Wish You Well (2013) Movie Script

When I was ten,
and my brother, Oz, was seven,
our lives changed.
Our lives changed
in the blink of an eye.
- I assume you're our driver?
- We're here to take you to the farm.
In this?
This is unacceptable.
We require a proper ambulance.
After that, I'll need to inspect
the accommodations
to ensure that they're acceptable and...
Hello, children. I'm Louisa.
And I know you go by Lou and Oz.
Welcome to Virginia.
This here's my friend, Eugene.
Excuse me, madam.
You can't expect us to ride back there.
No, I checked the fare back.
There's enough right here
to get you on the first train out.
Perhaps you don't speak English
that well. I'm coming with you.
Perhaps you don't understand how folks
around here feel about trespassers.
We take it very seriously.
And I've never fired
a warning shot in my life.
Come on now.
Amanda, it's Louisa.
I'm so glad we finally get to meet.
That's Hell no.
What you looking at?
- Hop in, Diamond.
- Come on, Jeb. Come on.
Who's that?
Howdy y'all.
I expect y'all being
Ms. Louisa's people.
Folks around here call me Diamond.
My daddy say that's how hard my head be.
I'm Lou. This is Oz.
Sorry to hear about your momma
being hurt.
She's going to get better.
- Are we here?
- Oh, no.
Hell No's just dropping me off
at the river to go fishing.
- His name's Eugene.
- Folks around here call him Hell No.
Well, when Hell No was a baby,
his daddy left him.
Folks asked, "You gonna come back
and get him?" He said, "Hell, no!"
John Jacob Cardinal.
Not now, Amanda.
- We can't live off awards, Jack.
- I said, not now, Amanda!
I wish you'd stop doing that.
It's not going to help.
Your problem is
you don't believe in anything.
And your problem is
you believe in everything.
Everything all right?
- What is that for, Oz?
- A way to help Mom.
Lou doesn't believe it.
believing in something is...
a lot better than having an empty heart.
What smells?
- Well, that'd be manure.
- Oh, you'll get to love that smell.
Now come on over here.
Eugene's gonna show you how to plow.
Now Mable here is about as strong
as anything in the world.
I read an animal book.
They have to show them who's in charge.
I guess Mable didn't read that book.
Lou, Oz, I want you to meet
Cotton Longfellow.
He's one of the finest lawyers
around here.
Well, seeing as I'm also one
of the only lawyers around here,
that is a dubious distinction.
Lou fell in manure.
That's why she smells.
I don't know a farmer worth his take
who hasn't fallen in manure at least once.
I want to say how sorry I am
for your father's passing.
He was one of the greatest writers
this country has ever had.
Lou, I think you might get along
right well with Mr. Longfellow.
Are you related
to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow?
- I am indeed.
- He was a great writer, too.
I live in the shadow of greatness.
Can be a little difficult
for some family members.
Well, Mr. Longfellow and I
have things to talk over,
so you... you best go get cleaned up.
You go help your sister.
It's nice to meet you, Oz, Lou.
So what'd you find out, Cotton?
there is no money...
in Jack Cardinal's estate.
there are a lot of unpaid
hospital bills for Ms. Amanda.
Well, we'll get by, we always do.
What exactly is wrong with Ms. Amanda?
Mental trauma...
is what the doctor in New York wrote me.
Say she may not get better.
It's up to her.
Maybe up to God.
mental trauma can sometimes
be overcome by mental stimulation.
What better way to stimulate somebody
than to read to them,
particularly something
that they are very familiar with.
My eyes ain't what they used to be.
I would be honored to read to her.
Wake up, Lou.
Lou. Wake up, Lou. Breakfast is ready.
Eugene's gonna take you to school.
It's all right. Go ahead.
Can anybody tell me where the second
and fourth grade classes are?
Sure. Come on.
Right over here.
Of course, that's just for Yankees.
Class, I'd like to introduce
Louisa Mae and Oscar Cardinal.
Louisa Mae and Oscar,
will you stand up please?
My name is Lou.
Their father was Jack Cardinal,
a famous writer and my former student.
Even met President Roosevelt.
And I hear that Louisa Mae
is also a writer.
we welcome you, Louisa Mae and Oscar.
My name is Lou.
Why, it's Miss Louisa Mae.
You've been up to see
the President, too?
