ブレーキ・ダウン(1997年)

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[amazonjs asin=”B00005FXGX” locale=”JP” title=”ブレーキ・ダウン DVD”]FADE IN:

EXTREMELY TIGHT ON ELECTRONIC GUTS

of a video camera. The screwdriver blade of a Swiss Army
knife ENTERS FRAME, methodically tightening a row of
screws.

PULL BACK to reveal:

EXT. BOMBARDED NEIGHBORHOOD (WAR-TORN COUNTRY) – DAY

On the backslope of a mound of rubble, a three-man TV
crew (field producer, reporter, and cameraman, all
wearing flak jackets) waits while the cameraman, JEFFREY
TAYLOR, works to repair his malfunctioning minicam.

Throughout this sequence, ROD, the reporter, types on a
laptop computer, oblivious to what is happening around
him.

HOWARD, the field producer, lies on his stomach, peering
cautiously over the crest of the rubble through
binoculars.

Beyond him we see an empty street. It is lined with
buildings blasted by shells: a sawtooth wall in the
f.g., a ruined high-rise at the end of the street,
billboards in an unrecognizable foreign language.

HOWARD
How about it, Jeff?

Jeff finishes his repair job, snaps the minicam closed.

JEFF
Done.

Jeff slips the knife back in his pocket, scrambles over
the loose bricks and stones to a position next to Howard.

EXT. SAWTOOTH WALL – DAY

A frightened woman lurks nervously in the shelter of the
wall. She is young, in her early twenties, with shining
dark hair down to her shoulders. She’s carrying an
armload of books.

EXT. MOUND OF RUBBLE – DAY

Jeff focuses the minicam.

2.

MINICAM POV

FRAMED in the viewfinder we see the frightened woman.

HOWARD (O.S.)
Nice legs.

Jeff ignores Howard, PANS the minicam DOWN the street.
In the viewfinder we see the flash of sun on metal.

EXT. RUINED HIGH-RISE – DAY

A row of blasted windows. In one of the windows, a
sniper crouches. Sunlight glitters on his rifle barrel.

EXT. MOUND OF RUBBLE

JEFF
(matter-of-fact)
Sniper.

HOWARD
Where?

JEFF
High-rise. Top floor. Window in
the middle.

HOWARD
(looking through
his binoculars)
Stay on him. Stay on him. Now go
back to the woman. Now!

Jeff swings the minicam and —

EXT. SAWTOOTH WALL – MINICAM POV

— the image blurs, then holds steady on the frightened
woman. Nervously, she peeks around the corner.

HOWARD (O.S.)
Back to the sniper.

EXT. MOUND OF RUBBLE

HOWARD
Stay tight on the sniper.
Jesus — look at him! He’s about
fourteen! Don’t lose this!

Jeff kneels on the ridge, minicam on his shoulder.

3.

EXT. RUINED HIGH-RISE – POV THROUGH VIEWFINDER

Jeff’s minicam ZOOMS IN ON the sniper. The sniper sees
the woman peeking and gets his rifle in firing position.

JEFF
He sees her.

EXT. MOUND OF RUBBLE

HOWARD
Stay on her. If she runs, widen
and try to get her and sniper in
the same frame.

Jeff turns his head away from the camera and stares at
Howard.

JEFF
I said he sees her.

HOWARD
I heard you. Stay on her.

Jeff looks to Rod for support but he’s busy typing,
oblivious.

Jeff hesitates, then lifts the minicam to his eye again.

EXT. RUINED HIGH-RISE

The sniper, taking aim.

EXT. SAWTOOTH WALL

The frightened woman decides to make a dash for it. She
takes off her high-heeled shoes, inhales deeply,
gathering herself to run.

EXT. MOUND OF RUBBLE

Jeff watches through his viewfinder:

JEFF
(under his breath)
No… no…

EXT. STREET

The frightened woman bolts, sprinting barefoot across the
cobblestones, skirt lifted, slender legs flashing.

4.

EXT. MOUND OF RUBBLE

Jeff jumps to his feet, waves the minicam, shouting:

JEFF
Sniper! Sniper! Sni–

STREET

The woman looks up in Jeff’s direction, confused,
breaking stride —

We hear a burst of automatic gunfire —

RUINED HIGH-RISE

In the window, the winking muzzle-flash of the sniper’s
AK-47.

STREET

The woman’s body jolts from the impact of the bullets.
The books go flying from her hand. She spins to the
pavement, her hair billowing.

JEFF

just stands there, a shattered expression. The camera
hangs at his side. He stares at the dead woman as a pool
of dark blood expands around her body.

CUT TO:

EXT. LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (BOSTON) – RUNWAY –
NIGHT

A 747 touches down on the tarmac.

CUT TO:

EXT. INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL – NIGHT

A late-model Jeep Cherokee is parked at the arrival curb.
AMY TAYLOR, Jeff’s wife, peers out from behind the wheel,
scanning the crowd.

HER POV

Jeff, carrying a single bag slung over his shoulder,
emerges from the terminal.

5.

BACK TO SCENE

Amy gets out of the car, grinning. Jeff sees her and
hurries over. He drops his bag and they fall into each
other’s arms, kissing hungrily. These are two people
passionately in love with each other.

AMY
God, I missed you.

JEFF
Me too.

AMY
Let’s get out of here. Where’s
your equipment? Don’t tell me you
checked it?

JEFF
(holds up his bag)
This is it.

AMY
No camera?

Jeff shakes his head no.

AMY
No nothing?

Again Jeff shakes his head. Amy arches an eyebrow.

AMY
Ah ha.

CUT TO:

INT. JEFF AND AMY’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

A modest apartment in the Back Bay neighborhood. Not
much furniture, but lots of books and CD’s. On the
walls, blow-ups of arty photographs — Amy in modeling
poses, plus many black-and-white scenery stills.

Jeff’s bag is unopened on the floor. We see two nearly
full wine glasses on a table. The CAMERA TRACKS DOWN a
hallway TO the open bedroom door.

INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT

More framed photographs.

Amy lies in bed, curled up against a pillow. The sheets
are tangled in post-coital disarray, the only sign of
disorder in this neatly arranged room.

6.

CLOSER

Amy stirs, reaching her hand out toward the other side of
the bed, which is empty. She opens her eyes, surprised
to find herself alone.

AMY
Jeff?

No reply.

Something catches her attention from across the room.
She rises, pulls a loose robe around herself and pads
over to a closed door. She knocks softly.

AMY
Can I come in?

JEFF (O.S.)
Sure.

INT. DARKROOM – NIGHT

A walk-in closet has been converted into a small
photographic darkroom. Moist 8 X 10 prints hang from a
clothesline, bathed in a warm red glow. The images are
moody black and white landscapes.

Jeff stands over the developer, timing a print. Amy
enters through a thick black curtain behind him. He
doesn’t look up.

AMY
Couldn’t sleep?

Jeff shakes his head. Amy looks over his shoulder at a
landscape photograph in the developing tray.

AMY
I remember when you took that. We
had fun on that trip, didn’t we?

Jeff nods. Amy looks at him. After a beat:

AMY
You want to talk about it?

JEFF
There’s nothing to talk about.

AMY
C’mon, Jeff.

(CONTINUED)

7.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
I told you. I quit. Walked out.
end of story.

AMY
That’s it?

Jeff nods.

AMY
Whatever happened back there
wasn’t your responsibility. You
can’t keep beating yourself up
over it.

He says nothing.

AMY
What do you think? You could have
stopped that girl from getting
killed?

JEFF
You don’t understand…

He stops, lifts his eyes.

JEFF
It was different this time.

He breaks off and pushes through the curtain. She
watches him go.

CUT TO:

INT. LIVING ROOM – KITCHEN AREA – NIGHT

Jeff pours himself a glass of milk. Amy enters, stands
on the other side of the counter. Jeff doesn’t meet her
eyes. After a beat:

JEFF
I talked to Reynolds.
(a beat)
He thinks I could still get the
job at the San Diego station.

AMY
Oh, Jeff, you didn’t…

(CONTINUED)

8.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
Think of it. Low pressure, a
steady paycheck. So I shoot city
council meetings — how bad could
it be?

She looks at him, concerned.

AMY
Is that what you really want — or
are you just running away?

JEFF
Who’s running? It’s good money,
full benefits. I’m tired of
freelance. We could finally put
some money in the bank.

AMY
You know I’ll never stand in your
way. But you’ve worked so hard.
Are you sure you want to throw it
away?

JEFF
Throw what away? Don’t you get
it? I don’t do anything. I sit,
I watch, I film — I let it
happen.

AMY
You’re supposed to let it happen.
It’s your job.

JEFF
No, Amy. It’s my excuse.

She looks at him, not understanding. He hesitates.

JEFF
That girl… it’s like I was
paralyzed. I wanted to do
something, but I didn’t. I just
stood there and watched her get
killed.

He looks at her, emotional.

JEFF
Please, babe, I need this. Say
yes and we’ll take as long as you
want — drive cross-country and
make a vacation out of it. What
do you say?

(CONTINUED)

9.

CONTINUED:

Amy looks at him, considering. We hear a faint RUSH OF
WIND. Then it gets LOUDER… LOUDER… and —

CUT TO:

EXT. CREDIT MONTAGE – VARIOUS LOCATIONS – LOW ANGLE –
DAY AND NIGHT

The metallic grill of the Cherokee explodes INTO FRAME as
the car whooshes over us, hurtling down the Massachusetts
Turnpike.

In a SERIES OF SHOTS, with CREDITS OVER, we see landmarks
form the cross-country trip: a Pennsylvania Dutch
farmhouse, a smoke-spewing factory in Ohio, the
Mississippi River, Kansas wheat fields, Loveland Pass and
the Continental Divide.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. OPEN DESERT – DAY

The middle of nowhere. Sand, weeds and sagebrush. A
two-lane highway stretches to the horizon like a ribbon
of asphalt.

The Cherokee cruises along the road. Its Massachusetts
plates seem out of place in this stark landscape.

There are no other vehicles.

MOVING CLOSER, we see that Jeff is driving. Amy is sound
asleep in the reclined passenger seat.

In back, luggage, moving boxes, camera cases.

INT. JEEP CHEROKEE – DAY

The AIR CONDITIONING WHISPERS. On the console are two
empty Styrofoam McDonald’s coffee cups and a state-of-
the-art Nikon Camera.

Jeff stretches in the driver’s seat. He forces his eyes
open, fighting sleep. He reaches for the coffee cup…
it’s empty. He glances into the back of the Jeep. There
is a thermos of coffee on the back seat.

Keeping one hand on the wheel, he reaches for the thermos
and fumbles it to the floor. He strains to reach it. He
doesn’t notice…

10.

EXT. HIGHWAY – 200 YARDS AHEAD

A slow-moving Dodge Ram pickup truck is approaching the
highway along a small road that cuts across the desert
floor.

The pickup, equipped with oversized tires, roll bar, and
a CB whip antenna, bounces over the uneven terrain and
turns onto the highway, stopping just before entering
Jeff’s lane.

INT. CHEROKEE – DAY

Jeff glances up just in time to see the Ram lurch into
the road in front of him. Jeff drops the thermos and
spins the wheel!

Amy’s eyes fly open —

EXT. HIGHWAY – DAY

The Cherokee goes into a wild looping skid. The Ram
jerks to a halt as the Cherokee whips past, averting a
collision by inches.

INT. CHEROKEE – DAY

Jeff expels a breath. Amy turns to see the pickup
stopped in the road. She looks at him, concerned.

AMY
Jesus, Jeff…

JEFF
Sorry. I took my eyes off the
road.

AMY
(seeing thermos
on floor)
Maybe it’s time we took a break,
you know?

Jeff nods, looks in the rearview mirror.

HIS POV – PICKUP

halted in the middle of the road. Inside, dimly-visible
through tinted windows, are two figures in cowboy hats.

The driver leans out the window and gives Jeff the
finger.

11.

BACK TO JEFF

angry at himself. He looks over at Amy.

JEFF
I’ll pull over next chance we get.
(a beat)
Sorry…

He glances in the rearview again, still a bit shaken.

CUT TO:

EXT. GAS STATION – DAY

A small desert gas station/mini-mart just off the
highway. A sign over the building: “Last Gas For 30
Miles.” The Cherokee is parked at the pumps, hood
raised.

Jeff comes out of the mini-mart, carrying a plastic quart
of oil. He unscrews the cap and starts to fill the
crankcase, careful not to spill on the new engine. In
the b.g., Amy is visible inside the store, browsing a
magazine rack.

INT. CONVENIENCE MART – SAME TIME

Amy thumbs through a cheap tourist guide, The Desert
Southwest. A TRUCK DRIVER stands nearby, perusing the
magazines. He glances in Amy’s direction, notices what
she’s reading.

TRUCKER
On vacation?

Amy looks up at him. He’s 50ish, plain-looking,
friendly, wearing a “U.S.A.” logo baseball cap.

AMY
Sort of. We’re moving, actually.

TRUCKER
Whereabouts?

Amy hesitates. She’s not used to talking with strangers,
but the guy seems harmless enough.

AMY
California. We thought we’d take
the scenic route.

(CONTINUED)

12.

CONTINUED:

TRUCKER
Huh. In that case, you oughta try
the Pass Road, ‘bout thirty miles
west. Real pretty, makes a loop
through the hills, then hooks back
up with the highway.

Amy smiles politely, moves toward the cash register.

AMY
Thanks. I’ll mention it to my
husband.

The Trucker tips his cap.

TRUCKER
Okay, then. Good luck. Enjoy the
rest of your trip.

EXT. GAS STATION – DAY

As Jeff continues pouring the oil, he doesn’t notice the
mud-streaked Dodge Ram pickup pulling up to the pumps
behind him. The driver, EARL, climbs out. The other man
remains in the cab with the smoked windows rolled up.

Earl is a beefy man about Jeff’s age. He wears a sweat-
stained Western hat, cowboy boots and a T-shirt with the
sleeves cut out to display his tattooed biceps. He
saunters over to the Cherokee, stands there a beat,
looking over Jeff’s shoulder.

Jeff senses something behind him, turns. His eyes widen
as he sees Earl, recognizes the pickup as the one he
nearly hit a few minutes before. Earl stares at him,
unsmiling.

EARL
(flatly)
Nice car.

Jeff is in an awkward position. He’s got a half-full
upside-down bottle of oil in his hands. If he lifts it
now, he’ll spill on the engine. He turns his gaze back
to the engine, decides to keep pouring.

JEFF
Thanks.

Earl steps around to the open passenger window, peers in.
Jeff watches him, wary.

(CONTINUED)

13.

CONTINUED:

EARL
Air, C.D., leather — I guess you
sprung for the whole nine yards.

JEFF
I guess.

EARL
Then again, out here, what you
really need’s a C.B. radio.

JEFF
Is that right?

The oil bottle empties out. Relieved, Jeff pulls it away
and screws back on the crankcase cap. He shuts the hood
with a thunk and moves around to the side of the car to
remove the gas nozzle from the tank. Earl blocks his
path.

EARL
‘Course, if you use a C.B., you
gotta have a handle.

Jeff says nothing. This is not a friendly conversation.

EARL
How about Shit-for-Brains?
(beat)
You damn near killed us back
there, boy.

JEFF
Look, I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.
You pulled out in front of me.

EARL
The hell I did. I saw what
happened.

Looking past Earl, Jeff sees Amy come out of the mini-
mart with a bag of groceries. He speaks carefully,
anxious to avoid a confrontation.

JEFF
How about if we just forget it,
okay? I’m sorry it happened. I
don’t want any trouble.

EARL
(snorting)
Yeah. I bet you don’t.

(CONTINUED)

14.

CONTINUED:

Earl glares at Jeff before turning away. He passes Amy,
gives her a broad smile.

EARL
Howdy, ma’am. Caught this fellow
tryin’ to steal your Cherokee.

Amy takes in the situation. She nods politely. Earl
continues into the mini-mart. She approaches Jeff,
puzzled.

AMY
What was that about?

JEFF
Nothing. Guy in the truck.
Thinks I tried to hit him.

Jeff glances apprehensively at the man in the pickup, who
has not moved during the scene. He looks back at the
mini-mart.

JEFF
C’mon, let’s go.

AMY
You want me to drive?

JEFF
Later. Just get in.

AMY
Is something wrong?

JEFF
No, let’s just go.

Jeff climbs in behind the wheel. Amy glances at him and
gets in the car. Jeff keys the IGNITION and pulls away.

INT. CHEROKEE – DRIVING – DAY

As Jeff steers back onto the highway, he glances in the
rear-view mirror, sees —

MIRROR POV

Earl coming out of the mini-mart, staring after the
disappearing Jeep.

(CONTINUED)

15.

CONTINUED:

Jeff shifts in his seat, relieved to be getting away from
there. Amy watches the speedometer as it climbs to 75,
then 80, then 85.

AMY
This isn’t the Grand Prix, you
know.

Jeff releases his foot from the accelerator. The needle
sinks back down to 65.

She gives him a long contemplative look.

AMY
What’s bothering you?

JEFF
I told you. Nothing.
(pause)
The guy was an asshole.

Keeping an eye on the rear-view mirror, Jeff nods toward
the grocery bag, trying to change the subject.

