCA moves away from JOSIE MAE and EARL, and stops directly in the face of 
SHERIFF YOUNG.
 
				REBECCA 
		You been knowin' Nathan for a long time, 
		Sheriff Young, and you know what kind of man he 
		is, and you know the trouble we face in these 
		off-seasons.
 
The SHERIFF cannot look her in the face -- he walks away from her and 
everyone, and just looks out over the fields -- then finally he motions with 
his hand to the two DEPUTIES, standing at NATHAN'S side to put him into the 
truck. They lift him up into the truck as JOSIE MAE, standing up on the porch 
with EARL, starts to cry softly as REBECCA moves to the edge of the vehicle, 
real close to NATHAN'S face. She kisses him lightly on the mouth, and then 
they just look on each other for awhile, in a way they knew and loved each 
other so well. Then in a physical, tough manner, REBECCA turns away and walks 
up on the porch with JOSIE MAE and EARL.
 
One DEPUTY gets in the back of the truck with NATHAN, and the other sits at 
the wheel -- as SHERIFF YOUNG climbs up and sits next to him.
 
				SHERIFF YOUNG 
		Alright, let's go!
 
The truck starts to pull away -- DAVID lets go of his grip on SOUNDER, and 
makes a dash out into the road.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Don't take my Daddy! Please don't take my Daddy!

				REBECCA 
		David, come back here!
 
SOUNDER lets out with his voice, and charges past DAVID for the truck on the 
road.
 
EXT. THE ROAD - DAY 

The DEPUTY in the back of the truck aims his shotgun as SOUNDER leaps for the 
truck -- the thunder from the DEPUTY's shotgun is the only sound that can be 
heard in the entire valley -- SOUNDER falls to the road.
 
EXT. THE PORCH - DAY 

REBECCA rushes down from the porch to the edge of the yard.
 
				REBECCA 
		David!
 
EXT. THE ROAD - DAY 

DAVID keeps running in the direction of the truck and SOUNDER.
 
He sees SOUNDER rise and fall, give out with a faint yelp, and circle into 
the field. He moves in the direction of the house, falling and floundering, 
with the hind part of his body staying up -- moving from side to side.
 
DAVID arrives at the spot where the animal was cut down, stops with his eyes 
deadpan on the truck as it fades from his view. He looks down on a huge blot 
of blood in the sand -- reaches down and digs his fingers into it -- lifts 
his hand up and frowns -- looks out into the field to track the dog's 
movements -- then makes his way back to the cabin.
 
EXT. THE FRONT YARD - DAY 

DAVID trots back to the front yard -- REBECCA is at the edge of the yard --
JOSIE MAE and EARL are still on the porch -- DAVID keeps moving on around the 
house -- REBECCA stares down the road -- in her background, the figure of 
DAVID and the lighted lantern can be seen faintly, crawling under the house. 
JOSIE MAE and EARL come down from the porch, and stop just behind their 
mother.
 
				JOSIE MAE
		Mama, why did they take Daddy away?
 
				REBECCA 
			(pause)
		Because he cared so damn much about you and me, 
		child. 

				JOSIE MAE 
		Is he gon' be gone long? 

				REBECCA
			(pause)
		Might be...
 
EXT. UNDER THE HOUSE - DAY 

DAVID LEE, with the lantern, crawls about under the house looking for SOUNDER.

				DAVID LEE 
		Sounder... Sounder... 

He stops and looks all around him with a pained expression on his face --
SOUNDER is not under the house...
 
INT. THE KITCHEN - DAY 

The following morning REBECCA pours the walnuts from the bowl into a paper 
bag and proceeds to tie the bag up as DAVID LEE looks on. JOSIE MAE and EARL 
enter.
 
				REBECCA 
		Josie Mae, I'm goin' into town for awhile to 
		see about your Daddy -- David Lee is gon' be in 
		charge here, so you and Earl do just like he 
		tells you.
 
She steps out of the front door with DAVID -- JOSIE MAE and EARL watch them 
move through the yard, and on to the road leading away from the house.
 
EXT. THE ROAD NEAR HOUSE - DAY 

REBECCA and DAVID LEE slowly move along up the road.
 
				REBECCA 
		Watch the fire -- don't go too far lookin' for 
		Sounder, and warm up some of that corn mush for 
		y'all to eat. If anybody comes to the house 
		that's a stranger to you, don't say nothin'.
 
They come to a halt at a short distance from the house -- and then she looks 
softly down on the boy for a moment.
 
				DAVID LEE
		'Bye, Mama...

				REBECCA 
		'Bye, son -- I won't be gone long.
 
The mother and son move away on the road with their backs to each other. 
DAVID LEE picks up speed and runs.
 
INT. KITCHEN - DAY 

As JOSIE MAE and EARL look on, DAVID LEE completes building a fire in the 
wood stove. He warms up and serves corn mush to his sister and brother.
 
EXTs. BACKYARD, UNDER CABIN, ROAD, FIELDS, WOODLANDS - DAY 

DAVID LEE chops wood at the woodpile -- rakes up a few chunks into his arms 
and heads back into the house.
 
He crawls under the cabin, searching about carefully, looking for the dog.
 
The boy charges up the road away from the house and then cuts off into the 
field.
 
He spirals the brown stalk land in ever-widening circles, searching the 
fence-rows -- and then he comes to the edge of the woodlands.
 
DAVID LEE searches under the jack oaks and cottonwoods, but SOUNDER is not 
there. He stands in one spot, looking about the woods in painful confusion.
 
EXT. LANDSDOWN MAIN STREET - DAY 

REBECCA moves into town, picking up the main street, crosses the town square, 
moving in the direction of SHERIFF YOUNG's office which is adjacent to the 
County Court House.
 
INT. SHERIFF'S OFFICE - DAY 

SHERIFF YOUNG is seated behind his desk -- a DEPUTY is sitting at a table 
across the room. REBECCA enters and stands before the SHERIFF's desk.
 
				SHERIFF YOUNG 
		Howya do, Rebecca. I sorta been expectin' you 
		this mornin'. 

				REBECCA 
		I wanta see Nathan.

				SHERIFF YOUNG 
		I wish I could, Rebecca, but I can't let you.

				REBECCA 
		I don't understand that, Sheriff Young.

				SHERIFF YOUNG 
		It's the rules and I gotta follow 'em. No 
		visitin' 'cept holidays and Sunday -- and no 
		womenfolk anytime. 

				REBECCA 
		You mean to tell me I can't see my own husband?

				SHERIFF YOUNG 
		That's the way they do things here in Landsdown. 
		I just follow orders.

				REBECCA 
		I got to see my husband, Sheriff Young!

				SHERIFF YOUNG 
		I'd like to help you, Rebecca. But all that 
		would do, is git us both in trouble.

				REBECCA 
		Will they give him a trial? 
	
				SHERIFF YOUNG 
		Shore thing -- next week sometime, and as soon 
		as I git the day, I'll ride out and let you 
		know 'bout it. 

				REBECCA 
		You gotta low-life job, mister sheriff!
 
REBECCA turns and storms out of the SHERIFF'S office and onto the street.
 
EXT. STREET - DAY 

REBECCA walks in haste and anger away from the SHERIFF's Office on the main 
street of Landsdown.
 
EXT. COMMISSARY - DAY 

She even moves past the commissary -- stops and calms herself for a moment, 
turns around and enters the store.
 
INT. THE COMMISSARY STORE - DAY 

She moves directly to the counter where an elderly man stands: MR. HOWARD, 
the owner of the store and farm owner the MORGAN family share-crops for. She 
puts the bag of walnuts on the counter.
 
				MR HOWARD 
		Rebecca, you jest the one I wanta see.

				REBECCA 
		I brought these walnuts to trade.
 
He looks into the bag -- then empties the walnuts onto a weighing scale -- 
looks to her...
 
				MR HOWARD
		That's one dollar an' twenty cents. 

				REBECCA 
		I wanta get some things. 

				MR HOWARD 
		I hope it ain't a lot,'cause I can't give you 
		no more credit till the croppin' season gits 
		back, that is if Na--

				REBECCA 
		I didn't say nothin' 'bout credit, Mr. Howard.

				MR HOWARD 
		Whatcha wanta order? 

				REBECCA 
		I need some nutmeg, flour, eggs, sugar, and...
 
A few minutes later, he puts her last article up on the counter.
 
				MR HOWARD
		Now what I wanta talk to you 'bout is Nathan. 
		He oughtn' done what he did: sneakin' into the 
		James' place and takin' they goods. That looks 
		bad on me. I been good to y'all -- didn't I go 
		to all that trouble to get the people of 
		Landsdown to let your David Lee go to they 
		school? Didn't I?
 
With the mood she's in, REBECCA does not have anything to say to this man 
concerning NATHAN, DAVID LEE or that damn school. For a moment he waits for 
her to say something and then he goes on --
 
				MR HOWARD 
		And another thing; with Nathan stuck in jail 
		and all, how you gon' crop for me when the 
		spring season comes, huh?
 
She still can't find words to say to this man, but tries. He is impatient, 
and a little snap cracks in his voice.
 
				MR HOWARD
		Dammit, I'm talkin' to you, woman! I gotta farm 
		to think about and I need answers.

				REBECCA
			(pause)
		The season is a long way off, Mr. Howard, and 
		by that time, Nathan oughta be home. If he 
		ain't, believe me -- the children and me -- we 
		will grow the crops. We have to because we owe 
		you all that money -- Mr. Howard.
 
What she has just said about the money they owe is a frustrated thought in 
HOWARD'S mind as he looks to her helplessly.
 
EXT. PORCH STEPS OF THE MORGAN'S CABIN - DAY 

DAVID LEE, JOSIE MAE and EARL are sitting on the steps, looking out on the 
road. 

				JOSIE MAE
		Do you think Sounder is dead, David Lee?

				EARL
		Will he stay dead?

				DAVID LEE 
		He ain't dead, now stop askin' crazy questions!

				JOSIE MAE
		You don't havta get mad 'cause you didn't find 
		the ol' dog!

JOSIE'S words hit him hard. He looks to her for a moment with a pained 
expression -- turns his eyes back to the road where he spots someone coming 
up the road toward the house from an unidentifiable distance.

EXT. THE YARD - DAY 

DAVID LEE stops in the middle of the yard with his eyes dead set on the 
approaching figure.

				DAVID LEE 
		Somebody's comin' here... 

JOSIE MAE and EARL move down from the stoop and stand behind DAVID LEE, their 
eyes dead set on the road. 

				DAVID LEE 
		It's Mama!
 
The children run out to greet her.
 
				JOSIE MAE & EARL
		Hi, Mama!

They all reach her as she lays some of the packages down on the ground.

				REBECCA
		Hi, Children -- here, take some of these 
		packages.

The children relieve her of all of the packages, and they start moving 
through the yard for the house.

				DAVID LEE 
		Did you see Daddy? 

				REBECCA 
		No, son. We havta wait 'til the holiday comes 
		-- anyway, they won't let womenfolk see their 
		men no time.

				DAVID LEE 
		Can I go when the holiday comes?

				REBECCA 
		You sure can, son...

They step up on the porch and move into the house.

INT. SITTING ROOM-KITCHEN - DAY 

They enter the house and start putting the packages on the table.

				REBECCA 
		Any sign of Sounder?

				DAVID LEE 
		No mam -- I looked all over. 

				REBECCA 
		I think maybe he was scraped on the head by 
		that shot. I don't think he's dead -- just gone 
		somewhere to heal himself.
 
She takes out of one of the bags of flour, cocoa, and a small bottle of 
vanilla flavoring. EARL takes out from one of the bags an empty cardboard box.
 
				EARL
		Nothin' in here, Mama.

				REBECCA 
		I'm goin' use it to put a cake in and I'm gon' 
		let David Lee take it to your daddy!
 
As the children help their mother put the things away.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Mama... Make a chocolate cake... Daddy likes 
		things that's chocolate! (smile).
 
INT. MEZZANINE SECTION, COURT ROOM - DAY 

It is a small section provided for "colored only" -- REBECCA is seated with 
DAVID LEE and IKE -- A few other black people are seated about in this area, 
overlooking the main courtroom.
 
