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The AMBUSH


[EXTERIOR FOREST, TRAIL - MAGUA - DAY

on point. The trail cuts the side of a hill. The ground on one side rises into a forest acclivity and on the other falls off into a forested ravine. Magua walking towards camera.

CLOSER - MAGUA'S

slid his tomahawk out from the front of his belt that girdles his waist. He lets the shaft drop into his hand. He shrugs off his blanket. There is a solidity to his dark, tall figure we didn't see before. Magua turns about face and advances on the column. TRACK WITH Magua. Heyward and the Munro girls pass the camera as does Sgt. Major Ambrose, marching in advance of the men. Magua is approaching the soldier on the left in the first row. We see Magua has caught the Redcoat's eye.

REDCOAT

is curious, starts to smile. What does the Huron want to say to him? When Magua is two steps away he caves in the side of the infantryman's head at the temple with the spike end of his tomahawk and, backhanded, hacks the blade through the side of the neck of the center man in the first row.

SIMULTANEOUSLY

thirteen muskets EXPLODE from the wooded rise.

FIVE REDCOATS

are blown off the path, two others are wounded ...

AMBROSE]

AMBROSE: Form company! Left face! March!

[ALICE

shrieks. Cora grabs Alice's reins and her own.

HEYWARD

pulling his fusil (short musket), seeing, firing, reaching for the women ...

CORA'S HORSE

bucking.

ALICE'S HORSE

bolting, dodging sideways, spilling Alice to the earth.

AMBROSE]

AMBROSE: Company make ready!

[The regulars slam into a firing line, stepping over the bodies of their comrades. All thirteen face the incline.

FORESTED RISE - HURONS

flash downhill through the trees. Partnered in two-man teams, one loads and prepares and fires while the other advances to the next cover. He, then, prepares and fires covering his partner's advance. Leaping fallen trees and boulders, they're athletic, fast and rapidly closing. Even though the disciplined English regulars are a killing machine, we now see their tactics in the dense forest are grossly inferior to the Hurons' ...]

AMBROSE: Present!!

[CORA

covers Alice with her body, holding the reins of their bolting horses.

HEYWARD

from horseback aims his horse pistol, FIRES ...

AN ATTACKING HURON

leaping at him past Alice & Cora drops.

MULE

with baggage crashes off, down the ravine. Another two Redcoats drop. Nine left. Then eight.

AMBROSE]

AMBROSE: Fire!!

[A musket volley as eight muskets go off as one shot, sending a lead scythe through leaves. But ...

REVERSE:

Hurons were behind cover. Only one was exposed and hit.]

AMBROSE: [continuing] Load! Prime!

[The English rush to complete the reload. Will they do it in time?]

AMBROSE: [continuing] Present! Present!

[Suddenly, Hurons - en masse - CRASH down onto the Redcoats line with tomahawks, war clubs and point-blank musket fire.

ALICE

on the ground, screaming insanely, covered by Cora who's protecting her little sister, and ...

HEYWARD'S

horse shot from beneath him, the animal folding, falling straight to the earth, and ...

MAGUA

shoots Ambrose in the chest, and ...

HEYWARD

by the Munro daughters spins, swinging his fusil like a ball-bat, upending one Huron and lunges with his bayonet in his left towards another. But this Huron easily slips the thrust and slams Heyward with his rifle butt.

BRITISH

dead and dying.

AMBROSE

blood gushing from his chest wound, fires his pistol, dropping a Huron; slashes a second with his sword. Then he's chopped down. Hurons begin scalping the British while four race towards Heyward and the two women.

HEYWARD & CORA & ALICE

ready to die. Heyward has only his fusil as a bludgeon. He readies ...

THREE LOUD SHOTS

BLOW three of the Hurons sideways, head over heels down the rise.

REVERSE: THREE MEN

barely seen, running diagonally across the fall line of the ravine. In parts, we recognize Nathaniel, recharging Killdeer on full run, and Uncas.

HURON'S

not sure where the shots came from. Suddenly Chingachgook slams him, head first into the ravine with the war club. He didn't even slow down.

HURON

warrior spins. Uncas tomahawks his shoulder. The Huron swings downwards. Uncas ducks beneath the swing and slashes his throat, sending him downhill into CAMERA as ...

