by Hilma L. Volk
Screenplay Registered WGAw No. 987160
Copyright 2004 All Rights Reserved
Out of Yellowstone by Hilma Volk FADE IN: EXT. OLD FAITHFUL GEYSER - DAY The famous geyser spouts. MONTAGE BEGIN MONTAGE showing Yellowstone National Park as beautiful, wild and vast, full of wildlife and unique features, as well as having crowds of people. END MONTAGE EXT. ARTIST POINT - DAY Lower Yellowstone Falls jewels the magnificent Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. ASSORTED VISITORS at the overlook take in the grandeur. EXT. RIM NEAR ARTIST POINT - SAME TWO YOUNG MEN (19) walk along the wide trail along the rim. The first young man ignores the warning signs (international symbol for a person falling off a cliff) and leaves the trail to stand on the edge. The second young man joins him. They're not the first, it is well worn. EXT. ARTIST POINT OVERLOOK - DAY The earth shakes, only for a couple seconds. The assorted visitors react in combinations of wonder and fear. Loose rocks chatter down the canyon walls. The visitors scurry toward the parking lot. EXT. RIM NEAR ARTIST POINT - DAY The earth shakes. The first young man slips and grabs the second one for balance. They both fall, vainly grabbing for handholds on the jagged slide down. They land crumpled 30 feet below on a narrow precarious ledge. One slip and it's a 1000 foot deadly decent to the churning Yellowstone River below. Both are scraped up and in pain. They strain to maintain a grip. A LITTLE LATER A CROWD has gathered where the young men fell and where Ranger ROBIN TAYLOR (43) expertly sets up climbing ropes, using trees that are about five feet from the edge as anchors. She's tall, athletic, naturally pretty without makeup, which she never wears anyway. SIRENS wail. THREE more RANGERS (males, 20's) join in. Quickly Robin double checks the climbing setup, clips herself in, and grabs the coiled free part of a rope. Webbing, cramming devices and other climbing gear dangle from her harness. On her back, her pack sports first aid crosses. Intrepidly standing at the very edge, she yells down. ROBIN Watch your heads, I'm throwing a rope. (beat) Rope! The rope sails out. Robin dons a climbing helmet, nimbly rappels down, and softly lands on the ledge. The first young man looks up at her in a mixture of relief and fear. FIRST YOUNG MAN I, I can't move my legs. The very pale second young man, clings to the rock wall with his one good arm. The other is painfully tucked close with his thumb hooked around his T-shirt collar. A tiny headset allows her to talk into her two-way radio. ROBIN (into radio) Probable back injury. Send down down the backboard with the Stokes. A LITTLE LATER Above them, two male rangers rappel slowly down with the Stokes stretcher. One of their boots kicks loose a rock. MALE RANGER #1 (V.O.) Rock! Coolly, Robin hunches to protect the first young man and simultaneously pulls up the pack to cover her neck. The angular rock hits the wall right above her and bounces off, just missing her head. The rock sails off into the magnificent abyss. A LITTLE LATER The first young man lies on the backboard, immobilized by the cravats. A cervical collar circles his neck. Robin and the two rangers lift the backboard to put the first young man in the Stokes, but the narrowness of the ledge makes this very awkward. Ranger #1's boot slips. The board tilts steeply. Terrified, the young man in the stretcher screams. FIRST YOUNG MAN Nooo! ROBIN You're fine. Recovered, Ranger #1 and Robin exchange "that was a close one" glances. Bits of the rim above break loose. Dirt and rock cascade down on top of them. The group on the ropes hang motionless, then gradually begin to stir. MALE RANGER #1 (shakily) Are you okay? EXT. PARKING LOT NEAR ARTIST POINT - DAY Up on the rim, a PARAMEDIC closes the ambulance door. Robin, no longer in climbing harness or other gear, carries a coiled rope toward the cars. TIM, 45, a stocky, still boyish faced Park Policeman, struts up and offers a high-five. TIM Alright, Robin. Way to go, kid. With a hint of disdain, Robin matter-of-factly returns the high-five. EXT. HEADQUARTERS BUILDING - DAY The Park Headquarters sign identifies the building. INT. HEADQUARTERS - DAY Park Superintendent REX MONTGOMERY stands leaning wearily over the pages of a thick report that's on a file cabinet. Rex, 50, handsome, with his tan and trimmed mustache has the look of a distinguished outdoorsman. MIKE, late 40's, Assistant Park Superintendent, travels from his office to the door. MIKE Good night, Rex. See you in the morning. Oh, that's right, I guess I won't. REX No, you've got the helm for the next two days. Mike is almost out the door. REX Say Mike, I'm going fishing. Care to join me? MIKE Aah, can't. The kids have softball, first