Myth by John Maudlin | Script Revolution




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A family disturb an ancient evil lurking in The Badlands of South Dakota and seek the protection of an ancient good for their survival

A family of four relocating across country in a large Winnebago, plan a vacation, en route, in the Badlands of South Dakota. The boy finds a Sioux burial cave and steals a Native American headdress, but his father forces him to replace it. A mysterious figure is watching them. The second night their dog sensing the presence of other animals gets out of the Winnebago and confronts a pack of coyotes. In the morning the boy finds a severed animal limb and in anger returns back to the cave to re-steal the headdress, but is killed in the attempt, his body thrown from a cliff top by a strange violent wind, as his family look on below.

A local Native American family witness the killing and fearing they’d be blamed, the father goes to the family to profess their innocence, instructing the grandfather to take his two sons home. The youngest eludes the old man and runs back, frightened for his father’s safety. He arrives and watches in secret hearing his father arguing with the family and then terrified sees the family transform into bears and rip his father apart. He runs away, but is pursued by the family back in human form, finally eluding them when he attempts to jump a gorge but fails and falls, unseen, into a tree below. The sudden return of the strange wind whipping through the gorge disturbing the vegetation, disguises his whereabouts to the bear family looking down from above.

That night the grandfather makes a fireless camp with the elder son, telling him of the Bear myth and the slaughters at Wounded Knee and Sand Creek and why he’d been following them. The boy falls asleep and the grandfather writes out a note and conceals it underneath a rock. He then drifts off.

He awakes suddenly to be confronted by the family (still in human form) who have killed the elder boy. The old man’s faith crumbles against the shocking revelations of the bear man and how he has survived and bred, but as they are about to kill him he discovers the youngest boy is still alive and regains his faith before his execution.

The boy discovers the bodies of them both and recognises his grandfather’s dying signal and recovers the note he had written telling the boy to head for the protection of the Sioux Burial Ground. Dancing the Wovoka to summon the ancient spirits he is interrupted when the family arrive. As the bear man berates the boy’s futile attempts a mist gathers behind them and ghostly figures can be seen within. The family attack the boy one by one, transforming into bears each time, and wound him, but are finally repelled and killed by weapons thrown by the shadowy figures from the fog.

In the morning little evidence of the conflict can be found but the boy vows to return to the reservation hoping to re-energize their faith with his tale of he fought this ancient evil. Crossing the Badlands loop road he is run over and crushed by a Winnebago driven by, what appears to be, the bear man and his family.

The final shot zooms in slowly toward an animal, perched on a crest, howling, but is in fact the family dog, alive and master of all that he sees.

Attached Talent: 

No attached talent but the main male and female characters were written with Brendan Gleeson and Kate Winslet as ideals

Submitted: May 5, 2018
Last Updated: June 3, 2018

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John Maudlin's picture

The Writer: John Maudlin

Graduate of Warwick University. Triple honours in Literature, Theatre and Film. Short listed for the Bridport Poetry prize in 2015. Have completed 3 screenplays and 3 teleplays, the latter based on my own short stories. I have also written drama and poetry. I write under the pseudonym of Ricky Hawthorne. Go to bio

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