HAWKEYE'S

momentum and thrown tomahawk spread-eagles one Huron, near a couple of wounded Redcoats who fight on ...

MAGUA

calmly sees the odds have changed. His attention becomes focused. He commits a very revealing act seen through the blurred foreground action of struggling bodies. We will remember it. He raises his musket and aims at ...

CORA MUNRO

who's unaware she's a target. Why is he singling out a Munro girl to kill?

HAWKEYE

sees. Killdeer's at his shoulder ...

TIME SLOWS: MAGUA

senses Hawkeye. Moving through liquid, his eyes drift left. The moment is frozen. Their eyes lock, each to the other's. Then ...

TIME UNFREEZES

Magua swings at Hawkeye and FIRES ...

HAWKEYE

shifts. The .65 caliber musket ball rockets past his ear and he's already squeezing Killdeer's trigger as ...

HAWKEYE'S POV OVER BARREL: SMOKE

from Magua's musket blast clears. Magua's gone. He almost shape-shifted, it happened so quickly. It's nearly mystical.

HAWKEYE

lowers Killdeer, impressed.

CORA

glances back at Hawkeye. She doesn't know why he's looking at her.

CHINGACHGOOK

pursues two fleeing Hurons up the incline. Two strides gain him the first man, who he hamstrings and runs over to pursue the second up the hill ... as ...

HEYWARD

in the confused melee, grabs a found musket and aims it at an Indian. We recognize that he's aiming at Chingachgook pursuing the second Huron up the hill ...]

CORA: No, Duncan!

[Duncan ignores her.

HEYWARD'S MUSKET

is jerked from his hands.]

HAWKEYE: ... case your aim is any better'n your judgment.

[He's drawn his sword, reflexively. Hawkeye flips the musket around one-handed. It's pointed at Heyward's chest. And Hawkeye FIRES, killing an attacking Huron behind Heyward. As Heyward spins ...

CHINGACHGOOK'S WAR CLUB

flashes up the hill. It cleaves the second man's back and bowls him over. Chingachgook retrieves his club as his scalping knife slashes down ...

UNCAS

scalps the man he killed. Chingachgook dispatches the Huron he hamstrung.

WIDE

Sudden silence. Heyward's motionless. The women are frozen, as terrified of the savages and apparent half-breed rescuers as they were of those who attacked them.

ALICE

Cora, holding her, is stunned but functioning. Moments ago both women were clean and demure. Now their riding dresses are torn, mud-stained, blood-spattered and their baggage is gone.

HEYWARD'S

crossed to his slaughtered soldiers. Moments ago they were a testament to British military prowess. Now they're dead meat. Ambrose's body is against a tree. In the B.G. two of the wounded start to rise ...]

ALICE: [O.S.] Stop it!

[Heyward spins.

UNCAS

just cut the throat of the second Narraganset. It drops into the brush. Alice attacks him.]

ALICE: We need them to get out of here!

[Uncas gently restrains her. Cora reaches Alice and grabs her away from the "savage". Heyward runs in to protect the women ...]

HEYWARD: [to Nathaniel] ... why the bloody hell he do that to the horses?!

[Uncas, all business, is now reloading, lifting powder horns, scanning the trees.]

UNCAS: [matter of fact] ... too easy to track ... they can be heard for miles ... find yourself a musket ...

[Cora's surprised by Uncas' easy English. Hawkeye's scanning the forest.]

HAWKEYE: [to Heyward] Your wounded should try walkin' back to Albany. They'll never make a passage north.

HEYWARD: [breathless] We were headed ...

HAWKEYE: [appropriating a knife] ... Fort William Henry.

[CHINGACHGOOK

to Hawkeye: let's go ... Then a fast exchange of Delaware. Cora's surprised to see it's Chingachgook's decision. Chingachgook looks at the survivors, gives his assent, starts off.]

HAWKEYE: ... take you as far as the fort.

[Hawkeye throws Heyward a musket. Cora & Alice look towards Heyward. He looks at them: the women are totally terrified and do not move.]

HAWKEYE: If we are goin' to take you, we need to move. Fast ... And the fort is well off our course. So if you all rather wait for the next Huron war party to come by, we'll be on our way.

[Heyward quickly decides to go. The women follow. Hawkeye starts off after Uncas and Chingachgook.

CUT TO ...]

The RIVER WALK


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