Out of Yellowstone, a screenplay, continued
EXT. NORRIS TO CANYON ROAD - DAY Rex brings the bag over to Robin who is standing by she smashed window. She pulls out the bag's only contents, a big bag of potato chips and another of puffed cheese balls. ROBIN Doesn't anyone believe in nutrition? REX I could put it back. Robin hurriedly pops open the chips. ROBIN No you don't. Stuffing their faces, they approach a 12 foot travel trailer that is hooked behind an SUV. Rex turns the handle. To their relief and delight, it opens. INT. TRAVEL TRAILER - DAY Rex is in the trailer farther than Robin. His eyes quickly peruse the thick comforter and rolled up sleeping bag on the bed. Robin greedily opens the small refrigerator. Grabbing a half gallon jar of orange juice, she thrusts it onto the table and reaches in for more. ROBIN Jackpot! Yes! The refrigerator is well stocked. As Robin thumps sandwich meat, pickles and mustard on the table, Rex opens cupboards and gets down plates and glasses. A LITTLE LATER The pair munch contentedly on thick sandwiches that have yet only a couple bites eaten out of them. On the table are Tupperwear bowls of several kinds of salads, pickles, sliced cheese and deli meats, etc. REX Oh my God. I'll never take food for granted again... If we do have to spend the night, we are well set. I like camping, but if you don't have equipment it's just plain miserable... ROBIN Shut up. REX What's with you? All I was saying was... ROBIN Quiet! Choppers! She bolts for the door. EXT. THE NORRIS TO CANYON ROAD - DAY Looking straight up, Robin desperately waves her arms. Three military helicopters fly overhead. Robin frantically tries to remove the passenger side mirror from the SUV. The helicopters fly farther away. Robin still tugs at the mirror. Rex, standing close to her, gently places a hand on her shoulder. He sticks his signal mirror in front of her face. REX Here, try this. Grabbing his mirror, she frantically signals. REX Becoming quite a vandal, aren't you? The helicopters fade off into the distance. Robin slumps her shoulders and trudges back to the travel trailer. INT. TRAVEL TRAILER - DAY Back at the table, they eat where they left off. Robin calms down. ROBIN At least we won't starve to death. Rex tries to look cheerful. REX We've even got birthday cake for desert. Grabbing a bite from his sandwich, he gets up and pulls a store-bought cake in a box from a cupboard. Part of the lid is see-through cellophane. He opens the lid to show her the well decorated, double layer chocolate cake with white frosting. More than half of it remains. Rex places the cake box in the empty sink well. Returning to his place at the table, he dishes salad onto his plate. The trailer rocks violently. Everything on the table either tips over or slides. From the opened cupboards canned goods, breakfast cereal, doughnuts, open boxes of pancake mix, dishes, etcetera, hurl about. Robin and Rex, also tousled, try to protect their heads from flying objects. The walls behind the stove and above the heater WHOOSH into flames. The fire spreads rapidly throughout the shaking trailer as the two struggle toward the door. EXT. NORRIS TO CANYON ROAD - DAY A little farther down the road Robin sits dejectedly on the edge of the pavement. Her elbows rest on her bent knees, fists against her face. She stares blankly at the ground. Rex sits down beside her and smiles compassionately. REX I saved the birthday cake. He holds the box between them and opens the lid. Robin looks at him with a weak smile. His smile broadens. Her hand dives in to break off a piece of cake. Suddenly her eyes pop wide and she holds her breath in suspense. Rex takes the cue from her expression. They slowly look behind them. A large BLACK BEAR looms only a few feet away. With wide-eyed fear, Rex maneuvers the cake box to the ground behind them. As the bear wolfs into the cake, Robin and Rex ease themselves to their feet and slowly back away. The bear remains engrossed with the box. Keeping an eye on the bear, the two cautiously walk forward down the road. They grab the door handles of the next car. Locked. They move on to the last vehicle, a low-to-the-ground red sports car. They open the doors and pile in, Robin on the driver's side. A deep, twenty foot wide crevice blocks the way in front of the red car. The crevice is wider southward and tapers to the north. I/E. RED SPORTS CAR - DAY Robin sobs but tries not to. Rex gently puts his arm around her as best as he can in the sports car. REX It's Okay. ROBIN No, it's not Okay...I'm not supposed to cry. REX Whoever told you that? ROBIN It's weak. REX It's human. You don't always have to be that tougher than nails superwoman ranger. Let yourself go. ROBIN You don't cry in front of your boss. REX Your boss? Of what, a park that's trying to destroy itself. I'm not your boss. We're two people fighting for our lives. (trying for humor) Besides, you've been