Out of BLACK we hear the sound of an airplane roaring by.
EXT. POV OF AN AIRPLANE
Flying over American heartland. We see the earth through the
pilot's perspective as sky and ground swap positions, the
plane swooping down and storming over the ground.
is a biplane, racing over a field lush with young plants. It
releases a trail of crop spray, and climbs again...
Up into a crystalline blue sky where sunshine pours like
honey over family farms stretching to the horizon. Maybe
it's not heaven, maybe it's just Tennessee. But as long as
there's been an America, men have fought and died for this
place -- as volunteers.
Far off, but visible from the plane is
A BARN - DAY
The barn is unpainted except for hand lettering that says
"McCawley Crop Dusting." Another plane noise, this one made
by kids, brings us to TWO BOYS, sitting in the shell of an
old plane propped on crates, scavenged of it's engine, seats,
The boys sit in it's cockpit, butts crowded onto the nail keg
they've replaced the seat with. They've even attached a 2x4
as propeller, as if their imaginations needed any help. They
wear overalls and have bowl haircuts: RAFE and DANNY, 10
Bandits at 2 o'clock.
They buzz their lips in a flying noise and work the controls,
Rafe's bare feet on one pedal, Danny's on the other.
Kill the bastards!
Rafe looks at Danny in shock -- then they both laugh and go
right back into their game, manufacturing their own machine
gun and engine sounds.
Good shooting, Danny!
Good shooting, Rafe!
Land of the free...
Home of the brave!
There's another one!
Their vocal motors roar again... But a man's hand grabs Danny
by the straps of his overalls and jerks him from the cockpit.
It's Danny's FATHER and he's a fearsome sight; drunk, his
hair uncombed, his face unshaven, his teeth -- those still
left -- are rotting. He's also missing an arm; but the one
that's left is potent, and he's shaking Danny with it.
You no count boy! Johnson come lookin',
said he'd pay a dime for you to shovel
his pig shed, and I can't find you no
Daddy, I told you I was comin' here.
His father slaps him off his feet. Rafe is so horrified he
can't get a sound out. Danny isn't even surprised. But when
his father snatches him up again, twisting the overall straps
so tight they choke him, he struggles. It does no good; his
father starts marching across the field, dragging and
The father's drunken anger makes him oblivious -- until
CRACK! The 2x4 propeller slams him across the back, knocking
him to the ground and making him drop Danny.
The father rolls over to see 10-year-old Rafe, holding the
2x4 like a bat.
Let him alone!
The father's eyes bulge in rage; he struggles to his feet.
Rafe... Daddy... No!
The man looks murderous, but Rafe draws back the board.
I'll bust you open, you...German!
The words ring something deep in the man's booze-broken
brain. He begins to cough, convulsively; it brings a blossom
of blood to his mouth. He wipes it with his hand, but blood
clings to his teeth. He chokes out --
I fought the Germans.
He looks at Danny in shame, with the realization of what he's
just done. He turns and staggers away.
Danny looks at Rafe -- a communication between boys joined by
something deeper than blood. Then Danny runs off after his
Daddy! Daddy! Wait.
Danny catches him, takes his father's hand, and walks away