Treasure Mountain by Mike Ross | Script Revolution

Treasure Mountain



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Modern day western gold heist ala "Hell Or High Water" meets "True Grit."

Two brothers, Dellis (30) and Emmett (26) drive huge gold mining trucks at a massive open pit gold mine in northeast Nevada and due to trumped up charges for complicity in their father’s cyanide truck accident claim they are fired by the heartless, corporate breed, mine boss. Their father (70) is wheelchair bound in his poisoned and rotting body and can’t face life anymore and commits suicide.
When we meet Elko County Nevada Deputy Sheriff John Lawson, considered by many to be the “Dirty Harry” of the Nevada outback, he is bringing in another dangerous criminal, and when he attends a hearing for an earlier arrest he is put on probation.
At the Silver Dollar Saloon in Elko Dellis is given finalized divorce papers by Bobbi his “sassy as hell” wife. When Emmett goes home to his wife, Dolly, he is the subject of extreme reverse spousal abuse, barely escaping with his life.
The brothers decide to cross the line and slap some revenge on the huge, faceless, corporate gold mine. They call their two crazy cousins who drive cattle up the Oregon trail (cattle trucks) who have a plan to rob the modern day stage coach, the Wells Fargo Armored Car, as it crosses the desert with the mine’s gold.
Using a fake car wreck scene on a desert detour road the newly minted outlaws take possession of the mine’s $17 million in gold bars in a blazing shootout. One cousin is killed after he kills one of the guards and the other guard is wounded.
The three remaining outlaws head north for Idaho to sell the gold to some dudes from Las Vegas. They end up in the old gold mining town of Jarbidge, Nevada on the edge of the Jarbidge Wilderness just south of Idaho. After they hear at the Last Chance Saloon in Jarbidge about the manhunt for them and that they are being surrounded, they steal some horses and load the gold onto two packhorses. The second cousin can’t ride a horse due to allergies to horses and tries to drive out of the mountains and is caught and killed.
Hot on their trail after some modern day tracking, deputy Lawson arrives at the Last Chance Saloon and meets two other deputies who are hunting in the area. As the three deputies arrive back at the two deputy’s camp they find Dellis and Emmett who are just about to hit the trail with the deputy’s four horses. There’s a crazy wild shootout-rodeo with Dellis and Emmett barely making up the pack trail.
Deputy Lawson borrows two mules from the forest service and heads into the rugged wilderness hot on their trail. He finds them and after two separate wild gunfights and then a ferocious fistfight Lawson is knocked unconscious and young brother Emmett is seriously wounded.
The brothers decide to split up, Dellis will ride out of the mountains with the gold and Emmett will return with Lawson to town for immediate medical help.
Dellis reaches the last ridge of the wilderness area and is silhouetted against a glorious orange sky. He waves his cowboy hat across the sky, heels his horse and rides off into the sunset and a new future… with plans to help Emmett escape later.

Attached Talent: 

Producer: Wayne Carmona

All Accolades & Coverage: 

TITLE Treasure Mountain
Two wild and crazy brothers decide to pull off a daring gold robbery in an effort to right societal and familial woes while trying to stay one step ahead of a dedicated lawman.
AUTHOR Mike Ross
READER Nick Clement DRAFT DATE Unknown
LENGTH 113 pages
LOCATION Northeast Nevada Desert and mountain locales
BUDGET (High, Medium, Low) Low to Medium
GENRE Action Adventure Thriller
Drama SIMILAR PROJECTS/INSPIRATIONS -- Hell or High Water meets True Grit

TREASURE MOUNTAIN is a wonderful throwback to the old-school, star-driven, studio funded
action-adventures from the 80’s and 90’s. I had a blast reading this script – it hits all of its
intended marks, doesn’t waste any time with unnecessary elements, has two very engaging
central characters, formidable foes, and a conclusion that, while somewhat predictable, is very
satisfying and classical. It’s action packed all throughout and contains a terrific sense of forward
driving momentum in terms of the main story engine. This is the sort of high-concept,
somewhat-big-budget spec effort that used to make a splash back in the day of big-money script
sales; you have trailer-ready ingredients, a perfect title, a solid balance of action/humor/drama,
and all of it done with a fast pace that never allows for close inspection/scrutiny of the narrative.
And then, when you break it down and put it back together, it all makes sense, which is a
refreshing concept – so many screenplays start off with a great idea and then descend into
nothingness, either because the writer didn’t have the talent or faith in their initial thoughts and
convictions. TREASURE MOUNTAIN is an engaging, should-be-blockbuster, and it’s a
reminder that when done right, this genre has never lost a step. It could also be re-fashioned into
an explosive limited mini-series for one of the major streaming outlets.

