Postscript Publishing Company Presents:

A Screenplay By James Nathan Post

This is the adaptation of the author's published novel "High Arena"
now available in paperback ordered online ( click).



This feature screenplay is a post-apocalyptic survivalist action adventure (like Thunderdome), set in the high north Rockies, about a semi-nomadic family group of forty free-traders who must move their wagon train south for the winter with a storm at their backs. They encounter another family group who have built a blockhouse to control the critical pass, and who survive by exacting as much toll as possible. Though neither are "bad guys," their different survival forms force them to compete, and unlike the cliche geek-packs in some films of the genre, neither family can afford to waste warriors on a last- reel massacre. There is lots of heroic action, but no gratuitous gore, and an ending based on good sense and good feelings.

Setting:

In the high northern Rockies, in a green valley among ice crusted crags, is a rustic settlement, made of stone walls and log-cabin timbers, but with an incongruously modern look, and using the remnants of machine technology, windmills, horse-drawn wagons, windows lead-camed like stained glass of remnants and shards, and the like. It is a successful community, affluent for its lifestyle, comfortable and well run, ready for a long winter. A few days south lies a pass through a high ridge of mountains, and it is guarded by the defensive ramparts, logfalls, and ambushes of a high-placed blockhouse, made of stone and logs.

Synopsis:

Joker, wrapped in furs on his Harlequin, a flying-motorcycle-like sailplane, soars close to a huge and dark cold front moving into the mountains, then he flees before it to warn his family, Our Company, that they must move south now, or remain through the winter with the people of the small settlement where they have spent the summer. In one of the warm larger cabin houses of the settlement, they meet to exercise the democracy they live by. Joker reports to the leader Fletcher, who is conducting debate about the matter. Though some would like to stay, they vote to leave, and prepare to depart.

They are stopped by a townsman who accuses young Mark, the son of Janeen, the independent leading woman of Our Company, of impregnating his daughter, and he demands Janeen's horses. A superior equestrienne and rope handling expert, Janeen rescues Mark, then tells him he must face the music and stay with the girl. They gather their train of wagons and depart. Stopped at the easiest pass by a snowfall, they are attacked by a savage tribe of furred raiders they call “ice people” and must turn to another route never traveled before.

At their next camp, they put on their traveling carnival show, which is one of the ways they relate to the people they meet, and which they use to teach the new among themselves about the past, and the Great Fall of 21st Century civilization some 20 years before, as many of them remember. Jerry and his family travel in a show wagon with a troupe of orangutans, once owned by their grandfather in Hollywood. The group of young men who call themselves The Jacks do acrobatics and sword and staff drills. Janeen does rope and riding tricks.

Moving on, they encounter the pass controlled by the strictly-run family of the Blockhouse of authoritarian patriarch Caleb Rook. They hope to use their traveling show to deal their way through, but are rebuffed. Rook sends his son Paul to tell them they must pay tribute, and to demand an exchange of hostages. Fletcher sends his son Charles to the blockhouse, where he is impressed by their technology, and by their strong defenses. He is also impressed by Rook’s sexy (but not too bright) young daughter Michelle. Hoping to run away with Charles, Michelle agrees to show Fletcher a way through the pass around Rook’s defenses.

Rook sends a raiding team which captures Janeen. He offers to let them all pass, if she will remain with him, bringing her horses with her, of course. He shows her the Pitbull dogfighter airplane he found in a barn, and which can shoot down Joker. She refuses, and is caged in the blockhouse. Michelle tells Fletcher about a secret entrance to the mine-shaft behind the blockhouse, and he and a few of the men climb the rock face to it, and enter the blockhouse secretly, so as to rescue Janeen, and to disrupt defenses so the rest of the family could run through the pass.

Joker takes to the air on his Harlequin to guide them through the pass defenses. He is attacked by Brother Gilbert on his high-powered Pitbull biplane, a holdover from an airshow dogfighting sport. Though Gilbert has the overpoweringly superior fighter, Joker is an expert pilot, and he leads him into the high rocky mountain crags, to dogfight in the snow-whipping gusts among the jagged cliffs, where his superior flying skills give him an advantage, and his soaring ability gives him another. Gilbert's high-powered Pitbull soon runs out of gas, and he parachutes toward the ice people as the airplane crashes on the rocks.

