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TEASER


FADE IN:


EXT. TELEGRAPH OFFICE - DAY ONE - MARCH 1872 1

PRESTON waits impatiently at the window while a muddled HORACE rummages absently through an untidy mess of papers --

HORACE
I know it's here -- somewhere.

PRESTON
(exasperated)
How long has it been here?

Horace locates the missing telegram and Preston snatches it, examines the date, and answers his own question:

PRESTON
This came in two days ago. Why didn't you tell me?

HORACE
I been busy.

PRESTON
(reads, shocked)
He's coming today.

Horace gives a helpless shrug. Irritated, Preston hurries away toward town.


INT. GAZETTE - DAY ONE 2

BRIAN is struggling with the press, trying to put out an edition of the paper when Preston bursts in, waving his telegram.

PRESTON
Dorothy, I need you to -- ah, Brian. Where's Dorothy?

BRIAN
In Chicago, at that meetin' of western publishers.

PRESTON
What's she doing there?

BRIAN
You told her to go. Find out how to expand the Gazette.

Preston groans. This day is turning into a disaster.

(CONTINUED)


2.


CONTINUED: 2

PRESTON
(dubious)
I need a notice printed -- right away. A public invitation to a poetry reading.

BRIAN
(excited)
A poetry readin'?

PRESTON
America's most famous poet -- Mr. Walt Whitman -- is coming to my hotel.

BRIAN
(excited)
Walt Whitman's comin' here?

PRESTON
(nodding)
He's recovering from a stroke and he's chosen my resort to restore him to health.


EXT. GENERAL STORE - DAY ONE 3

MATTHEW stands talking with LOREN and the REVEREND.

LOREN
A stroke? Is he paralyzed?

MATTHEW
I dunno. Preston offered him a rest cure in exchange for him givin' a poetry readin'.

REVEREND
Wish he hadn't done that.

MATTHEW
Why's that?

REVEREND
I heard he advocates free love.

Loren's eyebrows shoot up. Matthew looks uncomfortable.

LOREN
It's a load of rubbish.

MATTHEW
You ever read his poems, Loren?

Loren quickly shakes his head, no.

(CONTINUED)


3.


CONTINUED: 3

REVEREND
I s'pose the man's free to write what he wants, but why does he have to go readin' it in public?


EXT. GRACE'S CAFE - DAY ONE 4

GRACE pours coffee. MIKE and SULLY react to Brian's news:

MIKE
(delighted)
A public reading? Why, that's wonderful. The whole town will get to hear him speak his own words.

BRIAN
(to Grace)
Mr. Whitman is Sully's favorite writer.

MIKE
He's more than a writer, Brian, he's a famous poet.

SULLY
And he started out workin' on a newspaper when he was your age.

BRIAN
(wide-eyed)
Really?

Mike and Sully exchange a smile over Brian's enthusiasm.

GRACE
Maybe he'll give you some pointers.

BRIAN
Ya think so? A famous man like him?


INT. BARBERSHOP - DAY ONE 5

JAKE lathers Preston's face. HANK watches.

JAKE
Sure he's famous -- 'cuz a all those racy poems he wrote.

PRESTON
Racy? Just another word for artistic -- a true genius, Jake.

(CONTINUED)


4.


CONTINUED: 5

Jake and Hank exchange an 'oh-brother' look.

HANK
(sarcastic)
An' he's comin' to your hotel?

PRESTON
Yes, which reminds me --
(pulling out watch)
-- can you hurry it along? He's arriving on the four o'clock train.

A TRAIN WHISTLE, OVER, takes us to --


EXT. TRAIN (SLOWLY MOVING) - DAY ONE 6

WALT WHITMAN, 55, a tall burly man in full white beard, open collar and rough homespun suit, stands on the platform of the train as it pulls in. He leans heavily on his cane.

ANOTHER ANGLE - STATION PLATFORM

A small crowd of curious townsfolk - among them Mike, Sully, Brian, Preston, Horace, Grace - crane necks to catch sight of the world-famous man. ANDREW hurries up, distressed, lays a hand on Preston's shoulder.

ANDREW
Preston, I must talk to you before he...

"... Arrives" is drowned out by SQUEALING BRAKES of the train.

PRESTON
(pulls away, excited)
Not now, Andrew.

With a BURST OF STEAM, the train lurches to a stop. Whitman peers out at the assembled townsfolk from under a battered felt hat. There is a burst of polite applause.

An expectant hush falls over the crowd. Brian has his reporter's pad ready, pencil poised to record the first words from the lips of America's poet.

WALT WHITMAN
Howdy.

Preston leaps forward, extending his hand up the steps.

PRESTON
Preston A. Lodge the Third, at your service, sir. Allow me to assist you.

(CONTINUED)


5.


CONTINUED: 6

WHITMAN
Why, thank you, Preston A. Lodge the Third. My gracious patron.

Leaning on Preston, Whitman precariously descends to the platform... where he pauses to feast his eyes on the town, filling his lungs with air.

WHITMAN
Ah, the fragrance of wilderness!

PRESTON
Sir, may I introduce the Harvard-educated physician who will supervise your treatment...
(pulls Andrew forward)
... Dr. Andrew Cook.

Whitman extends his hand.

WHITMAN
Pleased to meet you.

Andrew hesitates, strangely ill at ease. His hand inches forward toward Whitman's -- but instead changes course and reaches abruptly toward Mike --

ANDREW
Actually, Dr. Quinn here...
(grasping her arm)
... is far more experienced than I to see to your care.

Preston's head snaps around in disbelief. Mike stares at Andrew, stunned. Whitman, confused, looks from one to the other, his hand dangling in mid-air.

Quickly recovering, Mike rescues the moment by graciously taking his outstretched hand.

MIKE
I'm honored to meet you, Mr. Whitman.

PRESTON
Sir, I assure you...

WHITMAN
(ignoring Preston)
A lady doctor? Ah, the unexpected bounty of the frontier.

