THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
EXT BULL PEN NIGHT
Parker, Davey, Rusty, Natty and the Wolf move to the other side of the Bull’s corral.
They stand outside, staring in at the Bull, awed by his incredible size and obvious power.
Parker tries to mask his apprehension. He shrugs and manages a crooked smile as the Bull spins in a circle, paws the ground and SNORTS menacingly.
We get him in the trailer and
we’re off. It’s easy.
Davey and Rusty try to match his bravado.
But they sneak anxious, sideways glances at one another.
Parker turns first to Natty then to the boys.
Okay. You and the bulldog push
him from behind. You guys get
Where are you going to be?
I’m the driver. Okay? I mean
you don’t mind, do you?
Natty shrugs. Parker turns to Davey and Rusty and nods.
They move to the gate which leads into the narrow chute with the waiting stock trailer at its end. They slide back the heavy metal bolt and swing it open. Natty and The Wolf cautiously enter the Bull’s corral.
Natty stares at the Bull and swallows hard.
Okay Bull. Go on. Shoo.
Pssst. Go on.
The Bull stares back at her. He lowers his head and paws the ground.
Parker calls encouragement from the fence.
Remember, he’s more scared of
you than you are of him.
Want to bet?
The sweat beads on Natty’s face as the Bull paws the ground and SNORTS.
She takes a step forward and waves her arms to turn him toward the open gate, but he paws with the other leg and tenses, as if ready to charge.
The Wolf GROWLS menacingly and steps in front of Natty. His body hunkers low to the ground, coiled, ready to spring. He inches forward, almost in slow motion and gains ground on the Bull.
The Bull SNORTS at The Wolf. The Wolf SNARLS back at the Bull Their eyes lock. A conversation passes between them, through their eyes.
Then, as if he never had another thought, the Bull turns like a well mannered milk cow, and trots calmly through the open gate and into the narrow chute.
Natty breathes a sigh of relief.
Rusty and Davey close the gate behind the Bull and wave their arms to keep him moving toward the stock trailer. He walks easily up the ramp.
Leon and Franco and Annie quickly close the trailer’s tailgate.
EXT ROAD AT CORRALS NIGHT
The kids converge on the trailer and turn to each other with smiles of congratulations.
Parker pats Natty on the back and slides his arm around her shoulder in a hug. She tenses and pulls away with an angry glare. The Wolf SNARLS guardedly.
Parker lifts his hands in the air with a shrug and moves away.
He climbs into the cab with Annie. The engine ROARS to life. The gears GRIND pathetically as Parker searches for first. Finally he finds it and steps on the gas peddle. The back wheels spin wildly. They chew into the ground and white smoke billows up. The acrid smell of burning rubber fills the air.
The engine COUGHS and SPUTTERS to a stop.
You know how to drive this
Push. All of you.
Parker restarts the engine and the others gather around the truck. They push as Parker steps on and off the gas. The truck rocks back and forth. But still the wheels spin.
Suddenly the Bull begins to move in the trailer. His powerful legs STOMP on the wooden floorboards. The SOUND reverberates through the quiet night. The kids shoot worried looks to each other.
The Bull BELLOWS and throws his massive body against the sides of the trailer, rocking it threateningly. He CRASHES from side to side. The NOISE is enough to wake the whole town.
Get us out of here will you?
What do you think I’m trying to
The others follow Leon’s worried gaze to the light which has just come on in the caretaker’s cottage across the stockyard.
The CARETAKER moves onto the front porch to investigate, his rifle in his hand.
I thought you said he
was off for the week-end.
I was wrong.
Parker guns the engine one more time and the truck lurches forward, bouncing away from the corral. Parker WHOOPS like a victorious cowboy.
As the truck picks up speed, Leon, Franco and Annie leap into the cab with Parker. Davey and Rusty jump on the running boards.
Natty hops onto the wooden bumper in back. She holds on tight as the truck moves faster and faster down the rutted dirt road. The Wolf running easily beside her.
But the bumper CRACKS under her weight and CRASHES to the ground.
Natty BUMPS across the dirt road, tumbling end over end. She scrambles to her feet but stops quickly, freezing in place.
Standing in front of her, looming large and menacing, his rifle pointed straight at her head, is the Caretaker.
END PART 15
Part 16 Monday, (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday!)
A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.