The Trapper's Wife by April J. Miller | Script Revolution

The Trapper's Wife

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Page Count: 
125pp

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Logline: 
In the Minnesota frontier of 1831, an elderly widow struggles to survive on her own while remembering her adventurous and turbulent marriage to a trapper.
Synopsis/Details: 

Minnesota frontier – 1831. SAMANTHA WILKES (62) is living every woman’s nightmare: being old and alone. After the death of her husband, GIDEON WILKES, she is now on her own. Although her Dakota friends, along with an adopted son, live several miles away, they would never know if something happened. In the midst of her fear and pain, she remembers:

In 1784 New York state, she is only sixteen. By nature she is willful, but her father’s controlling abusiveness has made her a tempest of anger and fear. With her mother’s passing, her father has decided that it is Samantha’s duty to take up ALL the wifely duties. Samantha flees and runs into her old crush, Gideon Wilkes who helps her escape. He takes her to the Binson’s, but her father’s influence has reached even that remote town. They are forced to marry and head west.

For Gideon, he believes his prayers have been answered and he’s married a godly woman. He’s devastated when he learns she’s an atheist. Since childhood, everything she loved had been taken from her. Seeing Missy Binson’s baby, she’s latches on to the hope that a child is what she needs to be complete.

In Minnesota, Gideon builds Samantha a cabin with the help of CROW LA FLUER, a French trapper. Using all his innate patience, Gideon starts to win her trust. He helps her destroy some mental demons by initiating a flour fight in the kitchen which results in her finally accepting his love.

During their first winter, while Gideon is trapping, Samantha takes a walk. She finds six-year-old ROARING WATERS hiding from the warriors who killed is father and brings him home. He stays with them through the winter, learning English while teaching Samantha Dakota. It’s during this time that Samantha learns she’s pregnant.

In the spring, they take the boy back to his tribe where his name is changed to Eagle’s Cry. After Gideon leaves to trade the furs, Samantha suffers extreme pain and begins to bleed. She’s found by Crow who rushes her to the Dakotas. Her life is saved, but the baby is gone. Gideon arrives to find her in grief and depression, blaming God for the loss of her one dream.

When the warring tribe returns, killing several Dakota, Gideon leaves to help them fight. He tells Samantha to stay at the cabin, but not why. Rebellious, she leaves to pick blueberries. Tracking the enemy, Gideon and the Dakota see that they are heading towards the cabin. Gideon rides for home. She’s not there, but he knows where she went. He races after her.

Samantha is fighting for her life. The Anishinabe warrior has her on the ground, knife in hand when a shot rings out killing one of his buddies. Gideon storms in like an avenging angel, killing a second warrior. Samantha’s attacker turns to face him while she runs. The fight is brief and bloody. Wounded, Gideon falls, but the killing stroke is thwarted by the roar of a huge grizzly. The bear, having learned that the rifle shot means a fresh kill, is looking for the meat. What it finds is an Anishinabe warrior. Their battle is short. The bear leaves after killing his opponent.

Gideon is taken to the Dakota village where his wounds are treated. Samantha, on her own and scared for the future, faces the God she’s been fighting all her life. When her questioning heart seeks Him, He responds, and she cries out her despair. That night, Gideon wakes up. As he recovers, they talk things out and renew their love.

In 1831, Samantha is in trouble. She’s been kicked in the hip by their cow while trying to bring it in during a hail storm. On the ground, she can’t move and no one knows. If she had just listened to Eagle’s Cry earlier, she would be safe at the Dakota village, but she had been stubborn. Then, at the height of her despair, Eagle’s Cry comes. He carries her to the cabin and leaves to get their medicine woman, WISE OF HEART. The woman confirms her fears: her hip is broken and she will never walk again.

That night, young Gideon comes to wake her. She gets out of bed and follows him to the open door. It’s beautiful. With a final glance at Eagle’s Cry sleeping on the floor and the shell of an old woman on the bed, she follows her husband into eternity.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

The script consultant I send this to for evaluation said that "In the thirteen years I've been a professional consultant, this is one of the best scripts I have ever read."

Submitted: August 16, 2019
Last Updated: August 16, 2019
Times Downloaded: 1
Last Downloaded: August 22, 2019

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April J. Miller's picture

The Writer: April J. Miller

I have been writing since elementary school; it’s not what I do, it’s who I am. I started writing seriously in my early thirties. Taking a course with the Institute of Children’s Literature, I’ve had several stories and articles published in magazines. One book, Padrone: War Horse of Heaven was picked up by Tate Publishing. In 2013, I was asked by a friend to write a secondary script to accompany her Christian sit—com, and found my passion. Since that time, I have written six movie scripts, learning more with each one. Living in rural Georgia on a limited income has proven to be a challenge, but one I am determined to overcome. Waiting on my school bus for the children to be dismissed, I... Go to bio

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