A TITLE READS: "The Bad Lands, The Dakota Territories."

Three frontiersmen ride along the Little Missouri River through the Bad Lands: the ground is scorched, the trees twisted, and red, flat-topped Buttes lie in the distance.  The three men are: FRANK O'DONALD, RILEY LUFFSEY and "DUTCH" WANNEGAN, all bearded, dirty and drunk.  They pass a handmade sign that reads: "Little Missouri Ranch, Proprietors: O'Donald, Luffsey and Wannegan. Private Property, Keep Out!"  They drunkenly sing a song:

                                                                 THE TRIO
                                Yippee yi tiyay, move along little doggies/
                                It's your misfortune and none of my own/
                                Move along little doggies/ You know that
                                Wyoming will be your new home.

As the three men near their little shack they find a barbed wire fence with freshly cut posts blocking their path.

                                What the hell is this?

                                Betcha it's that son of a bitch Marquis.

                                Well, who the hell does he think he is?

                                The King of France.

                                Let him be the King of any damn thing he
                                wants, that still don't give him no right to
                                fence off our spread.

O'Donald jumps down from his horse, takes a hatchet from his saddle bag and proceeds to cut the fence down.

                                That son of a bitch Marquis is tryin' to
                                jump our claim.

                                Well, if he's trying to jump our claim, his
                                next jump'll be straight into his grave.



The train pulls up to the small depot shack with a sign that states: "Medora."  The small town of Medora lies in the background -- a couple of wooden buildings, a few houses, and a huge mansion overlooking the whole town.  The Marquis gets off the train and is met by four of his RANCH-HANDS.  The burly FOREMAN speaks up.

                                O'Donald, Luffsey and Wannagen cut
                                down your fences again, Marquis.

The anger returns to the Marquis' crazy eyes.

                                Oh, they did, eh?  Well put them back

                                And what happens if they cut 'em down

The Marquis climbs onto his horse.

                                From here on out, anyone that cuts down
                                my fences will pay with their lives!

The Marquis spurs his horse and rides off toward his mansion.  The ranch-hands all turn to the Foreman expecting an answer.  The Foreman shrugs helplessly, then they all ride after the Marquis.



Teddy stands in the crowded Legislature, pounding his fist and fighting strenuously.

                                . . . And that is why we must all join to-
                                gether right now to stop corruption in its
                                tracks!  Pay-offs, bribery, influence -- it's
                                barbaric, gentlemen!  Positively medieval!

At that moment a uniformed Western Union DELIVERYMAN enters the Legislature, holding a telegram and looking befuddled.

                                Excuse me, gentlemen, but I have an
                                urgent telegram for Assemblyman Roosevelt?
                                Is he here?

Teddy, who is already standing, turns to the Deliveryman and waves his hand.

                                That's me.

The Deliveryman crosses the large room and hands Teddy the telegram.  Teddy tips the boy, opens his telegram and silently reads.  Everyone in the room is watching him.  Teddy lowers the telegram, smiling mightily.  The elderly Speaker asks in a distraught tone:

                                And what, may I ask, Mr. Roosevelt, is
                                so important that our session must be inter-

                                I apologize, Mr. Speaker, it will never
                                happen again, I assure you.

                                Well, that's reassuring.  Now, for heaven's
                                sake, what is this all about?

                                Oh.  Well . . . My wife gave birth to a baby
                                girl last night.  Our first child.

The Speaker nods his head.

                                Congratulations, Mr. Roosevelt.  That's fine.

Everyone bursts into applause, giving Teddy a standing ovation.  He smiles proudly.



The Marquis rides up on a snorting stallion.  He is now attired in boots, chaps, pistols, a cowboy hat, and carries a Sharps .45 caliber buffalo rifle.  Twelve other armed RANCH HANDS accompany him on horseback.  They come upon severed fence posts and cut wire lying in spirals on the ground.

