Flood: A River's Rampage (1998) Movie Script

[Herb] The Mississippi.
I hardly ever add the word "River."
It's always been more than that to me.
Big Muddy, the Ol' Man.
More like a way of life.
When I was a baby, its lazy washing sound
rocked me to sleep.
When I got older, every spring
when the winter snows melted,
I tended the levees
with the rest of my family,
just to make sure Big Muddy
minded its manners
and stayed out of our fields.
I didn't mind.
The Mississippi played with me.
It cheered me when I was sad.
It was like a best friend.
And then came the summer of 1993.
In April, it started to rain...
And rain...
In July, it was still raining.
And suddenly, my best friend
wasn't so friendly.
As it washed over farms
and homes and people,
that year's flood of the Mississippi
destroyed more property and lives
than any other flood in American history.
Well, the levee looks pretty good.
Dad, can the river really rise that high?
[laughs] No, honey.
I don't think so. Not this high.
My grandpa built the lower part,
and he used mules.
[thunder rumbling]
That would be your great-grandpa.
And then, when my daddy took over,
the river knocked a hole in it
and flooded the house.
So he added another five feet
to the top of the levee
to strengthen it, but...
just to be safe, I added five more feet.
I just want to be sure
it's here for you and your children.
Hell, I think we're in pretty good shape.
It's Belfield I'm worried about.
[thunder rumbling]
[rain pattering]
[people clamoring]
Save this levee to save the town.
-Move it!
-[helicopter blades whirring]
Send us more men!
Hey, Sam, it's Pat.
We're barely holding here.
Check the levee up the stream
and get back to me.
Roger that. I'm off.
-Let's go.
[Sam] The levee's gone.
Oh, boy.
Pat, come in. Pat, it's Sam.
-[Pat] I read you.
-It broke, Pat.
The river's racing through it.
It's eating up a huge hole.
-Get out of there now.
-Can we plug it?
[Sam] Negative, Pat. It's gone.
You got exactly two minutes
to get out of there
before it takes you to New Orleans.
Sound the alarm.
[siren blaring]
Everybody down.
[indistinct shouting]
Move it! Let's go!
Move it!
[thunder rumbling]
Pat! It's over! Let's move.
[engine starts]
[siren stops]
[news reporter] This is what the town
of West Quincy looked like this morning.
What was once a thriving farm community
has been devastated by the waters
of the Mississippi.
The rains, which have reached
200% above normal,
have finally pushed the river
and its levees beyond their limits.
The Sny Island Levee,
the second largest on the Mississippi
was expected to hold,
but when it broke last night,
the results were catastrophic
for this whole region.
That levee was built to withstand
a 100-year flood.
Unfortunately what we have here
is a 500-year flood.
Pat, there's not an engineer here
that hasn't lost a levee to it.
That section looked rock solid
so I deployed downstream.
Now the town's gone
and everyone's living in gymnasiums.
You bought us time. Got the people out.
Nobody was killed.
That's the important thing.
Now, the crest of the flood is here,
at Saint Charles.
Now, Saint Charles' levee was built
to withstand a flood of this size.
It will hold.
St. Louis has a concrete flood wall.
That will hold.
So what we need to do is to move
our teams and our equipment
downstream to the riverfront towns
that have small or nonexistent levees.
And then we build
and we sandbag like crazy.
We get control of this, and we get it now.
Sure. We get control.
Sam, you are a great pilot
and a crummy engineer.
Look, Harry, Pat and I have been chasing
this crest since Des Moines went under.
Now, if a city like Des Moines
with all its manpower and resources,
if it can't protect itself, what chance
does small towns downstream have?
Maybe the best thing we can do
is to admit that we can't save them.
And tell those people to evacuate
while they still can.
Saint Charles will buy us time.
What's the weather, Ray?
This big donut here is the Bermuda High.
It will move out and then all these storms
can pass through to the east coast,
but it's just been parked here,
and just pumping out more and more rain
from the Gulf of Mexico.
I mean, so much rain
that the ground can't absorb any more.
We got flash flood warnings
posted day and night.
Meaning every drop of rain that's falling
is finding its way into this flood,
pushing the crest higher and higher.
Wonder if we could send this Bermuda High
back to Bermuda.
Chief, you better look, it's confirmed.
Saint Charles is gone.
They've started emergency evacuation.
Tommy, you take your team
and you strengthen Grafton.
Fitz, take Valmeyer. Pat, Belfield.
Belfield? Harry, Harry.
These other towns have levees
to build on them.
I mean, Belfield doesn't even
have a levee.
Well, you were born there.
Maybe you can change their mind.
Once they see these other towns
have gone under,
maybe they'll want to build a levee.
Sam will chopper you down.
[Sam sighs]
Unless you think that's
a complete waste of your time.
Thanks for the vote of confidence.
Look, Pat, if you are in charge, fine.
But you're not. The river's in charge now.
That's why we have no time.
If the river gets to Belfield,
and it's higher than your levee,
then your hometown is gone.
Belfield, huh? Bright lights, big city.
I haven't been there in years.
Yeah, it's small.
It's a good thing,
maybe we have a chance to save it.
[Herb] Hey, Bobby.
Hey. Mr. Dellenbach.
I was just... [clears throat]
Beth's birthday coming up.
Twenty-one, it's an important one.
That's three months from now.
Yeah, well, I gotta prepare.
Good preparation is everything.
In business, in life.
Yep. How is business?
Oh! To be honest, sir, it's lousy.
Can't hang siding in the rain.
[Herb chuckles]
It does give Beth and I
more time to study.
Yeah, I bet it does.
Well, tell me, Bobby, what are you
gonna do after college?
Keep on hanging siding?
No, no, sir,
after college, my own business.
-A lot bigger than hanging siding.
Is Beth in town, too?
Yeah, she's over there.
Postings fliers for the town meeting.
