This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
by Tim M cGregor
April 7, 2006
T im McGregor 6 Lakeview Ave. T oronto, Ontario Canada, M6J 3B1 416-534-8958 firstname.lastname@example.org
Option holder: Christopher Smith 9465 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA, 90212 310-860-8000 email@example.com
EXT. CEMETERY - NIGHT Candles glow in an old Mexican graveyard. Hundreds of them, dotted through the tombstones. The soft strum of a mariachi guitar. There is food and drink and flowers. The year is 1887. Candied skulls of baked sugar leer everywhere. The cemetery alive with people celebrating El Dia de los Muertos. All sing and toast their ancestors. Except for one young man. A KID, maybe seventeen, sits apart from the revellers. He’s poor and it shows in his threadbare clothes and worn hat. A bottle in hand. Eyes staring up at a church spire just beyond the cemetery gates. A FIDDLER stumbles near, sawing his broken instrument. He gestures at the bottle in the Kid’s hand. FIDDLER Dame el refresco, caballero. The Kid doesn’t react. Never takes his eyes off the church. The Fiddler leans closer, thinking the Kid is deaf. Joven-FIDDLER
A gun appears out of nowhere. A big Army Colt. Pointed right at Fiddler’s nose. KID Get the hell away from me. Fiddler sidles away quick. The Kid gets to his feet. EXT. CHURCH - NIGHT An old Spanish church of white-washed stucco and a clay tile roof. A weatherbeaten spire and mission bells. The Kid takes a last swig on the bottle, tosses it away and KICKS the door open. INT. CHURCH - NIGHT Empty pews and heavy silence. Deserted.
The name echoes off the walls. KID Show yourself, you son of bitch. Kid marches up the pews then stops cold. A WOMAN kneels before a tall statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Paloma? KID
PALOMA looks up at him. Dark and beautiful with eerily green eyes. She’s crying. Her hair is tussled and her clothes torn. KID What happened to you? He takes her arms but she shrugs him off and lowers her eyes. Her black hair falls, hiding her face. ELIJAH (O.C.) Get your filthy hands off her. FATHER ELIJAH WADE stands over them in his black priest robe and clerical collar. A tall man with broad shoulders. KID The hell’d you do to her? Father Elijah glowers down at the Kid. ELIJAH You’re drunk. KID You hurt her, I’ll kill you. Brother or no. Get out. ELIJAH
KID She’s coming with me. Kid reaches for Paloma. Elijah grabs Kid and HURLS him away. ELIJAH Don’t touch her! The Kid spins and charges at the priest, plowing the big man to the ground. Kid smashes his fist into his brother’s face.
KID Son of a bitch! I hate you. Paloma pulls the Kid off. Basta! PALOMA
The priest pulls something from his robe-- an archaic, crudelooking dagger. The blade flashes, then CUTS the Kid. Kid stumbles back, blood staining his shirt. Elijah slashes again, drawing more blood. Kid draws and BOOM! Shoots Elijah in the chest. Elijah staggers. Paloma screams. The priest falls onto Kid, clutching at him. Pulls him close. The floorboards run slick with their blood. ELIJAH Murderous Cain...you will be cursed from the ground...a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth... PALOMA Elijah, stop-Blood foams up between Elijah’s lips, choking off his words. He slips to the floor. The Kid backs away, clutching his slashed chest. MEN burst into the church, having heard the gunfire outside. Kid bolts for the backdoor. The men chase after him. Paloma cradles the dead priest’s head in her lap. Blood pools around her knees. Track the blood as it runs between the cracks of the floorboards. Down under the floor to the cellar. Rivulets at the seam and drips-Blood dollops onto something carved of black stone, spackling it with the blood of the priest and the brother. DISSOLVE: Super: THREE YEARS LATER
EXT. PUEBLO - DAY An Arizona sun beats down on the empty streets of a dusty pueblo town. The silence is broken by the crack of GUNFIRE. THE ARMY COLT --is snapped open at the hinge. The cylinder is removed and empty shells are shaken out of the smoking chambers. A voice screams in the background. VOICE (O.S.) Sonovawhore! THE KID reloads his gun. A few years older but not much more prosperous. A proper gunbelt and a new hat. Exhausted looking, miles and miles worn into the lines of his eyes. His back is literally up against a wall. The Kid snaps the barrel shut, thumbs the hammer back and yells at the voice. KID Told you to give up on it, Jake. US MARSHALL JAKE PEPPER --kneels in the middle of the dusty street. His right hand is bloodied and curled into his chest. He holds a Peacemaker in his left hand and FIRES but the shots go wild. JAKE Ain't gonna happen, Kid. I'm taking your head back in a sack. I'm federal now! Jake talks a good game but he's hurt bad. The gun trembles because Jake is clearly not left-handed. KID (O.S.) How the hell you get a badge? The Marshall crawls toward the house hard by his left, trying to pinpoint the Kid's voice. JAKE Only one willing to go after your sorry ass! Jake steps over a BODY sprawled in the sand. A Deputy’s star pinned to the dead man’s shirt. A SHOT rings out-Jake wheels and BLASTS off two rounds. Nothing there.
KID (O.S.) Give up on it, old man. Less'n you want the other hand shot off. Jake’s right hand is a BLOODIED MESS, cradled into his chest and staining his shirt. JAKE Step out and fight, damn it! No response. Jake's eyes dart around. KID(O.S.) Here, old man... Jake SPINS-- the Kid stands wide open. Jake FIRES but the shot goes wild. The two men stare at each other over the barrel of their guns. Deadlocked. The Kid spits into the sand-- then lowers his gun. Jake PULLS the trigger. But the barrel just clicks empty. JAKE Didn't know you could count. The Kid KICKS him down hard and levels the big Colt right at Jake's face. Kingdom Come. JAKE I won’t beg. KID Ain't no one asking you to. Jake stares into the barrel. He closes his eyes... Kid spins the gun into his holster. Jake opens one eye, surprised he’s still alive. JAKE You losing your nerve...? KID Told you before. I’m done with killing. JAKE Tell that to my deputy. Whump! Kid BOOTS him hard in the stomach.
KID You shoulda told him better than to shoot at my back, mister 'US Marshall'. Kid picks up Jake’s gun and tosses it over a fence. JAKE You can't run forever. Sooner or later, it’s gonna catch you up. KID I can sure as hell try. JAKE There ye go again with that foolishness. (...) Men like you don't change. I seen others try it, better men than you, too. Oh they'll talk your ear off about second chances and atonement, what have you. But that's all it ever is. Just talk. The Kid trails up the reins of his horse tethered nearby. JAKE Never sticks, boy. You're nothing but a thief and a killer. All you ever gonna be. Kid turns to say something but then changes his mind. JAKE Ain’t you ever heard of the long arm a the law? KID What of it? CRACK! A length of board crashes over the Kid's head and he collapses in a heap. A SECOND DEPUTY stands over the Kid holding a pine two-by-four. JAKE The arm is long indeed. EXT. DESERT - NIGHT The Kid lies in the sand under a piñon tree at the top of a mesa. His hands bound tight with rope. Jake winces as his Deputy wraps his wounded hand.
DEPUTY I say we lynch him right here. Reward money’s the same, alive or dead. JAKE No. We’ll bring him back so all the folks he wronged can see him hang. The Kid lifts his head, eyes swimming around. DEPUTY But he shot your hand off. Untie him. JAKE
Jake pulls a hatchet out of his saddlebag. DEPUTY What are you gonna do? JAKE He’ll be a lot less dangerous without his gunhand. The Deputy kneels on the Kid’s chest and cuts the ropes. Kid struggles but he’s still weak. The Deputy holds his right hand down flat against a stump. DEPUTY Quit squirming now. We’re just gonna even things up here. Jake tests the hatchet blade against Kid’s wrist. DEPUTY Jesus Jake, did you shoot him? JAKE No. Missed him by a mile. DEPUTY He’s bleeding. BLOOD seeps through the Kid's grimy shirt. Kid thrashes, fighting under the Deputy’s weight. KID Get the hell offa me. JAKE Keep him still now or you’ll mess my aim. Jake raises the axe high, ready to sever the Kid’s wrist.
KID Get off, ya bastard sonofabitch. Now! The wind picks up, whistling through the scrub and kicking sand up into the Marshal’s face. Something rustles in the dark. Jake looks up, alert. JAKE Who's there? FIGURES move against the horizon. Six men moving forward with the fading light at their backs. DARK MEN, nothing more than black silhouettes against a dying sun. JAKE Identify yourself! No response. The Dark Men stop and fan out, their faces hidden under hatbrims and upturned collars. Watching. DEPUTY Who are they? JAKE Bounty hunters. Looking to collect. KID Jake, you’d best get the hell outta here. JAKE You know these men? KID You don’t want to tangle with them. Jake looks up, surprised to see the Kid’s reaction. JAKE Don’t believe I ever seen you scared. The Dark Men march forward again. Jake reaches for his gun. JAKE Withdraw or I will fire. The strangers ignore the warning. Jake levels a dead aim at a tall man out in front. JAKE Goddamnit, get back!
Jake FIRES, shooting him square in the chest. The Dark Man doesn’t fall, doesn’t even break his stride. Jake’s jaw drops low. Kid scrambles up and bolts straight for the Marshal’s horse. Gunfire breaks as the Deputy opens fire. The Dark Men press forward. Kid leaps onto the horse, looks back-The Dark Men RIP into the lawmen with their bare hands, every one of them a tattered black silhouette against the sky. Kid spurs the horse away into the night. The tall man, the one Jake shot, watches the outlaw escape. At his feet lies the Marshal, gutted open with his entrails spilled out over the sand. EXT. SCRUBLAND - NIGHT A crumbling adobe shack leans in the scrub. The Morgan grazes nearby, ridden hard and put away wet. Kid bangs his fist on the door. INT. SHACK - NIGHT GUILLERMO, the owner of the shack, stirs the fire and watches Kid stuff dry goods into a saddle-bag. GUILLERMO Where will you go now? KID Straight south, cross the Sonora to Perdido. You got any forty-fours? Guillermo searches through a cupboard. GUILLERMO Crossing the desert is suicide. And you’re wanted in Perdido most of all, no? KID Ain’t got much of a choice. Something evil’s dogging my trail. Guillermo unwraps a cloth containing cartridges of various calibers.
GUILLERMO Bounty Hunters? Worse. KID
Guillermo sees the blood on the Kid’s shirt. GUILLERMO Are you hurt? KID It’s nothing. Old wound. GUILLERMO Who are these men? The Kid picks out a handful of forty-four shells and hands the bundle back to Guillermo. KID They’ll track their way here. You need to clear out and stay away for a few days. GUILLERMO How will they find-KID (cutting off) I ain’t kidding, Guillermo. Promise me you’ll clear out soon as I’m gone. Very well. GUILLERMO
Kid slings the saddlebag over his shoulder. Shakes Guillermo’s hand. GUILLERMO Via con Dios. KID He won’t be riding with me. EXT. MESA - NIGHT A small fire burns atop the mesa. The Dark Men hoist something up into the tree. BODIES The Marshall and his deputy hang upside down from the tree, their bellies split open and spilling onto the ground.
The Dark Men pass before the fire, silhouettes shimmering against the flames. The tall man stands out from the rest, dressed in a tattered BLACK ROBE. He turns his attention south, the direction in which the Kid fled and heads out on foot. The rest follow. EXT. DESERT - NIGHT A weather-beaten signpost leans in the scrub flats. Moonlight bounces off the faded letters: PERDIDO Behind the signpost lies the old Spanish town of Perdido, crumbling and forgotten. A CRY rings out. INT. ROOM - NIGHT Old women whisper in Spanish around the bedside of a GIRL in labor. The Girl screams as she pushes down. PALOMA hisses at the women to be quiet as she midwives the Girl to term. Her green eyes older and wearier. Otra vez. PALOMA
The Girl bears down harder, screaming the whole way. Paloma worms the babe free and cuts the umbilical cord. The crones hold their breath as the midwife rubs the baby, working fluid out of it's mouth with her fingers-The babe is silent and still. A stone. A chill moves through the room. Paloma makes the sign of the cross. The crack of gunfire breaks in from out in the street. EXT. TOWN SQUARE - NIGHT A man lies dead in the open square of Perdido. A bloom of powderburn and blood on his chest. A gun in his hand. SHERIFF HARLAND stands over the dead man, shaking his head. The Sheriff is a big man, pushing forty. A temperate man. Two other men look down at the corpse. The portly one is MAYOR JENKINS. The one with the smallpox scars is DUTCHMAN. JENKINS What happened?
HARLAND Same thing that always happens, mister Mayor. Drunken cowboys get in a fight and someone goes for his gun. DUTCHMAN Should we close down the saloon? JENKINS Let’s not lose our heads here. Harland kneels down and picks up the dead man’s gun. HARLAND Ain’t the drinking that’s the problem. It’s all these damn firearms. DUTCHMAN Well, they ain’t nothing you can do about that. Short of cutting off everyone’s trigger finger, I mean. Harland pockets the gun. A faraway look in his eye. I reckon. HARLAND
A dog slurs out of the shadows and laps the blood on the sand. Harland shoos it away. INT. SHACK - NIGHT Guillermo sits before the fire, feet up and falling asleep. Ignoring the Kid’s warning. The sound of a horse whinnies out in the yard. Guillermo gets up, grabs his rifle from the mantle and checks the window. Quiet. Gun raised, he goes to the door and throws it open. Black Robe and the Dark Men storm inside. EXT. SHACK - NIGHT A single gunshot rings out. Then crashing noises as the hut is ransacked. The rifle smashes through the window glass. The Dark Men file out of the shack one by one. Smoke billows out the door and flames lick up inside the windows. Guillermo doesn’t come out.
