Out of Yellowstone, a screenplay, continued
INT. PAY PHONE IN LODGE - DAY Rex listens on the phone. Robin stands a few feet away. He shrugs as if to say there's not much to tell her. INT. MIKE'S OFFICE - DAY On the phone, a haggard Mike talks to Rex. MIKE (into phone) ...just more of the same. I wish Robin was here to handle the reporters. Anyway, call me on the radio when you get near. EXT. SIGNAL MOUNTAIN LODGE - DAY Rex and Robin load their small suitcases into the back seat of their Park Service sedan. ROBIN Geez. Free at last. EXT. JACKSON LAKE - DAY The sedan cruises along the upper end of Jackson Lake. INT. SEDAN - DAY Robin turns on the Park Service radio. The LOUD STATIC is unbearable. Wincing, she turns it way down. ROBIN Geez, must be a lot of sun spot activity. EXT. SOUTH GATE, YELLOWSTONE - DAY Rex pulls alongside the entrance booth as the car ahead drives off. From the booth, a cheerful woman Ranger with a name tag that says VICKI BORDEAU answers Rex's inquiry. VICKI Yeah, lots of little quakes. But there was one that had me nervous. Lot of locals up from Jackson. There's some really wild geyser activity. They even think that Steamboat might do it again. I know I'm headed up there when I get off. EXT. ROAD ALONG YELLOWSTONE LAKE - DAY The traffic is heavy as their Park Service sedan travels by Yellowstone Lake. EXT. REMOTE AREA, YELLOWSTONE LAKE - DAY TWO FISHERMEN in a boat notice a sudden bubbling up of water. FISHERMAN #1 That's weird. FISHERMAN #2 Really weird. Let's move away - in case it turns into something ugly. As the boat scoots away, massive steam mixed with rocks explodes from beneath it and sends the boat flying. EXT. BOARDWALK IN THERMAL AREA - DAY A nice looking family of MOM, DAD, BRIAN (10), and KATIE (7) walk along a boardwalk in the middle of a thermal area. Here and there, OTHERS stroll or stop to look. TWO COOL DUDES amble toward the family. The Dudes are teenagers, 16. Although harmless, they are rather scary looking. Their attire would be complete if they had their usual skateboards along. The family stops to look at a tiny, unnamed geyser. The little geyser erratically spurts sprays of water. Nearby, some water boils up. The adults enjoy the little action, but the children lose interest. The Dudes pause to watch. DUDE #1 Cool! DUDE #2 No, hot, Dude. The children run on. MOM Don't run! The children reach a widened spot in the boardwalk with rails on one side. They stop to see what the signed attraction is. The geyser there is quiet. The parents start in the kid's direction. A violent earthquake strikes. SCREAMING, the kids grab the rails. The upheaval knocks the dudes down hard. The parents go down a little more gracefully. SCREAMS come from elsewhere. This portion of the boardwalk becomes an island as sections on both sides sink down into the water. Where the kids are, the boardwalk tilts steeply crosswise until only the rails are out of the water. The terrified children clutch on tight. KATIE Mommy! MOM Katie! Brian, hang on. I'm coming. She goes after them, but her husband grabs her in time before she enters the water. MOM Let go! She struggles unsuccessfully against his firm hold. DAD That's boiling water. You can't get there. Dude #1 sits up, feels his bumped head and looks around disconcertingly. DUDE #1 Whoa! EXT. OLD FAITHFUL INN - DAY Here and there VISITORS mill about. On the front door, a hand painted sign on poster board reads, "INN CLOSED, EMPLOYEES ONLY". INT. OLD FAITHFUL INN - DAY SIX college-age CLEANING GALS walk from the back of the lobby. They are in an exuberant mood. CLEANING GAL #1 Day off! Yes! CLEANING GAL #2 I'm going to Jackson and party. CLEANING GAL #3 I'm gon' to Jackson an' find me a cowboy. They all laugh. CLEANING GAL #4 