-Maybe she needs a hand.
-Excuse me, sir.
Hey, Allie.
Allie, you take this one, okay.
Bobby, my father will see.
I was a bit too late for that.
I just added to his high opinion of me
by babbling like a complete idiot.
[sighs] It's not you.
With Mom gone and me leaving home,
it'll just be him and Allie.
I think he's scared.
Anyway, we'll just be living
a few minutes away.
Beth, Belfield's great, but...
Beth! Allie! Come on, let's go.
-I gotta go.
-See you.
[news reporter] The some 250 streams
and rivers that feed the Mississippi
are swollen to overflowing
with this year's record rainfalls.
The affects have been devastating
on town after town and city after city.
Des Moines has lost its drinking water
for at least five weeks.
-The city officials...
Hey, Roger, are you watching TV?
Those floods are taking out whole towns.
I've never seen anything like this.
Yeah. I know Belfield's never seen
anything like it.
Yeah, I know how hard
it is to build a levee.
I've built one.
So why don't you call in
the National Guard, you're the Mayor?
Well, if they're all working
on the levees upstream,
I guess that means that we're on our own.
Yeah, okay, I'll be there.
Well, it looks like
that's it for Belfield,
unless we get something done tonight.
I told Roger I'd be over there early
to help him set up.
I'll get Allie to bed on time
and read her a story.
I can do it, Beth.
And maybe I'll read you a story.
I'm not your baby.
-All right, all right, sorry.
-[Herb laughs]
I'm really glad you're doing this, Dad.
Getting involved again.
Mom would want that.
Yeah. It's about time.
[Pat] Mayor Tweed, this neighborhood
sits lower than the rest of the town.
To protect it from flood waters would mean
sandbagging up to the second floor.
There's not enough time.
Well, what can we save here?
We'll cut it close, very close,
but I think we can build a levee
along this line in one week,
that'll protect most of Belfield.
That's assuming the whole town pitches in.
-Herb. Welcome to the party.
-This is Pat Mallory.
-Hi, Pat.
-I think you know her.
-Hello, Herb.
-Long time.
Uh, this is Sam Ferrera.
Best chopper pilot on the river.
-Good to meet you.
-You too.
Herb Dellenbach.
Yeah, I heard you were working
for the Corps.
Well, they figured someone from here
could finally talk the town
into building a levee.
Yeah, I hope so. I never could.
-We better setup.
-Yeah. Yeah.
I'll see you.
Do I sense that you and Herb
have some history.
Homecoming King and Queen in high school.
One shake, two straws, a long time ago.
You've all been watching the news.
You know it's happened upstream.
Most of those towns already had levees
that they and I thought would hold.
Well, they didn't.
The same flood that wiped out those people
will crest here at Belfield
before you know it.
As many of you know I'm from Belfield,
I know how important this town is to you
and how much you wanna save it.
Well, it's gonna take every person
in this room
and many, many more to do so.
And with the help
of the Corps of Engineers,
maybe we have a chance to save
what makes Belfield
so special to all of you.
Pat, with respect. I knew you growing up.
Your folks are probably looking down
and they're proud.
But my hotel depends on tourists.
And a levee
will block our view of the river.
[Trish] J.B., my restaurant depends
on tourists, too.
And there won't be anything left for them
to see unless we stop talking,
and start sandbagging at dawn tomorrow.
Trish, be real. All of us, get real.
Sandbagging didn't help the other towns.
You might as well face the fact
that Belfield is doomed.
We should pack our things now and pick up
the pieces when the river recedes.
Donna, no, we can save this town.
All right, one at a time.
I've got Malcolm and then Herb.
I'd like to know who decided we shouldn't
have a levee around the town.
[Mayor Tweed] We decided.
Every election Herb Dellenbach
gathered signatures to help raise taxes
so we could build a levee.
And we voted it down every time.
I was not for it,
and I fought against it, I'll admit,
but now our town, our lives are at stake.
We need to listen to Pat and the Corps.
[Pat] Well, I've designed a levee
that can be built quickly.
And it will protect most,
but not all of Belfield.
The downtown, the historic structures,
some neighborhoods.
Wait! Whoa! That's only part of the town.
A lot of our homes aren't even in there,
including mine.
See, the thing is, is that we need
to build one mile of levee
just to protect this small area.
If we try to build more,
we won't have the time or the manpower
to build high enough,
and we won't save anything at all.
[people mumbling]
I'm sorry,
I know hard choices need to be made.
Those are beautiful homes.
My grandparents lived in one.
Hard choices?
But not for you.
You don't live here anymore.
I need to save my house.
Pat, you're asking every person
in this town
to help build a levee that will only
protect some of us.
What guarantee do we have
that this levee will even work?
This is the worst flood in the history
of the Mississippi River.
All I can guarantee is that if we
do nothing, Belfield will be destroyed.
Look, you all know how I feel about this,
so it's not gonna come as any surprise.
This is my home.
I know there's
a lot of people in this room
whose family's been here four,
five generations, all right?
And I think we got a way of life
that's worth fighting for.
That's why we are here tonight,
that's why we gotta be on that
defense line tomorrow morning
trying to build that levee.
'Cause if we don't try to build
that levee and work together,
then our lives, our history,
everything we've worked for
is gonna wash right down that river.
That's the way it is.
[indistinct chatter]
How'd you like that for a nice,
warm homecoming?
Well, I appreciate your support, Herb.
Well, you know, what happened,
uh, back then with us,
we had too much just to make it
and it didn't work out, but...
We got a lot to do here and I don't see
why we can't work together.
Yeah. How's your family?
-Oh, they're fine.
-You have a daughter, right?
-Yeah, I got two of them.
Beth's the oldest one.
She's old enough to marry,
or at least she thinks she is.
Little Allie is seven going on seventeen.
And Joan?
Oh, well, Joan died
about four years ago. Cancer.