bossing me around ever since we left Jackson. (beat) Almost made me feel like I was married again. Not exactly consoled, at least she quits sobbing. He studies her face, wanting to kiss her. As he bends toward her, she suddenly she sits bolt upright with a fierce expression, eyes riveted out the windshield. ROBIN Shit! Taken aback, Rex follows her gaze through the windshield. His mouth drops open as he stares. Seen through the windshield, in the distance plumes of ash and steam billow. Sparks fountain up. REX Is that lava or fire? Robin is back in ranger mode. ROBIN That's lava. It's a good bet there's fire too. REX This car has keys. Maybe we could get out through Tower Junction. Robin shakes her head. ROBIN If that was open they'd have sent the cars that way. Besides, that road always seems ready to slide in the best of times. I doubt if it would have stood these quakes. She opens the door. EXT. THE CREVICE, NORRIS TO CANYON ROAD - DAY Robin contemplates the crevice. She strides to the right, along it's edge. Rex follows curiously. He wryly tries to dissuade her from whatever it is she has in mind. REX You know this is actually a very good place to be. We'd be safe from bears in the car. We're on the road where we'd be visible. There's horns and lights for signaling. All the mirrors you'd ever want. Probably some of those cars have food. Maybe jackets and sleeping bags. Why you could smash windows and rip open trunks to your heart's content. There's even a burning trailer to keep us warm. Robin ignores him. She reaches a spot where the pit is about three feet across and about four feet deep. Beyond that, the forest is thick. Between the forest and road is rough clearing. ROBIN We might be able to fill that in enough to drive across. Rex stares at her in disbelief. REX In that thing? It would bottom out before it even got here. ROBIN There were some nice four by fours back there. REX Yeah, all locked. Robin throws a chunky rock into the pit. ROBIN One of them has to have a hidden key. REX What's the point? If we do get through here, there's that spittin' barbecue ahead of us. ROBIN Well maybe, just maybe, we can drive around it. One of those two roads up there just might be open enough to get out of here. Rex looks at her incredulously. REX You really think there haven't been slides in the Madison Canyon or on the way to Mammoth? ROBIN No, but all I know is I just can't sit here and do nothing. I've got to try something, even if it doesn't work... Help me with this log, will ya. He helps her heave the log in. REX You are out of your mind. He chucks in another stone. REX This could take hours. ROBIN Geez, you got a board meeting or somethin'? Rex shrugs with resignation. REX Go rob some cars. I'll do this for awhile. (with second thoughts) Oh, that bear might still be around. Robin lashes out with undue grizzle. ROBIN There's not a damn bear in this damn park that would dare tangle with me right now. Rex is taken aback but amused. REX I know I wouldn't. (fatherly) Take the car. Robin gives him a dirty look. REX If you find food, you'll have a safe place to put it. She goes off. He shakes his head and stoops down for another rock. The car ENGINE starts. EXT. NORRIS TO CANYON ROAD - DAY The red sports car zooms along the line of vehicles and keeps on going. FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD An empty stretch of road leads into a hot water lake. The red sports car stops near the water's edge. I/E. SPORTS CAR - DAY Robin blankly studies the boiling water. Through the windshield, she watches the water bubble and steam. The car jerks and sinks a little. Robin slams into reverse. The tires WHINE. The car sinks lower. ROBIN Oh Lord! The car sinks some more. Steaming water laps around the car. She climbs out the window and sprawls over the roof. The car drops more. Scrambling up she leaps off the trunk almost clearing the water. Her feet splash briefly. A crumpled Robin staggers down the lonely road. Water covers the hood and trunk of the red sorts car. EXT. THE CREVICE, NORRIS TO CANYON ROAD - DAY Rex's portion of the pit is now about two feet deep. He throws in another stone and wipes his brow. LATER The pit is fuller. Another rock tumbles into it. Rex looks off at the distant lava fountain. Even from this distance, the lava fountains impressively, bigger than before. He shakes his head wearily. REX It's a hell of an ending. He discouragingly scans the view to the south. Smoke billows from numerous distant fires. Clouds of ashy steam billow far away. LATER The pit is now almost full. Rex quite wearily drops in another stone. Hearing an ENGINE he turns to watch Robin's approach. REX Where on earth has she been? She pulls up in the extended cab pickup with oversize tires. Tired and annoyed, he approaches the driver's side window. Before he can say anything, she thrusts out her hand with a beer. She is overly cheerful. ROBIN Miller