game of the season. Another time, hey? REX Sure. Mike leaves. Rex dejectedly closes the report. EXT. A FISHING RIVER - LATE DAY The river runs pristine and pure. Upstream, dressed in waders and other typical garb, Rex fly fishes. He has the stream all to himself. The casts are perfect, and A SERIES OF SHOTS show what fly fishing dreams are made of. Rex brings in another trout and maneuvers it into the landing net. This is a really nice fish. Any fisherman would be exhilarated, but Rex is not. With a deep sad sigh he carefully releases it and watches it swim off. He forlornly puts up his fly. Reeling in, he heads for shore. INT. REX'S HOUSE - DUSK In the front entry way, Rex finishes putting away his fishing gear. Walking in, he glances at the pieces of junk mail in his hands and tosses them into a waste basket. Followed by his ENGLISH SETTER, he moves to the small entertainment center in the living room, scratches the dog's ears a couple times, then turns on the CD player. The MUSIC is soft. The government house is neat and nicely furnished, nothing extravagant. The few pictures that we see on the walls are either wildlife or mountain scenery. There are a couple outdoor pieces around, like a carved trout on an end table. As Rex walks on, his eyes lock longingly on the two 5x7 framed pictures on his desk. They are of two boys, about 13 and 16. He reaches for the telephone and begins to dial. Then he thinks better of it and hangs up. His finger flicks one picture face down, then the other. They join an 8x10 already face down. EXT. ENTRANCE TO GARDINER, MONTANA - DAY Robin's Jeep Wrangler cruises out of the park toward the village. A golden retriever, BEAU, hangs his head out the passenger side window. EXT. STREET IN GARDINER, MONTANA - DAY Outside a cafe in Gardiner, Beau sits on the driver's side of the parked Jeep. The back windows are plastered with decals of an assortment of environmental groups plus those of mountaineering, rock climbing, kayaking clubs, etc. INT. A CAFE IN GARDINER - DAY In a booth, Robin, now dressed in jeans and a Polar Fleece sweater, drinks a glass of milk with her dinner as she reads the small local paper. Tim, the Park Policeman, (still in uniform) slides in. TIM May I join you? Robin indifferently gestures that it's okay. SAL, the waitress, flirtatiously comes over with a glass of water and an order pad. She chews gum and wears a little red and white checkered apron over her blouse and blue jeans. She's in her mid-20's. SAL Oooh. It's Terrible Tim with a capital T. Tim is unimpressed. TIM Hey, Sal. Um, I'll have... TIM AND SAL (in unison) A cheeseburger, fries, and a large coke. ROBIN Ah, adventures in cuisine. Sal goes away, hips swaying. TIM How did you get involved today? ROBIN I happened to be there. I just finished playing tour guide to a geology class from Michigan State. You know, one of those vacations for college credit. She leans back with a faint self-satisfied smile. ROBIN It's nice to play rescue. I don't get to do much of that anymore. As if I ever did. TIM I had a good one the other day. The guy had scalding burns on 40 percent of his body. ROBIN Fell through the crust in a thermal area? TIM No, he was an inept chef at the Old Faithful Inn. Robin snickers, resumes her straight face, then snickers again. They both laugh. TIM Would you like to go to the play tonight? ROBIN I saw it last week. Cute. That Summer Stock puts on a good performance. TIM Who'd you go with? ROBIN (Southern Belle accent) Why just little ol' me. Tim shakes his head and eyes her in exasperation. TIM How can you do that, Robin, just go alone everywhere? ROBIN Well I would have taken Beau, but they kind of discriminate against dogs. A sudden jolt RATTLES plates. MURMURING and EXCLAMATIONS exude from other restaurant PATRONS. Robin calmly eyes the swaying hanging plant. TIM Humm. Been a lot of those lately. (pause) You wanna do something else? ROBIN Nawh. I'm gonna take Beau for a run in the National Forest. Then I've gotta pack for a two day meeting in the Tetons. TIM What kind of meeting? ROBIN Oh, a bunch of big wigs from Washington are coming to Jackson Hole, Secretary of the Interior and all that. They're getting briefed by us and the Grand Teton folks on priority National Park issues. It's really just an excuse to get out of Washington. Robin finishes the last of her dinner. TIM Why are you involved in that? ROBIN I'm basically the Park's PR person. Rex has only been here a few months, and you know how wishy washy Mike is. I may not be good at one-on-one conversation, but give me an audience and, hey, I'm golden. I'll baffle 'em with my brilliant bullshit, as usual. Tim contemplates that last sentence. Sal returns with his order and runs her fingers up his arm. SAL Did you feel