Wow. Herb, I had no idea. I'm so sorry.
That must have been so hard for you.
Yeah, it was a tough one.
So what about you?
You haven't been back here in years.
Oh. Well, since both my parents
are gone now, and...
I'm constantly on the road.
Here's my life.
Maps, charts, calculator,
and the Mississippi.
Yeah. Any family?
No. No time. Not the right guy.
Close once or twice, you know.
Well, yeah, I know about that. [chuckles]
Well, hey, you know,
you became an engineer.
Big money. That's what you wanted.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I'm calling for everyone
to show up by 8:00 a.m.
And if not enough do,
we might as well pack our bags.
This place will be under water.
Well, we estimate
the river will crest at 47 feet.
So, to be safe,
we need to build our levee higher.
River's up two and a half feet today.
[Herb] I really thought
I knew these people.
[sighs] If no one else is coming,
I'm going to go shore up my own levee.
I'll see you all later. Come on, girls.
[indistinct shouting]
[man] Let's go.
Grab a jacket, will you?
I wasn't sure you were coming.
Well, your father told me Belfield's
worth fighting for. Let's fight.
[Pat] Hi!
We'll be all right.
Hey, your trucks are assigned
to River Front Road.
The sheriff will show you where.
Dump your sand and get more help.
Keep it coming.
All right, coming through.
Now, don't just stand here.
We got a levee to build. Let's go.
[people cheering]
[helicopter blades whirring]
Move it up.
[man] If the wind picks up...
Hey, hey, hey. Take it easy. Take it easy.
Bobby, you're killing yourself here.
Take a break.
What's the point? We're never gonna
make it at this rate.
Here. Hang onto this for me.
[man] Help me fill this up.
Pat, I brought you a visitor.
Looks solid from the chopper.
The ground's so saturated from the rain,
it can't hold any more water.
The river's rising faster
than we estimated, Harry.
We're running out of time. We need more.
-More what?
-More everything. You name it.
Rocks, sand, bags, plastic, machinery,
manpower more than anything else.
National Guard, the Army.
Anybody who could fill a sandbag.
What is it, Harry?
My office.
Fritz couldn't hold Saint Charles.
Tommy's got his hands full in Grafton.
I mean, downtown St. Louis,
the concrete flood wall's holding,
but south of there
everything's under water.
Now, I have to look
at the big picture here, Pat.
What are you saying?
We're fighting a war up and down
the entire river.
Now, I have to get every piece of manpower
I can lay my hands on
and put them where I think
we have a chance to win.
A lot of the other towns
already have a levee.
They have a better chance
of surviving than Belfield.
No, no, no.
Harry, this town, these people.
Every ounce of energy is
going into building this levee
because I told them
we could save this town.
You and I are supporting them in that.
That's our part of the deal.
We just need to raise it a little higher.
I know you wanna win one here, Pat.
We all of us do.
I know you have a history in this town
and the people are depending on you.
Never mind me, Harry.
There's real history here.
I mean, did you know that this is one of
the oldest settlements on the Mississippi.
Just give me more men and material
and we can save it,
but you cannot cut and run now.
All right. I'll get you more material.
But I'm all out of manpower.
National Guard, everybody.
All committed upstream.
We're pretty exhausted here, Harry.
Yeah, including us.
Well, you said there was a will here.
So there has to be a way.
Now you find a way.
Too bad it's all low land.
Brings back some memories though,
doesn't it?
Herb, about the other night.
We both did have choices
to make, but, uh...
I could have communicated mine
a little better.
You talking about that, uh,
"Dear, Herb" letter you wrote?
[Pat sighs]
Yeah, that was a little rough,
coming from somebody
I was practically engaged to.
[sighs] Either we were engaged
or we weren't, and we weren't.
I thought we were just waiting
till we were old enough to get married
-without being arrested.
Well, I wanted a different life than you.
And we both knew that.
You weren't about to drop your plans
for me either.
And it has worked out for me, really.
Good career, responsibility,
travel, the river.
Huh. You make this boring old farmer
pretty jealous.
You were many things, Herb,
but you were never boring.
You have a lot I'm jealous of.
Two great daughters, your farm, this town.
Maybe you just don't realize
what a good life it is until you leave.
I guess when you're kids,
the way we were, the sky's the limit.
These days I pretty much just
try to play the hand I'm dealt.
But that's these days, and if you're...
If you're worried about that letter
from the old days,
well, don't worry about it,
it's all right.
So I guess what we really need here
is more manpower, huh?
Malcolm, how you doing? Wendy.
-Beautiful house.
-Yeah, it's 107 years old.
Been working on saving it
ever since the meeting.
Where you told me I'm outside the levee.
That we ain't worth saving.
Of course it's worth saving, Malcolm.
Every house is.
The problem is, if we try to protect
too much, we won't protect anything.
Fine, we'll save ourselves.
One thing you should consider.
Because your house sits in this low area,
you'll need to stack sandbags
up to the second story balcony
in the next 36 hours.
The town sure could use
all these sandbags.
Well, that's pretty easy for you,
isn't it, Herb, huh?
You got your own levee.
Just save your home, your farm.
I leave here,
my family's living in a high school gym.
Or if we get lucky,
maybe we'll get a trailer.
I don't know, Malcolm.
It looks to me
like you've already lost here.
You work with us,
maybe we could save something.
I'll help you rebuild.
A lot of folks will.
I won't need any help.
All righty. Good luck to you all.
You still envy my living in this town.
[Sam] Harry had some sand delivered.
And now you're left with these bags
from Tommy's levee in Grafton.
Just before the river swallowed them up.
[Pat] Are there any levees holding
anywhere around this river?
Nope, just in St. Louis.
[sighs] Great, they've got a 50-foot
concrete wall.
Where's the sheriff? He promised manpower.
I wanna get Grandpa.
If the levee breaks, and we need
to get out fast, I want him with us.
