This screenplay is a biopic drama with the following elements:
Inspired by a true story
A buddy film
Strong male/female leads
Locations: tax-favorable states, Alberta
Budget est. less than $5,000,000
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Copyrighted May 4, 2014 by MICHAEL LANCE RITTER (USA)
No portion of this work can be performed, published, reproduced, sold or distributed by any means, or quoted or published in any medium, including any web site, without the prior written consent of Michael Lance Ritter. WGA Registry 1718322, U.S. Copyright #1-1410521141
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* A United Artists VP wrote, "Your drama can be an epic film; proceed to development."
* A Novafilmhouse producer wrote, "It's an extremely compelling drama deserving production."
* A mini-series producer said, "Your story will shine on cable."
* A 2020 Atlanta Screenplay Festival Critic: " This is a strong, exciting script with an enthralling premise."
Baptiste moves to his day of reckoning in a life of peril, adventure, love and bigotry.
The 1865 opening sequence has him nearly shot in a saloon. We return to 1805 to the Lewis & Clark Expedition fort where Sacagawea is birthing him.
At age two Clark gets permission to raise him as a son, but his wife constantly rejects the boy because he’s half Indian.
At age 18 he loves elite Michelle, but her father ends their romance because he's part-Indian. She’s sent away and Clark arranges with a Duke for him to go to Germany. While there he experiences palace life but also racism, violence and a tragic love affair. He returns to America a sophisticated but broken man, and enters the wilderness.
A novice, he's in a lava bed inferno but is saved by trapper Jim Beckwourth. As friends they carouse and trap beaver together. Rublette, his vicious main antagonist, confronts him at a trappers' Rendezvous. Their clashes haunt the story. Rublette said, "Squaw man, stay awake or it'll be me slittin' your throat."
Lonely in the wilds, he longs for Michelle but to no avail so he leads extreme expeditions. The 1846 Mexican War begins and he leads men to California.
Unknown to him, Michelle and her son Jacob are there. Remarkably, the former lovers renew their past and she finally says, "Oh come here you, I have no more questions," as their passion explodes. They become a family.
He's a post-war magistrate trying to stop Indian slavery at local ranches, causing more conflict. Lacking power to succeed, he resigns. He, Michelle and Jacob enter the gold rush and settle down.
His angst from prejudice is finally erased but the good times don’t last. Beloved Michelle dies in his arms from tuberculosis.
After recovering from her death his day of reckoning arrives. He's in a saloon with Beckwourth when Rublette enters with two men. A brutal fight ensues and Baptiste finally kills his enemy.
He and Beckwourth head for the Montana gold rush. They're excited and chatting as they prepare to cross a fast river on their steeds. Baptiste says, "Beck, let's go!" They leap in.
Jean Baptiste Charbonneau died on May 16, 1866 after crossing an Oregon River. He's buried at Inskip Station near Danner, Oregon. His popular gravesite is a national historic monument.
Jim Beckwourth died in 1866 shortly after Jean Baptiste. Beckwourth Pass and Beckwourth, California are named after him.
Duke Paul Wilhelm died in 1860. Although close by, he never saw Baptiste again and never became king.
Gen. William Clark took care of the Charbonneau family until his death in 1838.
This biopic story has meaning for our time. It includes themes of bigotry, greed and conflict in the Old West. It's visceral, realistic, violent and humorous with a great love story.
Audiences will love this powerful American saga!
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