				COURT CLERK
		Defendant will rise and come before the bench.
 
They don't even bother to sit -- they stand just inside the entrance and 
watch in intense silence. NATHAN moves slowly before the JUDGE'S bench and 
stops.
 
				JUDGE
		Nathan Lee Morgan, you have been found guilty 
		of unlawful trespass and robbery -- do you have 
		anything to say before sentence is passed?

				NATHAN LEE 
			(almost in a whisper). 
		No, sir...
 
				JUDGE 
		It is the judgment of this court that you be 
		remanded to the custody of the sheriff of this 
		county and that you be taken forthwith to serve 
		a term of one year at hard labor at such county 
		labor camp as shall be hereafter designated. 
		Next case, please...
 
They watch two guards lead him from the courtroom in handcuffs. DAVID looks 
on sadly as REBECCA cringes at the sight of the Guards taking him away.
 
EXT. COURT HOUSE SQUARE - DAY 

From the top of the Court House building, REBECCA, DAVID LEE and IKE can be 
seen, slowly walking across the square, moving farther and farther away.
 
EXT. BACKYARD - DAY 

REBECCA hangs out clothes - DAVID LEE draws water from the well -- JOSIE MAE 
wrings the water out of the clothes -- EARL pours water into the wash tub.
 
EXT. SCHOOLYARD - DAY 

DAVID LEE, on his way to school, is late again -- enters the schoolyard, and 
dashes into the building.
 
EXT. WOODS - DAY 

DAVID LEE roams about the woods, alone, in the hope that he might come upon 
SOUNDER.
 
INT. THE KITCHEN - DAY

DAVID LEE reads from "The Three Musketeers" to REBECCA, JOSIE MAE and EARL. 
It is very funny -- they laugh.
 
INT. THE SHED - DAY 

DAVID LEE, in the shed takes his father's baseball glove down from the wall 
-- puts the glove on -- holds it up, and then slaps his fist into the pocket 
several times -- stops and looks off into blank space -- he keeps looking 
straight ahead as if he can visually see his father off from a long distance.
 
EXT. LANDSDOWN, MAIN STREET - DAY 

Sunday, REBECCA and the children -- DAVID LEE carrying the cake box, make 
their way down the street -- people are moving back and forth in their Sunday 
dress. They move into the Square at the Court House.
 
EXT. COURT HOUSE SQUARE - DAY 

At the square, they come to a halt as REBECCA looks up at the clock on top of 
the Court House building. It is about ten minutes to twelve noon.  They 
continue on around to the back of the building --

EXT. BACK OF BUILDING - DAY 

They stop in front of a huge back entrance and look up to the small windows 
with prison bars. A number of black people are moving into the area, milling 
about and waiting as REBECCA and the children are.
 
				REBECCA 
		Be sure to ask your daddy to tell you what camp 
		they goin' to send him to. And whatever you do
		in there, David Lee, act perkish, and don't 
		grieve him.
 
The clock above the Court House strikes twelve times. They listen with 
intensity until the twelfth stroke.
 
				REBECCA 
		All right, son, that's it -- now don't forget 
		what I told you.
 
DAVID LEE moves through the doorway with the other people --
 
INT. THE CORRIDORS AND STAIRWAYS OF THE BUILDING - DAY 

DAVID follows the other people down the corridor and then up a group of 
stairs -- then down another corridor. They line up at a huge steel door. 
DAVID touches the MAN in front of him on the arm --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		This where you go visit, mister?
 
				MAN
		Yeah...
 
INT. ADMITTANCE AREA - DAY 

The door swings open and a red-faced Guard at a table just inside the door 
begins to admit people. DAVID's turn comes and the Guard stops him.
 
				GUARD 
		Whatcha got there, boy? 

				DAVID
		A cake for my Daddy.
 
				GUARD
		Well, you put it on this table here'n wait 'til 
		I check it.
 
DAVID puts the cake on the table just inside the door as the Guard sits at 
the table.
 
				GUARD
		Can't be too careful, boy, jest might have a 
		steel file or hacksaw in it.
 
The GUARD opens the box, pulls from his pocket a switchblade knife and with 
slow deliberation punctures knife holes in about fifteen different places in 
the cake. After he is done, he closes the box and rises.
 
				GUARD
		What's your daddy's name? 

				DAVID LEE 
		Nathan Lee Morgan... 

The GUARD checks his list on the table --
 
				GUARD
		Okay, boy, fourth cell down there on your left.
 
DAVID moves inside --
 
INT. CORRIDOR OF JAIL CELLS - DAY 

DAVID LEE moves along the corridor, looking from one side to the other at the 
men sitting on cots and standing behind iron gates. He comes To NATHAN'S cell 
and there is his father, standing with his hands on the bars.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Well, looka here... 

				DAVID LEE 
		Hi, Daddy... 

				NATHAN LEE 
		Hi to you, son...
 
He extends his hands and they shake -- and then he draws the boy close and 
embraces him --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Mama is outside with Josie Mae and Earl.

				NATHAN LEE 
		They is!? It shore is good to see you, boy!
 
Finally DAVID passes the box with the cake on to him.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		This was a real cake before the man at the door 
		put all these holes in it.
 
NATHAN takes the box and immediately opens it --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Aw, don't make no difference, son. If I know 
		your mama, a few knife holes ain't gon' destroy 
		the soul she put into this cake. Come on, have 
		a piece with your daddy.
 
NATHAN breaks a piece for himself and passes another on to DAVID. DAVID takes 
a bite out of the cake.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		We didn't find Sounder yet. 

				NATHAN LEE 
		He'll show up one day. 

				DAVID LEE 
		Do you think he's dead, Daddy?
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Naww -- he'll come back to you, soon as his 
		wounds heal. This cake shore is tasty, son.
 
He walks away from the cell door and moves to the window of his cell, looks 
up with his back to DAVID.

				NATHAN LEE 
		It's a shame they won't let 'em come in here. 
		If I had the strength I'd knock down these damn 
		walls -- if I could just git my arms 'round 
		your mama right now -- is they on this side of 
		us, son?

				DAVID LEE 
		I think so...
 
NATHAN jumps up to the window a couple of times until his hands can get a 
grip around the bars of the small window -- he strains and pulls, trying to 
get his eyes up to the window level --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Dammit! I'm gon' see 'em if I have to break my 
		arms!
 
NATHAN finally gets his eyes up to the window -- he looks down -- he can see 
them --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		I can see them! I can see them!
 
His arms give way and he drops back to the floor on his feet -- he moves 
slowly to DAVID and takes him by the arms through the bars of the cell --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Son, don't ever let yourself get caught in a 
		place like this.
 
There is a moment of agonizing silence as they look at each other --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Can you say what camp they gon' send you to, 
		Daddy?

				NATHAN LEE 
		I don't know, son -- they won't tell us things 
		like that -- but I don't want y'all to come 
		here no more.

				DAVID LEE 
		Why, Daddy; you won't be here?

				NATHAN LEE 
		Just do like I tell you -- I'll get word to you 
		through the visitin' preacher. 

				GUARD'S VOICE
		Visitin' over!
 
People start filing out but DAVID remains in front of the cell, looking on 
his father --
 
				GUARD'S VOICE
		Come on, boy! 

				NATHAN LEE 
		Go, son...
 
NATHAN and DAVID shake hands and then DAVID slowly moves away from the cell, 
sporadically looking back over his shoulder toward his father until he moves 
through the cell block door -- the door slams behind him --
 
EXT. BACK OF THE COURT HOUSE BUILDING - DAY 

DAVID steps out into the Court House yard where they are waiting for him -- 
his feelings bound in confusion, and his face flooded in tears -- he runs to 
his mother's arms. She embraces him long and deep.
 
INT. CHURCH - DAY

REBECCA and the children attend services at the Church -- Everyone is 
standing -- they are in the midst of a song, led by the Pastor of the Church.
 
Like everything else in Landsdown for Black People, it is an old disinherited 
structure with creaky, movable chairs for the worshipers to sit in -- there 
are two high windows on both sides.
 
The Pastor reads the verses of the song in the traditional, dramatic Black 
Preacher's fashion, and the congregation repeats the verses musically.
 
Song --
 
EXT. CHURCH - DAY 

Coffee, cold drinks, cookies and fruit are being served to a laughing, 
chattering crowd of church goers -- inside a woman is at the piano, playing 
rhythmic uptempo gospel songs. IKE is there also.
 
REBECCA, with HARRIET in line behind her, and the children, are moving up to 
the table to be served.
 
				HARRIET 
		If this wasn't a church, I'd do me a dance to 
		that music she's playin'. 

				REBECCA
		Why don't you try it, Harriet, and just see 
		what everybody would do. 

				HARRIET 
		Now, Rebecca, I may be a country woman, but I 
		ain't no fool.
 
REBECCA and HARRIET take coffee and cookies at the table while the children 
take fruit. They move across the floor for a corner to sit.  HARRIET does a 
little moving dance step as they arrive to the corner and sit.
 
				REBECCA 
		You determined to get that dance in.

				HARRIET 
		Well, you can't blame a girl for tryin' if the 
		feelin' hits her.
 
REBECCA notices the PREACHER talking to a group of women across the floor.
 
				REBECCA 
		If I don't go over there and butt in, I ain't 
		gon' ever get to talk to the Preacher about 
		Nathan.
 
She rises and moves across the floor. DAVID LEE watches closely as his mother 
approaches the PREACHER and gets his attention by touching him on the arm, 
and they move off to a more secluded spot in the Church. DAVID rises and 
moves to join their company.
 
				PREACHER 
		No, I ain't got no word yet, Rebecca. I went to 
		the courthouse yesterday to see 'bout it, but 
		they just won't tell me nothin' about what 
		labor camp Nathan was sent to. I'm sorry, 
		Rebecca.

				REBECCA 
		It's a shame, Reverend. It's a damn shame.

				PREACHER 
		I hope you don't take to bitterness, Sister 
		Morgan. I tell you like I tell all the women in 
		this church who got the same trouble you got. 
		No matter what the trial or what the misery is, 
		I tell 'em to stay with God. 

				REBECCA 
		Yeah, he'll crawl into my bed tonight, lie 
		close to my body and keep me warm -- and 
		rectify the evil in the men who live over us 
		in this valley.

				PREACHER 
		It's not that simple, Sister Rebecca -- the 
		Lord works in mysterious ways -- we come into 
		this life with nothin' and we'll leave it with 
		nothing.

				REBECCA 
		Is that a blessing, Reverend?
 
Her words jar and disturb the PREACHER --
 
EXT. FRONT OF THE MORGANS' CABIN - NIGHT 

REBECCA and the children are just about to enter the yard, when DAVID LEE 
stops and pulls on his mother's arm.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Mama, did you hear that?! 

REBECCA, JOSIE MAE and EARL come to a halt on his words.
 
				REBECCA 
		What is it, David Lee? 

				DAVID LEE 
		Listen, Mama...
 
They stand quietly for a moment -- and then they hear the sound of a faint 
whine coming from the direction of the porch -- the whine becomes louder --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Mama, I hear Sounder!
 
He takes off in the direction of the porch --
 
EXT. THE PORCH - NIGHT 

DAVID stops just at the top of the porch, and there, scratching at the door 
and wagging his tail, is SOUNDER. The side of his head where the shot scraped 
him is discolored and hairless -- the top of his eye is scarred causing it to 
be half-closed, and what's left of his ear on the same side, sticks straight 
out. Upon seeing DAVID LEE, he raises his good ear and whines. DAVID rushes 
to grab him.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		You come back, boy! I just knowed it! I just 
		knowed you'd come back!
 
REBECCA, JOSIE MAE and EARL arrive at the porch -- REBECCA kneels, looks on 
the bad sight of the dog and strokes his back --
 
				REBECCA 
		Poor creature...
 
				DAVID LEE 
		He'll be all right, Mama. I'll make him all 
		right.

EXT. THE BACKYARD - DAY 

The next morning, DAVID LEE feeds SOUNDER as EARL stands by, looking on. 