Yeah. He could be stubborn.
Maybe I oughta go with you.
No, no, they need you here.
Allie and I will get him.
He can't say no to both of us.
[indistinct chatter]
I made this extra spicy just for you.
You know, I've worked here over a year.
Gone to school nights.
And I'm working as hard as I can,
trying to save Belfield here.
But I would not be here
if it wasn't for you.
I thought you liked it here.
I thought we would make
a life together here.
I'm here because we're
in school together, Beth.
And I'm working myself to death
on this levee
because I know it's
what you want me to do.
But I mean,
Belfield for the rest of our lives?
I got plans for us, Beth,
big plans, not...
As soon as I get my degree,
I'm not hanging siding anymore.
I'm going into construction,
big construction.
Bigger than Belfield.
Bobby, I'm raising Allie,
taking care of my father.
I can't just leave them.
And I don't want to.
This is my home.
I wish you included me in your plans.
Beth, it's not like that.
You... I love you.
You make your choice, Bobby,
and I'll make mine.
What's wrong, Beth?
Close the door, we're going to Grandpa's.
Sound familiar?
He seems like a good kid. They both do.
Yeah, that's it. They're just kids.
They're older than we were.
They don't know what they're doing.
Herb... [chuckles]
Well, well, well.
To what do I owe the pleasure
of the company of such lovely ladies?
We want you with us in case
we have to evacuate quickly.
We'll help you load.
We got a good levee out there.
Hasn't failed me yet.
Grandpa, please.
This flood is different.
Levees far bigger than yours are failing.
What's wrong, little scat?
-[Allie] She and Bobby...
Grandpa, let's go and pack up.
We don't have a lot of time.
Beth, me, this house, and the river,
we understand each other.
Have for nearly 50 years.
Every five years somebody tells me
I have to move out
because of some tornado or flood scare.
We can take you to the river.
It's really high.
I don't have to see the river.
I hear it, but I don't feel it.
I cannot leave them.
Your grandmother and Joanie.
-If the river wants me so bad...
I guess it's time.
Grandpa, please come.
I don't think we'll be able
to make it if the river crests tomorrow.
[cell phone rings]
-Yeah? Yeah.
-[Harry] Pat.
The river's cresting at Valmeyer,
how high are you?
Not high enough, Harry,
but we're working on it.
-[Harry] Is Sam there yet?
He's doing recon over Valmeyer,
searching for breaks.
He's on his way down.
You call me when he gets there.
We need to talk.
How long until the flood crest arrives?
From Valmeyer, 60 hours.
We gotta add five feet of sandbags
to role model a levee in two days.
What? Even with those boot-camp guys,
we only raised the levee
two feet in one day.
-Yo, boss, I need to show you something.
-What's that?
Anyone taken a look at a TV lately?
We're kinda busy here.
Well, maybe we could take a few days off.
We're not gonna make it here.
Valmeyer, or what's left of it.
That levee was higher than Belfield.
It blew two hours ago.
-Town's gone.
The news choppers out of St. Louis
practically knocked me
out of the air to get this footage.
I know why Harry sounded so strange.
He wants to shut us down.
-[Harry] Pat, can you talk?
Yeah, saw Valmeyer.
They barely got their people
out in time, Pat.
Now, you're the Corps engineer on-site,
it's your call, but your levee is short.
I'd seriously consider evacuation
while you still have time.
We still got 24 hours, Harry.
Buildings can be rebuilt.
Our first responsibility is the safety
of those people.
Just because the levee
is higher than the river is now...
That river can rise three feet like that.
[snaps fingers]
I know that. I know that.
I've already lost one town remember.
Look, the arithmetic won't add up.
The levee will be short.
You have to tell them.
[alarm blaring]
Get out of there.
[man] Hurry up.
[Herb] We need bags. We need more bags!
Put more sandbags now!
We got a leak!
Bring bags. We need bags!
Bring bags!
It's not good. We've got more sandbags.
-[Herb] Bobby!
Keep 'em coming. We need more.
We need more bags. Keep 'em coming.
More bags! Hurry!
[indistinct shouting]
I got plenty more where these come from.
Our soon-to-be underwater house.
Come on. Bring them in.
We almost got it.
One more. Come on.
[Mayor Tweed] Better get the others
before the river does.
Thank you, Malcolm.
Oh! I didn't do nothing.
You keep stealing my bags anyway.
I figured I may as well just say,
"Help yourself."
We just lost a foot of bags
up this side of the levee.
We're supposed to be raising it,
not lowering it.
We're gonna have to shore up
that whole section.
-The arithmetic won't add up, Pat.
-What does that mean?
It means, that at the rate we're bagging,
we won't make it.
St. Louis estimates
that the river will crest
and come over the top of this levee
in the next 24 hours.
They want me to shut
this levee building down
and begin evacuations immediately.
No one here is a quitter,
but if there's no hope...
Yeah, sure there's no hope if you talk
to those fellows that she works for.
But if they're so smart,
how come they live in St. Louis?
What are you saying, Herb?
What I'm saying is we got 24 hours.
Maybe it's a waste of time, but, heck,
I've wasted plenty of days in my life.
Last time I remember when Joan was sick,
they gave her two months to live,
but she hung on,
she lasted for three more years.
What I'm telling you is,
if people got a will,
they can get stuff done.
[man] Yeah!
Now I was born and raised in Belfield,
and I won't leave here. I can't.
Even if that means I have to stay here
and bag alone.
You won't be alone, Herb.
We're with you till the water
comes over the top.
-[man] Yeah!
-Now, what about you, Pat?
Who you gonna believe?
Those people in the office
that you work for, or us?
The people you know,
the people you grew up with.
-Give me a shovel, Herb.
-All right.
-Let's go.
-[all cheering]
All right. Welcome home.
Let's go to work.
[woman announcing indistinctly over PA]
[baby crying]
[commander] Pull a little to the right.