EXT. COUNTY OFFICE - NIGHT Sheriff Harland stands on the porch of the County Office. Seated in a rocking chair is BLIND JOHN, a big man with a cataract eye. RONALDO (O.C.) Another man gunned down? FATHER JORGE RONALDO leans against the rail. The grey in his dark hair reflects his clerical collar and black robe. HARLAND Yup. How many is that this month, John? BLIND JOHN Four I believe. No, it’s five. Five shootings. RONALDO Was he a local man? HARLAND No. Just another outlaw running for Mexico. One of the hazards of living in a bordertown. You get used to it after awhile, father. RONALDO I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the violence in this town. BLIND JOHN Believe it or not but this used to be a quiet place. Last couple years though, it’s all gone to Hell. RONALDO There must be some way to stem the violence. HARLAND There is but it’s...unpopular. Your guidance at the pulpit is a good start. RONALDO Not good enough I’m afraid. HARLAND You’re being humble again, Ronaldo. RONALDO I wish that were true but the people here are still wary of me. (MORE)
14. RONALDO (CONT'D) It’s only been three years. Not long enough to earn their full trust.
BLIND JOHN Give ‘em time, father. They’ll come around. RONALDO Thank you, John. Speaking of which, I should go prepare tomorrow’s sermon. Ronaldo steps away just as Paloma walks by the porch, pulling down her shirt sleeves. RONALDO Good evening Paloma. PALOMA Father. Sheriff. HARLAND How's the Espejo girl? Is it a boy or a girl? The midwife just shakes her head. Bad news. RONALDO Dear God. Not again. PALOMA (stepping away) Beunos noches. The three men watch Paloma walk away. HARLAND Another stillbirth? Jesus, how many does that make now? BLIND JOHN I lost count. Something's wrong with this town, Sheriff. Something terrible wrong. EXT. DESERT - NIGHT The horse canters slow through the ocotillo bushes. The Kid slumps over the horn, asleep in the saddle. The horse stops. Kid pitches forward and falls to the ground with a thud. He springs up fast, gun drawn and leveled over the horizon. The horse spooks and trots away. Kid shakes his head to get his bearings. Curses himself.
The wind picks up, blowing down from the north. Kid looks up-THE DARK MEN --march through the scrub. There are now seven of them. They have no guns or weapons of any kind. They have no horses. Kid backs away and chases after his mount but the horse shies and trots away again. KID Get back here. You ain’t gonna like them bastards anymore than me. The Dark Men keep coming. Kid hops along, one boot in the stirrup and lifts up into the saddle. He looks back at his pursuers then spurs the horse south. EXT. PERDIDO - DAY Street vendors set up shop and cry their wares as the town of Perdido wakes up. Father Ronaldo makes his way through the market stalls, stirring up stray chickens as he goes. RONALDO Good morning, mister mayor. Ronaldo pats Mayor Jenkins on the shoulder. RONALDO I trust we’ll see you in church this morning? JENKINS Yes, God willing. (takes his arm) I notice you and the Sheriff are getting on like old friends. That’s what I like to see, the moral pillars of this community getting along. (...) Course, one has to keep a sense of perspective on friendships and alliances. RONALDO You don’t care for our Sheriff?
JENKINS God no, I love the man. It just, well, sometimes his zeal for the job clouds his judgement. Leads him to make rash decisions, if you take my meaning. RONALDO I’m afraid I don’t. JENKINS Well, that’s good. A grain of salt is all I’m saying. Listen to me go on and idle your time before church. Go on, father. RONALDO I do need to rustle up some more wayward souls for church. I’ll see you there. Jenkins waves and Ronaldo crosses the town square, passing an old woman sweeping the ground with a straw broom. He looks to see what she’s sweeping at. A blackened smear of blood caked onto the cobblestones, flaking away with each sweep of the broom. EXT. DESERT - DAY The Kid sits slumped over the saddle horn, exhausted. The horse shambles on, froth spilling from its mouth. Winds kick up the sand. The Kid lowers his hat and rides on. EXT. HOUSE - DAY Two young men sit idle on a porch on the edge of town. BILL sits on the stoop cleaning his Colt Peacemaker. ARLO picks his teeth, watching him. Arlo’s SON plays nearby. ARLO How many times you gonna clean that goddamn pistol, Bill? BILL Gunfighter always keeps his gun clean. Otherwise the barrel gets dirty and throws off the aim. Bill oils down the hammer with loving care.
BILL Especially a Peacemaker, which just happens to be the finest working pistol a man can have. Unlike that old Walker you got. That damn relic is more like to blow up in your hand than fire straight. ARLO (chuckles) Gunfighter? Shit, Bill... Bill looks up and sees that Arlo is not wearing his gunbelt. BILL Where is that Walker? How come you ain't wearing it? ARLO Don't need it. BILL Unwise, Arlo. Man without a gun ain't much of a man. ARLO Strutting around with a gunbelt is just asking for trouble. BILL That's your wife talking. That cunny done whipped you into shape good and proper, ain't she? ARLO Gotta grow up some time, Bill. Leave the toys behind. Bill practises his quick-draw, holstering and drawing the gun quick and smooth. BILL One of these days, I'll show you. Show this whole shit-stained town... (draws his gun) Lightning Bill. That's what they's gonna call me. You wait and see. RONALDO (O.C) Good morning boys. Ready for church? Father Ronaldo smiles up at them. Bill pats down his grimy shirt, looking for an excuse.
BILL I’m kindly short on Sunday best, padre. RONALDO You look fine to me. A CACOPHONY of noise breaks the quiet. A crowd of people march past them. The Fiddler creaks out a slow dirge, accompanied by a lone mariachi player. A crowd follows, singing in Spanish, bearing flowers and bottles. BILL What the hell are these fools doing? RONALDO El Dia de los Muertos. BILL Already? Jesus Christ... ARLO You’ll have to excuse Bill, padre. He don’t much like the Day of the Dead. BILL Pure craziness, you ask me. ARLO C’mon, Bill. It’s a chance to toast your ancestors. The dead meet you halfway at their graves. Or so they say. BILL All Mexicans are crazy. You believe that craziness, father? RONALDO I like the sentiment. A family reunion with the dear and departed. Bill just shakes his head at them. Arlo eggs him on. ARLO It has a bad side too, Bill. It’s the one night when evil roams free and the dead come back to settle old scores. (winks at Ronaldo) Better be sure you got that Peacemaker on you tonight, amigo. Bill doesn’t respond, distracted by something. Bill? ARLO
BILL What in the hell is that? A horse limps out of the desert towards town. Flies buzz around its mucous caked eyes. The rider lies slumped over the horn, lifeless. BILL Never seen a dead man ride a horse. Arlo turns to his son, ARLO JR, and shoos him home. ARLO Run on home, son. Go find your mama. The Morgan shambles forward. People step out of its way like it's a leprous thing. The Kid remains prone over the saddle. Father Ronaldo grabs the cheekstrap and stops the horse. SILAS, owner of the livery stable, steps out from his barn and watches the horse. He dead? SILAS
RONALDO (puzzled) He’s tied to the saddle. The Kid’s belt is lashed to the saddle with twine. SILAS So he wouldn't fall off. Musta come clear across the desert. RONALDO What manner of fool rides across the Sonora? SILAS Man on the run. Look at this. A crude wooden cross is clenched in the Kid's fist. Bill and Arlo come up, looking the rider over. ARLO What the hell's he running from? RONALDO Cut him down. Silas cuts the rope from the Kid's waist and Ronaldo brings him down. The wooden cross falls away into the sand.
Ronaldo grabs a ladle from the water trough and touches it to the Kid’s lips. Kid coughs and spits it back up. Easy son. RONALDO
Kid pulls himself up and limps to the trough. Splashes water over his face. The bells of the church ring out. RONALDO I have to go. Will you be alright, son? KID (grabs Ronaldo’s arm) I need to talk to you. RONALDO The service will be starting soon. I must go. Come to church. KID I ain’t stepping foot in there. I need your help, padre. RONALDO Son, I have to go. Come and see me after the service. I’ll help you any way I can. Kid lets him go. Ronaldo runs off to church. Bill nudges Arlo in the ribs, pointing out the Kid’s gunbelt. Twin holsters of tooled leather. BILL Lookit them big Colts. Kid leans over the trough, his back still to the other men. KID Silas, can you mend that horse? SILAS (surprised) I know you? Kid turns, his face cleaned of dust. Silas startles, takes a step back. So do Bill and Arlo. BILL Son of a bitch... Silas, Bill and Arlo tense up, like someone expecting a rattlesnake to strike.
SILAS What’d you come back here for, kid? Folks ain’t forgot what you done. Kid rubs the water off his face. Silas takes a step back. KID Can you mend her? Silas eases up a little. He pats the horse down, inspecting its eyes and mouth. A hoof. SILAS This animal’s done in. Best put her down. Kid shakes his head. No. SILAS She won’t make another mile. KID Then you take her. Mend her back to health. But I’m gonna need another horse and how much will you take for a fast one? SILAS Well, I don’t know... KID You got horses in that stable, ain’t you? SILAS (stalling) All my livery’s out in the field. Gonna take a while to haze one in. Kid stuffs dollar bills into Silas’ pocket. KID Then go get one. Kid marches away, forcing Bill and Arlo to make room. Bill watches the outlaw walk away, his back wide open to him. He clutches his gun but doesn’t draw, losing his nerve. SILAS Bill, go find the Sheriff. Tell him the Kid is back.
EXT. COUNTY OFFICE - DAY Bill marches towards the County Office. Arlo keeps up. BILL He sure as hell don’t look like no hellfire outlaw. Just a scrawny runt. ARLO Bill, leave it be. You know what he done. BILL Folks round here like to spin their tales. Hell, I thought he’d have devil horns and a tail. He’s a runt. With a price on his head. ARLO Then the sheriff can deal with him. They climb the steps. Blind John creaks in his rocking chair. BILL What’re you doing, John? BLIND JOHN What's it look like, son? ARLO Is the Sheriff here? BLIND JOHN On his way to church. Same as you boys should be. Bill and Arlo step inside. Bill tears a WANTED POSTER off a wall of notices and hands it to Arlo. BILL Take a look at that reward. Arlo’s widen at the amount. BILL And it’s all mine. EXT. BARRIO - DAY Kid stalks down a back alley, looking for an address. He pulls his hat down low to hide his face from the locals.
He stops at a door with a crescent moon painted on the wood. He takes a swig on a bottle, stuffs it back in his coat and bangs on the door. No answer. He turns to a MAN leaning in a nearby door. KID Donde esta la curandera? MAN No se. Probar la cementerio. Kid touches his hat to him and leaves. EXT. CEMETERY GATES - DAY Kid steps up to the gates and then stops. He scuffs the dirt with his boot, reluctant to enter the old graveyard. He takes a pull on the bottle and passes through the gates. BILL leans against a doorway further up the street, watching the Kid enter the cemetery. BILL There he goes. (looks at Arlo) And you without your gun. ARLO Bill, let the sheriff handle this. BILL And pass up on that reward money? No sir. I'm gonna get me a reputation gunning down that outlaw. (...) But we gotta do it now ‘fore Harland gets wind of it. ARLO You got a deathwish? The Kid’s a gunfighter. A real one. BILL He’s a punk with a big rep, that’s all. Now come on, ‘fore we lose him. Bill marches off after the Kid. Arlo just shakes his head.
SILAS --leads the Kid’s horse into his stable. He spots Bill going after the Kid and curses under his breath. SILAS Goddamnit, Bill. EXT. CEMETERY - DAY Melted candles and rotting candy skulls litter the tombstones of the old graveyard, the detritus of countless Day of the Dead fiestas. Paloma sits alone before a whitewashed gravestone, clearing away the dead flowers and broken glass. Paloma? KID (O.S.)
Her eyes go wide at the sight of the Kid. She backs away. KID Wait. Please... PALOMA Cómo se vuelve el atrevimiento usted aquí. KID That's why I come back... No te vayas. (takes her arm) Listen to me, you need to get outta town-She yanks her arm free and slaps his face. PALOMA Debes salir. Paloma marches away through the headstones. The Kid stands there dumb, watching her go. INT. CHURCH - DAY Father Ronaldo stands at the pulpit before the congregation. His voice carries out over the snores and coughs and farts. RONALDO Atonement is not an easy thing. We have all transgressed, not only against God but each other.
Harland leans back in the pew, his head bobbing up and down trying to stay awake. RONALDO The path of redemption is hard but that path must be taken. Otherwise we are lost and without purpose. Perdido. Silas storms through the doors and runs up the aisle. Sheriff! SILAS
RONALDO Hold on a minute, Silas... The man sitting next to Harland elbows him awake. SILAS Harland, we got trouble. It’s the Kid. Who? HARLAND
SILAS The Kid. He’s back. Harland’s face drops. The people react with curses. SILAS It gets worse. Bill’s gone after him. I think he’s gonna try and collect. EXT. CEMETERY - DAY The Kid slugs the bottle back, contemplating the gravestone before him. FATHER ELIJAH WADE, 1861-1884, RIP. BILL (O.S.) You sure don’t look like no hellfire gunslinger. The Kid turns. Bill stands behind him, his right hand resting on the butt of his holstered Peacemaker. KID What do you want? BILL (waves the Wanted poster) Thousand dollar to start. The Kid turns back to the gravestone, ignoring Bill.