The trio of DELLIS, EMMETT, and LAWSON are all extremely compelling characters. All of
the action – and there’s a lot of action in this script – is born out of character development and
motivations and decisions and nothing arbitrary or just for the sake of artificially pumping up the
flow of events. You have a good story and it’s told really well, and one of the things that make
TREASURE MOUNTAIN so much fun and so successful is that you don’t bite off more than
you can chew. You stay close to the three main characters, and allow for them to be shaded in
moral tones of gray, rather than simply black or white. That’s a progressive element to classical
material and it feels appropriately modern and thematically layered. And you also pepper the
piece with memorable supporting bits (fiery women! odd-ball locals!) so that everything has
contextual flavor, and the world feels “big” without being overly sprawling.
I really enjoyed the ending in general – it feels “right” and “fair” and because we REALLY get
to know and love the two brothers, you absolutely did the right thing in terms of their respective
fates. Bottom line – we develop a strong bond with DELLIS and EMMETT, so even if some of
their actions are misguided or clouded by love and not by their brains, we still want to see them
come out on top. There’s a moralistic tone in general to the piece, which keeps it grounded with
a strong point of view. In general, the way you portray old-west attitudes and tropes but within
the context and setting of a modern story is excellent, and really adds another layer to the entire
The big heist sequence is spectacular and in general, all of the action set-pieces pop with visual
intensity, and there are some excellent shoot-outs that bring violent immediacy to the piece. And
that, again, is one of your strongest attributes as a writer – how you visually set the stage and tell
your stories with images. There are long passages of this script, especially within the context of
the action-adventure elements, where you rely on purely visual storytelling to carry the load, and
because you’re so persuasive and so descriptive, your ability to make sure that every single scene
has rich details is tremendous. Sure, a production designer and art directors will make magic
happen on set, but they need to be inspired beforehand, and you have a terrific way with
atmosphere, mood, ambience, and a real flair
The ending fight between the brothers and LAWSON is totally gnarly and absolutely awesome –
there’s so much going on during all of it and yet you’re able to keep it all clear and spatially
separated and understandable on the page – no easy feat for many writers when they try to write
out and block how an action scene will unfold. My guess is that a visually inclined filmmaker –
someone with some fight-choreography expertise and a penchant for ass-kicking sequences –
will really respond to how you’ve set things up on the page. It’s lucid, exciting, just violent
enough without ever being off-putting, and ultimately, very satisfying. And in terms of trying to
entice actors to play the leading three men, you should have no problems – these are well-drawn,
funny, likable, irascible dudes, and LAWSON comes across as noble and cool while still being a
thorn-in-the-side bad-ass.

There’s a breezy, organic, and conversational quality to your dialogue which makes for an easy
and fun reading experience. Nothing feels overwritten or over-explained, and I really dig how
you frequently SHOW rather than TELL, which is a quality that more writers need to possess
and understand when crafting their screenplays as this is a visual medium and you need to
always put forth something dynamic on the visual stage. Back and forth between characters has a
genuine sense of wit, there’s good doses of outright humor that pop up in all the correct spots,
and there’s never any guess as to what sort of movie is unfolding on the page – this is awesome
entertainment, with outsized characters and situations – and the jocular and excitable tone never
falters. Anyone could go back and keep revising and revising – what you have on the page right
now is solid all around.

Structurally, this is a very clean effort. The inciting incident occurs around page 9-11, and your
major plot points are neatly integrated into the narrative – everything happens as it should and
there’s no major pacing issues as a result of anything being delayed or not included. It moves
like a well-oiled machine, I must say. There’s no lagging, no wasted moments, no padding. At
113 pages, it moves quick, and because of how visual things get at certain points, this feels like
the type of movie that would clock in at around One Hour and 40-45 minutes – perfecting lasting
strength for a programmer such as this. Over the three scripts I’ve sent you, I’ve definitely come
to understand that you very much know your way around how to structure and center a
screenplay in terms of all of the main components. Grammatically, this is a very cleaned effort,
and it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that you’ve done multiple, line-by-line readings in order to
get this thing into very regimented and glossy shape.

I’m a fan of this script. I really, really enjoyed it. I can “see it” while I’m reading it, and you can
pinpoint what sort of stuff you’d focus on in the trailer after you’re all done reading the piece as
a whole – you get the full adventure with this one and I’m curious to see what other people might
think of it. Right now, in the current marketplace, it’s an iffy proposition. Studios used to make it
their monthly business by snatching up material like this – but these days – it’s getting harder
and harder to sell non-IP, big-budget tent-poles. TREASURE MOUNTAIN wouldn’t break the
budgetary bank, per se, but it wouldn’t be cheap, and you’d need to “do it right” with the proper
special effects and production values. It screams NETFLIX and AMAZON and APPLE and all
of these newbies who are trying to entice talent with big pay days and splashy content in order to
keep people filling their subscriptions. But then again, if a big-star read this script and enjoyed it,
they’d be able to leverage their worth in order to get it made. I’d be very curious to see what
some producers might think about this effort, as they’d better understand the current mindset of
buyers. As a piece of hot-blooded and rousing entertainment, TRASURE MOUNTAIN succeeds
big-time. You just now have to find that perfect person to read it and get behind it and
understand it for what it is – an audience pleasing, popcorn-munching blast of action and thrills.

Submitted: May 19, 2020
Last Updated: May 23, 2020

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This Script Is Loved By

B. Jack Azadi's picture
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The Writer: Mike Ross

I've spent my entire adult life in the world of big time Nevada show business working with 99% of all the big names, the legends, the good, the bad and the ugly... Frank, Tony, Wayne, Willy, Waylon, Merle, Loretta, Cher, Tina, Rickles, you name 'em, I worked 'em. I shook their hands, gave them their pay checks, helped produce their shows with pretty lights and excellent sound, drank and enduldged with 'em, and bonded while we lived a rare life together in that bubble of BTSB. At the opposite end of the spectrum was my life outside the bright lights, a life of fast snow skiing the steeps, lugging a backpack throughout the American West and packing in on horseback into some of the wildest and... Go to bio
Law Firm: Gunderson Law
Lawyer: Mark Gunderson

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