Are you always this scintillating?
You call me a name?
Didn't you call us Yankees?
You're living with that old woman
and that crippled colored.
Pa said she ain't keeping
that farm going.
Not with three more mouths to feed.
I don't care what your Pa says.
He got a wad a cash as big as my fist.
Then maybe he should
spend it on his family.
You best take that back.
Make me.
Shoot. I ain't hitting no girl.
You're going to have to.
Unless you can take that back.
What have we got here?
- I guess you ain't much of a writer.
- She is too a writer.
Dang you, you no good
stinking blue blood.
Stop it!
Hey! You stop it, now!
- Get off of me.
- Now you apologize to each other!
- You can go straight to hell!
- Stop your nonsense, Billy.
Louisa Mae, come back here!
Ma'am, her name is Lou.
Glad to see you made such
a nice first impression, Lou.
- They called us Yankees.
- Oh, good Lord, ain't that evil.
The boy said we were going
to lose the farm.
It'll be okay, Oz.
I got this for my last birthday.
I want you to have it.
Birthday presents are special, Lou.
But I want to help.
This land has provided
for me all my life.
I think it'll provide for us now.
I know it's a lot with three
more mouths to feed, but...
I wouldn't trade it for all the money
in the world, honey.
Hi, Cotton.
Hey, Cotton.
What are you doing here?
Well, I'm gonna read one
of your father's books to your mother.
Our dad already read
all his books to her.
Besides, she can't hear you anyway.
Lou, go change your clothes
and help Eugene with the chores.
Go on.
Reading to Mom is a good idea.
Thank you Oz. I will do my best.
Good afternoon, Ms. Amanda.
My name is Cotton Longfellow.
And it will be my pleasure
to read to you.
What you working on there, Ms. Lou?
A story.
What it be about?
I don't know, Eugene.
Anything else we can do, Eugene?
- Firewood's got to go inside.
- I'll do it.
What are you going to do now?
- More chores.
- Can I help?
Come on.
"The dirt lane nudged over to the north,
"as it cleared a rise.
"Here the land splayed out
into a broad valley of simple beauty,
"green meadows were bracketed by vast
forests of every wood the state boasted.
"Next to the meadow were cleared
patchwork fields that yielded to...
"weathered gray,
and wrapped with naked
rambling rose vines..."
Cotton was reading my father's words.
Words about this place.
The fields he used to play in.
My only memories of my dad
had been in New York.
But now,
now I was starting to feel him
all around me here,
in this place, too.
- All right. Good boy.
- Good boy, Jeb.
Hell No, come here. Throw it.
Give it a whirl.
Diamond told me about Eugene's
daddy leaving him.
That is a darn lie.
Eugene's daddy did not leave him,
he was killed in a logging accident.
And then after his Auntie passed on,
I took him in.
So why do people call him
that awful name?
Because they're ignorant, that's why.
Memories are a funny thing.
People like to change the past
so they can remember what it is
they want to remember.
- All right, good boy.
- Good boy, Jeb.
How'd you learn how to toss like that?
Your brother's got a really good arm.
What'd you do for fun in the city?
Ever go skinny dippin' in a gravel pit?
There aren't gravel pits in Brooklyn.
I haven't met a boy like Diamond before.
He lived all by himself on the mountain.
His mom had died when he was born
and his dad died
during a mining accident.
The whole mountain had fallen on him.
Louisa said that Diamond and I
were like family.
We're distant cousins.
I never knew I had so much family here.
This here well, it's magic.
What do you mean?
There was a guy and a gal,
they want to get hitched,
but their families wouldn't let them.
So, they made a plan to run off.
Only something happened,
and the fella, he thought
the gal done got killed.
he come down here and he jump in.
That gal, she found out,
she come down here and she jump in, too.
- That sounds like Romeo and Juliet.
- Who?
What makes it magic, Diamond?
them two people, dying for each other,
that's what made the well magic.
Anybody have a wish,
they come down here, it'll happen.
- There's just one little catch.
- What?
You got to give up the most
important thing you got,
just like they did.
But how do you know if it works?
Well, this here bucket,
- swing from left to right.
- Lou, maybe we can...
- No, Oz.
- But...
It's just like your stupid necklace,
it won't work.
Mom's never coming back.
This morning's lessons
we will practice our letters.
Please take out your books
and write each letter five times.
