Journal of Rudd Screenplay Treatment D iii
This hero’s quest details in the Journal of Rudd, obstacles and how the 17 year old landlubber Frank Rudd Bybee, overcame those obstacles. Frank, who, in 1897, after leaving the homestead in Iowa, in search of a relative, and after a reluctant sea-voyage, tells of how Frank becomes one of the unwilling hero’s in rescuing Lady Sarah Churchill from Boer forces, and helping to relieve the Siege of Mafeking, in South Africa. The Narrator, who appears to guide the viewer sporadically, is Frank’s Rudd Bybee’s grandson.
Amander Franklin Rudd SILENCE THIS SCENE.
Amander is working in the print-shop of the Dennison Review, creating a leather bound book, that becomes The Journal.
Adelia Rudd (‘Ma’) AMANDER’S daughter.
Later Amander is seen riding up to the homestead, to visit his daughter, Adelia Rudd, (aka ‘Ma’). Amander also gave MA a note, addressed to Frank. After giving the Journal and note to Ma, he rides off. (exeunt Mister Amander)
Frank Rudd Bybee (Frank), 17, Hunter – a dog, and ‘Ma’.
The note is from Frank’s brother, Charlie-Elmer, in San Francisco writing urgently for help. Frank and Ma conspire to keep the Journal and the note secret from Pa, who will no doubt seek out ‘sissy making’ stuff, such as writing and sketching, and cause an uproar due to an alcohol-induced stupor.
Frank is perplexed. He tells Ma what he saw in the woods. What he can’t understand is why didn’t Hunter growl. Hunter was right there.
While sitting in the snow clad woods near the creek on the homestead, Frank sees a vision of an ‘island’ (or so he thinks) . This flat-topped cloud covered rock massive seems to appear out of a lake, or a vast expanse of water. He can not figure out what, where it is, or how this could appear to him in the woods in the middle of Iowa. He becomes ever so slightly obsessed with this image. What can it mean? How could it happen? Why didn’t Hunter react?
Pa returns from piece-meal iron-mongering job in Denison, and finds the Bybee boys at their musical best, fiddling, harmonica, more. Pa goes nuts. Art, music and writing are ‘sissy making stuff’. Frank runs up from the creek, and helps in the confrontation which has Ma, Oliver, Frank and others flailing trying to keep Pa under control. Frank hustles in and lays Pa out cold by hitting him twice over the head with the barn’s ‘shit-shovel’. Frank fears he has killed Pa. He does not wait to find out.
Running away from the farm, Frank knows he has Ma’s blessing, but Pa is another matter. He starts his daily entries in the Journal of Rudd. Heading for Arion Depot, hoping, that if Pa is alive, that he doesn’t follow Frank as Pa is a very good tracker. At Orion Depot, Frank discovers Ol’ Jebb truly likes him, and despises Pa. Jebb buys an image from Frank – Jebb’s coffee mug – it is Frank’s first sale of his art. Clari, whom Frank has had his eye on for awhile, and Frank become lovers in the boxcar of the Great Northern Railroad. Frank asks Clari to accompany him to San Francisco. She declines.
Frank rides shotgun on the Great Northern, as Malcolm shows him the ropes in survival as ‘injuns’ attack. Frank proves himself as a very good shot, taking down a wood pigeon in front of Malcolm from the doorway of a wildly swaying, rickety box car. When ‘injuns’ do attack, it is the son of Standing Bear, Bear Jumping, whom Frank kills. Then it is up the Platte, over the range, near the area of the Donner Party tragedy, down into and across the great salt desert, and on to Sutter’s Fort (Sacramento).
To Frank’s amazement, his girl friend, Clari, and her aunt, Aunt Bee, arrive in Sacramento, most unexpectedly, with the news that Clari’s mother has died. Aunt Bee, as she is referred to, has lived on the Barbary Coast of San Francisco. She cautions Frank on the types surrounding that area.
