A Single Shot

Synopsis: The tragic death of a beautiful young girl starts a tense and atmospheric game of cat and mouse between hunter John Moon and the hardened backwater criminals out for his blood.
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Director(s): David M. Rosenthal
Production: Single Shot Productions
  1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
116 min




No, no.



"Dear tools...

"By now,

"I guess you know I'm gone.

"I couldn't take it no more.

"Not so much

my foster dad's drinking

and losing his temper..."

Gotta get a lawyer, Johnno.

It ain't gonna go away

by you ignoring it.


Boy, you been

mule-kicked in the head?

Who the f*** you think it is?

I thought...

Thought you was out... west,

on a bridge job.

Ah, the f***in' bridge

is built, Johnno.

I'm sitting right here.


Who you been talking to?


Made you think I need a lawyer?



Yup. She waited on me

at Puffy's earlier.

Said she'd moved

into town with Nolan

and hit you

with divorce papers,

and you won't go get a lawyer.

Aw, sh*t.

That's old news, Simon.

Well, not to me, it ain't.

I been drillin' steel

out in Montana

these three months, remember?

Says she's gonna go

back to school,

be a teacher?



Know what the end of

the world is, Johnno?

When your heart stops

beatin', partner.

Anything else

is just a setback.

How good you'd get to know

Ira Hollenbach?

How good what?

When you worked for him?

Hell, I only worked

for him near a year,

before he and Molly got killed.

Knew him to be a decent boss.


Yeah, but look here.

Go and see my lawyer.

Daggard Pitt.

I don't want a divorce, Simon.

I want my family back.

Yeah, well, go

and see him anyway.

He'll take good care of you.

Thought you'd get away...

Did ya, John?

You know me?

It's a small town, John.

Daggard Pitt.

Uh, Simon Breedlove said

you'd be a good one

for me to talk to 'bout this.

Come on in, John.

Let's see what you've got.

Well, these were served on you

over 40 days ago.

The law doesn't allow

but 20 to answer them.

They got under somethin'.

The problem, thankfully,

isn't fatal.

I need your help.

Uh... I ain't

interested in a divorce.

Me and Jess don't

see eye-to-eye on that.

I'm so sorry.

She's got this idea

about the boy.

Your son?


After he was born,

she started to see things...

- Different.

- "Different"?

Yeah, all of a sudden,

she wanted more.

Now, I've always provided.

She can't say I don't provide.

I-I ain't lazy.

Says here you've had

trouble keeping a job

ever since your father

lost his farm?

No, sir.

I've had plenty of jobs.

Plenty of jobs,

just not for long.

I even took a job

at that creamery,

just to get her

a few extra things,

and when I lost that,

she... uh...

I can't stay cooped up

inside all day.

I was raised to farm.

It's all I know.

How can I help you, John?

She mentioned counselin', once.

I'll go now,

if it'll bring her home.

You tell her lawyer that.

I was acquainted

with your parents.

I represented the bank

when they foreclosed on

and sold their farm

to Cecil Nobie.

I felt awful about it.

We all did.

The bank did what it could

to keep your father afloat,

but the economy at that time,

and him having

overextended himself...


Then, of course...

him taking sick.


The question you have

to ask yourself is,

will you be

comfortable with me?

Simon says you're cheaper

than the rest of 'em in town.

That mean you ain't as good?


Compensation takes

many forms, John.

Mm. Main one says money.

I have no wife,

no family,

only my clients

and their often-sticky

and heartfelt situations.

I've known our friend, Simon,

for example,

through thick and thin.

How serious of scrapes

you got him out of?

Well, that's between

him and me, John.

Just as anything you tell me

as your lawyer

will be between you and me.

You're not wondering

about my criminal defense


as a result of

more troubles you've had

up in the conservancy, are you?

Your, uh...

Your poaching arrests...

Is it three now?...

Have all made the paper.

I'm afraid another one'll

cause you more serious problems

than just a couple of

weekends in jail.

There isn't something

of that nature

that might get in the way

of your custody

or visitation rights, is there?

No, sir. No, sir.

I don't want a divorce.

I want my family back.