time, Rex. Go for the gusto. You only go around once. He takes the beer, shakes his head and gives her a weary grin. REX I see you've already hit the beer. Robin innocently holds up an index finger. ROBIN Just one. REX Not much more to go here. ROBIN Stand back. Rex gives her a puzzled look. ROBIN I said stand back. She guns the machine into reverse. Maneuvering forward, it bounces in and out of the hole. Rex gets in and they bump along on the short distance to the road. The truck roars down the pavement. ROBIN (O.S.) Yee haw! FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD the pickup travels toward the distant red of the lava fountain. I/E. PICKUP - DAY Robin opens another beer. She nods toward the grocery bag between them. ROBIN I got all kinds of stuff. Hand me some cookies, would you. Ooh, cheese! That's what I want, Swiss cheese... She downs a long, long guzzle of beer. Rex watches with stunned amazement. With just the tiniest hint of a slur in her voice, Robin philosophizes. ROBIN This park is going to blow, destroying everything around it. An explosive inferno like mankind has never seen. Those cars back there will be molten blobs, blending in with molten rhyolite... Rex checks out the back seat. There are two coolers, a box full of food, sleeping bags, a camp stove, etc. ROBIN (CONTINUING) They'll become quirks in the rocks to baffle some geologist some six hundred thousand years from now, when she examines some eroded canyon wall. She downs the rest of the can of beer. ROBIN One big volcanic burst and this will all be gone. Hot ash being launched to Billings. One gigantic inferno. And you know what? I still can't bring myself to throw a beer can out the window. EXT. FARTHER DOWN THE ROAD THE NORRIS TO CANYON ROAD - DAY The pickup continues down the road. ROBIN What the hell. She flips the beer can out. The can rattles down the pavement. REX You'd make a mean drunk. LATER The road ahead is strewn with ash and volcanic rocks, up to softball size. The pickup slowly rumbles over them for a couple hundred feet, then stops. I/E. PICKUP - SAME Seen through the windshield, the lava activity is about a quarter mile away. The main portion is left of center. The red flare-ups can be seen above the trees. Robin clutches the steering wheel squeezing her eyes and all her muscles tight. She opens her eyes. Her face and body droop. ROBIN I don't think I want to be here. Sitting there wilted, another idea strikes, and she brightens. ROBIN Bicycles! Some of those cars had mountain bikes. Rex glares at her in disbelief. Then he looks up as if imploring heaven for help. REX Oh boy! ROBIN I'm serious. The road's submerged behind us, but we could ride around that. I'm sure there's other obstacles, but... Seeing something outside the windshield, he excitedly points. REX Look! Puzzled, Robin tries to figure out what he sees. Before she can ask, he's out of the pickup. EXT. ROCK STREWN ROAD, NORRIS TO CANYON ROAD - DAY Rex signals with his mirror. In the distance, to the right of the hot area but beyond it, fly two non-military helicopters. They are angled away, heading from left to right. One helicopter flares off and heads toward them. In the direction of the helicopter, there's about 50 yards of meadow between the road and the forest beyond. Robin leaps for joy ROBIN They see us. The one helicopter heads for them, remaining just visible above the trees. Flares of lava gush to triple their previous heights. In a shower of hot, fiery rocks, Rex and Robin seek refuge behind the pickup. REX Chicken Little was right. Their heads peer out to the side in order to keep track of the helicopter. The helicopter, though much closer, is still above the trees. In the shower of red glowing rocks, a larger volcanic bomb smashes into the helicopter's side, knocking it down through the trees. Horror strikes Rex and Robin. ROBIN (screaming) No! They look at each other. Hoping to be of help, they race towards where the machine went down. Fiery missiles WHISTLE around them. Some start the grass and brush on fire. Fortunately, things are either pretty green or cinder covered and don't burn well. Frightened ELK flee through the woods. Rex and Robin continue on toward the woods. Hot rocks pound around them. EXT. CHARRED WOODS - LATE DAY They are perhaps a hundred yards into woods that were charred by the 1988 fire. Somewhere through the trees ahead of them, the downed helicopter EXPLODES. The fiery blast ignites numbers of small fires. Rex and Robin run back toward the pickup. The rocks have quit flying. Ash descends like heavy snow. Robin is well behind Rex. Another major earthquake strikes. Rex staggers but keeps going on. Robin falls to the ground. SLOW MOTION, as the earth rumbles, a tall dead pine begins to topple. Lying on the shaking ground, Robin looks up to see the falling tree headed for her. She scrambles on all fours but the jostling impedes her. SLOW MOTION