JEFF
What’d you get?

Amy pulls out an assortment of candy bars and junk food.

AMY
Junk food fiesta. Sno Balls, Yoo
Hoo, Moon pies… can you believe
they still make this stuff?

JEFF
You kidding. It’s probably
gourmet cuisine around here.

CUT TO:

EXT. DESERT HIGHWAY – AERIAL – DAY

Far below us, the Cherokee traces the empty highway.
There are no buildings, no houses, no other vehicles.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. CHEROKEE – DRIVING – FEW MINUTES LATER

Jeff drives in silence. Amy stares out the window,
bored. Looking for a distraction, she picks up a
cellophane package of doughnuts and peruses the label.

(CONTINUED)

16.

CONTINUED:

AMY
(trying to brighten
the mood)
This is crazy. Look at this.
Says if you win this mail-in
contest, you can choose either
ninety thousand dollars or ninety
thousand doughnuts.

She gives him a playful glance.

AMY
What would you do with ninety
thousand doughnuts?

Jeff shrugs, disinterested.

JEFF
I dunno… Sell ‘em for thirty
cents each and pay off this car.

AMY
Very funny.
(beat)
Alright, what about ninety
thousand dollars? What would you
do with that?

Jeff stares out the window. He’s not into this.

JEFF
I don’t know. Look, Amy, I’m
not —

Suddenly his eyes drop to the console between them —

JEFF
Sonofabitch!! My camera! He
stole my camera!

AMY
(startled)
Who?

JEFF
The redneck at the gas station!
He lifted it right under my nose!
My brand new Nikon.
(pounds wheel
in frustration)
Goddammit.

AMY
Should we go back?

(CONTINUED)

17.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
What’s the use. He’s probably
halfway to Bumblefuck now, the
bastard.

AMY
Look, maybe if we call the cops —

Jeff is about to reply when suddenly the car bucks.

JEFF
What the hell?

The car gives another jolt.

AMY
What’d you do?

JEFF
Nothing. I —

A warning light flashes on the instrument panel. The
brakes and steering lose power. The engine quits cold.

JEFF
Hang on — I can’t steer!

The CAR bucks and SCREECHES. After a few HICCUPS, it
jerks to a halt, just beyond a crest in the road.

For a moment, they sit there dazed, staring ahead at the
empty road. Then Amy notices an object on the floor —
the Nikon. She picks it up.

AMY
(deadpan)
Found your camera.

He rolls his eyes. He yanks the hood release and gets
out.

EXT. HIGHWAY – DAY

Steam pours from under the hood of the Cherokee. Amy
gets out and looks around at the scorched wasteland.
Jeff goes to the front of the car, gropes under the hood
for the release latch. He yanks his hand away, burned by
the hot metal.

JEFF
Ow!

(CONTINUED)

18.

CONTINUED:

AMY
Are you okay?

JEFF
I’m fine.

Amy moves to Jeff to examine the burn. She reaches out.

JEFF
(annoyed)
I said I’m fine, okay?

Jeff lifts the hood, examines the engine. He tugs on a
cable, checks the battery connection and radiator.

He goes to the passenger’s side and takes a hand-held
cellular phone from the glove box. He dials zero and
hits “send.” The PHONE BEEPS.

AMY
Out of range?

Jeff grunts, tosses the phone on the seat. It bounces
and lands on the floor. Amy watches as he returns to the
engine and begins unscrewing the radiator cap.

AMY
What’s going on, Jeff?

JEFF
What’s it look like? I’m trying
to fix the car.

AMY
Not the car.

JEFF
What?

AMY
What’s going on with you?

Jeff busies himself with the engine, not answering.

AMY
It’s been a month since you got
back. You can’t keep shutting me
out like this.

Jeff says nothing.

AMY
Jeff, I’m talking to you.

(CONTINUED)

19.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
(flaring)
Look, I really don’t want to go
into this right now. I’m changing
jobs, our finances are fucked, and
we’re stuck in the middle of
nowhere. So could we maybe just
fix the —

He stops in mid-sentence. There is a RUMBLE in the
distance. They look down the road.

JEFF
Christ, not these guys…

JEFF’S POV – DODGE RAM PICKUP

approaching fast on the road. As it streaks past, Earl
yells and launches a beer bottle from the window. The
BOTTLE SHATTERS on the asphalt.

BACK TO JEFF

watching the Ram speed away.

JEFF
Asshole…

AMY
(looking down
the road)
Jeff —

A quarter-mile away, the pickup is slowing. It pulls a
U-turn and stops, facing the Cherokee. It just sits
there, ENGINE IDLING.

JEFF
What the hell?

AMY
What’s he doing?

JEFF
I don’t know.

Jeff watches the pickup, frowning. Then, from the
opposite direction, they hear a LOW RUMBLE. They turn
and stare at —

20.

MASSIVE TRACTOR-TRAILER

coming over a crest in the road.

It’s a huge eighteen-wheeler. A white 1988 Peterbilt.
It grinds into low gear and slows, BRAKES CREAKING.

The TRUCK comes to a halt with a HISS of compressed air.

DOWN HIGHWAY

the PICKUP STARTS UP again. It pulls another U-turn and
drives away, melting into the desert.

AMY

breathes a sigh of relief.

The driver dismounts from the cab, leaving the ENGINE
IDLING. We recognize him as the Trucker in the mini-
mart. He removes his cap, revealing a shock of
prematurely white hair. He is well-shaven, his clothes
immaculate. His name is Red.

RED (TRUCKER)
You folks all right?

JEFF
Yeah. Our car broke down.

RED
(chuckling)
I figured that much. You want a
hand pushing it off the road?

JEFF
Thanks, I’d appreciate it. Amy,
you want to steer?

Amy gets behind the wheel and puts the shift in neutral.
Jeff and Red push the car to the shoulder. As they push,
Jeff glances at the CB antenna on Red’s cab.

JEFF
Think you could radio a tow truck
for us?

RED
I sure would if I could, mister,
but my C.B. blew a fuse this
morning. I’m waiting till I hit
the truck stop on I-40 to get it
fixed.

(CONTINUED)

21.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
How far is that?

RED
About 60 miles.

JEFF
(disappointed)
Oh.

Red walks around to the front of the car and peers down
at the exposed engine.

RED
I’d offer to take a look, but it’s
hard to say with these new
engines. Used to be, you could
give ‘em a kick and a holler and
they’d start right up. Now it’s
all computers and chips.

JEFF
It’s a new car.

RED
That could be the problem. You
been running it pretty fast?

Amy gives Jeff a reprimanding look. It’s subtle, but Red
notices.

RED
Tell you what. If you want a
ride, there’s a little diner up
the road. Belle’s. They got a
pay phone. You could call a tow
truck from there.

Jeff considers this, glances back to where the Dodge Ram
was last seen.

JEFF
Nice of you to offer. But we’ve
got a lot of stuff in the car. I
think we’re better off waiting for
a cop to come along.

Amy rolls her eyes. Red sees the look, trying not to
smile. He glances up at a small plane flying overhead.

(CONTINUED)

22.

CONTINUED:

RED
(casually)
Suit yourself. Not many cops on
this road, that’s why the truckers
use it. Maybe you’ll get lucky.
(tipping his cap)
Good luck.

He turns and heads back toward his truck. Amy looks at
Jeff. She waits till the trucker is out of earshot.

AMY
Are you nuts?

JEFF
We don’t know this guy.

AMY
He’s offering to help. It could
be hours before anyone else comes
along. It’s 100 degrees. You
really want to be stuck out here?

JEFF
Amy, I’ve got my equipment in the
car. All our stuff. What if
those guys come back and we’re not
here?
(turns away,
quietly to
himself)
Jesus… don’t be stupid…

Amy hears this. She’s had enough. Flares.

AMY
Stupid is sitting out here waiting
for a cop when we already have a
ride.

In the b.g., the TRUCK is THROTTLING UP. Then, mad and
careless:

AMY
Stupid was letting you talk me
into leaving Boston.

She turns away. The truck starts to pull out. She bites
her lip, thinking, then steps into the road and flags the
truck down. Red brakes.

AMY
Excuse me? Do you think you could
drop me at that diner?

(CONTINUED)

23.

CONTINUED:

RED
(surprised)
Sure thing. How about you,
mister? I could take you both
just as easy.

AMY
That’s okay. My husband wants to
stay with the car. I’ll just get
my purse.

She goes to the passenger side of the Jeep for her purse.
Jeff follows, lowering his voice.

JEFF
What do you think you’re doing?

AMY
I’m going to the diner. I’m going
to call a tow truck. Then I’m
going to order an iced tea and
wait. Good-bye, Jeff.

JEFF
(firm)
You’re not riding with that guy.
End of story.

AMY
You wanted to be alone. Well…
you’re alone. Why don’t you take
the time to get your head
together?

She walks to the truck. Jeff stands there. She climbs
into the cab. Red moves some papers out of the way.

RED
Watch your step, ma’am.

She pulls the door shut. The TRUCK THROTTLES UP and
pulls away. Jeff watches the truck dwindle in the
distance, flashers blinking. After a beat, the flashers
cease.

SLOW DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. ROADSIDE – TWENTY MINUTES LATER

Beneath a blazing sun, Jeff paces restlessly in front of
the Cherokee, checking his watch, wiping beads of sweat
from his face. He looks down the highway.

(CONTINUED)

24.

CONTINUED:

Nothing in sight. Extremely bored, he wanders over to
the raised hood and studies the engine again.

After a few moments, something catches his eye. Curious,
he kneels down and peers under the chassis. He frowns.

JEFF’S POV – LOOSE WIRE

dangling under the engine.

BACK TO JEFF

JEFF
Oh for Christ’s sake…

He pulls his Swiss Army knife from his pocket and slides
under the car. Working with the screwdriver blade of the
knife, he reconnects the plug to its socket. In the
process, his hands and shirt become stained with grease.

Jeff slides out from under the car, brushes himself off
and gets behind the wheel. He tosses the Swiss Army
knife on the center console and keys the ignition. The
ENGINE ROARS to life.

CUT TO:

EXT. DESERT ROAD – MINUTES LATER

The Cherokee speeds down the empty highway.

INT. CHEROKEE – SAME TIME

Jeff drives, a determined expression.

EXT. DESERT HIGHWAY – DAY

The Jeep blows past.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. BELLE’S DINER – DAY

A weather-beaten structure with a gravel parking lot. A
peeling sign on the roof: “Belle’s: Beer & Food.”
There is a phone booth outside.

The Cherokee pulls in and parks. Jeff CHIRPS the ALARM,
heads for the entrance.

25.

INT. BELLE’S – DAY

Dark and dingy. Formica tables, a bar. Chunky customers
in K-Mart clothes sit at the bar, nursing beers and
watching a football game on a big MUTED TV.

Jeff enters and all conversation stops. The other
patrons turn and stare. After a moment, they return to
their beers.

Jeff glances around. No sign of Amy. No sign of Red.

A bored-looking BARTENDER stands behind the counter,
preparing a sandwich. Behind him, a blackboard menu.
Jeff approaches.

JEFF
Excuse me.

The Bartender looks up, a cutting knife in his hand.

JEFF
I was supposed to meet my wife
here.

The Bartender shrugs, gives him a look: Yeah, so?

JEFF
Dark hair, slender, about five-
five. Wearing a pale blue
Benetton shirt.

BARTENDER
A pale blue what?

JEFF
Benetton shirt.

The Bartender plops the sandwich on a plate, tears off an
order slip.

BARTENDER
Hank! Your order’s ready.
(to Jeff)
I been busy. They come and go.

JEFF
It would’ve been within the last
half hour. She might’ve been with
a trucker?

BARTENDER
A trucker.

(CONTINUED)

26.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
Guy with a baseball cap. Driving
an eighteen wheeler.

The Bartender thinks a moment, shakes his head.

BARTENDER
Don’t ring a bell.

JEFF
You sure?

The Bartender leans over the counter, calls out:

BARTENDER
Hey! Man here’s looking for his
wife, dark hair, button-on shirt,
travelin’ with a guy in a baseball
cap. Anybody see ‘em?

Jeff looks up and down the counter. Blank faces, a few
disinterested shrugs, a few headshakes no.

A disheveled female barfly, FLO, grins up at him.

FLO
Looks like she got away from ya,
cowboy.

A few of the regulars chuckle at this. Jeff ignores
them, turns back to the Bartender.

JEFF
Could she have left a message with
another one of your employees?

BARTENDER
Don’t see how. I’m the only one
who works here.

Jeff scratches his head. This doesn’t make any sense.

JEFF
I don’t understand. Is there
another Belle’s Diner?

BARTENDER
(chuckles)
No siree. Definitely not.

Jeff clenches his jaw, takes another look around. An
elderly couple sit at a rear table, watching him. They
whisper to each other.

(CONTINUED)

27.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
(under his breath)
Shit.

He turns and goes outside…

EXT. BELLE’S – DAY

Jeff squints in the bright sunlight.

Maybe he got this place confused with a different diner.
He peers up at the sign. It says “Belle’s,” all right.

He walks to the phone booth, looks inside. The phone
book is missing.

He picks up the receiver, listens for the dial tone…
Phone works okay. He hangs up.

He stands there for a moment, scanning the horizon in all
directions. There is nothing else out here, nowhere else
she could have gone.

Jeff marches back into the diner…

INT. DINER – DAY

Jeff goes to the Bartender.

JEFF
Excuse me, how far is the next
town?

BARTENDER
About twenty miles.

JEFF
Look, if my wife comes in — her
name is Amy — tell her I was
here. Tell her to stay put till I
get back, not to move. Would you
do that, please?

BARTENDER
(shrugs, bored)
Okay.

Jeff regards the Bartender skeptically. He takes one
last look around, then heads out.

28.

EXT. BELLE’S – DAY

Jeff marches briskly to his car and opens the door,
forgetting to deactivate the alarm. The SIREN WAILS.
Jeff fumbles for the remote and shuts if OFF.

HIGH ANGLE – MOMENTS LATER

The Cherokee pulls out of the parking lot, kicking up
gravel.

CUT TO:

INT. CHEROKEE – DAY

The stereo is off, the windows rolled up. Jeff drives,
his jaw set tightly.

The speedometer reads 88 mph.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. DESERT HIGHWAY – MINUTES LATER

The Cherokee crests a rise…

INT. CHEROKEE – DAY

… and then across the desert plain, traveling on
another road, he sees it…

PETERBILT

The 18-wheeler that picked up Amy. Cruising leisurely.

Jeff presses the accelerator…

EXT. FORK IN ROAD – DAY

The Cherokee turns sharply onto the other road.

EXT. DESERT HIGHWAY – AERIAL VIEW – DAY

The Cherokee speeds down the road, gaining on the
Peterbilt. It comes up behind.

29.

INT. CHEROKEE – DAY

Jeff HONKS his HORN, flashes his lights.

JEFF
C’mon, you fat-ass. Pull over.

Either the driver doesn’t notice, or he’s ignoring Jeff,
but the truck does not slow down.

Jeff shifts into the oncoming lane and pulls alongside
the cab. He HONKS again and waves, gesturing for the
truck to pull over. But the Peterbilt maintains its
speed.

Jeff cranes his neck to get a glimpse of the driver…

POV SHOT

It’s Red, alright. But he’s wearing a different cap.
FROM this ANGLE, we can’t see into the passenger side of
the cab.

Red peers down at Jeff, puzzled. Jeff shouts at him,
waves:

JEFF
Pull over! Pull over!

Red suddenly notices something ahead in the road, BLARES
his HORN.

Jeff looks up, sees —

An RV camper approaching in the oncoming lane!

HIGHWAY

Jeff swerves onto the far shoulder as the RV whooshes
past in the opposite direction, HORN BLARING.

CHEROKEE

Jeff is rattled, catching his breath. He swings back
onto the road.

HIGHWAY

Jeff slips in ahead of the Peterbilt, then starts weaving
and braking, forcing the truck to slow.

(CONTINUED)

30.

CONTINUED:

Both vehicles pull to the side of the road and stop.
Jeff leaps out of the Cherokee and runs over as Red
climbs down from the empty cab.

(NOTE: Throughout this scene, various cars and trucks
pass in either direction.)

RED
Jesus, pal, what the hell you
doing?

JEFF
I was signaling you to stop.
Didn’t you see me?

RED
No.

Jeff reacts. How thick can this guy be?

JEFF
Where’s my wife?

RED
Huh?

JEFF
My wife. Where is she?

Red gives him a puzzled look.

RED
How should I know where your wife
is?

JEFF
I checked at the diner. No one
saw her there.

RED
Mister, I don’t know what you’re
talking about.

Jeff stares — is this guy nuts?

JEFF
You gave her a ride. You were
supposed to drop her at Belle’s
diner.

Red searches his memory, trying to be as helpful as
possible. He shakes his head.

(CONTINUED)

31.

CONTINUED:

RED
Nope. Sorry.

JEFF
How can you not remember? It was
just half an hour ago, for
chrissakes!

Red gives him a peculiar look.

RED
Mister, I never seen you before in
my life.

Suddenly, there is a loud SQUAWK from inside the cab —
the CB RADIO.