Mike takes over introductions, while Preston, seeing his plans disintegrate before his eyes, glares daggers at Andrew.

(CONTINUED)


6.


CONTINUED: (2) 6

MIKE
This is my husband Byron Sully...

SULLY
Pleasure. I've admired your writin' for a long time.

MIKE
... and my son Bri--

PRESTON
(interrupting)
A small misunderstanding, sir. I can straighten this out in no time.

WHITMAN
There's nothing to straighten out. I'm perfectly delighted with the arrangements.

SULLY
Must be tired after your trip.

PRESTON
(hastily)
Yes, yes of course, the carriage is right here.

Sully slips a firm hand under Whitman's elbow to help him toward the carriage. Brian follows with Whitman's valise. The crowd drifts away.

Preston lingers, waiting until they're out of earshot to turn on Andrew.

PRESTON
Have you lost your mind?

ANDREW
(stammering)
I - I'm sorry, I cannot treat this man.

MIKE
(astonished)
Because of his poetry?

He glances at her, painfully embarrassed and upset.

ANDREW
Please, don't ask me to explain.

(CONTINUED)


7.


CONTINUED: (3) 6

MIKE
(appealing to him)
As physicians, we have a duty to put aside personal feelings.

ANDREW
I beg you, Michaela, trust me.

PRESTON
Do you work for her or for me?

Andrew leans close, speaks into Preston's ear --

ANDREW
You will thank me for this.

He strides away. Mike and Preston exchange a look of utter bewilderment as we:

FADE OUT.

END TEASER





8.


ACT ONE


FADE IN:


INT. CLINIC - DAY TWO 7

Whitman sits on the examination table, his left sleeve rolled up. Mike gently pokes and touches his useless hand and arm with a needle, testing for nerve response. He watches her with keen interest, admiring her confident professionalism.

WHITMAN
Ah, doctors. I love them --
(beat)
-- and I hate their medicine.

Mike looks up, taken aback. Sees he's gently teasing her.

WHITMAN
I was a volunteer nurse myself, in the War.

MIKE
Oh, I see.
(re: needle)
You don't feel this?
(at his head-shake)
How long has it been like this?

WHITMAN
(wistful sigh)
Long enough to know it isn't going to get better.

She reacts to his noticeable change in mood, surprised.

MIKE
Perhaps it's only temporary. I've seen cases of delayed recovery.

He turns his full honest gaze on her as if to say, Come on, doctor, don't try to fool me. She quiets.

WHITMAN
Like you, Doctor, I've looked Death in the face. So many young men. So much waste.
(a beat)
We're old friends, Death and I.

MIKE
'Friends'? As a doctor, I've always viewed death as the enemy.

He looks at her gravely. Then, a slight twinkle:

(CONTINUED)


9.


CONTINUED: 7

WHITMAN
Oh well, guess there's no use dying now, with a whole week of free room and board.

Mike smiles, putting down the needle and reaching for a jar.

MIKE
I've been reading about experimental treatments for damaged nerves, using electric current.

WHITMAN
Oh, I tried that, tried it all. Shock therapy, hydropathy, phrenology --
(sniffing)
-- what is that?

Mike holds out the jar she has just opened.

MIKE
Hot pepper ointment.

WHITMAN
(smiling)
That I have not tried.

She smiles back, starts to massage it into his hand and arm.

MIKE
It's to warm and stimulate the affected parts of the body.

He watches her with an open, steady gaze, liking her, taken with her determination. She feels his eyes upon her.

She senses something -- can't put her finger on it -- a quiet melancholy behind the gentle smile.

MIKE
(appealing to him)
A positive attitude is important to recovery. You celebrate life with such eloquence in your work.

Whitman looks at her, curious and intrigued.
MIKE
'I sing the body electric' - ?

WHITMAN
(pleased)
You know my work?

(CONTINUED)


10.


CONTINUED: (2) 7

She turns to wash her hands with a self-conscious smile.

MIKE
Oh, yes. And now that I'm a married woman, I can appreciate it more fully.

He laughs delightedly. She puts her stethoscope to his chest, listens to his heart.

WHITMAN
Never married, myself.
(quiets; wistful)
I've known love, though, yes indeed. I've known love.

He rolls his sleeve down over his limp arm, as Mike lowers her stethoscope.

MIKE
Your heart is strong and you appear to be very much alive.
(hands him ointment)
Apply this twice a day, and come back tomorrow. I'd like very much to help you.

Whitman is unconvinced, but he's charmed by her determination.

WHITMAN
I can think of no one I'd rather be cured by.

He takes his coat. She hands him his cane. He takes a step toward the door, then turns, again tips his hat.

WHITMAN
Well, so long...

He smiles wistfully... and exits. OFF Mike, concerned --


EXT. STREET OUTSIDE CLINIC - DAY TWO 8

With a smug grin, Preston drives Whitman away in his carriage -- to REVEAL a slightly awe-struck Grace, watching from in front of the General Store (with shopping basket).

She spots Mike coming from the clinic, hurries across --

GRACE
Dr. Mike -- !
(catching up to her)
Well? What's he like?

(CONTINUED)


11.


CONTINUED: 8

MIKE
Mr. Whitman? Oh, he's very charming. There's a gentleness about him, a sweet sensitive nature...

She stops, frowns slightly. Grace sees she's troubled.

GRACE
What is it, Dr. Mike?

MIKE
I don't know. He seems sad.

GRACE
Well, it must be discouragin', a big strong man like that, suddenly findin' himself crippled.

As they move in the direction of the Cafe --

MIKE
I have a feeling there's more to it. He's resigned. I don't believe he expects to be cured.

A beat as Mike mulls it over.

MIKE
It's a shame he has no one to support him through this difficult time.

GRACE
Could be he's just plain lonesome.

MIKE
A little companionship might help.

Brian runs in (from direction of school).

BRIAN
Ready, Ma? You said we could go to the library.

