THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
EXT TRAIN TRESTLE DAWN
Natty and The Wolf make their way down the train tracks toward a deep gorge with a swift running river below.
They move cautiously, one step at a time, over the towering railroad bridge and trestle, crossing to the other side just as the dawn fades into day.
EXT RAILROAD TRACKS DAY
Natty and The Wolf follow the railroad tracks. The Wolf sniffs the air and grows cautious. He crouches low as he moves forward.
Natty imitates him, creeping low to the ground and smelling the air. She notices the wisps of smoke rising in the distance.
EXT HOBO JUNGLE DAY
Natty lies on her bel1y, watching from her hiding place in the grass.
There are groups of HOBOS gathered around makeshift shelters of old cardboard and scrap wood. This is a large camp. There must be 60 or 70 guys here.
While Natty watches, one man starts a fight with another man. They pull knives from their ragged pockets and circle each other, jabbing menacingly. Finally a third man breaks them up.
These are tattered, desperate men with little hope and fewer resources. Natty will have to be careful here. A nervous shiver runs down her spine.
Her eyes track the rest of the camp. She sees one fellow camped apart from the others. His back is turned to her. There’s a can of beans cooking over his fire. She can almost taste those beans already.
She inches her way through the grass, keeping out of sight. She gets close to the lone hobo and watches for her chance.
When he moves away from the fire to gather more wood, she makes her move.
She rushes forward and grabs the beans. Before she makes it back to the safety of the tall grass, a hand tightens on the collar of her jacket.
She struggles to get away. She kicks and swings her free arm.
Let go of me!
But the hobo doesn’t let go.
Natty looks at the hobo’s face for the first time. It’s Harry from her first boxcar ride. Her mouth almost drops open in surprise.
I know you.
Harry holds out his empty hand, waiting for the beans.
Hand them over.
Reluctantly Natty hands the beans to Harry. He lets go of her jacket and returns to his fire, sitting with his back to her, ignoring her.
She watches him closely.
You helped me. In Chicago.
Nice way of paying back.
I didn’t know it was you.
Doesn’t make it right.
Natty shrugs. She looks around the camp, at the other hobos, looking for another chance
I wouldn’t try it.
Natty shrugs again. She stares at Harry then at the can of beans beginning to bubble over his fire. Her mouth starts to water.
Got a spoon?
Natty shakes her head no.
Harry shoots her a look of disgust, pitches his spoon to her and nods at the beans.
Natty hesitates, a hard, suspicious look crossing her face.
What do I have to do for it?
Just eat the damn beans Kid.
Natty gulps down the beans with Harry’s spoon. The wolf pushes his way through the grass and lies on his belly.
Where the hell were you? I
could’ve been killed.
The Wolf WHINES and curls back his lips. Natty shrugs and turns to Harry as she scratches The Wolf’s ears.
We’re going to Washington.
Harry eyes The Wolf disapprovingly and shakes his head.
It’s hard enough without packing
He’s a wolf.
Oh that’s even better.
We can take care of ourselves.
Yeah, I see that…But hey,
you’re not my worry. I go
alone. No partners.
‘Specially not a girl.
Well nobody asked you.
The wolf jumps quickly to his feet, stares at the far side of the woods and GROWLS. The fur around his neck stands on end.
Natty drops the spoon in the can and searches through the woods anxiously.
Did you hear that?
Something’s out there. He
always knows. He can hear the
clouds rolling by. That’s what
Harry listens hard. He tenses, like The Wolf. Then he rolls onto the balls of his feet and quickly gathers his few things.
Beat it Kid.
Why?. . .
But there’s no time for an answer as Harry streaks into the shadows of the woods.
Natty watches curiously as The Wolf GROWLS and paces. She backs slowly toward the edge of the woods, backs slowly toward the edge of the woods, pulling The Wolf with her.
Suddenly there’s a chorus of SCREAMS and YELLS. A possee of LEGIONNAIRES in caps, carrying baseball bats, sweeps into the far side of the camp.
The hobos scatter frantically.
Natty takes off, running into the woods with The Wolf at her side.
END Part 23
Part 24 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.