CB VOICE (V.O.)
(filtered)
Breaker, breaker — Iron Man, you
copy?

JEFF
(reacts)
Your radio works —
(locks eyes with Red)
What the hell are you doing — ?

Jeff freaks out, circling the truck, calling loudly:

JEFF
Amy? Amy?! You in there?

Red shrinks back, unnerved.

RED
Look, mister, I don’t know what
you want, but —

JEFF
I want my fucking wife, is what I
want! What have you done to her?!

Red’s eyes dart to something in the distance. Jeff
catches this, turns…

SHERIFF’S PATROL CAR

Cruising toward them.

Jeff runs into the middle of the road and waves
frantically. The patrol car switches on its flash bar
and speeds up, pulling to a stop behind the Peterbilt.

(CONTINUED)

32.

CONTINUED:

SHERIFF BOYD, 50ish, climbs out, sizing up the situation.
Jeff runs over.

JEFF
Officer, I need your help!

SHERIFF BOYD
What’s your problem?

JEFF
I don’t know, this guy has my
wife!

SHERIFF BOYD
Calm down, sir. Tell me what’s
going on.

Jeff catches his breath.

JEFF
I don’t know what the hell’s going
on. Last time I saw her she was
with this guy in his truck. Now
he’s saying he’s never seen her!

RED
Officer, he’s crazy — I don’t
know what he’s talking about.

JEFF
Don’t lie, you son of a bitch!

The Sheriff unsnaps the safety strap on his holster…
just a precaution.

SHERIFF BOYD
All right — everybody just calm
down.
(to Jeff)
Sir, you want to tell me what
happened?

JEFF
Our car broke down. This guy
stopped to help us, said he’d
drive my wife to a pay phone. But
she never showed up.

SHERIFF BOYD
(turning to Red)
Sir?

(CONTINUED)

33.

CONTINUED:

RED
I don’t know, officer. I’m
driving along, suddenly this fella
runs me off the road and starts
hollering about his wife. I
swear, I never seen the guy
before.

SHERIFF BOYD
And you didn’t give his wife a
ride?

RED
No, sir.

JEFF
He’s lying!

The Sheriff takes a long look at both of them, unsure
what to think. He turns back to Red.

SHERIFF BOYD
Sir, all right with you if I
search your truck?

RED
Hell yes, officer. Go right
ahead. Name’s Red, by the way.
Red Barr.
(pulls out his
wallet)
My permits are all current. You
can check ‘em out.

SHERIFF BOYD
That won’t be necessary yet. Just
stand back behind the line. Both
of you.

As Red closes his wallet, several credit cards fall to
the ground. He bends to scoop them up. Jeff eyes this
suspiciously.

The Sheriff climbs up into the truck.

INT. PETERBILT CAB – DAY

The Sheriff pokes his head inside, looks around.

Pretty much what you’d expect in a long-haul big rig:
a CB radio, a plastic Jesus, a map of the U.S. taped to
the ceiling with hundreds of magic marker X’s showing
where the truck has been.

(CONTINUED)

34.

CONTINUED:

The Sheriff looks into the sleeping area behind. A
blanket is folded over a foam mattress. A stained pillow
rests on top.

EXT. PETERBILT – DAY

Jeff and Red keep a careful eye on each other as the
Sheriff climbs down from the cab, wiping his hands.

SHERIFF BOYD
(to both of them)
All right, let’s see your license
and registration.

Jeff and Red fish into their wallets and hand over
I.D.’s. The Sheriff examines them, comparing faces to
pictures and writing down names.

SHERIFF BOYD
What are you hauling today, Mr.
Barr?

RED
Nothing, empty load. I’m heading
to Fresno for a pick up — ball
bearings or something.

SHERIFF BOYD
(eyeing him)
Long way to go empty.

RED
Tell me about it. Too much
competition nowadays. One horse
guys like me gotta drive halfway
‘cross the country just to get a
payin’ job.

JEFF
(to Sheriff,
impatient)
Are we gonna keep looking or what?

The Sheriff hands back the I.D.’s.

SHERIFF BOYD
Yes, we are.
(to Red)
Sir, I’m gonna have to see
everything.

RED
No problem. I understand.

35.

EXT. REAR OF PETERBILT – DAY

Jeff and the Sheriff observe as Red unlatches two heavy
padlocks. Grunting, he raises the slatted METAL DOOR.
It retracts along the ceiling with a noisy RATTLE.

INSIDE

The cavernous interior is mostly empty, except for a few
randomly strewn cardboard boxes, too small to contain a
person.

SHERIFF BOYD
(re: boxes)
Those yours?

RED
Yeah. Personal stuff. Clothes
and whatnot. You want to take a
look?

The Sheriff considers it, shakes his head.

SHERIFF BOYD
No. I think we’re pretty much
done here. You’re free to go.

JEFF
(reacts)
Whoa, whoa — wait a sec. That’s
it? You’re not going to question
him anymore?

SHERIFF BOYD
Sir, I searched the truck.
There’s no evidence of suspicious
activity, no sign of struggle.

Red has been looking on. He chimes in, trying to be
helpful:

RED
Look, I don’t mean to butt in, but
maybe you got my truck confused
with someone else’s.

JEFF
(lunges)
Go to hell, you sonofabitch —

The Sheriff grabs Jeff, holds him back.

(CONTINUED)

36.

CONTINUED:

SHERIFF BOYD
Hey! Hey! You want to get
arrested? Now the man has a
point. This is a plain-looking,
John Doe truck. Maybe you did get
them mixed up.

Jeff stares at the Sheriff a beat, then bolts suddenly
for the front of the truck. He yanks open the door and
leaps up into the cab.

SHERIFF BOYD
Hey!

The Sheriff jogs after him. Red walks to the cab,
unconcerned.

INT. PETERBILT CAB – DAY

Jeff searches the cab for signs of Amy. He tosses aside
a jacket, rifles papers on the floor. There is nothing.

EXT. CAB – DAY

Sheriff Boyd looks up sternly as Jeff continues searching
the cab. Red watches calmly.

SHERIFF BOYD
Mr. Taylor, either you come down
from there or I’m going to have to
arrest you.

Jeff gives up reluctantly. He looks lame and desperate
and he knows it. He steps down from the cab, gritting
his teeth.

JEFF
It was him. It was this truck.

SHERIFF BOYD
Uh-huh, I can see that. Did you
get a license plate?

Jeff stares at him, knows where this is going.

JEFF
No.

SHERIFF BOYD
What about the information on the
door panel. You recall any of
that?

(CONTINUED)

37.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
I wasn’t paying attention.

The Sheriff studies him a beat, nods.

SHERIFF BOYD
Mr. Taylor, did you by any chance
have a beef with your wife today?

JEFF
What does that have to do with
anything?

SHERIFF BOYD
Well, for starters, maybe she left
you.

JEFF
I don’t believe this…

SHERIFF BOYD
I’ve seen it a hundred times.
Lovers, married couples, gay guys.
You put two people in a car long
enough, they’ll go at it. Hell,
I’ve even seen men dump their
women on the side of the road, and
vice versa.

Jeff stares at the cop. Emphatic:

JEFF
My wife did not leave me.

RED
(cuts in)
Officer, I’m sorry, I’d like to
stay and help, but I really got to
make it to Fresno…

SHERIFF BOYD
I understand. Go ahead, sir. I
appreciate your cooperation.

JEFF
This is insane. You’re just going
to let him go?

SHERIFF BOYD
I’ve got his information. If we
need to find him later, we’ll know
where to look.

(CONTINUED)

38.

CONTINUED:

RED
Much obliged.
(to Jeff)
Good luck findin’ your wife,
mister. No hard feelings.

Red climbs into the cab. Jeff watches helplessly,
resigned to the fact there’s nothing more he can do. The
Sheriff goes to the cruiser and speaks on the radio. As
the truck drives off, Jeff goes over to the cruiser.

SHERIFF BOYD
Sir, I believe you that your wife
is missing. Maybe you got
confused about what truck she got
into, maybe you had a fight — you
don’t have to tell me. The point
is I’m trying to help.

He hands Jeff a card with an address printed on it.

SHERIFF BOYD
The town of Brackett’s 31 miles
that way. My deputy’s name is Len
Carver. He’s a good man. He’ll
help you fill out the necessary
forms if you want to report your
wife missing.

Jeff clenches his jaw as the words sink in. The Sheriff
softens, his tone sympathetic.

SHERIFF BOYD
If you want my opinion, your wife
is probably around here. Lost or
plenty pissed off and giving you a
scare. Either way, she’ll turn
up.

As Jeff stares at the Sheriff, the police RADIO SQUAWKS.

DISPATCHER (V.O.)
(filtered)
Sheriff, this is dispatch. Mrs.
Gilbert’s locked out of her
trailer again. Can you respond?

SHERIFF BOYD
(into mike)
10-4, dispatch. Tell her I’m on
my way.

He racks the mike.

(CONTINUED)

39.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
I want your name and badge number.

The Sheriff looks up at Jeff, sighs.

SHERIFF BOYD
Sheriff Arthur Boyd. 226-93.
This really isn’t necessary —

JEFF
Don’t tell me what’s necessary,
goddamnit. I’m noting the exact
time of this conversation. 10:52
A.M.

SHERIFF BOYD
(exhaling)
Suit yourself, Mr. Taylor.

The Sheriff shifts into gear and drives away. Jeff is
left standing on the side of the road, desert in all
directions.

CUT TO:

INT. POLICE STATION – DAY

A wall is covered with missing persons’ notices.
Photographs of men, women and children stare back at us.
Names and dates are printed across the bottom of the
notices.

PULL BACK to reveal Jeff staring at the gallery of faces.
It’s a creepy feeling. Several yards away, DEPUTY LEN
CARVER, a young puffy-faced lawman, sits at a desk
filling out a form. Jeff looks shaken.

DEPUTY CARVER
Is this a recent picture?

Jeff glances over. Deputy Carver is holding up a wallet-
sized photograph of Amy.

JEFF
Two months old.

DEPUTY CARVER
She still wear her hair like that?

JEFF
Yes.

(CONTINUED)

40.

CONTINUED:

The Deputy resumes filling out the form. He clicks his
tongue sympathetically.

DEPUTY CARVER
We’ll certainly do our best, Mr.
Taylor. There’s over a hundred
thousand people go missing in this
country every year. Runaways,
deadbeat dads, dropouts, folks
hiding from the I.R.S. — all
vanishing without a trace.

Jeff stares at the faces.

DEPUTY CARVER
Now I’m not saying she’s one of
them. I sure hope not. But
unless there’s a ransom demand or
evidence of forced abduction,
believe me, the F.B.I. won’t even
look at your case till it’s been
24 hours.

Deputy Carver finishes the paperwork and staples the
photograph to the form. He looks up at Jeff.

DEPUTY CARVER
Nevertheless, we’ll sure keep our
eyes peeled. How’s that sound?

Jeff clenches his jaw.

CUT TO:

EXT. ROOF OF BELLE’S DINER – DAY

From this high vantage point, we see Jeff’s car
approaching.

EXT. PARKING LOT – DAY

The Cherokee pulls up to the side of the building. Jeff
gets out and walks inside.

INT. BELLE’S DINER – DAY

Jeff enters, looks around. It’s the same scene as
before: same Bartender, a slightly different cast of
characters.

No sign of Amy.

(CONTINUED)

41.

CONTINUED:

Jeff advances to the Bartender, who stands at a sink
rinsing beer mugs.

JEFF
Did she come in?

BARTENDER
(looks up, uninterested)
Didn’t see her.

JEFF
You didn’t see her, or she didn’t
come in?

BARTENDER
Buddy, I told you the last time.
I’m busy. Maybe she came in,
maybe she didn’t. All I know is,
I didn’t see her.

Jeff looks around, not particularly trusting the
Bartender’s skills of observation. He grinds his jaw.

The other customers at the bar have been watching all
this. One of them, an older grizzled BARFLY, looks up at
Jeff.

BARFLY
(confidentially)
None of my business, mister. But
if I was you I’d take a look in
the ladies room.

The Barfly gives Jeff a wink and turns back to his beer.
Snickers from some of his bar mates, who avert their eyes
when Jeff glances at them. Jeff knows this is almost
certainly a put-on, but he can’t take a chance.

While the Barflies watch, poker-faced, Jeff walks to the
door of the ladies room, hesitates, then knocks. His
knock is answered by a wordless sound, HALF-GROAN, HALF-
GASP.

JEFF
Amy?

Silence. Jeff tries the door. It’s locked. He rattles
it. Another GROAN. Jeff puts his shoulder against the
door, heaves inward. The door swings open, revealing —

42.

INSIDE BATHROOM

Flo, bent over the toilet, vomiting. She whirls around,
a strand of spittle dangling from her lip.

FLO
Hey — what the hell you doing?!

Jeff backs away, yanks the door shut. The barflies
chuckle among themselves.

Jeff strides angrily for the exit. He stops at the door,
takes one last look around. No one seems to be paying
him much attention. He turns to leave…

… but something stops him. He can’t put his finger on
it. There’s something wrong here…

He stares at the other customers. Why do they avoid eye
contact? Are they hiding something?

He scrutinizes more closely…

There is the gruff trucker, sitting at a nearby table
shoveling food in his mouth. He’s been averting his gaze
ever since Jeff walked in.

And then there’s the traveling salesman. Overweight,
sweaty. Popping vitamins along with his coffee.

Or what about the shirtless biker, reading a comic book
at the bar? Probably an ex-con.

While Jeff is running these suspicions through his mind,
a trucker approaches the counter to place an order. The
Bartender jots it down on a pad, then tears off the
carbon slip. He places one copy above the grill and
another in a pile by the cash register.

Jeff stares, an idea forming…

He approaches the bar.

JEFF
I want to see your order slips.

BARTENDER
What?

JEFF
You write down the names. I want
to see them.

BARTENDER
What are you, nuts? I don’t have
to show you jack shit.

(CONTINUED)

43.

CONTINUED:

Jeff leans in his face.

JEFF
If my wife came in here, then her
name’s in that pile.

The Bartender stiffens, stares him straight in the eye:

BARTENDER
You calling me a liar?

A tense beat.

Possessed by a sudden impulse, Jeff makes a grab for the
receipts. Before he can reach them, the Bartender’s hand
clamps onto his.

BARTENDER
Mister, I’ve had just about enough
of you.

JEFF
Let me see the fucking slips.

In one swift motion, Jeff overpowers the man and extracts
the receipts. He starts going through them, fast,
looking at names. TULLY, MARK, FLO, ANDY and…

Jeff raises his eyes to face the unpleasant end of a
Smith & Wesson revolver.

BARTENDER
Now, mister, you’re going to have
to leave.

Jeff takes a step back. Everyone in the diner is
staring. He stumbles backwards, heads for the exit.

EXT. BELLE’S DINER – DAY

Jeff exits, breathing hard, and runs to the phone booth.

PHONE BOOTH

is occupied by a YOUNG MAN with an awkward oversized
frame, ill-fitting clothes. Jeff raps on the glass
anxiously.

JEFF
Please, I need the phone — I have
to call the police!

(CONTINUED)

44.

CONTINUED:

The Man looks up, dull and glassy-eyed. His sluggish
demeanor suggests mental retardation. He hangs up and
slowly opens the door.

SLUGGISH MAN
(drawls)
My name’s Billy. You the feller
lookin’ for his wife?

JEFF
How’d you know? Did you see her?

The Sluggish Man hesitates. There’s something holding
him back. Jeff senses this.

JEFF
Please, if you know something,
anything, tell me.

BILLY (SLUGGISH MAN)
(a beat)
I seen her… maybe.

JEFF
What? When?

Billy is about to answer. In b.g., the Bartender sticks
his head out of the diner. Billy backs away, spooked.

BILLY
Oh man. Never shoulda opened my
damn mouth. Now I’m gonna git it.

Billy breaks into a loping run through the parking lot.
Jeff hurries after him and catches up, cornering Billy
between two cars, trying to calm him.

JEFF
No one’s going to hurt you, Billy.
Just tell me what you saw.

Billy glances around nervously, swallowing.

BILLY
She came in on a truck. A big
white one.

JEFF
Yes…

BILLY
Then she… she got in another
truck.

(CONTINUED)

45.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
Another truck? With who?

BILLY
Dunno. Some men. Bad men. They
say I’m a dummy, but I ain’t. I
see things.

Jeff reels, struggles to stay focused.

JEFF
Do you know where they went?

BILLY
Uh-huh. Route seven. Up by the
river.

JEFF
Where by the river?

BILLY
Dunno. They don’t tell me that
kind of stuff.

JEFF
Who doesn’t? The bartender? The
men in the truck?

Billy’s expression darkens. He starts backing away.

BILLY
I ain’t talking to you no more.

JEFF
Billy, I need you to come to the
police. If you tell them what you
saw, they’ll be able to help me.

Billy laughs.

BILLY
Man, you’re the dummy.

Jeff looks at him, confused.

BILLY
Don’t you git it? The police is
the ones in on it!

Billy turns and runs back into the diner. ON Jeff’s
sickened reaction, we —

CUT TO:

46.