Mike smiles at Grace, moves off with Brian.


EXT. LIBRARY - DAY TWO 9

Loren stands in the doorway, his nose in a book, a shocked expression on his face. Mike and Brian approach.

(CONTINUED)


11A.


CONTINUED: 9

BRIAN
Hey, Mr. Bray.

Loren looks up, startled. He tries to hide the book...

(CONTINUED)


12.


CONTINUED: (2) 9

MIKE
Why, Loren -- you're reading LEAVES OF GRASS?

LOREN
(scandalized)
You call this poetry?

BRIAN
Isn't that by Mr. Whitman?

LOREN
(to Mike)
You ain't gonna let him read this stuff, are ya?

Mike looks uncertainly from Loren to Brian -- and back.

MIKE
Well, yes. Not all of Mr. Whitman's work is so --
(searching for the word)
-- so, unfettered.

Brian and Loren exchange a baffled look.

BRIAN
What's unfettered?

MIKE
It means free. Liberated.

LOREN
It means disgustin', is what it means!

He thrusts the book into her hands and walks off. Brian watches him go, puzzled. Mike tries to explain.

MIKE
Mr. Whitman's poems ask us to look at certain things in a new way.

BRIAN
What's wrong with that?

MIKE
(with a sigh)
Nothing. It's just, sometimes people are afraid of new ideas.
(opening door)
I'm sure we can find some poems that are suitable.



13.


EXT. SMALL CLEARING IN WOODS - DAY TWO 10

Mike gathers wild mushrooms in a basket, as Brian follows nearby, his nose in his book.

BRIAN
I like this part --
(reading)
"Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road...


+ANOTHER ANGLE - NEARBY IN WOODS 11

Sully rides his horse along the path, coming from work, as Brian's voice continues, OVER:

[BRIAN
(reading)
"Healthy, free, the world before me, the long brown path before me leading wherever I choose..."]


+IN CLEARING 12

Sully slows his horse as he catches sight of Mike and Brian. She looks up. Their eyes meet. Brian reads on, oblivious.

[BRIAN
"Now I see the secret of the making of the best person; -- It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth."
(beat)]
"Camerado, I give you my hand! I give you myself more precious than money, I give you myself before preaching and law.

Sully dismounts, goes to her. They look deeply into each other's eyes:

[BRIAN
(still reading)
"Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?"]

A sweet moment, as he bends to plant a tender kiss on her lips.

SULLY
(whispers to her)
His poems say what I feel in my heart.

MIKE
(lost in his eyes)
If only people could see that's nothing to be afraid of.



14.


EXT. SPRINGS CHATEAU - ESTABLISHING SHOT - DAY TWO 12A


INT. SPRINGS CHATEAU - HALLWAY/ALCOVE - DAY TWO 13

Preston gestures expansively toward a blank wall, describing his plan to his clerk, GORMLEY.

PRESTON
Whitman's will be the first portrait. One day this entire wall will be a gallery of our famous visitors.

Catching sight of Andrew scurrying down the hall en route to the clinic...

PRESTON
(tight smile)
Andrew! A word with you.

ANDREW
Please excuse me, Preston, I have patients waiting.

PRESTON
And I am not in business to provide patients for Michaela Quinn. You owe me an explanation.

Andrew sees there is no escape, draws Preston aside.

ANDREW
(earnestly)
I should think again about placing Whitman's photograph on your wall - or in any way associating the reputation of this establishment with him.

PRESTON
But why? What are you talking about??

ANDREW
(discreetly)
I'd rather not repeat gossip, but...

He looks around, notices Gormley lurking nearby. Gormley, caught eavesdropping, suddenly remembers:

GORMLEY
Ah -- photographer is ready, sir.

Andrew shrugs helplessly, moves away.



15.


EXT. SPRINGS CHATEAU - DAY TWO 14

Preston and Whitman (with cane) pose solemnly for the camera. Preston impulsively throws his arm around Walt's shoulders just before the photographer squeezes the bulb.

PRESTON
(nodding to Whitman)
Thank you, sir.

Brian rides up, as Whitman hobbles stiffly away.

BRIAN
(calling)
Mr. Whitman - ! I was wonderin' if you'd let me do an interview.

WHITMAN
(turning)
An interview - ?

Brian slides off his horse, extends his hand.

BRIAN
I'm Brian Cooper. I'm a reporter for the town paper, The Gazette.

WHITMAN
(shaking hands)
No perfume like printers' ink to the nose of a young writer, eh Mr. Cooper?

BRIAN
(absorbs it; smiles)
No sir!

WHITMAN
Unfortunately, I was just on my way out. I am in need of taking some cool, clear air in this magnificent wilderness of yours.

He observes Brian's attempt to mask his disappointment.

BRIAN
Sure. Maybe another time.

WHITMAN
(gruff twinkle)
Or, perhaps you'd like to walk with me. Just to make sure I don't get lost.

OFF Brian's delighted grin...



16.


EXT. WOODS NEAR CHATEAU - DAY TWO 15

Brian and Whitman walk along a path. A thrush SINGS loudly nearby. Whitman stops, pulls a pencil and a battered notebook from his pocket, scribbles something in it.

BRIAN
Whatcha writin'?

WHITMAN
My journal. It goes with me wherever I go. Whatever comes into my head I write down.

BRIAN
That how ya got to be a writer?

WHITMAN
(nodding)
You ought to keep one.

Brian takes out his reporter's notebook where he's jotted down a few questions.

BRIAN
Mr. Whitman - ?

WHITMAN
You can call me Walt.

BRIAN
(truly honored)
Walt -- how'd ya learn to write poems?

Whitman looks keenly at Brian, then gazes up at a lofty pine.

WHITMAN
Ever wonder what it's like to be that tall?

Brian looks up at the tree.