				DAVID LEE 
		He eats all right -- his throat ain't scarred.

				EARL 
		Then why don't he holler like he usta?

				DAVID LEE 
		He will... Come on, git down and act like a 
		possum. 

				EARL 
		I don't look like no possum! 

				DAVID LEE 
		Act like one! 

After a moment of hesitation, EARL gets down on his hands and knees --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Git him, boy!
 
EARL jumps to his feet quickly and backs away across the yard --
 
				EARL 
		Don't tell that dog to git me! 

SOUNDER merely turns to DAVID LEE and gives out with a few muffled whines --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		I guess I'll havta work harder to git him back 
		like he usta be.
 
				EARL 
		Why don't you try and git you a new dog?

DAVID LEE takes off after EARL who turns, breaks and runs out into the back 
field --
 
EXT. CROP FIELD - DAY 
 
REBECCA, DAVID LEE, JOSIE MAE and EARL up in the field, working, planting, 
hoeing and cultivating the soil -- SOUNDER trots about the field in the 
vicinity of DAVID LEE --

EXT. THE FIELD - DAY 

REBECCA is looking on about three hundred feet away as DAVID LEE runs about 
with SOUNDER in open field, trying to work him back into physical shape -- he 
halfway picks the dog up -- drops him to the ground, takes off and runs but 
SOUNDER does not follow him. He comes back to the dog and ruffles him 
affectionately -- takes off and runs again -- this time, SOUNDER takes off 
after him. REBECCA and DAVID look to each other and smile broadly -- 
success!! He caresses and hugs the dog -- they move toward REBECCA, join her, 
and they start walking back toward the house -- and then the rains come -- 
they and the dog take off in speed with huge raindrops splattering against 
their faces and bodies. From the field, as they make a run for it, their 
figures become smaller as they near the backyard and the doorway to their 
home...
 
EXT. MRS. BOATWRIGHT'S BACKYARD - DAY 

A bright sunny day -- DAVID LEE is just about to quit for the day in some 
gardening work he is doing for MRS. BOATWRIGHT -- He moves to the side of the 
house to put some equipment away when the lady approaches him --
 
				MRS BOATWRIGHT
		David, you never cease to amaze me at how good 
		you are in taking care of my garden.

				DAVID LEE 
		My father taught me...

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		Would you like to have a cool drink, David?

				DAVID LEE 
		No, thank you -- I gotta go do some work in the 
		field today.
 
DAVID starts to walk away and then decides to stop, turns to her as she is 
heading back into the house --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Miss Boatwright --

				MRS BOATWRIGHT 
			(stops, turns)
		Yes, David...

				DAVID LEE 
		Will you help me to find out what camp they 
		sent my father to? 

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT 
		The courthouse has rules about things like that, 
		David -- but I'll ask around town about it.
 
He looks on her with an expression of disappointment, turns and walks away.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		See you tomorrow, Miss Boatwright.

				MRS BOATWRIGHT 
		David!
 
				DAVID LEE 
			(turns to her)
		Yes, ma'am...? 

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT 
		I'll find out where your daddy is for you.

				DAVID LEE
			(smiles)
		Thank you, Miss Boatwright! 
			(turns and runs away)

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT 
		Don't mention this to anyone! You hear me, 
		David!
 
He just keeps running --
 
EXT. FRONT YARD, BACK YARD, BACK FIELD - DAY 

DAVID LEE, at top speed, runs into the front yard from the road, on around 
the side of the house through the back yard and on into the field in the back 
of the house, heading for the crop field.
 
EXT. THE CROP FIELD - DAY
 
REBECCA, JOSIE MAE and EARL are working the field as DAVID LEE comes running 
towards them --

				DAVID LEE 
		Mama! Mama! Miss Boatwright, say she gon' help 
		me find where Daddy is!

				REBECCA 
		Good! But you don't have to tell the whole 
		valley 'bout it! You'll get that woman in 
		trouble!
 
INT. COURT CLERK'S OFFICE - DAY 

CHARLIE DAVID, the Court Clerk, is standing behind his desk -- MRS. 
BOATWRIGHT is seated in a chair before his desk. There are two windows in the 
small office, a coat rack in the corner diagonally behind his desk, three 
chairs, another small working desk, and a row of file cabinets against the 
wall --
 
				CHARLIE 
		I can't do it, Rita -- that's the policy here 
		on colored prisoners, and I ain't about to 
		change it, not even for a friend like you.

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		Charlie, just because a man and his family are 
		colored, you--

				CHARLIE 
		Now look, Rita, I don't make the rules -- you 
		puttin' yourself on a limb, comin' here, askin' 
		me to do a thing like this. And I be damn if 
		I'm going to jeopardize my job because you are 
		in love with a little colored boy!
 
The phone on his desk rings -- he picks up the receiver to his ear and sits 
down --
 
				CHARLIE 
		County Clerk's office, Charlie Davis 
		speaking... Yes, sir... You bet your life, 
		sir...Yes, sir, I'll be right there.
 
He puts the receiver down -- jumps up, goes to the rack and gets his coat and 
starts to fix his tie --
 
				CHARLIE 
		That was Judge Elliot on the phone and when 
		Judge Elliot calls, I jump! Good day, Rita.
 
He moves to the door, to the waiting area and opens it to leave -- DAVID LEE 
can be seen standing in the background of CHARLIE --
 
				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		But, Charlie --

				CHARLIE 
		NO! N-O, NO!
 
Just like that he is gone. MRS. BOATWRIGHT stands in the middle of the floor 
in a moment of frustration, with DAVID LEE looking on from the alcove. She 
thinks for a moment and then looks to the file cabinets against the wall. 
DAVID stands in the doorway as she decides to go to the file cabinets. She 
checks the outer notation on each one of the cabinets until she comes to the 
one that reads: PRISONER CASES. She quickly opens the cabinet drawer and 
hurriedly fingers through the files until she finds the file with NATHAN LEE 
MORGAN's name on it. She goes through it until she has gotten the information 
she wants and just as she is about to put it back, CHARLIE DAVIS has returned 
and has caught her in his files. She looks cheaply to him, slips the file 
back into its place, closes the cabinet drawer and backs away from the file 
cabinet. He moves past DAVID LEE into the office on to the file cabinet where 
she was, opens it enough for him to tell that she has disturbed the one 
single file of NATHAN LEE MORGAN. He slams the file drawer back shut and 
turns to her.
 
				CHARLIE  
		I see you found what you was lookin' for.

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		I did look, Charlie, but I--

				CHARLIE  
		No buts, Rita!

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		Charlie, you have no legal right not to let 
		this boy know where his father is! You hear 
		that, you and this whole damn court house; 
		what you are doing is wrong!
 
				CHARLIE 
		Don't tell me about what's wrong. You come into 
		my office as a friend and steal city files! I 
		could have you arrested for that -- and if you 
		give out that information to anybody, that's 
		exactly what I'm going to do -- and I'll tell 
		everybody in this town how you got the 
		information and who you got it for! You won't 
		have a friend left in this county to bring you
		a piece of candy!

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		You would do that, wouldn't you? 

				CHARLIE 
		You getting the point, Mrs. Boatwright.
 
MRS. BOATWRIGHT gives him a hard and long look with the feeling that he means 
what he says --
 
				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		Let's get out of here, David Lee.
 
She turns and moves out of the office, through the door, with DAVID LEE 
following --
 
EXT. COURT  HOUSE STEPS - DAY   

MRS. BOATWRIGHT and DAVID are slowly descending the Court House steps, and on 
towards her automobile, parked about a hundred feet away. She is about to 
open the door of the car, when DAVID LEE stops --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		You know where my father is, don't you, Miss 
		Boatwright?

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT 
			(pause)
		No, he was wrong, David, I didn't find out.

				DAVID LEE 
		But I saw you -- you looked in there, and you 
		found out, Miss Boatwright. 

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		If I tell you I didn't, David, that's what I 
		mean.

				DAVID LEE 
		But, Miss Boatwright, you--

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		I don't know a damn thing, now stop bothering 
		me about it!
 
She gets into the car as he shuffles his feet about on the ground with his 
head turned slightly down, remaining in one place --

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		Come, I'll take you home.

				DAVID LEE 
		I'll walk...

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		Don't pout now, David, it's a long trip.

				DAVID LEE 
		I'm used to it.

				MRS BOATWRIGHT
		Well, you can't say I didn't try.

DAVID LEE watches her drive off and away and then he slowly starts walking 
away...
 
EXT. BACKYARD - DAY 

DAVID LEE, at the well, draws up a pail of water and pours it into a 
container for SOUNDER who is standing beside him, anxiously waiting for the 
water. As SOUNDER drinks the water, DAVID turns around to see MRS. BOATWRIGHT 
standing in the middle of the yard.
 
				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		Hello, David... 

				DAVID LEE 
		Hi, Mrs. Boatwright...
			(pause)
		I'm sorry 'bout the way I acted the other day, 
		Miss Boatwright.

				MRS BOATWRIGHT 
		There's nothin' to be sorry about, David -- 
		where's your mother? 

				REBECCA 
		Right here, Miss Boatwright.
 
REBECCA is standing in the doorway of the shed -- MRS. BOATWRIGHT doesn't 
quite know how to begin -- the two women just look to each other for awhile 
-- then --
 
				MRS. BOATWRIGHT 
		The camp Nathan is at is called Wishbone Labor 
		Camp. It's in Nolan Town!
 
REBECCA lets the news soak in for a moment -- DAVID LEE has a big smile on 
his face. REBECCA moves from the doorway and stands directly before MRS. 
BOATWRIGHT.

				REBECCA 
		Miss Boatwright -- you shore is a crazy actin' 
		woman sometime!
 
She bursts out laughing and kicks up her leg -- DAVID picks up the laughing, 
then MRS. BOATWRIGHT... EARL and JOSIE MAE arrive and stop at the corner of 
the house -- can't quite make out what this crazy laughing is all about but 
they move to the center of the yard with them and join in with the laughing. 
After a short while the laughter comes to a sudden stop -- sudden, absolute 
silence --

				JOSIE MAE
		Mama, what was we laughin' for?

				REBECCA 
		At the way you ask funny questions, Josie Mae!

INT. THE KITCHEN-SITTING ROOM - DAY 

In the house, REBECCA and all the children are gathered around MRS. 
BOATWRIGHT at the table with a map spread out as she scans it carefully with 
a pencil --

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		We go from "A-2" -- now let me see where we go 
		from here... 

				REBECCA 
		Trouble, Miss Boatwright? 

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		Oh no, these maps are easy to read.

But she is having trouble locating the place as her pencil moves about in 
several confusing spots on the map -- like having to find a bigger town's 
indicating alphabet and number in order to search about at random to locate a 
smaller town -- but finally --

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT
		There it is, right there!
 
She makes a marker with the pencil and holds it down on the place -- 
everybody leans over the map as close as possible to see the little area she 
has made a circle around -- DAVID straightens up --

				DAVID LEE 
		How do you get there, Miss Boatwright?
 
Everybody straightens up to get MRS. BOATWRIGHT's directions. She holds the 
map up as they look on.

				MRS. BOATWRIGHT 
		Now they have numbers and letters on here to 
		tell you where to look on the map, but Nolan
		Town is not under a number but we know it's in 
		Northern Landsdown -- the number for Northern 
		Landsdown is: "h7", but since Landsdown is the 
		largest county, it actually stretches over into 
		"a2" but "a2" is -- Am I making myself clear? 

				REBECCA 
		It's clear, Miss Boatwright -- it's so clear, 
		you don't havta go any further -- thank you --
		when the time comes for us to find that place, 
		we will -- won't we, children? 

				ALL THE CHILDREN
		RIGHTTTTTT!
 
EXT. CROP FIELD - DAY 

REBECCA and DAVID LEE are hoeing as JOSIE MAE and EARL run up and down the 
grooves planting seeds -- REBECCA and DAVID complete their hoeing and plop 
down on the ground out of exhaustion as JOSIE and EARL move toward them, 
seeding the last grooves of earth.

INT. THE SITTING ROOM - NIGHT 

REBECCA is sitting in her rocker, knitting, when DAVID LEE comes out of his 
room -- she turns and looks to him --

				REBECCA
		Can't sleep?