Sheriff. Where do you need us most?
One second.
Where do you want the Guard, Pat?
Down there on Sector 4.
Good. Maybe now we can get this done.
They're here because there's nothing left
for them to protect upriver.
-And we're next.
-Dad, I should get Grandpa.
-All right, I'll go with you.
You stay. Every sandbag counts now.
-We can't spare you, Bobby.
-Allie can help me.
All right. Now, look.
When the three of you are together,
I want you to go to the evacuation center.
Don't come back here,
don't go to the house.
Okay, I'll call from the center
and let you know we're safe.
Good deal.
Take care.
Come on, Allie, let's go.
Beth, we gotta talk.
I know we do,
but I gotta get Grandpa first.
I'm sorry.
[cell phone ringing]
-[Harry] Pat.
-We're still here, Harry.
[Harry] Yeah, but for how long?
According to our latest estimates,
the river's gonna crest three feet higher
than we previously thought.
That means Belfield's levee
is gonna be three feet short.
Now, Pat, you should prepare to evacuate.
Harry, if I call
for a total evacuation now,
I'm wasting time and breath.
Nobody's leaving here until this river
comes over the top or breaks through.
-Well, then you prepare for exactly that.
-[Pat] I have.
We've got escape vehicles warmed up,
we're bagging like mad,
and we're praying for a miracle.
You know, Pat,
I put you in charge of building that levee
because of your ties with that town.
I'm beginning to wonder
if that was a mistake.
Maybe those ties are affecting
your judgement as an engineer.
Harry, we've both been engineers
on this river for a long time now.
It always manages
to find a way to surprise us.
Now, your new estimates may be
just as wrong as your old ones were.
I won't leave here until this river
is wrapped around my ankles.
I'll be there first thing in the morning.
I'll see you then.
Well, it looks like this might be
my last levee.
Well, we're just gonna have
to build a good one.
All right.
Fifty years, hasn't locked it yet.
[thunder rumbling]
Grandpa, it's Beth and Allie. Grandpa!
I don't wanna go up there.
I want to stay here.
Allie, it's okay. It's just thunder.
Look, how about you stay down here,
and pack up those pictures
of Mom and Grammy.
In case the river comes over
Grandpa's levee tomorrow, okay?
Hurry up, okay?
[thunder rumbling]
Grandpa, wake up, it's Beth.
-[Grandpa] What time is it?
-[Beth] It's time to go.
The river's higher than it's ever been.
Don't fight me on this, Grandpa, please.
We'll pack a bag and go.
Beth! Grandpa!
-Do you think it's gonna hold?
-I don't know.
It'll be okay.
If we have to pack,
I have some family albums
in the chest over here.
There might be some things
of your mother, too.
[thunder rumbling]
Pat! It's rising fast.
[water dripping]
It's just a leak.
[dripping continues]
[electricity crackling]
Grandpa, Beth, the lights are out.
[Grandpa] It's okay, Allie.
We're coming, Allie.
-[Allie] The lights are out.
-It's all right.
It happens in storms.
But I have flashlights and candles.
They are here somewhere.
Here's one for you.
[water dripping]
It's going down.
All patrols and sectors report.
Do we have a broken levee?
[man 1] No break in six.
[man 2] No break in two.
Looks good.
[man 1] We're all right. The water's down.
Are you guys ready yet?
The rain,
it let up a bit.
[Beth screams]
-[Allie screams]
[Grandpa] [sobbing] The river. Beth.
Beth! Beth! Grandpa!
-[Grandpa] Where's Beth.
-[Allie] Beth! Grandpa!
-[Beth coughs]
-[Allie] Grandpa!
-[Grandpa] Oh! Oh!
-[Allie] Beth!
-Are you all right?
-[Beth] You okay?
[Beth] Yeah.
[Beth coughs]
-It's all right, Allie.
-We're gonna be all right.
-No, we're not gonna be all right.
We have to get out right now.
We can drive out of here.
I don't think we can.
The levee must be broken.
The truck will be under water.
It won't start.
[both panting]
Beth and Allie Dellenbach. That's right.
And Jacob Gunderson. Yeah.
Are you sure?
All right. All right, thanks.
They never checked
into the evacuation center.
Tell me something,
where exactly did this levee break?
[Pat] Well, the electric utility reports
power's out here.
So it's probably somewhere
on this piece of river.
We won't know for certain
until Sam flies over the area.
But, Herb, your farm is upstream
from the levee break.
So it should be safe.
But here's where they are. Right here.
-They went to get Joan's daddy.
-[Bobby] I'm going out there.
I sent them there. Let's go.
-[Pat] Well, Herb...
Those are my kids out there.
You can spare
a couple of men on the levee.
I was just gonna tell you to be careful.
I will, thanks.
Hello, can anybody hear me?
It's dead.
What are we gonna do, Beth?
Dad's waiting for me to call
from the evacuation center.
When I don't, he'll know something's wrong
and he'll come and get us.
We gotta go now!
-[glass breaking]
-[Grandpa grunts]
[Beth] Grandpa!
-[Allie] Grandpa!
-[Beth] Grandpa!
Are you... Grandpa!
Are you... Oh, your head.
You're gonna be okay.
We cannot get out. We must go up.
-We must go up.
Up! Up!
-Careful, Grandpa.
You okay?
[Beth grunting]
It's a pretty lame truck
compared to yours.
I'll be getting a new one
as soon as I get some money.
Just so long as it gets us there
and gets us out.
It will.
It'll be a tight squeeze
once we pick them up though.
That's the least of my worries.
I love Beth, Mr. Dellenbach.
And I wanna marry her. If she'll have me.
I know we're young,
but I believe she loves me.
Well, she loves you, too, and Allie.
I know she's afraid to leave
'cause she's worried about
you raising Allie alone.
Well, she don't have to worry about me.
