For The 49th
Logline/Concept: A young loser cowboy and his slacker Indian buddy cheat their way into getting high school diplomas and math scholarship money in a ‘go nowhere’ Saskatchewan, Canada, town in 1970, and zoom off to Montana to make a name for themselves on the rodeo circuit where they miscalculate the money they will need, wind up broke again, then find themselves smuggling weed for a kind hearted Mexican drug mogul, the harder stuff for his American boss, discovering the 60s/70s cultural/political revolutions, then discovering the real men inside themselves when they find out that their father has a cancer that is only treated by a very illegal drug from Mexico that they have to get home, along with themselves, requiring them to race back home against the wishes of their powerful bosses, the elements, and the clock.
Genre: Stoner adventure/coming of age contemporary Western.
WILLIAMS: Blond, blue-eyed, chisel-faced, clean cut (though with
chronically-bad haircuts from his father’s barber) 18 year old slacker
who only looks and feels right on the back of a horse. Wants
to experience the world outside his flat, going nowhere home town of
Providence, Saskatchewan, and if he can, do right by the world.
Aspires to write a great novel one day, but speaks grammatically-incorrect
English, and is so bad at math that he can’t calculate change when
making a purchase. Chooses to ask for what he wants
rather than just taking it. Prototype: Michael Cera.
another day riding fences on green horses for 18-year-old day-dreamer Kim
Williams, until his horse spooks at newspaper clippings about the world
outside of Providence, Saskatchewan. The ever-blowing wind
blows around now-old newspaper clippings from the highway about a man
landing on the moon. Escalation of an American war in Vietnam.
And gathering of 100,000 peace-and-love longhaired ‘freaks’ at
Woodstock, NY. A moment of wondering for Kim about what
is really going on outside ‘nothing ever changes here’ small town
Saskatchewan, until his workaholics Dad, Billy, reminds him to do his
chores, get a haircut and do his homework so he can achieve the
impossible---graduate high school. At that only gateway
out of Saskatchewan, we meet Eddy, Kim’s adopted Native-blood brother,
arriving, like Kim, on horseback for class, in cowboy gear, to once again
to impress dream babe Melinda Ranselhoff, who arrives on the school bus,
who now is solidly with John LaFarge. The boys are
reminded about their failures as students by Joline Jackson, who reminds
them that it’s a make or break semester for them, and who insists that
they take off their hats before entering the building, revealing really
bad haircuts on them inflicted by their ‘Keep Canada Beautiful: Attract
the babes like all William’s men always have, don’t look like them’
father’s barber, the chop-jobs partially the result of the lads not
being able to calculate the customary 15 percent tip. On
the verge of failing yet again, most particularly Mr. Edwards math class,
and being left back, and being a disgrace to everyone, especially Melinda,
Eddy gets an idea. He’s made an impression of the keys to Mr.
Edwards’ office and desk draw. The lads who can’t add or
subtract without counting on their fingers (and who still get it wrong),
break in and upgrade the scores on their qualifying exams, and severely
downgrade those of ‘perfect in every way’ John. At the
graduation ceremony, where John is an usher to be marooned in Providence
by his European French parents, Kim and Eddy not only graduate, but are
given scholarship money. It impresses everyone, except
Melinda, who is developing a romance with someone else---‘Miss Joline’.
on escalating their fame and fortune so they can come home heroes, the
guys invest their hard-stolen scholarship money into a truck, load up
their horses, and head down to Montana to strike it rich at the rodeo
circuit. But they severely miscalculate how much gas they will need
to get back, and don’t have enough money to cover the entry fee.
Seeing that they are broke, desperate, clean cut, real cowboys and
Canadian, they are helped out by Mexican businessman George Mendez, who
loans them money for their entry fee, claiming that is it his way to get
back at the self-important Americans who think they own every rodeo, and
his own country of Mexico as well. The guys do their best to honor
their new patron, and their Canadian pride, but come in third place, with
nothing more than a belt buckle and a kiss from an unattractive aging
rodeo bunny as their prize. George Mendez forgives the guys’
failure to win top prize, and offers to fund their entry into another
rodeo, requesting that they transport a locked barrel of Mexican dolls and
trinkets to the gig in Big Fish, Montana. Orders are to not
open the barrel, but Eddy gets curious, ‘accidently’ opening lock.
Inside, are dolls, trinkets and packages of cigarettes with Mexican labels
at Big Fish, Eddy is drawn to a hippie Waitress, a mutual attraction.
However, her father and boyfriend are Injun-hating/ridiculing
rednecks, who make their sentiments known very publically when Eddy
requests a drink of Moose Drool (the local beer) at the bar with his
paleface White Canadian buddy. Despite Kim’s
Canadian-flavored attempts to cool tempers down, Eddy picks a fight with
the rednecks, the brawl to take place behind the barn at the rodeo
grounds. While waiting, Kim assesses his non-future, what it
would have been like to win first prize, to return home to Melinda rich
and famous. Eddy opens one of Mendez’ cigarette packs and
smokes it, preparing for battle, sharing the ‘war pipe’ with Kim.
