top of page

This is a biopic drama with the following elements:

  • Inspired by a true story

  • Relevant to today's conflicts

  • High adventure

  • Character driven

  • Love story

  • Visceral

  • Revenge

  • Rural

  • A buddy film

  • Strong male/female leads



  • Locations: tax-favorable states, Alberta

  • PG-13 rating

  • Budget est. less than $5,000,000

Baptiste by Frederick Remington
Baptiste possible lookalike
Lady on trail
William Clark
Jim Beckwourth
Gold Rush
Death of Rublette



No portion of this work may 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

00:00 / 14:54

*2023 Quarter Finalist L.A. Int'l. Screenplay Awards
*2021 Santa Barbara Int'l. Screenplay Awards Honorable Mention
*2020 Atlanta Screenplay Festival top 10 placement.


Based on a true story, a mountain man caught between White and Indian worlds struggles with extreme prejudice, raw danger and lost and found love as his day of reckoning closes in.


Nearly shot in a saloon in 1860, handsome Jean BAPTISTE Charbonneau, the baby on the 1805 LEWIS & CLARK expedition, tells his story to a JOURNALIST. 


Upper class Clark adopts him afterwards but his vicious wife rejects him because he's half-Shoshone Indian. He’s tormented as he grows up and yearns for peace and a decent family life of his own.


At age 16 he and MICHELLE, a judge's daughter, fall in love, but they're forced to break up because he's Indian. 


So in 1823 Clark arranges for him to go to Germany where he experiences royal palace life but also racism, violence and a tragic end to a potential family. He returns to America sophisticated but broken and finds solace in the wilderness.


A novice fur trapper, he gets lost in a boiling desert but is saved by new buddy Jim BECKWOURTH. They're together through dangerous adventures.


RUBLETTE, his huge, ruthless main antagonist, first confronts him at a fur trade Rendevous. Their violent clashes haunt the story. Rublette finally says, "Squaw man, don't sleep; it'll be me slittin' your throat." 


He has lonely nights as wolves howl. Beckwourth has a happy family as Baptiste dreams only about Michelle. 


He gives up on her and guides an army to San Diego during the 1846 Mexican War. She and her son are there. They reunite after she finally says, "Oh come here you, I have no more questions." Their pent up passions explode. At last he has his little family. His angst from prejudice is erased and life is good.


He’s appointed a magistrate in Diego and helps local Indians but has to move on. They enter the gold rush and settle down. 


She catches consumption (tuberculosis) and almost dies in his arms, but survives. Later in a saloon her son is severely beaten by Rublette and Baptiste's day of reckoning arrives. He finds Rublette and after a brutal fight luckily kills his nemesis. 


The story's positive ending has a slight twist as Baptiste's interview ends. 


                                 POST SCRIPT


Jean Baptiste Charbonneau died in May, 1866 after trying to cross an Oregon river. He's buried near Danner, Oregon and his gravesite is a national historic monument.


Jim Beckwourth died in October, 1866 of natural causes. Beckwourth Pass in the High Sierra mountains and Beckwourth, California are named after him.


DUKE PAUL WILHELM died in November, 1860. He once traveled very close to Baptiste's gold camp but never saw him again. 


General William Clark, in a rare display of frontier caring, looked after the Charbonneau family his entire life. He died in St. Louis in September, 1838.

Audiences will love this compelling American saga!

                 VIEW THE SCREENPLAY AT              

bottom of page