Brief history of crimps and crimping, featuring master crimp, Bunco Kelley (aka Shanghai Kelley). He is heavily responsible for corrupting many State of Oregon and California legislative councils. Became leader of the Oregon Republican Party. Heavily involved in heroin trafficking. Few could believe anything he said. The two recent Acts of State Legislature he does not like at all. He is ‘persuading’ council members with every favor he can figure (including a visit or two to a flop-house of his, on the house, as it were.) Eventually tried and convicted of a murder he (probably) did not commit.
Later, while waiting for Clari and Aunt Bee to return from scouting the Barbary, Frank encounters Bunco Kelley who invites him to his psuedo-birthday party to say “Thank You” for all the help. Also, that Kelley says he knows where Charlie-Elmer works. Responding to the invitation, but cautious about the motive, after all, what help, but Frank is lured by the news of Charlie-Elmer’s whereabouts? Frank goes on board a ship, is given a tonic, and that’s the last thing he remembers, until he wakes up, in the brig of the Hornet II. Bart, the First Mate, pushes food and Frank’s Journal to him in the brig. He will be let out, as soon as they are far enough away from land that Frank can not swim ashore. Should he dare call Bart, ‘the Fart’, Frank will become shark-food.
“Shark? Shark food? What’s that?”
Days pass, the great lake gets bigger and bigger. Frank is finally allowed on deck, only to hear Victor say he had met Charlie-Elmer, and that Charlie-Elmer now manages a flop-house or sailor’s boarding-house, run by Bunco Kelley. Victor, who chants and drums, Bart and the seventeen year old, Frank, cautiously form a shipboard working alliance. Frank slowly learns the ins and outs of life aboard a sailing ship, and slowly he introduces the concept of his sketches by labeling himself the ‘Cloud-Collector’. The ship is heading (ostensibly) for London via Valparaiso, Chile, the Straight of Magellan, South America and north to Europe. In the brig, Frank is startled by the sudden, ochre eyed appearance out of gloom, narrow eyes, and great, long white whiskers. A feline, one Rippens – the ship’s cat.
Awhile out, after Frank proves his weather reading capabilities, warning Bart and the crew, they spot Bunco Kelley’s clipper racing up astern of them. After the storm, they make it to Valparaiso. The talk is that the ‘Mister Captain’ and Kelley are pushing heroin – or some serious contraband. Frank is content to mind his own business – except revenge is sweet – he wants back to the farm, Ma and Clari – Kelley got him into this – Kelley will get him out and back to Iowa, else Kelley dies – or worse.
Bart announces that Frank will be allowed shore leave, on condition that he returns to the ship. Frank, mulls the offer, then gives Bart his word of honor. While ashore, Frank spots Kelley arranging for a pick-up. He maps the house where the couple have entered. When Bart comes to collect Frank, he is informed of the collusion. Bart is equally antagonistic towards Kelley. Bart and Frank kidnap Kelley. He is now prisoner in the same brig where Frank was before – and the captain has zero knowledge of this.
They set sail with extreme-weather gear for the passage through the Straight of Magellan “…as long as the deep sea monsters stay below…” as Bart puts it – with a twinkle in his eye. The passage through the land of near ice and snow is traumatic to say the least. ‘Deep sea monsters’ do surface. But the ‘monsters’ (hump-backed whales) help the ship stay off the rocks, not hinder its progress – and Frank yells at Victor to keep drumming, to keep chanting. They make it through the horrific Straight. Rum is made available as celebration. A feeling of camaraderie emanates, after that bit of adventure.