BILL Maybe you ain’t as bad as folks say. (no response) Come on, asshole. Let's try them big Colts against this here Peacemaker. The Kid stands, keeps his back to Bill ...and just walks away. BILL Don't you turn your back to me! What kinda gunfighter are you? Kid just keeps walking. BILL I'm calling you out! COWARD!! BLAM! Bill draws quick and FIRES from the hip-- Lord knows where the bullet went but the Kid is unharmed. The Kid turns and draws out and aims. Bill gets rattled and BLASTS another round from the hip but the shots go wild. The Kid holds the big Colt straight, takes time to aim and-Bill's hand EXPLODES in an awful bloody mess. He drops to his knees holding his destroyed hand. BILL Jesus Christ! My hand! My goddamn hand! KID Never fire from the hip, cabron. That shit don’t work. The Kid walks away. Arlo runs up to help his friend. BILL Kill that sonovabitch! Arlo snatches up Bill's gun and levels it proper at the Kid and squeezes the trigger. BLAM! This time it almost hits the mark. Kid spins around but again he takes a second to aim then FIRE. Arlo falls on his ass, gets up again then falls back down.
The Kid is still for a moment, his teeth grinding in his head. He walks towards them and stands over Arlo. ONE-EYED CHARLIE --a disfigured veteran, ducks behind a tombstone watching the gunfight. A young man named ANDY hunkers down beside him. ANDY Arlo ain’t moving. Is he killed? CHARLIE Quiet damn it. He’ll hear us. ANDY Lookit him, gloating over his kill. THE KID presses a hand against Arlo’s wound, trying to stop the bleeding. He looks around, spots Charlie and Andy hiding against a wall. He aims his gun at them. KID (to Charlie) Go fetch the doctor. (to Andy) You, get over here. Charlie runs off. Andy approaches the Kid, scared. KID Press down on that. Don’t let that man die. Andy does what he’s told. Kid stands. BILL You shot my goddamn hand! Kid KICKS Bill to the ground-- rams his boot onto his throat. KID You'll live. Kid walks away. EXT. CEMETERY - LATER Jenkins and Dutchman watch DOC HAYES attend to Arlo. Sheriff Harland looks on, holding a Henry rifle.
HARLAND Is he gonna live? Arlo’s eyes roll back and blood bubbles out of his mouth. DOC HAYES This is bad, Sheriff. Through the lung. DUTCHMAN I can’t believe that sonofabitch came back here. What the hell does he want? JENKINS God knows. What are we gonna do, Harland? Harland jacks the Henry’s lever. HARLAND Whatever’s gotta be done. INT. LIVERY - DAY The front door busts open, startling Silas in a stall. The Kid grabs the first saddled horse he sees. SILAS Hey, that’s the sheriff’s horse! KID Then give him my money. Kid climbs up and rides the horse out the barn door. EXT. STREET - CONTINUOUS Harland stops cold, watching the Kid gallop out of the barn, straight for him. On his own damn horse! Harland aims the rifle then hesitates, reluctant to shoot his own mount. He sticks two fingers in his teeth and WHISTLES. The horse stops hard and throws the rider. Kid hits the ground with a SNAP and tumbles through the sand. Harland aims again but the horse gets in the way, trotting up to him and nudging him with its nose. He shoves the animal out of the way, draws up the rifle... but the Kid’s gone.
WHAM! Kid PUNCHES Harland in the mouth. The Sheriff goes flat on his ass, swings the rifle up-Too late. The Kid aims his Colt right at Harland’s face. Harland freezes with the Henry half-cocked and the whole world goes still. Drop it. KID
Harland shakes his head, NO. KID Listen to me, Sheriff. Something bad is on its way and I can’t be locked up when it comes. Just drop the goddamn rifle. HARLAND I can’t do that. KID Yes, you can. Drop it and all the guns stay quiet. Harland doesn't move. The Kid clicks back the hammer. KID Then you better shut your eyes. Kid aims the barrel between Harland’s eyes. KID Goddamnit Sheriff, I mean it. Harland doesn’t even blink. A crow flies overhead, passing its shadow over both men. The Kid eases the hammer forward-- and LOWERS THE GUN. Harland blinks in disbelief, then brings the rifle to bear. Jenkins and the other men watching can’t believe it either. EXT. DESERT - DAY The Dark Men trudge through the sand under a punishing Arizona sun. Wisps of black rising out of the heatshimmer. A rattlesnake darts from a yucca. A bootless, blackened foot steps on its tail. The viper STRIKES, biting the Dark Man in the shin.
The others stop. No one moves, no one offers to help him. The bit man doesn’t move, his foot still on the snake. He reaches down with a filthy hand and snatches the serpent up by the neck. The men resume their march. The bit man falls in line as if nothing happened. EXT. STREET - DAY Harland slings the double gunbelt over his shoulder and drags the Kid through the street. An entourage of men follow behind, taunting the Kid now that his wrists are bound. DUTCHMAN Ain’t so deadly now is you, mister gunslinger? CHARLIE Takes a cold man to gloat over his kill like that. No better than a animal. The Kid is pushed along from behind. He looks through the crowd of faces in the street and spots Paloma. She makes the sign of the cross. He lowers his head in shame. MARTY the blacksmith tosses a rotten cabbage-MARTY Sonovawhoor-killer! SPLAT. The Kid gets it in the face but some of it hits Harland and he ain’t too happy about it. HARLAND Goddammit, Marty. Stop that. MARTY Sorry, Sheriff. Father Ronaldo pushes through the crowd to see the boy he helped earlier now a prisoner of the Sheriff. RONALDO Charlie, what’s going on? Who is that boy? CHARLIE That boy is the reason you’re here. He killed your predecessor, Father Elijah. Shot him dead in his own church. (MORE)
31. CHARLIE (CONT'D) (off Ronaldo’s shocked expression) And if that weren’t bad enough, he come back three days later. Dug up the grave and stole the body.
Ronaldo’s taken aback. RONALDO Well, thank God Harland apprehended him. CHARLIE Dunno how he did it, though. The kid there had the drop on old Harland. Coulda killed him easy but he just give up. Reckon our Sheriff’s got the evil eye. Little Arlo Jr watches from the crowd as the man that killed his father is taken to jail. INT. COUNTY OFFICE - DAY Harland drags his prisoner into the County Office. Blind John opens the door to the backroom where a jail cell waits. KID That boy, he gonna live? HARLAND What the hell do you care? Kid is shoved inside. Harland clangs the bars shut. BLIND JOHN You know Charlie’s tying the gallows rope as we speak. HARLAND Well old Charlie’s gonna have to wait. Give me a minute with him, huh? John leaves the room. Alone, Harland turns to his prisoner. HARLAND Never thought I’d see your face again, kid. Not after all the grief you caused. Kid slides to the floor and rests his elbows on his knees. HARLAND You want to tell me what you did with Father Elijah’s body?
KID I didn’t do nothing with it. Harland leans in, speaking quietly but dead serious. HARLAND Why didn't you pull the trigger on me? The Kid just stares at the floor, ignoring the question. KID You gotta let me out of here. HARLAND Right. Cause something bad’s coming. You got a posse after you? KID They’ll cut a path straight to your door, Sheriff. And they’ll kill what gets in the way. HARLAND How many men we talking about? Heavily armed? KID Six men. Maybe seven. No guns. No horses. HARLAND (laughs) I think I can handle that. KID You can’t. There’s gonna be a bloodbath less’n you let me outta here. Harland scrutinizes the Kid. Is he crazy or just desperate? HARLAND Any last requests? KID The priest. I wanna see him. EXT. TOWN SQUARE - NIGHT A NOOSE is slung over the old gallows beam. Charlie and Dutchman secure the hangman’s rope on a rickety stage in the center of the town square. Father Ronaldo, Jenkins and Silas watch in silence from the dusty street. Silas tips his hat as Harland approaches.
JENKINS Charlie’s all set. Let’s bring him out. HARLAND Bit eager, ain’t we? Kid needs a trial before we fit him for the noose. SILAS What for? We all know what he done. HARLAND Because we’re gonna do this right. Need to tell all these folks to go on home. (to Ronaldo) He’s asking to see you, father. RONALDO Then I guess I’ll be on my way. Sheriff, what’s the boy’s name? Wade. HARLAND
RONALDO No, his given name. HARLAND Don’t know. Don’t believe he’s got one. Ronaldo nods to the men and steps away. HARLAND Mister Mayor, would you round up the town council for me. We’re gonna fix this problem once and for all. JENKINS Hold on now. I know you’re angry and all-HARLAND I ain’t angry, Jenkins. But having a gunbarrel in my face kindly put things into perspective. Things are gonna change round here. Now go gather up the councilmen. Please. (...) Silas, help me clear these folks outta here. Then we can go clean up the mess that sonofabitch made.
INT. COUNTY OFFICE JAIL - NIGHT Blind John lets Ronaldo into the jail room and closes the door. The priest peers into the dark cell. RONALDO You asked to see me? The Kid steps out of the shadows and nods to the priest but remains silent. Ronaldo waits for him to speak. KID Wanted to ask you something. Anything. RONALDO
KID What does atonement mean? RONALDO It means to make amends for one's sins. KID And how does a man go about getting it? RONALDO One can make amends to those he has wronged. Seek forgiveness. KID Will that undo all the bad things a man done? RONALDO There’s no undoing what’s done. But there is a way to set things right. Ronaldo pulls a Bible from his pocket. RONALDO The best place to start would be here, in the pages of the Lord's book. He holds the Bible out to him but the Kid doesn’t touch it. RONALDO Can you read? Kid shakes his head, no. RONALDO I could read to you.
KID Yeah, read that part about them brothers. The first ones. RONALDO First ones? KID The first brothers. RONALDO You mean Cain and Abel? KID Yeah, them two. EXT. CEMETERY - DAY Harland approaches the cemetery on foot while Silas draws a buckboard wagon up behind him. RONALDO (V.O.) "Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him." Harland looks down at the body of Arlo Thomas. RONALDO (V.O.) And the Lord said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth." The corpse is lifted onto the buckboard and covered with a sheet. The wagon trundles away. RONALDO (V.O.) “And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who came upon him should kill him.” EXT. HOUSE - NIGHT Harland stands on the porch of Arlo's house, talking quietly with the now widowed MAGGIE. Arlo Jr watches from the steps. HARLAND If there’s anything you need Maggie, my door’s always open to you. Day or night. The boy bolts from the porch and runs into the night.
HARLAND Come back here son. MAGGIE Let him go. He’ll come back on his own. Harland nods at the buckboard wagon waiting in the street. HARLAND Well, Silas and I can carry him in or... MAGGIE I don’t want to see him. Not like that. INT. COUNTY OFFICE JAIL - NIGHT Father Ronaldo closes the book. Kid leans on the bars. KID What happened to him after that? After Cain fled? RONALDO No one knows. KID He ever get rid of the mark on him? RONALDO The mark itself is unimportant. The sin would remain with him. KID You think any man who kills his brother is marked the same way? RONALDO Only to himself. The guilt would mark him. Kid falls silent, scuffing the floorboards with his heel. RONALDO Why are you asking about Cain? KID Didn’t they tell you what I done? RONALDO They said you killed a priest. KID Mi hermano.
RONALDO The priest was your brother? The Kid looks down at the floor, guilty as sin. RONALDO When did this happen? KID Three years ago. To the day. RONALDO Is that why you came back here, to atone? KID He come to me one night. Him and them others. Others? RONALDO
KID Other men I killed. Ronaldo contemplates the floor for a beat. RONALDO Your conscience has caught up with you, son. The sins of the past are weighing upon your heart. That is why your brother is haunting your dreams. KID I ain't talking about dreams. The door BANGS open. Harland and John carry Arlo's shrouded body into the room and lay it down on the table. HARLAND Evening, Father. RONALDO Is that...? Yup. HARLAND
Blood seeps through the fabric of the shroud. KID You ain’t leaving him in here.
HARLAND What's the matter, son. Don't like the look of your own handiwork? RONALDO Is this necessary? HARLAND Yup. Give the boy here a chance to contemplate on what he done. Harland steps up to the bars and looks the Kid in the eye. HARLAND I’m almost of a mind to thank you, kid. Things are gonna change around here. And it’s all because of you. Harland and John leave the room. INT. SALOON - NIGHT Sheriff Harland throws down a legal document before a table of angry men. Mayor Jenkins looks on from the bar as Dutchman argues with a man named VERNON. DUTCHMAN No. No sir. Won't work. VERNON Would you just listen to him, Dutch. Harland's right. This town is the last stop before Mexico. Every two bit outlaw ends up here and I for one am tired of all these gun-slinging bastards. Dutchman points a finger at the men round the table like DOC HAYES and Charlie and Marty. DUTCHMAN Those gun-slinging bastards come here with pockets full of money. Money they spend in your store, Vernon. Marty’s smith-shop. Hell Sheriff, even you make money off them in fines. VERNON So as long as they's spending money it's okay? Let them shoot the town to hell. DUTCHMAN What else we gonna do? Ever since the silver mine panned out we got nothing.