me shake the earth for you? TIM You sure didn't shake your tail for me. SAL (naughtily) I can do that. ROBIN Be seeing you. Leaving a tip, Robin gets up and walks away. TIM Say "Hi" to Rover for me. Robin ignores the remark. She doesn't look back. Tim's gaze wistfully follows her. INT. ROBIN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT It's dark except the glow of the alarm clock which reads 3:12. Beau BARKS AND HOWLS. Robin switches on the lamp on the night stand. Robin gets up trying to figure out why Beau is frantic. ROBIN What is it Beau? The house shakes. Pictures fall from the wall. One crashes to the headboard and thuds on her pillow. A glass of water from the night stand shatters on the floor. EXT. MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS - EARLY MORNING The Mammoth Hot Spring terraces steam in the crisp morning air. On the road below a Parks Service Sedan leaves the village. Though it's difficult to tell, Rex and Robin are inside. INT. SEDAN - SAME Rex is driving. Scenery moves by. ROBIN I thought and George was coming. REX He is. He spent the night in Jackson. ROBIN Ah yes. Sylvia. REX Did you feel that earthquake last night? ROBIN Yeah. REX It reminded me of my x-wife. ROBIN Excuse me? REX She's back in San Francisco. Robin doesn't get the connection, nor cares to. REX I mean they have earthquakes there. EXT. OLD FAITHFUL EXIT - DAY Their car motors on. INT. SEDAN - DAY REX Do you fish? ROBIN Nawh. Maybe once or twice a year. I can't get excited about torturing an animal by hooking its mouth. Rex tries not to show his disappointment. ROBIN (continuing) Besides, I already know I'm smarter than a fish. I don't need some trout to prove otherwise. EXT. JACKSON LAKE - DAY The spectacular Grand Teton mountains grace the background as sedan goes by. ROBIN (O.S.) You know this meeting is ridiculous. Any info they want they can get electronically, or if nothing else a conference call. But no, the Washington types like to play in Jackson Hole. We're already into the busy season. The latest they should have had this is April. INT. SEDAN - SAME ROBIN (continuing) But the weather's too lousy for 'em then. REX You'd do the same thing if you were in Washington. ROBIN I couldn't live there, I'd smother. EXT. SIGNAL MOUNTAIN LODGE - DAY The sedan parks. INT. LODGE HALLWAY BY CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY Casual introductions take place in the hallway outside the open doorway to the conference room. Robin and Rex are the only ones in uniform. SEVEN WASHINGTON MEN are dressed in sport jackets and ties. One of them, THOMAS CORTWRIGHT, has a southern accent, is a little older than Rex, but of similar stature. REX Robin, this is Thomas Cortwright, Director of The National Park Service. This is Robin Taylor, my Head Naturalist. ROBIN Yes, we've met before. In a sudden jolt, things rattle a bit, then everything is back to normal. The Washington men look around and at each other with some amazement. Robin indifferently watches their reactions. THOMAS Do they get earthquakes often? ROBIN There's tremors all the time. Usually they're too small to feel. But these are major fault lines here. That's what created these mountains. Jackson Hole is overdue for a mighty big one. INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY Thomas Cortwright speaks from a tabletop podium on the end of a large table that the group, which now includes SIX other UNIFORMED PARK PERSONNEL, are seated around. There are also a flip chart and a VCR with a large TV screen. THOMAS ...and it gives me great pleasure to introduce Henry Rasmussen, Secretary of the Interior, who will enlighten us on the sentiment on Capital Hill as regards to the National Park Service, particularly any special appropriations... EXT. SIGN FOR NORRIS GEYSER BASIN - DAY The sign at Norris Geyser Basin is easily readable as cars enter the parking lot. EXT. PARKING LOT, NORRIS GEYSER BASIN - DAY A nice Winnebago with a Chicago Bears spare tire cover is parked next to a shiny tour bus in the crowded parking lot. INT. GUS'S MOTOR HOME - DAY Inside the spotless Winnebago, GUS and STELLA sit at the table eating lunch. They drink Coke, her from a glass, him from the can. Gus, upper 60's, is brawny and rough-hewed from years of hard physical employment. He wears a handlebar T-shirt. Vintage tattoos cover his biceps. He speaks with a Chicago accent. Stella, 65, is a diminutive woman wearing a house dress. She's a bit slumped over from years of cowering. She studies the visitor map as she eats. Gus picks up his can. Noting that it's empty, he taps it. GUS Stella. She dutifully gets him another one from the refrigerator. STELLA Aren't we at least going to look around a little bit? This is Norris Geyser Basin. It's supposed