Lou, is something wrong?
I'm gonna whoop you.
Go get 'em, Will, go get 'em!
What the hell is going on here?
Billy got in another fight, George.
Sorry, pa.
I was working in the damn fields, boy.
Now get up.
Did that damn girl do that to you?
I ain't through with you, boy.
- George, you leave him be.
- Get off of me.
Next year, no more damn school for you.
- You hear me?
- Yes, sir.
Why don't you let Billy decide that?
He a boy, he do what I say.
- Well, I see me a fine young man.
- He ain't a grown man.
Yeah, but you are, so you keep
your hands off of him!
You got that big colored living
in your house, don't ya?
God gonna strike you dead.
God gonna strike you down for that.
Got that Injun blood in ya.
You don't belong here, old woman.
If you ever lay a hand on him again,
you'd better pray to whatever God
it is you counsel with,
that I don't find you, George Davis.
Do you know who you're messing with,
old woman?
Yeah, I know who I'm messing with.
Your daddy beat you bad
and he starved you and your sisters.
Many a time I tried
to come between ya's.
And now you've grown up
to be just like him.
Well, Billy's not gonna be like that.
Billy. Wake up, come on.
Come on.
You're gonna hear from me, woman.
Don't you worry, Ms. Louisa,
that man ain't gonna touch you
or the children while I'm around.
Come on, children.
Why did George Davis
say you don't belong here?
Well, my daddy was part Cherokee
and some folks around here don't like that.
Me, I'm proud of it.
So you got Native blood in you, too.
I think that's pretty special.
You should've seen Billy's face
when he opened that lunch pail.
It was so funny.
Oh, look.
Wild grapes.
They're all around here
if you know where to look.
Chestnuts on the ground,
wild onions underneath.
We can get a whole meal
out of this land...
- 'out even lifting a finger.
- They're amazing.
Tell me, Lou,
did you see any food in Billy's pail?
You see, what I find funny is that some
children feel they ought to be ashamed
when their daddy doesn't see fit
to give them anything.
So ashamed that they had to haul
a pail to school and pretend to eat,
so nobody would catch on
that their daddy gives them nothin'.
Do you find that funny, Lou?
- No.
- No.
You see, you had a fine daddy
who loved you very much.
And I know that makes it harder
now that he's gone, but...
the thing is,
Billy Davis has to live
with his daddy every day.
And I pray with all my heart
that he survives it.
Why didn't my dad ever come back here?
You never know what's
in someone else's heart, Lou.
No matter how hard you try.
I wish that my mom would wake up.
Hey, come on! I gotta show you
something. Get your brother.
- Where are we going?
- Come on. We're gonna go see God!
Diamond said every time he came here
God will send him an angel.
He thought he had
a right good regime of 'em.
This is where God touched the earth.
Maybe someday they'll name it after me.
- Put 'er there. Come on, boy.
- What are they doing?
George Davis, he has a still up here.
So the sheriff won't catch him
making moonshine.
- Jeb! Jeb!
- What's that?
You come back here!
Diamond, look out!
- Diamond!
- Billy, go see what that is.
- Run, Oz!
- Hey, you! Get over here!
- Lou!
- I'm gonna get ya!
- Where you runnin', boy?
- Help, Lou!
Hey, who told you you could come here?
Let him go!
- Stop! Daddy, no!
- What are you doing?
Come on. Get up! Run, y'all!
What the hell, Billy?
What's wrong with you? Get up!
Don't you ever touch my gun again,
you understand? Never, boy!
You busted up my still!
Don't you dare!
Them little devils tore up my property.
And I'm here to get paid.
Well, why don't you show the sheriff
what they done to your still
- and he can tell me what's fair.
- You know I can't do that, woman.
Well, then you can find your way
off my property.
Now get off before I lose patience
and you lose blood.
- I'll pay you George Davis.
- You little vermin.
My head still burns from where you
clocked me and I don't appreciate it at all.
You lucky then,
'cause I could've hit you harder.
You close that trap,
you don't smart mouth me, you boy.
You want your money or not?
You ain't got no money.
Got a silver dollar right here.
It's a 100 years old.
Man in Tramont, he told me
he'd pay me 20 dollar for it.
Diamond, don't.
What a man do?
You got to have consequences.
Now look, if I give you this...
you ain't coming back to Ms. Louisa
for nothing. You got to swear.
