THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
INT COLORADO RAIROAD OFFICE MORNING
Sol’s eyes bore through the thin lipped RAILROAD OFFICIAL who seems nervous and apologetic as he rummages through the drawers of a desk in this small town office.
We were gonna send it on but the
lady said keep it so we just
hung on to it.
He finally finds what he’s looking for and pulls it from the far reaches of the bottom drawer.
It’s Natty’s battered wallet. He pushes it across the desk to Sol who stares hard at it before he picks it up and turns it over in his hand.
EXT WRECK SITE DAY
Sol walks carefully over the area, his eyes glued to the ground, searching, hoping, for an overlooked clue among the few scattered remains of the train wreck.
The Railroad Official waits impatiently, uncomfortably, on the small, 2 person train cart which has brought them out here. He rolls it slowly over the tracks keeping abreast of Sol, shouting over the noise of its gasoline engine.
They went over this with a fine
Sol keeps walking, doggedly.
Didn’t find nothing.
Suddenly Sol turns on the Official, anger and frustration spilling out of him.
Maybe she wasn’t even on your
God damn train. Maybe somebody
stole that wallet.
Don’t get mad at me Buddy. It’s
not my fault.
Sol glares at the man then continues walking, searching.
EXT EXERCISE YARD DAY
Natty stands in the second row of INMATES in a block of rows. They bend and straighten, bend and straighten in cadence with the BARKS of RITA, a well-muscled, exercise leader in the front.
Twinkie stands next to Natty and WHISPERS loudly during the entire series of exercises. She nods toward the far end of the yard, beyond the fence which cuts down the middle.
That’s where they keep the boys.
Billy Lang’s a real dream.
Rita points a long, hard finger at Twinkie.
Okay Twinkie. 15 laps. In
Rita’s finger moves to Natty.
And take your friend. The rest
of you fall out.
Twinkie GROANS and shrugs apologetically to Natty. They begin to run laps around the perimeter of the yard while the other girl’s break ranks and move inside.
Rita watches as Twinkie and Natty complete their first lap. She barks out the count.
Then she pulls a book from her pocket. . . How To Win Friends And Influence People…and begins to read.
Twinkie gabs with Natty as they jog.
If the boys don’t keep their
hands above the covers they go
Their hands? What for?
You don’t know?
Natty shakes her head. Twinkie giggles and whispers in Natty’s ear.
They play with their dingdongs.
Oh yeah. But it messes them up
if they do it too much.
Messes them up how?
They don’t grow. And their eyes
go bad. See him?
Natty and Twinkie jog past a very SHORT BOY with very thick glasses who stands near the fence in the boys’ yard, staring back at them.
He probably holds the record.
The girl’s giggle together.
Then Natty hears a HOWL. Her pace falters.
She turn frantically, searching for The wolf, tracking the area with her eyes.
She sees him in the boy’s section as 2 Guards drag him toward a truck with a sign painted on its side…CHARLIE LINFIELD BLACKSMITH.
She stops jogging and grabs the wire fence, clinging to it with white knuckles.
She stares horrified at the thick, wire muzzle strapped across his face. And the ropes looped around his neck.
The Guards pull the ropes in opposite directions, choking the air from him. He twists and turns and leaps in the air, trying to break away. Natty can see the hatred streaming from his fierce, yellow eyes.
She watches anxiously as the Guards force him inside a thick, wooden cage and lock the door behind him.
Twinkle sneaks a worried look at Natty as she jogs past. She WHISPERS a warning.
You’re asking for it.
Rita looks up from her book and sees Natty stopped at the fence.
Keep movin’ sister!
I told you.
But Natty doesn’t respond. Her attention is glued to The Wolf as the guards lift his cage into the back of Charlie’s truck.
She doesn’t even hear Rita approaching. All she hears is the guard calling to CHARLIE LINFIELD, an ominous, hulking, figure of a man.
He’s all yours Charlie. And
Then she sees the rifle in the gunrack in Charlie’s truck and her horrified eyes grow even wider. She sucks in her breath and SCREAMS.
Immediately Rita grabs Natty’s shoulder and pulls her from the fence.
We’ll see about that.
Rita drags Natty across the yard toward the isolation cells but Natty’s only concern is for The Wolf. Her eyes are glued to the cage in the back of the truck as Charlie Linfield drives through the Greely gates.
END PART 17
Part 18 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.