3. Them Thar Hills

by Calico

Author’s Note:

This story has to be approached in the correct post-Christmas mood. The mood brought on by over indulgence in food and drink, when slumped in front of the telly. A film you have seen a hundred times unfolds before your eyes. Eyes which get heavier… and heavier… and …Zzzzzzzz.

IF you think, “Sheesh! This makes no sense!” try any combination of the following:

a) Fetch the Bristol Cream. Apply internally.
b) Reheat the mulled wine. Apply internally.
c) Examine turkey leftovers in fridge. Apply internally.
d) Examine leftovers in Quality Street tin. Apply internally.
e) Remember unopened box of chocolate liqueurs. Apply internally.

Feeling warm and full? Sleepy? Soporific? Approaching a stupor?

f) Sprawl on sofa. Pick up this story. Apply interminably.

OPENING CREDITS ROLL

Them Thar Hills Are Alive With the Sound of The Great Escape Using the Bridge Over the Rio Grande

Stirring music swells.

Pom pom! Pom pom pom pom! Pom pom pa-rum par-rum pa-rum pom!

Well know faces gallop – smiling – into frame.

With
Lom Trevors as The Senior Outlaw Officer
Jim Santana as Big “X”
Wheat Carlson as The Tunnel King
Kyle Murtry as The Dynamite Mite
Preacher as Diversion
Soapy Saunders as The Forger
Danny Bilson as The Commandant
Curt Clitterhouse as The Major (Major Goboohiss)
Harry Briscoe as Sergeant Briscoe (The Ferret)
Big Mac MacCreedy as Himself
Michelle Monet as Michelle of the Resistance
Sister Julia as The Mother Superior

And
Sister Isabel as First Nun
Sister Grace as Strangely Evangelical Nun
Bridget Jordan as Annoying Singing Child
Beth Jordan as Another ASC

Starring
Kid Curry as The Cooler King
Hannibal Heyes as The Scrounger

SCENE ONE

Prisoners mill around prison compound. We see manned Gatling guns on the high corner towers. Uniformed guards and German Shepherd dogs patrol the boundary.

Let me clarify – only the guards are uniformed. The dogs are nekkid, except for their collars.

A wagon pulls into the compound.

Close up on a battered, bruised, Kid Curry in the back of the wagon. Gosh, his eyes are blue. Kid gives the ‘mean’ look to two uncredited heavies guarding him.

Hey! One of them is played by Monty Laird!

Kid is thrown into the dirt.

Reaction shots. Manly sympathy from Lom. Jaw setting and fist clenching restraint from Big Jim. Wincing from Kyle.

[Bilson strides up. Though clearly a villain, the shiny boots and grey uniform suit him. AND the officer’s high peaked cap covers yet another ‘bad hair day’. Clitterhaus is at Bilson’s heels.]

Bilson:
For you – outlaw scum – ze bank robbing is ofer! Und soon – ve vill haf your partner too!

Kid:
Even if’n you catch him – they haven’t built a prison yet that could hold Heyes an’ me!

[Clitterhaus slaps Kid. Bilson gives a dismissive smile.]

Bilson:
Zis is no ordinary prison! Look around you.

[Shots from Kid’s point of view. Turrents. Gatling guns. Mean looking guards. Barbed wire. Dogs. A moat. Alligators slither into the moat.]

Bilson:
Zis is a high security fortress built specially to hold ze most successful outlaws in ze Vest!

[Kid smoulders resistence. Clitterhaus slaps him again.]

Bilson:
Ze cooler for zis one, Clitterhaus.

Clitterhaus:
Ja voll, mein Commandant!

[Kid, head held high, is marched past the other prisoners to the cooler.
Music swells…
Pom pom! Pom pom pom pom! Pom pom pa-rum par-rum pa-rum pom!]

Wheat:
Hey Kid, catch!

[Wheat tosses an empty holster at Kid. Kid catches it one-handed.]

Kyle:
I made this for you Kid! Outta mah prison issue bar o’ soap. Shoot! T’ain’t no use to me for nuthin’ else!

[Kyle tosses a ‘gun’ at Kid. Kid catches it in the other hand.]

SCENE TWO

Cooler cell. Kid Curry practises his fast draw over and over. Camera focuses on the soap gun. Camera focuses on butt.

SCENE THREE

[Back in the huts. Zoom in on Lom, Big Jim, Wheat, Preacher, Hank, Lobo and Heyes. Heyes looks beat up.]

Lom:
These are sad times in Wyoming. Ever since our good Governor, Richard the Cougarheart, left for Jerulsalem…

Preacher:
Jerusalem – Texas.

