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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Western Scripts  ›  Winterhaven Moderators: bert
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  Author    Winterhaven  (currently 3275 views)
Steven
Posted: January 13th, 2017, 4:40pm Report to Moderator
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I see your point with the brothers. I guess it just comes down to the personality of the bad guys. Look at Natural Born Killers, those main characters were as despicable as they come. But anyway.

Thanks for liking that part of the story. I think I'll go ahead and remove the SUPER that reveals we're in a flashback. Either the audience will recognize the small house from the coach ride or they won't. In the present, it's a weathered away mess, but in the flashback it's livable.

I'm also going to remove what Montgomery does before he kills the girl, because it's not needed, and it's disgusting. I made the girl 15, so hey, at least it wasn't an 8 year old or something. It's all bad, but now we're talking about degree.

The rest of that scene will play out as it already does.

I just did some research regarding the area where the story takes place. Winterhaven is a real city located in the southeast corner of California, bordering Arizona and just miles from Mexico.

The Native American tribe called the Quechans (or Yuma Tribe), inhabited that area until about 1853 when there was a war - The Yuma War. in 1886, the tribe was given 45,000 acres of land as a reservation just to the east of Winterhaven. My story takes place in the last decade of the 1800's, so I think I'll include some of that stuff into the story.

I'll add a Quechan women to Lucy's brothel. They wore a lot of jewelry made from seashells and beads, so it will be nice to get away from the typical turquoise stuff that is typically associate with Native Americans.

I don't want to stray away from the core story, but I think I'll take Montgomery and Rose outside of Winterhaven and maybe interact with some of those people. Rose may be drawn to the Quechan jewelry, or something like that.
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ChrisB
Posted: January 13th, 2017, 5:07pm Report to Moderator
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EW named Natural Born Killers as one of the 8 most controversial films of all time!  Many  people complained about the graphic violence in the film.  The movie alienated A LOT of people and I´m sure that´s not what you´re aiming for with your story!

It doesn�t really matter what changes you make to that scene - showing the crime on screen will make your character seem irredeamable.  The very fact it was committed against a minor (even if she is 15 and not 8 ) makes it worse.  

I think you just have to accept the fact that the Sheriff will alienate members of the audience.  
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Steven
Posted: January 13th, 2017, 5:10pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from ChrisB
EW named Natural Born Killers as one of the 8 most controversial films of all time!  The movie alienated A LOT of people!

It doesnt really matter what changes you make to that scene - showing the crime on screen will make your character seem irredeamable.  The very fact it was committed against a minor (even if she is 15 and not makes it worse.  

I think you just have to accept the fact that the Sheriff will alienate some members of the audience.


The alienation is something I'm completely alright with.

You think he's a good guy for a majority of the movie, then toward the end you realize he is the person who killed the girl in the flashback. Then, you could have people rooting for him to be hanged. I think the one constant will be the marshals and making sure their personalities shine.
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ChrisB
Posted: January 13th, 2017, 5:23pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Steven


The alienation is something I'm completely alright with.

You think he's a good guy for a majority of the movie, then toward the end you realize he is the person who killed the girl in the flashback. Then, you could have people rooting for him to be hanged. I think the one constant will be the marshals and making sure their personalities shine.


Yes, the biggest appeal for the audience after the midpoint is to see that justice is done.  They will want him to pay for his crimes.

The audience will still need someone to identify with throughout the entirety of the story and that is where the Marshals come in.

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Steven
Posted: January 13th, 2017, 5:25pm Report to Moderator
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Yup, that, and I'll build up Montgomery a little bit more.

Thanks for the input.
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ChrisB
Posted: January 13th, 2017, 6:35pm Report to Moderator
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Youre welcome.
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Steven
Posted: January 16th, 2017, 12:26pm Report to Moderator
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I have a change regarding the first 15 pages. What if I focused on the two marshals and established them as the main character through the intro? That way there would be a constant to latch onto and by the time Montgomery comes in, you already know who the main character is.

I could show Rollins and Ardell capturing John Curry.
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ChrisB
Posted: January 16th, 2017, 3:40pm Report to Moderator
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They are already established as the main characters in your current script.  They make up the majority of the first 15 pages as it is.  If you also want to make them the Protagonists of the story as well that is a great idea.

I think you should really explore the friendship between Rollins and Ardell for the first 15 pages and if you can do it with the capture of John Curry it is a good idea.
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Steven
Posted: January 16th, 2017, 3:47pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from ChrisB
They are already established as the main characters in your current script.  They make up the majority of the first 15 pages as it is.  If you also want to make them the Protagonists of the story as well that is a great idea.

I think you should really explore the friendship between Rollins and Ardell for the first 15 pages and if you can do it with the capture of John Curry it is a good idea.


There's a line that states John was caught in a whorehouse but the specifics were left out. The only issue I'm having right now is the overall conflict.

Isn't it just an incredible coincidence that the marshals pick up on the only guy who knows about Montgomery? Not only that, they're taking him to the town where Montgomery is the sheriff?

I don't know, I'm confused on who should be the primary focus.