DOC HAYES That makes us dependant on outlaws and their money. Where you think they got all that money in the first place? DUTCHMAN That mine was our single source of revenue and it run dry. Three years now and every one of us is feeling it. We got nothing else. Except these so-calledoutlaws and their money. VERNON Money that's still got blood on it. DUTCHMAN You got a better idea on how to save this town? A better way to put food on the goddamn table? Spill it, muchacho! I'm all ears! HARLAND I'm not proposing to keep them out. Just confiscate their guns when they come into town. They can enjoy the hospitality of Perdido without the shooting the place all to hell. The Sheriff looks at every man in turn. HARLAND But it ain't just the bad men I'm talking about. The new ordinance will apply to its citizens as well as its 'visitors'. DUTCHMAN The hell it will... HARLAND All citizens of Perdido will hand over their firearms to the county office. A pin drops. INT. JAIL - NIGHT The Kid stares at the body on the table. KID I didn't mean for that boy to die. Guess that don't matter much now, does it?
RONALDO What happened out there? I mean, when the Sheriff apprehended you? The Kid just goes back to scuffing the floor. RONALDO Charlie said you could have killed the Sheriff easily but you didn't. You surrendered. Is that true? Kid nods. RONALDO Why? You could have been far away from here by now. KID Don't wanna kill no more. That's all. RONALDO Do you wish to confess your sins? Wind whistles through the window, rustling the bloody shroud. KID Can you get me outta here? RONALDO I... Of course not. KID Keys are just hanging on that peg. RONALDO You're asking me to break the law? KID I'm asking you to help me. Ronaldo holds out his bible. RONALDO I am trying to help you. KID Then get me outta here. Now. Wind RATTLES the roof shingles. Kid looks out the window, watching the rising windstorm. RONALDO If you truly want to atone, you must stop running and face your past. (MORE)
41. RONALDO (CONT'D) You must confront your sins. Confront your brother.
KID That's the last thing I want to do. Wind blasts the shingles. RONALDO You're bleeding. Are you hurt? The Kid looks down, fresh blood seeps through his shirt. KID He's coming. RONALDO Who? Who’s coming? Blind John barges into the room. He goes to the back door to secure it against the wind. BLIND JOHN Hell of a wind out there. Might be in for a storm. KID Get out of here, Father. RONALDO Don't refuse the Almighty, son. Not now. KID Get the hell outta here. BLIND JOHN You ungrateful shit. The man's trying to help you. The wind picks up even more. The rustling of the shroud becomes louder. The Kid turns mean on Ronaldo. Go! NOW! KID
BLIND JOHN Sonovabitch has gone crazy. The wind suddenly stops and everything becomes still. The shroud continues to RUSTLE. Ronaldo and John turn to the sound-THE SHROUD stands upright. The priest’s jaw drops open.
BLIND JOHN jesuschristalmighty... KID Run, damn it! The shroud doesn't move. John draws his gun and reaches for the shroud with his free hand. Slowly pulls it away-THE DEAD MAN stands upright, motionless like a mannequin. His skin gray and his eyes a cloudy yellow. It doesn't move. It doesn't move. IT SPRINGS UPON JOHN. The Deadman TEARS John to the floor and wails on him like a mongoose, ripping into him with unnatural violence. Blood SPRAYS over Father Ronaldo. He recoils, as if stung. KID Father, the keys! Ronaldo looks stupidly at the outlaw. KID The keys, goddammit! Get the keys!! Ronaldo snaps out of it. He grabs the ring from the peg and fumbles one key after another into the slot. The Deadman rises, covered in John's blood. Hurry... KID
Ronaldo's hand shakes as he tries another key. It turns. The Deadman chomps his teeth into Ronaldo’s neck. Kid SLAMS the door in its face. The Deadman lashes out at the Kid. He KICKS at it, squirming away like he’s on fire. WHUMP! A hard kick sends the thing backwards. The Kid shoves the priest through the door.
The Deadman rushes them. The Kid smashes its face with an oil lantern. The oil spills over the Deadman and IGNITES. Kid grabs his gunbelt and drags the priest out the door into the street, away from the horror. Ablaze, the Deadman stumbles into the street after them, then drops to its knees and keels over. INT. SALOON Mayor Jenkins leans over the counter and whispers to his barkeep. SLIM JIM is a big man with an easy smile. JENKINS Pour them another round, Slim. It’s going to be a long night. SLIM JIM The good stuff? Jenkins shakes his head, no. He looks back at the men at the table. The mood of the town council has turned sour. DUTCHMAN No way in hell folks are gonna give up their firearms. We ain't the problem. HARLAND The law’s gotta adhere to everyone, not just the bad men. DUTCHMAN Harland, we made you Sheriff to clean up this town. Not to take our guns away. HARLAND I am making this town safe. Trust me. MARTY How is this gonna solve anything? HARLAND Its real simple, Marty. Unarmed drunks use their fists, not guns. Which option you prefer, a busted nose or a casket? Horseshit. CHARLIE
HARLAND You want a cold hard fact? Every time someone dies, the whole town dies. (MORE)
44. HARLAND (CONT'D) (points to Marty) Marty, your apprentice got shot a week ago. Who's gonna mend a shoe you take ill?
CHARLIE You can't take away a man's guns, Harland. What does that leave him with? HARLAND His manners. DUTCHMAN And what are you gonna do if we refuse, huh? Jail us all to a man? HARLAND It ain't gonna come to that. CHARLIE (heads for the door) I for one will not be disarmed, sheriff. HARLAND Sit down, Charlie. I need everyone's cooperation here. CHARLIE You want my gun, you'll have to pry it my from my cold, dead hand. Charlie storms out. The men grouse and murmur. HARLAND Fellas, I can't pass a county ordinance alone. I need the consent of the council, which means you. (deadly serious) And you're gonna sign it even if I gotta break your damn fingers to do so. Andy comes busting through the door. ANDY Sheriff, there’s a fire. Where? HARLAND
ANDY Right outside your office.
EXT. COUNTY OFFICE - NIGHT The corpse burns in the street. Jenkins and Dutchman look on as Silas throws a blanket over it, dousing the flames. Harland marches out of his trashed office. JENKINS What the samhill happened here? HARLAND Prisoner escaped. VERNON The kid’s loose? HARLAND He killed John. Tore him to pieces. Jenkins points to the smoldering corpse. JENKINS Then who the hell is that? Harland removes the blanket. The body is blackened and charred, carbonized beyond recognition. HARLAND I reckon that there is Father Ronaldo. EXT. STREET - NIGHT The Kid and the priest hide next to a crumbling adobe wall. Ronaldo clutches his neck wound, wincing with pain. KID Let me see that. Ronaldo pushes the Kid away. RONALDO What... What in God's name just happened? Kid unfurls a rag from his pocket. RONALDO I gave Arlo last rites. He was cold to the touch. How could he still be alive? KID You’re bleeding. Ronaldo takes the rag and throws it away.
RONALDO Dead men don't just get up and walk. Kid ignores him for a moment, peering around a corner. He spots the group of men outside the County Office. Ronaldo slumps down, groaning in pain. Get up. KID
RONALDO Just go. You’re free now. Kid hauls Ronaldo up by his collar and pushes him on. Move. KID
INT. COUNTY OFFICE - NIGHT Harland opens the gun cabinet and hands out rifles to Dutchman, Marty, Vernon and Slim Jim. DUTCHMAN So much for your new ordinance. HARLAND As of this moment you men are deputized agents of the Sheriff's department and will remain so until we find this man. (...) As such you will conduct yourself accordingly. Check each house and tell folks to keep their doors locked and their lights out. They are to stay indoors until we find this man. Harland turns to Slim Jim. HARLAND Slim, gonna need you to close down the saloon for the duration. SLIM JIM I doubt that outlaw's gonna stop in for a drink, Sheriff. HARLAND Not him I'm worried about. I wont abide no drunken deputies.
DUTCHMAN Think he's talking to you, Marty. MARTY Shut up, Dutch. HARLAND Any questions? MARTY How much this gonna pay? HARLAND Pay? Marty, we got a cold blooded killer out there. MARTY What if this takes a couple days? A week? HARLAND Mister Mayor? Jenkins shoots a dirty look at Harland. JENKINS The county will indemnify your efforts. HARLAND Now, if there are no more stupid questions. The Sheriff leads his new deputies out the door. HARLAND Silas, take Andy and lock up the stable. He'll go for his horse. Rest of you, pair up and clear the streets. SILAS What about the Mexicans? They’re all at the graveyard. Harland turns to Charlie. HARLAND Would you go up and clear them out. Tell them to stay home till we catch this man. Wait up. BILL (O.C.)
Bill struts in, his right hand bandaged up in a sling.
SILAS Bill, you ought to be in bed. BILL Why, is that where the prick's hiding? ANDY What are you gonna do? Bleed on him? BILL I can shoot just fine with this hand. Harland leads Bill away from the other men. HARLAND Forget it. You're mad and you ain’t thinking straight. Go on home, son. BILL Sheriff, who you know can shoot better'n me? HARLAND That ain’t the point, Bill. BILL You gonna trust these yokels to cover your back? Bill nods at the new ‘deputies’. HARLAND I got no use for a man out for vengeance. BILL I ain’t. I want that sonuvabitch brought to good and proper same as you. And then you can take his horse and any money he's got and hand it over to Arlo's wife. 'Scuse me... widow. HARLAND Maggie and her boy ain’t got much now, do they? BILL Not without a man earning for them. Harland nods and leads Bill back to his deputies.
HARLAND Alright, everybody partner up. We're gonna start at the south end of town and work our way north. Tell everyone to get indoors until we get this bad man. EXT. DESERT - NIGHT The Dark Men crest the top of a mesa and look down at the lights of town. Black Robe pushes on, his tattered vestment flapping in the wind. The others fall in behind him, passing the weathered sign that welcomes all to Perdido. EXT. BARRIO - NIGHT Dutchman and Marty search the poor side of town. The street is deserted save for two mangy dogs fighting over meatscraps. Marty turns to ask a question, inadvertently pointing his rifle right at Dutch’s face. MARTY Say, Dutch-Dutchman grabs the rifle barrel and points it to the ground. DUTCHMAN Jesus, Marty, don't ever do that. Thing's loaded. Keep it pointed at the ground until you ready to shoot. MARTY Sorry. You ever done it? DUTCHMAN Fired a rifle? Course. How I know you keep it trained on the ground instead of waving it around like a goddamn flag. MARTY No, I mean, you ever shot a man? DUTCHMAN I shot at a man once. MARTY What happened?
DUTCHMAN (shrugs) I missed. MARTY He shoot ba-DUTCHMAN Shut up. You hear that? They hold their breath, listening. Dutchman draws his gun and waves Marty forward. EXT. TOWN LIMITS - NIGHT A mule brays in a cactus stand just outside of town. CHARLIE Godammit, mule. One-Eyed Charlie marches through the scrub after it. CHARLIE You run off on me again and swear-to-God I will carve you up and eat you. Charlie grabs the reins but the burro SPOOKS and pulls away. CHARLIE The hell's a matter with you? A twig snaps behind him. Charlie peers into the darkness with his one good eye. CHARLIE Eladio, that you? The DARK MEN walk out of the wasteland. All rags and tatters flapping in the wind. Charlie gets a good look at Black Robe. His mouth gapes open. CHARLIE Sweet Jesus... The Dark Men surround him. The mule bolts into the desert. Charlie's head rolls into a yucca stand. The Dark Men enter town.
EXT. ALLEY - NIGHT The Kid leads the priest by the arm, eyes peeled for trouble. RONALDO This is only making things worse. You have to surrender. Shut up. KID
Kid inches around a corner, looking out at the stable. Silas and Andy stand guard with rifles crooked at the elbow. Kid spits then leads Ronaldo away down a darkened alley. KID Sit down. You need that cut patched up. Ronaldo slumps down on a crate. Kid inspects his wound but the priest waves him off. KID You wanna bleed to death? Ronaldo relents. His eyes dart around, trying to make sense of what he’s just seen. RONALDO Maybe Arlo wasn’t really dead after all. Just near death... and he woke up confused or mad... KID He was dead. RONALDO The dead do not just spring back to life. KID Lazarus come back. RONALDO Lazarus was raised by the hand of Christ. I don’t recall seeing him in the room. Ronaldo shakes his head in frustration. RONALDO Just let me go. Don’t make me an accomplice to you. KID I can’t do that. I need your help.
KID With what you just seen. BLAM! A bullet screams by. Kid throws the priest to the ground for cover and draws his Colt. DUTCHMAN AND MARTY --hunker down behind a wall and fire at the outlaw. MARTY You get him? Bullets BLAST the wall above their heads as Kid returns fire. Plaster and dirt rain down as Marty hugs the ground. Dutchman drops his gun and RUNS. MARTY Godammit! Get back here! Drop it. Marty looks up... The Kid stands not ten feet away with his dragoon pistol trained right on him. KID The gun. Drop it. Marty looks at his hand, surprised he's still holding his gun. He drops it. Kid aims the barrel at Marty’s eyes. Ronaldo rushes up. RONALDO For God’s sakes, don’t kill him. Kid thumbs the hammer back. Click. Marty trembles, knowing he’s as good as dead. EXT. STREET - NIGHT Harland trawls up a street, with Bill following ten paces behind him. Harland stops, listening the crack of gunfire. KID (O.S.)