                                                           (shakes his head; his eyes
                                                           burning; outraged)
                                Again and again I am defied!  As though I
                                were some sort of mere jackanapes.  Have
                                I not properly claimed all of this land?  Yet
                                these nabobs cut down my fences with ver-
                                itable impunity.  Back in France I have killed
                                men for much less.
                                                           (he looks to the other men)
                                Have I or have I not shown extreme unction
                                in regard to these interlopers?  I ask you?

Nobody has a clue what he's saying, so they all quickly agree.

                                Yeah, sure.

                                                                 HAND #1
                                'Course you have.

                                                                 HAND #2
                                And plenty of it.

                                That's what I thought.
                                                           (waves his hand)
                                Now, let's put this fence back up.


Teddy is standing, pounding his fist on the table, trying to be heard over the hubub.

                                Gentlemen, please!  If we allow corrupt-
                                ion within our own ranks to go unchecked,
                                who are we to make laws for anyone else?

Then, like deja vu all over again, the same Western Union Deliveryman arrives.

                                Excuse me, urgent delivery for Mr. Roosevelt

Teddy waves his hand again, smiling meekly at the frowning Speaker.

                                Over here.

The Deliveryman crosses the large room holding the conspicuous yellow telegram while everyone watches.  The elderly Speaker shakes his weary old head.

                                What now, Mr. Roosevelt?  More children
                                so soon?

Teddy reads the telegram and suddenly looks horrified.  He crumples the telegram and dashes out of the Legislature without a word or backward glance.  Everyone in the Legislature shakes their head and mutters at Teddy's odd behavior.



O'Donald, Luffsey and Wannegan, once again drunkenly ride along the Little Missouri River singing a song.

                                                                 THE TRIO
                                In Dublin fair city/ Where the girls are
                                so pretty/ I set my eyes on sweet Molly
                                Malone . . .

The three men once again find their path blocked by barbed wire.  They all shake their heads.

Meanwhile, hidden behind rocks, outcroppings, trees and shrubs are the Marquis and his men, their rifles out and ready.

The three frontiersmen are indignant.

                                That frog just won't quit.

                                You'd think he'd understand by now that
                                we mean business.

                                Can't push folks like us around.  It ain't
                                fittin', nohow.

They all jump down from their horses, retrieve axes and hatchets, then set about chopping down the fences.  The Marquis' voice is heard from nearby.


A volley of gunshots rings out. Men and horses drop to the ground in a murderous barrage of lead.  One horse falls over dead, Riley Luffsey lands on his back with a bullet through his throat, yelling.

                                Wannegan, for God's sake, help me -

Luffsey chokes on blood and quickly dies.

Wannegan, whose clothes are shot to pieces, jumps on the one healthy horse and gallops off at top speed, his shredded clothes flapping.

O'Donald has been shot several times and runs around bleeding and screaming.  He finally gets caught on the barbed wire fence, and hangs there moaning.

The Marquis and his men step out of their hiding places, their weapons smoking.  Many of the men are wide-eyed and shaking in disbelief at what they've just done.

                                Jumpin' Jesus Christ, we really gone and
                                done it now!

The Marquis smiles for the very first time.

                                Pestilent vermin!  I am the Marquis
                                Manca de Vallomrosa de Mores, and I
                                will not be trifled with!

The Marquis pulls a big Colt .45 from his holster and fires several shots directly into Frank O'Donald's back.  Frank O'Donald, hanging on the barbed wire, spasms and dies.  The Marquis' men all appear shocked.  The Marquis spins the pistol on his finger, then slams it into his holster.



A horse-drawn carraige draws up in front of the Roosevelt mansion.  Teddy bolts from the carriage and dashes inside the house.

A TITLE READS: "February 12th, 1884."


Teddy enters the house to find a crowd of people inside - his entire extended family, as well as many family friends.  They all turn and look at Teddy whose face is a study in panic.

                                Am I too late?

Nobody answers, nor knows how to answer.  Teddy dashes past all of them, bolting up the steps two and three at a time.


Alice is in a coma.  She surrounded by a DOCTOR, a nurse, and several other people.  Teddy looks to the Doctor pleadingly.

                                Please, doctor, tell me she'll be all right?