Just like the Marboro cigarettes that would make him look like a real
cowboy at home, the smokes are too much for Kim. They parch his
throat, and surprisingly, make the ‘always plays it straight up’ lad
paranoid. The effect on Eddy is the opposite, converting his
Indian Fire into playful, carefree pacifism. When confronted with
the Redneck guns and knives, Eddy offers them incantations, flowers and
hugs, diffusing the potentially-deadly attack, impressing the Waitress,
and drawing in a crowd of hippies-in-the-making. Eddy shares his
‘peace pipe’ Mexican smokes with them, and becomes very popular.
They come in third again in the rodeo, failing to win the prize money for
themselves and their backer, Mr. Mendez, who Kim calls. Mendez
claims he is in San Francisco, but is actually at the rodeo, observing how
the guys operate, along with his boss, Jack Jones, through whom we find
out that the packaged Mexican tobacco is weed and that it is time to move
harder stuff as well, an idea which Mendez is against.
But, Mendez decides to trust his new Canadian cowboy and Indian employees,
seeing a future in it for them. He forgives them their
trespasses with regard to breaking into the barrels, and invites them to
enter a rodeo in Mexico, which is owned by a rich, powerful and
Mexican-hating American family. The Canadian guys work with Mendez
to drug the cattle and horses so that the spoiled brat sons of the
American rodeo owner fall on their pompous asses in front of the
‘inferior wetback’ audience. The gig is owned by
Americans, the Canadian cowboys making a great showing, but coming in at
second place. First place, rightfully, went to Mexican
cowboys. A disappointment to Kim and Eddy, but other matters are
developing. Kim is kept in the dark about their being used as mules
to transport harder drugs other than weed that he doesn’t know about,
but Eddy knows about it and doesn’t care. Eddy has figured out and
is okay with it. Making matters more difficult for ‘straight
shooter’ Kim, Eddy has graduated from weed and is dropping acid, doing
very illegal Sundance’s with local Native tribes, and turning into even
more of a political activist. Not so good for their cover as
clean cut cowboys for crossing the border with illegal dope into America
for the next rodeo. Until Mendez gets the idea to make Kim, the
young ‘cowboy’ of the pair, into a respectable ‘rodeo uncle’ by
giving him an upscale wardrobe, and a haircut that scrapes off all of the
hair on the crown of his head, making him look like a male-pattern bald 35
year old. A source of agony for Kim, who has always yearned to grow
his hair long, and a source of ridicule for Eddy who is allowed and
encouraged to be the young ‘wild Indian-hippie’. Mendez
adopts the guys as his surrogate nephews, introducing him to his beloved
(and thus far, protected) family, and doing his best to keep the guys away
from Mendez’ behind the scenes boss, Jack Jones, who presses Mendez to
move more dope, even faster, to clients Mendez doesn’t know or trust.
‘Uncle George’s’ mentorship, Kim takes care of the business, while
Eddy indulges in the pleasures. Both accumulate new wealth,
expanding perspectives and much-enjoyed respectability on their ‘rodeo
holiday’ away from ‘nothing new ever happens here’ Saskatchewan, but
events at home are changing rapidly. Melinda has been dumped
by her new lover Joline, who has chosen to become a Catholic Nun, and is
leaving Providence, Sask. forever. Melinda is left
alone, yearning for someone solid, perhaps Kim, perhaps someone else.
Once-elitist snob John LaFarge has hit rock bottom, falling down the
ladder from snooty aristocrat to pathetically self-destructive bum.
Workaholic, womanizer workhorse Billy Williams has contracted cancer, and
refuses help from the doctors, his wife and insists that no one tell Kim
and Eddy that he’s going downhill. However, in letters his wife
Veronica sends down South, Kim puts it all together. Kim wants
to go home to take care of his father. Eddy has no love for
the old, redneck bigot, but consents to think about going back, for the
sake of Veronica, who has to put up with Billy.
back at the hacienda, Mendez gets even tighter with the Kim and Eddy,
inviting them to a birthday dinner with his family, and the extended
family of peasants around him whom he takes care of.
The guys meet Mendez’ children, who take instantly to ‘Uncle Kim and
Uncle Eddy’, and Mendez’ wife, Anna, who knows where the money for her
children’s education and the peasants’ improved village come from, and
is not happy about it. After a meal where the Canadians
take on more Mexican food than their Saskatchewan-conditioned intestines
can handle, Kim goes to a local pharmacy to get some diarrhea medications.