You just delay matters

long as you can.

Appreciate your time.

Thank you.


You look pretty.

Friend of yours?

Just some guy looking

for some other guy.

What other guy?

Not a guy worth knowing,

called "The Hen."

You'd ever seen him,

you'd know the name fits.

You want to order?

Yeah. I'll take

a cheeseburger plate.

Cup of coffee.

What kind of cheese?

You know what kind, babe.


No. I'll get

a tossed salad.

You don't eat tossed salad.

Well, I thought

I'd give it another shot.

Doctor says it's good for me.

Make it a large tossed salad.

I hired a lawyer,

like you wanted.

I told him to tell your guy

I'm ready to go

to one them counselors.

Well. I think you ought to.

I mean together.

Oh, John.

I thought it was your idea.

That was before we separated.

We didn't separate.

You moved out.

With our son.

A day after I lost my job.

I know the timing was bad,


I got some things at home

for the two of you.

I'll bring them by later.

How'd that be?

What things?

Food things and money.

Can't you give 'em to me now?

I've got a class

until 8:

I'll come by after, then.

I'd really rather you

wouldn't tonight...

Why not?

You got a date?

I can't talk right now.

You can't talk 'bout it now,

you can't talk about it later.

When can you talk about it?

I'm sorry.

The hell you say.

Christ almighty.

I'll come by

and see Nolan then.

He's gonna be there, right?

It's not a good time.

I need to see him.

And you.

I got somethin' important

to tell you about our future.

John, I...

Lookit what you done my pants!

What about your goddamn pants?

They look pissed in.


We got some kind of problem?

What'd I tell you about

comin' in and raisin' sh*t?

Don't trouble yourself, Puffy.

We're good over here.

Ain't we good over here?

You get your pants cleaned.

We got 'er straightened out,

right, we got it

straightened out.

Drop the goddamned bag.

Is this... is this

1201 Belmont?

I ain't shitting you, man.

Okay. I think

I got the wrong house.



No. He don't.

That's John.


The husband.

I'm Jess's friend, Carla.

From Puffy's?

I'm babysittin'.


Sh*t. Where's Jess?

I didn't ask.

Are you watchin' pornos

on the f***in' TV?

Yeah, well, we got

a constitutional right.

You got a f***in' gun on me.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

I put it away.

And you're f***ing

in front of my kid!

Well, he was sleepin'.

Till you woke him, John.

You best be gone, or dressed,

when I get back.

I don't want to see

your sorry ass naked

in my wife and kid's house.

Hey. Hey...

Hey! It's daddy!

Can you say "dada"?

Oh, sh*t.

It's okay. It's okay.

It's okay.

Better let me have him, John.

What's the matter with him?

Oh, he just ain't

used to seeing you is all.

What do you mean,

ain't used to seeing me?

Aw, I know, baby.

I know.

What's the matter with him?

What'd you people do to him?

Rate this script:5.0 / 1 vote

Matthew F. Jones

Matthew F. Jones, is an American novelist and screenwriter who grew up in rural upstate New York and currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. His novels have been translated into various foreign languages and several times have been named on best novels of the year lists. Three of his novels, A Single Shot, Deepwater and Boot Tracks, have been made into major motion pictures. He has taught creative writing at a number of colleges and universities, including Randolph Macon College, Lynchburg College and the University of Virginia. He grew up on a horse and dairy farm in rural upstate New York and currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. Patrick Andersen, in a Washington Post review of Jones’s 2006 novel Boot Tracks, termed the phrase ‘literate noir’ to describe the tense, psychological nature of Joes work. And in a starred review of Jones’s 1999 psychological thriller Deepwater, Booklist critic Bill Ott described Jones as a ‘leading contemporary author of country noir, a subgenre whose roots trace back to James M. Cain’s Post Man Always Rings Twice.’ A film version of Deepwater was released under the same name in 2006, starring Lucas Black, Peter Coyote and Leslie Anne Warren. Jones’s own screenplay of his 1996 novel "A Single Shot" was made into a film of the same name in 2012 and released in 2013. The film version of the novel stars Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Jeffrey Wright, and Kelly Reilly. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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