                                She's comatose, anything could happen.
                                Your Mother, however, I'm fairly certain
                                won't last the night.

Teddy could not look more stricken.


Martha Roosevelt is awake in bed suffering the very last stage of Typhoid fever.  Bamie is there, as well as another doctor, another nurse, and a few others.  Martha sees Teddy and smiles.

                                I knew you'd be here, Teddy.  I've been
                                holding on waiting for you.

Teddy kneels beside her, taking her frail, bony hand in his.  Teddy is now crying.

                                Mother.  What's happening?  I don't under-

Martha strokes her son's hair.

                                God's will is not for us to understand, dear.
                                He tests us with adversity.

                                For what?  More adversity?  I still can't face
                                a whole day without thinking of father.

                                I know.  Me, too.  Just try to be as good a
                                man as your father and you'll never lose
                                your way.

                                But father was a very great man.  I fear
                                I'll never fill his shoes no matter how hard
                                I try.

                                Perhaps not right now, Teddy, but you
                                will.  In time.

                                But father had you to help him.

                                And you have Alice.

Teddy looks up to Bamie and the others.  They shake their heads, they haven't told her of Alice's condition.  Teddy looks back down to his mother.  Martha coughs violently, her frail body shaking.  Finally, the coughing subsides and Martha Roosevelt dies.  Teddy drops his face into his hands and sobs.


The comatose Alice is in Teddy's arms.  Teddy rocks her gently.  The Doctor's hand reaches in and feels Alice's pulse in her neck.  There is none.  The Doctor goes to his bag and retrieves a small mirror.  Bamie and the others watch as the Doctor places the mirror to Alice's mouth.  There's no breath.  Alice is dead.  Teddy won't let go of her, tears streaming down his face.



Two horse-drawn hearses are parked in front of the house.  It's a cold February morning.  The horses snort, billowing clouds of steam.


The door to Alice's bedroom opens and Bamie steps into the hall.  In the room we can see that Teddy is still holding his dead wife and crying.  Bamie speaks to CORINNE and ELLIOT, Teddy's twenty year old sister and nineteen year old brother.  They have both been crying all night, too.

                                He is inconsolable.  I don't know what to

                                Teddy has never been like this before.

                                Never.  Even after papa died.

                                He won't let Alice's body go.  It's been hours.

The three Roosevelts stand in confusion.

A MORTICIAN wearing a black frock coat and top hat comes up the stairs.  He is followed by two burly assistants.

                                Your mother is in the hearse.  How shall we
                                proceed here?

He points at Alice's bedroom door.  Bamie looks to her brother and sister, then sighs.

                                Have your men take her from him - gently,
                                if you please.

The Mortician nods.

                                Of course.

The Mortician turns to his assistants and nods toward the door.


Alice's cold, blue body is wrenched from Teddy's grasping hands.  His tear-streaked face twists in pain as his dead wife is taken from him.  Teddy curls up in a ball on the bed and continues to cry, sobs racking his whole body.



The immediate Roosevelt family is assembled in the library, which is fourteen people.  Some of the men smoke cigars, many people have glasses of brandy before them.  Nobody speaks.  Suddenly, everybody looks up as Teddy enters the library.  He is completely dazed, his clothes rumpled, his hair sticking up.

His sister, Bamie, steps up holding a swaddled newborn infant.  Teddy looks down at the baby with an expression of total defeat.

                                Bamie, please raise my daughter for me.
                                Her name will be Alice.

                                Where will you be?

                                I'm going out west.

                                But what about your career?

                                I'm starting a new career.  I'll be a cattle

                                Teddy, this doesn't make any sense.

                                Certainly it does.  The light has gone out
                                in my life.  I will never be happy again.  I
                                have nothing to live for.

                                But your child is alive, Teddy.  Alive and

                                But her mother and father are both dead.
                                She is an orphan, like we are.

                                But, Teddy, that's not true.

                                Oh, yes it is!

                                But what about what mama said to you?
                                Try to be like father now.