Soon after leaving the South American continental shelf they are hit by ‘…and very, very big swell…’ a tsunami. Bunco is being washed overboard, Frank is the only one close by, but Frank has Bart in a sailor’s grip, and has no interest in saving Kelley – after all, how did he get on deck? Bunco yells to him to let go of Bart and save him. He offers him gold, Frank refuses. Bunco Kelley becomes ‘shark-food’. Bart rewards Frank with his freedom as soon as they can ‘persuade’ the Captain to head for the nearest shore. The mutiny succeeds, landfall is imminent. Upon the call of “Land Hoo…!” Bart rushes Frank to the bows and Frank sees his vision in the woods, of a rock in the middle of a great lake. A massive rock with a white cloud tumbling over it – surrounded it would seem, by water – this is Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa rising at the Tavern of the Seas.
Bart honors his promise of Freedom for Frank, and together with Rippens, the cat, Frank lands on the shores of Southern Africa – never again to return to America. The sense of isolation that encompasses Frank, as he sleeps on the slopes of Signal Hill, is only intensified in the dawn two days later, by the sounds of distant chanting and a drum, as the ship, Bart and the shipmates, hoist sail, and depart Table Bay on the early morning tide. All Frank wants is to live up on the summit of the mountain behind him –where no ‘great swell’ can reach him – ever.
He thinks, he can not be the only one who has stood alone – totally alone – on a foreign shore – and survived. He has proven he is a survivor. He will survive.
By a series of fortuitous events in trying to barter his art, Frank meets Chester, manservant to Rudyard Kipling. Then Miss Mini-Clara Harryman, Cecil-John Rhodes and eventually Robert Baden-Powell. Rhodes asks Frank to help Baden-Powell relieve the Siege of Mafeking. Frank agrees, leaving the romance with MCH. In Mafeking, with the help of Haribooi, a man of the Khoi-Khoi tribe, Sir Winston Churchill’s aunt, the lovely Lady Sarah Churchill is rescued from the Boer encampment. In the process, Haribooi is wounded, captured, tied to a wagon wheel, and whipped by the Boer’s. Frank owes it to Haribooi, rescues him from the Boer encampment. As the 6-8 Boer’s sing praises to God, Frank looses it – a shoot-out occurs. As Frank lays Harribooi at the steps of the convent in Mafeking, Haribooi dies in Frank’s arms.
On returning from Mafeking, Frank passes through the Hex River Valley, where Rhodes has some of his large fruit farms. Frank spies a little thatch roofed cottage. That is where they, Miss Mini and him, will make a home, he decides. Suddenly, returning to Iowa is not such a major issue for Frank after all.
At Cape Town Station, Frank is met with jubilant crowds hailing him as a hero. He insists he is not a hero, that Haribooi is the hero – not him. There and then, on Cape Town Station platform, with steam and noise and cheers all around he asks Miss Mini to marry him. She agrees, “I thought you’d never ask.” Rhodes is delighted, offering Frank a job as assistant foreman of the Cape Orchard Company, in the hamlet of Orchard, and as wedding present, gifts the cottage Frank saw, to the couple.
Reluctantly, Frank agrees to Rhode’s request to ride in support of B-P, who is regarded as a total hero of the Crown and is being hailed as such at the Relief of Mafeking Parade. Cecil Rhodes has informed Her Majesty of the incredible feat.
Frank and Mini move to Orchard where three sons, Ellis, Leland and John Ernest, are born in quick succession to the couple. In memory of the true hero, Frank finds a lovely ridgeback dog, dark chocolate in colour. His name? Harri.
Frank Rudd Bybee, dies an isolated, lonely, misunderstood man, in Worcester, near Orchard, in 1953. Upon discovery of the Journal of Rudd, something no-one knew about nor ever expected, Frank’s grandson vows to retrace Frank’s steps, and to set the record straight on behalf of his grandfather, by firstly, telling the Journal of Rudd story. This has now been accomplished. Then seeking out Miss Mini’s Memories, and vowing to eventually create The Journal of Jack.
As the Hero’s Journey was not completed with the stranding of Frank in South Africa, by coming full-circle, Jack Bybee feels that he is completing the Journey of his grandfather’s behalf.
“There’s a movie in this… somewhere there is a movie in this.”