				DAVID LEE 
		No, ma'am...
			(pause)
		Mama, I wanted Mrs. Boatwright to find out 
		where Daddy is, so me and Sounder can go see 
		him. 

				REBECCA 
		So did I. I figured when the time got right, 
		we could all take a day or two and walk up 
		there, but it's not the kind of long trip for a 
		child to take alone.

				DAVID LEE 
		I can do it, Mama -- you know that. In the 
		Bible stories you read to us, everybody's 
		always goin' on a long journey. Jacob goes 
		into a strange land where his uncle is and he 
		don't even know where he lives, but he finds 
		him. Everybody finds what they supposed to 
		find.

				REBECCA 
		But you'll be away from home for days -- what 
		will you do when the dark comes, where will 
		you sleep? I can't send you away from here 
		like that!

				DAVID LEE 
		Mama, don't I always do what you say -- every 
		time I go to the fields to plant the corn, to 
		Miss Boatwright's and the woods -- you tell me 
		what to do and I do it, and you don't worry.

				REBECCA
			(pause)
		No, I don't and I oughtn't not to after the way 
		you've taken over since they took him away -- 
		and I would like for you to see 'im so you can 
		come back and tell me about 'im. 
			(pause)
		The field's all planted, so I guess I can spare 
		you for a little while. When do you wanta 
		leave?
 
REBECCA gets up from the rocker and starts putting her knitting away in the 
dresser --
 
				DAVID LEE
		Can I go day after tomorrow? 

				REBECCA 
		Yes, son. You better get back to bed.

				DAVID LEE 
		Good night, Mama... 

				REBECCA 
		Good night...
 
He turns, moves out of sight into his room. REBECCA gets up from the rocker, 
puts her knitting away, picks up the map MRS. BOATWRIGHT left, off the 
dresser, and spreads it on the table to the light of the lantern. She can't 
make sense of the map -- she folds it back up and shoves it to the side -- 
looks across the room in thought.
 
INT. KITCHEN-SITTING ROOM - EARLY MORNING 

Two days later, a little after daybreak, DAVID is all set to make the journey 
with SOUNDER -- DAVID is at the table -- IKE is standing over him as he 
writes on a piece of paper -- REBECCA and the other children are looking on --
 
				IKE 
		Now afta you go by Nolan, the first road you 
		come to is Jordan road -- keep walkin' on that 
		road and you'll run right into it. It's a long 
		trip, David Lee, so good luck to you.

				DAVID LEE 
		Thank you, Mr. Ike...
 
They all turn around and move out the front door --
 
EXT. FRONT OF THE HOUSE - DAY 

They move out the house and down into the yard and stop.
 
 				REBECCA 
		I wish you wouldn't take the dog with you, 
		David -- he's likely to be a burden to you.

				DAVID LEE 
		I got to, Mama. I know Daddy wants to see him.
 
REBECCA passes on to him a big brown bag of food --
 
				REBECCA 
		Here's your food -- now you go straight to that 
		place -- if you need to rest, go into a church 
		or railroad station -- but don't go into 
		nobody's house, you hear me? 

				DAVID LEE 
		Yes, mam...

				REBECCA 
		Ask your daddy to give you some word about when 
		he'll be comin' home -- and tell 'im we love 
		him.

				IKE 
		Tell 'im I said, "Hi", too, David.
 
REBECCA pulls him into her arms --
 
				REBECCA 
		Good luck to you, son...
			(releases him)
		All right now, get movin', you losin' daylight.
 
DAVID gives quick embraces to JOSIE MAE and EARL -- and then he and SOUNDER 
hit the road -- JOSIE MAE and EARL, follow him part the way -- REBECCA moves 
back up on the porch, stops and turns in time to see DAVID bidding JOSIE MAE 
and EARL "goodbye" -- JOSIE MAE and EARL move back toward the house, and then 
the boy and dog slowly fade from her view...
 
EXT. SHARECROPPERS' CABIN - DAY 

DAVID LEE and SOUNDER walk the road. They pass a cabin, where another family 
is working.
 
INT. RAILWAY STATION - NIGHT  

DAVID and SOUNDER are in a small cubby hole of the station with a sign 
overheard that reads: "Colored Waiting Room." He is looking over an old 
newspaper as a man in a chair across from him is fast asleep and snoring --
finally he too falls asleep.
 
EXT. STREAM POND - DAY 

DAVID goes in the water to cool off and refresh.
 
EXT. A MIGRATORY CAMP - DAY 

DAVID and SOUNDER come upon a sign in front of a migratory farm with a sign 
that advertises: "Fruit pickers and sorters needed."
 
EXT. SORTING AREA - DAY 

DAVID works sorting fruit for part of the day and after he is done they have 
a bite to eat --
 
EXT. THE ROAD - DAY 

Back on the road as DAVID LEE and SOUNDER continue their journey. They move 
through an area with landscapes and mountains, the size and shape that DAVID 
has never seen. At one point, he stops and looks on in wonder and admiration.
 
EXT. THE FRONT OF A HOUSE - DAY 

DAVID LEE washes a car as SOUNDER looks on. A man pays him -- he goes over 
the piece of paper with IKE's directions and then they move on --

EXT. THE ROAD - NIGHT 

DAVID and SOUNDER approach the camp. He moves close to a sign that reads:  
WISHBONE LABOR CAMP, NOLAN COUNTY.

They move on farther along the barbed wire barricade of the camp and then 
they come to a halt when DAVID sees two lights and a wide barbed wire gate 
entrance with two guards just inside the gate. They move off the road down a 
sloped hill just beneath the entrance of the camp. They lie down on the grass 
to sleep.
 
EXT. THE SLOPE OFF THE ROAD - DAY 

It is early morning as DAVID is awakened by the voices of the guards and the 
motor of a truck.
 
				TRUCK DRIVER'S VOICE
		Whatcha got for me today!?
 
				GUARD'S VOICE 
		Same bunch you had yesterday!

				TRUCK DRIVER'S VOICE. 
		Well, I'll take what I kin git!

DAVID hears the truck motor into the grounds of the compound. He and SOUNDER 
crawl up to the edge of the slope so they can see. Finally he decides to walk 
across the road to the gate where the guard is --

EXT. LABOR CAMP GATE - DAY

DAVID and SOUNDER approach the gate and stop -- one of the guards sees them 
and walks over --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Mister, can you visit anybody here?

				GUARD
		Gotta wait 'til visitin' days. 

				DAVID LEE 
		When's that? 

				GUARD
		Sunday...

				DAVID LEE 
		Do you know my daddy, Nathan Lee Morgan?

				GUARD
		Never heard of 'im. We gotta lotta men here...

The sound of the truck, approaching --
 
					GUARD
		All right, boy, outta the way, truck's 
		comin'...

He opens the gate as DAVID and SOUNDER scatter back across the road -- the 
OTHER GUARD calls out --

					OTHER GUARD
 		Section J comin' through! 

					GUARD
		Let 'er roll!

The truck motors through the gate and stops just outside as the GUARD makes 
his final check of the men. DAVID, from where he is standing, also checks it 
thoroughly to see if his FATHER is on the truck. A number of trucks roar 
through the gate and DAVID checks them all thoroughly, but his father is not 
on any of them. Finally the last truck comes out-
 
					OTHER GUARD
		Last one comin' atcha! 

 					GUARD
		Let me have it!
 
The truck pulls to a halt just outside the gate, and DAVID eyes the men on 
the truck carefully us the GUARD makes his check --
 
					DAVID LEE 
		He gotta be on this one, Sounder, it's the last 
		truck.
 
There are not too many men on this truck which makes it quite easy for DAVID 
to see that his father is not on it. Then where is he? The boy thinks to 
himself as he sees the truck move away up the road. The truck is moving no 
more than about twenty miles an hour -- DAVID LEE makes a decision and takes 
off after the truck, running --
 
EXT. A FARM - DAY 

A half hour later, the truck with the convicts pulls into a huge farm area --
the TWO GUARDS jump down from the truck and herd the men into a group while a 
third guard gets out of the cab -- and they distribute farm equipment to the 
men. A picket fence stretches the area where the men work.
 
EXT. THE ROAD - DAY 

Some minutes later DAVID LEE and SOUNDER, walking, approach the farm area 
where the convicts are, moving along the road outside of the fence.
 
They stop -- DAVID watches the men work and the guards, covering them from 
distances of about three hundred feet in a half moon formation, spread out. 
DAVID decides and moves to the fence to question the men. When he gets to the 
edge of the road next to the fence, one of the guards spots him and starts 
moving over --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Mister...?

				CONVICT
		Boy, where did you come from? 

				DAVID LEE 
		I wanta find out 'bout my Daddy. Is he here?

				CONVICT
		Can't you see that guard comin'-- git!

				GUARD
		Whatcha doin' here, boy, move!
 
DAVID hurriedly gets back across the road with SOUNDER and watches the guard 
as he moves the men back. DAVID looks on in frustration, trying to figure out 
what his next move will be -- The guard moves away from the men and walks up 
to another guard to engage him in a conversation -- while the two guards are 
rapping with each other, DAVID decides to make a desperate try of it --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Okay, Sounder, let's go!
 
DAVID LEE and SOUNDER dash across the road, and slip under the fence into the 
farm area --
 
EXT. THE FARM - DAY 

DAVID LEE and SOUNDER turn on all the speed they can muster, heading directly 
for the group of CONVICTS -- They get there --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Please tell me, mister! Is Nathan Lee Morgan 
		here?

				CONVICT
		There is nobody name Morgan! Now get away from 
		here before you git us in trouble!
 
SOUNDER lets out a growl at one of the Guards who is now charging toward 
them. DAVID takes off in a circle with the Guard in pursuit of him, away from 
the direction of the road -- SOUNDER is close behind him -- They circle back 
into the direction of the road and zoom past the group of CONVICTS -- DAVID 
is running at electrifying speed. DAVID and SOUNDER are making tracks with 
the Guard still after the boy. They come to the fence and quickly slip 
through, but DAVID's hand falls on a broken bottle with gashing force -- he 
leaps up and continues on across the road and into an open field. The Guard 
stops at the edge of the road and gives up the chase --
 
EXT. FIELD - DAY 

DAVID and SOUNDER are still running with great speed.  DAVID looks back over 
his shoulder to see if the Guard is still after him. They slow down when they 
approach an old abandoned barn --
 
INT. THE BARN - DAY 

He staggers into the barn and drops his body against one of the walls to 
catch his breath. SOUNDER hobbles in and nestles beside him.
 
								DISSOLVE TO:
 
EXT. THE ROAD - DAY 

DAVID, holding his hand, sits on the road with the dog -- puts his hand up 
before his eyes -- it is practically covered in blood. A pain strikes him, 
causing him to grimace for a moment -- looks about the area -- They rise and 
start out once again --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Sorry, Sounder, but we lost. Better keep movin' 
		though, 'til we find somebody to tell us how to 
		get back home.
 
EXT. ROAD AND SCHOOL - DAY 

They come upon a large schoolhouse with the name over it: Borderdale School. 
They stop when DAVID sees a number of Black Children playing on the grounds 
-- climbing on little ladders and swinging on swings. He notices a water pump 
on the grounds, looks at his blood-covered hand -- hesitates for a moment and 
then decides to enter the grounds --
 
EXT. SCHOOL GROUNDS - DAY  

DAVID and SOUNDER head straight for the pump and just as they arrive at the 
pump a group of Children gathers around them --
 
				#1 CHILD
		You new here?

				#2 CHILD
		You comin' here to school? 

				#1 CHILD
		What's wrong with that dog?
 
Two dogs near the side of the schoolhouse bark at SOUNDER -- he merely whines 
and scratches back at them but their barking intensifies until a young, 
attractive black female teacher interferes --
 
				CAMILLE 
		Come on now, get away from here!
 
The two dogs gallop off as do the Children -- they scatter away from around 
DAVID and SOUNDER. The TEACHER walks over to DAVID and stops --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		I just wanta wash my hand. It's got blood where 
		I hurt it.