As Fritz and Hey-Zeus fight Rook's VW-turtle car on their motorcycle chariot, Janeen escapes through a window with her rope, and Fletcher and Jerry enter the blockhouse through the mine shaft, and threaten to set it afire. To the astonishment of his family, Rook calls off the fight, and agrees to deal peaceably. “We fight for survival, not victory,” he says to his people. The leaders agree to meet, and they prepare for Rook and his family to be guests for the show, and for the funeral of Hey-Zeus, who was killed in the wreck of the tricycle chariot. Since Michelle and Charles both did things to be together that are crimes against their families, they are sentenced by Rook to be executed, and then given a reprieve if they agree to be perfectly obedient. Charles remains with Rook to become his disciple and to earn the right to marry Michelle. Rook and Fletcher agree to work together to raid the “flatlanders” to the south to recoup their losses, and to share a happy and profitable future.



The Airplanes:

This screenplay presumes the extreme storm and high mountain dogfighting flying sequences would be created using models, mockups, and CGI technology. The principal designs for the revolutionary new motorcycle-like ultralight soaring plane and airshow mini-fighter are the author's, called Skycyks, employing his considerable aviation background. Looking like a sleek modern cross between an aerobatic biplane and a dirt bike, the Pitbull is a small composite-structure canard-configuration biplane, driven by a ducted fan. The Harlequin is a similar airplane, but with a wide sailplane wing, intended for assisted soaring, not dogfighting. These designs are technically feasible, and they could very likely be built and flown, though it would be close to impossible and extremely dangerous to actually perform the way they are called to in the film, even with tested prototypes and highly skilled pilots.



Principal characters:

____Our Company, the libertarian nomads:

JANEEN, 35, lead action equestrienne heroine, of libertarian nomads. She is not “mated” but enjoys a close relationship with both Joker and Fletcher. She is an equestrienne, warrior and mother, an expert with a rope, and owns most of the horses.

FLETCHER, 40's, strong, handsome, loving, responsible democratic leader of Our Company.

JOKER, mid-40's, slender and wiry, a solitary romantic, he flies an old Harlequin ultralight as the nomads' eyes. His high-rock ice-storm dogfight with an armed stunt plane is climactic action.

CHARLES, 20, Fletcher's son, good looking, good-hearted, but naive and headstrong.

HEY-ZEUS, 30's, a large and muscular Mexican Indian, the blacksmith of the nomads.

FRITZ, 60s, skinny grizzled and tattooed, the last of the old Bikers. His bike is a chariot Hey-Zeus rides into battle.

ELIZABETH, 80's, the old woman who cares for the goats, once a famous actress.

JERRY, 60's, an old traveling showman whose family have a troupe of performing orangutans.

OUR COMPANY, a group of families, including THE JACKS, four young men who work and fight together, members of Jerry's family, children, et al.

____The Blockhouse Family:

CALEB ROOK, 50, large bull-like authoritarian patriarch of the blockhouse family. Though no villain, he rules with an iron fist, and keeps his people constantly building and training to defend their comfortably-appointed blockhouse.

BROTHER PAUL, 25, Rook's son, a serious and responsible young man.

BROTHER GILBERT, 40, tough-looking, knows how to fly the antique Pitbull dogfighting airplane Rook found. Though his plane is superior to Joker’s, he is not an expert pilot like Joker.

SISTER LETICIA, mid-30's, slender and sharp, Rook's top rank woman, a good sheepdog who keeps the family in line.

SISTER MICHELLE, 17, Rook's sexy nubile daughter, a bit spoiled.

DOC , 65, Rook's crusty and sardonic resident medic and moonshiner.

OTHERS of the family, including SOLDIERS, and HOUSEMAIDS, et al.







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

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Postscript Publishing Company