Sure. Sure, I swear.
Come on, give it to me, I swear.
Now get you gone, George.
All right, Louisa.
But next time,
my gun don't miss.
Thanks for the coin.
Oz, why don't you go in
and get cleaned up.
And Diamond, you go in the barn and milk
the cow. Take that dang dog with you.
Now if you run off like that,
and you take your little brother
with you,
he'd cross through fire for ya.
I'm ashamed of you.
I'm really sorry.
If you ever pull another thing like that,
you're gonna feel my hand across your skin.
And believe me, it's something
you ain't ever gonna forget.
Hey, Billy. What's the matter, child?
Ma's baby coming.
She sent me to get you.
She don't feel right.
I'm gonna drive you.
Well, you can drive me,
but I'll walk home.
I don't want you staying
around George Davis.
I'm coming with you.
- No, this is no place for you.
- I want to help.
Billy, is your pa there?
Mare gonna drop its foal.
He's staying in the barn 'til it come.
I'll get my things.
I brought you a present.
Here's one for you.
And one for you.
We still have some time here,
you can go on outside, I'll call you.
How many have you delivered?
Forty two in forty seven years.
I remember 'em all.
And they all lived?
You go on outside now.
I'll let you know when.
Breathe, Sally. Just deep breaths.
That's good. That's good.
I'm sorry about putting
that snake in your pail.
I did it to you first.
My pa kill a man that done it to him.
You're not your dad, Billy.
If I tell him I'm fetching Ms. Louisa...
he'd be mad.
We're here to help your mother.
He can't have a problem with that.
Is that right?
- How's your foal, pa?
- Dead.
What's she doing here?
I got them to help ma.
Ms. Louisa's inside right now.
That woman's inside my house?
It's time. Come on. The baby's comin'.
Listen, you got no business
being here, old woman.
Sally needs help.
Are you gonna do it? Come on.
If it's a girl,
you let her die, you hear?
Don't need me no more damn girls.
He looks like you.
What will you be naming
your new baby boy?
They call you Lou.
- That be your name, girl?
- Well, sort of.
Then it be Lou.
I have a brother, Lou.
when the crops are in,
you come see me, all right?
Okay, Ms. Louisa.
Why did Billy's mother marry
a man like George Davis?
Well, 'cause he owned
his own land and livestock.
She could've left the mountain.
Well, this mountain
is all she's ever known.
It's hard to leave that.
Have you ever thought about leaving?
No, I never have.
Me and this land get along
right well. Like family.
I think we'd both be lost
without the other.
And when I'm gone,
it'll belong to you and Oz.
I've never owned anything.
Well, you don't exactly own land, Lou.
You and the high rock just kinda
take care of each other.
Did you have any other children
besides my grandfather?
had me a little girl...
named Annie.
She was so pretty when she was born.
I knitted her a pink cap.
It fit her head real good.
What happened?
Her little chest rose and fell
and rose and fell.
Then it forgot to rise again.
Doesn't seem fair, a momma
don't get to see her baby's eyes
at least once.
My dad died in that accident,
'cause he and my mom were arguing.
Well, Lou, people pass
when it's their time.
We can't forget 'em,
but we got to go on living.
And the folks we still have with us,
they deserve all the help
we can give 'em.
I think it's time I showed you
something. Come on.
These are the letters
your mother wrote to me.
I didn't know she did that.
There might be a lot
you don't know about her.
It's time you learned.
- Cotton! Cotton! Cotton!
- Hey, Cotton!
Well, look who's in town.
What are you doing here?
My office is in the courthouse here.
What are you doing here?
- Louisa gave us the day off.
- Oh, nice.
Well, what's say you give me a couple
of hours and I'll take you all to lunch?
We don't have a watch.
my father, he gave me this
when I first moved here.
He told me I would have
a lot of time on my hands.
I guess he wanted me
to keep track of it?
How about you keep track of it.
Two hours. All right?
Have fun. And Diamond,
you keep out of trouble, you hear?
- How much for a slice of pie?
- A nickel.
Hey you, get them dirty fingers
away from my pie.
- Where you from boy? The mountain?
- No, I'm from the moon.
You just march yourself on away from here.
Get back up the mountain where you belong.
Hey, get! You little...
Atta boy, Jeb.