				CAMILLE 
		You don't live around here, do you?

				DAVID LEE 
		No, mam... I come from way back there. Me and 
		my dog was tryin' to find my daddy and we got 
		lost.

				CAMILLE 
		Is he here in Borderdale? 

				DAVID LEE 
		I don't know, he's in a prison camp.

				CAMILLE 
		Here, you put your hand under the water and 
		I'll pump for you.
 
She pumps and DAVID puts his hand under the cool, flowing water --
 
				CAMILLE 
		My name is Camille -- Camille Johnson and I'm 
		the Supervisor of this school. What's your 
		name?

				DAVID LEE 
		David Lee Morgan. My dog's name is Sounder. 
			(takes his hand out 
			 from under the water)
		That feels better. 

				CAMILLE 
		Let me see it...
 
She takes his hand into hers -- pulls a kerchief from her pocket and dries 
the water off --
 
				CAMILLE 
		Your hand needs medicine on it. You better come 
		with me into the school so I can put something 
		on it --
 
INT. A CLASSROOM IN THE SCHOOL - DAY 

She applies some medication to his wound -- he winces for a moment -- and 
then she begins to wrap it in a bandage -- DAVID keeps looking about the 
room, admiring its cleanliness, the long blackboard, the strong, steady 
student chairs --
 
				CAMILLE 
		You keep looking around, David. Don't you go to 
		school?

				DAVID LEE 
		Sometime, but not like this.
 
				CAMILLE 
		It's a good thing your hand did not become 
		infected -- how did you cut it like this?

				DAVID LEE 
		Me and Sounder went to this prison camp to see
		my Daddy and the police guard runs us away and 
		I fell on some glass. 

				CAMILLE 
		Did your mother know you were going to see your 
		father? 

				DAVID LEE 
		Uh huh...

				CAMILLE 
			(completes the bandaging)
		That does it... 

				DAVID LEE 
		Thank you, Miss Johnson. 

				CAMILLE 
		I don't live far from here. You and your dog 
		can come home with me and have yourself a hot 
		meal and then we'll talk about how to get you 
		back home.
 
								DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. CAMILLE'S PLACE - DAY 

DAVID walks about CAMILLE'S quaint, neat little home with his eyes lit up as 
he looks around and about --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		You got a pretty house, Miss Johnson!

				CAMILLE 
		I try...
 
INT. CAMILLE'S - DAY 

They enter. DAVID spots the many books she has on a shelf -- he moves to the 
shelf as she stands next to him --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		You got a lotta books, too. 
			(scanning the books)
		You got any books with people in 'em like 
		Huckleberry Finn?
 
She turns in a quick, reflex motion, directly to the boy --
 
				CAMILLE 
		Hell, no!
 
DAVID breaks out in a big smile because he is glad to know that she has no 
books like Huckleberry Finn. She returns his smile, and puts her finger on 
one of the books --
 
				CAMILLE 
		Here, let me tell you something about the books 
		on this shelf: This one's about a man whose 
		name was Crispus Attucks. He fought in a war to 
		help this country to become the United States. 
		And this one is about a woman who helped to 
		free slaves. Her name was Harriet Tubman, 
		and...
 
INT. CAMILLE'S KITCHEN - NIGHT  

CAMILLE finishes washing the dishes -- moves for the sitting room as DAVID 
trails her --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		And you say all them people is dead now?

				CAMILLE 
		That's right--
 
INT. CAMILLE'S SITTING ROOM - NIGHT  

She moves into the room with DAVID following her --
 
				CAMILLE 
		They lived a long time ago -- before you and I 
		were born.

				DAVID LEE 
		Where is Africa, Miss Johnson?
 
She moves to her desk and pulls out a drawer --
 
				CAMILLE 
		Come here and I'll show you.
 
She opens the desk drawer -- gets down on the floor and spreads the map out. 
DAVID sits down next to her as she goes over the map.
 
				CAMILLE 
		Here it is, right here.

				DAVID LEE 
		That's where we come from first?

				CAMILLE 
		That's where we came from first.
 
She rises from the floor and puts the map back into the desk drawer as DAVID 
moves to the book shelf --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		And the other people you told me 'bout, they is 
		all colored folk? 

				CAMILLE
		Colored. 

				DAVID LEE 
		Don't you teach in your school 'bout folk who 
		ain't dead? 

				CAMILLE 
		Sure--
 
She moves to the shelf next to him and takes a book from it --
 
				CAMILLE 
		Here's one by a man that's very much alive.

				DAVID LEE 
		What's his name?

				CAMILLE 
		Dr. William E. B. Dubois. 
			(fingers through the book)
 
				DAVID LEE 
		What he talk 'bout? 

				CAMILLE 
		Why don't you sit and I'll read you something 
		he said.
 
She sits in a chair at the desk and he takes a place on the floor just 
beneath her, waiting anxiously for her to begin the reading --
 
				CAMILLE 
			(reads from the book)
		THE LONGING OF BLACK MEN MUST HAVE RESPECT --
			(she diverts)
		Which means that a man and a woman are human 
		and must be treated that way--
			(she returns to the text)
		THE RICH AND BITTER DEPTH OF THEIR EXPERIENCE, 
		THE UNKNOWN TREASURES OF THEIR INNER LIFE--

As she reads, DAVID'S mind and imagination take to drawing pictures and 
images of what he can apply to his intuitive understanding of what she is 
reading to him --
 
CAMILLE'S VOICE OVER:
--THE STRANGE ENDINGS OF NATURE THEY HAVE SEEN, MAY GIVE THE WORLD NEW POINTS 
OF VIEW AND MAKE THEIR LOVING, LIVING, AND DOING PRECIOUS TO ALL HUMAN...
 
DAVID'S IMAGES:
The night in the woods with his father and SOUNDER. The shouting and laughter 
after the baseball game --
 
CAMILLE'S VOICE OVER:
...HEARTS. AND TO THEMSELVES IN THESE DAYS THAT TRY THEIR SOULS...
 
DAVID'S IMAGES:
HE, JOSIE and EARL, running and playing in the field.
 
CAMILLE'S VOICE OVER:
...THE CHANCE TO SOAR IN THE DIM BLUE AIR ABOVE SMOKE IS TO THEIR...
 
DAVID'S IMAGES:
His visit with his father at the County Jail house --
 
CAMILLE'S VOICE OVER:
...FINER SPIRITS BOON AND GUERDON FOR WHAT THEY LOSE ON EARTH BY BEING BLACK.
 
DAVID'S IMAGES:
His mother, with her head thrown back, her eyes aglitter and laughing.
 
CAMILLE has finished reading -- she places the book down on the desk as he 
looks on her from the poor with tenderness --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		You're a friendly lady, Miss Johnson.

				CAMILLE 
		And you're a tired little boy. I'll make up the 
		cot and you must get some sleep.
 
She moves into the corner to prepare a place for him in the sitting room.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		What about Sounder? 

				CAMILLE 
		He'll get his place too -- now off with your 
		clothes and into bed.
 
DAVID unclothes himself and crawls into the bed as CAMILLE stands over him --
 
				CAMILLE 
		Now don't you think it's time you told me all 
		about yourself?

				DAVID LEE 
		I have a mother and her name is Rebecca -- My 
		father's name is Nathan Lee Morgan, and...
 
INT. SCHOOL ROOM CLASS - FULL ANGLE - DAY 

CAMILLE is standing in front of her desk before an overfilled class room. 
DAVID LEE is seated in a chair against a wall on one side of the room.
 
				CAMILLE 
		Anyone here know what chapter that story was 
		from?
 
A boy rises with abrupt and fast confidence --
 
				BOY #1
		Chapter twenty-six!

				CAMILLE 
		Twenty-six? The text has but six chapters!

				BOY #l
		That's what I meant, Miss Johnson. Take away 
		the two in front and all you got left is a six!
 
The class room breaks out in a gusto of laughter.
 
				CAMILLE 
		Now you know I'm not going to have the 
		laughing!
 
The laughing dies sharply and quickly -- CAMILLE smiles to herself --
 
				CAMILLE 
		I'll get back to you later, Mr. Twenty-six. 
		Let's not stop now, we have to keep this mood 
		moving. The story has to come from one of the 
		text books we've already read in class, or it 
		has to be a true story of your own. Let's get 
		it going now -- we don't have that much time 
		left...
 
She moves around and sits at her desk -- after some indecision on the part of 
all of the Children, one boy finally rises from his chair --
 
				CLARENCE 
		I got a story, Miss Johnson -- It's a true 
		story that happened to me.
 
CLARENCE is a soft-eyed boy about eleven or twelve years of age. He behaves 
as if he's not too sure he wants to tell his story --
 
				CAMILLE 
		You know that the class is going to challenge 
		your story, don't you, Clarence? 

				CLARENCE 
		Yes, Miss Johnson... 

				CAMILLE 
		Go on...

				CLARENCE 
			(hesitates)
		Me and my little sister, went down to the water 
		hole, last Saturday--
 
A GIRL rises and interrupts him --
 
				GIRL #1
		You're doin' somethin' wrong already -- You 
		didn't tell us the name of your sister...

				CLARENCE
			(pause)
		My sister's name is... 
			(pause)
		Me and my sister, Laura, went down to the water 
		hole last Saturday and we was playin' 'long the 
		edge of the water and Laura slipped and fell in 
		the water. I started to run back home, but I 
		turned around, ran back, dove into the water 
		and got her out before she could drown...
 
No one says anything -- CLARENCE just stands there, looking around the room, 
waiting for someone to utter something -
 
				CAMILLE 
		How was your sister after you pulled her out of 
		the water?
 
				CLARENCE
		She was dirty and wet...

								SWING TO:
 
CLOSE ANGLE - GIRL #1
   
				GIRL #1 
		What were you doin', runnin' away from the 
		water?! 

								SWING BACK TO:
 
ANGLE - CLARENCE
  
				CLARENCE 
		I was going home to get my daddy.
 
								QUICK TO:

CLOSE ANGLE - BOY #1 

				BOY #1 
		What made you stop and go back!? 

								QUICK TO:

CLOSE ANGLE - CLARENCE
    
				CLARENCE 
		Cause if I hadda ran home, by the time I got 
		back, my sister woulda drowned.

								QUICK BACK TO:

CLOSE ANGLE - GIRL #1

				GIRL #1 
		How come you didn't know that at first?
 
								MOVES BACK TO:

CLOSE ANGLE - CLARENCE

				CLARENCE 
		I was scared!
 
								QUICK MOVE TO:

ANGLE - BOY #2

				BOY #2
		Hold it! Clarence's story ain't true! Me and 
		Clarence been to the river a lotta times, and 
		I know, he can't swim!
 
								MOVES TO:
 
CLOSE ANGLE - CAMILLE

She is somewhat thrown -- hesitates but must follow through, delicately --

				CAMILLE 
		Clarence, would you tell us a story that was 
		not true, after telling us it was?
 
								PULLS TO:
 
CROSS HALF ANGLE - CLASSROOM

				CLARENCE 
		No, Miss Johnson... 

				CAMILLE 
		Can you swim? 

				CLARENCE
			(pause)
		Yes mam...
 
								SWING TO:
 
ANGLE - BOY #2
 
				BOY #2
		Clarence, you know you can't swim! Every time I 
		tried to show you, you fell down, and I had to 
		always pull you out! 

								SWING TO:

CLOSE ANGLE - CAMILLE

				CAMILLE 
		Is that true, Clarence?
 
								MOVES TO:
 
CLOSE ANGLE - CLARENCE

				CLARENCE 
			(pause)
		Yes mam... But when I saw my sister 'bout to 
		drown in the water, I tried because I wasn't 
		scared no more! I was just swimming and kickin'! 
		I don't know how I was doin' it! But I was, 
		cause my sister was drowning! She was drowning!
 
								PULLS TO:

FULL ANGLE - CLASS ROOM 

CLARENCE sits -- the class is silent --
 
								MOVES TO:
 
CLOSE ANGLE - DAVID LEE
 
DAVID LEE has been deeply involved in everything that has taken place in the 
room. As he sits, he is split with indecision as to whether he should rise 
and say something or to remain in his place. But he makes a sudden decision, 
and rises --

				DAVID LEE 
		I believe Clarence's story...
 