to be the hottest one in the park. GUS Oh, you heard that couple. A lot of walking to see a bunch of geysers that aren't doing anything. You can go. I'll take a nap. I've spent the whole morning looking at geysers that weren't geysing. STELLA We did see Old Faithful. GUS Whoopee. The motor home jerks and rocks. GUS Damn. Gus grabs a remote control from the wall mounted magazine rack. He aims and clicks it. The stereo speakers BARK and GROWL like ferocious dogs. Gus storms to the door, yelling through it. GUS Hey, punks! Get outta here. Amscray. I'll sic the dogs on ya. The rocking and jolting end. Calmer now, but still ready for bear, Gus admonishes the imaginary dogs. GUS Killer, hush. Thor, enough. Take it easy. Good boys. He clicks the remote control. The dog sounds switch to LOW GROWLING and WHINING. Gus clicks off the sound effects and cautiously peeks out the door. EXT. PARKING LOT, NORRIS GEYSER BASIN - DAY LITTLE OLD LADIES are hurrying toward the tour bus. Some look frightened. Others, like the two nearest Gus, are excited about the adventure. OLD LADY #1 I've never felt an earthquake before. OLD LADY #2 We had them all the time in L.A. Why I remember when I was a little girl, one time we were all in church... Gus returns his head inside and closes the door. INT. GUS'S MOTOR HOME - DAY Stella still sits politely at the table. Gus walks back a little shaken. GUS Earthquake? This ain't no California. This is Montana for Chris' sake. STELLA I think this is Wyoming, Dear. GUS Same difference. A LOUD ROAR, like a jet engine, frightens Stella. The sound intensifies. STELLA What's that noise? Red anger runs up Gus's neck. GUS They must of built this place next to an Air Force Base. He determinedly plunks himself in the driver's seat, starts the engine and shifts into gear. GUS We're going where I can eat my lunch in peace. Stella rolls her eyes and bites down on her lower lip to keep herself from saying anything. With unexpected agility she grabs the lunch stuff to keep it from sliding onto the floor as he turns the vehicle. Simultaneously she strains to look out the window to find out what is really happening. She also manages to quickly check the Visitor Map. INT. HALLWAY IN SIGNAL MOUNTAIN LODGE - DAY The doors to the conference room open. The pack begins to file out and head down the hall. Rex and Thomas are the first out, engaged in a fishing conversation. THOMAS ...So I would have pretty good luck on midges? REX Oh yeah. They're peaking right now. The trout are hammerin'. You know, if you want,... Their voices trail off as they go down the hall. Three others follow, LAUGHING at a joke one of them told. A WASHINGTON MAN Oh, that's a good one. Robin exits into the hall just as GEORGE shows up. George, late 20's, is very good looking and knows it. His mustache and thick hair are neatly trimmed. His clothes are casual Western, from hat to boots. ROBIN Geez George, nice of you to show up for lunch. GEORGE Aw, I had wait for my pickup to get out of the shop. I hit an elk last night. ROBIN Good God! GEORGE Aw, I just clipped her hind leg. But I didn't want to drive around with that headlight whacked out. (excitedly) Guess what? Heard it there on the radio. Steamboat erupted. Robin is visibly upset that she is missing the event. ROBIN No. No. Geez. Steamboat. I've been waiting seven years for that geyser to go off. And here I am stuck down here. GEORGE It's a bitch alright. Where were you the last time? ROBIN At a training session in Harpers Ferry. EXT. STEAMBOAT GEYSER - DAY An enormous geyser in full eruption ROARS like a jet. A packed crowd of delighted and awe-struck SPECTATORS watch the spectacular Steamboat Geyser. Some of the children hold their hands over their ears. Tons of water fountain skyward. Misty spray falls over the crowd. ONE MAN Unbelievable! In another portion of the spectators, A BALD MAN talks excitedly to the family next to him. He almost has to yell over the noise. BALD MAN I was down there. And this earthquake hit. Then five minutes later I heard this roar. And I knew. I just knew Steamboat had done it. It's been going like this for 45 minutes. Farther back, a SOPHISTICATED LOOKING WOMAN talks with a FEMALE RANGER. SOPHISTICATED WOMAN That looks so much bigger than Old Faithful. FEMALE RANGER Way bigger! Way more volume. Three times the height. It's the largest and most powerful geyser in the world. SOPHISTICATED WOMAN But I've never heard about it. FEMALE RANGER Steamboat's unpredictable. It's been almost four years since the last eruption. This could go on for two hours. Old Faithful only lasts a puny five minutes. SOPHISTICATED WOMAN So this is something. FEMALE RANGER This is something. Steamboat continues its show.
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