Ida Tarbell script
Ida Tarbell (2015)
Synopsis: Ida Minerva Tarbell was an American teacher, author and journalist. She was one of the leading "muckrakers" of the progressive era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is thought to have pioneered investigative journalism.

FADE IN ON:

AN OIL WELL - AFTERNOON

A tall wooden OIL DERRICK reaches up into the sky. Stones

bounce off the surface of it. WE PAN DOWN TO REVEAL the

source. Three young boys using it for target practice. Two

brothers MIKE and PAUL WALLACE, 11 and 9, and another more

delicate-looking boy about the same age: WILL TARBELL (10).

Finally, they pick up their school bags and move on.

Title:
Pennsylvania. 1868

EXT. FOOT BRIDGE - AFTERNOON

We follow the three boys as they walk home from school. They

cross a rickety wooden bridge that spans a small stream.

All three are sucking on red “jawbreakers” as they go.

MIKE:

Our pop says oil is the future, and

everyone in Titusville is gonna be rich cos

now we have it.

PAUL:

I hope we’re gonna be rich. Cos when I’m

rich, I know exactly what I’m gonna buy.

MIKE:

What are you gonna buy?

PAUL:

(big red grin)

Sixteen gazillion Cherry Bombs.

Will and Paul share a look. Laugh.

MIKE:

My brother. Genius.

As the boys reach the far side of the bridge, they are

intercepted by another group of boys. Their leader is CHUCKIE

PEARL, a husky and freckled 12-year old menace to society.

WILL:

(face darkening)

Oh no, Chuckie Pearl. Keep walking.

CHUCKIE PEARL:

(calling out)

Hey girls! Where ya’ll headed?

WILL:

Nowhere.

2.

CHUCKIE PEARL:

Whatcha eating there, Tar Barrel?

WILL:

Nothing.

Chuckie rifles his pockets. Finds the red jawbreakers.

CHUCKIE PEARL:

Hoo-whee! Cherry Bombs! Looks like you boys

been holding out on us again.

WILL:

Hey, come on. Give those back. My dad gave

those to me.

CHUCKIE PEARL:

And now you’ve given them to me. New bridge

toll.

MIKE:

Give ‘em back, Chuckie. Those aren’t yours!

CHUCKIE PEARL:

And who’s gonna make me, you?

The three boys just stand there frozen, until-

YOUNG IDA (O.S.)

Me.

REVEAL:
12 year-old IDA TARBELL. A tall, gawky, string bean

of a girl, carrying a big bag of books.

Chuckie and his minions bust out laughing.

CHUCKIE PEARL:

Well, well, well, if it isn’t little Miss

Titty Barrel! Boy, for a second there I

thought we were in trouble.

Will Shakes his head at his sister, “Please don’t.”

YOUNG IDA:

They don’t belong to you. Now give ‘em

back.

CHUCKIE PEARL:

Or what?

YOUNG IDA:

Or I’ll make you do it.

Something about the tone, or the fierce set of her jaw, but

we know that she means business. And Chuckie knows it too.

3.

CHUCKIE PEARL:

Why don’t you run along home to your momma.

I’m sure she’s missing ya.

YOUNG IDA:

I said:
Give. Them. Back.

CHUCKIE PEARL:

Make me.

YOUNG IDA:

(a sigh)

Have it your way.

Ida steps forward, and in one swift motion, she slaps his

face, twists his ears and kicks him in the shins. Chuckie

becomes enraged. He lunges at her. But Ida just holds her

ground, and then pops him right on the nose.

Chuckie goes down like the coward he is. The others laugh.

CHUCKIE PEARL:

(bawling)

Owww! My nose! She done busted my nose! I’m

getting my dad. Help!!!

Chuckie stumbles off with his bloodied nose. His cronies soon

tuck tail and lope away also.

YOUNG IDA:

That’s right. Run along home to your momma.

“I’m sure she’s missing ya.”

A beat. Will stares at his sister in disbelief.

WILL:

You just punched Chuckie Pearl in the nose!

YOUNG IDA:

And do you know why I did that?

(Will shakes his head)

Cos he’s a bully, Will. And once a bully

knows you’re not afraid of him, he can’t

bully you anymore.

WILL:

Weren’t you afraid of him?

YOUNG IDA:

Course I was. But he didn’t know that, did

he? Come on, I’ll race ya home.

CUT TO:

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Mark McDevitt

Mark McDevitt grew up in Sligo on the northwest coast of Ireland, and later attended University College Dublin. In 1995, he moved to the United States after winning a green card "in the lottery." As a writer and journalist, his work has appeared in The Irish Times, The New York Times, The Irish Independent and The Examiner. In 2001, he moved to New York to pursue a career in film. He went on to work on several movies and TV shows as a camera assistant and operator, while writing film scripts on the side. In 2015, his spec screenplay about pioneering investigative journalist Ida Tarbell landed on the Hollywood Blacklist. It is currently in development as a feature film with Amazon Studios. Mark lives in New Jersey with his wife and son. more…

All Mark McDevitt scripts | Mark McDevitt Books

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"Ida Tarbell" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 13 Dec. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/ida_tarbell_1322>.

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