								PULLS TO:
 
FULL ANGLE - CLASS ROOM 
 
All eyes turn to David Lee --

				CAMILLE 
		You want to come forward and tell us why, 
		David?

He hesitates for a moment -- he moves and stands before the class --

				DAVID LEE 
		Some people came and took my daddy away and 
		other people said we couldn't work the farm. 
		But we had to,'cause we didn't wanna lose our 
		farm. We planted the crops and they grew. I 
		believe his story 'cause his story is about 
		what he did when he had to do somethin'. He 
		didn't know how to swim but he had to or else 
		his sister woulda drowned. That's how he did 
		it...

He looks around to CAMILLE, and then he moves back to the place where he was, 
and sits and then the class room breaks out in applause -
 
								MOVES TO:
 
ANGLE - CLARENCE
 
He is happy to know that his story has finally been accepted as the truth --
 
								SWINGS TO:
 
CLOSE FACE ANGLE - DAVID LEE
 
His face too is beaming with laughter --
 
EXT. FRONT OF BORDERDALE SCHOOL - DAY 

CAMILLE and DAVID LEE exit from the school house -- DAVID is filled with 
excitement over his adventure in the class room. They are joined by SOUNDER 
who is impatiently waiting for DAVID. DAVID LEE strokes the dog a few times, 
and they keep moving on out of the school yard --
 
				CAMILLE 
		Well, how did you like the class, David?

				DAVID LEE 
		It was the best thing I ever been to, Miss 
		Johnson!
 
They move out of the school yard towards town.
 
INT. CAMILLE'S PLACE - NIGHT 

CAMILLE is busying herself, sweeping, dusting furniture items, putting things 
in place, etc. -- DAVID LEE is following her about the place, helping her 
wherever he can -- His spirits are very high at the moment. SOUNDER is 
crouched in a corner, looking on at the activity --
 
				DAVID LEE
		... So me and Sounder, ran right by the men 
		that was the prisoners, and crawled under the 
		fence! That's when I cut my hand on the glass. 
		It hurt like mad! But I kept runnin', and then 
		I didn't feel no more hurtin' till I stopped 
		runnin'! 
			(pause)
		Why was that, Miss Johnson?

				CAMILLE 
		Because all you could think of was getting away 
		from the guard.

				DAVID LEE 
		Oh...
			(pause). 
		You right, that's all that was worryin' me right 
		then... 

				CAMILLE 
		You know, that was a good thing you did for 
		Clarence, in class today. I believed his story, 
		but I was afraid the other children wouldn't...

				DAVID LEE 
		He was real scared nobody would believe him -- I 
		could tell, even when he first stood up.

				CAMILLE 
		You could? How?

				DAVID LEE 
		I been like that myself, when I thought nobody 
		was gonna believe me... 
			(pause)
		You wanna hear another story?! 

				CAMILLE 
		Not now, David, it's time for bed. You have a 
		long trip ahead of you in the morning...
 
A thought grips the boy, and he moves to the window, and stares out into the 
darkness, as CAMILLE starts to make the bed for him -- she stops for a 
moment, and looks up and over at him at the window --
 
				CAMILLE 
		What are you looking at, out there? There's 
		nothing to see.

				DAVID LEE 
		My daddy likes to look into the dark, even when 
		there ain't nothin to see -- it's what you hear 
		he say.
 
CAMILLE notices and feels that his mood has changed.
 
				CAMILLE 
		You think about your father a lot, don't you?

				DAVID LEE 
		Yes mam...

				CAMILLE 
		Well, you shouldn't worry about him too much, 
		David.

				DAVID LEE 
		What do I tell my mama when I get home? I 
		didn't find him and that's what I wanted to do.

				CAMILLE 
		But you did all you could, David. Not many 
		little boys could've gone on such a journey as 
		you did.

				DAVID LEE 
		But where is my daddy!? 

				CAMILLE 
		I can't answer that for you -- but it's no 
		fault of your own that you don't know where 
		your father is now. You tell me what you did 
		that kept you from finding your father.
			(pause)
		Come on, tell me... 

				DAVID LEE
			(pause)
		Nothin'...

				CAMILLE 
		And so you did your job, right? 

				DAVID LEE
			(pause)
		Yes, mam... 

				CAMILLE 
		Whewwww! You sure keep my mind jumping, boy!

				DAVID LEE 
		What do that mean? 

				CAMILLE 
		Means you keep me using my head, and that's 
		good!
 
She returns to making up the bed.
 
				DAVID LEE
			(pause)
		Miss Johnson... Do you think I can come back 
		here, and you let me study school with the 
		other children?
 
The question stops her work -- and then she momentarily struggles for an 
answer for the boy -- she sits down on the bed as he turns back to gazing out 
of the window. She looks on him for a moment, rises, moves to the window, 
puts her arm around his shoulder -- and they both look out of the window into 
the blank darkness --
 
EXT. FRONT OF THE HOUSE - ROAD - DAY 

JOSIE MAE is on the porch with EARL when she spots DAVID and SOUNDER on the 
road, rushing toward the house.
 
				JOSIE MAE
		Mama! Mama!
 
She and EARL rush out to the road to meet them -- REBECCA moves out of the 
front door behind them. DAVID is carrying two books given to him by CAMILLE. 
They all reach him about the same time.
 
				JOSIE & EARL
		Hi, David! Sounder! 

				REBECCA 
		What happened to you? I've been worried out of 
		my life. What's wrong with your hand, son?

				DAVID LEE 
		I cut it on some glass and we got lost, Mama.

				REBECCA 
		Did you find your father? 

				DAVID LEE 
		Didn't see 'im, Mama. The other men there say 
		they didn't know Daddy. 

				REBECCA 
		I guess they musta sent 'im to another camp.

They all start moving for the house.
 
				REBECCA 
		What's that you carryin'? 

				DAVID LEE 
		Some books Miss Johnson gave me.

				REBECCA 
		Who's Miss Johnson?

				DAVID LEE 
		Miss Johnson is a teacher, and...
 
They move on through the yard.
 
INT. KITCHEN-SITTING ROOM - DAY 

They enter -- DAVID and the other children sit at the table -- REBECCA begins 
to prepare something for the boy to eat.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		So when I left, she gave me these books.

				REBECCA 
		Miss Johnson must be a real kindly lady.

				DAVID LEE 
		She is, Mama...
			(pause)
		When the fall comes, she wants me to come to 
		her school.

				REBECCA 
		How can you do that? You don't live anywhere 
		near that school.

				DAVID LEE 
		She says I can come live with her while school 
		goin' on, and come back home every time there 
		ain't no school. 

				REBECCA 
		But who's gonna help me here with the house and 
		in the field?
 
She puts some food on the table before him -- he hesitates before eating -- 
she is about to exit through the back door -- stops in the doorway and turns 
back to him.
 
				REBECCA 
		If your father is back by then it's all right 
		with me if it'll be all right with him...
 
REBECCA moves out just like that, leaving the boy thrown and bewildered for a 
moment -- he looks in the direction of his mother's room for awhile and then 
slowly starts to eat, with his appetite practically gone -- JOSIE MAE and 
EARL on the other side of the table are staring at him.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Whatcha starin' at?

				JOSIE MAE
		Tell us some more 'bout the trip!
 
EXTs. CORNFIELD-WEIGHING STATION - DAY 

A hot, mid-July day -- late afternoon -- REBECCA, DAVID LEE, JOSIE MAE and 
EARL are working the mill.
 
DAVID LEE points with his fingers in giving out assignments to JOSIE MAE and 
EARL. They run across the fields to a particular row of corn, with croker 
sacks in their hands.
 
JOSIE MAE and EARL are behind REBECCA, picking the corn in armfuls -- run 
back to the stationary place where they left their croker sacks, and drop the 
corn into the sacks.
 
EXT. CORNFIELD - DAY 

A white man in a wagon rolls in the aisle between the rows of corn -- stops 
the wagon at each sack, where REBECCA and DAVID LEE load the corn up on the 
wagon.
 
EXT. WEIGHING STATION - DAY 

The wagon rolls up to the weighing station on MR. HOWARD'S premises and comes 
to a halt -- REBECCA and DAVID LEE climb down from the wagon. MR. HOWARD is 
there.
 
REBECCA and DAVID LEE unload the sacks from the wagon, and put them down on 
the scale, while the man who was driving the wagon writes down the weight 
numbers on a piece of paper -- 

INT. THE KITCHEN - NIGHT 

REBECCA, JOSIE MAE and EARL are gathered around DAVID LEE as he slowly 
completes writing a letter -- he sits back to read it.
 
				DAVID LEE
			(reads)
		"Dear Miss Johnson. How are you? I am doing 
		okay. I told my mama, my brother and my sister 
		about you, and they like you too. I can't make 
		this letter too long because I have work to do. 
		Bless you, David Lee Morgan"
 
They all look to each other with big triumphant smiles of pride on their 
faces.
 
				REBECCA 
		Son, you sure write a good fine letter!
 
EXT. THE WOODS - DAY 

DAVID LEE walks through the woods with a book in his hand -- he stops, sits 
down at the base of a tree, when suddenly he reacts as if he hears something 
-- he rises and rushes away -- he runs, stops and looks around him, in search 
of someone, and then he takes off again at high speed along a pathway of the 
woods. His speed builds and builds, and suddenly he breaks the woods, and the 
night, into high grass field.
 
EXT. GRASS FIELD - DAY 

It is broad daylight, and the sun is shining -- DAVID LEE wipes his eyes and 
looks about the field of high grass -- he hears a voice and takes off running 
until he breaks the high grass into open field.
 
EXT. OPEN FIELD - DAY 

He sees his father, with SOUNDER at his side, standing about three hundred 
feet away from him, smiling. He rushes to his father -- they embrace and then 
they start to run across the open field, the three of them. They run and they 
run, keeping pace with each other, as their speed increases. DAVID LEE drops 
his book, stops to pick it up -- after he straightens up with the book to 
continue the running, he stops in his tracks -- his father and SOUNDER are 
nowhere to be seen -- he looks out over the entire field -- they are not 
there.
 
INT. CHILDREN'S ROOM - NIGHT  

DAVID LEE wakes up -- he looks to EARL and JOSIE MAE, and then into the empty 
darkness of the room, and wonders; where did the dream come from -- where did 
it go to --
 
EXT. THE PORCH - DAY 

Later the same day, DAVID LEE is lying on his stomach, reading from one of 
his books. REBECCA is doing some sewing -- SOUNDER comes from around the side 
of the house, hobbling back and forth to the road and back.
 
				REBECCA 
		What's wrong with him, David? 

				DAVID LEE 
		It's the heat.

				REBECCA 
		It's when the heat is so bad, dogs go crazy.

				DAVID LEE 
		He won't go mad -- he's just lookin' for a 
		cooler spot.
 
REBECCA sees a lone figure upon the landscape way out from the house emerge 
as a speck and slowly grow into a ripply form through the heat waves -- JOSIE 
MAE and EARL come from around the house and sit down in the yard.
 
				REBECCA  
		Who's that to be fightin' scorchin' heat out in 
		open land like that?
 
SOUNDER moves about restlessly in the yard -- and then suddenly the voice of 
the great coon hound breaks the sultry August deadness and dashes across the 
road toward the figure. REBECCA jumps to her feet.
 
				REBECCA
		He's gone mad! Stop him, David!
 
DAVID LEE takes off after SOUNDER -- his voice is ringing at a peak as he 
keeps moving until he arrives at the figure. REBECCA sees the man kneel and 
take the dog into his arms, and now the light hits at the top of her mind.
 
				REBECCA
		Oh my God, it's Nathan! It's Nathan!!!
 
She drops everything and charges off the porch with JOSIE MAE and EARL, 
making haste behind her.
 
MEDIUM ANGLE - REBECCA, JOSIE MAE and EARL - PORCH POV
 
As they dash across the road and into the field, almost in one physical 
motion.
 