Yahoo! The floor rolls, the building shakes. The gals run, dropping everything. SCREAMS. SLOW MOTION, the massive fireplace crumbles apart. The rocks topple down onto the women. INT. VISITOR CENTER, OLD FAITHFUL - DAY The big undulating quake sends people panicking out the door. The bewildered Visitor Center Ranger tries to say something but can't get anything out. Finally he ducks under the counter. The building tilts. EXT. VISITOR CENTER, OLD FAITHFUL - DAY The earth opens like a big sinkhole that the visitor center partially slides into. Visitors scramble out the hole. As people scurry to their cars in an adjacent parking lot, more sinkhole opens up devouring numerous vehicles. Everyone's in panic. The pit fills with liquefied earth, the consistency of quicksand. A LITTLE LATER Completely full now, the pits gently bubble. Not all of the vehicles have completely sunk, some cars and motorhomes still have enough trapped air to be buoyant but are going down. A Volkswagon Bug bobs. The FOUR VW PASSENGERS row with assorted objects. EXT. CHITTENDEN BRIDGE OVER YELLOWSTONE RIVER - DAY A minivan begins across the Chittenden Bridge. INT. MINI VAN - SAME The FATHER drives. The MOTHER sits on the passenger side. The SON, 10, and DAUGHTER, 12, are in the seat behind. FATHER I spy something that begins with R. DAUGHTER Rock? Road? SON River. FATHER That's it. Your turn. SON I spy something that begins with... H. The far side of the road rises up so sharply that the bridge breaks in the middle. The broken edge passes upward in front of the windshield of the terror stricken SCREAMING family. It keeps rising as the minivan plunges into the river. Crossing from the opposite side, SUV with a camper trailer can't stop in time. The SUV dangles from the hitch. The bridge tilts and knocks both off. EXT. ROAD ABOVE GIBBON RIVER - DAY A Cadillac motors along, heading west. INT. CADILLAC - SAME An ELDERLY WOMAN drives, her ELDERLY MAN holds a cane. ELDERLY WOMAN I can't wait to get to the motel and put my feet up. ELDERLY MAN With a nice glass of wine. The violent quake strikes. ELDERLY WOMAN Oh. Oh. Oh. EXT. ROAD ABOVE GIBBON RIVER - DAY The hillside slides. INT. CADILLAC - SAME Rocks and dirt pile down upon the car. BLACK OUT EXT. LE HARDY RAPIDS - DAY Yellowstone River in the background, the Rex and Robin travel by. INT. SEDAN - SAME Robin has dozed off. The violent earthquake bounces the car jolting her awake. REX Holy... Rex hits the breaks in mid air and... EXT. LE HARDY RAPIDS - CONTINUOUS The car now at a 45 degree angle skids and stops partially off the road. Other vehicles, with their own problems, have very near misses but no wrecks. EXT. LAKE YELLOWSTONE HOTEL - DAY TWO MIDDLE-AGE COUPLES head out the front door. A Big quake strikes. SNAPPING and CRACKING. The couples make a run for it. The hotel pillars crumble. EXT. BRIDGE BAY MARINA - DAY A BOATER is launching his yacht at the ramp. A MARINA MAN waits on the dock where a BOAT RENTING FAMILY are returning from their outing. The BOATER'S WIFE unhooks the winch line. The water rushes from the bay, pulling the yacht with it. The rapidly receding water sweeps the rental boat with the family away from the dock. The crafts that are tied up, crash down. MARINA MAN Holy shit! (beat) Run. Run. Forget everything and Run. The marina man sprints away. The boat renters scurry on the slippery bottom. The boater's wife charges after their vessel. A wall of water charges through the bay. The boater is out of his truck watching. BOATER (yelling) No. The water crashes, smashing boats against the docks, tumbling the boater's wife and yacht. The wave pushes up beyond the front of the truck, pulling it and debris as it recedes. BOATER Laura! A second wall of water, nearly