Lom:
…on his crusade to save fallen women…

Lobo: (aside to Hank)
D’you reckon he’ll save one fur me?

Lom:
…nothing has been the same. The Governor handed over control of the realm to his brother – John Prince. He and his wicked supporters Guy Guisborne and the one we call ‘The Sheriff’ have driven justice and mercy from fair Wyoming. Even MY amnesty was cancelled! These stout-hearted, worthy fellows …

[Panning shot of the Devil’s Hole Gang.]

… have lived as outlaws in the forests around Devil’s hole…

[Gang nods…]

…stealing from the rich…

Hank:
Sure have!

Wheat:
Can’t deny stealin’ from the rich, Lom.

Lom:
…to give to the poor.

[A beat. Dropping of eyes. Clearing of throats. Shuffling of feet.]

…One by one, we’ve been captured. We’ve made escape attempts, but Commandant Bilson runs this place with an iron fist, a sneering smile and a gun. Now you’re here Big H…

Jim:
I thought I was Big ‘X’ …not …Hhhhhannibal?

Lom:
Blame the writer. Now you’re here Big H – authority for all escape plans is yours.

Jim:
What’s the plan, Hhhhhhannibal?

Heyes:
Tunnelling…

Wheat: [Punches air in triumph.]
Yes! Yes! Yes!

[Three short, three long, three short knocks on outside of the hut. Enter Kid and Kyle.]

Kid:
Kyle an’ me, we’ve an idea…for an escape.

Heyes:
Does it have finesse?

[Kid and Kyle exchange a glance. Two shrugs.]

Kyle:
Naw! Shoot Heyes! We ain’t got none o’ that! What yer needs to get outta this place is…

[Fade out.]

SCENE FOUR

[Night. Shot of exterior fence. We hear voices.]

Kid: (voice only)
How much dynamite did ya use, Kyle?

Kyle: (voice only)
All of it!

Kid: (voice only)
ALL of it?!

[Explosion. Flames light the sky. Dogs bark.]

Guards: (voice only)
Raus! Raus!

SCENE FIVE

Kid and Kyle, faces blackened by the explosion, are marched into adjoining cooler cells.

Music swells…

Pom pom! Pom pom pom pom! Pom pom pa-rum par-rum pa-rum pom!

Doors slam. Kid starts to practice his quick draw. We zoom in on the butt.

Of the gun! The butt of the gun! Sheesh!

SCENE SIX

Inside the hut the stove is lifted aside.

Wheat, shovel in hand disappears down tunnel. Jim moves to door of hut, nods at Preacher.

Outside hut.

Preacher stands on a small box facing Hank and Lobo. He raises his hands to conduct.

Hank & Lobo: [singing]
‘Tis a gift to be simple, ‘Tis a gift to be free…

[In middle distance Bilson and Clitterhaus exchange a shrug.]

SCENE SEVEN

Inside another hut. Soapy Saunders, jeweller’s glass in one eye, is working. Heyes picks up one of the documents.

Heyes:
Mexican identity papers, Canadian identity papers…You’re a true artiste!

Soapy:
Glad you appreciate it, Heyes. Did you remember – I really need a Bannerman Detective Agency Badge?

Heyes:
I’m workin’ on it, Soapy.

Soapy:
It’s a good thing those charitable ladies from the Outlaw Appreciation Board are so generous sending parcels to you and the Kid.

Heyes:
Sure is Soapy. ‘Course, if’n they sent more cigars and liquor, and fewer bottles of bubble bath, souvenir garters and suggestive stories – trading would be a mite easier. Still, you gotta love ’em.

SCENE EIGHT

Heyes’ hut.

A disconsolate Harry Briscoe is slumped at the table. Heyes is unpacking a large box clearly labelled

“For Heyes. The one with the dimples. And ‘that’ smile. And the melting dark eyes. With lots and lots of lots of love from the ladies on the Board.”

Harry:
Then …after Governor Richard left on his crusade, that snake John Prince put Guy Guisbourne in charge of the Bannerman Agency. I make one tiny, TINY mistake and I find myself posted here. The middle of nowhere. Guardin’ outlaws…

[Harry is watching Heyes pull goodies out of his parcel. A bottle. A box of cigars. Chocolate. Silk boxers…A thong…]

Harry:
…Is that any kinda work for a skilled detective?

Heyes:
Guess they just don’t appreciate you, huh, Harry? [Examines the bottle.] Finest Kentucky Corn Whiskey. Mmmmm!