HARLAND Where’s that coming from? Something scampers out of a shadow. The boy, Arlo Jr. Harland grabs at him but the boy rabbits away. HARLAND Bill, grab that boy. No response. Harland turns-Bill? HARLAND
Bill’s gone. The boy disappears through a fence. DUTCHMAN --sprints blind down an alley, rounds a corner-- and SLAMS into Harland. DUTCHMAN Jesus Christ, don't kill me! HARLAND Easy Dutch, it’s me. Where’s Marty? Dutchman gasps for air, trying to speak. DUTCHMAN The Kid... Kid got him. EXT. ALLEY - NIGHT Marty’s eyes are shut tight, waiting for the end. Get lost. KID
Marty blinks his eyes open. Kid lowers his gun. Go on. KID
Marty backs away. Ronaldo breathes a sigh of relief. Then a noise stops everyone. The sound of boots ringing off the cobblestones. A wall of black smokes up out of the alley behind Marty.
THE DARK MEN All inky blackness with glowing coals where their eyes should be. A sooty hand snatches Marty and drags him down, swallowing him up into the darkness. A throat gurgle and then the crack of bonesnap. Kid fires. Draws the second Colt and BLASTS at the Dark Men with both barrels. One of the intruders drops, then another. The others press forward, bullets slamming into their dark clothes. Kid withdraws, shoves the priest ahead of him. RONALDO What in God’s name-Move! KID
The Dark Men push on. The outlaw and the priest run. EXT. ALLEY - NIGHT Harland and Dutchman search the alley. HARLAND Do you see him? There. DUTCHMAN
Up ahead, Marty’s boots stick out from the shadows. HARLAND Marty? You alright... He isn't. His insides lie steaming on the ground beside him. EXT. CEMETERY GATE - NIGHT Kid catches his breath outside the old cemetery. Ronaldo slams him up against the cemetery wall. RONALDO Who are those men?! (shakes Kid) What in God’s name is going on?
Kid shoves the priest off him. KID Come on. Something I wanna show you. The Kid steps into the cemetery. Skulls of sugar and paper maché stare back at them from the tombstones. KID They tell you anything about the man you replaced? RONALDO They said you desecrated his grave after you killed him. KID Yeah. I heard that one too. Kid points out the headstone that Paloma tended to earlier. KID Father Elijah Wade. Too righteous for his own damn good. RONALDO Why did you kill him? Kid picks up a candied skull and turns it in his fingers. KID We fought. Over a woman. You know Paloma Herrera? RONALDO The midwife? He crushes the skull in his fist. KID You seen those green eyes of hers. I been in love with her ever since I can remember. (...) But she loved Elijah. Even after he become a priest. Maybe more. The crushed powder runs through his fingers. KID I hated him for that. Father Ronaldo looks uncomfortable with the innuendo.
RONALDO Were... were they lovers? KID Not like that. They prayed together. (...) Elijah, he was always a hard man but he turned mean all of a sudden. Hateful. Told me to stay away from her. Said Paloma was too good for trash like me. Kid spits onto his brother’s grave. KID Bastard wanted her all to himself. RONALDO What did you do? KID Got drunk. Came looking for a fight. And fight we did. I shot him through the heart inside his own church. Your church now. Kid kneels down and straightens up the flowers Paloma placed there earlier. KID But that spiteful sonovabitch couldn’t leave it be. He crawled up outta this grave and come looking for me. Ronaldo rubs his temples, unsure of what to believe. RONALDO And what of those other men? KID I killed them too. Most of 'em were bounty hunters looking to collect the price on my head. Some of them... some were just unlucky. (...) And now they’re all after me. RONALDO This doesn’t make any sense. KID I been cursed, father. Just like the brother in the story.
KID Elijah, he cut me pretty bad. Left a mark that ain't never healed. He opens his shirt to reveal a horrid scar on his chest, scabbed over in some spots but bleeding fresh in others. Two cuts forming a crudely shaped X. KID Three years now and it still bleeds. It's the Mark. Mark? RONALDO
KID The Mark of Cain. RONALDO Cain? It’s only a scar. It just hasn't healed, that's all. KID It’s a curse. Ronaldo shakes his head at the outlaw. RONALDO You’re deluded. It’s simply your own conscience eating its way through your heart. That is what’s haunting you, the guilt. KID Ain’t the guilt, father. It’s him. RONALDO Why would God single you out? Of all the sinners in the world, why you? Kid scuffs the dirt with his bootheel. KID That’s why I need your help, father. I gotta break this hex me, get them ghosts off my back. (...) Tell me how to do that.
EXT. ALLEY - NIGHT Dutchman turns away from the corpse and retches. Vernon runs up to join them and sees the remains of Marty VERNON Jesus, his innards.... What kind of madman are we dealing with? Harland peels off his coat and throws it over the corpse. Come on. HARLAND
Harland leads the two men towards the cemetery gates. EXT. CEMETERY - NIGHT Wind flutters the candles peppered around the churchyard. RONALDO You're insane. KID They been dogging me three years now. And I’m tired. God, am I tired. The priest stares at him, unsure of what to think. KID I need to get this mark off me and break the curse. Tell me how to do that. RONALDO This is madness. I can’t help you. KID Can’t or won’t? RONALDO Even if this was true and God put that mark on you, who am I to interfere with His work? A beat. Then Kid tenses up, sensing something in the air. Draws his gun. RONALDO What is it? The Kid pans the barrel over the tombstones-- BLAM!
DUTCHMAN AND VERNON --dive behind a headstone as it explodes with gunfire above them. They crawl away, staying low. RONALDO'S POV as he watches Harland creeping towards the Kid. Harland motions for Ronaldo to keep quiet. Kid drops to one knee and FIRES. Harland eats the dirt, swings the rifle up fast to-THE KID'S GUN BARREL a foot from his face. But Harland's gun is pointed right at the Kid's heart. The lawman and the outlaw glare at each other over the barrels of the guns. STAND-OFF. Everything goes still. Then Harland smiles. CLICK. Dutchman levels a gun at the back of the Kid's head. Drop it. DUTCHMAN
Harland and the Kid stare down each other's barrels and Dutchman keeps his gun trained on the Kid's head. RONALDO Please, don't anyone move... HARLAND Thought you were dead, father. RONALDO I'm fine. Just be still. HARLAND Then who the hell got burned back there? RONALDO The boy, Arlo. HARLAND What the hell did you torch him for? RONALDO He... he wasn't dead, Harland. He attacked us. He killed John. HARLAND You been at the bottle?
RONALDO I know how this sounds... Look, just everyone ease off the trigger. Please. Harland and the Kid continue their staring contest. The wind picks up, blowing dust around. Something rustles in the dark-DARK MEN standing not ten yards out. Still. Watching. HARLAND Who the hell... More Dark Men stand to their right. And to the left there are few more. THE STANDOFF JUST GOT BIGGER. The Kid pulls up on the gun and eases the hammer down. It’s them. KID
The Dark Men push forward through the graves, out of the darkness and into the light-DEAD MEN Each one, dead to a man. Rotting flesh and yellow eyes. BLACK ROBE steps forward, his face putrid and the eyes lifeless. His rancid garment flaps in the wind. A filthy clerical collar around his neck. He marches for the Kid. Kid BLASTS away with both barrels. Black Robe staggers back with each shot but he does not fall. The crack of gunfire startles Harland and Dutchman to life. They fire at the Deadmen. Vernon runs for his life. DUTCHMAN They don't go down! THEY DON'T GO DOWN!! A DEADMAN lunges at Ronaldo, separating him from the others. The priest backpedals away. Thrusts a CROSS at the Deadman. The walking corpse stops in its tracks-RONALDO Our Father, who art in Heaven... The Deadman slaps the crucifix out of his hand.
Ronaldo scrambles back, hands groping the dirt for a weapon, anything. A length of wood-The priest SMASHES it down on the thing's head. The Deadman stumbles. He hits it again. RONALDO Thy kingdom come... (bludgeons the Deadman) Thy will be done... He drops the wood. Looks down at the skull he smashed open. The Deadman stirs, his jaw hanging loose. It gets up again. THE KID is in trouble. A Deadman on his back, ripping at him. Another coming up fast. The Kid hits the ground rolling and shakes the Deadman off. He gets up fast and STOMPS on its head with his bootheel. The second Deadman lunges at him-BARROOM! Kid blows its head clean off with both barrels. Black Robe strikes from behind, clamping a cold hand around the outlaw’s neck. The Kid kicks out in a panic, finds his legs and RUNS. DUTCHMAN staggers back. Belly torn open, one hand to keep his guts in. A Deadman closes in for the kill-BLAM! Harland shoots the corpse, forcing it back but the rotting thing just keeps coming. Harland swings his rifle like a bat and clubs it down. Get up! HARLAND
Harland drags Dutchman by the arm and they're running. EXT. CEMETERY - NIGHT Sand kicks up around the Deadmen standing in the cemetery. The ones that fell now rise, some with part of their heads blown away and one with no head whatsoever.
Black Robe turns to a tombstone before him. The name Elijah Wade inscribed there under a faded plaster crucifix. He tears the crucifix away and crushes it to powder in his hand then pushes the entire gravestone over into the sand. Black Robe strides away, following the Kid. Pin pricks of yellow light glow where his eyes should be. The rest follow. The Deadmen do not lurch or shamble. They simply walk, determined and unstoppable. INT. HUT - NIGHT Father Ronaldo hides inside a crumbling hut and holds his breath in the dark. A deadman stops outside the door. Ronaldo holds his hands over his mouth to stifle a cry. He stays quiet but his eyes are SCREAMING. The thing outside the door moves on. INT. BARN - NIGHT Vernon runs into a barn and closes the door, plunging the inside to pitch black. Then something rustles in the dark. VERNON Who's there? Two pinpricks of yellow light break the pitch like fireflies. Then another two lights appear. Eyes, glowing in the dark. Closing in on him. INT. SALOON - NIGHT Jenkins and Slim Jim sit alone in the saloon. Harland barges through the door pulling Dutchman after him. JENKINS What the hell happened? HARLAND Put out them lights. SLIM JIM We heard all that gunfire...
Harland pulls the big outer door shut. HARLAND Put out the damn lights! Slim extinguishes the lamps. Jenkins helps Dutchman to a chair and looks down at the wound. JENKINS My God. Jim, go get Doc Hayes. Dutch is bleeding to death. HARLAND Shut up. Nobody move. Everyone shuts up. Harland looks scared and that scares the hell out of Jenkins. JENKINS Did the Kid shoot you all to pieces? Harland doesn't answer. DUTCHMAN The dead... dead have come back. Slim presses his hands to Dutchman's belly to keep his guts from spilling out. The floorboards become slick with blood. SLIM JIM Don't talk, Dutch. DUTCHMAN They gonna kill us all... JENKINS What the hell happened out there? Harland just shakes his head, unable to answer the question. EXT. STREET - NIGHT The Kid hides in the shadows, watching the deserted street. Two Deadmen come out of an alley and sniff the air, looking for him. The Kid backs up and keeps moving. INT. SALOON - NIGHT Harland keeps watch at the window.
JENKINS Am I supposed to believe that? Dead men just walking around and killing everyone? (turns to Dutchman) Dutch, tell me it again. What exactly did you see? Slim Jim holds his hand against Dutchman's heart. SLIM JIM He can’t hear you. Quiet. HARLAND
Footfalls ring outside the door. Harland reloads his gun. EXT. SALOON - NIGHT Ronaldo creeps down the boarded walk as quiet as he can. His eyes dart around the deserted square. A HAND slaps over his mouth and drags him away. HARLAND (O.S.) Easy father, its me. Harland pulls Ronaldo into the saloon. Slim Jim closes the door. Ronaldo goes limp when he sees the familiar faces. HARLAND Are you hurt? RONALDO I’ll survive. JENKINS What happened out there, padre? Dutch was going on about the dead, coming back. RONALDO Where is Dutch? Dutchman lies slumped in his chair, dead. SLIM JIM Is it true, father? RONALDO It appears so. Harland uncorks a bottle and splashes whiskey into glasses, spilling it all over the bar. Passes them round.
HARLAND Can’t believe it myself. I saw them things rip the guts outta poor Dutch but I still don't believe it. JENKINS Why are they here? Ronaldo stares at the liquor in the glass for a moment and then throws it back. RONALDO The kid. It has something to do with the kid. A tremor ripples through him as the whiskey hits his stomach. JENKINS What does the kid have to do with it. RONALDO They’re after him. He said they’re all the men he's killed. INT. HOUSE - NIGHT Wind rattles the shutters inside a small adobe house. Paloma pulls the shutter tight and wraps a shawl over her shoulders. She lights a candle on a small Guadalupe shrine in the wall. The door creaks open... The Kid steps over the sill into the room. Paloma startles. PALOMA Vete... Get out. KID Paloma, wait. She grabs a carving knife from the sideboard. PALOMA No moleste. KID Listen to me. You have to leave Perdido. He grabs a satchel from a wallpeg and tosses it on the table. KID You ain’t safe here anymore.