								QUICK PULL TO:
 
FULL LONG ANGLE - MORGAN FAMILY - PORCH POV

DAVID LEE falls into his father's arms -- REBECCA embraces and holds him 
close to her -- JOSIE MAE and EARL move into his embrace -- SOUNDER moves 
back and forth around them -- DAVID LEE jumps up and down with joy -- They 
start moving toward the house -- NATHAN moves with an accented limp in his 
right leg, and then they stop.
 
								SMASH TO:
 
EXT. THE FIELD - CLOSE FACE ANGLE - DAVID LEE - DAY
 
				DAVID LEE 
		What's wrong with your leg, Daddy?
 
CLOSE FACE ANGLE - NATHAN LEE
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Got it hurt in a dynamite blast, son. The dirty 
		dogs had no more use for me, so they let me 
		have time off my sentence, and let me come home.
 
								PULL TO:
 
FULL ANGLE - EVERYONE
 
				REBECCA 
		The most important thing is that you're home! 
			(pause)
		We was gonna have cold eatin' tonight, 'cause 
		of the heat, but now, I'm goin' to cook!

				NATHAN LEE 
		Well, let's get to it, Miss Rebecca,'cause I 
		been waitin' too long a time for your good 
		cookin'!
 
They move out of the field and across the road for their home.
 
INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT  

NATHAN and the children are at the table just after eating as REBECCA is 
busying herself in the area, cleaning up.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		All I can say, Rebecca, is that was some meal! 
		Thank you!
 
She stops her work, turns to him and smiles.
 
				REBECCA 
		I'm glad you liked it, Nathan. 

She returns to her work.
 
				REBECCA 
		Alright, children, it was your bedtime two 
		hours ago -- let's get a move on you...
 
JOSIE MAE and EARL rise and move around the table to their father.
 
				JOSIE MAE
		Goodnight, Daddy...

 				NATHAN LEE 
		Goodnight to you, little girl.
 
He kisses her on the face and then EARL moves to him.
 
				EARL 
		Night, Daddy...

				NATHAN LEE 
		Goodnight, son...
 
He embraces EARL -- and then the two children move for their room, with 
REBECCA accompanying them.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Son, that was some trip you went on...

				DAVID LEE 
		Where was you, Daddy? 

				NATHAN LEE 
		That musta been afta they sent me to this place 
		call Clayburn. That was the hardest workin' 
		camp they sent me to. The work was so hard, 
		you had to look for somethin' to laugh about to 
		keep from feelin' the whole pain in your body. 
		Like one time, it was in the middle of the day, 
		and there weren't no sun -- you hear that?

				DAVID LEE 
		Where did the sun go to, Daddy?

				NATHAN LEE 
		Into the clouds and behind the mountains.

				DAVID LEE 
		What happened afta that? 

				NATHAN LEE 
		The rains started to come, and the prisoners 
		were scared to run 'cause they had to wait for 
		guards to round us up, and tell us when to move
		-- but we didn't mind the rain comin' 'cause it 
		meant we would git a little rest -- we just 
		stood there, watchin' the guards and they 
		weapons get wet, and that made us all feel 
		kinda good for a minute. I was laughin' all 
		over inside -- a minute, that's all, but what 
		a minute it was!
 
He laughs -- DAVID LEE laughs along with him -- the laughter trails off.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Daddy, I'm so glad you home!
 
NATHAN reaches across the table and shakes the boy's head with his hand.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		And me too, son! You shore done got to be such 
		a big little man! 

				DAVID LEE 
		We goin' huntin' again, Daddy !?

				NATHAN LEE 
		You bet we is!

				DAVID LEE 
		I cleaned and oiled all your stuff while you 
		was gone...
 
REBECCA re-enters from the children's room, crosses for her room, stops at 
the door, and turns to them.
 
				REBECCA 
		Your time now, David Lee... 

She enters the room -- DAVID LEE rises from the table, moves to his father, 
and extends his hand out to him for a shake -- they shake hands.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Goodnight, Daddy... 

				NATHAN LEE 
		Goodnight to you, son... 

DAVID LEE moves for his room, stops and turns back to his father.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Daddy, you home now... that's all I want -- I 
		don't want nothin' else... 

				NATHAN LEE 
		Come here, son...
 
DAVID LEE moves closer to him -- NATHAN takes the boy into his arms, and 
holds him close. He releases him -- the boy smiles, turns and moves into his 
room. NATHAN looks on the door for awhile where the boy has entered, rises 
from the table and moves into his room.
 
INT. NATHAN AND REBECCA'S ROOM -- CLOSE FACE ANGLE - DAVID LEE - DAY 

An expression of soft thoughts and affection.
 
								PULLS TO:
 
ANGLE - NATHAN LEE - DAVID LEE POV 

NATHAN is in bed, asleep. He turns over and as he does, his eyes catch sight 
of DAVID LEE -- He props himself on his elbow to come out of the sleep as he 
looks to the boy.
 
				NATHAN LEE
		Mornin', son... 

				DAVID LEE 
		Mornin', Daddy...
 
								MOVES TO: 

FULL ANGLE - NATHAN and DAVID LEE
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Where's everybody? 

				DAVID LEE 
		They gone to the field... 

				NATHAN LEE 
		Guess I can't just lay here, then.
 
He lifts himself up and sits on the edge of the bed, rubs his hand through 
his hair -- reacts, looking down on the floor.
 
CLOSE FACE ANGLE - DAVID LEE 

As he looks to his father with affection --
 
								PULLS QUICK TO:
 
FULL ANGLE - ROOM

DAVID LEE crosses to a chair, takes up his father's trousers and shirt off a 
chair and his shoes from the floor and passes them on to him at the bed.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Thank you, son... 

He begins to slowly put on his clothes --

				DAVID LEE 
		You feel alright today, Daddy? 

				NATHAN LEE 
		Great, son -- not like wakin' up in jail. For a 
		minute or two, didn't quite know where I was, 
		but when I saw your face lookin down on me, 
		made me know right away the day was gonna be a 
		good one, and it all belonged to me!
 
CLOSE HALF ANGLE - NATHAN LEE 

As he smiles down to the boy-
 
								CUT TO:
 
CLOSE ANGLE - DAVID LEE 

As he returns his father's smile -
 
								PULLS TO:
 
FULL ANGLE - ROOM 

As they both exit from the room -- NATHAN LEE leading the way --

INT. SITTING ROOM-KITCHEN - FULL ANGLE - DAY 

They keep moving to the kitchen area.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Mama left somethin' for you to eat on the 
		stove--
 
They arrive at the stove -- NATHAN takes the cover off a pan to take a look.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Smells good, too!

He turns away from the stove, and they move out the backdoor for the backyard.
 
EXT. THE BACKYARD - FULL ANGLE - DAY 

Just as they step out into the yard, they are immediately greeted by SOUNDER.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Hi there, big boy! 

SOUNDER leaps all over him -- he wrestles playfully with the dog.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		They thought one little ol' shotgun was gonna 
		stop you -- you showed huh, boy!
 
SOUNDER continues to paw all over him.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Down boy! That's enough!
 
SOUNDER turns to DAVID who kneels to stroke and caress him as NATHAN moves to 
the water well, and begins to wash up.
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Daddy, when is we goin' huntin'? 

				NATHAN LEE 
		Soon -- but it won't be too much huntin' you'll 
		be doin','cordin' to a good little story your 
		mama told me last night -- you'll be goin' away 
		from here, won't you?
 
								QUICK MOVE TO:
 
CLOSE FACE ANGLE - DAVID LEE 

NATHAN'S question seems to stab the boy, and he sinks into a troublesome 
silence.
 
								PULLS BACK TO:

FULL ANGLE - NATHAN - DAVID POV

He waits a moment for the boy to reply, then moves for the shed and enters -- 
DAVID LEE looks on the blank door of the shed where NATHAN has entered -- He 
rises from the ground and he and SOUNDER move into the shed.
 
INT. SHED - ANGLE - NATHAN - THEIR POV - DAY 

DAVID LEE and SOUNDER enter and stop just inside the door. NATHAN is going 
over his equipment.
 
 				NATHAN LEE 
		You kept my stuff in real good shape, son.
 
He takes up his baseball glove and a ball -- tries the glove out in his hand 
-- then tosses the ball to DAVID. DAVID catches it -- NATHAN picks up his bat 
--
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Come on, son, throw a couple to me!
 
He moves briskly out of the shed back into the yard -- DAVID and SOUNDER run 
out behind him --
 
EXT. BACKYARD - FULL ANGLE - DAY 

NATHAN moves to the house end of the yard -- DAVID takes a position at the 
field end.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Alright, chunk it to me!
 
DAVID throws the ball softly and it lands in NATHAN's glove. He throws the 
ball back to DAVID -- DAVID catches it in his bare hand.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Let me have one with a little steam on it, now!
 
DAVID rears back and fires a hard one at him. It pops into his glove.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Boy that was a mean curve you just threw!
 
								PULLS BACK TO:
 
DAVID rears back once again, and throws a hard one.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		That's enough for now, son. I better eat so we 
		can get out to the field and help your mama 
		before she come lookin' for us, and you know 
		how tough your mama can get!
 
EXT. CORNFIELD - DAY 

REBECCA, JOSIE MAE, and EARL are working the field when MR. HOWARD drives out 
in his truck -- He gets out and approaches them.
 
				MR HOWARD
			(smiling)
		Hi ya, Rebecca... 

				REBECCA 
			(the cynical truth)
		Tired. 

				MR HOWARD
			(looks about the field)
		Somebody told me Nathan was back. How is he?
 
				REBECCA 
		Why don't you pay him a visit, Mr. Howard?  
		He'll tell you all about it. 

				MR. HOWARD
		I'll do that, Rebecca... I'll do that...

MR HOWARD moves back to his truck and drives off. As they watch the truck 
move away --
 
EXT. CORNFIELD - DAY 

They all turn to see NATHAN limping toward them with SOUNDER and DAVID LEE -- 
They wait until they arrive --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		What did he want? 

				REBECCA 
		To invite you to his house -- the two of you 
		could just sit under the shade tree, drink ice
		cold whiskey, and just shoot the breeze!

				NATHAN LEE 
		Did you tell 'im I was too busy for that kinda 
		stuff?
 
He puts his arms around her shoulders, and draws her close to him -- The 
children stand by with big wide open smiles on their faces --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Dammit! It shore feels good to be back home!
 
He releases her -- walks about twelve feet away -- inspects some of the corn 
-- looks about over the field --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Y'all did some good job with the crop.
 
He turns and walks back to them --
 
				NATHAN LEE
		Well, let's get to work! 

				REBECCA 
		You sure you feel up to it, Nathan?

				NATHAN LEE 
		Yeah. I feel real up to it right now. Come on, 
		David Lee, you and me'll do the loading.
 
REBECCA and the other children start in with the picking, but REBECCA watches 
NATHAN with concern as he, DAVID LEE and SOUNDER move through the field --
finally, she returns her full attention to the work --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		I'm real proud of how you helped your mama to 
		keep this place goin', David Lee.

				DAVID LEE 
		Thank you, Daddy...
 
They come to a group of corn-filled sacks alongside the wagon and stop.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		I'll lift up the back end, and you just hold on 
		to the front end for me.
 
He lifts up the back end of the sack -- DAVID LEE takes hold of the front, 
tied end, and they struggle to get it up on the wagon, with NATHAN grunting 
and groaning. The same thing happens with the second sack --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Wheeew! This is some hard work, but it beats 
		goin' to jail.

				DAVID LEE 
		You won't be goin' to jail again, will you, 
		Daddy?

				NATHAN LEE 
		No, son -- they'd have to kill me before I'd 
		let 'em do that to me again!
 
He realizes he has said the wrong thing from the worried look on the boy's 
face.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Nobody's goin' to jail, and nobody's gittin' 
		hurt. Come on, let's get this one up on the 
		wagon.
 
NATHAN reaches down for the bag -- his leg gives way on him and he falls on 
his behind --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		You hurt, Daddy!?

				NATHAN LEE 
		No, no, I'm all right, son... This damn leg 
		just won't act right no more!
 