- Come on, Oz, let's go.
- Hey... why you leaving?
Because... we're from the mountain, too.
That's some mighty fine eatin', Cotton.
- Yeah, I agree, Diamond. It's good food.
- Thanks, Cotton.
- John!
- Hello, Mr. Cotton.
What's going on?
The coal business is gone.
I lost my job at the mine.
You didn't sell
to Southern Valley, did you?
Yes, sir, I did.
Me and most of the people
on this side of the mountain.
Well, take care.
- Good luck.
- Thank you.
Your parents were nice looking.
Yeah, they was.
Why didn't you tell me about them?
Why should I?
Because we're friends.
I never knowed my mom, but...
I try to think of what
her voice would be like.
- It's hard not having parents.
- You still got a momma.
No, I don't.
Don't you ever give up
on a breathing body, Lou.
You're good at telling stories.
Maybe you should try writing.
Shoot. I don't know no big words
except for Hallelujah.
You're a good friend.
You're like family.
My daddy say that there are
two things in life you die for,
friends and family.
Sometimes they're one in the same.
Maybe they are.
What's that, Lou?
Nothing important.
"The wind ride on tree limbs,
"the underbrush was thick
with sounds of stealthy movement
"and the tall grass seemed to clutch
at the boy's pant legs.
"The little boy was certain
that regiments of hobgoblins
"were roaming nearby
in full terrifying splendor.
"Yet something inside him had clearly
risen superior to these horrors.
"For he did not once think
of turning back.
maybe once, he admitted to himself.
"Or perhaps twice.
"He ran hard for a while,
making his way over the knolls,
"navigating crisscross gullies and stumbling
through the jungle of dense woods.
He cleared one last grove
of trees, stopped..."
There's a diamond in here.
- A diamond?
- Yep.
Chip a little piece off it every day,
and before you know it,
it'll be the purtiest diamond
anyone ever saw.
Maybe you could sell it
for a lot of money.
I ain't need no money.
Got everything I need,
right here on this mountain.
What's going on over there?
Well, coal company's got all the money,
now they want all the land.
You want to sell your property,
that's my price.
Come on down...
It seemed everywhere I looked,
there were signs going up.
Sold to Southern Valley Coal.
Diamond never forgave the coal company
for what they did to his father.
Or for what they were doing
to the mountain.
Don't you even think about it,
Diamond Skinner.
I be seeing you!
- What was that all about?
- Nothing you have to worry about.
- Who was that?
- Judd Wheeler.
He owns a coal company
that killed my dad.
Y'all know about the stars?
Yeah. That's Big Dipper and Pegasus.
Ain't heard of those, but...
there's the Bear that's missing one leg.
And over there,
that's the stone chimney.
You sure do know a lot
about stars, Diamond.
Well, when you're up here
in the mountains, you're closer to 'em.
You get to see 'em better
than other folks.
There's coal in that there rock.
Pickaxe can't do job.
You gotta use dynamite.
- Is it dangerous?
- No. Done it myself.
But if you ain't careful,
you can blow yourself up good.
You know, after it blows, maybe I could
take you in, show you around.
You should think about coming
to live with us.
You could be my big brother.
Maybe I will.
Jeb! Jeb, stop! Come back here!
- Jeb! Diamond!
- Jeb, come here!
- Come back here, Jeb!
- Diamond, wait now. Stop!
- No! Lou, no!
- Hey. Wait here, Ms. Lou.
- Come here, boy!
- I'll get him.
Jeb, come back!
- Come out of there!
- Come on now! Come on!
Eugene, where is he? Where is he?
Where's Diamond? Eugene, where is he?
Sorry, Ms. Lou.
Ms. Lou.
It's okay.
People pass and it's natural,
the old making way for the new,
but when a child dies,
it just turns everything upside down.
I don't know much,
but I do know that...
Diamond's up there
right now, telling God a story.
And God is laughing.
And that's all any of us
need to carry in our hearts
about this young man.
I can close my eyes and wish...
and wish,
but you are never coming back.
- Where you going?
- Going to send a letter.
In your nightgown?
A lot to take to market.
What do you want?
Hey, Billy.
Hey, you know you're just in time.
I was just saying what are we
gonna do with all this food?
Come on over here and take this home.
Lou, put this one on Billy's cart.
And if your daddy say anything about this
you tell him to come talk to me.
