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I'LL DANCE ON YOUR GRAVE

A brawny, gun-fighting Irish marshal, Mart Duggan, is selected to tame the fast-growing, notoriously wild and depraved new boomtown of Leadville, Colorado in the 1870s.

In 1860 gold is discovered in Colorado, then silver in 1876. By the year 1878, the frontier settlement of Leadville, Colorado is becoming the richest and wildest of America’s boomtowns. Newspapers across the nation spread the word of the new gold and silver discoveries. Soon the settlement grows from five hundred inhabitants to thirty thousand. New mines are discovered. Hundreds of tons of carbonate ore are being hauled to smelters. Cabins and stores are built as merchants come with their goods looking to capitalize on this new free-spending market. Investors from the back East build smelting factories and buy shares in the mines. Over a hundred saloons, gambling houses, variety theatres, and dance halls spring up. They’re all catering to the miners, roughs, and tourists with an abundance of beer, liquor, and whores. Leadville is known for its instant wealth, gambling, depravity, and MARSHAL MARTIN DUGGAN. The mayor and town council need a firm marshal, a man to tame their out-of-control town that’s in the hands of the bad element. Thieves, con-men, claim jumpers, footpads, and murderers are infesting this fast-growing boomtown. Lawmen unable to stand up to the lawless are being shot or run out of town. MAYOR HORACE TABOR selects Deputy Martin Duggan, a mean, tough, no-nonsense man, who’s equally good with his fists and a gun, as the new marshal. Marshal Duggan proves to be a match for the roughs and unruly miners. In a short time, with an iron hand and loyal deputies, he begins to gain ground against the culprits. Men like Horace Tabor, MARSHALL FIELD, DAVID MAY, MEYER GUGGENHEIM, and others are becoming millionaires. But many men and women are dying - in the mines, on the streets or in Stillborn Alley of starvation, drunkenness, pneumonia, childbirth, or murder. DESTINY McCUE and her brother QUINT McCUE arrived in Leadville to put on rope and shooting exhibitions. They’re also looking for the three CURLOU brothers who, years earlier, murdered their parents. Marshal Duggan is smitten by the beautiful Destiny, as she is by him. They become lovers. The marshal aids Quint and Destiny in finding the three Curlou’s. There’s a showdown. Destiny and Quint’s fast draw bring the demise of the Curlou brothers. Later Destiny learns that Duggan is married and ends their relationship. The marshal takes to heavy drinking and disorderly behavior. The new town council no longer appreciates Marshal Duggan’s tough methods and his conduct. They suspend him from duty and he leaves town. Within three months Leadville’s bad element takes over the town, with the aid of the unscrupulous new marshal and his crooked deputies. Vigilantes are formed. Men are hung. The town is reverting to its old ways. The new mayor contacts Duggan and offers him his position as marshal once more. He returns with his wife and is reinstated as Leadville’s marshal. He rehires his past deputies, and once again they restore order. Six months later, Marshal Duggan decides to give up being a marshal and opens a livery stable. Destiny falls in love and marries JOHN JOHNSON, the manager of the Texas House saloon. Duggan is devastated, as he still loves her. He watches the wedding from across the street. Duggan again begins drinking. He makes snide comments about Destiny and her new husband. John Johnson, hearing about the remarks, becomes incensed and goes to the livery stable. The two men argue and Johnson attacks Duggan. They fight. Johnson gets knocked to the ground and pulls a gun. Duggan is fast on the draw and shoots and kills Johnson. Duggan is arrested. An angry Destiny goes to jail to face him. She tells him she is going to kill him, stand in his blood, and dance on his grave. Duggan is released as the shooting is ruled self-defense. Two years pass. Leadville is becoming a somewhat civilized town but still has its wild side. Famous gunslingers, lawmen, and gamblers start to arrive in Leadville on the newly built Denver & Rio Grande railroad. DOC HOLIDAY comes for his health and to gamble. He likes this wild town and decides to stay. Doc is befriended by ex-marshal Duggan, who is now working as a part-time bartender and deputy. While there, Holiday is goaded into a gunfight. Doc shoots and kills the last man she'll ever face. Duggan convinces Holiday to get out of town. Late one night Duggan and two of his friends are making the rounds drinking and gambling. When they enter the Texas House saloon, Duggan sees Destiny working at the roulette table. This adds to his already foul mood. While gambling, he gets into an argument with the table's croupier and the saloon's owner. They ask him to leave. He resists, becomes belligerent and challenges them to a gunfight. Duggan’s friends convince him to back off and leave. As he is walking home someone steps from the darkness and shoots him in the back of the head. He falls forward, his blood seeping into the planked walkway. People rush out from the saloons. Two deputies carry Duggan to the doctor. Destiny steps over to where Duggan had fallen. She stands in his blood. Two days later the townspeople are at the cemetery for his funeral. Late that moon-lit night, Destiny in a long, flowing dress, stands on Duggan’s grave and begins to dance.

Script Excerpt
Written by:
Format:
Screenplay
Budget:
Mid
Starring Roles For:
Russell Crowe
Angelina Jolie
Sharon Stone
In the Vein Of:
The Legend of Bagger Vance
The life and legend of Wyatt Earp.
Town Tamer
Posted:
08/28/2019
Updated:
01/07/2020
Author Bio:
Donahue B. Silvis is an alumnus of the renowned Pasadena Playhouse drama college. He graduated from Florida Atlantic University majoring in film study and creative writing. As a member of Screen Actors Guild (SAG), he has worked in movies as an actor and screenwriter. Donahue has written six novels, four screenplays, and one illustrated children's book. Now retired, he continues writing and promoting his novels and screenplays, while residing in Naples, Florida with his wife, Katie.

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Contest Results:
Scriptapalooza Features/Shorts (Quarterfinalist) [2018]