After the brilliant, self-made pharmacist-doctor asks if he wants a cure
for baldness too, Kim finds a medication on the shelves, RT-3, that claims
to be a wonder-cure for the kind of cancer his father has. He
empties out his wallet to buy it, but the pharmacist-doc refuses to sell
it because it is HIGHLY illegal in the US, and Canada. The
outlaw physician suggests that Kim bring his father to Mexico for short
and long term treatment, but Kim insists on buying it and smuggling it
across the line if he has to. ‘When you get caught, I will
get caught’, the developer of the wonder drug claims. Kim
insists that ‘I was never caught for doing anything. And never
will’, to which the life-tested healer provides a prophetic warning.
‘You will. Everybody is’.
at Mendez’ hacienda, Eddy teaches George’s kids to ride while Kim
relates the ‘fairy tale’ about the ‘wonder cancer medicine.’
Upon hearing its name and confirming its source, Eddy gets serious,
recalling memories of his uncles being offered the drug by a Medicine Man
who was practicing medicine and outlawed Native religion without a
license. In a heartfelt revealing of things never told to his
‘blood brother’ Kim, a teary-eyed Eddy relates that his uncles got
better, and the medicine man was thrown into jail, then the nuthouse.
Eddy’s father was also offered the drug, but a White Doctor convinced
him that Native Medicines, like Native Religion, was toxic.
Eddy’s father died because he didn’t get the treatment.
For the sake of Veronica, Eddy decides to go along with Kim and makes
tracks back to Canada with the illegal drug, using their drug smuggling
abilities and connections to do so. They break into the pharmacy,
steal the RT-3, and leave what they think is enough money to cover its
cost, overpaying, as usual, being the math ‘geniuses’ that they are.
They know that George Mendez has another shipment to go across into the
US, but that won’t be for ten days, and the guys have been given time
off. They think that they can drive back to Saskatchewan, then
return to Mexico, in time to be back on the clock for George.
They make a clandestine dash for the US border with their usual cover of
being an American Uncle and Nephew on their way to another rodeo, and get
across without complications. But complications emerge in Mexico.
Jones strong-arms Mendez into doing the shipment early, involving more drugs than Mendez wanted to ship. As leverage, Jones infers that is is able to kidnap or kill Mendez’ children and wife, but wife Anna beats him to the punch, taking the kids for a surprise holiday to an undisclosed location. Still, Jones presses on, demanding that the two Canadian ‘rodeo mules’ be called back to work early. Certain that the guys will obey, Mendez calls the vacation resort he sent them to and is told they never checked in. Feeling angry, betrayed, and scared, Mendez claims that ‘if they are anywhere in Mexico, I will find them’. Jones suggests that they may not be in Mexico.
Once across the line, thinking they are safe, Kim and Eddy discover wanted posters on them, for drug smuggling, fraud, kidnapping and murder, with a big price on their head. They narrowly avoid capture by a Sheriff whose under-aged daughter ‘bad boy Injun activist’ Eddy almost gets into bed, and head North as fast as they can. Roadblocks abound, then their truck breaks down. It’s just a matter of time till they are captured, killed, or worse and they share a canteen of water on the side of the road, hugging each other when…a truck stops. Inside, an attractive whiz mechanic German chick on the way to a rodeo with her, as is discovered, dyke girlfriend. Being new to America, they don’t recognize the guys, but inform them about a new kind of rodeo they are going to. With big cash prize for first place.
truck repaired and spirits renewed, the guys follow the German tourists
through a detour to the gig, which is a GAY rodeo. Absorbed in
their work, themselves, and (for Eddy anyway) residual acid/weed, the two
Canuks who never met any gay men, or women (with exception of Joline) put
their noses to the grindstone, and do a stellar performance. Their
best, ever, culminating in saving each others’ asses in the arena from
wild bulls and horses of the like they have never seen.
Finally, they win first prize. Cash to go home with, and a
reputation of Champion Rodeo riders, the award presented by a hot looking
rodeo bunny who Eddy discovers, in front of everyone, is a guy, and who
suspects that the pair may be straight, cheating their way into rodeo
prize money reserved for those who are bold enough to embrace an
alternative lifestyle . The two straight Canadians find themselves
the center of attention, having to fake being gay, and decide, for the
sake of Billy, and Veronica, and their own survival, to kiss each other,
on the lips. The event is photographed, the picture reaching
the local news papers fast, bringing Mendez and his Mexican ‘army’ and
Jones and his American one, to the rodeo just as the guys are ready to
make their getaway.
them, just in the nick of time, the rodeo bunny, organizing the group to
paint their rugged, Canadian rig pink, and dressing them up as hot looking
chicks with big sized boobs. Inside one of the boobs, Kim hides the
highly illegal anti-cancer drug. He soon feels, literally, the
hand of the law on them and him. Jones appears out of nowhere, stops
both of the ‘babes’ from passing through a checkpoint with his massive
hands on both of their chests. Eddy explains his way around
him by explaining in German to him that he doesn’t understand English,
getting a thumbs up from the German chick he met on the road from getting
the accent and diction right, as well as the attitude.