Before long, Ms. Louisa,
I won't care what my pa says.
It's not fair. George Davis sells
his crops and we feed his family?
I'll tell you what's fair,
a momma and her babies having
food to eat. That's what's fair.
You remember that.
What are those?
Just some old letters from Mom.
Would you read them to me?
All right. Just one.
"Dear Louisa, I hope you are doing well.
"Oz is over the whooping cough
and is finally sleeping through the night."
Me! She wrote about me!
"Your great granddaughter is amazing."
Your great granddaughter
is amazing, Louisa.
Her mind is so quick.
I'm afraid she finds me a little boring.
I know she wants more than anything
to be a writer like her father,
but she needs to understand that
every writer has to find their own voice.
But when Lou opens up her heart
and lets the words pour from her
I know the world will have another
mighty fine writer... named Cardinal.
That was a good letter.
Good night, Oz.
Night, Lou.
I guarantee you it's going to be
a Jim dandy of a Christmas now,
I'm telling you.
With the gas we're gonna get out of this,
this hole in the ground here...
- Let me go! Please! Please!
- George!
What is going on up there?
What... What is going on here?
Louisa's kin.
Think she heard?
Don't know.
Ms. Cardinal. I'm Judd Wheeler,
President of Southern Valley.
He pays you to steal
other people's land.
You're a little bit
of a problem now, aren't you?
- If you were my daughter...
- She's not!
Now let's calm damn, folks.
It's just business.
Well, then it's good I've got
my lawyer here, isn't it?
Ms. Cardinal, I'm happy to offer you
fifty thousand dollars for your property.
Well, that offer is for the underlying
mineral rights only, of course.
No. I've got bigger plans
for her property.
It's the perfect location.
I don't see one negative.
Well, except I ain't sellin' it to you.
My company is looking to make
a substantial investment here.
Now how can you stand
in the way of that?
On my own two feet.
Louisa, you'd be rich.
No, I wouldn't. I'd just have
a whole bunch of money I don't need.
- Louisa, you's crazy.
- Well, then you sell him your land.
They can't get to my land
without crossing your property!
Well, that's not my problem, is it?
- Fool woman!
- You get goin' now.
That was a lot of money.
one thing you got to remember
about these coal people,
and I told this to your daddy, too,
they got one job on this earth
and that's stealing the sun.
Because once they get through
destroying our land,
there gonna be no need for no more sun.
Well, thank you, Myrtle.
Land doesn't look nearly
as free on paper, does it?
No, Ms. Louisa, it don't.
But George Davis was right,
he's land locked.
They gotta cross your land
or he ain't gonna get nothin'.
That damn coal company
is not gonna get my farm
and destroy the mountain
and ruin the land.
Not while I'm...
You all right?
Is there a chair?
- There you go.
- Thank you.
Those children are gonna need you.
I ain't know how to take care
of Lou and Oz.
Sure you do. You've been
taking care of me for years.
They need their momma.
No, no, no, they just need someone
to love 'em and take care of 'em.
Even if I could take care of 'em,
ain't nobody gonna let me do it.
Eugene, when I took you in,
you were just a little boy.
Scared of his own shadow.
Look at you now.
What a fine human being you are.
You're gonna show 'em the way.
What are you doing here?
You tell that old woman...
she better sell this place.
Get off our land! Now!
You leave my sister alone!
You damn bastard. Come here!
Come here, you little bastards!
Hell No. You touch a white man, boy?
You know that ain't never been my name.
It be Eugene Randall.
Don't you never call me nothin' else.
Thank you, Eugene.
Go on now.
I want to read you one of my stories.
"It was a pretty fall day
"and the leaves were yellow and red.
"A little girl was running.
"At last, she could see
the big house on the hill.
She didn't live there,
but she always wanted to."
Lou! This came for you
from the magazine!
Okay, Oz.
Louisa, look!
A hundred dollars?
I am so proud of you.
Congratulations, honey.
Thank you.
- A hundred dollars is a lot of money.
- It sure is.
Here you go.
That is a mighty fine story, Lou.
Diamond would have been real proud.
Plus, you get to pay a few bills?
So how does it feel
to sell your first story?
I was wondering how my dad felt.
Well, I'm sure he felt
exactly like you feel right now.
How about I treat you to lunch?
I'd be honored.