I was thinking something along the lines of the following:

Rollins and Ardell hear about Winterhaven and it's no nonsense Sheriff. They still travel there with John Curry, but he doesn't have anything to do with anything other than being a prisoner transfer. The biggest change would be that Rollins investigated the murders at the small house outside of Winterhaven. He hasn't been back to the town since, for whatever reason, not important. But they're going back there now because of the transfer. When he gets there, he starts putting things together with the open investigation on those killings in that small house.

Rollins would essentially be snooping around a little bit. He's already doing so with the barber when asking how long Montgomery has been sheriff, but now he could ask more people, including Lucy...who helped rehabilitate Montgomery. She's the only one in town that knows of his history, maybe not the full extent, but knows a great deal of it. She could balk at some of the questioning by Rollins and it would further his investigation.

This would be an interesting change to the plot as it would have the audience trying to figure out who committed the murders. Speaking of the murders, I'd be moving that flashback showing them further down the line. Rollins would be the one who would realize it was Montgomery that killed the young girl and her father. Maybe she had a muddy boot print on her chest and gunshot to the forehead. Then he'd see Montgomery stand on the chest of someone in the present and shoot them in the head. That would be enough to put things together and reveal to the audience that he is actually a killer.

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Steven  -  January 16th, 2017, 4:12pm
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ChrisB
Posted: January 16th, 2017, 4:06pm Report to Moderator
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Montgomery�s secret is the bedrock of your story so by right he should be the protagonist.

The main conflict is the definition of justice.  Man vs the Law.

I don�t think I paid much attention to that coincidence while I was reading your story and I don´t think audiences will either.
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Steven
Posted: January 16th, 2017, 4:13pm Report to Moderator
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Read my post just about yours, I've edited it.
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ChrisB
Posted: January 16th, 2017, 4:24pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Steven


I was thinking something along the lines of the following:

Rollins and Ardell hear about Winterhaven and it's no nonsense Sheriff. They still travel there with John Curry, but he doesn't have anything to do with anything other than being a prisoner transfer. The biggest change would be that Rollins investigated the murders at the small house outside of Winterhaven. He hasn't been back to the town since, for whatever reason, not important. But they're going back there now because of the transfer. When he gets there, he starts putting things together with the open investigation on those killings in that small house.

Rollins would essentially be snooping around a little bit. He's already doing so with the barber when asking how long Montgomery has been sheriff, but now he could ask more people, including Lucy...who helped rehabilitate Montgomery. She's the only one in town that knows of his history, maybe not the full extent, but knows a great deal of it. She could balk at some of the questioning by Rollins and it would further his investigation.

This would be an interesting change to the plot as it would have the audience trying to figure out who committed the murders. Speaking of the murders, I'd be moving that flashback showing them further down the line. Rollins would be the one who would realize it was Montgomery that killed the young girl and her father. Maybe she had a muddy boot print on her chest and gunshot to the forehead. Then he'd see Montgomery stand on the chest of someone in the present and shoot them in the head. That would be enough to put things together and reveal to the audience that he is actually a killer.


Maybe Rollins could be that little boy - hence his interest in the case.  The death of his family could be the reason why he decided to become a Marshall in the first place.  He could idealize Montgomery at first - maybe in Montgomery�s guilt he became somewhat of a surrogate father to Rollins.  Now with the revelation Rollins is forced to question everything he ever thought was true about himself and his place in the world.
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Steven
Posted: January 16th, 2017, 4:28pm Report to Moderator
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In that case it would be Ardell, since he's in his 30's while Rollins and Montgomery are close in age.

I could see that. Ardell would express his disdain for the town during their coach ride with John Curry. Rollins would dismiss it as just simply hating a town for whatever reason, but the reasoning would eventually come out. Having this be Ardell's first job as a marshal would help out as to why he's never shared this story with Rollins before.

I'm writing an alternate intro right now. It will show the marshals entering a saloon in an unspecific town. They're looking for John and find him hanging out there.
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ChrisB
Posted: January 16th, 2017, 4:39pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Steven
In that case it would be Ardell, since he's in his 30's while Rollins and Montgomery are close in age.

I could see that. Ardell would express his disdain for the town during their coach ride with John Curry. Rollins would dismiss it as just simply hating a town for whatever reason, but the reasoning would eventually come out. Having this be Ardell's first job as a marshal would help out as to why he's never shared this story with Rollins before.

I'm writing an alternate intro right now. It will show the marshals entering a saloon in an unspecific town. They're looking for John and find him hanging out there.


That�s a great idea!

In order to prevent readers from being suspicious of Montgomery you could let Montgomery be kind and supportive to Ardell.  Even defending Ardell when Curry is harsh with him.  That way audiences would never guess that Montgomery is the bad guy.
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Steven
Posted: January 16th, 2017, 4:49pm Report to Moderator
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First act - The capture of John Curry and the transfer to Winterhaven, and the introduction to everyone.

Second act - Revealing that Ardell used to live near there, family murdered and murder never found. The snooping around by Rollins takes place with the aid of Montgomery and his deputy.

Third act - We learn that Montgomery was the murderer. We find this out by Ardell watching Montgomery kill a man. Then we go to the flashback of the murder.

I'll consolidate the flashbacks and scratch any backstory that I gave to Montgomery. The focus will be on the investigation and the only backstory of Montgomery will be his fake name that he used while being rehabilitated by Lucy.
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