                                I am not father!  He was a great man.  I'm
                                not, and dare say I don't have it in me.  I'm

Teddy turns and walks out of the library.  His entire family watches him go in overwhelming sadness.

                                                                                                       FADE OUT:

                                                                                                       FADE IN:


Teddy rides through the Bad Lands attired in buckskin, pistols on his belt, several rifles on his saddle, and a grim look on his face.  He fights the elements:


Teddy and his horse wade through a river.  He looks like he might float away, but he doesn't.



Teddy rides his horse straight into a pool of quicksand.  The horse's front legs sink into the muck and Teddy is thrown forward off the horse.

                                Oh, dear God . . .

He is hurtled directly into the quicksand.  Teddy flails, finally grabbing the horse around the neck.  The two of them flail together until they pull themselves out of the quagmire.  The horse shakes off the mud.  Teddy crawls to solid ground and gasps for air.



Teddy rides through a raging storm.  He and his horse can barely keep their eyes open the rain is whipping so hard.



Teddy tries to sleep in the rain, with no fire, soaking wet.  He starts to laugh, then just keeps on laughing, waving his fists in the air.

                                Go on, work your worst!  Drown me!  Hit me
                                with lightning!  Kill me if you'd like!  I really
                                don't give a damn!

Teddy's laughter chokes up and becomes sobs.



It has stopped raining, but everything, including Teddy, is soaking wet.  He sneezes as he tries to start a fire, but to no avail, everything's too wet.  Instead, he eats hard biscuits and shivers.



Teddy moves stealthily through some undergrowth, his Winchester rifle in hand.  As he moves slowly past some foliage, we see a pheasant bobbing its head, pecking at the ground.  Teddy aims in with his rifle, pulls the trigger and - BANG!  The bird goes down.

Teddy then plucks the bird, starts a fire, cooks and hungrily eats it on the spot.  It tastes good, really good.



Two new graves are being added to the cemetery overlooking Medora.  This is Graveyard Butte.  Wannegan watches as his two friends are interred.  Wannegan then looks over at the Marquis' mansion and a deep frown creases his face.  Wannegan shakes his fist.

                                You'll pay, you son of a bitch!  Maybe not to
                                me, but you'll pay!

As dirt is shoveled into the holes, Wannegan turns and walks away, a very frustrated man.



The Marquis strides into the saloon in the hotel, bangs a beer mug loudly on the bar until he has everyone's attention.  He then announces to the twenty people on hand . . .

                                I have just returned from court, and as
                                you see, I am not prosecuted.  Your
                                American courts know who is right.
                                And now I will make it very clear for
                                one and for all: I will not tolerate anyone
                                else cutting down my fences. 
This is
                                my town!
  I founded it and named it after
                                my wife.  And this is my herd!  And my
                                slaughterhouse!  And my refrigerated
                                train cars!  And this is my hotel!  I will
                                not be trifled with!  Let it be known by
                                all! I have spoken!

The Marquis smashes the beer mug on the floor, then strides out of the saloon as hastily as he entered.

Everyone stands there, silent for the moment.  The BARKEEP speaks everyone's thoughts.

                                Who the hell does that son of a bitch
                                Marquis think he is?  The King of France?

A SALOON GAL chimes in.

                                                                 SALOON GAL
                                No, the King of the world.  But he'll get
                                his, you take my word.  I just hope I'm
                                around to see it.

Everybody nods.



The Maltese Cross ranch is composed of a tiny cabin, a few head of cattle, some chickens and some goats.  The owners of the ranch are, GREGOR LANG, a burly Scotsman, who presently
chops wood on a stump, and his sixteen year old son, LINCOLN, a strapping, handsome kid who is feeding the chickens.  Lincoln looks up and sees Teddy riding toward him.  Gregor puts down his ax and picks up a rifle.

                                                           (Scottish accent)
                                And who might this be, I'm wonderin'?

As Teddy rides closer we see that he is a mud-spattered, soggy mess, but, nevertheless, he wears a pained smile.