You finish your homework?
I need to know why my dad
never came back here.
This is your daddy's father and mother,
my son, Jacob,
and his wife, Susan.
Susan run off and left Jacob.
And when your daddy was just a...
a young'un.
I guess the mountain
didn't agree with her.
I can still hear your daddy's voice
calling her... over and over.
"I want my mother!"
And Jacob,
he just never got over her leaving.
Your daddy and I watched
a man we both love
die... a little bit every day
until there was just...
nothing left of him.
It was hard...
watching my...
my son die.
But it was harder on your daddy,
losing first his mother
and then his father.
You know, I loved your daddy as much
as I loved anything in this whole world,
but I understand why he didn't
wanna come back here,
the place where...
all that sorrow got a hold of him.
I tried to help him,
I really did,
I failed.
I just... I just failed him.
He... he named me after you.
And this.
My dad's last book.
Open it to the first page.
"To Louisa Mae Cardinal,
"the one who showed me...
light from the dark."
Thank you.
Thank you.
Hey, Billy!
Come here! Come here, you! Get.
Come on!
The next one that touches
Eugene is dead.
Hang on a second. Crazy woman.
Thank you for coming to tell us.
What? Louisa, what's wrong?
- Louisa!
- Ms. Louisa!
Ms. Louisa!
She's resting now,
but she's had a stroke.
It'll be fine.
She'll be fine.
Afternoon, Wheeler.
What can I do for ya?
Coal's run out.
Town's going to hell.
every lick of coal and gas
could disappear from this earth
and Louisa will be just fine.
I'm... raisin' my offer.
I assume you have power of attorney.
No, I don't.
Anything else?
Consider yourself served.
The coal company was trying
to declare Louisa incompetent
so that they could take her land.
But her mind was still with us.
Even if she couldn't speak,
her eyes were telling me
not to be afraid.
- Good luck.
- Well, thank you, Lou.
You ready to have a go at this?
As ready as you are.
I seriously doubt that.
Judge, George Davis has a vested
interest in the outcome of this case.
- George?
- Yes?
Can you keep a fair
and open mind about this case?
Sure, Henry.
Sure I can.
Me and Louisa, we're like good friends.
We get along good.
- He's lying!
- Oz, sit down.
He's a sweet boy.
Doctor Ross, can you state
your fine credentials for the jury?
I'm chief of the psychiatric department
at the county hospital.
And I've handled
more than 500 cases like this one.
And what, in your expert opinion,
is Ms. Cardinal's condition?
She should be institutionalized.
No further questions.
Mr. Longfellow.
how many of the people that you have
examined have you found to be incompetent?
A hundred percent? Ninety five?
Ninety five sounds about right.
That is a lot of crazy people.
I just call 'em like I see 'em, lawyer.
Yeah, I'm sure that you do.
How many stroke victims
that you have examined have you found
to be mentally incompetent?
None that I can recall.
So even though one
may not be able to talk or move,
she may fully understand what is going on.
In fact, over time, Ms. Cardinal
may have a complete recovery.
I doubt that.
Since you yourself admitted that
you are not an expert in stroke victims,
I would like that last statement
removed from the record.
You are hereby instructed
to disregard that last
statement of Dr. Ross.
No more questions.
Ms. Cardinal, when she gets better,
can take care of her own affairs.
She won't have any land left.
Well, I think she can take comfort
in the hundred thousand dollars
that Southern Valley has offered her.
Judge? Judge, he has just... just as good
as bribed this jury and the whole town.
I withdraw the statement.
" Three cows lay in the grass
in one protected space
"while a Rhone horse grazed alone
in a small snake rail corral.
"And rising high above all this
were the Appalachians."
Ms. Amanda, you need to come back to us.
For more reasons than you know.
Memories are a funny thing.
People like to change the past
so they can remember
what it is they want to remember.
Not now, Amanda!
We can't live off awards, Jack,
unless we move to Virginia.
- Leaving New York?
- Not now, Lou!
- I don't want to move!
- I said not now!
It wasn't your fault that dad died.
It was mine.
I love you.
She's gonna lose the farm, isn't she?
sometimes you can't get justice
even in a court of law, Lou.
I think I just got my miracle.
Your Honor, I call Eugene Randall.
Cotton found his miracle.
He put Southern Valley on trial
for Diamond's death.