WHITMAN
To have roots for toes digging deep into the soil? To bend in the wind, feel the sap running up and down through your veins? To have nests --

He steals a glance at Brian to see if he's getting it --

BRIAN
(a bit tentative)
In your hair - ?

(CONTINUED)


17.


CONTINUED: 15

WHITMAN
Exactly. It's the only way I know to be a poet. To smell and hear and see and feel as the tree does, until I lose track of myself and become the tree. And the tree becomes part of me.

BRIAN
(in awe)
It does?

Brian looks intently at the tree.

WHITMAN
"There was a child went forth every day, And the first object he looked upon and received with wonder or pity or love or dread, that object he became..."


+CLOSE ON BRIAN 16

Absorbing this.


EXT. LIVERY - DAY THREE 17

Preston stops to admire a newly-posted handbill announcing the poetry reading at the Chateau. Andrew comes up behind.

ANDREW
What is this?

PRESTON
Opportunity! Something you must learn to seize.

ANDREW
Preston --

He looks around, sees no one nearby, draws Preston into the darkness of the livery. Thinking they are alone --

ANDREW
My roommate at Harvard had a cousin who spent a good deal of time in Whitman's company.
(lowers his voice)
He told me...


+ANOTHER ANGLE - INSIDE LIVERY 18

ROBERT E at his workbench, turns his head to hear better...



18.


+RESUME ANDREW AND PRESTON 19

ANDREW
... that Whitman is - peculiar.

PRESTON
Peculiar...?

ANDREW
A deviant.

PRESTON
(still doesn't get it)
A deviant?

ANDREW
He prefers the company of men, if you understand my meaning.


+ON ROBERT E -- 20

shock and horror on his face.


+RESUME - PRESTON 21

His jaw dropping in stunned silence.

ANDREW
I only told you because...

PRESTON
Yes, yes, of course, not a word to anyone.

Andrew moves off while Preston absorbs this.


EXT. GOLD NUGGET - DAY THREE 22

Hank and several rowdies snicker broadly as Jake reads a line of Whitman's poetry (from a magazine):

JAKE
"I am for those who believe in loose delights, I share the midnight orgies of young men, I dance with the dancers and drink with the drinkers..."

During this, Preston passes by.

HANK
(eyes Preston)
Shoulda booked his act here. Our customers would know how to 'preciate this stuff.

(CONTINUED)


19.


CONTINUED: 22

JAKE
Can't wait to see Dr. Mike's face when he reads that poem.

LAUGHTER from the assembled customers, as...


+ANGLE ON CLINIC - OPPOSITE 23

... Whitman comes out of the clinic. He nods amiably to the jocular group, unaware he is the source of their merriment.

PRESTON
(heads his way)
Ah, Mr. Whitman! I've been looking for you.

WHITMAN
Your kind attention flatters me.

PRESTON
(false smile)
Quite the opposite -- I'm afraid I've been terribly remiss. I had no idea the extent of your infirmity...

Mike comes through the door of the clinic in time to catch the last few words...

PRESTON (CONT.)
... and I see now that a public reading would be altogether too taxing for you.

WHITMAN
It's no trouble, no trouble at all.

PRESTON
No, no, I cannot allow you to run the risk of another stroke.

Andrew watches from the edges of the crowd.

MIKE
(suspicious)
It seems to me it's for Mr. Whitman to decide if he feels well enough.

Whitman, who's heard every excuse, sees right through him.

WHITMAN
Perhaps there's another reason, Mr. Lodge?

(CONTINUED)


20.


CONTINUED: 23

PRESTON
Of course not. I'll arrange for a private car on tomorrow's train to take you to Dr. Tuchman's Institute in Omaha.

Mike fumes that Preston is so spineless. But Whitman stands his ground:

WHITMAN
(charming)
Oh, but I find your resort quite adequate. You were gracious enough to offer me a full week's board and lodging, and I think I'll stick to the bargain.

Preston hadn't counted on this. He's stuck -- but recovers:

PRESTON
(smooth smile)
If you insist. But the poetry reading...

WHITMAN
(jumping in)
... will be cancelled. I understand you perfectly.
(tips his hat)
Good day, Preston A. Lodge the Third.

Whitman walks off. Preston is face to face with Mike.

MIKE
(gently chiding)
What happened? You've given in to pressure, haven't you?

PRESTON
I do not give in to pressure.

Preston rips down a handbill posted nearby. He looks to Andrew, who nods discreetly --

PRESTON
I have my reasons.

Jake, who's observed all, can't resist a dig.

JAKE
Whatsamatter, Preston? Lose your taste for poetry?

(CONTINUED)


21.


CONTINUED: (2) 23

MIKE
I suppose I should have known better than to think you would ultimately take a stand.

PRESTON
(condescending smile)
Considering you're such a Whitman admirer, I'll leave that to you. Perhaps one day you'll come to see the wisdom of my decision.

Preston strides off down the street, tearing down handbills as he goes.

JAKE
Well, Dr. Mike -- what are ya gonna do?

Mike looks after the retreating form of Preston, then looks to Andrew -- who looks away, uncomfortable.

MIKE
I don't know, Jake. But there will be a poetry reading, I can promise you that.

OFF Mike's look of resolve and determination, we:

FADE OUT.

END ACT ONE





22.


ACT TWO


FADE IN:


EXT. MEADOW - DAY THREE 24

Mike walks across the meadow toward the church.


EXT. CHURCH - CONTINUOUS 25

Strains of PIANO HYMN MUSIC ("Just As I Am"). Mike pushes open the door...


INT. CHURCH - CONTINUOUS 26

... to find the Reverend at the piano, playing confidently (he's been practicing since "Farewell Appearance"). He stops.

REVEREND
Yes - ?

MIKE
It's Michaela, Reverend.

REVEREND
(smiling)
What can I do for you?

MIKE
I'm here to ask a favor. I know we've both had reservations in the past about Mr. Whitman, and I know this is asking a lot...
(a deep breath)
... but I hope you will consider it with an open mind.