Introvert Kim dives deep inside himself to find an Italian female
character who speaks speckles of that tongue amidst lots of babble and
sexy/aggressive hand language. It puts Jones in his place, and his
papers into a pile of horse manure. Mendez, seeing it all, smiles
with delight. The guys head north, as fast as they can.
are still ahead, and the guys use their feminine charm to get through
them, Eddy helping himself to some money out of some of the Cops’
wallets, and stealing some bows and arrows on cigar store Indians along
the side of the road. Their truck breaks down barely a hundred miles
from the Canadian border. Abandoning the truck and their disguises,
they cowboy up, prepared to make a run for the 49th parallel, racing
against the clock, against the elements, and against bullets shot at them
by potentially-bounty-hunting American ranchers who think they are trying
to stampede their cattle.
Finally, they spot the Canadian flag on the other side of some nasty looking hilly badlands. They sense, but don’t know, that things are worse at home. Billy’s gotten worse, and is finally in the hospital, his body halfway destroyed by cancer treatments he got already. He will most likely be destroyed by surgery, which the very White, rich and by-the-numbers Doctor Johnson insists on doing, and doing fast, as a last resort. Veronica finally gives up hope for her boys to get home with the lifesaving highly illegal drug. She signs the consent forms for the surgery on Billy’s behalf, Melinda storming out, determined to stop it anyway she can.
themselves and patching up their worn down horses after a hard ride, Kim
and Eddy mount up again and head for the 49th, to be chased by helicopters
manned by Jones and Mendez, no shortage of weapons or man inside them.
Also on board, Mendez’ wife and children, held hostage by Jones just in
case Mendez decides to slip up and let the Canadian mules who know so much
get into Canada and decide to go back to their old life. From
the Canadian side, a lone, unarmed, Canadian Border Patrol Guard, hears
the noise, and tries to call it in on his radio, but the ‘made in USA’
radio fails on him. He picks up a shovel and a small pack of
explosives and scurried ahead.
back in Saskatchewan, Melinda has organized the nurse in the OR to do
extended prayer for Billy, as the last right, delaying the surgery, and
Doc Johnson’s golf game. Pulling rank, and finally figuring
out who is behind it, Johnson stops the prayer group and has the team
prepare for the surgery, which even he knows will probably kill Billy, but
at least it will be fast.
at the border, Kim and Eddy make some engage in high performance riding
and spot on shots with their bows and arrows, making some progress in
bringing the choppers down and making a getaway, but not quite enough.
Finally, they are cornered from both sides, when a large explosion opens
up a hole in the cliff behind them. A cave is evident amongst
the rubble. Greeting them, the sole Canadian Border guard, with a
‘Welcome to Canada. Do you have anything to declare?’
Recognizing the guard as John LaForge, Kim and Eddy try to stutter an
apology for all the practical jokes they played on him in the past that
demoted him from University bound aristocrat exchange student to lone
woodsman/border guard. Putting the matters aside, John invites them
into the cave, which is an underground tunnel built by whisky smuggles in
the 1880s and 1930s.
guys make it to the Canadian side of the line, contraband intact, and see,
from a distance, justice happening on the American side of the line.
Jones and his army moves in to disarm Mendez’ man, and threatens to
shoot Mendez’ wife and children in retribution for having let Kim and
Eddy get into Canada. Arrogant American Jones demands that a picture
be taken of Mexican Mendez’ surrender. Mendez concedes to
literally licking Jones’ ass and sucking his genitalia, but suggests
that it be done in a better light. He invites Jones to approach,
wooing the pathetically industrialized Colonel into a solid-looking ground
that is actually quicksand. Jones sinks to his death, his men
not coming to his aid, then getting the drop put on them by the Mexicans.
Mendez waves a fond farewell to his Canadian friends, gets in the chopper
with his family, and leaves, the invincible American Army tied up, in
fixes the busted radio, enabling John to call in to the Doc in
Saskatchewan, just before he is about to cut open Billy. The surgery
having been postponed, Eddy leads Kim and Melinda in a late night break in
to the old coot’s hospital room. Billy wakes up after being
given a mouthful of the anticancer drug and through delirious eyes
recognizes Kim, his first words to the shorn-converted smuggler ‘Yer
Injun brother finally scalp ya’. He asks who Melinda is, Kim
declaring her his wife to be, surprising her with a ring he puts on her
finger, obtained from a box of Crackerjacks. Eddy finds
himself calling Billy ‘Dad’ for the first time, and meaning it.
|Script available upon request.|