                                Good morning, gentlemen.  My name is

A smile comes to Lincoln's young face for no apparent reason.  Gregor lowers his rifle.

                                Aye.  M'name's Lang, Gregor Lang.

                                A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Lang.

Teddy gets down from his horse, strides over and shakes Gregor's hand.

                                And this is me boy, Lincoln.

                                                           (smiles wider)
                                Lincoln.  Capital name.  Dee-lighted to
                                meet you, Lincoln.

Teddy takes Lincoln's hand in both of his and gives it a good solid pump. Lincoln is amused.

                                And what sort of name is Roosevelt then?

                                It's Dutch, although I am the seventh gen-
                                eration of Roosevelts born in America.  All
                                on Manhattan Island, I might add
                                Dutch.  They're a dependable people, the
                                Dutch.  Hard workers.  What can I do for
                                you, Mr. Roosevelt?

                                A chance to dry out would be much apprec-
                                iated, Mr. Lang.  I've been wet for over a

                                Then why don't you come inside, Mr. Roos-
                                evelt, and tell my son and I why an educated
                                man like yourself is riding around by himself
                                in the Bad Lands?

                                I would be delighted.

Gregor ushers Teddy inside.  Lincoln takes the reins of Teddy's horse.

                                Thank you, Lincoln.

Lincoln Lang, unlike his father, has an American accent.

                                My pleasure, sir.

Lincoln and Teddy exchange a smile.



Teddy, Gregor and Lincoln sit around the table, plates with chicken bones scattered about.  Gregor smokes a pipe.

                                . . . There ain't much chance for a poor
                                man to get ahead back in the old country.
                                If you're not born into money, you'll no
                                doubt die without it.  So, since I was a
                                young man I've been payin' close attention
                                to the goings-on here in America.  When
                                President Lincoln freed the slaves, I knew
                                America was the land for me.  I named my
                                boy here after Honest Abe.  Then, when
                                his mother, my beloved wife, Anne, passed-
                                on, I felt nothin' holdin' me back anymore.
                                I packed up Lincoln and off we sailed for
                                America.  That was ten years ago.  I took
                                every job I could get to save a few cents,
                                but when I did, we picked-up and headed
                                west.  We been out here come two years
                                now, and makin' a go of it, too.

                                And you believe, Mr. Lang, that cattle
                                ranching will succeed here in the Bad

                                Most definitely.  We wouldn't have stayed
                                as long as we have if we didn't think we'd

                                Yes, sir.

                                And you have only one hundred head of
                                cattle and no capital.

                                Aye.  But with enough time and effort me
                                and the boy will most certainly get ahead.

Teddy is thinking.  He squints his eyes and cleans his glasses.

                                Well, sir, perhaps we can all get ahead

                                What are you sayin', then, Mr. Roosevelt?

Lincoln watches Teddy and his father closely.

                                I'm saying, Mr. Lang, that I have plenty
                                of capital and that I, too, believe that cattle
                                ranching here in the Bad Lands will be a
                                fruitful enterprise.  What if I were to pur-
                                chase, say, another nine hundred head of
                                cattle, giving us a round one thousand head,
                                would you consider going fifty-fifty with
                                me on the Maltese Cross Ranch?

                                It's a first-class deal for me, Mr. Roosevelt,
                                but what about you?

                                It's perfect for me, too.  I get to be in the
                                cattle ranching business immediately.  You
                                and Lincoln spared me all the preliminaries.

                                But what about your life back in New York?

                                Your wife died and you left your home for
                                a new life.  My wife died, too, Mr. Lang,
                                and my mother, on the very same day.  A
                                black fog enshrouds me.  I no longer have a
                                life back in New York.  I, too, have come
                                here looking for a new life.
                                                           (they all look at
                                                           each other closely)
                                So, would you like to go into business with
                                me, Mr. Lang?

Teddy proffers his hand.  Gregor and Lincoln exchange a look.  Lincoln nods.

                                Aye, indeed I would, Mr. Roosevelt.

Teddy grins his toothy grin.  He and Gregor shake hands on the deal while Lincoln watches.



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