REVEREND
(nervously)
Consider what?

MIKE
I've come to ask if we may have the poetry reading here.

The Reverend's face tightens into a troubled frown.

REVEREND
This is the house of the Lord.

MIKE
It's also a public gathering place.
(MORE)

(CONTINUED)


23.


CONTINUED: 26

MIKE (CONT'D)
It would be a shame if people didn't have a chance to hear a great writer speak his own words.

Silence from the Reverend. He doesn't want to turn down Mike, but how can he say yes to this? She lays her hand lightly on his arm.

MIKE
Mr. Whitman is a lonely man going through a difficult time. He needs our help, Reverend.

REVEREND
(weakening)
When do you have to know?

MIKE
I'm afraid we only have a few days.

He knits his brow, breathes a silent prayer. Reluctantly --

REVEREND
I will probably regret this...

OFF Mike's grateful smile...


INT. SPRINGS CHATEAU HALLWAY/ALCOVE - DAY THREE 27

Preston strides through the hallway with Gormley at his heels. He spots the photograph of Whitman (with Preston's arm around him) on the wall.

PRESTON
What is that doing there?

GORMLEY
I put it where you instructed...

PRESTON
(cutting him off)
Take it down.

GORMLEY
Sir - ?

PRESTON
Get rid of it. Right now.

Preston steels himself at the sight of Mike coming in the door.

PRESTON
Michaela - ?

(CONTINUED)


24.


CONTINUED: 27

MIKE
I've come to see Mr. Whitman.

PRESTON
(annoyed)
He's in the springs.


EXT. HOT SPRINGS/SPA - SAME TIME - DAY THREE 28

Whitman sits alone, soaking in the steaming water, reading a letter written on flowery stationery. His journal lies nearby. Mike approaches, cheerful about her good news:

MIKE
The Reverend has agreed to let us have the poetry reading at the church.

WHITMAN
(a quizzical look)
The church -- ?

MIKE
(laughs)
We aren't all like Mr. Lodge. The Reverend is fairly broad-minded.

WHITMAN
You've been very kind.

He slips the letter back inside the envelope, ponders it.

MIKE
Bad news?

WHITMAN
A proposal of marriage from a lady I've never met.
(a weary sigh)
It's my own fault. All those poems of yearning for a 'soul mate' get me into trouble.

MIKE
Perhaps you should reply.

WHITMAN
(with a twinkle)
The truth is, I already have a soul mate.

(CONTINUED)


25.


CONTINUED: 28

MIKE
(pleased)
You never mentioned it.
(when he doesn't reply)
Where is she?

WHITMAN
(a beat)
I left my beloved in Washington.

MIKE
I know when Sully's away I feel very lonely.

Whitman sighs deeply, again: she's touched a nerve.

MIKE
Why not send for her?

Whitman gives her a penetrating look, weighing her suggestion and wondering how she would respond if he took her advice.


EXT. LIVERY - NIGHT THREE 29

Grace has brought supper to Robert E, who's working late. They are in the midst of a heated discussion.

ROBERT E
It ain't natural, Grace. It's evil.

GRACE
Well, all I know is, when I was a girl growin' up in N'Orleans, there was all kinda folks. We jest minded our own business.

ROBERT E
'Folks' - like him?

GRACE
(shrugs)
Plenty of families had their bachelor uncles or aunties.

ROBERT E
(taken aback)
You're the one always quotin' the Bible. You gonna tell me the Bible says that's all right?

GRACE
Bible says, 'Judge not, that ye be not judged.'

(CONTINUED)


26.


CONTINUED: 29

OFF Robert E, on the horns of a dilemma, confused by Grace's unexpected tolerance --


EXT. HOMESTEAD - DAY FOUR 30

Sully is splitting firewood. He looks up to see the Reverend's buggy approaching, driven by Robert E. He goes to meet them.

SULLY
Mornin', Reverend. Robert E. Anything wrong?

REVEREND
Good morning, Sully. I'd like a word with Michaela, please.

Mike appears at the door.

MIKE
Reverend - ?

REVEREND
I'm sorry, Michaela, I've come to say I've changed my mind. The poetry readin' can't be at the church after all.

MIKE
But you agreed. I've already told Mr. Whitman.

SULLY
What made ya change your mind?

The Reverend faces grimly ahead.

REVEREND
(stiffly)
There's no point to further discussion.

Mike looks from him to Robert E, who turns away from her look. Sully notices.

SULLY
Robert E?

ROBERT E
The sooner Whitman leaves our town, the better.

At a gesture from the Reverend, the buggy lurches forward.

REVEREND
Good day, Dr. Mike. Sully.

(CONTINUED)


27.


CONTINUED: 30

They drive off. Mike turns to Sully in dismay.

MIKE
Why won't they give him a chance? If they could only open their minds they'd see his poetry is all about love.

SULLY
Maybe that's what's botherin' 'em.

He goes back to chopping wood.

MIKE
Where else can we have the reading? We have to find a place large enough to fit everyone inside.

SULLY
Why inside? How 'bout the meadow? Y'know how Mr. Whitman loves bein' outdoors.

Mike considers it a moment, her eyes lighting up.

MIKE
What a wonderful idea. It's perfect.


EXT. TRAIL THROUGH WOODS - DAY FOUR 31

Mike rides Flash along the trail, musing over the morning's events. Something catches her attention. She reins the horse, stops, listening. A FAINT WAILING sound.

She turns her horse off the main trail, following a track toward the sound. As she draws closer, it becomes more distinct as Whitman's voice, SINGING (tune: "Down in the Valley"):

WHITMAN
(singing)
Writing this letter containing three lines...

Mike stops, dismounts. She cautiously makes her way through foliage as the SINGING grows LOUDER...

WHITMAN (V.O.)
(singing)
Answer my question, Will you be mine?...

(CONTINUED)


28.


