image from nationalgeographic.com
“Anger and woe, sin and her shadow misery,
Death’s harbinger.”--John Milton.
1(overhead drone shot) above Antlered Buck; fast
decent to the smoking char that was the ranch
house, the blackened skeleton of the gutted
2(sound cue) violins and cello.
3(slow tracking shot) across the devastation.
The fires were out. Smoking ashes lie like gray
dung. Black timbers thrust through the crematory
silt, brittle edifices, all abstract, standing without
a pattern, swaying broken in the prairie breeze.
4(dolly shot to center) In the middle of the burn
stood the tall staircase. It was a defiant thing,
charred, hollowed, yet another gutted treasure,
an arrogant prideful railless sentinel that would
soon crash into crumbs with the weight of a
spider upon it, and yet contrary to physics and
logic it remained standing, broad burned stairs
that rose up from the ashes like an angry middle
digit toward an indifferent sky, and terminated,
5(reverse dolly shot) The big maple tree spread its
heavy branches out over the yard. Gun shots had
torn off large chunks of bark on its trunk.
6(sound cue) clarinet and piano.
The long shadows of its leaves lingered coldly over
the stiff dead faces of eight men, most with their
eyes still open, who lie in a ragged line, their bodies
riddled with bullet holes, boot heel tracks all over the
yard from dragging their carcasses from all points
to lie at attention for their last reveille. They were all
face up, staring with sightless eyes at the bright
summer morning, at the flies and butterflies that
lit on their gray faces, sipping at the dried blood
7(medium wide shot) and at the tall buffalo hunter
who stood between them and the remains of the
burned house, staring at the stiff pile of lifelessness.
He had his Sharps cradled in his thick arms, while
the buckskin fringes on his attire swayed sweetly
in a wind dance with his long black hair. From his
belt hung a potato sack; dozens of sticks of
dynamite poked through the burlap, the last of a
powder cache he had hidden under the bunkhouse.
8(medium close-up) Buck’s brow was knitted, his
features were gaunt, his eyes simmering. He
turned and placed his gaze on the ranch house.
9(sound cue) guitar and harmonica.
10(close-up) his sad eyes.
He scanned through the iron gray ash, searching for
a remnant, a tiny piece of what had been there the
day before. He could make out part of a dining room
chair, part of a gilded picture frame, the brass hooks
from a coat rack. Most of it was gone, his childhood,
parents, brother, his past and perhaps his future,
lost, unretrievable, all gone, faceless, all withered
11(medium close-up) He tilted his head back, his
eyes widened, and he exhaled a silent scream.
Tears leapt from his eyes. He could not remember
what his mother’s face looked like. Then he inhaled
and his face hardened. He wiped his runny nose on
his sleeve. He became aware that something was
12(sound cue) Indian seed rattle over hard hooves
clattering on harder ground.
Buck spun around with the breech loader cocked.
13(medium wide-shot) Buck’s back to the camera.
Above the heap of cinder that had been the barn,
and the burned corpses of several horses, on a
low bluff, a white bull bison stood watching him.
14(one-shot) Its massive ivory-colored head was
held high. It stood so still it might have been a
statue but for the breeze ruffling its shaggy silver
coat. Its yellow-black horns shone in the sun. Its
red eyes stared without blinking.
15(close-up) Buck: El Blanco... lowering the Sharps.
The white mammoth raised its tufted tail, and with
a loud bellow, it galloped down the hill straight at
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