twice the size, storms trough the narrows and over the bridge, further destroying the marina. Fish flop on the land. EXT. ROAD ALONG YELLOWSTONE LAKE - DAY The seiche (lake tidal wave) sweeps over the road pulling cars into the lake. EXT. SOUTH END OF HAYDEN VALLEY - DAY BISON range the Hayden Valley. INT. SEDAN - SAME ROBIN ... and according to early accounts, the Indians were afraid of the place because of all the earthquakes. (suddenly uneasy) Ough Oh! REX What's wrong? ROBIN There hasn't been any oncoming traffic. Rex looks at her with concern. As he turns his attention forward, a frightened Rex grips the steering wheel and tries to slam the brakes. EXT. CREVICE IN ROAD, HAYDEN VALLEY - DAY The vehicle crashes into a steep crevice that runs crossways to the road. It ricochets back and forth on the way down. INT. SEDAN, CREVICE IN ROAD, HAYDEN VALLEY - DAY Air bags inflate. The car crashes back and forth on it's way down. The motion stops. EXT. CREVICE IN ROAD, HAYDEN VALLEY - DAY The Park Service sedan is wedged eighteen feet below the road level and a hundred feet or more above the bottom. The doors open. Rex is partially out before noticing the nothingness beneath. He saves himself with a quick grab of the steering wheel. REX Yipe! Don't go out there. Above, a luxury bus-like motorhome screeches and crunches to a stop with nearly half of it over the edge. INT. LUXURY MOTORHOME, CREVICE IN ROAD, HAYDEN VALLEY - DAY The MOTORHOME DRIVER (mid 50's) recovers from momentary shock. MOTORHOME DRIVER Cripe! (to wife) Quick, out the back. EXT. CREVICE IN ROAD, HAYDEN VALLEY - DAY The driver and his WIFE jump safely from the door at the middle of the RV as another tremor strikes. The motorhome teeters precariously. Another shock, the car slides down a couple feet. The motorhome falls into the crevice, which is now exceedingly deep. The front of the RV wedges just above the hood of the sedan. The chassis's rear rests on the pavement. INT. SEDAN, CREVICE IN ROAD, HAYDEN VALLEY - CONTINUOUS Robin snatches the two-way hand held radio from the glove box. Rex grabs a day pack from behind the seat. EXT. CREVICE IN ROAD, HAYDEN VALLEY - CONTINUOUS Apprising the situation, Robin uses the open window of the open door as a foothold, climbs onto the roof and grabs an underpart of the motorhome. REX (O.C.) What the Hell you doing? ROBIN Get up here, it's the only way out. REX There's nothing to hold on to. ROBIN Grab my leg. REX What? ROBIN Grab onto my leg. Hurry. Rex uneasily manages to join her on the roof. REX Now what? ROBIN It looks doable. She begins to climb the backwards slanting frame. Though Robin's obviously an experienced climber, it's a struggle of strength. She checks to make sure Rex is following, then focuses. REX (to himself) There's no way. Rex climbs up a few feet. He's not as adept as she. Grasping a greasy spot, he falls, lands on the roof and slides. SLIGHTLY LATER Up near the edge about twenty PEOPLE have gathered. One is a STOUT WOMAN (35). STOUT WOMAN Oh my God, there's a car down there. (beat) Oh my God, there's someone under the bus. Robin has reached the crevice's side, where mercifully she braces her feet against it as she ponders how to proceed. ROBIN Anybody got a rope? Not expecting one, she tests for footholds. Satisfied, she makes her move from under the vehicle. Her footing gives way. Just as she slips, a nylon tow rope drops to the rescue. A MIDDLE AGED MAN and the motorhome driver hold the rope as she crawls over the edge. ROBIN (gasping for breath) Thanks. Looking down, Rex is nowhere to be seen. ROBIN (frantically) Rex. Rex. REX (O.C.) (muffled) I'm in here... Anyone know how to open the window. STOUT WOMAN Someone's in there. The motorhome driver embraces his sobbing