How many times do you reckon
you used dynamite in that mine?
Fifty times or more.
Well, I'd say that makes you an expert.
And after you set the dynamite
what did you do?
Well the... the shaft curves
in a couple of different places
so I usually just wait around
the curve or go outside.
When the dynamite exploded,
where were you?
Forty feet in.
Not even to the first curve.
Throwed me ten feet.
And where did you set the dynamite?
Well, past the second curve.
Two hundred twenty feet in.
And where did you find Diamond's body?
Another 40 feet in.
And in your expert opinion,
do you think that there is any way
that that dynamite could have thrown
Diamond's body that far?
No, sir.
Thank you, Eugene.
Nothing further.
You ever been to school, boy?
There ain't no school for colored here.
And yet you're up here
testifying under oath
to all these precise distances.
Yes, sir.
Now how can that be
for an uneducated colored man
who has never even added one plus one
under the eyes of a teacher?
Ms. Louisa taught me.
And I handy with saw and hammer.
Now you cut a three foot board
to fill a four foot space
what exactly have you done?
in a dark mine how can you be
so sure of the distances, boy?
I painted the walls in that mine
in ten foot parcels over 400 feet in.
You can see 'em as clear as day.
And you can put down
what I done said here
as the word of the Lord.
Are you done with the witness?
I have no further questions, your Honor.
You're excused, Mr. Randall.
The court thanks you
for your expert testimony.
You heard Eugene testify.
Now under those circumstances,
is there any way
that that dynamite charge
could have caused
those injuries to Diamond?
That would have been impossible.
Have you ever seen
injuries like that before?
There was an explosion
at a manufacturing company,
12 men were killed.
And what caused that explosion?
Natural gas leak.
Natural gas leak.
Nothing further, your Honor.
You found natural gas
on Ms. Cardinal's property, didn't you?
Yeah, that's right.
And why didn't you post signs saying
that there was gas in there?
We... we didn't want people to know
what we were doing up there.
Because you wanted to buy her land
for a lot less than it was worth.
Why didn't you come forward
when Diamond Skinner was killed, sir?
Answer the question.
Why didn't you come forward
after Diamond Skinner was killed?
- Why didn't you come forward...
- I didn't want the boy to die like that!
It was...
It was just business.
Well, he did die.
Just like that.
Let me give you good folks the...
legal side of this case
and it's not complicated.
Like a good birddog,
it points in one direction
and one direction only.
Southern Valley killed Diamond Skinner.
And now they seek to use the tragedy
of Louisa Mae to take her land.
The law clearly states...
that one cannot profit
from one's misdeeds.
Now if what Southern Valley did
does not qualify as a misdeed
then there is nothing
on this earth that does.
You can pull the gas
out of the mountain,
but in time,
just like the coal, it will be gone.
And so will Southern Valley.
You want a savior?
Then look to yourselves,
rely on each other,
just as Louisa Mae
has been doing her whole life.
For her, the resources of the land
are never exhausted
because she never tried
to tear its soul out.
And her reward
is to live a decent, honest life...
for as long as she desires.
I want to say something.
You know she would never sell her land
'cause that land is like her family.
It may not seem like much
to those who want to destroy it,
but it means everything
to the people who call
the mountain home.
The reason I came here
was because of my dad,
but I want to stay here now
because of you.
I found this in your closet.
I thought you'd like to have it.
All rise.
Be seated.
What say you?
We find for Southern Valley.
Well done, counselor.
We will appeal. Don't worry.
That was... that was really good.
Real good.
- Thank you for your vote of confidence.
- Thank you.
I will always believe
that Louisa gave her life so our mother
could come back to us.
And maybe it didn't hurt that a little girl
told her mom she loved her.
With our mother back,
we didn't have to sell the farm.
And Cotton sued Southern Valley
for Diamond's death.
Since we were the only family he had,
the money went to us
and Diamond still lives here,
in a place I know he loved.
My mother and Cotton
were married a year later.
They spent four wonderful
decades together
and died within a week of each other.
Like my father, I left the mountain,
but I came back.
I married and raised a family here
and I started writing novels
just as my father had.
And though I never won
the sorts of awards he did,
my books tended to sell a little better.
It's a true comfort to know
that I will die here on the high rock...
and I will fear my passing not at all,
for the view from here...
is so very fine.