Postscript Publishing Company



A Southwest Fantasy by

This is the screenplay adaptation of the published novel, "The Healing Waters Of Cacique Spring." It can be ordered online in paperback as one of the three stories in the Trilogy, "Three Tales in Lastima".

This romantic adventure story is set in the late 20th Century Southwest, where a young archaeology professor and a grizzled publisher of treasure hunting stories persuade an organization of psychic forensic investigators to use their powers to locate ancient Anasazi healing sites... supposedly in search of that which they might publish. When Dr. Buck Tyler meets beautiful Pueblo Indian psychometrist Sharon Hightower, they are astonished to discover they share her psychic visions in common when together. On an expedition to a village in southern New Mexico, they discover the psychic record of a story-within-a-story tale of betrayal, murder, a wrongfully-acquired Tiwa Indian healing spring, and an Anasazi ceremonial treasure cave. They encounter a radical Indian traditionalist, an obsessed priest, a tonic-peddling quack, and El Cacique, a medicine chief from long ago. When it becomes apparent that someone among the principals is involved in that long-past deception, the story is driven to its conclusion. Trapped in the cave, and pursued by antagonists, Buck and Sharon must solve the spiritual riddle of the cave's role in the rites of passage of the shamans of long ago and rise above their own limitations and weaknesses in order to survive.


The main story takes place in New Mexico and Arizona. Locations include a remote Anasazi Indian ruin in one of the cliff-walled canyons of northwest New Mexico, a classroom at NMU in Albuquerque, a large old school building in Jerome, Arizona, a tiny village with an old mission church, and the Carlsbad-like interior of a complex cavern used by the ancient shamans. There is also a story-within-a-story told in psychic flashbacks, which takes place in a bustling 1870's old New Mexican town of Lastima, the same town as the tiny village which is all that's left of it in the present.


Buckminster Tyler is a handsome professor of archaeology at University of New Mexico. He has a weakness for celebrity, and sometimes sells artifacts to private collectors to finance the mountain retreat where he likes to entertain his prettiest students. Sharon Hightower was born on a reservation. The beautiful young Indian woman is a gifted psychic and psychometrist, that is, a psychic touch reader. At twelve, she was taken from the shamanist grandmother who taught her, and put into a white Christian home where she was taught her powers were evil. Now schooled in social services, she works for the government's Indian Affairs Bureau in Santa Fe, and uses her ability only as a forensic psychic investigator for law enforcement.

The story begins with an opening sequence: Sharon awakens from a bad dream, and finds herself not in her bedroom, but in a redrock canyon, watching as Buck Tyler parachutes onto an ancient Indian ruin, eats some peyote cactus, hallucinates an Anasazi kiva ceremony, and discovers a shaman's solar equinox calendar carved in the stone wall of the canyon. When he returns to his job lecturing about the spiritual significance of what he finds in New Mexico archaeology, he is asked by grizzled publisher of a treasure hunting magazine John Simmons to approach the Interworld Society of Parasentient Investigators, a psychic club which meets in Jerome, Arizona, for their help in using psychic powers to locate Indian healing sites (since they won't take part in treasure hunts). Buck agrees, and at the ISPI meeting, he meets Sharon Hightower. To their surprise, when she touches the El Cacique tonic bottle Simmons brought, they both are able to see her psychic visions together. She is approached by radical Indian separatist Asher Quaptewa, who rebukes her for using her power to help white men raid their people's ancient sacred places, and warns her it could be dangerous. Though she and Buck do not immediately like each other, she agrees to leave with him and Simmons to go investigate the place in New Mexico to where the psychic investigators' readings point, the tiny forgotten village of Lastima.

In their vivid visions, they see the dark preacher Orville Heebs riding on a horse-drawn hearse, and the priest Padre Cabrito talking to a little Indian boy. In Lastima, they find the tiny old adobe church and meet Father Justiano, who believes their psychic powers are Satanic, but suspects they might work nonetheless. He takes them to meet old Caterina Gutierrez, hoping to learn her secrets about the lost spring Heebs stole from the Indians to make his tonic, and the treasure he knows it conceals. They find the site of the long-dried-up spring, and enter the cave. Buck, Sharon, Simmons, Asher, and Justiano have a confrontation revealing Justiano's desire to get the Indians' gold for his church, Asher's desire to keep it hidden (not to protect it, but to protect his people from it), and Simmons family involvement in the tonic hoax. In the ensuing conflict, Simmons, Asher, and Justiano are eventually killed, and Buck and Sharon trapped inside the cave. In their visions, they learn how Heebs found the cave, and had a lightning-storm fight with the shaman El Cacique leading to his being trapped there also, leaving his dried body for them to find. They meet the spirit of El Cacique, and must learn the wisdom of his ancient shamanist ways in order to discover the secret escape. In doing so, they discover their love for each other, and they both grow in wisdom and return to the real world as better people prepared to do good, and to keep the secret of the Healing Waters of Cacique Spring.

Principal Characters:

DR. BUCK TYLER, late 30's, good looking, charismatic, athletic, fond of media attention, a playboy professor; a good guy, but a bit spoiled.

SHARON HIGHTOWER, 30ish, Indian, beautiful, graceful, also athletic, she is an educated and articulate professional, but a bit inhibited.

JOHN SIMMONS, 50's, burrhead cut gray hair, stubble, sloppy dresser, he self-publishes a western-lore magazine in his garage.

IVY JONGERS, 30's, tiny and bubbly, she is the pixie-like long dark haired leader of the Parasentient Investigators group.

ASHER QWAPTEWA, 30's, tall strong Indian, long braids, a traditionalist and Indian separatist who opposes Sharon's working with Buck.

FATHER JUSTIANO, 40's, the priest and caretaker of the old mission church in the modern almost-ghost-town of Lastima, also a traditionalist.

CONCEPCION GUTIERREZ, 112, the last living person from the old days of Lastima.

1870's Characters:

EL CACIQUE, 50ish, the ancient Indian shaman medicine chief who appears in Sharon's visions, and then in the Anasazi ceremonial cave.

ORVILLE HEEBS, 50ish, tall craggy saturnine traveling undertaker, brimstone preacher, and peddler of "El Cacique Indian Medicine Tonic."

RANDOLPH MORTON, 35, good looking slick dressing Santa Fe hustler, Heebs' partner in the bottling plant.

PADRE CABRITO, 40ish, curly-tonsured chubby Mexican/Indian priest of the Lastima church.

This screenplay is available in downloaded PDF, or in hardcopy if required.

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