wife. MOTORHOME DRIVER Pull the two red handles. Rex extricates himself just in time. Another quake strikes. The motorhome crashes down the pit. Many cars have turned around and are headed back. About a fifteen vehicles remain. REX (to everyone) Turn back. You've got to get out of here... fast as you can. ROBIN (into radio) Unit 3 to Base. SLIGHTLY LATER The middle aged man has a pickup with a fifth wheel hitch. MIDDLE AGE MAN Looks like you guys could use a ride. REX Sure looks that way. Thanks. MOTORHOME DRIVER Appreciate it. Try explaining this to the insurance company. (beat) What the Hell's happening? ROBIN Oh Geez. No more cars are coming. I bet that way's blocked too. The stout woman peers down the abyss. The bottom glows red. STOUT WOMAN Oh God, Oh God. Oh Lord Sweet Jesus. We're starin' into the bowels of Hell. (beat) Come on Herald. Her husband HERALD is transfixed on the site. STOUT WOMAN Herald. HERALD. She pulls him away to their yellow convertible. STOUT WOMAN We gotta go, Herald. She speeds away with him, passing many of the cars ahead. The middle age man, Rex and Robin watch them go. Suddenly they gasp in horror. ROBIN Oh my God! A bright red splotch of sparking, spitting lava spews out of the ground and devours the convertible. Still fixated on the lava, Robin regains composure enough to remember the radio. ROBIN (into radio) Unit 3 to anybody. EXT. THE LAKE SEISMIC AND GPS OBSERVATORY - DAY Debris covers the site, the antenna is broken. INT. YELLOWSTONE VOLCANO OBSERVATORY, UTAH - DAY The seismographs are going wild. EIGHT SCIENTISTS and SIX STUDENTS have an intensity about them -- this is deadly serious yet wildly exciting. SCIENTIST #1 We lost the Norris GPS station. SCIENTIST #2 We're only getting spotty transmissions from the Lake stations. Still no signals from Old Faithful. Huff and a third scientist study various satellite images on the monitors. HUFF This is happening way too fast. SCIENTIST #3 Look here. He points to a spot on the east side of Yellowstone Lake. HUFF Oh my God. (beat) Can't wait to see some videos. EXT. GARDINER AIRPORT - LATE DAY A Cessna Stationair lands at the small airport. SLIGHTLY LATER. It taxies up and Rob McCoy and intern DALLAS (22) quickly board. They carry a few small equipment cases. INT. CESSNA - LATE DAY The plane taxies for takeoff. The three others on board are with the US Geological Survey, they are the KLONDIKE (the grey bearded pilot), AMY (40), and STEVE (late 20's). ROB Hey Klondike, good to see you. Exciting times, huh? This is Dallas, one of our interns. KLONDIKE This is Steve and Amy, also Geological Survey. (beat) Keep an eye out for other aircraft. The Governor's supposed to be out there, there's some rescue helicopters and who knows how many idiot sightseers. ROB Aren't there flight restrictions. KLONDIKE Yeah, but who's going to catch them? INT. GUS'S MOTOR HOME - LATE DAY Stella cooks dinner. Gus plays solitaire at the table. She wears the same house dress with a cardigan sweater. He's in Chicago Bears sweatshirt. A medium quake shakes the motor home. Stella clutches the sink counter. STELLA Oh God! Not again. The shaking ends. Gus's cards are a mess. He seethes. GUS First thing tomorrow, we're outta here. We should of left yesterday, Stella. But no-ooo, you always wanted to see Yellowstone. Well we have seen Yellowstone. EXT. TOWER FALLS CAMPGROUND - LATE DAY A HOT-HEADED MAN (25) screeches his car into the campground and slams the door as he gets out. The front of his vehicle has a tow hitch. HOT-HEADED MAN (loudly to anyone) We're trapped. There's three ways out of here. I've been down all three. Either they're caved in sunk in or somethin'. Where's the damn Ranger? Frickin' Ranger said it was safe. We're