Harry: [Licking his lips.]
You got that dang straight! Twenty years I’ve given to George Bannerman! Twenty years! An’ I’m tossed aside like an old…

[Heyes is reading a letter from the parcel.]

…Are you listenin’ to me, Heyes?

Heyes:
Huh? Oh, sorry Harry. Got a little distracted there. Some of these ladies just let their imaginations run away with ’em.

Harry: [Gulps and looks yearningly at the letter.]
Steamy, huh?

Heyes:
Let’s just say – innovative. I’d read it to you, Harry, but…I’m kinda bashful. Go back to what you were sayin’ about the Bannerman Agency not appreciatin’ you.

Harry:
Twenty years! An’ I’m tossed aside like an old glove!

Heyes:
Guess it makes your Bannerman badge kinda worthless, huh?

Harry:
I used to treasure that! But now…Pfffttt!

Heyes:
Know what Harry? I’ve always kinda had a fancy to get me a real Bannerman’s badge. Still … where would I find anythin’ you’d want to trade?

[Heyes opens a box of cigars and rolls one next to his ear. He takes an appreciative sniff. Harry gets the innocent wide-eyed look.]

SCENE NINE

[Inside hut. Lom, Big Jim and Heyes seated behind a table. Kid stands before them, hands on hips.]

Heyes:
I don’t see what’s makin’ you so all fired ornery, Kid. All we’re askin’ you to do is escape. I thought you WANTED to escape.

Kid:
You’re askin’ me to get recaptured afterwards, Heyes.

Big Jim:
Hhhhhhannibal needs you to make contact with the Appreciation Board, Kid. You have to bring back those train timetables.

Lom:
Sometimes Kid, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

[Kid sighs deeply.]

Kid:
How do you figure on getting’ me outta here, Heyes?

Heyes:
I’ve got a Hannibal Heyes plan, Kid…

[Kid closes his eyes in agony. Fade out.]

SCENE TEN

[The compound. Kid and Heyes admire something in the middle distance.]

Kid:
So – I escape using the vaulting horse?

Heyes:
Took me weeks to train that horse.

[Both boys’ gazes travel a graceful arc in unison. As if watching a special effect beyond the budget of the film.]

SCENE ELEVEN.

[The forests some miles from the prison. Kid is slithering on his belly, rugged dirt smears on his face, strategically placed rips in his shirt.

He sees a covered wagon.

Bending low, he zigzags up to it at a run.

He yanks open the flaps.

We see Michelle. Trenchcoat tightly wrapped around her 1880s costume. Beret. Scarlet lipstick.]

Michelle:
Zere eez a full moon tonight, M’sieur!

Kid:
Huh?

Michelle: (with meaning)
Ze moon – eet ees full tonight. N’est pas?

Kid:
Oh, Yeah.

[Stiltedly.]

But, the cloud cover is heavy.

Michelle:
Listen vair-r-r-ry car-r-r-efully. I shall say zis only wance. I ‘ave ze information Beeg H needs. Meet me in ze summer ‘ouse – I will reveal all.

Kid:
Huh?

SCENE TWELVE.

[In the Summer House. Michelle is singing. Kid is trying not to wince.]

Michelle:
I am pretty, oh so pretty…
I’m not witty, although I’m from France…
And listen…
‘Cause I’ll si-ing zis o-only wance…

Kid:
Now I have my timetables, ma-am, I reckon I’ll get back to prison.

Michelle:
But – Keed – you don’t ‘ave to go yet. Ve have ze ‘ole night to spend togezzer!

[She sidles up to Kid.]

After all, Keed…

[Music swells…]

I am seventeen – going on thirty …

[Michelle twirls away and begins to leap from bench to bench around the summerhouse.]

I ‘ave a talent – a wonderful theeng.
You ‘ave to listen – I ‘ave to sing…

[Kid edges towards the exit. He makes a run for it.]

SCENE THIRTEEN

Back at the prison.

Kid, glimpses of manly chest showing through the torn shirt, is marched into the cooler.

Music swells…

Pom pom! Pom pom pom pom! Pom pom pa-rum par-rum pa-rum pom!

Doors slam. Kid heaves a sigh of relief.

SCENE FOURTEEN

[Night. Forest about four hundred yards from the prison compound. One by one the Devil’s Hole Gang emerge and scoot away. Heyes helps Kid out of the tunnel.]

Guards: (voices only)
Raus! Raus!

Heyes:
There’s one thing we gotta get Kid!

Kid:
What’s that Heyes?

Heyes:
Outta this forest!

