Version 1.1 - September 29,
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and frightening series of images.
A man wearing a tuxedo running through
a cornfield, pursued by another man,
heavily tattooed -- one tattoo, on
his chest, is of a tree. In a diner,
the man dressed in the tuxedo sitting
in a booth across from a man wearing
a WWI uniform. A ring with a Masonic
seal. Tarot cards, including Death
and The Magician, reversed. Mourners
escorting a wooden coffin. A snake
charmer. A dead sheep. A woman screaming,
her clothes being ripped. A young
man with bloody stumps for legs. A
clock that reads 2:25 with the pendulum
ticking rapidly back and forth. A
World War I soldier ducking an explosion.
People standing under a tree. And
Hawkins opens his eyes.
in Oklahoma, The Dust Bowl. Ben
is a fugitive from a chain gang.
He has come home to be with his
mother, Flora, as she dies. She
gasps and wheezes as Ben tries to
touch her. "No...," she
pleads with him. He slumps to the
floor and, then, she's gone. He
buries her outside, but while doing
so, a bulldozer emerges from the
DRIVER: "You're trespassing."
BEN: "This is my place."
BULLDOZER DRIVER: "This place
is the property of First Merchants
Trust. Now you've been warned.
Law's on its way."
A truck pulls
up nearby. Inside are Samson and
his right-hand man Clayton Jones,
a.k.a. Jonesy. They make a bet.
Samson says the bulldozer will squash
Ben Hawkins, but Jonesy disagrees.
Because Jonesy interferes. He climbs
out the truck and makes an offer
to the Driver to get the Hayseed,
meaning Ben, off his back. Since
the Driver can't very well squash
the boy without ruining his bulldozer,
the Driver lets Jonesy try. Jonesy
approaches Ben, who threatens to
flatten the interloper with his
shovel. Jonesy sees that Ben is
merely trying to bury his mother.
Also, he sees that the boy has shackles
around his ankles. Despite that,
he offers to help dig.
members have gathered around Flora's
grave and are singing the hymn "Nearer
My God to Thee." Ben looks
around at the strange folk. Among
the carnies are Samson, a dwarf
and leader of the carnival, the
conjoined twins Alexandria and Caladonia,
and the bearded woman Lila. In the
trailer painted "Apollonia
~ Queen of the Gypsies," the
young and beautiful Sofie, averts
Ben's gaze. The singing stops and,
as if on cue, the Hawkins homestead
is demolished. Samson's good to
go, but a woman named Ruthie encourages
him to take the young fugitive with
them. Samson refuses, saying that
they've "got nothing open"
and they're "down to tater-shucks,"
but suddenly, Ben collapses. Samson
relents and they carry Ben off,
just as police sirens can be heard
in the distance.
It's a bright
and sunny day in beautiful Mintern,
California. Brother Justin Crowe,
a Methodist preacher, is giving
a sermon to his congregation. His
sister, Iris, sits at his side.
He preaches about the great plagues
of Egypt, drawing comparisons between
them, and the epidemic of sandstorms
in middle America. What are they
if not evidence of God's fury, he
asks. Harbingers of the Apocalypse?
He reminds his parishioners that
they are blessed because they live
in the Promised Land, but that "the
Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh
away." As he ends his sermon,
everyone stands to sing "He's
Got the Whole World in His Hands,"
but one woman makes a hasty retreat
for the exit. Iris appears and grabs
the woman, preventing her from leaving.
Iris leaves the woman alone with
her brother. The woman tells Justin
that she came from Tulsa to pick
cantaloupes, but no pickers were
needed, so she currently resides
at the large camp by the highway.
She tells him that she has come
to his church the past three Sundays
to worship, and Justin tells her
she's always welcome. The woman
introduces herself as Eleanor McGill
and as the two shake hands, Justin
reaches into her sleeve and pulls
out the silver coin Eleanor stole
from the collection basket.
"I didn't mean to take it."
JUSTIN: "Eleanor, I see you
in my sermons. And you pray so
hard, you break my heart. But
my words, they wash over you like
water over a stone."
ELEANOR (weeping): "No, no."
JUSTIN: "We all, each of
us, carry within us the seeds
of our own salvation, and our
covers her mouth. She begins to
gag. Justin wheels back in horror
as the woman vomits up a stream
of silver coins. Eleanor is justifiably
afraid, but Justin shouts at her
to kneel with him and pray. She
vomits up more coins. And then more
coins. Justin takes Eleanor into
his arms and looks around him. The
coins have vanished. Standing in
the doorway, Iris has witnessed
to the entire event.