CONTINUED: 31

She pushes aside a branch to stop in astonishment as she sees:


+SMALL CLEARING, NEAR CREEK - MIKE'S POV 31A

Whitman sits on a rock, partially concealed by foliage, stark naked but for his hat. His clothes flutter from a nearby branch. He vigorously rasps his bare chest, sides, and arm with a stiff-bristled brush, turning his skin pink, as he continues singing:

WHITMAN
(singing)
Will you be mine, dear, Will you be mine?...

MIKE
(surprised)
Mr. Whitman - ?

He stops singing, looks up, seeing her.

WHITMAN
Come no closer, dear lady. I wasn't expecting company.


+ANGLE - MIKE 32

Her eyes go to the fluttering clothing.

MIKE
(hesitates)
Are you sure you're all right?

WHITMAN
(unperturbed)
I'm not half-cracked, if that's what you mean. You have stumbled by accident upon my daily rejuvenation routine.

MIKE
(amused)
Then I won't disturb you.

WHITMAN
No, no - wait, please.

He reaches out his cane and retrieves his trousers from the branch, and begins pulling them on.

WHITMAN
Sweet, sane, still Nakedness in Nature! -
(MORE)

(CONTINUED)


29.


CONTINUED: 32

WHITMAN (CONT'D)
ah, if poor, sick humanity in cities might really know it once more.

He yanks the suspenders up over his bare chest and hobbles toward her, a comical sight in hat and bare feet.

WHITMAN
There come moods when these clothes of ours are too irksome to wear.

MIKE
Your mood seems rather improved.

WHITMAN
I thought over what you said -- about feeling lonely? I've sent for my soul-mate.

MIKE
That's wonderful!

WHITMAN
(not so sure)
Perhaps I should...

MIKE
(swept away)
No wonder your spirits have lifted so. I am pleased.

They share a warm smile.


OMIT (33) 33


EXT. TELEGRAPH OFFICE - DAY FOUR 34

A saloon girl at the window waits for a letter. Next to a handbill posted on the wall, two MEN pass the time of day.

MAN
Know what I heard about that Whitman feller over at the livery?


+HORACE AND SALOON GIRL 35

Turning curious eyes and ears toward the men.



29A.


EXT. SALOON - DAY FOUR 36

Saloon girls giggle around Hank as the tale spreads. Hank looks over at the clinic, a grin spreading over his face.

HANK
No kiddin' - !



30.


INT. BARBERSHOP - DAY FIVE 37

A scandalized look in Horace's eye, as Jake lathers his face.

JAKE
You sure 'bout that?

HORACE
Heard it with my own ears.


EXT. GENERAL STORE - DAY FOUR 38

Two women pick over potatoes, tongues wagging.


+ANGLE ON LOREN 39

Just inside the door, eavesdropping.

WOMAN
That's right. I heard it from Miz Bailey whose brother was by the station pickin' up feed...


EXT. GRACE'S CAFE - DAY FOUR 40

Mike enters carrying her newly printed notice, finds Grace chopping vegetables.

MIKE
Oh, Grace. I have the new notice for you to post.

She holds up the notice for Grace to see.


+CLOSE ON NOTICE 41

"POETRY READING ON THE MEADOW, SATURDAY AFTERNOON, THREE O'CLOCK"


+ANGLE ON GRACE 42

Smiling at Mike, in admiration.

GRACE
Good for you, Dr. Mike, for stickin' by him. Never mind the whole town talkin' gossip.

MIKE
What gossip?

(CONTINUED)


31.


CONTINUED: 42

GRACE
About Mr. Whitman.

MIKE
What about him?

GRACE
Don't you know?

Grace leans in and whispers into Mike's ear. Mike's expression changes to one of shock and chagrin. She stares at Grace, incredulous, as we:

FADE OUT.

END ACT TWO





32.


ACT THREE


FADE IN:


EXT. HOMESTEAD PORCH - LATE AFTERNOON - DAY FOUR 43

Mike is beating rugs with a vengeance. Sully rides up, home from work. He dismounts. Mike comes down to meet him.

SULLY
What's wrong?

MIKE
The whole town is talking about Mr. Whitman. It seems...

SULLY
I heard.

She looks at him, surprised. Is that all he has to say?

MIKE
Well, what do you think?

SULLY
Don't matter what I think. It's just talk.

He leads the horse toward the barn. Mike follows him.


+OUTSIDE BARN 44

Sully begins brushing down his horse.

MIKE
How do we know it isn't true?

SULLY
Thought you were the one sayin' folks should keep an open mind.

MIKE
This is different. We don't know anything about him -- as a person.

They are interrupted as Brian rides up on his horse. He dismounts, clutching his book. He looks upset.

BRIAN
(glum)
Hey, Ma. Hey, Sully.

(CONTINUED)


33.


CONTINUED: 44

MIKE
Is something the matter?

BRIAN
Anthony called Mr. Whitman a sinner.

Mike and Sully trade a look -- how much has Brian heard? (During following, Sully helps Brian unsaddle his horse.)

BRIAN
It ain't true. He's really nice, the way he explains stuff ya never even thought about before.

MIKE
You spoke with Mr. Whitman? You didn't mention it.

BRIAN
I talked to him for an article I'm writin' for the Gazette.

A little flutter of anxiety stirs in Mike.

MIKE
So it was an interview.

BRIAN
Yeah. We took a walk in the woods.
(brightens)
Walt called it a 'ramble'.

MIKE
'Walt'?

BRIAN
That's what he said to call him.

MIKE
Just the two of you?

BRIAN
Yeah.

MIKE
Alone?

BRIAN
Uh-huh.

Mike steals a quick look at Sully -- who shoots a warning look back: relax, will ya?

(CONTINUED)


34.


CONTINUED: (2) 44

BRIAN
He's helpin' me see things the way a poet does.

Each question leads to ten more. Brian picks up his book, starts for the house.

BRIAN
I got some readin' to do.