INT. CHEROKEE – DAY

Jeff drives flat-out, his face grim. The speedometer
reads 100 mph.

Keeping his eye on the road, he thumbs through the pages
of a pocket address book. He picks up the handheld
cellular phone and dials.

JEFF
C’mon… work, goddammit…

The “NO SERVICE” INDICATOR BEEPS.

JEFF
Fuck.

EXT. CROSSROADS – DAY

The highway intersects Route 7. The Cherokee slows just
enough to take the corner without tipping over.

It flies past a sign: “Route 7 – North.”

CUT TO:

EXT. ROUTE 7 – DAY

The road ascends into the rocky hills above the desert
plain. The route is narrow and windy, forcing Jeff to
reduce his speed.

INT. CHEROKEE – DAY

Jeff drives, desperately searching for any sign of a
truck. There are no other vehicles on the road.

He keeps pressing the “REDIAL” button. The “NO SERVICE”
INDICATOR BEEPS over and over.

EXT. MOUNTAINS – DAY

The road curves through a tunnel, then climbs higher,
past sharp cliffs and drop-offs. Jeff follows the signs
for “Route 7.”

INT. CHEROKEE – DAY

Something catches Jeff’s eye on the cell phone. For the
first time, the “SERVICE” indicator blinks green. Jeff
immediately grabs the phone again and presses “REDIAL.”

(CONTINUED)

47.

CONTINUED:

There is a burst of STATIC, then we hear a SCRATCHY
RINGING. The call is going through.

JEFF
(thank God)
Yes.

He waits for an answer.

JEFF
Hello, Steve? It’s Jeff Taylor…
Listen, I — don’t put me on hold!
I need a favor… I’ve gotta talk
to that friend of yours at the
F.B.I… No, it’s about Amy, she’s
missing —

There is a burst of STATIC. The reception is very poor.

JEFF
I said Amy’s been —

More STATIC.

JEFF
Fuck!

Jeff holds the phone tight to his ear.

JEFF
Yes, I’m still here. No — don’t
call back — Steve?! Steve?!

The SIGNAL CUTS OFF. Jeff slams the phone against the
dash, furious.

JEFF
Goddammit!

He punches redial, gets the “NO SERVICE” BEEPING, then
glances up, sees a —

CHAINLINK FENCE

covered with high-visibility markers stretched across the
road. The sign: “ROAD CLOSED.”

BACK TO JEFF

He mashes the brakes. The CHEROKEE SKIDS to a halt just
short of the fence. Jeff stares at it.

(CONTINUED)

48.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
Shit!

He grinds his teeth. Beyond the padlocked gate, the
highway continues as an unpaved dirt road.

He deliberates, then throws the Cherokee in reverse and
does a three-point turn so he’s facing back in the
opposite direction.

He looks up, sees —

DODGE RAM PICKUP TRUCK

has been hiding in the bushes off the road. It lurches
forward and stops in the middle of the road, blocking
Jeff’s escape. Jeff’s eyes widen in fear as he
recognizes the vehicle and its driver: Earl.

Earl gets out of the cab with a hunting rifle. He raises
it to his shoulder.

EARL
(calling out)
Out of the car! Put your hands
where I can see ‘em!

JEFF

swears, panicking.

EARL
I said get out, dammit! Now!

Jeff stares into the rifle, deliberating. His hand moves
to the gearshift.

He jerks it into reverse and floors the gas!

CHEROKEE

peels out in reverse, snaking wildly side to side, aiming
for the chainlink fence.

It BURSTS the FENCE! Poles and chain mesh go flying!

JEFF

cranks the wheel and brakes hard. The rear end of the
Cherokee swings wide to the edge of the road.

He throws the shift into drive and punches the throttle.

49.

EARL

jumps in the Ram and takes off in pursuit.

JEFF

GUNS the ENGINE. The Cherokee bounces wildly on the
rutted, storm-damaged road. He yanks the four-wheel-
drive lever.

DIRT ROAD

The huge pickup streaks after the Cherokee, its 7.5-LITER
V10 ROARING, oversized tires devouring the terrain.

JEFF

GUNS the ENGINE on the washboard road surface, the
vibration nearly shaking the suspension apart while —

RAM

keeps pace in the dust from its wake. Inside the cab,
Earl can be seen speaking on a CB transmitter.

JEFF

throws the Cherokee into a sharp turn in the road. As
the car rounds the bend, he looks up, reacting, as —

IDLED BULLDOZER

blocks the road at a construction site. More unattended
earthmoving equipment fills the road beyond.

JEFF

brakes wildly. To his right, a cliff goes straight up;
on the left, a guardrail protects a steep ravine.

He cuts the wheel left, CRASHES through the GUARDRAIL and
plunges into the ravine!

CHEROKEE

bounces wildly as it hurtles down the slope, CRASHING
through sagebrush and manzanita.

50.

JEFF

clings to the wheel, tossed about violently, as suitcases
and packing boxes go everywhere.

The Cherokee hits a bump on the steep slope and CRASHES
through the upper branches of a willow grove.

As the leaves part, we see… a river.

CHEROKEE

lands on the passenger side with a SPLASH and comes to
rest half-submerged in the RUSHING WATER.

EARL

jerks the Ram to a halt, leaps out and runs to the edge
of the road to look down on the Cherokee in the river.

EARL
Sonofabitch…

He grabs the rifle and begins making his way down the
slope.

INSIDE CHEROKEE

The world is sideways. Water rushes into the car. Jeff
is strapped into the driver’s seat by the seatbelt. The
AIRBAG DEFLATES with a HISS.

Jeff grimaces in pain. He looks around, blinking. The
river is flowing right through the Cherokee!

Luggage, styrofoam hamburger clamshells and empty Coke
cans bob on the surface of the water.

Jeff fumbles with the seatbelt release. The belt comes
free and he drops suddenly into the water on the
passenger side.

He gets to his feet, reaches overhead to unlatch the
driver’s side door and pushes it open.

He hoists himself through the door.

RIVERBANK

Earl sees Jeff emerging from the half-submerged Cherokee,
levels the RIFLE and FIRES!

51.

JEFF

ducks back inside the Cherokee, freaking.

The passenger side is on the river-bottom and if he tries
to get out through the driver’s side, he’s a sitting
duck!

Jeff swears and looks around, seeing a metal camera case
underwater in the back seat.

He grabs the case and swings it at the windshield. The
first three blows bounce off harmlessly.

Then the WINDSHIELD SHATTERS with a CRASH!

He takes a deep breath, submerges and swims underwater
through the broken windshield.

ON BANK

Earl stiffens as he sees movement in the water. Several
items of debris from the car are floating on the current.

EARL
Fuck!

He begins moving downstream along the bank, eyeing the
river.

UNDERWATER

Jeff breaststrokes for all he’s worth. Sand swirls in
the swift current. He pushes away from a boulder in his
path.

He swims until his lungs are bursting, then surfaces for
air.

ON BANK

Earl sees Jeff break the surface. He aims the RIFLE and
FIRES! A BULLET SMACKS the WATER near Jeff’s head.

Then Jeff is under again.

EARL
Goddammit…

UNDERWATER

Jeff struggles to stay in control. The current is
turning swifter. His shoulder glances painfully off a
boulder.

52.

ON BANK

Earl works his way through the brush at the river’s edge.
His foot lands between two rocks. He pulls it out,
swearing.

BEHIND ROCK

Jeff surfaces and gulps in air, staying out of sight of
Earl on the bank. Then he is down again.

ON BANK

Earl works his way along the shore. Up ahead, the river
runs over rapids before passing around a bend.

Earl hears an ENGINE and turns. A huge moving van has
arrived on the dirt road overlooking the ravine.

He shouts to the DRIVER, pointing downriver.

EARL
He’s getting away!

The Driver shouts something inaudible. Earl runs along
the bank, ducking under low-hanging branches.

IN RAPIDS

Jeff is carried over the rocks by the fast-moving
current. He slams into a boulder, letting out a cry and
swallowing a mouthful of water.

A downed tree hangs over the river. Jeff grabs
desperately and takes hold of a branch. He’s got it!

Hanging on to the branch, he notices a familiar object
floating past in the water: the “90,000 Donuts” pack.

Jeff tries to haul himself from the river. The BRANCH
bends under his weight. Then it comes free with a CRACK!

Jeff is carried downstream on the rushing water.

ON BANK

Earl works his way along the shore. The unseen Driver of
the van shouts to him from upriver.

DRIVER OF VAN (O.S.)
Where is he?

(CONTINUED)

53.

CONTINUED:

EARL
He’s in the water! I just saw
him!

BELOW RAPIDS

The river has turned slow again.

Jeff fights to his feet in the shallows and staggers to
the bank. He drops to his knees, retching.

Clutching his ribs, he raises his head and looks upriver.
For the moment, there is no sign of Earl. But he could
appear anytime.

Jeff gets to his feet, wincing. He looks up at the rocky
canyon wall bordering the river. It’s steep but
scalable.

He begins climbing.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. ROCK OUTCROPPING – MINUTES LATER

Jeff has climbed to higher ground. He lies flat on his
belly and peers THROUGH a gap in the rocks at the river
valley below.

JEFF’S POV – RIVER

The men have given up their pursuit.

The moving van, a jumbo three-axle GMC, has turned around
and backed up to the edge of the ravine.

A stocky man, AL (whom we recognize as Earl’s passenger
at the minimart), operates a gas-powered winch in the
cargo door of the van.

A cable runs from the winch down to the Cherokee in the
river.

Standing knee-deep in the current, Earl signals to Al
while the winch slowly tugs the Cherokee onto its wheels,
then backwards out of the river.

54.

BACK TO JEFF

watching in amazement. He can hear only snatches of
their conversation.

AL
… can’t believe you let him get
away…

EARL
You try chasing… through this
shit…

AL
Fuck… this is what happens when
you get one without the other…

Jeff can’t believe it. The Cherokee is being pulled
backwards up the slope toward the road.

He belly-crawls back from the outcropping, gets to his
feet and climbs higher.

CUT TO:

EXT. ANOTHER PART OF CLIFF – LATER

Jeff has moved to higher ground. He crouches behind a
stand of manzanita and looks down at the activity below.

JEFF’S POV – ROAD

The Cherokee is now back on the road.

Operating the winch with precision efficiency, Earl and
Al drag the Cherokee up a ramp into the rear of the
moving van.

Once the vehicle is aboard, they stow the ramp and close
the van doors.

BACK TO JEFF

watching in amazement, straining to hear what Earl and Al
are saying. Behind Jeff, a PEBBLE SKITTERS on the rock.

He turns, reacts.

It’s Billy — the halfwit from the diner! Wielding a
shotgun like a club, he swings the butt at Jeff’s skull!

Jeff drops to the ground, unconscious.

CUT TO BLACK.

55.

FADE IN:

INT. CAR TRUNK – DAY

There is a CREAK as the TRUNK opens. Jeff lies inside,
dazed and disoriented, blinking into the sun. His eyes
won’t focus. Earl and Billy stand over the trunk in
silhouette. He can hear their voices:

EARL
He coming around?

BILLY
Should be… I clocked him pretty
good…

A gun barrel jabs Jeff in the ribs.

BILLY
Rise and shine, dad.

Jeff blinks. A face slowly comes INTO FOCUS. Is it
really Billy? The halfwit from the diner? Only he isn’t
a halfwit anymore.

BILLY
C’mon, shake a leg.

Jeff looks at Billy. Nothing makes sense anymore. But
one thing is clear: Billy’s mental retardation was all
an act.

JEFF
(weak)
Where is she?

BILLY
Give us some answers and you might
find out. According to her,
you’ve got a pretty good pile of
ready cash sitting in the bank.
Is that true?

JEFF
There’s some… yeah…

BILLY
Uh-huh… well, ‘some’ doesn’t cut
it. Your wife gave us a dollar
figure. I want the same exact
from you.

(CONTINUED)

56.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
(coming around;
stalling)
I don’t — there’s different
accounts… the balance
fluctuates…

BILLY
Fluctuates, my ass. If a hotshot
like you ain’t tracking his bottom
line, it’d be the first time in
history.
(turning)
What do you think, Earl?

EARL
We been fucked with, is what I
think. Little slut lied to us.
Put ‘em on the spot, they’ll say
anything to stay alive.

Billy nods, disappointed.

BILLY
Yeah, I suppose. Too bad.
(peers down at Jeff)
Guess you’re not the donut magnate
after all.
(to Earl)
Waste of time. Plug him.

Earl raises a pistol. Jeff’s eyes flash.

JEFF
(blurting out)
Ninety thousand.

Earl stops, glances at Billy. They both eye Jeff
carefully.

BILLY
Say again.

JEFF
(emphatic)
Ninety thousand dollars.

A faint smile plays on Billy’s lips. He slams the trunk.

INT. CAR TRUNK – DAY

It’s nearly pitch black. A beam of sunlight shines
through a rusted hole. It illuminates Jeff’s eyes.

(CONTINUED)

57.

CONTINUED:

The car shifts into gear and sets off across the desert.
Jeff grunts as the car bounces on the uneven terrain.

He braces against the confines of the trunk. The ENGINE
NOISE is deafening. The car hits a depression and
jounces wildly. Jeff is thrown about violently.

CUT TO:

EXT. MESA OVERLOOK – DAY

There is a CREAK and the TRUNK opens. Jeff squints into
the sun. Earl and Billy stand over the trunk.

EARL
Get out. Don’t try anything
stupid.

Jeff gets out, grimacing. His clothes are stained with
grease and tire grime. He sets his feet unsteadily on
the ground, looks around. We see that he has been
confined in the trunk of a Pontiac Firebird.

The Firebird and Dodge Ram are parked on a bluff. Red
stands on the highest point, peering through binoculars
at the desert below. He glances at Jeff.

RED
You’re a tough man to get a hold
of, Jeffrey.

Jeff stares, a mix of emotions — anger, fear, confusion.

JEFF
(barely able to
control himself)
What do you want?

RED
It’s not me we’re talking about.
Question is what you want.

Jeff looks at him with loathing.

RED
See, I’ve got something you might
want to buy. Can’t show you the
merchandise right now, but I can
describe it for you. About five-
five, hundred and fifteen pounds.
I’d say three, maybe four of that
is tits. Black curly hair
upstairs and down. Interested?

(CONTINUED)

58.

CONTINUED:

Jeff’s anger bubbles over…

JEFF
You sonofabitch —

He advances toward Red. Billy and Earl grab him from
behind and tackle him to the ground. Billy drives a fist
into his kidney. Jeff gasps in pain.

Red nods impassively.

RED
Bring him up here.

Earl and Billy hoist Jeff to his feet and propel him up
the mound closer to Red.

From here, Jeff can see a small desert town spread out
below, as well as the highway leading through it. Red
gestures.

RED
Welcome to Brackett, Jeff. If
ever there was a two-bit shithole
in the middle of nowhere, this is
it. One gas station, a half-dozen
stores and a V.F.W. hall.
(pointing)
See that building?

Jeff follows his gaze.

RED
That’s the bank. Brackett
Commerce Bank. You with me?

Jeff nods tightly.

RED
Then here’s the drill. You’re
gonna walk in there and tell the
manager you want an express wire
in the amount of $90,000 from your
account in Boston. Got your
wallet?

Jeff nods.

RED
You ask for the money in cash.
Small bills.
(MORE)

(CONTINUED)

59.

CONTINUED:

RED (CONT’D)
Today’s payday at the copper mine,
so don’t take any horsecock about
how they haven’t got it. If the
manager gives you a hard time,
that’s your problem. It’s your
wife who’s counting on you.

JEFF
How do I know she’s still alive?

Billy slugs him in the gut again. Jeff doubles over.

BILLY
Shut up.

RED
She’s tucked away someplace safe.
You get her back as soon as we get
the money. Simple as that.

Jeff compresses his lips.

RED
Now a smart guy like you, you’re
already thinking about calling the
cops, right?

Jeff says nothing. Red raises a hand-held CB to his
mouth. He keys the transmitter.

RED
(into mike)
Iron Man to Blacktop, let’s open
the gate.

AL (V.O.)
(filtered)
Copy that, Iron Man.

Red turns back to Jeff.

RED
Like I said, Jeff, if you want to
call the cops, there’s nothing I
can do. Hell, with the fire
you’ve got in your eyes right now,
I figure you’re fixing on calling
the F.B.I., C.I.A. — even the
82nd Airborne.

Jeff stares back.

(CONTINUED)

60.

CONTINUED:

RED
Problem is, you can see this town
for miles around. So ask
yourself: How’s the law gonna get
here? They gonna fly in? Drive
in? Either way, we’ll see ‘em.
So let me be very clear: if we see
one unmarked car, one plane, one
human being who even smells like a
cop — this deal is dead.

He tosses Jeff the binoculars.

RED
Now take a look at the building
with the flagpole.

Jeff hesitates, then raises the binoculars.

THROUGH BINOCULARS

The IMAGE SHIFTS, then STEADIES and FOCUSES ON a small
building with a police cruiser out front and a barely
legible sign: “BRACKETT SHERIFF.” It’s the police
station where Jeff filed the missing persons’ form
earlier.