PALOMA So you’ve come to save me? Play the caballero and make everything okay? She steps towards him, brandishing the knife. PALOMA Have you forgotten what you’ve done? She shoves him out the door, sending him tripping over the sill onto the sandy street. PALOMA I'd sooner die than be with you. The door is slammed shut. The Kid limps away into the shadows, stray dogs snapping at his heels. INT. LIVERY BARN - NIGHT Silas shifts about nervously. Andy peers out a greasy window. Horses snort and stamp in their stalls. ANDY Hell of a lotta gunfire out there. You think they got him? SILAS Let’s hope so. ANDY They musta. I counted a dozen shots. Maybe we should go see. SILAS Sit tight. The Sheriff will come get us when it’s all over. ANDY What if he forgets about us? I don't wanna sit in a stinking barn all night. Andy opens the door and peers out at the empty street. ANDY One of us ought to go see. SILAS Get back in here and do like the Sheriff told you. ANDY I'll be right back.
Andy runs out the door. Silas just shakes his head and refills his pipe. INT. COUNTY OFFICE - NIGHT Andy nudges open the door to the dark County Office. The lamps stand snuffed and the air is quiet. The rocking chair squeaks back and forth on the floorboards. ANDY John? Did they get him? No response, just the sound of the creaking chair. ANDY Why you settin there in the dark? A DEADMAN sits in the rocking chair, eyes glowing in the dark like a cat. The deadman turns and looks at Andy and just keeps rocking, back and forth, back and forth... Andy blinks in disbelief, then slowly backs away. INT. SALOON - NIGHT Harland opens the loading gate on his rifle. One shot left. JENKINS This is crazy. Dead men don't just get up and walk. Harland draws the Starr pistol from his holster. He pushes out the cylinder and checks the chambers. RONALDO I saw it happen. To (sets his glass You put his body in yelling at John and Arlo. down) the cell. The kid was I to get out...
SLIM JIM (fills Ronaldo’s glass) Take it slow, father. RONALDO Arlo stood up. Just stood up and didn't move for the longest time. He- it killed John. I let the kid out of the cell--
HARLAND You let him out? RONALDO That thing would have killed me. The kid set it afire. SLIM JIM How many of them are out there? HARLAND Six, maybe seven. Kid musta killed a lot of men in his time. JENKINS What the hell're we gonna do? HARLAND Jim, you got a gun? Slim Jim pulls an old ten gauge shotgun from behind the bar. SLIM JIM Just this old buckshot. Shells? HARLAND
Slim Jim snaps the barrel open. Two. SLIM JIM
Harland lifts the beam bolt from the door. JENKINS What're you doing? HARLAND I'm outta shells. All the ammunition is at the County Office. JENKINS You can’t go out there. They'll kill you. We gotta stay together. HARLAND They'll find their way here sooner or later. RONALDO No, he's right, Harland. Together, we at least stand a chance. Alone...
HARLAND And what're we gonna do if they come? Spit at them? RONALDO Then we'll all go. JENKINS I'm not going out there. HARLAND I ain’t asking you to. Stay put. I'll be back with some guns and shells. Harland hands his rifle to Jenkins. HARLAND You got one shell left in that. Use it wisely. The Sheriff slips out the door. EXT. BLACKSMITH SHOP - NIGHT The Kid hunkers down behind a cactus fence. He rifles through his pockets for shells and reloads. CLICK. The business end of a Peacemaker finds the back of his head. Gotcha. BILL
Bill leers down at him with a big shit-eating grin. EXT. COUNTY OFFICE - NIGHT Harland creeps into his office. He sees the empty rocking chair, swaying like it’s just been vacated. His foot hits something on the floor-ANDY or what's left of him anyway. Harland opens the gun cabinet and stuffs boxes of shells into his pocket. He takes his old Enfield rifle and tests its familiar weight in his hand. He tenses-Something SHUFFLES in the dark behind him.
Harland holds the Enfield by the barrel in both hands-CRACK! He brings it down hard on the thing behind him. Black Robe shrugs off the blow. A second Deadman strikes from the shadows and Harland fires and backs away to the door. Black Robe takes an oil lamp and smashes it against the gun cabinet. Flames SPRINT up the woodwork and over the firearms and ammunition inside. EXT. BLACKSMITH - NIGHT Bill levels his gun right at the Kid's face and gloats. BILL Getting careless, cowboy. Unwise for a man with a price on his head. KID Put that away before I shove it down your damn throat. Bill's finger gets itchy on the trigger... BLAM! Gunshots ring out but they ain’t coming from Bill. Bill looks to where the gunshots are coming from. BILL (distracted) What the hell? WHUMP! The Kid BELTS Bill hard, grabs his gun and bolts. EXT. COUNTY OFFICE - NIGHT Harland scrambles backwards out the door, jamming down the lever and FIRING. He tumbles down the steps onto his back. The County Office goes up in flames, EXPLODING from within as all the ammo goes off like a string of firecrackers. Black Robe stands on the porch, backlit by the inferno. Two Deadmen come out the doors after him and Harland fires but they just keep coming. They rush Harland, their rotting faces breathing foul into his and the Sheriff is done for.
CRACK! The Kid KICKS the Deadman off and he levels his Colt at it and empties three shells into the damned thing. More of the dead are coming up fast. Kid hauls Harland up-- a deadman LUNGES for them-GUNFIRE blows it back. The Kid and Harland look up to see Bill's smoking Peacemaker. Bill takes Harland’s other arm and the three of them scrabble away. The County Office burns. INT. SALOON - NIGHT Ronaldo and Jenkins peer out the windows, listening to the sound of gunfire and explosions. JENKINS That doesn’t sound good. BANG! Something SLAMS into the door from outside, almost knocking it off the hinges. Slim Jim brings up the buckshot and aims it at the door. HARLAND(O.S.) Goddammit, open the door! RONALDO It’s them. Open it! JENKINS And let those things in? Ronaldo shoves Jenkins aside and opens the door. Kid and Bill drag Harland inside. JENKINS Close the damn door! The dead are already pushing at the door and Ronaldo can't keep them out. One of the damned things slides through the breach before Slim Jim SLAMS his weight against the door. The Deadman leaps onto the Kid, tearing at him. Kid crashes through the tables with a monkey on his back. Slim Jim smashes a chair over the damned thing to shake it loose. It LASHES out at him like a rabid dog-Bill BLASTS shells into it. The thing is blown back across the room but it keeps moving, clawing the air.
The Kid pushes the upright piano onto it-- piano strings HUM as it hits the floor. Ronaldo and Jenkins pile tables and chairs onto it until the thing is pinned down. THE DEAD HAND --sticks out from under the piano, scratching at the floor. BILL Somebody wanna tell me what the hell is going on? Jenkins trembles as he makes the sign of the cross. JENKINS It’s the end. The end of everything... SLIM JIM Jesus, don't talk like that. JENKINS Judgment Day has come. (turns to Ronaldo) Tell them, Father. The dead have risen from their graves. And Hell has let loose its monsters. Everyone looks to the priest for an answer but Ronaldo doesn’t have one. EXT. SALOON - NIGHT Three horses stand tied to the hitching post, snorting with an animal’s sense of danger. Black Robe leads his cadre of Deadmen to the saloon. He waves his hand at the horses, giving silent orders. The Deadmen snap the reins and haze the animals away. Black Robe looks up at the windows of the Saloon. INT. SALOON - NIGHT Harland turns on the Kid. HARLAND You. Priest said it’s got something to do with you. What the hell do they want? JENKINS Jesus, look!
Yellow eyes peer in through the grimy windows. CRASH! Bony fists smash the glass. The doors burst inwards and the dead crawl through the splintered wood like snakes. SLIM JIM Out the back! The men follow the barkeep to the backdoor. The Deadmen slither inside, squeezing past the bottleneck at the door and climbing through the smashed windows. EXT. TOWN SQUARE - NIGHT Paloma steps out of an alley into the square. The stomping of hooves pounds the air-- a HORSE bolting right towards her. She jumps back. The horse races past her into the night. Gunfire rings out from the Saloon. She sees the Sheriff and the Priest fighting off a group of dark men. One Deadman turns and slurs towards her. Paloma’s eyes go wide at the sight of it. It lunges at her. She stumbles back but it keeps coming-A HAND locks around the Deadman’s throat and hurls him away. She looks up at her savior-- another Deadman but this one is clad in a priest’s robe and filthy clerical collar. Paloma stutters. Even through the leathery flesh and yellow eyes, she recognizes him. Elijah... PALOMA
Black Robed ELIJAH snatches her by the arm with his cadaverous hand. KID --boots away a Deadman. Cut off from the other men and surrounded. He startles, seeing Paloma in the street. Then he sees Black Robe/Elijah clutching her arm. He smashes through the Deadmen in a frenzy and runs for Paloma. Kid aims at Elijah’s head and CLICK. Both barrels draw empty. Elijah looks down at his kid brother, lips drawing back in a cold smile. A reunion of sorts, the three of them like this.
Kid barrels into Elijah headfirst, bringing the big man down. They roll but Kid comes up on top, knees on Elijah’s chest, smashing a gunbutt into the dead face. Elijah STRIKES him, sending Kid tumbling through the sand. EXT. SALOON - CONTINUOUS Slim Jim hammers at the Deadmen but he’s surrounded. They swarm him and pull him down. Ronaldo and Harland back up, pulling Jenkins with them. HARLAND We’re fighting an uphill battle here. RONALDO Get to the church. KID --scrambles to his feet and pulls Paloma close. They watch Elijah rise from the sand and turn towards them. The dead priest dusts himself off, like he’s got all the time in the world. Kid pulls the woman away and they start running. EXT. CHURCH - NIGHT Ronaldo swings open the heavy doors and waves the others in. Bill brings up the rear and takes the door from him. He looks back to see Kid and Paloma running hard for the church. He swings the big door closed. BILL No more room, cowboy. Kid shoulders it back open and Paloma rushes in. Boom! Bill shuts the door and slams the bolt lock home. KID Son of a bitch... Kid PUNCHES Bill in the teeth. Bill hits the door and slides to the floor. Kid raises his foot, ready to stomp his head-Paloma stops him, pulling him away.
Kid relents and storms away from Bill. Everyone drops to catch their breath, each man a bruised and bloodied mess. JENKINS We’re safe in here. Mayor Jenkins sits on the floor, eyes crazed with terror. JENKINS They can’t come in here. Right, Father? It’s holy ground, they can’t come in here... Ronaldo feels all their eyes burn into him for reassurance. RONALDO Yes, mister Jenkins. We’re safe in here. But the priest sounds uncertain and Bill catches it. BILL Bullshit. We’re all gonna die in here. HARLAND No one’s gonna die. Them doors are three inch oak. Take an army to bust them down. Harland tends to Mayor Jenkins, trying to calm him down. He pulls out his flask and lets Jenkins slug at it. BILL Bullshit I say. HARLAND Bill, just shut your damn mouth. Harland... RONALDO
Ronaldo holds his hand out for the flask. Harland hesitates. HARLAND You already had snout-full, padre. Maybe you oughtta-RONALDO Let me have the damn flask.
Ronaldo gulps it down and wipes his hand across his mouth. He glares at the Kid. BILL We gotta get out of here. JENKINS No. We're safe. God will protect us. Bill stands and walks toward the altar. BILL I for one am getting the hell outta here. Where's the backdoor, Ronaldo? PALOMA Do not open that door. BILL No one asked you, witch. KID Mind your mouth, asshole. BILL Go to hell. Kid gets to his feet. KID Someone shoulda slapped some sense into you a long time ago. BILL You wanna try it, big man? HARLAND Shut up! All of you, just shut up. The men stop talking. Harland turns to the Kid. HARLAND You. Just what the hell are we dealing with here? The dead. And? KID HARLAND
KID What else you need to know? They don’t eat, they don’t sleep and if you shoot ‘em, they don’t die. HARLAND And they're after you? KID Three years now they been on my tail. They'll kill anything that stands in their way. Paloma shudders at Kid’s words, eyes darting around in horror as if seeing something for the first time. JENKINS Three years? Harland scratches his chin, trying to make sense of it. HARLAND Why are they after you? KID I been cursed. For killing my brother. RONALDO The boy is delusional. He thinks God himself marked him. KID You saw them things. Your eyes lying to you? RONALDO Those...abominations are not the work of God. KID Maybe you lack the faith, padre. The priest boils at that but holds his tongue. JENKINS He's right. RONALDO He's deluded. JENKINS No, he's right. You said three years... eighty-four, right? Same year the silver mine ran dry. Put us all outta work. (MORE)
78. JENKINS (CONT'D) (fevered) Don't you see? God has not only cursed him, He's punishing this whole town.
PALOMA No, do not say that. JENKINS The mine, the lifeblood of this town ran out the same year he killed his brother. Same time the drought hit. And the births. Births? KID
PALOMA There hasn’t been a child born alive in Perdido for the past three years. All stillborns. Slow down. HARLAND
JENKINS It all makes sense. Don't you see? A pall settles over the room. HARLAND Why come back here? Kid looks over at Paloma, betraying one reason, then he nods at the priest. KID Need to break the curse. I thought coming back where it started I could find a means to end it. Thought maybe the padre could help me. He looks over at Ronaldo slugging at the flask. KID I thought wrong. Padre can’t even help himself. RONALDO What makes you so special? Ronaldo turns on the Kid, the liquor in his blood.
