This screenplay is a biopic drama with the following elements:
Inspired by a true story
Relevant to today's conflicts
A buddy film
Strong male/female leads
Locations: tax-favorable states, Alberta
Budget est. less than $10,000,000
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."
*2020 Atlanta Screenplay Festival top 10 placement: " This is a strong, exciting script with an enthralling premise."
*A mini-series producer said, "Your story will shine on cable."
*A Novafilmhouse producer wrote, "It's an extremely compelling drama deserving production."
Jean Baptiste Charbonneau is nearly killed in the 1865 opening sequence as we then return to 1805 to the Lewis & Clark Expedition fort where Sacagawea is birthing him.
After the expedition returns, Clark adopts the boy but his wife constantly rejects him because he’s half Indian.
At age 18 he loves elite Michelle, but her father ends their romance because he's a half-blood. 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 finds solace in the wilderness.
A novice, he gets lost in an inferno but is saved by trapper Jim Beckwourth. As friends they carouse and trap beaver together. Rublette, his brutal main antagonist, first confronts him at a trappers' Rendezvous. Their clashes haunt the story. Rublette says, "Squaw man, don’t ever sleep because it'll be me slitting your throat."
Lonely in the wilderness, he longs for Michelle but to no avail, so he leads extreme expeditions. The 1846 Mexican War begins and he guides troops to San Diego.
Unknown to him, Michelle and her son Jacob are there. Remarkably, they find each other and the former lovers renew their past. After much doubt she finally says, "Oh come here you, I have no more questions," and their passions explode. He finally has a family.
As a post-war magistrate he tries to stop Indian slavery at local ranches, forcing a violent showdown. But lacking authority to succeed, he resigns. He, Michelle and Jacob enter the gold rush and settle down.
His angst from prejudice is 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 ruffians. A brutal fight ensues and Baptiste finally kills his enemy.
He and Beckwourth head for the Montana gold rush. They're excited and bantering as they prepare to cross a fast river on their steeds. Baptiste says, "Beck, let's go for it!" They leap in.
Jean Baptiste Charbonneau died in May, 1866 after crossing the Owyhee River. He's buried today near Danner, Oregon. His often-visited gravesite is a registered 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. He unknowingly traveled near Charbonneau's gold camp in 1850 but their paths didn't cross. Wilhelm never became a German king.
Gen. William Clark watched over the Charbonneau family until he died in 1838.
This biopic saga has meaning for our time. It includes themes of racism, greed and conflict in the West. It's visceral, realistic, occasionally violent and humorous with a great love story.
Audiences will love this powerful American saga!
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