trapped, damn it. We're all trapped. EXT. ROADWAY, HAYDEN VALLEY - LATE DAY A private Bell 204 Helicopter is on the ground where Rex and Robin and thirty others are. Robin assists the first group of eight in boarding. They include a FAT WOMAN, her CHUBBY KIDS, and her unkempt WIRY HUSBAND who stares blankly into space. FAT WOMAN Oh God. Oh God. Oh God... The chopper takes off. A WOMAN points. WOMAN Look! Fire! The woods to the south are ablaze. A LITTLE LATER Rex speaks to the remaining 17 visitors who gather around him. R The helicopter is taking you to Grant Village, which is still in Yellowstone about twenty miles south of here by air. From there, you'll be taken out of the park by ground transportation... EXT. LANDSLIDE AREA - LATE DAY A bulldozer and FOUR PARK MAINTENANCE MEN work to clear a comparatively small landslide which completely blocks the Northeast Entrance road for about two hundred feet. MAINTANANCE MAN #1 This has got me nervous as Hell. MAINTENANCE MAN #2 If it slides again we're dead. EXT. ROADWAY, HAYDEN VALLEY - LATE DAY Rex and Robin hurry the second group into the helicopter. FRANK, the pilot, gives a thumbs up sign. The Helicopter departs. EXT. LANDSLIDE AREA - LATE DAY The bulldozer has punched a pass through the slide and is working to make it drivable. A long line of vehicles waits on the other side. ONLOOKERS CHEER. MAINTANANCE MAN #1 (into handheld radio) ...yeah we're punched through. Should be another fifteen, twenty minutes. Over. (pause) You're breaking up. I can't hear you. Over. (winces) If you can hear me, send them on. EXT. ENTRANCE TO TOWER FALLS CAMPGROUND - LATE DAY A Park Police car pulls in. PARK POLICEMAN (into Park radio) Roger. Out. HOT-HEADED MAN (very loudly) There's the damn Ranger. Hey we're trapped. How the hell do we get out? PARK POLICEMAN (into vehicle's PA system) This is the Park Service Police. The Northeast Entrance Road is now open. You must leave now. This is an emergency. Yellowstone National Park is now closed. All kinds of camping rigs begin departing. PARK POLICEMAN (through PA system) This campground is closed. You must evacuate immediately. It is unsafe and illegal to stay here. HOT-HEADED MAN You guys said it was safe. You said it was safe. If I end up getting killed, I'm suing. I'm suing anyway. The Park Policeman gets out of his car and his face gets real ugly. PARK POLICEMAN Leave this place. The hot-headed man flees to his car. The patrol car slowly moves on through the campground. PARK POLICEMAN (through PA system) You must exit left and follow the signs to Cooke City. The only road open is by way of Cooke City... EXT. WITHIN TOWER FALLS CAMPGROUND - LATE DAY A frantic PREGNANT WOMAN waves down the patrol car. PREGNANT WOMAN My husband took our truck to take the kids hiking. They should have been back hours ago. PARK POLICEMAN Where did they go? PREGNANT WOMAN They said they'd start at Artist Point. PARK POLICEMAN Ma'am, that bridge is out. But I'm sure they're all right. They've brought in helicopters to... INT. GUS'S MOTOR HOME - SAME Stella sits forlornly on the passenger side. Gus stares ahead with steely eyes as slams the shifter into gear. GUS I hate this place. EXT. ROADWAY, HAYDEN VALLEY - TWILIGHT The middle-aged man with and Rex look off toward the fires. MIDDLE-AGED MAN I first moved to Jackson when they had the fires here back in '88. What a fiasco that was. Park service going to do anything this time? REX There wasn't lava spewing out then. According to Frank, the pilot, there's disasters all over the park. If this is just the beginning, it'll make '88 seem like a Sunday picnic. (pausing reflectively) National Parks are supposed to be lands of natural processes. People forget that. CHOPPER BLADES. The two look up.