RED (O.S.)
There’s exactly two cops in this
town. One of them’s inside
pulling ass duty; the other’s on
patrol in the foothills. Now a
minute ago one of my men called in
a non-injury accident on the I-40
connector.

Deputy Carver comes out of the building gulping down a
sandwich. He gets in the cruiser and pulls away, lights
flashing.

RED (O.S.)
It’ll take that good ol’ boy 20
minutes to get to the connector,
another 10 to see there’s no
accident, and another 20 or so to
tool his way back. 50 minutes all
in.

The cruiser pulls away down the highway.

61.

JEFF

lowers the binoculars and looks at Red.

RED
That’s your deadline. If for any
reason one of those cops pulls
into town before I’m looking at a
bag of money, your wife is dead,
you’re shit out of luck and we’re
gone for good.

He smiles at Jeff.

RED
See, that’s why there’s no risk to
us in this thing. You do the
legwork. We sit back, we watch,
we listen to our scanners, we
monitor you every step of the way.
If at any moment we don’t like
something, we split. Period.
(beat)
Helluva lot safer than sticking up
7-11s, wouldn’t you say?

They lock eyes. Red tosses Jeff a Windbreaker.

RED
Put this on. You can’t go into
the bank like that.

Jeff puts on the jacket. It covers his filthy shirt.
Red checks his watch.

RED
How about it, Jeff? Time to get
the show on the road?

ON Jeff’s expression…

CUT TO:

EXT. BOTTOM OF MESA – DAY

Jeff stumbles and nearly falls as he descends the loose
rock at the foot of the mesa. He looks up at the ridge,
but Red and his crew have pulled back out of view. Jeff
starts across an open field toward the town, first
jogging, then running.

62.

EXT. STREET – DAY

Jeff hurries toward the bank. He looks back at the mesa
again. The gang has disappeared.

Up ahead, a mud-streaked pickup cruises the main street.
Jeff eyes it warily. Is it one of theirs? The truck
pulls around a corner.

INT. BANK – DAY

Jeff pushes through the main doors. It’s a typical small
town operation. A guard stands near the entrance.
Several customers wait in line for the woman teller.

Jeff looks at the slow-moving line and swears softly. He
doesn’t have time to wait. He glances around, sees an
older man sitting at a desk in the rear of the bank, the
nameplate on the desk identifying him as Roger Calhoun.
Jeff approaches.

JEFF
I need to see the manager. I need
a wire transfer from my bank in
Boston.

CALHOUN looks up from his paperwork, hesitates at Jeff’s
appearance.

CALHOUN
Yes… sir. I’m the manager.
Would you like to have a seat?

Jeff remains standing. He eyes the other customers
nervously.

CALHOUN
Sir?

JEFF
(turning; preoccupied)
What?

CALHOUN
I said you can have a seat if you
want.

JEFF
Right.

He takes a seat across the desk from the manager, reaches
into his wallet and brings out several forms of
identification.

(CONTINUED)

63.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
Here’s my driver’s license, credit
card if you need it, my account
number in Boston… How long is
this going to take?

Calhoun looks at him curiously.

CALHOUN
Are you all right?

JEFF
(quickly)
Yes, I’m fine. Look, that account
only has $5,000 in it. How much
can you advance me on my credit
card?

CALHOUN
Excuse me?

JEFF
(impatient)
My credit card. I’ve got a $6,000
limit. Can you advance me the
whole $6,000?

Calhoun looks mystified.

CALHOUN
No, I can’t. For non-customers
the limit is $500 a day. Sir, are
you sure you’re all right?

JEFF
Yes, I’m fine. Just… transfer
the money, okay?

Calhoun raises an eyebrow and begins filling out the
transfer form. Jeff eyes him, decides he has to risk it.
He leans toward the desk.

JEFF
Look, I’m going to tell you
something. Whatever happens, just
keep filling out that form, okay?

CALHOUN
(looking up;
baffled)
Sir?

JEFF
There are people watching —

(CONTINUED)

64.

CONTINUED:

COWBOY (O.S.)
Excuse me, you the manager?

Jeff turns. A GUY wearing cowboy boots and a feed cap
stands behind him.

CALHOUN
Yes, I am.

COWBOY
Lady over there said to see you
about a car loan.

CALHOUN
(indicating
waiting area)
Certainly, sir. Would you like to
have a seat?

The guy takes a seat ten feet away. Jeff looks at him,
paranoid. Their eyes meet. Jeff looks away quickly.

CALHOUN
(turning back
to Jeff)
You were saying, Mr. Taylor?

JEFF
Just… transfer the money.

CUT TO:

INT. BANK REST ROOM – DAY

Jeff enters and locks the door.

He startles at his reflection in the mirror. He is
sunburned, dirty, lacerated.

He opens a cabinet and rifles through the supplies,
looking for anything that could be used as a weapon. He
tosses aside detergents and air fresheners.

He picks up the toilet plunger, pulls the wooden rod from
the rubber base. He swings it into his palm a few times,
testing it as a club. It’s too bulky. He won’t be able
to conceal it.

He checks his watch. Time is running out. He takes one
last look around the bathroom, then exits.

65.

INT. BANK – DAY

Jeff comes out of the rest room. The manager is behind
the teller’s counter. The cowboy is gone. In his place
sits a middle-aged blue collar worker. He looks at Jeff.

Jeff takes a seat, glances at Calhoun’s empty desk.
There is a letter opener on the desk, several paper bands
for wrapping currency.

Positioning his body so no one can see, Jeff takes the
letter opener and slips it into his sleeve. He scoops up
a handful of currency wrappers.

Jeff goes to the teller’s window, scribbles something on
the back of a deposit slip and hands it to the teller.

JEFF
Would you tell the manager I want
the money in these denominations?

The teller looks at him oddly.

CUT TO:

EXT. STREET – DAY

Jeff comes out of the bank with a manila envelope,
glancing up and down the street. There’s no sign of the
men. He squints toward the mesa. No sign of them there
either.

He stands there. What’s he supposed to do now? He
checks his watch, growing anxious. Finally he is about
to jog back in the direction he came, when… a PHONE
RINGS.

Jeff turns. There’s a pay PHONE down the street. It
RINGS again. He approaches quickly, lifts the receiver.

JEFF
I’m here.

RED (V.O.)
(filtered)
No shit. I can SEE that. How
much you got?

Jeff looks up and down the street, trying to figure out
where they’re watching from. He looks toward the bank,
glimpses the manager peering through the window.

JEFF
The whole thing. Ninety thousand.

(CONTINUED)

66.

CONTINUED:

RED (V.O.)
(filtered)
Good. Turn left and start walking
toward the main road. Get in the
first car that stops.

JEFF
When do I see my wife?

RED (V.O.)
(filtered)
When I say so. Now walk.

The LINE CLICKS. Jeff hangs up and starts walking.

CUT TO:

INT. BANK – DAY

Calhoun speaks on the phone.

CALHOUN
Marie, this is Roger Calhoun down
at the bank. Is the Sheriff
there?
(a beat)
Well, maybe it’s nothing, but you
might tell him we just had a
fellow in here acting kind of
strange…

CUT TO:

EXT. HIGHWAY – OUTSKIRTS OF TOWN – DAY

Jeff walks along the road, carrying the envelope.
Various cars pass in either direction, but none slow
down.

Jeff stiffens as an 18-wheeler approaches. But the TRUCK
THUNDERS past, blowing a cloud of dust and sand in his
face.

Jeff continues walking, anxiously checking over his
shoulder every few moments. His eyes narrow.

The Dodge Ram pickup is cruising toward him. It slows,
then brakes to a halt. The passenger door opens. Earl
sits behind the wheel, aiming an automatic pistol.

EARL
Toss the envelope on the seat.

(CONTINUED)

67.

CONTINUED:

Jeff stands firm.

JEFF
No. First you tell me where she
is.

EARL
Wrong, asshole. First you give me
the money, then you find out.
Unless you want me to shoot you
dead right here on the highway.

Jeff looks around, wonders if Earl would risk shooting
him in view of passing traffic.

Jeff hesitates, then tosses the envelope on the seat.
Earl opens it, reaches in and pulls out several packets
of currency. They are wrapped with paper bands and
appear to be stacks of fifties and hundreds. He replaces
them and gestures at Jeff with the gun.

EARL
Now lift your shirt and jacket and
turn around.

Jeff complies. Earl sees that he isn’t carrying a gun.
He beckons Jeff toward the truck with the automatic.

EARL
Turn around, hands behind your
back, and step toward the truck.

Jeff takes two backwards steps toward the passenger side
door. Earl grabs his arms, yanks roughly and wraps them
with several layers of duct tape.

EARL
Now get up in the truck, knees on
the floor. Do it now!

Jeff struggles into an awkward kneeling position on the
floor, facing the rear of the pickup, his belly pressed
against the seat.

Earl reaches over and pulls the door shut. He throws the
truck in gear and starts driving. Jeff grimaces, looking
up at him.

JEFF
I gave you the money. Now let her
go.

(CONTINUED)

68.

CONTINUED:

EARL
‘Let her go.’ Do I look like I
have her?

JEFF
What the hell —

Earl backhands Jeff against the passenger door. There is
a RINGING sound and Earl pulls a CELL PHONE from his
pocket. He presses a button and raises it to his face.

EARL
(on phone)
It’s done. I’m heading in.
(a beat;
listening)
Gotcha.

He ends the call and tosses the cell phone on the dash.

EARL
You gotta be the dumbest
motherfuck yet. You think we
picked you out of the blue? New
car, Massachusetts plates —
probably be days before anyone
misses you. Hell, you shoulda got
the bumper sticker that goes with
it: ‘Rich Assholes Looking for
Trouble!’

He tucks the pistol in his belt. Jeff looks at him,
seething.

Jeff tries to squirm free. Earl sees it and belts him
across the temple. Jeff slams into the passenger door,
wincing.

EARL
I’d have loved to see the look on
your face when that car seized up.
(mimicking panicked
driver)
Help, help, I ain’t got no power!

Earl laughs. Jeff has come to rest with his back against
the door. By contorting his arms, he is able to draw the
letter opener from his pocket.

He manipulates the letter opener into position and begins
cutting the duct tape that binds his wrists.

(CONTINUED)

69.

CONTINUED:

Steering with one hand, Earl reaches into the envelope,
pulls out a packet of bills and waves it in Jeff’s face.
Jeff saws faster at the duct tape.

EARL
You know what I’m gonna do first
with your money, boy? Well, do
you?

Jeff glares at him.

EARL
(fluttering bills
under his nose)
I’ll give you a hint. Only one
thing smells better than money.
You wanta guess what?

Earl laughs obscenely. He riffles the bills under his
nose again, then stops abruptly, frowning. He looks down
at the bills.

EARL
What the hell?

Earl stares at the bills. Jeff works feverishly behind
his back. Earl pulls out another packet, then another,
examining the bills.

EARL
These are… it’s nothing but
singles…
(erupting)
You lyin’ sonofabitch!

There is a RIPPING SOUND. Jeff wrests his hands free and
lunges across the cab. He plants the letter opener in
Earl’s shoulder!

EARL
Aaagghh!

EXT. MOUNTAIN ROAD – DAY

The pickup veers across the center line on the narrow
mountain road. It swerves back, over-correcting wildly,
and drifts for the opposite shoulder.

INT. PICKUP – DAY

Jeff seizes the pistol from Earl’s waistband. Earl
flails and knocks the pistol from his grasp.

(CONTINUED)

70.

CONTINUED:

The pistol flies onto the floor.

Earl uncorks a vicious backhand. Jeff’s head snaps
sideways. He grabs Earl by the arm and twists sharply.
Earl howls!

EXT. MOUNTAIN ROAD – DAY

The pickup careens back and forth across the treacherous
roadway.

INT. PICKUP – DAY

Jeff gropes on the floor. His hand closes around the
pistol and he swings it at Earl — crack! Earl’s nose
erupts! Jeff reaches across and jams his foot on the
brake.

EXT. MOUNTAIN ROAD – DAY

The PICKUP SCREECHES and comes to a halt straddling the
road.

INT. PICKUP – DAY

Jeff swings the pistol into Earl’s face — crack! Earl
tries to fend off the blows. Jeff creams him again —
crack!

INT. TOW TRUCK – DAY

A TOW TRUCK DRIVER traveling in the opposite direction
pulls to a stop. He gawks at the two men struggling in
the pickup.

INT. PICKUP – DAY

Jeff aims the pistol at point blank range. Earl is a
bloody wreck. His head lolls groggily.

JEFF
Where is she, goddammit? What’d
you do with her?

Earl sneers. Jeff is about to slug him again when he
notices the two truck parked across the road, the driver
staring out.

(CONTINUED)

71.

CONTINUED:

Jeff swears and wrestles Earl into the passenger seat.

He seizes the roll of duct tape and binds Earl’s wrists,
then passes the tape under his legs so Earl is
effectively hog-tied.

He then slams Earl back in the seat, circles his neck
twice with tape and wraps the free end around the base of
the passenger side headrest. Earl begins to gasp for
air.

The Tow Truck Driver gets out and approaches.

TOW TRUCK DRIVER
Hey! You there!

Jeff gets behind the wheel and throws the pickup into
gear.

EXT. MOUNTAIN ROAD – DAY

The Two Truck Driver leaps out of the way as the pickup
surges forward, tires smoking. He stares open-mouthed
after the departing vehicle.

INT. PICKUP – DAY

Jeff drives, one hand on the wheel, the other brandishing
the pistol at Earl.

JEFF
Where is she?!

EARL
(barely able
to breathe)
Fuck you!

Jeff swings the pistol. There is a crack of exploding
teeth! Earl’s mouth erupts with frothy blood!

JEFF
You like that? How about this?

Jeff hits the brakes. Earl is thrown forward, letting
out a strangled cry as the duct tape chokes off his
windpipe.

JEFF
Four wheel anti-lock brakes, you
sonofabitch! You want to try ‘em
again?

(CONTINUED)

72.

CONTINUED:

He hits the brakes again, harder. Earl’s tongue
protrudes from his lips, choking. His face is red.

JEFF
How about an emergency stop? You
want to try that, Earl? Where is
she?

EARL
I don’t know!

JEFF
Fuck you, you don’t!

He slams the brakes again. Earl’s eyes bulge
sickeningly. He is being choked to death.

EARL
Stop!

JEFF
Is that what you want? You really
want me to stop? ‘Cause I bet
this baby stops on a dime!

CUT TO:

INT. POLICE CRUISER – DAY

Traveling in the opposite direction, Sheriff Boyd is
returning toward town. As he rounds a bend in the road,
he sees —

EXT. MOUNTAIN ROAD – DAY

The Ram driving erratically and weaving back and forth
across the road.

INT. POLICE CRUISER – DAY

The sheriff reacts.

SHERIFF BOYD
What the hell?

EXT. HIGHWAY – DAY

As the Ram passes, Sheriff Boyd throws the cruiser into a
SCREECHING 180-degree turn. He flicks on the SIREN and
takes off in pursuit.

73.

INT. DODGE RAM – DAY

Jeff glances in the rearview mirror. The cruiser is on
their tail, SIREN WAILING, lights flashing. He swears
and pumps the brakes in a series of rapid bursts.

JEFF
End of the line, Earl! How about
it? You gonna tell me?

EARL
She’s with Billy.

JEFF
Yeah? Where’s that?

EARL
I don’t know! Driving around!

Jeff hits the brakes again.

INT. CRUISER – DAY

Sheriff Boyd jerks the wheel to avoid a collision with
the pickup as it slows and accelerates in rapid spurts.

SHERIFF BOYD
(on radio)
Repeat, I am in pursuit of a Dodge
Ram pickup. Request back-up,
repeat, request back-up!

EXT. HIGHWAY – DAY

The cruiser pulls up alongside the pickup…

INT. CRUISER – DAY

Boyd reacts in amazement to what he sees —

SHERIFF BOYD
Jesus Christ —
(on radio)
Dispatch! Suspect identified as
one Jeffrey Taylor, repeat,
Jeffrey Taylor!

Boyd taps his brakes, falling back behind the pickup.

INT. PICKUP – DAY

Jeff is wild-eyed.

(CONTINUED)

74.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
Where were you taking the money?

EARL
(losing it)
To the truck stop…

JEFF
Where?

EARL
Main highway… Texaco…

Jeff has the information he needs. He slams on the
brakes!

INT. CRUISER – DAY

Sheriff Boyd swerves to avoid a crash as the RAM
SCREECHES to a halt in front of him!

EXT. HIGHWAY – DAY

The cruiser skids to a stop. Jeff leaps from the pickup
with the pistol in his hand. He rushes toward the
cruiser. Sheriff Boyd hops out, levels his service
revolver.

JEFF
I know where she is! My wife!

SHERIFF BOYD
(ignoring him)
Drop the gun!

Jeff pitches the gun away and it skitters down an
embankment. He raises his hands.

JEFF
You don’t understand! She’s been
kidnapped!

SHERIFF BOYD
I understand plenty. Now get down
on the ground or I’ll shoot!

He means it.

75.

INT. PICKUP – DAY

Earl struggles for breath. The duct tape is still tight
around his neck. He strains against the tape binding his
limbs.

He glances in the side view mirror to see the Sheriff
ordering Jeff down on the ground.

