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Brokeback Mountain, An Update
a short film
Based upon a story circulating on the Web
EXT. RURAL WYOMING CEMETARY – DAY
A hot summer wind stirs the endless dusty plains as a funeral party of perhaps a score of formally dressed country/cowboy types watch a casket being lowered into the earth. In the distance looms Brokeback Mountain. Bowed heads. A tall PREACHER reads from the Scriptures.
The bereaved widow, LILA, late 30s, raven-haired, strong yet feminine features. The prayer finishes. In unison with all…
EXT. LILA’S RANCH – DAY
A cattle ranch on the endless dusty plains, Brokeback Mountain in the distance. That hot wind. Lonely. Lila stands on the porch looking out at her spread; a pickup truck in front. Apart from the sheep in a nearby pen, she is alone, very much so, not even a dog. A distant sheep bleats plaintively.
INT. LILA’S RANCH - DAY
Rustic but comfortable. Lila enters. Pauses by a stone fireplace, upon which is a row of family photographs. Several are of Lila and her deceased husband -- a ruggedly handsome man, probably a kind and good man, in his late 40s; his death was obviously premature. Lila reaches out and touches a photo of herself and him sitting their horses and smiling by a lake at the foot of Brokeback Mountain, which towers behind them; a tent is pitched nearby; this is their lovers’ secret place. Lila speaks with a light Texas drawl, a sweet voice, but not without authority…
LILA (Voice over)
My husband was the foreman, you see, so now I’m
going to need outside help.
INT. LILA’S LIVING ROOM – LATE AFTERNOON
Lila and two men are seated near the fireplace, the photographs of Lila and her husband as backdrop to the scene, Brokeback Mountain visible in the distance outside the window. EARL is a strapping cowboy about Lila’s age; self-assured, though not overtly arrogant; a toothpick wedged in the corner of his mouth. He has no problem making -- and sustaining – eye contact with Lila. We can maybe guess what’s on his mind, aside from a job…
Yes, ma’am. I understand.
You’re the only two applicants so I figured to talk to you together, get a sense of you.
The other job applicant, BILLY, is younger than Earl (and Lila), leaner, and not so self-assured. Kind and expressive eyes. He fiddles with the cowboy hat on his lap. Lila turns to Earl.
You were a foreman for Jim Dudley, that right?
Yes ma’am. Like to twelve years, before Jim sold the place.
He wrote me this here recommend letter.
(hands Lila an envelope)
I can run a ranch, ma’am.
Lila takes the letter and puts it aside for now. Smiles so as not to offend, but she makes her point…
It’s a small operation, so I’ll be doing the runnin’…
(turns to Billy)
Mostly I’ve rodeo-ed ma’am. Broncs and calf ropin’.
Only ranched a bit when I was a kid back up in Montana.
Where are your folks from?
My momma and daddy…
I was raised by other folks.
Lila nods, looks from Billy to Earl. Billy, uncomfortable, touches his hair. Lila’s gaze returns to him. For a moment she contemplates him…
INT. BANK – DAY
Lila signs a paper. The bank manager, BEN – early sixties, avuncular -- is an old family friend and protective of Lila. .
I haven’t decided yet. Earl is clearly the more qualified, but there’s something I like about the younger one…
(uneasy at how this sounds)
When I say I ‘like’ Billy, I don’t mean…
I know, Lila.
Last thing I’m lookin’ for is some horny cowboy sniffin’ around. I mean I think I can trust him.
Billy’s new around here… no one seems to know
much about him.
I know. By all logic I should hire Earl.
INT. RANCH DINING ROOM – DUSK
Lila, Billy, and two ranch hands, a Mexican, RODRIGUEZ and a part-Indian, HARRY, chow down. The Mexican cook, MARIA, serves. Silence as they eat. Then…
We’ll be bringin’ ‘em to the high pasture up at
Brokeback in the morning.
The men nod. Billy finishes up. He’s eaten much faster than the others. He goes to rise.
What’s the rush, Billy?
Your mare threw that shoe, ma’am. I got to…
We still got dessert comin’.
I’m about full up.
Billy rises and exits. Lila nods, doesn’t watch him go. Her mind is elsewhere.
INT. LILA’S BEDROOM – NIGHT
Lila lies in bed, awake, melancholy. We hear the faint clanging of Billy shoeing Lila’s mare out at the barn.
EXT. BROKEBACK PASTURE – DAY
The four drive the sheep herd into a pasture by a lake. It’s the pasture and lake from the photograph on the mantle; Lila and her husband’s secret place.
Billy sees a half dozen sheep wandering from the herd. Canters over and expertly brings them in. Lila watches approvingly.
Billy with a sheep slumped over his saddle, rides the perimeter of the herd, keeping them together.