He starts away. Mike tries to keep her voice casual:

MIKE
Sweetheart, I know Mr. Whitman is a very interesting man -- but if you plan to interview him again, perhaps it would be more professional to do it in town.

BRIAN
(shrugs)
Sure.

Mike waits until Brian is out of earshot.

MIKE
Sully, what if it is true?

Sully considers this a moment. Remembers --

SULLY
? The Cheyenne believe some folks
? are just natur'ly that way.
? 'Heh-emma-neh,' they call 'em.
? They're respected members of the
? tribe, just like everybody else.

Mike struggles to absorb this. She looks toward the house, her thoughts on Brian.

SULLY
(reading her)
Look, if you're worried 'bout Brian...

MIKE
(in turmoil)
Well I... I don't know what to think. I mean, Mr. Whitman was there in the clinic, right in front of me. And I didn't see it.

SULLY
'Cause there was nothin' to see.

(CONTINUED)


35.


CONTINUED: (3) 44

MIKE
(isn't so sure)
Sully, if it is true and I didn't see it, what else did I miss?

Sully gives her a steady look. He clearly does not share her anxiety, but gives her room to work it out for herself.


INT. CLINIC - DAY FIVE 45

Mike is at her desk, reading. There's a KNOCK at the door. She crosses and opens it to find Whitman standing there.

MIKE
(reserved)
Mr. Whitman.

She searches his face for clues. An awkward beat. He observes the change in her.

WHITMAN
I'm here for my appointment.

MIKE
(stepping aside)
Yes, of course, come in.

He enters. She regains her professional demeanor, but the strain is palpable.

MIKE
How are you today?

WHITMAN
(faint ironic smile)
The same as always.
(penetrating)
More to the point, how are you?

MIKE
(politely)
I'm well, thank you.
(gestures toward table)
Let's begin by testing the reflexes in your leg.

He sits. She removes his shoe, rolls up the pantleg, peels down the sock. He aches, seeing her discomfort.

She taps his kneecap with her rubber hammer. No response.

MIKE
Have you been using the ointment?

(CONTINUED)


36.


CONTINUED: 45

WHITMAN
I have, but...
(a shrug; then, gently)
Some things cannot be altered, dear Doctor. We must learn to accept them as they are.

She continues testing his leg and foot, trying to decipher his meaning. Cautiously, she broaches a delicate subject:

MIKE
Brian told me about your ramble.

WHITMAN
He's a dear boy.

Probing gently...

MIKE
(uncertainly)
He said -- you discussed poetry?

He hears the note of anxiety in her voice. He smiles innocently.

WHITMAN
Idetect in him the soul of a poet.

Mike is flustered -- and more confused than ever. She quickly changes the subject.

MIKE
Let me take a look at your arm...


INT. HOMESTEAD - NIGHT FIVE 46

Mike sits at the table, wrapped in her robe, pouring over Whitman's book by candlelight. Sully comes downstairs looking for her.

SULLY
Michaela - ?

She looks up, anguish written on her face.

MIKE
Listen.
(reading)
"Camerado, I give you my hand! I give you myself more precious than money, I give you myself before preaching and law."

(CONTINUED)


37.


CONTINUED: 46

SULLY
It's beautiful.

He moves to kiss her, but she pulls away.

MIKE
But do you see what it means?
(reading on)
"Will you give me yourself? Will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?" Sully, he's talking about hi
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HypnoChat

Titepau04 (23:13)

Mais ouiiii !!! J'aime pas le froid!!!

Titepau04 (23:13)

Merciiii !

Sonmi451 (23:13)

Il fait pas hyper froid, il fait bon chez toi, ici fait encore chaud pour la fin novembre

Sonmi451 (23:14)

Moi j'adore, c'est le chaud que j'aime pas. lol

CastleBeck (23:14)

Sonmi : Ce n'est pas que tu n'as pas le temps, car si tu en avais réellement envie, tu trouverais de le temps

Sonmi451 (23:15)

On a pas le temps, on a un temps et c'est ce temps là qu'on a toujours mais on n'en connait pas sa durée et tout le problème est là.

CastleBeck (23:15)

Non, c'est oki aujourd'hui, mais j'aime ni le froid ni le chaud...

stanary (23:15)

Ah je comprends pas comment vous faîtes pour aimer le mauvais temps .

Sonmi451 (23:15)

Mais bien sur, j'ai toujours mon temps. ^^

Titepau04 (23:15)

Tu n'aimes pas le froid??? C'est dommage ça!!!

CastleBeck (23:16)

Un temps, le temps... Tout est question de déterminant tout ça

CastleBeck (23:17)

Le froid,c 'est pas du mauvais temps... Il peut faire froid et soleil...
Moi, j'aime le printemps et l'automne, j'aime pas l'hiver et tout ce qui s'y rapporte (sauf le hockey)!

stanary (23:17)

Non je déteste ça . Sonmi ton avant dernier message n'a aucun sens

Sonmi451 (23:19)

ha non c'est pas pareil le temps personne ne le tiens, c'est quelque chose qui nous fil entre les doigts mais on a tous un temps donné.

Sonmi451 (23:20)

Ca ne veut pas rien dire, c'est de la philo Star' nuance. ^^

CastleBeck (23:20)

Tout à fait d'accord. Il faut s'accorder un temps pour faire ce qu'on veut, comme danser sur la table de ton salon

Sonmi451 (23:21)

J'ai jamais dit que j'avais envie de danser sur la table. lol

CastleBeck (23:21)

Je sais!

Sonmi451 (23:21)

j'ai dit que le jour où on m'entend dire que je m'ennuie, j'irais danser sur la table ^^

Sonmi451 (23:21)

mais heureusement que je prends du temps pour moi hein ^^

stanary (23:22)

Et tu m'enverras la vidéo d'ailleurs ^^

CastleBeck (23:22)

Mais, tu vois, ici, il y a des gens qui prennent les conversations en plein milieu et qu'ils interprètent à leur façon!