By wriggling and contorting his wrists, Earl is able to
tear one hand free. Then he pulls away the rest of the
duct tape from his knees.

The tape is still wrapped tightly around his neck,
pinning him to the backrest. Earl claws at the tape, but
it won’t come free. Finally, with both hands, he reaches
behind his head and yanks the read rest from the seat.

He reaches into his boot for something…

EXT. HIGHWAY – DAY

Jeff is spread-eagled on the ground. Sheriff Boyd calls
out to Earl in the cab. He keeps his gun leveled.

SHERIFF BOYD
You there — in the pickup! You
all right? Can you get out?

EARL
Yeah! Just don’t shoot me,
officer! He’s crazy, I tell you!

SHERIFF BOYD
Well, get out dammit!

JEFF
Officer, please. You gotta listen
to me —

SHERIFF BOYD
(glances down
at Jeff)
Shut up.
(to Earl)
C’mon out, sir. It’s safe —

Earl sets one foot on the road. The headrest dangles
against his back, still taped to his neck. Suddenly Earl
whirls, holding a .22 snub-nose REVOLVER and FIRES!

The sheriff stumbles away, blood spurting from his
shoulder, the gun flying from his hand.

Jeff looks up in horror as the sheriff falls.

(CONTINUED)

76.

CONTINUED:

Earl comes around the pickup after Jeff, raising the gun
to fire. Jeff scrambles to his feet and dives down the
embankment.

Earl runs to the edge of the embankment. Down below,
Jeff is reaching for the automatic pistol the sheriff
ordered him to drop.

He finds it… too late…

Earl is aiming at point-blank range from the top of the
embankment. He is already squeezing the trigger when…

BLAM! Earl’s chest erupts outward as a bullet passes
through his body from behind!

Earl staggers and flops down the embankment. He comes to
rest near Jeff, blood gurgling from a massive chest
wound.

Jeff climbs the embankment. The sheriff is lying on the
road, critically injured, gun lying nearby and still
smoking from the shot that killed Earl.

The sheriff is struggling to speak into a remote
transmitter strapped to his uniform.

SHERIFF BOYD
(weak)
Shots fired… Officer down…
Suspect…

DISPATCHER (V.O.)
Help is on the way, Sheriff. Just
hang on. I have units and an
ambulance en route.

Jeff bends over the Sheriff and examines his wound with a
grimace. He is verging on unconsciousness. Jeff
deliberates, torn. There is nothing he can do here.

Making up his mind, Jeff runs to the pickup. The hand-
held cellular phone has spilled into the road. He scoops
it up, jumps behind the wheel and LAYS RUBBER.

CUT TO:

EXT. BLUFF – DAY

Jeff stands on a ridge overlooking a Texaco truck stop.
Behind him, the Dodge Ram pickup lies hidden in a growth
of scrub oak and tumbleweeds.

Jeff looks overwhelmed by what he sees spread out below.

77.

JEFF’S POV – TEXACO TRUCK STOP

It’s a giant truck stop. There are hundreds of big rigs
parked in rows like silvery sardines.

A sign towers over the main building: “DIESEL $.99 GAL.”

BACK TO JEFF

He looks shaken. How will he ever find Red here? It
seems impossible.

He descends the bluff to the truck stop.

EXT. TRUCK STOP – DAY

Jeff skids on his heels down the loose hillside and
reaches the edge of the parking lot. There are trucks
everywhere. Diesel MOTORS RUMBLE. Exhaust fills the
air.

He reaches the end of a row of big rigs, starts searching
the grounds for the markings of Red’s 18-wheeler.

It’s nowhere in sight.

A high-pitched FEMININE SQUEAL from an adjacent truck’s
sleeping compartment startles Jeff.

TRUCKER (O.S.)
(muffled)
C’mon, baby, give it up!

The woman GIGGLES, O.S. Jeff ignores it, scanning the
truck stop. He stiffens.

A police car is arriving at the truck stop.

Staying out of sight, Jeff passes quickly to the rear of
a tractor trailer.

EXT. TRUCK WASH – DAY

Jeff peers out from behind a parked mini-van as trucks
emerge wet and dripping from an immense truck wash.

Across the way, trucks are filling up on diesel at the
gas islands. Jeff’s eyes narrow. Is that Red’s
Peterbilt among them?

He quickens his pace, then falls back, slumping. The
rig’s black driver is getting in the cab. Jeff glances
to the side, frowns.

(CONTINUED)

78.

CONTINUED:

An older vacationing couple is eyeing Jeff warily.

Jeff looks down, cops to it instantly. His clothes are
ripped, caked with blood. He ducks between two parked
cars, using a side-view mirror as he hastily wipes blood
off his face. He checks to be sure no one is watching.

Something catches his eye.

EXT. BLUFF – JEFF’S POV

A highway patrol car with flashing lights is parked near
the place where Jeff ditched the pickup. Beside it, a
state trooper surveys the truck stop with binoculars.

EXT. TRUCK WASH – DAY

Jeff’s jaw tightens. He glances toward the road, sees
two more highway patrol cars cruising the perimeter of
the truck stop.

Swearing, Jeff turns on his heels and walks away in the
opposite direction, shielding his face.

EXT. TRUCK STOP PARKING LOT – DAY

Jeff emerges from between two vehicles, glancing over his
shoulder nervously. He keeps his head down, moving fast.

He scans the truck stop in all directions. The patrol
car is still parked on the ridge, the patrolman peering
through binoculars.

Jeff quickens his pace alongside the truck stop building,
passing a row of pay phones. He looks up, stops dead.

Red is talking on a pay phone six feet away.

Jeff stares. Red is facing away, unaware of his
presence. Jeff darts into an adjacent pay phone.

He shields his face with the receiver and listens.

RED
(on phone)
I don’t know, dammit, he was
supposed to be here a half hour
ago. There’s reports on the
police band about a cop down and
this place is crawling with
uniforms…

(CONTINUED)

79.

CONTINUED:

Red waits, listens.

RED
Look, I’m getting out of here.
Stay off the airwaves. Bring the
girl and meet me at the barn…
You got that?

He hangs up. Jeff presses the phone against his face and
turns away.

When he looks up, Red is walking toward his Peterbilt
truck, parked in a row of big rigs. Jeff starts to
follow, then freezes.

Several cops are fanning out on foot, questioning
everyone they encounter.

Jeff sees Red getting into his truck. The ENGINE KICKS
OVER. The BRAKES HISS and the truck begins pulling out.

Jeff whips around. The older vacationing couple are
talking to a cop fifty yards away. The husband points
toward the pay phones.

Jeff makes a sudden decision, doubles back behind a
rolling farm truck.

COP

thanks the couple, calls out something to his fellow
officers.

JEFF

runs alongside the farm truck, using it as a shield. He
overtakes the truck, cuts across its path. The farmer
BLARES his HORN.

Jeff glances left. Red’s tractor trailer is traveling
across the crowded parking area, slowly gaining speed.
Jeff sprints in front of a moving car.

The driver jerks to a halt and HONKS, catching the
attention of a nearby cop. Jeff quickly turns away,
avoiding being seen.

Red’s 18-wheeler turns toward the access road. Jeff
looks around, panicked. More cops are spreading out on
foot. They’ll notice him any second.

(CONTINUED)

80.

CONTINUED:

Jeff crouches low and scurries underneath a slow-moving
postal truck. The truck speeds up, nearly crushing him
under the rear wheel assembly.

Jeff rolls out of the path of the giant wheels, gets to
his feet on the other side and finds himself…

… in the path of another huge truck!

A cop is standing only 20 feet away! Jeff goes
underneath another trailer, crawling between the moving
wheels. He springs to his feet.

Red’s Peterbilt is pulling away!

Jeff runs for all he’s worth. His arms and legs pump
furiously. He runs abreast of the truck…

… and seizes the spare tire mount!

EXT. INTERSTATE – UNDER TRUCK – DAY

Jeff hangs on for dear life. His legs drag over the
asphalt. He lets out a cry of pain.

The truck is joining the highway, accelerating.

Grimacing, Jeff swings his legs over the universal joint
as the roadway races past below. The huge TIRES are a
HOWLING blur.

Suddenly his grip falters on the grease. His back
scrapes the rushing asphalt. Jeff gasps, makes a grab
and holds firm.

As he hangs on, a station wagon overtakes the Peterbilt
in the passing lane. A three-year-old boy sits in the
rear compartment, staring out at Jeff, a puzzled
expression on his face.

Jeff stares back. It’s an odd moment between the two.
The station wagon continues forward and EXITS FRAME.

EXT. INTERSTATE – DAY

The PETERBILT THUNDERS over a patch of highway that is
being graded for paving.

81.

EXT. UNDER TRUCK – DAY

The tires kick up a hail storm of loose gravel and dirt,
pelting Jeff all over his body.

He realizes he can’t stay where he is. Grunting with
effort, he works his way hand over hand along the
underside rigging toward the cab.

He seizes the trailer hitch and hoists himself up.

EXT. BETWEEN CAB AND TRAILER – DAY

Standing on the coupler, Jeff clutches his ribs and
catches his breath. He’s in pain. The road whips by
below his feet.

The truck hits an uneven stretch of road and bounces
violently. Jeff grabs the coiled brake line for support.

The truck is doing 70 mph, exhaust racketing.

Jeff pulls the cell phone from his pocket and dials 911.
He holds it tightly to his ear, shouting above the wind.

JEFF
(on phone)
Hello? Can you hear me? This is
Jeff Taylor. I need to talk to
the deputy.

He strains to hear the reply.

JEFF
The name is Jeffrey Taylor. I
just witnessed your sheriff being
shot. Now put someone on,
goddammit!

He waits.

INT. TRUCK CAB – DAY

Red glances in the side mirror at the road behind him as
he drives, unaware of Jeff’s presence.

EXT. TRUCK COUPLER – DAY

Jeff clutches the cell phone to his ear, waiting. He
reacts suddenly as the call is put through.

JEFF
Hello?

INTERCUT WITH:

82.

INT. POLICE STATION – DAY

Deputy Carver speaks on a phone extension while the
DISPATCHER sits nearby.

DEPUTY CARVER
It’s no good. He’s not talking.
You better mobilize your boys.

The troopers stare back. They look like they have a
score to settle.

CUT TO:

EXT. RED’S PETERBILT – DAY

The truck streaks along the interstate. Sitting on the
coupler, Jeff is a picture of despair.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. RED’S PETERBILT – DUSK

Hours later.

The truck races toward the bloated lowering sun, with no
sign of slowing down. Jeff lies curled under the
windfoil on the roof of the cab. He hugs himself,
shivering in the cold draft.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. RED’S PETERBILT – NIGHT

The TRACTOR TRAILER RUMBLES in low gear along a sparsely
populated two-lane road. A neighborhood DOG YAPS.

EXT. ROOF OF TRUCK CAB – NIGHT

From his hiding place under the windfoil, Jeff peers out
into the darkness, unable to figure out where he is.

He catches his balance as the truck turns a corner and
slows, driving past a tract of undeveloped land, before
turning into the driveway of a…

EXT. RESIDENTIAL LOT – NIGHT

and braking to a halt under the broad overhanging eave of
an old dilapidated barn.

(CONTINUED)

83.

CONTINUED:

Behind the two-story farm house, a rusted Volkswagen bus
and satellite dish hunker in the weeds. A newer car, a
1981 Cadillac Deville, is parked to the side.

Red kills the engine and climbs out of the cab. As he
walks toward the house, a screen DOOR SLAPS. DEKE, 9,
squirts across the lawn in his pajamas.

DEKE
Daddy, you’re home!

Red scoops him up.

RED
Hey, Deke, you miss me?

ARLEEN, 35, comes out of the house in a bathrobe.

ARLEEN
Deke, get back to bed! I said
now!
(to Red)
Warren? I thought you were coming
back next week.

She comes out into the yard.

EXT. TRUCK CAB – NIGHT

Jeff flattens against the sleeper. He can see Red
greeting his wife, their words carrying faintly across
the lawn. Jeff is baffled by this domestic scene.

EXT. YARD – NIGHT

Arleen reacts with disappointment to something Red’s told
her.

ARLEEN
… but it’s four in the morning.
Why can’t Al and Billy come some
other time?

RED
(reasoning)
I told you, we’ve got some stuff
to take care of. Won’t be more
than a couple of hours — I
promise.

Red turns to his son, extends a key.

(CONTINUED)

84.

CONTINUED:

RED
Say, Deke, how ‘bout opening up
the barn for your daddy?

Deke takes the key and sprints for the barn while Red
returns to the cab, passing within several feet of Jeff’s
hiding place.

He reaches into the cab, brings out a duffel bag and
unzips it. Jeff keeps his breathing shallow, squeezes
against the windfoil.

RED
Deke, c’mon over here, I got
something for you.

Deke runs up, breathless. Red holds two hands behind his
back. Red and Deke are just six feet from Jeff.

RED
Guess which hand.

DEKE
(pointing to
right hand)
This one.

Red opens his right hand. Empty.

RED
Nope. Try again.

DEKE
(pointing to left)
This hand.

Red opens his left. Empty.

RED
Nope.

DEKE
(he’s been
tricked)
Dad…

RED
(laughing)
Okay, okay, I’ll give it to you.

He opens his hand, revealing Jeff’s Swiss Army knife.

DEKE
Cool!

(CONTINUED)

85.

CONTINUED:

Deke takes the knife and runs off. Red goes to the rear
of the trailer, unlocks it and raises the slatted door.

He hops up inside. His FOOTSTEPS ECHO in the metal
trailer. We hear him SHIFTING BOXES.

EXT. BARN – NIGHT

Jeff seizes his chance. He crawls out from under the
windfoil and hoists himself onto the overhanging eave.

The STRUCTURE CREAKS under his weight.

INSIDE TRAILER

Red sticks his head out of the trailer, puzzled.

RED
Deke? Deke, you back there?

EXT. ROOF OF BARN – NIGHT

Jeff crouches in the shadows. He can see Red poking his
head out from the trailer, peering up at the roof.

INSIDE TRAILER

Red shrugs, lets it go. He resumes unloading boxes,
tosses down a full set of Louis Vuitton luggage. He lugs
the items into the barn.

EXT. ROOF OF BARN – NIGHT

Jeff goes to a second-story window. A board has been
nailed over the window. He pulls it away, steps into…

INT. BARN HAYLOFT – NIGHT

and looks around, amazed. Everywhere around him there
are stolen goods.

Matching luggage sets… a rack of women’s coats… a
table piled with cameras… a crate filled with car
phones…

A stack of windshields… two sets of golf clubs… three
child safety seats… a ten-speed bicycle…

(CONTINUED)

86.

CONTINUED:

Several dozen “COMMERCIAL VEHICLE” license plates are
scattered about — Arkansas, Oregon, Texas, Iowa, South
Dakota…

As Jeff stares, reeling, there is a RUMBLE outside.

EXT. BARN – NIGHT

Red looks up from toting a box of car stereos and snarled
wiring as the moving van and Pontiac Firebird arrive at
the barn.

He beckons for the vehicles to pull forward into…

INT. BARN – NIGHT

Al dismounts from the moving truck. Billy climbs out of
the Firebird. They are travel-sore, stretching. Red
shuts the door behind them.

AL
Man, if I never see another couple
from Massachusetts it’ll be too
soon.

RED
Tell me about it. You get any
word on Earl?

BILLY
(shakes head)
There’s reports of an accident up
Five Mile, but that’s about it.

Red grunts, unlatches the door to the moving van, lowers
a ramp. The three men begin unloading boxes.

INT. BARN HAYLOFT – NIGHT

Jeff lies on his belly peering through a knothole.

JEFF’S POV THROUGH KNOTHOLE

The men unload Jeff and Amy’s belongings — luggage,
photography equipment, miscellaneous items. Inside the
moving van, the battered Jeep Cherokee is visible,
partially covered with a tarp.

(CONTINUED)

87.

CONTINUED:

BILLY
I told you we shoulda gotten rid
of ‘em like that couple up in
Utah. Nice and clean.

RED
So it got a little fucked up — so
what? We stay out of the area for
a while, things will cool off.

There is a HAMMERING noise, O.S. Red looks over,
irritated.

RED
Dammit, Al, what the hell you
doing?

Al sits at a workbench hammering precious stones out of
Amy’s jewelry. He looks over at Red.

AL
Figured I’d get started on the
jewelry.

RED
Fuck that, you can work on it
later. Help us with the girl.

INT. BARN HAYLOFT – NIGHT

Jeff breathes in sharply, presses his eye against the
knothole.

INT. BARN GROUND FLOOR – NIGHT

Red unlatches a hidden compartment under the chassis of
the moving truck. He and Billy slide out a long metal
box, similar to a drawer in a morgue.

They lift the metal lid, revealing —

CANVAS SACK

The sack is stained and ripped. Red pokes at it. The
sack doesn’t move. Red shrugs.

RED
Must’ve died from the exhaust.

88.

INT. BARN HAYLOFT KNOTHOLE – NIGHT

Jeff stares, paralyzed, his universe exploded. Moisture
forms in his eyes.

INT. BARN GROUND FLOOR – NIGHT

Billy and Al reach into the compartment, start to lift
out the sack.