Ranch chores, Lila and Billy often sharing the labors.
Billy settles in to his job and does it well.
Summer passes into early fall. The sheep are counted; some sold.
Lila hangs laundry in the yard. Hangs a lacy bra, panties and slip.
Unseen by Lila, Billy is watching from the bunkhouse doorway, his eyes hard to read…
Lila, Billy, Rodriguez and Harry eat as before, but there is more banter, an easier vibe, although Billy is still formal and reserved with his boss, the beautiful Lila.
As they unsaddle their horses in the barn, Lila laughs at something Billy says. Billy smiles in a genuine aw-shucks way. Lila, laughing, touches Billy’s shoulder with affection. Billy seems uncomfortable at the display, innocent as it was. Lila notices, and is subtly hurt.
EXT. BROKEBACK HIGH PASTURE – LATE FALL – LATE AFTERNOON
Lila and Billy herd sheep. Billy looks off at storm clouds gathering over the summit of Brokeback. Lila rides up, checks the weather.
We’ll not make it back down today.
EXT. BROKEBACK HIGH PASTURE – NIGHT
A snowstorm. The same tent as from the photograph pitched by the lake, which is now fringed with ice. A lantern in the tent glows warm.
INT. TENT – SAME
Lila and Billy in their sleeping bags. Lila turns off the lantern and rolls onto her side, facing away from Billy. Silence between them.
Billy sound asleep. Lila still awake, that melancholy look.
EXT. LILA’S BACK YARD – DAY
Lila hanging laundry. Notices that a lacy pink bra and panties are frozen solid from the cold. Frowns.
INT. BUNKHOUSE – SAME
Billy watching. A hint of desire, which Billy shakes off, angry at himself.
EXT. TOWN – A WINTER DAY
Maria, Rodriguez and Harry say goodbye, get on a bus.
Winter chores, Lila and Billy, just the two of them now.
INT. DINING ROOM - NIGHT
Lila and Billy eat. Lila looks over at Billy, now with a hint of longing. Billy is subtly aware, and tries to hide it.
A series of postcard exteriors as snow melts, migrating birds fly back north, the countryside awakens with new growth. Spring.
EXT. BARN – SUNDOWN
Billy brushes down Lila’s mare’s shiny coat. Looks off at…
… Lila’s lacy pink bra, panties and slip hanging on the clothesline out back of the main house, swaying in the warm spring breeze.
No mistaking the desire now and Billy can’t shake it off, doesn’t even try.
INT. DINING ROOM – MORNING
Lila serves Billy a heaping plate of pancakes and eggs. Billy nods in thanks, but only glances at her. Sips his coffee, his mind elsewhere.
Rodriguez and Harry’ll be back on the morning bus.
Maria the day after.
Lotta work to do, startin’ tomorrow.
I know it.
Almost six months, you’ve hardly been to town ‘cept on ranch business. Take the pickup, go on in and have some fun.
Billy looks over at her, a bit uneasy, but seems to nod.
INT. LIVING ROOM – LATE NIGHT
Lila alone, a half empty bottle of wine on the coffee table. She sips. Her eyes go to the mantle, the photo of her husband and her at the Brokeback pasture. That melancholy look. Pours more wine.
Lila finishes off the wine. We hear a car door shut outside.
EXT. PORCH – NIGHT
Lila watches as Billy, wearing a heavy leather cowpoke coat, heads to the bunk house.
Billy stops and turns. Eye contact between the two. Billy has been drinking too.
Lila maintains eye contact for a beat then turns and enters the house.
Billy looks over at the clothesline; a few things hanging, visible in the half light, but Lila’s lacy under-things are gone…
INT. LIVING ROOM – A FEW MINUTES LATER
Lila seated on the couch.
Take off your coat and come over here.
Billy’s coat as Billy lays it on a chair.
CLOSE ON LILA
We sense but cannot see Billy standing in front of her.
Take off my blouse, Billy.
Billy’s hands. Shaking, they undo the buttons on Lila’s blouse.
The blouse as it drops to the floor.
Lila contemplates Billy; she’s a little drunk and it’s hard to read her eyes.
Now take off my slip.
Lila’s lacy slip as it drops to the floor alongside the blouse.
Now my skirt.
Billy’s shaking hands as they undo Lila’s skirt’s buttons and slowly slide down the zipper. There seems an urgency on Billy’s part to get on with it now.
The skirt drops to the floor alongside Lila’s bra and slip.
Lila looks up at Billy, now with fire in her eyes.
Okay, then. If you ever wear my clothes into
town again, you’re fired.
Standing in front of Lila, naked except for Lila’s lacy pink bra and panties, plus his cowboy hat and boots.
HIGH LONG SHOT
Lila's ranchhouse, her spread, and Brokeback Mountain towering in the distance.
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