CastleBeck (23:22)

(qui)

Sonmi451 (23:24)

Haaa ça je sais! lol

CastleBeck (23:25)

Sur ce, moi, il parait que je dois retourner travailler (et pelleter), alors je vous souhaite une excellente fin de soirée et une bonne nuit

stanary (23:26)

Bon courage au travail
Bonne nuit et bonne fin de soirée.

Sonmi451 (23:28)

Travailles-bien !

CastleBeck (23:29)

Merci

Sonmi451 (23:35)

Sur ce j'y vais aussi.

Sonmi451 (14:23)

Bonne journée à tous! Et Joyeuse St-Nicolas!

Sonmi451 (08:43)

Design' spécial noël sur Scrubs, on attend vos commentaires.

Chaudon (10:25)

Nouveau calendrier sur le quartier "Elementary" ! Donnez votre avis sur le quartier de la série !

Chaudon (10:31)

Nouveau sondage sur le quartier "Elementary" ! N'hésitez pas à venir voter sur le quartier et à donner vos avis sur le topic approprié !

Chaudon (10:49)

Votez dès maintenant pour la Nouvelle Photo du Mois du quartier "Elementary" !

arween (10:57)

Bonjour la citadelle ! Une grande animation vous attends sur The Night Shift, venez participer !

seriepoi (11:05)

Bonjour tout le monde ! Vous pouvez, si vous le souhaitez, venir sur le quartier "True Blood" pour commenter le (très) beau calendrier de décembre, fait par Sonmi. Merci par avance et bon dimanche à tous.

ObikeFixx (11:25)

Bonjour tout le monde! En plus du nouveau sondage, n'hésitez à venir découvrir le nouveau calendrier et la nouvelle photo du mois sur le quartier "The Last Ship"

Phoebus (14:15)

Bonjour tout le monde ! Il ne vous reste plus qu'une journée pour voter pour la voter de l'épisode 8x05 de The Vampire Diaries et pour participer à la review de cet épisode.

serieserie (16:44)

Inscrivez-vous vite pour la grande partie d'HypnoGame Arrow qui aura lieu dans 6 jours!! Rendez-vous dans les forums de l'accueil!!

arween (18:46)

Venez voir les nouveaux calendriers de The Night Shift (serie²) et Dollhouse (Xana).

emeline53 (19:24)

Seulement 2 persones pour commenter le design Noël de The Fosters ? Venez donner votre avis en plus, un sondage sur votre souhait de cadeau est en ligne !

stella (19:25)

Special spécial Noel sur le quartier Downton Abbey et sans oublier son calendrier de l'avent original

DGreyMan (22:40)

Bonsoir. Sondage dédié à "Game of Thrones" dans le quartier "Harry Potter"...

DGreyMan (22:40)

... ou le contraire ! ^^

serieserie (09:07)

Plus que quelques jours pour vous inscrire à la grande soirée HypnoGame Arrow dans les forums de l'accueil ou par MP!!!

arween (09:44)

Bonjour à tous ! Aujourd'hui nous lançons une toute nouvelle rubrique, les reviews. Rendez-vous sur la page HypnoReview ou à l'accueil pour plus d'infos Bonne lecture et bonne journée !

Titepau04 (09:49)

Bonjour !!!! Venez vous inscrire aux concours de Noël dans les quartiers de ncis Los Angeles et s club 7!!!
Et n'hésitez pas à commenter les calendriers au passage!!

cinto (11:39)

Fans de Dallas, Friends, Petite maison , Mission impossible, venez défendre votre série préférée chez Ma sorcière bien aimée: sondage "génériques"!

grims (16:47)

Coucou à tous ! une petite visite sur les quartiers Sons of anarchy, Outlander et Vikings serait sympa de jolis calendriers de Noël vous y attendent : ) merci d'avance pour votre passage

choup37 (17:13)

Calendriers aussi chez Kaamelott, Merlin, Doctor Who, Torchwood et Musketeers

choup37 (17:14)

(c'est super ces deux onglets pour alterner entre blabla et promo)

stella (19:34)

Case 5 du calendrier de l'avent de Downton Abbey vient d'être dévoilée.

Titepau04 (22:11)

Bonjour !!!! Venez vous inscrire aux concours de Noël dans les quartiers de ncis Los Angeles et s club 7!!!
Et n'hésitez pas à commenter les calendriers au passage!!
Et profitez-en pour voter sur le sondage ncisla!!!!

mnoandco (09:56)

Coucou! Le quartier Blacklist propose 3 calendriers totalement différents et de circonstances pour ce mois de décembre. N'hésitez pas à venir les commenter.

sabby (10:19)

Hello la citadelle !! Le quartier Friday Night Lights aurait bien besoin de visites. Personnes pour voter au sondage ni commenter le nouveau design. Venez jouer au ballon avec moi, je m’ennuie un peu tout seule là_bas

serieserie (10:19)

Allez allez, on s'inscrit pour l'HypnoGame Arrow!!

mamynicky (10:27)

'Jour les 'tits loups Un calendrier de l'Avent gourmand sur Downton Abbey et un autre musical sur Empire. Si vous êtes en retard, vous pouvez le rattraper et n'oubliez pas de les commenter. Merci

Titepau04 (10:34)

Bonjour !!!! Venez vous inscrire aux concours de Noël dans les quartiers de ncis Los Angeles et s club 7!!!
Et n'hésitez pas à commenter les calendriers au passage!!
Et profitez-en pour voter sur le sondage ncisla!!!!

arween (13:12)

Bonjour à tous ! Une grande animation vous attends sur The Night Shift ainsi que le calendrier et le sondage. Et sur Dollhouse, il y a un nouveau calendrier qui ne demande qu'à être commenté

roro73 (15:22)

Bonjour Nouveau sondage et nouvelles PDM sur Wildfire. Venez nous voir, on s'ennuie un peu =P

Rejoins-nous !

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