RED
I’ll get some plastic. We’ll bury
her before it gets light out.

Suddenly the sack drives its legs into Al’s belly.

AL
(startled)
Aagh!

Al falls backward, drops the sack on the floor. It tears
open revealing Amy — gagged with duct tape, her wrists
and ankles taped. She squirms and kicks wildly, her
screams muffled.

INT. BARN HAYLOFT KNOTHOLE – NIGHT

We see Jeff’s eye in the knothole. It’s all we need to
see to gauge the effect on him of seeing Amy alive.

INT. BARN GROUND FLOOR – NIGHT

Al gets to his feet, furious.

AL
Goddamn. Scared me half to death.

BILLY
(chuckles)
Gotcha good, huh, Al? Oughta be
more careful next time.

AL
Shut up.
(glaring at Amy)
Lemme do her, Red. I’ll cut her
head off right now.

ARLEEN (O.S.)
(muffled)
Warren? You in there?

Red reacts.

(CONTINUED)

89.

CONTINUED:

RED
Shit, it’s my wife. Help me get
her in the freezer.
(calling out)
Just a second, Arleen.

Red walks to a corner, moves aside a section of false
flooring. He pulls up a hidden trap door, revealing a
root cellar.

AMY

squirms on the hay-strewn floor. Her clothes are ripped,
face bruised. She looks up, reacting: Jeff’s eye is
visible in the knothole.

Their gaze meets… and holds…

RED

returns and takes Amy by the legs. Al and Billy lift her
by the arms. As they carry her to the root cellar, Red
peers into her terrified face.

RED
Don’t worry, honey. It’s not as
bad as it sounds. It’ll take you
about 10 minutes to suck the air
out. Probably won’t even feel it.

Amy reacts, writhing even more violently, but she’s no
match for the three men.

BARN HAYLOFT

Jeff watches helplessly as…

BARN GROUND FLOOR

The men disappear with Amy into the cellar. We hear a
METALLIC THUD, then a few moments later, the men reappear
without her. Red closes the trap door, secures it with a
heavy padlock, then slides the panel of false flooring
over it.

RED
C’mon, let’s go.

They turn, walk toward the door. Red opens it. Arleen
is standing there. Al and Billy greet her politely:

(CONTINUED)

90.

CONTINUED:

AL BILLY
Howdy, Arleen. Hey, Missus C.

ARLEEN
Well finally. Are you coming to
breakfast? I’ve been calling you.

RED
Sure thing, honey.

The barn goes dark as the men leave. The barn door rolls
shut. A LOCK CLICKS.

INT. BARN HAYLOFT – NIGHT

Jeff quickly climbs down a ladder in the pitch darkness.
He crosses the room, bumping into a workbench. He
swears, makes his way toward the…

INT. REAR OF BARN – NIGHT

Jeff drops to his hands and knees, feeling for the
padlocked trap door. He finds it, speaks in an urgent
whisper.

JEFF
Amy? Amy, can you hear me?

No reply. Jeff cups his hands, presses his mouth to the
floor.

JEFF
(louder)
Amy?

Still no reply.

Jeff swears, glances around the dark room. There is a
tool bench across the room.

JEFF
Hang on, baby. They’re in the
house; I can’t use the lights.
I’m gonna get you out.

He goes to the tool bench, fumbling in the darkness. He
knocks over a cardboard box — a pile of car keys spill
across the table. His hands run over an assortment of
tools. He locates a hammer, takes it.

Returning to the trap door, Jeff inserts the claw in the
padlock and tries to pry it open. The lock won’t give.

(CONTINUED)

91.

CONTINUED:

He strains, using all his strength. Suddenly the handle
snaps! Jeff flies backwards.

JEFF
Fuck!

He gets up, goes to the tool bench. His hands feel over
and reject an assortment of small tools. He finds a
crowbar, returns to the trap door and inserts it into the
shackle, twisting with all his might. After several
failed attempts, he swears.

JEFF
It’s not working. If I make any
more noise, they’ll hear.

Jeff mulls his options. He sets his jaw, exhales.

JEFF
I’m going to get you out of there,
Amy.

He swallows, emotional, clearly torn.

JEFF
I love you.
(under his breath)
Please, God, let her still be
alive.

INT. BARN – MOVING VAN CAB – NIGHT

Jeff opens the door. A weak dome light flickers on. He
climbs up into the cab and tries turning on the CB radio,
but no luck — the keys are gone.

He opens the glove compartment. There are maps, trip
logs, truck stop receipts. He rifles through them
quickly.

Jeff frowns, gets on the floor of the cab and gropes
under the driver’s seat. His eyes register a discovery.

He brings out a big black semi-automatic pistol.

Jeff studies the base of the grip, clearly unfamiliar
with guns. He fumbles with the clip, ejects it. The
clip is full of bullets.

He snaps the clip back in place.

(CONTINUED)

92.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
(under his breath)
Fuck you, asshole.

CUT TO:

EXT. BARN – NIGHT

Jeff climbs out of the window onto the broad overhanging
eave. He steps to the edge of the roof and lowers
himself onto the Peterbilt cab, then drops to the ground.

He looks around. Red’s is the only house visible. A
light flickers in the trees a mile away. It could be
anything.

Jeff moves toward the house.

EXT. RED’S HOUSE – BACK PORCH – NIGHT

Jeff holds the gun ready as he eases open the screen
door. The DOOR CREAKS on its hinges. Jeff steps into…

INT. RED’S HOUSE – REAR ENTRYWAY – NIGHT

Jeff lets the door close silently. There are VOICES
coming from a distant room. He passes a washing machine,
a hamper full of dirty clothes, and moves silently
down…

HALLWAY

toward the voices. VIDEO GAME sound effects emanate from
a room off the hall. Jeff flattens against the wall,
peers into the living room.

Seated on the floor with his back to Jeff, Deke is
playing Nintendo on a wide-screen television. Various
items are scattered about: stereo speakers, a jukebox, a
brand new Nordic Track. There is a rifle rack across the
room.

Stepping past the doorway, Jeff continues down the hall
toward…

INT. RED’S KITCHEN – NIGHT

Red is in the middle of telling a story. Arleen, Billy
and Al sit around the table.

(CONTINUED)

93.

CONTINUED:

The plates are cleared away. They are drinking beer.

RED
… So there I am, it’s a howling
snow storm, I’ve got 2000 live
chickens that are supposed to be
in Denver days ago, and this cop
is busting my balls because I
haven’t got chains…

Arleen and the men laugh heartily.

RED
So what happens but this big old
rooster, damn thing must’ve
weighed ten pounds, he reaches out
toward that highway patrolman…

Al glances toward the door, stops laughing. Billy and
Arleen follow his gaze, go silent.

RED
… just reaches out with his
beak, see, and…

Red notices his audience is no longer paying attention.
He turns in his chair, sees —

REVERSE ANGLE – JEFF

Standing in the doorway. Aiming the pistol. His clothes
caked with blood and dirt. He sways slightly.

Nobody else moves.

JEFF
Give me the key.

RED
(placating)
Now hold on, mister. I don’t know
who you are or what you want —

JEFF
Give me the fucking key!

There is silence.

RED
(a beat)
Mister —

(CONTINUED)

94.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
Don’t mister me, you sonofabitch!
My wife is locked in a hole in
your fucking barn! You don’t give
me the key, I’ll blow your fucking
head off!

Arleen glances at Red, frightened.

ARLEEN
(clueless)
Warren? What’s going on?

RED
I don’t know, honey. Just stay
calm —

JEFF
(to Arleen)
Your husband’s a kidnapper and a
murderer is what’s going on! Did
you know that about him? Huh?
(gestures)
Ever wonder where all this stuff
comes from?

Arleen looks up at Jeff, scared. She starts to open her
mouth, when —

DEKE (O.S.)
Stick ‘em up.

Jeff turns. Nine-year-old Deke is aiming a rifle at Jeff
from the hallway. The rifle looks enormous in his hands.
The boy’s lip quivers.

The room is silent. No one moves. Jeff keeps the pistol
aimed at Red. He swallows, speaks slowly:

JEFF
You don’t want to do that, kid.
Just put the gun down.

RED
(firm)
Don’t listen to him, Deke. Keep
the gun on him.

JEFF
Put the gun down.

(CONTINUED)

95.

CONTINUED:

DEKE
(voice quavering)
My daddy keeps his rifle loaded
all the time. He showed me in
case I needed to protect Mommy
when he’s away.

JEFF
I understand that, Deke. I’m not
gonna hurt Mommy. But if you pull
that trigger, there’s a chance
I’ll still kill your father.

RED
He’s lying, Deke. He can’t get
me. Just pull the trigger.

JEFF
No, Deke, don’t listen to him.
He’s wrong.

RED
Plug him, boy! Do what I tell
you!

Deke looks at his father, fights back tears. His finger
tightens on the trigger.

RED
That’s right, boy. Do it. Don’t
worry about me.

Deke whimpers, squeezes the trigger…

JEFF
Deke, no — !

Suddenly, Billy bolts from the table. The RIFLE FIRES!
The recoil knocks Deke off his feet. The bullet rips
into Al’s shoulder!

AL
Oww — goddammit, you little shit!

Red is out of his chair. Jeff dives first and seizes the
rifle. He whirls, aims the pistol at Red.

JEFF
Don’t fucking move!

Everyone freezes.

(CONTINUED)

96.

CONTINUED:

Jeff sidesteps to the window. Billy is running across
the yard. Is he headed for the barn? Jeff swears, turns
back.

JEFF
Deke? Deke? Get on your feet!

Deke rises, tears streaming down his face.

JEFF
It’s okay, kid. Go over there,
stand next to your mother. Hurry
up.

Deke obeys. Clutching his shoulder wound, Al glares at
the child as he passes.

Jeff deliberates. Where the hell was Billy going? He
gnaws his lip, decides.

JEFF
Okay… on your feet. Now,
everybody!

Red, Arleen and Al get to their feet. Deke stays at his
mother’s side. Jeff aims the pistol at Red, holds the
rifle with his other hand.

JEFF
Let’s go. Out.

He herds them to the door. Arleen looks to Red
nervously.

RED
Do like he says, Arleen. He’s
crazy.

CUT TO:

EXT. BARN – NIGHT

Jeff trains the pistol as his captives stand at the
entrance to the barn. He glances around, keeping an eye
out for Billy.

JEFF
(to Red)
Okay. Reach into your pocket and
hand the key to your wife.

RED
This ain’t gonna work, boy.

(CONTINUED)

97.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
(jams pistol
at him)
Do it.

Red fishes a key ring out of his pocket and extends it to
Arleen. She just stands there.

RED
It’s okay, Arleen. Take it.

She takes the keys.

JEFF
(indicating
barn door)
Okay, now unlock it.

Arleen inserts a key, opens the padlock.

JEFF
Good. Now give me the keys.
(turning to Deke)
Deke, push the door open.
Quickly.

Deke looks at his father. Red nods. Deke goes to the
door, begins wheeling it open.

JEFF
That’s enough, Deke.
(gesturing them
inside with gun)
Let’s go. Move it.

Jeff herds all four into —

INT. BARN – NIGHT

Jeff leads the group through the barn at gun-point.

He glances right and left, wired. The rifle is strapped
to his back. He keeps the handgun ready. He peers under
the tractor-trailer, looking for any sign of Billy.

They reach the trap door. Jeff circles it, constantly
keeping an eye on Red and Al. He hands the keys to Deke.

JEFF
Deke, I need you to open this.

(CONTINUED)

98.

CONTINUED:

Deke looks at his father. He kneels, unlocks the padlock
and heaves open the trap door, revealing a narrow
staircase slanting into the cellar.

Deke looks down into the darkness and swallows.

JEFF
It’s okay, Deke. There’s a
freezer down there with a woman in
it. I need you to let her out.

Deke descends the steps, frightened.

DEKE (O.S.)
(voice quavering)
I can’t see.

Jeff jabs the pistol at Red: Tell him where the light
is.

RED
(a beat, to Deke)
The switch is on the right.

There’s a CLICK and the light goes on in the cellar.
Deke lets out a yip of fear.

DEKE (O.S.)
Dad…

RED
It’s all right, son. Just ignore
that stuff.

Jeff crouches to peer into the cellar.

JEFF’S POV – CELLAR

Roots and mildew hang in strings from the ceiling. The
light is a bare bulb. There are several distressingly-
shaped garbage bags against the wall.

BACK TO JEFF

His gaze shifts back to Red.

JEFF
(to Deke)
Deke! You at the freezer?

DEKE (O.S.)
Yeah.

(CONTINUED)

99.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
Okay. You’re almost done. Just
open it up, let the woman out.

We hear a FREEZER BEING OPENED.

DEKE
She’s all tied up with tape.

JEFF
You got that Swiss Army knife your
dad gave you?

DEKE (O.S.)
Uh-huh.

JEFF
Good man. Use that. Make sure
you don’t hurt her.

They wait tensely while Deke works downstairs.

JEFF
(to Red)
You better pray she’s all right.

DEKE (O.S.)
I got her —

AMY (O.S.)
Jeff!!??

JEFF
Amy!!!

AMY (O.S.)
I’m almost free!!!

JEFF
Amy, come up here!

Amy climbs the stairs quickly. Scraps of duct tape cling
to her wrists. She throws her arm around Jeff.

AMY
They were going to kill me.

JEFF
I know, baby. It’s okay. They
can’t hurt you now.

While Amy embraces him, Jeff keeps the gun on Red and the
others. He gestures toward the cellar.

(CONTINUED)

100.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
(to Red, Arleen, and Al)
Okay. Everybody in the cellar.

Nobody moves.

JEFF
Do it!

Arleen and Al descend the steps. Red follows, then
stops, halfway down.

RED
Remember this moment, pretty boy.
‘Cause whatever happens, no matter
how far you run, I will hunt you
down and kill you like a dog.

Jeff stares back. A beat, then:

JEFF
Go to hell.

He boots Red in the chest, sending him backward down the
steps. He slams the trap door shut and locks the
padlock.

He looks around, sees a massive tool chest. He tips it
onto the trap door — crash!

Then he takes Amy’s hand, still keeping an eye out for
Billy.

JEFF
Let’s get out of here.

They run from the barn.

EXT. BARN – DAWN

The first rays of sunlight are beginning to poke over the
horizon.

Jeff wheels the barn door shut and locks it. He sees Amy
running toward Red’s house.

JEFF
Amy, no! It’s not safe —

AMY
(turning)
But there’s a phone inside. We
have to call the police.

(CONTINUED)

101.

CONTINUED:

JEFF
One of them’s still loose. C’mon
— this way!

It’s too much to explain. Jeff grabs her arm. As they
take off running toward the light flickering in the
distance.

REVEAL BILLY

lurking in the shadows at the corner of the barn,
watching.

EXT. FIELD – LONG SHOT – DAWN

Jeff and Amy are tiny figures sprinting across the flat
terrain, illuminated by the red glow of a rising sun.

CUT TO:

EXT. TRAILER HOME – DAWN (MINUTES LATER)

The morning sky is lighter now.

A rickety trailer surrounded by a chicken coop, junked
appliances and a clothesline. There’s an old utility
pickup truck parked in front. Jeff and Amy arrive out of
breath. Jeff pounds on the door.

JEFF
Hello? Hello? Anybody home?

There’s no answer. Jeff puts his shoulder to the door
and rams it open. The flimsy door gives way easily.

INT. TRAILER – DAWN

Jeff enters. The place is ramshackle — torn vinyl
furniture, empty beer bottles scattered about. A
tattered flag hangs on the wall. There’s no one around.

JEFF
(shouting)
Hello? Anyone home?

Amy follows him inside, looks around. Jeff crosses the
room, snatches up a phone and dials 911.

JEFF
C’mon, c’mon…

(CONTINUED)

102.

CONTINUED:

While he waits for an answer, Amy leans the rifle against
the wall. She notices a set of car keys hanging by the
door.

JEFF
(re: keys)
Take it. We may need to get out
of here —
(into phone,
suddenly)
Hello! This is Jeff Taylor. I’m
reporting an emergency… I don’t
know the address, the house
belongs to a Red Barr — I mean,
Warren something… No, I don’t
know his name!

AMY
(suddenly hearing
something)
Jeff —

A DEEP RUMBLE is approaching, GETTING LOUDER by the
second…

JEFF
No — he kidnapped my wife, he’s
locked in a barn… Jeffrey
Taylor. If you contact the police
in —

Amy pulls a curtain aside, reacts to what she sees —

AMY
(panicked)
Jeff!

Suddenly, the ROAR is DEAFENING —

The PETERBILT EXPLODES through the wall of the trailer
home!

JEFF AND AMY

dive out of the way.

INT. RED’S PETERBILT – DAY

Inside the truck cab, we catch a glimpse of Red behind
the wheel, shouting something inaudible. Fragments of
debris cling to the grille.

103.

INT. TRAILER HOME – DAY

The rickety structure spins 360 degrees!

Jeff goes flying. A TELEVISION somersaults across the
room and EXPLODES. Amy slams into a wall.

The speeding Peterbilt shears away a section of the
trailer home with a horrible RIPPING sound!