If she wants to leave,
I'll manage all right.
I don't think that's the point, Bobby.
-Well, what is the point, sir?
Belfield's Beth's home, Bobby.
Her family's lived in that house,
farmed that land for 100 years.
I don't think Beth wants to go anywhere.
I think she's afraid that might
sound kinda old-fashioned to you.
Oh, no, it doesn't.
No, it sounds good.
It sounds real good.
You know, my folks pretty much
wandered the country, you know,
one job to the next,
one trailer to another.
Here I am doing the same stupid things.
Well, a fellow with your qualities
oughta be able to build a good life.
Make a real home here.
[thunder rumbling]
[Grandpa] [singing]
Oh, little Ole
With his umbrella
He spreads it over
Each little fella
Each little girl
He covers with
Oh, little Ole
How I love you
Your mother used to love this song.
Grandpa, we can't stay here.
It'll be okay.
How is your head, Grandpa?
It's still attached.
I feel a little woozy, though.
The house is shaking,
like it's gonna break.
I guess the river wants
to take it away from us.
[softly] Hold on tight.
Hey, wait, wait.
Hold, hold, hold. Turn here.
[tires screeching]
I wanna get them as much as you do,
but take it easy.
I'm sorry, I know the way.
It's just the rain.
-What's that?
-[Beth] What's what?
-[Allie] That.
-[rats squeaking]
-Oh! Feral rats.
-[Allie screaming]
-[Beth] What do we do? Okay, come on.
-[Grandpa] Hold her up.
-[Grandpa] To the attic.
-[Beth] It's okay. It's okay. Oh!
[rats squeaking]
[Beth] We can...
-[Beth] Grandpa, what are we gonna do?
-[Grandpa] Up the attic.
Here we go.
-Go behind her.
-[Beth] Okay.
[Beth] Hurry up, hurry up. Let's go.
Okay, up, up, up. Quickly.
Quickly. Quickly.
-Come on, hurry up.
-[Grandpa] We gotta stay here.
[Beth] Pull the door.
Pull the door.
Those rats.
They've been trying to get
out of the flood.
Just like us.
But they cannot get up here.
We are safe. We are safe. Yeah.
When are we going to get out of here?
Well, Allie, in a few hours.
When the sun rises.
Someone will rescue us.
We'll be safe here till then.
We'll be safe.
[Herb] Careful, it looks flooded up ahead.
I'm gonna get out and push.
[electricity buzzing]
All right, Bobby, gun it.
Come on, Bobby, let's go.
Come on.
Come on!
Come on, we gotta get out of here. Quick.
Come on, give it a gun.
She's not budging.
Bobby, this pole's gonna go!
We gotta get out of here. Come on.
Come on. Let's go.
Bobby, don't.
That's the Mississippi River out there.
It's too dangerous.
The truck's gone and it's a ten-mile walk
back to Belfield.
We gotta go for it.
We can't get to them from here.
We'd drown. Or worse, we get electrocuted.
I wanna get those kids as much as you do.
But we're gonna have to have help.
We gotta go back to town.
[thunder rumbling]
I should have gone quietly,
the first time you came for me.
We shouldn't even be here now.
We're safe. That's all that matters.
We will be all right, won't we,
as soon as the sun rises?
Oh, no.
[Beth] The water.
[Allie] Here comes the water.
[Grandpa] Oh!
What are we gonna do now?
Nothing left but the roof.
[mumbles indistinctly]
[thunder rumbling]
It's coming.
It's done.
Help me out.
Come on.
Now, you go.
No, Grandpa, you go first,
and I'll hand Allie up to you.
[Grandpa grunts]
[Beth] Okay, Allie, it's your turn.
Okay, careful.
-[Grandpa] Come on, Allie.
There you are.
[Beth grunts]
-All right, Beth?
-[Beth] Yeah.
[Grandpa] Hold on.
Now then, let's move. Here.
-[Allie] Grab my hand.
-[Beth] I can't. I've got to hold on.
[Grandpa] Now, it's okay. I got you.
Hold her. Now... Hold her.
-Hold her. Hold her.
[Allie crying]
Allie! Allie! Allie!
-[Grandpa] Hold on!
-[Beth] Allie!
-Oh, no!
[indistinct shouting]
-Don't let go of me. Allie!
-[Allie screaming]
I'm coming. I'm coming.
No, Grandpa. You stay.
If I have to take care of you,
I might not reach Allie.
[Grandpa crying]
[Grandpa] Allie!
-[Beth] Allie.
-[Allie] Help!
-[Beth] Allie!
-[Allie] Help me!
Allie! Allie!
Allie, I'm coming.
-[Allie] Beth!
-[Allie] Beth!
-[Beth] Allie!
-[Allie] Beth!
-[Beth] Allie!
[Beth] I've got you. I've got you.
-Oh, God, are you okay?
-I think so.
My arm. I think it's broken.
[Beth] Oh! Well, here,
can you climb up my back.
Hold on tight.
-Hold on tight.
-[Allie] I am.
[Beth panting]
Here. Climb up on here.
I'm afraid I'm gonna fall off.
I'm right here.
I'll just ride along here with you.
-It's cold.
-I know.
We need to get out of the water.
Doesn't anybody drive on this road?
I can't believe I let them
come out here alone.
We both did, Mr. D.
Then we're gonna have to walk faster.
[Beth] Allie, look, a tree.
[Allie] Beth, grab the tree.
[Beth] Come on, Allie.
[Allie coughing]
[Beth grunts]
[Beth] Hold on there, okay?
-[Beth] Hold on.
[both coughing]
-[Beth] Grab on. Come on.
-[Allie] Okay.
[Beth] Get in there. Stay there.
Beth. Beth.
[Beth gasping]
[Beth] Are you okay?
[Allie coughing]
[thunder rumbling]
[Pat] Thank God it stopped raining.