He tries to get up right away but the leg is in such pain, he can't make it --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Mama! Mama!
 
REBECCA and the other children come running toward them --
 
				REBECCA 
		What's wrong, Nathan? 

				DAVID LEE 
		He can't get up, Mama! 

				NATHAN LEE 
		This done happen before. It ain't nothin' -- I 
		just have to wait a minute or two.

				REBECCA 
		Is there something I can do to help you?

				NATHAN LEE 
		Yeah, just stay where you is...
 
He supports himself on his right arm and slowly pushes himself up to where he 
can stand on his foot --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		There, you see?

				REBECCA 
		I see, all right -- It's time for us to get out 
		of this field.

				NATHAN LEE 
		I just got out here! 

				REBECCA 
		It's lunchtime, and I wanna have a talk with 
		you, Nathan Lee. Come on, children...
 
She turns briskly and moves off with JOSIE MAE and EARL following --

				NATHAN LEE 
		Woman worries too much for me.
 
He slowly starts to limp away with SOUNDER but DAVID LEE remains standing 
where he is --
 
CLOSE FACE ANGLE - DAVID LEE 

There is worry and concern in his face as he watches his father strain to 
walk on the injured leg --
 
								PULLS TO:
 
FULL ANGLE - NATHAN LEE, SOUNDER and DAVID LEE 

As NATHAN stops and turns to DAVID LEE --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		You comin' with us, son?
 
After a bit of hesitation, DAVID LEE slowly moves toward his father, who has 
now turned and is moving farther out of the field --
 
EXT. FRONT OF THE HOUSE - FULL ANGLE - EVERYONE - DAY 

REBECCA is sitting on the porch, cutting string beans -- JOSIE MAE and EARL 
are playing hop scotch -- DAVID LEE is tossing the baseball to his father as 
IKE enters the yard -- he has a white envelope in his hand -- SOUNDER is 
standing near NATHAN.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Hi ya doin' there, Ike? 

				IKE 
		Any time it's Saturday and I don't hafta do any 
		work, I'm doin' okay! 

				NATHAN LEE 
		Whatcha got there? 

				IKE 
		Seems this piece of mail came to Mr. Howard's 
		place this mornin' and he had me to bring it 
		over here.

				NATHAN LEE 
		Well, let me have it. 

				IKE 
		Don't belong to you! It's for the little 
		important man, here!
 
He hands it to DAVID LEE -- DAVID LEE does not look at the envelope as he 
takes it -- Everyone's attention is to DAVID LEE and the letter now --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Well, son, who is it from? 

DAVID LEE hesitates for a moment, then holds the letter up to read --
 
				DAVID LEE
			(pause)
		From Miss Johnson -- 

				NATHAN LEE 
		Well, ain't you gon' open and read it for us?
 
He looks directly to his father, and then to his mother -- walks to the steps 
and sits. They all gather closer to him as he takes his time, opening the 
envelope. When it is opened -- he seems not to want to read it --
 
				DAVID LEE
			(reads)
		Dear David, if you are coming to school here, 
		be sure to bring some warm clothes. The school 
		term will begin September 8th, but it would be 
		good for you to be here by the 4th or 5th of 
		the month. I do hope everything is fine and you 
		will be here. Give my "hello" to your family. 
		Yours truly, Miss Camille Johnson...

				NATHAN LEE 
		September 4 -- how far away is that?

				REBECCA 
		'Bout a week...
 
With directness, NATHAN LEE moves toward the wagon in front of the yard -- 
stops and turns --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Come on, children, let's go!
 
Moves on to the wagon. 

								PULLS TO:
 
WIDER ANGLE - INCLUDE EDGE OF ROAD AND WAGON

NATHAN climbs up on the wagon and SOUNDER leaps up behind him as JOSIE MAE 
and EARL follow. DAVID LEE steps down into the yard and merely looks on --
 
				REBECCA 
		Where you goin'!?

				NATHAN LEE 
		To the commissary to get this boy some clothes! 
		I'm gon' get everybody somethin'!

				REBECCA 
		But, Nathan--

				NATHAN LEE 
		Don't tell me nothin' 'bout what we owe ol' man 
		Howard! I'll do the owing, and let him worry 
		'bout the collecting! Come on, David Lee!
 
DAVID LEE does not move from where he is standing.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Did you hear me, boy? Come on!
 
DAVID LEE moves slowly to the wagon stops and looks up to his father --
 
CLOSE FACE ANGLE - DAVID LEE
 
				DAVID LEE 
		You just came back home, Daddy. I don't wanna 
		leave right now -- I wanna stay home and be 
		with you. 

				NATHAN LEE 
		And I wanta be with you, too, but this school 
		is somethin' that's good for you -- somethin 
		you need, like good air to breathe, and I want 
		you to have it, boy, and that's the way it's 
		gonna be!

				DAVID LEE 
		But, Daddy, you need me here to help you in the 
		field -- Daddy, your leg is hurt -- you can't 
		work like you used to. Who's gonna help you!? 
		Who's gonna do the work, Daddy?!

				NATHAN LEE
			(grabs him by one arm)
		Let me tell you somethin', boy! I don't care if 
		both of my legs was cut off! I can do more 
		work in that field, than you could in a hundred 
		years! 

				DAVID LEE 
		I won't go, Daddy! I won't go! 

				NATHAN LEE 
		Now wait justa minute! You don't tell me what 
		you ain't gonna do! I tell you! I say, you 
		goin' to that school, you goin'! You hear me!
 
He releases the boy, climbs back up on the wagon, and looks down to him --

								PULLS TO:
 
WIDER ANGLE - INCLUDE WAGON, CHILDREN AND SOUNDER
 
CLOSE FACE ANGLE - DAVID LEE 

With a look of confused sadness --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		Daddy, don't make me go away from you.

								QUICK MOVE TO:

ANGLE -- NATHAN LEE 

The boys words have rendered him speechless -- he doesn't quite know what to 
do or say for the moment.
 
								MOVES TO:

FULL ANGLE - FRONT OF THE HOUSE

DAVID LEE turns and runs out into the field --

				NATHAN LEE 
		David!

The boy keeps running -- NATHAN climbs down from the wagon and goes after him 
--

				NATHAN LEE 
		David Lee, come back here!
 
REBECCA rushes down from the porch and moves for NATHAN --

				REBECCA 
		Nathan!
 
NATHAN LEE stops in his tracks, his back to her --
 
								PULLS TO:
 
ANGLE - REBECCA - NATHAN'S POV
 
				REBECCA 
		Please, leave him be, Nathan! He missed you in 
		a grave way while you was gone -- he sweated 
		and worried to find out where they holdin' you 
		-- went on that long journey -- you come home, 
		and it's a natural thing for him to wanta hold 
		on to you now.
 
MEDIUM CLOSE ANGLE - NATHAN LEE 

As he rakes a long hard look to her -- turns, and moves out into the field to 
find the boy -- SOUNDER follows him --
 
								MOVES TO:
 
CLOSE FACE ANGLE - REBECCA 

As she watches him move out into the field --
 
EXT. THE CORNFIELD - NATHAN LEE - DAY 

As he moves about the field in search of DAVID -- He moves into various areas 
-- farther and farther into the field.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		David! David Lee!
 
He gets no response to his call -- He moves on and on about the field in search of the boy --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		David! You hear me callin' you!?
 
He moves on even farther, and finally he spots the boy, sitting on a high 
lump of earth with his face down between his legs, crying -- NATHAN stops, 
and then slowly moves to the boy and sits beside him --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		Son, will you listen to me for a minute?
 
After a minute's hesitation, DAVID slowly raises his head, and looks up to 
his father --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		You know, son, when I got this leg hurt, I was 
		down in a rock quarry, and all of a sudden, 
		there was this dynamite blast comin' at me with 
		the kind of force to kill ten men, but I got 
		outta the way of most of them rock, quicker'n 
		the lightnin' in God's mind -- 'cause I made it 
		up in my head, just that quick to beat the 
		death that was comin' at me. And that's what 
		I'm gonna do with this trouble in my leg. I'm 
		gon' beat it. That's all that's left for me to 
		do. That's what I want you to do. I want you to 
		beat the life they got laid out for you in this 
		valley.
 
DAVID LEE looks directly at him and then turns away.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		I was watchin' your sister and brother out here 
		the other day, and I said to myself, these is 
		just children -- they ain't got no business out 
		here in this hot sun... As for me and your 
		mama, we been in this field so long, we ain't 
		never known anything else.
 
DAVID LEE is looking straight out and away from him. NATHAN waits as DAVID 
hesitates -- finally the boy holds his hands up before his eyes -- he drops 
his hands, rises and moves away from his father -- stops about five feet 
away. About three rows away, the white man is driving through the field in a 
truck -- They watch the truck move on --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		There ain't nothin' here but people like them 
		bastards that sent me away, and tried to kill 
		me. Son, please don't get too used to this 
		place. I'm gonna love you wherever you is. Me, 
		your mama, Josie Mae and Earl, we gonna love 
		you even more. We gonna be at that school to 
		see you every chance we get.
 
CLOSE FACE ANGLE - NATHAN LEE
 
 								CUT TO:
 
CLOSE FACE ANGLE  - DAVID LEE 

As they look to each other -- their eyes drawing them closer to each other, 
and then DAVID rushes into his father's waiting arms --
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		I love you, son! Don't ever think I don't love 
		you! 
			(pause)
		We gon' get to be friends?

				DAVID LEE 
		Yes, Daddy! Yes!
 
NATHAN holds the boy out from him -- They just look to each other as DAVID 
wipes his eyes and calms down. They start moving out of the field --

								PULLS TO:
 
LONGER ANGLE - NATHAN AND DAVID LEE 

As they make their way out of the field --
 
INT. THE CHILDREN'S ROOM - FULL ANGLE - DAY 

DAVID LEE is packing a bag with SOUNDER nearby him as JOSIE MAE and EARL look 
on -- when he is done, he closes the bag [and hands it] on to EARL --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		All right, get a move on you, bag boy!
 
EARL drops the bag on the floor --
 
				EARL
		You carry your own bag! 

				JOSIE MAE
		I'll carry it, David...
 
EARL quickly picks the bag back up --
 
				EARL
		Naw, I'm carryin' it! 

				DAVID LEE 
		Thank you, Josie Mae. 

				JOSIE MAE
		For what?

				DAVID LEE 
		For Earl helpin' me out with my bag!
 
He laughs as they all move out of the room --
 
EXT. FRONT OF THE HOUSE - DAY 

As the children exit from the house, REBECCA is at the wagon, looking on 
NATHAN as he loads a box of DAVID'S things on the wagon -- they approach him, 
and he takes the bag from EARL and loads it up on the wagon. NATHAN climbs up 
to the reins, SOUNDER hops up on the wagon, and then REBECCA takes DAVID into 
her arms --

				REBECCA 
		Be good and be smart, little boy.

				DAVID LEE 
		Yes, ma'm...

She releases him. He embraces JOSIE and EARL -- Climbs on the wagon behind 
his father.
 
				NATHAN LEE 
		I oughta be gettin' back here by tomorrow night 
		some time... Gitttt!

The wagon rolls away -- DAVID turns back to wave --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		BYE...! 

				ALL
		BYE...!
 
REBECCA keeps her eyes on the wagon for awhile, and then, she and the 
children turn and slowly move into the house --
 
EXT. THE WAGON - DAY 

As the wagon rolls up the road, DAVID LEE reaches back and ruffles SOUNDER 
about the neck -- looks out over the field, and all the places he is familiar 
with -- turns to his father --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		You know somethin', Daddy? 

				NATHAN LEE 
		What's that, son?

				DAVID LEE 
		I'm gon' miss this ol' raggedy place.
 
NATHAN is worried for a moment -- but DAVID breaks out in a big grin as if 
he's about to get to the punchline of a joke --
 
				DAVID LEE 
		But I ain't gon' worry 'bout it! 

The father and son break out in a gusto of laughter as the wagon rolls along 
up the road...
 
								FADE OUT 
 



	


				Finis.  
 








Screenplay by Lonne Elder III
From the novel by William H. Armstrong

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