RONALDO I gave my life to God. I gave up everything in hopes of seeing His hand revealed to me. I prayed and waited but nothing ever came. Until now. The priest shoves him. The Kid just takes it, backing into the Guadalupe statue. RONALDO And this is how He reveals Himself to me. Through those abominations outside. And you, a killer. Kid turns and looks up into the face of the Virgin. The lifeless plaster eyes stare back at him. RONALDO He reaches down from on high and writes his name in your flesh with the Mark of Cain. Why... why you? Paloma takes Ronaldo’s arm, trying to calm him down. PALOMA Tranquillo, padre. Esta bien. BILL Sounds like pure craziness to me. The men look at Kid suspicious, unsure of what to believe. Kid looks to Paloma. KID You were there. Tell them. PALOMA That’s not what happened. That snaps the Kid’s head around. Is she lying? PALOMA God didn’t curse you. Your brother did. KID That’s a damn lie. PALOMA I’ll show you. Paloma walks up to Kid, reaches past him and grabs hold of the Guadalupe statue.
PALOMA Help me. Pull this out. Together they pull the statue out of its alcove, scraping it across the floor. A cast iron ring lies in the dust. Paloma pulls it open, revealing a TRAPDOOR. Cobwebs shroud the opening of a small priesthole. Old ladder rungs lead down into the darkness underneath the church. RONALDO What is this? Paloma brushes away the cobwebs. PALOMA The crypt. Hand me those candles. INT. CRYPT - NIGHT Dark and cold, lit up by the candelabra in Paloma’s hand. Bare stone walls carved from igneous bedrock. Kid pulls a torch from a wall sconce and touches it to the candles. Ronaldo climbs down the ladder and looks around, while the Sheriff and Mayor follow behind him. This way. PALOMA
Ronaldo follows the woman, crunching debris underfoot. He looks down to find dusty bones scattered everywhere. KID How’d you come to know of this place? PALOMA Elijah showed it to me. The night he died. RONALDO What exactly was your relationship with Father Elijah? PALOMA I loved him. But not in the way you think. We loved each other through our love for God. Kid snarls his teeth at that but hides it from Paloma.
PALOMA But Elijah had started to change. He became angry and distant with me. Why? This. RONALDO PALOMA
She moves the candelabra forward... AN ENORMOUS STATUE squats at the end of the crypt. Eight feet of chiseled stone, carved into a colossal grinning SKULL, eerily similar to the crude Day of the Dead decorum of the day. Its mouth of teeth gapes open, the lower jaw extending grotesquely forward to form a table top. Hieroglyphics carved into the stone show ancient priests sacrificing human victims on the skull statue. An altar to a faith long faded from history. RONALDO What in the name of Christ is it? PALOMA An altar. To something very old and very cruel. (...) Elijah said he’d found something greater than the Church. And we could be together in his new faith. Kid stares at the grinning skull, wanting to spit. KID This is why he changed. Became mean. PALOMA He was dabbling in something evil and it took hold of him. I wanted no part of it. I ran from this awful thing. Elijah went crazy, beat me for rejecting him. (looks at Kid) That’s when you found me. Do you recognize this? Paloma points to a crude ornamental dagger fitted to a slot in the carved teeth of the skull.
PALOMA It’s the blade he cut you with. I hid it back down here and sealed off the entrance to this evil place. Kid touches the altar, running his fingers over its stone grooves. A black patina flakes off at his touch. KID There’s blood on this. PALOMA Your blood. Yours and Elijah’s. It ran through the floorboards. Kid backs away from it, shaking his head. PALOMA Do you remember your brother’s dying words? KID He called me Cain. And God heard him. PALOMA God didn’t hear him, this thing did. It tasted your blood and the curse became true. RONALDO You mean Father Elijah meant to crawl out of his grave and become a... a walking deadman? Kid staggers away, reeling from her words. PALOMA No. The curse condemned him also. He became the instrument of his own blasphemy. Ronaldo gazes at the altar in horror. RONALDO I can’t believe this has been hidden under my church the whole time. BILL Who would build a church over this godawful thing? RONALDO The Spaniards. They did it all the time.
HARLAND Why not just destroy the damned thing? PALOMA I think they were afraid of it. Ronaldo holds his hands over the altar, like he’s warming them over an open fire. RONALDO Can you not feel it? Like it’s hot and cold at the same time. Harland watches the priest with suspicion. HARLAND Let’s get the hell away from it. INT. CHURCH - NIGHT Ronaldo closes the trapdoor and Paloma helps him push the Guadalupe statue back over it. Harland looks out a small window. The square deserted. JENKINS Do you see them? HARLAND No. It’s quiet. Kid moves away from the others and slumps to the floor. Rubs his eyes, exhausted and still reeling from what he’s seen. Paloma sits down quietly beside him. She watches him. PALOMA You never knew. Kid takes off his hat and shakes his head. KID You still love him. Don’t you? PALOMA I love the man he used to be. Before he changed. KID After all he done to you. She folds her arms around her knees, about to say something but stops and remains quiet.
KID I’d never hurt you. Not like that. I’d take care of you. I know. PALOMA
KID Why can’t you let him go? PALOMA I can’t force my heart to love you. He snaps the hatbrim in his fist. Why not? KID
Kid calms down, straightens out his hat. The moment drags. SMASH! A rock shatters the window, bounces across the floor. Everyone scrambles to their feet and moves away from the windows. Something POUNDS on the doors. JENKINS Why can’t they just go away? Kid hustles Paloma to the center of the floor. He draws his gun and pushes open the cylinder. HARLAND How do we stop these things? You don't. KID
HARLAND I knocked the head off one of them. It dropped. KID Only slows them down. BILL You telling me they keep going even if they got no head? KID Only thing I seen stop them is burning. JENKINS So let's burn them.
KID Ain’t that easy. You gotta burn them down to nothing. Kid puts his hat on. Still bent. He straightens it some more. KID I caught one once. Torched him. Took me two days to burn him down to cinders. Even then, the bones kept moving. Jenkins shudders at the mental image. JENKINS Then what do we do? BILL Ain’t it obvious? All eyes turn to Bill. BILL We give 'em the kid. All eyes turn to the Kid. KID You better think again. BILL He's what they want. Let's just give him to them. Problem solved. Harland doesn't say anything. He just stares at the Kid. JENKINS Maybe Bill's got a point. BILL Damn straight. We all supposed to do die for him? One man? And a goddamn killer at that? Let 'em have him. Them things can drag his ass off to the hellfires. HARLAND No one’s tossing anyone out. BILL What the hell's gotten into you? Earlier in the day you were ready to hang him and now you wanna save his neck? (...) It’s him or us, sheriff.
JENKINS Do it, Harland. Give them the kid and they'll go away. Silence. Everyone chews on the idea. The Kid backs up. BILL Hell with ya. I’ll do it. Kid draws fast as a rattlesnake and aims his gun at Bill’s eyes. Bill freezes cold. KID I’ll kill any man who tries. The air tenses. The dead pound on the doors. BILL You gonna shoot us all? You that fast? KID (cold as hell) Draw and find out. RONALDO For God’s sake, stop this. HARLAND You ain’t gonna shoot nobody. Harland rests his hand on the butt of his gun, tempting fate. HARLAND You kill us, we’ll just rise from the dead. That’s how this works, don’t it? Kid grits his teeth. Cornered and he knows it. HARLAND What will happen to her if we turn into them things outside? The dead pound, pound, pound on the doors. The Kid stands alone, shunned by even this small community. The fugitive again. He leans and spits on the floor. Looks up at the Sheriff. KID You’ll keep her safe? HARLAND With my life.
Kid holsters his gun and walks away. PALOMA You can’t do this. HARLAND We have to. I’m sorry, Paloma. PALOMA Then Elijah wins. Don’t you see? The evil wins. Ronaldo follows Kid to the rectory door. A beat. RONALDO I wish there was some other way. Yeah. KID
Kid nods at the door. Ronaldo unbolts and opens it. The outlaw strides out and the priest locks it back up. EXT. CHURCH - NIGHT Kid stays in the shadows of the church wall, quiet as can be. Two Deadmen rise up out of nowhere, as if waiting for him. Kid breaks into a run. EXT. CHURCH DOORS - CONTINUOUS Elijah watches the Kid bolting from the church but he makes no move to follow him. He hisses at the Deadmen pounding on the doors. They stop. Elijah kicks over a water trough, spilling it into the sand. He snaps his fingers at it. The Deadmen hoist up the trough like a battering ram. INT. CHURCH - NIGHT Ronaldo joins the others gathered at a pew. The men breathe a sigh of relief while Paloma paces the floor, troubled. BILL Guess we just wait it out, huh?
CRASH! The front doors burst open, splintered apart by the water trough/battering ram. And the Dead pour through the breach. Harland curses. Their plan didn’t work. He draws and fires at the Deadmen. Bill follows his lead. Elijah pushes aside his Deadmen and locks eyes on Paloma. Ronaldo pulls them away. This way. EXT. CHURCH - NIGHT Ronaldo rushes out the rectory door-- only to find another Deadman waiting for them. A grisly corpse with his JAWBONE hanging loose. Jawbone locks his cold hands around Ronaldo’s throat. Harland and Bill shoot and pistolwhip the Deadman but Jawbone lashes back at them. It rips into Harland’s ribs and the Sheriff drops. More Deadmen spill into the street after them. JENKINS --is knocked flat to the ground. Dead hands grab his ankles and DRAG the mayor back into the church. Paloma watches in horror as the men go down, then ducks as Jawbone swipes at her. KID (O.S.) Muchacho... Jawbone turns-- Splash! Gets drenched by Kid tossing a bucket onto him. The liquid steams up off him. Kid strikes a match off a thumbnail and Whoosh! Jawbone goes up in flames. He flails his arms, dripping fire and everyone backs away, including the other Deadmen. Paloma and the men retreat, looking for higher ground. Jawbone crawls away, reaching for a nearby water trough. Kid grabs his ankle and drags Jawbone back into the street. RONALDO
KID Burn, you ugly son of a bitch. The Dead watch their compadre burn. Kid limps away. EXT. ALLEY - NIGHT Harland stumbles, clutching his stomach. Paloma helps him up. PALOMA We need to hide somewhere. Kid marches up to the first door he sees and KICKS it in. INT. DRY GOODS STORE - NIGHT They crash into a merchant shop and stay low. Harland catches his breath while Paloma tends to his cut ribs. HARLAND We’re a sorry looking bunch. Kid looks out the window to the square. Jawbone burns in the sand. The Deadmen turn and withdraw into the church. All goes quiet. RONALDO What’s happening out there? KID They’re hold up in the church. BILL Ain’t they coming for you? Kid watches the church but no one comes out. INT. CRYPT - NIGHT Mayor Jenkins struggles, carried aloft by the Deadmen down into the crypt. He’s thrown to the floor. Slim Jim lies stretched over the altar. His throat slit. Blood spilled down the altar and gelling in the crevices. Elijah rolls Slim off the stone and turns to Jenkins. Dead hands drag Jenkins up and stretch him out over the altar. Elijah leans in close, his glowing eyes just inches from Jenkins.
The Mayor of Perdido County screams. EXT. CHURCH - NIGHT Crash! Something flies out the church window and lands in the sand. A prayer book. A Deadman lurches out the front door, carrying a big crucifix. He tosses it into the street and goes back inside. More of them appear, tossing bibles into the gutter. INT. DRY GOODS STORE - NIGHT The five survivors press against the window, watching the Dead empty the church of its sacraments. RONALDO What are they doing to my church? Two more Deadmen come out, lugging the big Guadalupe statue into the street. They stomp it to pieces in the sand. KID Son of a bitch... Look. What? Them two. RONALDO KID
The two Deadmen stomping the statue-SLIM JIM and JENKINS Their skin now gray and eyes turned yellow. RONALDO How can that be? You didn’t kill them. HARLAND It appears they changed the rules on ya. Slim and Jenkins finish stomping the Guadalupe. They skulk away from the church and into the night. BILL Are they coming this way? KID No. They’re headed off somewhere else.
Harland rummages around the shelves and finds a spyglass. He unfurls it and peers out at the church. SPYGLASS POV Panning over the church until it stops at a broken window. A bustle of activity inside. RONALDO What’s happening in there? The Deadmen toss the pews away and tear up the floorboards. Elijah stands over them, orchestrating the destruction. HARLAND They’re wrecking the church. Tearing up the floors. Ronaldo takes the spyglass and peers into his church. KID What the hell for? RONALDO To get into the crypt. To get the altar. Ronaldo turns to Paloma. RONALDO What did Father Elijah plan to do with his new ‘faith’? Paloma blanches, as if remembering something. KID What is it? PALOMA He vowed to convert everyone to it. All of Perdido... A beat. Then SCREAMS break the silence. The Dead Jenkins and Slim return, dragging Silas with them. The Livery owner struggles but he’s no match for them and gets dragged kicking and screaming into the church. HARLAND What the hell are they doing now? Ronaldo turns pale.
RONALDO It’s for the altar. They’re going to sacrifice him on it. More Deadmen slur out of the church and away into the night. KID They’re going for more. HARLAND We gotta stop them. You can’t. KID
HARLAND We can’t stand here and watch ‘em tear my town apart. PALOMA What if we just stopped Elijah? KID You can’t do it. PALOMA He’s the one behind this. Kid shakes his head in shame. KID I can’t beat him. He’s too strong. Always has been. A beat. Someone coughs. The altar. RONALDO
HARLAND What of it? RONALDO We destroy the altar, we’ll destroy him. Kid looks unconvinced. RONALDO He rendered this evil. His blasphemy and your blood fueled this curse. KID He ain’t gonna stand still while we bash at it with a pick-axe.