[Sam] How high?
-Too high.
-Herb, where are the kids?
-Didn't they make it to the shelter?
-Oh! They're still out there.
Okay, everybody who's got a boat,
we gotta get them out of the water
-right now.
-Hold on a minute, Bobby.
Sam, take Herb up in the chopper.
It's the best way to search.
Yeah, you show me Jacob's house.
Odds are we either pick 'em up
-or we see 'em and get a boat over there.
-No, no, men in boats...
There're people out there. We gotta...
We've done this a million times.
It's the most efficient way
to conduct a search, okay?
Let's go, Herb.
-Okay, I'm coming with you.
-There's no room in the chopper
-if I gotta pick 'em up.
-Don't worry, Bobby, we'll find them.
[cell phone ringing]
Pat, I'm on my way down there now.
How's your levee?
Harry, we need every man you've got.
[Herb] Oh, no. They've been out
in that water for hours.
They could be anywhere.
Are there any tall landmarks
near Jacob's house?
Well, there's a chimney,
and then we got some
tall shade trees around the house.
[engine starts]
Herb, look there.
I don't believe it.
[helicopter blades whirring]
-[Sam] There's somebody on the roof.
-It's Jacob.
So where's my kids?
Come on. Come on.
Come on, come on.
You better go down.
-In the rain, Allie slipped over the roof.
-All right, all right.
We'll get you out.
Beth went out there.
I wanted to go too,
but she said I must stay.
Come in, Pat. It's Sam.
You better get that search
and rescue organized.
Herb's two kids are still missing.
[Pat] Roger that.
-I'm so sorry, Herb.
-It's all right, Jacob.
You did the right thing. You did.
Now, Beth's... She's a tough girl.
She'll be all right. We'll find them.
We're gonna find them. We will.
You take care of yourself, all right.
Each one of our boats will take three men.
Put one in each sector.
-Sam, your copter will take the east.
-Got it.
We got a lot of people with boats
who want in on this.
With respect, Sheriff, the National Guard
do search and rescue for a living.
Somebody's got to stay here
and raise that levee,
or you're gonna
lose your town this afternoon.
All we're saving
with that levee is buildings.
Herb Dellenbach's kids are out there.
We wanna help.
[commander] Mayor, if we put in
more people out there searching,
they'll just get in each other's way.
Do more harm than good.
Rog, uh...
I'm real grateful,
but we gotta let these people do
what they know how to do.
Herb, whatever is best for your kids,
that's what we want. Same as you.
Okay, let's move out.
Beth! Allie!
Pat, you've been knocking yourself
out here, and I just...
Now I've messed it all up.
You can't blame yourself, Herb.
Blame the river.
[Herb] I, uh...
[voice breaking]
I should have gone with them.
[sobbing] To Jacob's.
We gotta get going.
Hey, we're gonna find them.
I know we will.
All right? It's all that matters.
Well, you just save this town.
[sighs wearily]
[helicopter blades whirring]
Down here!
We're down here. Help, we're down here.
No sign yet. They couldn't have gone
this far though.
We're gonna head back upstream
and check it again.
Right here, under the tree.
Help! Help!
We're down here.
If they can't see us,
and they can't hear us,
they're never going to find us.
Beth, please don't cry.
I'm sorry, I'm just so cold.
I'm just scared.
-How many more people we need?
-Three, minimum.
-Five will be better.
-Come fired up.
Pat, we got a bad situation here.
The river's rising fast.
We gotta get these people out of here.
Not ask them to work harder.
We can do it, Harry.
-I know you were born here...
-No, forget about that, Harry.
Listen, if we can't
raise the levee high enough,
-maybe we can lower the river.
-[Harry laughs]
Yeah, we'll pull a plug
and drain it like a bathtub.
Yeah, that's exactly
what I'm talking about, Harry.
Look, this circle down here
from Belfield, it's all lowland.
It's all a part of the Mississippi's
flood plain,
which is cut off from the river
by this levee here.
Now, if we blow up this levee,
it will flood this area,
causing the river
to lower here at Belfield.
What makes you think that'll work?
Because the same exact thing just happened
to Jacob Gunderson's house
when the levee blew.
Pat, our job is to build levees,
not to blow them.
Our duty is to protect the people
and their homes
and their farms, not to flood them.
This entire area is evacuated.
By giving the river a few farms
to save Belfield,
otherwise this levee
and this town are gone.
Where are you going?
To survey that flood plain
and see if I'm right.
We didn't even build that levee, Pat,
it's private property.
Some farmer built that to protect
his home and his farm.
You can't expect him
to blow his own levee.
[Sam] Herb, come on,
I don't want you losing hope.
We're gonna find them.
[motorboat engine revving]
Here. Here. In here.
[Bobby] Beth! Allie!
I'm coming. I'm coming.
I'm coming. Hold on.
In here.
We're here.
-Allie's hurt.
-[Allie] My arm hurts.
[Bobby] I got you.
Here we go.
Here's a warm blanket.
Here's some water.
-Are you hurt?
-Where did you get this boat?
-I stole it.
Sort of. It doesn't matter.
I was so scared, Beth.
I love you.
I was so stupid.
We should have talked
and I pulled a girlish tantrum.
No, it was me, I was an idiot. I'm sorry.
If we talk, we can work it out.
I know we can.
-[Allie] I wanna go home.
-I know you do.
We gotta get her home.
We gotta get her back.
[Allie] [crying] I wanna see Daddy.
[engine starts]
We'll be okay.
Chopper 2. Herb.
I just got a radio call
from a Mr. Bobby Dupree.
He's got your kids
and he's bringing them home.
-They're safe and sound.
-Thank God.
Harry, would you call the hospital
and would you let Jacob know,
he'll be real happy to hear it.
You got it, Herb.
Thanks a lot.
That Bobby is a good boy.
-He's a good man.
Well, let's turn this thing around
and head back to Belfield.