SCENE FIFTEEN

[Next day. A typical Western town. Probably called Red Rock. Heyes and Curry are mingled in a crowd, hats well pulled down, collars well pulled up!]

Clitterhaus: (from a platform)
Ze commandant is offering a revard to any man who joins a posse to recapture zese outlaws…

[Disgruntled mutterings.]

…Whoever brings in ze one zey call – Heyes the Hood – our beloved temporary Governor John Prince will give zis Golden Arrow!

[The golden arrow is held aloft.]

…And ze hand of Maid Michelle in marriage!

[Camera pans to Michelle. She flutters her false eyelashes. Camera pans to Kid. Kid shudders.
More disgruntled muttering from crowd.
Hey – there! There in the extras around the saloon! It’s Monty Laird!
A salesman mounts the platform, carrying a bicycle.]

Salesman:
The age of the horse is passing. This – this is the age of the bicycle!

[Zoom in on Heyes’ face. It lights up.]

Heyes:
Kid – I got me an idea how we get away from here!

[Zoom in on Kid. He closes his eyes in agony.]

SCENE SIXTEEN

[Idyllic morning. A bright golden haze on the meadow. Heyes and Curry ride into shot on a tandem. Lilting music.]

Heyes Voice Over: (Singing)
Raindrops keep falling on my head…

[Camera pans to the horizon. Helmeted guards on single bicycles appear. Music changes from lilting to stirring…]

Pom pom! Pom pom pom pom! Pom pom pa-rum par-rum pa-rum pom!

[Guards give chase.]

SCENE SEVENTEEN

Heyes and Curry pedal furiously…

Chasing.

Heyes and Curry pedal into a barn…typical shots of hens fluttering out squawking…Heyes and Curry pedal out of barn covered in hay.

Chasing.

Heyes and Curry pedalling downhill…towards a fence…crash heroically through fence.

Chasing.

Heyes and Curry still pedalling downhill. Approaching edge of cliff.

Our boys look back at pursuing guards. They exchange a mute conversation.

Eyes closed Heyes and Curry pedal straight over the cliff.

Guards halt.

SCENE EIGHTEEN

Silhouette of Heyes and Curry pedalling a flying tandem across the face of the full moon.

Music swells…

SCENE NINETEEN

[A battered and bruised Heyes and Curry are being helped to climb out of the wreckage of a busted tandem by the pursuing guards.
The guards part to reveal…]

Big Mac:
Don’t worry boys… these aren’t Bilson’s prison guards. These men work for me. How would you boys like to earn $10,000?

[Heyes and Curry exchange a glance. They roll their eyes.]

SCENE TWENTY

[Dusty riverside. Kid, Big Jim and Lom – all looking delightfully hot and sweaty – are talking in low voices.]

Big Jim:
I can’t believe Hhhhhannibal is co-operating in this plan to build a bridge over the Rio Grande. Doesn’t he realise it will allow posses to chase escaping outlaws straight over the border!

Lom:
Heyes is collaborating with the enemy!

Kid:
Heyes would NEVER collaborate! It’s just…y’know Heyes! Once he saw the plans for Big Mac’s bridge, he couldn’t resist improvin’ ’em! Heyes’ is obsessed with crackin’ the greatest engineerin’ challenge of his life.

[Camera pans over to Hannibal Heyes. Around him Wheat, Kyle, Hank and Lobo are toiling in the dust … dragging timbers … hewing … hammering.
Heyes is at a trestle table… pouring over blueprints… his eyes sparkle …]

Heyes: (under his breath)
These are better even than the floor plans of the Bank of Fort Worth.

[Heyes straightens up, pushes back his hat and drops his hands to his hips.]

Put your backs into it boys! This bridge is gonna be the eighth wonder of the world!

[Heyes struts over to the gang…we get a back view of the strutting.
Colonel Bogey music swells…
Camera pans back to Kid. Kid shakes his head sadly.]

SCENE TWENTY-ONE

[Heyes straightens up, pushes back his hat and drops his hands to his hips. He struts.
Some scenes can bear repetition, huh?]

Heyes:
It’s the eighth wonder of the world! We did it boys!

Wheat: (Under his breath, proddy.)
We did it – boys! It’s wonderful – boys!

Lobo: (On lookout.)
Posse! Posse!

[The gang run over the bridge.]

Hank:
Good thing we have this bridge to escape over! You did it again, Heyes!

Lobo:
But the posse are using it too! You did it again, Heyes!

[All the gang are over the bridge. Heyes turns to Kyle.]

Heyes:
Blow it, Kyle!

[Explosion.]

