A Genre that has waned in popular culture recently is the Western. With a few exceptions it doesn’t really get the exposure and theater time that it used to in the early days of the technology. I am not a big fan of the western, but it contains with out a doubt some of my favorite films. There are good stories to tell in the Western that haven’t been told in quite a while. The Genre has rested enough that some of the tropes and cliches have faded enough to be used again with out the rank of cheese wafting from them. As always of course you should stay away from the more cheese bits in order to make a more original and pallet-able piece of entertainment.
Some people may see the Western as a single setting, however, the West was simply a stage like any other and the stories that can be told in it are vast. Not every story set in “The West” have to have gunslingers, hostile native Americans, or Chinese immigrants building the nations infrastructure. These are popular cookie cutter pieces to build a story around, but the old west was more of an era then simply a place. Any story that can be told now can be told there. The difficulty is in finding the right match.
Ext – Mid Morning
Somewhere in Nevada circa 1840
James – Male 28 casual period style clothing Father
Aura – Female 19 sun dress Mother
Benson – Male 8 clothing casual period Son
Rita – Female 17 mo in small child’s dress Daughter
a pair of similarly sized boards
Family rides a wooden wagon packed with their belongings under a tarp in the back. They travel next to a cliff face to get out of the harsh desert sun for a little bit. A single horse pulls the wagon across the desert. There is no discernible trail they follow just a semi clear path through the weeds and rocks.
The husband (James) reaches next to him and grabs the Canteen that his Daughter is holding for amusement. He unscrews the lid. Tilts his head back to take a drink. His eyes open wide and camera switches to a POV. We see a large boulder and set of stones falling from atop the cliff-side right on top of them.
Screen cuts to black as the rock hits the camera shot
POV shot blinking back to life as the Husband looks down at his body laying on the ground. the camera slowly pulls back from a POV to see the husband fully in the shot. James sees a large rock on top of his right leg. He sits up and grabs the rock with both hands. Holding it up long enough for him to pull his leg out and the rock falls to the ground. His leg is badly bruised and cut up the ground beneath is wet with his blood. He feels the broken bone in his leg and then looked around at the rest of the rock pile. He sees all the rocks spattered with the blood of his family. The little girl that was next to him is evidenced now only by the slack in her small dress sticking out from the bottom of the rock pile.
James squeezes his eyes closed and tears run down his face. He turns away for a moment. Then he looks back and crawls over to a part of the wagon sticking out from under the rubble. James uses his good foot and gives the wood a hard kick breaking several boards. He then spins himself around and grabs a pair of similarly sized boards from the wagon he just kicked loose. He then crawls over and grabs the edge of his daughters dress. He takes a deep tear soaked breath and pulls on the material till it rips off from under the rocks. He rips the material he managed to get into strips and begins to tie a splint around his broken leg. using one piece as a makeshift bandage for his cuts. He grabs the canteen sitting near where he regained consciousness.
James then stands up unsteady and looks out across the desert, back towards where they came from seeing the tracks they left behind. James then walks forward towards their previous destination and leaves the natural mausoleum behind.
James pulls the lid off the canteen and realizes the weight is wrong. He shakes the canteen and a single drop falls out from the bottom where a rock smashed the material and opened the pouch. James tosses the canteen to the side and heads on.
James finds a small batch of cactus and desert plants a few dozen yards from where he started. He sits down at the lip of a seasonal creek bed and takes a few breaths. He looks across the creek bed and sees one of the plants over there is a barrel cactus. He stands up and lips at a determined pace towards the cactus. He grabs a taller thin desert plant on the way with out breaking stride and yanks off a branch.
James sits down at the other side of the creek bed next to the barrel cactus. He pulls a smaller sized neddle from the cactus while getting stuck with a couple for his efforts. He takes his knife out from his belt and puts a couple small notches in the thick end of the needle. He puts his knife away and picks the other plant back up that he broke a few moments ago. He snaps the branch in half and pulls on the two halves. As he pulls small strings come loose from the inside edges of the plants stems.
James wraps one end of the string into the notches in the needle and ties it off. He puts the needle and string down and goes to work removing his splint and makeshift bandage. He then proceeds to sew up his cut with the cactus needle and plant string he put together. As he sews the plant string breaks. He grits his teeth in frustrations and starts the process again with another string from the plant. This one his pulls on to make sure it won’t break as easily.
James finally gets his cut sewn up and the bandage back on. Sliding the bloody side of the bandage to the other side of his leg, then puts the splint back together again. He then takes his knife and cuts all along the top of the barrel cactus in order to remove the top like a cookie jar. He then cuts out slices of the cactus from the middle and sucks on then till he gets all the moisture out of them he can. After several slices he tosses the last core slice onto the ground and stands back up again.
James then turns back towards his destination and begins moving again. Camera sits on the rubble pile where his family sits and watches James walks off in the distance till is disappears in the heat waves rising up from the sands.