This screenplay is a drama with the following elements:
Based on a true story
A buddy film
Strong male/female leads
Locations: tax-favorable states or Alberta, Canada
Budget est. less than $3,000,000
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." Atlanta Screenplay Festival: " This is a strong, exciting script with an enthralling premise."
Baptiste moves inexorably to his day of reckoning in a life of peril, adventure, love and prejudice.
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 him because he’s half Indian.
At age 18 he falls for elite Michelle, but her father ends their romance because he's part-Indian. She’s sent away and Clark arranges for him to go with Duke Wilhelm to Germany. While there he experiences palace life but also racism, violence and a tragic love affair. He returns to St. Louis an educated, broken man, and retreats to the wilderness.
A novice, he nearly dies in torrid heat but is saved by trapper Beckwourth, who becomes his trail buddy. They carouse and trap beaver together. Rublette, his vicious main antagonist, first confronts him at a trappers' Rendezvous. Their confrontations haunt the story. He once said, "Squaw man, stay awake or it'll be me slittin' your throat."
Lonely, he longs for Michelle but their time has gone, so he leads extreme expeditions. The 1846 War with Mexico begins, taking him to California.
Unknown to him, Michelle and her son Jacob are there. The former lovers meet in an enchanting way. She finally says, "Oh come here you, I have no more questions," as their passion explodes.
They become a family and he's a post-war sheriff trying to stop Indian slavery by ranchers, causing more conflict. Being only partially successful in his effort, 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. His beloved Michelle dies in his arms and he's devastated.
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 get ready to cross a river on their steeds. Baptiste looks back. His face gets tense. Still he says "Beck, let's go for it!" They leap in.
A Postscript states that in 1866 he drowned in that river and is buried nearby. His grave in Oregon is visited often.
Beckwourth died the same year and has a High Sierra pass named after him.
Wilhelm never saw Baptiste again and never became the king in Stuttgart. He died in 1860.
Clark fought for Indians his entire life and died in 1838.
This biopic script has meaning for our times. It has subtle themes on war, greed and racism in the Old West. The drama is visceral, edgy, realistic, violent and humorous, and it includes a great love story. It's PG-13.
Wide audiences will love this powerful American saga!
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