The trailer home is suddenly open to the sky.

INT. TRUCK CAB – DAY

Red puts the truck into a hard turn, circling for another
run at the devastated trailer.

INT. TRAILER HOME – DAY

Jeff struggles to his knees.

JEFF
Amy?!

Amy is crawling over the debris. Jeff pulls her to her
feet. He grabs the rifle and car keys.

JEFF
C’mon!

They stagger through the gaping hole in the trailer.

INT. TRUCK CAB – DAY

Red sees Amy and Jeff flee the trailer and head for the
utility pickup. He throws the Peterbilt into a turn.

YARD

Amy and Jeff run for the Ford F100 utility truck — an
aging blue-collar workhorse equipped with side-mounted
toolboxes and a lumber rack bearing a ladder.

IN FORD

Jeff keys the ignition. The ENGINE SPUTTERS. Amy whips
around to see the Peterbilt bearing down from the side.

AMY
Jeff, go! Go!

(CONTINUED)

104.

CONTINUED:

Jeff turns the key. The ENGINE CATCHES! He throws the
Ford in gear and floors the gas.

The Ford shoots out of the Peterbilt’s path!

HIGHWAY

The FORD PEELS OUT of the driveway and joins the road,
spewing exhaust. It’s an old vehicle that doesn’t
maneuver well.

IN FORD

Jeff mashes the gas pedal. The ENGINE STRAINS,
BACKFIRING. Amy looks back, sees the Peterbilt joining
the road.

AMY
Can’t this thing go any faster?!

A SHOTGUN BLAST SHATTERS the passenger WINDOW! Amy
screams as glass showers the cab. Jeff swerves wildly.

JEFF
What the fuck?!

He swivels his head right, sees —

FIREBIRD

kicking up a cloud of dust as it pulls alongside the Ford
on the right-hand shoulder.

The driver, Billy, is levelling a shotgun through the
window.

JEFF

cranks the wheel.

JEFF
Get down!

IN FIREBIRD

Billy triggers a BLAST!

105.

AMY

yelps as the passenger-side MIRROR DISINTEGRATES! She
whips around, sees —

CADILLAC DEVILLE

pulling even with them on Jeff’s side. The drive, Al,
leers as he spins the wheel and creases the Ford —
CRUNCH!

JEFF

raises the PISTOL and FIRES!

HIGHWAY

The Ford is sandwiched between the Cadillac and Firebird
as they race down the highway with the Peterbilt in the
rear.

JEFF

lets out a cry as they carom off the Cadillac. Blood
flows in a trickle down his neck. Amy sees it,
panicking.

AMY
Jeff!

JEFF
It’s glass! Use the rifle!

Amy raises the rifle, thrusts the barrel awkwardly out
the window and aims at Billy. She FIRES wildly — BANG!

BILLY

grins as the SHOT WHISTLES past harmlessly. He reloads
the SHOTGUN, snaps it shut and RETURNS FIRE — BLAM!

HIGHWAY

The BLAST hits the Ford’s side-mounted toolbox. The door
flies open. Tools scatter on the road!

106.

BILLY

veers away, swearing, as hammers and chisels and power
tools hit the asphalt and bounce up into his path.

The front end of the extension ladder comes free from the
lumber rack and hinges into his path, SMASHING the
WINDSHIELD!

BILLY
Sonofabitch!

Billy swears and jerks the wheel, steering away. He
glances up suddenly, sees Jeff aiming the pistol.

The PISTOL FIRES!

Billy slams backward against the headrest, hit in the
face. There’s blood everywhere. The car careens toward
the shoulder.

HIGHWAY

The Firebird hits a mound of earth, flies through the air
and lands with a CRASH!

IN PETERBILT

Red sees the crash, scowling. He presses the gas and
pulls closer, taking Billy’s place alongside the Ford.

IN FORD

Amy sees the Peterbilt advancing. Whipping her head to
the other side, she sees Al raising a pistol.

AMY
Look out!

Al jacks the trigger — BLAM! BLAM!

ON PETERBILT

a STRAY BULLET SLICES the hydraulic brake line running to
the trailer. The HOSE HISSES and whips through the air!

IN PETERBILT

Red swears and lets the truck fall back, swearing. Up
ahead is a long, curving downgrade. He taps the brakes.
There is a jolt as the trailer bumps the tractor.

(CONTINUED)

107.

CONTINUED:

RED
Sonofabitch —

He realizes: The trailer’s got no brakes.

HIGHWAY

The Peterbilt descends the grade, letting out a RAPID-
FIRE BLAT of BACKFIRES. It’s gaining speed, bearing down
on the Ford.

IN FORD

Amy turns in the seat, terrified. The truck looms
closer. Jeff keeps the gas pedal on the floor.

JEFF
Hang on!

They are flying into a hairy curve.

IN PETERBILT

Red struggles to stay in control. Every time he applies
the brakes, the unchecked trailer jars the cab forward.

The Peterbilt races into the curve.

Red has no choice. He has to pump the brakes and risk
jackknifing or the truck will fly off the road
altogether.

He hits the brakes!

HIGHWAY

The huge TRUCK SCREECHES on the asphalt, tires smoking,
cab and trailer folding at right angles!

Then, unexpectedly, the trailer disconnects from the cab!

IN CADILLAC

Flanking the Peterbilt, Al glances to the side and sees
the trailer come untethered from the cab.

Now the trailer is an unguided missile, weaving drunkenly
back and forth across the blacktop.

Al tries to swerve away. The trailer streaks toward him.
Al SLAMS on the BRAKES, screaming!

108.

HIGHWAY

The trailer piles into the Cadillac. There is a huge
IMPACT as trailer and Cadillac are reduced to scrap
metal!

And just as this is happening…

PETERBILT

blasts into the rear of the Ford, jarring it forward with
a CRUNCH of METAL and taillights!

JEFF

slams against the wheel. Amy is thrown against the
dashboard. The Ford is being propelled downhill by the
Peterbilt.

HIGHWAY

The two vehicles are now locked together, gaining speed
as they hurtle down the grade.

JEFF

jams the pistol through the rear pass-through window and
FIRES at Red in the truck. BULLETS PING off the grille.

The GUN CLICKS empty.

IN PETERBILT

Red hits the brakes, but it’s no use. The bumpers are
meshed. The two vehicles plunge downhill, skidding
sideways.

Up ahead, a concrete bridge spans a deep gorge.

HIGHWAY

The Peterbilt and Ford fly onto the bridge. The big
truck glances off a railing. The vehicles suddenly come
unlocked.

The FORD plows into the concrete railing with a CRASH!

The PETERBILT creams it from behind and caroms away,
SKIDDING the length of the bridge before SMACKING the
opposite railing!

109.

INSIDE ROAD

Jeff grimaces. In front of them, the concrete railing
has broken away. Debris falls 300 feet to the bottom of
the gorge. The Ford’s right front tire hangs in the air.

Jeff looks at Amy. She looks wildly adrenalated, eyes
wide.

JEFF
You all right?

Amy looks back at him. She expels a long breath and
nods.

Jeff forces his upper body through the driver’s window
and looks over the Ford’s roof at the Peterbilt.

JEFF’S POV – PETERBILT

It’s facing them, 50 yards away on the bridge. The
engine is dead. STEAM HISSES from the crumpled radiator.
One tire is shredded.

There is blood on the broken windshield.

BACK TO JEFF

sitting in the driver’s window. He squints toward the
truck, searching for any sign of Red. There is none.

AMY (O.S.)
Jeff…

JEFF
Yeah?

AMY (O.S.)
Jeff… I can’t get out…

Jeff drops back into the cab. The dashboard is crushed
against Amy’s legs. She tries to wriggle free.

JEFF
What is it?

AMY
(wriggling)
It’s just… I can’t get out…

JEFF
What do you mean?

(CONTINUED)

110.

CONTINUED:

AMY
I mean I can’t get out!

Jeff blinks. He climbs out of the Ford, runs around to
Amy’s side and yanks the door. It comes open with a
CREAK of METAL.

Behind Jeff on the bridge, a MOTOR KICKS OVER. He
whirls.

JEFF’S POV – PETERBILT

EXHAUST BELCHES from the smokestacks. Red is behind the
wheel. His face is covered with blood. He stares
hatefully.

With a RASP of GEARS, the Peterbilt lurches forward.

BACK TO JEFF

He pushes against the dashboard with life-or-death
urgency.

JEFF
C’mon, Amy, push!

Amy struggles and struggles to free her legs.

JEFF
Push, goddammit!

Amy glances toward the Peterbilt, terrified.

PETERBILT

creeps toward the Ford. The truck’s grille is smashed.
One wheel RIM SCRAPES the asphalt. It gains speed.

IN FORD

Jeff crawls over Amy and tries pushing with his legs.
She winces as the metal cuts into her skin. Jeff
strains.

AMY
(turning, reacting)
Jeff!

111.

PETERBILT

rams the rear of the FORD — CRASH! It jars the pickup
farther through broken concrete guardrail.

IN FORD

Jeff and Amy are thrown forward by the impact. The
Peterbilt’s ENGINE ROARS. It’s pushing them over the
edge!

IN PETERBILT

Red’s eyes burn as he presses the accelerator and forces
the pickup farther through the broken railing.

FORD

lurches through the widening gap in the railing.
Concrete sails into the canyon. The front tires hang
over the void.

IN FORD

Jeff strains against the dashboard. It won’t give. He
whips around, swearing, and leaps from the Ford.

AMY
(panicked)
Jeff?

ON BRIDGE

Jeff runs to the Peterbilt and jumps on the driver’s side
running board, grasping the door handle.

Red heaves the door open suddenly. It strikes Jeff’s
head with a crack! He falls backward to the ground.

IN PETERBILT

Red presses the gas, yelling over the ENGINE ROAR. The
railing is giving way. He sees Jeff struggling to his
feet.

RED
You think you can come into my
life and fuck with me? Nobody
fucks with me!

(CONTINUED)

112.

CONTINUED:

He looks down. Jeff is no longer visible. Red frowns.

Suddenly the passenger side door flies open and Jeff
surges into the cab, landing on Red, clawing at his eyes!

They grapple in the cab. Red swings an elbow into Jeff’s
face — crack. Jeff drives a fist to his jaw!

The steering wheel drifts counter-clockwise as the truck
inches forward, ramming the Ford closer to the precipice.

Red gets his hands around Jeff’s neck as the steering
wheel continues to move counter-clockwise…

ON BRIDGE

The truck is no longer hitting the Ford squarely.
Instead, the Peterbilt’s right front tire is riding up
and over the cargo bed, crushing the left side of the
Ford under its massive weight.

IN PETERBILT

Red has both hands around Jeff’s windpipe. He glances up
for a second, reacts, but it’s too late.

ON BRIDGE

The Peterbilt is surging up the driver’s side of the
Ford, using the pickup like a ramp!

IN FORD

Amy screams as the left side of the cab is flattened
under the Peterbilt’s weight!

ON BRIDGE

For an instant, the Peterbilt’s front tires seem to hang
in the air… then the truck is falling!

IN PETERBILT

Red and Jeff are thrown forward in the cab, still
flailing at each other, as the truck plunges nose-first
into the gorge.

Then it jerks to a halt in mid-air!

113.

ON BRIDGE

The left rear set of wheels on the trailer is snagged on
the thick rebar reinforcement in the crumbled concrete
railing.

The Peterbilt is dangling nose-down from the bridge!

IN PETERBILT

Jeff slams into the windshield. Red lands on top of him.
Loose objects from the cab rain against the windshield.

They grapple. Red grabs Jeff’s arm and twists sharply,
forcing it at an impossible angle. Their faces are
inches apart.

RED
You think you can fuck with me?!

He headbutts Jeff viciously — crack! Blood erupts from
Jeff’s nose and mouth. Red is about to deliver another
blow when…

… the windshield falls away! The loose items in the
cab plummet 300 feet to the canyon floor below.

Jeff drops through the windshield opening. He clings to
the center support column. His legs dangle over the
hood.

Red slips through the opening, his hand locking on the
steering wheel at the last instant.

The windshield sails away into the gorge.

ON BRIDGE

The iron REBAR GROANS. It’s beginning to give way under
the weight of the truck. The truck slips slightly.

ON PETERBILT

Jeff feels the truck shifting. He grabs the windshield
wiper blade with his free hand. The blade snaps away.

Red is clinging to the steering wheel. He flails at Jeff
with his feet, swearing. Jeff is barely out of reach.

Jeff looks to the side. There is a grabhandle on the
corner of the cab. He reaches with his free hand and
seizes the handle.

114.

ON BRIDGE

The REBAR GROANS. The truck is wedged against the Ford.
As the truck slips, it forces the Ford closer to the
edge.

ON PETERBILT

Jeff clings to the handle. He reaches for the passenger
side door handle, working his way up toward the bridge.

REBAR

gives away once more and —

JEFF

scales the cab, finding more handholds. He climbs past
the passenger door.

Behind him, Red is working his way higher in the same
manner. He grabs Jeff’s foot, trying to pull him off the
cab.

Jeff kicks free and climbs past the sleeping compartment.
Red grabs the door handle. Jeff boots the door release
button.

The passenger door flies open!

Red falls away as the door opens. He’s clinging to the
open passenger door, suspended over the gorge.

IN FORD

Amy breathes in sharply, feeling the Ford move closer to
the edge. She struggles to free her legs from the
dashboard.

AMY
Oh God… Jeff…

JEFF

climbs higher. The Peterbilt slips again. Below, Red
loses his grip and almost falls.

Jeff hauls himself onto the bridge with a final gasp of
exertion. He runs to the passenger side of the Ford.

(CONTINUED)

115.

CONTINUED:

The Ford teeters precariously. Any move could send it
over the edge. Jeff can only extend his hand to Amy over
the void.

JEFF
C’mon, Amy, it’s all you now…
you can do it…

With a huge effort, Amy frees herself from the dashboard
and reaches for Jeff’s outstretched hand just as —

PETERBILT

comes free from the rebar!

AMY

takes hold of Jeff’s hand.

PETERBILT

plummets into the canyon!

RED

screams!

PETERBILT

seems to fall forever… before landing with a huge
EXPLOSION!

ON BRIDGE

Jeff and Amy fall backward on the road. Down below,
secondary EXPLOSIONS rock the canyon. Jeff takes Amy in
his arms.

AMY
Don’t let me go, Jeff…

JEFF
I won’t, baby… I won’t ever let
you go…

He looks into her eyes. Their lips meet in a kiss and
we —

DISSOLVE TO:

116.

EXT. RED’S HOUSE – DAY

Police cars and official vehicles are parked outside the
house. RADIOS CHATTER. Yellow crime tape holds back
onlookers and news reporters.

Cops and evidence technicians work the scene. A
criminalist photographs stolen property as it’s carried
out of the barn.

A plainclothes FBI AGENT closes a cellphone and walks
over to where Jeff and Amy are sitting at a picnic table.
They are battered and bandaged.

JEFF
How’s the sheriff?

FBI AGENT
Out of surgery. It looks like
he’s gonna make it. As for the
wife and kid, she’s not talking,
he’s being turned over to
Protective Services.

Jeff nods soberly.

FBI AGENT
We’ve got I.D. on the dead
suspects. Turns out they were all
licensed truckers. One of ‘em had
a rap for check kiting. Otherwise
they could’ve been model citizens.

JEFF
What about the leader?

FBI AGENT
Same thing. His real name’s
Warren Claney. Three speeding
tickets in five years — apart
from that, he’s clean as a
whistle.

Amy watches as cops stack windshields outside the barn.

AMY
(dazed)
How could they do it? How could
they treat it like a… business?

FBI AGENT
(shaking his head)
I don’t know. I’ve been doing
this 15 years, I’ve never seen
anything like it.
(MORE)

(CONTINUED)

117.

CONTINUED:

FBI AGENT (CONT’D)
It was simple, efficient and
organized. They stayed on the
move, spread it over a dozen
states. As long as no witnesses
survived, it’s an untraceable
crime.
(looking at them)
You were just a couple of the
lucky ones.

Up ahead, a television news helicopter is landing on the
road. A cameraman, reporter and producer hurry over.

Jeff watches the news crew, a bemused expression. It
seems like a million years ago…

The FBI Agent shakes his head, disdainful.

FBI
(re: media)
C’mon — let’s get you folks out
of here before things really get
hairy.

He escorts them to a waiting sedan. As they climb in,
Jeff looks back over his shoulder, surveying the scene
one last time.

He gets in and the car pulls away just as the frenzied
news crew arrives, mikes and cameras at the ready,
running alongside the departing sedan, shouting
questions.

Through the rear window, we see Jeff putting his arm
around Amy, pulling her close as we hear:

AMY
Promise me one thing…

JEFF
Name it.

AMY
Next time… we fly.

EXT. HOUSE – AERIAL – DAY

Over this last line, the sedan drives away, and we CLIMB
HIGHER and HIGHER AWAY FROM the bristling crime scene
until the ranch house is just one in a town of modest
houses and the pink desert floor spreads out endlessly in
every direction.
FADE OUT.
THE END[amazonjs asin=”B00005FXGX” locale=”JP” title=”ブレーキ・ダウン DVD”]




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