Kyle: (Voice over.)
Whewe-awwwww! That thing blew sky high!

[Lom throws Heyes an apologetic look. So does Kid.]

Heyes:
You shoulda had faith, Kid.

[Camera pans to far side of the river.
Bilson steps down from an anachronous four-wheel drive. With a sinister smile, he strokes his large, white, fluffy Persian.]

Bilson:
So! You zink you can escape me! Nein! Zat would be too ee-asy Meester Heyes!

[He signals to his henchmen. Hey! One of them is played by… you guessed it!
Camera pans back to the Devil’s Hole Gang.]

Kyle:
What the Sam Hill…?

Kid:
Dang it! Dingies!

Heyes:
Dingies! Dang it! We hafta get outta here, Kid.

Female voice from woods behind the boys:
Pssssstt!

[The boys turn and scan the woods.]

Michelle:
It is I!

[Kid’s shoulders droop.]

Listen vair-r-r-ry car-r-r-efully. I shall say zis only wance. Ze nuns at ze convent will ‘ide you. Follow me!

SCENE TWENTY-TWO

[The convent.]

Mother Superior:
There is just one chance of getting you safely away …

Heyes:
Uh huh?

Mother Superior:
Tonight Commandant Bilson, the temporary Governor John Prince, Guy Guisbourne and Major Clitterhaus all attend our concert. Michelle will be singing with these adorable children…

[Camera pans over to Bridget and Beth Jordan. They smile sweetly at the boys. Kid rolls his eyes.]

…Our plan is that you perform in full view of Commandant and his henchmen!

Heyes:
A cunning double bluff! Brilliant! I love it!

Kid:
HUH?!

Heyes:
Luckily, I brought my guitar!

[Strumming and singing…]

Prairie grass, prairie grass….
Ev’ry morning I greet thee….

[Bridget and Beth crouch either side of Heyes and Kid and gaze up admiringly.]

Bridget and Beth: (singing)
Truly scrumptious…you two are truly scrumptious…

[Kid closes his eyes in agony, as he wistfully remembers the peace and quiet of the cooler.]

Kid: (singing – just)
All I want is a room somewhere…

SCENE TWENTY-THREE

[An open-air amphitheatre. The convent concert is in progress. Camera pans over front row of the audience.]

Clitterhaus: (frowning)
This Captain von ForPetesSakeShutYourTrapp and his off-key children…I’m sure I’ve seen him somewhere before. It’s – it’s Heyes!

Bilson: (with an evil smile)
Ve haf ze place surrounded. For Heyes – zis is a svan song.

Large White Persian:
Meeeeooooowwww, pur.r.r.r.r.r.!

[Camera pans to the stage.]

Heyes & the Jordans: (singing as they exit)
So long, farewell, auf wiedersein, goodnight…

[Crowd rises to its feet.]

Crowd:
Encore! Encore!

[Camera flits back and forth between the Exit and the gathering scowl on Bilson’s face.]

Bilson:
He has double-crossed us! Raus! Raus!

SCENE TWENTY-FOUR

[Outside the convent. Mother Superior is handing over knapsacks to Heyes and Kid.]

Mother Superior: (pointing)
Just keep heading south – through the mountains.

[The boys set off. Bridget, Beth and Michelle are skipping behind. As they move out of camera vision, Mother Superior closes the convent gates behind them.]

Michelle: (Voice only. Singing)
Climb ev’ry mountain…

Bilson: (running into view, followed by Clitterhaus and henchmen.)
Open ze gates! Raus! Raus!

[Sister Isabel and Sister Grace slowly open the gates. Bilson et al run out. Sounds of horses hoofs. Sounds of bodies falling.]

Bilson & Clitterhaus (Voices only)
Owwwww!

Sister Isabel:
I have a confession, Reverend Mother.

Sister Grace:
So do I, Reverend Mother.

Reverend Mother:
What is it, my children?

[Sister Isabel and Sister Grace hold up filched girth buckles.]

Reverend Mother:
Where did you pick up such nasty habits?

SCENE TWENTY-FIVE

[The mountains.]

Kid:
I still can’t get over those grizzlies taking the girls and never so much as bothering us.

[Close up on Heyes. He is tucking an empty packet of ‘Bear Bait Tasty Titbits’ firmly into his knapsack.]

Heyes:
Tragic, huh?

[Camera pulls back to long shot. Heyes and Curry stride side by side into the sunset.]

Kid: (voice over)
Y’know Heyes, this could be the fresh beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Heyes: (voice over)
Here’s looking at you Kid.

THE END

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