Harland rifles through a cabinet at the back. HARLAND No need. Catch. The Sheriff tosses something into the air. Kid catches it-three sticks of dynamite twined together at the wick. HARLAND You’re gonna blow it to smithers. KID Don’t recall volunteering for the job. HARLAND He’s your brother. Kid inspects the fuses on the dynamite. Not very long. KID Getting back inside will be tricky. HARLAND Bill and I can lay down cover fire, draw them outta the church. KID Two guns? Odds ain’t with us. Harland unscrews his flask, toasts the Kid and takes a drink. HARLAND Sufficient unto the day, son. Sufficient unto the goddamn day. PALOMA Father Ronaldo and I are not crippled. That makes four to draw them out. KID You ain’t going nowhere. PALOMA I won’t stand wayside while you all die. Gun or no, I’ll stand with the sheriff. RONALDO She speaks for both of us. KID You ever shot a gun, padre? Ronaldo doesn’t answer, meaning no.
HARLAND Nothing to it. Here. Harland hands his rifle to Ronaldo. HARLAND Eye your target against the bead and squeeze the trigger. Jack the lever to reload. Kid looks up at Paloma. She stands firm. He pulls one of his Colts and reloads the chambers. He spins the gun and offers the handle to her. Paloma takes the gun and almost drops it. PALOMA It’s heavy. Kid grabs a box of shells and slides it into her pocket. KID Six shots, then reload. Paloma turns to go. Kid touches her arm. Paloma... KID
Kid gropes for something to say to her. Anything. KID Di mi nombre. PALOMA John. Tu nombre es John. Harland waits impatiently at the door. HARLAND Let’s get a move on, people. Paloma and Kid break it up and join the others. HARLAND We’ll give you a minute to get situated. Kid squares his hat on his head then goes out the door. BILL How do we get them outta the church?
Harland grabs a bucket of pennynails and empties it onto the counter. HARLAND We’re gonna knock on the front door. EXT. CHURCH - NIGHT Kid glides along the church wall, checks the street then climbs up to a broken window. Looks inside. The trapdoor to the crypt is right below him. The Dead occupy the church, now stripped of all Christian icons. Some tear at the floor while others sit quietly in the pews, as if waiting for a sermon to begin. Elijah is nowhere to be seen. EXT. TOWN SQUARE - NIGHT Harland tilts a kerosene-filled bucket into the sand leading up to the church doors. He joins the others in the center of the square, a good ten yards from the church. HARLAND Alright, we’re gonna get their attention and draw them out into the open here. (...) We can’t hold them off too long so when they get close, we withdraw into the dry goods and make another stand there. BILL And when they get us in there? HARLAND We get creative. Bill and Harland take aim at the front doors and fire. The wood splinters away under their bullets. A Deadman appears at the door. One, two then three of them descend the front steps and see the quartet of people facing them. More come to the door. Bill draws a bead on the closest one and fires. It drops to a sitting position, then gets back up.
EXT. CHURCH WINDOW - SAME TIME Kid watches the Dead file out to the commotion in the street. He steps over the broken glass and drops silently to the floor. He hesitates, looking into the darkness of the trapdoor. Then down he goes. INT. CRYPT - CONTINUOUS Kid moves down the passageway. Votive candles from the church proper stand set and lit, casting a red glow over the walls. Dynamite in hand, he approaches the stone altar at the far end of the crypt. The crude skull grins up at him. Its stone contours stained damp with fresh blood. A BODY lies crumpled at its base. Kid nudges it with his boot, rolling the corpse onto its back. Silas stares at the ceiling, belly split and flies already swarming his gaping eyes. Kid kneels down before the altar, looking for somewhere to jam the dynamite in. YELLOW EYES flicker from the deep shadows, watching the Kid. EXT. TOWN SQUARE - NIGHT Harland and company watch the enemy clomp out of the church. A WALL OF DEADMEN stand in the town square, some without arms, others without heads and another with but stumps for limbs. They roil forward in unison towards the four survivors. RONALDO Now, Harland. HARLAND Hold up, let them step into it. The Dead move forward. The one without limbs slithers on its belly, flapping its stumps in the sand like a beached seal.
Harland sets a match to the kerosene. Flames BLAZE across the ground to the bigger puddle at the Deadmen’s feet. The Dead step out of the fire’s way as the ground ignites like a bonfire. The only one caught in its flames is the limbless one, flailing and flopping in the inferno. Harland curses, the trap sprung but now useless. Paloma swings up the heavy Colt with both hands and fires. INT. CRYPT - NIGHT Kid jams the dynamite into a gap in the stone teeth and fumbles for a match. ELIJAH rises up silently behind him and DRIVES a foot into Kid’s back, slamming him up against the stone altar. The box of matches scatters to the floor. Elijah’s dead hand reaches past Kid’s face, grips the dagger in its slot and pulls it free. Kid struggles but he’s pinned tight. The corpse on the floor stirs. It sits up straight and Kid is suddenly eye-to-yellow-eye with Silas. EXT. TOWN SQUARE - NIGHT A cloud of gunsmoke coils around the survivors as they fire at the Deadmen. Ronaldo fires the rifle but the recoil kicks his shoulder, throwing the shot wild. Move back! HARLAND
The group backs up as the wall of Deadmen gains ground. Harland turns, only to find their escape route cut off by two more Deadmen... the former mayor and barkeep. INT. CRYPT - CONTINUOUS Elijah rams his boot harder into Kid’s backbone. Silas’ dead face leans in closer to the pinned gunslinger.
Kid gets some leverage against the stone and BUCKS up, throwing off his brother’s heel. He rolls away fast and up onto his feet. Draws his gun. The Kid and the dead priest face each other, two brothers sizing one another up for the last time. Kid levels the Colt at his brother’s face and BLASTS Elijah dead center between the eyes. The dead priest barely flinches. Smoke wisps out of the cyclops hole in his skull. He SLASHES Kid across the wrist. The gun clatters away across the floor. Kid jumps back but not quick enough. Elijah cuts him again, slicing his shirt and opening the old wound. Kid drops to his knees. Silas squares up beside Elijah, their yellow eyes looking down at the bleeding gunslinger. EXT. TOWN SQUARE - NIGHT Ronaldo swings the rifle up at another target. Dead hands snatch the weapon away from him. He’s surrounded. Paloma blasts a hole in a skull and aims at another but there’s too many of them. A sea of dead hands overwhelm her, pull the gun away and reach for her throat. Bill drops one after another with his Peacemaker but the damn things just keep crawling at him. One Deadman stomps towards him, all burnt skin and charred flesh. Bill recognizes him. Arlo...? BILL
The thing that was Arlo Thompson flattens Bill to the ground and wrestles the gun from his hand. It jams the barrel into Bill’s temple and... Bang. Bill’s brains splatter over the sand. Harland fires and retreats up the steps of the Dry Goods Store, watching in horror as his allies fall like dominoes.
INT. CRYPT - NIGHT Elijah looms over Kid. Wipes the blade against his thigh. Kid kicks out hard into Elijah’s knee. Something SNAPS and Elijah goes down. Kid springs up and STOMPS down on the hand holding the dagger, shattering Elijah’s fingerbones to splinters. Silas body-slams Kid across the room. Kid snatches up his gun and backs up against the wall. Elijah picks up the dagger with his good hand and closes in with Silas, cornering the Kid. No way out. Kid levels the gun again but Elijah just twists his mouth into a cruel smile. The weapon is useless and they both know it. The dead priest and Silas move in for the kill. Elijah raises the dagger high, ready to gut his brother-- but noise from the passageway stops his hand. Deadmen lurch in with two more victims bound for the altar. PALOMA AND RONALDO --kick and struggle against their captors as they’re handed forward and presented to Elijah. Elijah takes Paloma by the chin and looks into her eyes. He caresses his cold thumb over her lips. PALOMA Elijah, don’t do this... His jaw moves as if trying to speak but all that comes out is a hissing death rattle. PALOMA For God’s sakes... The dead priest curls his lips back at her words. His fingers cut into her skin. KID (O.C.) Get your damn hands off her. Elijah swivels slow to his brother. Kid holds a candle under the dynamite jammed into the altar. The flame an inch from the wick.
Elijah releases Paloma. KID Let them go. The dead priest shakes his head. No. KID Do it or I’ll dynamite this goddamn rock. EXT. DRY GOODS STORE - NIGHT Harland jacks the rifle, shoulders it ready to blast anything that moves. The square stands empty. Black smoke billows up from the kerosene fire in the sand. Harland steps cautiously into the square. A noise breaks the quiet. Something coming out of the smoke. Dead Arlo marches for Harland, his charred limbs making a horrid shurring sound as he walks. Harland fires. Arlo juggernaughts towards him, barrels the Sheriff to the ground. The rifle knocked away into the sand. INT. CRYPT - NIGHT The Deadmen remain still. The Kid is like a stone. The candle gutters under the dynamite wick. No one even breathes. KID Let ‘em go, Elijah. (...) I’ll still be here. PALOMA No. Light the dynamite. Before it’s too late! KID Shut up. (...) Elijah. Don’t make me wait.
Elijah nods to his cadre. The dead release Paloma and Ronaldo and step back, parting the way to the exit. The dead priest looks to his brother. Kid moves the flame away from the dynamite. Go on. Paloma doesn’t move. PALOMA It can’t end like this. KID Get her out of here, Ronaldo. RONALDO (leading her away) Come away, Paloma. Please. PALOMA You’re just going to let these things kill you? Kid thumbs the hammer back with a loud click. KID They ain’t gonna kill me. Ronaldo tears Paloma away, hurrying down the crypt to the ladder leading out. Elijah points at the candle. Kid tosses it away. The Deadmen press forward, surrounding the Kid on all sides. EXT. TOWN SQUARE - NIGHT Harland scrambles away on his back, kicking out at Dead Arlo to get away. The Deadman leaps onto Harland. Locks his scorched fingers round the lawman’s throat. INT. CHURCH - NIGHT Paloma helps Ronaldo climb out of the trapdoor. Ronaldo heads for the door but Paloma hesitates. RONALDO What are you waiting for? Hurry. KID
PALOMA What did he mean by that? RONALDO You know what he meant. Paloma pulls the trapdoor over. It slams shut with a bang. She slides the bolt, locking it. INT. CRYPT - NIGHT Kid backs up against the stone. A WALL OF DEADMEN --close in on him. Surrounded on all sides. Kid looks up at Elijah. KID I’ll see you in Hell. Kid spins the barrel of the gun into his mouth. INT. CHURCH - NIGHT The GUNSHOT echoes through the church. Paloma startles at the sound as if stung. Ronaldo takes her hand and leads her out the door. INT. CRYPT - NIGHT Kid lies against the altar, face staring up at the ceiling. His blood and brains sprayed over the black stone. Splinters of skullbone and scalp peel away from the thick blood and fall to the floor. Elijah looks down at Kid. His fists trembling with rage at being cheated like this. He roars at his dead brother. The Deadmen stop moving. Elijah drops to his knees as if a great exhaustion overtakes his dead limbs. He goes still, like stone. The Deadmen follow suit, dropping to their knees in unison. They tilt their faces up to heaven and become still.
EXT. TOWN SQUARE - NIGHT Harland chokes, struggling against the deathgrip. He gets free and looks up. Dead Arlo doesn’t move, as if frozen to the spot. Harland pushes it away. The Deadman rolls off and hits the ground. EXT. CHURCH - NIGHT The priest and the midwife limp out of the church, stepping past the bibles and broken crosses scattered in the dust. Smoke billows around them, the limbless corpse still burning in the sand. The town square empty and quiet. HARLAND (O.C.) Is it over? Harland sits on the steps of the general store, his rifle propped over his knees. The sheriff of Perdido county is bloodied and filthy like he’s been to Hell and back. But he manages a smile. RONALDO It’s over. The Kid is dead. Harland lays the rifle on the step beside him. HARLAND Amen for that. INT. CRYPT - NIGHT Nothing moves. The Kid dead against the altar. The Deadmen as still as stone. Like a waxworks tableau. A breeze picks up out of nowhere and blows through the crypt, fluttering the candles. The light shimmers over the walls. EXT. TOWN SQUARE - NIGHT Ronaldo joins Harland on the step, looking tired and worn.
They look down at the remains of Arlo on the ground. His charred flesh flakes off and peels away, leaving nothing but papery ash on the sand. Bill? RONALDO
Harland shakes his head. No. HARLAND What happened down there? Did they get him? RONALDO No. He took his own life. Ronaldo makes the sign of the cross. HARLAND So that did the trick? It’s finished. He nods but Paloma paces the sand. She looks scared. HARLAND You don’t seem so sure. PALOMA How do we know it’s over? RONALDO He’s dead. The curse fulfilled. Is it? PALOMA
HARLAND What are you saying? PALOMA How does the curse work? RONALDO Anyone the Kid killed rose from the... The Sheriff and the priest stop smiling. INT. CRYPT - NIGHT Candlelight ripples over the remains of the Kid. His skin pale and lifeless.
THE EYELIDS ROLL OPEN. A murky yellow glows from within. The candles die out all at once, plunging the crypt into DARKNESS FADE OUT:
~ END ~