the tree falls. Robin winces and covers her head with her arms as the tree crashes across her calves. She grimaces in considerable pain. The quaking subsides. ROBIN Rex! Help! Rex recovers his stride. ROBIN (O.S.) Help! SLIGHTLY LATER. Rex kneels beside Robin. She looks up at him in a mixture of fear, pain, and relief to see him. ROBIN Ahhh. I could feel my leg break. A wall of smoldering lava oozes toward them. Near Robin ignited brush touches off a pile of deadfall. Rex strains to lift the tree, but can't budge it. The lava churns closer. The fire grows. Rex makes a lever using a rock as a fulcrum and a stick about two inches in diameter. He pulls, the stick breaks and he falls backwards. Robin watches with helpless anxiety. The flames intensify. Desperately he searches for something sturdier. The ominous red wall crawls forward, knocking down and consuming trees that burst into flame before its path. Rex has a much stouter branch. He strains. The tree lifts an inch or two. REX Pull yourself out. Robin shinnies out. The tree thumps back down. Rex rushes to her and lifts her into his arms. Carrying her, he hurries as fast as he can. Lava engulfs the downed tree that pinned Robin. EXT. THE ROCK STREWN ROAD - LATE DAY The ash fall has essentially stopped. Rex carries Robin through the open meadow, toward the road. They look up and wave arms at a helicopter. A Jet Ranger civilian helicopter approaches. The PILOT looks down at Rex and Robin. The lava flow approaches the pickup. The helicopter lands on the road. The COPILOT gets out to meet them. He shouts loudly over the noise. COPILOT Put her down. Give us a hand. Rex looks confused. The copilot impatiently lifts Robin out of Rex's arms and places her on the ground. He signals for Rex to follow him. The pilot heaves a large tom-tom out of the back of the helicopter. The tom-tom joins a mounted owl and a chief's headdress on the ground. COPILOT (loudly to Rex) Got to make room. The Pilot passes a buffalo head to Rex and the copilot. The lava reaches the front of the pickup. The front tires blow. At the helicopter, the pilot and copilot furiously struggle to remove a mounted small black bear. Its shape and size make it awkward. The three manage to expel it. Lava laps onto the pickup. It explodes. The pilot nods to Rex. Rex rushes to Robin and picks her up. The collection of removed items on the ground now also includes a carved eagle, a mounted cougar, and three very nice pieces of bronze wildlife art. The lava engulfs the pickup's remains and continues toward the helicopter. The chopper takes off. INT. PRIVATE HELICOPTER - LATE DAY Robin sits behind the pilot. A few art objects, Indian artifacts, and small taxidermic animals remain. Rex and Robin scan their surroundings. Rex reassuringly squeezes her hand. The two hold hands. The copilot rummages through the First Aid box and hands a package back to Rex. The package reads, "Inflatable Splint - Full Leg". Robin looks out the window. EXT. MODIFIED LANDSCAPE, HELICOPTER VIEW - LATE DAY The land is viewed from above, as from the helicopter circling clockwise then heading south-southwest: A small cinder cone volcano covers the Norris area. It sparks and fumes. Fire rages to the north and east of Norris. There are scattered fires and the land is full of cracks and crevices, some spewing ash and steam. One fissure instantly turns red. Smoke and ash haze obscure everything in the distance to the east and southeast. INT. PRIVATE HELICOPTER - LATE DAY Rex and Robin each have a can of Coke. The copilot hands back two apples and a candy bar. The conversation is spoken loudly over the engine noise. COPILOT Afraid we ate everything else. Rex leans forward to introduce himself. REX Rex Montgomery. This is Robin Taylor. PILOT Rex Montgomery? They thought you were dead. REX We were starting to think the same thing. EXT. MORE MODIFIED LANDSCAPE, HELICOPTER VIEW - LATE DAY A steam blast erupts from the Old Faithful area straight ahead. The Helicopter changes course. PILOT (O.C.) If we can't outrun the ash it will choke the engine. The flight path leaves the active area, traveling over forest. INT. PRIVATE HELICOPTER - LATE DAY Robin turns her attention to inside the craft and the remaining artifacts. The inflatable splint is on her leg. ROBIN What's all this stuff. PILOT Salvaged. Last run. Earthquakes breaking everything apart. CO-PILOT We flew over to see the fireworks. That's when Owen and Craig got it. When we first saw you, we thought you were them. Robin pets one of the mounted animals and resumes looking out the window. Rex fixes his eyes on Robin, studying her. Holding hands again, he gives hers another squeeze. She squeezes back. EXT. SOUTHWEST OF YELLOWSTONE - ALMOST SUNSET The helicopter flies over forest toward farmland in an area near Ashton, Idaho. PILOT How you holding up? We'll get you to the hospital in Idaho Falls. But we have to get fuel first.