All right.
Tell me, Sam, do you think we got a chance
of holding this river back.
We're gonna give it our best shot, Herb.
All right.
[man] Get that in.
-[Allie] Daddy.
-[Beth] Dad.
Beth! Allie!
[man] Hey, they got Herb's kids.
[Herb] Oh, Beth.
-You all right?
Hey. Baby.
-[Herb] [kisses] How you doing, honey?
-My arm hurts.
Okay, I got you. Your arm hurts?
We're gonna make it all better.
All right, baby?
Thank you, Bobby.
On your map,
that's Herb Dellenbach's levee, isn't it?
That's the only way, Harry.
You're gonna turn his farm into a lake.
Pat, wait.
He just got his kids back.
Don't ask him, Pat.
He can't possibly be thinking straight.
[Herb] She's got a hurt arm,
but it's gonna be just fine.
You're a brave girl.
-What about this fella here?
-I gotta congratulate you.
Job well done. Proud of you.
Well, now, you girls are all right,
so I'm gonna get back to work.
So, Bobby, you get them
to the evacuation center.
-Herb. Hey, Herb.
Listen, there's no way we can beat
the river, it's just rising too fast.
What are we gonna do?
Well, the only way we can save this town
is to blow up a levee.
What levee? This levee?
No, we're gonna keep building this one
as fast as we can.
Let me show you.
Now, if we blow up this levee,
just as the flood crest hits,
the river will rush through
the levee break and flood this valley.
Because this valley,
this entire area is a flood plain.
It's lower than the river.
That's my levee.
It'll wipe you out, Herb.
Take out your farm, your home.
If there was another way I could think
of saving this town, believe me...
Herb, I can't even
guarantee if this'll work.
My grandpa built that house, and it's old,
it's drafty
and we'll just build a new one.
That house has been
in your family for 100 years.
Pat, these folks here
were willing to give up
their homes to save my kids.
That's why I live here.
I got my kids.
So you just go right ahead
and you do what you need to do.
Get the demolition squad here now.
Before the river gets here.
You're a good man, Herb.
You haven't changed a bit.
[chuckles softly]
[men talking indistinctly]
[man 1] Down a little further.
[man 2] That'll do it.
Here we go.
Let's go, we're slowing down, come on.
Keep your feet on the bag,
don't let it take them.
[indistinct shouting]
[Pat] Okay, take that.
Let's go. Keep it moving.
How we doing, guys?
[Bobby] Come on, we can beat this.
[Herb] All right, we better clear out.
[man] More bags.
We're out of time.
We're about to be overtopped right now.
Roger that.
-Are you ready?
-We need more time.
There is no time.
We're overtopping at Belfield now.
I need that river to blow through
that hole, and I...
Pat, it takes time
to set the explosives up properly.
I don't know what it's gonna do.
Now, whether I push this button or not,
it's your call, not mine.
[Beth exhales]
I'm so proud of you, Dad.
Come on. Go on,
I'll catch up with you. Hurry up.
-[truck door closes]
-[engine starts]
We gotta go.
[indistinct shouting]
[Sheriff] It's coming. It's coming.
Keep bagging, keep bagging, stay up there.
That's it. That's it.
[man] Come on, people.
It's coming over.
It's coming over.
We're out of time. Get off the levee now.
No. We can make it. We can make it.
-Move it. Move it.
-Come on.
Get out!
[people clamoring]
Everybody into the truck.
Get off the levee!
[man] Go, go, go, go!
Come on, get off there.
Pat, we're overtop, we're out of here.
Is everybody out and clear?
[man] Everybody is out and clear.
Forgive me.
It's all right. Just do it.
-Blow it.
Everybody into the truck.
Get off the levee.
Pat, it's too late, we lost it.
I'm sorry.
No, it's okay. It's...
It's gonna be okay.
[man] No, we'll wait for you, hurry up.
Are you seeing what I'm seeing?
There's less water.
[Sheriff] There's less water.
-Are we gonna make it?
-I hope so.
-Oh! Beth.
-[Allie] Grandpa!
[Harry] Do not leave your vehicles.
The flood crest is still coming.
Be prepared to leave.
Stay by your vehicles.
-I thought it was too late.
-So did I.
I don't believe this.
We should be swimming.
It's down a half a foot.
It's still going down.
It's down to a foot.
It's down two feet.
[all cheering]
It's falling.
You did it. You did it.
All right.
We did it.
I can't believe we did it.
So, what now?
Well, we can rebuild your house,
make it better.
And raise a family.
Will you marry me?
In Belfield.
-Herb, it runs in the family.
Well, I guess she's old enough.
Oh, come on, after this,
Allie's old enough.
Pat, we can never, never thank you enough.
And, Herb,
we can never forget what you did.
And we'll see to it that your new house
is the biggest house on Belfield.
Thanks, Rog, don't forget about Malcolm.
You bet. [chuckles]
An outstanding job.
Whatever you did, you go do it
for the towns downstream.
Thanks for your help.
-You did well, Sam.
-Thanks, Harry.
-You're still a lousy engineer.
You, uh...
-You did great.
-Me? Oh!
All I did was destroy your house and farm.
Look, Pat, uh,
I've been thinking.
[whispering] I wish you didn't have to go.
Not again.
It's just that these...
These towns are gonna need my help.
The river's still flooding.
Yeah, I know. You and that river of yours.
[Pat] Herb, I have to go.
But when this river quits...
I mean, this town's gonna need
a real levee.
-Right, Harry?
And we have an engineer
who'd love to come home,
and help me build it.
[Herb] We won that summer's war
against the Mississippi,
but a lot of other towns were lost.
Thousands of lives were ruined.
My farm stayed underwater for two months.
Then Pat and I rebuilt the house
high up on the bluff.
That way, we know it'll always
be here for our family.
Right alongside that river
we've come to love so much.